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The Nineteenth of January.

Lee's birth-day.

The Second public observance of the anniversary of the birth of Robert E. Lee.

The anniversary of the birth of General Robert Edward Lee, was again observed throughout Virginia, on January 19th, 1892. In many of the cities and towns there were military parades, (despite of [390] drenching rain,) and the banks and public offices in all were closed. The Confederate Veteran Corps of the city of New York, and the Confederate Army and Navy Association of Baltimore, Maryland, each commemorated the occasion by a banquet with reverential exercises. The day is now by statute, a legal holiday in the States of North Carolina and Georgia as well as in Virginia, and the day was observed in Raleigh and Atlanta, and doubtless in other southern cities of which the Richmond papers have not as yet given report.

The accounts of the observance which follow, have been compiled from the reports published in the issues of the Richmond Dispatch and Times, of January 20:

Robert Edward Lee's birth-day was quite generally observed in Richmond yesterday, though the inclement weather prevented the celebration from being a more general one. As it was, veterans and militia braved the elements, and orators and speakers told of the patriotism and bravery of those who followed the fortunes of Lee. Previous to the day it was arranged that there should be a grand parade of the entire military force of Richmond, accompanied by Lee and Pickett Camps, but the pitiless rain prevented this consummation. Early in the day the orders given the Blues and Stuart Horse Guards were countermanded, and a communication was sent Colonel Henry C. Jones, of the First regiment, which stated that the veterans would not parade the proposed line of march. It was afterwards arranged that the regiment would act as escort to the veterans from Seventh and Broad streets to the House of Delegates. This pleasant duty was to have been performed by the Blues. About four o'clock the regiment, in their service uniforms and overcoats, and headed by the regimental band and drum corps, marched from the armory, and through the mud, slush and rain, escorted the veterans to the Capitol. The latter immediately took possession of the hall of the House of Delegates.

The regiment then proceeded out of the Ninth street gate to Capitol street, thence to Governor, up Main to Eighth, up Franklin (passing General Lee's residence) to Seventh, and thence to the armory. The men were then dismissed by Colonel Jones.

Public offices.

Business in the city offices was at a standstill yesterday and matters at the Capitol yesterday were dull. Many wholesale houses [391] closed their establishments at noon and the freight depots of the railroads were also closed after that hour. The scholars of the public schools had half holiday, and the banks were closed throughout the day.

Although the intensely discomforting weather materially interfered with the purposed open air demonstration, it could not dampen the ardent regard in which the memory of the glorious leader is held.

In the House of Delegates.

A few minutes before 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon, headed by their drum corps, Lee and Picket Camps entered the Capitol grounds escorted by the First regiment and the Richmond Howitzers. Quite a number of people had already assembled in the hall of the House of Delegates to attend the services in memory of the immortal Robert E. Lee. Within a few minutes the spacious hall was completely filled with a dense crowd. The two camps and their ladies occupied the seats of the members of the House. The Confederate flag of Lee Camp was unfurled, amid the applause of the audience, by Color-Sergeant Smith and placed at the right of the platform.

Colonel Alexander W. Archer, commander of Lee Camp, opened the meeting without any ceremony. He stated that he deemed it hardly necessary for him to introduce the gentleman and comrade who had been unanimously elected to preside over this gathering. He presented to the audience their friend, comrade and Mayor, Hon. J. Taylor Ellyson. Mayor Ellyson, who was greeted with loud applause, spoke as follows:

Ladies, Comrades, and Fellow-Citizens: We have met to-day under the auspices of Lee and Pickett Camps to do honor to the memory of one of Virginia's noblest sons. Robert E. Lee is forever enshrined in the hearts of his countrymen, and as we contemplate his virtues and heroism we are made better and purer men, and I trust the time will never come when Virginians shall fail on this, his natal day, to recount the valor and patriotism of their greatest chieftain, whose noblest aspiration in life found its completest realization in the doing of his duty to his God and to his fellow man.

There is no danger, comrades, that the men who wore the gray will ever prove recreant to the principles that actuated them in time of war, but there is danger that our children may, and so we wish on these recurring anniversaries to tell of the chivalrous deeds of such leaders as Lee, Jackson, Stuart, and Pickett, and to teach coming [392] generations that the soldiers of the Southern Confederacy were not rebels, but were Americans who loved constitutional liberty as something dearer than life itself.

