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[363] easy, for many were the overtures and proffers made to him in every form of interested solicitation, and disinterested generosity. Would he seek recreation from the trials which for years had strained every energy of mind and body, and every emotion of his heart,—the palaces of European nobility, the homes of the Old World and the New alike opened their doors to him as a welcome and honored guest. Would he prolong his military career? More than one potentate would have been proud to receive into his service that famous sword. Would he retrieve his fortunes and surround his declining years with luxury and wealth? He had but to yield the sanction of his name to any one of the many enterprises that commercial princes commended to his favor, with every assurance of munificent reward. And indeed, were he willing to accept, unlimited means were placed at his disposal by those who would have been proud to render him any service.

But it had been the principle of Lee's life to accept no gratuitous offer. He had declined the gift of a home tendered to him by the citizens of Richmond during the war, when Arlington had been confiscated, and the refuge of his family, the ‘White House,’ had been burned,--expressing the hope that those who offered the gift would devote the means required ‘to the relief of the families of our soldiers in the field, who are more deserving of assistance, and more in want of it than myself.’ And now when an English nobleman presented him as a retreat, a splendid country seat in England, with a handsome annuity to correspond, he answered: ‘I am deeply grateful, but I cannot consent to desert my native State in the hour of her adversity. I must abide her fortunes and share her fate.’ And declining also the many positions with lucrative salaries which were urged upon his acceptance, it was his intention to locate in one of the Southside counties of Virginia, ‘upon a small farm where he might earn his daily bread’ in cultivating the soil, and at the same time to write a history of his campaigns; ‘not,’ as he said, ‘to vindicate myself, and promote my own reputation, but to show the world what our poor boys with their small numbers and scant re-scources, had succeeded in accomplishing.’

But circumstances, then to him unknown, were bringing an event to pass which turned over a new and unexpected leaf in his history, —an event which made a little scion of knowledge which had been nurtured though the storms of the Colonial Revolution, a great and noble University, and which now has associated in the glorious work of education, as in glorious deeds of arms, the twin names of Washington and Lee.

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