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Editorial paragraphs.

The annual Reunion of the Virginia division of the Army of Northern Virginia, which came off in Richmond on the evening of 1st November, was, in every sense, a grand occasion. The hall of the House of Delegates was packed to its utmost capacity by an audience which testified by most enthusiastic applause their high appreciation of the noble address of Captain James Gordon McCabe, on “The Siege of Petersburg.” As we expect to publish the address in full in our next number, we make no further comment than to say that it was a splendid oration, clothing valuable historic truth in a garb which charmed all who heard it, and holding the audience spell-bound for over two hours.

The banquet at the Saint Claire Hotel, which followed the address, was a superb affair. The rations issued were such as even Federal commissaries never dreamed of issuing, and such as our boys failed to find in the camp chest of either Banks, Pope, or Milroy; the room and tables were beautifully decorated; “the boys” had a delightful time as they revived the memories of the brave old days when they “wore the gray;” and speeches, brimful of humor, pathos and eloquence, were made, in response to appropriate toasts. by General T. M. Logan, Major John W. Daniel, Judge F. R. Farrar, Captain John Lamb, Captain J. Hampden Chamberlayne, Corporal Carlton McCarthy, Rev. (Captain) A. W. Weddell, Captain Gordon McCabe, General Fitz. Lee, Colonel C. S. Venable, General B. T. Johnson, Dr. J. S. D. Cullen, Dr. R. T. Coleman, and others. The banquet was protracted into the “wee sma‘ hours” of the next morning, and all voted it a most enjoyable occasion which passed off without the slightest approach to anything like dissipation or disorder. The Association unanimously re-elected the following officers: General W. H. F. Lee, President; Treasurer, Major Robert Stiles; Secretaries, Sergeant Geo. L. Christian and Sergeant Leroy S. Edwards; Vice-Presidents--First, General R. Ransom; Second, General H. Heth; Third, General A. L. Long; Fourth, General Wm. Terry; Fifth, Captain D. B. McCorkle. Executive Committee--General B. T. Johnson, Major W. K. Martin, Colonel Thomas H. Carter, Major T. A. Brander, Corporal Carlton McCarthy.

In the absence of the President, the Second Vice-President, General H. Heth, presided over the meeting and at the banquet.

We have received from Major I. Scheibert, of the Royal Prussian Engineers, a very kind letter, in which he expresses in high terms his appreciation of the value of our papers, and the “great interest in the historical world” which they create.

We have not yet received his book on the Civil War in America, which he speaks of having sent, but hope that it will soon reach us. [253]

A distinguished Confederate officer who has read it, speaks of it in the highest terms, and promises us a review of it, which we hope soon to publish.

The kindly feeling of this gallant gentleman, who spent several months at General Lee's headquarters and writes of our army as he saw us, will be highly appreciated by our people, and his book has made, we are glad to learn, a profound impression in Europe. It is printed in both French and German, and an English translation is demanded.

In his letter to the Secretary, Major Scheibert makes a handsome correction of an injustice he did General Early's valley army, and expresses his indignation that this error was not corrected in the French translation as he directed it to be.

It will be a real pleasure to us to place on our shelves this able book of our distinguished friend.

The following letters explain themselves, and will, doubtless, be of interest to our readers:

Chateau D'Eu, Seine Inferieure, August 3d, 1876.
Rev. J. Wm. Jones, D. D., Secretary Southern Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia:
Sir — I beg to acknowledge the receipt of the “Personal Reminiscences of General Lee,” which you were kind enough to send to me with your signature.

I shall read with greatest interest that account, by one so well situated as you were, of the life and deeds of the great soldier, for whom my admiration has increasedd every day I have studied more closely his military achievements.

Messrs. Coates & Co. having communicated to me your letter of July 1st, I now personally apply to you for my admission as a life member of the Southern Historical Society.

I think that once the war over nothing could be more useful to both sections of the country, nothing could better soothe the bitter feelings borne by that war, than the formation of a kind of confraternity between the soldiers of both sides who had learnt to appreciate each other, and who can now calmly discuss, for the benefit of the world, every point of the great contest which they fought with such tenacity.

It is in that spirit that I undertook the review of the military events of the civil war. The more I asserted my political sympathies with the cause of the North, the more impartial I tried to be when recording and judging military matters. It is with the sincere desire to seek the truth that I work through the conflicting documents published by both sides, and it is to facilitate that research that I ask to be admitted as a member of a society founded by Southern officers for the sole purpose of furnishing to future historians reliable information on their great achievements. [254]

I have instructed Messrs. Coatts & Co., of 59 Strand, London, to forward to you through their correspondents the fifty dollars, fee of a life member.

Believe me sir, yours truly,

office Southern Historical Society, Richmond, Va., September 25, 1876.
L. P. d'orleans, Comte de Paris:
Sir — Your esteemed favor of August 3d, should have had a prompt reply but for the absence from the city of members of our Executive Committee, to whom it was proper to refer it.

I now have the honor of informing you that you have been unanimously elected a life member of our Society, and of enclosing herewith your certificate of membership.

We hope that you have received our Monthly Papers, which we have sent you through Messrs. Coates & Co., of Philadelphia, and that you may receive safely copies of our bound volume, and of our “Treatment of prisoners,” which we have the pleasure of sending you by this mail.

