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Presentation of the portrait of Lieut.-General Wade Hampton, C. S. Cavalry, [from the times-dispatch, September 16, 1904.]

To R. E. Lee Camp, C. V., at Richmond, Va., September 15, 1904.

Addresses of Colonel W. W. Finney and Ex-Governor Charles T. O'Ferrall.

Among Lee Camp's silent heroes now hangs in an honored place the portrait of South Carolina's most famous son, Wade Hampton, warrior and statesman, general and cavalier, sans peur et sans reproche.

In the presence of a distinguished gathering of veterans and ministers, ladies and gentlemen, who entirely filled the hall, the presentation of the engraving that will in time be replaced by a full length painting in oils, was made last night with considerable ceremony. On behalf of the donors, the Washington Light Infantry, of Charleston, S. C., Company A, Hampton Legion, Colonel William W. Finney, of this city, spoke words of choice and chaste elegance, and was at times singularly happy and beautiful in his references to the glorified name of Hampton, of South Carolina.

In a manner equally felicitous, Governor Charles T. O'Ferrall, of this city, in the war a cavalry colonel under Hampton, accepted the picture, and expressed to the generous givers the appreciation of the, camp.

The occasion was in all respects a most delightful one, and lacked only the presence of General Fitzhugh Lee, friend and comrade of the great South Carolinian, and like him a famous commander of the Confederate horse. On account of illness General Lee was forced to send his regrets, which he did in a message to the camp.

One of the striking incidents of the evening was the immediate response of the audience to the mention of the name, not of Confederate or a hero dead, but of a statesman and politician, now very much alive, indeed-Grover Cleveland. Colonel O'Ferrall was referring to the onslaught of Tillman upon the Democracy that Hampton represented — the Democracy of Jefferson, Madison and others; ending with Cleveland, to whom he applied most complimentary [135] terms. The speaker called this name, the last of a noted list of statesmen. The audience applauded spontaneously and immediately. One or two of the old vets shook their heads, but it was evident that the name of the sage of Princeton was pleasant to the ears of most of them there.

The camp met in regular session and transacted a mass of business, routine and otherwise,. Commander J. P. Smith presided, with his usual grace. He introduced Colonel Finney, who spoke in part as follows:

The presentation address.

Commander, Comrades, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I should do violence to my profound sense of the honor conferred by the far-famed Washington Light Infantry batallion of Charleston, S. C., Company A, Hampton Legion, in having me represent them on this occasion; violence, too, to my keen appreciation of the further honor yourselves bestow upon being present to-night, were I not, at the outset, to make to all here and in Charleston at least the poor return of my thanks for the unmerited compliment. At the same time it is, I assure you, with sincere distrust and unaffected embarrassment that I undertake a duty that had been entrusted far more wisely to some other, to any other comrade. Indeed, so acute is this feeling that I am restrained from throwing down my accoutrements and running away in disgrace, only I fear, by remembering our great commander's definition and exemplification of the sublime word, duty. This remembrance will, I trust, ever hold me to my own duty, if not in all things, at least my duty to my old comrades in arms, whether they be living or dead.

That duty demands that I present, at this time, to R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, in the name and on behalf of the Washington Light Infantry Battalion of the city by the sea, this portrait of South Carolina's most distinguished son-among many distinguished sons —Lieutenant-General Wade Hampton—illustrious name!

How the spirit is stirred and the eye kindles and the heart throbs with unbounded admiration and love akin to adoration whenever and wherever it is spoken ‘through all the wide border’ of his and our beloved Southland!

What vivid and abiding recollections of lofty patriotism, of unflinching courage, of unsullied honor, of knightly deeds, of masterful [136] help in times of peril: of all manly qualities, whether of person, or mind or heart, and all womanly gentleness and melting pity for the weak and helpless it evokes!

In contemplating the latter phase of his singularly beautiful character how peculiarly applicable to Wade Hampton are the words of the poet:

The very gentlest of all human natures
     He joined to courage strong,
And love outstretching unto all God's creatures
     With sturdy hate of wrong.

