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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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


 

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San Anotnio, Texas

1 March 1860

 

Albert M. Lea Esqr

Engineer

Dear Sir

I am very much obliged to you for your friendly letters of the 24th, 25th & 26th Ulto which arrived together by the last mail. I feel that I owe to your kindness rather than to my merit your recommendations to Govr Houston. I am aware of his ability, & first became acquainted with him upon my entrance into the military academy. He was President of the Board of Visiters that year & the impression he made has never been effaced. I have followed with interest his career since, & have admired his manly qualities & Conservative principles. His last position in favour of the Constitution & union elicits my Cordial approbation.

Should military force be required to quit our Mexican frontier, I have no doubt that arrangements will be made to maintain the rights & peace of Texas, & I hope in conformity to the Constitution & laws of the Country.

It will give me great pleasure to do all in my power to support both. The number of U. S. troops in the State is So Small, that they afford but a feeble guard against marauders of every kind. The Indian frontier Seems to be infested by predatory lands, of three, five, 7 & 12 &c who steal into the settlements on foot, do all the mischief they can, mount themselves, & make good their retreat before they Can be discovered & overtaken. I had hoped that the removal of the indians beyond the borders of Texas, would have arrested these thieving incursions, but on the Contrary, I have never known them more frequent. Scouts are kept Constantly out from all the posts, & the trails are followed till the horses fall dead under their riders. So much are they worn down by Constant & hard service. I hope however when the Regiments from Utah arrive things will be on a more favourable footing.

The horses you mention being at Ft Leavenworth I have heard were intended for the 1st Cavy a portion of which is in Kansas, & the rest on the Arkansas & Wichita Country. They were awaiting the advance of Spring, & a consequent Supply of grass, before sending them to this latter detachment.

I am very much pleased to get your opinion of the facilities afforded by Aransas Bay, as a harbour &c. It has always seemed to me as the national Port of this place & the Country north of it. With more reason will it serve the Convenience of the Country South & the Rio Grande line above Laredo. I wish I Could accept your invitation to visit it, but it is impossible for me to do so at this time. I am sufficiently aware of the advantages of its position without a personal inspection, & when your improvements are sufficiently developed to attract the trade to that place & to open Communication with the Eastern Ports, I feel very Confident Govt will be happy to avail themselves of the privileges it will afford.

You may rely upon my not mentioning the plans, preparations or views of the Compy, until disclosed by themselves, & upon my remaining very truly yours.

R E Lee

 

 

 

 

To/His Excellency   (Private)

 

 

Gen. Sam Houston                  Aransas, Tex.

Austin, Tex.                                         3 April 1860

 

Dr. Sir,

This letter from Col. Lee arrived only last night. Although it is plain from his allusion to the Constitution and the Laws” that he wd. not participate in any movement upon Mexico not expressly mentioned by the Government, yet his expressions towards yourself are so justly complimentary that I thot you wd. be glad to see them, coming as they do from a man of high intelligence and sincerity. You see, indeed, that they were designed for no eye but mine. You will be gratified to see also how anxious he expresses himself as to the repression of Indian depredations.

So, Mr. Buchanan violated his repeated promise to have the rights of the Rio G. Mex & Pac. R. R. Co. guaranteed in the Mexican Treaty, & got his treaty thereby defeated in the Senate. I send you a map showing the proposed “Central Transit,” a copy of my brother’s memorial to the Senate. If you have time to glance at it, you will find it clear & able, fully sustaining the rights of his company & that protection of his Government, denied by its imbecility or venality, and which it may devolve on “The Protector of Mexico” to sustain. How completely Mr. Senator Mason let out the secret motives of certain parties. When he urged the Senate to hasten lest you should get the start of them! I see that the So. Pac. R. R. is dead. Who killed it? Yrs respy & truly A. M. Lea

 

 

 

Source: Digital scan of original letter, Robert E. Lee Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas, Austin

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 August 16

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