From the 19 January 1915 issue of The New York Times.


A Birthday Appreciation of the Confederate Leader.

To the Editor of The New York Times:

Permit me to call to your attention the fact that Tuesday, Jan. 19, is the birthday of Robert Edward Lee, whose memory is still held dear in the South, but is often forgotten, and more often misjudged, in the North. Many people do not understand why he is so loved and honored in the South, and respected by many in the North, especially be those who fought against him. I will endeavor to explain.

It is said of him:

Whena future historian shall come to survey the character of Lee, he will find it rising like a huge mountain abovce the undulating plain of humanity, and he must lift his eyes toward Heaven to catch its summit. He possessed every virtue of other great commanders without their vices. He was a foe without hate, a friend without treachery, a soldier without cruelty, a victor without oppression, and a victim without murmuring. He was a public officer without vices, a private citizen without wrong, a neighbor 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 a Washington without his reward. He was obedient to authority as a servant, and royal in authority as a true King. He was gentle as a woman in life, modest and pure as a virgin in thought, watchful as a Roman vestal in duty, submissive to law as Socrates, and grand in battle as Achilles.

He was called by Gen. Scott &8220;the greatest military genius in America.” And this is true. It was a man of courage and wisdom who could manoeuvre his always small army and hold in check and even defeat an always increasing enemy. His country, at the beginning of the war, was an agricultural country, and was much less prepared for war than is generally thought.

After Appomattox he devoted the few remaining years of his lfe to restore harmony to the people of the whole country and to the education of the young men. One of his sons was killed in the service of his Statee, and his daughter is at present in this city. He became President of Washington and Lee University, and devoted his time and talents to that institution.

He died at his home in Lexington, Oct., 12, 1870. When he died it was said of him:

The grave of this noble hero is bedewed with the most tender and sacred tears ever shed upon a human tomb. A whole nation has risen up in the spontaneity of its grief to render the tribute of its love.

He did his duty as he saw it, and did it well; and to those who hate Lee, and hold against him the fact that, in protecting his home, he rebelled against his Government, please remember that a little more than fifty years before that a certain European nation disliked George Washington for the same reason.

Brooklyn, Jan. 17, 1915.