Monday, September 10, 2012

LEE WROTE IT DOWN.

Under  construction -- come back later.... under construction....
Moving soon to BlackSally.com



According to Robert E. Lee's own slave ledgers, in his own hand writing, Lee paid drastically higher prices to his bounty hunters to capture girls about 14 years old. 

 Six hundred percent higher.




Now, why would Lee do such a thing?  

HANG ON TO YOUR HATS

Things may  get very very interesting.






ELIZABETH PRYOR IN THE BLUE DRESS


SHE ADORED LEE -- AND WANTS YOU TO, TOO. 

Elizabeth Pryor wrote an amazing book about Lee's "private papers". 

Historians were aware of the two trunks of Lee papers that the Lee family still held, but did not let the public see for over 150 years. Those same historians assumed (wrongly) that the papers would simply validate the "scholarship" of those who adored Lee, and claimed he not only had no slaves, but was against slavery.

Uh -- not so much.

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UNION ARMY GIVES BACK THE TRUNKS 

The Union Army made a huge mistake at the end of the Civil War.  They gave back to the Lee family all the possessions taken from Arlington -- that they had carefully packed away four  years before.

And the US government paid the Lee family for the estate -- never mind that slaves built it, slaves were tortured to work there, and Lee didn't own it anyway -- his wife did. Lee's family got the money.  The slaves got nothing. 

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In the possessions was Lee's slave ledgers. Also, letters to and from bounty hunters.

Bounty hunter letters?   Slave ledgers?

Yes, and more. Including sexually explicit letters Lee wrote to and from women for decades -- even after his marriage, and even after the Civil War- - Lee wrote to various women in a sexually explicit way.  

Had the Union Army kept the slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters, and put them on display, US history since then might have been much different.

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 If you are like me, you believed all you ever read about Robert E Lee.  In fact, my grandfather, James Edward Lee, came from Virginia and was in the "Lee family"  though there were so many James Edward Lee's running around, no one could tell for sure how connected we were to the man. 

We are related to Lee, like most people. Half of Virginia (even blacks, with reason) can claim to be genetically connected to Lee. 


 So as a young and stupid man, I thought it was nice to learn the Lee (myth) of honor and bravery in our family.   But honor and bravery might not be the best, or even honest, way to describe Lee.  To find the right "narrative" of Lee -- you need the facts.

And so far, we do not have them in a clear way.  We might have enough facts to create a valid narrative for Lee -- if the Lee family would release the slave ledgers, bounty hunters and letters they let Pryor study for months.   Why on earth not just release them?   

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YOU ONLY KNOW
WHAT YOU ARE TOLD 

Did not our teachers insist Southern leaders were men of principle?  Do they not have state holidays and schools named after him?



 More people know the name of Lee's pet chicken (Pearl) than know the names of any of the slave girls he bought. And buying slaves was one of the least vile things Lee did.

It's time we learned the facts of Lee's letters, slave ledgers, and what they really show about him, and the world he lived in. 






 When Lee wrote to his wife and said pain is necessary for their instruction -- he was talking about slave girls. Remember that -- slave girls.  

Lee had to explain -- so he did -- why he had the slave girls whipped (tortured is the right word).  He responded that it was "Divine Providence" (God) that put slaves in our hands, and pain is "necessary for their instructions". 

More details about the girls (plural) that Lee had whipped.  And much more, below.....

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 You are about to learn why they did not let the public see them.

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Some of the letters and "account books" might seem to validate what we already thought we know about Lee.

But others-- not so much.

Those letters, as you will see, include slave ledgers,  letters to and from bounty hunters, and even sexually explicit letters Lee wrote to various women for decades,  even after the Civil War. 

Pryor won't show us the papers -- she should, but clearly her job was this:  to tell us "kinda sorta"  what is in there, without causing traffic jams and and riots in and around Richmond.  

Pryor worked literally side by side with the Lee family, and Virginia Historical society, and apparently they decided how blunt she could be -- and that she not show any thing, and quote very carefully if at all.

Pryor refuses to, as you will see, even mention the term "slave ledger".  She refers exactly once to a document as a "monthly account book" -- but they are monthly slave ledgers, in Lee's own fine hand. He recorded much, in great detail, because Pryor can, if she chooses, tell us what prices he paid for or received for which slave.  How much he paid which bounty hunter, and for which slaves (or others) the bounty hunters brought to Lee, and which they could not catch.

It's not surprising Pryor  was very careful how candid she was, and what terms she used.  She was, after all, a devotee of Lee, and of course worked with the Lee family.

What is surprising is -- given the horrors (and she called them horrors) in Lee's letters, that she was able to be as forthcoming factually as she was.   Yes, she used Orwellian double speak and almost comical euphemism, but still she included information about torture, rape, Lee's sexual letters, and the stunning brutality and psychological terror Lee not only used personally, but paid others to use, as he watched.

Pryor could have written any of these facts in 1000 or more ways..... she chose, almost every time, to write them in a way that excused Lee, minimized his blame, and made it difficult for the reader (but not impossible) to know what she was actually talking about.

But -- at least she got the information in. Now, we need to see those slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters with her and the Lee family filter of a stunningly clever diplomat and writer, the now diseased Elizabeth Brown Pryor.



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"POOR COMMUNICATION SKILLS"

"What we have here, is a failure to communicate."




Lee was not mean, he just had "poor cross-cultural communication skills" 




This would be hilarious way to excuse Lee, if the topic was not torture of girls so small (yes so small) the regular overseer refused to whip one of Lee's slave girls, so Lee paid a bounty hunter nearby to whip the girls (see below.) 

Pryor called it discipline and actually blamed the slaves, much as Lee himself did (and every slave owner, of course, blamed the slaves).  

COOL HAND LUKE 

Pryor has passed on now, in a traffic accident not far from  Arlington, so it's impossible to know if she ever saw the film "Cool Hand Luke"  where Paul Newman is tortured for making a small mistake on a chain gang.   

Only, of course Paul never was whipped, but the slave girls were.  And Newman was struck exactly twice -- the young girl, according to reports,was whipped with 20 lashes, and Lee yelled to "hit her harder"  according to reports.

Then, Lee had other tortures applied to her.   She was not the only one whipped -- Lee had perhaps over 50 slaves try to escape, as you will see.  

Lee's records were so detailed that, if Pryor wanted to, she could have told us the names of every escaped slave, the price Lee paid to have them caught, and all expenses associated with the capture.  She knew, for example, which jail houses Lee had to pay to store the slaves in while they awaited transfer, and which bounty hunter he paid, and how much.

Why not show us the pages?  Why not make a list -- as Lee did in the papers Pryor held in her own hands -- for the the names and prices?

The answer is -- Pryor was not out to trash Lee, not out to even remove the halo from his head.  Her goal -- the title reveals it - is to give a "Portrait" of Lee. A portrait is a flattering as possible likeness. 


LEE'S LETTER TO HIS WIFE



In the famous letter to his wife, often idiotically used by "history teachers"  to prove Lee was against slavery, is actually a profound defense on not just slavery, but torture and pain for blacks. But you would need to read the entire letter, and know factually what Lee was doing to slaves.

Lee wrote that pain is "necessary for their instruction" and that slaves must endure painful discipline. It was not up for us to question God -- it might take him 2000 years to "instruct" the slaves to make them worthy of freedom.




Lee was very much typical -- he used the same excuses others did.  Humans must excuse and justify their cruelty, and using GOD as the excuse is a time honored and effective way, because it fools stupid people better than anything else.

DON'T THINK LEE WAS CRUEL PLEASE 

Pryor tries so hard to give Lee cover -- he was raised that way, and the slaves, she suggested, did not appreciate all Lee did for them (you can't make this up)  Lee gave them his old clothes, she said.  What more could they want?

She did not want to paint Lee as vengful or hateful, but the was, if his actions matter. He not only had slave girls whipped, she hows in clever prose that Lee would separate mothers from children as punishment.   Not just torture, but if you were not up to Lee's demands, you could lose your mother or child.   

But Pryor wants you to think Lee just had "poor cross cultural communication skills"  As if he had just spoken in ebonics and convinced the slaves not to escape, they would not have been tortured.  

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IF IT WAS NOT SLAVERY AND TORTURE
PRYOR MAY BE COMICAL

Pryor consistently minimizes, glosses over, normalizes and takes Lee side in everything that  happene -- the bounty hunters, the capture of free women living in the North, the tortures -- except the rapes.   Pryor seemed geniuenly upset at times, about the rapes.

Yes, rapes. Rapes were common.  Pryor seems almost physically ill when she had to tell her readers about the white looking slave girls (yes, there were slave girls that were very light skinned).

Pyror honestly never seemed upset if dark skinned girls were tied up, whipped, or sold.  Seriously, she had no problem with that, it was fine.

WHITES ENSLAVING WHITES


But on the light skinned slaves - -especially light skinned girls -- Pryor had a hard time.   She wrote that "increasingly, whites were enslaving other whites".

Whites enslaving whites -- did you ever hear that was a growing problem, as the rapes (yes rapes) made many children lighter and lighter skinned through three or four generations -- especially at Arlington where Pryor shows there were drastically higher numbers, and drastically higher percentages of mulatto (lighter skinned) slaves.

Including light skinned girls that tried to escape.

This was actually an issue in the Lincoln Douglas debates -- as Douglas insisted if slavery ended, there would be race mixing.  Lincoln responded there is more race mixing in the slave states than in the North, and he was exactly correct.  Lee's own slave plantation was prove of that.

But if you can enslave blacks, or dark skinned whites, where does it end? And Lincoln exposed that too.  By that logic -- if skin color is what you judge a slave by, then you can be enslaved by someone lighter complected than you.
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Yet no matter how much Pryor  uses euphemism, even Orwellian double speak (see below), no one to date has dared offer such information.  At times Pryor is almost candid - confirming as reliable Lee's torture of slave girls, and the fact Lee did not have a few slaves tortured, whipping was common at Arlington when slaves did things Lee did not tolerate   And that, as you will see, happened a lot.

Lee would not tolerate, most of all, anyone trying to escape.
And try to escape they did-  even though they knew to be captured meant to be tortured.  Escaped slaves, Pryor reveals in her artful way, was Lee's biggest problem.

Lee had nothing but contempt for the slaves -- and they returned the feeling. According to Lee's own papers (remember this, its a BFD) Lee was "the worst man we ever saw".

Worst. Man. We. Ever. Saw.   They saw bounty hunters, they saw overseers (men who whip slaves were called overseers). They saw slave traders.   And Lee was the worst man we ever saw.

