Unveiling a statue of in the Capitol Square
, Richmond, Va.
January 7, 1904.
With the addresses delivered on the occasion.
The monument of the distinguished surgeon and beloved physician, Dr. Hunter McGuire
, a seated figure in bronze, on granite plinth, the cost of which was subscribed by his friends and admirers, and which stands near the entrance at 11th and Capital streets, and east of and near that of his redoubtable chieftain, ‘Stonewall
, was unveiled in the midst of an immense throng on Thursday, January 7, 1904, with impressive ceremonies.
The following is the inscription:
to Hunter Holmes McGuire
, M. D., Ll. D., President
of the American Medical
and of the
American Surgical associations;
founder of the University College of
Medicine; Medical Director
army of Northern Virginia;
an eminent Civil and military Surgeon
and beloved physician.
an able teacher and vigorous writer;
A Useful citizen and broad
gifted in mind and generous in heart,
this monument is erected by his many
The invited guests and the officers of the Association, having assembled on the platform erected for their accommodation, the assembly was called to order by the Hon. George L. Christian
chairman, who requested Rev. James Power Smith, D. D.
, to open the exercises with prayer.
Almighty and ever Gracious God, Thou art from everlasting to everlasting!
Thy days are without end and Thy mercies cannot be numbered!
Men come and pass away, and the procession of our humanity moves rapidly beyond the veil; but Thou remainest and thy grace fails not. O Lord
, blessed is the man that trusteth in Thee!
We thank Thee for the many blessings that attend our days and enfold us for our protection, our elevation and our happiness; for the institution of free government; for civil and religious liberty; for just laws and their administration; and for the blessings of education and literature, of charity and religion.
We thank Thee for the gift of strong men, wise and brave and faithful, the pillars of the social fabric.
The Commonwealth is safe and strong when men are true to duty, brave in the time of peril and upright and steadfast in time of peace.
We bless Thee for the great company of good men, whose names are not written on monuments, but who have done well in their generation; have offered their lives for the honor and safety of the State
, or have lived for the welfare of their fellow-men!
We thank Thee for the blessed Healing Art, and for that profession which has given so many who have blessed their generation by their genius and skill, and their sympathy with the troubled and suffering.
Unto one of them we have builded a monument, and into the bronze and stone have gone the grateful affection of many hearts.
We have placed it here, that his name may be long remembered, and that his memory may abide for the good of the city and of his native Commonwealth, which he loved so ardently, and to which he gave so much of the devotion and power of his life.
Let Thy protecting power be about this monument, that through long years to come, its silent lesson may speak to generations that shall come after us, and its presence here beside the old Capitol
, and among the memorials of men great in war and great in peace, may animate many in coming years with the same desire to defend the State
and to serve well their generation.
Let Thy favor ever abide upon the institutions to which he gave so much of his life and strength; upon his comrades, the men who wore the gray; upon the home he loved so dearly, and upon the
Commonwealth of Virginia
; and to Thy name shall be the praise forever.
At the conclusion of the prayer, Hon. George L. Christian
, on behalf of the Association, made the presentation address as follows:
Ladies, my Countrymen and my Comrades
We are assembled to-day to perform a patriotic as well as a proud and pleasant task; to unveil and to donate to Virginia
a monument to one of her most eminent, devoted and patriotic sons.
My friends, we Virginians
of to-day have a heritage of glory of which we have a right to be proud.
If there should be struck from the history of this country the record of the achievements of Virginians
, in almost every line; nay, if there should be struck from the territory of our country the contributions made thereto by Virginia
, the annals of our country would be stripped of their brightest pages, and our land would be shorn of its fairest and richest domain.
Look at yonder pile!
Where in all this, or in any other land, can you find the effigies of so many men that were both good and great?
There stands Washington
, the ‘Father
of his Country,’ the foremost soldier and statesman of his day, the leader of our Revolutionary armies, as well as the wisest and best of our civic leaders.
There stands Henry, the leading ‘rebel’ of his time, he whose eloquent voice not only stirred our ancestors to revolt against the oppressions of their then sovereign, but who with almost prophetic vision saw the dangers lurking in the constitution subsequently framed, which dangers brought forth another revolution in an attempt to escape oppressions tenfold more galling than those which produced the first revolution.
There stands Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence
, and the most profound political philosopher of any time.
There stands Mason
, author of the ‘Bill of Rights
’ of Virginia
, the model for all such declarations for all States and for all time.
