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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/105

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Statue of General Robert E. Lee 97

bitter attacks upon the South in the North, it is a pleasure to be able to show that precisely the contrary has been the result. While it is true that a few G. A. R. camps have passed resolutions against it, the great number of expressions from representative men and news- papers in the North, not only of toleration, but of enthusiastic ap- proval, have been so numerous and so cordial as to justify the con- viction that the movement will be, as it was intended to be, of great moment toward strengthening the ties that bind the two great sec- tions together in one great patriotic country in which sectionalism is lost in nationality. The discussions have been of such a nature as to elevate instead of depreciating the estimate of Lee's character in the North, for, instead of abuse and vituperation, have been ut- tered words of eulogy and of magnanimous appreciation of his great attributes. For my part, I have never shared in the apprehensions of those who feared that the proposal to send General Lee's statue to the Capitol would result in a tirade of abuse against him and the Southern people on the part of the North, but have always felt that Lee and the South had nothing to lose by discussion, and that the more the discussion, the more would his great character shine out against the background of disparagement, and the more would the world be brought to an appreciation of his greatness and the right- eousness of the cause for which he fought. The result has already gone far to vindicate this conviction.

It is impossible, of course, to mention more than a few of the ut- terances of Northerners upon the proposition, but it is worth while to note that in all the discussion that has ensued not one Northern man or periodical of representative standing has taken ground against it. On the contrary, the comments of the Northern press, and of Northern men best qualified to voice Northern sentiment, have been notably of a most favorable nature.

Commenting on the Depew interview the Neiv York World said:

" Senator Depew measures up to the toga standard when he talks about the Lee statue."

After the bill had become a law, St. Clair McKelway, the famous editor of the Brooklyn Eagle, uttered a most eloquent eulogy upon Lee in Richmond, and his words were warmly endorsed by Mr. Hamilton W. Mabie and Dr. Lyman Abbott, the editors of The Outlook, and other prominent Northern men in attendance upon the Southern Educational Conference.

In its issue of July n (1903), The Outlook said editorially: