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My Archives ^ | 19th Century | General Robert E. Lee in a letter to one of his sons

Posted on 01/19/2002 5:03:13 PM PST by LadyJD


"The forbearing use of power does not only form a touchstone, but the manner in which an individual enjoys certain advantages over others is a test of a true gentleman. The power which the strong have over the weak, the employer over the employed, the educated over the unlettered, the experienced over the confiding, even the clever over the silly-the forbearing or inoffensive use of all this power or authority, or a total abstinence from it when the case admits it, will show the gentleman in a plain light. The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He cannot only forgive, he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which impart sufficient strength to let the past be but the past. A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others." --Robert E. Lee

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I would like to see a discussion of the great General Lee on this thread. Please post quotes by or about Lee.

Thank you.

1 posted on 01/19/2002 5:03:13 PM PST by LadyJD
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To: shuckmaster
**”I saw in States' Rights the only availing check upon the absolutism of the sovereign will, and secession filled me with hope, not as the destruction but as the redemption of Democracy . . . I deemed that you [i.e., Lee] were fighting the battles of our liberty, our progress, and our civilization; and I mourn for the stake which was lost at Richmond more deeply than I rejoice over that which was saved at Waterloo.” –Lord Acton to General Lee**
2 posted on 01/19/2002 5:05:35 PM PST by LadyJD
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To: stainlessbanner
"Keep steady in the view of the great principles for which you contend. The safety of your homes and the lives of all you hold dear depend upon your courage and exertions. Let each man resolve to be victorious, and that the right of self government, liberty and peace shall find him a defender." ---General Robert E. Lee to his men, 1861
3 posted on 01/19/2002 5:07:57 PM PST by LadyJD
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To: LadyJD; Twodees; Taxman; gratefulwharffratt; Tarzantheape; backhoe
And why not what it takes to be a Southern Gentleman? ... that could be interesting as well ...
4 posted on 01/19/2002 5:08:52 PM PST by 2Trievers
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To: LadyJD
Greatest quote ever:

"We surrender." - General Lee, Appomattox Courthouse 1865

5 posted on 01/19/2002 5:09:01 PM PST by tbeatty
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To: sheltonmac

“General Scott how is it that 10,000 men took Mexico City in six weeks
and 100,000 have not taken Richmond in six months?”


"Mr. President, the very men who took me into the City of Mexico
are keeping me out of the city of Richmond."

6 posted on 01/19/2002 5:12:18 PM PST by LadyJD
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To: LadyJD
Farewell to the Army of Northern Virginia

by Robert E. Lee

After four years of arduous service, marked by unsurpassed courage and fortitude, the Army of Northern Virginia has been compelled to yield to overwhelming numbers and resources.

I need not tell the survivors of so many hard-fought battles who have remained steadfast to the last that I have consented to this result from no distrust of them; but feeling that valor and devotion could accomplish nothing that could compensate for the loss that would have attended the continuance of the contest, I determined to avoid the useless sacrifice of those whose past services have endeared them to their countrymen. By the terms of the agreement, officers and men can return to their homes and remain until exchanged.

You may take with you the satisfaction that proceeds from the consciousness of duty faithfully performed, and I earnestly pray that a merciful God will extend to you his blessing and protection.

With an unceasing admiration of your constancy and devotion to your country, and a grateful remembrance of your kind and generous consideration of myself, I bid you all an affectionate farewell.

7 posted on 01/19/2002 5:15:14 PM PST by 2Trievers
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To: Twodees
"Although the Confederacy as an organization may have ceased to exist, the fundamental principles, the eternal truths, uttered when our colonies in 1776 declared their independence, on which the Confederation of 1781 and the Union of 1788 were formed, and which animated and guided the Confederacy of 1861, yet live, and in God’s appointed time and place, will prevail." –Jefferson Davis
8 posted on 01/19/2002 5:16:46 PM PST by LadyJD
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To: LadyJD
"I believe it to be the duty of everyone to unite in the restoration of the country and the reestablishment of peace and harmony."

- Robert E. Lee made this statement following the end of hostilities.

