Richard Henry Lee of Virginia: A Biography, by Mary Elizabeth Virginia, Chapter 8

Richard Henry Lee of Virginia: A Biography

Chapter 8
The Senator

Lee’s post-Congressional political career was anticlimactic. Not abandoning public office until his death, he nonetheless played, if not minor roles, then discernibly less influential ones after his return from Congress in 1779. Ill-health, sublimated and hidden during his entire life, had finally begun to drain his energies and slacken his pace. Several times throughout the course of his later career, he would be confined to Chantilly recovering from gout, pneumonic illnesses, or intestinal afflictions. Worse, as the war dragged on, he found it difficult to purchase an adequate supply of his medicines, especially the Peruvian Bark which he relied on as a remedy for fevers and asthmatic wheezing, often importuning friends abroad to send him what they could.1 In the fall of 1783, he manifested for the first time fears he would not recover from a long and severe illness.2 Nonetheless he was not finished in the political world and, in fact, his reward for a lifetime of service—his election as President of Congress then the highest political office—was still five years in the future when he returned to Chantilly after the Lee-Deane affair had so thoroughly discouraged him.

Scarcely had he returned to Chantilly, when he became absorbed with a different sort of problem, the military defense of the Northern Neck. For several years, he diligently defended his hone county, actively leading and training the Westmoreland militia, concurrently maintaining a correspondence with General George Weedon, Brigadier General of the Continental Any, and George Washington. In May 1779, British ships commenced landings and began plundering the coast of the Northern Neck, burning tobacco warehouses and freeing slaves. In Northumberland, a tobacco warehouse with two or three hundred hogsheads was leveled as were three private houses and, forebodingly, several slaves were carried off. As a colonel in the militia, Lee mobilized his poorly prepared and reluctant Westmoreland troops against further attacks. Successful at times in driving off ships, Lee nonetheless recognized that a militia was not adequate defense, for “Our Militia cannot be every where, and where they are not, these plunderers land and destroy,” wrote Lee, for British ships on “canvas wings,” moved too rapidly for the men traveling on foot.3

He thereupon requested congressional aid in securing ships for diverting and harassing the British on the Chesapeake Bay. Lee had several suggestions for the defense of Northern Neck. First he thought to “remove temptation, by never suffering stores of any kind to be collected” where troops could land while they were easily protected by ships. Forts, he thought, were not required. Armed ships stationed on the rivers and the Bay would, he believed, be more effective. Also requesting aid from the Governor, Thomas Jefferson, Lee wrote “In Virginia, we have two frontiers, one bordered by a wilderness, the other by a Sea.” While the western settlers had long possessed the means of securing their safety, “the eastern frontier,” he lamented, “has not yet been so successful.&38221; Estimating that Virginia’s coastal areas exceeded one thousand miles, it appeared obvious to him that a defense of the Bay could logically be achieved only at its mouth.4

For several years, Virginians had feared British invasion via the Chesapeake Bay and in 1781, it became even more imperative, in Lee’s view, that the Bay be properly defended. Among other concerns, he had received intelligence that Benedict Arnold was planning a full invasion of the Bay region. Fearing such a blow in retaliation for an unsuccessful attack to gain arms and ammunition that he had led on a British ship that had sortied close to his home, Lee wrote to Jefferson requesting supplies and ammunition for his militia. Fearing that an attack was imminent, Lee moved and sequestered his family in the midst of Epping Forest in Lancaster County, for on the James River, the British had wrought extensive damage, and it was rumored they would repeat their depredations in the Northern Neck.5

