Open main menu

Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/262

This page needs to be proofread.


254 Southern Historical Society Papers.

lofty virtue, or the performance of heroic deeds, has won the admi- ration and the gratitude of his countrymen.

We meet here to-day for the dedication of such a monument.

In future years some curious, or earnest, enquirer into the sources of Virginia's real greatness, may pause before the statue of her unique and most efficient soldier, and, recalling with enthusiasm those marvellous deeds which won for him the warrior's crown of Amaranth, may discern in them the presence of that same spirit of unselfish patriotism, that striving for the attainment of high and pure ideals, that unstinted devotion of life and substance to the public welfare which animated those kindred souls whose forms Virginia has clothed in marble and in bronze, as she has enshrined in her history their lives and deeds, as the truest and loftiest expres- sions of her people's character.

Passing on, this searcher after the truth will reach another figure, not clothed in martial garb, or arrayed in robes of state, but bearing on his countenance the impress of heroic mold. And here, this en- quirer may ask: What hath this man wrought; what service hath he rendered, that the memory of him should be thus preserved ? And to this enquiry some might answer: " He was the friend of Stone- wall Jackson." But to those of us who knew him, and esteemed him for what he was in himself, and the good deeds he had done, such answer would be held scant and inadequate, because we know that the qualities which in his youth endeared him to his great com- mander, did, through all the years of his maturer manhood, gain for him the love and confidence, the admiration and applause of his country and his kind.

The character of Dr. McGuire, like the portico of Solomon's temple, rested upon the firm pillars of strength and stability. He acquired these traits by rightful inheritance. They had been the characteristics of his race. It might prove of deepest interest, did the occasion serve, to note how in dramatic incident and roman- tic adventures these traits of his family character had prevailed, but it is appropriate now to notice only his immediate ancestry. His grandfather, Captain Edward McGuire, held that rank and station in the Continental Line, and had fought with success for the estab- lishment of that republican form of government, the integrity of which his more distinguished grandson, near one hundred years later, fought in vain to preserve.

His father, Dr. Hugh Holmes McGuire, was a physician and sur- geon of the older type, and it is not invidious to say that his fame