Page:Boissonnas, Un Vaincu, English, 1875.djvu/64

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whole South is in a state of revolution, into which Virginia, after a long struggle, has been drawn ; and though I recognize no necessity for this state of things, and would have forborne and pleaded to the end for redress of grievances, real or supposed, yet, in my own person, I had to meet the question whether I should take part against my native State.

“With all my devotion to the Union, and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have, therefore, resigned my commission in the army, and, save in defense of my native State, with the sincere hope that my poor services may never be needed, I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword. I know you will blame me ; but you must think as kindly of me as you can, and believe that I have endeavored to do what I thought right. To show you the feeling and struggle it has cost me, I send a copy of my letter of resignation. I have no time for more… May God guard and protect you and yours, and shower upon you everlasting blessings, is the prayer of your devoted brother, R. E. Lee”

And so, this is how General Lee found himself to be a rebel. It is easy, no doubt, to condemn him, but wouldn′t it be fairer to condemn, particularly, the political system that put a man between two duties almost equally sacred and obliged him to forfeit one or the other ?

If one considers that Virginia, with a size almost as big