On 10 May, responding to a letter he had read from Weedon to John Washington, in which Weedon informed Washington that the enemy was due south, Lee wrote to General Weedon, pleading for swift support. Having placed scouts on the south side of the Bay, Lee was frightened about the fate of the Northern Neck. For the region was singular, wrote Lee, as it is bordered by the Potomac, Rappahannock and the Bay and in some places not more than five miles wide, thereby affording the enemy “a double temptation of greatly profitting themselves and ruining a considerable tract of country,” since the Neck contained “very many slaves, much Tobacco public & private, with abundant Stock of all kinds.” The Northern Neck’s virtual isolation vastly increased the danger. Lee, humbly requested the assignment of a skillful officer to organize the militia along with a small regular any Corp since in their “disjointed unskillful present state,” the militia, particularly since it lacked ammunition, offered itself as an easy candidate for defeat. Furthermore, in Lee’s eyes, the enemy was probing everywhere, burning craps and tobacco warehouses and destroying everything in their path. Though military supplies had never been plentiful, Weedon nevertheless responded to Lee’s request by dispatching him fifty-four muskets all with bayonets that Lee then promptly distributed to various militia captains.6

Working in concert with Weedon, Lee’s actions in the militia pleased the general, who wrote that he found himself happy “in having an officer in the lower parts that gives satisfaction.” Lee, to be sure, had been diligent in marshalling his defenses, mobilizing and training militia but also acting as a reliable source of intelligence for Weedon, by virtue of his informative letters. Having placed scouts throughout Virginia, Lee was informed of any movement of British troops, and he promptly forwarded any intelligence to Weedon.7

With his anxieties about the safety of the Northern Neck increasing daily, Lee wrote to Washington requesting his intervention. “Our country, is truly Sir in a deplorable way,” Lee wrote, “its resources being plundered, and its men, “dispersed, unarmed, without system.” In reply, Washington commiserated with Lee, informing him that he too was well acquainted with the distress of Virginia but the remedies Lee suggested were more a reflection of Lee’s “unbounded confidence” in Washington than practicable since there, at present, were “insufferable obstacles,” the nature of which could not be committed to paper.8

When news of Washington’s decision to move south against the British reached Lee, he was understandably relieved and optimistic, writing of his gratitude of the “judicious and decisive” step Washington had taken. And when the French fleet arrived, under the Comte de Grasse, Lee traveled Westmoreland county collecting fresh produce and meats for the French allies, loading them in a schooner, and delivering them to de Grasse.9 With the French-American victory at Yorktown, Lee’s military career ended, but the politician from Westmoreland had again conscientiously served Virginia by his organization and leadership of the county militia as well as through his valuable correspondence and intelligence gathering for General George Weedon.

Discouraged with the evolution and character of federal government, Lee soon returned to the Virginia legislature. In the Spring of 1780 he was elected to the House of Delegates, where he participated in an issue that had plagued Virginia during all of Lee’s years of public service—paper money. Congress had initiated a plan for recalling and destroying the continental paper currency that required the cooperation of the states. The states were to pay their share of the taxation into the federal treasury using old currency while gathering specie with which to redeem the new continental currency then being issued. Lee supported Virginia’s assumption of her debt while vigorously fighting against the issuances of new paper currency. By 1781, the problem was resolved when the legislature passed a law providing that paper currency would no longer be legal tender.10

Although he remained active in Virginia politics, Lee had still not regained his earlier popularity. When an election for a special delegate to Congress occurred at the end of 1780, Benjamin Harrison, his old nemesis in the House of Burgesses and at the continental Congress, and Lee were tied after the first vote, while after much discussion, Lee withdrew causing Harrison to threaten, in anger, to decline the position. When the Assembly met in March 1781, Lee was elected Speaker whereby he was made the presiding officer of the House, which required no committee work.11

Then, once again, in 1782 , old sectional prejudices—that is, familiar charges of Lee’s preference for New England—surfaced when delegate John Mercer charged Lee with being the subject of “public conversation,” in Philadelphia as belonging to a “British party,” consisting of Samuel Adams, Henry Laurens and Richard Henry Lee. To Be sure, after duly discussing the allegations, the House Committee of Privileges and Elections determined that the “uniform rectitude of his public conduct entitles him to the fullest confidence and warmest approbation of his country.” Again, Lee was exonerated, but once again he had been forced to face accusations questioning his loyalty. Exposed throughout his career to imputations against him; which when young and stronger he could assign a proper priority and fend off, he was now wearied and less able to chase down his enemies and counteract their charges.12

