<br /> Lee Letter: n875

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: Richard Lee

Dear Sir,1

Altho you have favored me with three letters you do not in any of them
acknowledge the receipt of a letter from me that I wrote to you many
weeks ago.2 I thank you nevertheless for the
intelligence you give me, especially that which relates to the welfare
of my family. The bad crops in consequence of the drought comes very
hard upon us when pressed so heavily with other burthens. Those evils
which happen independently of us, we must bear with manly firmness; and
those which flow from our own misconduct we have no right to complain
of. Among the last is the pressure of private debt, which almost
universally arises from idleness and extravagance; one or both. This
will be corrected & remedied by industry & Ĺ“conomy. The debts
created by a war forced upon us, and by which we have secured the
blessing of liberty, we ought to pay without murmuring. Congress is
endeavoring to lighten the public burthens by selling the federal lands
beyond the Ohio to pay the domestic debt which forms so great a part of
our whole debt. We have already contracted for the sale of 6 millions
of Acres, and a proposition is now on the Table to purchase three
millions more. We hear a talk of a plan forming to purchase 20 Millions
more. These lands will all be sold for discharging the principal of the
debt, and the public securities paid in by instalments. These bargains
once made will sink in season a large part of the debt. The friends to
American honor & happiness here all join in lamenting the riots and
mobbish proceedings in Virginia. They say it will injure the American
name & character thro the world – And the wonder is that all good
men in the country dont untite [unite] to suppress such evil doings,
and punish the Offenders. We are deeply concerned for the honor &
reputation of Westmoreland that our records should be stolen and the
strongest efforts not made to find out & punish the Thief. A public
purse should directly be made up by the good men of the County, and a
large reward offered for discovering the Offender. The Magistrates of
New Kent soon found out Price Posey & sent him in chains to
Richmond to be tried for his life. Colo. H. Lee & myself will pay
our guineas apiece towards making up this
purse.3

The public papers here make it quite probable that a general war in Europe
will attend the Civil war in Holland. This will not hurt us if we are
wise enough to keep out of the scrape. The federal Convention wil[l]
rise this week. Good powder & Bark sells here from 12 to 14s./ a
pound. Nutmegs very scarce & dear being 8/ an Ounce & other
spices in proportion. When you consider this, and also that we are
obliged to meet all our expences with ready money; you will see the
necessity of remitting me Cash for the purpose of buying the things you
want, for indeed I have it not of my own. My compliments, if you please
to the Ladies of Lee Hall, & to all friends in Westmoreland.

I am dear Sir your affectionate friend & Kinsman,

Richard Henry Lee.

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Miscellaneous Manuscripts, New York Public Library.
Addressed: “Richard Lee esquire of Lee Hall in Westmoreland County
Virginia.”

1 For “Squire” Richard Lee (1726 – 95), Richard Henry’s first cousin and the
uncle of Richard Bland Lee, another correspondent of Richard Henry,
see these Letters, 4:136n.1; and Paul C. Nagle, The Lees of Virginia:
Seven Generations of an American Family (New York: Oxford University
Press, 1990), pp. 50 – 54.

2 Not found.

3 For “the riots and mobbish proceedings in Virginia,” see the preceding
entry, note 6.