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A true son of nature was George Washington-of nature in her brightest intelligence and noblest mold ; and the difficulty, if such there be, in comprehending him, is only that of reviewing from a single standpoint the vast procession of those civil and military achievements which filled nearly half a century of his life, and in realizing the magnitude of those qualities which were requisite to their performance; the difficulty of fashioning in our minds a pedestal broad enough to bear the towering figure, whose greatness is diminished by nothing but the perfection of its proportions. If his exterior-in calm, grave and resolute repose-ever impressed the casual observer as austere and cold, it was only because he did not reflect that no great heart like his could have lived unbroken unless bound by iron nerves in an iron frame. The Commander of Armies, the Chief of a People, the Hope of Nations could not wear his heart upon his sleeve ; and yet his sternest will could not conceal its high and warm pulsations. Under the enemy's guns at Boston he did not forget to instruct his agent to administer generously of charity to his needy neighbors at home. The sufferings of women and children, thrown adrift by war, and of his bleeding conirades, pierced his soul. And the moist eye and trembling voice with which he bade farewell to his veterans bespoke the underlying tenderness of his nature, even as the storm-wind makes music in its undertones..
When Marathon had been fought and Greece kept free, each of the victorious generals voted himself to be first in honor, but all agreed that Miltiades was second. When the most memorable struggle for the rights of human nature of which time holds record was thus happily concluded in the monument of their preservation, whoever else was second unanimous acclaim declared that Washington was first. Nor in that struggle alone does he stand foremost. In the name of the people of the United States, their President, their Senators, their Representatives, and their Judges do crown to-day with the grandest crown that veneration has ever lifted to the brow of glory, him whom Virginia gave to America, whom America has given to the world and to the ages, and whom mankind with universal suffrage has proclaimed the foremost of the founders of the empire in the first degree of greatness; whom liberty herself has anointed as the first citizen in the great Republic of Humanity.
BENJAMIN HARVEY HILL (1823-1882)
A BRILLIANT LAWYER AND ORATOR
HEN, in 1861, the advocates of secession grew active in their
efforts to drag Georgia out of the Union of the States, chief
among those who stood firm for the old flag, and fought secession boldly in the convention, as at once a wrong and a blunder, was Benjamin Harvey Hill, one of the most brilliant legal advocates in the State. In this he was sustained by Alexander H. Stephens, the subsequent vice-president of the Confederacy. Hill followed Stephens in support of the measure after it had been carried, and spent the four years of the war at Richmond, as a member of the Confederate Senate. The war ended, he was among those fully ready to accept the new conditions, and in 1873 entered the United States Senate as a member from the reconstructed State of Georgia. He remained there until his death, well sustaining his reputation for eloquence and statesmanlike ability.
A PLEA FOR UNION [As Hill had opposed secession and the disruption of the Union for the preservation of African slavery in the Georgia Convention, he expressed himself to the same effect in a noble speech made before the United States Senate on May 10, 1879. A more eloquent appeal for the stability of the American Union has never been made. Before this great good, in his opinion, the system of African slavery was not worthy of a moment's consideration. We select the most eloquent portion of this address.]
The Southern people did not secede from hostility to the Constitution, nor from any desire to be rid of the system of government under which they had lived.
The highest evidence is what is given you in the very act of secession, when they pledged themselves to form a new union upon the model of the old. The very night when I was writing that letter and the serenading bands were in the streets, I wrote to my friends : “We will be able to effect a new Union upon the model of the old,” and we did form
BENJAMIN HARVEY HILL
a constitution which varied not one whit in principle from the one under which we had lived.
No, sir; the South seceded because there was a war made upon what she believed to be her constitutional rights by the extreme men of the North. Those extreme men of the North were gaining absolute power in the Federal Government as the machinery by which to destroy Southern property. Then the Northern people said-a large number of the leaders and the Republican party said that if secession was desired to be accomplished, it should be accomplished in peace. Mr. Greeley said that they wanted no Union pinned together by bayonets. Here is the condition in which the South was placed ; they believed the Northern extremists would use the machinery of the Government to their injury ; the people of the South believed that they would protect their property by forming a new Union in the South precisely upon the basis of the old. They believed they could do it in peace; and I say here that there were thousands upon thousands, yes, hundreds of thousands of the best men of the South, who believed that the only way to avoid a war was to secede. They believed the Northern conscience wanted to get rid of the responsibility for slavery ; they believed they had a right to protect their slave property, and they thought they would accommodate the Northern conscience by leaving the Union and preserving that property. They believed they could do it in peace; and if they had believed that a war would result, they never would have seceded.
