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Full text of "Memorial addresses on the life and character of Benjamin Harvey Hill (a Senator from Georgia) : delivered in the Senate and House of Representatives, Forty-seventh Congress, second session, January 25, 1883"


University of California, 




MEMORIAL ADDRESSES 



LIFE AND CHARACTER 



BENJAIN HARVEY HILL 






M 



(A SENATOR FROM GEORGIA), 



DELIVERED IN THE 



U ,5, 

IV 

SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 

FORTY-SEVENTH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION, 

JANUARY 25, 1883. 




WASHINGTON: 

GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE. 

1883. 



JOINT RESOLUTION to print certain eulogies delivered in Congress upon the late Ben 
jamin H. Hill. 

Be it resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of 
America in Congress assembled, That there be printed twelve thousand copies 
of the eulogies delivered in Congress upon the late Benjamin H. Hill, a Sena 
tor from the State of Georgia, of which four thousand shall be for the use 
of the Senate, and eight thousand for the use of the House of Representa 
tives ; and the Secretary of the Treasury be, and he is hereby, directed to have 
printed a portrait of said Benjamin H. Hill to accompany each copy of said 
eulogies ; and for the purpose of defraying the expense of engraving and print 
ing the said portrait, the sum of six hundred dollars, or so much thereof as 
may be necessary, be, and the same is hereby, appropriated out of any money 
in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated. 

Approved February 23, 1883. 



rag 

UNIVERSITY 




ANNOUNCEMENT 

OF THE 

DEATH OF BENJAMIN HARVEY HILT. 

A SENATOR FROM GEORGIA, 



IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, 
Monday, December 4, 1882. 



Rev. J. J. BULLOCK, D. D., Chaplain to the Senate, offered the 
following 

PKAYEE : 

Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, it ever becomes us to ap 
proach Thee with the voice of gratitude and praise, for Thou art 
good, O Lord, and Thou doest good to all, and Thy tender mercies 
are over all Thy works. We thank Thee for all the goodness and 
mercy which have crowned our past lives. Especially would we 
offer up our humble and hearty thanks unto Thee for Thy watch 
ful providence over us during the period of our separation, and 
that we are permitted to meet together again under circumstances 
of great mercy in the enjoyment of health, of reason, and of every 
blessing. 

Defend and deliver us from all evil. Guide us in the way of 
wisdom, of truth, and of righteousness. May we have peace in 
all our borders and prosperity in all our habitations. 

Bless our rulers, the President of the United States, the Presi 
dent of the Senate, the Senators and Representatives in Congress, 



4 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

and all others in authority. Guide and assist them to discharge 
aright the duties and responsibilities which devolve upon them as 
the rulers of this great country. Fill our land with the knowl 
edge of Thy truth and with the fruits of righteousness. May we 
long live a united, happy, and prosperous people. 

God be merciful unto us and bless us, and cause His face to shine 
upon us, and give us pardon and peace and eternal life. Through 
Jesus Christ, our Redeemer. Amen. 



Mr. BROWN. Mr. President, it becomes my most painful duty, 
in this official form, to announce to the Senate the death of my 
late colleague, Hon. BENJAMIN H. HILL. That patriotic citizen, 
grand orator, able statesmen, and Christian gentleman died at his 
residence, in the city of Atlanta, on the 16th day of August last. 
The intelligence of the death of Senator Hill was received with 

O 

profound regret throughout the whole country. But the people of 
Georgia, whom he had so ably served and who had so long de 
lighted to honor him, were the greatest suiferers. Grief-stricken, 
they bowed their heads in sorrow, and will long mourn their 
irreparable loss. 

But, Mr. President, having performed the melancholy duty of 
announcing the death of my late colleague to the Senate, the pro 
prieties of the occasion will not, at present, permit a further exten 
sion of these remarks. At a future day I shall ask a suspension of 
the public business, that the Senate, in connection with the House 
of Representatives, may pay fitting tribute to the character, the 
virtues, the ability, and the services of the deceased Senator. 

I now offer the following resolutions, and move their immediate 
consideration : 

Resolved, That the Senate has heard with profound sorrow of the death of 
Hon. BENJAMIN H. HILL, a Senator from the State of Georgia. 

Resolved, That the Secretary communicate these proceedings to the House 
of Representatives. 

Resolved, As a token of respect to the memory of the deceased, that the Sen 
ate do now adjourn. 

The resolutions were agreed to unanimously ; and (at two o clock 
and forty-five minutes p. m.) the Senate adjourned. 



UNIVERSITY) 




ADDEESSBS 

ON THE 

DEATH OF BENJAMIN HARVEY HILL, 

A SENATOR FROM GEORGIA. 

DELIVERED IN THE SENATE 

Thursday, January 25, 1883. 



The PRESIDENT pro tempore. This day having been set apart for 
services in honor of the memory of our late brother BENJAMIN 
H. HILL, the usual morning business will be dispensed with. 

Mr. BROWN. I submit the resolutions which I send to the Chair, 
and I ask for their immediate consideration. 

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The resolutions will be read. 

The Acting Secretary read the resolutions, as follows : 

Resolved, That earnestly desiring to show every possible mark of respect 
to the memory of the Hon. BENJAMIN H. HILL, late a Senator of the United 
States from the State of Georgia, and to manifest the high estimate in which 
his eminent public services and distinguished patriotism are held, the busi 
ness of the Senate be now suspended, that the friends and late associates of 
Senator HILL may pay fitting tribute to his high character, his public serv 
ices, and his private virtues. 

Resolved, That in the death of Senator HILL the country has sustained a 
loss which has been felt and deplored to the utmost limits of the Union. 

Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate communicate these resolutions 
to the House of Representatives. 

Resolved, That as an additional mark of respect to the memory of the de 
ceased the Senate do now adjourn. 



LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN R. HILL. 



Address of Mr. BROWN, of Georgia. 

Mr. PRESIDENT: BENJAMIN HARVEY HILL, whose life, charac 
ter, and distinguished services are the. subject of our present con 
sideration, was born at Hillsborough, in Jasper County, Georgia, 
on the 14th day of September, 1823. His father, Mr. John Hill, 
was a gentleman of limited means, without a liberal education. 
But he was a man of spotless character, of very strong common 
sense, and a great deal of will power, who always exerted an ex 
tensive influence in his neighborhood and section. 

The mother of the distinguished statesman, whose maiden name 
was Parham, was a lady of very fine traits of character, whose pre 
cepts and example exerted a most salutary and powerful influence 
over her children. Mr. and Mrs. Hill were devoted and consist 
ent members of the Methodist Church. They lived and died in 
the faith, and were eminently useful in their day and generation. 

When the subject of this sketch was about ten years old his 
father moved from Hillsborough to the neighborhood called Long 
Cane, in .Troup County, Georgia, which was his home until the 
day of his death. Mr. Hill not only trained his children to habits 
of morality and Christian virtue, but he caused them to labor with 
their hands and earn their bread by the sweat of their brow. Being 
a sober, industrious, and persevering man, he accumulated prior to 
his death a considerable property, and was able to give to each of 
his nine children something quite respectable to start life with. His 
sou Benjamin was obedient and faithful to his parents ; he labored 
hard to aid his father. While he was quite industrious, he was noted 
as a very bright and promising youth. When he reached the age 
of 18 years he was very anxious to improve the education which 
he had been able to obtain in the country by going through a 
course in the University of Georgia. But as the family was large 
his father felt that he had not the means to spare, and do justice to 
the other children, which were necessary to complete the collegiate 
course of his son. After a family consultation it was agreed by 
the mother and by a good and faithful aunt that they, out of the 



ADDRESS OF MI?. BROWN, OF GEORGIA. 1 

small means they had accumulated, would furnish one-half the 
amount, the father furnishing the other half. Under this arrange 
ment the gifted son was enabled to enter the State University. 
Before he left home he promised his mother, if the means could 
be raised to enable him to complete his collegiate course, that he 
would take the first honor in his class. 