By 1784, after several years of leading the militia and continuing service in the Virginia legislature, the animosities towards Lee had begun to fade and once again Richard Henry was elected delegate to Congress for a one year term, to begin in November of that year. Congratulating him on his election, one supporter wrote “I trust your mind is above giving way to disgust and resentment that you can do good for evil,” adding, Lee’s politics, “were too theoretical, too much refined for the multitude, for rude, uncivilized Americans.”13

Arriving in Trenton, where Congress temporarily was meeting for the opening session, Lee was disappointed to discover that he was one of only five delegates present for the first day. When few delegates arrived even over the course of the next several days, the situation appeared critical. On 11 November, secretary Charles Thomson wrote a letter to the governors urging them to send their representatives. “Strange insensibility this, to public duty,” wrote the conscientious Lee. By the eighteenth day, Lee noted, only five states had representation, all of them from the south; even Massachusetts was lagging behind. In despair, fellow Virginia delegate, James Francis Mercer, wrote of the “total relaxation and inattention,” to federal government. The prevalent opinion in Europe, according to Mercer, was that “we are verging fast towards anarchy and confusion,” some even ask if “we had any thing like government yet remaining among us.” Mercer wrote despondently of a great malaise that had come upon the United States, for the sowing of discordant seeds he believed had produced “great heats and animosities in Congress, now no longer under the restraint impos’d by the War.” Many, like him, feared for the future of the new nation. And many more were suggesting a convention “for the Sole purpose of revising the Confederation” enabling the Congress “to execute with more energy, effect 6 vigor the powers assigned it.”14

On 30 November, with nine states represented, Congress elected its president and on this matter, as in all others, there was controversy. Given the newly coalescing political rivalries, the decision was not a simple one. Congress, nonetheless, elected Lee to the Presidency.15 Lee was genuinely honored by his election, gratified that at least in terms of appearances, confidence in him had been restored. Writing congratulations to his uncle, Thomas Lee Shippen probably reflecting Lee’s own beliefs, expressed delight that Lee’s virtues, once hidden behind a cloud of his opponents’ “corruption and party influence” had been again brought to light and restored to their “deserved applause.” The office of President was considered by others, including past Presidents, to be a great distinction.16 It was, after all, the highest office in the government and as such had been occupied by some of the country’s most prominent men including Peyton Randolph, John Hancock, Henry Laurens, John Jay, Thomas McKean and of course, Richard Henry Lee.

In that context, Lee clearly reveled his year as president, the honor being construed as a fitting reward for his past services. In several letters to his nephew Thomas Lee Shippen, Lee reflected his own lightness of spirit. “I must have a pair of black breeches,” wrote Lee, ones that “suit my years and station; and above all, they please my inclination,” continuing whimsically, “Plague on the fashion, it will be trenching on the plans of gravity, and disturbing its operations.” He then proceeded jocularly through a series of rhetorical questions: “Will the fashion permit an old grave Member of Congress to wear black breeches…if this should be answered in the affirmative . . . what sort of black,” adding that above all, they must be fashionable. “When this weighty matter is determined,” he told Shippen, send them .at the first safe opportunity,” Apparently playful and relaxed, Lee was enjoying himself immensely. Later, after receiving the breeches he reported that the tailor had “rigged me out in such a manner as to convert the old President into a young Beau—Very well, if for the good of my Country I must be a Beau, why I will be a Beau.”17

Then too, it could only energize and enthuse him that a principal duty of the President of Congress was social, for when visiting dignitaries arrived in New York, it was the President’s official responsibility to entertain them.18 Not all Presidents were inclined to entertain lavishly, but Lee, with traditional Virginia planter’s hospitality, did so elegantly and frequently. Three times a week, approximately twenty-five guests, all men, since his wife did not attend him in New York, dined with Lee. He even held a weekly “musical day,” on which his guests were asked to sing.19

