Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/216

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210 Southern Historical Society Papers.

down the church; but they were deprived of the opportunity to commit the sacrilege, and to carry out to the bitter end this piece of petty tyranny towards a brave but conquered people.

The Norfolk Virginian, edited by James Barron Hope, in an edi- torial headed " O shame! Where is Thy Blush ? "said :

"The memorial window to dead Confederate soldiers has been re- moved from Trinity Church in Portsmouth, of which in life they were members. This announcement will fall upon the ears of every gen- erous man with a rude shock, and excite the profound disgust of all capable of feeling a noble emotion. We did not expect the chival- rous conduct of the French towards the remains of Sir John Moore, after the battle of Corunna, to be imitated by those in authority; but we did think that a decent regard for the opinions of mankind woul^i have enforced respect for the dead, in whose memory this emblazoned window was put up in the church in which they had worshipped. Few will differ with us when we say that the spirit which compelled its removal would be denounced as full of iconoclastic barbarism, re- pulsive to the sentiments of all honorable men, and hideous in its suggestions of a ghoul-like cruelty. Nay, we do the barbarians in- justice, for they are capable of appreciating the courage of an enemy, and it is only your Falstaff who dishonors the lifeless body of dead Percy. What, then, are we to say of a civilized government ' the best the sun ever shone on ' which can threaten to close its greatest naval station and turn out of employment a large body of workmen, because a private gentleman paid a pious tribute to the memory of gallant men who, impelled by a sense of duty, fell in defence of their native State ! The suggestion was brutal. Its only effect will be to endear the memory of the dead to the hearts of the living. All the true men of Virginia will feel that even in defeat they are greater than those who could conceive so ungenerous a thought or threaten so cruel a punishment as that we have mentioned, for the perform- ance of an action pious and commendable in itself. The Washington authorities, by whom this ukase was threatened, are put to shame by the larger souls and more Christian temper of the wildest mountaineers, who, even in their savage warfare, could do honor to the dead."

And why this dishonor to the living as well as the dead ?

The reason given by the conquerors (with the exception of Major Commanding Smith (who "saw nothing to give offence or to take exception at," to his credit be it said), is that there was no truth con- tained in the word "invasion."