My dear sir.

I have by this days post you[r] two Letters of the 1t & 3d. Be assured I should not have drawn on you for a shilling Could I have encom passed the needful by any resource in my power, & prove to me that you can meet proper demands whenever they approach. To you the bill is gone you have received advice & be ready, for you must take it up.

So much for meum & tuum. I am in my preparations for my return, & perhaps may see you in Richmond.

Now for politics – the East is in tumult, the dreadful appeal is too probable. Preparations are making by the Insurgents with assiduity. Measures are also taken by Government lately with decision & firmness. It is suggested that Vermont & British America foster the Madness of the Malcontents by their councils and promises. Whether we shall conquer this effort or whether it will conquer us, depends on the pecuniary aid of the tranquil states. It is certain if Massachusetts yeilds, that the victors will extend their conquest, & very destructive consequences will pervade from that victory, the whole empire – a mob government for a time, which will terminate in despotismamong ourselves or from abroad.

I rejoice in your decided overthrow of paper. To be sure the expedient of nominal money is getting so ridiculous that common sense begins to abhor it, & therefore the vote of the deligates of Virginia is not
surprizing.1 Still it is grateful & will be I hope nationally useful.

In a letr. of the date of your last Mr. Madison tells me that my congressional conduct relative to the Mississippi navigation, or rather the proposed treaty with Spain is carped at. I cannot brook the
dishonor which he suggests may befall me, altho my intended & wished for return home invites the

A community ought to be tender of the reputation of her servants, I expected delicacy as well as justice from my country, or I never would have risked a reputation dearer to me, than rise on the precarious
tenure of a democratic assembly. If I am deceivd I must submit, but my submission will be bottomed on necessity, not on respect to her caprices – nor will I forgive the authors of the assassination, or forget every proper moment if announcing my remembrance. It is wonderful that you should have been silent on this head. It proved their cunning & your lethargy.

Turberville writes two letters to me & says nothing on the subject.

I hope imaginary doctrines & Western prejudices will not govern the votes of my country. If they do, we shall suffer bitterly, but our sufferings will not be long, for full information will put all things right.


H. Lee Junr

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

1 The Virginia assembly had recently revived its “expired” act for “calling in and funding” the state’s paper money, for which see Hening, Statutes, 12:329 – 30.

2 James Madison had apparently informed Lee in late October or early November, in a letter which has not been found, that his “conduct relative to the Mississippi navigation” had endangered his reelection
to Congress. And on November 7 the Virginia assembly confirmed Madison’s suspicion by passing over Lee, who had served only one year, and electing as delegates for the ensuing year Edward Carrington, William Grayson, Joseph Jones, Richard Henry Lee, and Madison. News of this “disgrace,” as Lee termed it, reached him “about the 20th. Novr.” and he set out immediately for Virginia. However, Joseph Jones immediately declined his appointment, and Lee was “re-instated by an almost unanimous vote” on December 1. Still, Lee blamed Madison for abandoning him, and in a letter of December 20 groaned that Madison’s “dereliction of the friendship which existed between us rendered my affliction doubly severe.” See Madison, Papers (Rutland), 9:167, 175 – 76, 191, 219 – 20.

In a letter of the same date to his brother Richard, Lee expressed reservations about accepting the appointment. “My re- election I have heard from the Gazettes. I am very doubtful of the part I shall take,
and may be governed in my decision by the manner in which I was elected. If I resign I shall do it in a public manner by letter to the Assembly & assign my reasons. This conduct will of course render me a mark & may terminate advantageously in future operations, as I wish to get into your house the next election. A mans influence provided he has talents and is governed by truth, extends in a generous country by persecution.” Armes Collection of Lee Family Papers, DLC. Notwithstanding, the rift between Lee and Madison soon healed and Lee joined his colleague in Congress on April 19, 1787. See JCC, 32:215.

In yet another December 20 letter, to state auditor John Pendleton, Jr., Lee submitted his accounts for travel to and attendance in Congress from December 3, 1785, to November 6, 1786, adding expenses from November 6 to 20 while he waited in New York for “the result of the late election,” and from November 20 to December 20 for his journey to Virginia in “uncommonly severe weather.” Continental Congress Papers, Vi.