Nassau April 25th 17


Dear sir

            I have in my miserable exile from my country written once or twice to you, but never receiving an answer, did not know whether you had recovered from the low state of health in which I was told you returned from Europe the other day I saw a gentleman from N York a few weeks past who informed me that you enjoyed excellent health, which yesterday was confirmed by Captain Woodbine[1] who saw you short after our late stupid war was closed.

            I sincerely congratulate you on this happy event & sincerely wish you may long enjoy sana mens in sans corpora.[2] My body has since my beating at Baltimore been unsound suffering the pains of an obstinate disease, which at last yields to the skill of a Spanish physician & will permit me soon to embark for the southern states, warmth of climate being indispensible to me. I shall direct my course to Chston or Savannah where I expect to be in June & where I shd be happy to hear from you.

            Do me the favor to put my letr on board one of the packets for Providence as I cannot subject Mr Goddard who is not rich to postage on my own business.

            You have on the other side a list of lands formerly belonging to Vincent Mathews who was mayor of New York in the beginning of the revolution. I pray you to take pains to know whether all or any part of the property can be recovered.

            Should it so turn out you will enable to secure a debt in the W Indies & really I have lost so much, that I wish ardently to avoid additions, which may take place unless your researches shd. prosper.

When I hear from you, if favorable, my son or myself will visit you. Accept my anxious wishes for your health & repose. Adieu

H Lee



1 A tract of land in Albany County granted by patent dated 19th April 1736 to Vincient Mathews[3] & others. This land lies in the Katskill hills, & mountains 6000 acres

2 A tract at the mouth of Katskill hills, & mountains of 460 acres granted to John Lindsay by patent dated 22 Aug 1736

3 A tract of 6614 in the hylands in orange county called the forest of Dean, 900 acres of which David Mathews sold to Chas McIvers, but it does not appear that David had any right to sell it, the balance if not the whole of the tract is in possession of Trough Bechman, James Mathews & Royal Flint who purchased one quarter part of sd land from Fletcher Mathews one of the heirs of Vincent Mathews

4 12 lots of land in the ascent of Wanaganda in right of William Dean

5 A third of a patented right of lands in west chester county

6 A right of lands in west chester county under the Bedford patent

7 A full proprietary right of lands in New Hudson in the county of [illegible]town

8 a quarter of a balance right to lands in the county of Albany under the western-hook patent.

9 A right to the mines of Bad[___?] on the west side of the Katskill hills in the county of Albany




Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 2, M2009.126, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 April 22


[1] George Woodbine, a white Jamaican, who served in the 1st Battalion Royal Marines and was British agent at the Talapues. He fought with the British forces, including African Americans and Native Americans, in the campaigns against Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812.

[2] Harry Lee’s Latin is a bit garbled. “Mens sana in copore sano,” is a Latin phrase meaning “sound of mind and body.”

[3] Mathews (1695-1784) was born in New York City. He married Hannah Strong. His grandson (1766-1846) was a United States representative.