<br /> Lee Letter: n343

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Thomas Lee
Recipient: Ludwell Lee

I heared with great pleasure that my dear children were safely arrived in
France.1 Before this intelligence reached me
I had suffered much from apprehensions both for them and their worthy
Uncles, in a Country (England) where every consideration of virtue and
justice, is sacrificed to wicked resentment and views of Tyranny. The
risk and danger of correspondence to Great Britain prevented me from
writing to you whilst you remained in that Country, and not a want of
affection, for whilst you continue to behave as well as you have done,
my tenderest affection shall always be placed on you. The views I
formerly entertained for my eldest Son must now be changed, with the
great alterations that have taken place in the System of North America.
Instead of the Church I would now have him as knowing as possible in
Commerce, as well the Theory as the Practical part. For this purpose,
if his good Uncle William should reside in France, my Son will be
employed by him as Clerk or Agent in some capacity, by which a
temporary support may be gained, and a lasting knowledge of business at
the same time. But, whether he is under the immediate care of his
Uncle, or any other Gentleman in France, I hope and insist that he pay
the closest attention to business, and the greatest respect and
obedience to him under whose care and patronage he lives. Every present
and future good consequence will flow from such a conduct, and every
evil from the contrary. Let my dear Son therefore, grave upon his mind,
and faithfully practice this advice of his affectionate father. It will
be of great importance to learn well the French language, and be able
to speak, read, and write it with correctness and fluency. Our future
commerce with France will be so extensive as to render this
indispensible, and I desire it may not be neglected. If Gentlemen in
France observe your attention to business and capacity for the
discharge of it, there is no doubt but on your return to your own
Country, you will be so trusted to conduct the business of foreign
Merchants, as to be very useful to them, and profitable to yourself.


Lee PapersUniversity of Virginia Archives

Endorsed “Copy of a letter to my Sons.” Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 – 1778, pp. 287 – 88. A transcript in the Lee Papers at the Virginia Historical Society is printed in the May 1860 issue of the Southern Literary Messenger, p. 349.

1 Arthur Lee’s 19 March 1777, letter, in which he informed his brother that
Thomas was with John Schweighauser, a Nantes merchant, and that
Ludwell was studying engineering at a military academy in Paris, is
in the Lee Family Papers, MH-H.

2 The letter ends abruptly here at midpage.