<br /> Lee Letter: n828

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Thomas Lee Shippen

I hope my dear Cousin has returned to Phila. brim full of health and Law.
But say, is it law, or is it the study of law alone, that is
inconsistent with the duties of friendship? There must be something in
the way, or it never could have happened that I should not have
received a letter from you in so great length of time. My silence could
not be the cause, as your humanity would readily find an apology for me
in my very ill state of health. The Holker cause was not tried it
seems, but the Election strife is over, and I wish to know the event,
as well in other places as Phila. Nor will it be unentertaining to know
something of the Manœuvres of the contending parties. Curse &
doubly curse the Algerines for these Pirates I fear have too certainly
made war on our Commerce. Paul Jones from L’Orient informs us that
Monsr. Soulanges letter was there & its contents
believed.1 These Infernals having put all
the Commercial nations of Europe under contribution, except Portugal – The trade of Portugal with Ours, is all that remains for them to
Plunder. Several years ago, your worthy Father sent me a Dutch Fan to
Virginia, and now the Skreens of it are all worn out. I shall thank you
exceedingly for getting a new Sett of the different finesses made for
me by the best hand according to the enclosed measure; that I may take
them with me to Virginia as I pass thro your City on the 11th or 12 of
next month. My Mrs. Lee writes me that she must & will have a
handsome Bread Tray for serving bread to Table, also a Basket proper
for holding clean plates, and one for foul plates. Now you must be
informed that this demand comes from too high Authority for me to
venture neglecting it – therefore I must again put your friendship to
Work to find these out, genteel ones, and that they may be ready to go
by Mr. Crump who I expect will return to Phila. early in next month by
Water. I hope to see my Gun & Pistols here handsomely repair’d
before the 5th of next month. My best love attends the whole family
& that at German Town – And I pray God to have you in his holy


Richard Henry Lee2

Put the Doctor in mind of my Gum rubrum astringens
Gambiense – for it is the Sheet Anchor of my


Receiver’s copy, Shippen Family Papers, Library of Congress.

1 See the following entry, note 1.

2 Lee also wrote to his nephew on October 16 inquiring about “Skreens” for
his Dutch fan, his cousin George Lee of Bellview, lands for sale in
Kentucky, and letters his brother Arthur may have left for him in
Philadelphia. In another letter of the 19th he further clarified his
order for “Skreens” and mentioned the ill-timed death of Samuel
Hardy. Shippen Family Papers, DLC. On October 22 Lee wrote to his
niece, Anne Home Shippen Livingston, asking about the price of muslin
gowns and aprons for his wife and daugthters. Bamberger Autograph
Collection, NjHi.

3 “One of the most efficacious vegetable astringents, or styptics, in the
materia medica,” from the resin of trees of the Gambia River region,
also known as Kino. J. S. Forsyth, The New London Medical and Surgical Dictionary (London: Sherwood, Gilbert, and Piper, 1826), pp. 329, 417.