There stands Marshall
, the great expounder of the Constitution
; universally conceded to have been one of the greatest jurists of any age. There stands Nelson
, the financial support of the Revolutionary army; one of the truest patriots of his day, who insisted that his own house should be fired upon, because it shielded for the time the enemies of his country; and lastly, there stands
, the hero of Point Pleasant
, and the man who with his own hands fired one of the guns which drove the hated Dunmore
and his minions from our soil.
We can't stop even to name the great events which occurred between 1787 and 1861, in which Virginians
figured, both as the civic and military leaders of the country, and can only say that during thirty-six out of the seventy-four years, then intervening, Virginia
furnished the Chief Magistrate
of the nation, whilst two others of those who filled that high office were the product of her fruitful loins.
But the great crisis in our history came with 1861.
The deeds of virtue and of valor, of daring and devotion, of suffering and of sacrifice, of the men and women of the South
from ‘61 to ‘65, form as proud a heritage of glory as was ever bequeathed from sire to son.
Need I tell the people of the capital of the ‘storm cradled’ but meteoric Confederacy, how Virginia
bore herself in those dark and trying days?
I need only say that some of the greatest names which the muse of history has inscribed upon her pages were enrolled there during that period, and among the greatest of these was that of ‘Stonewall Jackson
The poet wrote of him—
A hero came among us, as we slept;
At first he lowly knelt, then rose and wept,
Then gathering up a thousand spears,
He swept across the field of Mars
Then bowed farewell, and walked among the stars
In the land where we were dreaming.
Within two years he so filled the world with his fame, that the people of another continent have erected and donated to Virginia
yonder monument as a token of their respect for his character, and admiration for the brilliancy of his achievements.
Where in all history will you find the counterpart of this tribute to character and to genius?
Old Thomas Carlyle
, in his Latter Day Pamphlets
, has written.
Whom doth the King
delight to honor?
That is the question of questions concerning the King
's own honor.
Shew me the man you honor; I know by that symptom better than by any other, what kind of a man you yourself are. For you shew me there what your ideal of manhood is; what kind of a man you long inexpressibly to be, and would thank the gods with your whole heart for being if you could.
‘Who is to have a statue, means whom shall we consecrate and set apart as one of our sacred men. Sacred; that all men may see him, be reminded of him, and by new example added to old perpetual precept, be taught what is real worth in man.’
My friends, the man to whom we have reared this statue is one whom we delight to honor, and, in honoring him, we not only honor ourselves, but we say to the world, this statue represents one of our ideals of real worth and true manhood.
played an important part in one of the greatest dramas that was ever performed on the stage of human history.
He was assigned that part by one of the greatest leaders in that drama of war, and that great leader has put it on record that our hero performed his part well, so well indeed, that the name and fame of Jackson
, both living and dying, will be forever associated with that of his great Medical Director
It is, therefore, fitting that the friend and companion of the great ‘Stonewall
,’ the man who shared his tent and his mess in the days of his trials and his triumphs, who at the same time enjoyed his friendship and his confidence, and to whom he assigned great and important trusts for execution, should have his statue placed near that of his illustrious and incomparable chieftain.
But not only did Dr. McGuire
win such fame as should entitle him to this statue by his great services as the Medical Director
of the Second Corps of the immortal Army of Northern Virginia, but he rendered even greater services and won even greater fame after the war was over.
It was then amid the desolations left by that conflict that he did so much to help to rebuild the waste places of our ruined land; to relieve the sufferings and the sorrows of our stricken people, and to keep the history of their deeds, and of the principles for which they fought, right and true.
In recognition then of his great services to his State and people, both in war and in peace; of his exalted character as a man and citizen, and especially in recognition of his eminence and achievements in the line of his chosen profession, the friends and admirers of Dr. McGuire
, soon after his death, formed the Hunter McGUIRE
monument Association for the purpose of erecting this memorial of their love and admiration for their friend, and to perpetuate in imperishable bronze the record of his achievements and great worth.
The task undertaken has been completed, and, it is due to the distinguished artist to say, it is well done.
By the authority of the General Assembly of Virginia
, this statue is placed on these grounds, along with those of so many others of her sons who have won fame in Virginia
's service, and whom she so much delights to honor.
