The Project Gutenberg EBook of Memorial Addresses on the Life and
Character of William H. F. Lee (A Representative from Virginia), by Various

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Title: Memorial Addresses on the Life and Character of William H. F. Lee (A Representative from Virginia)
       Delivered in the House of Representatives and in the Senate,
              Fifty-Second Congress, First Session

Author: Various

Release Date: October 8, 2005 [EBook #16822]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Barbara Tozier, Sigal Alon and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at

Hon. W.H.F. Lee.








House of Representatives and in the Senate,




Proceedings in The House Of Representatives.
Address of Mr. Meredith, of Virginia.
Address of Mr. Edmunds, of Virginia.
Address of Mr. Tucker, of Virginia.
Address of Mr. O'Ferrall, of Virginia.
Address of Mr. Wise, of Virginia.
Address of Mr. Herbert, of Alabama.
Address of Mr. Hermann, of Oregon.
Address of Mr. Washington, of Tennessee.
Address of Mr. Henderson, of Illinois.
Address of Mr. Chipman, of Michigan.
Address of Mr. Wilson, of West Virginia.
Address of Mr. Cummings, of New York.
Address of Mr. Cowles, of North Carolina.
Address of Mr. Breckinridge, of Kentucky.

Proceedings in The Senate.

Address of Mr. Barbour, of Virginia.
Address of Mr. Pasco, of Florida.
Address of Mr. Stewart, of Nevada.
Address of Mr. Colquitt, of Georgia.
Address of Mr. Butler, of South Carolina.
Address of Mr. Dolph, of Oregon.
Address of Mr. Daniel, of Virginia.


Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That there be printed of the eulogies delivered in Congress upon the Hon. W.H.F. Lee, late a Representative from the State of Virginia, eight thousand copies, of which number two thousand copies shall be delivered to the Senators and Representatives of the State of Virginia, which shall include fifty copies to be bound in full morocco, to be delivered to the family of the deceased, and of those remaining two thousand shall be for the use of the Senate and four thousand for the use of the House of Representatives; and the Secretary of the Treasury is directed to have engraved and printed a portrait of the said W.H.F. Lee to accompany the said eulogies.

Agreed to in the House of Representatives March 23, 1892.

Agreed to in the Senate March 22, 1892.




December 23, 1891.

Mr. Meredith, of Virginia: Mr. Speaker, I rise to make the painful announcement to the House of the death of Hon. William H.F. Lee, a Representative in the Fiftieth and Fifty-first Congresses of the United States and a Representative-elect to the Fifty-second Congress.

He died at his home, in Fairfax County, Va., on the 15th day of October last, after a lingering illness. Later in the session I shall ask this House to fix a day when his colleagues and friends can do justice to his memory and express their appreciation of his high character.

It is only meet and fitting on this occasion that I should say that in the death of Gen. Lee the State of Virginia has lost the services of one of her most chivalrous and noble sons, and the district he so well represented a faithful guardian of the interests of all its people.

I send to the desk and ask the adoption of these resolutions:


The Clerk read as follows:

Resolved, That the House has heard with deep regret and profound sorrow of the death of Hon. W.H.F. Lee, a Representative from the State of Virginia.

Resolved, That the Clerk be directed to communicate a copy of these resolutions to the Senate.

Resolved, That as a further mark of respect the House do now adjourn.

The resolutions were unanimously agreed to.

And accordingly (at 12 o'clock and 37 minutes p.m.) the House adjourned until Tuesday, the 5th day of January next.



February 6, 1892.

The Speaker. The Clerk will report the special order.

The Clerk read as follows:

Resolved, That Saturday, February 6, beginning at 1 o'clock afternoon, be set apart for paying tribute to the memory of Hon. William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, late a member of the House of Representatives from the Eighth district of the State of Virginia.

Mr. Meredith. Mr. Speaker, I offer the resolutions which I send to the desk.

The resolutions were read, as follows:

Resolved, That the business of the House be now suspended, that opportunity be given for tributes to the memory of Hon. William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, late a Representative from the State of Virginia.

Resolved, As a further mark of respect to the memory of the deceased, and in recognition of his eminent ability and distinguished public services, that the House, at the conclusion of these memorial proceedings, shall stand adjourned.

Resolved, That the Clerk communicate these resolutions to the Senate.

The resolutions were adopted.


Address of Mr. Meredith, of Virginia.

Mr. Speaker: This day having been set apart for the purpose of paying a last tribute to the memory of one who so lately was a loved and honored member of this House, I shall, in the brief remarks which I propose to make, attempt nothing but a plain and truthful narrative of some of the characteristics and public services of a Christian gentleman, who in my judgment measured fully up to that standard which makes man the noblest work of God.

On the 15th day of October, 1891, at Ravensworth, his beautiful home in Fairfax County, Va., surrounded by those loved ones whose constant care and tender nursing had done all that human power could do to stay the hand of the fell Destroyer, all that was mortal of Hon. William Henry Fitzhugh Lee passed from this earth, and his noble spirit returned to the God who gave it.

If the earnest supplications to Almighty God, offered by the good people of his native State upon their bended knees night and morning, during the period of his lingering illness, could have availed, he would have been restored to health and usefulness, and these melancholy proceedings postponed for many a long year.

The great sorrow which made the heart of Virginia heavy and bowed in grief the heads of her true sons and daughters when the sad intelligence of his death was flashed over the electric wires was more genuinely spontaneous than were the loud lamentations of the Roman populace (so graphically described [7]by Tacitus) when they beheld the widow of Germanicus, with her weeping children entering the gates of the imperial city. Nor was this sorrow confined to those of his own political faith. Men of all parties vied with each other in their expressions of regret at his death and in their sympathy for his bereaved family.

The blameless life he had led, his high character, his gentle and unassuming manners, won for him not only the respect but the admiration of all with whom he came in contact.

As gentle as a child and as tender as a woman, with the courage of a hero and a faith that never faltered, he proved himself a worthy descendant of that race of famous men from whom he sprang, and most worthily bore a name which will be honored as long as a liberty-loving people shall find a dwelling place upon the earth.

William H.F. Lee was the son of Gen. Robert E. Lee, and was born at Arlington, on the 31st day of May, 1837.

He was educated at Harvard, where he ranked not only as a good scholar, but on account of his splendid size and strength became quite famous in athletics, being "stroke oar" of the University Rowing Club.

His great ambition was to follow the profession of his father and to go to West Point; but having had an older brother there, that fact was considered in those days an insuperable obstacle. While still at Harvard, completing his education, he was, through the interest taken in him by Gen. Winfield Scott, who made the request as a special and personal favor to himself, appointed in 1857 a second lieutenant in the Sixth Regiment, United States Infantry, and inaugurated his military career by taking a detachment of troops to Texas by sea and then by land up the country to San Antonio.

[8]In 1858 he accompanied his regiment, under the command of Col. Albert Sidney Johnston, in the expedition to Utah against the Mormons, taking an active part in that campaign, marching from Fort Leavenworth to Salt Lake City, and then, when the troubles were quelled there, traveling on foot to Fort Benicia, Cal. While on the Pacific coast he received a letter from his father, written January 1, 1859, in which he said:

I can not express the gratification I felt in meeting Col. May in New York, and at the encomiums he passed upon your soldiership, zeal, and devotion to your duty. But I was more pleased at the report of your conduct. I always thought and said there was stuff in you for a good soldier, and I trust you will prove it.

Resigning his commission in the Army, he came home to be married to his cousin, a Miss Wickham, and settled down as a farmer at the "White House" (where Washington met Martha Custis and was married), a large estate on the Pamunkey River, left him by his maternal grandfather, G.W. Park Custis, of Arlington.

When that irrepressible conflict of 1861 was upon us, and Virginia called upon her sons to defend her soil, he, sharing the faith of his fathers, in the belief that his allegiance was due to his State, quickly raised a company of cavalry, and was attached to the Army of Northern Virginia. Serving in every grade successively from captain to major-general of cavalry, he led his regiment in the famous raid around McClellan's army, and was an active participant in all those brilliant achievements which made the cavalry service so proficient.

In that terrific fight which occurred at Brandy Station, in June, 1863, he was most severely wounded, and taken to the residence of Gen. William C. Wickham, in Hanover County, where he was made a prisoner by a raiding party, and was carried off, at the expense of great personal suffering, to Fort Monroe. From the latter place he was conveyed to Fort Lafayette, where he was [9]confined until March, 1864, and treated with great severity, being held, with Capt. R.H. Tyler, of the Eighth Virginia Regiment, under sentence of death, as hostages for two Federal officers who were prisoners in Richmond, and whom it was thought would be executed for some retaliatory measure.

Exchanged in the spring of 1864, he returned, to find his young wife and children dead, his beautiful home burned to the ground, his whole estate devastated and laid waste by the ruthless hand of war; and yet almost his first act on reaching Richmond was to go to Libby Prison, visit the two Federal officers for whom he had been held as hostage, and who, like himself, had been under apprehension of being hung, and shake hands with and congratulate them.

Immediately joining his command, he led his division in every engagement from the Rapidan to Appomattox, where, with his father, the greatest soldier of modern times, he surrendered to the inevitable.

In a letter written by one of the most brilliant cavalry generals of the late war, in speaking of Gen. W.H.F. Lee, he uses this language:

He was a zealous, conscientious, brave, and intelligent soldier, who fully discharged all of his duties. He was one of those safe, sound, judicious officers, and you always felt when you sent instructions to him that they were going to be obeyed promptly and to the letter.

What greater tribute could be paid a soldier?

Having been married to one of the most accomplished ladies in Virginia, Miss Bolling, of Petersburg (who, with two sons, survives him) he removed in 1874 to Ravensworth, and was the next year elected to the senate of Virginia, where he made an honorable record.

He was elected to the Fiftieth and Fifty-first Congresses, and served his State with that fidelity which had characterized his [10]every act through life—faithful, conscientious, and painstaking—ever alert to the interests of his constituents and seeking only how he could serve them.

He was again reëlected to the Fifty-second Congress, and though by the will of Divine Providence he was not permitted to take his seat, he will ever be held in grateful remembrance by his late constituents, and when the long roll of Virginia's noble and heroic dead is called, the name of William H. Fitzhugh Lee will be mourned by his mother Commonwealth as one of her noblest and truest sons.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I shall read, as the most fitting tribute I have seen, an editorial from the Alexandria Gazette written the day after the death of Gen. Lee:

Gen. William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, second son of Gen. Robert Edward Lee, is dead. The bells here tolled late yesterday evening. A few hours before the general had crossed over the river and was at rest under his roof tree at Ravensworth, the southern sun lighted his deathbed and the autumn breeze sang his requiem. Afterlife's fitful fever he sleeps well. He was sick a long time, and as his disease was incurable, death was a relief. No more pain for him now, but the long and peaceful sleep of the just. His sorrowing family were at his bedside, but he told them not good-bye, preferring to greet them when they shall rejoin him in a better world. His death is regretted by all the many who knew him; the more so by those who knew him well.

Gen. Lee, like his father, was naturally quiet and retiring, and in his intercourse with others, when right and principle were not involved, invariably acted in accordance with the rule of noblesse oblige, but when they were involved he was as firm in support of his convictions as any other man could be. He stood foursquare to all the winds that blow, but always with the propriety that characterizes the perfect gentleman. He did his duty to his God, his family, his State, and his country, and did it well, and executed faithfully all the trusts committed to him in both military and civil life. He liked the old manners and customs of Virginia, but tried to conform to the new order of things with becoming grace, and did so with no audible complaint and no useless repinings. He served his State efficiently in her senate and in the national Congress, and in the Confederate army he filled, by merited promotion, every position from captain up to major-general of cavalry. It was different once, but Virginia can ill-afford to part with such a man now, and in his death, as in that of his illustrious father, she has lost a true and gallant son, who when not on duty was as gentle as a woman. Her fame has been increased by having had such a son. May she have many more; like him.


Address of Mr. Edmunds, of Virginia.

Mr. Speaker: It is not my purpose to attempt any extended remarks upon the life and character of Gen. William H.F. Lee, late a Representative from the Eighth Congressional district of Virginia, yet I can not permit this occasion to pass and my hand and heart to fail to pay my humble tribute to his memory. Gen. Lee's life had been spent after manhood in arms or as a tiller of the soil. In early life he saw military service as lieutenant in the Sixth Regiment, United States Infantry, and was with Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston in the expedition in 1858 against the Mormons.

Resigning from the Army, he returned to his native State of Virginia and engaged in the pursuit of agriculture. Early in the late civil struggle he raised a cavalry company, and rose from the position of company commander to that of major-general, and followed the cause in which he had enlisted until the end at Appomattox. There two great military chieftains met, and one, his illustrious father, gave up to the other his sword and the mutilated remnant of an army which had fought with the utmost bravery and fortitude under a leader of unsurpassed skill and fidelity.

Gen. Lee, after the struggle had ended, resuming his citizenship in peace, returned to his farm and occupation of agriculture.

He was elected by his people from his senatorial district to the legislature. He served one term in the senate of Virginia and declined a renomination. He was afterwards elected from the Eighth Congressional district of his State to the Fiftieth [12]and Fifty-first Congresses and again returned by his constituency to the present Congress; but the hand of death interposed, and he did not live to again take his seat in this legislative hall.

The name of Lee, Mr. Speaker, has been an illustrious one in Virginia. No one can with safety challenge the assertion that that old Commonwealth has furnished, from the time of the Revolution, as many great men, in peace and in war, as any of the States of our Union. When the foundations of this great Republic were laid and constitutional principles evolved, whether the sword of the warrior or the mind and philosophy of the statesman were needed, you will find the marks and handiwork of some son of that State.

Among those great men the ancestry of Gen. Lee were conspicuous. He inherited from his great father a disposition that was frank, manly, and chivalrous. Although with these distinguished surroundings, Gen. Lee had no undue pride, reserve, or self-assertion. His nature, on the contrary, was eminently amiable, generous, and sympathetic, and at the same time he was dignified, manly, brave, and ever courteous.

Identified with the agricultural interests of his State, at one time president of the State society, and himself a practical and successful farmer and proud of his occupation, he mingled freely and congenially with that great class of our citizens upon whose shoulders repose in great measure the preservation and safety of the institutions of our common country. While he was especially devoted to the interests of the farmer, he was essentially a patriot, and loved his State and all its diverse interests with an enthusiastic devotion and yearned for her prosperity.

He was a faithful, able, and vigilant Representative, and had [13]in the greatest degree the confidence of his constituents and the people of his entire State. No one who ever knew him could fail to implicitly trust him. His State has lost a pure and noble son; the country a wise, conservative, and faithful Representative. We who knew him here can recall his manly robust form, his genial kindly face, his frank accessible address, his unfailing gentleness of manner, his cheerful friendly voice, as he walked along the aisles of this Hall.

A man of his character and bearing could but wield an influence for good wherever his presence was.

In a republic, where the people are the state, the advice, the suggestions, and the example of a citizen so high-minded and incorruptible are of great value not only in the councils of the nation, but in the everyday walks and details of life, in his beautiful rural home, surrounded by and mingling with his country people; and it was ever the pleasure and practice of Gen. Lee to associate freely and unrestrainedly with the great body of the people. His generous and noble heart had a sympathetic touch with them and their struggles, their callings, their work.

But he has passed from us under the decree of the great Master to the great hereafter, leaving the record of a life of singular purity, directness of purpose, and freedom from guile; the record of a character unblurred, untarnished, unshadowed by the least stain; the record of a man high, noble, honorable, faithful to all the duties and relations of life.

Mr. Speaker, Virginia, one of the oldest of the Commonwealths, within whose borders lie the remains of many great names, and the energies and reserved forces of whose people in times gone by have risen to great heights, receives to her bosom her dead son and bows with sincere grief over his [14]grave; for to her, whether her hand wore the mailed gauntlet or followed the gentler pursuits of peace, he had ever been faithful, loyal, and true.

Address of Mr. Tucker, of Virginia.

Mr. Speaker: I shall leave to others the task of portraying the life of Gen. Lee in its diversified pursuits, and shall content myself with the effort of giving to the House my conception of some of the characteristics of our deceased friend which made him throughout his life, wherever placed, a conspicuous actor in private and public affairs.

In the early period of Virginia's history lived William Randolph, of Turkey Island (a plantation some 15 or 20 miles from the city of Richmond, near the scene of the terrific battle of Malvern Hill). He was the ancestor of all of that name in Virginia, and from him was descended in direct line Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and Robert E. Lee; the last-named the father of our departed friend. How could he have manifested in his life less patriotism, justice, and courage with such exemplars of these virtues ever before him?

His mother, as is well known, was a descendant from the wife of Gen. Washington by her prior marriage with John Parke Custis. Sprung from such a lineage; trained in a school where the amenities of life as well as "the humanities" were taught in their highest excellence, he practiced from his earliest childhood a scrupulous regard for the rights and feelings of others, and an indulgence to all faults except his own.

With a self-control and equipoise which were never disturbed under the most trying circumstances, and a graciousness [15]of manner which broke down all barriers, giving to the humblest as well as to the highest the assurance of his friendly consideration, and a mind well disciplined by education in the highest schools, it was impossible that he could have been other than a man of mark and influence in his State.