Can't be true?  Well, Pryor does all she humanly can to make it seem it can't be true.  But read her words carefully-- these facts are too big to hide, even for her. Pryor was obviously tugged between covering things up completely -- or saying things as carefully as she could.

She was not going to cover things up completely -- so she wrote things as carefully as she could. 


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Now, why on earth would Lee's slaves try to escape?  We were told he didn't even own them - some have insisted the "servants"  as they are artfully called in some books, refused to leave when Lee granted them freedom.  

Uh -- not so much.

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Even her title  is artful, clever,  "Reading The Man - A Portrait of Robert E Lee Through His Personal Letters".

A "portrait" is, of course, a deliberately flattering glimpse of a person.  Given what Pryor had to work with (Lee's own slave ledgers and letters to bounty hunters most of all) Pryor's biggest problem seems to be --how to show Lee as a man of honor and principle, when his own letters and slave ledgers show a cruel man, who did in fact have girls tortured (tortured is the right word, go elsewhere if you insist on euphemisms)  and sold children, and turned women his bounty hunters captured (that were never slaves before) into slaves.



 There had to be a reason, he was not a foolish or trivial man.  He was extremely frugal, business minded, profit minded, about slaves.  He sold them, he rented them out.  

It might come as a shock to people know, but Lee's cash crop was on veggies. Not rice. Not cotton. His cash crop was flesh -- flesh and labor. Not sorta, not kind of, not in a way.

That's how Lee' operated. When you hear Lee left the army several times to "manage the plantation" -- that means, in candid terms, he went home to get more money of of the slaves. To sell the unprofitable ones, to punish those who caused trouble, and to scare the slaves into more obedience.

It's time we didn't pretend slave farms (remember, the product at Lee's slave farm was flesh and labor)  were some kind of "Gone With The Wind".  Women who lived there, white women, later said it was a horrible life for slaves. And Pryor herself reports that rape -- yes rape -- was common.

Common - rape was common. 


Pryor used another word. Brutal.  She did not highlight that word, she used it only after heaping praise and adoration on Lee for various reasons. And Pryor never says anything like "Lee was brutal"  though of course, he was.  Having slave girls tortured as you yell at them (which he did) is brutal. 

Lee also apparently had children sold or the mother sold as punishment and warnings to the others.

That's brutal.  Those are the actions of a sociopath, no matter how you dress them up and no matter which pew they supposed sat in on Sunday.


You need to read Pryor's words closely, because within her very careful narrative in which she tries very hard to absolve Lee of horrible crimes against women,  she does use amazing words at times. Brutal - rape -  are just two such words.

Pryor could have written a chapter just on the rapes -- if she chose too. She had the information -- there are reasons she said rape was common, and reasons she said the rapes could be brutal.   She did not show the papers -- ever -- of any such events.  She should have made it clear, and just shown the paperwork, his letters perhaps. Letters to him, letters from him.  Letters to his bounty hunters, whatever it was, she could have, and should have, shown that.

But she did not.Her goal was not to stun the world with blunt admissions of rape and torture (torture is the right word). 


And yes, Lee not only had slaves, he bought and sold slaves, he did not just "manage" his wife's slaves.

 No, he was not anti slavery.   You don't buy and sell slaves, and send bounty hunters out routinely and often (as Lee did) if you are against slavery. 





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THOUSAND WAYS TO TELL YOU
LEE TORTURED SLAVE GIRLS...


Pryor admits Lee had slave girls tortured, though she calls it "discipline" and insisted Lee "had every right"  to "protect his property".  Yes, torture is the right word.   He had her tied up, according to newspapers at the time, and taunted her before, during at after he torture.

During her torture, Lee screamed at her.

Not one, not two, but three newspapers reported this at the time.

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WHY WOULD NEWSPAPERS
 REPORT THAT?

SHE WAS TOO SMALL....

Whipping slaves -- even young ones -- was not a newsworthy event.  So, why was this girl's torture reported?

Because Lee's regular overseer refused to whip her. She was too small, and he refused.  Lee  hired a bounty hunter standing nearby to whip her.

That's why it made the papers -- she was too small, and the regular guy who tortured (torture is the right word, use whichever word you like) slaves refused.

Let that sink in.


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To her eternal credit, Pryor did validate as unquestionably authentic reports of Lee's torture- - though of course she calls it "discipline" and she takes the side of the torturer, and Lee.

Lee had "every right" to protect his property, she claims, and it was a law (she claims) that run away slaves had to be whipped.    But as you will see, Lee broke other laws about slaves as he saw fit, including creating them.  Lee bought not only escaped slaves, but Pryor shows that Lee paid not only for escaped slaves, he paid for "others"  who she would not identify.  

Lee, she coyly said at that point "may have technically broken the law".  She called the law "time consuming"   and tried to make Lee seem the victim. The law she was talking about was Fugitive Slave Act,. It required the bounty hunters to establish the fact the black woman (and men) they captured were in fact escaped slaves.  But Lee bought "others".

A constant source of hatred -- on both sides -- was the Fugitive Slave Act.  And people like Lee-- very close to the border of Virginia, did buy blacks caught by bounty hunters who had never been slaves, or had been freed. 


Pryor was coy about this, more than any other aspect of her book. 

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 Pryor is exceedingly clever at double speak -- like the sentence about Lee's slaves "did not completely agree with Lee's theory of labor management."  Seriously, they did not completely agree -- with his theory -- of labor management?

How long do you have to stay up, without laughing, to come up with that?

Still what she says at times -- shred of it's goofy euphamism - is amazing. Like Lee had slave girls tortured while he screamed at them.

Like Lee bought women his hunters found in the North that were never slaves -- yes he did.  When Lee's bounty hunters went North, as you will see, Pryor artfully speaks about Lee "might have technically broken the law"   and "did not fill out the time consuming paperwork".   

Time consuming paperwork? Hilarious.  The hunters brought back some escape slaves....but also "others".  Who could "others" be?  Chinese acrobats?  No they were blacks, and Lee bought them too. That was not uncommon, especially where Lee lived-- a few miles from Washington DC.  Grabbing free blacks was profitable, and if you bought black flesh anyway -- as Lee did, and if you insisted God wanted you to own slaves for the slave's benefit -- as Lee did, then it was not much of a step to give money to the bounty hunters for those unlucky souls, too.

Of course Pryor could have shown us what she was talking about clearly, on any page. She never did. And she was not about to show us clearly about Lee buying blacks that were not slaves till his hunters brought them to him. 

THREE NEWSPAPERS 

   Pryor is nearly candid a time or two on small details -- let's give her credit.

She did admit that three newspapers reported on Lee's horrific tortures.   The newspapers (she does not show them, but she could have)  showed that Lee had a slave girl tortured (it's the right word -- torture)  after the regular overseeer refused to whip her.

Let me make this clear -  Lee's torture of slave girls was not a news item. Slaves were whipped often in the South, particularly in large plantations, where whipping two or three slaves sent a clear message to the other 120.  It was wise to whip a few slaves, and make it theater, as Lee did.

The newspapers ONLY carried the story that the girl was too small to be whipped --let that sink in. And Lee had her whipped anyway.





COGNITIVE DISSONANCE


As everyone knows- or should know -- slave owners were human, and as humans, they had to do their own mind tricks, their own justifications for slavery and torture. 

Lee sure did. Lee's justification of slavery was that GOD ordained it. and it was for the slaves own good.  Paid, wrote Lee, was "necessary for their instruction".

Lee's own father was an especially cruel slaver -- he had a girl hung, to her death, because she knocked down a white man.  It did not matter why he knocked her down.

Even if a slave woman knocked a white man down because he was raping her, or taking her child, it did not matter. Knocking down a white man was a capital crime.   Worse, if you let one slave do it, the others might. She had to die, and she did. She was 15 years old and pregnant.

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LEE CONFIRMED

The amazing thing about Lee's torture of this girl --he confirmed it himself, in his own writings. Pryor says simply that the records show the names mentioned in the newspapers, with payments to the jails mentioned, and payment to the bounty hunters mentioned.  She does not show whether -- or not -- Lee wrote other indications, like the number of lashes, or some comments on the girls.

But Pryor does assert that it's certain through the records there was a girl whipped that day and that Lee paid to have it done.  Given her penchant for minimizing the horrors, whatever was in his slave ledgers in his own hand had to be undeniable and extreme for Pryor to come out almost candid on this incident. 



Pryor never would show any page from his slave ledgers, or even call them "slave ledgers".  She referred to them only once, and that as "account books".

Very carefully, Pryor admits the overseer refused to whip the girl because she was so small.  The overseer was almost certainly black -- and may have been tortured himself for refusing to whip the girl. 

Lee paid someone else to have her whipped, that is incontrovertible. Pryor also tells us -- deftly - that Lee regularly had slaves whipped.  No wonder slaves said, according to Lee's own papers -- Lee was the worst man we ever saw.


Let that sink in.

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Fact -- more people know the name of Lee's pet chicken, than know the names of girls he had tied to posts and tortured.

In fact, cruelly, we not only teach Lee did not have slaves -- "historians" like Pryor who admit he mostly certainly did own slaves, insist Lee "had every right" to disipline the escaped slaves.

Lee had the girl in questions lashed so many times, blood pooled at her feet, according to newspapers.

He then had salt put on her wounds.
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If Elizabeth Pryor could say but one thing to Robert E Lee, it might be this:


"Please, please  General Lee, please burn your slave ledgers. " 

Facts are stubborn things.  The facts accumulated by Lee himself - his own writings to, or letters from, bounty hunters and others, show a drastically different reality that we have been taught.

Not what someone says about Lee -- what Lee wrote himself. His own letter, for example, justifying torture of slave girls (yes,  he did) is shocking by himself.

Without context -- without knowing, for example, that Lee regularly used bounty hunter to capture escaped slaves, and that Lee hated his slaves, and that Lee's slaves said he "was the worst man we ever seen" -- you could hardly grasp what a slave plantation was like.

Even if Lee had never been active in the Civil War, his torture of slaves, his slave ledgers, his bounty hunter letter, his prices, etc, would be monumentally important to our understanding of that  time.

DID NOT BURN 

The hardest job Pryor had to face was this -- how to arrange my words so that torture, rape, and cruelty can go unnoticed?   

Pryor had the actual slave ledgers  in her hands, the actual letters to bounty hunters, and payments for certain slaves, money received for selling certain slaves, money spent capturing and punishing other slaves.