Other duties of the Presidency, aside from officially hosting important dignitaries, however, could be quite nettlesome. Coping with official correspondence alone was time consuming as letters to State officials, representatives abroad, and military officers, all passed through the President’s office. Furthermore, all Congressional business was communicated to the states after being routed through the President’s office. Probably even more burdensome for Lee, particularly in the hot summer months, was his required attendance as presiding officer at every Congressional sitting.20

Whatever were his rewards and pleasures as President, he nevertheless suffered from ill health the entire year. On several occasions he voiced fear that he would be unable to complete his duties, and attributed his physical decline to the “ceremonies of Office.” By August, the President had requested leave from Congress for a few weeks, during which time he intended to recuperate for awhile with the Shippens in Philadelphia and then “make a tour in the country for the benefit of his health,” including a visit to the Calybeate, medical waters then recently discovered near Philadelphia. After such respite as he could manage, he hoped to be sufficiently recovered to return to New York and finish his term as president.21 But by December, he again doubted whether he would be able to attend the following year. After the sessional break in March 1786, he was still detained in Chantilly, though planning to return to Congress in June. As it transpired, however, he missed all of the 1786 sessions due to illness, and he did not return to Congress until July 1787, just in time to participate in the debates over the 1787 Northwest Ordinance.22

Congress had previously passed an ordinance in 1784 for the governance of the northwest territory but it was not to be effectuated until after the cession of all western lands. Before this occurred, the ordinance was superseded by the new ordinance put into effect in 1787. The author of the 1784 measure, enacted while Lee was President of Congress, was Thomas Jefferson. Originally including a clause prohibiting slavery after 1800, the ordinance failed of passage, with the Virginia delegation, including Lee rejecting the anti-slavery clause. The new ordinance, also embodying prohibitions against slavery, was passed, however—this time with Lee’s support. Applying to the Northwest Territory, the 1787 ordinance provided a policy that was farsighted and far-reaching in consequence, for under it, new territory was to be governed, not as colonies, but as new states, once certain requirements were satisfied.

By the time the ordinance was passed, serious concerns had arisen among delegates about the purported weaknesses and failures in the implementation of governmental authority under the Articles of Confederation. The problem was an old one and had been cropping up at least since 1780, when James Madison recited the deficiencies of the government in considerable detail.23 The apathy in the postwar Congress and the chronic nonattendance of the delegates provoked widespread fears that with all of its transparent debilities government under the Articles required a revamping. Similarly, many people perceived a deterioration of public and private virtue upon which continuance of the Republic depended. “We have more to dread from the ambition, avarice, craft, and dissolute manners of our whigs than we have from a host of Governor Johnsons, Dr. Berkenhouts, Hutchinsons, or Galloways,” wrote Benjamin Rush in 1778, voicing the concerns of many and continuing, “I long to see virtue and religion supported, and vice and irreligion banished.”24

When the call came in 1787 for a Constitutional Convention, Virginia responded immediately with the election of seven delegates including Richard Henry Lee and Patrick Henry. Disabused with the movement for a new government, Henry refused to attend the Convention, while Lee, citing his continuing poor health—he had not yet returned to Congress after his debilitating year in 1786—declined, saying he intended, if his convalescence continued satisfactorily, to return instead to Congress after the middle of June. Besides, he informed Edmund Randolph, “there are so many gentlemen of good hearts and sound heads appointed to the Convention, at Philadelphia, that I feel a disposition to repose with confidence in their determinations.” Writing more candidly to John and to Samuel Adams, Lee further illuminated the grounds for his decision to refrain from joining the Convention. It was simply inconsistent, he explained, that “the same Men should in N. York review their own doings at Philadelphia.”25 On the other hand, Lee was not adverse to amending the present form of government under the Articles of Confederation, for, he likewise informed John Adams that “The present federal system however well calculated it might have been for its designed ends of the States . . . has been found quite inefficient, and ineffectual.“26

