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Brilliant Eulogy on Gen. W. H. Payne from good old rebels who don't care. From the News leader, January 28, 1909.

Colonel Thomas Smith and Leigh Robinson make notable addresses.

At a public meeting of Lee Camp Confederate Veterans, Lee Camp hall, Richmond, on the evening of December 18, 1908, a very handsome portrait of the late General W. H. Payne was presented to the camp. The attendance was very large, the members of the camp being present in uniform. Many ladies representing leading families in Richmond and Virginia, occupied the seats of honor reserved for them and the number of young men present was especially noticeable. Dr. C. W. P. Brock presided and called the meeting to order with very brief remarks, explaining its purpose.

The Rev. James Power Smith, D. D., one of the most widely known and beloved veterans of the State and chairman of the portrait committee of Lee camp spoke a few introductory words with his usual terse force and eloquent simplicity. He introduced Colonel Thomas Smith, of Fauquier, to make the presentation speech. Colonel Smith spoke as follows:

Mr. Commander and Comrades of Lee Camp:

In appearing before you to-night I represent a distinguished family in paying tribute to one of its members who has in his noble career imparted lustre to its record in patriotic devotion to this Commonwealth, and in performance of all the obligations of exalted citizenship. Mine is the privilege of inaugurating the ceremony of introducing the figure of General William H. Payne into this gallantry of matchless heroes, and I feel that this fellowship cannot have worthier addition or more inspiring companion. Knight of the sabre, his sword flashed in the forefront of battle for the love of his motherland.

Undismayed in defeat, he was, in fidelity, heroic in endurance, [286] and crowned disaster with the glory of manhood that feared not to worship at the shrine of our cause, unceasingly sobbing that 'twas lost.

It may be permitted me to recite at length of him, as he achieved such eminence as to constitute him leader in all the relations of life, as man and soldier, and I will venture to indulge my emotions with appropriate moderation. He was dear to me by close intimacy, and I would that he could have longer escaped the doom that is Divinity's decree for all mankind. I deplore separation from him with a sorrow I cannot portray.

No words can suffice the secret soul to show. We were brothers, not by the ties of blood, but by the bonds of affinity and sympathy of souls, by the twinship of minds, the fervor of fidelity, the congeniality of consciences the concurrence of conclusions. We thought alike without conference, and acted as one, though not together, and when the sun of the South in darkness set, and the future seemed an unending vista of agony and humiliation, we confronted fate with courage, mutuality sustaining, ever unrepenting and mourning for our people, independent no more, and countryless, save as subjects.

His supreme patriotism was fealty to Virginia, and in the intensity of his devotion, his prescience impressed the realization that her sovereignty could not survive the animosity of the section, seething with increasing hordes alien to our civilization, and eager minions for our destruction, and he died as he lived, unshaken in the belief that had not our people exaggerated their obligations as citizens of the country, minimized their rights and grievances, and misconceived their peril, promptness in withdrawal of the Southern States from the Union would have assured the ,success of the South. His State was his country. She, only, was sovereign to him, her rights were inherent, powers delegated by her were revocable at the will of her unimpaired majesty. Voluntarily bestowed, their resumption was not less her absolute right. But he faltered not in speculation, nor faltered for expediency. For years he recognized that privileges, conferred in good will for mutual benefit, had become chains for the enslavement of his people, and he boldly proclaimed himself a disunionist per se, for his State's safety, for the sake of separation from those who, when weak, [287] were fraternal, and with power .became fratricidal, who, in fear, sought clanship for protection against foreign invasion, and in the consciousness of strength by numbers repudiated their faith, and with imported allies, denied right canonized in the hearts of the country's founders.

William H. Payne, in young manhood, foresaw the fate of Virginia in continuing partnership with a people heedless of honor, conscious of rapidly increasing growth, and to whom treaty was troth, ‘more honored in the breach than in the observance,’ if it could be broken for their advantage and without danger to them. It was plain to him that swarms from the continent were so swelling the myriads of the North its majority would be omnipotent, and unless the South should rescue herself, ere too late, from the section never sympathetic except for self-preservation, never congenial except in calculation, always covetous of control, it would be a minority without protection and with a destroyed civilization, imbued with such conceptions, he was impatient with argument, and urged action. That duty to the South demanded dissolution was the conviction of his sagacious devotion. He distrusted delays, not as dangerous only, but as parricidal. Though he cared not for the form of separation, be it one way or the other, he repelled the presumption that any right was conferred upon the Federal government—the agent of the States—to invade Virginia for any reason, no matter what her action. He could not conceive that Virginia could commit insurrection. General Lee proclaimed that ‘Virginia, in withdrawing herself from the United States, carried him along as acts and her laws were binding upon him.’ His paramount allegiance was to her. She was to him supreme. Her cause was righteous to him. The shiboleth of the North that ‘this country could not remain half slave and half free,’ was enunciation to young Payne, that aggression upon the South would be pursued until the negro should be emancipated, not for love of the slave, not for abhorrence of slavery, but in jealousy of the South for her possession of stable labor. He understood that the crusade against the South was at the instigation of hatred, in the realization that property in person was power in owner, and protection to his property. He says that immigration was crowding the North with alien suffragans, who, feeling [288] their power, were asserting it in aggressiveness upon capital, trembling for its safety; whilst the South in the conservatism of union of labor and capital in laborer, was exempt from disturbance by enfranchised socialists. Such was the ‘irrepressible conflict,’ in which the South was blameless of this crisis, but must suffer for its existence. Congress was powerless, the president was without authority, but the negroes must be made the equals of the whites in the South to engender animosities of her laborers against her former owners, of employes against employers, through the instrumentality of the privilege of suffrage. War was the only means by which such result could be achieved, and ‘military necessity’ was the shameless expedient.

War was the desperation of the North in her extremity to despoil the South of her advantage in controlling her labor.

May it not, then, be logically concluded that had the South sooner realized the situation and precipitated the issue, she would now be entrenched in the glory of independence!

General Payne replied to the imputation that Virginia fought to maintain the institution of slavery, and vigorously contended that her resistance to invasion was repetition of the struggle of our fathers for liberty to govern themselves. He would have given all the slaves of the South for disunion had he been their owner, and he advocated freedom to all who would enlist in the ranks of our army.