In the university the young student was industrious, attentive, 
and energetic. His progress was rapid, and his mental develop 
ment very gratifying to his numerous friends in the university and 
elsewhere, who watched his progress and the development of his 
genius with great pride and gratification. When the commence 
ment came at the end of the senior year, the faculty unanimously 
awarded the first honor to young HILL. He also took all the 
honors of the literary society to which he belonged. And in a famil 
iar letter to a friend he said, within the last few years, that was the 
proudest day of his life, and that nothing ever afforded him more 
gratification than it did to write to his mother the news that filled 
his heart with so much joy. 

Soon after the close of his collegiate career Mr. HILL was mar 
ried to Miss Caroline Holt, of Athens, Georgia, a young lady be 
longing to one of Georgia s oldest and most honored families ; of 
good fortune, great amiability, beauty, and accomplishments. The 
happy and brilliant young couple settled in La Grange, in Troup 
County, where Mr. HILL, who had already studied law and been 
admitted to the bar, commenced the practice of his profession. 
From the very commencement, the tact, research, and ability with 
which he conducted his earliest cases gave bright promise of his 
future eminence. He grew rapidly at the bar until he was soon 
employed in every important case in his county, and his professional 
fame spread into the adjoining counties of the State and he became 
the center figure at the bar in the courts of his circuit. 

In connection with his legal practice Mr. HILL purchased a 
valuable plantation, and with the slaves that he obtained by his 
wife and by inheritance from his father, and purchased from time 
to time out of his incomes, he conducted the business of planting 
on an extensive and profitable scale. 



8 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

Mr. HILL started life an ardent Whig; and it could not be ex^ 
pected that a young lawyer of his brilliant talents could long keep 
out of politics. In 1851 he was elected to the house of represent 
atives of the legislature of Georgia, where he soon rose to the 
position of one of the ablest debaters and most influential members 
of that body. After the legislature adjourned he resumed the 
practice of his profession with great skill and energy. 

The old Whig party having in the mean time been dissolved in 
Georgia, Mr. HILL in 1855 became a member of what was known 
as the American party, and was nominated by that party as their 
candidate for Congress, in opposition to Hon. Hiram Warner, the 
Democratic nominee. The race was an exciting one. Judge War 
ner was one of the ablest and most profound men of the State, 
though not a distinguished orator. Mr. HILL canvassed the dis 
trict, and usually had the advantage everywhere in the popular 
applause. He was defeated, however, Judge Warner securing a 
small majority. 

In 1856 Mr. HILL was a candidate for elector for the State at 
large on the Fillmore ticket. He canvassed the State with great 
energy, ability, and eloquence. From the day on which he made 
his first grand effort in support of his candidate must be dated his 
recognition as the leader of his party in Georgia. During the 
campaign he met the leading Democratic speakers at various points. 
He had an animated discussion with Mr. Stephens at Lexington, 
and with General Toombs at Washington, Georgia. His most ar 
dent admirers were entirely content with the ability he displayed 
in these contests with his distinguished opponents. 

From that time forward his influence with his party was un 
bounded. They not only trusted and followed him but he con 
trolled them absolutely. 

In 1857 the author of this sketch was nominated by the Demo 
cratic party of Georgia as their candidate for governor, and Mr. 
HILL was nominated by the American party for the same position. 
We were both young and ardent. I was 36 years of age, he 34. 
We had never met till the day of our first joint discussion, when 
we were leading our respective parties as opposing candidates. The 



ADDEESS OF MR. BROWN, OF GEORGIA. 9 

contest was energetic and exciting. Mr. HILL displayed great 
powers of eloquence in the debates, and was" an exceedingly inter 
esting and formidable competitor. The contest ended in the elec 
tion of the Democratic candidate. 

Mr. HILL then stood among the very first men of the country 
as a political debater, and occupied a very high rank as a lawyer 
and as an advocate at the bar. 

In 1859 he was elected by his party to the senate of Georgia. 
He exhibited great power in the debates of the session, and was 
without a rival the leader of his party in the legislature. 

In 1860 he was again a candidate for Presidential elector, and 
canvassed the State for Bell and Everett for President and Vice- 
President. His speeches were exceedingly able and brilliant. 

The election of Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency, as the South 
regarded it, upon a strictly sectional platform, brought about the 
overwhelming discontent in that section which resulted in the se 
cession of the Southern States and the unfortunate civil war. When 
a convention to consider this question was called in Georgia, Mr. 
HILL was with great unanimity elected a member of it from the 
county of Troup. He was an avowed Union man, and in conjunc 
tion with Alexander H. Stephens, Herschell V. Johnson, Linton 
Stephens, and some others, leading men of Georgia, he opposed 
secession ably and earnestly until the final passage of the resolution 
that it was the right and duty of Georgia to secede. When the 
ordinance was passed he signed it, taking position, as did the other 
distinguished gentlemen whose names I have mentioned, that as a 
Georgian he owed his allegiance first to the State of his nativity, 
of his manhood, and of his home ; that her people were his people, 
and her fate should be his fate. 

After the State had seceded, Mr. HILL was chosen one of the 
delegates to the Confederate convention at Montgomery, Alabama. 
In that convention he took an able and distinguished part. Soon 
after the convention adjourned, when the time came to elect Con 
federate senators, he was chosen for the long term, and took his 
seat in the Confederate senate, which he occupied till the end of the 
war. He was made chairman of the judiciary committee, and had 
the confidence of President Davis to the fullest extent, and was 



10 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

regarded the ablest supporter of Mr. Davis s policy in the senate. 
And when the cause was waning, and our people were deeply de 
pressed, Mr. HILL left the senate and went upon the stump, and 
was making an able effort to arouse the spirits of the people of 
Georgia and of the Confederacy to renewed resistance when General 
Lee surrendered. 

Soon after the Confederacy failed, when many of those who had 
been considered the leaders were arrested, Mr. HILL was among 
the number. While President Davis was consigned to a cell in 
Fortress Monroe, and Vice-President Stephens to one in Fort 
Warren, and the author of this sketch, with a number of distin 
guished Confederates, was incarcerated in the Carroll Prison in this 
city, Mr. HILL was assigned to quarters in Fort Lafayette, in New 
York harbor. 

After the release of Mr. HILL from prison, he returned to 
Georgia and resumed the practice of his profession with great energy 
and splendid success. He pursued his profession, taking little part 
in politics, until after the passage of the reconstruction acts in March, 
1867, when it was again the misfortune of the author of this sketch 
to differ with his former opponent. 

After our resources were exhausted and our armies had surren 
dered, I thought I saw that we were in the power and at the mercy 
of a conquering Government, and I advised the people of Georgia 
to acquiesce promptly in the terms" dictated by Congress; to take 
part in the convention which was called by the military command 
er in charge of the district embracing the State of Georgia; to 
send our best men as members; to secure the best constitution pos 
sible, and under it try to live a peaceable life and labor to restore 
prosperity at the earliest day within our power. A majority of the 
white people of Georgia differed with me on that point Mr. HILL 
among them. He believed by an able and bold opposition to the 
measures prescribed by Congress, and by resistance to them in every 
manner not forcible, the people of the Northern and Western 
States would condemn the action of Congress, restore the Democratic 
party to power, and we would be saved much of the humiliation 
we had been exposed to by acts of Congress which were regarded 
by our people as illiberal and unjust. 



