The laying of the corner-stone of the monument to President Jefferson Davis,
In Monroe Park at Richmond, Virginia, Thursday, July 2, 1896, with the Oration of General Stephen D. Lee.The Confederate Re-union held at Richmond June 29—July 2, 1896, was a gathering never to be forgotten by the interested participants. The results of the conferences of prominent ex-Confederate officers and soldiers were in the highest degree important in the interest actively enlisted in the weal and comfort of the aged and needy veteran, and toward the truthful presentation of the history of the struggle of the South. The most impressive day of the period was, it may be realized, that on which the corner-stone of the monument in Monroe Park to the memory of the President of the Southern Confederacy was laid. It was propitious, the air was balmy and the skies clear. The city, with its bright decorations, was literally crowded with old Confederates and the curious visitor from various sections. Not only were all the States of the South and West represented, but also quite all of those of the North and East.
The Masonic ceremonies.It was about twenty minutes after 4 o'clock when the corner-stone ceremonies were started. These were conducted after the usual form, by the Grand Lodge of Virginia, whose officers are: Most Worshipful J. P. Fitzgerald, Grand Master; Right Worshipful A. R. Courtney, Deputy Grand Master; Right Worshipful, R. T. W. Duke, Jr., Grand Senior Warden; Right Worshipful George W. Wright, Grand Junior Warden; Right Worshipful Frederick Pleasants, Grand Treasurer; Right Worshipful George W. Carrington, Grand Secretary; Right Worshipful H. O. Kerns, Grand Senior Deacon; Right Worshipful Edward N. Eubank, Grand Junior Deacon; Right Worshipful George H. Ray, Grand Chaplain; Wor shipful J. A. Cosby, Grand Pursivant; Brother W. C. Wilkinson, Grand Tiler; Brother William Krause, Grand Steward.  The Masonic marshals were: Most Worshipful William B. Taliaferro, P. G. M., Grand Marshal; Worshipful J. Thompson Brown, P. M., Assistant Grand Marshal; Right Worshipful William Gibson, Jr., D. D. G. M., Richmond, Va.; Worshipful Samuel W. Williams, P. M., Wytheville, Va.; Worshipful Julius Straus, P. M., Richmond, Va.; Worshipful Thomas S. Taliaferro, P. M., Gloucester county, Va.; Brother Garrett G. Gooch, Staunton, Virginia; Brother Charles H. Phillips, Richmond, Va. Grand Chaplain George H. Ray offered prayer.
Grand Master's address.“In confiding the implements of operative masonry” to Brother Wilfred E. Cutshaw, the Engineer of the city of Richmond, the Grand Master said: ‘Brother Cutshaw, as the Engineer of the city of Richmond, and as a member of the Committee on Designs for this monument, I confide to your hands the implements of operative masonry, that after the designs of this monument are laid down by some distinguished architect yet to be chosen, you may turn them over to him, in full confidence of his skill and ability to erect such a monument as will perpetuate and add new luster to the established glory, liberality, and patriotism of the people of our beloved Southland.’ The Grand Master also said: ‘Most Worshipful Brother, our Grand Marshal, you will take with you Most Worshipful Brother R. E. Withers and inform Brother J. Taylor Ellyson, the President of the Jefferson Davis Monument Association, that the corner-stone of the monument about to be erected to commemorate the virtues of a soldier, statesman, and hero, who was worthy of his times and of the gratitude of a chivalrous people, has now been laid with Masonic honors, and request him to descend and examine our work, and if approved, to receive it from our hands.’ Grand Marshal: Most Worshipful Grand Master, that duty has been performed. Bishop J. C. Granberry then offered a deeply, impressive prayer.
The orator presented.Hon J. Taylor Ellyson then advanced to the front of the platform, and said:
Oration of General Lee.General Lee was given a cordial reception, and was loudly cheered throughout the delivery of his beautiful oration. General Lee said: We are here to-day to honor the memory of Jefferson Davis; to lay the corner-stone of a monument to one who needs no monument in our generation, beyond that in the hearts of his countrymen. But we think it due to erect one, that posterity may know the reverence felt for the great leader of a cause that failed. It is fitting that he should rest here in Virginia—that greatest of all States, the battle-scarred producer of warriors and statesmen—fitting that he should rest here among her immortals. But for her generosity in ceding her vast territory to the Union, Kentucky would have still been hers, and he would have been born her son. Many presidents, statesmen, soldiers lie in Virginia soil—from Washington to the present time—none greater than Davis, but more fortunate.