It is not claiming too much to say that Gen. Lee was the natural product of the civilization existing in Virginia during his boyhood and early manhood, which, alas, except here and there in certain localities, is fast passing away. The home, not the club, was its center; the family, not each "new-hatched, unfledged comrade," its unit. The father was the head of the family, not the joint tenant with the wife of a house nor the tenant at will of his wife. The wife and the mother was the queen of the household, not merely a housekeeper for a husband and the family. Obedience to those in authority was the first lesson exacted of the boy. Inculcated with tenderness, it was enforced with severity, if need be, until the word of the father or the expressed wish of the mother carried with it the force of law as completely as the decree of a court or the mandate of a king.

Reverence for superiors in age and deference to all, rather than arrogant self-assertion, was magnified as a cardinal virtue, not as teaching humility and enforcing a lack of proper self-respect, but rather to exalt high ideals and stimulate an admiration for "the true, the beautiful, and the good."

Fidelity to truth, the maintenance of personal honor, deference for the opinions and feelings of others, without abating one's own or aggressively thrusting them on others; a kindliness of manner to dependents, a knightly courtesy to all, but with special and tender regard in thought, word, and action toward woman, were in turn patiently taught in all the lessons [16]of the fireside and at the family altar, and earnestly insisted upon in the formation of the character of a true gentleman. "Any man will be polite to a beautiful young woman, but it takes a gentleman to show the same respect to a homely old woman" was the stinging rebuke of a father to his son who failed to remove his hat in passing a forlorn old woman on the public highway.

The old-field school, the private tutor, the high school, whose excellence in Virginia I can not praise too much, the college, the university, led the young mind by easy stages to its full intellectual maturity.

Nowhere was the principle "Sana mens in sano corpore" more scrupulously taught than in Virginia. The rod and stream, the gun, the "hounds and horns," the chase, with the music of the pack, the bounding steed, all lent their ready aid in developing the physical manhood of the boy. In the pure atmosphere of his country home, amid its broad fields and virgin forests, contracted houses in narrow streets had no charms for him. To join the chase was the first promotion to which the boy looked as evidencing his permanent release from the nursery. The gun and dog became his constant companions, while "Old Betsey," his father's trusted double-barreled gun of many years' usage, standing in the sitting-room corner or hanging on stag-horns or dog-wood forks on the side of the wall, was the eloquent subject of nightly rehearsals of her prowess and power in the annual deer hunt "over the mountains." Skill in horsemanship was essential, and breaking colts was naturally followed by broken limbs; but manhood found a race of trained horsemen, both graceful and skillful in the saddle, unexcelled, I dare venture to assert, by any civilized people. A child of nature, the Virginia boy communed with [17]her as his mother, and from her purest depths drew the richest inspirations. To him no mountains were so blue as hers, no streams so clear, no forests so enchanting, no homes so sweet.

While others hailed in distant skies the glories of the Union
He only saw the mountain bird stoop o'er his Old Dominion.

How vividly the picture comes to me now (never to be effaced) of a learned professor in one of Virginia's highest schools, himself three-score years and ten, a soldier of two wars, as he led the way through a quiet Virginia town on horseback, followed by two sons, distinguished ministers of the gospel, and they in turn by a younger son and the grandson of the leader, with a goodly train of friends, amid the blasts of horns and baying of hounds, who followed, eager for the chase among the beautiful hills which surrounded the town of Lexington, even as the mountains stand "round about Jerusalem."

Religion—the duty of man to his Creator, not sectarianism—was scrupulously taught, and Sunday morning found the family alive in preparations for attending religious service at Zion or Trinity, as it might happen to be the first or the fourth Sunday of the month. From this duty none were exempt from the least to the greatest. The pastor was the friend on whom all troubles both temporal and spiritual were cast, and his visits were long remembered and talked of in the life of each family. Deference to his wishes and reverence for his character were well-nigh universal.

A man he was to all the country dear,
And passing rich with forty pounds a year;
Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
Nor e'er had changed, nor wished to change his place.
Unskillful he to fawn, or seek for power,
By doctrines fashioned to the varying hour;
Far other aims his heart had learned to prize,
More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.

[18]Such was the atmosphere in which our deceased friend was reared. He was a trustee in the venerable institution of Washington and Lee University at Lexington, Va., founded by Gen. Washington, and presided over by Gen. Robert E. Lee during the last years of his life; he was faithful to the trust, and ever watchful of the best interests of the school. The loss sustained by this institution in his death has been most fittingly expressed in the appended minute of the faculty of the university, adopted on the 19th of October, 1891:

At a meeting of the faculty of Washington and Lee University, held October 19, 1891, the following minute was adopted:

Upon the announcement of the death of Gen. W.H.F. Lee the faculty of Washington and Lee University unite in sorrowful sympathy with his family, bereaved of husband, father, and brother; with the Commonwealth in the loss of a patriotic citizen; and with the board of trustees of this university, of which he was an esteemed member.

He was graduated at Harvard for the life of a civilian, but took a commission in the United States Army as lieutenant, and served with fidelity to duty under Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston in the Utah expedition of 1858.

At its close he resigned and returned to his country home, where he continued to live until 1861, when he entered the Confederate army, and, rising by rapid promotion to the rank of major-general of cavalry, closed his efficient and faithful military career in 1865, when he again returned to country life, and died at the seat of his ancestors, at Ravensworth, in Fairfax County.

In the mean time his private life was interrupted by the voice of his people, which called him to their service in the senate of Virginia and for three terms as their Representative in Congress, two of which he completed, and left the vacancy in the third by his untimely death.

Truth, honor, and courage to do good and to resist evil, sincerity in all relations and fidelity to all duty, were heirlooms of his race and lineage, which he kept and left untarnished to his posterity.

With a mind strong and vigorous, a judgment sound and well-poised, a calm and self-contained temper, which impelled him to the right and restrained him from the wrong, and a moral sense which guided and controlled his purposes and his actions along the path of absolute rectitude, he lived a life adorned by noble virtues and filled with noble deeds. Gentle but firm, decided, and fixed in his convictions, but respectful and deferential to those of others, he was a model of all the splendid qualities which make up the character of a courteous and Christian gentleman.

In addition to all these natural gifts his convictions led him to the profession and practice of a simple and genuine faith in the religion of Christ.

After an honorable military and civil career, in the peace of God and in charity with [19]his fellow-men, this worthy son of an illustrious family died the death of the righteous and in the hope of immortality through Him in whom he believed and trusted.

The faculty therefore declare—

That they have heard of the death of Gen. Lee with deep sorrow, and mourn it as a calamity to his family, his friends, his country, and to this university.

That they tender to his family these expressions of their affectionate esteem for him as a personal friend as well as for his service as a public man, and their sincere sympathy with them in their peculiar and irreparable bereavement.

A copy. Teste:

Jno. L. Campbell,
Clerk of the Faculty.

An intimate association with Gen. Lee in the Fifty-first Congress and as members of the board of trustees of Washington and Lee University at Lexington, Va., and in private life, enabled me to form a just estimate of his character and of those personal qualities of head and heart that made him beloved by all who really knew him. While they have been well expressed in the foregoing minute, I may add from my own observations a brief summary of his noble character. His mind was eminently practical, and arrived at its conclusions more from an unerring instinct of justice and common sense than through the exacting processes of logic. His judgment was rarely at fault, for his intellect was not swerved by passion or prejudice, but was held in perfect equipoise to receive the truth on both sides of every question. His deference to the opinions of others and his caution in seeking the views of those on whose discretion he relied suggested to some who did not know him that he was hesitating in temperament. This was not true. He sought all the light possible on every subject patiently and earnestly, and when he arrived at his conclusion no man adhered to it more tenaciously or enforced it more earnestly.

As a speaker, Gen. Lee possessed many of the attributes of the orator, a gift inherited from his grandfather, Light-Horse Harry Lee. He was graceful in delivery, persuasive in manner, and forcible in argument.

[20]His diction was pure, unpretentious, and simple. His speeches were often embellished with references to ancient and modern history and mythology with which he seemed to be very familiar.

Dutifulness, I believe, was the most prominent trait of his character. It was the star by which his life was guided. Once persuaded that a certain measure or a certain line of policy was right, and he was unflinchingly firm in its support. No burden was too heavy, no privation too severe, if only they were borne along the path of duty.

He exemplified in his life the noble utterance of his distinguished father: "Duty is the sublimest word in the English language."

In politics he was a Democrat, but not a partisan, and he firmly believed that the supremacy of his party was necessary for the good of the country and the welfare of the people. His patriotism was exalted, and his faith in the ultimate triumph of the right never wavered.

His manly appearance, his gracious but dignified manner, his courtly bearing and pleasing conversation marked him as a gentleman of the "old school," as one of nature's noblemen.

Any sketch of Gen. Lee would indeed be imperfect that failed to mention his love for little children, and his friends will never fail to recall the tender interest he always manifested in the children of their families, especially in the youngest.

His life, Mr. Speaker, was a truly noble one. It was on the highest plane. His character had no spot or blemish upon it that sweet charity would now consign to oblivion, but it was robust, well-rounded, and symmetrical, open as day. His ambition was not to attain but to deserve the praise of the good, and that higher benediction, to be pronounced by the final Judge of [21]the world: "Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joys of thy Lord."

He was an earnest believer in the Christian faith. The abstruse doctrines of the church formed no part of his creed. His faith was in the Christ the Saviour of mankind; a faith which illumined his pathway in life, lightening his burdens, exalting his nature, and which sustained him without fear when he met the last enemy of the race as he walked through "the valley of the shadow of death." It was the faith of a little child—

An assured belief
That the procession of our fate, howe'er
Sad or disturbed, is ordered by a Being
Of infinite benevolence and power,
Whose everlasting purposes embrace
All accidents, converting them to good.

His funeral and burial, Mr. Speaker, will never be forgotten by those who witnessed it. The autumn sun was fast sinking behind the bright curtain of the west, bathing "the mellow autumn fields" of Old Virginia with its purple hues. Untrumpeted by official authority, scores of friends from city, town, village, farm, and cabin gathered at Ravensworth to pay the last sad honor to their beloved friend. White and colored, rich and poor, high and low, soldiers, citizens, and statesmen, all were there.

His body was borne from the house to the ivy-clad family graveyard by the sturdy yeomanry of the neighborhood. In the presence of that vast throng, with uncovered heads, his comrades, who had followed him on many a hard-fought battlefield, performed the last sad rites, and with their own hands filled his grave and planted upon it the "immortelles" of their affection and devotion. Faces that never blanched amid the storm of battle paled; hearts that never quailed in the presence [22]of an enemy broke in the presence of the last enemy of us all, and the silent, pitiless tear which fell from the eye was hidden by the lengthening shadows of the evening, which were fast gathering round the scene.

Beloved friend, farewell and hail!
Removed from sight, yet not afar,
Still through this earthly twilight veil
Thou beamest down, a friendly star.
The prophet's blessing comes to thee,
The crown he holds to view is thine;
Forever more thy memory
In heaven and in our hearts shall shine.

Address of Mr. O'Ferrall, of Virginia.

Mr. Speaker: These occasions of tribute-offering in this Hall never fail to impress me with extreme sadness, increase my awe and reverence of Him who holds in the hollow of His hand every moment we live and every breath we draw, and teach me the lesson of our mortality.

These scenes have become very familiar to me, and their frequency reminds me with terrible force that—

All that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.

Most naturally am I more than usually touched and pained by the death of him which now hangs its somber drapery around the walls of our hearts and casts its pall over this Chamber. It is a death within the representative circle of which I am a member. It is the death of a colleague, a friend, whose presence in that circle always brought sunshine and never shadow.

Tributes to his memory, clothed in language of beauty and [23]breathing with love and burning with pathos, have already been paid, and others will follow; and now, while I can not hope to charm with the tongue of eloquence or touch the soul with the figures of rhetoric, I come with my tribute.

It will be plain and unadorned, but it will at least have the merit of sincerity, and, like the widow's mite, be all that I can give.

William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, of Virginia, is no more.

How the name of Lee, whenever uttered, wherever chivalry has erected her altar, sends a thrill like an electric current through every fiber of the manly man.

How the name of Virginia has been upon every tongue since Queen Elizabeth, nearly three centuries ago, gave that name to that section around which to-day historic memories linger and traditions and glories cluster as thick "as the stars in the crown of night," the section where Christopher Newport and his devoted followers "builded an altar unto the Lord and in the savage wilderness" deposited the germ of this mighty nation, "and where God blessed them as He blessed Noah and his sons, saying unto them, 'The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.'"

Virginia! The land of legends and lays—the land where the cradle of republican liberty was rocked, and where, in 1765, the first denial was heard of the right of the British Parliament to levy taxes upon the Colonies which kindled the fire of patriotic fervor and led to the ever-living, soul-inspiring words of her Henry and the raising up of her Jefferson to heights of imperishable fame and her Washington to the pinnacle of everlasting renown.

[24]Virginia! The land of battlefields and battle gore, colonial relics and Revolutionary monuments, spotless fame and unsullied honor; the land of patriot soldiers and heroes, and of a Yorktown, where the tyrant's head was bruised and the glorious strife ended which struck from our fathers the fetters and gave to them and their posterity a country gleaming in the golden sunlight of republican liberty, and throwing wide open her gates to the oppressed of every clime.

Virginia! The land of mountains, upon whose summits and in whose gorges the spirit of freedom roams unfettered and unconquerable; the land of valleys, which are hung like alcoved aisles with scenes of heroism and pictures of daring, self-sacrifice, and devotion to principle; the land of rivers and rivulets, which reflect like mirrors the fields upon which her blood has been poured out like water upon the ground; the land of zephyrs and breezes, and where the storm king sometimes dwells, gently murmuring or in thunder tones proclaiming her glories and her fame; the land of blue beautiful skies, radiant with the virtues of her daughters and bespangled with the deeds of her sons; the land of memorials of the past, that inspire the Virginia youth, whether born in poverty or in riches, reared in the cottage humble or in the mansion stately, with a patriotism that knows not section and yet a State love that knows not bounds.

It was in this land that Richard Henry Lee, the fire and splendor of whose eloquence burned like a hot iron into the soul of tyranny, and Francis Lightfoot Lee, both of them signers of the Declaration of Independence, were born; it was in this land that Arthur Lee, through whose instrumentality the Colonies secured the friendship and support of France, and "Light-Horse Harry" Lee, whose legion following his plume, [25]struck the enemy in the bivouac, on the march, in the lurid glare of battle, on the flank, and in the front like a thunderbolt from the skies, were born. It was in this land that Robert Edward Lee, whose services on the fields of Mexico decked his brow with the warrior's laurel, and whose leadership of the Confederate armies in the unfortunate strife between the States made his name immortal, and whose virtues shine with the brilliancy of a polished diamond, wreath his character in moral grandeur, and draw pæans and praises from friend and foe and from every clime where exalted manhood and a spotless life find devotees, was born; and it was in this land that William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, whose memory we are here to perpetuate, was born—all, all of the same lineage and blood.

What a line of illustrious and distinguished men of one name for one State to produce. What a line of illustrious men to spring from the old cavalier family that under the reign of Charles I settled in the county of Northumberland, between the waters of the Rappahannock and Potomac, since glorified by the pen of the historian and the lyre of the poet.

William Henry Fitzhugh Lee! How sweet does that name sound to me. What recollections does it awaken. How quickly do I find my heart throbbing; how rapidly my blood rushes through its channels.

Less than a twelvemonth ago he sat in yon seat or moved hither and thither about this Hall and along these passageways, pausing here and there to speak a pleasant word or exchange a friendly greeting. His tall and commanding person, his open, frank, and benevolent face and courtly bearing marked him among the membership of this House, and would have marked him in any assemblage, whether in the glittering [26]splendor of royalty or in the plain dignity of our republican institutions. To see him once was to remember him forever. His image is as distinct before me this moment as if he stood in the flesh with his eye beaming forth the goodness of his nature and his hand outstretched, as was his wont, to receive mine.

Mr. Speaker, his illustrious father, when the shadows of Appomattox closed round him, when the darkness of defeat enveloped him, when his soul was rent and torn and his mind was filled with anguish and his ragged and tired and worn veterans, reduced to a mere thin skirmish line, the remnant of an army that had shed unfading luster upon the American arms and the American soldier, gathered with tear-moistened cheeks about him to bid him farewell and receive his blessing, gave utterance to a sentiment just quoted by my colleague [Mr. Tucker], a sentiment as grand and noble as was ever written upon any Roman tablet or carved upon any column of enduring marble that was ever reared in the flood light of glory:

Duty is the sublimest word in our language.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, thus spoke Robert Edward Lee, the soldier, hero, Christian, and philanthropist: and when we come to study the life and character of William Henry Fitzhugh Lee we are impressed with the fact that he took duty as his talismanic word, that it was the star that guided him, and that he followed it as faithfully as the "wise men" followed the Star from "the East" to Jerusalem and thence to Bethlehem.

We believe that in his youth, on the heights of Arlington, where his eyes first opened upon the light, he learned at his father's knee and by his father's daily walk and conversation the great lesson of duty which steered his course and pointed out his pathway in life.

