previous next

The Virginia Convention of 1788.1

An address delivered to the Virginia Society of the sons of the American Revolution, at the Westmoreland Club, February 22, 1908, Richmond, Va.,

By Josiah Staunton Moore.
The writer of this thoughtful paper, a retired merchant and capitalist, is now in the due enjoyment of the result of his enterprise and sagacity. He was born in Richmond, Virginia, June 18, 1843. His course of education was at the Jefferson Male Academy, which he left in April, 1861, to join the Confederate States Army, serving in Pickett's Division, Army of Northern Virginia. He was engaged in the battle of Bethel, the first, and Five Forks, the last pitched battle of the Civil War, and was captured at the last, and imprisoned at Point Lookout, until released, June 16, 1865.

He has proven himself constantly alive to the various interests and progress of his native city and State.

Among his representative connections, the following may be cited:

Past President of the Wholesale Grocers' Association of Richmond and Past Masters' Association of Masons of Virginia, President of the Masonic Home of Virginia; of the 15th Virginia Infantry Association; of the Board of Governors of the Prison Association of Virginia; Vice-President of the Virginia Society, Sons of the American Revolution; member of the Virginia Historical Society; of the Society for the Preservation [29] of Virginia Antiquities; of the Board of Public Interests of Richmond, Virginia, of the Virginia Club, and of the Southern Historical Society. In politics he is a Democrat and has been constant in his allegiance to the party.

His pen has not been idle and he has not only contributed to the secular and religious press on timely topics, but has prepared and published a number of works of interest and value, among them being the following: A Trans-Atlantic Steamer, 1900; Reminiscences, Letters and Miscellanies, 1901; History of Henrico Parish, and Old St. John's Church, 1903; From Gotham to Jerusalem, 1906.


At the last annual meeting of our Society a resolution was passed requesting me to prepare a paper to be read at this gathering on the Constitutional Convention of 1788, which assembled in the city of Richmond in June of that year. The Convention held its first sittings in what was known as the Old Capitol, a wooden building situated at the southwest corner of Cary and Fourteenth Streets. This building was erected in 1780 for the temporary use of the government until the building on Capitol Hill was completed. In 1855 the Old Capitol was torn down and the stores known as Pearl Block were erected by Hugh W. Fry on its site. The Convention later held its sessions in the New Academy on Shockoe Hill. This building stood on the square bounded by Broad and Marshall and Twelfth and Thirteenth Street, where Monumental Church now stands. The scope of your resolution, as I understand it, embraced brief mention of some of the distinguished members of the Convention, questions debated, interesting incidents, and some of the characteristics of the personnel of this august body. In my judgment, no more interesting theme could have been selected for the entertainment of those whose forbears helped to achieve the independence of the American Colonies, which culminated in the establishment of this great nation. The part that Virginia sustained in the heroic struggle will ever be a source of pride and congratulation to her sons. I approach the task assigned me with extreme diffidence and with a serious mistrust of my [30] ability to do justice either to the occasion or the subject, fully aware that your partiality and a mistaken conception of my powers caused you to favor me—a mere layman in such matters —to undertake a task that has engaged the ablest minds of those learned in the law, schooled in politics and experienced in statesmanship. Of course, in a paper of this character, I shall be enabled only to touch upon these matters in a cursory and extemporaneous manner.

You are all familiar with the historic events that led up to the assumption of sovereign powers by the thirteen Colonies and caused them to throw off their allegiance to the Mother Country—the casus belli—the last straw that broke the back of the patient camel that had borne many heavy and unjust burdens, imposed by a tyrant King and an inconsiderate Parliament, was taxation without representation. This was the touchstone that consolidated opposition, this the spark that aroused the fires of resentment and kindled the flame of liberty that smouldered in every patriotic breast.

Our ancestors justly regarded the right of local selfgovern-ment as an inalienable and self-evident right. They looked upon it as a fundamental or constitutional law, just as the principles of Magna Charta were regarded by their forefathers as the fundamental law of England. Our ‘struggle was for chartered rights, English liberties—for the cause of Algernon Sydney and John Hampden.’

The thoughts, opinions, sentiments and determination of the people of Virginia were epitomized in those soul-stirring words uttered by Patrick Henry, almost within the sound of our voice, when, from the hallowed precincts of old St. John's on yonder hill, he exclaimed in impassioned and inspired eloquence, ‘Give me liberty or give me death.’ Virginia may be justly called the Cradle of Liberty and Patrick Henry its apotheosis.

It was in Virginia that was first heard the tocsin call that aroused and united the Colonies—‘The cause of Boston is the cause of all.’ Bancroft, the historian, truthfully says, ‘Virginia rang the alarm bell for the continent.’ Recognizing the gravity of the situation Virginia was the first to suggest the Convention of all the Colonies that met in Philadelphia in September, 1774. [31]

It was on the 5th of this month that delegates from twelve of the thirteen Colonies assembled, and Peyton Randolph, a Virginian, was called upon to preside over its deliberations. It is not my purpose to recapitulate the stirring events of the period that flashed across the horizon like the shifting scenes in a kaleidoscopeic panorama—the Boston massacre, the battle of Concord, Lexington and other events that resulted in the appointment of Washington to the command of the armies of the embryo republic. On the fourth of July, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was proclaimed. Eight days thereafter the committee appointed for that purpose reported the articles of confederation, under which the war of the Revolution was waged and independence achieved. The war of the Revolution itself is an interesting theme and well worthy of a separate paper at some future date. The struggles, sufferings, the heroic sacrifices, the patriotism displayed, all call for admiration and evince the devotion of our forefathers to the principles they avowed and so strenuously maintained.

But whilst the sufferings of the Colonial troops at Valley Forge and throughout the struggle were great, I question if they were more severe or more heroically borne than the ordeal through which many of us passed during the second struggle for constitutional liberty—during the trying period of 1861-65.

At the termination of the struggle for independence the Colonies were confronted with chaotic conditions. Bills of Credit had been emitted known as ‘Continental Money,’ not including what was termed the ‘New Emission,’ amounting to two hundred millions of dollars—a vast sum for those days and values at that time and the poverty of the young republic. Public credit was exhausted; general stagnation existed; commerce was languishing; discontent prevailed; the confederation was inadequate to properly conduct the government or enforce the laws. The system was about to dissolve in its own inanity and imbecility. Congress had made requisitions upon the States for their quota to meet the public debt, some had paid in part, others refused to pay—there existed no adequate power to enforce payment. Large sums were due France and Holland upon which even the interest had not been paid. The individual indebtedness to the English merchants was over ten million [32] dollars. The country had been devastated, the property of the planters, in slaves and cattle, carried off; cities plundered, towns burned. The value of the currency had fallen to almost nothing. In December, 1778, one thousand dollars in Continental bills was worth about $150 in hard dollars. In December, 1779, it was worth $38. In 1780 it took $1,000 in Continental bills to buy $25 in hard dollars. The following accounts, copied from original vouchers printed some years ago in the Historical Magazine, will, perhaps, give a better idea of the depreciation of the currency then in use, than could be done otherwise, as they exhibit the real difference in business transactions between Continental paper and specie in 1781:

The United States

To Samuel Martin, Dr.

May 28.—To shoeing two wagon horses belonging to the Continental60 pounds

Received the above sum this day of Mr. Thomas Pitt


The United States

Sept. 2.
To Wm. Hansill, Dr.

To 1 1/2 pounds Brown thread at 88 shillings per pound. Depreciation at at 600 per 1360 pounds

Staunton, Va., 27th Sept., 1781. Received payment.


The United States

To Richard Mathews, Dr.

Oct. 17th.—To 1,000 wt. of Bar Iron at six-pence per pound, the depreciation at 600 per 115,000 pounds

Staunton, Va., 17th Oct., 1781. Received payment.



The United States

To Alx. St. Clair, Dr.

Sept. 20.—To four Quires writing paper 2-6 per quire, 10 shillings. Depreciation 17th Nov., 1781, at 1,000 per 1500 pounds

Staunton, Va., Nov. 30th. Recd. payment of Capt. Thos. Hamilton.


Alx. St. Clair.

The United States

To Robt. Baggs, Dr.

Sept. 9.—To my pay, as a wagon master, from July 24th last, to this day, inclusive, being 47 days at 48 shillings per day, pounds 9-8-0.
Sept. 27.—By cash received pounds 3 950 currency at 600 pounds per 16.11.8.
By ditto pounds 2, 21, 13 at 1,000 per 12.16.4.

Staunton, Va., 30th November, 1781. Received payment of Capt. Thomas Hamilton the sum of six thousand, seven hundred and sixty-pounds, thirteen shillings and four pence, currency, in full for the above acct.


The above accounts read like a page from the history of the days of the ill-fated Southern Confederacy of 1861-65.

At the date of the assembling of the Convention (1788) the State of Kentucky was an integral part of the Old Dominion and was known in the geography of the State as the District of Kentucky, and was divided into seven counties, and was represented in the Convention as follows: Bourbon County by Henry Lee and Notlaw Conn; Fayette County by Humphrey Marshall and John Fowler; Jefferson County by Robt. Breckinbridge and Rice Bullock; Nelson County by Mathew Walton and John Steele; Mercer County by Thomas Allen and Alx. [34] Robertson; Lincoln County by John Logan and Henry Pawling; Madison County by John Miller and Green Clay.

Virginia at this time was an empire not only in territory, but her population had reached over 800,000 souls. Her population was over three-fourths of all that of New England. It was nearly double that of Pennsylvania. It was not far from three times that of New York. It was three-fourths of all the population of the Southern States. It exceeded by 60,000 that of North Carolina (including what was afterwards Tennessee), of South Carolina and of Georgia, and it was more than a fifth of the population of the whole Union. The great problem to be solved by the Convention of 1788 was, should we continue as thirteen Colonies or States, under a loose and undefined confederation, united together with a rope of sand or become a nation, riveted together with bands of steel and the indissoluble bonds of a permanent Union, under a consolidated government so far as national affairs went, with local self-government as to personal or domestic matters. The issue was thus joined—the lines drawn, the forensic battle begun, the war of words waged, the victory won. The Convention was an imposing body. ‘There were giants in those days,’ physically as well as intellectually. Many of its members were over six feet in height. Virginia was noted for large men—Washington, Randolph, Henry, Pendleton, Richard Henry Lee, Bland and Harrison were six feet, their average being over six feet, and their average weight over two hundred. The longevity of some of the members of this Convention was also remarkable; numbers lived to be over three score and ten, and the following lived to be over four score: William Dark, of Berkeley; Henry Lee, of Bourbon; Edward Winston, of Buckingham; Humphrey Marshall, of Fayette, whilst Paul Carrington, of Charlotte, lived to be ninety-three and James Johnson, of Isle of Wight, survived the adjournment of the Convention fifty-seven years, dying at the ripe old age of ninety-nine.

