<br /> Lee Letter: a012

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee

I announced on the envelope of my letter of the 17th, dearest M., that yours of the 11th, accompanied by Fitzhugh’s affectionate communication of the same date, had just reached me. I have no doubt but that my reply to his former letter was carried out by your messenger who mailed the last. I have however hastened to answer his in time before his departure. Our mails are slow. It only goes every other day from here to go and come. I enclosed in my letter of the 17th to him my check No. 112, dated 1st. Sept., to his order for $200 on Bank of Commerce in New York; and to you, my check of 22 Aug., to your order on Farmers’ Bk. of Va., at Alexa for $100, and my check of 1 Sept. to the order of Hugh W. Sheffy on same bank for $195. I repeat that you may look out for the letter, and on its non-reception, stop payment of the checks at the respective banks. With this I send my check No. 113, of 25 Aug ’55 on Bk. of Comce in New York to the order of Collins & Co., for $200, which as you have his bill, I have thought you had better remit to him. You may tell him that I have deducted $20.00 from his original offer, as the value of the two registers not used, and the cost of workmanship thereby saved; the payment of the plasterer’s bill, hauling, &c., and which if not satisfactory I will arrange another time. The bricks and mortar, I was to furnish. The board of his men and hauling was not much, and was more a convenience to him than expense. Perhaps $14 would have been enough, and if he say so, I wish you would send him $5. I would rather over pay than under pay mechanics. You will have to use the $100 I sent you to pay off all your bills, get the girls to school, and Fitzhugh to C. for I am afraid he is penniless, and I will send you another in time for my dear little Rob, who shall not suffer if I have to sell the shirt from my back. I am glad he is well again. I trust he may keep so, but I fear you will all have bilious attacks. I think it is better to write for the furniture you want from W.P. while Mr. Smith is there; after he goes I do not know who will attend to it. I suppose however Mr. Newlands and Mr. O’maher will be left. The picture had better come by express. It will not be ready to varnish before next spring. I am glad you are going to have the book cases repaired. What will you do with the old harpsichord and organ? The former will not be appropriate for the room and the latter ought to give place to the hall table at W.P. Renwick could make you another pair of chairs similar to the present, and the lounge, table and four chairs would be sufficient. If you have them made, recollect to have them oiled before being varnished, or the color will be too light. I wish indeed I could be there to help you, but it is impossible. You must have everything nice and comfortable for your father and friends, and I will enjoy it through you. I mentioned in my last letter the necessity of paying taxes on the Washington lot before the end of Aug., to get the benefit of the discount. The amt. under the present assessment is between $4 and $5 and is payable at the Collector’s office at the City Hall. It must be paid every July or Aug., I forget which. You have not mentioned lately anything about Mary’s foot. I hope therefore it is still improving. Neither did you give me the result of the consultation about the horse’s eye. Sometimes an operation in those cases has to be resorted to, but it ought to be done by a skillful operator. I hope in his case it will not be necessary. Give much love to your father and the children. Tell Becky, she had better come. Goodnight, my dear M., and believe me always your. (P.S.) I was very glad to see that Hill Carter, Jr. of Shirley had taken one of the honors at Wm. and Mary. Who is A. M. Randolph of Fauquier, whose oration on ‘Human Progress,’ is so highly spoken of? I am very sorry to see announced this morning the death of Abbott Lawrence. He is a national loss. But his deeds live after his.

Notes:

Printed in Edmund Jennings Lee, Lee of Virginia, 433 – 35. Transcribed also in Francis Raymond Adams, Jr., An Annotated Edition of the Personal Letters of Robert E. Lee, April, 1855 – April, 1861, pp. 48 – 51.