ADDRESS OF MR. BROWN, OF GEORGIA. 11 

When Mr. HILL espoused the cause on this line, he did it with 
all the ability, earnestness, energy, and enthusiasm of his nature. 
He attended the first Democratic convention held in Georgia, and 
was the leading spirit and director of it. In the face of the mili 
tary, with undaunted spirit, he made what was known as his "Davis 
Hall speech," in the city of Atlanta, which, as a masterpiece of de 
nunciation, philippic, and invective, has scarcely ever been equaled, 
except in what were known as his "Bush-arbor speech" and his 
"Notes on the Situation." The magic power of his declamation 
and of his denunciation were overwhelming and terrific. Probably 
no one of the masters of elocution who has lived on this continent 
has surpassed it. 

As the author of this sketch had affiliated with the reconstruc 
tion party, his course shared liberally in the overwhelming and 
terrific denunciation of the great orator. Reference to the replies 
which were made to these vigorous assaults is not appropriate to 
this occasion. The period was a stormy one. The debates were 
bitter and even vindictive on both sides. It was a time of mad 
ness. Social relations were sundered in many cases, and there was 
for a time an upheaval of the very foundations of society. During 
this extraordinary period, when the whole political fabric of the 
State seemed to rock amid the throes of dissolution, no one figured 
so grandly as Mr. HILL, and no one was so idolized as he. 

But the people of the South were doomed to an unconditional 
surrender. We were compelled to accept the reconstruction meas 
ures. When we rejected the fourteenth Constitutional amendment, 
the fifteenth was proposed, and we were afterward compelled to ac 
cept both before we could be readmitted to representation in the 
Congress of the United States. 

After the reconstruction of the States was completed under the 
plan dictated by Congress, and the Constitutional amendments were 
adopted and incorporated into and became part of that instrument, 
it was discovered by all that both the Congress and the courts would 
unquestionably sustain those new provisions of the Constitution as 
part of the fundamental law of this country, and that the Govern 
ment would be administered accordingly. 

In this state of things, in the fall of 1870 Mr. HILL became 



12 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN U. HILL. 

fully convinced of the fact that further resistance was useless. And 
while he believed he had saved much to the State by the course he 
had pursued in rallying and holding the people together and re 
organizing the Democracy upon a firm basis, he did not hesitate to 
advise the people of Georgia to cease further resistance to what was 
then an accomplished fact. 

Seeing that further resistance was fruitless, he considered it 
would be criminal to continue to throw obstacles in the way of the 
Government. This announcement on his part exposed him for a 
time to severe criticism by those who did not understand his mo 
tives. But he was as firm and lion-like in maintaining the stand 
he then took as he had been in the terrible resistance which he 
made to the reconstruction measures as long as he entertained any 
hope that resistance might be successful. From this time forward 
Mr. HILL renewed his allegiance to the Government to the fullest 
extent, and did all in his power to produce quiet and contentment, 
which he saw were necessary to a return of peace and prosperity 
to our people. 

During the period that intervened, for the next two or three 
years, he pursued his law practice with his usual ability and suc 
cess, and also again embarked in a large planting business in 
Southwestern Georgia. 

But the people of Georgia were not content that he should re 
main a private citizen. They desired the benefit of his superb 
talents in the national councils ; and on the death of Hon. Gar 
net McMillan, who was a member of the House of Representatives 
from the ninth district of Georgia, Mr. HILL, by an overwhelm 
ing majority, was elected to fill the vacancy; and he took his seat 
in the House. His course there is familiar to most if not all who 
hear me. Some splendid exhibitions of his oratorical powers in 
that body soon gave him an extensive national reputation. His 
celebrated discussion with the distinguished Representative from 
Maine, Mr. Blaiue, was one of the most memorable that has ever 
occurred in the House of Representatives. Each of the able an 
tagonists sustained his cause in a manner entirely satisfactory to 
his friends. Heated, earnest, and almost vituperative as the de 
bate was between them, they learned to know each other s ability 



ADDEESS OF MB. BEOWN, OF GEORGIA. . 13 

and worth and were mutually benefited. Each was soon called by 
his State to occupy a seat in this Chamber; and as their acquaint 
ance was prolonged, it grew first into friendship and then into an 
earnest admiration of each other. The letter of condolence sent 
by Mr. Elaine on the death of Mr. HILL did honor alike to his 
head and his heart, and was highly appreciated by the numerous 
friends of the deceased Senator. 

As to the course of Senator HILL in this body and the splendid 
triumphs of his eloquence and his genius which have been here ex 
hibited I need not speak. They are well known to the Senate, 
and will long be remembered by his friends, his compeers, and an 
appreciative public. 

As I have been compelled, in order to give correctly an outline 
of the life and career of the great Senator, to make a passing refer 
ence to the early antagonism and at one time bitterness that ex 
isted between us, it affords me great pleasure to state that in later 
life, when we knew each other better and were frequently thrown 
together, in times less stormy and less revolutionary, when it be 
came our duty to consult together to determine what was most for 
the public good and what would soonest restore prosperity to our 
State and our section, our relations were changed. 

I had retired from public life and had no expectation that I 
should ever enter it again. But I was unwilling that Mr. HILL S 
splendid talents should be confined simply to the practice of his 
profession, and I desired to see him in the councils of the Union. 

When he ran for the House of Representatives, though not in 
his district, I had a host of friends there who sustained him. 
When he became a candidate for the Senate my friends held the 
balance of power ; and while I had great regard for the gentleman 
who then occupied the seat, I felt that Mr. HILL could do more to 
serve the State in that capacity than the incumbent. And when 
Governor Smith retired from the contest on the day of election 
my friends gave Mr. HILL their cordial support. 

At a later period, when I was called unexpectedly back into the 
service of my State and took my seat in this Chamber, he met me 
with the cordiality which our relations then justified. During our 



14 LIFE AND CHARACTEE OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

service together that cordiality ripened into intimate and confi 
dential friendship. He frequently said to me, " I regret that we 
had not sooner known each other better. I regret that we were 
thrown, when young and ardent, into the positions of antagonism 
which we then occupied." One of the last letters I received from 
him before the sad event which shocked the Union was full of con 
fidence and cordial friendship. Referring to the past, he said, 
" Who would then have thought that you were during my lifetime 
to become my most trusted and confidential friend?" No one felt 
more keenly than I did his loss, and no one shed tears of more sin 
cere regret. A great man has fallen. The whole country feels 
the shock. As a citizen he was patriotic, trusted, and beloved ; 
as a kind and indulgent husband and father few persons can justly 
be compared to him. 

Mr. HILL S love for his mother, and the veneration with which 
he cherished her memory after her death, were beautiful and touch 
ing. It was his habit when at home to go every day into his par 
lor where her portrait hung, and to look tenderly in her face, and 
to bow to her on retiring. A day or two before his death, when 
he was too feeble to support himself without assistance, he re 
quested his attendants to carry him into the parlor, that he might 
take a last look at the likeness of the face that was so dear to him. 
On approaching the likeness he was visibly affected. He gazed 
lovingly upon the form, and as his heart heaved with emotion and 
his eyes filled with tears he said : " I shall soon be with her 
again." Then, bowing most reverently and affectionately, he was 
borne from the parlor, never more in this world to look upon the 
form so tenderly cherished by him. 

