New York, March 4th 1874.
My Dear Sir,
I have the honor to acknowledge your communication of the 1st ulto.: advising me of the compliment conferred by the Literary Societies of Washington and Lee University in selecting me to address them on the 25th of June next. Their choice is appreciated as a distinction. The kindness of my esteemed friend Professor John Randolph Tucker in expressing his approval and seconding the invitation with his own tender of his individual courtesies added a strong inducement to my acceptance; and but for impediments not in my power to remove I would gladly avail myself of your favor.
The delay which has occurred in giving this reply will I trust be excused as it originated in a desire to give a response more agreeable to the sentiment on the part of yourself and your associates for your expression of which I feel greatly indebted.
It is with extreme pleasure that I have observed here during the past month an awakening from temporary torpor of admiration and reverence for the great man whose name holds the first place in the title of your University as in the roll of honor. Though it should involve some tumultuary iconoclasm, I shall not regret if a similar return to sound taste and true american feeling should ere long excite in Northern bosoms a readiness to unite with you in duly honoring the name, which your University has consecrated as second only to that which must ever remain the first.
With great respect and esteem
I remain, my Dear Sir,
To Roger A. Pryor Junior Esqre
Source: The Archives of the Robert E. Lee Memorial Foundation, Papers of the Lee Family, Box 4, M2009.406
Transcribed by Caitlin Connelly, 2016 May 26