PGBC Senior Prom - Stepping Out In Elegance - August 10th

Lexington Va: 26 May 1866


My dear Robert

I recd your letter of the 9th Inst: last evg. In replying I will state at the offset that I desire you to Consider Romancoke with its appurtanances [sic] your own; to do with as you Consider most to your interest; to sell, farm or let; subject however to the conditions imposed by your Grd Fathers will, as construed by the desire of the court of appeals of Va: which declares “if the legacies are not paid off by the personal property, hires of slaves, rents, & sales of the real estate, charged with their payment at the end of five years, the portion unpaid remains a charge upon the White House & Romancoke estates, until paid, The divisus take their estates ‘cum onere’”.

The result of the war having deprived the estate of the benefit of the hire of the slaves, & the sale of Smiths Island; & the personal property having all been swept off by the Federal Armies, there is nothing left but the land of the two estates named. A Court might make some deduction from the amt: of the legacies to be paid in consideration of these circumstances, & I should think it would be fair to do so. But of that I cannot Say. Now with this understanding, make your own arrangements to Suit yourself, & as you may determine most conducive to your interests. In Confirming your action as the Executor of your Grd Father, I must however, take such measures as may be necessary to carryout the purpose of his will. I have told Fitzhugh substantially, what I have here written to you, in his relation to the White House.

If you determine to hold the estate, I think you ought to make it profitable. As to the means of doing so, you must decide for yourself. I am unable to do it for you, & might lead you astray. Therefore while always willing to give any advice in my power; in whatever you do, you must feel that the whole responsibility rests with you.

As I stated to you when here, I can let you have $1000. to improve your mill, or farm in any way you think best, free of interest; & think I will be able to add to it, after July $500, more if necessary. When you want it, write for it, & I will send a check to the care of Mr Caskie, so that you can get it when you go to Richmond.

I advise to sell the ship timber, which is cut, & such as may be standing, on the estate, & to apply the proceeds to the benefit of the farm. any fire wood, timber or lumber that you think advisable to sell & for which you can get a fair price I would advise you also to dispose of, & I particularly recommend you to take measures to cultivate your farm, if you retain it, so as to make it profitable.

The mill though profitable has always been expensive, owing as I believed to bad arrangements of the dams &c. I constantly intended, & hoped to be able, to adopt a system to remedy this, & I advise you to do so, if practicable. Study the subject & understand it yourself, & get all the information you Can.

I wish my dear Son I Could be of some advantage to you, but I can only give you my love & earnest prayers, & Commit you to the keeping of that God, who never forgets who serve Him.

May He watch over & preserve you!

Your affectionate father





Source: Photocopy of original letter, Lee Family Papers, Mss1 L51 c, Section 31, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2019 January 24  

Latin, literally meaning “with the burden.”