Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 14.djvu/169

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163
Address at the Unveiling of the Hill Statue.

relief, "Let us cross over the river and rest under the shade of the trees"; and then, without pain or the least struggle, his spirit passed from earth to the God who gave it.



Address of J. C. C. Black at the Unveiling of the Hill Statue, Atlanta,
Georgia, May 1, 1886.

[Hon. B. H. Hill bore no unworthy part in the great Confederate struggle, and we are glad to be able to preserve in our records the following eloquent tribute to his memory by our gallant friend who rode with John H. Morgan during the war, and who has so well illustrated what "the men who wore the gray" can do in peace.]

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen:

History has furnished but one perfect character, humanity has but one example in all things worthy of imitation. And yet all ages and countries have recognized that those who, devoting themselves to the public service have led the people through great perils, and by distinguished careers added to the just renown of their country, were entitled to their highest respect, honor and veneration.

The children of Israel wept for iheir great leader and deliverer on the plains of Moab. The men of Athens gathered at the graves of those who fell at Marathon and pronounced panegyrics upon them. This sentiment is an honor to the living as well as the dead. It is just, for no merely human pursuit is higher than that public service which honestly and intelligently devotes itself to the common weal. There is no study more worthy of the highest faculties of the mind than that which seeks after the nature of civil government, applies it to its legitimate uses and ends, and properly limits its powers. No object is more worthy of the noblest philanthropy of the heart than society and the State. It is not onlv honorable and just, but like all high sentiment, it is useful—for honors to the dead are incentives to the living. Monuments to our great and good should be multiplied. May I take the liberty on this occasion of suggesting to the bar and people of the State to provide a fitting memorial to the distinguished Chief Justice who so long presided over our Supreme Court, whose decisions are such splendid specimens of judicial research and learning, and whose career recalls Wharton's picture of Nottingham "seated upon his throne with a ray of glory about his head, his er-