Lexington Va, 5 Jany 1867


My dear Edward,


     Your letter of last August has been before me a long time, but Could you See the mass of others on my table, you would wonder how I ever reached it. It has not however been overlooked, & the writer is always present to my memory. It was with regret that I read the letter of the Revd Mr. Stuart to the Editor of the times, which you were Kind enough to send me. I neither admired the time or manner of his application to the British people; but on reference to the Committee of the B[oar]d of trustees from whom he had recd his instructions, I learned that he was recalled from Europe, & did not therefore think it worthwhile to take advantage of your kind offer to cause any correction to be inserted in the Times. I have no desire to figure in the papers & as Mr. Stuart had exonerated me from any participation or Knowledge of his act, I thought it best to let him alone. I am glad to hear that you propose visiting America next Summer. You must Come to Lexington, though it will be a rough change to you, till you Can enjoy the beautiful mountains & pure air. Nature has been very bountiful, though man has been so derelict. Robert is on a visit to us. Fitzhugh is detained at his home by business which requires his presence. He will come later I hope. They both have made a support the last year, & hope this year to extend their operations a little. It will require some years of continued prosperity to devote them to Comfort. Your Aunt enjoyed some relief from her visit to the Baths last Summer, & has been freer from pain until the present Cold period, which has increased her discomfort. Winter has reigned in this region for some weeks. The thermometer is about zero, the ground Covered with Snow, & the mountains rear their white tops in every direction as far as the eye can reach, as monuments of Cold. Custis has been elected president of the State College in Maryland, but being unable to leave his present position at the Institute till the Close of the session, Ins, has declined it. Mildred is on a visit to the E. S. [Eastern Shore] of Maryland, with the Goldsboroughs; & as she intends visiting some friends in Baltimore & Richmond during her absence, she will hardly return to us before spring. Mary & Agnes are well & enjoy the quiet of Lexington Society. Your Uncle Smith resides on a farm on the Potomac just above the mouth of Aquia Creek. Several of his boys are with him. Henry is in Georgia. Smith still in S. America & Robert is here with me, attending College, They are all well. Your Uncle Carter has all his children with him in Powhatan, on James river, except the eldest George, who is also with me, attending College. I hear that your Uncle Marshall has returned to Baltimore & to the practice of Law, Mr. Robert Hoffman I believe is well. The papers inform you of our political condition. I wish I could give you a cheering account of things. The Conservatives are too weak to resist successfully the radicals, who have every thing their own way, & I fear will destroy the Country. I trust that the good sense of the people will yet save it. The tendency seems to be to one vast Government, sure to become aggressive abroad & despotic at home; & I fear will follow that road, which history tell us, all such Republics have trod, Might is believed to be right, & the popular Clamor, the voice of God. We must arm ourselves with patience & endurance. All unite in much love & I am most truly your Uncle,

R E Lee

Mr. Edward L. Childe    


Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 4, M.2009.345, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 September 24