Unveiling of Valentine's Recumbent figure of Lee at Lexington, Va., June 28th, 1883.
Remarks of General
Early—oration of Major John W. Daniel
., of Va
.—description of the ceremonies, &c
The occasion of the unveiling of Valentine
's superb figure of Lee
, was one of extraordinary interest, and deserves a place in our records.
General J. A. Early
, First Vice-President
of the Lee Memorial Association
, presided on the occasion, called the vast assemblage to order, and called on the Rev. R. J. McBryde
, of Lexington
, who made an appropriate and fervent prayer.
then made the following
The head of the house established here was a man whom Nature had richly endowed with graces of person, and high qualities of head and heart.
Fame had already bound his brow with her laurel, and Fortune had poured into his lap her golden horn.
Himself a soldier, and Colonel1
in the army of the United States, the son of that renowned ‘Light Horse Harry Lee
,’ who was the devoted friend and compatriot of Washington
in the revolutionary struggle, and whose memorable eulogy upon his august Chief has become his epitaph;—descended indeed from a long line of illustrious progenitors, whose names are written on the brightest scrolls of English and American history, from the conquest of the Norman at Hastings
, to the triumph of the Continentals at Yorktown
,—he had already established his own martial fame at Vera Cruz
, Cerro Gordo
, Molino del Rey
, and had proved how little he depended upon any merit but his own. Such was his early distinction., that when but a Captain, the Cuban Junta
had offered to make him the leader of their revolutionary movement for the independence of Cuba
;—a position which as an American officer, he felt it his duty to decline.
And so deep was the impression made of his genius and his valor, that General Scott
of the army in which he served, had declared that he ‘was the best soldier he ever saw in the field,’ ‘the greatest military genius in America
,’ that ‘if opportunity offered, he would show himself the foremost Captain
of his times,’ and that ‘if a great battle were to be fought for the liberty or slavery of the country, his judgment was that the commander should be Robert Lee
Wedded to her who had been the playmate of his boyhood, and who was worthy in every relation to be the companion of his bosom, sons and daughters had risen up to call them blessed, and there, decorated with his country's honors and surrounded by ‘love, obedience, and troops of friends,’ the host of