Washington and Lee University

Sender: Richard Henry Lee
Recipient: William Lee

Dear Brother,

Mr. Browne having promised me a few days ago to see me here before he sailed, I had not began a letter to you expecting first to converse with him. But I have this moment at 6 oClock in the evening, received a line from him, informing me that he must leave Hobbe’s Hole early tomorrow morning for York, to sail immediately for England. You must in this hurried state expect a letter of much confusion, and many things omitted that I should have written, and which you perhaps might expect. From the 10th. of May to the 4th. of August 1 was confined at Philadelphia, and as the Congress adjourned to this day, I seized the opportunity of visiting my family. And since my return to this Colony, great part of my time has been spent at our Convention in Richmond Town where I was obliged to go. You can therefore expect little from me on the subject of your business. I suppose the Squire has written you concerning the Servants ballance but at all events, I will take care to have this business settled.

Upon the whole as things were circumstanced, your two Ships have come pretty well off - The 100 hhds that I luckily engaged from Colo. Geo. Mason put Capt. Brown finely forward. You no doubt will have a Ship here as early as any other when we are so fortunate as to have peace again restored. At present, you may depend that a most faithful adherence to our Non-Export will be observed. This takes place now in 5 days. All who have seen Mr. Edw. Browne like him much, he is very clever, and I approve most heartily of your union with him. Capt. Browne tho, like another North Briton, got himself into a fray up Rappahanock, calling some people Rebels and asking the Negroes if they wd. not fight for the King against such Rebels, and actually fired his Gun on the people - He got rufly handled and his conduct gave much Offence - I dont think he will do. This story our brother Thomas & several Gentlemen in Fredericksburg affirmed to me was true. I observe you are satisfied that I ought to have credit for the 9 bill - It was drawn by Thomas Montgomerie 8 June 1771 - I am contented to be credited an hundred Sterling for the dollars I paid to Colo. Loudon. You have not credited me for 7.13.1 sterling. which our brother Frank wrote me in 1773 he would desire you to do on his Account. The exchange in Seldens bill for the Servant, was, I assure you on my honor, the established exchange of the Court but a few days before I settled with him, for I saw him on my way home from Williamsburg. I am very sorry that some of the Tobo. for the Servants turned out so bad, but if Inspectors will be Villains, it is not easy to guard against them without previous reason to suspect them. Our Inspection Law is now expired, and will not be revived until peace takes place. This will be one effectual security for the Non-Exportation.

I thank you and the Doctor much for your letters, they have been of great use to me, tho some of them did not reach me until very lately. I have inclosed you a packet for my dear boys left open for your inspection - There are some politics for them - Please seal, pay the postage, and send the packet. On you and my brother I depend solely for the care and protection of my dear Boys in this tempestuous Season, when I can do little for them - I hope their gratitude and virtue will prevent your having much trouble with them - Mr. Ponsonby has never sent me any of their Accounts. The Greenspring Tobo. you complain of having been put up dirty, was done by Cary Wilkeson; for he insisted on finishing his own Crop. The Tobo. that comes this year is the first of Fauntleroys. I had just sent an Express to him and expected a full account of all your affairs, but Mr. Brownes sudden departure will prevent your getting it by this opportunity.

Our best love to Mrs. Lee & kiss your little Patriot for me.

Your affectionate.
R. H. Lee

P.S. The Barrister has all my Politics & papers, refer to him.

Notes:

Ford CollectionLenox Library

Printed in James Curtis Ballagh, The Letters of Richard Henry Lee, Volume 1, 1762 - 1778, pp. 147 - 49.