7 July 1866
My dear Edward
I have waited to reply to your letter of the 7th Ulto: that I might acknowledge the reception of the ring. It reached me yesterday, is very handsome I think, & replaces as far as anything can that given me by your dear Mother. I shall cherish it, with all its associations, & thank you most truly for your Kindness.
Your Aunts letter will have informed you of the reception of the Odyssey. I shall value it highly as the gift of Mr Worsley,1 whose death will be a greater loss to literature than even to Society. & whose character & memory I equally admire & venerate. I hoped to the last that he would not die; that he would be spared to a world, in which his influence would be So beneficial. But we must reflect in our grief, what peace & rest it has brought to him, & thank God for all his mercies. Do present to his sister my deep sympathy in her affliction.
I hope your visit to Vichy will restore your health. I know nothing better for your dyspepsia than the frugal fare of Lexington, & a ramble through the mountains on the strong back of Ajax. Now that Europe seems to be threatened with a protracted war, perhaps it may be agreeable for you to leave it for awhile. We can promise you nothing here but quiet & affection, but that will always be at your Command.
I very much regret the present condition of affairs on the Continent, & hoped that in this age, Europe with all her experience, would have found some other mode of deciding a question of right, than by the Sword; & not have followed the example of Young America, & listened to the clamor of interest & passion rather than to the calm voice of reason & justice. It is astonishing how prone all nations are to assert to that arbitrament, when might so often decides against right; in which reason has no influence; & success is the only criteria of merit.
Reports of movements of hostile troops have reached us & I presume war has Commenced. I yet hope that just Counsels may prevail & the different governments unite for peace.
Mrs Lorenzo Lewis has been spending a month with us. She will return home on monday next, & then I shall take your aunt to the Rockbridge baths, where I hope she may derive some benefit. Should the waters of the Baths not suit her, I will go on to the Warm Springs, in the Alleghenny Mts. Her disease seems now to be quiescent. Perhaps some invigoration of her system may enable it to throw it off.
I think she has nothing to hope from medicine or physicians. Custis, Agnes & Mildred are with us. All unite in much love to you, & I am as ever your
Uncle R E Lee
Mr Edward L. Childe
Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 4, M2012.004
Transcribed by Caitlin Connelly, 2016 May 25
1. P.S. Worlsey (1835-1866) see letter of 1866 May 14.