A glance backward.Let us glance backward. Thirty-one years ago, on the soil of this very commonwealth, the man to whom we erect this monument lay manacled in a casement of a strongly-garrisoned fortress, charged with the most atrocious crimes known to man—treason and murder. He had been the unanimously-chosen leader of a true people, who, actuated by a pure and lofty patriotism, after exhausting every effort at compromise, made an attempt to establish a new nation; and after a bitter struggle of four years, after nearly four million soldiers had met in the shock of battle, and over 2,000 battlefields had blazed with glorious deeds, went down in darkness and blood. Success is the measure of merit applied alike to every man, to every cause; and even in our moral judgments we sentence the unfortunate.  Men do not idly erect monuments to lost causes. Fame has no trumpet for failure. The world hears not the voice of the vanquished. Yet history might teach us strange things of men who fail and causes that are lost. Genius did not keep Hannibal or Napoleon from defeat; heroism went with Joan of Arc to the stake, and Emmett to the scaffold. The eloquence of Demosthenes did not save Greece, or Cato's virtue Rome. The courage of Kosciusko availed naught for Poland, and Hungary went down for all the patriotism of Kossuth. Sometimes defeat gives a tragic pathos which lifts the commonplace into the immortal, and tenderly preserves the memory of the vanquished long after the victor has been forgotten. Since the death of Napoleon there has been no career which illustrates so dramatically the vicissitudes of fortune as that of Jefferson Davis. Born amid the rugged surroundings of a frontier State, he lived to win the triple glory of the soldier, the orator, and the statesman. He became the ruler of 7,000,000 of people. His government was overwhelmed, his fortune swept away. He was bound as a criminal and prosecuted for his life. He became an exile. He was denied the rights of citizenship. He was defamed, denounced, insulted, ridiculed to the hour of his death. And yet he died by millions more sincerely mourned and deeply beloved than any other man in the history of the nation. If his enemies had succeeded in putting him to death he would have been the most conspicuous figure in American history.
See him as he is.When the mists of passion and prejudice have passed away the calm light of justice gives the right niche to each figure in history. The descendants of the men who burned Joan of Arc now regard her as a character of heroism and beauty. The posterity of the men who hanged witches in Salem as a pious duty now hear the story with horror. The descendants of the men who to-day look on Jefferson Davis with unkind expressions will see him as we do—the stainless gentleman, the gallant soldier, the devoted patriot, the pure and gifted statesman. I do not propose to discuss now the unhappy causes leading to the war between the States. It is still too soon. Criminating and recriminating over irritating causes of differences cannot readjust what the war has settled. We must wait for the mists to clear away, and that will take another generation. It does no good to recall our wrongs, real or fancied; it keeps up partisan feeling; it gives an excuse  for ill-will. Others have ably treated the Southern view of the controversy; their argument is submitted to impartial history. Suffice it to say, on this occasion, that the war has settled that secession is impracticable, and the amendments to the Constitution have adjusted all other differences. The Southern people have fully accepted the results—they accept the present, and loyally commit themselves to the future. Neither shall I attempt to recount his life, for it is a part of history. The record is made up. If we protect it from falsification while we live, the verdict of history will not shame our posterity when we are dead. To-day we meet, and the past and present join hands. Looking around me, viewing the faces of the fair women and brave men before me, I realize that the past is behind me—that this is the living present. I feel the influence of the new hopes of the new generation to which you belong. Our task is to commit into your hands what our failing hands cannot much longer hold—the sacred rights for which your fathers sacrificed their lives, their property, everything; these liberties and the land which was so dear to them we commit to you. I will only say you cannot excel your fathers. Reverence them, emulate them. May you be worthy of them! It is hard to believe that the American people will always desire to have the epithets of traitor and rebel applied to names which are now, and unless human nature changes, always will be, dear and honored in the hearts of a large part of their number—honored by men who made duty a passion, a religion; dear to the posterity of those, who were the foremost in sacrifices in the establishment of the republic, in the increasing of its area, and in the vindication of principles of government inherited from their forefathers, and accepted as correct for the first fifty years of the republic.
