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[83] gifted Englishmen of that age supplied unstinted praise as ‘greatest, wisest, best,’ and above whose bier, amid the tearful approbation of a mourning country, the young Lee's father, the ‘Light Horse Harry’ of the brave days of old, had pronounced that eulogium, as immortal as the character which it epitomized: ‘First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.’

Separated from that father at a tender age, nourished when yet at his mother's knee by those beautiful and pathetic letters in which the death-stricken parent solaced the years of pain and exile by pouring out his loving admonitions to the children he was never more to see on earth, the susceptible heart of the boy imbibed for his absent sire a devotion which grew with his growth and which contributed in large degree to shape his own career in life. Later the lonely grave in Georgia appealed to his imagination, and the influence of its silent occupant was more potent than that of most living parents upon their sons. The faded letters from the Indies became sacred precepts to the lad. They are still a cherished heir-loom with the Lees, and none could ask a more precious legacy for budding minds than those yellow sheets contain—serious in meaning, tenderly playful in tone, couched in language as purely classic and simply lucid as though ladled from the well of English undefiled.

Then, too, the daily pabulum of this thoughtful boy was found in the record of his father's distinguished career as a soldier of the revolution, the honorable mention in orders from the commanding general, the flattering resolutions of Congress applauding his gallantry and skill in arms, the correspondence of Washington and Greene conveying their confidence and gratitude for brilliant services, and the speeches of Light Horse Harry himself in the State Legislature, in Congress and in the Convention which adopted the Federal Constitution—that superb but well-balanced oratory which satisfied the reason while taking captive the imagination, in which loftiness of thought and beauty of expression were as well attuned as sun and beam; and in which there breathed a love of country and a desire for union which was not held in those days to be inconsistent with a passionate jealousy for the rights of the States. And while studying thus the thoughts and deeds of the dead father, never known in life, the youth absorbed the reverent affection which permeated every word and act of that father towards Washington.

It is not too much to assume that the idolized leader of the sire became thus the ideal hero of the scion; and that the son of that

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