Zzzhis intellectual character.
Early was a man of great intellectual gifts.
His grasp was broad and strong and comprehensive, his mind solid, rather than brilliant.
He knew men, and he knew things, and he was an acute and discriminating judge.
He attained eminence at the bar, not by eloquence, but by rare judgment and indefatigable persistence.
He was not a student in the sense of regular and continuous application, but whatever he undertook he mastered.
His memory was the most accurate and retentive that I have ever known.
Whatever he once knew he always remembered.
Whatever he attempted he never let go, and whatever he did was thoroughly done.
It was said of Wellington
that had he not been a great soldier he might have been a great financier; and such were Early
's abilities, fine judgment, and force of character, that he would have succeeded in any great business or any great profession.
He knew his own lack of popular manners and popular ideas, but, with pleasing candor, declares that ‘those who knew him best liked him most.’
He would have been as successful in the political as in any other field, for the multitude, though
often deceived by the demagogue who ‘kisses away his hand in courtesy,’ is always ready to pay tribute to the hero when it is sure it has found him. It loves Fredericks
and Bismarcks and Earlys, ‘who can rule and dare not lie.’
In social circles of friendship, when care was laid aside, Early
was an exceedingly attractive companion, and his company was much sought.
His conversation was entertaining, mellowed by a genial sense of humor, sparkling with the sallies of wit, and shining with the thoughts and reminiscences of wisdom.
Amongst ladies, he was the polished, courtly gentleman, abounding in the courtesies of life, speaking always with that deferential homage to the sex which marks the true man.
As a writer, General Early
His speeches on Lee
are masterly expositions of their campaigns.
In style they are ‘pure wells of English undefiled.’
They stand, and will endure in the majestic simplicity of the Doric column.
As his deeds were worthy of a Caesar
's sword, so his compositions in clearness, directness and comprehensiveness were worthy of the Caesar
's pen. His account of his campaigns in the last year of the war for southern independence is a volume which betokens the highest qualities of the historian.
You will be pleased to learn that he has left in manuscript a biographical sketch of himself and the complete history of his campaigns, written some years ago, when he had opportunity to examine records and to add other valuable stories of information to his own. I have read much of this history, and I do not doubt that it will prove the most valuable contribution that has yet been made to the history of the Army of Northern Virginia.