9 posted on 01/19/2002 5:17:32 PM PST by tbeatty
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To: LadyJD; Inge_CAV
Yikes! Sorry IC!
10 posted on 01/19/2002 5:20:13 PM PST by 2Trievers
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To: 2Trievers
Thank you; you beat me to that.

Here is one about the men who followed the great Chieftain:

During the early 1900's, many members of the United Confederate Veterans (UCV) advocated awarding former slaves rural acreage and a home. There was hope that justice could be given those slaves that were once promised "forty acres and a mule" but never received any. In the 1913 Confederate Veteran magazine published by the UCV, it was printed that this plan "If not Democratic, it is [the] Confederate" thing to do. There was much gratitude toward former slaves, which "thousands were loyal, to the last degree", now living with total poverty in the big cities. Unfortunately, their proposal fell on deaf ears on Capitol Hill.


11 posted on 01/19/2002 5:21:59 PM PST by LadyJD
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To: tbeatty
this is about robert e. lee, not santa ana
12 posted on 01/19/2002 5:22:48 PM PST by hoot2
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Comment #13 Removed by Moderator

To: LadyJD
"All this has been my fault."

- Robert E. Lee repeatedly spoke this line to the survivors of Pickett's Charge

14 posted on 01/19/2002 5:25:44 PM PST by tbeatty
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To: 2Trievers, LadyJD
This past summer while visting in Richmond I toured the Robert E. Lee museum.
I was brought to tears by the history and legacy of this truly great, intelligent, kind and virtueous man.

A Michigan Yankee

15 posted on 01/19/2002 5:26:13 PM PST by apackof2
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To: apackof2
if we had the likes of him today; could he "shame" the senator's into living up to their oath, n restoring the
american dream for all citizens...
16 posted on 01/19/2002 5:29:31 PM PST by hoot2
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To: Hobey Baker
Here is something that you may not have seen:

General Lee's Letter to Lord Acton
Defending the Constitutional Sovereignty
of the States

Following is a letter written by former Confederate General-in-Chief Robert E. Lee to Lord Acton, the famous British classical liberal statesman/intellectual and pro-Confederate apologist. Although General Lee implies he is willing to accept the results of the late war, he expresses his earnest hope that the states can still retain the rights guaranteed by the original Founding Fathers

Lexington, Virginia
15 Dec., 1866


Although your letter of the 4th ulto. has been before me for some days unanswered, I hope you will not attribute it to a want of interest in the subject, but to my inability to keep pace with my correspondence. As a citizen of the South, I feel deeply indebted to you for the sympathy you have evinced in its cause, and am conscious that I owe your kind consideration of myself to my connection with it.

The influence of current opinion in Europe upon the current policies of America must always be salutary; and the importance of the questions now at issue in the United States, involving not only constitutional freedom and constitutional government in this country, but the progress of universal liberty and civilization, invests your proposition with peculiar value, and will add to the obligation which every true American must owe you for your efforts to guide that opinion aright. Amid the conflicting statements and sentiments in both countries, it will be no easy task to discover the truth, or to relieve it from the mass of prejudice and passion, with which it has been covered by party spirit.

I am conscious of the compliment conveyed in your request for my opinion as to the light in which American politics should be viewed, and had I the ability, I have not the time to enter upon a discussion, which was commenced by the founders of the constitution and has been continued to the present day. I can only say that while I have considered the preservation of the constitutional party of the General Government to be the foundation of our peace and safety at home and abroad, I yet believe that the maintenance of the rights and authority reserved to the states and to the people, not only essential to the adjustment and balance of the general system, but the safeguard to the continuance of a free government. I consider it a chief source of stability to our political system, whereas the consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it. I need not refer one so well acquainted as you are with American history, to the State papers of Washington and Jefferson, the respresentatives of the federal and democratic parties, denouncing consolidation and centralization of power, as tending to the subversion of State Governments, and to despotism.

