Letter from Mrs. Robert E. Lee to Benson Lossing, dated 2nd March 1859. Single sheet white lined paper with impressed seal on upper left corner. Refers to objects she will send, and Irish celebrations. Penciled "175" on front above address, red ink marks on reverse block out sections and "sent to Mr. Savage" is also in red.
Benson Lossing was a well known historian and illustrator of the day who wrote much about the Revolutionary War. His article about Custis’s ‘Washington Treasury” was published in “Harper’s New Monthly Magazine” in 1853. The article, accompanied by illustrations made by Lossing, detailed much of Custis’s work and his collection of Washington memorabilia. It remains the most authoritative contemporary account of the collection.
Arlington 2 March 1859
My dear sir,
I am making up a small package for your friend Mr. ____ containing the miniature of my grandfather John Parke Custis painted, I think, by Peale. We have another cabinet size very much the same, as this is more portable I send it & wish it handled with great care & returned to me safely. I don’t know if there is in the family one of his wife I have only seen the portrait at Mt. Airy but possible we might introduce in the next edition should this one be successful . More picturesI have found some scraps of papers I send you from which you may gleam some passage of interest. There are many speeches as the Irish Celebrations which contain bursts of real eloquence but are otherwise so denunciatory of England that I do think it desirable to publish them at this day. I think I should be able to procure for you the speech at the ____ when the King was presented. If so I will send it by mail. I cannot find it in the house & am really disappointed that nothing more can be found here & the person I employed to examine the Intelligencer has not been eminently successful. With regard to the illustrations are not lithographs better than wood cuts & as cheap? ( I ask for information & you have some of my grandfather’s letters from which you can procure a signature if you wish it tho’ he wrote very indifferent hand. I received a letter a few days since from Mrs. Lewis (the daughter in law of my Aunt) in which she transcribes a letter of Genl Washington’s which the owners are anxious to sell to some member of the family & offer for $150.00. We have, I suppose, given away several hundred autographs & are too poor to buy one at that price.
I willgive you the letter. It is addressed “to Capt. George Deneale Clarke of Fairfax County Court”
“Mt. Vernon 19th Feby 1799
"You will please to grant a license for the marriage of Eleanor Parke Custis with Lawrence Lewis & this shall be your authority for so doing.”
“Your very humble servant
Geo W.P. Custis
If you knew any one who would like to purchase a letter at that price I expect it can be readily procured & I will inform Mrs. Lewis I thin kit very possible the owner would part with it for less, but these things are daily becoming more valuable. Mr. Lee & the girls write with me in kind regards to yourself & family.
Yours very truly,
Paper. W 20.4, L 25 cm
Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, ARHO 3701
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