Virginia, though her slaves were hers by purchase and not by piracy, in the intensity of her worship of independence, the jewel beyond all price to her when our sinews of the war were strained to the uttermost through her legislature by a special committee to President Davis, offered to emancipate her slaves by an act of the general assembly if such a measure could hell our cause. Any sacrifice for Anglo-Saxon liberty was the tender of her soul. Her spirit stifled the thought of subjugation. Here was ‘the courage that mounteth with occasion.’ Hers the knighthood that felt that

Hope, howe'er he fly
For a time can never die.

Robert E. Lee recommended the enlistment of negroes in our [289] armies, and Virginia's governor advised it in his first message after his inauguration the 1st of January, 1864, and sustained his views elaborately, declaring ‘that if the result were to emancipate our slaves, there was not a man that would not put the negro in the army rather than become a slave himself to our hated and vindictive foe.’ Perish the imputation that Virginia battled not for liberty. Proudly can she exalt herself before all peoples as exemplar of noblest martyrdom. Self-government was her inherent right, and upon its altar she immolated all else but faith and honor. More abhorent to her was fear of serfdom of her people than the sacrifice of her slaves. Virginia is invulnerable to any impeachment in connection with slavery. It is history that she condemned the slave trade and insisted upon its prohibition immediately upon the adoption of the constitution. It is history that her greatest statesmen advocated the abolition of slavery, and that one or more of them gave theirs freedom. It is history that Virginia fought for freedom, and that she builded a temple of liberty worshipped throughout all the world, and that all peoples would have it for a shrine. She did not establish slavery, and she would not restore it, except to abolish it at her will.

It was not a blessing cherished by her people, but in love of liberty they defended it, as inseparable from their inalienable rights. Such are the sentiments of him whom we are now perpetuating.

General Payne, in recognition of the responsibility of advocacy of disunion, did not minimize the probability of a conflict at arms, and to the call of his State responded with the enthusiasm of a captive rejoicing in the prospect of delivery from repulsive association. He gathered friends into a body of troopers, organized them, became their first captain, and inspired them to that ardor and courage that gave to the ‘Black Horse’ cavalry a prestige that increased with duration of service and will endure to the end of knighthood. At first Manassas he was conspicuous with his company in intensifying the confusion and flight of the enemy, and was not reconciled by the capture of a number of artillery pieces (delivered to President Davis) to the abandonment of the pursuit he expected to continue to Washington. [290]

At Williamsburg he was wounded unto death, it was believed, and was left in the hospital unparoled; but by love and skill, after the lapse of months, he returned to the field, though not sufficiently convalesced for duty. He was, however, commended by General Lee for gallantry and efficiency in the great cavalry conflict at Brandy. He was again wounded in Pennsylvania and captured and retained in prison for months. Upon his return to his regiment in the Valley of Virginia, though physically feeble, he was welcomed as a tower of strength and assigned to a brigade, with which he demonstrated such capacity for increased command that he was honored with the commission of brigadier-general. His was the action that by determined charges upon advancing columns of Custer's cavalry, so dense it seemed as if the world were on horse, that with a regiment withstood the fearful odds of divisions and rescued comrades from dispersion into reformed and attacking forces. His were the troopers that crossed the stream that wears the name given to a great battle so gently that the murmurs of its waters were not hushed, and that aroused a sleeping enemy to consternation that should have been consummated in victory that would have evacuated the enemy's capital and established a Confederacy.

Wounded at Williamsburg, but one removed from the first battle of the invasion, and at Five Forks, the last engagement of the cavalry, his was the glory of shedding his blood for his State at her gateway and at her grave. Disabled by wounds and long a prisoner, he was denied opportunities that would have won him additional renown and assured him promotion, in the display of those qualities that proved him not only a fighter to thrill followers, but a commander to plan campaigns and conduct them. He was, however, though at the disadvantage of constrained absence from the fields of active service, chosen by General Fitz Lee to command his division, with the rank of major-general.

His joy of contest was almost recklessness, but it was electric and stimulated his men to elan that on many occasions, multiplied their numbers, seemingly, to startled enemies.

His trying experience ceased with with the war's close. He was taken from his home in Warrenton by a special detail from Washington to arrest him because of his name and would have [291] been hung by an avenging mob but that the officers having him in charge, realizing that he could not be an assassin, spirited him to the ‘Old Capitol’ prison, where he was held until passion subsided and it was safe to release him.

William H. Payne was a citizen with genius that fascinated and convinced. Endowed by nature, enriched by culture, strong in thought, magnetic in speech, bold in action, persuasive in appeal, demonstrative by logic, awed by no difficulty, deterred by no danger, he was master among men. A gentle and wise counselor, a tender and true friend, generous and charitable, chivalric and gallant, he was a nobleman who so wore the robes of royalty that he was an honor to his race.

He was history's student, and so vividly and extensively was the past with him, he seemed a part of it. He so garnered the gems of literature they shone in all his thoughts with a lustre all the brighter for the setting of his skill. He was an orator of attractive art and exquisite eloquence, both in the beauty and power of thought and charms of delivery. The classics were commanded by him and cleverly contributed to the chasteness of his composition, and the muses sang for him at his will their choicest melodies, for the delight of his hearers and his vantage in their appreciation. He pointed morals and adorned tales not by execrable jests, but by lessons of experience consecrated by survival for ages.

Politics did not allure him, though tempted by siren with offers rarely refused, and discoverer of the shadows of coming events, ere they were cast to many high in place and honored as statesmen.

Law was his mistress, and returning to her service, and stimulated by necessity, he won from her rewards in the achievement of triumphs and the accumluation of abundance, almost, if not altogether, unequalled in the practice of his profession in the Piedmont section of Virginia.

But despite this career of prominence and prosperity, of honor and power, it was not the pride of his life 'twas less to him than the undisputed splendor of his patriotism, and his distinction in the defense of his State. When the blast of war blew upon our ears he welcomed the sound, for to him it was hosannah for Virginia, though his life blood flowed almost to his death at [292] the war's beginning; and though battered and bruised and captured, his was the manhood to endure, the unconquerable will co hope, and the courage to fight unfalteringly to the last. When the crimson wings of conquest hovered over the countless hosts of invasion, and our great captain bade our banners furled, he would fain have passed beyond the stars to our warriors, soothed by the echoes of victory and never doubting triumphs. To every man upon the earth death cometh soon or late, And how can man die better than facing fearful odds For the ashes of their fathers and the temples of their gods?

