Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/198

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194 Southern Historical Society Papers.

Fitzhugh Lee, of Glasgow; Judge William J. Robertson, of Char- lottesville; General Eppa Hunton, of VVarrenton; Major Holmes Conrad,. of Winchester; Hon. John Goode, of Norfolk, and Hon. Taylor Berry, of Amherst.

Most of these gentlemen were personal friends of {he deceased statesman, but there was no purpose of limiting the committee, ex- cept to representative Virginians.

This committee met at Richmond on December 2, 1891, and were aided by the presence and counsel of a number of distinguished gentlemen, including members of the General Assembly of Virginia. General Joseph R. Anderson was elected chairman, and a committee was appointed to draft a charter of incorporation. The organiza- tion was afterwards perfected by the selection of a Board of Direc- tors, with Dr. G. Watson James as Secretary, and Colonel William H. Palmer as Treasurer of the Association.

This body was incorporated by the General Assembly by an act approved February 2, 1892, and all the powers then deemed neces- sary to promote the object were conferred upon the corporation.

I need not dwell upon the impoverishment of many worthy citi- zens of Virginia, and the other causes which have impeded and postponed the execution of the objects for which this Association was formed. The question for us to-day is, can these obstacles be removed and our design consummated ? It will not fail. It must not fail. We meet here to-day in the very county in which Robert M. T. Hunter was born, and where his home was; in the county that he loved; among the very people, or their children, whom he loved and respected, and whose unfailing confidence was to him always an inspiration and a just source of pride; to further this tri- bute to the most distinguished son of Essex. There can be no honor paid to his memory that does not also reflect honor upon this old county on the Rappahannock and upon the Commonwealth of Virginia.

I would not be justified in obtruding upon your patience a full and complete account of Mr. Hunter's life and public services. That duty devolves upon his biographer and the future historian who shall faithfully narrate the history of the country from the year 1836 down to the time when the conquest of the Southern States relegated so many of their eminent sons to poverty and private station. But surely I may be permitted, in brief phrase, to glance at the distin- guished, influential and useful part borne by this great but modest Virginian during the critical era in which his life was cast. It was