The Arkansas in the Civil War Message Board

Robert E Lee letter continued

Picking up where I left off Lee's Letter in "Memoirs of Robert E Lee"
"The consequences of their plans and purposes are clearly set forth. These people must be aware that their object is both unlawful and foreign to them and their duty and that this institution for which they are irresponsible for and non-accountable, can only be changed by them though the agency of a civil and servile war.
There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil. It is idle to expatiate on its disadvantages. I think it is a greater evil to the white than to the colored race. While my sympathies are strongly enlisted in behalf of the latter, my sympathies are more deeply engaged for the former. The blacks are immeasurably better off here than in Africa, morally, physically, and socially. The painful discipline they are undergoing is necessary for their further instruction as a race and will sooner from the mild and melting influences of Christianity than from the storm of fiery controversy. This influence, though slow, is sure. the doctrines and miracles of our Savior have required nearly two thousand years to convert, but a small portion of the human race, even among Christian nations what gross errors still exist! While we see the course of the final abolition of 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 sees the end, who chooses to work by slow influences, and with whom a thousand years but a single day. Although the Abolitionist must know this---must know that he has neither the right nor the power of operating except by moral means; that to the benefit of the master; that, although he may not approve the mode by which Providence accomplishes it purpose, the results will be the same; and that the reasons he gives for interference in matters he has no concern with holds good for every kind of interference with our neighbor,---Still, I fear he will persevere in his evil course.
"Is it not strange that these descendants of those Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the Atlantic to preserve their own freedom have ALWAYS the MOST INTOLERANT of the Spiritual Liberty of others?"