The Political Thought of Richard Henry Lee
By Holly Eileen Munchoff Kendig

CHAPTER III
SPECIFIC DEFECTS OF THE CONSTITUTION

Like most of his fellow Americans, Lee had a pessimistic view of human nature, an outlook which influenced his political thinking. He believed that “political evils to be guarded against are in the human character,”[note 111] and as a result placed more emphasis on incorporating safeguards within the structure of government, rather than relying on the good behavior of elected officials.

We are not to expect even honest men rigidly to adhere to the line of strict impartiality, where the interest of themselves or friends is particularly concerned; if we do expect it, we shall deceive ourselves, and make a wrong estimate of human nature.[note 112]

He wanted all aspects of the proposed government carefully documented and felt it was irresponsible to include any general statements or passages open to interpretation.

In contrast to James Madison’s view that a large republic would mediate the effects of harmful factions within a society,[note 113] Lee shared with the Antifederalists the view that the territory of the United States was too vast to be well suited for a republican government.[note 114] He observed that the “laws of a free government rest on the confidence of the people and operate gently—and never can extend their influence very far. . . .” As a result, he expected the people located near the center of government voluntarily to support it in exchange for the benefits they gained from it. From the same reasoning, he deduced that in a large country support from the people living on the fringes would be secured only by the use of “fear and force.” The middle states would enjoy extensive advantages such as wealth and offices because of their proximity to the government, whereas the remote states “would experience the many inconveniences of remote provinces,” and become less significant. Furthermore, he felt the distance between people and the government would cause the government to be forgotten and its laws to be disregarded, with the result that military force would be necessary to enforce the execution of the laws.[note 115]

Implied in all these criticisms was Lee’s fear that a decline of popular participation in the central government would produce a government of the few, for which he found evidence in other parts of the
Constitution as well. Observing how “disproportionably the democratic and aristocratic parts of the community were represented,”[note 116] he claimed that the proposed government was quite evidently a “transfer of power from the many to the few.”[note 117] This was a strong criticism, particularly since he believed that an oligarchy was the worst of all governments.[note 118] He basically distrusted “the aristocracy,” predicting that “the artful and ever active aristocracy, will prevent all peacable measures for change, unless when they shall discover some favorable moment to increase their own influence.”[note 119]

To understand the implications of Lee’s remarks, it is necessary to know what he meant by the term “aristocracy.” He described three kinds of aristocracy spoken of in the United States at that time. The first type, constitutional aristocracy, he felt did not exist in America although he admitted that Montesquieu felt it did. Pointing out that a part of the population was excluded from a share in the government due to lack of property, age, or moral character (such as prisoners), Montesquieu had claimed that the other part of society thus formed a constitutional aristocracy. Yet Lee apparently did not feel such an aristocracy was significant. The other types of aristocracy, however, he did feel were of consequence in the United States. The second type was an “aristocratic faction,” which he defined as a “junto of unprincipled men, often distinguished for their wealth or abilities, who combine together and make their object their private interests and aggrandizement.” The third type was a “natural aristocracy” or “respectable order of men,”[note 120] which possessed good motives, and needed only to be balanced with leadership from the lower classes of society.

The natural aristocracy is most often referred to by Lee in his discussion of government, particularly in comparison with the “democratic” element of society. He explained that when he spoke of the natural aristocracy in America he was referring to four or five thousand men including those who were serving as governors, members of Congress, state senators, officers of Congress, the army and militia, “superior” judges, the “most eminent professional men,” and “men of large property.” In contrast he described the natural democracy as the yeomanry, subordinate officers, civil merchants, and professional men, who had “less ambition, and a larger share of honesty.”[note 121] To some degree Lee seems to beg the question here, since obviously those men not in positions of power have fewer apparent opportunities to be dishonest and ambitious.

Referring to his distinction between the natural aristocracy and democracy, Lee argued that the representative branch of the legislature would have very little democracy in it.[note 122] This possibility was of great concern, particularly because he felt the House of Representatives was the only check favoring the “democratic principle” in the new system; yet he termed it a “more shred or rag of representation.”[note 123] Because he felt the House of Representatives had potential as a democratic check on the government and was somehow ineffective, in the proposed plan, the issue of representation became one of Lee’s major concerns.

