Severe scrutiny of his life and character.
No public man was ever subjected to sterner ordeals of character or closer scrutiny of conduct.
He was in the public gaze for nearly half a century; and in the fate which at last overwhelmed the Southern Confederacy and its President
, its official records and private papers fell into the hands of his enemies.
Wary eyes now searched to see if he had overstepped the bounds which the laws of war have set to action, and could such evidence be found, wrathful hearts would have cried for vengeance.
But though every hiding-place was opened, and reward was ready for any who would betray the secrets of the captured chief, whose armies were scattered, and whose hands were chained—though the sea gave up its dead in the convulsion of his country—there could be found no guilty fact, and accusing tongues were silenced.
Whatever record leaped to light,
His name could not be shamed.
I could not, indeed, nor would I, divest myself of those identities and partialities which make me one with the people of whom he was the chief in their supreme conflict.
But surely if records were stainless and enemies were dumb, and if the principals now pronounce favorable judgment upon the agent, notwithstanding that he failed to conduct their affairs to a successful issue, there can be no suspicion of undue favor on the part of those who do him honor; and the contrary inclination could only spring from disaffection.