The Convention of 1788 presented as proud a galaxy of genius, worth, patriotism and public spirit as had ever shone in the councils of a single State. Its representatives were chosen from different pursuits in life—the judge, the merchant, the planter, the lawyer, the physician, the divine, the soldier made [35] up the complement of its members. All added the luster of their names, their experiences and talents to this illustrous body.

Paul Carrington nominated Edmund Pendleton as President, and notwithstanding the fact that the opposition to the adoption of the Constitution was strong, and it was known that Pendleton was its warmest advocate, he was elected not only without opposition, but as though his eminent fitness for the position was generally recognized. It may have been, and doubtless was, owing to the sagacity of the opposition in not caring to risk the chances of defeat at the start—an unwillingness to test their strength. The chief advocates of the Constitution were Edmund Randolph, George Nicholas, Edmund Pendleton, James Madison and John Marshall. The opponents were Patrick Henry, George Mason, William Grayson, James Monroe. These were the principal debaters. For the first week Henry stood pretty much alone in opposition to the solid phalanx of its advocates, except for a short speech by George Mason. Henry was the orator of the people — the great objector. He fought the Constitution, line by line, clause by clause, article by article, section by section — in detail and as a whole. The chief objections raised by Mr. Henry, and sustained by his side, were that the Constitution was a consolidated government and subversive of the rights of the people, a surrender of the sovereignty of the States. He objected strenuously to the expression in the preamble, ‘We, the people,’ instead of ‘We, the States.’ He plead for the rights and liberties of the people; contended for amendments before ratification. He grew eloquent on the Bill of Rights; denounced the tax-gathers under the proposed Federal law; he brought up the navigation of the Mississippi; dwelt on the dangers of the system; objected to the powers of the judiciary, the authority of Congress. In fact, Mr. Henry raised every objection to real and imaginary dangers that a fervid imagination and a patriotic heart could devise. The other side, of course, took the opposite view, depreciated the cry of alarm, urged the necessity for the Constitution. Pointed out in forceful language, and with telling effect, the imbecility of the confederation; defined, with logical force, the difference between the Federal and State governments, the autonomy of the State and the defined powers granted by the General Government [36] contending that the Union was necessary for the people of Virginia, for her protection, growth and prosperity. The rights and liberties of the people were more secure under a Constitution than under the confederation, they claimed. These were briefly the contentions of the two parties, contending for and against the proposed measures upon which they were called to deliberate and determine.

In the time and space allotted, I shall endeavor to give a brief sketch of some of these characters. The material is ample, the subject prolific, but time will not permit me to trespass upon you sufficiently to be more prolix.

Patrick Henry.

The most conspicuous character in the Convention was, unquestionably, Patrick Henry—the Demosthenes of America, the seer of the Revolution. He had made himself popular and famous by the resolutions offered declaring the Stamp Act unconstitutional; had served in the public councils for years, and was the first Governor of the Commonwealth in the Revolution.

Henry was the first to use the magic words, in his letter of acceptance of the Governorship of Virginia, ‘The Commonwealth of Virginia,’ now so familiar to us all. He was the orator and the idol of the people and was regarded by them as the champion of their liberties and the defender of their rights. He was at this time just past fifty and should have been in the vigor of life, but he had encountered many hardships and had endured much trouble as a man and as a patriot. There was a stoop in his shoulders and he wore glasses. His hair had disappeared in early life and its place was supplied by a brown wig. His attempts to adjust it, in his forensic efforts, caused it to assume many curious and ludicrous positions. But his voice had not lost its magic and his intellectual powers knew no decline. He displayed in this assembly a splendor of eloquence which swept all before him, surpassing all his previous efforts, and yet one, calmly and dispassionately, reading the debates, would say he was rather rhetorical than logical; he appealed to the passions rather than to reason. He frequently, it would seem, ‘talked to the galleries.’ His language [37] and appeals sound very much like the modern demagogue. He was a splendid orator, a good debator, but I should hardly rank him as a logician or a statesman. In his first effort he declared ‘I consider myself as the servant of the people of this Commonwealth, as a sentinel over their rights, liberty and happiness.’ In fervid tones he inquired, ‘what right had they to say, “We, the people,” instead of We, the States?’ States are the characteristics and soul of a confederation, he asserted. His reply to the speech of Henry Lee, of Westmoreland, is said not only to have been his longest, but the most eloquent and pathetic he had ever made. He was a man of wonderful personal magnetism and could play upon the chords of the hearts of his hearers like some inspired minstrel of old—

Like that wild harp, whose magic tone
Is waken'd by the wind alone.

He was a prominent character from the time his star rose above the horizon at Hanover Courthouse in the famous ‘Parson's cause’ to the time of his death. Here, Wirt says, ‘Was first witnessed that mysterious and almost superhuman transformation of appearance which the fire of his eloquence never failed to work in him.’ He was noted for his winsomeness of speech. His voice was rich, strong and clear. It has been said of him, ‘With that voice of his, Patrick could make love in a corner or call a hound a mile away.’ ‘Henry's traits,’ included the captivating gesture, a smile that played about the mouth and a splendid use of the eye—‘the Patrick flash.’ Judge Roane says: ‘His voice, countenance and gestures gave an irresistable force to his words which no description could make intelligible to one who had never heard him speak.’ As a speaker he was a man of extraordinary persuasiveness. It is said ‘his irresistable charm was the vivid feeling with which he spoke and which was communicated to his hearers.’

His reply to Lee is full of beautiful hyperboles, lofty sentiments, touching appeals, flights of fancy, patriotic devotion. Such was the effect of his eloquence that General Thomas Posey, an officer of distinction in the army of the Revolution, and warmly in favor of the Constitution, declared to a friend that he was so overpowered by Henry's speech on this occasion as to [38] believe that the Constitution, if adopted, would be the ruin of the liberties of the people, as certainly as he believed in his own existence; that subsequent reflection reassured his judgment and his well-considered opinion resumed its place. Another gentleman who heard the fervid description which Henry gave of the slavery of the people, as he imagined would be wrought by the Federal executive at the head of his armed hosts, declared that so thrilling was the delineation of the scene that ‘he involuntarily felt his wrists to assure himself that the fetters were not already pressing his flesh.’ Indeed.

His words were like a stream of honey fleeting,
     The which doth softly trickle from the hive,
Able to melt the hearer's heart unweeting
     And eke to make the dead again alive.

Not only was Henry powerful in his eloquence, but he employed sarcasm as well, and could shoot a Parthian arrow that not only wounded, but rankled in the wound. In his reply to Governor Randolph he said: ‘It seems to me very strange and unaccountable that that which was once the object of his execration should now receive his encomiums’—alluding to his shifting course, his inconsistency as shown by his letter of recantation. Randolph had in his speech claimed to be ‘a son of the Revolution,’ and Henry raised a laugh, at his expense, by reason of this expression. Randolph became very much exasperated at these thrusts, and a personal difficulty was only averted by the timely interposition of mutual friends. Henry dwelt very much upon the ‘American spirit’ and the ‘genius of America’ in his forensic debates, and these favorite expressions were ridiculed by his opponents as being vain, impractical and visionary.

But he threw a bomb of consternation into the camp of his opponents when he sprang upon them the alleged scheme to turn over, by treaty, the navigation of the Mississippi River to Spain, as was then being negotiated by order of Congress. The Northern States, from purely selfish motives, attempted to barter away the navigation of the Mississippi. Henry declared, says John Marshall, ‘he would rather part with the confederation than relinquish the navigation of the Mississippi.’ He [39] placed Monroe and Madison, who were in Congress when this matter was discussed, in the most embarrassing predicament, which they were called upon to explain. His effort on this occasion won the approval and sympathy of the delegates from the District of Kentucky, who, being more directly interested in the matter, were bitterly opposed to the treaty. His efforts on this occasion were spectacular and dramatic, and produced so profound an impression that it is said had the vote then been taken that the Constitution would not have been adopted. But it is impossible on this occasion to do justice to this great character.

Of Henry, as of so many of our public men, it can be said ‘tempora mutantur nos et nmutamur in illis.’ Consistency is a rare and precious jewel, and the Old Man Eloquent did not possess this rare gem. In his old age and full of honors showered upon him by a grateful and appreciative people, he turned to other gods than those he worshipped in his younger days. Patrick Henry, the man of the people, he who declared himself ‘the servant of the people of this Commonwealth, a sentinel over their rights and liberty and happiness,’ and denounced the Constitution as subversive of these priceless boons; the bitterest foe to the proposed instrument, the uncompromising anti-Federalist, went back upon his record in 1778. The great contest was on for the supremacy of the Republican party, for the control of the State, led by Jefferson, Monroe and Madison, and opposed by Washington, Hamilton, Lee and other leaders of the Federal party. It was a battle of the giants. Washington recognizing the man for the occasion—Patrick Henry—wrote and requested that he would be a candidate for Representative in the General Assembly of the Commonwealth. Washington's appeal touched a responsive chord in the heart of the grand old man, the lambent fires were once again kindled into a fervid glow of his wonted eloquence. The General Assembly had declared the Alien and Sedition Laws passed by Congress unconstitutional and had accused the Federal government of trespassing upon the rights of the States, all of which grew out of the imbroglio with France that came near culminating in a war with the sister republic. Jefferson and his party were for yielding to the unjust demands of France; Washington and [40] Lee were for sustaining the rights and dignity of our government, they unfurled their banner to the breeze. Emblazoned on its folds were the magic words of Pinckney: ‘Millions for defense, not a cent for tribute.’ The people rallied to this inspiring cry. The effort of each side was to secure for their respective party the control of the Virginia Legislature to back up the Federal government or to cause it to recede from its position towards France. Each party recognized the potency of Henry's eloquence and his influence with the people and both made overtures for his favor. The Jefferson faction, in control of the Legislature, elected him, for the third time, Governor, which honor he declined. The other side bid for his influence by offering him the position of Minister to France. What determined the great commoner to change and become an advocate for measures he had so long and so strenuously resisted is a mystery. By some it has been ascribed to old age and disease. By others attributed to a desire on Henry's part to secure the good opinion and friendship of Washington. It had been reported to Henry that Washington, while speaking of him on several occasions, considered him a factious and seditious character.

