Si fractus illabatur orbisWith a home no longer his, Lee then sheathed his sword. With the silent dignity of his subsequent life, after he thus accepted defeat, all are familiar. He left behind him no querulous memoirs, no exculpatory vindication, no controversial utterances. For him, history might explain itself—posterity formulate its own verdict. Surviving Appomattox but a little more than five years, those years were not unmarked by incidents very gratifying to American recollection; for we Americans, do, I think, above all things love magnimity, and appreciate action at once fearless and generous. We all remember how by the grim mockery of fate—as if to test to the uttermost American capacity for self-government—Abraham Lincoln was snatched away at the moment of crisis from the helm of State, and Andrew Johnson substituted for him. I think it no doubtful anticipation of historical judgment to say that a more unfortunate selection could not well have chanced. In no single respect, it is safe to say, was Andrew Johnson adapted for the peculiar duties which Booth's pistol imposed upon him. One of Johnson's most unhappy, most ill-considered convictions was that our Civil War was a conventional old time rebellion—that rebellion was treason—that treason was a crime:
Impavidum ferient ruin$ea.
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