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The declining years

In these portraits the bright eyes of the daring leader have lost none of their fire; the handsome head still remains erect. In October, 1865, Lee had been installed as president of Washington College at Lexington, Virginia, later named in his honor Washington and Lee University. Under his management new chairs were founded, the scheme of study enlarged, and from the moral side it would have been impossible to secure finer results. Lee's greatness of soul was shown in the way in which he urged the Southern people loyally to accept the result of the war. On the morning of October 12, 1870, at the age of sixty-three, he died-mourned throughout the Union which he had helped to reunite, and throughout the civilized world, which had watched with admiration his gallant fight and nobility of soul. ‘To those who saw his composure under the greater and lesser trials of life,’ wrote Colonel William Preston Johnson, his intimate friend, ‘and his justice and forbearance with the most unjust and uncharitable, it seemed scarcely credible that his serene soul was shaken by the evil that raged around him.’ On his dying bed he fought over the great battles of the war. How strongly he felt his responsibility is shown by nearly his last words: ‘Tell Hill he must come up.’

Lee in 1867 president of Washington college, later Washington and Lee university

Lee in 1869 the year before his death at the age of sixty-three


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