George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Lee, 7 January 1792

From Henry Lee

Richmond January 7th 1792.


I do myself the honor to transmit herewith a Resolution of the General Assembly with respect to certain Lands located by the Officers and Soldiers of the Virginia line under the Laws of this Commonwealth, and since ceded to the Chickasaw Indians, together with a Report of a Committee of the House of Delegates on the same subject.1

Permit me Sir, to express my hope that some general regulations will take place during the present Session of Congress relieving Mr Russel and all others in the same situation from the difficulties into which they have been innocently involved.2 I have the honor to be Sir, With entire respect Your most Obedt humble servant

Henry Lee

Copy, DNA: RG 46, Second Congress, 1791–1793, Records of Legislative Proceedings, President’s Messages; LB, Vi: Executive Letter Book.

1Virginia governor Henry Lee enclosed a copy of a report presented to the Virginia house of delegates on 12 Dec. 1791 by a committee considering the petition of Charles Russell, a veteran of the Virginia line, for a pension in lieu of the bounty lands granted him, which the Treaty of Hopewell had subsequently reserved for the Chickasaw Indians. Russell joined the Continental army in 1776 and became a second lieutenant in the First Virginia State Regiment in 1778. He was promoted to first lieutenant in 1779 and retired from the army in 1782. Under the terms of the Virginia “Act to adjust and regulate the pay and accounts of the Officers and Soldiers of the Virginia line on Continental establishment,” Russell obtained warrants for just over 2,666 acres of land, which he directed to be laid off into two lots of equal size, one on the Mississippi River near the intended town of Columbia (lot 4), and the other on a branch of Clarks River (lot 484), on the south side of the Tennessee River. The committee report concluded “that such parts of the Petition of the said Charles Russell as pray that the bounty in lands allowed by Law to a Lieutenant may be secured to him is reasonable.” The house of delegates rejected Russell’s request for a pension but resolved on 16 Dec. 1791 to instruct the governor to transmit to the president a statement of the facts in Russell’s case and those of other Virginia veterans who had claimed their bounty lands on ceded territory with a request that GW lay the same before Congress. Lee enclosed a copy of this resolution in his letter to GW (DNA: RG 46, Second Congress, 1791–1793, Records of Legislative Proceedings, President’s Messages).

2At GW’s instruction Tobias Lear sent Lee’s letter and enclosures to the secretary of state for his report (see Lear to Thomas Jefferson, 20 Jan. 1792, DLC: Jefferson Papers). Jefferson reported to GW on 22 January.

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