<br /> Lee Letter: v047

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: Charles Carter Lee

My dear Carter

Before going to New London I rec – d your letter of the 29 ditto on the subject of the value of our Floyd land, & on my return Saturday night I found one from Smith, stating that you had written to him that Mr. Burwell was now desirous of purchasing said land & advising of the terms etc.

The price offered by our Uncle B. about 50 c per acre, sounds very low, yet if it is all the land is worth, & I have no other means of forming an estimate except from your opinion, it cannot be helped. At any rate I am willing to take $2500 for my share on your representation, & if it is not convenient for him to pay down the money, I would wait for three, or not more than five years for the principal provided he could pay the interest annually.

As regards the payments, you know my movements – Stations are so uncertain, that it would be very inconvenient for both parties to arrange them in the ordinary way. Smiths whereabouts are as uncertain as mine. Could not the interest be therefore paid at the Bank of Virginia in Richmond or any other if more convenient to Mr B? In that case the Bond must be drawn accordingly The interest payable annually on the [     ] of each year at the office of the Bank of Virg – a in the City of Richmond until payment of the principal sum; which principal sum will be due & payable upon the presentation & delivery of the Bond at the same office [     ] years from the said [     ] 18 ub.

We could then deposit the Bonds with the Cashier of the Bank whose receipt for the interest would I suppose be good for Mr. B. & when he wished to take up the bonds, by depositing the amount of the principal to our credit he could receive them.

See if you cannot make that arrangement. My chief reason in wishing to sell is that I may apply the interest to aid in educating my children & indeed the principal too if necessary. As I believe it will be more profitable to them in that way now than the land will be to them hereafter. If therefore I cannot calculate with some certainity upon the proceeds, & make arrangements for its application in the event of my absence etc the advantages of the Sale will be lost to me.

My pay seems to decrease as my children increase. The first has been reduced to $1350. & the second raised to 7. See how little way the former will go with the latter & of the necessity of augmenting it even in this small way.

If Smith agrees to sell, you can draw up the necessary deeds etc for our signature & the Bonds for Mr B. You two can sign the deed & then send it to me & I will remit it to Mr B. with our signature Mr B. can also send to each of us the bond after he has signed them & I suppose the matter will be closed.

As to the security for payment you must arrange that. Mary & the children, at least four them have arrived. I intended to carry Wm to school at Stamford but he has been troubled with an irruption in his head poor fellow which has been very slow in yielding to remedies & though it is now nearly well yet as the Dr – says it requires constant attention yet awhile, he advises that he be retained at home till Fall. The rest of them are all well. They regretted very much not having seen you last Winter, & I was particularly disapp – d at missing you. I had expected to have joined the Army on the Rio Grande but the battles of the 9 & 10 so turned affairs in that quarter that they thought I had make preparations in this section for the English. Our difficulties with Great Britain being now settled, as soon as I can close the works here which will not be before Winter, I expect to join the Army. What a pity Genl Scott so committed himself in his letter of the 21 to the Secr. I am afraid it has ruined him. I saw Anne & Marshall on Saturday, on their way to West Point to see Louis. Anne was much better & with the assistance of my arm walked from the Boat to the Carriage. They will spend a week a W.P. & then come here. Louis has passed his Examination. He is 56 in Mathematics, 2 in French & 35 in English grammar. There are 60 in his Class. I am afraid he has been lazy & has not attended to the regulations etc as he ought. He has however done nothing immoral or criminal & I am in hopes will do better next year. At least he promises so.

I get letters from Childe every now & then. They are all as well as usual. They have gone into the Country about 9 leagues from Paris, for the Summer. Childe wrote that he intended to go up on the Rhine & attempt the Water Cure. He would take Edw – d with him. This rendered it impossible for him to return to America this Summer, but he hoped to do so the next. The truth is they will never return if they can avoid it. Mildred never will & dreads the very idea of it. Childe gets – & thinks he would be better pleased in this Country but when he prepares to put it in practice he finds himself mistaken & then defers it till another season, or if he comes over to this Country to make preparations he misses so many luxuries & pleasures that he is accustomed to, that he is sure to return in the next Steamer. All this is very natural & so long as they are happier there then here must be submitted to. Perhaps you have not heard that Mrs Francis Butler has arrived in VA with her two daughters & youngest son. They are now in the District but will no doubt soon be at Audley. Mary saw her in Baltimore on her way here. She says her second daughter is very pretty.

I wish you could do something with your Spring. But without some capital it will be difficult & how to get that capital will be hard. Mary & the children send much love & I remain as always your

Affectionate brother

R E Lee

Notes:

Lee PapersUniversity of Virginia Archives

The fourth page is used as an envelope and addressed “To C. C. Lee Esqr, Counsellor at Law, Moorefield VA:” The return address is “Fort Hamilton, NY. 16 July.”