When the details of the new Constitution were conveyed to congress on 20 September 1787, Lee at once proposed a series of amendments. Like many anti-Federalists, initially, at least, Lee harbored no objections to the shape or substance of the Constitution itself. But he did strongly believe that personal liberties would be better secured under the document through a series of amendments. Citing the “corrupting nature of power, and its insatiable appetite for increase,” Lee outlined his reasons for procuring the adoption of “the strongest and most express declarations of Residuum of natural rights.” Liberties must be secured, according to Lee and to that end and a Bill of Rights was a “necessary bottom for this new system.” Before Congress, Lee proposed several of what he regarded as essential amendments including: securing the right to religious freedom, freedom of the press, and trial by jury. In addition, standing armies, in peacetime, he argued “are dangerous to liberty,” and should only be permitted by two-thirds of the Members of the legislature. The maintenance of liberty, in his judgment, also required the independence of Judges, limitations on excessive fines, “Or cruel and unusual punishments,” the right of people to peaceably assemble, and protection against unreasonable searches and seizure of their property. To these, Lee further proposed a formalization of a Council of State, or Privy Council, to be appointed to “advise and assist in the arduous business assigned to the Executive power,” thereby anticipating the appointment of a presidential cabinet. Amazingly, in retrospect, Lee’s proposed amendments were neither debated in Congress, nor even recorded in the Congressional Journals.27

Later Lee, indeed, broadened his criticism of the Constitution to embrace a more fundamental objection to the document because, in his view, it dangerously concentrated power, a subject about which he had displayed exquisite sensitivities throughout his career and a political condition that never failed to provoke him. “The president and senate have all the executive and two-thirds of the legislative,” he warned, “and in some weighty instances . . . they have the whole legislative and executive powers,” adding rhetorically, “Is there not a most formidable combination of power thus created in a few?” The new constitution is “most highly and dangerously oligarchic,” Lee informed Randolph. The sole checkrein in the system was to be found in the House of Representatives which Lee described as “a mere shred or rag of representation.” According to Lee, the Constitution required amendments, and to secure them it was necessary to convene a new convention to fulfill that purpose. Lee’s reservations about the Constitution had clearly broadened beyond his original concerns over the lack of a Bill of Rights into a more impassioned critique of its menacing concentration of power.28

Lee’s caveats about the new constitution were well-publicized. Even before his submission of proposals to Congress, Edward Carrington reported that Lee was “forming propositions for essential alterations.”29 Lee’s letter to Edmund Randolph of 16 October, moreover, was published in several newspapers in the late fall of 1787 and the early winter of 1788 and several articles appeared in response to Lee’s views.30 The Virginian’s reputation as an anti-federalist among historians, however, is based primarily on his purported authorship of the Observations Leading to a Fair Examination of the System of Government Proposed by the Late convention . . . in a Number of Letters of a Federal Farmer to the Republican … and the An Additional number of Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republican . . . published in the fall of 1787 and the spring of 1788. Lee’s authorship of these documents, however, has been convincingly challenged, primarily through an analysis of his writing style and writing habits by historian Gordon Wood. Accepting Wood’s conclusions, Robert Webking further developed an alternative case, which attributes authorship to New York’s Melancton Smith. Although Lee may not have written the Letters from the Federal Farmer, his anti-federalism, nevertheless was both well publicized and influential.31

In October 1788, still supporting the movement for amending the Constitution, Lee announced his candidacy for the United States Senate, whore he intended to continue the fight. When elections concluded in Virginia, the state was the only one in the union sending two anti-federalists to the new Senate—Richard Henry Lee and William Grayson. Pleased by the Senate’s initial action, that is, the election of President and Vice-President, Lee wrote to fellow Virginian, George Washington that to his “great satisfaction I heard a unanimous vote in favor of calling you to the honorable office of President of the U.S.”32 And indeed, the first issue facing the new legislature was the matter of what form of address would be suitable for the new President.