On behalf, and in the name of the Hunter McGuire
monument Association, I am commissioned to present this monument to Virginia
, and to ask your Excellency
, as the Chief Magistrate
of the Commonwealth
, to accept the same on her behalf.
In doing this I affirm that, in the many similar gifts which she has received in the past to commemorate the deeds of her illustrious sons, Virginia
has never received one from
more loving and devoted hands, or one of
a more patriotic, noble and devoted son than Hunter Holmes McGuire
Acceptance by the Governor.
Governor A. J. Montague
responded as follows:
In consummation of the affection and energies of this Association, and in conformity to the statute of the Commonwealth
, I accept this monument to Hunter Holmes McGuire
with the confidence that it will be cherished as an evidence of his rich contribution to science, humanity and country; for the ‘counterfeit presentment,’ in whose shadow we now stand, will proclaim with duration and eloquence of bronze the memory of a patriot, soldier and scientist, whose life powerfully impressed his day and generation.
Hon. Holmes Conrad
, chosen orator of the occasion, was then presented to the assembled throng, and addressed them as follows:
Enlightened humanity, in all ages of the world, has sought to perpetuate the memory of its noblest types, and most important experiences, by the erection of enduring monuments.
These commemorate those crises in a nation's life in which radical departures were made from its earlier form and character, or they keep in remembrance some fine achievement in science or in art by which the conditions of the human race were improved or its happiness increased, or else they preserve the form and features of some illustrious personage, who, in such crises, by the display of
lofty virtue, or the performance of heroic deeds, has won the admiration and the gratitude of his countrymen.
We meet here to-day for the dedication of such a monument.
In future years some curious, or earnest, enquirer into the sources of Virginia
's real greatness, may pause before the statue of her unique and most efficient soldier, and, recalling with enthusiasm those marvellous deeds which won for him the warrior's crown of Amaranth, may discern in them the presence of that same spirit of unselfish patriotism, that striving for the attainment of high and pure ideals, that unstinted devotion of life and substance to the public welfare which animated those kindred souls whose forms Virginia
has clothed in marble and in bronze, as she has enshrined in her history their lives and deeds, as the truest and loftiest expressions of her people's character.
Passing on, this searcher after the truth will reach another figure, not clothed in martial garb, or arrayed in robes of state, but bearing on his countenance the impress of heroic mold.
And here, this enquirer may ask: What hath this man wrought; what service hath he rendered, that the memory of him should be thus preserved?
And to this enquiry some might answer: ‘He was the friend of Stonewall Jackson
But to those of us who knew him, and esteemed him for what he was in himself, and the good deeds he had done, such answer would be held scant and inadequate, because we know that the qualities which in his youth endeared him to his great commander, did, through all the years of his maturer manhood, gain for him the love and confidence, the admiration and applause of his country and his kind.
The character of Dr. McGuire
, like the portico of Solomon's temple, rested upon the firm pillars of strength and stability.
He acquired these traits by rightful inheritance.
They had been the characteristics of his race.
It might prove of deepest interest, did the occasion serve, to note how in dramatic incident and romantic adventures these traits of his family character had prevailed, but it is appropriate now to notice only his immediate ancestry.
His grandfather, Captain Edward McGuire
, held that rank and station in the Continental
Line, and had fought with success for the establishment of that republican form of government, the integrity of which his more distinguished grandson, near one hundred years later, fought in vain to preserve.
His father, Dr. Hugh Holmes McGuire
, was a physician and surgeon of the older type, and it is not invidious to say that his fame
exceeded that of any other member of his profession in all the regions west of the Blue Ridge mountains
Many came to him from afar to be healed.
As a surgeon, his operations down to the close of his life fully sustained his well-earned reputation.
His specialty, if any he had, was the eye, and multitudes came from Maryland
, from Pennsylvania
, and from beyond the Alleghanies
to receive treatment at his hands.
He was the frankest and the most unassuming of men; bluntness well-nigh to the verge of brusqueness marked his deliverances of speech, but no man had nicer perceptions of the proprieties of life, and none more free than he from intentionally wounding the sensibilities of others.
His correctness and rapidity of diagnosis were marvellous.
His originality in the selection of remedies, and in his methods of treatment, were matters of wonder and approval by his profession.
Although sixty years of age at the outbreak of the war, he instantly offered his services, was commissioned as surgeon, and placed in charge of the hospitals at Lexington
He had married Ann Eliza Moss
, of Fairfax county
, his first cousin, their mothers being daughters of Colonel Joseph Holmes
, an officer in the Continental
Line, and county lieutenant of Frederick county
during the Revolutionary war.