The orator.

Dr. R. L. Mason, rector of Grace Episcopal church, who is a member of Lee Camp, was then introduced and offered a fervent prayer.

Rev. George H. Ray, pastor of Union-Station Methodist Church, also an old veteran, was presented to the assemblage as the orator of the day. He stated that he was an extemporaneous speaker and on this occassion he could either make an extemporaneous address or read a paper on the subject. The former would take him an hour, while the latter would only take up thirty-five minutes. He had decided to read his address, which was as follows:

We sometimes hear men speak of the heroes of the Lost Cause. I believe there were heroes, but I do not think the cause was lost. Slaves are free. The integrity of the nation is maintained. The union of the States is cemented in blood. The Southern soldier has laid down his arms. The Confederacy is dissolved. But the cause of constitutional liberty for which we fought is not lost. The display of four years of bravery and suffering by the soldiers led by Lee, fighting as they did against all odds for the maintainence of our common Anglican and American thought of self government, becomes a factor in the defense of the Magna Charta of a common community. No man or set of men can live without modifying the condition of their fellows and being modified in turn. The unconscious tree affects the growth of other trees of the forest. How much more will a conscious being modify his fellows with whom he comes in contact, and how much more will the concerted action of a community affect the communities it jostles and over which it wields a partial or full control? So on this nation to-day is felt the effect of Southern valor. Lee's virtue and matchless generalship are felt.

He may have been unconscious of the influeuce wielded by himself and his associates. He and his friends at their fall may have felt that the cause they represented was lost, but at this distance it does not take a philosopher to see that the movement inspired by Oliver Cromwell became a great factor in English liberty. Although Charles II in anger stamped his foot and scorned the ‘fool's cap’ when reinstated to the throne, yet the fool's cap lives. The influence [393] started and the modification of English society made by Cromwell, as seen in the death of Charles I and the banishment of Charles II, by which the power of the Romish Church was hurled back and the way was thus prepared for the admission of dissenting clergymen to benefices, for the enlargement of English families and for the speedy coming of William of Orange, by whom James II was dethroned, the growing papal power was broken and English liberties were extended. So conquered at last only by attrition, not by valor on the field of battle, the four years of a nation's agony finds in its story the history of a great struggle between five hundred thousand ill-equipped but well-drilled Confederates and two million well-kept Federal soldiers, their very struggle modifying not the armors only, but each section of this great nation, and reinforcing North and South among the States the great principles underlying our constitutional government. On the one side State sovereignty and personal rights, on the other the supremacy of the nation in its unity. We of the South, with arms laid down and the hope of separate independence wrapped in the tattered folds of the surrendered flag, may see as the smoke of battle lifts that State sovereignty and personal rights still stand like mountains in the heart of this nation, while we recognize the fact that the States are one and indivisible, and ought to be. After the lapse of more than a quarter of a century we look over the field of carnage where Lee and his soldiers met and defeated in successive campaigns more than double their numbers; we see the undivided life of the nation, the rights of the States and the rights of citizens alike maintained. Never again may the wiles of politicians, the heat of partizans or the extravagance of demagogues excite on these themes another battle-cry. If we have another war between the States, it will not, cannot be on this line. But the cause is not lost, as the genius of our republic is felt in Europe. As kings tremble on their thrones at the march of the thought of government by the people, and as new republics are being born, so the stroke by Southern men in arms for self-government is felt among the States. Now again are the Southern States steadily marching to the front in this nation's history in all that constitutes greatness. Let Virginia be a sample.

A result of the war.