Notwithstanding, my comrades, a tendency grown somewhat into a habit in these later times—a habit more honored in the breach than the observance—to depreciate the value of gentle birth and its usual, but alas! not invariable influence on one's subsequent career, I nevertheless take for granted that no member of R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, which tonight accepts any more than any member of the Washington Light Infantry Battalion, which to-night presents this portrait; in short, that no South Carolinian and no Virginian, par nobile fratrum, will sneer when I repeat the well-known fact that Wade Hampton was born a gentleman; was surrounded from childhood with all that was wont to embellish the planter's home, in the golden life, before ‘those people’ came over the border to forever destroy, and left not a hope of restoration behind, not a hope, not one.

For my friends (we are all friends who are here to-night, I trust) ages may come, ages may go, go on forever; but never again will be seen beneath the silent stars, so beautiful a civilization as that of our Southern States, in the halcyon days of the quarter century and something more, just preceding those four bloody years that opened up the pathway to immortal fame for him whose handsome, strong face, with its clear-cut, elastic features is before you; is before you as I remember him near the close rather than in the heyday of his eventful life, in which heyday he is described by the pleasing and intelligent author of Hampton and His Cavalry, Mr. Edward L. Wells, as being, when in his forty-sixth year, the meridian of his splendid manhood, he became Chief of Cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia, ‘of impressive personal appearance, full-bearded, tall, erect and massive; a horseman from life-long habit,’ and (I may well and truthfully add a word here) a grand military [137] chieftain; sans peur et sans reproche, Wade Hampton III, our Wade Hampton, of whose military genius and achievements and civic and social virtues we think and speak in grateful remembrance to-night, descended in direct line from men likewise distinguished in the history of the State and country. His paternal grandfather was a colonel of cavalry in our first war, of independence, which we won. (Our second war for indepence, which we lost—the more's the pity —was, as none know better than these Confederate veterans, that from 1861 to 1865.)

After a review of the life of General Hampton, his birth and environment in which he was reared to manhood, the speaker spoke in detail of his noble military career and his services to the Confederacy. He then said:

In all his engagements with the enemy I have named, and many not named, Wade Hampton demonstrated to all the world, for all the world was looking on in admiration and in wonder, his right to hold in history a place in the front rank of the greatest soldiers of ancient or modern times. A born leader of men, a consummate strategist, a skilful tactician, with a topographic eye, to take in at a glance the advantages and disadvantages of natural positions; sagacious therefore in choosing his ground, his point of attack or defense; unsparing of self, but ever watchful of the safety and comfort of his men; cautious in manoeuvre, but impetuously crushing and destructive, in the charge, breaking down and riding over everything and everyone in his way, towering above himself, as it were, as above all others, a veritable giant of battle, in the hurly-burly of the intricately entangled melee; none quicker or more accurate with the pistol, none with more huronlean strength or greater skill to sabre and thrust, none to ride with firmer seat or more perfect control of his steed; and, with all and above all, none, paradoxical as it may seem, of a gentler nature, of a kinder heart, truly a lady-like and therefore loveable man.

Time does not permit me to dwell longer on the great soldier's arduous work and mighty deeds in the red field of gory war; not even when that field had been transferred to South Carolina and his foot planted once, after an absence of nearly four years in defending Virginia altars, Virginia wives, Virginia children, and Virginia maidens—had been planted once, MacGregor-like, on his native heath, in a vain endeavor to beat back the ruthless, torch-bearing invaders, from other homes, other firesides, other altars, other wives, other children and other maidens, no less dearer to him for [138] being those of his special people. All this in The Last Days of the Confederacy, when the light of its eye was dimmed and gone, its quick pulse stopped and the clammy dew of its dissolution had overspread the brow of the fallen giant, the Confederate States of America. And he Wade Hampton, who had so conspicuous a part in that grandest drama, that saddest tragedy in all the surging tide of time, he too, a stricken giant now sleeps his last sleep. He has fought his last battle; no bugle call can awake him to earth's glories again.

Great Hampton! ‘with storied brave’
     The ‘South’ nurtured in her glory's time;
Rest, thee! there is no prouder grave,
     Even in her own proud clime,
We tell thy death without a sigh.
     For thou art Freedom's now, and Fame's—
One of the few immortal names,
     That were not born to die.

From the depths of loyal, loving hearts we breathe for both, the soldier-statesman and his holy cause, the fervent prayer: Requiescat in pace!

