My dear sir1

I have deferred the pleasure I always felt in any sort of connexion with you to this day, that I might have opportunity of discovering the books
you want. But your directions being general and such an abundance of political treatises to choose out of, none of which I consider as
worthy of notice, I shall wait longer, that you may designate your choice. Then I will comply. Ramsey’s revolution I have purchased
[&] will send by Mr Lee provided he can carry them. I have hopes that you will contrive to procure six hogsheads of tobacco, as your
resources I know to be equal to this small effort (a little negroe being enough) and place them in the hands of Mr. Stoddert for me.
Indeed I would not that this should be undone, for twenty times the value my reputation depending in some degree on it.

Where have you been since your last: not in Alexandria I presume, for you could not being there have passed over in silence the time which has
elapsed. Do you persevere in your withdraw[al] from the Assembly, who will succeed you. Of what complexion is the body of the people with
respect to their public men & public affairs. Do they impute the evils which menace their national life to their leaders, or their own
vice and prodigality. Do they but see the necessity of a government adequate to its object, or still prefer the name to substance.

Are they not apprized by this time, that one source of their complicated misfortune is the invitation which the state and nature of their debts
offer to all orders to relinquish every profession and place their attention to jobbing in paper securitys. Agriculture, commerce and
every other proper ground to render a people wealthy and respectable yields to the allurements of this vice. They must stop it, or they are
undone. It is worse than the plague to the body, and more pestilential if possible, for it now comprehends both good & bad. It is high
time that our people be coerced to habits of industry, otherwise our produce will be of no consequence – for the nations of Europe are all
bending their application to the culture of the land, and our only chance for existence, is to be able to undersell; & to make up in
quantity what we loose in price.

This quantity is attainable, if we could be brought to due exertions. Our prospects in Europe are unpromising and will be more so in proportion
to our insignificance. The negotiations with the Barbary powers will I fear be ineffectual. G Britain knows our weakness & will not be
operated on by fear, the only passion in her mind which can ever [be] used to our advantage. The court of France is engaged in commercial
projects all pointing to her specially, and will terminate in aggrandizement and consequence to that powerful nation. Spain imitates
her plans, and aids her views. The emperor & the King of Prussia are quarreling about Bavaria. The United provinces are s[t]ill out of
humour with their Statholder, who is patronized by his cousin of Prussia.

Could we place ourselves on a respectable footing, we might negotiate among these discordant powers to advantage, but we are truely contemptible,
and therefore not regarded.

What has become of Doct. Skinner, he cannot surely have spent his time in Frederic town, as he sacredly engaged in some matters of mine very
consequential to my peace of mind, as well as important to my purse. God bless you my dear friend.

Your aff brother,

Henry Lee Junr2


Receiver’s copy, Armes Collection of Lee Family Papers, Library of Congress.

1 Lee’s brother Richard Bland Lee (1761 – 1827) was at this time representing Loudoun County in the Virginia House of Delegates and later served in
the United States Congress, 1789 – 95. DAB.

2 Lee also wrote the following brief business letter on April 6 to Samuel Blachley Webb, former Connecticut brigadier general, who had settled
in New York after the war: “Mr Imlay seems to consider himself as triffled with by me. I very much wish I had never written by him, my
zeal to have you in preference to others, and to accomodate your declarations were the motives.

“I have this day to convince him of his mistaken ideas as to our intentions informed him, that I would unite with you as half owner of the sixth
share reserved for you. This will very much reduce the bargain to you & will command more money from me.

“Be pleased to wait on him & decide the business – it is too small now to deliberate on – & I will do what you please.” Feinstone
Collection, PWacD.