My experiences of men has neither disposed me to think worse of them nor be indisposed to serve them: nor, in spite of failures which I lament, of errors which I now see and acknowledge, or the present aspect of affairs, do I despair of the future. The truth is this: The march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the work of progress so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.
-General Robert E. Lee, letter to Lt. Colonel Charles Marshall , shortly before Lee's death , quoted in Charles Flood, 'Lee: The Last Years. 1981