No stain on their lives.I cannot hold him wise who would willingly wound the patriotism of any citizen of the republic. To brand such men as Albert Sydney Johnston, Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, or Jefferson Davis as traitors, is not to stain the whiteness of their lives, but rather to spoil the word for any useful purpose, to make the traitor a title, which Hampton or Washington might have borne as well, had the fortunes of war gone against them. As Fox said to Lord North: ‘The great asserters of liberty, the saviors of their country, the benefactors of mankind, in all ages, have been called rebels.’ We  owe the constitution which enables us to sit in this house to a rebellion. The future historian will note with astonishment that the Southern struggle for independence began, not with committees of public safety, with declarations of the rights of men, or enunciation of the mighty doctrine, that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, but it began with public statutes, general elections, and constitutional conventions. Mr. Davis himself rested, in his inaugural, the case of the new nation at the bar of the public opinion of the world, not upon revolution, but upon legal right. He said: ‘The rights soelmnly proclaimed at the birth of the States, which have been affirmed and reaffirmed, in the bills of rights of States subsequently admitted into the Union of 1789, invariably recognise in the people, the power to resume the authority delegated for the purposes of government. Thus the sovereign States here represented, proceeded to form this Confederacy, and it is by abuse of language that their act has been denominated a revolution.’ He might also have said that the very Constitution of the United States was adopted by acts of secession, violating the Articles of Confederation.
Only exercised a right.The South learned its constitutional law from Jefferson, Madison and Calhoun; not from Hamilton and Marshall. They considered secession as a constitutional remedy in 1861. They believed a separate confederacy with their constitutional rights retained better than a union with these rights trampled upon and ignored or held together by physical force. The junior senator from Massachusetts has written these words: ‘When this Constitution was adopted by the votes of the States at Philadelphia, and accepted by the votes of the States in popular conventions, it is fair to say that there was not a man in the country, from Washington and Hamilton on the one side, to George Clinton and George Mason on the other, who regarded the new system as anything but an experiment entered upon by the States, and from which each and every State had the right to peaceably withdraw, a right which was very likely to be exercised.’ The Southern States only exercised a right which had often been threatened by New England, and which was generally conceded to be a constitutional right. But in 1861 the Union had grown with the growth of the American people, and strengthened with its strength, until, like a young oak,  it had burst the old constitutional rocks asunder on sectional lines and issues. The South was fighting against the stars in their courses. But, standing on this sacred spot, I should be false to the memory of the dead if I did not remind you that he, the man we all adore, battled for the constitutional right to dissolve the Union, not for revolution, not for slavery—that the war was fought upon a legal, not a moral, issue, and it is significant that slavery is not mentioned, either in the Confederate inaugural or in Lincoln's Gettysburg address. It is a pleasant reflection to-day that the feelings which human nature cannot repress in the sad hour of defeat have found the gentle and sure medicine of time. A new generation has risen underneath the healing wings of peace that are strangers to the discord of their fathers, and the gray-haired veterans of Gettysburg and Chickamauga, conscious of their rectitude of purpose and lofty patriotism, now yield loyal allegiance to the government, not having disowned their manhood, or with servility confessed that they were wrong. They have preserved their self-respect and won the respect of the nation. For what, then, shall this monument stand? Jefferson Davis was truly through his life the representative of his people, and the monument represents the love of the Southern people for him. Such a sentiment honors them even more than it honors him. It demonstrates the faithfulness of the Southern people to their leader, for better or for worse. Rather than suspected is that people to be honored and trusted whose attachments defy the vicissitudes of time and fortune, and reach in loving fortitude beyond the grave.