He became a subject but not a slave, and e'en a subject's soul is his own. His cause was none the less sacred that it perished, and he proudly recited the cherished memories of its glories, and imprecated the mystery of its fate. There was no surcease of his sorrow that we failed to command success, for it passeth all understanding that the subjugation of the South should have been decreed. He wept for Virginia in her downfall, and weep we for him. Prophetic in young manhood, heroic in battle, brilliant in war's progress to end, too soon for his hopes, he became exemplar to his people to stimulate them to fortitude in martyrdom and to encourage then in citizenship worthy of their patriotism as soldiers, and promotive of patience in enforced endurance.

Having run the bound of man's appointed years,
At last life's labor done,
To his final rest has passed,
While the soft memories of his virtues
Yet linger like the twilight hues.

If 'tis permitted souls to survive dissolution, ours may not be separated, and ere long we may rejoice in reunion with him.

Commander and comrades, I now deliver to you as tribute of the affection and admiration of those whom he was dearest representation of General William H. Payne, and congratulate you all upon the accession of this picture of this noble soldier to the grand galaxy in this hall of heroes.

It may be that from the battlements beyond the skies, where [293] our reincarnated heroes are assembled, under the Stars and Bars, he is witnessing the homage rendering to his memory tonight.

Mr. Leigh Robinson's address.

Leigh Robinson, of Washington, son of the late Conway Robinson, one of the most eminent of American jurists, and nephew of Moncure Robinson, accepted the portrait in an address, remarkable for its eloquence, epigram and sarcasm.

At the beginning of the war he at once crossed the Potomac, and throughout our momentous struggle of four years, participated in the hardest service, being actively engaged in many battles. He said:

Mr. Commander and Fellow-Soldiers:

The Lee Camp of Confederate veterans stands for a grand ideal. In the throng of selfish contention, it is your prerogative to exist, as a shrine amid ruins, that you may preserve as in amber the memory of that bright sword which, among the swords of the captains, shines like yonder sentry of the skies, around whose serene light the stars obediently bend. In an anarchial night time of transition this unswerving force burns in our heavens, like a word of command, whose authority we reverence, and whose speech is the ‘still small voice’ of duty. As the commemoration thereof, this shrine shall be a guide post in the desert.

The hero's booty.

Unselfish force is a Scripture ‘given by inspiration of God.’ Our world divides itself into the heroes who live and die for others, and the others for whom they live and die. The hero is the response to that question of the early Satan, ‘Doth Job serve (or fear) God for naught?’ The lofty answer is, he doth. His own heroism is the hero's booty. He gives his greatness to others for the joy and glory of giving. Save in a mere material sense, it is not for naught. The life, which, while strong in the strife forgets itself in the striving, is born Commander of the Faithful, and in every age has found the faithful to command. We look elsewhere, indeed, for the thrifty patriots who make the litany of the daughters of the horse leech the mother tongue [294] and classic of their Pantheon. We turn to Robert Lee and say: There is one, who in place of taking from others every present they might offer, grandly gave all he had of mind, body and estate to others, and for others. There is one who trod the path of self-denying greatness. There is one who scaled the last heights; in whose majestic passion defeat is transfigured into victory. There behold that power and passion of selfrealiza-tion through self-renunciation, which is a perennial appeal by and to a divine essence, perhaps latent in the lowest, but forever patent in the highest. With what a serene unconsciousness the destiny laid upon him was met and mastered. It is not in human misfortune, nor in human power to efface the eminence in which he abides, nor to efface us if we are not unworthy of it. Long as there is reverence for honor; long as there shall linger an honor to revere, the earnest, the fearless, the true will bow down to him, who having the option of all that this world has to give, thought of duty first; of self last. Success does not constitute his glory. His glory is enhanced, etherealized, more gloriously revealed by what the world calls his defeat. Sordid success is as dust in the balance by the side of it. Mr. Charles Francis Adams has called Lee ‘the quintessence of Virginia.’ As the figure in the forefront of the battle; as the protagonist of the Southern storm; as the embodied righteousness of the cause whereof he was captain, he requires and requites our worship. Viewing him as the concentration of our own soul; as embodying the high duty, the sacred conscience, the martyred valor, which bore aloft his standard, his fame is the proudest possession ever vouchsafed to any people of any country, in any age. We had not known the full stature of Lee, had it not been for what the world calls his defeat. Great as were his victories over enemies, the great conquest of this kingly man was his conquest of himself. Each passing year, more and more, endears him to us. He is more than ever dear to us, for that he was the matchless hero of adversity and example for our own; for that he added to all other victory—victory over defeat—nay over outlawry by them to whom his path was a rebuke. The more he is lifted up by outlaw sentence, the more he draws us to him.


Victory over victory.

Our hero is victor over victory. Not the champion of the strong against the weak, but of the weak against the strong is the Bayard of the heart. Greatness, which having need to say in the battle, ‘All things are against me.’ Yet battles with consummate courage to the end, is by that sign shown to be great. It is not supereminent for one to win when all things are for him. Of all the great things Lee did for his State, and for the South, the greatest was the life he gave; a life the world is unable to measure by reward; save that the world reserves for the highest — a crown of thorns. On his outlawed height, he fought, there he still fights the battle for us. His calm grandeur --calm in the midst of raging elements-because of victory over them, was and is our warrior. We fight behind the fortress of an unsullied life, while we have him for captain. We build his truest monument less by contribution from our purses than by humble imitations in our lives, though at long interval and with tender steps. As the likeness of his mind is stamped upon them who claim to follow him will be his monument. The soul that rises superior to the storms of fate, it shall live.

Bound up with Lee is that warrior of the Living God—led by the Spirit if man ever was—who, facing the sharpest and steepest, brought all the mountains of difficulty to their knees before him; who, patient to plan, infallible to achieve, with one hand grasped courageously that of his fellow man, because he had laid the other humbly in that of God. Bound up with Lee is that right arm of victory, known once and forever as Stonewall Jackson. We learn of him that the genius which wins victory all along the line, under conditions which to the common eye make victory impossible, is the moral and the fruit of faith. In him we read the old eternal mystery of puissance by persistence. The stability of soul beneath that inflexible face words translate not. No stage lightning, no theatric thunder, played part in his equipment. We who once looked upon his face, so earnestly silent, felt the silence to be a measure of the depth; as if the storm of life had ended in the silence of victory over it. By a [296] power which cannot be put in words we felt the spell of his mysterious might fall upon his followers, and melt the sinews of their strength into his own terrible right arm.