This was the dead fly that caused his pot of ointment to be unsavory. It rankled in his breast; it saddened his susceptible heart; it made life unendurable, for not only he, but all men wished the good will and opinion of he, who was ‘first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.’ Whatever may have influenced Henry, whatever may have been his motive, we find that he, who in 1789 had said, ‘I want to crush that anti-Federal champion,’ in 1799 had veered round to the support of doctrines he had previously condemned. And so we come to his last public appearance—the last speech of his life in defense of principles and opinions he had formerly denounced.

We have seen the rising of the sun; we are now to behold its setting. At Charlotte Courthouse; March court, 1799, Henry addressed the people for the last time. From far and near they came; thousands to hear their favorite. Old and feeble with disease he appeared, but his eye lit up with its wonted fire and his clarion voice rang out clear and resonant as of old; but such [41] was his physical condition that when he ended he sank exhausted into the arms of his friends. Notwithstanding age and decrepitude, this speech, as reported in Wirt's Life of Henry, does not indicate any diminution of mentality or oratorical powers. He plead as fervently for the maintenance of those principles he now advocated as he had in opposition ten years before. So affected was the audience by the emphasis of his language, the solemnity of his voice, the fervency of his utterance that they wept like children, and when he closed one of his most ardent admirers, as he sank into his arms, exclaimed, ‘The sun has set in all his glory.’

This speech was replied to by that remarkable and eccentric genius, John Randolph of Roanoke. Henry's sun was set, but Randolph's on this occasion rose above the horizon in matchless splendor.

Edmund Pendleton.

While Henry was the orator of the Convention, Pendleton was its master spirit. His dignity of mien, his venerable age, his carefulness in dress bespoke him no ordinary man. He had some years previously been thrown from his horse and had his hip dislocated and neither stood or walked without assistance.

By unanimous consent he was called to preside over the deliberations of this august body.

With grave
     Aspect he rose, and in his rising seem'd
A pillar of state; deep on his front engraven
     Deliberation sat, and public care,
And princely counsel in his face yet shone

The occasion of the Convention was to ratify or reject the Constitution prepared and recommended by the General Federal Convention of the States, held at Annapolis, convened at the request of the Assembly of Virginia some five years previously. Virginia was the first of the Colonies to instruct her delegates (in 1776) to declare independence, the declaratory resolutions adopted by Congress and offered by one of her representatives [42] and the public appeal to the world, in the form of a declaration of independence, was drawn by another Virginian.

It was in the Convention of 1776 that the first written constitution ever framed by an independent political society was adopted. In importance to the world it far exceeded the significance of Magna Charta granted by King John at Runnymede. The delegates ip the general convention from Virginia were George Washington, Patrick Henry, Edmund Randolph, John Blair, James Madison, George Mason, George Wythe. Henry declined the appointment and Richard Henry Lee was appointed in his stead, but he also declined, and Dr. James McClurg, who lies buried in St. John's churchyard, was then appointed. This constitution was signed and recommended only by Washington, Blair and Madison, a minority of the delegation. During the debates in the Convention, when Henry was twitted for shirking this responsibility, he made the undignified reply that ‘He smelt a rat.’ Pendleton was a man of pure and benevolent character, was known and honored throughout the Commonwealth, had been in the public councils for years. He subsequently filled the chair of Speaker of the House of Delegates and presided for a quarter of a century on the bench of the Court of Appeals. Jefferson, in his Memoirs, says: ‘Taken all in all, he was the ablest man in debate I have ever met; he was cool, smooth and persuasive; his language flowing, chaste and embellished; his conceptions quick, acute and full of resource. Added to this he was one of the most virtuous of men, the kindest friend, the most amiable of companions.’ Notwithstanding his inability to stand, except upon his crutches, he presided with an ease and dignity rarely surpassed. Owing to his infirmity he was allowed to preside by sitting, not rising in addressing or putting the question to the house.

He met the objection of Henry to the words in the preamble of the Constitution, ‘We, the people,’ in this wise: ‘An objection is made to the form. The expression, ‘We, the people.’ Permit me to ask the gentleman who made this objection, who but the people can delegate powers? Who but the people have a right to form government?’ He further said: ‘On the subject of government, the worthy member (Henry) and myself differ on the threshold. I think government necessary to protect [43] liberty. He supposes the American spirit all sufficient for the purpose. I differ from the gentleman in another respect. He professes himself an advocate for the middle and lower classes of men. I profess to be the friend of all classes of men, from the palace to the cottage, without any other distinction than between good and bad men.’ His speeches were a complete answer and refutation of Henry's impassioned utterances, and were generally so happy and masterful that he was congratulated on all sides. He was regarded as the Nestor of the body. His opponents, as well as his friends, frequently crowded around him to do him honor. He pointed out the imbecility of the confederation and the urgent necessity for a government in conformity to the Constitution. Said he: ‘It is the interest of the Federal to preserve the State government; upon the latter the existence of the former depends.’ His speeches on the tariff feature of the Constitution, the judiciary and other subjects were ingenious and conclusive, and a complete refutation of the arguments of Henry. Pendleton had the happy faculty of analyzing his subject with inimitable tact, scorned the defects or eulogized the perfections with a masterly hand and the attributes of a consumate debator. To appreciate Pendleton it is necessary one should read his speeches inextenso in Elliott's Debates.

Edmund Randolph.

Of this distinguished Virginian it may be truly said-

His life was gentle; and the elements
So mixed in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, “This is a man.”

When Randolph took his seat in the Convention of 1788 he was in the flower of his manhood, being thirty-seven years old. His figure was portly, his face handsome, his hair long. He had already achieved distinction by his forensic efforts in the deliberations of the Convention at Philadelphia. His acquaintance with the English language was perfect; his voice finely modulated; his periods stately; his gestures graceful.

He was recognized as the most accomplished statesman of his age in the Convention. His father, during the Revolution, [44] adhered to the standard of England. The son, undaunted by the conduct of his father, who is said to have disinherited him for refusing to follow his example, but impelled by patriotic motives, hastened to the Continental army, then encamped on the heights of Boston, and offered his services in her defence. This manly course tendered to his advantage and he was looked upon with great favor and pride by the people. He was elected from Williamsburg to the Convention of 1776. He was successively elected Attorney-General and to Congress, and in 1787 he was sent to the General Convention which framed the Federal Constitution. He was at this time (1788) Governor of the Commonwealth. He was, at one time, opposed to the Constitution, and as one of the delegates from Virginia to the General Convention, refused to sign. He was now an advocate for its adoption and was placed in a delicate and embarrassing position, which Henry at once seized on and twitted him with. A spirited, and at times an acrimonious debate ensued, in which the Governor lost his temper and Henry rather got the better of him. Randolph was both argumentative and logical in his discourses. To Henry's inquiry, already adverted to, why, ‘We, the people?’ he replied: ‘I ask why not? The government is for the people, and the misfortune was that the people had no agency in the government before * * * What harm is there in consulting the people on the construction of a government by which they are to be bound? Is it fair? Is it unjust? If the government is to be binding upon the people are not the people the proper persons to examine its merits or defects? I take this to be one of the least and most trival objections that will be made to the Constitution.’ The bold and sarcastic tone in which he answered the inquiries of Henry told that he defied the attacks of the orator of the people. The personalities indulged in came near culminating in a hostile meeting. Randolph ended a long and brilliant debate in repy to Henry's charge of his inconsistency in opposing the Constitution at one time and advocating it at another. In a touching valedictory in justification of his conduct, said he: ‘But although for every other act of my life I shall seek refuge in the mercy of God, for this I request justice only. I went to the Federal Convention with the strongest affection for the Union; that I acted there in full conformity [45] with this affection; that I refused to subscribe because I had, as I still have, objections to the Constitution, and wished a free inquiry into its merits, and that the accession of eight States reduced our deliberations to the single question of Union or no Union.’ But though Governor Randolph was in favor of the Constitution, in referring to the proposed method of ratification, he said: ‘It is demonstrably clear to me that rights not given are retained.’ Edmund Randolph's memory is dear to the people of Richmond, because for years he was identified with us as a citizen. He was one of the twelve vestrymen of St. John's church, elected March 28, 1785. At the following meeting of the vestry he was chosen church warden and his autograph as such appears in the vestry book of the old church. He also represented St. John's church in the convention of the reorganized Diocese of Virginia, held at Richmond in June, 1785. He was a prominent Mason, having been Grand Master of Masons in Virginia in 1786. Richmond Randolph Lodge, No. 19, was named in his honor, he having assisted in laying the cornerstone of Mason's Hall in 1785.

John Marshall.

The poet has drawn the following picture of

A judge—a man so learned,
     So full of equity, so noble, so notable;
In the process of his life, so innocent;
     In the manage of his office, so incorrupt;
In the passages of state so wise, in
     Affection of his country so religious;
In all his services to the King so
     Fortunate and exploring, as envy
Itself cannot accuse or malice vitiate.

Had the poet, the person or portrait in his mind's eye, he could not have drawn John Marshall more truly than in the above lines. When this distinguished jurist appeared in the Convention of 1788, he was quite a young man, being only thirty-three, but destined to fill the office of Chief Justice of the United States. [46]

During the Revolutionary war he served as captain and distinguished himself at Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth. His chief eminence, however, was in civic life and in the practice of his chosen profession, which he devoted himself to at the close of the war. His manners had been formed in camp and were in strange contrast to those of Randolph and Grayson. His habits were convivial and he was careless and indifferent in regard to his deportment and dress. He was doubtless saved from his amiable temper and social proclivities by his wife, who was the guardian angel of his earlier life. John Marshall and his wife lived happily together for fifty-three years, the tribute to her memory, written by himself and published in Meade's Old Churches, etc., is one of the tenderest and most affecting ever written. His intellectual powers are best shown in his judicial opinions, which to this day are quoted and referred to by those learned in the law. He found time in the midst of his official duties to write his well-known life of Washington. He was of high character—that spiritual and moral attribute and quality that distinguishes men amongst their fellows. His manners were simple and unassuming. He was extremely affable and easily accessible to the young as well as the old, by the poor as well as the rich, by the fair sex as well as the manlier. His face was kind and the expression benignant; his eye, black and piercing, never let the image of a friend, any more than the semblance of an organism, escape his vision. His lofty figure, clothed in the plainest dress, mingled, without ostentation with his fellowmen everywhere. He had less mannerism as a public speaker than any of his contemporaries. He was unaffected, plain and simple, yet he rose to flights of eloquence that excited the admiration of his listeners.

