Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 40.djvu/108
SOUTHERN HISTORICAL SOCIETY PAPERS.
loyalty to Lee required loyalty to The Duty Letter. In the words of Dr. Gamaliel Bradford, Jr., author of Lee the American, an appreciative and discriminating psychography of General Lee: "A document so widely known as this (referring to The Duty Letter), and, as I understand it, studied and quoted constantly by thousands, is certainly worthy of being examined with the closest scrutiny. It is as if Washington's Farewell Address, or Lincoln's Gettysburg Speech, were brought into dispute."
The Duty Letter was published, as has been stated above, in the New York Sun on November 26, 1864. On December 2, 1864, it was published in the Richmond (Va.) Whig, precisely as printed in the Sun, but without being credited to the Sun, or to any other paper. And on December 16, 1864 (just two weeks after its appearance in the Whig), The Duty Letter was published in the Richmond (Va.) Sentinel, with credit to the Philadelphia Inquirer.And now comes a dramatic denouement in the history of The Duty Letter. The Sentinel, a semi-weekly publication, had printed the letter, with high praise, in its issue of Friday, De-
- In this connection, it may be permitted the writer to say that, while repudiating The Duty Letter as not written by General Lee, he yields to no one in loyalty to that great name. In the writer's opinion loyalty to Lee requires repudiation of a letter falsely masquerading under his name. If a personal allusion may be pardoned here, the writer will state that he became a student in Washington College, Lexington, Va., (now Washington and Lee University) in 1865, soon after the accession of General Lee to the Presidency, and received his degree four years later from General Lee's hands. He is, therefore, one of "General Lee's Boys," as the students of that period delighted to call themselves. The last year of General Lee's life (he died in October. 1870), the writer was an assistant professor in Washington College, reporting weekly to General Lee, and receiving his admonition and advice. His connection with Washington and Lee University continued unbroken until 1899, thus covering the whole of the twenty-six years during which General G. W. Custis Lee was President.
- Letter to the writer, July 22, 1914.
- This credit is erroneous, as a thorough search (for which I am indebted to Mr. A. Estoclet, of the editorial staff of the Inquirer), has failed to discover the letter in that paper. It was no doubt taken by the Sentinel from the Sun or the Whig.