Genuine strenuousness.

Meditation upon Stonewall Jackson inclines one to believe that grand, genuine strenuousness is most apt to abound where there is least said about it. Bound up with Lee I have said. To this twin thunderbolt we give the reverence for true greatness which deepens with every true approach to it and insight into it. In death they give defiance unto death; vanquish death. In death they are lifted up to be the living word of our ideal. They are the Bruce and Wallace of the South. Could we rally a united South to follow in peace, with war's obedience, the banner of their characters, it were a moral Bannockburn.

This camp of veterans has deemed it a grateful and a graceful duty to group around the portrait of their chief, in death, as in life, the lieutenants of his fortitude. You felt you would not do your duty to the hero of duty if you left this undone. Here then, we may mark and inwardly digest the biography of the brave; here breathe in the moral fascination of heroic minds. Every man who is the hero of a brave, true life is a revelation to others. In the degree that we bow down to such life is the enlargement of our own.

It is to-night my privilege, at once proud and sad, to be your medium to accept, as worthy to be included in this goodly fellowship of fame, the portrait of one who was ever foremost in life's battle charge. The image of William H. Payne is etched on our hearts, as by the defining needle on a plate, ‘wax to receive and marble to retain;’ or, to slightly change the figure, the mention of his name evokes the clear-cut cameo of one whose courage knew no danger, or knew it only to despise it; with whom to be heroic was involuntary. A bearing manly and refined, adorned by a gentle courtesy, was the visible sign of knightly grace and knightly valor at all times and in all places, unafraid, unaffected, unequivocal. At Virginia's school of war he had applied himself with natural relish to the profession of [297] arms. In this camp of preparation he formed a lasting friendship with that fine type of a brave and gentle Southerner, Thomas Henry Carter. Each was destined, by deeds, not words, to write a living chapter in the world old epic of ‘arms and the man.’ Later they met at Virginia's University, whither Payne went to study the virtue and the truth of law and Carter the ministries of healing. After the lapse of a decade, in the shock of arms which shook a continent, again they came together to win a parallel renown; Payne at the head of horse: Carter in the blaze of his fierce and stubborn guns. Touching are the words the former wrote in 1882 to Mr. Isaac Winston:

I rejoice that I lived in the heroic age of the South, and that my early life was spent in games of chivalry, romance, and, McGregor-like, love for my own heath. I can say from my heart I loved Virginia-

Beyond her map, my heart travels not,
But fills that limit to the utmost verge.

So he grew to manhood in the days of approaching doom, when the old mother State was like the quiet lake above which the hawk is circling. It was when the clouds began to lower over her house that in full view of the battle she would inherit, William H. Payne gave her ‘his promise true.’

The Black Horse Troop.

At the head of the Black Horse Troop, a band of brothers which came ‘not to woo honor, but to wed it,’ this man, with the McGregor-like love for his own heath, rode into his fearless fight for it. They rode together to fight, to bleed; if need be, to die for a Commonwealth in its own limits happy and strong; outside its own limits incurring in some parts the envious hate felt for them who have that whereof the envious feel the force and feel that lack. He, their captain, quickly proved he was by training and tradition all that we picture as the beau sabreur. As the captain rose to the brigadier, the meaning of his life flamed out for all to see. As he rode with Stuart, Hampton, and the Lees, as he rode deeper and deeper into the war, that meaning fell like a shaft of light across a darker and darker sky. War was the steel which struck the spark. He had been [298] in boyhood the neighbor and the friend of Ashby and was of a kindred spirit with that knight and paladin of Virginia and the valley of Virginia. They read the same books, they dreamed the same dreams. Nor was either content to be a dreamer. Each sought to make the dream reality For them chivalry was not a mere poetic parable, but the glowing reality of life. For them the book of chivalry was not chained to the altar; but where the book was there rose an altar and the book was the struggle of man. To each this was an infallible book of duty pointing to what for each was very nearly the whole duty of man. To be taught to struggle with obstacles, to cope with the difficult, is far the best part of education. Faith to struggle is what is meant by character — the highest being that of moral struggle with material obstruction. At the head of a charge, whether of the Black Horse Troop or of his brigade in Fitz Lee's division, Payne was in the place carved out for him by nature. A trooper's sabre was his faith, his hope and—for the foe of all he loved—his charity. As Scott said, after severing connection with Vera Cruz, Payne might have said of his own spirit, ‘The scabbard was thrown away and we advanced with the naked blade.’ His was the grace which made daring beautiful. He was a lineal descendant of that old Bersekir daring which by preference went to sea in a storm. He had the by of danger. We know by all the laws and inferences of knowledge that the bugle call to arms was to him as the cry of hounds to the hunter or the roll of the reel to one who wanders by the trout stream. The gleam of his sabre was as the flash of a knightly eye. He knew by instinct how to excite and sustain enthusiasm. He was as alert in his disciplined precautions as he was intrepid in facing odds. He was an enthusiast in war, he did it with all his might. Briefly, let me illustrate the traits of one for whom numbers had no terrors; who despised numbers and defied defeat They are traits which illustrate the dash and daring most essential to the cavalry officer.

Guarding Earlys left.