But, Senators, this sketch would be incomplete without a refer 
ence to the religious character of Georgia s great statesman. As I 
have already premised, his father and mother were earnest, devout, 
and consistent members of the Methodist Church. At fourteen 
years of age BENJAMIN H. HILL became a member of that church. 
He was faithful and zealous, and lived a very exemplary life. 
During the period of his youth and early manhood he was noted 
for his religious devotion and his piety. For years after his happy 



ADDRESS OF MB. BROWN, OF GEORGIA. 15 

marriage with his lovely wife he and his family surrounded the 
altar daily together in prayer and devotion. 

At a later period of life, when he became more engrossed with the 
courts and absorbed in politics and other public duties, he was thrown 
much away from his home, and his mind was diverted to other 
objects, which made heavy drafts upon his time and attention. And 
during this most active period of his public career he was less at 
tentive to his religious duties, which was afterwards to him a source 
of great regret. But when the disease which finally terminated in 
his untimely death had seized upon him, its inroads were slow, and 
his sufferings were very great. During this long and trying period 
his mind reverted back to the family altar, to his church rela 
tions, and to his religious privileges and duties. He calmly sur 
veyed the situation and reviewed his life, and his faith became 
still more firmly anchored within the veil. He met his sufferings 
with a patience and Christian fortitude that in its lessons and teach 
ings were absolutely sublime. 

While his sufferings were intense and his pain often excruciating 
he never murmured, but said, " Let God s will be done, not mine." 
Nothing pleased him better than the conversation of ministers of 
the Gospel on religious subjects. He spoke of the atonement made 
by our Saviour, of its efficiency, and of the hope that he enter 
tained. He delighted to dwell on these subjects. While he suf 
fered from day to day and from night to night nothing disturbed 
his equanimity, nothing for a moment brought a murmur to his 
lips. Brilliant and surpassing as had been many of the triumphs of 
his life, his Christian resignation and fortitude and his triumph in 
death were much more brilliant, much more sublime. 

When his powers of speech had failed and his once eloquent 
tongue had ceased to articulate and he was gently and peacefully 
sinking into the embrace of death that good man, Rev. C. A. 
Evans, pastor of his church, visited him, and approaching him 
with great gentleness and kindness spoke words of consolation. 
The dying Senator, with a heart full of love and his countenance 
beaming with heavenly visions, after struggling with the impedi 
ment that bound his tongue in silence, uttered audibly his last sen 
tence: "Almost home." 



16 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

Thus quietly and peacefully passed away one whose memory we 
all affectionately cherish. 

But, Senators, our late companion is not dead. He has passed 
behind the veil, and his form is no longer seen by us. His body 
sleeps in the grave, but his immortal spirit rests in the paradise of 
God. 

Mr. President, in the demise of Senator HILL the whole Union 
has sustained a severe loss. But the affliction of the people of 
Georgia is greater than any other can be ; they knew him ; they 
loved him ; they honored and trusted him ; they almost idolized 
him. And when it was announced that BENJAMIN H. HILL was 
no more they bowed their heads in sorrow, and will long mourn 
their irreparable loss. 

But, Mr. President, Senator HILL possessed intellectual qualities 
of the highest order. His genius was acknowledged by all. In 
debate he was surpassingly grand and convincing. As a logician 
he had few equals; as an impassioned orator he had no superior; 
as a lawyer he occupied the first rank ; as an advocate at the bar 
he was absolutely overwhelming ; as an American Senator he was 
the peer of any one. 

When I reflect upon the great oratorical powers of Senator HILL, 
the splendor of his genius, the simplicity of his heart, and the pa 
triotic impulses of his nature, as I had learned in later life to know 
them, I conclude that the day is not distant when some great 
American poet, burning with patriotic zeal as well as poetic fire, 
will weave into verse, a tribute to his memory as glowing and as 
just, as the immortal English bard, paid the great Irish orator, when 
Byron sang: 

Ever glorious Grattan ! the best of the good ! 

So simple in heart, so sublime in the rest; 
With all which Demosthenes wanted endued, 

And his rival or victor in all he possessed. 



ADDRESS OF MR. ING ALLS, OF KAN, 




Address of Mr. INGALLS, of Kansas. 



BEN. HILL has gone to the undiscovered country. 

Whether his journey thither was but one step across an imper 
ceptible frontier, or whether an interminable ocean, black, unfluc 
tuating, and voiceless, stretches between these earthly coasts and 
those invisible shores we do not know. 

Whether on that August morning after death he saw a more 
glorious sun rise with unimaginable splendor above a celestial hori 
zon, or whether his apathetic and unconscious ashes still sleep in 
cold obstruction and insensible oblivion we do not know. 

Whether his strong and subtle energies found instant exercise 
in another forum, whether his dextrous and disciplined faculties 
are now contending in a higher senate than ours for supremacy, or 
whether his powers were dissipated and dispersed with his parting 
breath we do not know. 

Whether his passions, ambitions, and affections still sway, at 
tract, and impel, whether he yet remembers us as we remember 
him we do not know. 

These are the unsolved, the insoluble problems of mortal life 
and human destiny, which prompted the troubled patriarch to ask 
that momentous question for which the centuries have given no 
answer "If a man die shall he live again?" 

Every man is the center of a circle whose fatal circumference he 
cannot pass. Within its narrow confines he is potential, beyond 
it he perishes; and if immortality be a splendid but delusive dream, 
if the incompleteness of every career, even the longest and most 
fortunate, be not supplemented and perfected after its termination 
here, then he who dreads to die should fear to live, for life is a 
tragedy more desolate and inexplicable than death. 

Of all the dead whose obsequies we have paused to solemnize in 
this Chamber J recall no one whose untimely fate seems so lament 
able, and yet so rich in prophecy of eternal life, as that of Senator 
HILL. He had reached the meridian of his years. He stood upon 
the high plateau of middle life, in that serene atmosphere where 
2H 



18 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

temptation no longer assails, where the clamorous passions no more 
distract, and where the conditions are most favorable for noble and 
enduring achievement. His upward path had been through stormy 
adversity and contention such as infrequently falls to the lot of men. 
Though not without the tendency to meditation, reverie, and intro 
spection which accompanies genius, his temperament Avas palestric. 
He was competitive and unpeaceful. He was born a polemic and 
controversialist, intellectually pugnacious and combative, so that 
he was impelled to defend any position that might be assailed or to 
attack any position that might be intrenched, not because the de 
fense or the assault were essential, but because the positions were 
maintained and that those who held them became by that fact 
alone his adversaries. This tendency of his nature made his orbit 
erratic. He was metec^ric rather than planetary, and flashed with 
irregular splendor rather than shone with steady and penetrating 
rays. His advocacy of any cause was fearless to the verge of te 
merity. He appeared to be indifferent to applause or censure for 
their own sake. He accepted intrepidly any cnoclusions that he 
reached, without inquiring whether they were politic or expedient. 

To such a spirit partisanship was unavoidable, but with Senator 
HILL it did not degenerate into bigotry. He was capable of broad 
generosity, and extended to his opponents the same unreserved 
candor which he demanded for himself. His oratory was impetu 
ous and devoid of artifice. He was not a posturer nor phrase 
monger. He was too intense, too earnest, to employ the cheap and 
paltry decorations of discourse. He never reconnoitered a hostile 
position nor approached it by stealthy parallels. He could not lay 
siege to an enemy, nor beleaguer him, nor open trenches, and sap 
and mine. His method was the charge and the onset, He was the 
Murat of senatorial debate. Not many men of this generation 
have been better equipped for parliamentary warfare than he, with 
his commanding presence, his sinewy diction, his confident and im 
perturbable self-control. 

