<br /> Lee Letter: n890

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: John Fitzgerald

“A revealing report on a discussion Lee had with Mr. van
Berkel,1 Minister from the United
Netherlands, in which Lee expressed his `surprise that the Dutch who in
former times had so great a share of the Trade of Virginia, should now
make no efforts to recover their lost commerce. He said that it was
entirely owing to an apprehension of the want of punctuality on our
part, & the delays that obstructed the recovery of justice in our
Courts.’ Lee protested this negative assessment of the new nation’s
commercial reliability, and persuaded van Berkel to entertain formally
drawn-up plans of business; if found acceptable by van Berkel, they
would be recommended to the wealthy houses of Holland. Lee invites
Fitzgerald,2 a Virginia merchant and member
of the Potomac Company, to present such an outline to van Berkel.”

Notes:

Reprinted from description and extract in Sotheby’s Catalog, November 1,
1993, item 125.

1 No record of President Lee’s interview with Dutch minister Pieter Johan van
Berckel has been found.

2 Fitzgerald was identified in these Letters, 20:315n.1. For Lee’s May 4
letter to Fitzgerald, see ibid., 22:374.