Lexington Va: 16 Feby 1869


My dear Nephew,


     I hope by this time that your mind has sufficiently recovered its equilibrium from the pleasing & absorbing occurrences of the past two months, to enable you to read a letter from your old Uncle. I have waited for a time at which I might be heard, when you could have recd the many congratulations, oral & epistolary of your friends. None I assure you can be more sincere, more heartfelt, than those you now receive. I am very glad that your Sister Florence was present at your wedding. It must have been grateful to both of you to have felt the sympathy of each other. I do not agree with you my your opinion, that you are unfortunate in Knowing about one half of the population of any place you visit. It shows that you are esteemed & appreciative & your Society desired, which is rather to be wished for than objected to. Now that you have so bright a companion to take part in your receptions, & will have the benefit of reflective as well as original light, you may expect greater attentions & be prepared for more numerous visitors. You will find I hope that you will enjoy more “quiet” thereby. I hope that the genial climate of Cannes & the pleasing association of its citizens will soon restore my niece to perfect health & that you will both return to Paris in whist & Confirmed health, I cannot tell you anything of the copy of the Lee Genealogy you sent your uncle Smith. He has said nothing about it in his letters, but I have but little doubt that it reached him. The mails are slow in his section, but tolerably sure, I have already informed you that everything you were so Kind as to send us arrived safely & gave much pleasure. I have particularly enjoyed the Shakespeare. I have recd subsequently to my last letter a reading lamp from Boston which I presume was sent by your direction, through no letter accompd it. I am very much obliged to you for it. I thought I would not unpack or sit it up, till we get in our new house, as I have one for my especial reading which is very pleasant & Comfortable. You have probably seen before this the proclamation of Pres: Johnson about which you inquire. The only settled construction of it as yet is the quashing of all prosecution against Mr. Davis and others against whom proceedings had been institutive, & the restoration of those who had been obliged to leave the County. Congress by express laws & the Legislatures of the reconstructed States as they are called, by their acts, have imposed disfranchisement upon the late Confederates & their property that was sold by the Government is still withheld. Although Republican forms of Govt: are not now in good repute, they still have my preference over all others. In the case of America it was not the form of Government that was at fault, but its administration: not the Constitution but the people. The former was too pure for the latter. It requires a virtuous people to support a republican government & the world has not yet I fear reached the proper standard of morality & integrity to live under the rule of religious & reason. But the time I believe will come, though I shall never see it. Spain I think showed her wisdom in adopting a constitutional monarchy. I hope she will establish prospective & gradual emancipation in Cuba, & recognize there the rights of all Citizens which will give peace to that Island. We are all about as you left us. Your Aunt I hope is progressing comfortably through the winter & that the advent of warm weather will enable her to resort to some of the healing waters in our vicinity which always produces certain relief & seems to invigorate her shattered constitution. Mary whom you may have heard had gone to Richmond in a visit has made an unexpected trip to New York. I yesterday recd the pleasing intelligence from Fitzhugh of the birth of a son. Mother & child doing well. All write with me in love. With my best wishes for your happiness. I remain your affectionate. Uncle


R E Lee


Mr Edwd L. Childe



The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 4, M2009.371 , Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall


Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2015 September 30