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[342]

At Lee's tomb.


Rev. Dr. Field on the character of Lee.

A splendid tribute to the great Southern Leader—The judgment of history.

September, 1889.
Rev. Dr. Henry M. Field writes in the New York Evangelist as follows:

My last letter left us in the college chapel at Lexington, looking at the recumbent statue of General Lee. While standing here, in the very presence of death, I am moved to say a few words in regard to the life that ended in this tomb, and the character of the man whose name is carved upon this stone. As I read history, and compare the men who have figured in the events that make history—in wars and revolutions—it seems to me that General Lee was not only a great soldier, but a great man, one of the greatest that our country has produced. After his death the college, which had hitherto borne the name of Washington, by whom it was endowed, was rechristened Washington and Lee University—a combination which suggests a comparison of the two men whose names are here brought together. Can we trace any likeness between them? At first it seems as if no characters, as well as no careers, could be more alien to each other than those of the two great leaders, one of whom was the founder of the Government which the other did his utmost to destroy. But nature brings forth her children in strange couples, with resemblances in some cases as marked, and yet as unexpected as are contrasts in others. Washington and Lee, though born in different centuries, were children of the same mother—Old Virginia—and had her best blood in their veins. Descended from the stock of the English cavaliers, both were born ‘gentlemen’ and never could be anything else. Both were trained in the school of war, and as leaders of armies it would not be a violent assumption to rank Lee as the equal of Washington. But it is not in the two soldies, but in the two men, that the future historians will find points of resemblance.

Washington was not a brilliant man; not ‘a man of genius,’ such as now and then appears to dazzle mankind; but he had what was far better than genius—a combination of all the qualities that win human trust, in which intelligence is so balanced by judgment and exalted by character as to constitute a natural superiority, indieating


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