Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/103

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Statue of General Robert E. Lee. 95

while that led by Lee was not. Both of them had held commissions under the governments which they afterwards opposed. Washington won against the king under whose flag he had served, while Lee lost against the country whose battles he had fought. Each " went with his State" when the time came when the choice had to be made, and the parallel between them is complete, except that one was vic- torious and the other vanquished. Is there cause then for crowning the one with laurel and the other with thorns ? No

" by the graves,

Where martyed heroes rest, He wins the most who honor saves, Success is not the test."

That is why, then, Mr. President, that I wish to see the statue of Lee by the side of that of Washington in Statuary Hall because there are no two great characters in history so much alike as Wash- ington and Lee, and because I want the world to know that Virginia gives these two noblest and best-beloved of all her sons equal honor and equal reverence, and points to them with greater pride than that of Cornelia when she pointed to the Gracchi and called them her jewels, and dares the world to match them. I want to see them together where Virginia can say to all her sister States:

11 These are the two I furnish, produce their equals if you can! "*

  • In a notable speech on Robert E. Lee, which he says was inspired by the

action of the Virginia Legislature in declaring the purpose to present his statue to be placed in Statuary Hall, Judge Emory Speer, a distinguished and eloquent Georgian, says:

" Deny Lee a place by Washington ! Ah, is it sure, if in the awful hour when the invading columns approached Virginia's soil, the winds of the Prophet had breathed upon the slain that they might live, caught from the wall at Mount Vernon by the reincarnated hand of the Father of his Coun- try, the defensive blade of Washington would not have gleamed beside the sword of Lee ? Repel then not, my country, the fervid love of thy sons who fought with Lee, and of the children of their loins. Their prowess thou hast seen on the hills of Santiago, on the waters of Luzon. In thy need the children of Grant have been and are brethren in arms of the kinsmen ot Lee. Officers of his thou hast called to thy service in the highest places in peace and war. His comrades and his kinsmen wear thy swords. With ioy his sword, too, leaped at thy command. The flowers of spring with equal hand thou wilt henceforth strew on graves of all thy dead. Why, then, repel his blameless name from thy immortals' scroll ? Then honor him and in thy need on those who love him wilt thou not call in vain. And woe to the foe in press of battle when the soul of Lee shall fire their hearts and his bright sword shall point the charging columns of thy sons."