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Arlington November 1st 1847

After this long silence my dear friend I answer your letter as I have just heard the Austrian Minister is in Washington & hope thro’ him to find some means of conveying the Cincinnatti China to you I have searched thro the house & find our stock of the states china is reduced so low that I cannot send you a whole piece & the broken ones would give a very imperfect idea of the device. I send you a small tureen of the Cincinnatti which you must value very highly as they are getting very rare & it is almost like parting with one of my family to send it so far & present it where you think it will be most prized & valued. I send some pieces which may cut by some ingenious person & preserved in a frame & hope they will all reach you safely. Let me hear from you as soon as you receive them. I have not now time to write you a long letter. I have been most sadly occupied this summer in watching the de[ath] bed of my cousin & early playmate Mr. Lorenzo1 [letter torn] the gentleman you met at Mt. Vernon & the grand nephew of Genl Washington. I went [torn] visit at his house where I had not [torn] years & I hope was enabled to lead [torn] source of all peace & consolation. [torn] Congestion of the lungs, & has left [torn] lonely wife. My children [torn] sick too this summer but [torn] restored. & we are first away [torn]

            My two eldest boys at school we think of sending Mary to a school in Alexa I often think of you & the fine opportunities you have for improving in the fine arts of which I am so fond you must bring me one of your paintings. I hear from Mr Lee in the City of Mexico in the National palace He has been preserved by a kind Providence from a thousand dangers, & I desire to feel all the gratitude which the love & Mercy of God calls for, but alas still there is no prospect of peace, & every one seems at a loss to know what is to be done next. you can scarcely realize so far off the misery this war has occasioned, how many hearths have been made desolate; & we can as yet see no termination. I should think your friend Mr. Polk was now sufficiently glorified but I believe he is quite at a loss how to get out of the scrape. Miss Mattie Mason was married [last] week to a southerner a Mr. Rhett of Charleston ­[torn] to the one her sister married I believe I [torn] no other news to tell you. You must [torn] long letter for you have so much [torn] have not those anxieties which [torn] tho’ I endeavour to hear [torn] as possible. Mother sends you [torn] of love, & Father desires his [torn] to Mr Stiles & yourself.

            Remember us too to all the children. I suppose they will be quite foreign by the time they return. My brother Smith Lee has just got home from the Gulf much to the joy of his little family. Have you heard that Miss Catherine Mason is married to a Mr Jameson of Baltimore a widower with grown up children you must excuse this hasty letter as I wish to take over this package tomorrow & try to have it conveyed to you at once. I should have sent it before but have been from home all the summer & could not find out a safe opportunity. Tell Mr Stiles it is well he is not here [torn] to listen to the maledictions poured upon the head of our President & his advisors.       Believe me your

                                                                                                truly attached friend

                                                                                                                                    MC Lee

“Little Milly” is wonderfully sweet & Rob is quite a picture with his golden curls.


Mrs E. M. Stiles2

Care of W. H. Stiles

Chargé D’ affaires





Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 3, M2009.207

Transcribed by Caitlin Connelly, 2016 May 27


1. Lorenzo Lewis (1803-18470)

2. Eliza Anne Mackay Stiles was the wife of the US Ambassador to the Austrian Empire, William Henry Stiles.