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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/93

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Statue of General Robert E. Lee. 85

ask the Secretary of State or anybody else whether it was agreeable to them, as did also John H. Reagan, a cabinet officer, and Alexan- der H. Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederacy, and many others distinguished in both the civil and military history of the Confederacy. Presidents Harrison and Cleveland appointed ex- Confederates to sit on the bench of the Supreme Court, one of them, Justice White, still remaining there; and not only have they time and again filled with honor and distinction the highest civil positions, as cabinet officers, ministers abroad, judges and legislators, in fact, every honor short of the presidency but when war's loud tocsin again rang o'er the land, the sons of the South sprang as promptly to arms as did the sons of the North, and together they fought and conquered the foreign foe. In that conflict the first blood spilt upon the altar of his country was that of Worth Bagley, a Southern boy and the son of a Confederate soldier.

President McKinley, that pure-souled patriot whose memory is re- vered by all the nation, made Brigadier Generals of two of the Con- federacy's most gallant leaders, " Fighting Joe " Wheeler, and our own Fitzhugh Lee, and President Roosevelt was proud to serve under the first of these at Santiago, when he saved the American army from an inglorious retreat, and none of these events was accompanied by the falling of any stars from either the firmament or the flag. Why then should we suppose that those who have worthily honored and applauded the living Confederates would enter any protest against due honors by his own State to the most re- nowned and glorious of their dead ? Have we not rather far more reason to suppose that they will graciously acknowledge that the statue of Lee is in its proper place when erected by Virginia at the side of that of Washington ? Says the Boston Globe : "If Virginia wants to put a statue of Robert E. Lee in the Capitol at Washington instead of a statue of Jefferson, why should the North object ? "

President McKinley not only recognized the merit of living Con- federate soldiers by giving them army commissions in the Spanish war, but he also touched the heart of the South by his suggestion that the national government should care for the graves of Confed- erate as well as Federal soldiers. His words have begun to bear fruit, and Senator Foraker, another Northern soldier, is even now- advocating a bill in Congress, and it has already passed the Senate, making provision for headstones over the graves of Confederate soldiers buried in the North, and a bill is pending in the Pennsylvania legislature to appropriate $20,000.00 towards a statue of General