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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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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 editor, Colin Woodward, at  (804) 493-1940, about how you can contribute to this historic project.



Eastern View     September 5th 1831


Thank you dear cousin, for the sweet lines you sent me. I have deferred so long the letters I thought of writing by Smith, that I fear, dear Mary’s must go unanswered for the present. You must tell her, in your next, that my love attends her, & my humble prayers too are sometimes offered for her still. May she be preserved from “the spirit of the world” to which she is probably peculiarly exposed & may she prove a blessing wherever her lot is cast.

You have doubtless heard & thought much of the dreadful intelligence from Southampton. I pray it may have the effect of bestirring the nation at large to[o] and the colonization plan. Perhaps you think it will rather have the contrary effect; but I have heard no stones cast on the Society in consequence of those disturbances & suppose they can in no remote way excite them to its operations, as probably they have never extended to that region.

I think we have cause to entreat the Lord “to avert the judgments our sins have deserved.” The attempting to produce any change in their moral character under present circumstances, seems an increasingly disheartening work; yet I cant but think were we more preserving & fervent in the labours, some thing might be done. I am almost sure this is the case as it respects my own efforts.

Mary only got to us last Tuesday. Her youngest child is very sick with a billious attack & she, I fear not better in health or spirits. She still persists in the notion that her daily health is sound, tho’ tis evident to all she is the prey of some disease.

You are about to take your Frederick trip by this time. Marietta, I suppose, has apprized you of the postponement of her wedding. Will you still be there? I wish you could conclude to leave Frederick the first of October & stay here till the great event takes place. We might read so comfortably.

Elizabeth, Nancy & myself are pursuing our studies with some zeal, tho’ with great imperfection & much intermission.  

Cousin Molly I beg you will repeat to no one some of our morning conversations at Kinloch of which, the reputed vices of men was the subject – as reported from the navy. I suffered some uneasiness on account of my wishing [illegible] on a member of that fascinating body I regretted what I had said, more especially as it seemed to wound some of the family so seriously & almost to alienate them from me. I hope however it may be a good lesson to me for the future, tending to restrain me from saying any thing that may pain another without benefitting him.

Mary Braxton & Elizabeth Taylor send their love to you. You might go out of your way a little to visit the former, it would give her so much pleasure! You have seen, in the papers poor Georgina’s death. Aunt B. writes that she expressed willingness to die. Her matrimonial life must have been a season of suffering amidst splendour.

You will understand I mean my sister Mary when I speak of your visiting her.

Cousin Molly will you advise me where to put my boys when their term with Mr. Russel is expired. It was my intention to find [torn] out to [letter is torn] some tradesmen. Can you [torn] a peace of the kind that you would [torn] & do you think the town would be a safe place? Answer these in your next.

I had discovered the theft of the stockings before I left K. & that I strongly suspected they had gone with my frocke I yet took a search at the back for them without effect. At the same time also, disappeared a chemise, which was sought for them in vain. I thought perhaps Cassy might have carelessly taken it off with the other articles. If it is not in your pants, do ask Mary to examine her wardrobe & take care of it for me. Tell her not to trouble herself much about it. Nancy McKenna sends a great deal of love to you.

Give my warm love to dear Ann & tell her much we all wish to see her. We still think she might make the effort to remember me too to cousin Maria.

Think of me dear Cousin

L. J. [Ladonia J] Randolph


PS Arianna is well




Source: Mary Custis Lee Papers, Mss1 L5144 a, Section 10, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2017 September 19


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