Lexington Va: 23 Decr 1868

My dear Mr Brown

            I am very much obliged to you for your letter of the 12th & the Kind interest you have shown in my welfare. I approve highly of your views & especially of your Cause, & feel satisfied that you will accomplish great good. I have considered Mr. Furber’s proposition, & though I believe that the establishment in Richmond by the Universal Life Insurance Compy of a branch office on the plan proposed, will be attended with much benefit; I do not think that I am the proper person for the position of Managing Director. The secure investment of the funds accruing from the Southern business, in the present Condition of our affairs seems to me would be attended with great trouble, & should be managed with great Care. In my present position I fear I should not have time, even if possessed the ability to conduct it. Life Insurance trusts I consider sacred. To hazard the property of the dead & to lose the scanty earnings of fathers & husbands, who have toiled & saved that they may leave something to their families deprived of their care & the support of their labour, is to my mind the worst of crimes. I Could not undertake such a charge unless I could see & feel that I could faithfully execute it. I have therefore felt Constrained after deliberation to decline the proposition of Mr. Furber. I trust that the Compy may select some better man for the position, for I think in proper hands it would accomplish good.

            For your interest in my behalf, & for Mr. Lancasters kind Consideration, I am very grateful. And with my thanks to both of you & to Mr. MacFarland for his Kindness, to whom I must ask you to explain the reasons of my Course.

I am very truly yours,

R E Lee

Mr. J. Wilson Brown

Source: Facsimile of original, vertical files, Jessie Ball duPont Library, Stratford Hall

Transcribed by Colin Woodward, 2016 February 8