<br /> Lee Letter: a075

Washington and Lee University

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

Your letters dearest Mary of the 26 March & 2 Apl, directed to Indianola, have been sent to me here. I have also recd from the same place a long kind letter from brother Childe, written on his arrival in Phila. Although your letter of the 12 Apl (Easter Sunday) which I replied to a week since, has given me more recent intelligence of you, I was very glad to get these of an anterior date. I am very glad you are preparing to go to Berkley Springs, & have great hopes the baths there may mitigate if they do not entirely relieve you of your painful & protracted attack. I recur to my personal enjoyment of them with much pleasure, & when I recollect the benefit you apparently derived from them in your former long sickness, I cannot but feel great hope, that they will again relieve you from your present suffering, & trust that almighty God in his infinite kindness & mercy, may grant to my poor & feeble prayers this additional proof of his continued and undeserved care of me & mine. Oh that I could be sufficiently grateful for all that he has done for me, & sufficiently thankful for all that he has given me; & prove by my life & actions rather than my feelings, my realization of his mercies to me! I am glad to hear that you can amuse yourself with drawing, & hope you will enjoy as much of such recreation as you can. I have thought of writing to you to ask whether you employed yourself as sedulously in sewing as formerly, for I have feared if you did now that you could not exercise, your health would be permanently injured, even should you be eventually relieved of rheumatism. I hope then you will indulge yourself in as much mental enjoyment as circumstances will permit, whilst you are restricted in the corporeal, & turn as far as possible your affliction to your benefit. It has been permitted I know for some great good to us. Let us so bear & improve it, as to deserve the blessing that will accompany it. I am quite concerned at your fathers annoyances & troubles, growing out of Mr Nelsons derelictions of duty. I wish I was so situated that I could relieve him of them, but hope they will all come right in the end, & that Mr Winston will be able in a year or two to bring all things straight. It is perhaps unreasonable to expect that others will do for us as they will do for themselves, & though that should be the practice of every Christian, how seldom do we see it followed. All our agents therefore require attention & supervision, & I have found that only he does well, who is well watched. I fear that if Mr Nelsons accounts were settled, whatever balance was found due your father, he would not be able to recover it, as I understand his speculations have all failed, & he has nothing unless he has been able to secrete it from his creditors. He will therefore have to submit to the loss, as well as the annoyance & discomfort of being swindled. I hope Mr. Winston may do better, but that if problamatical. I have recd a very kind letter from Mrs Rhett in San Antonio, telling me all about our friends, & what she had learned of you from Aunt Maria & others. I wish indeed I could have seen her for independent of the pleasure of meeting her, it would have been a great gratification to have recd oral accounts of all former acquaintances. Her letter was written in all the kindliness & friendliness of former days. She was to have commenced her long journey the next day (30 April) to New Mexico, & was rejoicing in her health & strength, to undertake it. She said God had left her two sweet children whom she desired to shew me. Who have not their afflictions. I am sorry to hear that Wm Fitzhugh is laid up again. I hope the accident he is labouring under, or as he generally terms it misfortune, is not a serious one, & that he is up again by this time. He is so uncommunicative to me that I presume he does not desire me to know of his proceedings & I can therefore only hope he is well & doing well. I doubt whether he knows his indebtedness, & if he did, & it was all cancelled whether he would remain so. He inherits much of that disposition from both branches of his family, & does not seem to strive to overcome it, or to restrict his wishes to his circumstances. Those who live long enough will see how it will end, & I pray & trust it will end right. I have great comfort in my reflections about Anne & Agnes. I hope they will continue in their present blessed resolutions, & acquire strength from heaven to enable them to carry them to perfection. If they can lead the life of pure & earnest Christians, serving their God in spirit & in truth & doing to their neighbor all the good in their power, as if to themselves, they will realize the only true happiness in this world. I could wish them no brighter future. Markies employment, in making picture frames for Orton, must indeed for her to be a labour of love. I have no doubt it will stimulate him too to greater exertion & cause his creations to be more worthy of their setting. He will have to strive hard, if he wishes by his success, to measure his efforts to repay his sister, for more than a sisters love. His own love I know will lighten his labour & sustain his efforts, to compensate her for her unceasing watchfulness over him from infancy, & her days of labour & nights of anxiety for his welfare. You must give much love to your father, & tell him I hope his affairs will yet be settled to his satisfaction & benefit, & that I shall return as soon as I can to attend to them. Tell brother Childe how much obliged to him I am for his letter, which I will respond to if possible by the present opportunity. To all the children give much love. My heart yearns to them & you unceasingly & my prayers are daily & hourly offered up for the health & happiness of all. I must stop & look to my tent for there is a dust storm raging that sifts through everything & clogs my pen while I write. The thermometer is 99° on the n. side of my tent in a stiff breeze.

Very truly yours

R E Lee

P.S. I have just heard that Mr Radziminski was going out of the country on sick leave REL

Notes:

Ely-DeButts PapersLibrary of Congress

Transcribed in Francis Raymond Adams, Jr., An Annotated Edition of the Personal Letters of Robert E. Lee, April, 1855 – April, 1861, pp. 341 – 45.