Robert E. Lee

Joseph Schwess

U.S. Mil: Acady. West Point

3rd Feby 1855


I have had the honour to receive your letter of the 2nd Inst. on the study of languages.

The difficulties of acquiring a correct knowledge of a foreign language, so familiar to you; must accord with the experience of all who have attempted it; & the advantages of such a lexicon as you have in view, must be apparent to those who have studied the subject.

As regards your proposition to deliver a lecture to the Officers & Cadets of the Mil. Acady. on the natural relation of the Latin, French & English languages—I have to state that there is no fund at my disposal out of which you could be remunerated for your time & trouble. The funds appropriated by Congress for the support of the Acady. cannot be diverted from the objects contemplated by the Law, which only provides for the instruction by the Professors appointed for the purpose. The time of the Cadets too during the academic term is entirely absorbed in their regular instruction & Saturday evening, devoted to rest & recreation, is the only time in the week unoccupied. Any arrangement you may make to lecture to the Professors & Officers of the Acady., which is entirely optional with them, will be agreeable to me.

I am very respfy., Yr. Obedt. Servt.Signed/ R. E. Lee Br. Col.
Supt. Mil. Acady.

Superintendent’s Daily Correspondence
United States Military Academy

Superintendent’s Letter Book No. 3, p. 183. Addressed “Prof. Joseph Schwess Mechanics Institute No. 1 Bowery New York.”