Saturday, February 19, 2005

Robert E. Lee

Here are a couple of notes on Steven Wilkins' book on the character of Robert E. Lee, Call of Duty.

It's an easy read; a book I look forward to putting in my sons' hands when they're young men. Rather than focus on the battles of the Civil War, which plenty other works do, this book captures the distinctly Christian Gentlemanship of General Lee throughout his life (pre- and post-war). His magnanimous service to the nation after the war, despite continued humiliation and personal tragedy, is especially remarkable.

Here are a couple favorite quotes from the book.

Regarding the importance of states' rights Lee prophetically wrote,
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 as the 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...

Regarding perseverance, Lee said,
The truth is this: the march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.

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