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Lexington VA: 22 Decr 1868

 

My dear brother Carter

I am sorry to learn from your letter of Richardsons difficulties - Want of funds & credit may be at the bottom of them, but I do not think rival publishing houses are the most accurate reporters of each others standing.  Richardsons own account is that he had arranged to issue the Memoirs in Nov last, but as the Presdiential Campaigns progressed, he found it increasing in bitterness to such an extent as to render it unwise to bring before the public a work from a Southerner at that time, & as the month of Decr & Jany are not favorable to publications of works to be sold by subscription he had concluded to defer the day of issue to March.  The true reasons however may be found in the statements you make, or in not having yet pursued a long subscription list.  He says however that illustrations for the work are nearly finished.  Marion Crossing the Pedee is beautifully engraved on steel.  The Surrender of Cornwallis will be done in the same style.  He thinks it will be advisable to insert in the book but one portrait of our father, for if that is exceeded, there should be several, which will increase (page 2) its cost.  I myself think that it would add greatly to the interest of the work to have portraits of the principal  actors - Green, Cornwallis, Williams, Howard (?) etc. though it will necessarily enhance the price, & in a measure limit its circulation.  He says he has arranged to have engraved the original manuscript maps of Charleston, Savannah & Camden prepared under the direction of Genl Greene, which have been kindly loaned by H. B. Dawson.  He thinks it would also be desirable to have a general map of the Southern Dept: What is your opinion on these several points?  It is a great pity there are so many errors in the the Lee family.  It is handsomely executed, but will never reach a second addition so they cannot be corrected.  I think your sister Mary read over Mr Meads manuscript & it is wonderful they should have scaped her; though her attention is so distracted by pain & suffering that is wonderful she can fix it upon anything.

I am glad that you have been able to make some satisfactory arrangement about the spring.  The new work when completed, if good, will bring it within a reasonable distance of the R. R. & in time I hope it will attract popular attention.  But do not count my dear brother upon large revenue from them or the sale (page 3) of the Memoirs - For if you do I fear you will be disappointed.  Rely upon your own work & management, & upon the work of your fine boys.  Your riches consist in your children.  George I hope will make a fine farmer.  Henry is doing pretty well & will improve I trust.  His eyes give him little trouble now he says.  He is more prudent in his diet than heretofore & looks very well & is able to study more.

We are all very well, & I should say as usual.  Mildred I hope has recovered.  Her head is nude of hair but is as full as ever of fastness - Tell little M_ I wish she was here with us.  There is to be a grand Xmas tree in the church for all the children of the Congregation: & I am sure a branch of it, if she were present, would bend with the weight of fruit for her - I enclose $5. With which she must get something for herself, Catharine, Carter & Robert, that they may think of Xmas -

We hope our son Robert will get up to see us.  All unite with me in much love to you, & all with you, and I am as ever your affectionate brother

R E Lee

C. C. Lee Esqr