As chairman of the committee of the Senate charging with exploring the issue of the Presidential title, Lee participated in this debate, one that would immediately contribute to the tarnishing of his Senatorial reputation. For, he supported John Adams in his move to add what even then seemed an excessively exalted title to the simpler “Mr President,” (as it would ultimately stand) and Lee once again in the process roused sectional prejudices for his continuing support for the New Englander. To many, the brilliant, testy, often acerbic Adams seemed to embody a reversion of American sentiments toward monarchical government, besides which his New England biases and even his voice perturbed many Virginians. Lee and Adams, over the years, as kindred spirits had formed a strong bond of friendship during service in the Continental Congress, and continual reminders of their relationship, as it surfaced in political arenas, always provoked some Virginians to raise pointed questions about Lee’s loyalties.”33 The initial victory of northern interests in fixing the nation’s capital near Philadelphia was only one of several actions that deepened southern suspicions that northerners were expanding their power and exploiting their interests at the South’s expense.

Meantime, in the Senate, Lee and Grayson continued assailing the Constitution in their quest for amendments, but it was Madison in the House who effectively coordinated the efforts resulting in amendment. In September 1789, Lee and Grayson wrote to the Speaker of Virginia’s House of Delegates in Virginia informing him of Madison’s plans, at the same time apologizing for their failure in promoting stronger amendments, and urging the Speaker’s support by reiterating the dangers of the new federal government. In this, the two were unsuccessful, however, for Virginia readily accepted the amended Constitution. In reporting on the state of events to Francis Lightfoot, Richard Henry angrily described the passage of the amendments in forms that left them “much mutilated and enfeebled,” direly predicting that a government “very different from a free one will take place eer [sic] many years are passed.”34

In the Spring of 1790, a serious bout of influenza occurring during an epidemic that nearly killed George Washington, as Lee put it, also “nearly dispatched me to that Country from whose Bourne no Traveler returns,” and kept him at Chantilly for several months. Although the aging Virginian began to recover, his convalescence was slow.35 His subsequent career in the Senate was interrupted sporadically by extended periods of illness and it was becoming clear that the senator, burdened by his ill-health, would be unable to serve for much longer. Because of illness, Lee was absent when in January 1790, and Hamilton presented his financial plan. Though he returned in the second half of the session, the tenor of his letters revealed his fatigue.36 Though as chairman of the committee debating on the assumption bill, Lee was once again actively involved in government by June 1790, voting in committee in favor of funding of the debt but against the assumption of state debts.37

But his Senatorial career continued to be interrupted by illness and by April 1793, his health had deteriorated into a serious disability, making even letter writing arduous. Indeed, by October 1793, the “feeble state” of Lee’s health had forced his retirement from politics. “I an grown gray in the service of my Country,” lamented Lee,” and prevented from further service, “by infirmities that can only be relieved by a quiet retirement.”38 Hoping that he would regain better health when the warm weather arrived, allowing him more exercise, Lee this time proved incapable of recovering from the cumulative ravages of a life spent coping with several physical afflictions.39 On 14 June 1794 he died at his home in Chantilly.

Spanning the forty years critical to the formation of the American republic, Lee carved for himself an exemplary career as Burgess, Congressman, President of Congress, and finally, as a United States Senator. Weathering controversy, aspersions against and savage attacks upon his character and integrity, he deservedly earned a position as one of Virginia’s singularly distinguished and influential eighteenth century political leaders. By predilection and training, he was preeminently the professional politician, certainly one of America’s first to devote all of his talents and resources exclusively to the political arena. Imbued with a peculiarly refined Virginia noblesse oblige, he had, at great cost, been a mainstay to his family and had worked tirelessly, usually to excellent effect, for his colony, his state, and his nation.


1 Richard Henry Lee to William Lee. 25 Jan. 1778. James C. Ballagh ed. The Letters of Richard Henry Lee (New York: Da Capo Press, 1970), I:7; Samuel Adams to James Warren. 17 Sep. 1777. Warren-Adams Letters: Being Chiefly a Correspondence Among John Adam, Samuel Adams, and James Warren (Cambridge Massachusetts Society Collections, 1917): 1:370.

