their contents in fabricating the spurious letter, and that some of its sentences are taken from such genuine letters.
Thus General Custis Lee, in the letter already given, says: "It is probable that the letter in question was compiled from several letters from my father, with such additions and variations as suited the compiler's fancy." And Captain McCabe says: "I have always regarded the letter as a sort of 'cento' of odds and ends (badly put together) from Lee's genuine letters."
The same view is taken by Dr. Jones, who declares that The Duty Letter is "the product of some ingenious newspaper correspondent, who got at Arlington a number of General Lee's letters, and taking extracts from several, manufactured one to his taste."—"Life and Letters of Robert E. Lee," p. 436.
On the other hand, Captain R. E. Lee, in a letter to the writer, dated January 18, 1911, says: "There are many phrases which do not sound to me like my father." (This was written after Captain Lee had published his "Recollections and Letters" in 1904). And he adds: "I cannot conceive of the motives of anyone making up this letter from several others. If so, where are those letters he made it up from."This challenge of Captain Lee to The Compilation Theory—"If so, where are the letters he made it up from?"—has never been accepted, and his question remains unanswered, and will so remain unless letters of General Lee, not now known, shall hereafter be discovered. The Duty Letter consists of but two topics, Frankness and Duty, with the extraordinary sentence, "We should live, act, and say nothing to the injury of another," sandwiched between them. There are two letters, as we shall see later (which may have been in the hand of the forger) that suggest these topics, and whose style is imitated; but the treatment of the topics, and the language used, is wholly different from The Duty Letter. In other words, while the subjects are the same, the predicates are not. To this extent only does there seem to be foundation for The Compilation Theory; and this explanation of the contents, in part at least, of The Duty Letter,