As a statesman he is justly entitled to rank with Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison and their compeers. He was nineteen years old when in the battle at Lexington. He was appointed lieutenant of a military company and walked ten miles with his gun on his shoulder to the muster grounds. The captain was absent; he took charge of the company and drilled it. He was dressed in a blue hunting shirt with pantaloons of the same cloth. His hat was ornamented with with a deer's tail in lieu of a cockade. After he finished drilling his militia he indulged [47] in pitching quoits and running foot races. He was in the army at Valley Forge during that terrible winter when the soldiers were tracked in snow by the blood on their feet.

When Marshall declared himself a candidate for the Convention to vote upon the adoption of the Federal Constitution, the majority of his constituents were opposed to it and he was informed that there would be no opposition if he would vote against its adoption. This he refused to do, and his election was warmly contested. His personal popularity secured his election, and it is generally conceded that but for his efforts and Mr. Madison's that it would unquestionably have been rejected. Judge Story has pronounced his speech in defense of the President for his conduct relative to the extradition of Jonathan Robins ‘one of the most consumate judicial arguments that was ever pronounced in the halls of legislation.’

It was response sans replique—an answer so irresistible that it admitted of no reply. His Supreme Court decisions are now the law of the land and are monuments of fame and wisdom.

His figure was a familiar one on the streets of Richmond, where he resided for many years. It is said he always made his own marketing, and that on one occasion a well dressed young man asked him to carry home a turkey for him, which he did. The young gentleman offered him a shilling for his services, which he declined, and on inquiring who the plainly dressed countryman was was told he was Judge Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States. Judge Marshall was an enthusiastic Mason and was Grand Master of Masons in Virginia in 1793, and a member of Richmond Randolph Lodge No. 19, and the last sad tribute of respect was paid to him by this lodge, July 9, 1835, when his remains were interred in Shockoe Cemetery. ‘The great, the good, the wise.’

James Madison,

The fourth President of the United States, justly called ‘the Father of the Federal Constitution,’ commenced his public career early in life. He entered the Convention of 1776 at the age of twenty-five. He was naturally modest and diffident, but [48] his long service in the House of Delegates and in Congress had made him one of the most thorough debaters of that age.

Madison was the ruling spirit in the Convention. He knew that great opposition would be urged against the adoption of the Constitution. He, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay wrote many explanatory articles, to prevent misconstruction of its powers, which were collected and published as the Federalist. His figure was below the middle stature. Owing to this he was called ‘the Great Little Mr. Madison,’ but was graceful and well proportioned, his manners and address most pleasant. He appeared arrayed in blue and buff, and at his breast and on his wrists he wore ruffles. His hair was worn low on his forehead to conceal partial baldness, and ended, according to the custom of that day, in a long cue. His face was clean shaven. In fact, hirsute appendages in those days were not in form, and the barbers did a thrifty business. Neither mustache nor whiskers was ever seen on the face of Washington, Madison, Jefferson or Monroe. Madison was credited with possessing the faculty of debate in such a degree that he exhausted every subject he discussed. He possessed an intimate knowledge of the men with whom he was associated, and to whom he was opposed. He knew their strong and their weak points and governed himself accordingly. He was temperate in debate and always appealed to common sense. By his enemies he was rated as a mere closet philosopher—an able logician, but a weak and timid statesman. In response to Henry's animadversions against the expression, ‘We, the people,’ he said: ‘The people, but not people as composing one great body, but the people as composing thirteen sovereignties,’ was referred to. As favoring the Constitution he made this sensible remark: ‘A government which relies on thirteen sovereignties for the means of its existence, is a solecism in theory, and a mere nullity in practice.’

Madison was noted for his purity of character, his morality and devotion to civil, political and religious liberty. He has been condemned for urging in the old Continental Congress a treaty of peace with Great Britain, acknowledging the independence of all the States except the Carolinas and Georgia, which were to remain British provinces. The only justification he ever offered was that Georgia and the Carolinas had been conquered and [49] subdued by the armies of Great Britain. The true explanation is supposed to be that Mr. Madison thought that the free navigation of the Mississippi had to be relinquished or the conquered territory surrendered, and he doubtless thought the surrender of the conquered territory the lesser of the two evils. His reply to Henry on the subject of the navigation of the Mississippi is considered the most adroit made in the Convention—an exquisite specimen of the test and skill with which a statesman may appear to walk steadily over the ground that was quaking beneath him. Henry had him in a tight place. Madison labored under two difficulties—his low stature made it difficult to be seen from all parts of the house and his voice was so weak it was impossible to hear him at times. He had a habit of rising to speak, with his hat in his hand and with his notes in his hat, and when he warmed up his body had a kind of see-saw motion. Yet such was the force of his genius that one of his warmest opponents in the Convention declared that he listened with more delight to his clear and cunning arguments than to the eloquence of Henry.

His tongue
     Dropped manna, and could make the worse appear
The better reason, to perplex and dash
     Maturest counsels.

Chief Justice Marshall, who was the chief of the opposition, when asked which of the various speakers he had heard was the most eloquent—and he had heard all the great orators of America—replied: ‘Eloquence had been defined to be the art of persuasion. If it includes persuasion by convincing, Mr. Madison was the most eloquent man I ever heard.’ He was noted for the respect and courtesy with which he regarded the motives and treated the arguments of his opponents. He had great blandness of manner, conciliation and forbearance. He seldom, if ever, gave offence to any one in the most exciting political debates. From the most diffident of men, when he commenced his public career he could not speak at all, he became perfect in the art. Madison's diary or journal of the Convention, comprised in the ‘Madison Papers,’ is a valuable contribution to American history of that period. [50]

Madison possessed, to a wonderful extent, an exquisite sense of humor, which though felt and admired in conversation, was so effectively controlled as never to appear in his written composition or his public discussions. It was reserved for social intercourse exclusively. He thought that truth and reason were the proper weapons for the forum. His love of humor did not forsake him even in old age. During his last days, when visited by two of his friends he rose and greeted them; as he resumed his recumbent position on his couch he apologized for so doing, observing with a smile, ‘I always talk more easily when I he.’ He had a great many jokes on his friend, Jefferson, which he told with great glee. He died in his eighty-fifth year, in 1836.

George Mason

Was one of the most striking figures in the Convention. By his admirers he was regarded as at once the Solon and the Cato, the law-giver and the uncompromising patriot in the age in which he lived. In the Bill of Rights drawn by him, occurs the following sentence: ‘That no man, or set of men, is entitled to exclusive separate emoluments, or privileges from the community but in consideration of public service, which not being descendible, neither ought the offices of magistrate, legislator or judge to be hereditary.’ Here is a volume of truth and wisdom. This truth is accentuated when we behold our trust-ridden country under an infamous and unjust tariff, under which one class of citizens are made hewers of wood and drawers of water for another class, and indiscriminate plunder permitted. The protected is allowed to exact separate emoluments and to enjoy privileges from the community at large under class legislation.

George Mason was a Virginian, not only by birth, but in sentiment, in affection and devotion. He was a Virginian first, last and all the time; secondarily, he was an American.

The views of Washington were the antithesis of Mason's. Washington believed in a strong centralized government; he knew the utter futility of the confederation. He regarded the Union not only as paramount, but perpetual. He was a patriot, an American. In his farewell address—so pathetic, so full of tender love and devotion—he writes as would a father to his children. He speaks of ‘the unity of the government, which [51] constitutes you one people.’ He says: ‘The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any other appellation derived from local discriminations.’ He deprecates sectional feelings and jealousies and warns the people against political factions and party strife. In his letter addressed to the Governors on his retiring from office, he uses the expression, ‘the citizens of America,’ and speaks of the country as ‘a nation;’ and amongst other things he dwells upon as essential to the well-being of our country, aye, to its very existence as an independent power, ‘And indissoluble Union of States under one Federal head.’

He seemed to hold the view that the tie between the Colonies and Great Britain were irrevocably broken by the Revolution and their acknowledgment of independence by the world, the autonomy of the States were in like manner surrendered, except so far as domestic or local relation and regulations went, when the people, through their duly accredited representatives of their respective States, adopted and ratified the Federal Constitution for the declared purpose of forming ‘a more perfect union’ for common defense and protection, each State, in all its departments, to be subservient to the supreme law of the land—the acts of Congress.

Mason regarded Virginia as an empire within herself, a sovereignty, and was utterly opposed to a consolidated government and the surrender of her rights to a central power. He was in favor of a union for mutual defense and welfare only. He wished Virginia to be a free Commonwealth, not to alienate beyond recall her powers, her liberty. He was as great an objector as Henry himself to the Constitution. These objections were radical and extended to every department of the proposed government. He particularly objected to the connection between the President and the upper house, what he called ‘the marriage between the President and the Senate,’ and the extraordinary powers conferred on the latter. When Mason first arose to address the Convention the audience was hushed and the eyes of all men fixed upon him. His once raven hair was now as white as snow, his commanding figure attired in deep mourning, still erect, his black eyes lit up with the flame of intelligence, [52] his voice calm, deliberate and full. His reputation as the author of what was regarded as the palladium of our liberties — the Declaration of Rights and of the first Constitution of the Commonwealth, together with his known opposition to the ratification of the Federal Constitution, which he had refused to sign in the Federal Convention, as a delegate from Virginia, was calculated to attract attention. He was now past three score, but had only been in the public service about twelve years, but he was confessedly the first man in every assembly. He bitterly opposed unconditional grants to the General Government. He insisted upon amendments and conditions which he regarded as essential to secure the rights and liberties of the people. He wished these rights guaranteed in the instrument before its ratification and adoption. Throughout the session of the Convention he was an admirable coadjutor to Henry. One was the orator appealing to the sentiments and passions; the other the statesman invoking judgment and reason. He was not a broad man in his views; in fact his statesmanship appears to have been rather narrow and contracted, as evidenced by this question asked in debate:

“Does any man suppose that one general national government can exist in so extensive a country as this?” If living to-day he would doubtless have opposed the acquisition of Porto Rico and the Philippines.

