Letter: A tribute to Robert E. Lee

Published 7:38 pm Thursday, February 2, 2017

January 19, 2017 was the 210th birthday of Confederate General Robert E. Lee who was born in 1807 at Stratford, Westmoreland County, Virginia. He was the son of Revolutionary War hero “Light Horse” Harry Lee and Ann Carter Lee. Young Robert’s role model was George Washington, America’s greatest president, without whom America would likely still be part of the British empire.

Lee was a devout Christian and his greatness can best be judged by the positive statements made by Northerners who were his former enemies and later U.S. presidents and foreign dignitaries. He has always been considered the epitome of a Southern gentleman. In 1880, E. Benjamin Andrews, president of Brown University, and a former Union Veteran stated “Any father when asked who he would want his son to emulate would have to answer Robert E. Lee if he were wise.”

U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt considered Lee the greatest of the great captains that the English speaking people have brought forth. Franklin D. Roosevelt noted that Lee was not only a great General but one of the greatest American Christians. In a letter dated Aug. 9, 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said that Lee was one of the supremely gifted men that America has produced and that a nation of men of Lee’s caliber would be unconquerable in spirit and soul and that modern day American youth should emulate his qualities.

British Army field Marshall G. Joseph Wolseley met Lee during the war. He stated “I judged Lee to be from a different mold and of finer and superior metal than other men. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said Lee was one of the most noble Americans ever. When the Confederate army went into Pennsylvania, Lee refused to commit atrocities in retaliation for what Yankees had done in the Southern states saying, “we only make war against armed men and not women and children”. After the war at a time when Lee desperately needed money a Northern insurance company offered him $50,000 for the use of his name. He declined saying, “my name and heritage is about all I have left and it is not for sale.”

Georgia war-era senator Benjamin Harvey Hill expressed a lasting Lee tribute. “He possessed every virtue of other great commanders without their vices. He was a foe without hate, a friend without treachery, a victor without oppression, and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices, a private citizen without reproach, a Christian without hypocrisy, and a man without guile. He was a Caesar without his ambition, Frederick without his tyranny, Napoleon without his selfishness, and Washington without his reward. He was obedient in authority as a servant and loyal in authority as a true King. He was as gentle as a woman in life, modest and pure as a virgin in thought, watchful as a Roman Vidal in duty, submissive to law as Socrates, and as grand in battle as Achilles.”

Lee opposed slavery and fought for Southern Independence from Northern tyranny, despotism, and dictatorship and to preserve the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights which were written by America’s founding fathers who were primarily Southern gentlemen from Virginia. After the failed 1848 Socialist revolution in Europe Karl Marx had sent about 2000 European Socialists to New York City. They had joined with American Socialists to form the Republican Party which was similar to the modern Socialist Democratic Party. The New York Tribune newspaper had published 487 of Marx’s articles including the Communist Manifesto. Lincoln was a member of this radical fanatical party. The federal government had been taken over by radicals, fanatics, zealots, and criminals and the South refused to voluntarily be ruled by this class of corrupt criminal Northern politicians and industrialists. Slavery was already a dying institution but Northern abolitionists demanded instant abolition as opposed to the gradual orderly emancipation that was already taking place. Sixty-eight of 117 Republicans signed a resolution advocating violence and terrorism against the South and this along with the upcoming Morrill tariff tax of 47 to 50 percent was forcing the South into a dependent colonial condition almost as abject as the Roman provinces 2000 years ago under their pro-councils.  Altogether there were 10 causes of Southern secession. Contact me jkingantiquearms@bellsouth.net for an e-mail copy of my article “The 10 Causes of Southern Secession.”

James W. King