<br /> Lee Letter: a078

Washington and Lee University

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

Although I have nothing to relate, & nothing to say, dearest Mary, more than to repeat what I have previously written, I will yet take advantage of the opportunity of the Express, carrying the monthly reports &c to San Antonio, to send a few lines. I have not heard from you since I last wrote, & therefore have had nothing to gratify my anxiety about your condition, or my hope for your relief. I must only trust to the continuance of the favours hitherto accorded us by a merciful God, & wait as patiently as I can for the granting of my petitions, daily offered for your comfort & final recovery. In a letter recently recd from Childe, he said he learned from Cousin Anna as he passed through Alexa from Richmond, that you had been there a few hours previously from which I hope you are no worse, & are still able to ride about. Before this reaches Arlington, you ought to be at Bath, & I hope will be, though I shall still direct to Alexa. It would be a good plan for you to give your directions to the P.M. in Alexa to forward your letters wherever you may be, prepay them & charge the amount. You would thus save a week in their reception, by not having them go to Arlington to be returned, re-addressed. Childe had been down to Richmond to make arrangements to send Florence her share of her mothers Bank stock, which she desired to use in her own country. Although he took out letters of Executorship, the Banks declined transferring to him the stock, & he has written to me for powers of attorney to the cashiers respectively, to authorize them to do so. I shall have to go down somewhere within the jurisdiction of laws & courts, probably to Austin or San Antonio, two or three hundred miles, to have them properly authenticated, but it has occurred to me after all it may not be of any avail, & that it may not be lawful for me to do so. Not having with me a copy of my mothers will, I do not know the extent or limit of the trust with which I was invested by the Court of Monthly Sessions of Fairfax County. If it terminates at Mildreds death, it is incumbent upon the trustee to distribute it among the children according to the will of the mother. Edward is the only one, whose portion I could legally transfer to him. Under this latter supposition therefore my orders for the transfer of the stock would be illegal & void, & as it was formerly decided that the investment of the property could not be changed by me but must remain to fulfill the conditions of the deed of trust, I suppose it would be so decided again. In this event, I should like to relinquish the turst, & will qpply to be relieved, & let the minor children apply to the Court, for the appointment of their father or brother as trustee. I have written to Childe to this effect, & now repeat it to you, that should this be the case, viz, that under the law it is incumbent on me as trustee, to continue the trust, & distribute the property to the children, as they become of age, that you get Mr Burke or Turberville Stuart, to apply in my name to be relieved from it, at the next meeting of the Monthly Court of Sessions of Fairfax County, & let the Court appoint Mr Childe, or whomsoever the children may elect. The necessary fees for this purpose please pay. Understand that what I said is anticipatory, & that your action is to be based upon the facts & the necessity of the case. My only object being to place the property at the disposal of the children, if they are the legatees, as soon as possible. If on the contrary, the trust terminates at Mildreds death, & the property is distributable according to her will at once, & she has written it to her husband; then my orders to the respective cashiers of the Banks will be legal & effective, & the matter ended. I presume this is the case, though Childe does not say so, otherwise he would know that the powers of attorney he writes for, would not be lawful for me to execute. As you will have seen him, or he may possibly be with you when this arrives I have stated these facts for your information & guidance. Do not speak of the matter if unnecessary, still less act on them. I would not trouble you with it, but that I wish you to know all in which I am concerned. You will probably have heard from Childe the real state of the case before this reaches you, & no action of any kind be necessary.

I have reced a very pleasant letter from Custis since I last wrote. He is a dear good boy, & was rejoicing over the wise part taken by Anne & Agnes, & his sentiments on the occasion were highly gratifying to me. He was still at his Amelia Isd & gave me much Savannah news, all of which I presume is old to you. I was sorry to hear to hear from him that his friend Charley Turnbull & his father were sick. Suffers from rheumatism. He (Custis) had some twinges, & I have felt more of it this last Winter & Spring, than I hae since 1839. He told me however but little of himself, the one it would have most interested me to hear about. So I do not know what he was doing, or what were his prospects. I must now close dear Mary, with my usual messages of love to your father, Markie & all the children. I hope the next messenger will bring me letters giving good news of you & all the dear ones with you. May God bless you all

is the fervent prayers of yours devotedly

R E Lee

Mrs M. C. Lee


Ely-De-Butts 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. 355 – 58.