On September 3, 1864, he took command of his cavalry brigade (consisting of the Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Virginia Regirents) [299] in Fitz Lee's division, then operating with General Early, in the Valley of Virginia. It was his brigade, with him at the head of it, which guarded the left flank of Early's army in the battle of Winchester and repulsed the Union cavalry in the Luray valley. His brigade, with him at the head of it, led the advance of Gordon's division, in the attack upon Sheridan at Cedar Creek. Crossing the north fork of the Shenandoah, below Cedar Creek, by a swift dash with picked men, he fell upon and captured the enemy's pickets and out posts without firing a shot. The enemy's camp was taken so completely by surprise that two divisions of Sheridan's corps, their camp, with all its equipment, wagons, horses, guns, fell an easy prey to Gordon's foot cavalry, which followed. Gordon, in his published reminiscences, gives this account: ‘General Payne, of Virginia, one of the ablest and most knightly soldiers in the Confederate army, plunged with his intrepid cavalry into the river, and firing as they went upon Sheridan's mounted pickets and supporting squadrons, the Virginians dashed in pursuit as if in steeple chase, with the Union riders, the coveted goal of both being the rear of Sheridan's army. The Federals sought for safety. Payne was seeking to spread confusion and panic in the Federal ranks and camps, and magnificently did he accomplish his purpose.’ At New Creek, a station on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, in Hampshire county, in November, 1864, as Rosser, then in command of the division, approached the town, Payne requested that his brigade might lead in the assault. Colonel Cook, of the Eighth, who well knew the place, did not think it could be taken by assault. In the absence of surprise, this was no doubt the case. Rosser, however, gave to Payne the control of the advance and attack. The latter so moved the first squadron, that the pickets and reserves of the enemy were captured without firing a shot. He then moved down the road at a walk, until he reached the foot of the hill on which a fort had been constructed. No fire came from the fort because the advance was thought to be their own cavalry returning from a raid; as it had been conjectured would be supposed. Payne, then, ordering a charge, rode upon the gunners, in the act of driving the first shot into their guns. In less than half an hour the fort, [300] town and 828 prisoners had been captured. In Payne's last battle at Five Forks, in command of what had been Fitz Lee's division, he held in check and repelled a large force of Sheridan's cavalry. A severe wound, received by him in the fight, spared him the deeper wound of surrender at Appomattox. While lying helpless, at his home in Warrenton, he was again captured and again imprisoned.

The spirit of battle which stirred in him was kind as it was brave. It was the spirit of one born to command. The ties cemented in war's peril were for him a sacred chain of obligation. Of all the troops he led; of all the staff who bore his orders; of all under him, or over him, in that fiery horse, I have yet to meet the man who was not proudly conscious of that chain and proudly captive to it. His chief of staff writes of him: ‘A more gallant soldier, inspiring leader, or resourceful commander never drew sword in any cause.’ Wounded and left on the field at Williamsburg; wounded and captured at Hanover near Gettysburg; wounded again at Five Forks and captured afterwards, as we have seen, Payne's life was spared for the moral battle to which a prostrate South was summoned.

War is hell,.

The definition, ‘War is Hell,’ was given by a prominent participant in the war between the States. In the Savannahs of Georgia; the homes of the Carolinas; the valleys of Virginia, deeds were done which merit the definition. In those sweet valleys, over which, by orders from headquarters, the crow in flying should carry his own rations, the word was not a misnomer. A warrior's renown consists no longer in the greater host of armed men his valor hurls to defeat, but in the greater host of sorrows he fearlessly hurls on the unarmed. Time was when the warfare of the hero Saints was known as ‘Imitation of Christ.’ Our higher altruism knows it as ‘Imitation of Hell.’ Sheridan, defending the conduct of his troops in South Carolina, said to Carl Schurz: ‘Before we got out of that State the men had so accustomed themselves to destroying everything along the line of march that sometimes when I had my headquarters in a house that house began to burn before I was fairly [301] out of it. * * * It always has been so, and always will be so.’ It has not been always so. On entering Pennsylvania, General Lee proclaimed: ‘It will be remembered that we make war only on armed men.’ General Scott did the same in Mexico. Mexican ranches found their best market in his camp. Beyond the Christian pale we may find example. The successor of Mahomet, in dispatching his army into Syria, instructed as follows: ‘When you meet with your enemies quit yourselves like men, and don't turn your backs, and if you get the victory, kill no little children nor old people, nor women; destroy no palm trees, nor burn any fields of corn; cut down no fruit trees, do not any mischief to cattle, only such as you kill to eat.’ When last summer the war in Morocco had subsided, it was reported; they, the people of Morocco, ‘have had a chance to see how a civilized nation fights. It has amazed them to discover that French soldiers respect womanhood and refrain from looting.’ Nevertheless, it may be admitted, that the war waged by philanthropy against the South was correctly described as ‘hell’ by one of the philanthropists.

Hell in peace.

There remained the lesson, ‘Peace is Hell.’ To overthrow the armies of a people is not so fatal as to degrade the ideals of a people. To crush the body is cruel, but not so cruel as to deprave the soul. In the ideals they really pursue is the measure of the real faiths and reasonable hopes of nations, States, social and Federal unions. Our motive force is in the ideals which are really our own. Is the published ideal a reality, or only a blasphemous appearance? Very nearly the last word of the Confederate Congress had this sob of despair: ‘Failure will cause us to drink the dregs of the cup of humiliation, even to the bitter dregs of having the history of our struggle written by New England historians.’ Because this prophecy is so far toward fulfilment, I am so unmerciful to-night. In 1861 a strife of swords was invoked to establish a new ideal. ‘They chose new gods,’ cried Deborah: ‘then was there war in the gates.’ I crave your merciful patience with the narrative of what it was which was displaced and wherewithal it was replaced by Reconstruction. [302]

Old as Aristotle and older, is the distinction of governments into bad or good according as they exist for the sake of the governed; according as they are held as a spoil for the governors, or as a trust for the governed.

‘Noblesse Oblige.’

The binding force of States, which create, for their own and for succeeding ages, what we call grandeur, is the force of noblesse oblige. The truly strong give to the weakness of others a sympathy, born of victory over their own. The rock on which society is built is that of a noblessness conscious of the obligation to be noble. This is the origin as it is also the ideal of that ever miraculous force we call society. ‘It was by Rome's self abnegation,’ wrote Mr. Bryce, ‘that she romanized the world.’ Not by material but by moral force, man is made paulo minus ab angelis. The fevered turmoil known as ‘progress of the age’ has not quite obscured this principle of origin. In speaking of the swift response of every citizen of Japan to his country's call, Colonel Nogi, who refuse to partake of luxury in wartime not granted to the soldier, would feel themselves insulted if asked to serve at rates of pay other than those deemed sufficient for the army. It is this spirit of self effacement for the public weal, mingled with fervent patriotism, which has won for Japan her long series of victories on sea and land. What might be called the government of Noblesse Dispense achieves dispensation from all this. Where the former principle bears sway, we have the great States which are lamps to distant ages. Where the opposite is absolute, although the monarch be called, as in ancient Persia, the great king, his realm in the tale of time is small. We read the record of a selfishness, which, in the midst of palatial graft shrivels the soul. Selfishness is contraction. Sacrifice is expansion. The human secret is this of Nobless Oblige. Obligation measures elevation. Intuitively, we impute this correlation to the Almighty height. The foundation of man's metropolis are two—reverence and sympathy—the second made in the likeness of the first. Consciousness of this caused the men of old to speak of law. As a covenant with God; of the State as Divine. [303]