The destruction of slavery as a result of the war has opened the finest soil of the Atlantic slope to the markets of the world. With a [394] salubrious climate equaling that of Italy, with a climate and soil adapted to all the staple crops of the world, our lands in the absence of slaves and with a sparse white population constitute in themselves a standing invitation to brains and money. Many have already come, and now that the Virginia debt will be settled by the present legislature with satisfaction alike to the State and its creditors, we may look for men coming from abroad, who, with motive found in moneymak-ing, will join us in the task of lifting the grand old State to a new growth and a higher material destiny. Our soil, our climate, our transportation and school facilities, as well as our people, invite strangers. The negro, as a common laborer, has stood for twenty-five years as a breakwater against the influx of riff-raff immigration, which we neither need nor want, while our condition to-day invites the presence of men of larger or smaller means who are looking to the betterment of their condition. Take a man in New Jersey with a family of five children on a farm of one hundred acres. His farm at one hundred dollars an acre is worth ten thousand dollars, with six hundred dollars worth of team and utensils, six hundred dollars in labor and six hundred dollars in fertilizers, and an entire capital of eleven thousand eight hundred dollars. He sells perhaps two thousand dollars worth of produce. Now in Virginia one hundred acres at ten dollars an acre and the same amount in stock, etc., a Virginian will sell as much as the Jerseyman and has only one thousand eight hundred dollars capital. The man with ten thousand dollars in Northern lands can give each of his sons here one hundred acres with less than half his capital and enjoy the advantage of constant enhancement in values. On a visit to Pennsylvania I found in York, Northumberland, Tioga and other counties that lands which twenty years ago sold for one hundred and fifty dollars an acre can now be bought for seventy-five dollars. This is true all over the Northern States except in proximity to the great cities. Why is this? It may, in part, be due to shrinkage from war prices, but it is also owing in part, if not entirely, to the fact that so much Southern land is put on the market. Ours at ten dollars per acre, theirs at one hundred and fifty dollars. Ours with two or three months winter, theirs with five or seven months. When flour is five dollars a barrel in Richmond and ten dollars in New York it will leave Richmond for the other city till the equilibrium is restored. The law of demand and supply rules the world. The undeveloped resources and wonderful advantages of the South are so vast that they may not be told and the world begins to know it.


A great storm.

Commodore Maury said that ninety miles from the Virginia coast is the point more free from storms than any other place in America. The storm that killed Conklin had its head centre in the great lakes, passed south behind the Appalachian hills, and struck the Atlantic below Charleston, then returned with the Gulf stream, struck the Jersey coast at Cape Henlopen. We hardly felt it here. What wonderful hidden stores of wealth are in your soil? At New river, near White Top mountain, Virginia, Washington got lead to kill the Indians. From these mines he had bullets made to shoot the British. The same mines furnished that material to fight the war of 1812, and then the Mexicans, and then the Yankees, and still they are unexhausted. Money, like water, will seek its level. It pays better here, and despite all prejudice it will come. Already it has spread the golden wings of its flight to this Southland. Almost all the railways now building are in the South; transportation and commerce, manufacturing plants and men are moving South. The proximity to raw material, the evenness of our climate, the brevity of our winters, and the immensity of our water-power, make us feel as we recognize the ‘Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man,’ and welcome the good and true to come with us. The South, with its growing enterprise and increasing population, is obliged to participate in the prosperity of the nation. The cotton crop for 1891 is placed at three hundred million dollars; tobacco at fifty million dollars, with her part in the one billion, seven hundred million dollars of cereals, to say nothing of hay, molasses, sugar, potatoes, wool, forests and mines, make us feel that we stand in the place of prophecy as we look at the opening of the golden gates of a future rich in promise. And the vision widens with the horizon. You say what becomes of the race question, precipitated upon us by the results of the war? I answer. That question was on us before the war, and it may be on our children when we are dead. I believe in a special providence over nations as over individuals. I do not understand the providence that brought the negroes to these shores as slaves, nor do I understand the slave agitation which culminated in the bloodiest war of the ages. Nor still do I understand the present condition of the negro. I cannot see the wisdom of our Government in enfranchising a nation yet in its swaddling clothes, and elevating an incongruous people — some of whom are, to say the least, not far removed [396] from fetishism—to competition with the brains and muscle of the Anglo-Saxon race, already a thousand years in advance of them in civilization. I do not believe in the theory of evolution if that means bringing something from nothing by what you call a law of nature. Something from nothing without causation is absurd. There must be a creative touch behind all. But I do believe in the inexorable law of “the survival of the fittest.” It may be that God will help that race of people, and they may fare better than the Indians, because they are more docile, but I don't know how. He may possibly transplant them; possibly scatter them among the Northern people, or place them in some territory or Africa. Simultaneously with their freedom Africa was explored. Railways are now crossing the dark continent, and steamers are plowing her waters, and four hundred thousand of her people have lately been converted to Christianity. The negroes are not reinforced by immigration, nor increasing as rapidly as the white race by natural laws, so that in relation to that race they stand as John the Baptist stood to Christ—the one must increase and the other decrease. And thus in the coming years, the negro may cease to be a disturbing factor in our civilization, as he is now hardly felt in Virginia politics.

