<br /> Lee Letter: w036

Washington and Lee University

Sender: Robert E. Lee
Recipient: “My Dear Sir”

My dear Sir

I was much pleased to hear of your return to your home, & to learn by your letter of the 2nd, of the kindness & consideration with which you were treated during your visit; & of the sympathy extended to you by your former Congressional associates & friends in Washington. The conciliatory manner in which President Johnson spoke of the South, must have been particularly agreable to one, who has the interests of its people so much at heart as yourself.

I wish that spirit could become more general. It would go far to promote confidence & to calm feelings which have too long existed. The questions which for years were in dispute between the States & Genl governments, & which unhappily were not decided <by the> dictates of reason, but referred to the decision of ever having been decided against us; it is the part <illegible> done to acquiesce in the result, & of candor to recognize the fact. The interests of the State are therefore the same as those of the U. States. Its prosperity <illegible> its citizens then, appear to me too plain to admit of doubt. All should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the grevious effects of war, & to resore the blessings of peace. They should remain if possible in the Country; promote harmony & good feeling, qualify themselves to work; & <illegible> to the State & Genl <illegible>, wise & patriotic men, who will devote their abilities to the interests of the Country & the healing of all dissensions. I have invarably recommended this course, since the cessation of hostilities, & have endeavored to practice it myself.

I am very much obliged to you for the interest you have expressed, in my acceptance of the Presidency of Washington College. If I believed I could be of advantage to the youth of the Country, I should not hestitate. I have stated to the Committee of Trustees the objections which exist in my opinion to my filling the position, & will yield to their judgment. <illegible>.


Lee-Jackson CollectionLeyburn Library