This Week in History: February 14

Vir­gini­a’s moth­er, Lucy, had giv­en Robert and Vir­ginia per­mis­sion to mar­ry after Vir­ginia turned 18. From the looks of this let­ter, Vir­ginia called off the upcom­ing nup­tials, even after a wed­ding date had been select­ed. Now, poor heart­bro­ken Robert’s try­ing to get her back. Grab the tis­sue; this gets pret­ty sap­py. Hap­py Valen­tine’s Day from Camp­bell House.

Miss Vir­ginia J. Kyle

[Resent] Mrs. Robert Campbell
St. Louis

Saint Louis Decem­ber 20th 1840

My Beloved Virginia,

Although I have not writ­ten you for near­ly a year, you have been the subject

Vir­ginia Camp­bell, cir­ca 1852

of my con­stant thoughts — I can safe­ly say that you have nev­er been an hour from my mind when I was free from the excite­ment of busi­ness — your image my dear­est Vir­ginia is ever present to my mind as when we sat locked in each oth­ers embrace plan­ning our hap­py future when you would become entire­ly my own. I can­not for­get you if I would and I would not if I could.

My dear­est Vir­ginia let us both for­get all the unpleas­ant occur­rences that have tak­en place since we part­ed — let us look for­ward to the future with the hope of enjoy­ing in each oth­ers soci­ety all the plea­sures that a hap­py wed­ded cou­ple are sure to expe­ri­ence.  Give me dear­est Vir­ginia the priv­i­lege of vis­it­ing you either in Raleigh or any oth­er place you may des­ig­nate and I promise you that what ever may be your deci­sion after we have been in each oth­ers soci­ety a few hours, that deci­sion shall be bind­ing — all I ask is to have the priv­i­lege of renew­ing my claims in your pres­ence and that you meet me free of prej­u­dice and I have every con­fi­dence and hope in the result.  I believe my Vir­ginia you are too kind and just to deny me this request — the time was when you denied me nothing.

I have nev­er sought the influ­ence of anoth­er to bias your judg­ment since first we met.  I would still depend on your deci­sion soon­er than gain your love by indi­rect means, and with you my Vir­ginia have enlivened and made hap­py the bright­est por­tion of my life and it is now in your pow­er to make me for­ev­er hap­py — or wretched.

Robert Camp­bell, cir­ca 1850

I have often endeav­ored to con­jec­ture what were your real feel­ings and whether you do not, even in the pres­ence of those who endeav­or to make them­selves most agree­able to you, some­times think of the hap­py hours when you sat in my embrace and vowed that no pow­er on earth should sep­a­rate us, nor pre­vent our union.

Do you rec­ol­lect when you told me that you had prayed to the Throne of Grace for a bless­ing on our union, and that you hoped your prayers were heard, and asked me to join you in mak­ing a sim­i­lar prayer?  I can­not believe my Vir­ginia that you do not regret the course you have pur­sued to me, and I have some­times thought that you would for­give me, if, con­trary to your express com­mand in ban­ish­ing me from your pres­ence, I would go to see you again — the fear how­ev­er of meet­ing you with a could on that  love­ly face that beamed with such angel­ic smile on me before we part­ed has deterred me.  With you my Vir­ginia the paths of life would be strewed with flow­ers — with­out you the world is to me a desert.  You will know dear Vir­ginia that none can ever love you with the con­stan­cy and devo­tion that I love you.

When we part­ed my Vir­ginia you were my affi­anced bride — the day on which you had agreed to become mine was named, and yet with­out assign­ing any just rea­son for a change you  refused to ful­fill your engage­ment and for­bid me to meet you.  Was this fair or was it just?

The ring and the lock­et con­tain­ing your hair, which you gave me as tokens of unal­ter­able love and con­stan­cy, I have worn since the day we part­ed — your let­ters I perused so often that there is not a word you have writ­ten that is not impressed on my heart in indeli­ble char­ac­ters — your words — your very looks and your most minute actions are trea­sured in my bosom — In short dear­est Vir­ginia I live for you.

Present my respect and kind remem­brances to your good moth­er, I hope she will act as your advi­sor and as my friend.  I can promise her that every­thing the fond­est hus­band can do, will be done to pro­mote the hap­pi­ness of her love­ly daugh­ter.  Give my love to my kind friend Ellen — thank her for me for her repeat­ed kind acts and expressions.

In the course of a few days I expect to start for Philadel­phia and will expect my beloved Vir­ginia to receive from you on my arrival a let­ter in reply to this.  You had bet­ter direct to care H&A Camp­bell & Co. which will ensure its imme­di­ate deliv­ery.  A year has near­ly flown since you were to have been my bride — do not my beloved one make any fur­ther delay, but the hap­py day when you will come to my heart as my own and I promise you to be ever your lov­ing and devot­ed husband.

Robert Camp­bell

[Side of first page] My dear­est Vir­ginia write me a long let­ter and tell me all you think of respect­ing your­self that will ever  be to me the most wel­come sub­ject.  I can say lit­tle that would be cal­cu­lat­ed to inter­est you — my busi­ness has been pros­per­ous — if it had not been so I would nev­er solic­it your hand.  I believe I can on your arrival here intro­duce you into as good soci­ety as you will meet any­where — and oh my Vir­ginia with what pride and plea­sure I will do so you alone can imag­ine who knows the ardor of my love.

[Side of sec­ond page] Do you write to Mary Mar­garet or Bessie?  I hope you do, although cir­cum­stances have caused a restraint.   You are beloved by all of them.

God bless you my Beloved Vir­ginia, R.C.

[Writ­ten for 2nd address in Lucy’s hand­writ­ing, top of front cover]

My dear Vir­ginia, like moth­er Eve I have been tempt­ed to open this let­ter.  If Robert should not be present I know you will be very angry but as he will hand it to you, I know you will not risk his good opin­ion by show­ing it, I saw it adver­tised, also one for Mrs. Robert Camp­bell, I sent for both imme­di­ate­ly and was almost angry enough with Mr. Scot to have him put out of office if in my pow­er I send you the paper you will see then adver­tised the oth­er was from Ann Wil­son in reply to yours and writ­ten on the 25 Feb. It is not worth send­ing at this late date, you will per­ceive how the Raleigh peo­ple mourned for the Pres­i­dent if you were here.  I know you would have a piece of crepe tied round your arm too such a good Whig, I have not had a line from you since you left Pitts­burgh to say whether you were alive or dead.   I have felt very anx­ious for the last week, with a great deal of love to Mr. Robert Campbell.