My last word spoken (in feeble portrayal of General Hampton's great achievement in war) I had thought to trespass further on your generous indulgence by briefly recounting his supreme service in 1876, in relieving his State, chivalric South Carolina; South Carolina, much misunderstood, misrepresented and even maligned, but grand, magnificent in her integrity and her inflexible adherence to the spirit as well as letter of the Constitution, ordained and established at Philadelphia, anno domini one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven.

As is well known, that Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia was made up of the duly accredited representatives of thirteen sovereign commonwealths of nations. Thirteen nations as separate, distinct and independent of each other as are England and Russia, France and Germany, or any others of the great powers of the world to-day. Thirteen commonwealths that then and there solemnly covenanted and agreed among themselves that their inherent rights—that is to say, the rights each carried into the Convention (and they were well understood and fully admitted at the time) and that were not specifically surrendered, tolidem verbis, for their common good, were rights reserved by and to each and every Commonwealth [139] of which no act of any one, or of all the others, singly or jointly, could ever legally deprive it.

It is also well known that without this solemn and binding stipulation South Carolina's representatives in that convention and her free and freedom-loving people at home would have refused promptly and emphatically to enter into (and there was no power then, as in our time to coerce), would have refused to enter into an alliance which afterward proved—and the whole world is witness to the fact—so false to those pledges, and so disastrous to the State, when the snake she had taken to her white bosom had been warmed back to its venomous life.

And now ‘those people,’ or, what amounts to the same thing, their descendants and responsible heirs would, forsooth, have the world believe and would teach their and even our children to believe that the South and not themselves inaugurated the war of 1861-65. With all its horrors and distresses, its desolated homes, broken hearts and multitudinous graves, and that only to extend and perpetuate African slavery! Credat Judaeus Appela!

It had been my thought, I repeat, to recount this supreme service of General Hampton at that crucial epoch of the Southland's history—the reconstruction period—but since it boots not now, at this late day, to characterize in deserved terms the ‘bitter, burning wrongs’ heaped upon the Southern people in those long, oh, so long years of hopeless desolation and fruitless effort to restore broken fortunes and build up the waste places, I turn from their recital with mingled feelings of anger and pity for ‘those people’ who perpetrated them, and having first thanked you, Commander, Ladies and Gentlemen, for your courteous hearing, especially the fair and patriotic women, whose presence here is alike an inspiration and a benediction, I shall with but a few words more have finished speaking, already at greater length than I had intended.

Not long since the Legislature of South Carolina voted an appropriation for an equestrian statue of her great son to be erected at her capital, Columbia. To-night Company A, of his famous legion, cherishing still, as in the bloom of manhood, their exalted admiration and deathless love for their old commander, tenderly and lovingly commit this portrait to the trustworthy hands of R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, in full assurance of its welcome to this, the camp's beautiful hall of fame, a worthy companion piece of the worthiest here. Nor is there a doubt in the mind of any survivor of the old legion or of any Confederate veteran anywhere, that General Hampton's [140] predecessors here will cheerfully make room and salute with the old time mark of respect and affection.

Were it for us of R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, to choose an epitaph for the monument yonder at Columbia, it were not easy, I apprehend, to find one more appropriate than is contained in the supreme testimony of Lieutenant-General Wade Hampton's virtues and abilities by his great commander, peerless Robert Edward Lee, in a letter from the latter to him in the summer of 1865.

If I might venture to make a request of those to whom I have here so feebly spoken, it would be that they ponder well the words therein written and with which I close my remarks; ponder them in all their deep and unmistakable significance as they wend their homeward way from this hall to-night. In all the annals of war you shall find no higher praise of one great soldier and every way great man from another.

What a world of meaning General Lee's words convey! What a world of meaning! They are these: Listen!

‘Had you been there with all our cavalry the result at Five Forks would have been different.’

Taken in their obvious connection and comprehensive sense, what unspeakable pathos in the words: ‘Had you been there with all our calvary the result at Five Forks would have been different.’

Colonel O'Ferrall accepting.

After pleasantly expressing his gratification at being so honored by the camp on this occasion, former Governor O'Ferrall in accepting the portrait said in part:

South Carolina, the first State to secede and lead in the movement for Southern independence, was the last State to throw off the detestable rule of the carpet-bagger; the last to emerge from the slough of negro domination.

