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PREFACE TO GENERAL LEE'S MEMOIRS.

THE following Memoirs and Letters of the late Major-General Lee have been in the possession of the Editor since the year 1786. They were transmitted from America to England by the gentleman whose name is subscribed to the Memoirs, and who was a member of Congress for the state of Georgia, for the purpose of publication. In their manuscript state they have been seen by several persons in England, who expressed a strong desire of putting them to press, which the avocations of the person to whom they were entrusted, and his not being acquainted with such undertakings, had caused him to neglect.

As the subject of Revolutions is again renewed by what has occurred in France, it is presumed, that whatever relates to the Mother-Revolution, that of America, will, at least, afford entertainment to the curious, and contribute to increase the general stock of historical knowledge.

The reader may expect to find, in almost every thing that relates to General Lee, a great deal of the strong republican character. His attachment to principles of liberty, without regard to place, made him the citizen of the world rather than of any country; and from his earliest youth to the end of his career, this general trait in his character may be traced.

So little of the courtier had he about him, that he never descended to intimate any thing. Whatever he spoke or wrote was in the fullest style of expression, or strong figure. He used to say to Mr. Paine, the author of Common Sense, in America, and since of Rights of Man, in England, (of whose writings he was a great admirer,) that "he burst forth upon the world like Jove in thunder;" and this strength of conception, so natural to General Lee, had it not been mixed with a turn equally as strong for satire, and too much eccentricity of temper, would have rendered his conversation perpetually entertaining.

Though the Memoirs and every letter in this publication are most faithfully printed from the copy transmitted from America,

the Editor has omitted many whole letters, and also his trial before the court-martial, as not sufficiently interesting to balance the expense to which they would have extended the work. But if any of the particular friends or relations of General Lee should be desirous of seeing them, they may be indulged with the opportunity, by leaving a line at the publisher's, directed to the

London, Feb. 1792.

EDITOR.

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TO FORGETFULNESS.

From "the Castle in the Air," to "the Little Corner of the World."

MEMORY, like a beauty that is always present to hear herself flattered, is flattered by every one. But the absent and silent goddess, Forgetfulness, has no votaries, and is never thought of: yet we owe her much. She is the goddess of ease, though not of pleasure.

When the mind is like a room hung with black, and every corner of it crowded with the most horrid images imagination can create, this kind speechless goddess of a maid, Forgetfulness, is following us night and day with her opium wand, and gently touching first one, and then another, benumbs them into rest, and at last glides them away with the silence of a departing shadow. It is thus the tortured mind is restored to the calm condition of ease, and fitted for happiness.

How dismal must the picture of life appear to the mind in that dreadful moment, when it resolves on darkness, and to die! One can scarcely believe such a choice was possible. Yet how many of the young and beautiful, timid in every thing else, and formed for delight, have shut their eyes upon the world, and made the waters their sepulchral bed! Ah! would they in that crisis, when life and death are both before them, and each within their reach, would they but think, or try to think, that Forgetfulness will come to their relief, and lull them into ease, they could stay their hand, and lay hold of life. But there is a necromancy in wretchedness that entombs the mind, and increases the misery, by shutting out every ray of light and hope. It makes the wretched falsely believe they will be wretched ever. It is the most fatal of all dangerous delusions; and it is only when this necromantic night-mare of the mind begins to vanish, by being resisted, that it is discovered to be but a tyrannic spectre. All grief, like all things else, will yield to the obliterating power of time. While despair is preying on the mind, time and

its effects are preying on despair; and certain it is, the dismal vision will fade away, and Forgetfulness, with her sister Ease, will change the scene. Then let not the wretched be rash, but wait, painful as the struggle may be, the arrival of Forgetfulness; for it will certainly arrive.

I have twice been present at the scene of attempted suicide. The one a love-distracted girl in England, the other of a patriotic friend in France; and as the circumstances of each are strongly pictured in my memory, I will relate them to you. They will in some measure corroborate what I have said of Forgetfulness.

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About the year 1766, I was in Lincolnshire, in England, and on a visit at the house of a widow lady, Mrs. E- at a small village in the fens of that county. It was in summer; and one evening after supper, Mrs. E― and myself went to take a turn in the garden. It was about eleven o'clock, and to avoid the night air of the fens, we were walking in a bower, shaded over with hazel bushes. On a sudden, she screamed out, and cried "Lord! look, look!" I cast my eyes through the openings of the hazel bushes, in the direction she was looking, and saw a white shapeless figure, without head or arms, moving along one of the walks at some distance from us. I quitted Mrs. E- and went after it. When I got into the walk where the figure was, and was following it, it took up another walk. There was a holly bush in the corner of the two walks, which, it being night, I did not observe; and as I continued to step forward, the holly bush came in a straight line between me and the figure, and I lost sight of it; and as I passed along one walk, and the figure the other, the holly bush still continued to intercept the view, so as to give the appearance that the figure had vanished. When I came to the corner of the two walks, I caught sight of it again, and coming up with it, I reached out my hand to touch it; and in the act of doing this, the idea struck me, will my hand pass through the air, or shall I feel any thing? Less than a moment would decide this, and my hand rested on the shoulder of a human figure. I spoke, but do not recollect what I said. It answered in a low voice, "Pray let me alone." I then knew who it was. It was a young lady who was on a visit to Mrs. E, and who, when we sat down to supper said she found herself extremely ill, and would go to bed. I called to Mrs. E―, who came, and I said to her, "It is Miss N- .." Mrs. E- said, "My God! I hope you are not going to do yourself any hurt;" for Mrs. E

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pected something. She replied with pathetic melancholy, "Life has not one pleasure for me." We got her into the house, and Mrs. E took her to sleep with her.

The case was, the man whom she expected to be married to, had forsaken her, and when she heard he was to be married to another, the shock appeared to her to be too great to be borne. She had retired, as I have said, to her room, and when she supposed all the family were gone to bed, (which would have been the case, if Mrs. E- and I had not walked into the garden,) she undressed herself, and tied her apron over her head; which descending below her waist, gave her the shapeless figure I have spoken of.

Aided by the obscurity of almost midnight, and with this and a white under petticoat and slippers, for she had taken out her buckles, and put them at the servant maid's door, I suppose as a keepsake, she came down stairs, and was going to drown herself in a pond at the hottom of the garden, towards which she was going when Mrs. E screamed out. We found afterwards, that she had heard the scream, and that was the cause of her changing her walk.

By gentle usage, and leading her into subjects that might, without doing violence to her feelings, and without letting her see the direct intention of it, steal her as it were from the horror she was in, (and I felt a compasionate, earnest disposition to do it, for she was a good girl,) she recovered her former cheerfulness, and was afterwards a happy wife, and the mother of a family.

The other case, and the conclusion in my next.

In Paris, in 1793, I had lodgings in the Rue Fauxbourg, St. Denis, No. 63. They were the most agreeable, for situation, of any I ever had in Paris, except that they were too remote from the Convention, of which I was then a member. But this was recompensed by their being also remote from the alarms and confusion into which the interior of Paris was then often thrown. The news of those things used to arrive to us, as if we were in a state of tranquility in the country. The house, which was enclosed by a wall and gateway from the street, was a good deal like an old mansion farm house, and the court yard was like a farm yard, stocked with fowls, ducks, turkies, and geese; which, for amusement, we used to feed out of the parlor window on the ground floor. There were some hutches for rabbits, and a sty with two pigs. Beyond, was a garden of

more than an acre of ground, well laid out, and stocked with ex

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