Washington and Lee University

Great Expence to procure the Commissioners or they must be all appointed <here>. The evils of appointing <all> here. How long will it be ’ere the appointments are made known <to> the persons met here and they agree on their Agents &c.2

Department expencive. Great abuses have happened but the present plan of Regulation calculated to prevent One Gentleman has purchased extensively why then appoint more. Speculatists have appeared as contending Bidders. Fault in <owing> Commission. Members of <Congressgt; inform of the price of Commodities.


Manuscript, University of Virginia Library. Written by Lee in pencil on the cover of a 18 May letter from Edmund Pendleton, Caroline County, Va.

1 Lee probably wrote these cryptic notes between 23 May and June 10 in connection with his work on a committee charged with drafting new regulations for the commissary’s department. The committee’s initial report, which had been read and tabled on 14 May, was debated in Congress and recommitted on 23 May. Thus the 23d seems the earliest time that Lee could have addressed himself to this subject after he had received the 18 May Pendleton letter on which he penciled these notes. During the following two and a half weeks, the report on commissary regulations was debated in Congress on eight occasions and recommitted three times before a revised report, which divided the work of the department among nine salaried officials and their assistants, was approved on 10 June. See JCC, 7:266 - 67, 280 - 81, 292, 354; 8:384, 386, 394, 405, 406, 409, 410, 414 - 15, 427, 433 - 48.

2 In the margin next to this paragraph Lee wrote: "Board may do many good things why not a single person."