2 R. H. Lee to Samuel Adams. 18 Nov. 1784. Ballagh, Letters, II: 293.

3 R. H. Lee to Henry Laurens. 18 June 1779, R. H. Lee to Samuel Adams, 18 June 1779; R. H. Lee to Samuel Adams. 19 June. 1779; R. H. Lee to S. Adams, 18 June 1779. Ballagh, Letters, II: 72–75.

4 R. H. Lee to William Whipple 26 June 1779; R. H. Lee to S. Adams, 18 June 1779; R. H. Lee to Henry Laurens, 18 June 1779; R. H. Lee to George Mason. 9 June 1779; R. H. Lee to T. Jefferson. 8 July 1779. Ballagh, Letters, II:80, 74, 72, 65, 82–86.

5 R. H. Lee to George Washington. 7 Jan. 1781; R. H. Lee to T. Jefferson. 13 Apr. 1781; R. H. Lee to A. Lee. 13 May 1781. Ballagh, Letters, II:212, 220, 324.

6 R. H. Lee to General George Weedon. 10 May 1781. mss. Minnesota Historical Society; R. H. Lee Account Book, mss. Huntington Library, Br 52, p, 58.

7 Weedon to R. H. Lee. 15 June 1781; R. H. Lee to Weedon 23 Aug. 1701; R. H. Lee to Weedon. 1 Aug. 1781. mss. Minnesota Historical Society; .G. Weedon to R. H. Lee 2 Aug. 1781. mss APS.

8 George Washington to R. H. Lee 15 July 1781. mss. LC.

9 R. H. Lee to G. Washington. 17 Sep. 1781. Ballagh, Letters, II:253; Richard Henry Lee II, Memoir of the Life and Correspondence (Philadelphia: M. C. Carey and I. Lea, 1824) I:212; Count de Grasse to R. H. Lee. 8 July 1781. in Lee, Memoir, I:298–99.

10 Journal of the House of Delegates of Virginia (JHD) (Richmond: Samuel Shepherd, 1828) May–July 1780, pp. 36–39, 59.

11 Journal of the House of Delegates, March 1781 session. Bulletin of the Virginia State Library, 17 (1928): 6.

12 JHD 18 Dec., 22 Dec., 1782. pp. 72, 76.

13 JHD 22 June 1784, p. 72; Joseph Campbell to R. H. Lee 18 Oct. 1784. mss. UVA.

14 Charles Thomson to Certain States. 11 Nov. 1784. Edmund C. Burnett ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress (Washington D.C.: Carnegie Institute, 1934), 7:608-609; R. H. Lee to Thomas Lee Shippen. 10 Nov. 1784; R. H. Lee to S. Adams, 18 Nov. 1784. Ballagh, Letters, II:292, 293; James F. Mercer to James Madison. 12 Nov. 1784. Burnett, Letters, VII:609”610; R. H. Lee to James Madison. 26 Nov. 1784 Ballagh,
Letters, II:307.

15 Samuel Holten to John Hancock 30 Nov. 1784; Joseph Platt Cooke to William Samuel Johnson. 3 Dec. 1784. Burnett, Letters, VII: 618&38211;619.

16 Thomas Lee Shippen to R. H. Lee. 12 Dec. 1781. mss. UVA.

17 R. H. Lee to T. L. Shippen. 24 Nov. 1784; R. H. Lee to T. L. Shippen. 17 Jan. 1785. Ballagh, Letters, II: 303, 322–323.

18 Jennings B. Sanders, The Presidency of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789: A Study in American Institutional History (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1939), 37.

19 John Quincy Adams, The Diary of John Quincy Adams (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 1981), 30 July 1785; 5 Aug. 1785, I:295, 298.

