194 Dartmouth Street
Boston, Feb 4th., 1892
Dr. Edmund J. Lee
1213 Walnut Street
My dear Sir,
Your esteemed favor of yesterday is at hand & I have to thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to see the papers which you have enclosed. These I will retain for a few days for careful study & will then return them to you, as I think such things should always remain in the custody of the family to whom they belong. It is a great pity that they have been so abused, as their value is evidently great. They are very evidently abstracts of Inquists. Post Mortem, Deeds, Fines &c, & no doubt, as you suggest, are from the Herald’s College & adduced in order to support some pedigree which they accompanied. A cursory glance shows me that it is the Lees of Langley of whom they illustrate. I can, I think, extend & fill out most of them from my notes which are very full on your family.
I am much interested in what you write me of the Langley Arms in Northumberland Co. The mark of Cadency there given may prove an important link in the chain of evidence identifying Col. Richard Lee, the Emigrant. Do, I beg of you, obtain all information possible on the subject, not forgetting the history of the carving &, above all, its date!
As regards F. G. Lee I speak whereof I know! The man is an utter charlatan & humbug & is so regarded by the circle of Antiquaries with whom I was thrown in London. As I told you I hold the absolute proof that he knowingly forged his own pedigree & the proof of this I shall publish very shortly in an English Magazine, of which I will send you reprint when it is issued. A man who gets his D. C. L. from Salamanca is quite capable of writing a very florid biography of himself for the edification of the public & such people are only too apt to be taken at their own valuation.
I note with pleasure what you say regarding Gov. Fitz Hugh Lee. I am not used to having my letters treated with contempt & I shall be very glad to think that the blame can be laid on Uncle Sam & his agents as I did feel very keenly a slight coming from a man whom I respected & esteemed as much as I did Gov. Lee.
Thanking you again for your kindness in the matter of the papers & for your cordial endorsement of my views as expressed in my article believe me to remain, Sir
Yours very sincerely
J. Henry Lea
Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 3, M2009.450, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall
Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 November 29