Lee, Arthur,1740–92, American Revolutionary diplomat, b. Westmoreland co., Va.; brother of Francis L. Lee, Richard H. Lee, and William Lee. Educated in Great Britain, he returned to Virginia to practice medicine, but soon decided to study law and went (1768) to London. There, like William Lee, he became a partisan of John WilkesWilkes, John,
1727–97, English politician and journalist. He studied at the Univ. of Leiden, returned to England in 1746, and purchased (1757) a seat in Parliament.
..... Click the link for more information. and a political pamphleteer. In 1770 he became agent for Massachusetts in London. After the outbreak of the American Revolution, he was made a commissioner for the Continental Congress to seek foreign aid. In 1777 he went to Spain, but was unable to obtain a formal treaty; he was also refused recognition at the Prussian court in Berlin. With Benjamin FranklinFranklin, Benjamin,
1706–90, American statesman, printer, scientist, and writer, b. Boston. The only American of the colonial period to earn a European reputation as a natural philosopher, he is best remembered in the United States as a patriot and diplomat.
..... Click the link for more information. and Silas DeaneDeane, Silas,
1737–89, political leader and diplomat in the American Revolution, b. Groton, Conn. A lawyer and merchant at Wethersfield, Conn., he was elected (1772) to the state assembly and became a leader in the revolutionary cause.
..... Click the link for more information. he helped persuade Pierre de BeaumarchaisBeaumarchais, Pierre Augustin Caron de
, 1732–99, French dramatist. Originally a watchmaker, he rose to wealth and position among the nobility. His two successful comedies were Le Barbier de Séville (1775), the basis of an opera by Rossini, and
..... Click the link for more information. to act as agent for supplying aid to the rebellious colonials. In Paris, however, he quarreled with Franklin and Deane, and his unfavorable reports to Congress resulted in the recall of Deane and a halt on payments to Beaumarchais. In 1779 he was recalled. He later served in the Continental Congress.
See B. J. Hendrick, The Lees of Virginia (1935).