• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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.



Lexington, Va: 9 Nov 1868


My dear Nephew,


     I hope my letter to the care of Jameson Smith and Colling, New York, reached you before you sailed for Europe. I merely write now to inform you that all the boxes sent from Boston, books, wines, cigars, waterproofs dog collar & whistle, arrived safely & have been distributed according to their address. I hope the recipients have properly acknowledged them, & expressed their thanks for your kindness which on the part of myself, I do now very sincerely. The Shakespeare will be a great comfort to me, & the Worcester will take the place of Webster. I am inclined to think however that the dictionary which I understand is preparing in England will be the great work of the kind. I hope So, for we ought to have a good dictionary of the English language & it ought to come from England. The English language is the most important in the world & as far as we can now See is destined to spread over the civilized nations & to become to them a necessity. Its literature laws & civilization will all be objects of interest & research, & the language ought to be more purely taught & more perfectly known than it now is. Washington College is the only College in this Country that I know of where it is made a branch of study & taught with as much care & in the Same manner as Latin, Greek, mathematics, or any other Subject. Nor do I know anywhere in England where it is taught with the same care.

     But I doubt nephew whether at this time I can excite your interest in the study of Eng. language. Your attention I am sure is fixed on the 28th & the “Pretty Bird” (I wish I could recall the Indian name) that will then rest on your hand. I will think of you on the occasion & you both will have my innermost well wishes & most earnest prayers for continued happiness.

     I will therefore only detain you to give the united loves of the whole family & their sincere congratulations.

     Fitzhugh & his wife are expected this week.

Most truly

  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, M2009.368, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 September 30



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