[27]He was born, as has been said, on the 31st day of May, 1837. In 1857 he was appointed a second lieutenant in the Sixth Regiment of United States Infantry, and served in 1858 in the then far West under Albert Sidney Johnston, whose fame Shiloh echoes and reëchoes along the banks of the Tennessee. In 1859 he resigned his commission in the Army and returned to Virginia and located on his estate in the county of New Kent. In 1861, when the Southern tocsin sounded and Virginia's voice was heard calling for troops, he raised a cavalry company and joined the Army of Northern Virginia. He rose gradually from captain to major-general of cavalry; was wounded in the terrific engagement between the Confederate and Federal cavalry at Brandy Station on the 9th day of June, 1863; was captured at Hanover Court-House, and was confined at Fort Monroe and Fort Lafayette until March, 1864, when he was exchanged, and repaired to his command, and served until the flag which he loved was furled forever at Appomattox.

From that time forward he cultivated his large estate with much care, serving one term in the senate of his State, declining a renomination. In 1886 he was elected to the Fiftieth Congress from the Eighth Congressional district of Virginia, and again in 1888 to the Fifty-first Congress, and still again in 1890 to the present Congress.

It was my privilege and pleasure to form his acquaintance in the army and to watch his flashing blade amid the carnage of battle, observe his cool courage and intrepid bearing and the love and confidence of his men upon more than one sanguinary field. He was as calm when the leaden hail was rattling and as cool when the shells were shrieking and bursting as he was upon this floor. He was a leader, not a follower of his men; if they went into the jaws of death, he was at their head. He [28]fared as his men fared; if their haversacks were empty, his was empty; if they laid down in the mud, he laid there too; if they sweltered in the summer heat or shivered in the winter blast, he sweltered or shivered too; and thus it was he kindled in the breasts of his men intense love for himself and secured their implicit confidence in his leadership.

The promotions he received, rising from a captain to a major-general, speak in terms stronger than any words of mine of his courage and valor and his qualities as a soldier and military chieftain.

As a civilian, pursuing the quiet walks of rural life and devoting himself to agriculture, the noblest of all arts, he was honored by all the people and drew to him his neighbors, binding them with the steely bands of constant friendship. His word was as good as his bond, and the dusky son of toil as well as the intelligent tenant on his wide possessions relied upon it with absolute faith; and the most beautiful tribute that could be paid to his memory was the deep sorrow which manifested itself in a meeting after his death of those whose brawny muscle had held the plow-handles and whose toil had made the corn and the wheat grow on his rich and fertile fields.

In politics he was a Democrat, and he was as pure in the political arena as in private life. He scorned the ways of the demagogue and the timeserver, and believed that "men should be what they seem." In the councils of his State and in the councils of the nation he was found at all times in full accord with the principles and policy of his party.

As a Representative he was as true to his constituents as any subject to his sovereign, laboring in season and out of season to serve them, and even when his strong frame began to weaken and the germs of disease had been planted in his system he disregarded [29]the warning calls for rest and continued to bend all his energies in the discharge of his trust, and I but speak the truth when I say that he fell a martyr to duty.

But, Mr. Speaker, while he was grand as a soldier, pure as a man, exalted as a citizen, and faithful as a Representative, it was in the home circle, as husband and father, and not on the battlefield, in civil life, or in the halls of legislation, that the beauty and loveliness of his character drew a halo around him.

He loved home, and it had a charm for him which neither pleasures, honors, nor fame could pluck from his bosom. Blessed by the companionship of one worthy of all adoration, and who presided like a queen over his household, entering into all his joys, sharing all his sorrows, and encouraging all his aspirations, he loved the breezes that kissed her cheeks, the birds that made sweet music to her ear, the rivulets that gently murmured her name, the flowers that shed their fragrance in her bowers, and the stately oaks under which the children of their union had prattled and the pebbled walks upon which they had played and gamboled.

Yes, he loved home, and in its sacred circle his presence was like a sunbeam, brightening every face and warming every heart. He was all patience, gentleness, kindness, and love, and if there ever was a home which was a fit emblem of heaven it was Ravensworth, the home of this distinguished man.

Mr. Speaker, he is gone. He lives now only in memory. In October last, when the frosts were blighting and the leaves were falling and the autumnal winds were sighing, after patient waiting for the fatal hour it came, and God's finger touched him, and the brave soldier, honored citizen, faithful Representative, devoted husband, and affectionate father was dead.

[30]He passed away quietly, strong in Christian faith and in the hope of a blissful eternity.

William Henry Fitzhugh Lee! His State mourns his death. Within the bosom of her soil he rests—peacefully rests. In his ancestral land near by Arlington, historic, revered Arlington, the scene of his childhood and early manhood, he sleeps—sleeps the sleep that knows no waking.

Earth, that all too soon hath bound him,
Gently wrap his clay!
Linger lovingly around him,
Light of dying day!

And Virginia—

Bending lowly,
Still a ceaseless vigil holy
Keep above his dust.

Address of Mr. Wise, of Virginia.

Mr. Speaker: In accordance with a beautiful and impressive custom we put aside for to-day our legislative duties to pay a tribute of respect to the memory of Hon. William H.F. Lee, of Virginia. In November, 1890, he was elected to serve as a member of this Congress from the Eighth district of that State, receiving in that action of his devoted constituents a merited indorsement of his conduct and services as their Representative for the two preceding terms. But when the day of our assembling arrived my colleague was not present to answer to the call of his name. He had passed over the river and was resting under the shade of the trees on the other side. He was beloved and honored by all the people of Virginia, and the announcement of his death, which occurred on the 15th day of October, 1891, was received everywhere within her borders with expressions of [31]the deepest sorrow. He was born at Arlington, on the Virginia heights, opposite this beautiful city, on the 31st day of May, 1837, and at the time of his death was in the fifty-fifth year of his age.

In 1857, when he was pursuing his studies in the University of Harvard, in preparation for the active and serious duties of life, he received from the then President of the United States the appointment of brevet second lieutenant in the Sixth Infantry. At that time the spirit of resistance to the authority of the National Government was being exhibited to such an extent in Utah as to call for measures of repression. Assassinations and outrages of all kinds were common, and the officers of the United States were powerless either to prevent or punish their commission.

When Mr. Buchanan became President the resolution was formed that the insubordination and conflict of authority existing in that Territory should cease, and the necessary executive and judicial officers having been appointed for the enforcement of the laws of the United States and the preservation of the public peace, it was determined to send a detachment of the Army to protect them against violence and to assist them as a posse comitatus, when necessary, in the performance of their duties. Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston became the commander of this military force, and Lieut. Lee had his first experience of the service in this expedition. As the occasion does not call for a recital of the events of that period, I will content myself with the remark that he was then, as on every occasion in after years, faithful to the obligations of duty. His term of service in the Army was of short duration, and from that fact we may infer that he was not enamored with the life of a soldier in time of peace.

In 1859 he resigned his commission, and soon thereafter was [32]married to Miss Wickham, the daughter of a family distinguished in the annals of Virginia. They went to reside at the White House, on the Pamunkey River, in the county of New Kent. It was at this old historic country home that the marriage of George Washington with the Widow Custis was celebrated. It descended to Gen. Lee from his mother, who was the great-granddaughter of Washington's wife.

Here he devoted himself to the tillage of the soil and became engrossed with the pursuits of a plain and unostentatious farmer. His condition and surroundings at this time were such as to invite contentment and encourage the cultivation of those pure and lofty sentiments for which he was ever distinguished.

Being in the flower and strength of his young manhood and blessed with affluence and the love of an accomplished wife, there seemed wanting nothing to make his home an earthly paradise.

But the course of this peaceful and happy life was not to run thus smoothly to the end. Dark and threatening clouds of war soon lowered upon our land, and the political conflicts and antagonisms, which had grown in intensity and bitterness with the flight of years, ripened into civil war in 1861. The crisis then arrived when the appeal to arms was inevitable, and with it the necessity that all men should decide whether allegiance was first due to the State or General Government. There were honest differences of opinion on this question, which had existed from the very foundation of the Republic.

He was connected by blood with a long line of illustrious men, who had borne a conspicuous part in the events which led to the declaration of American independence and the establishment of this constitutional Government. It was Richard[33] Henry Lee who offered in the Continental Congress, in June, 1776, that stirring resolution which proclaimed to the world "that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."

It was his own grandfather, known in history as "Light-Horse Harry Lee," who, in the long struggle which followed this bold declaration, struck such sturdy blows for the liberties and rights of his countrymen as caused him to receive the special commendation of George Washington, of whom in turn he uttered those memorable words: "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." Bearing a name thus associated with all the glorious achievements of the past, it was but natural that he should have felt an ardent attachment to the Union. But he was a son of Virginia, "where American liberty raised its first voice and where its youth was nurtured and sustained."

There the doctrine of the sovereignty of the State was accepted as the true interpretation of the Constitution almost without division of sentiment. Her people held that allegiance was first due to their State, and while all deplored the necessity for, few, if any, doubted as to the right of separation. When in April, 1861, a convention representing her people passed the ordinance of secession, he felt no hesitation in adopting his course. He resolved at once to consecrate himself and his sword to the sacred duty of defending her homes and firesides.

Having raised a company of cavalry, he was made its captain, and was rapidly promoted from rank to rank until he reached [34]that of major-general. Soon after his entry into the Confederate service he became associated with the command of Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, and participated thereafter in nearly all the movements of that fearless and dashing leader, whom the brave Gen. Sedgwick, of the United States Army, pronounced "the best cavalry officer ever foaled in North America." On June 3, 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee, the father of my deceased colleague, assumed the command of the Army of Northern Virginia three days after the retiracy of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, caused by a wound received in the battle of Seven Pines.

The plans of the Federal commander for the capture of the capital of the Southern Confederacy had been well chosen. His army, according to his own report, numbered 156,000, of whom 115,000 were ready for duty as fighting men. All the vast resources of his Government were being employed to enable him to prosecute his campaign with efficiency and vigor. His troops had been furnished with artillery and small arms of the most approved description and best pattern. They had abundance of ammunition of the finest quality and ample supplies of food and clothing. Gen. McDowell, then at Fredericksburg with 40,000 men, and Gens. Banks and Frémont in the valley of Virginia, were expected to coöperate in the movement. A line of fire was slowly but steadily being drawn around Richmond. These plans, as I have said, had been well conceived and were being executed with great precision and skill.

To oppose this formidable advance there were less than 100,000 fighting men in Virginia, and they were greatly inferior to the enemy in both equipments and supplies. Gen. Johnston, penetrating the designs of his adversary, commenced operations to prevent their accomplishment. The bloody and stubbornly contested battle of Seven Pines was fought in part execution [35]of his plans. When Gen. Robert E. Lee succeeded to the command it was apparent that some decisive blow must be struck to save the Southern capital from a state of siege. Surveying the whole field with a keen and practiced eye, he saw that the left wing of the Union army, which had been thrown across the Chickahominy and advanced to within four or five miles of Richmond, occupied a strong and almost impregnable position. An attack upon the center promised no better results.

Under these circumstances he turned his attention to the right wing, and, in order to obtain the fullest and most accurate information concerning McClellan's position and defenses on that portion of his line, ordered Gen. Stuart to make a reconnoissance in the direction of Old Church and Cold Harbor. With 1,500 picked men that pink of Southern chivalry immediately undertook the execution of the orders of the commanding general. This daring exploit was popularly known as "Stuart's ride around McClellan." It is a fact that he did pass entirely around the Union army, and, building a bridge across the Chickahominy, reëntered the Confederate lines in safety. In this perilous expedition he was assisted by his bravest and best officers, among whom were Gens. William H.F. Lee, and his cousin, the dashing Fitz Lee.

More was accomplished than had been anticipated, and it was ascertained that the right and rear of McClellan were unprotected by works of any strength. In consequence of the information thus obtained the decision was formed to make the attack in that direction, and on the 26th of June, 1862, began that series of splendid battles which culminated in the retreat of McClellan's army to Harrisons Landing, on the James River, and the deliverance of Richmond from danger. On the 9th of June, 1863, there occurred near Brandy Station, in the [36]county of Culpeper, Va., one of the most extensive and stubborn cavalry fights of the whole war. Two divisions of Federal cavalry, commanded by Gens. Buford and Gregg, and supported by two brigades of "picked infantry," fell upon Stuart with such suddenness and fierceness that the attack was almost crowned with victory. Nothing saved him from defeat, if not from greater calamity, but his own coolness and that of his lieutenants, coupled with the indomitable pluck and intrepidity of his troopers.

In this engagement that brave Georgian Gen. Young, formerly a member of this House, by a splendid charge with sabers, without carbine or pistol, repulsed a dangerous and gallant assault on the rear, while Gen. William H.F. Lee, with equal courage and dash, protected the left of the Confederate position. In this encounter Gen. Lee received a severe wound, which necessitated his retirement from the field. He was carried to Hickory Hill, in Hanover County, the home of Gen. Wickham, a near relative of his wife, and here he was captured and placed in solitary confinement in Fort Monroe as a hostage, certain officers of the United States being then held under sentence of death in Libby Prison in retaliation for the execution of certain Confederate officers in the West.

Gen. Custis Lee, being then a young unmarried man, on the staff of the Confederate President, met, under special flag of truce, representatives of the Government at Washington, and begged to be permitted to take the place of Gen. William H.F. Lee, giving as a reason for the proposed exchange his desire to save from punishment the innocent wife and children of his wounded brother. The offer was declined, and he was told that the burdens of war must fall where chance or fortune placed them.

[37]In this incident we have a beautiful and touching illustration of the strength and warmth of brotherly love and of the knightly bearing of the Lees of Virginia. While thus detained as a prisoner of war, racked with physical suffering and those mental tortures which a sensitive and high-strung man must feel under such circumstances, there came the sad tidings of the death of his loved wife and two children; and thus was added another, the most poignant of all the griefs with which he had been afflicted. His old Virginia home, associated with so many sacred memories, had been reduced to ashes, and now there remained of the once happy family which formerly occupied it only the captive father. This weight of woe would seem too much for human endurance, but he bore it with the fortitude of a Christian soldier. He was exchanged in the spring of 1864, and returning to his division, led it in all the engagements, from the Rapidan to the Appomattox, where the curtain fell upon the stirring and bloody scenes in which he had been such an active participant.

As a soldier he was always calm, cool, and self-possessed. Those who have had experience in the ranks know that the bravest and best soldiers will falter and hesitate when they are without confidence in the ability, judgment, and foresight of their leader. The soldiers who were ranged under the standard of Lee, believing that their noble commander was equal to all emergencies, followed him with unwavering trust, and their survivors testify to the affection in which a spirit so gentle and yet so brave was held.

No higher eulogy can be pronounced upon any man than to say of him that which can be truly alleged of Gen. Lee, that he was an honored and trusted leader in that splendid Army of Northern Virginia, which only failed where success was impossible.[38] They challenged the respect and admiration of the world, and of their great captain it has been said that "a country which has given birth to men like him and those who followed him may look the chivalry of Europe in the face without shame, for the fatherlands of Sidney and Bayard never produced a nobler soldier, gentleman, and Christian than Robert E. Lee."

These meager details of our civil war have not been given with the purpose of reviving unpleasant memories or of perpetuating sectional animosities. They have been related because they constitute an important part of the story of the life of him whom we mourn.

On both sides were displayed the highest qualities of the military leader, and illustrated as never before the pluck, endurance, and dash of the American soldier. They were Americans all, and, without distinction of sections, we can claim part of the honor of their achievements and partake in the pride of their great names. We have furnished to the world the indubitable proof that these States united are invincible. When, at Appomattox, our arms were stacked and banners furled we returned to our homes with no divided allegiance.

We believe that in the safety of the Union is the safety of the States. And we rejoice that "the gorgeous ensign of the Republic is still full high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original luster, not a stripe polluted or erased, not a single star obscured, bearing for its motto no such miserable interrogatory as 'What is all this worth?' Nor those other words of delusion and folly, 'Liberty first and Union afterwards,' but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and over the land and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other [39]sentiment, dear to every true American heart, 'Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable.'"

But while entertaining these sentiments, we can not, we will not, forget our glorious dead. The brave men against whom we fought neither expect nor desire such unnatural conduct. Whether the cause for which they died was just or not it would be idle to discuss. It is enough for us to know that—

They were slain for us,
And their blood flowed out in a rain for us—
Red, rich, and pure, on the plain for us;
And years may go,
But our tears shall flow
O'er the dead who have died in vain for us.

After the cessation of hostilities Gen. Lee resumed the occupations of a farmer on the old plantation which he had left in 1861. The implements of warfare were exchanged for those of the husbandman, and following the plow on the furrows he commenced the work of repairing the losses he had sustained. In 1868 he married Miss Mary Tabb Bolling, the daughter of Col. George W. Bolling, of Petersburg, and they continued their residence at the White House until 1874, when they removed to Ravensworth, in the county of Fairfax, where he died.

He was an able and faithful Representative, and always devoted to the interests of his constituents. As a fitting eulogy to his worth it may be truly said that it was his disposition to follow the line of duty to the end. The conscientious performance of every trust confided to him was the watchword of his life. In his conduct as a legislator he was never ruled by faction or interest, but the promotion of the public good was the motive of all his actions. While exhibiting none of the showy and sparkling qualities of the orator, he was distinguished for the possession of good judgment and strong practical common sense.[40] He was a man of calm and even temperament, and was seldom, if ever, controlled by prejudices or swayed by passion. Those who were associated with him here remember his dignified and courteous bearing. No words of bitterness or reproach ever escaped his lips, and he never forgot what was due to others as well as to himself.

I never heard him speak an unkind word of another, and while reserved, and to a certain extent formal, in his demeanor, he was a man of infinite sweetness of disposition:

And thus he bore without abuse,
The grand old name of gentleman.

