In accordance with the above resolutions we had a reception from twelve to two, during which a large number of the best people of Charleston
(including a number of ladies) did us the honor to call, and be introduced by His Honor, Mayor Courtenay
, who, by the way, was none the less courteous and cordial in all of his arrangements for the comfort and pleasure of his guests, because he had been a gallant Confederate soldier.
At two o'clock we were escorted into an elegant collation, spread in the city court room, and over which His Honor, the Mayor
, gracefully presided.
At the close of the feasting, Mayor Courtenay
offered as a sentiment, “The State of Virginia
, and her two distinguished and honored sons here with us.”
General Fitzhugh Lee, amid oft repeated and enthusiastic applause, responded to the toast.
After thanking the Mayor and the citizens of Charleston for the magnificent welcome which had been given him and his companion, Dr. Jones, General Lee said:
Although I stand for the first time beneath the blue sky which contains the sentinel stars that watch over the destinies of your people, I feel that I am not a stranger in a strange land, for I know full well that I stand within the hospitable walls of the Queen City of the Palmetto State.
For many years I have had a warm spot in my heart for the people of South Carolina.
When a cadet at the United States Academy many years ago, my room-mate was a South Carolinian, and during those four fiery years of trial, when the crimson tide of battle ebbed and flowed over the soil of the old Commonwealth of Virginia, when the war drums throbbed, and sheeted flashes flew from serried ranks of steel, I had two representatives from South Carolina on my personal staff--one my adjutant-general, and the other my chief of ordnance, Captain F. W. Dawson, then a gallant soldier, now an honored adopted son of South Carolina, a patriotic citizen of Charleston, who has played since the war so important a part in restoring equal rights and privileges to all the citizens of your State.
It has been my fortune in the days gone by, often to have stood, as many of you have done, watching and waiting for the coming day, and as I have stood and watched and waited, I have seen the clouds gradually become brighter and brighter, until at last their tips were gilded with the coming sunshine, and the great orb of day would burst forth in all the splendor of his unclouded majesty.
I think to day, that I may congratulate the people of South Carolina, that the dark clouds that have hung like a funeral pall over their State, have at last permanently drifted away before the new sun of peace and prosperity, whose rays are now gilding with a new glory her lovely hillsides and valleys.
In the beautiful drama of Ion, when the death-devoted Greek is about to yield his life as a sacrifice to fate, he is asked by his Cleman the if they would ever meet again, and he responds I have asked that dreadful question of the hills that are eternal, of the clear streams that flow forever, of the stars amid whose azure fields my raised spirits have walked in glory, and they are dumb; but when I look upon thy living face I feel that there is something in the love that mantles through its beauty that cannot wholly perish.
We shall meet