| Share

William Lee

Lee, William, 1739–95, American Revolutionary diplomat, b. Westmoreland co., Va.; brother of Arthur Lee, Francis L. Lee, and Richard H. Lee. He opened a business house in London in 1768 and later was a political supporter of John Wilkes and became (1775) an alderman of London. He accepted appointment by the Continental Congress as an agent for the newly created United States, and later attempted unsuccessfully to obtain recognition from both Austria and Prussia. He and a Dutch merchant made a draft of a possible U.S.-Dutch commercial treaty. The draft, which had no official sanction at all, Lee sent back to America. A copy of it, seized by the British when they captured Henry Laurens, was used as a cause for warfare between Great Britain and the Netherlands.

See his Letters 1766–83, ed. by W. C. Ford (3 vol., 1891; repr. 1971); B. J. Hendrick, The Lees of Virginia (1935).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on William Lee from Infoplease:

See more Encyclopedia articles on: U.S. History: Biographies

Premium Partner Content
HighBeam Research
Documents Images and Maps Reference
(from Newspapers, Magazines, Journals, Newswires, Transcripts and Books)

Research our extensive archive of more than 80 million articles from 6,500 publications.

Additional search results provided by HighBeam Research, LLC. © Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring