<br /> Lee Letter: n794

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: John Adams

My dear Sir,

The desire of paying my respects to an old and excellent friend compels me
under all the pressures of ill health and much business, to avail
myself of Colo. Smiths secure conveyance to take up my pen. It is long
since I have written to you, but much longer since I have had the honor
of hearing from you, and I am perfectly satisfied that both these
effects have been produced by causes not fairly within our
controul – perhaps the same obstructions may not so fully prevail
hereafter, and if they do not, I shall be happy.

Whilst I congratulate you on being appointed sole Minister to so eminent a
Court as that of London, I cannot help congratulating my Country at the
same time, for the just expectations that may be formed from the
wisdom, patriotism, and diligence of its Minister. The untoward
circumstances in which both countries are found to be placed, may have
arisen from a neglect of decent and proper respect having been
heretofore paid by each to the other. And if so, this advance on our
part, may lead to the establishment of better conduct and happier
consequences. That it may be so, may God, of his infinite mercy, grant.
So far, I think that I pray devoutly for the honorable success of your
Mission. Colo. Smith can give you so accurate a state of things here
that it seems not necessary for me to enlarge on them – but with
respect to this Gentleman, and his appointment, permit me to observe,
that his established reputation is that of a Man of honor, of sense,
and of very tried attachments to the success of our Union. His
appointment (I mean the Office) Seems, as far as I have been able to
investigate it, from a wish to shew respect to the Court of London, by
an exact observance of all forms in such cases practised.

I believe that Congress will adjourn (leaving a Committee of the States) in
June next. So that when you find leisure and inclination to honor me
with a letter, by sending it to the house of Wallace, Johnson &
Muir, my Correspondents in the City of London, they will forward your
letter safely to me.

I heartily wish you every honor and success in life that you can wish yourself.

Your affectionate friend.

Richard Henry Lee

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.