Do you like tea? So, it appears, did Philip Ludwell III’s daughter Hannah Philippa Ludwell Lee, who received this book from the author in 1774 when she lived in London. The author, John Coakley Lettsom, was a physician, a Fellow of the Royal Society, an abolitionist, a friend of Benjamin Franklin, and was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1788. Lettsom inscribed the book:
Presented to HL Lee by the author September 19th 1774
In the late 1760s in London, following her father’s death, Hannah married her cousin William Lee. William was a member of the renowned Lee family of Virginia and was elected Sheriff of London the year before Hannah received this book. He and his brother Arthur were among the first diplomats of the newly formed United States, and their brothers Richard Henry and Francis Lightfoot signed the Declaration of Independence just two years after Hannah received this copy of The Natural History of the Tea-Tree.
Hannah died in Belgium in 1784 as the couple prepared to return to the nascent United States. She was buried with her father in London at the Church of St. Mary-le-Bow, 22 years after her chrismation into the Orthodox Church. William went on to live at Green Spring plantation outside Williamsburg, having inherited the estate from his father-in-law and uncle, Philip Ludwell III.
The photo above is courtesy of Stratford Hall, historic home of the Lee family in Northern Neck, Virginia.