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Arthur Lee (diplomat): Wikis


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Dr. Arthur Lee (20 December 1740 – 12 December 1792) was an American diplomat during the American Revolutionary War. He was the son of Hon. Thomas Lee (1690-1750) and Hannah Harrison Ludwell (1701-1750). His brothers, Richard Henry Lee (1732-1794), Francis Lightfoot Lee (1734-1797) and William Lee (1739-1795), were also Revolutionary-era diplomats.

He attended Eton College in England and studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, where he graduated in 1765. He then studied law in London, and he practised there from 1770 to 1776.

During the American Revolution he was dispatched as an envoy of the Continental Congress to Spain and Prussia to gain their support for the rebel cause, but he was unsuccessful in his endeavors.

Later, in Paris, after helping to negotiate the Treaty of Alliance (1778) with France, he fell out with Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane. He persuaded Congress to recall Deane to America, but he was himself recalled soon afterward.

Virginia sent Lee as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1782.

Arthur Lee built and lived at Lansdowne, a mansion which still stands in Urbanna, Virginia, a small waterfront town on Virginia's Middle Peninsula. It is presently a private residence, and he is buried in a small family graveyard adjacent to the building.


Arthur Lee was the son of Colonel Thomas Lee, Hon. (1690-1750) of Stratford Hall Plantation, Westmoreland County, Virginia. Thomas married Hannah Harrison Ludwell (1701-1750), the daughter of Colonel Philip Ludwell II (1672-1726) of Green Spring Plantation, and Hannah Harrison (1679-1731).

Arthur's father, Thomas, was the son of Colonel Richard Lee II, Esq., known as “Richard the Scholar” (1647-1715) and Laetitia Corbin (circa 1657-1706). Richard Lee II, was the son of Col. Richard Lee I, Esq., known as "The Immigrant" (1618-1664) and Anne Constable (ca. 1621-1666).

Arthur's paternal grandmother, Laetitia, was the daughter of the Lees' neighbor and councillor (attorney), Hon. Henry Corbin, Sr. (1629-1676) and Alice (Eltonhead) Burnham (circa 1627-1684).

Arthur's paternal great-grandmother, Anne, was the daughter of Thomas Constable; she became a ward of Sir John Thoroughgood.

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