1799.019: Plain Truth.

Published: 1799

Full Title: Plain truth: addressed to the people of Virginia. Written in February 1799 – by a citizen of Westmoreland County, (Virg.)

Author: Lee, Henry (1756-1818).

Place Issued: Richmond

Issuing Press: Augustine Davis

Description: 56 pgs.; (16mo).


Surviving copies all lack title pages, so the caption title above is reported. Attributed to Lee by Evans, who was then the most celebrated resident of Westmoreland County (at Stratford Hall). Commonly known as “Light-Horse Harry” Lee, he was a renowned Revolutionary War figure and former three-term governor of Virginia; in February 1799, he was about to join the U.S. Congress in Philadelphia as the representative from the Virginia district encompassing Westmoreland; the text presented here offers an ardent defense of the Federalist policies of the Adams administration as a way to prevent a "dismemberment" of the union by regional and partisan interests; Lee lost that seat in the Jeffersonian tide of 1800. He is well known for his eulogy of Washington, wherein he said that the late president was "first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." He was also the father of the Confederate military commander, Robert E. Lee. Evans also assigned Richmond as place where this title was issued; if so, it is most likely that this was printed by Augustine Davis, who was public printer during Lee's gubernatorial years and who was removed from that post in December 1798 by the same political partisans that Lee opposed. This Index accepts both the authorial and press attributions of Evans as true.

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