Reasors for our love.Let us consider on this occasion the reasons for our love for Jefferson Davis, and why we honor him. First, above all, he is dear to us for the incomparable beauty of his character. It is a joy to the South that its typical figures of a generation ago, such as Davis, Lee, and Jackson, were men who wore the white flower of a blameless life—men of clean lips and spotless names. It will not surprise you when I add they were each of them of strong Christian faith. Permit me to quote the words of two distinguished men who knew Jefferson Davis most intimately in official as well as private life: ‘Standing here by his open grave, and in all probability not far from my own,’ said George Davis, of North Carolina, Attorney-General of the Confederacy, ‘I declare to you that he was the most honest, truest, gentlest, tenderest, manliest man I ever knew.’ ‘I knew Jefferson  Davis as I knew few men,’ said Benjamin Hill, Georgia's great senator. ‘I have been near him in his public duties; I have seen him by his private fireside; I have witnessed his humble devotions, and I challenge the judgment of history when I say no people were ever led through the fiery struggle for liberty by a nobler, truer patriot, while the carnage of war and the trials of public life never revealed a purer or more beautiful Christian character.’ Jefferson Davis stood the test of true greatness, he was the greatest to those who knew him best. One of the marked traits of Mr. Davis' private life was his exquisite courtesy. He was one of the most approachable of men, as polite and affable to the humblest as to the most exalted. In his old age in Raleigh, N. C., he excused himself to all callers, in order to receive the visit of his former slave. It is characteristic of the man that he closed his farewell address to the Senate by apologizing for any pain which, in the heat of discussion, he might have inflicted. His last words on earth were, ‘Please excuse me.’ Such gentleness usually marks a man of courage. On a memorable occasion he uttered the characteristic maxim, ‘Never be haughty to the humble, nor humble to the haughty.’ We remember how, at Buena Vista, although painfully wounded, he refused to quit his saddle until the victory, so largely due to his own heroism, was won; how, in the the battles around Richmond A. P. Hill, that gallant and spotless soldier, twice ordered General Lee and President Davis to the rear. Mr. Davis was utterly without fear for himself. Notwithstanding the attempt made on his life at Richmond, he never had an escort. But I must correct myself, for on one occasion an unknown Confederate boy-soldier followed the President alone from the lines around Richmond to the city, to watch over his safety, and to die, if need be, for his sake. This youth but gave expression to the heart of the South at that moment.
Fidelity to principle.The dominant characteristic of Mr. Davis was his fidelity to principle. It was well said of him, ‘He bent to none but God.’ He came among us as a Roman born out of time. It was impossible for him to ask pardon, so long as he felt he had done his duty conscientiously as he saw it, and he was never forgiven. One after another his great comrades entered the Beyond until he stood alone, but he never wavered. He passed from us a stern and majestic figure, broken, but never bent. ‘In official life,’ said Senator Reagan, his Postmaster-General, ‘he knew no word but duty.’ A  young man and an ambitious soldier, he refused President Polk's offer of a brigadier-generalship, because he thought the appointment exceeded the president's constitutional power. He answered thus the solicitations of friends to send a force of men to protect his plantation and property in danger of seizure, ‘The President of the Confederacy cannot afford to use public means to protect private interests.’ His aide, Governor Lubbock, of Texas, said of him: ‘From the day I took service with him to the very moment we separated, subsequent to our capture, I witnessed his unselfishness. He forgot himself, and displayed more self-abnegation than any other human being I have ever known.’ One of the strongest traits of his character was his aversion to receive gifts. He declined the beautiful home offered him by the people of this generous city. Over and over again he refused to receive gifts of money, even in his greatest extremities. Mr. Davis' tenderness of heart was noticeable. On one occasion a commander of the United States forces in Missouri took nine Confederate prisoners and hung them in infamous disregard of the laws of war. The people clamored loudly for retaliation in kind, and it was proposed in the very cabinet that an equal number of prisoners of war, then in Libby Prison, should be taken out and hanged. ‘I have not the heart,’ replied the man, afterwards accused of cruelty to prisoners, ‘to take these innocent soldiers, taken in honorable warfare, and hang them like convicted criminals.’ His Attorney-General said of him: ‘I do not think I am a very cruel man, but I declare to you that it was the most difficult thing in the world to keep Mr. Davis up to the measure of justice. He wanted to pardon everybody. If ever a wife or a mother or a sister got into his presence it took but a little while for their tears to wash out the record.’