In 1869, this mother State of ours wrenched from her limbs the shackles of reconstruction and stood a free, independent and sovereign State, yet in 1876, seven years thereafter, the Palmetto State was still writhing under the iron heel of a despotic, cruel, ignorant, and corrupt government. Her population then was 350,721 whites, and her colored population was 572,726—a negro majority of 222,000. Think of it! a negro majority of 222,000! Five colored voters to every three white voters, and the colored welded together in a solid mass against the whites. Goaded to desperation, the [141] white people to the manner born determined to strike for their liberties, their homes and firesides, their lares and penates, come weal or deeper woe.

As with one voice they selected a leader, nominated him for Governor and placed the fate of South Carolina in his hands. He was virtually clothed with dictatorial power; his will was the law of his people and party. We had made South Carolina proud of him on the battlefields of Virginia, and doubly proud of him as the successor of the chivalric, farfamed and lamented Stuart, as commander of the cavalry corps of the glorified Army of Northern Virginia, and they were willing to trust their all to him. In the untried position to which he had been called he displayed the same supreme courage and superb judgment he had displayed in directing his divisions, where cannons roared and the missiles of death flew thick as hail.

From county to county, city to city, town to town, and hamlet to hamlet, he went arousing the men of South Carolina, with Caucasian blood in their veins, to rise in the majesty of their manhood and strike for all that was sacred and dear—strike with all their might and power.

His commanding personality, his fearless bearing, his bold and ringing utterances, his flushed cheek and flashing eye stirred the brave, gave courage to the timid and life to the laggard, and when his canvass ended every true white man was imbued with his spirit, animated and inspired, and every carpet-bagger stood trembling like an aspen leaf, for, like Belshazzar of old, he could read the hand-writing upon the wall-he knew his days were few, and that before the setting of many suns he would have to pack his grip and seek a more congenial clime. Never was superior civic leadership shown; never was a civic leader more absolutely obeyed and followed.

Without a peer.

Mr. Commander and Comrades, Ladies and Gentlemen, this man had no predecessor in South Carolina, and he will have no successor. He wrought more good for his State than any son before him, and more than any son that has come after him, or will come in future ages.

His service in the Senate of the United States extended from 1879 to 1891, two terms or twelve years. From the day he took his seat until his retirement he was a conspicuous figure in that august body.

Every visitor to the gallery, if a stranger, wanted to have him [142] pointed out as a marked and most distinguished member. His influence in the councils of his party in that body of many giants was powerful, especially as to Southern matters, and whenever he spoke he had the close attention of both sides of the chamber—a distinguished honor enjoyed by a very few. He was modest and unassuming, yet zealous in any cause he espoused. He was plain and simple in manner, approachable and affable, yet there was a dignity that was impressive and commanded respect. He was fond of a joke and enjoyed an anecdote, but neither must be coarse; if so, his frown showed his displeasure. In the society of ladies he was as gallant as a chevalier in the days of knighthood, and his language was as chaste as the icicle on Diana's temple.

Mr. Commander and Comrades of Lee Camp, for you and on your behalf I accept this portrait of General Wade Hampton, and for you and on your behalf I authorize the gallant soldier who presented it, and who, though a Virginian in every sense of the term, wooed and won his bride amid the magnolia bowers and palmetto clusters of South Carolina--I authorize him to return to the Washington Light Infantry Battalion our hearty thanks for their valuable gift, and to assure them that it will have a choice place among the multitude of portraits of the South's true and loyal sons that adorn these walls.

Mr. Commander and Comrades, somebody has said ‘that a room hung with pictures is a room hung with thoughts.’ Then how a glance around this room must inspire thoughts—thoughts of ensanguined fields, heroic deeds, glorious achievements, blood and carnage—thoughts of martial powers, sufferings and sacrifice—thoughts of comrades who fell at their posts of duty, and comrades, just as true, who survived the shafts of war, but now

Sleep the sleep that knows no breaking
Morn of toil or night of waking.

in Oakwood and Hollywood and other consecrated spots, where the grass is kept green and flowers are scattered at each recurring memorial season by woman's hand, where the cedar and the holly grow, and nature's songsters, undisturbed by the hunter, warble their sweetest lays.

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