Pryor could have -- and should have, if she wanted to be honest -- call this book "Lee's slave ledgers".  But her goal was quite the opposite. 

Lee did not burn his slave ledgers -- he was not ashamed of them.  Nor did he burn his letters to and from bounty hunters. 

Lee's slave ledgers -- according to Pryor -- validate and confirm the three newspaper reports of Lee's torture of a slave girl.



SHE WAS TOO SMALL TO WHIP

The story of Lee torturing a slave girl  was not newsworthy - slave torture (discipline) was common.  In fact, Pryor tells us it was a law that slaves had to be tortured if they tried to escape.  (No, there was no such law Lee  had to obey, but Pryor wants you to think he had to do it.)

The story made the paper - - three different papers at the time -- because  the first overseer (the overseer did the whipping) refused to torture her.

Let me repeat that, Lee's regular overseer refused to whip her.


So Lee hired a bounty hunter standing nearby to whip her.  

That's why it made the papers. 

See-- Lee did not burn  his slave ledgers -- or Pryor could not have reluctantly admitted he did, in fact, pay a bounty hunter for whipping that girl that day.   

And Lee regularly used torture -- torture is the right word -- on slaves, including slave girls.



Lee's poor "cross cultural communication skills" 
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Pryor claimed Lee's torture of slave girls -- seriously -- 
was because of   his "poor cross cultural communication skills." 

He was not mean or cruel, he just couldn't seem to explain to these slave girls that they couldn't run off like that. 




As you will see, Pryor is not out to trash Lee in any respect -- quite the opposite.



She could have -- she could have shown the slave ledgers, for example, or even any page from any ledger.

She could have show the sexually explicit letters she held in her hands.

There are a thousand ways to show us how Lee had slave girls tortured.  And to  tell us that torture (torture is the right word) was Lee's go to reaction to slave problems.

In fact, Pryor does tell us -- in ways that seem mild in her artful prose -- that Lee's "preferred" discipline was the whip.   She forgets to make it clear Lee h ad other tortures -- tortures on top of, and in addition to the whip.  Specifically he had girls whipped, then had other tortures applied,  other  physical and psychological tortures.

Psychological torture like selling the woman's children, or otherwise separating mother and child. 

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WHY NOT SHOW THE LETTER?

WELL THAT WOULD BE TOO OBVIOUS, THAT'S WHY



Pryor starts off with a glorious letter from Lee to his children -- not with instructions to slave hunters, and not with one of his dirty letters.   She was no fool.

Pryor writes so artfully that you may not notice she is referring to his slave ledgers- - she can look up the prices he pays for which girl, she can look up auction records, she can look up who Lee paid for which torture (yes, he paid to have slaves whipped).

You don't get that information from one of his shoes (size 8).  You get that kind of detailed information from slave ledgers.

Pryor called them "account books"  -- and I suppose they were.  She sure didn't call them slave ledgers, or people might want to, you know, see them for themselves.

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COULDA SHOULDA --

Pryor  could have shown the letters (and prices, and instructions) Lee wrote to his bounty hunters.   But that would be odd, to show one horrible thing and not the other.

 Apparently Lee was exceedingly involved emotionally and financially to get get the slave girls back -- the ones that risked their lives to escape.   Why go to such lengths to capture escaped girls -- if you do not believe in slavery?

 Lee paid only 10 dollars for capture of older male slaves, but 600 or more for the capture and return of 14 year old girls.

Lee had -- at one time -- over 12 slaves his hunters were tracking.  And Lee kept in close contact with the hunters.  Lee's hunters went North  and not only caught some escaped slaves -- as happened at the time, bounty hunters would also grab other blacks, perhaps blacks who had helped the runaway,   It was of course illegal to grab free people in the North-- white or black -- and take them South to sell as slaves.   But  as you will see, Pryor dances around Lee's actions because apparently that is precisely what Lee's bounty hunters did, return "others"  as Pryor calls them. 

Technically, Pryor posits in Orwellian double speak, Lee "might have even broken the law".  

She makes Lee the victim -- of course- - by saying absurding "Lee failed to fill out the time consuming paperwork". 

She knows well there was not paper work -- time consuming or otherwise -- to grab free blacks and make slaves of them, for his own profit.


  Once you know what Lee did -- and recorded in his own paperwork -- Pryor actually works hard on every single page to excuse, minimize, and obfuscate his actions.  Such as Lee's torture of slave girls - which is verified by his own slave ledgers.

Lee regularly had wayward or escaped slaves tortured-  and torture is the right word.  Pryor defends Lee's actions, saying he had "every right to protect his property".    She even seems to adopt Lee's absurd (but widely held justification) at the time that he (Lee) was the one who suffered from slavery, the slaves were fortunate to have men like Lee bring them to Christ.

God "knew and intended"  slaves feel pain, Lee wrote. Paid is "necessary for their instruction".

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We all know the story -- in fact it's stupidly repeated in every school in the USA -- Robert E Lee didn't own slaves and was against slavery.


Uh- not really.

Thanks to Lee's own slave ledgers and hundreds of his letters (such as letters to and from bounty hunters)  Elizabeth Pryor was able to write a fascinating book -- all about his "personal papers."

Pryor wrote carefully - she did not wish to alarm her readers, nor the Lee family, nor the Virginia Historical Society.  Her job was clearly to keep Lee's halo upon his head, and just admit maybe the halo was not as straight and bright as some had thought.

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Contrary to myth, he was not against slavery at all, in fact, he had slaves all through the Civil War.  Furthermore, his own records  show he continued to own slaves and try to make money on them during the war.  Also, Lee never freed his slaves (and yes, he owned slaves) that he got through his wife, until repeated court orders to do so.  By the time Lee "freed"  anyone, they were worthless to him anyway.

And it's all in his own handwriting, in his own papers.


YES, Lee had white looking slaves.   Children born to slave women (some of whom where lighter skinned) and raped by a white man, could turn out as white looking as you are me.  And some did.

In fact, Lee himself commented on the light skinned children he owned.  Pryor won't tell us exactly what he said about them -- nor show what he did with the white looking slave girls. 



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PRYOR WRITES CAREFULLY


Pryor writes carefully about Lee's slave ledger.

 She was not out to trash him,  or infuriate the South or the Lee family.  And she refused to show us any of the papers with any of the "odd information"  like Lee's letters to and from bounty hunters, or his slave ledgers, which listed the prices he paid or received for slaves,

Yes, Lee sold and bought slaves. 

Why not show them?   She does get the prices, and all the information, from his letters.  There is a good reason she did not, and will not, show the papers themselves.  She nor the Lee family nor the Virginia Historical Society want that information every to come out -- except in a very sanitized way.

Like Pryor's book is sanitized.

Pryor relates amazing things -- amazing in that no one told us before, we were all fed essential nonsense, repeated endlessly. So give her credit  for that, she is unique even in releasing this information, sanitized or not.
______________________________


But Pryor had in her hands Lee's papers, including slave ledgers, his letters to and from bounty hunters, letters to him, from him. Most amazing to me -- Lee also wrote sexually charged letters to various women for decades, even after the Civil War, and long after he was married.


Pryor is on Lee's side. You will not be offended, she writes like a loving great granddaughter might write, after spending a few months with her ancestor's dirty diary.  
_________________________________________________________________


1000 WAYS TO TELL YOU 
There are 1000 ways you can relate the information about Lee's cruelties, his slave ledgers, his torture of slave girls (yes he had slave girls tortured -- and torture is the right word).    Pryor wrote her pages in a way that skillfully did NOT let you get foul images in your head.   Lee didn't torture -- he "disciplined"  and he had "every right to do so".  

Only by close reading do you see-- Lee had these girls tortured with a whip -- and he screamed at them as he had them tortured.

Why not say it plainly, he validated it in his own handwriting. 

Pryor relates facts in such a gentle, even delicate way way.   She could given the name of a chapter "LEE'S TORTURE METHODS" -- because he actually had various methods of torture.

SILENT REMINDER - A WHIPPING POST 

Instead Pryor gives you some gentle words about "discipline".   At one point she cleverly says a whipping post is a "silent reminder"  Lee had installed.

Well the post was silent, yes, but the human beings tied to it, including the girl you will learn about, was not silent as they were being tortured.

So why call it "silent"?

Because Pryor had in her hands the information about that whipping post -- Lee ordered in installed not long after he took over discipline of the slaves.

How could she tell us that?  Here are her choices.


  • Show us the letter or order for the whipping post she had in her hands
  • Tell us Lee ordered the whipping post installed.
  • Tell us the names of the slaves Lee had attached to that whipping post
  • Write some very disarming and clever words about a "silent reminder"
Read her book. You will see which one she chose.

That's how it is on every page, every subject.  She tells us about Lee's light skinned slaves, but it as gentle way as possible.

Here were her choices on that one
  • Tell us the names of the light skinned girls -
  • Tell us the prices he paid or received for them
  • Tell us why Lee was commenting on the light skinned girls
  • Show us the sales figures and the names side by side
  • Write some disarming words about a light skinned girl

__________________________________________________

In fact, according to Pryor's careful prose in "Reading the Man" Lee might have owned the most white looking, or mulatto, slaves in US history.  

She told us that cleverly, too.    

Pryor reports that over 50% of his slaves were mulatto -- but  you have to flip back and forth in the pages to notice something -- Lee had Laves that were so light skinned, Lee himself mentioned they could pass for white. 

So Lee owned a drastically (almost half) high percentages of light skinned slaves.  And he had the biggest slave farm in Virginia.  It's logical to assume, therefore, that he owned the biggest number of while looking slaves in US history.

______________________________________________

You can not have sex with a slave, by definition it is rape. Did you know that?

 And in case you harbor under the delusion that maybe these slave women just wanted to have sex with the white men,  as at one point Pyror seemed to hint, consider this. Pryor later claimed cleverly  "coercion was used in those situations"

Think of those words.  "Coercion was used in those situations" .

SHE HAD TO SEE SOMETHING.....

Pryor had to see something in the papers that told her that. She was not looking at the clouds to get this information.  What inside his papers gave her the idea that slave girls were forcibly raped?   "Coercion was used"   "in those situations.  

 What could it be?  Would Lee write "Well Dear Wife, I was riding behind the barn and saw coercion used in rape situations".

No, someone almost had to write to Lee to complain about the forcable rapes going on, those Pryor is not about to tell us. Whatever it was,it was brutal enough for Pryor to write "coersion was used in those situations".

_______________________________________________________


There is only skin color to be white. If you look white, you are white.

  Lee had girls he owned that looked white. By definition then, he owned white slaves.