In particular, Lee argued that the number of representatives was so small that the natural aristocracy would compose the majority, of the membership. To remedy the situation he urged that the representatives be increased, thus bringing more farmers, merchants, and so on into the government.[note 124] The Federalist, on the other hand, defended the small number of representatives, and the concomitant large constituencies, as less likely to be influenced by the rich and powerful. Some supporters of the Constitution also argued that the small nunber of representatives in the House would be remedied as the population increased.[note 125] But this did not satisfy Lee, who claimed that “what may happen in twenty five or 27 years hence is poor alleviation of the evil, that the immediate time is big with. . . .” He had no use for those who relied on time or man to remedy defects in the Constitution, instead urging the correction of the new government before it was ratified.[note 126]

Other objections to increasing the representation which he refuted included the complaints that a large house would be costly and that it would be difficult to get members to attend. While he treated the first as little more than a lame excuse, he gave a more lengthy response to the second. Quite aware of the problems of attendance through his experiences in the Continental Congress, Lee nonetheless felt such concerns were not valid grounds for limiting the representation:

Can we be so unwise as to establish an unsafe and inadequate representative branch, and give it as a reason, that we believe only a few members will be induced to attend; we ought certainly to establish an adequate representative branch, and adopt measures to induce an attendance.

Furthermore, he implied that problems of non-attendance would he less bothersome under the new system because the central government would have greater powers.[note 127] Lee also objected to the suggestion that increasing the representation would make Congress “tumultuous and a mere mob,” citing the senates of Rome, Carthage, Venice, the British Parliament and several state assemblies and conventions as evidence that large bodies had “universally discovered more wisdom, and as much order, as the less numerous ones. . . .”[note 128] He certainly did not agree with James Madison that large assemblies were characterized by “infirmities incident to collective meetings of the people,” such as “cunning” and “sophistry.”[note 129]

Obviously, Lee’s concern for democratic representation from all classes of society was much more than concern for the more right to vote:

Each order must have a share in the business of legislation actually and efficiently. It is deceiving a people to tell them they are electors, and can choose their legislators, if they cannot, in the nature of things, choose men from among themselves, and genuinely like themselves.[note 130]

The actual ability on the part of the masses to choose men from their own kind was even more critical to Lee because he felt that they had widely different public sentiments and interests, specifically in areas of public and private expenses, salaries, and taxes.[note 131] Assuming the vastly different interests and concomitant under-representation of the lower and middle classes as Lee did, the basis for his criticism becomes clearer. To support his viewpoint, he cited this observation by the Marquis Beccaria:

In every society there is an effort continually tending to confer on one part the height of power and happiness, and to reduce the others to the extreme of weakness and misery; the intent of good laws is to oppose this effort and to diffuse their influence universally and equally.[note 132]

Lee did not feel that the proposed government sufficiently balanced the interests of the several orders of society.

Another disadvantage to a small number of representatives was the “liability . . . to private combinations,” or “the factions of the few,” according to Lee,[note 133] who apparently did not accept James Madison’s contention that a large assembly would more likely be controlled by the few.[note 134] The possibilities of such factions were of far greater seriousness to Lee than what he termed “the licentiousness of the multitude.” This tendency would be reinforced by the large constituencies of each representative. With one representative for every 30,000 to 40,000 inhabitants, he felt the representative could only be acquainted with a few respectable men among his constituents. Obtaining ideas and impressions from them would inevitably be favorable to the needs and purposes of the wealthy and upper classes.[note 135] Lee did not blame the aristocracy for these tendencies, for he said it was not within the expectations of human nature “that the few should be always attentive to the good of the many.”[note 136] Rather he expected the structure of the governmental system to curb such tendencies.

Along with the small number of representatives, Lee disliked the provision for Congressional interference with state control over elections. He felt that Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution would enable the Congress so to alter elections that a particular group of men would be chosen. For example, a whole state could be made into one district or a few men in a city could dictate the choice of representatives for the state. Thus, he challenged Federalist arguments that the Congress could regulate elections fairly and justly:

This May be true—good men will generally govern well with almost any constitution: but why in laying the foundation of the social system, need we unnecessarily leave a door open to improper regulations?[note 137]

Whereas others apparently trusted that those in office would exercise their power responsibly, Lee was not willing to take the chance. He preferred to omit the clause which authorized Congress to regulate elections, instead leaving such powers to the states, where he felt people were better represented.

