London Octr. 26th. 1771.


I am afraid you will hardly forgive me, for not answering sooner, your very kind & obliging favor of the 12th Ulto; but the true reason is, that my friend bring out of Town I waited his return to get a Frank, to enclose you a short Acct. of our Family since the first Richd. Lee went to Virginia, in return for the Acct. you so obligingly promise to procure for me. What I have written is all from memory, tho’ I believe pretty accurate, but after it was written I have found in an old manuscript, this inscription taken from a cup in the University of Oxford. “Col: Reg: Oxon. Inscript: Cyath: Johann: Lee. Col: Reg: Oxon. D. D. Johann: Lee nature in Capahowdsick Wickacomoco in Virginia America, filius primogenitus Richard Lee Chilancher oriundi de Morton Regis in agro Salopunsi: 1659. This Jno Lee was the eldest Son of my Great Grandfather Richd: Lee who dyed as I have mentioned in Virga. and unmarried before his Father, & I tho’t had been bred to Physic, but by this inscription it seems he was bred to Divinity. The Dr. Lee in London whom you mention is I presume my younger Brother.

It perhaps may be in my way to be of some service to the Mr. Lee who is in London therefore shd. be glad to know the street he lives in. From some further conversation with Mr. Bahon I am inclined to think it must be your Brother that corresponded with my Father Thos. Lee of Stratford in Virginia: since the letter I formerly mention’d, was wrote about for a member of Parliament in the latter days of Sir Robt. Walpole.

I have no doubt of Master Tuberville receiving all the benefit that can be desir’d from your College as he has good parts I hope, good dispositions; any countenance you show him will be always thankfully acknowledged by me.

I am well convinced that London is an exceeding improper place for boys or younger men, more especially when not under the immediate controul of their parents for which reason it will give me much concern if there shd. be a necessity of Mastr. Turbervilles coming, up at the two vacations. I some time ago wrote to Doctor Warton on this subject, but he has never yet favored me with an answer. It appears to me a very eligible plan, if can be executed, at those periods to procure a master for him either in Winchester or some neighboring Clergyman, who might instruct him in Geography, Mathematics, or Arithmetic; or to amuse him with the reading of History & country exercises.

You will oblige me much, by giving me your sentiments on it, or by proposing any other plan you more approve of that will answer the ends of improving, his understanding & keeping his morals untainted.

It will give me much pleasure to hear of yr. Brothers recovering his health & whenever you & your Lady pay a visit to this Metropolis Mrs. Lee and myself will be very happy to see you on Tower Hill.

During the Winter: my time will be too much taken up, with necessary business to admit of the pleasure I shou’d receive in kissing your hands at Winchester, but I will flatter myself with that happiness next summer.

I beg my respectful Compliments may be presented to your Lady & that you will believe me to be with great regard

Dr. Sir, Your most Obedient Humble Servant & Relation,


William Lee



[postscript by unknown writer] Mr. W. Lee died at Greenspring in Virginia June 27 1795





Source: The Archive of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 2, M2009.043



Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 February 24