Merciful and tender.It is not necessary at this day, I take it, to defend Mr. Davis from the charge of cruelty to prisoners, any more than from the picturesque calumny of stealing Confederate gold, or even that slowly expiring libel that to escape capture he disguised himself as a woman. The man who could not bear to punish the guilty, never tortured the innocent; the man who refused private gifts never soiled his hands with public money; and the President of the Confederacy was never ridiculous. The mortality among Confederate prisoners of war in the North was over three per cent. greater than that of Union prisoners in the South. ‘The mortuary tables thus exhibiting a large  per cent. in favor of Confederate humanity.’ Those who will read the sad history of the prisoners of war, not on one side, but on both, and examine the ceaseless, almost humiliating efforts of the Confederate Government to exchange prisoners, or secure alleviations of their condition, and read General Grant's frank admission of the reason for not exchanging, will have no unkind words left for Mr. Davis. He was fortunate in having the charge raised against him at the time when his enemies could put him on trial for it. No human character was ever subjected to more searching investigations than was his life at the time of his imprisonment. The fierce light that beat upon the life of Jefferson Davis revealed no blot or blemish, but instead displayed the image of its white purity upon the screen of the ages. We love and honor Mr. Davis for his eminent public services. He came from a stock distinguished for its patriotism. His father and uncles fought through the Revolutionary war. Three of his brothers were in the war of 1812. As a cadet at West Point, he entered the service of his country, and for twelve years he bore its arms. He rendered conspicuous service in the Black Hawk war against the Indians. In the Mexican war his gallantry at the storming of Monterey was most conspicuous, while at Buena Vista, the most brilliant victory ever won by United States troops on foreign soil, he is generally believed to have saved the day.
Truly represented us.We love and respect him, for he truly represented us in his political life. He became a member of Congress in 1845, resigning the next year to serve in Mexico. Upon his return from the war he became United States Senator. He was eight years a member of the Senate, during the most brilliant epoch of its history, where he sustained himself as an equal in debate with the most illustrious statesmen in American history. He held his own with Chase and Douglas, Benton and Clay, Webster and Calhoun. As Secretary of War he never had his superior. During his administration the routes of the Pacific railroad were surveyed, the Capitol was extended, iron gun-carriages were introduced, the system of casting heavy guns changed, and the use of coarser grains of powder for artillery was begun. The army was enlarged by four regiments. The dictates of politics were disregarded in his official appointments. Mr. Davis was opposed to disunion, and did his utmost to prevent  the step. At the conference called by Governor Pettus, of Mississippi, of the representatives in Congress from that State, in 1860, Mr. Davis declared himself opposed to secession as long as the hope of a peaceful remedy remained. He said he did not believe we ought to precipitate the issue, as he felt certain that from his knowledge of the people of the North and South, that if there was a clash of arms, the contest would be the most sanguinary the world ever witnessed. As a member of the Senate committee to whom the compromise proposals were submitted at the outbreak of secession, he expressed his willingness to accept any plan of settlement that promised a reasonable hope of success. But the Republican members of that committee rejected every proposition made. On December 10, 1860, Mr. Davis spoke these words in the Senate: ‘This Union is as dear to me as a Union of fraternal States. It would lose its value if I had to regard it as a Union held together by physical force. I would be happy to know that every State felt the fraternity which made this Union possible, and if that evidence could go out—if evidence satisfactory to the people of the South could be given that that feeling existed in the hearts of the northern people—you might burn your statute books and we would cling to the Union still.’ To the very hour that Mississippi seceded, and after it, he was pleading for union without dishonor. When Mississippi seceded he resigned his seat in the Senate and went to his State and cast his lot with his people. Many another officer of the United States bent before the allegiance he acknowledged to his mother State and followed him with bleeding hearts. In spite of his well-known preference for service in the field, the Confederate Government called him to its head. Mr. Davis shared with Washington the extraordinary distinction of being elected President of a republic unanimously, but Mr. Davis was chosen by a more numerous people and at a period of more critical responsibility.
