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"I consider Robert E. Lee one of the greatest men of all time," said Major General Sir Frederick B. Maurice, in the course of an interview with a CRIMSON reporter recently. General Maurice is spending several weeks here giving a series of eight lectures on the great Confederate general.
He saw active service during the World War with the first British army, the "contemptibles", at Mons and at the Marne, and later held a very prominent position under the Chief of Staff of the British Army. Yet he seemed to fit perfectly into the office in the Widener Library stacks where he was studying several books on General Lee spread out before him on the desk. Someone once spoke of him as the "scholar in arms" and the name has stuck.
Interested by Prominent Friend
"How did I become interested in Lee?", he said, leaning back in his swivel chair. "Thirty odd years ago, when I was a young chap, a rather prominent elderly gentleman of my acquaintance said that the greatest man he ever met was Robert E. Lee. That struck me, you know, for I had never heard of him before, and yet I knew that friend of mine had met Bismarck, Von Moltke, Gladstone and a dozen other great men. Robert E. Lee must have been a remarkable character to have impressed my friend so profoundly.
"I started in then to learn something about him, and I've been learning ever since. In 1909 I came over to the States and went down south to go over the battlefields of the war. I hired a pony and a mule and went through the Wilderness, by Petersburg, up the Rappahanock, in fact I went over every inch of ground where the fighting occurred. I stayed often at farmhouses, for the hotels, what few there were, were rather uncomfortable. And when the trip was over I came back to Washington, sold my pony and mule, and made $50.00 on the deal," ended the General proudly.
To Publish Life of Lee
General Maurice admitted that he intended to publish a life of Lee very shortly which will include the lectures he is now giving at the Lowell Institute. He is thoroughly engrossed in his studies. He did not want to discuss Egypt or the League of Nations, or any political problems, although he is one of the most prominent British generals now living and takes an active interest in politics. He is staying with President and Mrs. Lowell at present.
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