Pryor did seem upset about THAT.    But not at all upset when darker pigmented women were treated as slaves -- including sexually.

COMMON.   That's amazing, Pryor herself showed (remember, Pryor adores Lee, as you will see) rape was common, even at Arlington.   t is any worse to rape, enslave, torture a white looking slave girl, that a dark skinned girl? 



Pryor sure felt so.  The only time Pryor seemed irate in her prose -- was when she was writing about the white looking slave girls. She never seemed whatsoever concerned with the dark skinned girls.  She even wrote that Lee had "every right to protect his property"  when discussing the "discipline" of escaped slave girls.

And the "discipline" included torture -- whipping, and other physical horrors.  Pryor does not want to report this to us -- she does so as gently as possible.  But read her facts closely. 

.




_________________________________________________





Hang on to your hats, Lee lovers.



It's going to be a bumpy ride.





Facts are stubborn things 



BECAUSE LEE WROTE IT DOWN ...


______________________


This all sounds bizarre to folks raised to think Lee was against slavery, kind, brave, etc,. 


Pryor wont show us the letters and slave ledgers -- she should.   But she will not, nor will the Lee family.

Pryor's main job seemed to be to tell us about the horrors, but not make them horrific. Blame others. Blame the slaves.  Or write cleverly, as if she were writing about slave owners generally (such as about the rapes) -- and not mention Lee's name in that page.  

But she was writing about Lee -- his slave girls, his slave ledgers.

Pryor refused to even call them slave ledgers -- but called them "account books".   She artfullly does the same all through the book, but yet she reveals things no one even imagined before. Tortures? Rapes?   Purchase of kidnapped women?

Lee?  

Yes.  Slavery was not Sunday school. It was torture based -- you were tortured if you tried to escape or resisted.  Including women -- and yes, women were raped, sold to whore houses, and purchased by how attractive, sexually attractive, they were.   Lighter skinned women were considered worth more money -- the "Negroid"  features like wide nose and dark skin, did not bring the prices of the light skinned mulatto girls.  

There is a REASON -- though Pryor wont tell us what that is -- that Lee paid so much higher prices for girls about 14  years old.  Do you suppose he paid more because they could recite poetry? Or maybe for their knowledge of bridge building?

No, he paid more, 600% more, because they were young with perky big breasts and had to do what Lee and other white men told them to do,. Lee would only pay a few dollars for an older male slave bounty. 

Lee's personal handwritten letters and slave ledgers show Lee hated his slaves, and they hated him. Lee was "the worst man we ever saw" -- and the facts in Lee's letters show why. Lee had slaves tortured for infraction, including slave girls too small to be whipped by the regular overseer.


In fact as Lee's papers show, one of the first things he did taking over the torture (torture is the right word, we won't call it by any euphemism) was to have the slaves build their own whipping post. See more about that, below.




______________________


LEE CAME BY IT NATURALLY



In some ways, Lee was not unusual, for slave owners, he just had control of far more slaves than anyone else in Virginia after marrying into the Custis family.


Like all humans, Lee had to justify his cruelty to others.


He did so, as all slaver owners did, by the bible.


Lee wrote slaves "must endure painful discipline" and "pain is necessary for their instruction.


Lee's father had a slave girl hung -- a pregnant girl -- for knocking down a white man. No one even reported why the girl knocked down the man, it did not matter! Was he raping h er? Was he selling her child? Her mother?


No one knows, and no one cared enough to record why this girl knocked down a white man, and Lee's father had her hung.


See- - facts are important, and these facts never seem to be important enough to be candidly included in any standard Lee biography -- in fact, you get quit the opposite narrative about Lee, because those "historians" just ignore the tortures, rapes, cruelties Lee allowed, or worse, at Arlington.


Nothing shows Lee's barbarity better than the documented (in his own slave ledgers) torture of a young slave girl, who almost escaped his torture because the regular overseer refused --she was TOO SMALL for him to whip.


Lee hired a bounty hunter -- the hunter that brought the slave to him-- and had him whip the girl, while Lee taunted (really, he did) the girl as she was tortured, according to three overlapping newspapers of the time.


And remember, Lee's own slave ledgers confirm these events.


Against slavery? Seriously?

___________________________________________________


MULATTO? SELLING GIRLS?


Elizabeth Pryor, who studied Lee's slave ledgers and other personal papers for over a year, said over 50% of Lee's slaves were mulatto.


And --she gives us amazing hints to who fathered those white looking slave girls.


One hint, it was not a black man. Someone white at Arlington fathered dozens of slave children. Did Lee free them? Let them go?


Not so much. In fact, Lee was "obsessed" about capturing escaped slave girls, paid 600% higher prices for them. Wonder why-- help me think a minute-- Lee would pay drastically higher prices for girls, about 12-14 years old.








Take your time. It will come to you. Think real hard.


Oh you didn't know Lee had slave ledgers? Well...he had a lot of them. Pryor deftly calls them "monthly account books". She can't quite make herself say slave ledgers.


But in those 'monthly account books' Pryor found names, dates, and prices paid. Not only prices paid, but amounts received for slaves.


And you thought Lee didn't have slaves, right?


_________________


PRYOR IS


ON LEE'S SIDE

Pryor is not out to trash Lee, but to keep his halo upon his head, as much as she possibly can.


She worked for, and with, the Lee family and Virginia Historical society. The Virginia Historical society essentially exists to keep people from learning what a violent and cruel man Robert E Lee actually was, as proven by his own writings.

_________________






Lee had "every right" to torture his slaves, Pryor writes.


She blames the slave girls, right along with Lee blaming them, for not appreciating all Lee did for them and their "salvation".


Just like Lee, Pryor writes as if slaves were fortunate, and the slave owner the one who had to suffer for slavery. Lee actually wrote slaves were fortunate -- a common Orwellian justification for slavery. Jefferson Davis said slaves "were the most contented laborers on earth" and Lee insisted slaves would be happy if not for "abolitionist" stirring up trouble.


Yes, Lee tortured slave girls in barbaric ways, sold children as punishment, and did things no Lee biographer dared mention before. Their crime? They tried to escape.


Lee did not merely torture them, the tortures were barbaric, as you will see. But he also taunted them during their torture. He had bounty hunter chase the girls for weeks, months. In fact, as you wll see, Lee bought FREE blacks -- blacks that lived in the North and were never slaves in their lives - who were captured by Lee's bounty hunters.


Let me repeat that. Pryor reports (very carefully, in almost funny Orwellian double speak) that Lee bought "others". He paid the hunters for the captured slaves, but also paid them for "others". Lee also paid for the jail boarding of slaves, until he personally could get back to the plantation and he personally met captured women as they were brought into his slave farm.


Pryor, meanwhile, likes to describe Lee as a "Planter". Part of the ubiquitous and ever present linguistic dishonesty used then to obfuscate the horrors and cruelty of men like Lee, and used to this day.


Lee never planted anything. The profit on his slave farm was not from plants -- it was from slaves and slave labor. He sold slaves at auction, bought slaves at auctions, and bought humans from bounty hunters.


+++++++++++++++++++++++


CANT WRITE A TRUE SENTENCE

UNLESS YOU WANT TO


Pryor is human, a "Lee devotee" and works (worked RIP) for the Lee family. It would have been stunning, and contrary to human nature, had she laid out the blunt horrors of what Lee did, to the Lee family.


Pryor never uses the word torture -- just like she refuses to use the words "slave ledgers" or "purchase".


In fact Pryor is hard at work on every page, deftly understating the amazing cruelties Lee used -- but no one else ever revealed these facts a all.


Lee bought more slaves? Who knew that?


Lee used bounty hunters -- regularly? Who knew that?


Lee bought "others" from kidnappers (bounty hunters) and had his hunters go into the North to capture not just escaped slaves, but others? Who knew that?


Rape was common -- yes common- - at Arlington? Who knew that?


____________________________________________________________


Pryor is not going to scare you to death. You are not going to read her words and see in your head, Lee screaming at a girl as she was being tortured.


The story is there - Pryor does tell the story. But in terms you will find comforting.


She posits Lee's tortures as "discipline" . And if you read close, you will notice Lee used various types of phyical "discipline" or torture, not just the whip.


Lee kept slave ledgers -- records of his payments to bounty hunters, records of prices he paid out, and income he received, for slave flesh. Why not show us the damn ledgers?


That is too much for Pryor to do, and likely, the Lee family would never allow her to do that,


_____________________________________________________________










How did Pryor get that into a book that, on the surface, seems mild.


One reviewer said the book shows Lee "warts and all"


Wrong. If she showed Lee warts and all, she would show his slave ledgers. The way Pryor writes, this is not even warts, his tortures and the rapes, etc, are a mere, and justified, skin rash.


_____________________________________


OBSESSED



It sounds so bizarre -- until you know, Lee indeed seemed obsessed with the capture of run away slaves, in fact he was in continual communication with bounty hunters, and his overwhelming problem was escaped slaves. Lee paid 600 % higher prices for slave GIRLS. While Pryor does not say this, there had to be a reason Lee paid so much higher prices for young girls. Lee made sure he was at home when the bounty hunters brought this girl, and immediately had her tortured.






Long dismissed as so unlike anything in the Lee myth, "historians" would not even mention the newspapers, though they knew of them.






But because we have (or Pryor did have) Lee's hand written slave ledgers, Lee wrote down so many things that confirmed the tortures, that Pryor admits -- very reluctantly -- that the overlapping newspaper reports of Lee's amazing torture (torture is the right word) of slave girls were undoubtedly based on fact -- because Lee confirmed it, in his own handwritten slave ledgers.






The tortures were confirmed AGAIN, after the war, by reporters talking to freed slaves at Arlington. So






1) newspapers reported it at the time,






2) Lee's handwritten slave ledgers confirm it






3) interviews after the war's end confirm it, too.






_____________________________________________________






NOR WAS THIS UNUSUAL






Just in case someone thinks this torture was a aberration by Lee-- perhaps the girl (and others, others were tortured right after the girl was tortured) had done something horrible? No.






Lee's father had a girl about 15 hung to death, when Lee was a youngster -- because she knocked down a white man. No one even bothered to mention why she knocked down a white man. Was he whipping her? Raping her? Taking her baby?






It literally did not matter. She could be tortured and or hung. She was hung.






If you (a black) used violence against a white person, the penalty could be death. Some were whipped to death -- as Frederick Douglass wrote in his autobiography, his master tortured a slave woman to death, while shouting bible verses, until the woman died.