He was not of that strain of counselors
That, like a tuft of rushes in a brook,
Bends every way the current turns itself
Yielding to every puff of appetite
That comes from majesty, but with true zeal
He faithfully declared all.

James Monroe.

Attended a country school with John Marshall, with whom he traveled his eventful career, in war and peace, a long and honored course. He spent a term at William and Mary, but his elementary stock of knowledge was small, his real education was on the stage of life. He entered the army of the Revolution at the age of eighteen as a cadet, became a lieutenant and captain [53] and finally an aide to General Lord Stirling. He was in active service nearly the whole war, and fought in the battles of Harlem Heights, White Plains, of Princeton and Trenton with Lafayette, in which last he was wounded; of Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth. At the end of the war he was elected to the House of Delegates. At the age of twenty-four he was deputed to Congress and was the youngest member which the Assembly had ever elected to that body. He was tall and erect in person, his face, with its high cheek bones, betokened his Caledonian origin; his manner kind and affectionate, but of martial stiffness. His demeanor was marked by gravity which concealed from the common observer a warm and generous heart. He was noted for the concentration and sincerity with which he devoted his talents to the business in hand and his truthfulness. He was entirely devoid of those accomplishments that assure interest and adorn the social sphere. He lacked the charm in conversation of many of his compeers. He was slow in comprehending a subject, but he was, as Henry remarked, ‘slow, but give him time and he was sure.’ His mental faculties were neither large nor bright, not much enriched by art or learning drawn from books, yet vigorous and practical. The secret of his unparalleled success is attributed to his industry, integrity and personal intrepidity, which he displayed amid the clashing of arms or the more fearful and wonderful clashing of tongues. He possessed in a pre-eminent degree common sense. He was neither a graceful nor an accomplished speaker. Pronunciation, elocution, emphasis, gesture, the art and charm of diction, style, never crossed his mind; he looked at the staple or the matter of the speech as the paramount object and he went at it in a truly matter of fact way. In the Convention he propounded the question, ‘What are the powers which the Federal government ought to possess?’ and proceeded to answer it deliberately and with consumate tact, shorn of sophistry and rhetoric. Monroe's name is more conspicuously connected with, and his fame rests more prominently on, the famous ‘Monroe Doctrine’ than any other event in his life. Briefly stated, this doctrine is that ‘the American Continents should no longer be subjects for new European colonial settlement.’ His argument, as reported in Elliott's Debates, while not oratorical, is candid, [54] lucid and cogent. Monroe succeeded Mr. Madison as President of the United States in 1817, and was re-elected in 1820. Monroe's life teaches that

     To meditate, to plan, resolve, perform,
Which, in itself, is good—as surely brings
     Reward of good no matter what be done.

And his success exemplifies the fact that

‘Truth needs no flowers of speech.’

He died on the anniversary of American independence, July 4, 1831, and he rests on the banks of the noble James, whose waters sing his requiem as they pass on to the sea.

His obsequies were performed under the direction of Richmond Randolph Lodge No. 19, his funeral oration delivered by Robert Stanard, Esq.

I have, in a desultory and imperfect manner, briefly sketched the characters of some of the most distinguished members of the Convention of 1788. In review we have seen displayed the matchless eloquence of the immortal Henry; the masterful arguments of the learned Pendleton; Randolph with his classic reasoning and harmonious periods; Marshall with his simple and unassuming manners, but wise and conservative statesmanship; the Roman energy and Attic wit of George Mason; Madison with his incomparable powers of persuasion; Monroe with his sophistry and rhetoric. In regard to each of these great men it might be said there was—

A combination and a form indeed,
Where every god did seem to set his seal
To give the world assurance of a man.

But I feel that while the heavens are encompassed with this bright galaxy of stars—men known in history to us all, whose names have come down the corridors of time—there are a few others, now almost forgotten and whose names are passed into oblivion, who should be mentioned and who were active in the debates of this Convention. Of this pregnant list I have selected George Nicholas and William Grayson.


George Nicholas.

Whilst Henry was par excellence the orator of the Convention of 1788, Colonel Nicholas was, for his wonderful ability in debate, termed the Ulysses and the Ajax Telamon of the host which upheld the Constitution. His logic was clear, his reasoning sound, his illustrations apt, his arguments forceful and convincing. He bore the brunt of the contest of debate. There was a prestige in the name of Nicholas, which placed him in the front rank of the members of this august body and of those who had attained distinction during the Revolution. He was the son of the venerable patriot who was the watch dog of the Treasury during the war. He was born in Williamsburg and matriculated at William and Mary. Leaving college he entered the army and soon won the highest honors, having been promoted from captain to colonel. He was elected to the General Assembly, in which he held a prominent position. His stature was low, ungainly and deformed with fat, his brows shaggy. His voice unpleasant, but with all these deformities his address was polished. He was thoroughly acquainted with local legislation, was well versed in history, and, withal, entirely self-possessed. Without fancy or rhetoric, without action or gestures, save the use of his right hand and forefinger, yet so forceful were his arguments, so sound his reasonings, analytical his debates, so consumate his conclusions that he held the Convention in rapt attention for hours. His arguments could not be met by his opponents and they sometimes resorted to carricature. He was once pictured as a plum pudding with legs to it. He was also pictured as broad as he was long. He was said to be the fattest lawyer since the days of his namesake, Sir Nicholas Bacon, of rotund memory. Of all the friends to the Constitution he was the most formidable to Henry. His perfect acquaintance with the whole system of legislation; his connection by descent and affinity with the old aristocratic families; his physical qualities, which were entirely fearless; his civic and military career; his great powers of minute and sustained argumentation, made it difficult to evade or repel his attacks.

Neither oratory or sarcasm or ridicule availed in a contest [56] with him who was as potent in the war of wit as he was irresistible by the force of logic.

Referring to Henry's question, ‘Why, we the people?’ He said: ‘The gentleman objects to the expression, “We, the people,” and demands the reason why they had not said, “We, the United States of America?” The expression, in my opinion, is highly proper; it is submitted to the people, because on them it is to operate; till adopted it is but a dead letter and not binding on any one; when adopted it becomes binding on the people who adopt it.’ Henry had almost carried the day against the Constitution by one of his mighty outbursts of eloquence when he called attention to the proposed scheme of the surrender of the Mississippi to Spain by the confederation — the day was lost, but, like Blucher at Waterloo, Nicholas came to the rescue of the demoralized advocates of the Constitution.

In a splendid arraignment of facts and logic, Nicholas soon marshaled his forces and gained the sympathy and confidence of the house, then turning suddenly to Henry he became the accuser and the aggressor. He exclaimed with impassioned force: ‘By whom was this fearful surrender of the navigation of the Mississippi contemplated? By the gentleman's (with his index finger pointing to Henry) favorite Confederation.’

After the formation of Kentucky as a State, Nicholas made his home there. He devoted his time and attention to politics and farming as well as to political economy. He took great pride and interest in preparing young students in law by his lectures and advice. He was the writer of the Constitution of the State of Kentucky. In the graces and courtesies of social life he was unexcelled and was noted for his generous hospitality. He believed that

Without good company all dainties
Lost their true relish, and, like painted grapes,
Are only seen, not tasted.

His familiarity with all the great questions of the day, his intimacy with the most prominent men of the period made him a most interesting and instructive conversationalist.

He died in Kentucky at the age of forty-four. It is said the mourning and grief of his slaves, by whom he was dearly beloved, [57] as his coffin was lowered into the grave was a strange and pathetic scene.

William Grayson.

If George Nicholas was the Ajax Telamon who supported the Constitution, William Grayson may justly be regarded as the Cicero in opposition. He was a

Statesman, yet a friend to Truth! Of soul sincere,
In action faithful and in honor clear!
Who broke no promise, served no private end,
Who gained no title and who lost no friend.

His arguments were powerful and logical. He declared that ‘the greatest defect’ in the Constitution ‘was the opposition of the component parts to the interests of the whole.’ He had not the fire and rhetoric of Henry, but he far surpassed him in reason and logic. To those interested in these debates I refer to Elliott and Robertson.

Alluding to Washington's well-known partiality and advocacy of the Constitution, Grayson concluded one of his eloquent speeches by saying: ‘We have one ray of hope. We do not fear while he lives, but we can expect only his fame to be immortal. We wish to know, who besides him can concentrate the confidence of all America!’ Grayson was both a soldier and a statesman. His military career began with the dawn of the American Revolution and was chiefly under the eye of Washington himself, for whom he had the most profound respect and admiration. He was a member of Washington's military family. With the affairs at Valley Forge his name is intimately connected. He was at the battle of Long Island, of Brandywine and Germantown and Montgomery, and is said to have commanded a Virginia regiment on that field. In early life he indulged in the popular sport of fox-hunting with Washington over the moors of Westmoreland and whose esteem he enjoyed to the end of his life. Whilst his military career was brilliant it was lost sight of in his civic accomplishments. He was educated at Oxford, was a ripe scholar and particularly well versed in the classics and in history. He was also a student of political [58] economics and applied himself to that generous fountain of information and inspiration—Smith's Wealth of Nations—with the same assiduity that a student of theology would to the study of the Bible. His life was marked by enterprise, intrepidity and success. When the regulation of Virginia commerce was discussed, in connection with the Constitution, a favorite expression of his was ‘Let commerce alone, it will take care of itself.’ On his return to Virginia after the war he continued the practice of law. He was in 1784 elected to Congress. He was regarded as a most elegant gentleman as well as the most accomplished debater of his age. In dialectics he was thoroughly versed and equipped. It is said his powers of humor, wit, sarcasm and ridicule, prolonged and sustained by argument and declamation, were unrivalled. He had that happy faculty of making

Wise things seem foolish and rich things but poor.’

Crayon's speeches in the Convention abound in passages of humor and sarcasm. He was also noted for his physical qualities as well as his mental endowments. He was considered the handsomest man in the Convention. His person was imposing —his stature over six feet and though in weight over two hundred and fifty pounds, such was the symetry of his figure that the beholder was struck more with its height than its magnitude. He had a majestic head—forehead high and broad, eyes black and deep-seated, nose large and curved, lips well formed, disclosing white and regular teeth.

