law, and a student of Anglo-Saxon
institutions, the principle of local self-government was precious in his sight, and arbitrary power of any kind anywhere he instinctively hated, and was ever ready to combat.
So intense were his convictions on this subject that I myself used sometimes jocularly to accuse him of being opposed to government of any kind.
These convictions were not by any means wholly the result of temperament, but were the outcome chiefly, of study, reflection and observation.
He was a Democrat—in its largest as in its narrowest sense—from principle, and he was ready to vindicate his principles at all times and at every hazard.
In this respect, as in every other, he was a man of character.
It is not my purpose to give the details of his public career, but to present a picture of the man as he was, in his relation to the public, and in private life.
I will not go farther into his record as a soldier in the war between the States, than merely to say that he went in as a subaltern and came out with the glorious remnant of Lee
's army the colonel of a decimated and war-scarred regiment, bearing upon his person terrible wounds, and enjoying the unqualified respect of his associates for duty faithfully and gallantly performed.
In 1871, towards the close of the ‘Reconstruction’ period during which he did as much to rescue the State
from the ruin and degration which threatened her as any man within her borders, he was arrested by the United States
authorities and carried to Washington
to be examined by the ‘Ku Klux’ committee, with the hope and expectation, on the part of those who caused his arrest, of extorting from him a confession of his own complicity in the acts of the ‘Ku Klux,’ or at least procuring evidence against others.
I can never forget his presence there, or the result of his examination.
Although myself a member of the committee, he was my guest and shared my bed during his stay in Washington
, but not one word passed between us on the subject of his arrest, and no information was asked or given in regard to the organization of which he was supposed to be the chief.
He appeared before the committee, and was asked more than a hundred questions, every one of which, except a few formal ones, he steadfastly refused—or, as he expressed it, declined to answer.
He was badgered and bullied, and threatened with imprisonment (which I really feared would be imposed upon him), but with perfect self-possession and calm politeness he continued to say: ‘I decline ’