From the 16 April 1875 issue of The New York Times.

ROBERT E. LEE ON SECESSION IN JANUARY 1861.

At the entertainment for the benefit of the Lee Memorial, in Baltimore on Saturday, Mr. S. Teackle Wallison delivered an address, in the course of which he read an extract from an unpublished letter of Gen. Lee, introducing it as follows: “And here I am permitted by the kindness of a friend to read some extracts from a letter of the illustrious soldier, which has never seen the light before, and which will show through what sad struggles of both heart and mind he passed to what he felt to be his duty. I doubt not—nay, I know that many a gallant gentleman who fought beside him, and many another in the opposing host, grieved with as deep a grief as Lee, to draw his sword. The letter that I speak of bears the date of Jan. 16, 1861, and was written from Fort Mason, near San Antonio, in Texas. It was addressed toa young lady, a relative of his, for whom he had great affection, and the passages of which I speak were written as a message to her father. Alluding to the homes of two families of friends he said:”

“I think of the occupants of both very often, and hope some day to see them again. I may have the opportunity soon, for if the Union is dissolved I shall return to Virginia to share the fortune of my people. But before so great a calamity befalls the country I hope all honorable means of maintaining the Constitution and the equal rights of the people will be first exhausted. Tell your father he must not allow Maryland to be tacked on to South Carolina before the just demands of the South have been fairly presented to the North and rejected. Then, if the rights guaranteed by the Constitution are denied us, and the citizens of one portion of the country are granted privileges not extended to the other, we can, with a clear conscience, separate. I am for maintaining all our rights, not for abandoning all for the sake of one. Our national rights, liberty at home and security abroad, our lands, navy, forts, dockyards, arsenals, and institutions of every kind. It will result in war I know, fierce, bloody war. But so will secession, for it is revolution and war at last, and cannot be otherwise, and we might as well look at it in its true character. There is a long message, A—, for your father, and a grave one, which I had not intended to put in my letter to you, but it is a subject on which my serious thoughts often turn, for as an American citizen I prize my Government and country highly, and there is no sacrifice I am not willing to make for their preservation, save that of honor. I trust there is wisdom and patriotism enough in the country to save them, for I cannot anticipate so great a calamity to the nation as the dissolution of the Union.”