It is related that his body was exhumed after it had lain forty-six years in his coffin and when the lid was lifted there was his majestic form as if it had been recently wrapped in the shroud, the features were fresh and full, the hair long and black —the growth of the grave—every lineament perfect and distinct.

The address of Grayson was said to be winning and courteous, his conversation playful, sparkling and profound as the time or topic called for or the mood prompted, but withal there was a dignity about him which the ablest and the bravest men would have been the last to trench upon.

He died in 1790 and is buried at Dumfries, Va.

So zealous were our ancestors for our liberties and so distrustful [59] of the Federal government that in the ratification of the Constitution Virginia expressly stipulated and asserted that ‘the powers granted should be resumed whensoever the same should be perverted to her injury or oppression, and that every power not granted thereby remains with them and at their will.’ And even under these conditions it was only adopted by a recorded vote of 89 to 79, a majority of ten only in its favor. Had the advocates of the Constitution declared their intention to create a centralized government, from which the States could not withdraw when their rights were jeopardized, of which the people of each State were to be the judges, the Constitution would never have been ratified by the States, certainly not by Virginia. Mr. Madison, ‘the Father of the Federal Constitution,’ would never have voted for it, for in the Convention he declared that ‘the use of force against a State would be more like a declaration of war than an infliction of punishment, and would probably be considered by the party attacked as a dissolution of all previous compacts; a Union of States containing such an ingredient seemed to provide for its own destruction.’

In one of the debates in the New York State Convention, Hamilton, the great Federalist, said: ‘To coerce a State would be one of the maddest projects ever devised.’ And yet we have lived not only to see the attempt, but the complete consumation.

The cause the ill-fated Confederacy undertook to defend was that of constitutional liberty and fidelity to law and covenants.

Slavery was not the cause, but only the occasion, of the late Civil War. The existence of the institution was always the occasion of grave alarm. Jefferson prophesied that slavery would be the ‘rock upon which the old Union would split.’ Mr. Lincoln declared in 1858 that ‘this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.’ Mr. Seward asserted that the antagonism between freedom and slavery was ‘an irrepressible conflict.’ The concensus of opinion of the best men North and South was that it was a great evil, both morally and politically.

Nearly a century and a quarter has elapsed since these debates occurred, which eventuated in the adoption of the Federal Constitution. Let us, with retrospective eye, glance down the pages of history and we shall see that with prophetic ken [60] many of our troubles were pointed out and foretold. Mr. Henry, during the debates asked this pertinent and pregnant question: ‘Suppose the people of Virginia should wish to alter their government, can a majority of them do it? No, because they are connected with other men, or in other words consolidated with other States. When the people of Virginia at a future day shall wish to alter their government, though they should be unanimous in their desire, yet they may be prevented.’ Again he asked: ‘What is to become of your country? The Virginian government is but a name.’ He asserted, ‘When you give power you know what you give.’ He declared, ‘Among ten thousand implied powers which they may assume, they may, if we be engaged in war, liberate every one of our slaves if they please! May they not pronounce all slaves free?’ Did he with the discernment of a Daniel see and interpret the handwriting on the wall as embodied in Lincoln's emancipation proclamation? In the event of war he asks, ‘May not Congress say that every black man must fight?’ Did he, with the vision of an Isaiah, look into futurity and see the war clouds on the distant horizon that swept away every semblance of sovereignty and that desolated the Southern States in the crime of 1861-65? Did he, in his mind's eye, see the black cohorts, led by our Northern brethren (?) committing, during Reconstruction days, rapine and desolation against the people of the South? Was he, indeed, endowed with the Spirit of Divination? No, I do not believe that with all of his opposition to the Constitution; with all his love for Virginia and the South, with all his distrust of the Northern people Mr. Henry ever conceived of the diabolism of arming and inciting our slaves to plunder and murder their masters. He never for one moment thought it possible that a government formed for the protection of the people would be turned into an instrument for their slavish oppression. His fervid imagination never supposed the horrors and injustice of the Civil War or the abominations of the Reconstruction period, and we are glad he did not, for his great heart would have broken and his tongue palsied in his efforts to have averted these calamities. Mr. Henry was not the only member of the Convention with a discerning mind and who was distrustful and apprehensive of the future. Grayson declared that under the [61] proposed Constitution ‘he conceived the State governments to be at the mercy of the generality.’ On another occasion he made this observation, that ‘so extensive was the power of legislation in his estimation that he doubted whether, when it was once given up, anything was retained.’ He gave a forecast of what might occur when the election of President was close, which was realized in the famous Tilden-Hayes election.

The fears of George Mason gave him perception into the future. He pointed out with marked ability imperfections, dangers and defects of the sixth article of the Constitution. He dwelt with force upon the insecurity of our rights and privileges ‘as they depended on a vague, indefinite and ambiguous implication.’ With an insight into the future he said, speaking of slavery, ‘there is no clause in the Constitution that will prevent the Northern and Eastern States from meddling with our whole property of that kind.’

Monroe objected particularly to giving the Federal government unlimited power of taxation and insisted that our great unalienable rights ought to be secured, either by a Bill of Rights or an express provision in the body of the Constitution itself.

The centralization of power assumed by the President, the assumption of legislative authority, the dictation of law-making power, the encroachments by the Federal judiciary upon the rights of the States have nearly extinguished their sovereignty. Were the apprehensions of our forefathers without reason? Did they hesitate without cause? Were they right or wrong-those who opposed the adoption of the Constitution? If the object and aim of government be the founding of a great nation; if laying the foundation for a great empire, the desire to become a world power; if the acquisition of foreign territory; if the accumulation of vast wealth in the hands of a few individuals or combines; if the importation of millions of immigrants and vast increase in population be the desideratum of the republic then we have succeeded beyond all expectations. But a student of history may reasonably fear that these vaunted acquisitions, these proud acquirements, instead of perpetuating our government may be the means of its downfall and disintegration. We are the heaviest taxed people, per capita, upon the face of the globe. We have a greater proportion of the foreign element in [62] our midst in proportion to native born than any other nation on earth.

The storm signals are up. There are unmistakable signs of unrest among the masses. The war between capital and labor, the dissatisfaction existing between employer and employee. The vast increase in the necessaries of life without a corresponding increase in the daily wage. The gradual absorption of enterprises heretofore conducted by individuals, by the trusts and combines, who, with their vast aggregations of capital have driven to the wall so many less favored. The destruction of personal initiative. The covetous and inconsiderate spirit displayed by those engaged in various manufactures, out of which they have amassed wealth through the faithful labor of their employees and the loyalty of their patrons in selling out to these combines regardless of interests other than their own, has alienated this class of the community, to a great extent, from those who looked to them, not only for employment and for their support, but for sympathy and encouragement. But one by one these old concerns have hauled down their flags, folded their tents and, like the Arab, stolen silently away, carrying the swag of the trust with them. Many thousands of workmen in this city and throughout the country have thus been deprived of the means of livelihood, in which they have labored for years and have been compelled to work for less wages at other occupations. In their old age they have had the doors closed in their faces and seen posted on the portals ‘Sold out to the trust.’ This may be business; it is legitimate, but is it carrying out the divine injunction ‘love thy neighbor as thyself?’ There used to be a pride in the transmission of a reputable business from sire to son, and the employee's sons took the same pride and interest in the business as their fathers did before them. There existed a loyal, genial, friendly vassalage between the employer and the employee, born of respect, friendship and appreciation, but ‘corporations have no souls’ and this kindly sentiment no longer exists. The question arises, should business be conducted entirely along selfish lines? Should not a vein of sentiment, like a golden thread in the woof of a garment, enter into business transactions and influence its operations? In every large business the good will includes the result [63] of faithful and efficient labor, the confidence and support of patrons of many years. Have these people no rights that should be considered?

Dissatisfaction, alienation, distrust, feelings of suspicion, resentment and discontent have resulted from this method of doing business. Lynching bees, the beastly cruelties of the mob, riots, night riders, indifference to human life, contempt of authority, disregard of law, the miscarriage of justice, the barbarism of greed—all these things have to be reckoned with.

In feudal days in England and prior to the French Revolution strong men dealt with arms and force and lorded it over and oppressed the masses. Looking upon them as their natural prey and as subservient to their will, the same class of men in this day and generation deal with money, stocks and combines and the manipulation of vast properties and business and the corruption of lawmakers. These strong men and corporations claim they are above the law—that they are a law unto themselves! The conduct of business by a favored few, regardless of obedience to statutes, to the detriment of those who are required to comply with the law. The inequality of punishment for crime. The power and immunity of wealth from correction are signs of decadence and warnings of approaching danger, promoting socialism and fostering the growth of anarchy. The sky is calm, the waters still as they ripple in the passing breeze, but the faint rumbling of the thunders of unrest upon the quiet air portend a storm that will darken the sky of prosperity and lash the quiet waters into a seething rage of ungovernable fury, that like a besom of destruction may sweep away old landmarks and lighten the heavens with the fires of revolution.

I am not a pessimist nor an alarmist, but it behooves us to look at facts and conditions squarely in the face and not, like the ostrich, stick our heads in the sands and imagine we are immune to danger.

The Constitution ratified by the Convention of 1788 so pleased Washington that he styled it ‘the most perfect system ever before established by the wisdom of man.’ De Tocqueville, the great political philosopher of France, declared the theory of government embodied in the instrument ‘a great discovery in modern political science.’ Lord Brougham, the distinguished [64] English statesman, was so charmed with it that he said: ‘It is the very greatest refinement in social policy to which any age has given birth.’ Under these favorable commendatory auspices the ship of State was launched upon the untried waters of popular government, and while the good old ship has had comparative smooth sailing, she has encountered many adverse winds and stood the storm of many conflicts, both external and internal—wars without and wars within—and yet

The star spangled banner continues to wave,
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

In every foreign war and in conflicts with the Indians, our government has been victorious. The first domestic or internal trouble encountered was under Washington's administration in 1792, and is known in history as ‘The Whiskey Insurrection,’ in Pennsylvania, which was quelled without bloodshed upon the proper display of authority and determination by the Chief executive.

In 1797, when John Adams was President, the famous retaliatory measures known as the ‘Alien and Sedition Acts,’ were passed, resulting in great distress and discontent, and the country was brought to the verge of civil war, but this crucial test was passed in safety.

