George Washington Papers
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To George Washington from Richard Henry Lee, 23 October 1793

From Richard Henry Lee

Alexandria [Va.] Octr 23d 1793

Dear Sir,

Having been informed that you designed to go northward in a few days, and finding Mrs Lees recovery to be too slow for the purpose of seeing you at Mount Vernon as we travelled homewards;1 I had fixed on this day, with my Son Ludwell to pay our respects to you. But, to my very great mortification and disappointment, I was attacked with a fever last Night, the consequence of the influenza that has afflicted me for some days past; and which deprives me of the happiness that I this day proposed to myself. It realy gives me infinite concern to find, even a few, for I am sure they are very few; who appear disposed to disturb the peace of our country under the feigned pretext of favoring the cause of liberty in France. I call it feigned because I think that a very careless Observer of what passes, must have seen, for some time past, that the Contest in France has been less for liberty than for Jacobinism or Anarchy, to favor the views of ambition and avarice. As well might it be said that supporting O. Cromwell was defending the cause of liberty, when he had destroyed it by erecting a despotism in his own country! But the very Men who talk in favor of french liberty acknowledge our inability to go to War, and yet they are inconsistent enough to counsel a conduct that must inevitably produce it! It appears to me, from some of Mr Genets late proceeding, that Jacobine like, he wishes from the atrocity of his own conduct, to force others into such intemperance as might at once justify and excuse himself.

Give me leave to assure you Sir that to hear of your health and happiness will always contribute greatly to mine; being with the most unfeigned affection dear Sir your friend and servant

Richard Henry Lee

ALS, PHi: Gratz Collection.

1Lee married his second wife, Anne Pinckard (d. 1796), widow of Thomas Pinckard and daughter of Thomas Gaskins, Sr., in 1769.

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