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[74] for which neither his years nor his temperament fitted him.

His health, which had begun to be impaired in 1863, gradually failed him, and in 1869 grew somewhat alarming. In the spring of 1870, he took a trip South with little result, and then he went to some springs for the summer. He resumed his duties at the college, but soon was taken ill in consequence of an accidental exposure, and after a short illness he died on October 12, 1870. His last words were of the war and his often dilatory subordinates: ‘Tell Hill he must come up.’

Tributes came from friend and foe, and now, after forty years have passed, they continue to come. Lee is to the Southern people and to many military experts in foreign countries the greatest commander of armies that America has ever produced. He is to all who have studied his character, and to many who have merely heard or read of him in a general way, one of the noblest of men. He is the ideal gentleman, not merely of Nature's making, but of race and breeding; in other words, a true aristocrat. Yet to his aristocratic virtues, he added the essentially democratic virtues, and he was an ideal Christian as well as an ideal gentleman and man.

Lee's rank among the great men of the world is not so easy to determine, yet it seems clear that he must be named with the greatest of all time, with soldiers like Marlborough, for example, and that an additional luster attaches to his fame which few other great captains enjoy, since he attracts sympathy and love almost more than he does admiration. More completely perhaps than any other modern man of AngloSaxon stock he is qualified to be at once a hero of history and a hero of romance. He is the representative of a people that has suffered; hence his character and career possess a unique spiritual value not fully to be estimated by those who apply to him the normal tests of historical greatness.

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