The next trouble, during Mr. Jefferson's term, was a threat by the New England States to withdraw from the Union on account of the Embargo Act. This measure was repealed by Congress and the malcontents became reconciled.

Again, in 1832, the Nullification Ordinance was passed by South Carolina, and disruption threatened. This critical trial was gotten over by the commendable firmness and decision of Andrew Jackson and the Tariff Compromise of 1833. The supreme test to which our government has been subjected was the war between the States, and the usurpation of powers not granted to the Constitution. The Federal authorities in their efforts to preserve the Union destroyed the government, so far as many of the rights of the States are concerned. It was the fond delusion, the basic idea of the founders of the republic, that it depended upon the States for its very existence. Who holds such ideas now? The man at Washington with ‘the big [65] stick’ decides matters to suit himself. A territory knocking at the door for admission into the sisterhood of States has first to get his permission. We find the Federal Executive so far forgetting the dignity of his exalted position as to exert the weight and influence of his office in behalf of his favorites, even in the election of municipal officers in the States. Not content with these dangerous assumed prerogatives and meretricious innovations he attempts to foist ‘his policies’ upon the nation in presuming to dictate the naming of his successor to the presidential office itself. A State cannot decide as to its public school policy without consulting him. The city of Richmond cannot regulate its street-car service, operated under a charter of its Council, without the ultimatum of a Federal judge—the ukase of an imperial order. The control of chartered corporations is no longer permissible by the power that created them. Our government is undergoing, in fact has undergone, many radical changes in its polity. The Constitution, by implication, has been interpreted and construed until it yields to interpretations with the elasticity of a rubber band. The people rule, or should rule, the country. How long will they submit to these impositions, these encroachments, these hardships? How will all this end? Some day the man on horseback may succeed to the man with ‘the big stick’ and at his back will be the minions of his will and power. There is an increasing number of people in this country who believe, that life and property would be safer under a strong than a weak government; they favor a centralized power. Our population has been vastly increased by the disorderly elements of Europe, with their inborn hate for all authority, who regard license as liberty. Universal suffrage has proven, in spite of Mr. Jefferson, the idol of Democracy, a universal curse. It may be necessary that power be concentrated in a centralized government to preserve our liberties and our property. It is a recognized and admitted fact that the law most respected and feared to-day is the Federal law; constant appeals are being made to it from the decisions of State tribunals, because it does not depend, to the same extent, on public opinion, local environments, sectional prejudices, individual sentiment as do State municipal enactments. In many communities of the different States it is impossible to convict for mob or lynch law crimes. [66]

In some States peonage exists, and but for the fear of the Federal judiciary, slavery might be re-established by unscrupulous individuals. For many crimes it is only when arraigned before a Federal judge that conviction is possible. In this tribunal ‘the unwritten law’ is an unknown factor in its jurisprudence, and has no place in its instructions and decisions. A conviction is gaining ground that human life is more secure under law than license or laws laxly administered.

The generation now growing up, unschooled in the old doctrine of States rights, are inclined to look upon the government as conceived by our forefathers as an exploded idea of Utopian transcendentalism. They know nothing of old conditions and care still less. They are living in a materialistic age; commercialism is the ruling spirit, and when those who fought in the Confederate and Federal armies shall have passed away, not only will all animosity between the sections be eliminated, but the nation will be bound together, with no bone of contention such as existed before the late Civil War, but will be cemented into a perpetual Union. Whether these are mere vagaries of the mind, figments of the fancy or draughts of deep philosophy, the results of sound reasoning and logical deductions, time alone can determine.

If the question had been asked thirty years ago, aye, even within a less period, would it have been best for the Confederacy to have succeeded? Would it have been better for two governments to have been established on this continent? It would have been regarded as disloyal to the memories of the past, an insult to the dead, sacrilegious.

The question of secession was one on which statesmen North and South differed. The history of the country shows there has been a continuous struggle between two opposing factions of political thought and schools of construction, one faction contending that in adopting the Constitution we became a nation, one sovereignty, and the indissolubility of the Union; the other that it was a confederation of sovereign States, bound together by a Constitution, from which each State could secede or withdraw at its own will.

By the Democratic party Mr. Jefferson is considered the father of the doctrine of States rights, and yet in his first inaugural address [67] he says: ‘If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it.’ Calhoun believed in the right of secession. Henry Clay declared in the Senate chamber in 1850: ‘In my opinion there is no right on the part of any one or more States to secede from the Union.’ He depicted with horoscopic certainty the results that would ensue upon its consummation. Webster asserted ‘the people of the United States have declared that the Constitution shall be the supreme law.’ He denied both the right of nullification and secession. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, declared ‘No individual State, as such, has any claim to independence. She is independent only in a union with her sister States in Congress.’ Andrew Jackson was of the opinion that in adopting the Constitution the States ‘were no longer sovereign,’ and that the people ‘became American citizens and owed primary obedience to the Constitution and to laws made in conformity with the powers vested in Congress.’ He was a States right man so far as local concerns go, but for Federal sovereignty so far as the Constitution ordained. Secession was never a constitutional right, but, like any other revolutionary act, may be morally justified by unjust oppression. Its exercise by the South was utterly without justification until the Southern States were called upon to furnish troops to invade their sister States. This act of the President was unconstitutional and forced Virginia out of the Union, both against her wishes and her interests. The election of Mr. Lincoln, per se, was not a casus belli or a justification of secession. He declared in his inaugural address: ‘I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it now exists. I believe I have no legal right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.’ And in the platform of the party that elected him occurs this language: ‘Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions, according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to the balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend, and we denounce the [68] lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.’ In view of these facts, and in the light of subsequent events, the conclusion is inevitable (even conceding the right) that secession was a great mistake, a stupendous political blunder. Secession could not effect or change geographical boundaries, it could not ‘bind the sweet influence of Pleiades or loose the bands of Orion.’ It could not remove sections from each other nor build impassable barriers between them or destroy propinquity.

When we come calmly to look at conditions that would have prevailed and confronted us had the Confederacy succeeded, we are brought face to face with the fact that it would have implied the perpetuation of the national blot, the crime against civilization—human slavery. To have maintained this institution would have required a cordon of forts along the borders of the frontier States bristling with artillery. There would have been standing armies with the menace of impending conflict—military rule; separate navies to protect our peaceful rivers and intervening waters with attendant costs of onerous taxation, jealousies, strife, friction, bloody conflicts with our neighbors.

Restrictions against interstate commerce espionage, a passport system, a lack of free communication that would have not only delayed the development of the South, but would have retarded progress and discouraged material growth. We would have had a confederation of petty principalities, with their rival interests, like those existing before the unification of the Teutonic races into the great Germanic empire. We would have had to concede to each of these States or petty kingdoms the right to secede, or withdraw from the confederation whenever they considered themselves aggrieved.

When the border States ceased to be slave States, as they undoubtedly would have done in the course of time, they would have doubtless formed an alliance with the free States or set up separate governments of their own, with its attendant burdens and taxes, civic and military. The escape of slaves from the slave to the free States would have involved pursuit by their owners and repulse by their sympathizers, and war would have blazed all along the line. Such complications, border wars and [69] bickerings would have prevailed as would have resulted in confusion worse confounded and would have, in all likelihood, degenerated into military despotism. I am of the deliberate conviction that the success of the Confederacy would have been the greatest calamity that could have befallen not only the South, but the entire country. There are thousands who admit these facts in their hearts, but from a false pride refuse to make the acknowledgment by word of mouth. Slavery was a curse as well as a crime. It was a curse because it was the instrumentality of so many of our young men, who could not compete with slave labor, forsaking their homes—expatriating themselves. The Commonwealth was thus drained of its most energetic, thrifty and useful sons.

Its criminality is now generally admitted even by those who formerly believed it had divine sanction. Of course, under the Constitution, slavery was legally right, but never right in ethics. Both North and South were equally responsible for the crime. Whilst the South was apparently the beneficiary, in many particulars it was the greatest sufferer. No matter how sore and disappointed we who participated in the war between the States may have felt at the result, the downfall of our hopes, the failure of our cherished cause we should accept the result philosophically, in good faith and in the firm belief that the Supreme Ruler of events in His superior wisdom so ordained it for our good. To believe otherwise would be disloyal to Him. What we at first looked upon with feelings of acute anguish and despair; what we first regarded as an untold calamity, an irreparable disaster, has been softened and soothed by the ameliorating touch of time, and the truer perspective of distance, and we come now to regard them as blessings in disguise, as providential sequences. The passions and prejudices existing before the strife and engendered by the war, have cooled and are fast disappearing. Social, business intercourse, personal contact, the exhibition of heroic courage and fortitude on many a well-contested battlefield has evoked mutual admiration and respect and have dissipated these conflicting elements. The inhuman, brutal, passion-bred acts and doings under the Reconstruction period have been repealed and we trust repented of, never again to be called into being. We are a reunited people. We are now citizens [70] of America and as proud of it as when we claimed prior allegiance to our mother States. We have become nationalized! The arbitrament of arms and the God of battles to whom we appealed, has resulted in the extinguishment of sectional feelings. Never, since the foundation of the republic, has the entire country been so firmly united in blood, sentiment and loyalty as at present. In the only conflict that has arisen since the Civil War, those who wore the blue and those who wore the gray stood shoulder to shoulder under the same old flag, under the joint command of officers who were opposed to each other in the war between the States. In a contest where victor and vanquished alike displayed such heroic courage, such patriotic devotion, such loyalty to duty, as each saw it, there is no occasion for shame.

We can console ourselves with the reflection, the assurance, that it is not a ‘lost cause.’ The conflict is not without result! It has cemented the people East, West, North and South in a common and indissoluble bond of union and patriotic devotion. If the vote were permissible and taken to-morrow the late seceded States would not withdraw from this Union—they are in the house of their fathers to stay. The consummation of these objects, the attainment of this result, the achievement of this end, in the life of a nation may be well worth the sacrifice—the blood so freely shed in their behalf!

I am optimistic in my belief, and the Ruler of Nations and their destinies may have called us to blaze the way, to point out the path of liberty and civilization to people yet unborn, for if we are true to ourselves, true to our principles and traditions we have a great future before us, and are destined to be the great world power.