Both in his public and private life he furnished an example worthy of the emulation of all who love the true nobility of humanity. We will draw aside the curtain only for a passing glance at the domestic circle, of which his beautiful and lovely wife was at once the pride and the ornament. Surrounded by this devoted helpmeet and two manly sons, there was not a happier home in old Virginia. Warmed by the love of his big and generous heart, it was the abode of contentment and peace. The dread messenger was never more unwelcome than when he entered the portals of Ravensworth and made vacant forever the chair of the husband and the father.

We can say nothing to assuage the poignant grief of the widow and children, but our hearts are filled with the fervent prayer that Heaven's choicest blessings may be showered upon them.


Address of Mr. Herbert, of Alabama.

Mr. Speaker: In this brief tribute to the memory of Gen. William H.F. Lee I should be unworthy of the friendship which it was my privilege to claim did I indulge in anything else than the language of soberness and truth. In him there was no manner of affectation; he pretended to be nothing but such as he was, and it is certain that if he had been giving directions to his biographer he would have laid down the rule announced by Thomas Carlyle, in his review of the life of Lockhart, that the biographer in the treatment of his subject "should have the fear of God before his eyes and no other fear whatever."

Froude, as biographer, claims subsequently to have applied to the life of Carlyle his own rule; and all the world knows that in the portrayal of Carlyle's faults of character the biographer left many a sting in the hearts of those who had loved the great man while he lived and who felt that the failings on which the historian had dwelt ought to have been interred with his bones. The biographer who shall perform faithfully the task of writing the life of "Rooney" Lee will not paint him as a genius like Carlyle; but, sir, if there was any single feature in the character of our friend that, laid bare to the world even by the bold hand of an Anthony Froude, would cause the faintest blush to tinge the cheek of family or friends, I, who knew him well, do not know what it was.

It is true, sir, that it was not my fortune to be thrown in contact with him in the earlier years of his life. I did not know him when his character was being shaped and molded [42]by the generous and refining influences which surrounded him from his cradle to his manhood.

My personal acquaintance with him may be said to have begun only when he had taken his seat by my side in this Hall. But his fame had come before him. A representative of the most distinguished family in America, he had been, by this circumstance alone, conspicuous from his birth; and yet he came among us with not a spot upon his name.

During the civil war, from a subordinate position rising rapidly to high command and always in the bright light that surrounded him as a son of the most illustrious general of modern times, he bore himself as a soldier without reproach. Neither in civil life nor in war had calumny assaulted him. Such a man, entering here upon a new career, attracted attention the moment he came into this Hall.

It soon appeared to those who watched him closely that he was singularly modest. This modesty was not diffidence. He was at all times self-poised. On this floor, addressing himself to a public question just as in a private conversation among his friends, he always had the easy, unpretentious manner of the thoroughbred gentleman, but his modesty was easily apparent in an utter lack of self-assertion. He never put himself forward except when duty prompted, and then he did nothing for display; never a word did he speak for himself, but only for his cause.

He made indeed no pretensions to oratory; he had never been trained in its arts; but his mind was broad and highly cultured, he had a vast fund of vigorous common sense, and he expressed himself readily and pointedly. With these faculties he would in time have taken rank as a strong debater.

While broadly patriotic, he had at the same time a high [43]sense of obligation to his immediate constituency, and he was patient to a remarkable degree. His district, you will remember, Mr. Speaker, lay just beyond the Potomac.

It was an easy matter for his constituents to come to the Capitol, and naturally many of them sought office at his hands. I sat near him in the Fifty-first Congress. Often have I known him to be carded out a dozen times a day; and if he ever expressed himself to me as worried by these interruptions he never failed to show by what he said that his annoyance arose not so much from the importunities of his friends as from his inability to serve them.

In address he was remarkably pleasing. Indeed, his manner was so genial, so pleasant, so hearty and sincere, that the memory of his kindly greeting will not be forgotten until the whole generation of his friends shall pass away. Who is there among his associates on this floor that will ever cease to remember him as, morning after morning in the springtime, he came into this Hall, bringing from his home a basket of roses to distribute among his friends? He was not seeking popularity. Such a thought had not occurred to him, nor did it enter into the mind of anyone here. He simply loved his friends, and he loved flowers just as he loved all things beautiful and true.

Such a man could not but be, as Gen. Lee was, a model brother, husband, and father. In all his life nothing was more lovely and beautiful than his family relations.

He had about him none of the arts of the demagogue; he was always true to himself, and therefore never false to any man. His whole walk and conversation illustrated that he was the worthy son of his noble father; that from his youth up he had profited by the precepts and example of that illustrious chieftain, who declared, in those memorable words already quoted by my [44]eloquent friend [Mr. Tucker], that duty was the sublimest word in the English language. And, Mr. Speaker, let me say that the idea conveyed by this word duty, as taught by the father and practiced by the son, was far higher than that ideal, lofty though it was, expounded by philosophers like Plato and Cicero. With the Lees duty meant Christian duty.

With all these characteristics Gen. Lee could not but grow and continue to grow as he did in power and influence in a body like this; and had he been spared for that long career in this Hall hoped for by his friends he would have risen to eminence as a legislator.

But this was not to be. He has passed away from us forever.

When such a man dies out from among us, let critics cavil as they may about time wasted in memorial addresses. We should do violence to our own feelings did we not pause to honor his memory; we should do wrong to the American people, whose heritage they are, did we not spread before them the lessons of his life, that the whole country may venerate his virtues and the youth of the land may emulate his example.

Address of Mr. Hermann, of Oregon.

Mr. Speaker: Of all picturesque spots on the face of the earth there is perhaps none that can rival in scenic beauty Mount Arlington, in the State of Virginia. Shaded by the primeval forest to the rear, and in front beautified by the gently sloping lawn, decorated by variegated flowers and artistically trimmed shrubbery, with the dark-green waters of the Potomac ebbing and flowing not far away and in full view the mighty nation's splendid capital city, stands the stately old mansion, with its [45]classic columns, where nearly fifty-five years ago was born our departed friend and colleague, and one of the beloved Representatives of the people of Virginia—Gen. William H.F. Lee. Born in Virginia, he remained a Virginian continuously to the hour of his death.

Inheriting the martial genius of his eminent ancestry, he early aspired to a career in the military service of his country, and at the comparatively early age of twenty we find him bidding adieu to his college studies at Harvard and uniting with the Army in its expedition to Utah in 1858, where he first experienced the fatigues and hardships incident to the life of the soldier in the long march over the arid plains and through the mountain canyons into the Mormon territory. The prospect of inaction, with a long period in garrison, proved a disappointment to so ambitious a spirit, and he resigned his commission and returned to the domestic welcome of his Virginia farm.

Soon, however, the indication of a long peace proved delusive, and the scene shifted. This time it was decreed that he should behold the terrible conflict in which one portion of his unhappy country was to engage in deadly array with another portion. Obeying what he conceived to be the mandate of his State, he followed the impulse of his feelings and the example of his kindred and his friends, and periled all in that belief. He participated at once, and most actively, in some of the most sanguinary engagements of the civil war. Wounded at one place, taken prisoner at another, then exchanged, and again in the van of battle, we find him following the forlorn hope until the close of the struggle at Appomattox, when he again returned to the old farm.

He possessed the undivided confidence of his constituents. He was regarded by them, as he was so long observed by us [46]in our intimate associations with him in this Hall, and especially in the committee rooms, as an intelligent and conscientious legislator, a laborious servant of the people, a courtly gentleman, a generous and devoted companion. Loyal as he was to his political convictions, he was yet the most considerate and the most conservative in his relations with those who radically differed with him. He admired frankness; he despised duplicity. While he was obedient to the reasonable edicts of caucus and party organization, we recall occasions when he was prompt to rise above the partisan. He was as broad-gauge and comprehensive in the study and performance of his duty toward all parts and all interests of his reunited country as he was anxious for the obliteration of sectional animosity and sincere and generous of heart in his social obligations to all of his fellow-men.

The most touching remembrance we bear of Gen. Lee's goodness of heart has reference to his custom in springtime of bringing to this Hall from his farm great quantities of lovely roses, and having them distributed to his associates of both political parties on this floor with his compliments. Here we have a practical illustration that flowers are the interpreters of man's best feelings. In oriental lands the language of flowers was early studied and made expressive. As Percival says:

Each blossom that blooms in their garden bowers,
On its leaves a mystic language bears.

With Gen. Lee they bore tidings of good will to partisan friend and partisan foe alike. They bespoke in mute eloquence the expansive heart of one "that loved his fellow-men." Little, however, did he think at the time that these beautiful roses were especially speaking to him as emblems of a near immortality. Awakening from their sleep of winter, they were also [47]harbingers of a brighter day to him and of the bloom of a glorious resurrection. The Germans have a saying that "he who loves flowers loves God." If this be applied to Gen. Lee, we have the blessed assurance that he has approached close to the celestial throne.

Gen. Lee belonged to one of the most historic families of America. Looking back to the early settlement and the pioneer struggles of the peninsula and then through the plantation and colonial period of entire Virginia, we everywhere discover the genius, the dauntless courage, the independence, and the resolute patriotism of the Lees. It has been well said, sir, that Virginia is the mother of Presidents; and this is true. A momentary reflection does not suffice to demonstrate the various causes which combined to bestow upon the Old Dominion this prominence. A mature study, however, will serve a double purpose. It will teach us not only how Virginia more than any other State became the nursery for Presidents and statesmen, but how at the same time were given character and fame to its distinguished family—the Lees.

The permanency and prosperity of states and political bodies are as much due to the character of their superstructures as are the strength and stability of the material edifice to the foundation upon which it rests. The Argonauts of Virginia united in a remarkable degree the pride and culture and learning and loyalty of the Cavaliers with the conviction of purpose and martial courage and discipline of the followers of Cromwell. First came the heroic vanguard—the men like Capt. John Smith—who blazed the way through the forests of the James, the York, the Chickahominy, and Pamunkey. Then followed the refined, enthusiastic, and chivalric gentlemen of the polished court of Charles I, with many of the clergy, who brought with [48]them their intense loyalty to the Crown, as well as to the episcopal government and Anglican ritual. Among these, too, were the proselyted royalists; old and honorable families after the defeat of Charles, seeking exile in the far distant yet faithful Virginia. Then came those who triumphed at Naseby, and overthrew the kingly office and maintained the constitution of the realm and the integrity of Magna Charta and the Petition of Rights.

The necessity for self-defense and the maintenance of order originated self-government and the assertion of individual right, and these united the widely variant elements of the community in a loyal union. It was the amalgamation of such spirits in Virginia in 1676 which demanded the right of personal liberty, of universal suffrage, and of representation; and here was fought the prelude of that great drama one hundred years later, when a Virginian, in the name of a whole nation, penned the immortal words which proclaimed to all the world the "inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Here were the Lees, the Patrick Henrys, the Randolphs, the Jeffersons, the Madisons, and the Masons of Virginia; and here, to close the drama with freedom's triumphant army, was the most illustrious of them all—George Washington. It was from such an ancestry our late colleague was descended, and it was from such teachings and such examples he imbibed his zealous convictions of right and his sturdy regard for the exalted prerogatives of a free people.


Address of Mr. Washington, of Tennessee.

Mr. Speaker: On the 15th of last October death again invaded the ranks of this House. The mysterious messenger laid the summons of his cold silent hand upon one who had immeasurably endeared himself to all whose good fortune it had been to know him. To-day we pause amid the rush of a nation's public business to mourn the country's loss and to pay a just tribute to the noble dead. When such a man as our late colleague, Gen. William H.F. Lee, is taken from our midst, a void is made which can nevermore be filled. It is not his visible presence or his tangible body that we shall so much miss. It is the magnetism of a pure mind, the silent, potent influence of a spotless character, the power of a great, good, and noble soul to elevate and dignify all with whom it came in contact that will prove our irreparable loss. No man ever associated with Gen. Lee without feeling the better for it. To have been with him made you feel like one who had drawn a long deep inspiration of pure fresh air into his lungs after breathing the stifling atmosphere of a close room. His thoughts, his conversation, his ideas diffused about him a sound and healthy morality, that was as natural to him as its delicate odor is to the rose. Modest and gentle as a woman; sympathetic as a child; guileless as the day; a logical, well-trained, accurate mind; a horror of injustice; absolutely devoid of resentment; a benignant countenance, and a splendid physique, made him indeed a man among men.

Sir, I believe not only in early training, but in the force of early surroundings and family traditions. Sprung from an illustrious line of statesmen and patriots, who had left their impress [50]on every page of the history, civil and military, of this country from the colonial days to the present; born on those beautiful heights overlooking this city at Arlington, where the house was filled with the sanctified relics and the very atmosphere he breathed in childhood was pregnant with the traditions and precepts of "the Father of his Country;" his mother being the daughter of George Washington Parke Custis, the adopted son of the immortal Washington; his father that world-renowned military commander, the self-poised, calm, patient, dignified, glorious Gen. Robert E. Lee, it would be unnatural not to expect to find the impress of all these on the heart and mind and character and life of Gen. William H.F. Lee.

To some my words of eulogy may appear fulsome; but having known him in public and in private, at home by his own fireside, as well as abroad on the active field of life, I know that my poor words can but fail to do full justice to his true worth. With him the performance of duty was accompanied by no harsh word or cynical expression; on the contrary, his calmness and uniform sweetness of manner were almost poetical. I recall a notable instance in the Fiftieth Congress, when, pressing under the most trying circumstances the passage of a bill for the relief of the Episcopal high school near Alexandria, he was temperate and patient. Standing on the Republican side of this Hall, among those who questioned him, his words fell softly and evenly as snowflakes on the turbulent House, which finally by an almost unanimous vote passed his bill.

He shrank from publicity; therefore he never spoke on this floor unless it was necessary to push a measure intrusted to his charge; then he always acquitted himself with credit. In the committee and among his colleagues his influence was irresistible, because his judgment and integrity were above dispute.

[51]With him a public office was a public trust, which he accepted and administered for his State and his constituents without regard to race, color, or party affiliation. Many times have I seen him, when coming in from his country home in the morning, met at the depot by a dozen or more of his constituents, claiming his attention to their private matters with the Departments of the Government.

The patience and tender care with which he heard and looked after each were paternal and pathetic. His love for little children was intense and beautiful. Nothing made him happier than to fill some little fellow's hands and pockets with candies and fruits, claiming only in return a shy caress. In his home is where his perfectly balanced Christian character shone in its brightest light. As father and husband he was indeed a model man.

I shall attempt no extended biographical sketch; that has already been well done by others. Yet I can not refrain from saying that in every stage of his career Gen. Lee did his whole duty, actuated entirely and solely by the loftiest motives.

A graduate of Harvard at twenty, he was appointed a second lieutenant in the regular Army. Often I have heard him tell of the wearisome march across the plains to California with his regiment, long in advance of civilization and railroads, when most of that journey through the desert was made perilous by roving bands of hostile Indians. Retiring from the Army, he married and settled at the historic White House, in lower Virginia. There he was the typical Southern country gentleman of refinement and culture, taking an active interest in agriculture and the public affairs of his community. When the war between the States summoned Virginia's sons to her defense he again became a soldier.

[52]Throughout the struggle he discharged every duty and was equal to every responsibility placed upon him. His soldiers loved and trusted him as a father, for they knew he would sacrifice no life for empty glory. The saddest chapter in all his life was when—a prisoner of war at Fort Monroe, lying desperately wounded, with the threat of a retaliatory death-sentence suspended over his head, in hourly expectation of its execution—he heard of the fatal illness of his wife and two little children but a few miles away. Earnestly his friends begged that he might be allowed to go and say the last farewell to them on earth. A devoted brother came, like Damon of old, and offered himself to die in "Rooney's" place. War, inexorable war, always stern and cruel, could not accept the substituted sacrifice, and while the sick wounded soldier, under sentence of death, lay, himself almost dying, in the dungeon of the Fort, his wife and children "passed over the river to rest under the trees" and wait there his coming. Yet no word of reproach ever passed his gentle lips. He accepted it all as the fortune of war.

In all the walks of life—as a student at college, as an officer in the regular Army, as a planter on the Pamunkey, as a leader of cavalry in the civil war, as a farmer struggling with the chaos and confusion that beset him under the new order of things following the abolition of slavery, as president of the Virginia Agricultural Society, as State senator, and as a member of Congress—Gen. William H.F. Lee met every requirement, was equal to every emergency, and left a name for honor, truth, and virtue which should be a blessed heritage and the inspiration for a nobler and loftier life to all those who shall succeed him.


Address of Mr. Henderson, of Illinois.

Mr. Speaker: It is not my purpose at this time to make any extended remarks upon the life and public services of the late Gen. William H.F. Lee. Other gentlemen of the House, more intimately acquainted with Gen. Lee in his lifetime, are better prepared to do justice to his memory than I am. But having enjoyed a very pleasant acquaintance with the deceased during his four years' service as a member of this body, I desire to express the great respect which I entertained for him as a gentleman of high character and of noble, manly qualities. Descended from one of the most highly honored families in the State in which he had his birth, he was liberally educated, and at an early age entered the Army as a second lieutenant and served as such until 1859, when he resigned his commission and returned to the peaceful pursuits of civil life. In 1861 he followed his illustrious father, and entered the service of the Confederate States as a captain of cavalry. That he was a brave and gallant soldier there can be no doubt, for his military history shows that he rose step by step from the rank of a captain to that of a major-general of cavalry. In 1865 he surrendered with his father at Appomattox, and renewed his allegiance and devotion, as I am glad to believe, to the Government of the United States.

