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[360] I feel that I need suggest to you no argument in favor of the petition, as the accomplishment of the Board of Trustees would so clearly result in good to the State, and enable it at an early day to commence to reap the advantages of the grant of the general government. I hope you will agree with me in the opinion that a proper distribution of the fund will be the most advantageous way of applying it, and that Washington College offers opportunities at least equal to any other in the State, where the instruction desired to be taught can be made useful and profitable to the people.

With great respect, your obedient servant,


His letters, like those of Washington, are plain in diction, but clear, strong, and to the point. Each used language as a means not as an end. With regard to the land fund, to which Lee alludes, I made an endeavor to get the authorities of Washington to turn over Virginia's portion. In 1867 I was coolly told by the Commissioner of the general land that it was construed that West Virginia was in, but that Virginia was not in the Union. In the year just mentioned, I saw in my visits to Lexington a good deal of General Lee. I was told by citizens of Lexington that the order and discipline of his college was greatly improved by General Lee; that such was the respect and love for him of the students that they disliked above all things to be reported to him for misdemeanors, and when any were, he addressed their sense of honor and better nature, rather than their fears, with such effect that they rarely appeared before him again.

In a protracted conversation which I had with him in his own house, about August, 1867, he made no allusion to any of his own great achievements, but seemed rather to avoid topics relating to the late war. He said, however, in connection with the prostrated and impoverished condition of the South that ‘the best hopes of the country rest in the education of the rising generation.’ I use his precise language. The same just sentiment, though in other language, he expressed to me in a letter the previous year. Recent military campaigns in which Prussia was a successful party was a topic introduced by him in the conversation referred to. He attributed her military success to her thorough and admirable system of education, which, he said, was both civil and military and compulsory.

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