Fort Mason, Texas January 23 1861
In this letter, Lee addresses his opinion the South was aggrieved by the Northern Aggression, expressed pride in his Country, and his support of the US Constitution. Lee expresses his Concerns that no greater Calamity could occur for the country than the dissolution of the Union.
The "but" or "however" shows up at the end of the letter, indicating he was a man of his word and a man of principle And I quote verbatim from "Memoirs" book page 88-89:
".... Still a Union that can only be maintained by Swords and Bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me. I shall mourn for my country and for the welfare and progress of mankind. IF THE UNION IS DISOLVED and the Government disrupted, I shall return to my Native State and share the miseries of my people, and save in defense will draw my sword on no one."
I think he spoke the same sentiments of the majority of Arkansas, and they were called on to defend not only Arkansas but the South as well.
The book on the rest of pages 89 and 90, expresses the outright betrayal and lying to the envoys from the south, and calling up Soldiers, which the South took it as a declaration of War. While this portion is not written by Lee, it is written by Robert E Lee's Military Secretary, and later one of his Corps Artillery Chiefs. He lived it with Lee and certainly could be considered a subject matter expert, of the southern perspective. Also as Doyle, and George have pointed out eloquently, Abraham Lincoln new what he was doing was illegal, and he did it anyway. This move by Lincoln ironically, in trying to prove the North being Morally Superior, actually proved the South's biggest fears, and bolstered the belief that Secession was the right course of action. In my opinion, Lincoln was the best recruiter in Arkansas for the Confederate cause.