I can but wish, Mr. Speaker, that such honored names as those of Gen. William H.F. Lee and his distinguished father had never been led into rebellion against the Government of their country. But they felt it to be their duty to follow the fortunes of their State, and let us to-day, while mourning the [54]departure of our deceased friend, rejoice that the surrender at Appomattox has been followed by a restored Union, and that our reunited, undivided country is now one of the strongest, most powerful, and prosperous of all the nations of the earth.

As a Representative in this body, while he was not inclined to participate actively in the discussion of public and political questions, still Gen. Lee took great interest in all that pertained to the public welfare, and especially in that which, in his judgment, was in the interest of his immediate constituents. He was an able, faithful, and efficient Representative as well as a noble, manly man, and in all my intercourse with men I never met a more genial, warm-hearted, pleasant gentleman than the distinguished citizen to whose memory we pay tribute to-day. I well remember his kindly greetings, and I am sure all of us who knew Gen. Lee deeply regret his loss as a member of this body, to which he was for a third time elected by his confiding constituents, and extend to his sorrowing bereaved family our warm heartfelt sympathies.

Address of Mr. Chipman, of Michigan.

Mr. Speaker: I have not been in the habit of speaking upon occasions of this kind, but it is one of the joys of my life, a very great joy indeed, to feel that I had a place in the heart of the gentleman whom we are now commemorating. I knew him very well, and in many respects I regarded him as one of the most fortunate men whom it was ever my pleasure to know. While many men here are struggling for fame, while many of them will leave the struggle heartsick, weary, defeated, he had that power, that charm, so precious and so lovely, of attaching [55]men to him by the ties of affection. Little children loved him.

There was a benignancy, a sweetness of demeanor, which attracted them to him, and while his name may not be sounded in the trump of fame, yet the subtile power of his gentleness and goodness has permeated many lives, will shape many destinies, and will have a force in the history of the world greater than that which will be exerted by many who will succeed him here. He was a soldier, yet he was gentle and kind. He was a descendant of a long line of honored ancestry, yet he did not believe that mere wealth was necessary either to respectability or to greatness. He was a farmer and loved the soil. He looked upon the ripened grain as the flower of human hope and as a minister to human needs. He loved the breath of cattle, and he regarded the occupation of an agriculturist as the noblest and the best in which a man could be engaged. He was a true son of the soil—hearty, simple, gentle, true.

But, sir, the particulars of his career, both public and private, have been recounted by those who knew him well; have been recounted with great force, with great eloquence and propriety. There is, however, one part of that career to which I wish to refer. He was engaged in the memorable struggle which convulsed this nation from center to circumference and which fastened the gaze of the civilized world. I wish upon this occasion to say emphatically, that wherever we may have stood in that struggle, whatever was good and great in any man participating on either side of it is a precious heritage to the entire American people to-day. We proved that, North, South, East, West, we had not degenerated in the qualities which make a nation great.

[56]Grant and Lee, Sherman, Sheridan, and the two Johnstons have gone from us forever, and every day the green sward of peace, the flowers of affection, are placed above the grave of some hero of the blue or the gray. But I love to think that above these graves stands the Genius of American freedom, serene and grand, and bids the world behold how brave the sons of the Republic were in the past; how united they are in one purpose and one destiny in the present; how certain they are to be a people noted for reasonable liberty, for perfect union, and for sufficient material power to be formidable and just alike to the other nations of the earth.

And so, sir, I come and lay the flowers of my Northern home upon the bier of this son of Virginia, this good citizen, this patriot, this man who, I am proud to believe, held even me in his affection. And when gentlemen here speak of the terror and the mystery of death, I tell them that to such a man death has no terrors, and that to the good man it has no mystery; for in that illimitable hereafter, which must be populated by all the sons of men, it must be, it will be, well with all of us.

Address of Mr. Wilson, of West Virginia.

Mr. Speaker: The House has already heard from his friend and successor the story of Gen. Lee's life. I shall not, therefore, repeat it even in briefest outline. Enough for me to say that he was one in a long lineage of noted men, who by some innate force and virtue had stood forth in three generations as leaders of their fellow-men; that he was the son of the greatest of all who have borne the name, and that in early manhood [57]he exhibited the soldierly instincts and the soldierly capacity that seemed to be historically associated with it.

With such a lineage and with such a history he came to this House, and I believe I can offer no higher tribute to his memory to-day than to say that in all his associations with us here he was the embodiment of gentleness and modesty. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, as I now recall Gen. Lee, and explore with aching heart the memory of a close and cordial friendship with him, I can say with confidence that in the blending of these rare traits I have never known his equal. They were a part of his nature, not more illustrated in business and social intercourse with fellow-members than in his relations with the page who did him service and who learned to regard himself in some way as the special friend and associate of Gen. Lee.

Many of us doubtless can recall the evident pride of the little fellow who occasionally placed upon our desks the roses which his kindly patron brought by the basketful in the spring mornings from his Virginia home to brighten the sittings of the House. And this gentleness and modesty were the more attractive because they were the adornment of a sincere and manly character. How much came to him as the rich legacy of ancestral blood and how much was wrought into his nature by the training of his youth it is idle to speculate. In both respects he was lifted far above the common lot of men. Of his mother it is said by those who knew her well that she was one of the most accomplished and at the same time most domestic, sensible, and practical of women. Of his father's influence and teaching, to say nothing of his lofty example, we have the striking proofs, if any were needed, in letters that have been published. Let me cull but an occasional expression from these unaffected outpourings of the heart of Robert E.[58] Lee toward the son he loved so well. "My precious Roon," as he was wont to call him.

When the boy was not yet ten years of age he closes a playful letter, adapted to such tender years, with these earnest words:

Be true, kind, and generous, and pray earnestly to God to enable you to keep His commandments and to walk in the same all the days of your life.

A year later, writing from the ship Massachusetts, off Lobos, to his two sons, a letter full of interest to boys, he urges them to diligence in study:

I shall not feel my long separation from you if I find that my absence has been of no injury to you, and that you have both grown in goodness and knowledge as well as in stature; but how I shall suffer on my return if the reverse has occurred. You enter into all my thoughts, into all my prayers, and on you in part will depend whether I shall be happy or miserable, as you know how much I love you.

Ten years later, when the son had become a lieutenant in the Army, he admonishes him:

I hope you will always be distinguished for your avoidance of the universal bane whisky and every immorality. Nor need you fear to be ruled out of the society that indulges in it, for you will acquire their esteem and respect, as all venerate, if they do not practice, virtue. I hope you will make many friends, as you will be thrown with those who deserve this feeling. But indiscriminate intimacies you will find annoying and entangling, and they can be avoided by politeness and civility. When I think of your youth, impulsiveness, and many temptations, your distance from me, and the ease (and even innocence) with which you might commence an erroneous course, my heart quails within me and my whole frame and being tremble at the possible results. May Almighty God have you in His holy keeping. To His merciful providence I commit you, and I will rely upon Him and the efficacy of the prayers that will be daily and hourly offered up by those who love you.

A year or two later, on New Year's Day, 1859, he writes:

I always thought there was stuff in you for a good soldier and I trust you will prove it. I can not express the gratification I felt, in meeting Col. May in New York, at the encomium he passed upon your soldiership, your zeal, and your devotion to your duty. But I was more pleased at the report of your conduct; that went more to my heart and was of infinite comfort to me. Hold on to your purity and virtue; they will proudly sustain you in all trials and difficulties and cheer you in every calamity.

So, too, when the young lieutenant had married and settled down a typical Virginian farmer upon the estate left him by [59]his grandfather Custis, the well-known "White House" on the Pamunkey, the home of Martha Washington:

I am glad to hear that your mechanics are all paid off and that you have managed your funds so well as to have enough for your purposes. As you have commenced, I hope you will continue never to exceed your means. It will save you much anxiety and mortification and enable you to maintain your independence of character and feeling. It is easier to make our wishes conform to our means than to make our means conform to our wishes. In fact, we want but little. Our happiness depends upon our independence, the success of our operations, prosperity of our plans, health, contentment, and the esteem of our friends, all of which, my dear son, I hope you may enjoy to the full.

With such counsels, glowing with a father's love and enforced by the constant example of a father's life, it is no wonder that the son grew into the manliness, the gentleness and modesty, the charitableness of judgment, the unconspicuous and patient devotion to duty, and the personal lovableness of Gen. Lee.

Mr. Speaker, I might say much more from the promptings of a strong and unfeigned affection and from a sense of the public merits of our late colleague, but where there are so many to speak, it is not necessary for one to attempt a catalogue of his private virtues and of his public services.

Perhaps I may fitly add a word in closing as to Gen. Lee's military career. From a captain of volunteer cavalry he rose on his own merits at the age of twenty-six to the rank of major-general. I have not searched the annals of war to recite his military history, for it is not the soldier that I have been commemorating, but I may recall a testimony not improper to be placed on record here to-day. I happened to be in company with Gen. Joseph E. Johnston about the time that Gen. Lee was first nominated for Congress. The old commander, who, as all know, was not given to effusive speech, expressed to me his hearty gratification at the event, and in doing so his high estimate of Gen. Lee as a man and of his ability as a soldier. His [60]praise was strong and unstinted, and no one will question its sincerity. Mr. Speaker, what more need I add than to say that in all the acts and relations of life, as son and soldier, as husband and father, as private citizen and as Representative of the people, as friend and as Christian, our departed colleague left a memory we may well cherish and an example we may well follow.

Address of Mr. Cummings, of New York.

Mr. Speaker: Great as is our country, its history is comparatively brief. Though brief, it is exceedingly instructive. So far as there can be an outcome in ever-recurring events, it is the outcome of a tremendous social and political struggle. Sir, it hardly suits the occasion to refer to the origin of this struggle or to trace its progress, but the effort for popular government is discernible through many centuries. As we come nearer to our time it becomes more intelligent and determined. Our great Declaration was its best pronunciamento. Our written Constitution was its most concise expression. The events that produced them founded a normal school for patriotism. In it was perfected a new departure. Fealty to lord and king was supplanted by fealty to human rights. Proclaimed in the council chamber, these rights had to be won in the field. Yorktown completed our first endeavor at nation-making; we graduated masters at Appomattox. The first proclaimed the prowess of the Confederation, the second testified to the strength of the Union. Both astonished the world. Both transpired in Virginia.

Conspicuous in this analogue of our history were the Lees of Virginia. They have a lineage too illustrious for praise. Its [61]escutcheons are too bright for adornment. It reaches back for centuries loyal to honor and to truth. Him we mourn to-day was a gifted scion of that great name. His highest distinction was won in Confederate arms.

Thank God, I can now speak of our civil war with satisfaction and not with reluctance. I allude to it with a satisfaction akin to that one feels in gazing upon a plain fertilized by an inundation. Flowers spring up, birds sing, and golden grain nods in the sunlight. But our civil war was more like an upheaval than like a deluge. It shook every timber in the grand structure with which we had surprised the world. Other governments have fallen of their own weight; our matchless edifice could not be shattered by an explosion.

Both contestants stood guard over the popular principle and would not let it be mined. They were instructed in the same school and by the same teacher. Local privilege was as strong with the one as with the other. The dispute was whether the Union should endure the strain of the race and slavery issue. The long and vexing argument was adjourned to the battlefield. In no other respect was our system even threatened. This close connection at the root made the angry divergence begin to assimilate at the very outset.

So kindred was it, that when Grant met his heroic opponent at Appomattox he says that he fell into such a reunion with him that he had twice to be reminded of the occasion that brought them together. He then conformed to it, and treated those who surrendered not as conquered, but as reclaimed. Lincoln went further. He found a Confederate legislature ready-made to his hand, and promptly permitted it to repair the situation. In thus mingling the gray with the blue he was neither color-blind nor purblind. He knew what he was [62]doing. He desired to blend them, as emblematic of a more perfect Union. Possibly the Confederate legislature suited his purpose best.

After this testimonial it looks to me something like treason to that great name to try to exclude Confederate worth from the annals of the strife or from the glory of its grand consummation. Neither act nor actor can be profitably spared.

Mr. Speaker, the other day in this very Hall I laid a chaplet on the bier of a dead comrade. To-day I am trying to commemorate the virtues of a Confederate colleague. Both died while members of this House. That both were my countrymen warms my heart. As my countrymen I can make no invidious distinction. If living neither would permit it, and he is more reckless than I who would profane the memory of either.

Mr. Speaker, I have said that I could speak of the civil war with satisfaction and not with reluctance. The occasion prompted me to say so. The occasion requires that, as a Union soldier, I should state my reasons. We learn from experience, and war is the toughest kind of experience. When it raised its horrid front and began its work of seeming devastation, we shrank back from its terrible promise. The world looked to see us dismembered; but the great Republic, like a daring cruiser, emerged from the tempest sound from keel to truck. Not a brace swung loose, not a plank was sprung, no spar was shivered. Within there had to be readjustment. Aloft the Stars and Stripes rose and fell in graceful recognition of the trial. The thunder of her broadsides proclaimed the value of this object-lesson in nation-making.

We had learned a juster appreciation of ourselves as a whole people, and if this were all, it was worth the tuition. But we [63]had besides garnered into our storehouse of knowledge vast consignments for the use of liberal economic government. We had infused into our laws, our language, and our institutions new vigor for conquest and for human enlightenment. Venality, that dogs great efforts, undoubtedly there was. But the high tide of the conflict showed no mercenary taint. On both sides it was urged from the highest motives of patriotism and of honor and in defense of the popular principle. That principle with us means local self-government and representative union. The rebel yell was because they thought local government in peril. The Federal huzza was for representative union. Together they were cheering the same deeply embedded sentiment.

Those who would study the phenomenon must remember that where opinions approximate on parallel lines, but from some interest or sentiment refuse to coalesce, the passions are liable to ignite. Fusion then takes place in a terrible heat. The heat must be sufficient to remove the obstacles that the mass may become unified. We have as a result a firmly established representative union of local self-governments. The cooling and finishing process has left no flaw. Sir, what sort of a soldier must he be who is not proud of having been tempered in such a trial? If after the unmatched tournament this is not the spirit of victor and vanquished, then the lights of chivalry are burnt out and magnanimity is no more.

Mr. Speaker, I know of no greater praise of a life than to say it was one of honest endeavor. Whatever faculties comprise it, this is the scope of human duty. When to this is added a conscience adequate to all the suggestions of a great and busy career, the sum of human excellence has been reached All this I believe in my soul can be truthfully said of "Rooney"[64] Lee. "Rooney" was his father's term of endearment, which all who knew him, without distinction of age, race, or sex, delighted to apply to him when absent. When present, it was always "general." A thorough soldier, there was an idyllic strain in his nature. He was essentially rural in his tastes. He loved the wheat fields and tobacco plantations of his native State. Its very air seemed to inspire him.

The Blue Ridge was to him the perfection of natural beauty. He was warm in his friendships and true to his kinships. Always dignified, there was a heartiness in his greetings that was irresistible. He was as broad as his acres. Riding or driving over his vast estate or in its vicinity, his cheerful halloo rang in the ears of those who had not seen him, and the cheery swing of his hat, though paid to all, was a cherished compliment. If the spirit of mortal be proud, it was not his spirit. Courteous, sympathetic, unobtrusive, patriotic, knightly, and beneficent, he was a part of the soil of Virginia itself. He had the loving hospitality that would take all into the march of progress. How much of these qualities was innate, how much he drew from his high lineage, how much from the teachings of his illustrious father, can never be known, but he blended them in a halo that will not soon fade from his memory.

Sir, others have spoken of the incidents of his life and of his unabated fidelity to its claims. I can not add to his record. I have met him in battle array; I have embraced him with a soldier's warmth. We entered Congress together; we have fought here side by side. It has fallen to my lot to eulogize him. This I will venture: It would mar the catalogue of bright names of which America is so proud if his were omitted from the roll.


Address of Mr. Cowles, of North Carolina.

Mr. Speaker: Truly "in the midst of life we are in death." There is scarcely one of the associates and colleagues of Gen. William H.F. Lee who knew him here and up to the closing days of the late Congress who would have been deterred by the thought of personal risk from exchanging the chances of life or death with him for a few months; and yet, in so short a time the dread summoner, who soon or late is to call us all, has taken him from this life into that which fadeth not, neither does it die.

The hand of the reaper
Takes the ears that are hoary,
But the voice of the weeper
Wails manhood in glory.
The autumn winds rushing
Waft the leaves that are searest,
But our flower was in flushing
When blighting was nearest.

Yes, death, the unsolved and unsolvable mystery, has enveloped him, and he has passed from our view never more to be seen and known of men on this earth. But yesterday the living, moving, brave, sympathetic, generous friend, and now, alas, but a memory—and yet a memory dear to all who knew and appreciated his noble attributes of heart and mind; a memory which has left its impress upon his fellow-men for nobility of character; a memory which can not wholly fade, but must influence for good not only his own immediate posterity, but all those who may come after him.

