Alexander Hamilton Papers
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To Alexander Hamilton from Henry Lee, 6 May [1793]

From Henry Lee1

Richmond 6th. May [1793]

My Dear sir

I had your letter delivered to me last evening2 & feel myself hurt at the suggestions it contains concerning your own situation.3

Knowing you as I do I should ever give to your political conduct the basis of truth honor & love of country however I might have differed from you on some measures.

When therefore I feel undiminished regard to you, I cannot help lamenting the misery to which you continue to be exposed & I wish to god they could be averted—our countrys prosperity will ever be with me the first object & next to that (speaking as to public matters) the happiness of my friends. Unfortunately those I most love have taken different sides in American questions & this discord in sentiment has issued in personal disgust & hate.

This event kept me from Congress & will confine me to my own state. I had once cherished a hope of finding full employment corresponding with my feelings in France, to which place I was almost in the act of embarkation 7 weeks ago, but the confusions there & the interposition of some of my best friends here arrested my project.4 I mean now to become a farmer & get a wife as soon as possible.5

When I let you have my own riding horse,6 I did not mean to receive any thing for him save the expence which attended him in Alexa. previous to my obtaining an opportunity of conveying him, & your small advance exceeded this sum, but as you make a serious point of it I will draw on you for the ballance of his price which is 16 guineas. I would censure the delicacy which your ltr. exhibits on this subject [did] I not know that to one exposed to such a portion of incrimination from his foes would not be relished even ironical censure from his friends. Your attention to me in Philad. was as usual—friendly & affectionate tho’ your situation forbad us mingling much together. Was I with you I would talk an hour with doors bolted & windows shut, as my heart is much afflicted by some whispers which I have heard.7 Yours ever

H. Lee

ALS, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.

1Lee was governor of Virginia.

2Letter not found.

4Lee was considering going to France for military service. On September 21, 1792, he wrote to William S. Smith inquiring about conditions in France and about the possibility of offering to that “Nation my humble services as a soldier” (Archivo del General Miranda, Negociaciones 1770–1810 [Caracas, 1938], XV, 147). Lee wrote to George Washington concerning his plans on April 29, 1793 (ALS, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress). On May 6 the President answered Lee’s letter, pointing out the difficulties attending the enlistment of the governor of a state in the service of a foreign power (ADf, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress). On May 15 Lee wrote to Washington that he had given up the idea (ALS, George Washington Papers, Library of Congress).

5Lee’s first wife, his cousin Matilda Lee, had died in 1790. On June 18, 1793, he married Ann Hill Carter, a member of one of Virginia’s most prominent families.

7H endorsed this letter “Answered June 15.” Letter not found.

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