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title:“Henry Lee to George Washington”
authors:Henry Lee
date written:1788-9-13

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:02 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Feb. 29, 2024, 1:29 a.m. UTC

Lee, Henry. "Letter to George Washington." The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 18. Ed. Gaspare J. Saladino and John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1995. 353. Print.
Manuscripts Division, Library of Congress

Henry Lee to George Washington (September 13, 1788)

My dear General.
. . . The solemnity of the moment, & its application to yourself, has fixed my mind in contemplations of a public & a personal nature and I feel an involuntary impulse which I cannot resist of communicating without reserve to you, some of the reflexions which the hour has produced. Solicitous for our common happiness as a people, &convicted as I continue to be, that our peace & prosperity depends on the proper improvement of the present period, my anxiety is extreme, that the new govt. may have an auspicious beginning—To effect this & to perpetuate a nation formed under your auspices, it is certain that again you will be called forth—
The same principles of devotion to the good of mankind which has invariably governed your conduct, will no doubt continue to rule your mind however opposite their consequences may be, to your repose & happiness. It may be wrong, but I cannot suppress in my wishes for national felicity, a due regard to your personal fame &content.
If the same success should attend your efforts on this important occasion, which has distinguished you hitherto, then to be sure you will have spent a life, which providence rarely if ever before gave to the lot of one man. . . .
It would certainly be unpleasant to you & obnoxious to all who feel for your just fame, to see you at the head of a tumbling system—It is a sacrifice on your part, unjustifiable in any point of view-But on the other hand no alternative seems to be presented.
without you the govt. can have but little chance of success, & the people of that happiness which its prosperity must yield- In this dilemma, it seems wise that such previous measures be in time adopted, which most promise to allay the fury of opposition, to defer amendments, till experience has shewn defects-& to ensure the appointments of able & honest men in the first Congress. . . .1

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