• The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia
  • The Lees of Virginia

The Lee Family Digital Archive is the largest online source for primary source materials concerning the Lee family of Virginia. It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online. We are always looking for new letters, diaries, and books to add to our website. Do you have a rare item that you would like to donate or share with us? If so, please contact our curator, Colin Woodward, about how you can contribute to this historic project.



1822 March 31st.

Fr: Mayo to Lee (fr: original)

W; City. March 31. 1822

Dear Major,

            It is probable I shall be at Montrose about the time that this will come to hand. Prudence or policy however may dictate a forbearance to call at Stratford. In that case I shall leave the bundle of music for Mrs. Lee at Montrose, with a note which I presume Mrs. Rose will cause to be conveyed. It may possibly be delayed a while, however, if Miss McC. shd. be disposed to examine it.

            You have no doubt seen a weak & ridiculous attack upon me in the Advertiser of the 20th inst: formerly the Va. Patriot. You will be astonished at the groundless & malignant nature of the article when you see my answer in the Enquirer. Indeed I am very impatient to get to Richmd. on this acct. I shall literally demolish the article & the writer too, if I can decoy him from his concealment. In short I will show that I can “draw expedient from obstacle, safety from danger, resource from sterility, & remedy from poison.” “In certain hands all things become beautiful by their adaptment, subservient by their use, & salutary by their application.”1

            I shall be glad to hear from you at Richmd. – whence I shall write you – adieu –


R. Mayo

P.S: My arrangement with my bookseller I expect will entitle me to an increasing annuity of from one to five thousand dollars a year. A similar arrangement gave Webster eight thousand a year at one cent a copy & I get one and quarter cent with an advance payment.

R. M.


Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 7, M2009.164

Transcribed by Caitlin Connelly, 2016 July 6


1. Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832), quoted from his work Lacon, or Many Things in Few Words, Addressed to Those Who Think. Colton, an English cleric, writer, and collector, was known for his eccentricities and his collections of aphorisms and short stories, such as Lacon, were well-known and widely praised in his time, though virtually unknown today.

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