George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Henry Lee, 17 July 1795

From Henry Lee

Alexa. 17th July 1795.

My dear sir

It was a long time before I had an opportunity of making known to Mr Henry the purport of that part of your letr to me which concerns him.1

But very lately have I received his reply, which I beg leave to enclose for your perusal.2

I am very confident that Mr H. possesses the highest & truest regard for you & that he continues friendly to the g. government, notwithstanding the unwearied effects applyed for the end of uniting him to opposition, & I must think he would be an important official acquisition to the government.

I hear you will be at home in the course of next week & would with great pleasure wait to see you if I could possibly so do.

Before you return I certainly will do myself that honor.

In the mean time I beg your acceptance of my best wishes and I remain with unalterable respect & regard Your ob: st.

Henry Lee


2Patrick Henry wrote Lee on 27 June: “Your very friendly Comunication of so much of the P——s Letter as relates to me, demands my sincere Thanks. Retired as I am from the busy World, it is stil gratefull to me to know that some portion of Regard remains for me amongst my Country men; especially those of them whose Opinions I most value. But the Esteem of that personage who is contemplated in this Correspondence is highly flattering indeed.

“The American Revolution was the grand Operation which seemed to be assigned by the Deity to the men of this Age in our Country, over & above the common Dutys of Life. I ever prized at a high Rate the superiour privilege of being one in that chosen Age to which providence entrusted its favorite Work. With this Impression it was impossible for me to resist the Impulse I felt to contribute my Mite towards accomplishing that Event, which in future will give a superiour Aspect to the men of these Times. To the man especially who led our Armys will that Aspect belong—And it is not in Nature for one with my Feelings to revere the Revolution without including him who stood foremost in its Establishment.

“Every Insinuation that taught me to believe I had forfeited the Goodwill of that personage to whom the World had agreed to ascribe the Appellation of good & great, must needs give me pain: particularly as he had Opportunitys of knowing my Character both in public & in private Life. The Intimation now given me, that there was no Ground to believe I had incurred his Censure, gives me very great pleasure.

“Since the Adoption of the present Constitution I have generally moved in a narrow Circle. But in that, I have never omitted to inculcate a strict Adherence to the principles of it—And I have the Satisfaction to think, that in no part of the Union have the Laws been more pointedly obeyed, than in that where I have resided & spent my Time. projects indeed of a contrary Tendency have been hinted to me; but the Treatment of the projectors has been such as to prevent all Intercourse with them for a long Time.

“Altho’ a Democrat myself, I like not the late democratic Societys. As little do I like their Suppression by Law. Silly Things may amuse for a while, but in a little Time men will perceive their Delusions. The Way to preserve in mens Minds a Value for them, is to enact Laws against them.

“My present Views are to spend my Days in privacy. If however it shall please God during my Life, so to order the Course of Events or to render my feeble Efforts necessary for the Safety of the Country, in any, even the smallest Degree, that little which I can do shall be done.”

In closing, Henry desired Lee to present “my best Respects & Duty to the P——assuring him of my Gratitude for his favorable Sentiments towards me” (DLC:GW).

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