West Point 19 March 1853
My dear Mr Bonaparte
I have just recd your letter of the 17th Inst. & lay aside my writing to answer it. I am very glad of the step you have taken in reference to Jerome. I was on the point of sending you a note by Ives for that very purpose; but was restrained by the thought that it might prompt you beyond your natural suggestions, & that you & Mrs B—could better judge than I whether the transfer would be profitable to Jerome. In truth I think he prefers the Dragoons & the service in the field, & will have seen nothing as yet to change his views. My present object is therefore more to advise, should Jerome prefer to remain as he is, not to think yourself, or lead him to think, that he or you are under obligations to accept the transfer, but to let him exercise his own predilection. It is better I think that he should feel the stimulus of pride & emulation, than that he should run the risk of disgust. He will have an opportunity of consulting his taste, with the benefit of some little experience & I would let him exercise it, free & untraneled [sic]. If he does not wish to accept the transfer, it will not be improper for him to decline it. Genl Scott will understand it, & you can tell him that it was by my advice that he so acted—
I hope I have made myself understood—I have written between the receptions of the Professors with their weekly class reports & must now close to get my letter off this mg—
I am sorry to hear Mrs. B is still sick. Tell her I wish I was there to cure her—Mrs. L would join me in all regards & love had she the opportunity.
If Jerome does not accept the transfer he can be restored to his former position, before the graduation of the present 1st Class, & no one will be thereby injured or have a right to complain. You are probably aware that Genl Scotts Head qrs will be changed to New York the 1st Proxo. Remember me to all friends—I will not speak of your letter till I hear all is satisfy. arranged
R E Lee
Source: Bonaparte Papers Maryland Historical Society, printed, William D. Hoyt, Jr., ed., “Some Personal Letters of Robert E. Lee, 1850–1858,” Journal of Southern History, 12 (November 1946), 562.
Uploaded by Colin Woodward, 2015 December 23