How to Write Letters (Formerly The Book of Letters
Yours very sincerely and respectfully
This is the letter that Robert E. Lee, when he was president of Washington College, wrote to the father of a student who was drowned:
Washington College, Lexington, Virginia, March 19, 1868.
My dear Sir:
Before this you have learned of the affecting death of your son. I can say nothing to mitigate your grief or to relieve your sorrow: but if the sincere sympathy of his comrades and friends and of the entire community can bring you any consolation, I can assure you that you possess it in its fullest extent. When one, in the pureness and freshness of youth, before having been contaminated by sin or afflicted by misery, is called to the presence of his Merciful Creator, it must be solely for his good. As difficult as this may be for you now to recognize, I hope you will keep it constantly in your memory and take it to your comfort; pray that He who in His wise Providence has permitted this crushing sorrow may sanctify it to the happiness of all. Your son and his friend, Mr. Birely, often passed their leisure hours in rowing on the
With great regard and sincere sympathy, I am,
Most respectfully, R. E. Lee.