Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee

Chapter XXIII: A Round of Visits: Letter to Doctor Buckler declining invitation to Europe

The Document

Dr. Buckler, whom my father had consulted in July, was at this time on a visit to Baltimore, having lived abroad with his family since 1866. When about to return to Paris he wrote and asked my father to accompany him.

This invitation he was obliged to decline.

"Lexington, Virginia, August 5, 1870.

"My Dear Doctor: I have just received your letter of the 4th inviting me to accompany you across the Atlantic, and I return you my cordial thanks for your kind solicitation for my health and comfort. There is no one whom I would prefer to have as a companion on the voyage, nor is there one, I am sure, who would take better care of me. But I cannot impose myself upon you. I have given you sufficient trouble already, and you must cure me on this side of the Atlantic. If you are the man I take you for, you will do so. You must present my warmest thanks to your wife for her remembrance of me and her kind offer of the hospitalities of her house. Should I ever be able to visit Europe I shall certainly accept them, but I hope she will soon return to this country and that you will bring her up to the mountains to us. We are all peaceable here now and she will find that we are not as bad as we have been reported to be, and every one will extend to her a hearty welcome, whereas Europe is now convulsed with the horrors of war or the agony of its expectancy, and I fear for a season is destined to feel the greatest calamity that can befall a people. I am pursuing your directions and hope that I am deriving benefit from them. I have made my arrangements to visit the Hot Springs, Virginia, on Monday next, as you recommended, and trust I may find relief from them. My rheumatic pains continue, but have diminished, and that in my shoulder, I think, has lessened under the application of the blister. I shall endeavour to be well by the fall. The letter you inclosed to me was from Mrs. Smith on the Hudson--and not from Mr. Henry White, as you supposed. Good-bye, my dear doctor; may you have a prosperous voyage and find your family all well on your arrival, and may your own health be entirely restored. My family unite with me in every kind wish, and I am most truly,

"Your friend,

"R. E. Lee.

"Dr. Thomas H. Buckler."

Next: To General Cooper

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How to cite this article

Lee, Robert E. jr., The Recollections & Letters of Robert E. Lee, http://www.historyofwar.org/sources/acw/lee_letters/chapter23f.html, webpage created by Rickard, J (8 June 2006),

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