Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/99
Statue of General Robert E. Lee. 91
this question as she sees fit. ' ' Senator Beveridge says he is inclined to favor the idea, and Senator C. M. Depew, of New York, une- quivocally gives his approval, and says that when the Union side won, "the issue was accepted at once by the defeated side, and I think the placing of a statue of General Robert E. Lee in Statuary Hall would be an emphatic recognition of the fact that we are all now advocates of nationality and its perpetuity. I am heartily in favor of receiving the Lee statue."* So that while the North makes
- As illustrative of the real state of intelligent Northern sentiment may be
cited the words of Dr. Albert Shaw, the editor of the Review of Reviews, who speaks for a large clientele of educated and conservative Northerners, and says in the June (1903) number of that well known periodical :
"The recent session of the Virginia Legislature which made the appro- priation to the Jamestown Exposition had been in session a long time, by reason of an extraordinary amount of business, necessitated by the new constitution. The provision of the constitution relating to corporations, tax- ation and a great many other important subjects required extensive revision of the statutes. The work seems, upon the whole, to have been well carried out. Incidentally, one of the enactments of the recent session provided for the placing in the rotunda of the Capitol of Washington a statue of Robert E. Lee. It will be remembered that the States are authorized to be repre- sented at the Capitol by two of their most distinguished sons. Virginia has now decided upon Washington and Lee as her representatives.
" Virginia's contribution of great men to the constructive period of the republic was, of course, unparalleled. To every one must occur promptly the names of Washington, Jefferson, Marshall and Madison. But the heart of Virginia goes out to Lee as to no other man that the State has ever produced. The selection of Lee for the rotunda at Washington caused some dissension, because there were those who felt that it might be misun- derstood and criticised in the North ; and they preferred that the name of Lee should not now be made a subject of controversy. It seemed to many, indeed, who have no prejudices, and who revere the character of Robert E. Lee, that the thirteen original States should be represented in the rotunda at Washington, not by their later heroes, but by earlier men, eminent in the forming of the Union. But there can be no just ground for finding fault with Virginia's choice. It would be a mistake to assume that the Virginia devo- tion to the memory of Robert E. Lee, which amounts almost to idolatry, is wholly or chiefly political in its nature and motive. It is not so much that Lee personates a movement or a cause, for he was not an original promoter or advocate of the secession movement. His place in the hearts of the men who knew him and of their descendants has to do with his personality and character. The tradition of Lee is that of a Christian gentleman of such rare blending of personal courage and genius for leadership with the most beautiful qualities of temperament and private character as to make him the very flower of American manhood. Robert E. Lee is regarded, in short,