• 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 It contains published and unpublished items, some well known to historians, others that are rare or have never before been put online.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., 26 March, 1867.

Hon. James T. Earle

Centreville, Maryland.

My Dear Sir:

Although I have delayed replying to your letter of December last, I attended to the matter to which it related immediately on its reception. You have been informed by my son of the reasons which induced him to decline the post he was offered in so flattering a manner, and I beg to tender you my thanks for the kind interest you expressed on the subject.

I have just learned from the son of Mr. R. M. Smith of the Richmond Enquirer, that the friends of his father desire to serve for him the Presidency of the College. My personal acquaintance with Mr. Richard M. Smith commenced four or five years ago, and so far as my knowledge extends, I have found much to admire in his character and acquirements. I know that earlier in life he had charge of a large academy in Warrenton, Va., and was considered by those qualified to judge an able teacher and administrator of its affairs. I have heard Col. Chas. Marshall, who was one of his pupils, and is now a resident of Baltimore, Md., speak highly of his character and capacity. He may have shewn in other positions of life qualifications for the position, but I am unable to refer to them. He is, however, so extensively known in Virginia and elsewhere that you can have no difficulty in obtaining all the information of him you may desire.

I am with great respect, yr. obdt. svt.

(sgd) R. E. Lee


Source: Photocopy of letterbook copy, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c 738, pp. 27-28, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Katie Hall, 2018 June 5



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