<br /> Lee Letter: n861

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Henry Lee
Recipient: John Cleves Symmes

Dear sir

I have your letter of the 10th Jany. It was put into my hands only
yesterday, to which delay, attribute your not hearing from me sooner.

The only part which I took in your contract with Mr. Imlay was the
burthening myself with the security to his
bond.1 This I did from my friendship to him,
my confidence in his punctuality & truth and my solicitude to
remove you into my country, Considering your emigration in every point
of view important. The information contained in your letter is as
distressing as unexpected. Mr. Imlay left Charlestown long ago for
Kentucky. He was obliged to take that route having pecuniary demands on
a merchant there, which were necessary for him, before he visited
you.2

I hope before this he will have reached you & I trust all matters will
be settled to your satisfaction.

Should any accident have befallen him pray my dear sir possess yourself of
property adequate to your claim – This you have a right to do in justice
& your regard for me will urge you to execute this measure. In any
difficulty apply to my friend Wilkinson who I am sure will from my
letter exeret [exert] himself to accomodate us. I confide fully in your
honor & justice & shall always be happy in testifying the
strength of my attachment to you. Adieu, Henry Lee Junr.

Should you take lands held in common by Imlay & others, I will
be at the expence of seperating Imlays part for you. Congress will soon
establish a governt. in the west. Are you disposed to hold an
office – write me & what.

We have nothing new – our distress accumulates & will soon overpower us.
The convention will assemble in May from this body we hope for releif.
Your old friends often speak of you in the lively & sincere terms
of real regard & respect. The ordinance for a copper coinage has
passed.3

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Anderson-Latham Collection, Library of Virginia.

1 Undoubtedly Gilbert Imlay (c.1754 – 1828), a former officer in the New Jersey
Continental Line, whose heavy involvement in Kentucky land
speculation forced him to flee to Europe in late 1786 to escape legal
and financial entanglements. While launching a new career in
continental adventurism and intrigue, he published A Topographical
Description of the Western Territory of North America (London, 1792),
which appeared in several subsequent editions. DAB.

2 Symmes, a former New Jersey delegate, was in the northwest territory at
this time and would soon petition Congress for a two-million-acre
grant of land on the Miami River.

3 See the following entry, note 4.