20 Sanders, Presidency, 33–34.

21 R. H. Lee to T. Jefferson. 16 May 1785; R. H. Lee to T. L. Shippen. 20 June 1785; R. H. Lee to T. L. Shippen. 22 June 1785; R. H. Lee to Charles Thomson. 16 Aug. 1785; R. H. Lee to S. Adams. 17 Oct. 1785; R. H. Lee to T. Jefferson 29 Oct. 1785. Ballagh, Letters, II:357, 374, 384, 395, 402; David Howell to the Governor of Rhode Island. 23 Aug. 1785, Burnet, Letters, VII:200.

22 R. H Lee to T. L. Shippen 4 Dec 1785; R. H. Lee to Governor Edmund Randolph. 26 Mar. 1787; Ballagh, Letters, II:407.

23 R. H. Lee to J. Madison. 26 Nov. 1784; R. H. Lee to J. Madison. 27 Dec. 1784. Ballagh, Letters, II:307, 320; James Francis Mercer to James Madison. 26 Nov. 1784. Burnett, Letters, VII:616.

24 Benjamin Rush to William Gordon. 10 Dec 1778 in The Letters of Benjamin Rush L. H. Butterfield, ed. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951), I:221; For a complete discussion of the fears regarding the lack of republic virtue see: Gordon S. Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776–1787 (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1969), particularly 393–429.

25 R. H. Lee to Governor Edmund Randolph. 26 Mar. 1787; R. H. Lee to J. Adams 5 Sep. 1787; R. H. Lee to S. Adams, 27 Oct. 1787. Ballagh, Letters, II:415, 434, 456.

26 R. H. Lee to J. Adams. 5 Sep. 1787 Ballagh, Letters, II:434.

27 R. H. Lee to S. Adams. 5 Oct. 1787. Ballagh, Letters, II:444–446; 27 Sep. 1787. Richard Henry Lee, Proposed Amendments to the Constitution. Burnett, Letters, VIII:648–649.

28 R. H. Lee to Governor Edmund Randolph. 16 Oct. 1787. Ballagh, Letters, II:450–455.

29 Edward Carrington to James Madison. 23 Sep. 1787. Burnett, Letters, VII:647.

30 Pennsylvania Gazette, 21 Nov. 1787, 26 Dec. 1787, 16 Jan. 1788; Pennsylvania Packet, 20 Dec. 1787, Connecticut Courant, 21 Jan. 1788.

31 Gordon S. Wood, “The Authorship of the Letters from the Federal Farmer,”: WMQ 31 (1974): 299–308; see Steven R. Boyd for another view. “The Impact of the Constitution on State Politics: New York as a Test Case,” in The Human Dimension of Nation Making: Essays in Colonial and Revolutionary America James K. Martin ed. (Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1976): 270–303; Robert H. Webking provides a case for the authorship by Melancton Smith. Robert H. Webking. “Melancton Smith and the Letters from a Federal Farmer,” WMQ 44 (1987): 510𔂿528.

32 R. H. Lee to William Cabell. 15 Oct. 1788; R. H. Lee to G. Washington. 6 Apr. 1789. Ballagh, Letters, II:479–480, 482.

33 Fisher Ames I:36–37; Douglas Southall Freeman, George Washington (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1954), VI:203.

34 R. H. Lee and W. Grayson to the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Virginia. 28 Sep. 1789; R. H. Lee to F. L. Lee. 13 Sep. 1789. Ballagh, Letters, II:500, 507–508.

35 R. H. Lee to T. L. Shippen. 8, 14, 15 May; R. H. Lee to A. Lee 19 May 1790. Ballagh, Letters, II:510 514, 515, 516.

36 R. H. Lee to T. L. Shippen, 14 May, 15 May, 18 May 1790; R. H. Lee to A. Lee, 19 May 1790; Ballagh, Letters, II:513–516.

37 Joseph Gales, comp. The Debatec_ and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States (Washington: Gales and Seaton, 1834–1856), 7 June, 16 July, 21 July 1790, I:1019, 1049, 1050, 1054, 1055.

38 R. H. Lee to the Speaker of the House of Delegates of Virginia. 8 Oct. 1892. Ballagh, Letters, II: 550.

39 R. H. Lee to T. L. Shippen. 15 Apr. 1793.

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