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[317] and kindled with the glow of an unconquerable soul; it is, besides and above all, the unique combination in him of moral strength with moral beauty, of all that is great in heroic action with all that is good in common life, that will make of this pile of stone a sacred shrine, dear throughout coming ages, not to soldiers only, but to all

Helpers and friends of mankind.

Let a brief recital show that these are words of truth and soberness.

Lee was fortunate in his birth, for he sprang from a race of men who had just shown, in a world-famous struggle, all of the virtues and few of the faults of a class selected to rule because fittest to rule. His father had won a brilliant fame as a cavalry leader, and the signal honor of the warm friendship of Washington. The death of ‘Light-Horse’ Harry Lee when Robert Lee was only eleven years old made the boy the protector of his mother—a school of virtue not unfitted to develop a character that nature had formed for honor. It was partly, no doubt, the example of his father's brilliant service, but mainly the soldier's blood which flowed in his viens, that impelled him to seek a place in the Military Academy at West Point. He was presented to President Jackson, and we may well believe the story that the old soldier was quickly won by the gallant youth, and willingly secured him to the army. I cannot dwell on his proficiency in the military school, or his early years of useful service in the corps of engineers, though, doubtless, those practical labors had an important influence upon the future leader of that Army of Northern Virginia, so famous for its

‘—looming bastions fringed with fire’—

the creation of the axe and spade.

One auspicious incident of that time I must not pass by—his marriage to the great granddaughter of Washington's wife. Thus another tie was formed which connected him by daily associations of family and place with Washington's fame and character. He became, in some sort, Washington's direct personal representative. Is it fanciful to suppose that all this had an immediate effect on his nature, so moulded already to match with whatever was great and noble? It may well be believed that Lee made Washington his model of public duty, and, in every important conjuncture of his life, unconsciously, no doubt, but effectively asked himself the question: ‘How would Washington have acted in this case?’

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