Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/103

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Spirit of 1861—Correspondence of General R. E. Lee..

come in as mediator, rather as an umpire, and settle the question, not only for the happiness of the whole country, but for her own special prosperity. Should Colonel Lee be a leader in this matter, and place his native State in this grand position (which I must think she can hold), he will have an honor never reached by Napoleon or Wellington. If Virginia may not call back the people of the continent to union, she yet may to peace. Standing apart from others, she would not, could not be invaded. She could be a healer or peacemaker, and have all the blessedness of such an office.

The wisdom of seniors has not been allowed its part in our great questions. Young, impetuous spirits seem to be leading the mind of the country. Especially has not the Christian mind, the Church, been heard. Its voice must be for peace. Our sins may be too great to allow us to have again the blessedness of a united country, but may we not have peace? Is there not moral power in the Christian mind of the country to stay the hand of fraternal strife? How many wives, mothers, widows, sisters—how many quiet peaceable citizens of all classes sigh for peace? How many families now separated by wide geographical distances would be divided in a way far more painful and dreadful by civil war? No quiet citizen, no Christian can think of it without a fainting heart. During the civil wars of England, in the times of the Commonwealth, Lord Falkland was known in all Britain as one of the bravest men ever born in that land. After he had seen the indescribable wretchedness of the people of his native country in the strife of brothers, he would sit abstracted among his friends, and sighing from the depths of his heart, exclaim " Peace, peace!" I dare not say Colonel Lee may bring us peace. The Lord alone can do that. We may have so sinned that the wrath of God must lie upon us, and make us suffer the awful judgment now threatening; but we may at least pray and strive for the mercy which shall give us peace. How do all Christian sentiments—how do all the interests of the Christian Church—how do all our interests cry for peace? I do not say the Gospel forbids war absolutely. Its direct and primary call is to peace: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." From my inmost soul I pray that in this our day of trial, that blessedness may be enjoyed by Colonel Lee. In thus writing do I seem to be a meddler? I am not so in purpose and motive. Perhaps I mistake my calling. I think as a Christian and as a Christian minis-