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West Point Va

Nov 10th 1890


My dear Mr Brock1

Your kind favor of 6th inst is duly to hand. Your favourable opinion of me is much more than I deserve, but nonetheless pleasant on that account.

I have just written to Mrs Bagby & bared, my utmost soul, as far as relics are concerned, to her. I have told her all

I would like very much to leave them in safe hands as I am about to leave my home for ever, nor do I expect I’ll ever have another, that is a home as I was brought up to consider a home ought to be.2 I also told her that, if she considered anything which once belonged to Genl REL in light of a relic to be preserved & suitable to her society, I had several which I would hand over to her when she was organized & ready. I see by the papers that I had offered the bedstead on wh[ich] George W. died. That is a mistake, a very natural one. The bedstead is at Mt Vernon loaned to that association by my brother Custis. I have the “feather bed” & hair mattress, which was the old fashioned way of providing for one’s rest. But if you care to know it all, see Mrs Bagby & see my letter.

There is living in this county at Ayletts P.O. a Mr Spottswood Pollard, who is a connection of or descendent of the Dandridges therefore a relative of Mrs Washington. I leave always understood that he had a great many old pictures & curios of the last century, relating to the Dandridges & Spottswood &c. Mind, I have only understood so, I don’t know it. His house was burned down about a year ago, & they may have been destroyed, if he had them. I know he is very poor & I think would be glad to part with some of them, for the consideration, in order that he himself might continue to exist & that these old relics of a bygone time might be preserved. This is a suggestion. I did not make it to Mrs Bagby. But you might, if you thought fit, look into it. Col Wm R Aylett, or Ayletts P.O. King Wm Co. Va could I presume inform you if it were worth your trouble.

I have two old books which I suggested to Mrs B. But I don’t know that the society would care to deal in that line of goods (as our drummer says). Viz “A Collection of All the Acts of Assembly, Now in Force in the Colony of Virginia. With the Title of Such as are Expressed or Repealed and Notes in the Margin showing how & at what time they were Repeal’d Examin’d with the Records by a ? appointed for that Purpose”

Published at Williamsburg by William Parks M,DCC, XXXIII

Also. “Maps Plans Views & Corres Illustrations of the Travels of Anacharsis the Younger, in Greece during the Middle of the Fourth Century before the Christian Era.” London M, DCC, XCIII.

Now I am not much of a bookist, but I thought these books had laid around loose about long enough to have become interesting to some. There is no use keeping them “purdue” any longer. If Mrs B doesn’t want them I am writing to give them to the State or any other respectable relic shops. I have also a lot of old books from Arlington, some having belonged I think to Mrs Washington’s first husband John Custis. If they are any good as relics to be presented let me know. There is no use packing them up & carrying them around the world. Could I sell them at some of these old bookstores, I would rather not do that, but but [sic] I may be compelled to do so in self defense. If there any more remains on any subject don’t ask me. I enjoyed the one we were at together more than I did any in my life, but my insides are not calculated for anything of that kind & I have been very ill ever since. Only to day do I feel as if I could go on another one. I think they should be stopped by law, ten years after the event. What do you think of the “untempered Democracy”

The American Nation is safe for some years to come. The people wont stand some things

Very truly yours

R E Lee

Thanks for my brothers picture





1. Robert Alonzo Brock (1839-1914), was a native of Richmond. He served in the Confederate army and later worked at the Virginia Historical Society. He died and was buried in Richmond.

2. Lee did move to Washington, D.C., where he lived for a few years. But he later returned to Romancoke.




Source: Digital scan of original letter, Brock Collection, Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, California

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2018 November 1