<br /> Lee Letter: wl213

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Sisters of the Visitation, Letter of Solicitation

The accompanying Circular will sufficiently explain the object of this letter – but unless you were in our midst, having our opportunities of learning the extent of suffering & privations existing in our land, in families recently enjoying wealth, & every luxury it brings, you could form no idea of the necessity of this appeal. Hardly a week elapses, that we do not hear of some highly respectable family, grappling with all the mortifications of penury & altered fortunes, without means to educate their children, or applications reach us to receive them at a reduced price. Thus far, thank God! we have been enabled, in almost every instance to respond to these calls of tender & delicate charity; now however, justice to creditors warns us there must be a limit, not only to the number of our gratuitous pupils, but also to those at reduced rates. It is the realization of this painful fact that prompts our appeal to the liberal public, for the endowment in our Academy of a certain number of scholarships, for a few years only – that is, till the South shall have recovered from its present prostration. The amount thus raised, would aid the deficient means of these reduced parents, by enabling us to lower our school terms as to place them within the reach of their slender purses, or in other words, they would be allowed to draw upon this subscribed fund, as the necessity of each might require. If every one to whom we address this petition, contribute even moderately, – success will surely crown our efforts, & a great & permanent good must result. What means more effectual to heal wounds caused by our late national difficulties, than to come forward in this hour of need to the sorrowing of the South, & place within their reach those educational advantages & female accomplishments it would be the pride & delight of their parents to afford them under happier circumstances!

It will give us pleasure to place your name conspicuously on this subscription list, a perpetual record of which, shall be preserved in the archives of our Institution, that the suffering mothers of America, may learn to whom they are indebted for this boon of timely education to their daughters.

Be your offering ever so small, it will prove a solace to your friends & fellow-citizens of the South, to know that you have not been unmindful of them in the day of their visitation, & when prosperity once more dawns upon their desolated homes, your act of humanity and brotherly love on this occasion, may become the means of cementing, between the two sections of our country, a union destined to last as long as time, to be consummated in blessed eternity.

For greater security, as well as for the satisfaction of benefactors to this charity, we would suggest that contributions in the form of Bank Checks, be made payable to the order of Rt. Rev. Bishop Whelan, our ecclesiastical superior who will see these funds appropriated to the purpose designated, without regard to sect or creed. With sentiments of esteem We are

your unworthy servants In Christ

The Sisters of the Visitation


Robert E. Lee CollectionLeyburn Library, Washington and Lee University

Enclosed in Sister Mary Baptista Linton to Robert E. Lee, 10 July 1866.