Saturday, June 18, 2005

blessed robert e. lee's advice to young men

robert e lee
Originally uploaded by gwbrark.
Read all ten of them here. (Thank you, A Conservative Blog for Peace.) Its a great shame that devotion to Robert E. Lee has been made to seem provincial and backward by Political Corectness and the Dukes of Hazard. A real shame.

On debt and frugal living: "It is easier to make our wishes conform to our means, than to make our means to conform to our wishes." ~ Lee writing to one of his sons, 22 August 1860.

On marriage: "Never marry unless you can do so into a family that will enable your children to feel proud of both sides of the house." ~ General Lee writing to J.B. Hood. Don’t wife hunt in bars or tattoo parlors.

On minding your own business: "Meddle or interfere with nothing with which you have no concern." ~ Lee to his sons, 30 November 1845.

On humility: "It’s all my fault." ~ Lee at Gettysburg. Be willing to admit your mistakes and take blame.

On honesty: "Private and public life are subject to the same rules; and truth and manliness are two qualities that will carry you through this world much better than policy, or tact, or expediency, or any other word that was ever devised to conceal or mystify a deviation from a straight line." ~ One of Lee’s personal maxims. A young man should say what he means and mean what he says. Avoid the demeaning examples of politicians, government bureaucrats, and lawyers.

On what’s important: "Be true kind, and generous, and pray earnestly to God to enable you to keep His commandments and walk in the same all the days of your life." ~ Lee to his sons, 31 March 1846.

Buy the book of Lee's advice to young men here.


adam said...

"Blessed" Robert E. Lee? Since when is he a holy person in the eyes of the Church? I was not aware that racism and treason were conditions for public veneration.

father wb said...

I admit that I wrote "blessed" to be provocative. But Lee is a hero of mine, and of many, and far more worthy of veneration than most.

I don't mean to be rude, but I would suggest that if you knew more about Lee, you would know that he was neither a racist nor a traitor. He was, in fact, a Christian of profound devotion, a patriot, and a gentleman in the truest sense of the word, a selfless leader of men, a devoted father and husband, and (last but not least) a devout Episcopalian.

Consider that Lee had served the United States ably and honorably as an officer for 32 years when, in 1861 Abraham Lincoln offered him command of the Army. Considered that Lee was completely opposed to secession and that he regarded slavery as evil (though he owned slaves, he had inherited them, and he freed all of them as soon as the terms of his father-in-law's will allowed him to do so).

He wrote of America that there is "no north, no south, no east, no west, but the broad Union in all its might and strength past and present." To his son Custis, in 1861 "I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than the dissolution of the Union. It would be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, and I am willing to sacrifice everything but honor for its preservation."

He wrote to Francis Blair, through whom Lincoln had offered him command of the Union Army, that "though opposed to secession and a deprecating war, I could take no part in the invasion" of his own home, Virginia. He therefore resigned his commission in order to "go back in sorrow to my people and share the misery of my native state." Lee considered that to fight for the Union would be "to raise my hand against my relative, my children, my home."

After the end of the war, Lee refused to regard any with anymosity. "Abandon your animositie, and make your sons Americans," he said. And further: "The duty of its citizens, then, appears to me too plain to admit of doubt. All should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the effects of the war and to restore the blessing of peace. They should remain, if possible, in the country; promote harmony and good feeling, qualify themselves to vote and elect to the State and general legislatures wise and patriotic men, who will devote their abilities to the interests of the country and the healing of all dissensions. I have invariably recommended this course since the cessation of hostilities, and have endeavoured to practise it myself."

father wb said...

Consider further:

"Headquarters, Army Northern Virginia, August 13, 1863.

"The President of the Confederate States has, in the name of the people, appointed August 21st as a day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer. A strict observance of the day is enjoined upon the officers and soldiers of this army. All military duties, except such as are absolutely necessary, will be suspended. The commanding officers of brigades and regiments are requested to cause divine services, suitable to the occasion, to be performed in their respective commands. Soldiers! we have sinned against Almighty God. We have forgotten His signal mercies, and have cultivated a revengeful, haughty, and boastful spirit. We have not remembered that the defenders of a just cause should be pure in His eyes; that 'our times are in His hands,' and we have relied too much on our own arms for the achievement of our independence. God is our only refuge and our strength. Let us humble ourselves before Him. Let us confess our many sins, and beseech Him to give us a higher courage, a purer patriotism, and more determined will; that He will hasten the time when war, with its sorrows and sufferings, shall cease, and that He will give us a name and place among the nations of the earth.

"R. E. Lee, General."

And again (from a letter to President Pierce before the war began):

"The doctrines and miracles of our Savior have required nearly two thousand years to convert but a small portion of the human race, and even among Christian nations what gross errors still exist! While we see the course of the final abolition of human slavery is still onward, and give it the aid of our prayers, let us leave the progress as well as the results in the hands of Him who, chooses to work by slow influences, and with whom a thousand years are but as a single day."


When he was informed that the chaplains prayed for him, tears started to his eyes, and he replied: "I sincerely thank you for that, and I can only say that I am a poor sinner, trusting in Christ alone, and that I need all the prayers you can offer for me."

There are more things about Lee's religion at:

adam said...

I also wrote my comments to be provocative, not knowing enough about Lee to make an informed statement. Thank you for clearing it up for me.

J-Tron said...

Robert E Lee ate babies.

father wb said...

I think you are thinking of Bedford Forrest, who apparently told something to that effect to a woman from the North who had barged into his rooms making wild accusations about Fort Pillow.

Philip said...

Are you a member of Kappa Alpha or something? Reminds me of my college days.