My acquaintance with Gen. Lee began in the early part of the war between the States. It was upon a night march, as we rode with the advance guard of the army, where we might expect [66]at any moment a hostile volley. He related to me in a low impressive tone of voice an experience which had occurred to him when his command by reason of surprise had met with some disaster. What impressed me most at the time was that, although others must have been to some extent culpable, he took all the blame upon himself, and had not a word of complaint for either officer or man who served under him.

This trait of magnanimity, such a splendid companion to personal courage, I found afterwards to be characteristic of the man.

Though springing from a long line of heroic and patriotic ancestors, he had not a particle of pretentious pride, but to all men, privates in the ranks as well as officers, so that they were but brave and good soldiers, he always found "time enough for courtesy." He never tried to appropriate another man's laurels, but he possessed in a high degree that quality of courage which is so well described by Emerson:

Courage, the highest gift, that scorns to bend
To mean devices for a sordid end.
Courage, an independent spark from Heaven's bright throne,
By which the soul stands raised, triumphant, high, alone.
Great in itself, not praises of the crowd,
Above all vice, it stoops not to be proud.
Courage, the mighty attribute of powers above,
By which those great in war are great in love.
The spring of all brave acts is seated here,
As falsehoods draw their sordid birth from fear.

In his friendship he was gentle and tender as one who is full of love and human sympathy. You might have thought him better fitted for the paths of peace, and yet upon the battlefield he was brave as the bravest. Whenever and wherever duty called him his personal safety was by him never considered. Often have I seen him in the thickest of the fight, by his presence [67]and personal direction cheering and encouraging both officers and men. Though the son of the general in chief of the army, he took no favor by it.

He never took advantage of his rank to keep to the rear and send his regiments in. You could always measure his estimate of you by the manner in which he met you. The soul of candor, his heart shone in his eye, and placing a high estimate upon manhood, he loved all in whom he recognized it. For about two years during the latter part of the war I served in his command, and had every opportunity to observe and know him.

My acquaintance with him here was but a revival of old memories. I always loved him as one who—

Spake no slander; no, nor listened to it.
Who reverenced his conscience as his king.

Who, if he committed an error or wronged any man, was swift to redress it; never laying his blame at another man's door. Who excelled in all the virtues which go to make up a beautiful private life in all the essentials of faithful friendship and truthful character; who lived—

Thro' all this tract of years,
Wearing the white flower of a blameless life.

Think for a moment how much better and happier every one would be if all men were earnestly to strive to live up to this high standard and how much of pain would be spared the world. He was one of the most faithful members upon this floor; faithful to the public interest, and whenever any proposition was under consideration which specially concerned his own people, they always had in him an able advocate and strong defender.

He is gone! sincere Christian, loving husband and father, [68]trusted friend. The life that was given him has been taken away. The widow and the orphan mourn, and their grief is our grief; but a merciful Father has given him more than he has taken away, and this strength and comfort through the tender mercy of our Saviour is theirs—

I am the resurrection, and the life, he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

Address of Mr. Breckinridge, of Kentucky.

Mr. Speaker: I never had the pleasure of Gen. Lee's acquaintance, so far as I could recall, until he entered this House as a Representative of the district which lies just across the river; but there were many things in common between us which soon caused a kindliness of feeling much warmer than the frequency of our association would indicate. It happened that we were almost of the same age, born within a few weeks of each other, and that on all great questions of the day we were singularly alike in our opinions, and, if I may use such an expression, even in our prejudices.

Amid all the trials of life we two found we had adhered to simple beliefs of those Southern homes in which we were the reared; that no advance in civilization, no pretense of progress, had ever obscured our views as to the olden beliefs and the simpler truths which had been inwrought into our being by the venerable fathers and beloved mothers with whom we had been blessed. The substratum of our beliefs was precisely the same. And we found that we were not ashamed of that substratum, that we were not given to apologizing for adhering to so-called "obsolete" traditions or to creeds "that were passing out of fashion."

[69]We also found that on the political questions of the day we were similarly in accord. We believed in the same political principles. And so it was a very rare occurrence that when the roll was called in this House we were not found voting, even on what seemed to be trivial matters, upon the same side. It was not strange that with these coincidences of belief and with our having both served in the Confederate army and the local accident of the nearness of our seats which threw us together, there grew up a regard greater than was indicated by our association outside of this Hall.

If I were to select in my acquaintance him who, as much as any other, deserved the title, I would say of Gen. Lee that he was a gentleman. All that had concurred in producing him was of the best. The blood which gave him life, the soil out of which he grew, the kindly influences which always surrounded him, the molding powers to which he had been subjected—all were of the noblest. A son of such houses, reared at such knees, influenced by such powers, he passed early under the influences of Harvard. Later he took his young experience as a soldier under Albert Sidney Johnston. He began his civil life in a delicious home, with the love of an exquisite young wife. And in the Confederate service he was associated with the best and the bravest volunteers of the Old Dominion herself.

It was not strange that the product of such influences should be a gentleman. All that was courageous, all that was loyal to truth, all that was courteous to those with whom he came in contact, all that was gentle and kindly was not only the heritage which he received with his name and his blood, but it was developed by all the environments which he was so fortunate as to have surround him. If I were to select a character [70]of which it might be said that it was round, without angles, even without salient points, it would be his—not because he was weak, but because the calmness, the serenity, and the magnificence (if I may use a word that seems to be hyperbolic) of the equipoise of his qualities made each of them seem less important than it would have seemed if other qualities had been less.

It would not be extravagant to apply to him the paraphrase of the apostolic description of a Christian gentleman—loving without dissimulation; abhorring the evil; cleaving to the honorable; preferring to confer honor rather than to receive it; earnest in the work of life, and careful of time and opportunity to labor; hopeful of all good; patient in tribulation; forbearing to resent trespass; charitable in thought and word, as in deed; given to hospitality; at peace with his own conscience and with God.

We live, Mr. Speaker, in a heroic age. I constantly hear of this being an age of materialism, of the worship of the "almighty dollar." I challenge all the past, in all the endeavors of man, to reach a higher level, to equal the heroism of the age in which we have been called to perform our part—the devotion to duty, the readiness to make sacrifices, the willingness to give all for the truth which have marked our generation—the era in which we have to act our part.

This simple, kindly, unaffected, modest gentleman; this man, with his sweet calm smile, who met us every day, passing in and out with a certain reticence of modesty, was himself but the type of the age in which he lived and of the people from whom he sprang. All modest as he was, he had given up everything at the call of duty. All simple and kindly as he seemed to be, he had at the head of charging [71]squadrons captured cannon, and with more heroic endurance had lain without complaint in the cell of solitary confinement. He carried about with him in the simple modesty of his everyday life the heart that at a moment's notice was ready to still its beating at the call of duty; and with the same simplicity, with the same freedom from ostentation, with the same delicious smile, he would have walked into the jaws of death if it had become him as a gentleman to do so.

To live in such an age, to be associated with such men—and, thank God, they are not uncommon amongst us—the bar at which I practice, the tables at which I sit in the kindliness of social intercourse, the men with whom I have been blessed enough to be called into contact, the very strangers who call on business at my house, rank among them men just like unto him. I say to live in such an age, to be associated with such men, to play a part, however obscure, in such drama, make life worth the living; make the hereafter nobler for him who has been so blessed.

Mr. Speaker, to-day, in the midst of this the ending of the nineteenth century, we who will soon pass away, we who are but the remnants of a generation of war, can proudly hand over to those who shall come after us the example of lives that in war feared nothing but God, in peace strove for nothing but the good of the people.





March 4, 1892.

The Vice-President. The Chair lays before the Senate resolutions from the House of Representatives, which will be read.

The resolutions were read, as follows:

In the House of Representatives, February 6, 1892.

Resolved, That the business of the House be now suspended, that opportunity be given for tributes to the memory of Hon. William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, late a Representative from the State of Virginia.

Resolved, As a further mark of respect to the memory of the deceased, and in recognition of his eminent abilities as a distinguished public servant, that the House, at the conclusion of these memorial proceedings, shall stand adjourned.

Resolved, That the Clerk communicate these resolutions to the Senate.

Mr. Barbour. Mr. President, I offer the resolutions which I send to the desk.

The Vice-president. The resolutions will be read.

The resolutions were read, as follows:

Resolved, That the Senate has heard with profound sorrow the announcement of the death of Hon. William H.F. Lee, late a Representative from the State of Virginia.

Resolved, That the business of the Senate be now suspended, in order that fitting tribute may be paid to his memory.

Resolved, That as an additional mark of respect the Senate shall, at the conclusion of these ceremonies, adjourn.


Address of Mr. Barbour, of Virginia.

Mr. President: The resolutions just read were passed by the House of Representatives on the 6th day of February last in respect to the memory of William H.F. Lee, deceased, late a member of that body from the Eighth Congressional district of Virginia.

Before asking the Senate to adopt the resolutions it is incumbent upon me, as one of the Senators from Virginia, as it is in harmony with my own personal feelings, to submit some remarks in explanation of their purpose and object; a sad and mournful duty to be performed on my part.

Gen. Lee was my immediate successor in the House of Representatives, and served with ability and efficiency in both the Fiftieth and Fifty-first Congresses. He was reëlected to the present Congress, but his career was arrested by that higher and supreme Power to which we must all yield, and on the 15th of October, 1891, he departed this life at his home in the county of Fairfax, and in the midst of his family and friends.

I do not consider it necessary in this presence or on this occasion to go into much detail touching the life and character of the deceased.

The full and eloquent tributes paid to his memory in the House of Representatives show the high appreciation in which he was held by his associates in that body, and express in far more fitting terms than I could employ their estimate of his character, services, and virtues.

Gen. Lee came from a distinguished lineage. Two of the family signed our Magna Charta, the Declaration of Independence, [75]and another was Attorney-General under Gen. Washington.

On the paternal side he could refer to his distinguished grandfather, Gen. Henry Lee, of the Revolutionary army, who was known as Light-Horse Harry, the commandant of Lee's Legion, so conspicuous in the annals of that period. His maternal grandfather was the late G.W. Parke Custis, of Arlington, the stepson of Gen. Washington, and familiarly called in his day the child of Mount Vernon.

His father, Gen. R.E. Lee, the chief military figure on his side in the late civil war, was too well known for comment at my hands. It is the boast of some of the old baronial families of England that their ancestors rode with William the Conqueror at Hastings. To a certain extent the pride of ancestry is an ennobling sentiment, and Virginians must be pardoned when tempted to refer to the illustrious names which their State in the past has furnished to the nation. The name of Lee has been a household word in Virginia for three generations of men. In the death of Gen. William H.F. Lee the State has lost one of her truest and worthiest sons and the Federal Government a faithful and patriotic Representative.

Although acquainted personally with Gen. Lee for many years, it was only within a year or two before his death that I had the opportunity to appreciate fully the high personal qualities of the man and to understand the real nobility of his nature. The more I saw of him the higher became my respect and admiration. He grew upon me with closer contact and more intimate association.

I was greatly impressed with his invariable courtesy of manner and great amiability and kindness of heart, to which was added a knightly bearing and cordiality of greeting which, [76]combined, made Gen. Lee with all classes of society an imposing and attractive figure.

He has gone to his last resting place, mourned by his family and friends and lamented by an extensive acquaintance throughout the country. He had filled the measure of his duties in every respect, and was entitled, as he passed from the stage of action, to the plaudit, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Address of Mr. Pasco, of Florida.

Mr. President: My acquaintance with William Henry Fitzhugh Lee commenced in the summer of 1854, when we met at Cambridge as members of the new freshman class at Harvard College. He was just then entering his eighteenth year, was well grown for his age, tall, vigorous, and robust, open and frank in his address, kind and genial in his manners. He entered upon his college life with many advantages in his favor. The name of Lee was already upon the rolls of the university, for other representatives of different branches of the family had entered and graduated in the years gone by and had left pleasant memories behind them. His distinguished lineage made him a welcome guest in the older families of the University city, and of Boston, its near neighbor, who felt a just pride in the historic and traditional associations connected with the earlier history of the country, and many of the influential members of the class belonged to such families.

He was rather older than the average age of his classmates, and his life had been spent amid surroundings that had enabled him to see a good deal of society and the world, so that he brought with him into his college life a more matured mind [77]and a greater insight than the student usually possesses at the threshold of his career. He had enjoyed excellent advantages in preparing for the entering examinations, and was well grounded in the languages as well as mathematics, so that he entered the class well fitted for the course of study to be pursued. Thus, from the first, he was prominent in the university, and soon became popular among his classmates, and his prominence and popularity were maintained during his stay among us.

This was due not to superior distinction in any particular study or in any one feature of college life, but rather to his general standing and characteristics. He kept pace with his classmates in the recitation room, not so much by hard and continuous study as by his quick comprehension and ready grasp of the subject in hand and the general fund of knowledge at his command. He was of a friendly and companionable nature, and there were abundant opportunities in a large class to develop this disposition, cultivate social intercourse, and strengthen the bonds of good fellowship. He had been accustomed to an outdoor life in his Virginia home, and his manly training had given him an athletic frame which required constant and vigorous exercise. This he sought in active sports on the football ground and in the class and college boat clubs, where he was welcomed as a valuable auxiliary.

In a large university—and Harvard had gained that rank even as far back as those days—there are various fields of action, and other honors are recognized than those marked on the catalogue or contained in the degrees. The graduate who excels in mathematics, the languages, the arts and sciences, is decked with the highest honor on commencement day, but there are unwritten honors given by general consent of classmates to [78]those who have developed a superiority in any mental or physical excellence. When in after life the members of a class meet on some public college anniversary or gather together at a reunion and the memories and traditions of college life are talked over anew, the merits of those who excelled in pleasant companionship, in kindly bearing, in generous conduct towards their associates, in outdoor games and sports requiring strength and dexterity, are pleasant subjects to dwell upon, even if the possessors failed to stand among the highest upon the roll of scholarship.

Thus it was that Lee established himself among his associates during the three years that he remained among us, and though he contented himself with a medium standing in scholarship and exhibited no ambition to gain a high rank upon the college rolls, he won the regard and confidence and respect of all his classmates and held a warm place in the hearts of those with whom he was most intimate.

Towards the close of our junior year, in the early part of 1857, upon the recommendation of Gen. Winfield Scott, he received a commission as second lieutenant in the Army, and was assigned to the Sixth Regiment of Infantry, which was ordered into active service on the Western frontier, and took part in the expedition to Utah which was commanded by Col. Albert Sidney Johnston. Lee accepted this appointment, closed his connection with the college, and our paths in life diverged for more than thirty years.

In 1887 we both became members of the Fiftieth Congress. I well remember his coming to me, with kindly face and outstretched hand, on the first day of our session in December, as I sat in my seat in this Chamber, expressing pleasure at meeting me after so many years of separation and satisfaction that we [79]were to have opportunities of renewing the acquaintance and friendship of our early days. Though the exacting duties of Congressional life gave me fewer opportunities of associating with him than I could have wished, yet I saw much of him during the years we spent here together, and I shall always remember those occasions with satisfaction. Sometimes it was only a word in passing, a shake of the hand, a brief conference on public business, but whether the interview was brief or prolonged his manner and conduct were always kind and friendly and sincere.

While we were together in Congress he often referred to our college life and its associations, and remembered them with evident satisfaction. He became a member of the Harvard Club here in Washington, and I recall a pleasant evening when he was one of the after-dinner speakers there. In the summer of 1888 he went to Cambridge, to revisit the old scenes and once more meet his friends and associates of the olden time. He attended the commencement exercises and spoke pleasantly at the class supper. His classmates who then met him will long cherish the remembrance of that last visit, his hearty greetings, his cordial manners, the interest he manifested.

The renewal of our acquaintance soon satisfied me that the experience of life had strengthened and developed all that was good and noble and manly in the young student. The same warmth and cordiality which had endeared him to his classmates won the regard and affection of his associates here. The same general ability and rotundity of character which had made him prominent in the little world of college life made him useful and influential in various lines of duty in the wide field of Congressional legislation.

During the intervening years the manly bearing, the physical [80]superiority, the nobility of spirit which had characterized him in the earlier days had made him a leader among men when the storm of war raged over the land. Brief as were the days of the unacknowledged Southern Confederacy, his name was enrolled in bright letters upon the pages of its history, and his brave deeds will in future days be chronicled in song and story by those who admire true courage and recognize all that was gallant and noble and heroic in the lives of all those who fought on both sides of our great struggle as worthy of preservation and commemoration.

When Lee first left college his military duties, as has been already stated, carried him to the far West, and he there saw some rough service. The Utah expedition was a training school for soldiers and generals, and many who afterwards gained renown and fame, under the different standards were there associated together in a common duty. Besides the leader and commander, Col. Johnston, were Robert E. Lee, Hardee, Thomas, Kirby Smith, Palmer, Stoneman, Fitz Lee, and Hood. When the Army first entered upon this service there was a small cloud of war in the horizon, but it soon cleared away, and the company to which Lee was attached was assigned to a dull and monotonous routine of garrison life. This possessed no attractions for the young lieutenant, and there were other influences drawing him towards his native State. He resigned his commission, returned to Virginia, and settled at the White House, in New Kent County, where George Washington had married the widow Custis.

The plantation had descended to her son, George Washington Parke Custis, and from him through Lee's mother to the grandson. He soon established his cousin, Miss Wickham, as queen of this historic home, and he was here with his little [81]family amid these surroundings, with everything to make life attractive, when Virginia and her sister States of the South passed their ordinances of secession and sent delegates to Montgomery to unite in the attempt to form a Southern Confederacy. Lee never doubted that allegiance was due first to his State, and when war followed he drew his sword in defense of Virginia.