The New South.

Men talk of the old South and the new; I rejoice in the new, because it is the same old South renewed. Like the fable phoenix bird, that from the ashes of its funeral pile came forth with its same sweet song and with richer plumage to flutter again in the great floods of the sunshine. So comes old sunny Southland forth from the fires of the crucible under the guidance of the genii of a noble ancestry, to sing the song of liberty taught our fathers by the mothers of Huguenots and Cavaliers. The thought of higher human rights in self government, for which men in all ages have sighed, begotten and born of the incarnated Christ, who conquered when he fell, becomes the guiding star song of the new South, as it was of the old; and thus the principle of the old South still stands as the storm beaten rock stands to shoulder back the billow. When time shall have grown gray and the evening of the world shall welcome the angel of liberty encircling the earth with a halo of glory and peace, and men shall look to the headlights of the ages as they shine in the dim aisles of the past, none will give a brighter effulgence than Robert Edward Lee. Leading the heroes of the South in the three years of [397] his conduct of our armies he killed and wounded 300,000 of the foe. Victorious in all except two drawn battles, he never was defeated in a pitched battle, but literally wore his own armies out whipping the invader. Not one of his campaigns was more brilliant than the six days retreat from the lines of Richmond. For nine months he had held the great army of the Potomac in check and dread with less than 30,000 troops. He led his foodless and weary men on that retreat to within thirteen miles of Lynchburg, while pursued by 150,000 fresh troops, holding his foe in check by brilliant engagements at various points. At last he surrendered, not an army, only a skeleton, about 8,000 men. His surrender at Appomattox Courthouse was as creditable to his genius as it was protective to the remnant of his noble army and honorable to the Confederacy. Never before in the world's history was it known that accounted rebels were released by the victors on their parole with their side arms and private property.

Two things are necessary to success, capacity and opportunity. Whatever capacity a man may have he cannot succeed unless an opportunity is given, and whatever floodtide of opportunity may come to float him on to fortune and to fame, he can never sweep the water of the sea without capacity. No one except those intimate with him knew Lee's capacity. The hero of Lundy's Lane and conquerer of Mexico, Winfield Scott, a close observer, had said: ‘Colonel Lee is the best soldier I ever saw in the field.’ His reputation as a man, engineer and soldier, though in a smaller circle, had brought him the offer of the leadership of the United States armies, and with boots withdrawn to hush his steps, he walked the floor all night when the choice of flags confronted him. His home-life, his manhood and his patriotism prevailed and he still held that ‘duty was the sublimest word’ of his language. But Colonel Lee's capacity was not generally known because the opportunity had not come. Had it never come he would only have been known as Colonel Lee, a distinguished engineer of the United States army. When it did come, he showed the self-command of Washington and Wellington, and will live with them their equals in history. He showed the power of quick combination and dash of Napoleon without his ambition, the steady endurance and personal popularity of Caesar without the suspicion of turning ambitious arms against his country and his home. He showed the genius of Alexander without his desire of conquest, for he fought only to defend the right. He showed all the piety of [398] Havelock, while like the patriot Cincinnatus, he at length sheathed his sword and went back to the plow-handle of private life to teach the sons of his old soldiers lessons of peace. With rapid strategic movements after defeating the army of one hundred thousand men under McClellan before Richmond and hurling the boasting Pope and his great army into the defenses around Washington, he moved the besieging army from the beleagured Confederate capitol, and concentrated the enemy's forces to the defense of Washington, and in a few months recovered all Northern Virginia from the occupancy of the foe. When McClellan and Pope and Burnside and Hooker and Meade, each successfully commanding the largest and best equipped army ever gathered on the continent, entering no engagement with less than one hundred thousand men, each in turn tried to crush the noble little army of fifty thousand men, and each had in turn been defeated, then came Grant with the largest army of all. His mind was fully made up to give Lee two men for one until his noble little army, now no longer reinforced, should come to an end. Lee took four men instead of two for one. This was done by his skill, strategy and endurance. Yet it was only the question of time. The end must come. When he reached Richmond, Lee looked back, possibly with sadness in his great heart, on three battles in which General Grant had lost more men by thirty thousand than Wellington, Blucher and Napoleon altogether lost in the campaign which ended at Waterloo. A cordon of skeletons still lie along this path of carnage to mark the steps where our brave defenders trod to do and dare for liberty and honor, led by our own Robert Edward Lee. They followed him, feeling as his great Lieutenant Jackson expressed it: ‘He is the only man I would follow blindfolded.’ With the remnant of his army, without reinforcements, Lee held Grant at bay with his constantly accumulating forces and machinery of war for nine long months, on a line of defense nearly thirty miles in length, and then the march of Sherman, the retreat, the six days march, the six foodless days, the six days running fight and then the end.

