<br /> Lee Letter: n1

Washington and Lee University
Robert E. Lee

Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte


19 Sept. 1850

My dear Mr Bonaparte

Upon the reception of Mrs Bonaparte’s letter with your postscript; I despatched a letter to Capt. Brewerton; asking if necessity did not require it, & it could be done, with justice to Jerome & the Academy; that he be allowed to retain his military appointment in the Corps, & to waive the academic appointment of asst. teacher of French. But it was too late & the deed was done. I am glad to find by your letter of the 12, that you are more reconciled to the change, which I do not think will be to his disadvantage, or will interfere with his being made Adjutant, when the necessity of his present office ceases. Perhaps you think like a sensible man, that when a thing is done, nothing remains but to make the best of it. That is right. Still I must not leave you under the impressions you entertained when you first wrote. You then seemed to be at a loss to reconcile the kind feelings, which you believed Capt. B. to entertain for Jerome, with his present appt. If the appt. of an asst. Teacher of French was necessary, it is surely a compliment to Jeromes knowledge & character, that he should be selected. That is plain. But should it be necessary to make one from his class, it would be doing him injustice, who stands first to select the second. That I would object to. And if Capt. B. believed that Jerome was the fittest person in the Corps for the situation, his duty to the Institution & justice to the cadets of the fourth class would require him to appoint him. You see now the disadvantages of having a son, whose services are necessary to the Country. This necessity may pass away with the present term. In that case, I think it very certain, that he will be restored to his mil: rank, & appd Adjutant next encampment. His present work at the Acady is however above that of his fellow Cadets, & next to the Commd Officers.

Tell Mrs Bonaparte, I had sat down to write to her, & thank her for her kind letter of the 9, which as I did not mrit, I did not expect; but the uncertainty of its finding her in Winchester, & my unwillingness that any letter for her, should be hawked about by the Postmasters, deterred me. I nevertheless am truly grateful for her kindness & duly appreciate it.

The houses in town all give indication of the return of their occupants. Windows are open, brushes are flourishing, & dust flying. Yours still retains its closed impassiveness. Mr Meredith has come back charmed with Jenny Lind, & the people here are in extacies at the announcement this morg; that the Front St. theatre, has been engaged for her performance, & that the Germania Band will again this winter, gladden them with their soft music. All the Belles of the city are said to be engaged, which has caused the belief in others of their sex, that the millenium is at hand. Mrs Lee has been much occupied in assisting one of her Virga Cousins, Miss Stuart, whom you may recollect having seen here last Spring, select her wedding paraphranalia. It is finished, & I have just been summoned to pass judgement on the dresses, that have arrived from Miss Browns.

Tell Mrs. B. I have sent her message to Custis, who will be greatly delighted at it. Rooney send his love & begs she will pardon Grace for declining her polite invitation for the 2nd Oct. at 12. She never attends the feasts of the foxes who have lost their tails. He says how you must regret the sacrifice of Nobles graceful appendage. You would now have a pair of them.

All join me in kindest regards to Mrs B. Mrs W. & yourself, & in the pleasurable expectation of the arrival of the 1st Oct. Please present me in an acceptable manner to Dr & Mrs Hoffman

& believe me very truly yours
R E Lee

Bonaparte Papers

Maryland Historical Society

Printed, William D. Hoyt, Jr., ed., “Some Personal Letters of Robert E. Lee, 1850–1858,” The Journal of Southern History, 12 (November 1946), pp. 558–60.