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During the last days of February he was summoned to Washington to appearbefore a committee of Congress which was inquiring into the conditionsof things in the Southern States, with a view to passing some of theso-called reconstruction measures. His testimony was simple, direct,and dignified, and is well worth reading by all who wish to hear theplain truth. It was his first appearance in any city save Richmondsince the war, and being at a time of such political excitement, hisvisit was an occasion of absorbing interest to the crowds then in thecapital.
When in Washington, Armanda, one of the house-servants at Arlington,called on him but failed to see him. In answer to a letter from her,my father replies as follows:
"Lexington, Virginia, March 9, 1866.
"Amanda: I have received your letter of the 27th ult., and regretvery much that I did not see you when I was in Washington. I heardon returning to my room, Sunday night, that you had been to see me;and I was sorry to have missed you, for I wished to learn how youwere, and how all the people from Arlington were getting on in theworld. My interest in them is as great now as it ever was, and Isincerely wish for their happiness and prosperity. At the periodspecified in Mr. Custis's will--five years from the time of his death--I caused the liberation of all the people at Arlington, as well asthose at the White House and Romancoke, to be recorded in the HustingsCourt at Richmond; and letters of manumission to be given to thosewith whom I could communicate who desired them. In consequence ofthe war which then existed, I could do nothing more for them. I donot know why you should ask if I am angry with you. I am not awareof your having done anything to give me offense, and I hope you wouldnot say or do what was wrong. While you lived at Arlington you behavedvery well, and were attentive and faithful to your duties. I hope youwill always conduct yourself in the same manner. Wishing you health,happiness, and success in life, I am truly,
"R. E. Lee."