At his home.

Ten days thereafter, in company with Dr. John E. Edwards, I called to see our chieftain at his home on Franklin street, in this city, and his allusion to the surrender was: ‘My brave men and I have done the best we could.’ He showed there as everywhere that ‘Human virtue is equal to human calamity.’ [399]

On the 29th of May, 1890, I stood with you where never again till at the judgment seat will I see as many of the war-worn Confederates, where with roll of drums and boom of cannon General Joseph E. Johnston, now gone to be with Lee, pulled the cord which unveiled the statue and one hundred thousand voises made the air resonant with the name of Robert E. Lee. And then as they passed his old home, with many wooden legs and armless sleeves, and all with uncovered heads, they sang ‘Shall auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind.’ The noble women of Richmond wept. The brawny, brave, gray-haired veterans wept. I could not refrain from mingling my tears with theirs. We wept not because the slaves were free, for none of us would have them back; we wept not that the Confederacy failed to gain independence, for we love our own rights as States and individuals, made doubly sure in terrific struggle and in the close of that war in which we were actors. Those questions were forever settled then: But we wept because we recalled that day a common suffering in a common heritage of hardships shared so willingly with us by our grand old commander. We wept because we all loved General Lee. The Sentinel Song of the poet is the expression of our thoughts to-day:

When falls the soldier brave dead at the feet of wrong
The poet sings and guards his grave with sentinels of song.
Songs, march! he gives command. Keep faithful watch and true.
The living and the dead of the conquered land have no guards save you.
Go, wearing the gray of grief! Go watch over the dead in gray.
Go, guard the private and guard the chief. Go, sentinel their clay.
And songs in stately rhyme, and with softly sounding tread.
Go forth to watch for a time, a time where sleeps the deathless dead.
Go sing through a nation's sighs. Go, sob through a people's tears!
Sweep the horizons of all the skies and throb through a thousand years.
And the songs with waving wing, fly far, float far away.
From the ages' crests, o'er the world they fling the shade of the stainless gray;
And when they come they will sweep a harp with tears all stringed,
And the very notes they strike will sleep, as they come from hearers woe-wringed.
But oh, if in song or speech, in major or minor key,
Could my voice o'er the ages reach, I would whisper the name of Lee.
In the night of our defeat star after star had gone,
But the way was bright to our soldiers' feet where the star of Lee led on.
The world shall yet decide in truth's clear, far-off light
That the soldiers who wore the gray and died with Lee were clearly in the right; [400]
And men by time made wise shall in the future see
No name hath risen, or e'er shall rise, like the name of Robert Lee.
Dead! but his spirit breathes! Dead! but his heart is ours!
Dead! but his sunny, sad land wreathes his crown with tears of flowers.
But he has a thousand graves, in a thousand hearts, I ween,
And teardrops fall from our eyes in waves that will keep his memory green.
Ah! muse, you dare not claim a nobler man than he.
Nor nobler man hath less of blame,
Nor blameless man has purer name,
Nor purer name hath grander fame,
Nor fame—another Lee.