But in the maturity of his powers and his fame, with unmeasured 
opportunities for achievement apparently before him, with great 
designs unaccomplished, surrounded by the proud and affectionate 



ADDRESS OF MR. VEST, OF MISSOURI. 19 

solicitude of a great constituency, the pallid messenger with the 
inverted torch beckoned him to depart. There are few scenes in 
history more tragic than that protracted combat with death. No 
man had greater inducements to live. But in the long struggle 
against the inexorable advances of an insidious and mortal malady 
he did not falter nor repine. He retreated with the aspect of a vic 
tor ; and though he succumbed, he seemed to conquer. His sun 
went down at noon, but it sank amid the prophetic splendors of an 
eternal dawn. 

With more than a hero s courage, with more than a martyr s 
fortitude, he waited the approach of the inevitable hour and went 
to the undiscovered country. 



Address of Mr. VEST of Missouri. 

Mr. President, in November, 1861, 1 first met Mr. HILL in the 
provisional congress of the Confederate States. 

The Confederacy was just entering upon its brief and stormy ex 
istence. Its capital had recently been removed from Montgomery to 
Richmond, and Jefferson Davis by a majority of only one vote in 
the provisional congress had been elected president over Robert 
Toombs. 

Surrounded by unexampled difficulties, moral and physical, iso 
lated and alone, with the prejudices of the entire civilized world 
against them, and confronted in battle with overwhelming odds, 
the Confederate congress was called upon to meet not only the ordi 
nary questions and emergencies attending the formation of a new 
government, but to grapple also with the exigencies and demands 
of a great war, a war not for conquest or policy, but for existence. 

Mr. HILL had earnestly opposed secession up to the last mo 
ment, but finding that the people of Georgia were determined to 
separate from the Union, he surrendered his personal opinion, 
and pledged himself fully and unreservedly to the cause of the 
Confederacy. 

Opposed to secession, with habits of thought and education ut 
terly averse to revolution, the strange vicissitudes of this stormy 



20 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

period soon found him the leader of the administration party in 
the Confederate congress. 

Within the limits of an address like this it would neither be 
possible nor proper for me to attempt an analysis of the causes 
which placed Mr. HILL in this position ; but chief among them 
was the fact that having once pledged himself to the Confederacy 
he could see no hope of success except in supporting the president 
chosen by the people ; and having so declared himself, his great 
ability naturally made him the exponent and defender of the pol 
icy of the administration. 

Although surrounded by difficulties and dangers almost without 
parallel, and confronted by a common peril, it was very soon evi 
dent that personal rivalry, the attrition of diverse opinion, and the 
fierce passions of a revolutionary era had built up most determined 
opposition to Mr. Davis among the leaders of the South. 

That the president of the Confederate States was loyal to the 
people he led, in every fiber of his nature, cannot be doubted save 
by the blindest prejudice; and this being granted, whether he was 
mistaken in the conduct of the war or in the policy of his admin 
istration should be a sealed book to all those who sympathized and 
suffered with him. It is enough to say now that never was any 
public man assailed by opponents so formidable as those who at 
tacked the president of the Confederate States. 

Toombs, the Mirabeau of the revolution; Yancey, whose lips 
were touched with fire, now the honey of persuasion and then the 
venom of invective; Wigfall, brilliant, aggressive, and relentless 
this was the great triumvirate which assailed Mr. Davis s adminis 
tration. No power of description can do justice to the ability, elo 
quence, or bitterness of the debates in which Mr. HILL, single- 
handed but undaunted, met his great opponents. As the war pro 
gressed and the fortunes of the Confederacy became each year more 
desperate, the bitterness and violence of this parliamentary conflict 
increased, until scenes of actual personal collision occurred on the 
floor of the Confederate senate. 

The participants have passed beyond this world s judgment, and 
the issues which stirred those fierce passions are dead with the gov- 



ADDRESS OF ME. VEST, OF MISSOURI. 21 

eminent they affected, but the few who heard these debutes can 
never forget the matchless eloquence and logic that mingled with 
the roar of hostile guns around the beleaguered capital of the Con 
federacy. 

Reluctant to embrace the Confederate cause, Mr. HILL was the 
last to leave it, and I well remember that on my way from Rich 
mond, after preparations had been made to abandon the capital, and 
it was well known that the cause was lost, I met him in Columbus, 
Georgia, engaged iu the task of rallying the people of his State in 
what was then a hopeless struggle. When I told him of recent 
events, of which he had not heard, he said, "All then is over, and 
it only remains for me to share the fate of the people of Georgia." 

How well he redeemed this pledge the hearts of his people will 
answer. Thrown into prison, stripped of all except life, his courage 
never failed, and in the darkest hour, when the wolves were tear 
ing the victims of the war as the coyote the wounded deer, his elo 
quent voice was never for one instant silent until Georgia, torn and 
bleeding but yet splendid and beautiful, once more stood erect in the 
sisterhood of sovereign States. Nor did he ever under any tempta 
tion so far forget his manhood and honor as to 

Crook the pregnant hinges of the knee 
Where thrift may follow fawning. 

Accepting fully and without reservation all the legitimate conse 
quences of defeat, and resolutely turning to the future with its 
duties and obligations, he still retained his self-respect, and never 

did he 

Bend low, and iu a bondsman s key, 

With bated breath, and whispering humbleness. 

Say this 

Fair sir, you spit on me on Wednesday last ; 

You spurn d me such a day ; another time 

You call d me dog ; and for these courtesies 

I ll lend you thus much moneys. 

I knew Mr. HILL well, and under circumstances which enabled 
me to judge accurately his attributes and qualities. Like all men 
of great intellect, he was often accused of inconsistency because he 
absolutely refused to be governed by the routine thought of others, 
and had always the courage to change an opinion if he believed it 



22 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

erroneous. His courage, indeed, both of conviction and expression, 
was not excelled by that of any man, and his fortitude under the 
greatest misfortunes extorted the admiration of even his enemies. 

In an age when calumny and slander are the ordinary weapons 
of political warfare, and personal scandal the most delicate morsel 
for the public appetite, Mr. HILL was not exempt from the attacks 
of the foul and loathsome creatures who crawl about the footsteps 
of every public man, but he bore himself always with a dignity 
which commanded the respect of all. 

And what can be said of the heroism, the uncomplaining and un 
faltering courage, with which he met the irony of fate that brought 
him the torture of a lingering death in the destruction of that tongue 
and voice which had so often awakened with their eloquence the 
echoes of this Hall ! 

In all public and private history there is no sadder page than 
this, and from it we turn away in silent awe and reverence. 

In his political opinions Mr. HILL was governed by the teaching 
of Madison, and no one who heard his speech in the Senate on May 
10, 1879, the greatest speech in my judgment delivered here within 
the last quarter of a century, will ever forget his tribute to the 
statesman who can be justly termed the father of the Constitution. 
Said Mr. HILL: 

Sir, I want to say here now and I feel it a privilege that I can say it I be 
lieve all the angry discussion, all the troubles that have come upon this coun 
try, have sprung from the failure of the people to comprehend the one great fact 
that the Government under which we live has no model; it is partly national 
and partly Federal ; an idea which was to the Greeks a stumbling block, and 
to the Romans foolishness, and to the Republican party an insurmountable 
paradox, but to the patriots of this country it is the power of liberty unto the 
salvation of the people. And if the people of this country would realize that 
fact, all these crazy wranglings as to whether we live under a Federal or a 
national Government would cease ; they would understand that we live under 
both ; that it is a composite Government ; that it was intended by the framers 
that the Union shall be faithful in defense of the States, that the States 
shall be harmonious in support of the Union, and that the Union and the 
States shall be faithful and harmonious in the support and the maintenance 
of the rights and the liberty of the people. 

