Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: William Lee

Dear Brother,

Inclosed you have a letter open for Mr. Jenings, which when you have read, be so kind as seal with your arms and deliver. You will see by it, that the Gentlemen Subscribers to Lord Camdens picture here, have, at the repeated request of Mr. Jenings, determined to withdraw their money. He is desired to pay it into your hands, and so soon as you receive it, let £4. sterling be taken to yourself, and the same sum paid to our brother Dr. Lee, for your several subscriptions of £5. - currency which being reduced into sterling as it was, at the exchange of that time, brought it down to £4. - Sterlg. You will please loose no time in communicating to me the reception of this money, and the sum received, that I may immediately restore their several quotas to the Subscribers. The whole sum in the hands of Mr. Jenings is £76.8. sterlg., from which deducting £8 for yours and the Doctors subscriptions, the balance of £68.8. sterling you will put to my credit. The very unexpected disappointment I have met with in getting my cash from above, compels me just now, to give Mr. Balmain a bill on you for £25. sterlg., which I beg the favor of you to pay him on demand, because it will be quite necessary for him in London, where he is not willing to make any longer stay than the nature of his business renders absolutely necessary. He comes home for orders, and as he has lately taken much care of my boys, I must entreat you to give him all the assistance in your power towards forwarding his ordination. Introduce him, if necessary, to Dr. Porteus, who I know can aid him essentially in his flair with the Bishop. He will require assistance in readily getting Queen Annes bounty to Clergymen coming to America, Permit me now to engage your attention about a very tender concern. ’Tis the care of my dear Boys that I recommend to you with true parental warmth. Their welfare you may be sure is deeply at my heart. Great reflection, aided by observation, and my own experience, sufficiently convince me, that education is much cheaper obtained in England, than in any part of America, our College excepted. But there, so little attention is paid either to the learning, or the morals of boys that I never could bring myself to think of William & Mary.

In either of the Northern Colonies, the avowed charge with their various items will be more than an hundred sterling pr. annum. The sum beyond which I cannot afford now to go, is £30 sterling apiece for Board clothing, and education. This sum either at St. Bees, at Warrington in Lancashire, or with the Gentleman near Bristol will certainly do, as well from the accounts you have given me as from the information <I have.> Whichever of these will best answer the purpose of education, there I would have them sent without delay, because, at their time of life, they forget very quickly, and now, they are good Scholars so far as the have gone. I propose Thomas for the Church, and Ludwell for the Bar. A tolerable share of learning is requisite for either of these professions. About 15 years old Ludwell may be entered of one of the Inns of Court, and actually come there to study law at 18. So that he may return with the Gown at 21. We shall hereafter consider the cheapest, and fittest place for the eldest, until the time comes that he can be ordained. He is 14 years old next October, and Ludwell 12 the same month. I am sorry the schools mentioned are so far removed from you, because I well know how apt they are to neglect boys at a distance. You will infinitely oblige me, by falling on the best possible plan to remedy this too common and pernicious evil. If some Gentleman living near the place, could be persuaded to observe how they proceed, or when any of your acquaintance may be passing by the place, to call and enquire. But above all, frequently to remind the Master of his duty, and know often from the Boys themselves (for they can write well) how they go on, and what books they are reading. They have never yet learned Arithmetic, it may be proper soon to have them entered in this branch. I hope you will make the passage as light as possible, for in fact they have their own bed, and as much provision as they will or can eat during the voyage, so that their water, and the room they take up in the Ship is all the expence they create. Pardon me for not now making you a better remittance. My intention was to have sent a £60 bill of exchange with the boys, and to have paid Mr. Balmain his last years salary here, but Mr. Blackwell writes me, he cannot send my money yet, but expects every day to do it. I shall before the close of this year send you an hundred pounds, and for the future, I will have more punctuality above. You will readily see that my boys must be very frugally clothed. The plainest, to be decent, will please me much the best. They will want a plain cheap furbishing up on their arrival. With 5 children and another it may be, two, on the Stocks, a small estate must part with nothing unnecessary. I take all possible care, but I assure you, if the varying state of politics on your side, would enable my brother to fix the profit of some place with me, it would remove many difficulties. Have an eye to the deputy Secretarys place. I suppose more than £1000. pr. annum is not paid the principal, and I really believe ’tis worth £3000. pr. An. this currency. Suppose then £1000 ster. was paid the principal, this at 25 difference of exchange, would leave £1750 currency for the Deputy. One half of this, I would undertake most readily to do the business for, and remit the rest. In this view, it might be well to give a pretty good sum for the Deputyship, besides the annual composition. Mr. Treasurer promised me on the Assembly, to consider and make enquiry touching the renting of your estate here, and communicate the result to me. I inclose you his letter on the subject. Wilk<ison’s> profit may influence his opinion. I own, I do not feel the force of the Treasurers reasons so fully as he seems to do. Perhaps there may be difficulties in renting properly, as well as in selling. But I have no remaining, doubt, that if either could be done in any near proportion to the value of the estate, it would be far more profitable than the present system I hope Wilkison will better his crop this year, as his hands are more divided and this has hitherto been a much better year than the last. Capt. Rayson <send>s two bottles of damask rose water for our Sister. The crop of roses was <s>mall this Spring, which prevented us from repeating the distillation so frequently as we would have chosen. For Colo. Barré. a dozen bottles <o>f peach brandy are sent. ’Tis of my old stock. The last year very little <b>ut bad brandy was made in this Country. The wet weather causing the peaches to rot and fall before they were ripe. You have our G. Grandfathers Will as you desired. I beg leave to refer to so much of my letter by Capt. Page as relates to Master Geo: Lee, and again repeat my wish, that, advised by Dr. Porteus you provide him with a good Tutor at Cambridge, and pay this Gentleman Yourself. Mr. Russell pays his other charges at the University. I fancy much pains will be taken in London to draw this young Gentleman entirely from your interest when he comes to this Country, and therefore it will be proper to counter act all such evil machinations with all possible care. You have several bills of loading inclosed together with my invoice, which is long but not to very great amount. Old Capt. John Lee is now here using your Wilkes & Liberty pipes, He thinks they smoke better for the inscription, and he desires to be remember’d to you and the Doctor. The Alpine Strawberry roots were all dead a second time - If the roots were put into a basket of earth when first the Ship arrived, and be in a growing state before they left England, by being kept in Captains Cabbin they wd. be certain to reach in safety and I should be obliged to you for having some so managed. Neither the Cauliflower seed or any of the flower seeds ever vegitated. The Seedsman used us ill<.> Capt. Chilton has been told here since Walker arrived, that <he re>fused to pay his brother Stephen wages that he (Walker) had agreed with him for, until Walker introduced him to you, that you offered him only to be Steward of Raysons Ship, and treated the young Man ill in every respect. I believe the Capt. is by this time satisfied that the whole is a Lye, and as the Man with whom Stephen was first ill, has sent here a very unreasonable account comprehending as Rayson says, funeral charges that you have paid, I wish you would see this matter properly settled for Capt. Chilton and send him a State of it -