Lee did not think, however, that state control over elections was the complete answer either, and offered specific suggestions to regulate elections within each state.

We ought to provide for dividing each state into a proper number of districts, and for confining the electors in each district to the choice of some men, who shall have a permanent interest and residence in it; and also the representative elected shall have a majority of the votes of those electors who attend and give their votes.[note 138]

His suggestion was a good one, and it describes the state elections of today.

Not only did undemocratic representation worry him, but the powers granted to representatives of the people, particularly to the senators. For exanple, he urged that service in the senate be limited to three or four years:

Men six years in office absolutely contract callous habits, and cease, in too great a degree, to feel their dependence, and for the condition of their constituents.

He insisted that stability would not be sacrificed by designating a three or four year, as opposed to a six year term. But merely shortening the term of service for senators was not enough. Lee also favored the continuation of the people’s power to recall representatives, a right which had existed under the Continental Congress, and particularly stressed the need for recall of senators, since their terms were to be longer. For the same reason, Lee advocated rotation in office, especially for senators, as a means of insuring contact between legislators and their constituents.[note 139]

More than this, however, Lee was bothered by a union he saw between the executive branch and the senate. Denouncing the “oligarchic tendency from the combination of President, V. President & Senate,”[note 140] he maintained that the executive branch would support the interests of the senate, but never really that of the house. Furthermore, he felt because the conviction on impeachment rested with the senate, the house could not often expect to get a conviction and would consequently not use the impeachment procedure, thus rendering the check ineffective.[note 141] On the other hand, Lee never worried that the senators were elected indirectly by the state legislatures, and even ridiculed the suggestion
that state legislatures might misuse their powers, which would necessitate Congressional intervention on behalf of the people.[note 142]

Despite his greater faith in state government, Lee agreed that certain powers regarding external matters, such as foreign affairs, commerce, imposts, use of the seas, peace and war, and Indian affairs, were rightfully given to the central government. He also granted that many powers touching internal matters should be vested in the central government, namely the regulation of trade between the states, weights and measures, the coining of money, post offices, naturalization, and so on. These powers could be exercised without affecting the internal authority of the states. But the powers to levy and collect taxes, to form the militia, to make bankruptcy laws, and to decide on appeals regarding questions arising from internal state laws should not be vested in the central government, claimed Lee. For these powers, in addition to other powers granted the central government, constituted all the “essential” powers in the community, thus leaving the states with little power of importance.[note 143]

Of the powers he wanted left to the states, the power to collect taxes was of primary importance. Noting that the governrment could take the whole or any part of a citizen’s property through taxation, Lee observed that such power could “commit the many to the mercy, prudence, and moderation of the few.” The issue of taxation seemed to him an example of the amazing change of sentiment within the United States in a short time:

When I recollect how lately congress, conventions, legislatures, and people contended in the cause of liberty, and carefully weighed the importance of taxation, I can scarcely believe we are serious in proposing to vest the powers of laying and collecting internal taxes in a government so imperfectly organized for such purposes.

Problems of taxation and representation were related for Lee, since he also worried that the lower and middle classes would have no real share in determining taxation. Recognizing that many supporters of the Constitution said Congress prudently would not attempt to lay and collect internal taxes but needed to have the power, Lee replied that such arguments proved the power would be “improperly lodged in congress” and “might be abused by imprudent and designing men.” Instead, he wanted specific restrictions on thn power of Congress in this and other areas he felt belonged to the states. Consequently, Lee suggested that issues concerning taxation, the forming of a militia, and so on, should need the consent of two-thirds or three-fourths of Congress rather than a simple majority, at least until representation in Congress was increased. Such a majority would assure greater democracy in Lee’s eyes.[note 144]

Taxation was not the only financial power of Congress which disturbed however. He was also concerned that Congress would determine the pay of its own members, and feared this power would be used to further restrict participation of the vast body of the people in their government:

Congress may put the pay of the members unreasonably high, or so low as that none but the rich and opulent can attend; there are very strong reasons for supposing the latter, probably, will be the case, and a part of the same policy, which uniformly and constantly exerts itself to transfer power from the man; to the few.

