Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/73

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The Virginia Convention of 1788.

loved, as his coffin was lowered into the grave was a strange and pathetic scene.


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