My dear Genl.

Your very polite reply to my two letters reached me a few days past.1

It is impossible for my mind so thoroughly impressed with testimonials of your friendship, when that friendship operated both to my honor and
happiness to ascribe any act of yours in which I am interested to disregard or neglect. My cheif object in my correspondence with you,
was to manifest the unabated respect which continues to govern my feelings, when change of situation and circumstances, forbid the
derivation of my attachment from any principles, but those bottomed on the purest and warmest respect. Then my dear sir, let me hope that you
will not consider it as due or expected that you should be regular in your replys, but rather be governed by inclination and leisure,
other[wise] I shall be forced from the same feelings which induced me to commence a correspondence so truely agreeable, to decline the
continuance of it. Your communications with respect to the progress of our internal navigation, has given to me and our countrymen here, the
highest satisfaction, for certainly no event comprehends more fully the strength and future consequence of our particular country than the
cementing to the interest of Virginia by the strong ties of commerce the western world. This I beleive will take place effectually if the
Potomac & James river companys succeed in their exertions before the navigation of the Mississippi becomes free to the western
emigrants. I have my doubts whether good policy does not dictate forcibly every measure which tends to delay to distant time the free
use of that river. It is very certain that the Spanish court are in no temper for admitting it at present, in any degree; nor will they ever
consent to it as long as they retain in subjection their American Colonys. I have taken the liberty to shew in some private circles your
observations with respect to the present prospect of our fœderal affairs, and I flatter myself the justice and decision of your remarks
will aid the friends to the Union in this city in their exertions to incline the Assembly of this State to adopt the revenue system asked
for by Congress, and at this period essential to the existence of the Union.

The lower house have passed the impost fettered with conditions which render it inadmissible by Congress. I hope the senate will amend it,
and that at length we shall be possessed of some permanent and adequate fund for the discharge of our foreign debt.2

We have no accounts by the packet of the progress of our negotiators with the barbary powers, nor have we much reason to hope for a tolerable
termination of their mission. The british cabinet evidence whenever they can their zeal to destroy our commerce, and they certainly will
succeed in their favorite plan, unless the states give adequate powers to Congress to counteract by commercial regulations the injurys imposed
on our trade.

I enclose the late Gazzette, a letr. from England for you, and the papers you require.

Please to present me to your Lady and accept my best wishes for your health and happiness. With the most respectful attachment I am
dear General, your ob sert,
Henry Lee Junr.

[P.S.] I enclose a plan for the government of Militia, which does great honor to its author.3

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

1 For Washington’s letter of April 5, see Washington, Writings (Fitzpatrick), 28:401 – 3.

2 See Rufus King to Elbridge Gerry, April 16, note 2, and May 6, note 2.

3 That is, Secretary at War Henry Knox, for whom see David Ramsay to Knox, March 12, note.