Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 40.djvu/248

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Speech of Judge George L. Christian, Receiving a Portrait of Mr Benjamin for Lee Camp, U. C. V., Richmond, Va.

Ladies and Gentlemen, and Comrades:

When I was first asked by the honorable chairman of your portrait committee to perform the duty of receiving this portrait for the Camp, I unhesitatingly declined. In doing this I believe you know, it was from no lack of disposition on m part, to serve this Camp, or the generous donors of this gift. But my declination was based solely upon two grounds, (I) I have no time for preparation for this occasion, and (2), I have so often appeared before the Camp on similar occasions, that I feel satisfied the Camp must be tired of hearing my voice from this rostrum. I frankly gave to your chairman these excellent reasons for declining, and they seemed satisfactory to him at the time. A few weeks later, he came again, conveying the somewhat gratifying information, that the donors of the gift insisted that I should take part in these proceedings, and saying, indeed, that they would not consent that any other person should fill the place assigned by them to me.

I again hesitated, as your chairman knows; but when I reflected, that the men and women who make this contribution to this gallery, are not only among my truest and best friends, but are also among the most useful and enterprising citizens of this city, and that some of them were among the most gallant and loyal supporters of the Confederate cause, I could not hesitate longer to consent to contribute my humble mite to aid them in their noble and patriotic endeavor. I reflected, too, that mine was a subordinate part in this performance, and knowing, as I did, that the gifted and eloquent gentleman, to