<br /> Lee Letter: n803

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: John Adams

Dear Sir,

I had the honor of writing to you by Colo. Smith, which letter I doubt not
but that you have, or will in due time, safely
receive.1 My hopes are great, that your
wisdom, and the good sense of the British Administration, will
extinguish the mischievous discord that has been so artfully and
industriously fomented by the enemies of both countries to the
essential injury of both, and in violation of the best principles of
humanity. A set of acrimonious disappointed people, who meaning the
gratification of their own malice and self interest, are poisoning the
minds of men with plausibilities, and theoretic reasonings, that are
opposed to the true state of things; and whose counsels if pursued,
will tend only to plant dissention and distress, where mutual good
& common happiness should be cultivated, and will flourish. The
enclosed ordinance will shew you the measures that we are taking to
dispose of western lands for the extinguishment of the public debt. It
seems probable that this will have very powerful operation in effecting
the end designed by the System. For the country is fine beyond
description, both in soil and climate – Abounding with all those primary
and essential materials for human industry to work upon, in order to
produce the comfort and happiness of mankind.

Don Diego de Gardoque has just announced to me his arrival at Philadelphia
in quality of Plenopotentiary from his Catholic Majesty,

& that he will pay his respects in a few
days.2 The enterprise of America is well
marked by the successful voyage made by a ship from this port, that has
returned after a voyage of 14 months from Canton in China with a
valuable eastern Cargo. Our people met with great civility from the
Chinese. And the Europeans at Canton, altho civil to the stripes, were
not a little surprised to see them there so soon, and at the celerity
with which their voyages were effected. The gentleman who writes the
letter, of which the enclosed is a copy, is a near relation of mine by
marriage, and my Godson also.3 Added to
this, I am his friend because of his real worth and deserts. He is the
youngest son but one of a numerous family. Possessing talents,
industry, and enterprise, he determined very early to shake off that
indolence too common with youths of his rank in Virginia. In quest of
fortune, after having finished his education, he went 15 years ago to
Sea, and pursued his system to the East Indies some years before the
late war commenced, and he remained in the East engaged with the
country trade there. His letter will inform you of his misfortunes, of
his present situation, and his future views. My acquaintance has ceased
with all who might have promoted his interest in the East Indies. Under
these circumstances I venture to beg the favor of you to assist him to
the utmost of your power in the way of procuring for him the
appointment that he desires in the Company’s service. I know that it
has not been uncommon in England for foreign Ministers to interest
themselves in favor of Individuals, by which means the latter have been
essentially served. I am sure that you will in this case oblige a
worthy able man, and, a greatful mind. That your friend, the writer of
this letter, requests this favor of you, will I am very sure be a
motive of strong inducement with you to exert yourself. The letter that
I have enclosed for him under your cover be so kind as to get forwarded
by some of the India Ships bound to, or near to Calcutta. It may go
with any letter in his favor that you are so good as to procure for
him. It seems probable, at present, that Congress will not adjourn this
year – if they should, it will not be sooner than the middle of August.
Your letters for me will be in a good way when they are deliverd to the
care of Messrs. Wallace, Johnson & Muir Merchants in London.

I heartily wish you health and happiness being very sincerely your
affectionate friend,

Richard Henry Lee.


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

1 See Lee to Adams, April 14.

2 For Diego de Gardoqui’s May 21 letters to Lee and John Jay announcing his
arrival in Philadelphia and enclosing copies of his royal commission
and instructions, see PCC, item 97, fols. 1 – 38, item 125, fols. 1 – 2;
and Diplomatic Correspondence, 1783 – 89, 3:137 – 39, 142 – 46. They had
been received on Friday, May 27, and referred to the secretary for
foreign affairs who reported May 30. See JCC, 28:400n.1; and PCC,
item 186, fol. 136, item 190, fol. 42.

3 The enclosed copy of a letter of May 12, 1784, from Thomas Steptoe,
half-brother of Lee’s first wife, Anne Aylett, is in the Adams Family
Papers, MHi. Steptoe, who had been a prisoner of Hyder Ally during
the war, was in Calcutta and sought Lee’s intercession in obtaining
“a Factorship in the East India Companys Service.”