Freedom is the free dominion of the law; and the law might be defined as the condition a creator imposes on his creature, which, like the condition a mathematician imposes on a curve, must be satisfied for the creature to properly exist. As we satisfy the conditions of freedom are we free? Does the freedom of which you talk mean freedom for duty or freedom from it? The power to be free is not a quite universal faculty, but the prize of a battle renewed every morning by them who sleep on their arms every evening. The issue to be tried is—which is stronger love of justice to others or rapacity for self? The true ‘irrespressible conflict’ is the conflict between freedom and corruption; between Noblesse Oblige and Noblesse Dispense. What is called the birthright of freedom is the heritage of past heroisms and sacrifices. The sum total of all the conquests which have been made of man's inherent selfishness is that on which his hope is stayed. As this conquest is, civilization, the refined sense of justice, is.

The old magistrates.

It seems now a rainbow of romance, but there was once administered a justice which, like human life at common law, was so far beyond price as to admit of none. For some seventy-five years of her independence, and far back of that in her history, the administrative and judicial functions of every county in Virginia were administered by magistrates who, without compensation to themselves, rendered judgment between litigants who incurred no costs. Washington had been one of these magistrates, and before him Fairfax, baron of Cameron. Jefferson was one. William B. Giles and John Taylor, of Caroline, were added to the list after each had left the senate of the United States, and Monroe after he left the White House. ‘There is no part of the country,’ said John Marshall in 1830, ‘where less of disquiet and less of ill-feeling between man and man is to be found than in this Commonwealth, and I believe most firmly that this state of things is mainly to be ascribed to the practical operation of our county courts. The magistrates who compose those courts consist in general of the best men in their counties.’ Here was that ‘unbought loyalty’ which Burke calls, [304] the ‘cheap defense of nations.’ It comes back to us like a picture of some far off, fabled, golden age. It is the story of a society, simply and soundly true; not a new affirmation, but a reaffirmation of those peaks of the past, which are freedom's Sinai. The ideal of that old day stood in direct relation to daily life. It was not a profession. It was a vocation. Men had faith in each other and were justified in having it. Love for Commonwealth and willingness to die for it made a moral unit of their minds. A whole world were the unfair exchange for that clean and wholesome soul. Will you compare it with the ‘prosperity’ which, pointing to ‘rake off,’ ‘honest graft,’ and the like, says these are my jewels? There were free men once who held it prosperous to be just. A country which is loved for the honor, the noble sympathy, that is in it—ah! how much better than the country, which is loved for the corruption which is in it! After all, may not magnitude be a poor swap for magnanimity? It is the virtue, not the bigness, of a State which is greatness. To govern honestly is more than to misgovern widely.

The convention of 1829-30, in which Marshall's words were spoken, was the arena of contest between sections having, as they deemed, antagonistic interests; the West having the numbers, the East the property; a struggle of the West to acquire, of the East to retain, power; a geographical difference in which East and West stood to each other somewhat, as in another war of sections, the South stood to the North.

A memorable Challenge.

In that passionote debate, it was asked, in respect of all the men who had ever voted in the Commonwealth: ‘Has one of them ever been bribed for his vote? Has any gentleman ever heard of a single instance?’ It was a memorable challenge. From the ocean to the Ohio no man could point to a single instance, nor to one abuse of the taxing power. And why? Because, as stated by one of the leaders of the West, they, who were invested with the power to tax, ‘were governed by the principles of justice and the feelings of honor.’ There was another reason. They who laid the taxes, paid the taxes. They who bore rule, bore the burden of rule. [305]

The social structure extolled by Marshall was a freedom which bound citizen to citizen by stronger ties than those of force. It was the ascendency of high over low ambitions. It brought justice to every man's door; a justice which held the weak by their right; the strong by their duty. Patriots did not then take office as a means of support, but, on the contrary, impaired their names of support in taking office. Eminence and beneficence were correlative. When the service of Commonwealth at the expense of self is exchanged for the service of self at the expense of Commonwealth, it is self, not Commonwealth, which is loved[ and served. Like Jefferson the sons of Virginia might bankrupt themselves in the service of their country, but they did not recoup from the chest confided to their custody. Uncompromising honesty in public life was their riches. They were trustees receiving from a cherished Commonwealth powers of which strict account was given. They became great by sharing burdens which weighed others down, whereby others shared the dignity which lifts greatness up. They offered the calm depths of lives which bowed seven times a day to the sacred city of social compact. The arm of a common mother in loving kindness was around her children. These are the forces which accumulate the moral capital of a community. Whence eminence means sacrifice; when it means gift of yourself, not gift to yourself, all do not speak at once. It comes back to us like a breath from some higher sphere, recalling the truth, sure as anything reached by mathematical exactness, that it is this obligation of the greatest to the least which is the root of all good; rather than the old animal rule of the extinction of the weaker by the stronger—the love of self—which is the root of all evil. There is a difference between the old-fashioned respect which character commanded and the servility which money and appointing power buy.

For greatness, not for money.

The great things of this world have not been done for the money that is in them. They have been done for the greatness that is in them. The grandeur of this world, that on which it turns as on a pivot, has been the work of intense natures seeking as a paramount prize the accomplishment of their work. [306] A sense of responsibility in the gifted for the inadequate; compassion for the friendless; sympathy for the wronged, is the fine expression through human agents of the justice and love of the Creator. It is the purest and most undefiled religion.

The high men of that old day gave to a Commonwealth characters which touched with their own beauty the very humblest who stood near them and looked up to them. They were made in the image of their State; or, shall we say, their State was the mirror which threw back their image. We see in them a certain repose in greatness and not the restless impatience of them who are forever agonizing to persuade themselves and others that they are great. It was a Commonwealth whose binding link was sympathy; great, because of heartfelt sympathy with greatness. The trouble with this civilization was not that it was too low, but that it was too high; not that it was beneath them who rallied against it, but that it was above. Because she was true to her own tradition, Virginia deserved to be called by James Russell Lowell, ‘Mother of States and unpolluted men.’ Those ‘unpolluted men’ had the self-respect which springs from respect for others, and is rewarded by respect of others. So grew Virginia, as grows a high-born tree; spreading by slow degrees in the vital air of sympathy—a sympathy, wide and warm as her own tender sky.