To counteract such a danger, Lee suggested that the pay of members be well fixed, and alterable by Congress with the consent of a majority of the state legislature.[note 145]

With all his questions and criticisms about the proposed government, it is not surprising that Lee took special note of the fact that laws of the United States would be supreme laws and would take precedence over customs, rights, laws or constitutions previously established.[note 146] When “supreme law” was coupled with the broad powers implied in the general welfare clause, he sensed danger and felt that certain rights needed to be expressly reserved to the people.[note 147] Lee’s doubts about the power implicit in the words “supreme law of the land” might seem to be a contradiction since he had earlier suggested strengthening the central government by making the laws of Congress supreme. He had reservations about the national law being supreme, however, only because there was no bill of rights as counterbalance. As he put it, “It is proper that the national laws should be supreme, and superior to state or district laws: but then the national laws ought to yield to inalienable or fundamental rights. . . .”[note 148]

Surprisingly enough, Lee had few major criticisms of the executive branch of government in the proposed system. His only qualm concerned the provision that the president could be indefinitely reelected. Lee preferred the original impulse of the Constitutional Convention calling for a seven-year term, after which the President could never be reelected.[note 149] On the other hand, he was in complete agreement with the need for a definite head of government, and was inclined to favor a single man for the job:

Independent of practice, a single man seems to be peculiarly well circumstanced to superintend the execution of laws with discernment and decision, with promptitude and uniformity: the people usually point out a first man . . . in republics as well as in other governments. In every large collection of people there must be a visible point serving as a common centre in the government, towards which to draw their eyes and attachments. The constitution must fix a man, or a congress of men, superior in the opinion of the people to the most popular men in the different parts of the community, else the people will be apt to divide and follow their respective leaders.

Nor was he worried that the election of the president was indirect, despite his concern for democratic representation. In fact, he had a great deal of confidence in the electoral college primarily because its representatives were to be chosen by the state legislatures. His only fear was that a small group of electors might be corrupted if there were a considerable time lapse between their appointment and the voting.[note 150]

There is evidence that Lee foresaw the executive branch modeled after the cabinet system of England, for included in the amendments to the Constitution he proposed on October 1, 1787, was a suggestion for the establishment of a privy council or council of states, consisting of eleven nembers appointed by the president. These men were to “advise and assist in the arduous business assigned to the Executive power . . . but responsible for the advice they may give.” Their advice was to be entered in a council book and signed by each. Lee wanted the privy council to join with the executive in appointing all civil and military officers, in order to prevent what he termed “the dangerous blending of the Legislative and Executive powers.” He also proposed that the privy council could carry out the duties of the vice-president, whose office could be omitted.[note 151]

It is uncertain whether Lee knew that the members of the Constitutional Convention had considered similar proposals and rejected them for various reasons. One proposal was a council of revision, having a veto over legislative acts, which could be overruled by a vote of both houses.[note 152] The Convention eliminated the need for such a body by giving the president a qualified veto. A suggested council to aid in executive appointments was dismissed with the decision to divide appointing power between the president and the senate.[note 153] A proposed council to advise the president, variously called a council of state, a privy council, and an executive council, also was eventually defeated by the Convention. The major argument against this body was its tendency to protect and conceal the misdeeds of the chief executive.[note 154] The only Constitutional vestige of the executive council idea was the provision that the president could require in writing the opinion of the principal officers of the executive departments.[note 155]

The federal judiciary was not immune to criticism, either. Although Lee agreed that “there ought in every government to be one court, in which all great questions in law shall finally meet and be determined . . . ,”[note 156] he felt the judges of the Supreme Court had been given excessive powers since they deternined “the law, the equity and the fact.”[note 157] In addition, he thought that questions concerning the internal laws of the various states should not come under the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary since they already came under the jurisdiction of state courts. Referring to cases between a state and citizens of another state, between citizens of different states, between a state or its citizens and foreign states, citizens or subjects, Lee noted that such actions were presently determined in state courts, and no clauses of the Constitution specifically excluded such jurisdiction. Consequently, he was concerned that state and federal courts would have overlappig jurisdiction, unnecessarily multiplying the number of lawsuits. Convinced that the state courts “must be more competent to proper decisions on the laws of their respective states, than the federal courts can possibly be,” Lee urged that this jurisdiction be reserved exclusively to the states.[note 158]

In general, Lee felt the importance of the judiciary was often underestimated and overlooked, and made the following observation:

A bad law immediately excites a general alarm; a bad judicial determination, though not less pernicious in its consequence, is immediately felt, probably, by a single individual only, and noticed only by his neighbours, and a few spectators in the court.