Mr. HILL was not only an orator, but a lawyer in the front of 
his profession. His mind was broad yet analytical; and he was 



ADDRESS OF MR. MORGAN, OF ALABAMA. 23 

averse to all radical and revolutionary methods. In my conception 
of his intellect and eloquence I always associate him with Virgniaud, 
the leader of the French Girondists. While neither will stand in 
history with the greatest party leaders, yet as orators and parlia 
mentary debaters they are entitled to places in the first rank. 

Ended are his conflicts, his triumphs, and defeats. The strong, 
aggressive intellect is at rest. The clarion voice which could " wield 
at will the fierce democracy" is hushed forever. 

Out upon the shoreless ocean his bark has drifted; but it has 
not carried away all of the life that has ended. Never to mortal 
hands was given a legacy more precious than that left to the peo 
ple of Georgia in the memory of her great son who gave his life 
to her service and his latest prayer to her honor and welfare. 

Orator, statesman, patriot, farewell ! Let Georgia guard well 
thy grave ; for in her soil rest not the ashes of one whose life has 
done more to illustrate her manhood, whose genius has added such 
glory to her name. 



Address of Mr. MORGAN, of Alabama. 

Mr. PRESIDENT : Alabama, the eldest daughter of Georgia, ap 
proaches this sad occasion with a proud but stricken spirit. I will 
litter no word in praise of the late Senator that all the people of 
that State and of the South will not sanction with heartfelt re 
sponses. 

This is an occasion when the pure serenity of truth need not 
be clouded with undeserved eulogy of the dead. It would be an 
injustice to the sincerity of his character, which his own history 
and example would condemn, to speak of the deceased Senator in 
terms that would be misleading. 

A strong and rugged character such as belonged to BENJAMIN 
H. HILL cannot be correctly portrayed in the soft light of adula 
tion or by mere smoothness of expression or in speech tem 
pered with hesitancy and caution. He was a bold, daring, and 
powerful man in his intellectual and physical organism, and his 
convictions when they were settled after due consideration were 



24 LIFE AND CHARACTEE OF BENJAMIN JT. HILL. 

always the guide to his action and the measure of his duty. He 
thought much, and examined with carefulness every important 
question that engaged his attention. 

When he was in error he was dangerous because of the fertility 
of his resources in argument, his zeal and firmness, his tact in de 
bate, and the aggressive energy of his mind. When he was right 
he was almost invincible. 

These qualities naturally fitted him for the highest range of 
achievements as an advocate and leader; but such was his independ 
ence of all control by the thoughts of others that he sometimes 
sacrificed the leadership of men whom he could have controlled 
had he made concessions that were not of vital consequence to him 
or to them. 

The people often made concessions to him to avoid controversy 
with one whom they greatly admired and were attached to with 
affectionate regard. The following of the people under his leader 
ship did not always result from their approval of his views, even 
on great questions. 

He was, in the American sense, a great popular orator, whose 
powers were best adapted to great questions and important occa 
sions in which the rights and liberties of the people were concerned 
or the honor of the country was at stake. In such discussions he 
sometimes rose to astonishing heights of sublimity of thought and 
speech, which carried his audience with him until they seemed to 
lose control of themselves. He had no faculty of imitation, and 
his style of oratory was all his own. He had no model in rhetoric 
or logic that he was willing to copy. He seemed to have no 
thoughts that were his merely by adoption ; they were the offspring 
of his own mind. His eloquence was little more than a fervid 
statement of the facts or reasoning which had brought his mind to 
the conclusions which he was supporting; but it was so intense as 
to become almost irresistible. 

When speaking to the people, in the period just preceding the 
war, when the argument was closed and a resort to other methods 
of defense had become a necessity, as they viewed the situation, he 
turned their thoughts to the duties and dangers of the people 



ADDRESS OP MR. MORGAN, OF ALABAMA. 25 

of the South and of their posterity. He reviewed with pathetic 
ferver their fidelity to the Constitution and the Union in all 
former times of danger and trial in the second war of Inde 
pendence with (irreat Britain; in the wars with the Indians, who 
were supported by British and Spanish emissaries, and inspired by 
the savage eloquence of Tecumseh ; and in the war with Mexico; 
and, feeling that they were threatened with servile insurrection and 
ultimate degradation and the loss of all protection under the Con 
stitution, he urged them to their duty with such power that 

Each ravished bosom felt the high alarms, 
And all their huruing pulses heat to arms. 

Mr. HILL was a lawyer of great ability, but his self-reliant 
habits of reasoning led him to seek for arguments rather than for 
precedents to support the cause he was advocating. The special- 
jury system of Georgia was productive of great alertness and skill 
in forensic discussion among the lawyers of Georgia, and in these 
he excelled. Senators will remember how much he relied on this 
faculty even in the discussion of questions of the most intricate 
character. He always spoke extemporaneously, and seldom made 
any use even of notes of reference to authorities. 

In the strenuous controversy of high debate he was sometimes 
severe, but never with willful injustice to those opposed to him. 

The only soil of his fair virtue s gloss 

Was a sharp wit, match d with too blunt a will ; 

Whose edge none spurned that came within his power. 

His political career was shaped by the events of the most diffi 
cult and momentous period in American history. The success of 
the rebellion of 1776 by the strength of the Union it established 
made the success of the rebellion of 1860 impossible. But the 
questions that were left open after the first rebellion to rankle in 
the bosoms of the people made the second rebellion and the war 
that followed it unavoidable. 

Mr. HILL, in common with other men of that period, under 
stood that the third generation of American citizens were forced 
to settle by arms the questions that the first generation could not 
settle in the beginning without giving up all hope of uniting the 



26 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

States in a Federal Government under the new Constitution. He, 
like many others, was compelled by a sense of duty to change his 
attitude on questions of policy to meet the dangers as they arose 
and drifted with the current of events. His fated duty and pur 
pose forced him into resistance to the inevitable, but the least de 
structive measure of resistance was what he always sought to 
adopt. Under such circumstances he was then, and more re 
cently, charged with reckless inconsistency. 

That was not a just criticism either of his character or his con 
duct. He was so far free from that weakness which is dignified 
with the title of pride of opinion that he did not hesitate to aban 
don his opinions and to disprove their soundness when subsequent 
reflection satisfied him of the error. It was this trait that gave 
color to the idea that he was vacillating in his political convic 
tions. 

If he were here and I could render to him in person the justice 
which he would most appreciate, as I render to his memory what 
I believe to be most true, I would say of his course in the begin 
ning of the civil war and during the discussion of the events that 
led to it that no man then living was more sincerely devoted to 
the American Union than he was ; no man gave up the hope of 
its perpetuity with more intense sorrow than he did ; no man 
more firmly believed than he did that the Southern States had 
just grounds for their secession ; no man deplored more sincerely 
than he did that secession and war were made inevitable by the 
very provisions of the Constitution that men were sworn to sup 
port, and that could not in fact be supported in its provisions re 
lating to slavery except by the power of the sword as against the 
will of a great majority of the American people; and when the 
crisis came no man was firmer than Mr. HILL in supporting with 
his vote in the convention of Georgia the ordinance of secession, 
against which he had entered his protest, but to which he gave his 
assent when his brethren had resolved that it was the only remedy 
left open to them. 