He suffered for us.We love and honor Mr. Davis, most of all, because he suffered with us and for us, and was our President; because, in the language of the eloquent Peyton Wise, of Virginia, ‘he was the type of that ineffable manhood which made the armies of the South.’ Time would fail me to picture the iron will, the persistency and loyalty of Mr. Davis during those four terrible years—of the travail of his soul; his people pitted against a people outnumbering them four to one in arms, bearing population, and incomparably better prepared for war,  having an organized government, an organized army and navy, with arsenals, dock yards and machine shops, and having free intercourse with the world, from which to get supplies and men, while every port was sealed against help from the outside world to the Confederacy, which had to organize its government and improvise everything for the unequal struggle from an agricultural population. With an army of 600,000 men and no navy, except a few river steamers and privateers, opposed by an army outnumbering it by 2,000,000 of soldiers, by a navy of 700 vessels of war, manned by 105,000 men; with a fleet of transports, steamers, barges, and coal floats almost innumerable, which in 1862, on the Mississippi river and its tributaries alone, numbered over 2,200 vessels. (It is not known what was the number of vessels chartered on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts in moving the large armies.) The navy in its help was as decisive in results as the great armies in the field in blockading ports, in cutting up the Confederacy by her rivers, in establishing many depots and points of departure from the rivers and along the coast for armies to invade and overrun new territory, and in transporting armies around territory they could not cross, and in saving armies when defeated, as it Shiloh, on the Tennessee, and on the James river, near Richmond. When we look back now at the mighty contest, we wonder how we ever held out so long—how we could have succeeded in driving the American merchantmen from the seas, and how we won so many signal victories, as many almost as were won by our enemies. The record of Southern valor and manhood, where a people fought so long against such odds and resources, displayed such fortitude, and endured such sacrifices, will be a bright page in American history; and will show what the Anglo-Saxon race can and will do under a republican form of government in defence of a constitutional principle. As President Mr. Davis may have made mistakes. He was a constitutional ruler, not a revolutionary chief. He could not work miracles. He summoned to his council the genius of a Benjamin, the profundity of Hunter, the intellect of Toombs. He placed at the head of his troops Lee, Jackson, Albert Sidney Johnston, Beauregard, Joseph E. Johnston, and other leaders, not surpassed in any army since the marshals of the Empire. And when the night of defeat was darkening, and the dismantled ship of the Confederacy was sinking beneath the waters, he stood at the helm to the last. There is something indescribably pathetic in the sight, when a brave  and gallant people stake everything upon the cast of battle, fight their armies to exhaustion, and almost to annihilation, in defending their homes and firesides against invading enemies, and at last are overpowered and overwhelmed, and behold everything that they love go down. The people of the South were a proud and sensitive race, and the world will never know the agonies they suffered in those desperate days. But none had so much to bear, and bore it so bravely, as their indomitable leader. He carried on his great heart the sufferings of his people; he shared their sorrow, and partook of their grief.
Lost all save honor.I behold before me here to-day the white heads of Confederate veterans, of the men who thirty-one years ago lost all save honor. They are falling now swifter than ever their comrades fell on the field of battle; they have lived, thank God, to restore their country to freedom and prosperity again—dear land! for which they fought and sacrificed and suffered and lost! They who are about to die salute you. There are those who confidently expect the time to come when Confederate graves will no longer be decorated with flowers; when monuments will cease to commemorate the splendid heroism, or the devoted sacrifices of those who fell for their State. For one, I believe that the time will never come when the South will cease to love the Confederate soldier. He would have been dear to her if he had returned home amid the booming of cannon and the plaudits of victory. Mothers would have lifted their children in their arms to behold the hero's face. Church bells would have rung a nation's joy, and a grateful people would have showered honors upon his head. God did not will it so. The soldier came ragged, bleeding, penniless to his desolate home, with sad heart but dauntless courage, to restore the land he loved. He gave all for his country, and she, unhappy mother, had nothing left to give him but her love. Dearer, a thousand times dearer, to the South are her ragged heroes of 1865 than all her victorious sons of other years. She will never believe that the men who drew sword in defence of her hearth-stones in 1861 are worthy of reproach. Shame upon the Southern people if they shall ever defile the one page of their history which is glorious beyond compare by writing over the records of  immortal heroism, of love that counted not the cost, and patriotism that was faithful unto death, such words as these: ‘They were all wrong; it was all a mistake.’ Rather let their story be blotted out altogether, for their children will no longer be worthy to read or emulate their achievements. Until that hour every nameless grave, every tattered flag, every worn jacket of gray shall find hearts to love and hands to cherish them. The people of the South would not exchange the story of the Confederacy for the wealth of the world. At their mothers' knees the coming generations shall learn from that story, what deeds make men great and nations glorious. The people who do not cherish their past will never have a future worth recording. The time is even now, that the whole people of the United States are proud of the unsurpassed heroism, sacrifice, and faithfulness of the soldiers and people of the Confederacy.