Of this marriage was born, on the 11th of October, 1835, Hunter Holmes McGuire
, who was called after his great uncle, Major Andrew Hunter Holmes
, an officer of the United States army, who had fallen at the battle of Mackinaw
received his academic education at the Winchester Academy
, where he might have seen his father's name graven on the desks, and where a succession of Scotch and Irish schoolmasters had done so much to give strength and form to the characters of several generations of men. He was a grave, earnest, manly boy, taking little part in the games and sports of his school-fellows, but always held by them in deepest respect and affection for his frank, amiable disposition, his unswerving devotion to truth, and his unflinching courage.
He was not a brilliant student and gave no other promise of his future distinction than was implied in his striking traits of character.
His father, in association with other physicians, had founded a Medical College at Winchester
, which, for many years before the war, was largely attended by students.
Here Hunter McGuire
received his early medical training, which was developed further at the medical schools in Philadelphia
From 1856 to 1858 he held the Chair of Anatomy in the college at Winchester
but in the latter year he removed to Philadelphia
to conduct a ‘Quiz Class,’ in conjunction with Drs
In this congenial work he was engaged when the John Brown
raid, that doleful harbinger of the war, occurred.
This gave occasion for the outspoken declarations of intense and bitter feeling which had long smouldered, and from which the medical students enjoyed no exceptional immunity.
When the body of the executed felon was borne through Philadelphia
, the dwellers in that city of Brotherly Love gave free and full expression to the sentiments which prevailed in their bosoms.
Now did the powers which lay dormant in the soul of this young physician play their first and most dramatic part on the public stage.
His acquaintance among those with whom he lived and worked was of necessity limited.
Himself, comparatively unknown, without the graces of person, the seductiveness of manner or powers of speech which so often win the attention and control the conduct of the masses of mankind, we find him, in the midst of winter, leaving Philadelphia
at the head of three hundred medical students, who, forfeiting all they had staked, of present investment and of hope of future advantage from those schools, followed their leader with unfaltering tread into unknown and apparently hopeless fields.
What now, we may enquire, was the secret of that marvellous power in the exercise of which a youth of twenty-four years of age was enabled to induce 300 men, many of whom were doubtless older and far more experienced than himself, to forsake the present means of earning a livelihood and cast their fortunes with him?
What is the foundation of that confidence, under the potent sway of which legions of veteran soldiers and the people and statesmen of great empires have been induced to place their destinies in the hands of young and inexperienced leaders?
How did the youthful Alexander
so win over the trained legions of Philip as to achieve by them the conquest of Greece
, and lead them across wide fields of Asia
until their victorious march was stayed on the banks of the far distant Hyphasis?
How did the younger Pitt
so lead captive the Commons of England
, make impotent the resistless logic of Fox
, the profound philosphy and the gorgeous rhetoric of Burke
, and hold them unbroken, in his resistance to Napoleon
's pride, until he himself was stricken to his death by the baleful rays of the Star
In every human heart, however benighted by ignorance, debauched by sin, or depraved by crime, there remains a susceptibility to the ennobling influences of heroism.
has said: ‘It will ever be so. We all love great men; love, venerate and bow down submissive before great men; nay, can we honestly bow down to anything else?
Ah, does not every true man feel that he is himself made higher by doing reverence to what is really above him?
No nobler or more blessed feeling dwells in man's heart; and to me it is very cheering to consider that no skeptical logic or general triviality, insincerity and aridity of any time and its influences can destroy this noble, inborn loyalty and worship that is in man.’
And is it not true that these three hundred students followed that young and earnest teacher because they recognized in him a born leader of men, and attested by their implicit confidence his genius for command?
This was on his part no stroke of policy, no low preferment of his own selfish interests, no vulgar greed for popularity.
He exacted no conditions from his followers, and imposed on them no terms of future allegiance; but, having conducted them to Richmond
, and seen them established in suitable schools, he withdrew in self-effacement to earn his living in another field.
The alarm of war recalled him from his new-found home in New Orleans to his birthplace in Virginia
At the first call to arms he stood not on any claim which his conspicuous conduct might afford, but took his place in the ranks of the first volunteer company that marched out from Winchester
, ready to perform the duties of the humblest station.