Mr. President, I know I have detained the Senate long. I was born a slaveholder. That was a decree of my country's laws, not my own. I never bought a slave save at his own request ; and of that I am not ashamed. I was never unkind to a slave, and all that I ever owned will bear cheerful testimony to that fact. I would never deprive a human being, of any race, or color, or condition, of his right to the equal protection of the laws; and no colored man who knows me believes I would. Of all forms of cowardice, that is the meanest which would oppress the helpless, or wrong the defenseless; but I had the courage to face secession in its maddest hour and say I would not give the American Union for African slavery, and that if slavery dared strike the Union, slavery would perish. Slavery did perish, and now in this high council of the greatest of nations, I face the leaders of State destruction and declare that this ark of our political covenant, this constitutional casket of our Confederate nation, encasing as it does more of human liberty and human security and human hope than any government ever formed by man, I would not break for the whole African race. And cursed, thrice cursed forever, is the man who would !
LUCIUS Q. C. LAMAR (1825-1893)
AN ELOQUENT SON OF THE SOUTH
NATIVE of Georgia, and a lawyer of Mississippi, Lucius
exciting period from 1856 to 1860, when vehement eloquence had abundant opportunity for its display. Casting his fortunes with the South, he served during the war as a Confederate officer and a commissioner to Russia. The war ended, for six years he was a professor in the University of Mississippi, leaving it to enter the United States Congress in 1872. Four years later he was elected to the Senate, remaining there till 1885, when he became Secretary of the Interior under President Cleveland. In 1888 he was made a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. During his term in Congress that body had no more eloquent and effective speaker.
SUMNER AND THE SOUTH [While maintaining that the South had committed no moral or legal wrong in its attempted secession, Lamar was earnest in his desire to heal the wounds of feeling remaining from the war. In his graceful eulogy of Charles Sumner, after the death of the latter in 1874, he dealt with moving cloquence upon the need of burying sectional strife and forming a union in heart as well as in hand. We append this effective appeal.]
It was certainly a gracious act on the part of Charles Sumner toward the South, though unhappily it jarred on the sensibilities of the people at the other extreme of the Union, to propose to erase from the banners of the national army the mementoes of the bloody internal struggle which might be regarded as assailing the pride or wounding the sensibilities of the Southern people. The proposal will never be forgotten by that people so long as the name of Charles Sumner lives in the memory of man. But while it touched the heart and elicited her profound gratitude,
her people would not have asked of the North such an act of self-renunciation. Conscious that they themselves were animated by devotion to constitutional liberty, and that the brightest pages of history are replete with evidences of the depth and sincerity of that devotion, they can but cherish the recollection of the battles fought and the victories won in defence of their hopeless cause; and respecting, as all true and brave men must respect, the martial spirit with which the men of the North vindicated the integrity of the Union, and their devotion to the principles of human freedom, they do not ask, they do not wish the North to strike the mementoes of heroism and victory from either records or monuments or battle-flags. They would rather that both sections should gather up the glories won by each section, not envious, but proud of each other, and regard them as a common heritage of American valor. Let us hope that future generations, when they remeniber the deeds of heroism and devotion done on both sides, will speak, not of Northern prowess or Southern courage, but of the heroism, courage and fortitude of the Americans in a war of ideas; a war in which each section signalized its consecration to the principles, as each understood them, of American liberty and of the Constitution received from their fathers.
Charles Sumner in life believed that all occasion for strife and distrust between the North and South had passed away, and there no longer remained any cause for continued estrangement between those two sections of our common country. Are there not many of us who believe the same thing? Is not that the common sentiment, or if not, ought it not to be, of the great mass of our people, North and South ? Bound to each other by a common Constitution, destined to live together under a common Government, forming unitedly but a single member of the great family of nations, shall we not now at last endeavor to grow toward each other once more in heart, as we are indissolubly linked to each other in fortunes ? Shall we not, while honoring the memory of this great champion of liberty, this feeling sympathizer with human sorrow, this earnest pleader for the exercise of human tenderness and heavenly charity, lay aside the concealments which serve only to perpetuate misunderstandings and distrust, and frankly confess that on both sides we most earnestly desire to be one-one not merely in political organization; one not merely in community of language, and literature, and traditions, and country ; but more and better than all that, one also in feeling and in heart ? Am I mistaken in this ? Do the concealments of which I speak still cover animosities which neither time nor reflection nor the march of events have yet sufficed to subdue ? I cannot believe it. Since I have been here I have scrutinized your sentiments, as expressed not merely in