Noting that Americans often jealously guarded legislative powers, he urged more circumspection toward the judicial branch, particularly since he believed that the measures of the legislative branch “approached a mild and just medium” in time, whereas “the rigid systems of the law courts, naturally become more severe and arbitrary, if not carefully tempered and guarded by the constitution, and by laws. . . .”[note 159]

Although all of Lee’s reservations about the Constitution were influenced by his fear that powers would often be abused in government, his arguments in favor of a bill of rights particularly revolve around such concerns. Lee urged that essential rights, such as freedom and frequency of elections, freedom of the press, and trial by jury with “independency” of judges, be secured by a bill of rights in order to “regulate the discretion of rulers in a legal way, restraining the progress of ambition and avarice within just bounds.” Lee could not understand why the framers of the Constitution had left these freedoms under the control of the central government, since in his words,“the violation of these cannot be necessary to good, but will be always
extremely convenient for bad government.”[note 160] Attributing his fears to “long reflection upon the nature of Man and of government . . . ,”[note 161] he worried that men in government in doubtful cases would interpret laws and constitutions in ways favorable for increasing their own powers.[note 162] A bill of rights, however, would more carefully delineate powers and rights, thus preventing usurpation of freedom.

Still concerned that the natural aristocracy would dominate the proposed government, Lee saw a bill of rights as another means of insuring the participation of the lower classes. For example, he urged that a trial by jury in the vicinage be included in a bill of rights, but not for the expected reason. Agreeing that a man might be impartially tried by those who did not live very near, he valued a jury trial in the neighborhood of the offense because it made oral evidence possible, whereas moving the trial elsewhere necessitated written evidence, thus handicapping the common people, who worked better with oral evidence.[note 163]

The whole question of what rights were reserved to whom in the Constitution bothered Lee. To him, the argument presented by James Wilson of Philadelphia that the rights not given to the federal government were reserved by the states and people, like the similar argument of Alexander Hamilton, was weak and inadequate.[note 164] “When we particularly enumerate the powers given, we ought either carefully to enumerate the rights reserved, or be totally silent about them . . . ,” he argued, noting that this criterion had not been met. He observed that there were “infinite” advantages in enumerating the most essential rights reserved, whereas less important ones could be covered by declaring that all not expressly surrendered are reserved. Agreeing that declarations did not change things or create new truths, he nonetheless maintained that declarations established rights and principles in the minds of people so as not to be overlooked or forgotten. Lee explained,

If a nation means its systems, religious or political, shall have duration, it ought to recognize the leading principles of them in the front page of every family book.[note 165]

In addition, he pointed out that if rights such as freedom of the press were guaranteed only in state constitutions and not in the federal constitution, then a law of the national government could supersede such a right.[note 166] Thus, he strongly opposed the argument that a bill of rights was not necessary since natural rights were implied in the Constitution.

His view of what a bill of rights should include had expanded since he first proposed amendments, sent as an enclosure in a letter of October 1787, probably because of extensive communication with others. His first proposed list included the freedoms of religion, the press, assembly, and the right to petition the legislature. He also suggested amendments prohibiting “excessive Bail, excessive Fines, or cruel and unusual punishments,” “unreasonable searches, seizure of their persons, houses, papers, or property,” and standing amies in peacetime. In conclusion, he advocated “that such parts of the new Constitution be amended as provide imperfectly for the trial of Criminals by a Jury of the Vicinage, and to supply the omission of a Jury trial in Civil causes or disputes about property between individuals, whereby the Common Law it is directed, and as generally it is secured by the several State Constitutions.”[note 167]

By December 25, 1787, Lee suggested that a nunber of additional rights be reserved by the people, including the writ of habeas corpus, confrontation of witnesses face to face, a public trial, protection against self-incrimination, and a formal statement of charges. Other rights not before advocated by him were that no hereditary honors or orders of nobility be allowed, no soldiers be quartered on the citizens without their consent, the military be subordinated to the civil authority, the militia be armed and disciplined, the supreme power be reserved by the people, and the three branches of government be kept distinct.[note 168] Significantly, a good portion of these rights added by Lee centered around rules of criminal procedure, a common characteristic of Antifederalist thought on basic protections that were needed.[note 169] Such additions to his original amendments imply that he had come under the influence of the most vocal critics of the Constitution.