This is the true history of his motives and feelings in that time 
of severe trial, which so honorably explain his conduct. In the 



ADDRESS OF MB. MORGAN, OF ALABAMA. 27 

light of these facts there is a moral heroism in his course which 
raises his fame even to a higher eminence than that which is so 
freely accorded to him for his acknowledged abilities. His fidelity 
to the Confederate States could not have been greater if he had 
been the sole responsible author of the secession of each of the 
States. His devotion to that cause after he had espoused it, and 
to the people after they were involved in war, appeals to their 
hearts for a tribute, which they freely render to his memory, far 
exceeding eulogy and praise, the tribute of gratitude enriched by 
love. None but the truest of men could have won this high dis 
tinction from the people of the South. He has won it worthily, 
and it will continue to bloom amid the leaves of the chaplet with 
which they have crowned him for immortality. 

The people of the South withdrew from the Union because they 
believed that the Government of the United States had no longer 
the will or the power to protect their constitutional rights. They 
went out by the separate and independent action of each of the 
eleven seceding States. Their union into a confederacy was itself 
a great task upon the statesmanship of the leading men of the 
South. Along with this task came the instant and inevitable 
work of preparing for a great war. 

In all these high duties Mr. HILL was an active and leading 
participant as a representative of the State of Georgia. 

The condition of these eleven States was perilous in the ex 
treme, and required the highest #rder of capacity for government 
to direct them through these dangerous straits. The individual 
States had armies in the field engaged in conflicts of arms before 
the Confederacy could be organized under a provisional govern 
ment. 

Then immediately came the great struggle, in which all the 
people of all races, with only a few individual exceptions, were 
united for weal or for woe. There was nothing on which the Con 
federacy could rely for success except the devotion of the people to 
the cause which united them. Nothing was organized, and the 
material of war consisted only of resolute men. Without a mili 
tary chest, or arms, munitions, equipments, transportation, or sup- 



28 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF KENJANIN H. HILL. 

plies, the military resources of the Confederacy consisted of ten 
millions of people, of whom more than a third were slaves whose 
release from bondage depended on the success of the arms of the 
United States. 

This population could not furnish and keep in the field more 
than a half million of men even for a short campaign. Its total 
arms-bearing strength could not exceed a million of men, within 
the extreme limits of military levies, during the whole period of a 
four years war. Their arms and ordnance stores, munitions, pro 
visions, and transportation were to be dug from the mines and the 
fields, and hewn from the forests, and constructed from the native 
material. They had to raise the cotton and wool for clothing their 
armies, and to build factories to convert them into cloth. There 
was not a thousand thoroughly educated soldiers in these eleven 
States. They had little money and no credit abroad. They were 
shut in on land and sea by great armies and navies. They had no 
fleet and no commerce. They had not the genuine sympathy of 
any nation in the world. 

Their adversaries were men of their own blood; powerful, war 
like, rich, determined ; aroused with enthusiastic zeal for the 
Union and the supremacy of its laws ; supplied with every re 
source of warfare, and supported by the sympathy and assistance, 
of many other great nations, whose people recruited their armies. 
They could put in the field as many soldiers as the confederacy 
could possibly muster, and still have a reserve of population of 
20,000,000 from which to draw other armies. 

This brief view of the situation will sufficiently show the gen 
eral outline of the labors that Mr. HILL and his colleagues in the 
Confederate congress were called to perform. They courageously 
took up the task, which seemed too great for human endeavor. 

Their debates are not published, but thfc tradition that has reached 
us is that they were never excelled in ability and majestic eloquence. 
It may be better that they have faded from human recollection. 

There was little of personal rivalry in the Confederate congress. 
The weight of responsibility resting upon all alike kept each in 
dividual equal upon the common plane of duty. It was the per- 



ADDRESS OF ME. MORGAN, OF ALABAMA. 29 

formance of duty, and not daring enterprise or moving eloquence, 
that was the test of a man s devotion to the common cause and of 
his ability to serve it in that congress. 

According to this standard Mr. HILL was honorably distin 
guished among his colleagues, and was applauded by the people. 
The regard of the people for him far exceeded mere admiration. 
There was a strong bond of affection between them. All the sym 
pathies of his high nature were aroused by their sufferings, and 
grew into homage for their virtues as he witnessed their fortitude 
and patience in the terrible trials of the war. He saw that their 
wealth was freely given to the Confederacy; that they fed and 
clothed the army without the hope of compensation ; that the poor, 
the widowed, and the orphaned took refuge and found comfort in 
their cheerful benevolence; that they gave up their houses for hos 
pitals, and gathered from the fields and forests the simple remedies 
for the wounded and sick which took the place of the ordinary 
hospital supplies and medicines which were denied to them. He 
saw that the women raised bread in the sun-beaten fields, with plow 
and hoe, and divided it between their children at home and their 
husbands and children in the army. He saw the mothers sending 
their sons forth to recruit the armies as soon as they were able to 
bear arms, and oftentimes to take the places of fathers and elder 
brothers who had fallen in battle. He rejoiced in the heroic; spirit 
of the people, and they felt that he was true to them. 

The end came ; and with it came the dawn of a new hope, only 
to spread its wings of light for a moment, and then to fold them 
again in darkness. 

With peace came the promise of restoration to civil liberty as it 
is proudly impersonated in the character of the American citizen. 
That promise contained the essential part of all for which the 
Southern people had fought for four weary and sorrow-burdened 
years. They gave up the institution which was the provoking 
cause of the great conflict of arms, and felt assured that there would 
no longer be occasion or excuse for a denial to them of the equal 
rights enjoyed by other American citizens. They laid down their 
arms and gave their paroles upon these express conditions. But 



30 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

they were grievously disappointed, and, having disarmed, they had 
no longer the privilege of making honorable sacrifices to vindicate 
their rights. They brooded in the darkness of a hopeless doom 
over a loss that was seemingly irreparable. 

On such occasions men have often come forward who seem to 
have been fitted and prepared beforehand for the work. They ask 
the confidence of the people, and if they have the faith to give it 
and the courage to follow they are led by them into a happy de 
liverance. 

Among this class of leaders in the South Mr. HILL was con 
spicuous. In the events which followed the surrender of 1865 his 
courage and eloquence were displayed in their grandest power as a 
leader of the people. He was maddened with the thought that 
the surrender of a people who had struggled so gallantly and suf 
fered so much, but were yet able to have protracted the war in 
definitely, did not bring to them the rights which were expressly 
included in the capitulation. With anguish of soul he witnessed 
the wrongs and humiliation inflicted on them under the policy of 
the reconstruction of the seceding States, by which they were held 
subject as vassals under the laws of Avar when they had been 
promised restoration under the laws of peace. 

When the military power was thus made to supplant the civil 
power in Georgia, and the disarmed people were incapable of re 
sistance, he did not despair. He felt that there was in the Ameri 
can heart a forum where the plea for justice could still be heard, 

J. / 

and he boldly demanded an audience there. Through such assist 
ance he determined that Georgia should be set free from military 
despotism and foreign rule. He united the people of Georgia in 
a crusade against tyranny. They broke their chains, and he led 
them in a triumphant march to victory. With no other weapon 
but the freeman s ballot they drove out their oppressors. 

His strength, when thus called into action, was a sublime ex 
pression of the depth of feeling and suffering of a great spirit 
maddened by a sense of cruel wrong. 

As when Alcides * * * felt the euvenom d robe, and tore 
Through pain up by the roots Thessaliau pines ; 
And Lichas from the top of (Eta threw 
Into the Euboic sea 





[UNIVERSITY 
\ /> 

ADDRESS OF MR. MORGAN, OF ALABAJKg^T .7*1,31 

so did this maddened patriot tear from the bosom of his ""native 
State the deep-rooted grafts of military despotism and cast them 
out from her borders. Neither Garibaldi nor Gambetta were more 
patriotic or more intrepid than he was, and the nations of the earth 
have recently mourned at their funerals. This homage was given 
them because they had lifted up the heads of despairing peoples in 
times of national calamity, and reinspired them with hope, courage, 
and self-reliance. And for this cause the South mourns at the obse 
quies of her patriot son, and embalms his memory with her tears. 

