1821. Septr 18
Fr: Mayo to Lee (fr: original)
Being absent from Richmd for some time passed, on my return I found both your letters by post in my diary. You can scarcely imagine with what delight these visible tokens of your friendly wishes in what I found might be considered a romantic vision, instantaneously penetrated my mind. And these agreeable feelings were moreover greatly enhanced with pleasing anticipations, by the discovery of Mrs. Lee’s satisfaction at my intention to return to Stratford in Decr. I am very happy to hear that the ladies are well, & beg you will present my best respects to them.
Mr. Riddle waited on me with Mr. Ritzer on Sunday afternoon. Yesterday I introduced him to the President of the musical society of Richmond, who promises to introduce him to the members of the society en masse at their meeting on Thursday evening next. I have introduced him to some of the principal members of the monumental church, who speak of engaging him to tune their organ. I have also presented him to some of my particular friends, for one of whom he hired a piano yesterday afternoon, having done the like for Mr. Riddle in the morning; & being already engaged for several others, his prospects seem somewhat flattering for so limited a department among profitable vocations.
I am unexpectedly indebted to you for the favorable opinion you seem disposed to entertain of me, and hope it will be in my power to prove your perfect satisfaction that it could not be better placed. But in the meantime I beg you will set down a full moiety of that general trait of character which you attribute to me to the credit of my particular esteem for yourself & Mrs. Lee.
Mr. Leigh is at present on a visit in the upper country. I do not anticipate the smallest difficulty in retaining him by your counsel but shall leave no endeavor untried till I insure it – such is the temperament of mind with which nature & education have endowed me, of increasing my efforts - & multiplying my resources according to the difficulties they encounter, for I never suffer obstacles that are not absolutely insurmountable to decide upon the merits of an undertaking that my judgment approves. And I may add that I shd even set public opinion at defiance, as readily as the lightest obstacle, shd it oppose an enterprise with which my mind is strongly prepossessed.
Might the subject of your suit be of sufficient importance to call in the auxiliary council of Genl. Taylor or Mr. Tazewell.1 Perhaps either of these gentlemen may be superior to Mr. Leigh. If you will make your free election, you may command me to go to Norfolk to engage either of them. I shall not speak to Mr. Leigh till I hear from you, as that little suspense will not effect the case. I shall expect to receive further instructions from you by the return of mail – till then adieu.
P.S. Perhaps Mr. L. may desire to know somewhat in detail of the case.
Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 7, M2009.138
Transcribed by Caitlin Connelly, 2016 June 16
1. Littleton Waller Tazewell (1774-1860), served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, a state representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, a Senator from Virginia, the 29th President pro tempore of the US Senate, and the 26th Governor of Virginia