We shall send you regularly all of our future publications.

We note with great pleasure your desire to be connected with our society in order that you may facilitate your research into the history of our great conflict, and we assure you of the cheerful alacrity with which we will afford you the fullest and freest access to our archives.

We are busily engaged in collecting books, documents, Mss., &c., on both sides, and it is our purpose to place upon our shelves everything which can throw light upon any part of the history of the “War between the States.”

While we may not hope to finally win you over to our convictions, yet we cordially reciprocate your desire that soldiers on both sides might “now calmly discuss, for the benefit of the world, every point of the great contest which they fought with such tenacity,” and we shall cherish the hope that as you come to know more of the inside history of the Confederacy, and become more familiar with Confederate reports, &c., you will modify many of the views you now entertain.

All that the South asks is a fair hearing at the bar of history; that our motives, acts, resources and achievements may be impartially set forth, and if this is done we will cheerfully abide the result.

The publication of your letter to us would be gratifying to many of our people, but we shall not, of course, venture to publish it without having first obtained your consent.

I thank you for your kindly reception of the copy of my “Reminiscences of Lee,” and hope that its perusal may give you some clearer idea of the character of that great man.

Assuring you of the pleasure it will afford me to be of any service to you [255] in procuring Confederate books, documents, &c., and with best wishes for your health and happiness, I beg leave to subscribe myself,

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. Wm Jones, Secretary Southern Historical Society.

Chateau D'Eu, Seine Inferieure, October 14th, 1876.
Rev. J. Wm. Jones, Secretary Southern Historical Society:
Sir — I hasten to thank you for your letter of September 25th, and for the certificate of my membership in the Southern Historical Society. I beg you to convey the expression of my gratitude to the members of your Executive Committee, who, inspired with the most liberal spirit, have opened their doors to me. As you say, you cannot expect to win me over to the lost cause: right or wrong, my sympathies with the Federal cause can be at least openly avowed, because I did not wait for the success of that cause to profess them in a practical way, for they induced me to join the Northern army not when it was elated by victory, but shortly after Bull Run. If I had not been animated by those convictions, I would never have taken a part in the war, and consequently neither attempted to relate its history nor solicited the honor of becoming a member of your Society.

I have strongly expressed these opinions on the political causes of the war at the begining of my work. It is natural that Southerners should object to these, should find my judgment harsh and unjust. In that great quarrel, I can no more expect to please the side against which I fought, than you can hope to persuade me that I was wrong in joining the Federal armies. But that vexed question once settled, I have entered into the real part of my work with the sincere wish to relate the military events without the slightest partiality, and if I can, in that respect, help the South to obtain that fair hearing at the bar of history, which, as you say, is all that she now asks, I shall do it most cheerfully.

You ask leave to publish my former letter. Although I have kept no minute of it, as it was quite private, I do not think that there is anything in it which would not be fit for publication. In fact the ideas which I expressed in that letter are those which will inspire the conclusion of my work if I live long enough to come to that point: therefore I cheerfully aquiesce in your request.

Believe me sir, yours truly,

I have received your monthly publications and two bound ones — the first containing several numbers bound together, and the other on the “Treatment of prisoners.” I shall study the later carefully, for you cannot ignore that the treatment of the Federal prisoners at Andersonville is considered generally, and I fear justly, as a dark spot on the page of the Southern annals. Anything which would contribute to bring the truth forward on that subject will be gratefully received. [256]

office Southern Historical Society, Richmond, Va., November 10th, 1876.
L. P. d'orleans, Comte de Paris:
Sir — I need only acknowledge your favor of the 14th ult., and express my cordial reciprocation of the spirit in which it is written.

The time has come when men on either side of the great contest which was so bravely fought out must acknowledge that not all of the purity of motive or honesty of purpose was on their side exclusively; but that in the opposing hosts were true men, who were actuated by highest principle as they fearlessly risked (and lost) their lives for what they believed right. And you must permit me to say that it is by no means necessary to “win” you “over to the lost cause” in order that you may do that bare justice to the motives and the deeds of the Confederates which no Northern historian, so far as I have seen, has yet approached, and which, you must excuse me for saying, your first volume has not attained.

I particularly rejoice in your promise to “study carefully” our papers on the “Treatment of prisoners,” for while we have been made most painfully aware that the Confederacy has been roundly abused in. reference to that matter we do most emphatically deny the justice of the charges made against us, and claim that in those papers we have clearly set forth, what we hold ourselves prepared to prove at the bar of history, that the Federal and not the Confederate Government was responsible for the sufferings of prisoners on both sides.

Renewing my assurances of the real pleasure it will give me to be of assistance to you in procuring further material for the prosecution of your important work,

I am, sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

J. Wm. Jones, Secretary Southern Historical Society.
P. S.--As the publication of this correspondence would no doubt be of interest to our people, I avail myself of your permission, and will publish it in full.

Renewals are now in order. The time of most of our subscribers will expire the 1st of January, and we suggest that an admirable way of preventing any forgetfulness on the part of subscribers, will be to renew at once. And as $3 is a somewhat inconvenient sum for which to send check or postal order, several subscribers can unite in a remittance, or better still, each subscriber can secure us a new one to send along with his own renewal. Remember that we offer as a premium to a club of three new subscribers a beautiful lithograph of General Lee on Traveller.

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