<br /> Lee Letter: a076

Washington and Lee University

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

I have recd dearest Mary your two letters, April 20th & April 28th. I wish they had given me more cheering news of your health, but I am thankful that you are able to enjoy the society of your friends & are so sensible of the great mercy of God, in drawing to him the hearts of our children. That ought to reconcile us to all the discomforts & afflictions with which we are troubled. I was much pleased to hear Bishop Johns account of them & am much interested in all you tell me of them. The commendation bestowed on them by their teachers is very grateful to me. I pray they may continue to deserve the praises lavished on them, & shew by their conduct the sincerity of their devotion to their Heavenly father. By this time Winter must have passed from you, & I hope Spring has brought some relief to your complaint. You must not be discouraged or let hope depart from you. All you can do is to try those remedies which our own reason & the experience of others, teach us should bring relief. I by no means despair of your perfect recovery & trust that prudence skill & judgment may yet accomplish it. I hope much from the waters of Bath & your trip this Summer & wish you to take advantage of the earliest opportunity to test them. You have never told me what arrangements you have made for going there, or who you will take with you. You had better take Mary & Rob at any rate. Mary can aid you indoors & Robt attend to all external matters, get your tickets, see to your baggage & pay your bills. I suppose you will go by the cars & I hope you will write before hand & engage your rooms. You must not let the expense deter you from making every arrangement for your comfort & for the preservation & recovery of your health. I will send to Fitzhugh in August his first quarters allowance to enable him to return to Cambridge, if he desires to return & graduate, & will also send you funds with which to place Rob at school. I will direct both letters to Arlington. I can also pay off any arrearages that may be due by Anne & Agnes. You can therefore if necessary use all the July dividends & coupons, which ought to amount to about $2000. I do not know that I understand your meaning about the coupons in Bank to your order. I cut off all the coupons due in 1856 & 1857, two years. You have drawn those for 1856. Consequently you have yet to draw those due 1 July 1857 & 31st Decr 1857 (of 1st Jan ’58) The package deposited in the Br Farmers Bank Alexa in my name, contains the Bonds &c with the coupons due July 1858, & will not be wanted before then. I had hoped to have returned by that time, & I presume Mr Marbury will not deliver them except to me or upon my order. That package also contains the certificates of the Bank stock in my name as trustee for my sisters Anne & Mildred, & it has occurred to me that the Banks in Richmond may require the certificates of Mildreds share before they will transfer it to her heirs. I will therefore enclose an order for the package to you, & should you not have left arlington & are well enough to ride to Alexa I wish you would get the package from Mr Marbury, & take it to Cousin Annas or some friends & take out the certificates of Mildreds stock in the Farmers Bank of Virga, & the Bank of Virginia. 72 shares in the former bank, & 28 shares in the latter & retain them, or leave them in bank to your order, till required. Cousin Anna if in town can explain it to you. I wish the package afterwards resealed, with your fathers, or Cousin Annas seal, & restored to the Bank as before. All the documents in the package or box are endorsed, so that you can read each as you take them out until you come to the right one. Be careful you do not take out Annes which I think is with Mildreds. I will write to Childe that he can get the certificates from you if or when required. I regret dear Mary to give you all this trouble in your crippled state, but you can get any friend, John Goldsborough, Nelson Lloyd, or Mr Daingerfield to act for you, if you cannot attend to it, or Cousin Anna should she be in Alexa.

I am delighted with Mary Childes letter to you, which you enclosed me. She must be a dear sweet little creature, & I want to see her more than ever. I hope you will be well enough to be much with her & to enjoy her company. I presume she will have left before this reaches you, & I need therefore send no message. I have also heard from Rooney. He seems to be well & writes hopefully & cheerfully. Says his course this year is very interesting & that he is reading french & Spanish. I hope he is acquiring wisdom, & pray that he may be kept from all sin & harm. He mentioned nothing to me of his fall, & I am truly thankful that he has excaped serious injury. I am glad to hear that Mr Winston promises well. I fear nothing will ever be made out of Mr Nelson. What did the good Bishop say of him? I am very glad to hear that Cousin Brit is so well. She must look as pretty as ever again but I suppose her old cousin has grown so aged that she will never let him kiss her any more. He is a forlorn looking creature I can assure her. Give much love to your father. I sympathize in all his annoyances. I think Levi has treated him very badly. But hope things will mend in time. Things cannot last so always. You must also give a great deal of love to Markie, all the children, brother Childe & Marie, if with you. I hope Mary will have returned to Arlington by the time of her Uncle Childes & cousins visit, or it will appear as if she did not want to see them. Edward I presume must have returned from Cuba by this time. I have been obliged to write in much haste.

Truly & affy yours

R E Lee

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. 346 – 50.