<br /> Lee Letter: wl181

Washington and Lee University

Sender: T. Lawley
Recipient: G. A. Myers

My dear Friend

I received you delightful letter of Ap. 15 a few days ago, & in scribbling those few lines to acknowledge & heartily to thank you for it. I wish you to understand that I propose now to do nothing more than simply to lose no time in replying to that portion of your letter which demands immediate attention Of course, I refer to your inquiry respecting Dear General Lee’s intended memoirs: in which you do me no more than justice in believing that I take the warmest & historical interest. Very shortly after the receipt of your letter, I called upon Mr Blackwood, the eminent Publisher of Edinburgh & of Postmaster Row; who has, of all English Publishers but the firmest, truest, & most consistent of friends to the Confederate cause. He, immdy, upon my opening to him the subject which brought me into his presence, expressed his entire wish to assist in any possible way, to be of service to you, Sir, for whom he expressed a regard & admiration which would have done credit within yourself or myself. But he explained to me that for a foreigner to obtain by publishing a Book in England the protection of Copyright is a difficult thing. The position is still undecided & at this moment upon this subject “<illegible> – his est”; but Blackwood thinks it undesirable for Gen. Lee to subject a Book which like his will excite general interest in England to the war. Vanity & ambiguity which attaches at this moment to books published under their circd. . . . What Blackwood suggest is that Gen Lee should (as you instruct to be his intention) just list his memoirs in America with the help under the auspices of Richardson: & that he should simultaneously publish the same memoirs in England, edited by an Englishman. You or Southern <illegible> – that all that Richardson could get by selling the advanced sheets of Gen. Lee’s Book to an English publisher would be an insignificant sum; say some $200 or $250 in gold: Whereas by publishing as Blackwood suggests, an Editor for America through Richardson & on Editors for England, through Blackwood & with the protection of an English Editor for his work here. The full price which such a Book would bring in America & also the same in England – It is of course impossible for Blackwood to say without having seen the Book & without any knowledge of its length, & nature what price he is prepared to offer for it. But I may safely assure you that for him could not trust himself to a more high minded & honorable man than John Blackwood. Whatever it is possible to give for the memoirs, viewed through the kindest & most sympathetic of <illegible> Blackwood will I am assured, be prepared to give. I hardly know whether to suggest that Sir Lee should have his Book copied out in duplicate by hand or whether it would be better to <illegible> Richardson to forward the first copy that is struck off to me here with a view to my communicating with Blackwood. Of course if Gen Lee entertains this proposal he should delay Richardson’s publication of the book in America until an answer has been received from Blackwood after he has seen the work. I hope that I have made my self sufficiently intelligible: but I ought not forget to <illegible> that Blackwood suggests that the English Editor it be Lt. Col: Hamley, a well known & admirable writer & a gentleman of high character, who has just published a Book on the Rules of War – & who is one of the heartiest admirers of Gen: Lee that can any where be found.

Hamley might in some slight particulars alter & retouch the Book without in the slightest degree transposing with the sense or facts; but so as to adapt it rather more to the English taste; but in this of course he ants to be guided by the wishes expressed by Gen Lee or by yourself.

All that I would say in conclusion is, send the book to me either in print or in M.S. without delay: & retard Richardson’s issue of it in America until you have heard what Blackwood, after seeing it, will give for it in England, protected by an English Editor. You know what pleasure it will give me to be of the slightest aid to on whom I respect & esteem Gen: Lee. The enclosed letter from Benjamin just arrived will interest you. My warm love to all and for your self.

Ever your very sincere Friend

T. Lawley

Notes:

Robert E. Lee CollectionLeyburn Library, Washington and Lee University

Myers enclosed this letter in his to Robert E. Lee of 11 June 1866.