At the first flight of the Eagle of Union, John Randolph, of Roanoke, saw what he called the ‘poison under the wings.’ Through his life he fought with the gift divine of genius to expel it. Few there were who could withstand the power of that piercing eye. He knew how to impale the avowed high motive for the action that was mean; how, with a lash of flame to strip selfishness of all disguises; and they who writhed under his wrath abhorred the terrible truth of his veracious scorn. The simulation of the ethics of love by the ethics of lust has been the arch mock to procure each recurring downfall of fair hope. This simulation it was the mission of his fearless wisdom to lay bare with a consuming fury. The sophisters could not entice him. He was peculiar, they said—too peculiar to be practical. From of old God's people have been a ‘peculiar people.’ Doubtless, it is true, that in the modern sense no man could have said to him, ‘We are practical men.’ He had looked deep [307] into realities. For this reason his speech pierced through and through appearances. To face the cohorts of the cupidities and to tell them to their teeth that their evil is not good is a role which appeals but freely to the opportunist. The fearless speaker of the truth; the fearless scourger of the false, is not the popular idol. His message is the great message of all freedom, the restraint of selfish power, the conquest of selfish passion, the conquest of self. The freeman is he who recognizes the obligation of restraints, to break through which is anarchy.

Like this son of her ardent soul, Virginia shrank not from ‘the cause of liberty in the capitol.’ Her battle was to replace ‘the divine right of kings’ by the divine right of justice; to defend the simplicity of truth against the idols of the time. She stood for that moral order which men may violate, but at their peril and to their ruin. Can brute force, the law of the jungle, be supplanted by the moral law of justice, is the problem freedom undertakes to satisfy. It is a struggle for the deep things of freedom; for the divine reality of a State, for living relations to eternal freedom. Against the ever-recurring selfishness of States, slipping like a snake from skin to skin, Virginia set her face like a flint. She gave her challenge to that gross materialism which is the hereditary foe of man. Specious devices to make the welfare of all pay special tribute to the pockets of the few faced at every turn her ‘stern round tower’ of State's rights. Until overthrown by force in 1865, you will search the statutes in vain for traces of her selfishness. Everywhere she denied herself with a now forgotten grace.

On the threshhold of independence, her own Bill of Rights had set forth the inherent rights of freemen. First and foremost was their right to that government which ‘is most effectually secured against the danger of mal-administration;’ and the correlative of this, that power is held in trust for the people—the magistrates who exercise power being but trustees. As privilege proceeds liberty recedes, was the doctrine of those ‘strict constructionists.’ The cheerful giver of the money of others did not strike those ‘Virginia abstractionists,’ (derisively so-called) as a superlative phenomenon. The ‘protection’ they demanded was protection from power—the protection of which patriotism is the reciprocal; security against a less abstracted [308] class of ‘abstractionists,’ bent upon abstracting the property of others. At the instance of the ‘corrupt squadron’ (the idiom borrowed from the lexicon of Jefferson) to despoil the force (the common weal) confided by the whole and for the whole; the trust fund of the commons, was, in their eyes, to lay unhallowed hands on the mark of the covenant. It was the fateful way to bring to the front what Mr. Dooley calls, ‘those brave men elected by the taxpayer of America to defend the hearths of the tax dodger of America.’

Liberty and Mammon.

By the searchlight which the present throws back upon the past, he who wills to look may see, that they were not narrow, but wide visioned and far-sighted who foresaw what is to-day the paradoxical combine of liberty and mammon; who saw in this the likeness of another paradoxical joinder, spoken of as that of God and Mammon; and, in the partisans of paradox, another kind of strict construction; the strict construction of God and latitudinous construction of Mammon. It was the part of statemanship to strike at the root of that which is to-day so resoundingly denounced as ‘predatory wealth;’ to strike at the source of malefaction rather than while leaving that in full force and effect, to blast with spiritual thunder the lineal malefactors; to strike fearlessly the cause, rather to seek to condone it by Ernulphus rhapsodies of Billingsgate—vociferous and vain-hurled upon the inevitable consequence. Generosity with trust funds is parent of a multitude of evils; among the evils—Havemeyer being judge-parent of the predatory trusts, it is just now courtly to condemn.

True, by others the Mother State was taunted with retrogression. True, the State which gave to the Union not only the Northwest territory, but the pastures of Kentucky, was reduced thereby in territory and in wealth. The rewards of sacrifice and cupidity are not the same. When sacrifice grows lucrative it ceases to be sacrifice. Virginia stood with all her power to prevent that spoilation by government which is twice cursed—cursing the spoiler and spoilee. The contagion of free government was sought to be spread by example by intrinsic merit, not by corruption; not by subjugation. There she stood, as afterwards [309] at Manassas stood her immortal son, ‘like a stone wall.’ How rich the moral return was shown in the day of her distress, when. from the four corners of the earth her sons came trooping to her to lay all they had on earth upon the altar of sacrifice for—a mother! In the high old Roman sense she could say: ‘These are my jewels.’ There came a day when Virginia walked bejeweled from sacrifice to sacrifice—like the Roman mother with her resplendent boys, Washington at the beginning, Lee at the end, of Federal Union, attest the ideal of a Commonwealth.