The New England States, whose citizens are the fiercest opponents of the Southern states, did not always avow the opinions they now advocate. Upon the purchase of Louisiana by Mr. Jefferson, they virtually asserted the right of secession through their prominent men; and in the convention which assembled at Hartford in 1814, they threatened the disruption of the Union unless war should be discontinued. The assertion of this right has been repeatedly made by their politicians when their party was weak, and Massachusetts, the leading state in hostility to the South, declares in the preamble to her constitution, that the people of that commonwealth "have the sole and exclusive right of governing themselves as a free sovereign and independent state, and do, and forever hereafter shall, exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction and right which is not, or may hereafter be by them expressly delegated to the United States of America in Congress Assembled." Such has been in substance the language of other State governments, and such the doctrine advocated by the leading men of the country for the last seventy years. Judge Chase, the present Chief Justice of the U.S., as late as 1850, is reported to have stated in the Senate, of which he was a member, that he "knew of no remedy in case of the refusal of a state to perform its stipulations," thereby acknowledging the sovereignty and independence of state action.

But I will not weary you with this unprofitable discussion. Unprofitable because the judgement of reason has been displaced by the arbitrament of war, waged for the purpose as avowed of maintaining the union of the states. If, therefore, the result of the war is to be considered as having decided that the union of the states is inviolable and perpetual under the constitution, it naturally follows that it is as incompetent for the general government to impair its integrity by the exclusion of a state, as for the states to do so by secession; and that the existence and rights of a state by the constitution are as indestructible as the union itself. The legitimate consequence then must be the perfect equality of rights of all the states; the exclusive right of each to regulate its internal affairs under rules established by the Constitution, and the right of each state to prescribe for itself the qualifications of suffrage.

The South has contended only for the supremacy of the Constitution, and the just administration of the laws made in pursuance to it. Virginia to the last made great efforts to save the union, and urged harmony and compromise. Senator Douglas, in his remarks upon the compromise bill recommended by the commitee of thirteen in 1861, stated that every member from the South, including Messrs. Toombs and Davis, expressed their willingness to accept the proposition of Senator Crittenden of Kentucky as a final settlement of the controversy, if sustained by the republican party, and that the only difficulty in the way of an amiable adjustment was with the republican party.

Who then is responsible for the war? Although the South would have preferred any honourable compromise to the fratricidal war which has taken place, she now accepts in good faith its constitutional results, and receives without reserve the amendment which has already been made to the constitution for the extinction of slavery. That is an event that has been long sought, though in a different way, and by none has it been more earnestly desired than by citizens of Virginia. In other respects, I trust that the constitution may undergo no change, but that it may be handed down to succeeding generations in the form we have received it from our forefathers. The desire I feel that the Southern states should possess the good opinion of one whom I esteem as high as yourself, has caused me to extend my remarks farther than I intended, and I fear it has led me to exhaust your patience.

If what I have said should serve to give any information as regards American politics, and enable you to enlighten public opinion as to the true interests of this distracted country, I hope you will pardon its prolixity.

In regard to your inquiry as to my being engaged in preparing a narrative of the campaigns in Virginia, I regret to state that I progress slowly in the collection of the necessary documents for its completion. I particularly feel the loss of the official returns showing the small numbers with which the battles were fought. I have not seen the work by the Prussian officer you mention and therefore cannot speak of his accuracy in this respect.

With sentiments of great respect, I remain your obt. servant.

R.E. Lee

17 posted on 01/19/2002 5:33:47 PM PST by LadyJD
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To: apackof2
Next time you are there take in Lexington, Va.

There you will find the Lee museum and burial place beneath the Lee Chapel at Washington and Lee University.

And just up the hill from there you will find the museum at VMI and get a chance to pat Stonewall Jackson's "Little Sorrel" on the nose. And in the town you can visit the equestrian statue of Jackson at his gravesite and also his home.

It is my belief that when we are forced to defend Western Civilisation in the coming battle many of you "Midwestern" folks will be standing with us.

18 posted on 01/19/2002 5:40:40 PM PST by LadyJD
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To: LadyJD
excellent collection of quotations.

thank you very much.


19 posted on 01/19/2002 5:44:36 PM PST by rwz
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To: LadyJD
This reminds me of a pet peeve of mine. When the TV newsperson is talking about the scum that has murdered, raped, robbed, an innocent person & refers to them as "a gentleman" I go nuts screaming at the TV. There was a black woman, Melanie Lawson, in Houston who was especially bad about this.
20 posted on 01/19/2002 5:46:10 PM PST by Ditter
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