1821. Decr. 4
Fr: Mayo to Lee (fr: original)
Richmd. Dec. 4. 1821
I entreat you be not chagrined at seeing another letter instead of myself in person. Under existing circumstances I think a little delay may avail some virtue, some good and at least precipitation may be dangerous, for matters seem to be on a train that promises shortly to arrive at a crisis: I have therefore concluded it best to await their issue. But let that issue be what it may, I beg you will count with full confidence upon my indefatigable endeavors, in defiance even of accumulating difficulties, to effect an interview with the amiable object of this delicate enterprise.
I thought it a very desireable object before presenting myself in person to remove all prejudices that might possibly obstruct my views at the threshhold. And this I flatterd. myself might be accomplished by letter to Mrs. Rose. Accordingly, I made the best appeal to her good sense & moderation, that my ability, aided by the moving circumstances of the case wd admit of. And I am yet persuaded that it wd have had the desired effect if she had condescended to read it. Fearing however that some mishap might befall that letter, either through your own delicacy in permitting it to be forwarded, or her prejudices against receiving it by that channel, I wrote a second, which I have committed to the mail direct, and in time to have reachd the court house before last Monday, your court day, when some conveyance no doubt offered.
But if Mrs. R. shd prove inexorable, I have yet so much confidence in the conciliating effect which my letters are entitled to produce, that I wd gladly confide their contents to Mrs. Lee on the next nearest connexion & friend of Miss McC. I therefore beg she will permit me to authorise her to dispose of them as she may think proper in consultation with Miss McC. or otherwise as to her may seem best.
I could procure letters from the Bishop & many other respectable personages here, but I think it more judicious to await the demonstration that may be made by my letters above mentioned than precipitately adopt this procedure without the consent of the parties already aggrieved in imagination – as it might prove a further aggravation to their wounded feelings, & thereby inflict a double blow upon every vital spark of surviving hope. Indeed I have some sanguine expectations of a propitious reception of my letters enclosed in the above to Miss McC. herself – for then I felt more inspired with my subjects & I hope she will discover some traits in them not unworthy of her approbation & esteem.
One more ray of light from you or your neighborhood will decide my setting out for Stratford.
“Ye good distressed!
Ye noble few! who here unbending stand
Beneath life’s pressure, yet bear up a while,
And what your bounded view, which only saw
A little part, deemd evil, is no more;
Tho storm of wintry time will quickly pass
And one unbounded spring encircle all.”1
Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 7, M2009.155
Transcribed by Caitlin Connelly, 2016 June 27
1. James Thomson, from “The Seasons: Winter,” final seven lines