I have thus briefly and imperfectly attempted an exegesis of the genesis of our government, looking over the pages of history and our own experiences, since these debates occurred, what is our verdict? We can but admit that the fears expressed by the patriots of the Convention of 1788 were well founded. Nearly every anticipated trouble predicted has materialized. The States attempted to resume their respective sovereignties but were compelled by the government they created to remain unwillingly in a Union they wished to withdraw from. A fratricidal [71] war resulted in which millions were expended and thousands lost their lives, but out of the clash of arms, the smoke of battle, the blood-stained soil, the smouldering ashes of cities destroyed, Phoenix-like, has arisen the nation.

The proud boast of Great Britain that ‘night never mantles her domain,’ is answered by the exultant shout of America ‘that the sun never sets on her flag!’ When God wishes in His plans of civilization to form a great nation, He cements the ties with blood. This has been His method since ‘the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy.’ Sacrafice, atonement, expiation blood letting have ever been the precursors of nationality. It is a costly sacrifice, a royal price to pay, because it is life.

God moves in a mysterious way,
His wonders to perform.

The wars of His favorite people show this, the expurgation of their sins, their nationalization was in blood letting. It was by the effusion of blood that the King of Macedon confirmed the alliance that bound Thrace, Illyria, Greece, Egypt and Persia to his throne and secured him the title of Alexander the Great —the world conqueror.

It was in the shedding of blood that Rome, the greatest nation of ancient times, forged those ties that made her the empress of the world and her legions invincible. It was in a holocaust of blood that the Cross was carried by Spain into the halls of the Montezumas and they christianized and became a part of this ancient people. In English history the Wars of the Roses culminated in the union of the two factions, the blood shed knitting them together in allegiance to a sovereign in common. It was through blood that Cromwell ascended to the Lord Protectorship and through regicide that his power was secured. It was at Marston Moor, and at Nasby, at Drogheda and Dunbar that the blood of England, Ireland, and Scotland commingled, cementing the three people in the indissoluble bond that constitutes the Kingdom of Great Britain. The process of blood assimilation has produced the dominant race—the Anglo-Saxon. [72]

Just as the blood of the martyr is the seed of the Church, the blood of the patriot is the germ of nationality—‘it is for the healing of the nations.’ Are the thoughts I have uttered, the sentiments expressed, the suggestions offered, the facts advanced, the questions asked, the conclusions aimed at, disloyal to the Lost Cause, false to the memories of the past, in forgetfulness of the trying period of 1861-65? I apprehend not!

Those who fought under the banner of the Confederacy have no excuses to make or apologies to offer. Their splendid achievements, their heroism and fortitude was unsurpassed in ancient or modern warfare. The Confederate volunteer army was the greatest, grandest and most self-sacrificing ever aligned under any flag or fought in any cause. They believed their first allegiance was due to their respective States, and when their mother called it was their duty to obey. This idea of fealty and loyalty was ‘My country, may she ever be right, but right or wrong, my country!’ When their country was invaded they fought in defence of their homes and friends.

To the survivors of the heroic struggle, the sentiments of fellowship engendered by the touch of elbows, the companionship of the camp, the familiarity of the bivouac, the admiration excited by deeds of chivalry, the association of common danger, the friendship formed by mutual sufferings, the feelings kindled by courage and fortitude will endure as long as life lasts. All these things are but tributes to the prowess and sensibilities of the English-speaking race. Our reunions imply no disloyalty to the flag we live under—we would not lower it and substitute our furled banner in its stead if we could. These reunions called for by former associations are a tie between the living and the dead, mystic chords of memory uniting the present with the past, a tribute to departed comrades, a hand-shake with those who are left, heart echoes, shadows of long ago, cemented by tears, prayers and blood, gradually fading beneath the horizon of time and soon to disappear. Our camp-fires will soon die out, the last reveille soon be sounded, as one by one we answer the final roll-call.

To thus meet in the course of years is now our only privilege, to mingle together at our camp-fires and fight our battles over again our sole heritage. There are revived memories, incidents of the past long dormant, for [73]

Lull'd in the countless chambers of the brain,
Our thoughts are link'd by many a hidden chain;
Awake but one, and lo, what myriads rise,
Each stamps its image as the other flies!

Of that vast host that followed the fortunes of the Confederacy, the ranks are thinning daily. All that the survivors have left are their memories and their monuments. Our memories and their monuments. Our memories perish with us, but our monuments we bequeath to our descendants as a perpetual legacy to commemorate sacrifices made to principles that never die, a cause that is imperishable—constitutional government and liberty for which our forefathers contended in the Convention of 1788 and for which their descendants fought in ‘61-65.

It is conceded that our banner is forever furled, but whilst the ‘Stars and Bars’ are a cherished memory ‘Old Glory’ is a living reality. Whilst ‘Dixie’ and ‘Virginia’ still make our hearts throb, and, mayhap our eye to moisten, ‘America’ and the Star Spangled Banner stir our pulses in patriotic beats.

It was worth the shedding of much blood to have evolved such characters as Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and to have proven to the world the valor of a nation.

God has given us a great country, a priceless heritage; He has clothed us with corresponding duties and responsibilities. Our freedom, happiness and prosperity will endure so long as we are a God-fearing and a deserving people.

In a spirit of patriotic devotion let us exclaim—

Great God, we thank Thee for this hour,
This bounteous birthland of the free,
Where wanderers from afar may come
And breath the air of liberty!

Still may her flowers untrampled spring;
Her harvest wave, her cities rise,
And yet, till Time shall fold his wing
Remain Earth's loveliest paradise.

1 reference may be made to the finished and glowing address of the late Hon. Hugh Blair Grigsby, Ll. D., delivered before the Virginia Historical Society, of which he was the President, and which was published by the Society in 2 Vols. 8vo., 1890-1891, with a biographical sketch of Dr. Grigsby, and notes by R. A. Brock, then corresponding Secretary and Librarian of the Society, forming Vols. IX and X of ‘Virginia Historical Collections,’ New series.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (12)
Patrick Henry (Virginia, United States) (8)
France (France) (6)
Fortress Monroe (Virginia, United States) (6)
England (United Kingdom) (5)
Staunton, Va. (Virginia, United States) (4)
St. John's church (United Kingdom) (3)
Richmond (Virginia, United States) (3)
Germantown (Tennessee, United States) (3)
Georgia (Georgia, United States) (3)
Brandywine (Maryland, United States) (3)
Williamsburg (Virginia, United States) (2)
Valley Forge (Tennessee, United States) (2)
South Carolina (South Carolina, United States) (2)
Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania, United States) (2)
New England (United States) (2)
Monmouth, Ill. (Illinois, United States) (2)
Kentucky (Kentucky, United States) (2)
White Plains (New York, United States) (1)
Waterloo, Va. (Virginia, United States) (1)
Valley Park (Missouri, United States) (1)
Valley Forge (Pennsylvania, United States) (1)
Tennessee (Tennessee, United States) (1)
St. Clair, Mich. (Michigan, United States) (1)
Sequatchie College (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Scotland (United Kingdom) (1)
Scotia (1)
Runnymede (Virginia, United States) (1)
Roanoke (United States) (1)
Porto Rico (1)
Point Lookout, Md. (Maryland, United States) (1)
North Carolina (North Carolina, United States) (1)
New York (New York, United States) (1)
Nelson (Virginia, United States) (1)
Mercer (Kentucky, United States) (1)
Mason Hall (Tennessee, United States) (1)
Jefferson City (Missouri, United States) (1)
Jefferson (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Henrico (Virginia, United States) (1)
Harlem Heights (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Fayette, Mo. (Missouri, United States) (1)
Europe (1)
Dumfries, Va. (Virginia, United States) (1)
Drogheda (Irish Republic) (1)
Concord (Massachusetts, United States) (1)
Charlotte (North Carolina, United States) (1)
Chambersburg (New Jersey, United States) (1)
Capitol Hill (United States) (1)
Bourbon County (Kansas, United States) (1)
Bourbon (Indiana, United States) (1)
Annapolis (Maryland, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
James Madison (20)
Edmund Randolph (13)
George Mason (12)
George Washington (11)
John Marshall (11)
Davis Jefferson (10)
Edmund Pendleton (9)
George Nicholas (9)
William Grayson (9)
Henry Lee (6)
John Henry (5)
Thomas Hamilton (5)
James Monroe (4)
Humphrey Marshall (3)
Abraham Lincoln (3)
Elliott (3)
Wirt (2)
Westmoreland (2)
Louis Robertson (2)
Peyton Randolph (2)
John Randolph (2)
Richard Mathews (2)
Samuel Martin (2)
Richard Henry Lee (2)
Andrew Jackson (2)
William Hansill (2)
Hugh Blair Grigsby (2)
Paul Carrington (2)
John Blair (2)
Robert Baggs (2)
George Wythe (1)
Henry Alexander Wise (1)
Edward Winston (1)
Webster (1)
Mathew Walton (1)
De Tocqueville (1)
Tilden (1)
Algernon Sydney (1)
Story (1)
Lord Stirling (1)
John Steele (1)
Robert Stanard (1)
William H. Seward (1)
Saxon (1)
Saint Clair (1)
Robt (1)
Jonathan Robins (1)
Roane (1)
Thomas Posey (1)
Pleiades (1)
Thomas Pitt (1)
William Pinckney (1)
George Edward Pickett (1)
Henry Pawling (1)
Patrick (1)
Orion (1)
Josiah Staunton Moore (1)
Marston Moor (1)
Montgomery (1)
John Miller (1)
Meade (1)
James McClurg (1)
Macedon (1)
John Logan (1)
Robert Edward Lee (1)
Lafayette (1)
Horatio C. King (1)
James Johnson (1)
John Jay (1)
Stonewall Jackson (1)
Joel A. Hayes (1)
Peyton R. Harrison (1)
John Hampden (1)
Alexander Hamilton (1)
Hugh W. Fry (1)
John Fowler (1)
Dunbar (1)
Cromwell (1)
Notlaw Conn (1)
Henry Clay (1)
Green Clay (1)
John C. Calhoun (1)
Rice Bullock (1)
Buckingham (1)
P. F. Brown (1)
R. A. Brock (1)
Robert Breckinbridge (1)
Blucher (1)
Bland (1)
Berkeley (1)
Bancroft (1)
Nicholas Bacon (1)
Thomas Allen (1)
Isaac Alexander (1)
John Adams (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: