Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 13.djvu/88

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Lee A Poem. 87

known as a brilliant, chivalrous and accomplished gentleman. In the great contest for the redemption of South Carolina he showed himself to be a great man.

In this essay, I have necessarily been obliged to omit many radical crimes. I could not name them all without going to inordinate length, and I could not do justice to the subject without going even into details. Wherever I have undertaken to make a narration, I am not conscious of having done any injury either to Chamberlain or the party that he represents. The period under consideration is the darkest which ever hung over us; more trying even than when the issue was to be decided by battle, and the story can be well told only by laying bare its atrocities. It is apparent that the specious man who contrived not only to elevate himself to power, but for a time even to win the approbation of the Democrats, and who was regarded by the North as the redeeming feature in the dark picture of Southern Radicalism was a charlatan and a trickster, that having gained power by corruption he sought to gild it with the hollow pre- tence of a Reformer. He was a charlatan, but he had nothing but the address of the charlatan. He never expressed himself when the character of the State was seriously compromised. He had not the courage to face danger. He shut himself up in his house to enjoy domestic felicity when danger came, or he ran to Washington to im- plore the aid of Federal bayonets. He wrote admirable papers on law and morals; his proclamations were splendid rhetorical essays. He was great in college orations, but as a Governor he was con- temptible,

Lee A Poem. By MAJOR H. T. STAUNTON, of Frankfort, Ky\

We saw the fragile maiden, May,

Trip down the paths of morning, And queen July in central day,

Her flower throne adorning."

And weeping trees in sombre lines

Took up an anthem murmur, When August, with her trailing vines,

Went out her gates of Summer.

Now yellow husks are on the grain, And leaves are brown and sober,