ARIZARD-L ArchivesArchiver > ARIZARD > 2006-01 > 1136680225
From: "Vera Reeves" <>
Subject: Robert E. Lee
Date: Sat, 7 Jan 2006 18:30:25 -0600
Melbourne Arkansas Friday Jan 28, 1921
Robert E. Lee Admonished Son To Be Always Frank.
Yellow with age, but still plainly legible, an interesting autograph letter from Gen. Robert E. Lee to his son, G. W. Curtis Lee and dated Arlington House, April 5, 1852, has been unearthed at Hattiesburg, Miss., by W. T. Cubley. The letter follows:
"My dear Son: Your letters breathe a spirit of frankness. They have given myself and your mother great pleasure. You must study to be frank with the world; frankness is the child of honesty and courage. Say what you mean to do on every occasion and take it for granted you mean to do right. If a friend asks a favor you should grant it if it is reasonable. If not tell him plainly why you can not. You will wrong him and you will wrong yourself by equivocation of any kind.
Never do a wrong thing to make a friend or to keep one. The man who requires you to do so is dearly purchased at a sacrifice. Deal kindly but firmly with your classmates and you will find it the policy that will wear best.
Above all do not appear to others what you are not. If you have any fault to find with anyone, tell him, not others, of that complain.There is no more dangerous experiment than that of undertaking to be one thing before a man's face and another behind his back. We should live, act and say nothing to injury anyone. It is not only best as a matter of principle, but it is the path to peace and honor.
In regard to duty, let me, in conclusion of this hasty letter, inform you that nearly 100 years ago there was a day of gloom and darkness, still known as the dark day -- a day when the light of the sun was slowly estinguianed as by an eclipse. The Legislature of Connecticut was in session and as the members saw the unexpected darkness coming on, they shared in the general awe and terror. It was supposed by many that the last day -- the day of judgment -- had come.
Some one, in the consternation of the hour, moved an adjournment. Then there arose an old Puritan legislator, Davenport Stanford, who said that if the last day had come he desired to be found at his place of duty and therefore he moved that candles be brought so that the House could processed with its duty.
There was quietness in that man's mind -- The quietness of heavenly wisdom -- and inflexible willingness to obey present duty. Duty, then in the sublimes word in our language. Do your duty in all things like the old puritan. You can do more. You should never wish to do less. You should never let me and you mother wear one gray hair for any lack of duty on your part."
Your affectionate father, R. E. Lee