I am my dear brothers ever affectionate faithful friend.

Our best love to our dear Sister.

R. H. Lee

P.S. I have no manner of reason to suppose that Capt. Rayson will not continue in your business, but it may be necessary to inform you of a dispute concerning damaged Tobacco which it may be proper to consider when a final settlement is come to with him. It seems the Capt. employed Mr. Kenners Schooner to bring Tobo. from Rappahanock, and going over by land, he found the Schooner at the mouth of Rappahanock creek unprovided with a Tender to get the Tobo. down from Beckwiths. To give dispatch, the Capt. as a friend, hired a small Flat with one Hand to help them get the Tobo. down. The Skipper with his own people took the Flat and in bringing down a load damaged 4 hhds. One of these has been since recovered - Three others are greatly hurt. The Inspectors think 15 or 16 hundred will be totally lost. Kenner (I think unjustly) refuses to pay for this, but has agreed with the Capt. to leave it to arbitration. If it shd. be determined in Kenners favor, the Ship must pay it, and this I judged you should know, that if the Ca tain is answerable for any part, it might be detained. This is the 22d. of July, the Ship now cleared, but Rayson says he cannot sail until tomorrow or the next da I do not suppose there will be a word of dispute about Laydays, but this is a fact unquestioned, that the same quantity of Tobo. now on board, might have been so before the Laydays were expired. And if it be necessary, ample proof may be had, that the fault was not on your part, that the Ship went not within her lay days. But I suppose this point will not come in controversy. My old acquaintance Mr. Downman of Lancaster has by my persuasion sent his son to your care for education - He has become a Shipper, and having a good estate both here and in England he may be a good Correspondent in time. I do not doubt but that you will take proper care of the Young Gentleman.


P.S. Capt. Rayson has received from Col. Francis Thorton One hundred and thirty pounds current money for the ballance of his debt to you. And the Captain has also receiv’d an hundred pounds which this moment I got from our brother Colo. Francis Ligt. Lee making in the whole £230. - . - Currency besides some Cash formerly received by him from Manokin, which I suppose our brother will acquaint you with. Our exchange since the Captain has been here, has been uniformly 20 pr. cent. I have just seen yours to the Squire about Negro consignments. 8 pr. Cent with 2 or 2½ deducted and the remittance insisted on makes it an object by no means desirable. The risk, the expence of attending Sales, advertising &c. will hardly leave Porters wages for the Consignees - If the old plan could be obtained, 10 pr. Cent with a faithful remittance of all that could be got without too much injuring the Sale, by the Ship, and the ballance as fast afterwards as the utmost diligence could collect it - Then the 2 or 2½ per Cent might be allowed for the Security. ’Tis impossible to suppose that any business of this kind can be transacted in a proper manner where the Agreement is ruinous to one of the Contracting parties. As the Planters are nearly out of debt and Negroes are become valuable here, I should be extremely glad to be employed on reasonable terms, but those you have mentioned are really too hard.



Lee PapersVirginia Historical Society

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 - 1778, pp. 69 - 76. Addressed to William Lee in London, and endorsed as having been received on 21 September.