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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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



Lexington, Va., 29 March, 1867.

Hon. Robert Ould

Senate of Virginia

Richmond, Va.

My Dear Sir:

I received this morning your letter of the 26th inst., and do not know on what authority my opinions have been announced in the public papers. It was certainly not by mine; and from what I am told, remarks are attributed to me of which I have no knowledge. When the Sherman bill became a law, and its execution imperative, I considered it right and just to the people of the State, that it should be submitted as required for their action, and that the call for a convention should be legitimately and properly made. I have never read the bill passed by the Senate of Virginia for that purpose, and do not know its provisions; but if there was then a difference of opinion as to the proper mode, there can be none since the passage of the supplemental bill; and I think all persons entitled to vote should attend the polls and endeavor to elect the best available men to represent them in the conventions, to whose occasion everyone should submit.

The preservation of harmony and kind feelings is of the utmost importance; and all good citizens should exert themselves to secure it, and to prevent the division of the people into parties. The interests of all are inseparably connected, and can only be preserved by our united wisdom and strength. I think it useless to offer arguments to shew the propriety of this course. Its advantages are too manifest.

It is extremely unpleasant to me, for reasons which I think will occur to you, that my name should be unnecessarily brought before the public; and I do not see that any good can result from it. I hope therefore you will not publish my letter, but that you will try and allay the strife that I fear may arrive in the State.

With great regard, yr. obdt. svt.

(sgd) R. E. Lee



Source: Photocopy of letterbook copy, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 738, p. 29, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Katie Hall, 2018 June 5

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