The White House,
Washington, January 16, 1907.
To the Hon. Hilary A. Herbert, Chairman, Chief Justice Seth Shepherd, President Edwin Alderman, Judge Charles B. Howry, General Marcus J. Wright, Mr. William A. Gordon, Mr. Thomas Nelson Page, Mr. Joseph Wilmer, And others of the Committee of Arrangement for the Celebration of the Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of General Robert E. Lee.
Gentlemen — I regret that it is not in my power to be with you at your celebration. I join with you in honoring the life and career of that great soldier and high-minded citizen whose fame is now a matter of pride to all our countrymen. Terrible tho the destruction of the Civil War was, awful tho it was that such a conflict should occur between brothers, it is yet a matter for gratitude on the part of all Americans that this, alone among contests of like magnitude, should have left to both sides as a priceless heritage the memory of the mighty men and the glorious deeds that the iron days brought forth. The courage and steadfast endurance, the lofty fealty to the right as it was given to each man to see the right, whether he wore the gray or whether he wore the blue, now makes the memories of the valiant feats, alike of those who served under Grant and of those who served under Lee, precious to all good Americans.
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