If you don't know that slavery was, at it's base, a most violent enterprise, you have been fooled entirely by US text books and movies. Slavery was entirely about violence, both spreading slavery, and keeping the slaves in line.






Lee, by the way, apparently had everyone watch the torture of slaves, though Pryor never mentioned that, but the story of the girl Lee had tortured, had a crowd around. There is little use torturing your slaves, if they others don't see it, and get the message.






Pryor COULD have told us much more details -- how many slaves did Lee get from bounty hunters? How much did they cost? Did he have them tortured if they resisted being a slave?






Pryor is very careful NOT to give us more than a whitewashed sketch - certainly the slaves being tortured, and the women Lee bought from bounty hunters that were captured in the North, would not be polite or demure or use Orwellian double speak, as Pryor does.



But Pryor gave us more information, whitewashed or not, than anyone before. And she had his slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters.



Pryor writes that essentially, the first thing Lee did when he took over the torture (discipline?) of the slaves, was to have the SLAVES install a whipping post. Pryor cleverly states the whipping post was a "silent reminder" to the slaves of their fate if they disobeyd. But there was nothing silent about that whipping post area. Men and women were tied up and tortured on that post, and Lee took part personally -- he did not whip them himself, apparently but did stand by and scream -- yes scream - at slaves, including slave girls, as they were tortured.






Pryor wrote all that in a very delicate way. But no one else dared ever to come that candid about Lee.









As for Lee's purchase of kidnapped women (yes Lee paid for "other" women his bounty hunters caught IN THE NORTH" Pryor writes that "technically [Lee] may have broken the law. He "failed" to fill out the "time consuming paperwork".


PRYOR IS ON LEE'S SIDE


The author -- Elizabeth Pryor -- third from left in this picture. She adores Lee, and did her best not to knock the halo from his head. Only problem, Lee tortured slaves, sold children, and bought kidnapped women from bounty hunters (yes he did).


How was Pryor going to pretend Lee was honorable, against slavery, and or kind to his "servants"? The answer is -- "very carefully".










These are the trunks that stored Lee's slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters.






ELIZABETH PRYOR -- the only scholar ever allowed to see Lee's slave ledgers, dirty letters, bounty hunter letters, and the two trunks of personal papers, kept by the Lee family -- for 150 years.


________________________________________________________





Most people assume we know so much about Lee, it would be almost impossible to squeeze out another trivial detail, much less a basic fact.


Most people would be wrong.




More people know the name of Lee's pet chicken (Pearl) than know Lee, according to multiple newspapers at the time, and confirmed in his own handwriting, in his own slave ledgers, had slave girls tortured (torture is the right word) for trying to escape.


Lee did much more than torture slaves for trying to escape. He had women kidnapped from the North, that were not slaves at all, never were. But Lee's bounty hunters caught them, anyway.


And why not? Slavery was ordained by God, was it not? (Lee said it was). Blacks were "fortunate" to be slaves, right? (Lee said they were). Lee was in the slave business to get wealthy, right (yes).


Then why not pay for women caught in the North, by bounty hunters?


Pryor was doubly careful how she relayed this information to her readers. Lee, she claimed "failed to fill out the time consuming paperwork" and technically he "may have broken the law".


Only, there was paperwork, time consuming or otherwise, to capture free women.


Another thing -- during the Civil War (though Pryor does not give us this information in her book) Lee had his soldiers do the same thing -- he ordered hundreds of blacks-- once freed slaves or not, including women and children, captured in the North, brought South, and sold.


We don't know who got the money for those Lee had captured in the North, and sold in the South. But I have a pretty good idea who got the money, and I bet Pryor could have told us, if she wanted.



Lee was not only cruel to his slaves -- according to Pryor's own book (and remember, she defends Lee as much as humanly possibly) his slaves said he "was the worst person were ever knew."





WE ARE TOLD FABLES -- NOT FACTS.


SO WHERE DID THE MYTHS COME FROM?



No one at the time claimed Lee was anti slavery. No one at the time said he was kind to his slaves. In fact, newspapers reported how cruel he was.


But lies, repeated over and over, become engrained, part of the folklore, the fables, the myth.


We are told, by the most self confident teachers and "historians" that Lee was against slavery - and there was a letter to prove it. Well that proved it, right, the letter to his wife proved he was anti slavery?


Oh hell no. Read the whole letter, it's actually a tenacious defense of slavery and the torture of slaves. And far more than that letter, which defends slavery tenaciously, and calls slavery a "spiritual liberty" -- are Lee's own actions. His tortures. His purchase of women. His profit on sale of flesh.


Yes -- Lee's profit was from sale of slaves. Pryor claimed "All Lee ever wanted to become, was a planter." A PLANTER is Orwellian double speak for slave owner, on a slave plantation.


And by the way, slave plantations should be called slave FARMS. Lee did not grow lots of cotton to sell. His money -- and Pryor could show it to us in his own slave ledgers if she wanted to -- came from the sale of blacks, and sending them to various places, and collecting the money for them.


_______________________________________________


THE MOST TIDY?


Lee was honorable, chaste, brave, tidy, devout..... on and on.


Not just honorable, but the MOST honorable, not just brave, but the most brave. In fact, in the epic, and goofy, biography of Lee that Douglas Southall Freeman won the Pulitzer Prize for, in the index there are four columns of noble human traits, kindness, humility, tidyness (yes, even tidy).





Freeman set out to prove Lee was the most of everything. Whether he was tidy, we can not say.





And Freeman might have got away with his fraud (yes, he knew it was a fraud, he had Lee's dirty letters and knew about Lee's tortures) except -- Lee wrote it down.


Lee wrote letters to, and got letters from, bounty hunters. The letters were about prices, and what to do with certain girls. They were about where to capture who -- including capture of free women (yes, free women, women that were never slaves, and only became slaves, because Lee had them taken from the North).


Let me be clear -- because Pryor, while she artfully mentions this- - is not clear. Lee purchased (illegally) women his hunters found in the North and were able to grab. He did NOT just pay bounty hunters for escaped girls.


As you will see, he bought "others" as well.


Pryor cleverly reports that Lee "failed to fill out the time consuming paperwork" and"technically, may have broken the law".


Clever -- because there was not paperwork, time consuming or otherwise, for grabbing free women. But there was money in it -- for the bounty hunter, and for Lee.


____________________________________________


WAS IT ALL FRAUD?


So what if Lee bought kidnapped women? So what if he whipped slave girls. He was a man of GOD, and men of GOD thought that at the time, right?


Huh, not really. Most people in the South would not own slaves. Most humans will not tie a girl up to be tortured, and then scream at her as she is tortured, as Lee did (yes, he did, see below).


Lee was not only cruel, as you will see, he was exceptionally cruel.

He did not have to torture girls for escaping. He could have just let them go. But that would just make the others try to escape past the trained dogs Lee had (most slave owners had trained dogs) that could rip apart a slave child as they ran.


You probably did not know -- if a slave woman did escape, despite the dogs, and despite the bounty hunters -- her children could be punished in her place. While Pryor does not even hint at that, it was very much a terror held over the head of any woman who dared try to escape.

_________________________________

























Lee's letter to his wife -- read the entire thing -- is a staunch defense of slavery, and torture of slavery. They only showed you a deceptive and small part of it. Gee, I wonder why?




Lee also wrote his wife that blacks were FORTUNATE to be enslaved, the hardship fell on the slave owner. Lee's papers show he had "nothing but disdain" for the slaves, and thought they should appreciate all he did for them!




Strange indeed, then, that he had dozens of slaves try to escape -- yes, he did --and he sent bounty hunters after then all. And followed the progress of their captures.




Lee even paid for slaves to be housed in various jails -- until he could get home and personally see to their tortures. Tortures is the right word.




Think about that -- Lee had them housed in jails, and paid for those jails, until he could be at his slave plantation (well, it belonged to his wife) and greet the poor soul he was about to have whipped.


And yes, he had them whipped -- and as Pryor alludes to, had other physical tortures as well, though she would not make clear what those might be.




________________________________________________




SOCIOPATHS IN VIRGINIA?










George Mason, founding Father, wrote that men (like Lee) who were raised from birth to see slaves as subservient beings who deserved torture, were sociopaths (he used the vernacular of the day of course) and predicted they would cause a violent calamity for the United States, in the future.









ONE OF LEES WHITE LOOKING SLAVE GIRLS

She may well be his blood relative, too.







Pryor did not have to even mention what Mason thought, or said, But she did. Why mention Mason, at all? It seems as if Pryor included things like this for a reason. And the only reason could be -- Lee was one of the people Mason warned us about. It's a book about Lee.. and Mason spoke about men who "raised from birth" to see blacks as people to punish, punish for GOD.




Did you know Lee even wrote -- God intends blacks to feel pain? Pain is necessary for their instruction?
























Alan Nolan told us 20 years ago, essentially, we need to "start over" about Lee, because what passed for "scholarship" about Lee, was nothing of the sort. He could not know how right he was.













______________________________________________





CHASTE --- HE WAS CHASTE?


Lee chaste? Not really. Amazingly, he wrote sexually explicit letters -- dirty letters, if you will, to various women over decades. Before and after he was married, he exchanged letters of a sexual nature to various women. Lee was apparently the one bringing up the lurid comments.


For example, Lee boasted about his son's sexual prowess to females. And he spoke of sexual tricks.


Now -- how many women have you ever written to, bragging about your son's sexual ability? Pryor was not going to make it clear -- she never did- - what exactly she was talking about. She could have shown the dirty letters, shown us the words, and given us the name of the women he wrote. No such candidness from Pryor.


____________________________


KIND? Quite the reverse, actually...


TOO YOUNG TO WHIP


Of all the amazing things in Lee's slave ledgers, revealed by Elizabeth Pryor (she adored Lee, by the way, and tried her best not to besmirch him) it might be this.


Lee not only had slave girls tortured -- that by itself would never make the newspapers. Lee taunted the girl before and during her torture. Let that sink in.


These tortures made the newspapers because Lee's regular overseer (the guy who does the whipping) refused to whip her, because she was too small.


Let me repeat that -- the regular guy REFUSED, due to her young age and small stature.


Lee paid someone else, a bounty hunter who captured her, to whip her. THAT is why it made the papers.


And Lee confirmed this, and more, in his own handwritten slave ledgers.


_____________________________________


DONT WORRY PRYOR WON'T SCHOCK YOU


Pryor adores Lee, and was chosen by the Lee family for that purpose.



