<br /> Lee Letter: n836

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Henry Lee
Recipient: James Madison

My dear sir

By way of introduction of a correspondence, with a character I love &
respect so sincerely, I enclose a report passed yesterday by Congress,
the only material business done lately & which proves the dreadful
situation of our fœderal government.1 The
report speaks so fully on the subject that I withhold remarks which
might [my?] solicitude for the public gives birth to.

We have received some advices from our agent in Madeira which afford some
ground to hope success will attend our negotiations with the Barbary
powers tho when you consider the enmity which certainly prevails in the
British cabinet towards us, their influence with those pirates and our
scanty purse, I profess my fears
preponderate.2 Indian affairs do not wear a
promising countenance – an additional evil to our many evils, if the
spring should open with a war with the savages.

Only eight states are represented. Grayson joined us two days ago, &
Monroe becomes Benedict this evening.3 My
best wishes attend you, farewel my friend.

Yours truely,

H. Lee Junr

Notes:

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

1 See the preceding entry, note 1.

2 Letters of December 5 and 12 from John M. Pintard, the U.S. commercial
agent in Madeira, were submitted to Congress on February 15 by the
secretary for foreign affairs, who was ordered to report. See
JCC, 30:76n, 293n. Pintard’s letters are not
in PCC, but for John Jay’s May 19 report, see PCC, item 81, 2:115 – 18.

3 A reference to Monroe’s impending marriage to Elizabeth Kortright, for whom
see Monroe to Madison, February 11, note 2. The allusion to Benedict
is to the character of that name, a confirmed bachelor who married,
in Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing.