George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Lee, 28 February 1793

From Henry Lee

28th Feby 93

I return my dear General the papers you gave me having laid the foundation of a future sale if agreable then to you.1

The previous requisites are the possession of the other shares of the company and a law authorizing foreigners to hold real property in Virginia—Both these can be effected in the course of the year.2

I would have called & taken leave of you & Mrs Washington, but did not like to interrupt your time by a regard to mere form. To her be so good as to present the most respectful homage of my heart & accept my best wishes for your health and happiness.

This is the prayer of my soul and can never forsake me but with life.

Should you think proper to pursue any plan respecting Mr H. the sooner you write to me the better, as I am more desirous of getting to France since I saw Col. Smith than ever.3 with all respect & attachment I am ever yours

H: Lee


1For the enclosed papers, information on the Dismal Swamp Land Co., and GW’s attempt to sell his 4,000 acres in the Dismal Swamp, see Memorandum for Henry Lee, 18 Feb. 1793, and notes.

2GW’s current prospective buyer of his Dismal Swamp real estate was Théophile Cazenove, a land agent from Amsterdam. Cazenove declined GW’s offer, thus negating Lee’s concern about foreign ownership of Virginia land.

3William Stephens Smith and Lee had been in prior contact regarding events in France and Lee’s wish to go there to command an army (Lee to GW, 29 April 1793; Lee to Alexander Hamilton, 6 May, n.4, in Syrett, Hamilton Papers, description begins Harold C. Syrett et al., eds. The Papers of Alexander Hamilton. 27 vols. New York, 1961–87. description ends 14:417). Smith had recently arrived in the United States with a new payment scheme for the U.S. debt to France (Hamilton to GW, 1 Mar. 1793, n.1).

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