The terrible past
Must be ours while life shall last.
Ours, with its memories; ours, with its pain;
Ours, with its best blood shed like rain;
The sacrifices all made in vain.
In prison at Fort Monroe.Singularly enough, however, it was after the war was over that the events occurred which endeared Mr. Davis most to the Southern people. I allude, first of all, to his long imprisonment at Fortress Monroe; the clumsy cruelty of putting the distinguished captive in irons, thrilled the South like an electric shock. It would be painful now, and humiliating, I venture to say, to Americans everywhere, to dwell upon the unhappy details of his confinement. Suffice it to say, that the result of it all was the very last thing that his jailers would have intended—to make Jefferson Davis the most beloved man of his time. The men of the South recognized that he was suffering for an offence which they equally shared with him, and suffering in no figurative sense, in their place. One of the most exquisite scenes in the life of this remarkable man, occurred when he was a prisoner in the fort, when Dr. Minnigerode partook with him of the holy communion in the stillness of the night. The motionless figure of the Federal commander of the fortress, and the sentinels standing guard over him, regarding the strange spectacle, and wondering perhaps, how their illustrious captive could have forgiven all the world.  Even after the charge of treason had broken down, and he was once more a free man, Mr. Davis continued to be, until the hour of his death, a shining mark for the political enemies of the South. So well understood was the love of the people for him that it became, as it appeared to us, a political device, which never failed of its purpose to attack him, in order to arouse expressions of resentment from the South. Ben. Hill and Lamar were especially dear to our hearts, because they defended Mr. Davis. There is something in his unbending nature, free from all the petty diplomacies which make for popularity, that made him a favorite subject for ridicule and defamation. He was a man understood only by his peers. Pliant, politic, narrow, partisan souls could never rise above the clouds of his adversity to behold the eternal sunshine settled on his head. It was impossible to answer the assailants in kind. Every shaft aimed at Mr. Davis in Congress, at the hustings, or through the press, drew the hearts of the Southern people closer to him. They are a loyal and faithful folk. Their disfranchised leader became their Prometheus, chained to the rock, with the vultures gnawing at his vitals. It is not the least thing for which they love him that his last years were devoted to the vindication of their cause and the deathless story of their achievements. It is sweet to them to think of him at Beauvoir, aged and bent, invalid, and almost blind, pouring out his last energies in defence of their honor. The seductions of power never reached him. He died in the political faith in which he lived, unchanged to the end, standing like a mast where the ship went down. Brave, unconquerable old man!