But Pryor is not in the business of shocking the Lee family, the Virginia Historical Society, or people still stupid enough to believe Lee was a noble, brave, kind man.


As you will see, even for a slave owner, Lee was cruel, which is not an easy task.






1000 ways to say he tortured girls.





Pryor's biggest problem, on every page, was this.


How can I reveal the horrors, the rapes, the tortures, and things like Lee's defense of torture, but not get my car blown up by some deranged Lee fan?


Plus, Pryor worked, literally, for and with the Lee family. They chose her -- and they chose her for a reason. She adores Lee. She adored everything about him and the Southern Mythology. They allowed her -- the first person ever allowed -- to actually study at length all Lee's slave ledgers and letters.






Pryor won't even call them slave ledgers. She calls them "monthly account books."


If she wanted to shock you, get headlines in every Southern state, and be hated for an eternity, she could have just told the truth bluntly.


Lee tortured girls, sold children, and even bought kidnapped women from the North, from bounty hunters.


That was not her approach.


___________________________________________


She could have related the rapes, tortures, and purchase of kidnapped women on page one. And she could have shown us what exactly in Lee's own papers she saw to confirm not just the torture of slave girls, but the actual letters to and from bounty hunters. She could have told us the price for every capture,


Lee did not just use bounty hunters to capture escaped slaves, he used bounty hunters, as you will see, to capture FREE blacks in the North. Yes, free blacks in the North were captured by bounty hunters, and sold to men like Lee -- and to Lee himself.


Pryor told us that too, carefully as possible.


But Pryor was not about to shock the world.


Yes, Pryor does get in the information above -- Lee's torture of slave girls so young or small, the regular guy refused. So Lee got someone else to do it.


Yet the WAY Pryor relates all these horrors is quite clever. You are never shocked, and she is the opposite of candid, even when she gives you information, it's in a diplomatic, even Orwellian, way.


In fact, I spoke with a history teacher that claimed he read the book closely, and never noticed any whipping of any slave.


Other "historians" have skipped over the newspaper reports of Lee's tortures entirely, or mentioned them in the back of a book, offhandedly as "unreliable" because the accounts did not line up exactly. So they must be false.


Actually, it would be stunning if all three newspaper reports of the tortures were exactly the same, they were all reports from conversations with eye witnesses.


______________________________________


HOW PRYOR CONFIRMED


Pryor no doubt would have loved to dismiss the newspaper reports. But she had Lee's papers. Remember that. On the dates mentioned, Lee did in fact, enter into his his own slave ledgers (Pryor never calls them slave ledgers, but the more diplomatic "monthly account books".) but there was that nasty fact of confirmation after the Civil War, when reporters went to Arlington and talked to free slaves employed there as grave diggers.


The reporters found a former slave who confirmed the details - which is a BFD, because he could not possibly have seen Lee's slave ledgers to line up his story with that, nor would he know anything about the newspaper reports before the war.


So you not only have the newspaper reports, you have confirmation after the war, and Lee's own papers.


This was NOT shocking to anyone alive in 1860, by the way. Escaped slaves were tortured, chased and tortured. The lists of tortures for run away slaves included burning to death, cutting off hands, plucking out eyes. Books at the time documented the punishments given to escaped slaves.


You did not have to torture that many, or pluck out the eyes of that many, before the others got the message. Terror was at the heart of slavery, and if anyone thinks otherwise, they are nuts.


Lee was actually more cruel, not less cruel, than other slave owners, amazingly. Just in case you want to play the "on balance" game, Pryor also points out Lee had nothing but contempt for his slaves. Lee's amazing letter to his wife, posits he and his wife as the victims, the slaves as fortunate to be enslaved, where their souls could be redeemed for Christ, unlike the heathens in Africa.


______________________________________


SILENT REMINDER


SLAVES DID NOT FULLY AGREE WITH LEE'S THEORY


If the subject were not the torture of slave girls, it would almost be comical the lengths to which Pryor goes -- or depths she descends to -- to cover for Lee. Lee had "every right" to protect his property, she claims. She seems to take Lee's side when he complained -- seriously - that the slaves did not appreciate him!


But at times, she goes past clever absurdities, to outright lies. For example, she makes it seem on the surface as if Lee rarely had slaves tortured. She writes about Lee installing a whipping post as soon as he took over discipline of the slaves -- as a "SILENT REMINDER" to the slaves.


Silent? Hardly. Nice try there, Ms Pryor. There was nothing silent about those torture post. Lee had girls tied up there, and tortured.


By the way -- according to the newspapers, Lee taunted the girls before the torture, and screamed at them all through the torture. Do you know what he screamed, non stop?


No -- but you know the name of his horse -- Traveller. And you know the name of his pet chicken -- Pearl. Maybe to understand Lee, you should know what he yelled over and over, at the girl being tortured?





"HIT HER HARDER, HIT HER HARDER"








Pryor does not tell you this, but black overseers -- the ones who did the whipping --were feared by slaves more than white overseers. The black overseer himself could be whipped if he dared attempted to take it easy on a slave. A white overseer could not be tortured. Fired maybe, but not tortured.


In this case of the girl being tortured, Lee kept yelling "Hit her harder, hit her harder" or in the lexicon of the day "Lay it on, Lay it on".


Can you imagine screaming to hit a child harder? Blood ran down her back and pooled on the ground.


Did she beg for mercy? Maybe -- the newspapers did not report that. But what would a child do while being tortured?


We know what Lee did -- screamed to hit her harder.



So it was no "silent reminder" and Pryor knew that, but she did that kind of thing, or worse, to cover up for Lee in every case.


You have to read her work CLOSELY.


On another page, Pryor casually mentions whipping was Lee's "prefered" discipline.


What would make her say that. What did she see?


Remember, Pryor did not talk to witness, she went entirely by Lee's own papers. There had to be something in his own handwriting for her to say such a thing. What was it?


Why not just release all those papers? There is only one reason not to -- they are horrific. Otherwise, just release them. Pryor's job, essentially, was to white wash and mollify Lee's horrors as much as possible.



HIS ONLY CONCERN IN LIFE

LEADING SOULS TO CHRIST


People only know what they are told, and for generations now, the myth of Lee as a man who cared only to "bring souls to Christ" and other absurdities, has been taken literally, to the point a Pulitizer Prize winning author claimed Lee is now " seated next to Christ, his Lord" in heaven.


You just can't beat that. I dare you to try. Lee sits next to Christ in heaven. Go on, really, try to beat that.





Pryor tells us Lee paid 600% higher prices for capture of girls. Why? She never would tell us, or speak clearly about, his purchase of "others" . Pryor tells us Lee paid for "others" in context of Fugitive Slave Act. She artfully says "Technically, Lee may have broken the law".


Lee, she claims in another cross over to deception, rather than double speak -- "failed to fill out the time consuming paperwork" for some of the people his bounty hunters brought him.


What the hell "time consuming paperwork" does she think existed for capture of anyone? We can't know, until we see Lee's own papers, but it's stupid to think anything other than this -- Lee bought "others" -- other blacks -- that his bounty hunters captured. And that would of course be against the law, and against any decency whatsoever.


But if you are going to torture slave girls for trying to escape, as Lee did, and defend the torture of slaves (yes Lee defended their torture in writing) as ordained by GOD, why on earth NOT pay bounty for captured free blacks. What's the difference?


Did not God ordain it? Lee said God did.


Did not GOD ordain torture ? Lee wrote that slaves "Must enditure painful disciplilne"


Pain, Lee wrote, was "necessary for their instruction". And Lee did "instruct" those slaves, with a whip.


So, what the hell would prevent him from paying 100 dollars for a captured woman? The answer is NOTHING.


Failed to fill out the time consuming paper work, Pryor wrote.


Now, think that over. Think real hard.



why would Lee pay so much higher prices for 12-14 year old girls? Did he like to talk to them about bridge construction?


Maybe he enjoyed the way they spoke? There had to be a reason -- because Lee was a sane man, not a lunatic -- that Lee paid that much higher prices for girls of a certain age.


_____________________________________________


But you are not told that fact -- until now.


Pryor does tell us -- in as careful a way as humanly possible -- that Lee bought girls.


It's like pulling her own teeth -- Pryor does not want to do this. She does not want to mention that Lee bought girls, but he did.


She writes that as if Lee paid this money for the CAPTURE of escaped slaves.


Look closer. Look real close. Yes, Pryor admits Lee paid for the capture of escaped slaves, she even admits he had them 'discipline" -- tortured -- by whip and other means.


But look again. Pryor relates- - carefully mentions -- that Lee paid for "others".


You have to chase that dog around a bit, but Pryor, when she admits Lee paid for "others" -- she was writing about his payment for women kidnapped from the North.


Blacks were kidnapped from the North -- it was a lucrative business. Lee paid bounty hunters not only for the escaped women, but for "others".



________________________________


1880-1920


ADORING LEE A PROFITABLE SCAM



Did you know there is an actual award given to the writer who can praise Lee the most effusively? It is named after the most flattering Lee biography, named after Cooke, who wrote an unintentionally hilarious book about Lee.. You can not know it's hilarious, however, unless you know bout Lee's actual tortures, purchase of kidnapped women, his disdain for religion, and his obsession with bounty hunters and punishing escaped slaves.


The typical biography of Lee is almost difficult to read, even if you believe every word. Lee is the MOST wonderful, brave, religious, anti-slavery, patriotic, cleanest, devoted, faithful, and chaste man ever born.


In the Lee biography most folks assume is "definitive" -- Douglas Southall Freeman is the author -- he actually has four columns in his index about noble human qualities, then sets out to prove Lee was the best at each quality. He was not just chaste, but the most chaste (never mind he wrote sexually explicit letters to various women for decades). Never mind that rape was common at Arlington, and Lee either participated or knew it was common, and profited from the rapes.


How do you profit from rapes? Lee sold and rented out slaves- - that was how his "plantation" made money. He didn't sell vegetibles. He sold human flesh, a basic fact glossed over in every Lee biogrphaphy.


If the Lee family would show the slave ledgers -- Pryor referred to them carefully as "monthly account books, but they were accounts about profit and loss of slave dealings -- we would know exactly how much Lee made.


He wrote it all down.


_________________________________


WHY IT WAS NECESSARY TO BE WACKO

ABOUT ESCAPED SLAVES




Yes, Lee had an obsession about capturing escaped slaves -- especially the young women. But why?


Because if you allowed 10 or 20 slaves to escape (Pryor tells us Lee had a dozen slaves escape at one time, and likely, there were many others) -- you soon didn't have anyone left, but those too old, sick, or young, to do the work, or give you slave babies.


