Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 17.djvu/365
Lee as an Educator. 357
Our greatest, yet with least pretence ; Great in council and great in war, Foremost captain of his time, Rich in saving common sense, And, as the greatest only are, In his simplicity sublime."
Monumental Rectory, Richmond, Va.
John B. Newton.
LEE AS AN EDUCATOR.
HIS ZEAL FOR WASHINGTON COLLEGERS WELFARE.
[Richmond Times, June 15, 1890.]
Interesting Reminiscences of his Career as President — His Letter to the Hon. D. S. G. Cabell — Unselfish Devotion to Duty.
That General Robert E. Lee was more distinguished than all others in the late war, in a military point of view, is held by most of competent judges. It is not, however, in that respect that I pro- pose to consider him, but only, and that briefly, of his connection with education. He graduated as the second-honor man at West Point in a large class, and thereafter deepened and enlarged his ac- quired knowledge by a practical application of it. Before and dur- ing the late war his life was purely military ; at its close he found his property and that of his family confiscated by the Federal Govern- ment and himself without employment. In defeat and poverty he still preserved his stainless honor and native dignity of character. Such a man could not remain long in our Southern country without numerous offers of positions. Liberal pay for duties merely nominal were offered him. His nice sense of honor and delicacy of feeling caused him to decline all such. He was not willing to take any situ- ation in which he could not render a quid pro quo. He did not desire a sinecure. Some of the high Federal officers about the same period did not manifest the same delicacy of feeling with respect to gratuities. In his nice sense of honor, which would have felt a stain like a wound, in unselfish patriotism, in moral ele- vation, he was unlike many of the world's great conquerors, and finds his parallel in Washington, and in him alone. The late Colonel John B. Baldwin, highly distinguished as a lawyer and a legislator, gave me the following narrative which shows how Lee became an