<br /> Lee Letter: n814

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: George Washington

Dear Sir,

I lately had the honor of forwarding a packet for you by Post that came
enclosed to me from France, by the author of a Dramatic peace on the
former situation of Capt. Asgil.1 The
subject is not a bad one, but the Author of this work seems not to have
made the most of it.

On the 1st of May Mr. Du Mas writes us,2 that
the parties still continue to negotiate the peace in a very threatening
manner.3 In truth, this whole affair is
involved in much mystery, and perhaps the truth is only known in the
interior cabinets of the greatest powers. The Marquiss de la Fayette,
in a late letter seems to think that the collected combustibles may be
put in flame by various accidents. The Emperor he says is restless, the
Empress of Russia ambitious, the King of Prussia old, with other
combining causes renders the peace of Europe precarious. The Marquiss
proposes to visit this summer the Manœuvering Troops of Austria &
Prussia in the North of Europe.4 We have
lately receivd a letter from his most Chn. Majesty, in answer to one
from

Congress to him recommending the Marquiss, in which his Majesty is pleased
to express himself in such a manner of the Marquiss as promises well
for the future promotion of that Nobleman.5
Mr. Adams writes that he has been received in due form at the Court of
London, has had his audience, and deliverd his Credentials to that
Sovereign.6 No treaty when he wrote had been
commenced, but we expect soon to hear of the commencement &
progress of that business. Mr. Jay is commissioned by Congress to open
negotiations with Mr. Gardoque the Spanish Plenepo here, concerning the
navigation of Mississippi, Boundary, Commerce
&c.7 The Spanish Minister appears to be
well disposed towards us. It gives me singular pleasure to hear that
the plan for opening the navigation of Potomac goes on successfully, as
it promises such capital benefits to our country. It is sometime since
I wrote to Colo. Fitzgerald desiring that he would put me down for a
share.8

Is it possible that a plan can be formed for issuing a large sum of paper
money by the next Assembly? I do verily believe that the greatest foes
we have in the world could not devise a more effectual plan for ruining
Virginia. I should suppose that every friend to his country, every
honest and sober Man would join heartily to reprobate so nefarious a
plan of speculation.

Be pleased Sir to present my best respects to your Lady and be assured that
I am, with sentiments of the greatest respect, esteem, & regard,
dear Sir,

Your most affectionate and obedient Servant,

Richard Henry Lee.

P.S. Altho I began this letter on the 23d my ill state of health and much
business have prevented me from finishing it until this day the 31st of
July. I thank God that my health is now much better than it has been.

R.H.L.

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Washington Papers, Library of Congress.

1 For the March 4 letter from Jean Lebarbier (the younger) enclosing two
copies of his play about the Huddy-Asgill affair in 1782, see
Washington, Papers (Abbot), Confederation Series, 2:406 – 7.

2 For Charles W. F. Dumas’ May 1 letter, read in Congress on July 20, see
Charles Thomson to John Jay, July 20, note 1.

3 Lee completed the remainder of this letter on July 31, for which see his
postscript. Although he did not break the paragraph, it is obvious
from the change in pen and ink where he resumed writing.

4 According to the endorsement, the marquis de Lafayette’s May 11 letter was
read in Congress on July 20. See PCC, item 156, fols. 418 – 20; and
Diplomatic Correspondence, 1783 – 1789, 1:310 – 11.

5 For Louis XVI’s May 10 letter, which was read July 19, see PCC, item
120:373 – 74, item 185, fol. 132.

6 John Adams’ June 1 letter was read July 25. See PCC, item 84, 5:465 – 66,
item 185, fol. 133; and Diplomatic Correspondence, 1783 – 1789, 2:367.

7 For John Jay’s July 20 instructions, see Charles Thomson to Jay, July 22.

8 See Lee to John Fitzgerald, May 4.