And slave babies -- the flesh from flesh -- was were the money was. As soon as a child could work, it worked, and if the price was right, rented out. Maybe rented out nearby, maybe sent to the deep South, maybe sold.


Pryor hints at such a reality -- Lee, she admits, was WORSE than most slave owners, who tried to keep mother and child together. Lee would "separate families" which is Pryor's Orwellian double speak for selling the mother or child. He didn't care, he did what got the most money.


So keep that in mind, if you read Pryor's book, and you see the part about Lee paid so much extra for girls.


And he tortured -- yes tortured - any slave who tried to escape -for the same reason. That was his money. And he was not going to let a slave girl escape. He would send hunters after her, for as long as it took.


Lee didn't much care -- he gave BOUNTY payments. The bounty hunters only got paid if they got the flesh and brought it back to him. There was not just one bounty hunter, there were hundreds of bounty hunters.


And they didn't care much if the black girls they captured in the North were escaped slaves or not. They got paid -- paid by men like Lee -- for the flesh.




___________________________________________


HOW "HISTORIANS" GOT IT SO FUCKING WRONG?


How did "historians" come to the conclusion that Lee was anti-slavery? That his slaves servants loved him? That he only cared about "winning souls to Christ" bullshit?




Understand this -- No one alive when Lee was alive, including Lee, said his only goal in life was to "bring men to Christ" -- no one alive, when Lee was alive, said he was against slavery, or that he freed his slaves before the war, or that his slaves loved him.



Lee himself was known to torture slaves, or have others torture them, as he taunted them. It was reported in the newspapers at the time.


No one alive when Lee was alive, said Lee was kind to his slaves.


And yes -- contrary to what your smug uncle, your misinformed teacher may have told you, Lee not only owned his own slaves, not only "managed" his wife's slaves, Lee bought more slaves.


And he bought them -- at least some of them -- from bounty hunters.


And Lee defended the torture (yes, torture) of slaves, including slave girls, in his own handwriting. See more below.

____________________________________________


PRYOR TELLS IT CAREFULLY

SHE ADORES LEE


SHE WORKED FOR THE LEE FAMILY


But wow, what she found. How do you tell the Lee family that their hero bought kidnapped women (yes, kidnapped women) that Lee's bounty hunters found in the North, and captured, illegally?


How do you tell the Lee family that their hero wrote dirty letters -- sexually explicit -- to various women, for decades?


How do you tell the Virginia Historical Society, in a way that doesn't get your car blown up the next time you start it, that Lee had various tortures he used on slave girls, and used the tortures - torture is the right word -- regularly.


______________________________________________


BIGGEST PROBLEM.


Far from Lee freeing his slaves, Pryor carefully relates that Lee's biggest problem was escaped slaves!!


Pryor -- as you will see -- would never spell anything out candidly. She related things in as diplomatic, as soft spoken, and as non-shocking way as humanly possible. Typically Pryor would not even mention Lee's name in the paragraph about his tortures, his bounty hunter payments.


Pryor couched whatever she wrote, however, in flattery. Or double speak, or both.

Such as the funniest line in her book (she did not mean it to be funny ) Lee's slaves "did not fully agree with his theory of labor management".


Did not fully agree? Labor management? As she relates herself, Lee defended the torture (she did not say torture, but it was) of slaves as being ordained by God. God "knew and intended" slaves feel pain. Pain, Lee wrote, was "necessary for their instruction."


Lee's father had a slave girl hung -- to death -- because she knocked down a white man. No one even bothered to mention why she would knock down a white man, but she was pregnant - 8 months pregnant -- and 15.


Was the white man whipping her? Raping her? Taking a child from her, to sell? Taking her mother away? All of those things happened on slave farms. But so unimportant it was WHY she would knock this white man down, no one bothered to write that down.


She was hung.


That is how Lee grew up -- and the myth of kind slave owners was never true. At any time, any slave could be tortured, sold, whipped, or even they fought back, burned to death or hung.


Slavery HAD to be based on violence, as Lincoln and many others pointed out. You did not have to torture every slave -- hang one girl up to be whipped until the blood pooled around her feet- - make the others watch, and they got the idea.


_______________________________________


Lee's amazing letter -- one of many.


Lee insisted his slaves were lazy. He and his wife both, according to Pryor, thought the slaves should be more grateful to them. Lee insisted slaves were fortunate to be slaves -- the imposition was to the slave owner, he told his wife, in one of the most amazing letters ever written.


That letter -- two sentences in it -- are used thousands of times, in thousands of classes to show folks Lee was against slavery.


Uh -- read the whole letter- - and more importantly, learn what Lee did.


Slavery was of God, and it is evil - yes evil -- for anyone to even attempt to end it other than by prayer.


In fact, Lee equated slavery with "spiritual liberty".


________________________________________


HAD TO TELL HIS WIFE SOMETHING


That Lee had slave girls tortured is not even debatable, when you know his own hand written records validate a horrific torture Lee imposed on one girl for trying to escape.


Escaped slaves was Lee's biggest problem, Pryor wrote. She could have given us much more information behind that, like show us the letters and entries in his records, about it.


Pryor knew, for example, that at one time, Lee's hunters were looking for 12 escaped slaves.


Pryor knew, too, that Lee paid 600% more bounty for the capture of girls of a certain age- - about 14.


Now -- why why -- would Lee paid so much extra for girls of a certain age? Was he stupid? Was he silly. Did he want them back for their singing voice? Did they recite poetry he liked?


You can figure it out, but the fact is, Lee was eager to get slave girls back, and apparently, get more. Pryor wont tell us the gender of "others" that Lee bought from bounty hunters, who captured the "others" in the North. But it's a good bet, the hunters brought him WOMEN. FEMALES


He paid much more for females. Six times as much.






















How is it then, that virtually no one knows Lee's slave ledgers, dirty letters, and letters to bounty hunters, still exist?


How is it, then, we don't know Lee turned kidnapped women (kidnapped illegally in the North) into slave women?


How is it we did not know -- and teach -- the very open fact at the time, that Lee had his soldiers kidnap hundreds of free blacks in the North, during the way, and had those blacks taken South, and there sold as slaves?


TENDENCY TO BULLSHIT






Actual "historians" wrote that kind of nonsense about Lee -- some got "Pulitzer Prizes" for books so goofy, they should not be in history section of any library.



It's not that EVERY historian fell into line completely. Historian Alan Nevins dared to suggest we need to "start over" about Lee --in 1991 -- because what we had was, to oversimplify him, what we had was bullshit.


Even Nolan, however, dared not to say anything specifically negative about lee -- in fact, he seemed to bend over backwards to praise Lee on almost every page, despite criticizing those who did that themselves.


Nolan, though, almost had to do that, in order not to be shot at book signings.










Nolan could have no clue -at all -- how right he was, because he never got to see Lee's slave ledgers, dirty letters, and letters to and from bounty hunters.


In fact, only one person that we know of, was allowed to actually study Lee's slave ledgers, dirty letters, and bounty hunters letters.


She wrote a clever book about those dirty letters, bounty hunter letters, and slave ledgers. Her name was Elizabeth Pryor, who sadly passed away in automobline accident April 1, 2015. But her book remains.


Remaining, too, unless the Lee family destroyed them by now, are Lee's dirty letters, slave ledgers, and letters to/from bounty hunters.

______________________________________________


Repeating myths


Repeating myths, adding to them, work. It works to sell books -- and worked very well from 1880-1950, about Lee. Basically the books repeated bullshit from previous books, but who could, who would, refute that bullshit?


Others repeated it, endlessly, adding their own nonsense. Smug "history teachers" pumped it up, and sold it to generations. Not out of malice or eagerness to distort, but pumping out bullshit is a rewarding pastime.


(To those of you who never knew historians are often full of bullshit, and spread that bullshit proudly, not just about Lee, this may be a shock.)





But Lee's dirty letters, slave ledgers, letters to bounty hunters, completely and utterly make a mockery of such crap. Elizabeth Pryor wrote a book about those documents, and you should read it, even though she wrote it, in the most careful way possible, to absolve or minimize the blame to Lee.









During Lee's life - no one claimed he didn't own slaves. No one claimed his "servants" loved him so much they refused to leave when freed.






Dozens of books, however, in the 1880's and 1890's, capitalized on the nostalgia for adoration of Confederate leaders. Almost hilariously, the books had to have more goofy preposterous things to say about Lee, than the other guy.










For example, John Cooke came up with the goofy story that Lee -- and all his staff officers-- would dismount during battle, as bombs blew up around them, and stood in "profound respect" as someone would pray.










No one said a thing about that at the time -- none of the staff officers mentioned it.






Who in their right mind gets off their horse and stands in silence, with dozen or two dozen other officers, as bombs blow up around them? Not LEE!! Lee was "well in the rear" anyway. I
















Fittingly, a John Cooke prize is given even now -- to authors who conjure up the most effusive bullshit about Lee. It's rather like a Monty Python or Alice in Wonderland spook, but this crap is taught as factual.







































When bounty hunters brought to Lee black women -- kidnapped from the North, Lee did not rush out and go "Oh my God, you poor child. You are not an escaped slave. You are a free girl from the North. I will have you taken immediately back to your loved ones. I am so sorry"








Lee took a different approach.






He bought the women, turned them into slaves.






And he would do that, on much larger scale, during the Civil War.














Lee is the only soldier in US history, to have civilians rounded up during a war, taken to another country, and there, sold as slaves.














eeee





_____________________________________





TRICKY





DICKY




LANGUAGE
















LEE THE PLANTER?






WHAT DOES "MANAGE SLAVES" MEAN.









In the typical Lee biography, the language is necessarily double speak, even Orwellian.












For example, Pryor and others will tell you Lee took much time off from the military to "manage" the "plantation".












But in candid, honest terms, manage slaves meant this -- sell these slaves (yes, Lee sold slaves) buy others, "discipline" others. Put fear in the hearts and minds.






Lee stated in his own letter (that some use, idiotically, to prove Lee was anti slavery) that pain was necessary for their instruction.






Slaves "must endure painful discipline" Pain is "necessary for their instruction".






In the bizzaro world of history bullshit, you can take one disingenous sentence, ignore all the other sentences Lee wrote, ignore his slave ledgers, the newspapers, the letters to and from bounty hunters, and claim that proves Lee was against slavery.






Lee was very very much "into" slavery.






Lee personally suggested places for bounty hunters to look, and apparently sent the bounty hunters on long trips- -into the North.






