Open main menu

Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/98

This page needs to be proofread.


90 Southern Historical Society Papers.

a type of the highest martial character cautious, magnanimous and bold, a very thunderbolt in war, he was self-contained in victory, but greatest in defeat. To that escutcheon attaches no stain."

To the chivalric and the noble of the North, to such men as he who wrote these words, the offering of Lee's statue to fill one of Virginia's places in that august assemblage of the Nation's great will cause no offense or bitterness, but rather the contrary, because to the Northern mind, to again use the words of that distinguished soldier and scholar, " It will typify the historical appreciation of all that goes to make up the loftiest type of character, military and civic, exemplified in an opponent once dreaded but ever respected; but above all, it will symbolize and commemorate that loyal acccept- ance of the consequences of defeat, and the patient upbuilding of a people under new conditions by constitutional means, which I hold to be the greatest educational lesson America has yet taught to a once skeptical but now silenced world."

Furthermore, it will again illustrate the fact that the American people are one people, and, as in England, the white rose of York and the red rose of Lancaster are entwined together in fragrant garlands of fraternal love, and a statue of Cromwell stands in the yard of Westminster Hall, where his skull was once exposed to insult; as in Mexico, the statues of Viceroy, Emperor, Dicta- tor, King and President all stand together, so may we, as citi- zens of a common country, unite in honoring the heroes of every section who have fought and suffered for what they deemed the right. Upon the same granite obelisk at Quebec are engraved the names of Wolfe and Montcalm, with this inscription: " Valor gave a united death; history a united fame; posterity a united monument," and in the hall of the Kremlin at Moscow there stands a grand statue of the great Napoleon. Surely, then, the statue of Robert E. Lee can stand in the Capitol of his own country without arousing rancorous or unkind feelings.

It is a remarkable fact, Mr. President, that, although nearly a month has elapsed since this bill was offered, and that during all that time it has been widely discussed, no representative man of the North has spoken against it. On the contrary, at least three North- ern Republicans, who are as representative of Northern sentiment as any who can be selected, have expressed themselves in favor of it. Judge Crumpacker can hardly be called an enthusiastic friend of the South, and yet he has said that he sees no objection to this measure, and that " Lee is Virginia's son and it is for her to decide