As long as the strife continued he avoided no danger, he shunned no peril, he feared no adversary.

Now with a company, now a squadron, now a regiment, now a brigade, now a division of cavalry behind him, he went upon the march, formed the line of battle, or rode into the enemy's lines. Whatever duty was assigned to him, he entered upon its discharge with energy and vigor. In the varying fortunes of war he was wounded, captured, held as a hostage; but the day of recovery and exchange came, and he once more headed the brave followers who loved and honored and trusted him, and during the last year of the struggle he again shared their hardships and privations and dangers. But the end came at last, the issue was settled, the arbitrament of war was decided adversely, and he sheathed his sword and returned to the place where his home had been.

The year 1865 marked a low ebb in the fortunes of the Southern people, and perhaps it may not be unprofitable to dwell briefly upon their conduct when under the shadow of defeat and disaster. The distinguished father of him to whose memory we are this day paying tribute went from the head of a great army to train the new generation of young men of the South in the halls of a university to usefulness in the various walks of citizenship. The students who enjoyed the privilege of sitting at the feet of this grand college president there [82]learned lessons of patriotism. They were advised to build up the places left waste and desolate, and to look hopefully forward to a reunited country and a more prosperous future.

Whatever public disappointment or private grief or loss he suffered was buried in his own breast. He advised his countrymen that the great questions which had long divided the country, and upon which opinions had been so diverse that legislative debate and administrative action had failed in finding a solution, had been finally settled by the sword, and that henceforth their duty was to the Union restored and indissoluble.

With so illustrious an example the immediate restoration of peace and good order all over the South is not to be wondered at. The annals of all nations may be searched in vain for a parallel. It is an easy task for men who have accomplished all they desired to lay down their arms and return to their homes and resume their former avocations.

The Southern soldier did all this after failure and defeat. The cause was lost; his efforts availed nothing. The homes of many were in ashes; sorrow was in every household; many were stripped of their all. The labor system of the country was destroyed; commerce was dead. Many had not seed to plant their lands. The workshop, the manufactory, the shipyard were silent as the grave. The arts of peace seemed to have perished. The soldiers were disbanded without the means of reaching their homes, and the few survivors of those who went forth with bright hopes, proud and confident in their strength, returned one by one weary and footsore and disheartened.

The history of other nations would have suggested to the historian that the result must be open riots and secret assassinations, [83]a reign of violence and terror, years of turbulence and lawlessness, before society would settle down to its former condition. But how different was the result. The parole upon which the soldier was released was in no instance violated. The situation was accepted without a murmur or complaint. The laws were obeyed. The terms imposed were acceded to. Soon the busy hum of industry was heard through the land. The arts of peace were revived. Agriculture and trade once again flourished, and our fair country began to bloom again into something like its old-time beauty and prosperity.

There were few Southern soldiers who returned to a greater desolation than did our late associate, Gen. Lee. Fate seemed to have done its worst. The beloved wife and the two dear children who had made his home at the "White House" a paradise had died in 1863, while he was held as a prisoner and a hostage at Fort Lafayette and Fort Monroe. The place had been occupied by Union troops; the mansion, with all its surroundings, had been destroyed by fire, and, as has been well said by another, there was "not a blade of grass left to mark the culture of more than a hundred years." Had he been an ordinary man he would have sunk with the load of sorrow and trouble which weighed him down. But he had a brave heart, which defeat and affliction and disaster with united effort could not conquer.

With the same noble spirit which had actuated his father, the elder Lee, he threw aside his discouragement and took up the duties of life and citizenship anew. He had made himself famous as a soldier; he now began in earnest to cultivate the arts of peace. It was no easy task, for the era of reconstruction immediately succeeded the war, and only those who were actually under its ban can realize the burdens and hardships it [84]entailed upon an unfortunate people emerging from a disastrous conflict.

He rebuilt and reëstablished his home at the White House plantation. He was married November 27, 1867, to Miss Mary Tabb, daughter of Hon. George W. Bolling, of Petersburg. In 1874 the family removed to Ravensworth, in Fairfax County.

At both these places he cultivated his broad acres and interested himself in all matters relating to agricultural progress and development. He advanced and promoted these interests as president of the Virginia State Agricultural Society. He represented his county for a term in the State senate, but declined a reëlection, and returned to his plantation and the enjoyment of home life. After a few years of quiet he was called, in 1886, to a new field of activity by neighbors and political friends, who desired his services at the national capital, and he became the Representative from the Alexandria district in the Fiftieth Congress, and he was in his third term, when, on the 15th day of October, 1891, the hand of death removed him from his career of usefulness. For weeks his strong constitution and vigorous frame had resisted disease in his Ravensworth home. All that kindness and skill could suggest was done in his behalf, but skill and kindness were of no avail, and he bade adieu to home and family, companions and associates, earthly duties and surroundings, and entered upon his eternal rest. His mortal life was closed.

I well remember a day spent in his company nearly four years ago, and its occurrences gave me an opportunity to witness the regard in which he was held by those among whom he had lived and to whom he was best known. It was on Decoration Day, in a section of country where he had seen service as a soldier, not far from where he had lived in his early childhood.[85] He was the orator of the occasion. Many of his old companions in arms and members of their families were among his audience, and they listened eagerly as he made appropriate reference to the departed comrades who slept under the little hillocks near by them, bright and fragrant with the flowers of early summer, which the loving hands of woman and childhood had heaped upon them. As he descended from the platform he was surrounded by old and young, who thronged about him to shake his hand or give expression to a friendly greeting. Admiration and affection were expressed upon their countenances for the brave man before them, whose gallant deeds had been told at every fireside in the country around, and who was loved and honored because, in addition to his own merits and virtues, he represented the great leader whose name was the embodiment of a precious memory.

I have portrayed William Henry Fitzhugh Lee as a student, a soldier, a planter, a public man representing his people in the State legislature and the National Congress.

Some have united in paying tribute to his memory because they were born and reared in the State which gave him birth, some because they shared with him the hardships and dangers of his military career, some because they were associated with him in Congressional life and committee work. But while I take a great pride in all that he accomplished in the after years, it is more pleasant to me to recollect him as the student, for in that relation I was first drawn into companionship with him; it was during that period of our lives that I first learned to regard him, and my tribute is to my classmate and friend of auld lang syne. May he rest in peace in the bosom of the honored State he loved so well and served so faithfully.


Address of Mr. Stewart, of Nevada.

Mr. President: The biography of William H.F. Lee has been furnished by his colleagues and associates. I do not propose to dwell upon the details of his public or private career, or that of his distinguished ancestors, who acted so conspicuous a part in the history of the American Colonies and in the trying times of the Revolution by which our independence was gained.

I had the good fortune to form the acquaintance of Gen. Lee and his estimable wife at the beginning of the Fiftieth Congress. I was strongly impressed with his noble presence, and his genial, modest, and dignified bearing. He seemed to me an ideal specimen of true American manhood. His wife was a lady whose appearance at once attracted attention and whose qualities of head and heart charmed and delighted friends and associates. He was a devoted husband. His tender and gentle bearing toward his wife were natural and unaffected. The daily life and conduct of both were a conspicuous example of the benign influence of a husband and wife who love, honor, and respect each other.

My impressions of him were so favorable and agreeable as to create a desire on my part to cultivate his acquaintance and know more of his character. We met frequently, and discussed freely the social and political topics which engaged the attention of members of Congress at the national capital. He was modest and unobtrusive in the expression of his opinions; but as I knew him better I was profoundly impressed with the scope and breadth of his information.

His judgment of men and measures was as free from local [87]prejudice and partisan bias as any man's I ever met. He was induced by his generous nature to attribute good rather than unworthy motives to those with whom he differed. He was honest, true, and unsuspicious. On all occasions he expressed attachment to the Union of the States, and manifested a patriotic devotion to the Constitution as the charter of our liberties.

He was a brave soldier, and fought on the losing side in a war that convulsed the continent and astonished the civilized world; and as a brave soldier he accepted without reservation the verdict of the war. It is to be regretted that his heroic services were not on the side of the Union, but the conditions which placed him in hostility to the flag of the United States are forever removed. Every cause which produced that terrible conflict was eradicated and obliterated in carnage and blood. The horrors of that fratricidal war are now history. The glorious results achieved are being realized in the abolition of slavery; in the Union of the States restored, strengthened, and cemented; in the respect, confidence, and just estimation of the people of all the sections for each other, and in the establishment beyond question of the capacity of the citizens of the Republic to dare and to do in great emergencies what to all the world seemed impossible.

To-day the virtue, the patriotism, and the renown of the fathers of the Revolution and the founders of our free institutions are the common heritage of all the people, both North and South. The gallant and daring exploits of Legion Harry or Light-Horse Harry Lee, the grandsire of the deceased, inspire the same admiration and respect in the sons of the North as in the sons of the South. It is most gratifying that the descendants of the comrades in war and associates in council who gained the independence and established the Government [88]of the United States are again united in stronger bonds of interest, good fellowship, and respect than ever before existed.

Generations to come will enjoy not only the fruits of the Revolutionary struggle and the establishment of constitutional liberty, but they will be blessed with liberty that knows no slavery and with a Union forever indivisible, and they will contemplate with no partisan feeling the sacrifices which were necessary to secure such results. The type of manly virtue of which our deceased friend was a conspicuous example is one of the best fruits of free institutions. His death in the prime of his manhood and in the days of his usefulness was a great loss to the country and a bereavement to his family for which there is no earthly compensation. But he has left for them in his good name, his unimpeachable character, and his many virtues an inheritance more valuable than gold.

He has gone where all must soon follow. The wealth of his example is an inspiration to the living to emulate his virtues, enjoy a conscience void of offense, and leave to surviving relatives the inheritance of an honored name. Such an ambition is worthy of an American citizen, and the value to humanity of such a life as that of Gen. Lee can hardly be overestimated.

Why should death be regarded as a calamity? It is the inevitable fate of all the living. May it not be a part of life? The hope of immortality is the greatest boon conferred upon the living. On an occasion like this words will not soothe the grief of those who are near and dear to the deceased. Their consolation must be in the hope of reunion beyond the grave.


Address of Mr. Colquitt, of Georgia.

Mr. President: It is a difficult and delicate task to draw with justice and propriety the character of a public man. Fulsome panegyrics have often been pronounced upon the character of the dead either out of flattery to the deceased or to gratify the ambitious desires of the living.

In paying a tribute to William H.F. Lee I am not influenced by any such questionable views. To do honor to his memory I need only say what justice and truth dictate. There is little danger, in speaking of him, of committing the offense of exaggerated eulogy. There is more danger of doing the injustice of understatement in commemorating a character so rounded and symmetrical.

As a son, Gen. Lee's filial piety was so marked as to make him an example worthy of all imitation by the youth of his country. In every post of honor or trust to which he was called—and they were many and exalted ones—he met his engagements with such fidelity and courage as never to incur censure and seldom provoke criticism.

His bearing as a private citizen was of such dignity and benevolence as to secure the love, while it evoked the admiration, of all who knew him.

His character was made up of blended chivalry and courtesy and adorned with the mild luster of a religious faith.

He was frank and open, plain and sincere, speaking only what he thought without reserve, and promising only what he designed to perform.

As he was plain and sincere, so he was firm and steady in his purposes; courteous and affable, he was not influenced by [90]servile compliance to his company, approving or condemning as might be most agreeable to them. He was a man of courage and constancy, qualities which, after all, are the ornaments and defense of a man.

He had in the highest degree the air, manners, and address of a man of quality; politeness with ease, dignity without pride, and firmness without the least alloy of roughness. He loved refined society, but he had great respect and sympathy for those who had been reared in simple habits and the toils of life.

He possessed an even and equal temper of mind. Those who best knew him can testify of him what has often been asserted of his great father, that they never heard an acrimonious speech fall from his lips; that his whole temper was so controlled by justice and generosity that he was never known to disparage with an envious breath the fame of another or to withhold due praise of another's worth.

Mr. President, the friends of Gen. Lee do not claim for him brilliant talents and the gifts of genius. It is doubtless a beneficent ordination of Providence that the best interests of society are not solely dependent on what in common parlance is called genius. Fortunately for the good of mankind, great gifts and powers of mind are not indispensable to our happiness or to a safe and salutary development of social conditions.

Patient industry and impregnable virtue are the essential cardinal qualities that make the man, in the vast majority of cases, worthy of love and honor, and which conserve the best interests of the world.

That man who in his career and relations to society has gone on from day to day and from trust to trust, never disappointing but always realizing every just expectation, it seems to me is the character who deserves of his fellow-men the highest meed [91]of praise, and gives in his person and example the surest guaranty that the world will be all the better for his agency in shaping its affairs.

The friends of Gen. Lee enjoy the perfect assurance that in every walk of life, on every occasion when duty called him, his responses were ever marked by a dignified and intelligent performance of the tasks assigned him.

What higher honor can we ask for him than this: that weighty as were the responsibilities that devolved upon him by inheritance and high as the expectations which were the natural implications of this inheritance, he fully and nobly met them. Much as was expected of him, he more than realized the claims and obligations of a noble lineage. His fellow-citizens and his contemporaries regard his career as an honor and his companionship as a delight and a resource that adds poignancy to their grief in the loss of so loved and valued a friend.

I might refer to the incidents of his military career to illustrate his courage and fidelity, but it may not be considered appropriate to the time and the occasion. It is cheering, however, to believe that in this exalted body there is not to be found that spirit of truculent uncharitableness which refuses any credit to an honorable adversary.

Time, which touches all things with mellowing hand, has softened the recollections of past contests, and they who looked upon him as a foe now only remember the glory of the fight, and would join hands with us to weave the garland of his fame.

Securely may the friends and admirers of this noble character rest in the belief that his name for generations to come will be enrolled in the glorious list of worthies that has for all time made the name of Virginia illustrious and among the foremost of all the commonwealths of the ages past.


Address of Mr. Butler, of South Carolina.

It was my good fortune, Mr. President, to know Gen. William H.F. Lee with the intimacy of personal friendship for more than a quarter of a century, and I can pass no higher encomium upon him than by saying he had all the qualities that constitute a true gentleman, a gentleman in the highest and best sense. He inherited from a very illustrious and distinguished ancestry a prestige rarely enjoyed in this country, and yet he was as unpretending, unaffected, and modest as the humblest man. His self-contained dignity of character never deserted him. His placid, well-balanced, well-poised equanimity always sustained him.

It would be extravagant to say he inherited the commanding abilities of his illustrious father, but it would be entirely within the line of a just criticism to affirm that he did inherit many of the highest characteristics and qualities of that great man. In personal demeanor, in that suave, gracious, considerate, self-respecting, and respectful bearing which give assurance of the perfect gentleman he very much resembled his father. He was always approachable and cordial, and yet I doubt if any man ever attempted an improper liberty or ventured undue familiarity with him. His high character and affability of manner protected him against such relations.

In the late civil war we served side by side in the same cavalry corps in the same army almost continuously from the beginning to the end. I therefore had the best opportunities of forming a correct estimate of him as a soldier and man, and it is within the bounds of just judgment to place him among [93]the most distinguished in that brilliant array of American soldiers and men of that eventful period.

I recall with vivid recollection my first association with him at Ashland, Va., in June, 1861, where he was stationed as a young captain of cavalry at a school of instruction. Thence he rose by regular gradations to major-general of division, resigning his sword with that rank.

Gen. Lee never aspired to be what is sometimes called a "dashing" soldier. He was quite content with the serious, earnest, steady performance of his duties. It would be no compliment to say that a son of Robert E. Lee and grandson of "Light-Horse" Harry Lee had courage. Such a quality is a necessary ingredient of such a man's character. But his courage was not of that frothy, noisy kind so often paraded to attract attention. In battle he was as steady, firm, and immovable as any soldier who ever wielded a sword or placed a squadron in the field. In his relations to his subordinates he was the perfection of military propriety, always considerate and kindly, but firm and impartial in the enforcement of discipline.

Towards his equals and superiors in rank he bore himself with a knightly chivalry that at once commanded respect and confidence. How could he have been otherwise, descended from such a noble sire, with such an example of courtly dignity and untarnished manhood?

After the close of hostilities, having discharged his whole duty as he understood it with fidelity and courage, he retired to his native State, to his farm, and there, by the same quiet, honorable, manly course of conduct devoted himself to the duties of civil life, establishing by his example a standard of citizenship worthy the great Republic to which he renewed his allegiance.

[94]The people of the Commonwealth of Virginia could not and did not permit a man of his exalted character, sound intellectual qualities, and safe, conservative judgment to remain in private life. His services and example were too valuable to the public, and he was called into the public service, first as senator in the State legislature, later into the lower House of Congress.

There, as elsewhere, he soon took rank among the wisest and safest legislators in the body pursuing the even, modest tenor of his way with that faithful regard for his duty to his constituents and his country that characterized every relation and position of his life.

Those of us, Mr. President, who were favored with his acquaintance recall with a respect bordering on reverence his commanding figure as he came in this Chamber, his courtly presence, his gentle bearing, persuasive conversation, amiable, respectful manners. The consciousness that we shall never see him again is a sad and depressing reflection, and a mournful reminder that it is only a question of time—how long mortal man can not foretell—when those of us who survive him must obey a similar summons, and disappear, as he has done, from the scenes of life forever.

