George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Henry Lee, 17 January 1789

From Henry Lee

Alexa. Jany 17th 89

My dear General

Inclosed you have the patents for the land sold to you. I have Doer Skinners deed with me which is recorded in the general court, therefore when you please my conveyance can be made1—It is my custom to convey only with special warrantee viz. against me & all claiming under me—this I hope will be satisfactory to you—the title I have not the smallest doubt of, should you think differently I will give you other lands for those sold.

Being lately from Richmond I will detail the political information collected, for your amusement.

Mr Thek Bland will be elected into Congress from his district.2

From the Norfolk district Mr Matthews is considered certain;3 from the Richmond district Mr B. Harrison probable, tho’ great expectations are entertained in favor of Mr S. Griffin.4

From the Westmoreland district, Mr Page I beleive to be sure, Mr Corbin Mr Roan & Mr M. Smith contend.5 Mr Madison is gaining ground fast but still he is involved in much doubt & difficulty.6 Powerful & active supporters appear in every county for him—his presence has done good & will do more.

Here, Mr Lee or Mr Pope—my information induces me to consider the event doubtful.7

among the electors will be many antifederal characters, but not one of them will act on the principles you suggested in their choice of the president—I beleive in the election of the V. President their hostility to the govt will sway them—Mr ⟨ ⟩ Lees ill health forced him to decline in his district & two of the countys have in consequence thereof voted for Mr F. of Chatham who I beleive is the elector.8

Mrs Lees better health will permit me in a few days I trust, to ride to Mt Vernon. With the highest respect I am always yours truely



2Edward Carrington wrote to James Madison from Richmond, 30 Dec. 1788, that the 9th district was so strongly antifederal that “upon a consultation therefore with some of the best Characters in it, it has been determined that it would be best not to offer any federal Character at all, as such an effort must be attended with disappointment, and perhaps perpetuate divisions which a contrary conduct might do away.” Theodorick Bland (1742–1790) was the only declared candidate from the district “and I suppose must be elected—it was our wish to bring forward some Antifederalist who might be less bigotted in his opinions. . . . With this view we made a proposition to Mr. Samuel Goode of Mecklenburg to become a Candidate, but he declines the service, and we have not another Character to bring forward for our purpose” (Jensen and DenBoer, First Federal Elections description begins Merrill Jensen and Gordon DenBoer et al., eds. The Documentary History of the First Federal Elections, 1788–1790. 4 vols. Madison, Wis., 1976–89. description ends , 2:384). The 9th district included the counties of Isle of Wight, Prince George, Southampton, Surry, Sussex, and Dinwiddie.

3Thomas Mathews (1742–1812) came to Virginia from the West Indies in 1764 and settled as a planter and merchant in the Norfolk area. He ended his Revolutionary service with the Virginia forces as a general and served frequently in the house of delegates in the 1780s and 1790s. Mathews supported ratification of the Constitution in the Virginia convention in 1788 and in 1789 was elected to the federal House of Representatives.

4Benjamin Harrison of Charles City County and Samuel Griffin of Williamsburg were opposing candidates for Congress in Virginia’s 10th district. Apparently Miles Selden, Jr. (d. 1811), of Henrico County also stood (Henry Lee to Madison, 14 Jan. 1789, ibid., 2 :393–94).

5The congressional contest in the 7th district involved the successful candidate John Page (1744–1808), Francis Corbin (1759–1821), Spencer Roane (1762–1822), and Meriwether Smith (1730–1790).

6For Madison’s campaign, see his letter to GW, 14 Jan. 1789, n.3.

7John Pope, state senator from Prince William and Fairfax district, and Richard Bland Lee of Prince William and Loudoun counties were opponents in the congressional elections in Virginia’s 4th district.

8The initial inserted by Lee at the point indicated by angle brackets is unclear, but he may be referring to Richard Lee (1726–1795) of Lee Hall in Westmoreland County. William Fitzhugh of Chatham was named elector.

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