Very soon, however, the obvious need for his professional skill called him to the medical staff of the army, and here the discerning eye of Jackson
fell upon him, and singled him for the high place of Medical Director
of his army.
To Dr. Mc-Guire
's sense of just proportion this distinction appeared to be unfair to others of his profession, who, older and more experienced than himself, had from like motives entered the service.
He pointed this out to General Jackson
, and asked to be relieved, but his only solace was the stern reply: ‘Sir, I appointed you.’
And from that day on, till the ‘Dolorous Stroke’ at Chancellorsville
, there was no official report of battle by General Jackson
that did not contain express acknowledgment of the efficient service of Surgeon McGuire
Throughout their long and interesting association the relation between these two men was not that alone of commander and chief surgeon, but in camp, in bivouac and in battle, Dr. McGuire
was always the trusted friend and close companion of his reticent chief.
With what delightful satisfaction do we recall those charming recitals
that our friend did make in social intercourses, and on more formal occasions, of his conversations with General Jackson
—of the vehement and impetuous outbursts of intense emotion that at times, though rarely, escaping from that strange man, opened to view the workings of his mighty soul, as a chasm in Aetna
's rugged side lays bare the awful fires within.
But what infinite tenderness and ove was there displayed as in his last visit and interview with the dying Gregg
and his impassioned grief—indeed, his rage—at the supposed neglect of that young soldier, who had been committed to his care, when the wounded boy lay dying on the field.
We recall, too, the earnest and emphatic declaration he made to Dr. McGuire
when, yielding to the advice of those he had called into council, he had abandoned Winchester
to the uncontested occupation of General Banks
: ‘I will never hold another council of war;’ and to this resolution he steadfastly adhered.
How modestly and how reverently our friend would recall those memories of deepest interest to all. How free from vulgar boasting and self-exploitation were all his references to that association which was his reasonable pride and his unfailing comfort.
Well might he say: ‘The noblest heritage I shall hand down to my children is the fact that Stonewall Jackson
condescended to hold me and treat me as his friend.’
And what more priceless heritage can any man transmit to his posterity than that he was held in trustful friendship by one whom the whole world lauds.
His brethren of both opposing armies unite in according to Hunter McGuire
the entire credit of the inauguration of many reforms in the interest of economy and humanity.
One, his comrade on Jackson
's staff, who had opportunity for knowing whereof he spoke, has said of him:
‘With his personal skill as an army surgeon and ability to advise and direct in the treatment and the operations of others, Dr. McGuire
rapidly developed remarkable administrative ability.
There was an extensive and immediate work of organization devolved upon him—appointments, instructions, supplies to be secured, medical and hospital trains to be arranged, hospitals to be established.
All this work, of immense importance, was to be done in the midst of active campaigns, with the army in motion, and often in battle.
And in this Dr. McGuire
displayed such qualities of comprehension, of promptness, of energy, of command, and of winning confidence and support on every side, that the rising genius
of the Confederacy
found himself supported in the medical department in such a way as gave him entire satisfaction.’
And those who were sometime his enemies in war, now at his death come forward with cordial words of commendation and praise.
comes the plaudit: ‘He humanized war by originating the custom of releasing all medical officers immediately on their capture.’
From New York came the recognition: ‘To Surgeon McGuire
belongs the credit of organizing the Reserve Corps hospitals of the Confederate army and perfecting the Ambulance Corps.’
Accident alone, it may be, has preserved the record of these excellent works.
What other reforms were inaugurated by him, and on what other objects his vast and fertile administrative powers were exercised are known only to those who witnessed them, and whose knowledge lies buried with them.
The operations of the Confederate army, in all its varied departments of service, in the ordnance, the commissary, the quartermaster, as in the medical departments, stimulated the faculties of invention and contrivance in directions, and to an extent of which the world has but little knowledge, and for which those deserving of lasting honor and of rich reward have died impoverished and unknown.
Not only from the crudest and most ill-adapted material were devices effective and adequate constructed, but the principles of science received new applications, and the resources of art a marvellous development.
The world was shut out from personal knowledge of the interior workings of the Confederate government and of its domestic secrets, and the only medium of knowledge as to such matters has been one that cannot be approved for its manifest fitness to transmit rays of truth.