Enshrined in our affections.I question whether any other man ever received the popular demonstrations of affection which attended Mr. Davis. No sovereign in the height of his power ever witnessed the overwhelming manifestations of devotion and reverence which the presence of this aged and powerless man evoked. When he was released from trial, thousands of the citizens of Richmond stood with bare heads in silence as he passed. It was at Atlanta, at the unveiling of the Hill monument, that Henry Grady proclaimed him ‘the uncrowned king of all our hearts,’ amid an outburst of enthusiasm, which must have repaid him for years of suffering. It is said that seven cities claim the birth of Homer, dead; but seven States contested for the honor to be the burial-place of Jefferson Davis. On the day of his funeral  services were held for him all over the South. Grady said: ‘Government will not render to him the pomp and circumstance of a great death; but his people will give him a tribute of love and tears, surpassing all that government could do, and honoring his memory as earthly parade could not do.’ And so it was. America never saw before so wonderful a pageant as that which passed down the streets of New Orleans. The funeral of that generous soldier, General Grant, I am told, cost more than $100,000. The even more impressive funeral of Mr. Davis cost nothing; all bills came in receipted. It was the spontaneous outpouring of a people's love. The people of the South may not be rich in material things, but they are not poor in their hearts. It was my duty and privilege to be present at his funeral, and also to accompany his remains on the way to Richmond, and I shall never forget it. No conqueror's march was ever half so triumphant. In the capitals through which it passed his body lay in state, visited by thousands, and everywhere along the way the people, old and young, thronged, and stood with uncovered heads day and night along the railroad as the train rolled by to testify their devotion to the dead. It was spontaneous; it was sincere; it was universal. We are gathered here to-day to erect a monument to him. It is for our sakes; not for his. His memory belongs to the ages. His life will stand like a snowy peak amid the centuries. His remembrance will abide in the hearts of men when this stone has crumbled into dust. Jefferson Davis' life teaches us that character is secure. Character was his bulwark against all the slander, ridicule, insult, which the wit of man could devise, and that defence stands sure. He teaches us that love follows sacrifice. He who bore everything for his people received a reward such as an emperor might have envied-their unfeigned and abiding love. He teaches us that life offers something better than success. It is when moral worth is defeated that humanity becomes sublime. As a soldier, his brilliant and promising career was cut short. He had no opportunities to develop the great qualities of Lee, the prince of commanders. As a statesman, he did not quite reach, perhaps, the commanding stature of Calhoun, to whose work he succeeded. As an orator, he may have lacked the impetuous fervor of Yancey, the splendid declamation of Lamar. He surpassed them all in his majestic strength, the chaste beauty of his thoughts, and his thrilling earnestness. But Davis was greater than them all, in that he combined them all. He was an accomplished soldier, a great statesman, and  a consummate orator. He was the typical Southerner of his day and of all times.
Stands above them all.Around him stood that marvellous group—Lee, the flower of chivalry; Jackson, the genius of war; Toombs, the thunderer of debate; Benjamin, the jurist; Campbell, the judge; Bledsoe, the scholar; Hunter, the statesman—men fit to measure with the knightliest. Yet, from the vantage ground of history, his sublime head lifts itself above them all. It is meet and fitting that the ashes of the great souls rest in Virginia's soil. Round him sleep the mighty ones who have gone before—soldiers who won American liberty, jurists who gave it perpetual form, statesmen who filled its flag with stars and made it honorable throughout the world. Let Richmond be added to Mount Vernon, Monticello and Lexington. The South has committed the keeping of his ashes to the mother of States and statesmen. Let him sleep in Virginia, where every river whispers of Confederate heroism and every hill was crimsoned with the soldiers' blood. Let him rest in Richmond, his capital, the city which he walled about with the breasts of the bravest of the brave. His memory is safe with you. You were faithful to the living; you will not forget the dead. In calmer years, when the last ember of sectional feeling has burned out, and the last chord of love has gently bound the hearts of all Americans together, fathers will bring their little children to this spot and tell the story of a pure, great man, who suffered for his people, and for the right, as they understood it; and how for this they loved him as they loved no other. Long as yonder noble river shall roll its tide to the sea it shall behold no man more kingly. ‘He was a very perfect, gentle knight.’ May the story of his life be sweet in days to come, and at last all men come to understand Jefferson Davis.
The benediction.At the conclusion of General Lee's oration the benediction was pronounced by Bishop Granberry, and the crowd dispersed. Many of the old soldiers came up to the platform and shook hands with Mrs. Davis and her daughter, Mrs. Hayes. General Gordon, speaking for Mrs. Davis, said: ‘Comrades, Mrs. Davis says she only wishes that you all had one mouth so she could kiss it.’ Captain Frank Cunningham directed the musical part of the programme, and this was one of its most attractive features.