<br /> Lee Letter: a042

Washington and Lee University

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

A courier from San Antonio dearest Mary has unexpectedly brought me your letters of Sept 2nd & 7th (Nos 1 & 2). They were as welcome as unlooked for, & give me the hope that you may soon be relieved from your protracted & distressing attack, as well as the assurance that at present you suffer more from inconvenience than pain. I am glad that you are able to ride about & see your friends & trust that the air & exercise may effect a perfect cure. I have great faith in the healing waters of the Virginia springs & wish you had been able to have given them a fuller trial, & gone to the White Sulphur or at least to the Berkeley springs with Aunt Maria. I however rely upon a kind Providence, who has in all things been so kind & gracious to us, still to continue his mercy & protection, & pray that in his own good time, he may restore you to perfect health. You must however do your part, & take all proper means for your own restoration,& practice every procedure & precaution to prevent its aggravation. Before going further I must dispose of the vexed question which has so often of late exercised us & I hope finally. The funds in the Br Farmers bank. By my recent letters you will have learned the whole amt: deposited there to my credit was $1156.50 & that I have forwarded to you my check for that amount viz one for $400.00 two for $200 each, one for $141.50 & one for $195.00=$1156.50. You drew $445.50 by your own checks ($258.50 / $183.00) So that there will be that deficiency to meet mine. Unless therefore you substitute my checks & withdrew all yours, I wish you would destroy such of mine as are left after the funds in bank are exhausted, as of course I wish none presented, when there are no funds to meet them. Your investment in the Alexa & Orange R.R. bonds, may be very good. I know nothing about them but presume they partake of the uncertainty pertaining to similar stock in the country, which even in thickly settled parts of the country, & on main avenues are considered hazardous. They are certainly low & I hope will be sure. I am afraid however it has left your means too limited, for after deducting the whole amount drawn out of bank by you, viz: $258.50 / $183.00 $400.00=$841.50, there only remains $295.00 for current expenses of self & children & which I cannon increase till the Jany dividends are available, & I have not heard whether the sums due in advance on account of the first terms of Anne & Agnes & Robert, have been as usual pre-paid as required & which I always have conformed to. The $295.00 however will be sufficient for these purposes, but will leave you very little for necessaries of self, Mary &c. You must always look ahead in these matters & do not deprive yourself of what it is proper for you to have or the children require for the sake of accumulating. We all have enough if our wants are tempered with that moderation which they ought to be. Riches we shall never have, nor are they desirable. I am sorry your father returned you the small amount expended on the house. It was not right he should pay for matters which he neither desired nor required. Besides he has more need of money than I have & will require all his friends I fear, to meet the balance with Nelsons account. I have heard nothing on that subject nor from Mr Winston since I last wrote on the subject. I hope your father has been about to settle upon some manager to his satisfaction & arranged things definitely with him. It would have given me much pleasure to have aided him all in my power, but now I cannot, & he must therefore not delay for my opinions, as it would retard matters too much. I have no doubt he will decide wisely. As an additional obstacle to my assistance, the Courier I have alluded to from San Antonio, brought orders for the Court to adjourn to Fort Brown (just opposite Matamoras) for the purpose of enabling the officers of the Court to go down with the troops to which they belong & be ready for embarkation to Florida. The Court therefore adjourned this Mng to meet there next Tuesday, Nov & Court, accused, witnesses & troops are to embark in the steamer for that place. Except that we hear that all the lower country is flooded by the recent rains & the roads impassable, I should saddle up & go by land, as I would be there in time, it being not more than 150 miles. The adjournment however will produce additional delay in my return to San Antonio, & if I get there by the middle of Decr I shall think myself fortunate. It therefore precludes all possibility of reference to me. I am extremely sorry for the delay that had occurred, & that now in prospect. I had never supposed that we should have been in session more than 2 or 3 weeks, & think we might & ought to have finished by this time, even with all the obstacles, that [have] been thrown in way of proceeding. It cannot now be helped & must be endured. All is for the best, though we cannot always see it at the time. You must thank Smith for me for his handsome bowl & give much love to him, Nannie & the boys. I am glad to hear that Childe & his children are coming to America, & hope he may go to see you & that you may be able to make them comfortable. I should like very much to see them & be with them but that is impossible. I was very glad to get his letter. Every incident respecting dear Mildred is to me doubly dear. What a flood of reminiscences & feelings death opens upon the living! They crowd upon me for hours night & day, & often feed my sweetest thoughts till dawn of day. Her recollection of me as life was ebbing fast away is sweet to me beyond expression. May she now be happy! I shall write to Childe when I get to Brownsville. I mentioned that I had before written. I recd by that courier which brought your letters one from Fitzhugh. He was at C[ambridge]. Said he was studying hard. Contented & happy. I hope the dear boy may meet with no obstacles, but finish his course with credit. I shall write to him also from B & will send his 2nd Qrs: allowance, as I perceive you will not be able to do so for want of the necessary funds. Give much love to your father, Markie, Mary, my precious life & all the children when you write. May God guard & protect you is the constant prayer of

your devotedly

R E Lee

As Fitzhugh did not mention his want of funds, I presume he got the $400. on your check. I am glad of it, & that Mr Vail thinks me so honest, for I could according to law and usage, claim this $400, then paid. As long as I retain my reason I shall not do it, so he & Mr Marbury are safe.


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. 188 – 93.