It was a simple and a grand old day when, in this city, John Marshall might have been seen each morning wending his way to the Old market, accompanied by the negro slave, who carried his basket for him. The line, dark and dangerous, between power and poverty had not then been drawn. If it be replied ‘the relation between white master and black slave was just that line,’ I answer, it was no such dark and dangerous line as exists to-day between the extremes of wealth and poverty; between capital and labor. The interval between Marshall and Marshall's Jack; Wickham and Wickham's Bob, was spanned by a bridge resting on the two great pillars of reverence and sympathy. On these two is laid that structure of law and prophets which binds the State together. When the discussion was transferred to the forum of force, the proof was made conclusive that this government of honor, by honor, and for honor, was also the government of love, by love and for love. They who had not shrunk from sacrifice, did not shrink from danger. In language which cannot be obliterated, they said: ‘Our bosoms are one.’ The Virginia which had known how to live greatly knew also how to die greatly. Death for country was ‘sweet and beautiful’ once more. It is all a dreamland of the past; that garden of fragrance and bloom; of beauty and peace. The dying landscape of that ‘First Garden’ of free government now wears the quaintness of a vanished age, haunting reminscence with a beautiful regret. It is a memory and a mist. When this Dominion ended, Virginia could say, like the last of the Judges—‘Whose ox have I taken: of whose hands have I received any bribe to blind my eyes therewith?’ With war's revolution the Book of Judges closed, the Book of Kings was opened.


The sin of slavery.

To all this, there is an exceedingly simple answer. The South has been condemned at the bar of civilization for holding the negro in bondage. Of all the cruel ironies of fate none seem; quite so sardonic as the turn of events which made New England the judge and executioner of Virginia for the sin of slavery.

In the decade which gave a new world to Castile and Leon two events conjoined to dramatize, on a colossal scale, that profound parable of the talents which, of itself, epitomizes the rise and fall of the children of men. In this colossal miracle play, the negro of the whole unrecorded past was seen, like Adam, in one of those old plays, standing there waiting to be created. To exchange such condition of mind and body for usefulness of some kind was the condition precedent to any rise. A law more immutable than that of Medes and Persians; a law which knows no relenting; the implacable law of ‘use or lose,’ caused to be entered the judgment of which involuntary exodus from Africa was execution. Our criminal jurisprudence sentences a man to hard labor as a sign of degradation. Nature sentences a man to hard labor as a sign of promotion. It is when we reject the sign of promotion, that we incur the brand of degradation.

South of the Great Desert (the slip north of it being really Asia) was a continent filled with human beings engaged in continuing their animal existence; a moral Sahara, as barren of moral use as the sea of sand which bounded it. Beyond their existence, what very literally was their bare existence, these ‘heirs of the ages’ had nothing to show for their inheritance. As title to the realty he knew not how to use was denied to the red man of America, so by a parity of reason, title to an intangible freedom was denied to the black man of Africa. The laches of six thousand years was the plea in bar to any assertion of negro freedom. Loaded down with the stagnation of six millinaries; lame and halt with locomotor ataxia of the spiritual spine, of what use of himself or others was this freedom—freedom to rot? The sloth of ages had been heaping up death to everything save anamilities. By a movement so swift as to seem electric, Europe said, ‘Let us use the idle sinews of the east to [311] develop the idle fertilities of the west; out of two refractory negations make one intelligent affirmative; thus supplying a reason for existence to two continents, otherwise having none.’ Europe became a huge employment agency for the idle hands and idle acres of two worlds; that two voluntary inutilities might be fashioned into involuntary utilities; and did not trust to baptism unaccompanied by works. Land and the unemployed were brought together on a business rather than a philanthropic basis; but like more modern agencies for profit, this too called itself philanthropism.

Te deum for slave trade.

The red man, by a mute appeal more eloquent than words, had said, ‘give me liberty, or give me death.’ The answer came— ‘we will give you death.’ The negro, who imposed on himself no such extreme alternative, took the place thus made vacant. When Hawkins made his voyage to the coast of Africa, there to collect a cargo of heathen raw material to be built into pious uses, Queen Elizabeth lent him her good ship Jesus, for the prosecution of his missionary zeal. One of the few features of the Peace of Utrecht which gave general satisfaction (Queen Ann went in person to communicate it to the peers) was that Assiento treaty whereby the right to supply Spanish colonies with negro slaves was transferred to England. A te deum composed by Handel was sung in thanksgiving. The elder Pitt made this trade ‘a central object of his policy.’ Great is England's pride in the Somerset case, wherein the greatest judge who ever sat on a common law bench decided that the law of England provided no remedy whereby, in England, the master could reclaim his slave. At that very time the government of England had negatived every effort of Virginia—twenty-three in all—to prohibit the slave trade.

Nowhere was the profit of this trade enjoyed with keener zest than in New England. The composition of the first fugitive slave ship of an English colony—the ‘Desire’—was built at Marblehead, Mass. At the time of the Declaration of Independence slavery was recognized by law in each of the thirteen colonies. That declaration did not suggest the emancipation of a single slave, but did arraign George III, for seeking to foment servile insurrection. [312]

The close of the revolution was signalized by Virginia's gift, not of principalities but of empires—to cement Federal union—called a ‘League of Love.’ The deed of cession of the northwest territory was executed by the delegation of Virginia in congress, in 1784, agreeably to an act of the legislature passed in 1783. Years afterwards, in the debate with Hayne, Mr. Webster took occasion to say that by the ordinance of 1787, excluding slavery therein, Nathan Dane who wrote it, thereby became greater ‘than Solon and Lycurgus, Minos, Numa Pompilius, and all the legislators and philosophers of the world.’

Jefferson Banished slavery.

The facts are these: Congress accepted this cession and directed Jefferson, of Virginia, Chase, of Maryland, and Howard, of Rhode Island, to prepare a form of government for this northwest territory. Their report, in the hand writing of Jefferson, contained a prohibition of slavery after the year 1800. On motion of Mr. Speight, of North Carolina, to strike out this prohibition, all New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, voted ‘aye.’ Virginia, Maryland, South Carolina voted ‘no;’ North Carolina divided. By the vote of a solid North, the prohibition was struck out. Afterwards, nemine contradicente, was passed the ordinance of 1787; reduced to writing, it would seem, by Nathan Dane, as amanuensis. The mechanical office discharged by the medium of transcription, sent to the rear, we are told, all Greek, all Roman fame. In the succeeding generation a great orator exclaims: how divine in the donee, in the grantee, the recipient! Virginians said—‘we will deny ourselves the right to go with our own property (purchased largely from you), upon our own soil.’ This has the aspect of a ‘self—denying ordinance.’ Virginia chose the sacrifice of self, crowned with thorns by the beneficiaries; rather than the sacrifice which crowns itself with place, power, profit—the sweet sacrifice of others. She was solicitous to give to freedom a spacious empire from a heart more spacious. Webster's praise commemorates a difference of ideals—a difference between the name and the reality.

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