<br /> Lee Letter: n869

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Thomas Lee Shippen

My dear Cousin,

Having recover’d my health much better than I ever expected to have done, I
have again taken my Seat in Congress. I arrived in this City a
fortnight ago, having stayed a week in Philadela. where I saw your
friends all in good health and your father, as usual, in high spirits.
I was extremely happy to find that you were so well placed for
improvement and to see, under your own hand, such strong proofs that
you had greatly profited by your situation.1
The federal Convention at Phila. is proceeding slowly, but I hope
surely in a practical improvement of our federal Constitution.
Experience seems to have proved that our governments have not Tone
enough for the unruly passions of men, and so far as I can judge, the
general wish is for a ballanced government where the powers shall be
placed independently as in England, and of duration somewhat longer
than the present. Congress is proceeding with the ordinary business
until the Convention shall report their plan for consideration and
recommendation to the different States. I suppose it will be
recommended to the States to call Conventions for the special purpose
of approving the new System, that it may rest on the broad base of the
peoples choice, rather than on the more feeble opinion of the ordinary
Legislatures. In my last to you from Virga. I requested you to send me
a few of the newest books, if there were any published of high
Character and to apply to Mr. Thos. Blane Merchant in London for the
cash to pay for them, and to deliver them to him that they might be
forwarded to me. If you have not already complied with this request,
you need not now trouble yourself about it, because I have written to
Mr. Blane for as many books as my finances will allow me to devote in
one year to that article. But you will very much oblige me by getting
for me one of the most improved Modern Lamps of polished Tin, such as
Doctor Franklin brought over with him for giving great splendor of
light to a Parlour where company sit. If, in order to use this Lamp,
any explanation is necessary, let such explanations accompany it. Mr.
Blane will receive and forward the Lamp with my other Goods that he
sends me the ensuing Fall. And he will on your application, supply the
money necessary to pay for it as I have directed him. I pray you to
remember me affectionately to Mr. Adams and inform him that I will
shortly write to him. Congress have not yet determined on complying
with his request to be permitted to return home, but when they shall do
so, I will certainly do my endeavor to have Colo. Smith appointed
Chargé des Affairs at the Court of London, if such shd. be the plan
fixt on. My compliments if you please to Colo. Smith. I hope to hear
from you e’er long, because I am always happy to do so, being with the
most unfeigned affection and the truest regard my dear Cousin,

Yours
forever,

Richard Henry Lee.

P.S. July 30. The want of 9 states prevents a determination on Mr. Adams’s
business by this packet, so that we do not know the future arrangement.
I enclose you my dear Cousin a letter for our relation the Bishop of
Chester. It may bring you acquainted with a Learned and worthy
Man – farewell.

R.H.L.

Remember me to Dr. Cutting. Mr. Blane may be met with on the Royal Exchange
Virginia walk. Seal the Bishops letter before delivery.

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Shippen Family Papers, Library of Congress.

1 Shippen, the son of Lee’s sister Alice, was in London studying law at the
Inner Temple.