Lee, Arthur (1740-1792)

American diplomat.

Confidential correspondent in London for the Committee of Secret Correspondence of the Continental Congress.

With Franklin and Silas Deane, appointed commissioner in France to negotiate a treaty and solicit aid (1776). During his tenure there, he accused Deane of embezzling congressional funds, resulting in Deane’s recall to the America (1777).

Raised suspicions about Franklin as well, casting doubt on the entire American diplomatic mission. In response to the diplomatic unrest, Congress resolved to maintain only one minister in France. They chose Franklin and recalled Lee (1779).

He returned to America in 1780. Served in the Continental Congress (1781-84). Served as a member of the Treasury Board until the adoption of the Constitution, which he opposed.

Born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, eleventh child of Thomas Lee and Hannah Ludwell. Brother of notable revolutionary figures William, Richard Henry, and Francis Lightfoot Lee. Educated in medicine and law in Great Britain.