After the untimely death of his loved commander and comrade, Dr. McGuire
served as Medical Director
of the Second Corps, under its succeeding commanders, to the close of the war. It is enough to say that from each of them there came the same admiring and approving expressions of his official conduct, as had never failed to appear in the official reports of General Jackson
, and that from his brethren of the medical staff he continued to receive the same generous support and the same frank expressions of trust and confidence that had marked their earlier relations.
No petty jealousies disturbed the harmony of that relation, but to the close of his military career Dr. McGuire
retained the warm friendship and the fullest confidence of each and all of his associates.
And do we not all know,
did we not learn it forty years ago, that the truest and most infallible touchstone of any man's real worth and merit is the esteem in which he was held by his comrades in the army?
Long continued privation, suffering, danger, these bring out in clearest lines the real disposition and features of a man's character.
All false pretenders, shams and frauds disappear under the burning test of that stern trial.
Selfishness, in none of its Protean forms, can long escape detection, and the bluster of the bully and the braggart, and the vulgar feats of the swashbuckler and the bruiser are not mistaken for true courage.
All men, in that relation, receive a just and lasting appraisement.
Of these displays of professional skill from the binding of General Jackson
's earliest wound at first Manassas
to the last sad offices to his dying chief at Chancellorsville
, and on down to the parting scenes at Appomattox
, the achievements of this great master of his art must be recounted by more apt and fitter tongues than mine.
It is now well known that the demands upon his skill as surgeon and physician did not exhaust or even employ the full measure of his large capacity.
In other and more extended fields he displayed a genius for compact organization, a contemplation and grasp of broader needs of humanity, and a clear perception and an effective employment of the adequate means for their complete relief.
From his own experience, and from that of his fellow-surgeons, he made broad and intelligent inductions, which, in later years, were expressed in his chapter on the ‘Treatment of Gun Shot Wounds,’ which found place in the standard works of his profession, and obtained ready acceptance by the masters of surgical art the wide world over.
At the close of the war Dr. McGuire
settled in the city of Richmond
, to make that his future home, and was elected to fill the Chair of Surgery in the Medical College of Virginia
, then recently made vacant by the death of Dr. Charles Bell Gibson
, and he held this chair until 1878.
In 1883, he founded the St. Luke
's Home for the Sick, with its attendant training school for nurses.
The increasing demands upon this institution soon required an enlargement of space and facilities; it was removed in 1899 to a new building erected for the purpose in the western part of the city, which remains another monument to his wise sagacity and pious zeal.
Impressed with the need for a larger and more thorough culture,
to keep pace with the vast strides which modern explorations were making in surgery and medicine, he, associated with others, founded in 1893 the University College of Medicine, which was opened in October of that year, and at once by its surprising success confirmed the wisdom of its creation.
In connection with this new college there was established the Virginia Hospital
Of each of these fine institutions Dr. McGuire
was the president, and in the college was also the Clinical Professor
He was one of the founders of the Medical Society of Virginia
in 1870, and for several years was the chairman of its Executive Committee, and in 1880 became its President
Honorary degrees and preferments have in this age lost much of their original significance, but never were these more worthily bestowed than upon this most deserving person.
In 1887, the degree of Doctor
of Laws was conferred upon him by the University
of North Carolina
, and in 1888, by the Jefferson College, of Philadelphia
,In 1869, he became President
of the Richmond
Academy of Medicine, and in 1875, President
of the Association of Medical Officers
of the Army and Navy of the Confederate States
In 1889, he was made President
of the Southern Surgical
and Gynecological Association.
In 1876, he was Vice-President
of the International Medical Congress
In 1893, the Vice-President
, and 1896, the President
of the American Medical Association.
He was a member and officer in many other scientific associations throughout this country, and his attainments and usefulness received significant marks of recognition and appreciation from scientists and scientific associations of foreign lands.
His contributions to the ephemeral and permanent literature of his time, while not numerous, were weighty and influential.
Of his potential and timely aid to Southern literature we shall presently speak.
was in no sense a politician, or a blind partisan or factionist.
He was an earnest lover of the truth in every relation of life, and in no cause was his courage so conspicuously displayed, or his sustained zeal more intelligently directed than in his untiring efforts to rescue his own land and people from the machinations of those who were seeking to make lies their refuge, and under solemn falsehoods to hide themselves.
Some philosopher of the modern school has announced that a lie plausibly told and strenuously maintained is often more potent than the truth, and this appears to have been the moral axiom by which certain historians of political and social events in this country of ours have been guided in their works.
