<br /> Lee Letter: v046

Washington and Lee University

Sender: R. E. Lee
Recipient: Charles Carter Lee

My dear Carter

A day or two after I last wrote to you I rec – d orders to repair to New Port on some temporary duty whence I have just returned & have rec – d your letter of the 2nd Inst. The Hardy lands are on a less satisfactory footing than I ever supposed. Mr. Gay has not acted towards you in good faith. After making the arrangement you speak of with the knowledge of his want of power to relinquish the right of certain of Mr. Cleys heirs to the purchase money or its equivalent, the least he could have done at the time of perfecting the measure when his want of authority became known, was to have taken upon himself the responsibility of the act & given you bonds of indemnity in case of the appearance of these missing heirs. You say suppose they do appear, how long would it not take them to prove their kinship, & how happy would they not be to compound their difficulties by giving us time to pay? On the other hand what is to prevent payment of these bonds being demanded on maturity even in the event of the non appearance of these heirs. There is nothing on their face to prevent it & when they get out of your hands there is no saying into whose they may fall. This is what I first objected to & this is what I object to now. I had much rather send you the money for the whole amount, if I had it, than these bonds. I can be content to be poor, with the knowledge of being able to pay my debts & that no one has a just claim upon me that I cannot meet, but I cannot bear to enter into engagements without a certainty of being able to fulfill them. My wants I can always restrict within my means & the step I now take is peculiarly disagreeable to me. I only do it out of regard to you (for myself I would not do it) & to enable you to make the arrangement you think so desirous, which otherwise perhaps you would not have time to perfect. But it is with the understanding that you afterwards make some other arrangement by which you can lift these bonds & return them to me. (do not destroy them) & which you will be able to do, as you will then have in your own name & possession 3/4 of the whole property, which you say is worth $30,000.

I also send you the $100. which I can ill part with & which I had prepared to send with Custis the 1st of next month, in payment of the first instalment for his tuition which then becomes due. Supposing the property to be worth as you say $30,000. (If you will set it up to auction tomorrow you will it will not bring it) Three fourths of it, or $22,500. belongs to us. One seventh of which, or $3,214.28 is my portion. If you will now cast up what I have been taxed on all of it you will find it is beyond my share & at a high interest for the principal. I enclose two $50 notes of the Farmers Bank of Virginia at Winchester, one G. N-o 5313 dated Richmond 8 May 1835, the other G. N-o 3840 dated Richmond 4 Feb – y 1834 – Both signed Wm Nekeins Cash – r & P. N. Nicholas Pres:

Mary & the boys send much love & I remain your

Very Affectionate brother

R E Lee

Smith is aboard the Independence, Comm: Stewart, belonging to the Home Squadron & will cruise off the coast, probably to the East, for 2 or 3 months –

Notes:

Lee PapersUniversity of Virginia Archives

This letter is addressed “Charles Carter Lee Esqr, Counsellor at Law, Moorefield, Virginia.” The return address is “Fort Hamilton, N.Y. 18 Aug 1843.” The amount of postage was “.75.” The address, etc., is written on page four of the letter. Eight inches of the leaf comprising page one and two were cut off of the stationery before this letter was started. A full size sheet of this stationery is ten inches long by fifteen inches wide, or folded in half as is done, 7¾ inches wide.