Genl R. E. Lee
Prof. Harris writes me that certain Editorials concerning my Agency have
grieved you. I feared this and
cautioned all the Editors not to say anything that wd place you before the
public as an applicant for pecuniary favors.
Still I am myself to blame in this matter, for want of explicitness in
private statements to certain editors. For
instance I remarked to the Editors of the “Commercial” that you had stated
to me that the press of Memphis had made a very favorable reference to yr.
College and that influence by yr remark I had decided that Memphis was the point
to lead on the Endowment Effort. The
objectionable public statements upon this point were made upon this private
statement of mine
As to yr. “declining numerous offers” the trustees in forming you
that “they would have to look to yr friends to endow yr. chair” – yr.
being “driven into a cabin” etc These
were floating rumors & statements of others for which I am not responsible.
In future I shall insist upon nothing being said by friendly editors
inconsistent wk. Prof Harris’
statement of yr views & feelings in the premises.
My object in calling on you before leaving was to learn from you how far
the press might employ yr name in advocating the Endowment.
I did not explicitly ask such a statement because I thought if you had
felt and apprehension on the subject you would not have guarded me.
But Genl, the whole country knows you & no local editorials could
induce any one to believe that in lending yr. influence to the upbuilding of a
College, you were actuated by a “desire to increase your salary.”
The Southern people wish & if the Trustees will cooperate with them,
they are determined that you shall endow this College by this agency. They say there is a dignity, a delicacy & a
disinterestedness in lending yr name to such a cause that must be appreciated by
all. Moreover it is understood by
every body that there is no difficulty on yr. part in obtaining positions that
wd at once, render you wealthy, if money were a ruling end wh. you.
There is not a businessman in any commercial city that could not
abundantly afford to give you $20,000 pr. an. merely for the use of yr name as
partner in his business; at least so business men tell me.
Now, in this light how could a newspaper command public credence by
unguardedly having room for the supposition of yr. being “anxious to increase
With sincere desire that nothing more may occur to offend you
I remain, wh. great respect
Edward Payson Walton
on reverse in General Lee’s handwriting:
13 Apl ‘66
E. P. Walton
reference to “Editor
in relation to