Thanks and benediction.

At the close of Mr. Ray's address there were loud calls for Judge Farrar, who in a most feeling speech moved that the camps tender the speaker a vote of thanks for his noble address, which was done by a rising vote.

Mayor Ellyson tendered the thanks of the camps to the public, and especially to the ladies present, for the encouragement they had given the memorial exercises; after which the meeting was dismissed with a benediction from Rev. Dr. Tudor.

The Committee on Hall were Messrs. E. C. Crump, Charles P. Bigger and Charles T. Loehr. The ushers were Messrs. James T. Gray, Ryland Norvell and M. Jones.

The Camp-fire last night.

Over two hundred old veterans, a number of members of the First Virginia regiment and many invited guests assembled at the Regimental Armory last evening to enjoy the banquet given by Lee and Pickett Camps in honor of the anniversary of the birth of the beloved General Robert E. Lee.

After the battle of knives and forks had ceased the following toasts were responded to: ‘The Day we Celebrate,’ Colonel A. S. Buford; ‘The Legislature,’ Senator H. G. Peters; ‘Pickett Camp,’ Dr. Eggleston; ‘Lee Camp,’ Captain J. B. McKinney; ‘Richmond,’ Hon. J. Taylor Ellyson; ‘The Undying Fame of Lee’ was to have been responded to by Rev. Dr. M. D. Hoge, but he was unavoidably absent, consequently the speech was made in an excellent manner by Hon. F. R. Farrar. ‘The Incomparable Infantry of the Army of Northern Virginia,’ Hon. J. M. Hudgins' of Caroline county; ‘First Virginia Regiment,’ Colonel Henry C. Jones; songs [401] by Captain Frank Cunningham; banjo and songs, Mr. Eugene Davis; ‘First Regiment, Virginia Volunteers,’ Captain E. Leslie Spence; ‘Cavalry of the A. N. V.,’ Colonel G. Percy Hawes; ‘Artillery of the A. N. V.,’ Major H. C. Carter; ‘Scouts of the Army,’ Captain John Cussons; ‘Ladies of the South,’ Major J. H. H. Figgett, of Botetourt; ‘Missouri’ (by a son of Missouri), Richard T. Flournoy. Speeches were made by Senator Parrish and Major McCann, and Lieutenant-Colonel Crump read an original poem on Lee and Pickett Camps.

At a late hour the meeting adjourned.

Atlanta, Georgia.

The birthday of General Robert E. Lee is a legal holiday in Georgia. Year by year the celebration of it grows in interest. Last year the oration was delivered by Gordon McCabe, of Petersburg, Va. To-day the orator and guest of the occasion is Hon. Charles T. O'Ferrall, one of Virginia's most eloquent congressmen.

The Virginians resident in Atlanta, recognizing the patriotic spirit which moved Georgia to declare Lee's birthday a holiday, have perfected a permanent organization for the purpose of taking charge of the observance of the day. The president of the Atlanta Virginia Society is Hon. Hamilton Douglas, a brilliant young attorney, who illustrates all the graces of his native State. A prominent member of the society is Dr. Price E. Murray, brother of the editor of the Norfolk Landmark. Captain Edward C. Bruffey, city editor of the Atlanta Constitution, is another member who deserves credit for his zeal in behalf of absent Virginia.

Escorted to the city.

A special car, with a committee headed by Hon. Hamilton Douglas and Colonel Carter, went to Washington last Thursday night to escort Mr. and Mrs. O'Ferrall to the city. They arrived back last night and from that moment to this the distinguished gentleman and lady have been the recipients of marked social attention.

As a special compliment to Virginia, Governor Northen granted the use of the State Capitol for the public demonstration, which is at this moment in progress. A magnificent audience answered the call of the Virginia Society. Hon. Hamilton Douglas presided and gracefully introduced Congressman Charles T. O'Ferrall, the orator of the occasion. [402]

In concluding his speech Mr. Douglas said:

We Georgians have with us to-night as orator on this occasion as knightly a veteran as ever galloped into the jaws of death. Brave, gallant, and generous, he poured cut his blood through a dozen wounds to prevent the enemy from violating the sanctity of our State. We have with us one who has succored Turner Ashby and Jeb Stuart and Wade Hampton and Pierce Young on many a stricken field, and turned defeat into glorious victory.