In paying tributes of respect and affection to departed friends I know how hard it is to impose restraint upon our partiality for them and how strong the temptation to indulge in expressions of exaggerated eulogy. Knowing Gen. Lee as I did, I can say of him with absolute sincerity and truth that he was as free from the small and petty faults of our nature as any man I have ever known. In his private relations he was literally without guile or deceit. Straightforward, honorable, just in all his dealings, he was a model citizen and faithful friend.

In his public life he proved himself equal to every station.[95] Zealous, attentive, conscientious, untiring, he met every responsibility with fidelity and confidence. He never disappointed a friend, betrayed a trust, or took unfair advantage of an opponent. In a word, Mr. President, he lived a perfect gentleman, discharged faithfully every duty of life, and died honored and beloved by his friends.

Others have spoken of the life and character of this distinguished man more in detail, more eloquently, with more finished oratory, but I yield to none in the sincerity of my humble tribute to his memory.

Address of Mr. Dolph, of Oregon.

Mr. President: The echoes of the voices of those who pronounced eulogies upon the life and character of the late distinguished Senator from Kansas have hardly died away in this Chamber, and we have again laid business aside to pay our tributes to the memory of a late honored member of the House of Representatives and a distinguished son of Virginia.

These sorrowful occasions, which are deprecated by some as involving a loss of the time of the Senate and needless expense to the Government, I can not think are unprofitable to us or to the country. Surely in the mad rush and hurry of business we may be permitted to halt long enough to take notice of the invasion of our ranks by death and to voice our esteem for a departed member. The death of an eminent member of the Senate or of the House is not only a loss to his immediate constituency, but to the whole country, and, in accordance with a long and honored usage, demands from his former associates formal and appropriate action.

[96]After such an hour spent in the contemplation of the common end of all that live, in introspection and retrospection, who of us does not again take up the burdens of life with renewed resolutions to redouble our energies to faithfully discharge every public and private duty.

My acquaintance with Mr. Lee was not intimate. I frequently met him socially, but he did not belong to the party with which I am affiliated, and no fortuitous circumstance occurred to bring us together in the discharge of public duties. The incidents of his life, his public services, and his domestic relations have been fittingly alluded to by others, and it only remains for me to cast an evergreen upon his grave, to add my poor tribute to his memory, and give expression to the emotions awakened by the occasion and the exercises of the hour. Coming from a long line of distinguished ancestors, serving with marked distinction in the Confederate army until the cause he championed was hopelessly lost, honored by the people of his State by election to high civil positions, in which he did credit to himself and honored them with a rounded character and well-developed manhood, at once the incarnation of gentleness, tenderness, and courage, it is not to be wondered at that sorrow for his death hung over his State like a funeral pall, and all parties vied with each other in giving expression to the universal sense of private and public loss.

He was the son of a distinguished sire, who in life was the idol of the people of Virginia; but he was held in the highest esteem by the people of his State not so much on account of his illustrious father as on account of his own ability and worth. His public services and his blameless life, touching, tender, and beautiful, won the tributes to his memory pronounced by his colleagues at the other end of this Capitol.[97] Fortunate, indeed, is the man who can win such admiration from his associates.

What higher eulogy can be pronounced on any man than that in every station, public and private, he was true to himself and faithful to the people and was equal to the duties of his station? Not every man can become great; genius is the gift of the few, but goodness and fidelity to duty are within the reach of all. He has gone the way of all the living. He has found the level of the grave. Our words of eulogy can not reach him there.

Can honor's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or flatt'ry soothe the dull, cold ear of death?

Solomon, summing up this question, said:

For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.

Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

To human reason the death of him we mourn was untimely. He was born May 31, 1837, and died October 15, 1891. He was therefore in the prime of manhood, and apparently had many years of useful life before him. But death sometimes strangely selects his victims. No season, no station, no age is exempt from his fatal shafts. When death comes to the aged as the end of a fully completed life we regard it as natural. But when death comes to the young, the gifted, and the promising, we with our finite vision look upon it as sad and mysterious. We are constantly reminded that—

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Await alike the inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

[98]It is creditable to our humanity that at the grave animosities are buried, and those who speak of the dead remember their virtues and pass over their frailties.

Death is a mighty mediator. There all the flames of rage are extinguished, hatred is appeased, and angelic pity, like a weeping sister, bends with gentle and close embrace over the funeral urn.

The reconciling grave swallows distinction first that made us foes; there all lie down in peace together.

To the grave, "the world's sweet inn from pain and wearisome turmoil," we are all hastening. Earth's highest station and meanest place ends in the common receptacle to which we shall all be taken. Dark and gloomy indeed would be the grave without a hope in a personal immortality, a belief that the soul survives the body, and that to this immortal part the tomb is the gate to heaven. When one feels like Theodore Parker when he said:

When this stiffened body goes down to the tomb, sad, silent, and remorseless, I feel there is no death for the man. That clod which yonder dust shall cover is not my brother. The dust goes to its place; man to his own. It is then I feel my immortality. I look through the grave into heaven. I ask no miracle, no proof, no reasoning for me; I ask no risen dust to teach me immortality. I am conscious of eternal life.

Or like Byron when he wrote:

I feel my immortality oversweep all pains, all tears, all time, all fears, and peal, like the eternal thunders of the deep into my ears this truth—thou livest forever!

Death loses its terrors and the grave becomes a welcome goal for weary and buffeted mariners on life's stormy sea—the gate to endless life.

By these oft-repeated scenes in this Chamber; by the frequent visits of the stern messenger to both Houses of Congress to summon a member from his field of labor here to the bar of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe above; by the constant changes going on around us in obedience to the inevitable law [99]of nature, by which death everywhere succeeds to life, we are reminded that we shall not long continue as we now are. It is possible that as we are startled by the announcement of the death of an associate we mentally ask ourselves, Who will be called next?

So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan which moves
To that mysterious realm where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon; but sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one that wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

Address of Mr. Daniel, of Virginia.

Mr. President: The late Gen. William H.F. Lee was conspicuously connected with the public affairs of his State for more than thirty years. He was deservedly honored, loved, and trusted by the people. For two terms he represented the Eighth district of Virginia in Congress and he was elected for a third term, but when Congress met in December last his chair was vacant. Surrounded by his beloved family and bemoaned by all who knew him he peacefully breathed his last at Ravensworth, his home, in Fairfax County, on the 15th day of October, 1891.

Thus, Mr. President, disappears one singularly endowed with the qualities that win the confidence and affections of mankind. His noble, honest face, beaming with intelligence and benevolence, was a true index to his nature. Strength of character and sweetness of disposition made him a man of mark [100]and influence in all the relations of society. His life was full of noble uses. Respect for the rights and tenderness for the feelings of others stamped his conduct on every occasion. He fulfilled Sidney's definition of a gentleman, "high thoughts seated in a heart of courtesy," and I know of no better legacy that a father could leave his household or a patriot leave his country than such a record as he has left to attest his virtues.

I will not penetrate the sanctity of the home bereaved by his death. The fond and noble wife and the sons who miss the husband and father, who was representative to them of life's dearest boons, have in his memory whatever earth can give them of consolation, and they learned from none more than from him to look above in sorrow and affliction.

As a Representative in Congress Gen. Lee was diligent in the service of his constituents and in behalf of policies which commended themselves to his favor. He seldom spoke, but it was not because he could not speak well and forcibly. He was not noted as the peculiar champion of any of the great measures before Congress, but it was not because he did not comprehend them nor take great interest in them, and I doubt if there be many Representatives who have had a more wholesome or further-reaching influence.

His fine character and engaging manner made friends for him and for his people. His excellent judgment had great weight in council, his political ideas were eminently liberal, and his tact and attention reached results where perhaps more aggressive qualities would have been ineffectual. On one occasion that I recall he was urging the passage of the bill to pay for use and occupation of the Theological Seminary near Alexandria during the war. He became the mark, in doing so, of inquiry and badinage, and some one, meaning to disparage the [101]claim by intimation that the clerical professors of the institution had been enemies of the Government, called out to him, "How did they pray?" He answered instantly, "For all sinners." His ready pleasantry put everybody in good humor and the bill was passed.

Gen. Lee was a representative man in a larger sense than that of official designation. He was a representative country gentleman, and the flavor of his native soil was in his character. He was born in the country, at beautiful Arlington, with the woods and fields and streams and mountain vistas around him. He lived in the country all his life, and died in the country, at his home in Fairfax County, an owner of land, loving the land; his home, a fine old country seat of colonial pattern, the scene of domestic peace and love and hospitality; his voice, that of the good people of his vicinage; his life, daily tasks, intermingled with daily studies and contemplation; his aims, those of the patriot and Christian, his country, God, and truth.

Gen. Lee was a representative American of broad gauge and vision. Many of us—and I have felt myself amongst them—are quite provincial. We know our own neighborhoods and their people, and we grow slowly into knowledge of other sections and their people. Local caste, prejudice, interest, and bias warp us and minify our usefulness. Gen. Lee was not of this kind. There was no sectionalism in his caste, no bigotry in his creeds. His strong local attachments, natural to a true nature, neither dwarfed his opinions, soured his reflections, nor darkened his vision. His was a ripe mind and his a generous nature. He understood men, because he understood mankind. He had respect for all men, because he respected manhood. He dealt considerately and justly with all men of all races, creeds, opinions, and aspirations, because he respected men and because he had a [102]good man's sympathy, with the hopes of his race, his country, and humanity.

I would not speak of him as a brilliant man. He was more. He was a wise and good and true man. Gen. Lee was a representative of our racial history. The story of his family began when his remote ancestor rode with the Norman knights at Hastings. Another led a company of English volunteers with Cœur de Lion on the third crusade to the Holy Land, and was made the Earl of Litchfield. Still another was that Richard Lee who, intense loyalist as he was, became a commissioner from Virginia and urged Charles II to fly for refuge to the Old Dominion when his throne was trembling under him. Quarrel and fight as we may and as our fathers did before us, the continuity of race achievement is unbroken.

The growth of race ascendency and the expanse of race domination are unceasing. The picture is unique and the nation one, however the theater enlarges, however the scenes shift, however the actors differ in the drama. Gen. Lee was a representative democrat or republican, for I use the words in their generic sense. His grandfather was that young American Capt. Henry Lee, the ardent youth of nineteen, who at the head of his company of Virginia horse reported to Washington for duty when the first army of Continentals were ranging themselves upon the plains of Boston. He was the first to break the record of his line for loyalty to the Crown of England in espousing the cause of American independence, the first to draw his sword for the new king proclaimed at Philadelphia—the sovereign people.

As "Light-Horse Harry" Lee he goes down to history and renown; distinguished in general orders of the army and in promotion from Congress for one exploit, and for another with [103]the thanks of Congress and a gold medal. In statesmanship as in soldiership, he was the friend and follower of Washington. In the Virginia legislature, when the resolutions of 1798 were debated, he took sides against them, and in his speech you may find nearly all the arguments which are used in favor of the Federal construction of the Constitution. When Washington died he was a member of Congress, and pronounced upon him the memorable words, "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his fellow-citizens." He was one of those virile men who could write, speak, and fight.

When Gen. Winfield Scott led the American Army to Mexico there rode by his side Capt. Robert E. Lee, the son of Henry Lee, an officer of engineers upon his staff. He was four times brevetted for gallant conduct and came back famous. When Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston led the Utah expedition in 1858 there marched on foot in his columns Lieut. William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, the son of Robert E. Lee. He was not a soldier by education, but by instinct. A graduate of Harvard College and the stroke oar of his class, he was well prepared for military life, and the third of his line to bear arms for the United States. But no war ensued; the canker of a long peace was settling on military aspirations.

Lieut. Lee resigned, married, and settled on his farm, the White House, on the Pamunkey. With the prattle of little children around his knees and pastoral scenes before him, his prospects were those of domestic tranquillity and joy.

What a rush was there to the standards when war broke out in 1861! Americans acted like Americans. They divided in conviction. They did not differ as to the method of dealing with conviction. To divide was the propulsion of conditions, to fight the law of blood. Not one of the Lees had provoked war, but [104]not one stood back. The whole family of Lees became representative soldiers of their people; Gen. Robert E. Lee commanded the greatest of the Southern armies and his brother became an admiral of the Southern navy. His sons and nephews were soldiers and sailors.

The nephew of Northern identity kept place with the North. The more numerous class of Southern identity kept place with the South; the boy, a private in the ranks or cadet on shipboard, the young men leading companies and regiments and winning brigades and divisions, the sire and chief commanding all. Their names are interwoven with war's dread story and splendid deed. Not one had any reproach; not one struck a blow below the belt. The woman, the child, the captive found a fortress in the hand of Lee, the foeman met his peer. The history of two continents and many centuries was written over again on fields of blood.

William H.F. Lee raised a company of cavalry at the beginning of the war and surrendered as a major-general of cavalry at Appomattox. He fought his way to his rank and suffered all of war's vicissitudes save death. His men believed in him and followed him. He was wounded; he was twice a prisoner; he was held as a hostage in solitary confinement with death impending. His wife and his children died while he lay wounded and in prison. Whatever man may suffer he suffered to the uttermost. Amongst his first acts when he emerged from prison was to visit, shake hands with and congratulate the Federal officer for whom he had been held as hostage. He was a representative Christian, void of vindictiveness and uncomplaining; he made no outcry of pain; he sealed his lips to reproach.

I knew him well, respected him profoundly, and loved him [105]dearly. I have often heard him speak at gatherings of old soldiers and on a variety of occasions; sometimes those of turbulence. I have marveled at his self-poise and reserved power. Never once did I hear him say ill of any man, nor allude to his own sufferings or deeds, nor utter words of bitterness. He took his lot as it came to him, as a man who does the best he can and leaves the rest to the Disposer of events. His conscience and his human sympathy, like his soldiership, were instincts, and his Christian creed was the sum of his intuitions. Gen. Lee was a representative of the times in which he lived, eccentric in no opinion, even-tempered, wise, cautious, prudent, steadfast, and gentle; he sought to be useful rather than to shine. He took deep and active interest in all that concerned his State.

As a State senator he could be relied upon to support liberal and progressive measures; as president of the State Agricultural Society he did much to excite interest and develop improvements; as a trustee or visitor to educational institutions he rendered valuable practical service to the cause of popular enlightenment. In political life he had sharp contests; friend was surprised and opponent discouraged when emergency brought forth the reserve forces of his character and ability. If modesty cloaked his powers in retirement, opposition elicited them; and the fluency, tact, and ability with which he discussed issues and met exigencies were remarkable in one whose experiences of early life had separated him from civil pursuits and training.

If I have spoken of Gen. Lee's ancestral distinctions, it was not because either he or his people have ever presumed upon them. On the contrary, no people whom I have ever known have rested less of claim upon their antecedents or less sought [106]to substitute reminiscences for achievements. The independent, honest, and simple Republicans and Democrats of our country justly despise a pretender who boasts the shadow of a name; but that of which the individual may not boast becomes his country's pride; and I count it great glory to our country that its institutions have nourished and the highest characteristic of our race that it has produced successive generations of men who preserve the continuity of sterling virtues. I count also as the star of hope for this grand Republic that a distinguished soldier of a lost cause becomes the beloved statesman of the cause that won, and finds around him the old-time comrades and old-time foes, all his friends and each other's friends united in the service of our common country.

No nobler words have been spoken of the late Gen. Lee than by soldiers who fought against him, and I respond to them with honor and praise. The production of men who may maintain the rights their fathers won, and ever grow in liberal thought, noble character, and worthy achievement is the highest mission of republican institutions. From Hastings, A.D. 1066, to Boston in 1776, the name of Lee was blended with the glories of our fatherland. But from Boston to Appomattox it grew the more illustrious with grander opportunities. Victorious through a track of eight hundred years to the 9th of April, 1865, it has been still more victorious since—rising to the height of harder trials and sterner tasks and grander duties than those of leading embattled lines. The glorious nation of which he was a type and the glorious band of which he was the son come forth from ruin and desolation on one side, moved by gracious institutions and magnanimous sentiments upon the other, taking their place in the reunited columns of parted friendship, cementing anew by adaptive virtues the broken ties, marching [107]again with the mutual magnanimities of companionship at the head of column.

If a race that has won liberty and made it a birthright lets it slip away through hands of weakness or deeds of folly, and if the self-made man of to-day loses the vantage ground of his life work with his fleeting breath, the careers of nations would be brief, the story of liberty would be a nurse's tale, and the careers of individuals would be vanity of vanities. The prepotent blood that made an empire of an insignificant island and stamped its language and its laws upon it made also here the most splendid Republic of the earth out of a savage wilderness and assimilated to itself all tributaries. That Republic delegates its unfinished tasks to a posterity that will lift higher the monuments of its greatness and strengthen the foundations of its endurance; and in the lives of Gen. Lee and those of his worthy compatriots of all sections who unite as friends the moment conditions cease that made them foes, I see exemplified the noblest qualities of our kind and read the auguries of prolonged peace, progress, happiness, and stability.

The Vice-President. The question is on agreeing to the resolutions submitted by the Senator from Virginia.

The resolutions were agreed to unanimously, and under the last resolution the Senate (at 4 o'clock and 20 minutes p.m.) adjourned until Monday, March 7, 1892, at 12 o'clock m.

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