An Antislavery R. E. Lee?

Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
387
You don't seem aware that Parke Custis left cash "legacies" for some of his female heirs for which the cash did not exist. Lee was stuck trying to create the cash to satisfy his father-in-law's will. That is why he tried to extend the emancipation order in the will.
That first part is true. The second is not. Here's the statement from Custis' will.

"And upon the legacies to my four granddaughters being paid, and my estates that are required to pay the said legacies, being clear of debts, then I give freedom to my slaves, the said slaves to be emancipated by my executors in such manner as to my executors may seem most expedient and proper, the said emancipation to be accomplished in not exceeding five years from the time of my decease."

The will stipulated that he should sell his estates (his land) to pay the bequests, and free his slaves as quickly as he could. Lee did not sell any of Custis's estates to pay the legacies, nor did he give freedom to his slaves in an expedient or proper fashion. With his pro-slavery stance, it would be easier to try and fight to keep those slaves as long as he could to rent out or work the land to make money and if it took longer, so be it.
 

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Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
387
Your original post shows he said he'd rather hire a white man than buy a black one.

That says a lot about his views.
Yes it does. His views on blacks were VERY poor. He believed they were extremely lazy saying “It would be accidental to fall in with a good one”.

It says a lot about his degrading views on blacks in general.
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2011
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One of his slaves, a Mr Wesley Norris after hearing of how Lee was fighting to keep them forever, trying to send them south with fewer chances of freedom, and breaking the Custis tradition by breaking apart slave families finally had enough. He ran away and when caught was beaten and tortured for running away and wrote about that ordeal, (supported with 5 eyewitness accounts) saying Lee called out County Sherriff Dick Williams to mete out the torture (which included washing their backs with salt water after whipping them). And Lee's ledgers show him paying Dick Williams for “for capturing, &c, the fugitives.” at that time.
Hmm I don't buy this story at all.

1) Wesley Norris would have been illiterate and therefore the 1866 letter was written by a white person with the obvious agenda of besmirching Lee's reputation.

2) The letters that appeared in the newspaper around the time of the supposed incident were written by anonymous authors and important details contradict the Norris account in terms of who was administering the whipping and the number of lashes. Again, there is an agenda of besmirching Lee's reputation.

3) In her book, Ms. Pryor states that the incident was corroborated by five witnesses, when in fact there are NO witnesses to corroborate the whipping.

4) In private letters around the time of the supposed incident and years afterward, Lee denied the allegations. "The New York Tribune has attacked me for my treatment of your grandfather's slaves," he told his son Custis a few days after the event, "but I shall not reply." Years later, he told a friend that "the statement is not true; but I had not thought proper to publish a contradiction." And to the same correspondent: "There is not a word of truth in it... No servant, soldier, or citizen that was ever employed by me can with truth charge me with bad treatment." Lee's word is far more credible than the anonymous writers of letters with an obvious agenda.
 



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