He is a self-made man, highly honored by his native State, on whose shoulders we hope will descend the mantle of Virginia's gubernatorial honors. He is one who has renewed Georgia's obligations to him in effecting the election of Georgia's second speaker in the National House of Representatives, and for him I ask a hearty welcome.

I appeal to you, fair ladies, who love brave men, to you, sons of Confederates, for whom he fought and bled while you were in your swaddling clothes; I appeal to you, veteran soldiers, grander than the old guard at Waterloo, in the name of that Virginia hospitality which ofttimes shared its last crust with you—to join with me and give a Georgia welcome to the Hon. Charles T. O'Ferrall.

Colonel O'Ferrall's Address.

Cononel O'Ferrall expressed his pleasure at coming for the first time to this city of marvellous growth and superb beauty upon the invitation of the Virginia Society and a mission so holy. Why is it, said he, that to-day all over this Georgia land no anvil rings, no wheel of industry revolves, no saw, spindle, or loom sings its merry song, no furnace, forge, or rolling-mill sends out its lurid glare, and no office or store-door is open? Why is it that from Georgia's border to border this day is observed as a holiday? The answer is engraved everywhere and is wet with love's tear-drop.

‘Eighty-five years ago to-day a child was born in the Old Dominion of legends and lays, traditions, glories, and memories, destined to dazzle the world with the effulgency of his manhood achievments, and draw from every land where civilization and chivalry had dawned its plaudits and its praises. It is to celebrate this, the anniversary of that birthday, that you have laid aside your duties and cares and I have come at your bidding hundreds of miles.’


Sketch of Lee's life.

Then giving a brief biographical sketch of him ‘whose name is emblazoned on the walls’ around him, he said that commencing at Malvern Hill and running through the battle-fields of Second Manassas, Antietam, Frederieksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, and the Wilderness, and in trenches around Petersburg, his name was encircled with a halo of glory as bright as the facient breastplate of an angel, and even when his ranks had been reduced to a mere skirmish line, and his ragged and worn veterans were hemmed in by the mighty hosts of Grant, and the impulses of his great soul impelled him to sue for terms, yes, on the dark and dismal field of Appomattox his name still shone with the brilliancy of the richest diadem in a royal crown.

Guilty of no wrong.

Colonel O'Ferrall in conclusion said: ‘In meeting here on this occasion we are guilty of no wrong to the Government under which we live. When the darkness of defeat closed around us we pledged our allegiance to the flag against which we had fought. We have kept our pledge; we are loyal to our Government; and base is the tongue that dares to question our sincerity. We are here in no spirit of disloyalty, unless the cherishing of sacred memories and the honoring of our dead be disloyalty; and if so, then I glory in the fact that I am in the midst of one of the most disloyal bands that ever stood under the rays of Heaven's sun since manhood was made to grow in the human breast, and man's heart was filled with the impulses of honor and truth, courage and fidelity. While we are loyal to the Union by the mothers who bore us, by the fathers who taught us, by the wives who cherish us, by the children who love us, by the homes that shelter us, by the land that nurtured us, by the heavens above us, by the earth beneath us, we swear to be loyal to our dead.’

The dead heroes.

‘While we are loyal to the Stars and Stripes by the graves all around us, by the battle-fields all about us, by our blood that is crimson, by our bosoms that swell, by all that is noble and exalted, by all that is good and true, we swear to be loyal to the memory of those who fell in defence of the Stars and Bars. When you can dam up the waters of the mighty Mississippi and hold them in the hollow [404] of your hand, ye wicked fanatic, then, and not till then can the gushings of the well-springs of southern hearts be stopped. When you can cease the lightning of the skies and bind it as an abject slave at the feet of tyrannical power, ye South-hater, then, and not till then, will the proud and haughty spirit of a true Confederate cringe at the foot-stool of southern enemies and, with lips foul, declare that the graves of the Confederate dead are the graves of traitors.’

Bloody shirt Shrieker.