Of the biographical enclyclopedias, in which persons of whose existence we never heard are recorded as ‘American Statesman,’ while George Mason
, of Virginia
, and many others of almost equal eminence are noticed only as ‘local politicians,’ and of the more imposing histories of the United States
which have obtained general currency, we do not complain, or do no more than point out follies in a passing review.
But, of one class of such literature we have complained, and have done more than complain, we have rooted it out from our public schools because of its tendency to inculcate falsehoods which were vicious in their intent and pernicious in their consequences.
The aphorism is attributed to Fletcher
of Saltoun: ‘Let me write the songs of a people, and I care not who makes their Laws.’
The writers of these meretricious books, with hope of more far-reaching results, might, with more of practical wisdom, say: ‘Let me write the school books of a people, and I care not who writes their songs or their Laws.’
To no man in the land is the credit for this work of wholesome expurgation in the South
more due than to Hunter McGuire
The engrossing demands of his professional life, on its many sides, as practitioner, operator, instructor, founder and writer, had prevented more than a superficial and passing thought, by Dr. McGuire
, of the alarming extent and growth of this mischievous evil.
It has been stated that while Dr. McGuire
was spending a vacation at Bar Harbour a few years ago in company with that gallant soldier and gentleman, Captain John Cussons
, their talk was of the efforts of Northern writers and their friends to pervert the world's judgment and secure a world verdict in their favor, and yet more, of the threatening danger that success would attend their efforts to secure a verdict from Southern children against their fathers, through the instrumentality of blinded Southern teachers—subjects upon which Captain Cussons
had already written some trenchant articles.
then for the first time studied Barnes' History
, the most notorious instrument then being used for our injury and the profit of Northern publishers.
Some desultory effort had been made in Virginia
, during preceding years, for the removal of this book.
These gentlemen resolved that on their return to Virginia
movement should be inaugurated, and pressed with their own energy and that of the men they could gather for the work, as would not stop nor stay until the truth should be taught in our public schools, and books and men opposed to it be removed.
Such a movement was inaugurated and a committee appointed, consisting of Professors Dabney
, of the University of Virginia; White
, of Washington
, of Bellevue
; J. P. McGuire
, of Richmond
, and Vawter, of the Miller School
, to take the matter in hand.
The Grand Camp of Confederate Veterans of Virginia
appointed a committee for the same purpose, of which committee, Hunter Mc-Guire
was the chairman.
On October 1, 1899, he submitted the report of the committee, prepared by himself.
In that report is expressed his deepest convictions of the evil to be encountered, of the sources of that evil, and of the remedies to be employed for its eradication.
In this report, he says:
‘No longer concerning ourselves with the sentimental unionists and the honest abolitionists—whose work seems to be over—we still struggle against the two parties we have described.
These exist in their successors to-day—their successors who strive to control the opinions of our people, and those who seek to make gain by their association with us. Co-operating with these, and representing motives common to them all, is the new form of another party, which has existed since sectionalism had its birth, the party which has always labored to convince the world that the North
was altogether right and righteous, and the South
wholly and wickedly wrong in the sectional strife.
This party is to-day the most distinctly defined and the most dangerous to us. Its chief representatives
are the historians against whose work we are especially engaged.
We are enlisted against an invasion organized and vigorously prosecuted by all of these people.
They are actuated by all the motives we have described, but they have two well defined (and, as to us, malignant) purposes.
One of them is to convince all men, and especially our Southern children, that we were, as Dr. Curry
expresses their view, “a brave, rash people, deluded by bad men, who attempted in an illegal and wicked manner to overthrow the Union
The other purpose, and for this especially they are laboring, is to have it believed that the Southern
soldier, however brave, was actuated by no higher motive than the desire to retain the money value of his slave property.
They rightly believed that the world once convinced of this, will hold us degraded, rather than worthy of honor, and that our
children, instead of reverencing their fathers, will be secretly, if not openly, ashamed of them.’
The report then reviews certain publications of one of the most learned and forceful writers of the North
, and points out with clearness and conclusiveness the errors of statement as to facts in our history which are beyond dispute, and which can be accounted for only by the blindness of sectional prejudice which disfigures the otherwise admirable work of that learned writer.
's life and services afford many and strong claims to the profound regard and affection of the people of the South
They offer none, however, stronger than this, that by his intelligent and persistent efforts the fountains of knowledge from which our children are supplied have been cleansed and purified, the stream has been restored to its proper channels, and its living waters will henceforward bear to the children of the South
the truth that may make them free.
