<br /> Lee Letter: n847

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Henry Lee
Recipient: George Washington

My dear Genl.

I had the honor of your letter four days past,1
and should have sooner replied but waited in the expectation of
learning something about the package you enquire after. The letter from
Sr. Arthur Young came in the packet, but was not accompanied by any
thing else. The british Consul here tells me it is not customary to
send packages of any sort by the packets as they sail from Falmouth or
Portsmouth 300 miles from London, but that they come in vessels
directly from London. Perhaps the letter is only meant as a letter of
advice & that its copy will arrive in Potomac with the books, tho
it is strange how Mr Athaws could think of sending the letter via New
York. Unaccountable as the procedure appears I hope no loss may accrue,
as Mr. Youngs works are the most valuable production of the sort
extant.2 Solicitous to gather all useful
knowledge respecting farms & farming I sought this author out, on
my arrival here, I could only obtain his tour thro Ireland, which I
take the liberty to transmit to you now by favor of Doctr. Griffith.
Before my return it is very probable you may receive the whole of the
authors work, and these two volumes3 will in
the mean time afford you an opportu[nity] of putting into practice Mr.
Youngs system of culture.

If you should be in want of a new set of china it is in my power to procure
a very gentell set, table & tea. What renders this china doubly
valuable & handsome is the order of the eagle engraved on it, in
honor of the Cincinnati. It has upwards of 306 pieces, and is offered
at the prime cost, 150 dollars.

Your reasoning on the navigation of the Missisippi is perfectly conformable
to the prevalent doctrine on that subject in Congress. We are very
solicitous to form a treaty with Spain for commercial purposes; indeed
no nation in Europe can give us conditions so advantageous to our trade
as that kingdom. The carrying business they are like ourselves in,
& this common source of difficulty in adjusting commercial treatys
between other nations does not apply to America & Spain. But my
dear Gen. I do not think you go far enough. Rather than defer longer
the benefits of a free liberal system of trade with Spain, why not
agree to the occlusion of the Mississippi. This occlusion will not,
cannot exist longer than the infancy of the western emigrants,
therefore to those people what is now done, cannot be important; to the
Atlantic states it is highly important, for we have no prospect of
bringing to conclusion our negotiations with the Court of Madrid, but
by yielding the navigation of the Missisippi. Their Minister here, is
under positive instructions on that point, in all other arrangements
the Spanish monarch will give to the states testimonys of his regard
and friendship, & I verily beleive that if the above difficulty
could be removed we should soon experience the advantages which would
flow from a connexion with Spain. Mrs. Lee returns her Most respectful
compliments to the Ladys of Mount Vernon and repeats thro me, an offer
she before made of executing any commands which Mrs Washington may
please to favor her with.

I beg my return of esteem to Mrs. Washington, and am with unalterable
attachment and respect, your most obt servt,

Henry Lee Junr

Notes:

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

1 For this letter of June 18, see Washington, Writings
(Fitzpatrick), 28:459 – 61.

2 According to Washington, Young had promised to send him “a compleat sett of
all his works” which included A Six Months Tour
Through the North of England. Containing, an Account of the Present
State of Agriculture, Manufactures and Population, in Several
Counties of this Kingdom
, 4 vols., 2d ed. (London: W. Strahan,
1771); The Farmer’s Tour Through the East of
England
, 4 vols. (London: W. Strahan, 1771); A
Six Weeks Tour, Through the Southern Counties of England and
Wales
, 3d ed. (London: W. Strahan, 1772); and
A Tour in Ireland; With General Observations on the
Present State of the Kingdom … Brought Down to the End of
1779
(London: T. Cadell, 1780).

3 Lee loaned Washington the two-volume Dublin edition of A
Tour in Ireland
(Dublin: G. Bonham, 1780). See also Lee to
Washington, August 7, note 2.