‘When you can harness the winds and make them obey your commands, ye bloody-shirt shrieker, then, and not till then, will the courage of southren men and the fidelity of southern women prove so weak as to make them renounce their devotion to Confederate dust, graves, and memories. No, no; these things can never be while the fields of the South bear a plant, her rivers course, her mountains stand, or her rivulets murmur, and if I thought there is one who calls me father who would so far prove false to his lineage, his teachings, and his people as to turn his back upon the traditions, glories, and memories which you and I love, my comrades, I would stand with head bowed and heart heavy over his humiliation and shame.’

To Virginians.

Colonel O'Ferrall then addressed himself specially to his fellow-Virginians, by whose invitation he was present. He first paid a tribute to the old State, and spoke of the devotion of all of her true sons, and in concluding his remarks he urged upon them the discharge of their every duty.

‘Duty is the sublimest word in our language.’ Thus spoke the great soldier and patriot, hero, Christian and philanthropist, whose fame now fills a universe, whose glories now encircle a hemisphere, whose achievements in war are painted on every canvas, immortalized in song and story, and pictured in colors that are fadeless in the skies of military renown, and whose virtues wrap his character in moral grandeur and entwine his memory with immortelles.

He is gone, but
     in such pomp does he lie,
That kings for such a tomb would wish to die.

[405] ‘And now as I shall utter his name—a name wreathed here by woman's loving and tender hands with flowers— “ the sweetest things that God ever made and forgot to put a soul into” —let every head be uncovered, let every tongue be stilled, let every eyelid droop, let every heart sink in sorrow that will, let every tear flow that may—the immortal, ever-living, never—dying name of Robert Edward Lee.’

The banquet.

After the public demonstration the orator of the night, with invited guests, repaired to the Kimball House, where a magnificent banquet was enjoyed. Among those who sat around the table were many of the most distinguished citizens and officials of Georgia.

The president of the society acted as toast-master, to the satisfaction of all. The toasts and responses were as follows:

1. The Memory of Robert E. Lee—soldier, patriot, stainless gentleman and humble Christian—the model man of the centuries. Drank standing and in silence.

2. The orator of the day, who ‘followed the feather’ of Ashby, rode with Stuart and Hampton, and has brought us an elegant tribute to our great chieftain. Hon. Charles T. O'Ferrall.

3. The Virginia Society. Loyal and true to our adopted home, we turn with ‘untrammelled hearts’ to our dear old mother. Vicar-General Benjamin J. Keiley.

4. Virginia and Georgia. Twin sisters in the revolution of 1776 and in the struggle for constitutional freedom in 1861, may they, guided by the Southern press, ever remain keystones in the solid South in promoting the interests of our whole country. Hon. Clark Howell, Speaker Georgia House of Representatives and editor of the Constitution.

5. Atlanta, our adopted home. None of her citizens love her more devotedly or are more ready to promote her interests or rejoice more heartily in her prosperity than we Virginians. Captain E. S. Gay.

6. The Gate City of the South. Undaunted by the desolation of the war, she has risen Phoenix-like to command its commerce, and stands for pure politics and good government. Within its walls none are more welcome than Virginians. Hon. W. A. Hemphill, mayor. [406]

7. Georgia soldiers who served in Virginia. They bravely defended the old Commonwealth, and were sometimes captured themselves by her fair daughters. Adjutant-General John Milledge.

8. The Confederate Veterans. True in war, true in peace, they hail with a special pride and greet with peculiar joy this natal day of the great Confederate chief. Colonel W. L. Calhoun.

9. The bar. In peace, in war, and in the halls of national legislation. Of the law no less can be said than this: ‘That her seat is in the bosom of God, and her voice the harmony of the universe.’ Hon. Hoke Smith, editor of the Journal.

10. The Sons of Confederate Veterans. May they ever be true to the principles for which their fathers fought, bled, and died. Hon. Benjamin M. Blackburn, editor of the Herald.

11. ‘Old Virginia Brag.’ Sometimes fervent, always overdone, but ever excusable, because we have something to brag on in the hallowed traditions, glorious history, grand men, and noble women of the peerless old Commonwealth. Dr. J. William Jones.

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