Although Lee’s shift in emphasis from October to December may have been influenced by other Antifederalists, the substance of his suggestions can be traced to the Virginia Declaration of Rights of 1776, which, of course, alse influenced Madison. Other amendments for a bill of rights not grounded on the Virginia Declaration were proposed by various states at the time of their ratification of the Constitution and were later incorporated into Madison’s proposed amendments in 1788.[note 170] Lee’s ideas for amendments may have affected the outcome of such state ratifying conventions, for his published pamphlet Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republican, which appeared probably in November, 1787, sold several thousand copies.[note 171] Specific amendments which Lee advocated here, and which state ratifying conventions later recommended to Congress, were eventually incorporated into Madison’s proposed bill of rights.[note 172] These dealt with the reservation of non-delegated powers to the people, the apportionment of representatives, and the alteration of the compensation of senators and representatives.[note 173] On almost all of the amendments advocated by both Madison and Lee, however, Madison’s wording of the amendments as proposed to the first Congress was much more precise and comprehensive than Lee’s suggestions.

At first Lee was quite optimistic about securing the proposed amendments to the Constitution. In October, 1787, he declared:

I am much inclined to believe that the amendments generally thought to be necessary, will be found to be of such a nature as tho they do not oppose the exercise of a very competent federal power; are yet such as the best Theories on Government, and the best practice upon those theories have found necessary. At the same time that they are such as the opinions of our people have for ages been fixed on.[note 174]

As the months wore on, however, supporters of the proposed amendments were divided on how to obtain them. Some felt a second convention was the answer, while others felt a second convention would endanger the whole Constitution. In May, 1788, Lee suggested how Virginia might find a way out of the dilemma and still set an example for other states:

In the act of ratification, insert plainly and strongly, such amendments as can be agreed upon, and say, that the people of Virginia do insist upon, and mean to retain them as their undoubted rights and liberties, which they intended not to part with, and if these are not obtained and secured by the mode pointed out by the fifth artic[l]e of the convention plan, in two years after the meeting of the new congress, that Virginia shall be considered as disengaged from this ratification . . .

Thus, Lee hoped to secure the benefits of the Constitution without endangering civil liberties.[note 175] It seemed an ideal solution. But Lee, claiming poor health,[note 176] did not choose to sponsor his plan in person as a delegate to the Virginia ratifying convention, and on June 25, 1788, the Virginia convention voted to ratify the Constitution without previous amendments. To appease the dissenting delegates and following the example of Massachusetts, a committee was appointed to draw up proposed amendments. This committee adopted a bill of rights and twenty additional amendments, which were then distributed to the governors and legislatures of each state.[note 177]

The Antifederalists faced similar defeats in other states, and the Constitution was ratified. In the fall of 1788, Richard Henry Lee and William Grayson were elected United States Senators from Virginia, defeating James Madison largely because of the Antifederalist majority in the Virginia legislature and the leadership of Patrick Henry.[note 178] Madison was eventually elected to the House of Representatives, and, true to his promise to support amendments after ratification, introduced the subject of a bill of rights in late spring, 1788. Lee expected to have major differences with Madison on the bill of rights issue,[note 179] but the senate turned out to be his chief source of disappointnent, for it “mutilated and enfeebled” the amendments proposed by the House.

Disgusted, Lee complained

It is too ranch the fashion now to look at the rights of the People, as a Miser inspects a Security, to find out a flaw—What with design in some, and fear of Anarchy in others, it is very clear, I think, that a government very different from a free one will take place eer many years are passed.[note 180]

The issue of amendments was so crucial to Lee that it still threatened to undermine his confidence in the new government.

With the establishment of the Bill of Rights, one of Richard Henry Lee’s most important crusades came to a close, and his political energies seemed to dwindle. His correspondence became more concerned with domestic and family issues, with occasional references to activities in the senate. Although his letters furnish little insight into the degree of his acceptance or reconciliation toward the new government, one such rare admission reflected considerable confidence in the chief executive: Lee said he had a strong reliance on “the patriotic wisdom and firmness of our Executive. . . .”[note 181] He was growing old, however, and it was becoming increasingly difficult for him to carry out the duties of a statesman. Generally unwell from the spring of 1790 through the fall of 1792,[note 182] Lee resigned from the senate in October, 1792.[note 183] On June 19, 1794, he died at his home, Chantilly.[note 184]

Return to The Political Thought of Richard Henry Lee