Thus briefly and crudely enough we have reviewed some of the grounds on which this man's wide and brilliant reputation is founded, and which, in the estimation of his people, entitle him to this earthly crown.
But his words and his works are not of themselves the man; indeed, they but dimly and most inadequately disclose the vast powers, the infinite variety and the ineffable charm of his mind and character.
He was primarily a veracious man, not in his written and spoken words alone, but in every instinct of his nature, in every impulse of his lofty soul, in every act of his noble life, as in all the varied expressions of his countenance the truth was the distinguishing feature.
Deceit and guile had no place in his heart, but candor in thought and sentiment, and frankness in his declarations was his typical characteristic.
Simplicity in the operations of his mind, in the exercise of his soul, and in the conduct of his life was one of the sources of his unfailing success.
Courage of that pure and exalted type which is unconscious of self, and of that quality which grows in strength as the danger which confronts it thickens and continues; that courage which has its sanction in purity of heart, in unselfishness of aim and elevation of purpose.
His soul was never daunted by the suddenness or the extremity of peril, and his eye never quailed before the face of mortal
man. It is in this feature of his character that we may find the power which sustained him in the projection and in the ultimate achievement of those important movements which, throughout his life, he inaugurated for the advancement of his profession and for the alleviation of the wants and sufferings of humanity.
In his intellectual life the qualities of which we have spoken played a conspicuous part.
Singleness of aim, simplicity of methods, and unswerving devotion to his object will account for much.
His mind was never clouded by misty speculations, but in all its operations it was guided by a knowledge which he believed to be accurate and sufficiently full for the object sought.
His perceptions were clear and vigorous, never distorted by passion or perverted by prejudice.
His impressions were always thoroughly digested and his reflections were free and candid.
His conclusions were often reached with a rapidity that appeared to be instinctive.
They were honestly formed, and not lightly surrendered.
It was these qualities and habits of mind that in large measure imparted to his social conversation and his more formal narrations that lucidity of style, that graphic delineation of character or incident, which so charmed his listeners.
But intellect alone never wins the love of men, it makes no appeal to the affections.
History holds no record of any man crowned as a hero by virtue of his intellect alone.
Intellect never swayed senates or led confiding legions to victory.
Those faculties of the soul which constitute character are the potential factors in life.
It is the character of man that commands our confidence and controls our affections.
It is that which most essentially distinguishes one man from another and fixes for each man his place and power in life.
A man's impulsive words and acts, the unpremeditated and instinctive expressions of his aspirations and desires, these disclose the real man.
It was by these that Hunter McGuire
was made more clearly known, and it is by these that his image is most deeply graven on the fleshly tablets of human hearts.
His claims to greatness rest upon the fact that in all the manifestations of his personal character he was great.
The scope of his moral vision was broad.
He was magnanimous, no petty piques or prejudices or resentments disturbed the serenity of his soul.
He harboured no revenge, nor bore malice to any. His charity was broad; the weak, the helpless, the poor and the friendless were the objects of his tender care, on whom, without stint, he expended of his time and substance.
No open record may exist on earth of that vast multitude whose racking
bodies found relief or their anxious hearts found solace in the retirement of St. Luke's, but it will not be forgotten by those grateful hearts that these ministrations were without other reward than the gratitude they excited and the consciousness that he was doing the will of his Master.
The Confederate soldier and the Confederate
cause, as he interpreted it, stood nearer than any other to his heart.
No appeal to him in their behalf was ever made in vain.
To his fellowmen he was generous, sympathetic and ever ready to aid by his counsel and his co-operation and his means.
His brethren of his profession have attested by tongue and pen their recognition and appreciation of his valuable fellowship.
The younger members of that profession bear willing witness to the abundant aid and cheerful support which at all times he afforded to them.
He loved the South
, her people and her interests, and gave thought and labor to their advancement.
He loved with a love that knew no bounds, Virginia
, and her people, his brethren of her soil.
These were the objects of his deep solicitude, and upon them the final labors of his life were spent.
And when all the labors of his life were ended, when from the pains and trials of those closing days he would find relief, he crossed over the waters of Death's unfeared river, to rejoin his great commander, under the shade of the trees-
‘And gave his body to this pleasant country's earth, and his pure soul unto his Captain Christ
, under whose colours he had fought so long.’