Lexington Va: 29 Oct 1867

My dear Genl


When I recd your letter of the 8th June, I had just returned from a short trip Bedford County, & was preparing for a more extended visit to the W. Sulphur springs for the benefit of Mrs. Lees health. As I could not write such a letter as you desired, & as you stated that you would leave New Orleans for Mexico in a week from the time you wrote, to be absent some months, I determined to delay my reply till my return. Although I have been here more than a month, I have been so occupied by necessary business & incommoded by the effects of an attack of sickness from which I have not yet recovered, that this is the first day that I have been able to write to you.

I have avoided all discussion of political questions since the cessation of hostilities & have in my own conduct & in my recommendations to others, endeavoured to conform to existing circumstances. I consider this the part of wisdom as well as of duty. But while I think we should act under the law & according to the law imposed upon us, I cannot think the course pursued by the dominant political party the best for the interests of the country, & therefore I cannot say so, or give them my approval. This is the reason why I could not comply with the request in your letter.

I am of the opinion that all who can vote, should vote for the most intelligent, honest & conscientious men eligible to office, irrespective of former party opinions, who will endeavour to make the new constitutions & the laws passed under them as beneficial as possible to the true interests, prosperity & liberty of all classes & conditions of the people.

With my best wishes for your health & happiness & my kindest regards to Mrs. Longstreet & your children.

I am with great regard

very truly & sincerely yours

R E Lee  




Source: Photocopy of original letter, Helen M. Taylor Collection, Mss1 T2144 a, Section 6, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2019 May 1