Yes, the North is where the escaped slaves would go, and yes, the Fugative Slave Act required the Northern authorities to return the escaped slaves.






But if Lee was anti slavery -- why on earth did he have bounty hunters go on long trips to capture them.






Pryor tells that Lee, at one time, had 12 escaped slaves -- but he may have had many more at various times. According to Pryor, Lee's slaves hated and feared him, called him "the worst man we ever knew".






Just in case you think Lee's slaves loved him - hell no. That is not reflected in his own slave ledgers and letters.






Lee may or may not have personally tortured the slave girls, but he did taunt the girls before the torture, and scream at them during the torture, according to accounts at the time. Those accounts are validated- - remember that - validated by Lee's own papers, Pryor tells us. Exactly what she found, Pryor is rather coy about. But she did admit the newspapers were validated by each other, and by Lee's own paperwork.






And by discipline,as you will see, Lee meant whip. In fact, as Pryor so artfully relates, in a way that doesn't scare the shit out of readers, one of the first things Lee did when he took over "management" of the slaves, was to install a whipping post.












That's right, Lee had a whipping post installed. No doubt, the slaves themselves had to build and install their own device, to be tortured. And torture is the right word.





WHAT DOES "PLANTER MEAN"









Lee was a "Planter" Lee "managed" his servants.
















Pryor tells us -- "All Lee ever wanted to be, was a Planter"






Planter is Orwellian double speak for slave owner. Lee not only never planted anything-- his cash crop was not cotton or vegetables or chickens. His cash crop was HUMAN BEINGS -- their flesh, and their labor.






Most people assume - wrongly -- that Lee must have grown food, cotton, or tobacco. To the extent his slaves grew any of that, Lee's ledgers -- and Pryor could show this -- show Lee's rentals and sales of slaves, purchases of slaves, farming out this slave or that, was how he got his money.






And yes, Lee used slave auctions. Pryor admits that, too, but as she does everything, in a way not to stun the shit out of anyone.















No. As you will see, Pryor tells us nearly everything, in a very "uncandid" way -- but no one else came close to telling us what Lee actually did, in clever ways, or not.









Some biographies of Lee claim he didn't even own any -- they got that information from others, who said the same thing.












But Lee not only had slaves, Lee was very much into selling, renting, and getting more slaves. That's the kind of information in his slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters.













" Pryor tells us nearly everything, in a very "uncandid" way -- but no one else came close to telling us what Lee actually did, in clever ways, or not"





____________________________________


POWER OF BULLSHIT















As we learn from Lee's own papers, Lee turned free women INTO slaves. He bought women from bounty hunters, who captured luckless free blacks in the North, on their trips to capture escaped slaves.











The bounty hunters didn't really care if the woman they captured was an escaped slave, or not. Thousands of free blacks were captured -- kidnapped really -- and sold to men like Lee , and to Lee specifically.












Lee's papers show that. In the most artful doubletalk of her book, Pryor relates that Lee paid for "others". He paid the bounty hunters for capturing escaped slaves (and he paid much higher prices, 600% higher prices, for escaped girls) and he paid for "others".












Others -- others. Lee paid for others. Very clever.









PRYOR COULD HAVE BEEN CANDIDCOULD HAVE SHOW US THE LEDGERS









So polished -- so smooth -- is Pryor's prose, that no reviewer of her work seemed to notice, much less mention -- why not just show the ledgers? Why not show or quote Lee verbatum.












For example, Pryor relates Lee paid for "others". She could have said something like "In Lee's letter to his Bounty Hunter Toombs, and in his slave ledger, Lee records 2,000 dollar payment for capture of the following slaves, and 450 dollars for purchase of the following blacks that were not slaves".












There is material -- Lee's own handwritten material -- for all of this. Pryor choses never to show it, or mention it in a candid, stark, but honest way.












But Pryor would never be candid -- at all - about the documents she reports on. She refused to even call his slave ledgers by their candid name -- slave ledgers. She calls them, and refers only once, to "monthly account books".












MONTHLY ACCOUNT BOOKS












Monthly "account" books, receipts, letters to bounty hunters, letters to and from assorted women (Lee wrote a "number" of women, for decades, and some were sexually explicit)












If Lee had destroyed his slave ledgers, dirty letters, bounty hunter letters..we would never know












The myth of Lee would still be a travesty to the women he tortured, the children he sold, the women he turned into slaves.












Yes, Lee turned free women INTO slaves -- as you will see. His bounty hunters were not picky -- they would search for escaped slaves, but bring him "others" according to his slave ledgers. See how Pryor handles that below.












She told us -- but in a clever and diplomatic way. Doubtless she was not about to infuriate the Lee family. She worked literally side by side with the Lee family, in a sense, she worked for the Lee family.












WHO WERE THE OTHERS





HOW DID PRYOR GET THAT INFORMATION?









The "OTHERS" Lee got from bounty hunters were black women living in the North, free women. People today are almost clueless that in Northern Virginia (Lee lived only 2 miles from the White House) buying kidnapped women, and men, was a business opportunity.












Men like Lee, who claimed God ordained slavery (see below) and that he was doing the black a favor by enslaving them, did not think it horrible to accept black women from bounty hunters. As bounty hunters rode up to Lee's plantation, their slaves and "others" in chains walking along, Lee did not rush out and go "Oh my God, you poor child. You are not an escaped slave. You are a free girl from the North. I will have you taken immediately back to your loved ones. I am so sorry".












No -- Lee took a different approach. He bought them.












But Pryor does tell us he paid for "others". She would not list their names, though she could have. She would not list the prices Lee paid, though she could have.












Remember, Pryor GOT THAT INFORMATION FROM LEE'S OWN HAND WRITTEN LETTERS AND LEDGERS.












Yes, Lee was one of those men, according to his slave ledgers.












And why not? If God -- as he said -- ordained slavery. If GOD delivered the other blacks to him, this was "Providence"












____________________________________________












PRYOR NOT OUT TO TRASH












Pryor had a problem -- the "horrors" she saw in his slave ledgers, (she even calls them horrors) are not what she expected, and not what the Lee family hired her to do.












Pryor worked literally with the Lee family and Virginia Historical society, on this project.












The project was to do a review of the hand written papers Lee did not destroy himself, and which the family kept in two trunks.












Scholars knew of the trunks -- and wanted to get their hands on them for 100 years. But as you will see, there were good reason not to show the papers to the public.












And they STILL won't show those papers to the public.












Instead, the Lee family allowed one person to actually study those papers for months.












CORRELATING DATE SKILLS












It's likely the Lee family had little idea what the hell were in the papers, if a scholar like Pryor got them, and could correlate, for example, newspapers from the era, and dated papers in Lee's own handwriting.












For example, no doubt Pryor already knew of newspaper reports of Lee's amazingly cruel torture of slave girls -- and his capture of free black women in the North (yes, in the North) that Lee ordered. Lee had his soldiers gather black men, women, and children, regardless if they were free or slaves, regardless of anything. There is no dispute whatsoever that Lee had his men capture hundreds of free blacks in the North during his invasion of Pennsylvania -- and that those blacks were taken to slave auction, where they were sold.












Who got the money from selling that flesh -- Pryor did not say. But she might well have known, there might well be entries in Lee's ledgers.
















MAGIC OF BULLSHIT












But thru the magic of repeating bullshit, a man who had slave girls tortured, a man who bought kidnapped free black women from the North, and turned them into slaves (yes he did) and a man who essentially wrote that God wanted him to inflict pain on slaves, turns by repeating bullshit, into a "great man of GOD, who was against slavery".












No, Lee was not against slavery. His actions and letters (read the full letters) show Lee defended slavery, and defended the torture of slaves, with a religious tenacity. Others did the same thing -- but Lee did it on bigger scale. Lee used bounty hunters, then later soldiers, to grab free blacks in the North.









This is not the only time, nor is Lee the only person, to be entirely different in the myth made up by others. Nor will he be the last.








____________________________________________


NEWSPAPERS AT THE TIME REPORTED





Most people today have no clue that Newspapers at the time reported Lee's torture of slave girls.












Not that whipping a slave girl made the papers-- but Lee ordered his regular overseer to whip the girl, and the oversee refused because she was so young.












So called historians -- who could recite every line of Lee's myth -- naturally refused to believe those papers, if they ever even knew about them.












But Pryor -- who had Lee's slave ledgers and letters to/ from bounty hunters, confirmed Lee did indeed record, on those dates, information in his own handwriting, that verified the tortures.






To her credit -- and rather surprisingly -- Pryor makes it emphatic, Lee's own handwritten entries in slave legers and letters, validate the story of the torture of this girl. Pryor blames the girl -- Lee had every right to protect his property, seems to be Pryor's justification.






Pryor also notes, elsewhere in the book, that torture -- physical torture (painful discipline) was not unusual. Lee's "prefered" way to "discipline" the slaves was the whip. He had other ways -- chemical torture (really) like pouring salt on open wounds.






As an eye witness to the girl's torture stated --and he was there -- Lee did it to increase her pain, but to keep the scars, which would last for life, to a minumum.






But Lee had other tortures, as well, psychological terror -a woman could lose her child, a child lose their mother, as easily as Lee telling an overseer to take this child or mother to auction, or to send this mother or child to that plantation deep in the South, and Lee got the money. Pryor notes that Lee would separate "families" which means, separate the mother from the child.






Typically, a slave child did not know who the father was, and the biological father was, often as not, a white man at Arlington. So when Pryor talks about breaking up families, she knew quite well the horror -- Lee sold the mother or the child.






She could have been more clear about what she found, and show us, quote the material verbatum. There is a very good reason she never did that, on any of the "horrors" --the vile nature of what she found in the slave ledgers and bounty hunter letters, were too vile for her to be candid about.






She did the best she could.















1 OF MANY THINGS YOU NEVER HEARD

















Yet, you never even heard that Lee's slave's skin tone -- white in come cases -- was an issue. Pryor's book tells us that, and much much more, in a very careful way.


More people know the name of Robert E Lee's pet chicken than know he had girls captured and tortured.





Which is more informative, more important, to know the character of a man? To know the name of his pet chicken (Pearl) or know who he tortured, and why, and what he did during the torture of girls so small, his regular "torture guy" refused to whip her.


Let me repeat that -- Lee had a girl tortured that was so small, so young, his regular guy refused to whip her. Lee had to hire a nearby bounty hunter, to whip her.


How do we know? From his slave ledgers. He validated -- yes, Lee's own slave ledgers, in his own handwriting, validated the overlapping newspaper reports of his torture.





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