It is not appropriate to utter all the praises our hearts would 
fain bestow upon him. We prefer to leave something unsaid and 
undone for the present time to signify a tenderness of feeling for 
our dead who were great and good that does not now admit of 
complete expression. 

I witnessed the burial of BENJAMIN H. HILL in the bosom of 
his native State. The people were there in observant masses look 
ing sadly on at the simple cortege that escorted his remains to the 
cemetery. They seemed to feel that he had died much too soon to 
gather the full wealth of his own fame or to confer on them the 
full riches of his counsels. They seem to think of him as of a 
warrior slain by chance when he had put on his armor to win his 
greatest victories ; as an eagle stricken in its boldest flight ; as an 
oak riven with lightning in the fullness of its beauty and strength 
while spreading its leaves to welcome the summer showers. They 
were proud that their sorrow was honoring alike to the living and 
the dead ; but they were grieved that the sad occasion had so soon 
arrived. They believed, and I do, that he had not attained to the 
fullness of his growth in Intellectual power and that he left unfin 
ished many noble plans for the good of the country. 

Mr. HILL was not always wise, yet few were wiser than he. It 
cannot be said of him that he was always right, but it can be truly 
said that he was never wrong from willfulness, for lack of courage, 
or from inattention to the requirements of duty. 

Discarding all blind confidence in fate, and deeply sensible of 
responsibility to God, his noble and just spirit left this brief exist 
ence for one that is eternal, satisfied with the past and confident of 
the future. 



32 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

Though his work here was not finished, as we view such matters, 
he was not reluctant to lay down the great charge intrusted to him 
by a fond constituency ; for he believed that the Master had called 
him to other duties which, as compared with his duties in the Sen 
ate, would confer on him "a far more exceeding and eternal weight 
of glory," and so assured, he departed hence with rejoicing. 



Address of Mr. SHERMAN, of Ohio. 

Mr. PRESIDENT: We are often called upon in the midst of our 
public duties to commemorate the death of an associate who has 
shared with us in the labor and responsibility of official trust. But 
it rarely happens that the fatal shaft falls upon a Senator of such 
physical strength and mental vigor as Senator HILL. He had 
scarcely yet attained the full measure of national reputation to which 
his admitted abilities would have raised him. The insidious dis 
ease which sapped his life not only filled his home, his family, and 
his State with pain and sorrow, but caused a sigh of sadness and 
respectful sympathy in every household where his patient suifering 
and premature death were known. 

I am not able to speak of Senator HILL with the fullness of 
information that his colleagues and personal associates have done. 
They tell us how he won and held in the highest degree the respect 
and esteem of his associates, that he has been honored with the con 
fidence of the people of his native State, and by their suifrages for 
years has filled with credit many positions of public trust. We 
knew him as he appeared among us, a ready debater, an ardent but 
courteous antagonist, strong, earnest, and convincing. 

He came into the House of Representatives with a high reputa 
tion, and both there and in the Senate maintained and advanced it 
so that when the premonition of death came upon him he stood 
as high in the respect and confidence of his associates as any mem 
ber of this body. 

He was a native of Georgia, educated in one of her universities, 
and learned in the practice of law in her courts. He was distinctly 



ADDRESS OF MB. SHERMAN, OF OHIO. 33 

a type of the Southern mind in its best relations to the affairs of 
life. 

Though his early life was spent under the influences of the insti 
tutions of his native State, and though its industries were then con 
fined mainly to the pursuits of agriculture, yet in his early manhood 
he appreciated the important position which Georgia holds, as con 
taining within her bounds the chief elements for manufacturing 
industries as well as a fruitful soil for agricultural products. 

He was, as I understood him, in early life attached to the Whig 
party, and mainly on account of the well-known position of that 
party in favor of the protective policy. He sympathized heartily 
with the present prospects that in Georgia there will be a rapid de 
velopment of her natural mineral resources, and that the cotton 
grown on her genial soil and that of the " Sunny South " will be 
made ready for her Southern looms and spindles. 

He had no regrets for the past in the brightening prospects of the 
future, but looked to his State, often called the " Empire State of 
the South," as likely to be improved and advanced by the results 
of the war to a higher plane of wealth, strength, and population. 

His hope was that his State would rise with fresh vigor from the 
misfortune and devastation of war by the building of railroads, the 
opening of mines of coal and iron, and by the tide of immigration 
and labor from other States as well as from foreign lands. 

Senator HILL was consistently a Union man before the war. He 
resisted the secession of his State until after the ordinance of seces 
sion was passed. While his views of the construction of the Con 
stitution in later years differed widely from my own, yet I never 
doubted the sincerity of his opinions. To the questions that grew 
out of the war I do not feel at liberty even to allude, because on 
these questions we were widely apart in opinion. 

Whatever his views on any subject, he always put them forth 
with the utmost vigor and clearness of expression. Endowed by 
nature with an ardent temperament, and cultivated by education in 
the use of all the gifts of speech, he defended his opinions with 
consummate ability. Whether in attack or in defense, he was an 
adversary to command respect in any form of debate. He repre- 
3 H 



34 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

sented in a marked degree that first quality of an orator earnest 
ness. His training in the practice of the law made him familiar, 
to a wide extent, with precedents and decisions, upon which he drew 
copiously in his arguments upon questions involving Constitutional 
law and legislative and judicial power. His speeches were more 
remarkable for their clear reason than for their rhetorical felicity, 
and it may be said that the bent of his mind was in the direction 
of dialectics rather than of literary effort. 

As a man of fine natural gifts and high accomplishments, his 
loss will be felt not only in his own State and neighborhood, but 
in the councils, of the nation ; and after more than half a century 
of a well-spent life his . countrymen will recognize, even in its 
close, the elements of a well-rounded career. 



Address of Mr. VOORHEES, o f Indiana. 

Mr. PEESIDENT : We halt to-day for a few moments in the great 
journey to say the last farewell words over a new-made grave. A 
comrade in the battle of life has fallen in this high forum. The 
skeleton foot of death enters with familiar step the loftiest as well 
as the humblest stations of human life, and again it has invaded 
the floor of the Senate. But yesterday a commanding presence 
moved in our midst which we shall see no more ; a voice of pow 
erful eloquence was heard which is now hushed forever ; a tower 
ing intellect shed its light on human affairs which now has joined 
other councils than those of earth. A great and living force has 
gone out from this body and from every scene of mortal concern. 

Others have more fully spoken of Senator HILL S life and pub 
lic career than will be expected from me, but of his intellectual 
strength, his will, and his courage I have deep and lasting im 
pressions. I first met him during the reconstruction of the 
Southern States which followed the war. As a member of an in 
vestigating committee appointed by Congress I visited Atlanta, 
and there met Mr. HILL for the first time. His appearance and 
bearing strongly attracted my attention. The still intensity of his 



ADDRESS OF MR. FOOEHEES, OF INDIANA 35 

pale, strong face, his firm, determined features, and the clear light 
of his steady, inquiring, and, as it seemed to me then, somewhat 
distrustful blue eyes, combined to make on my mind the vivid and 
striking portrait of a remarkable man. I recall vividly now the 
self-poise, the reserve, the circumspection with which he spoke of 
public questions, and sought to shelter from hurtful legislation all 
the interests of his people. He was not then taking part in na 
tional politics, and I doubt if such was his intention, but when he 
was some time afterward elected to the House of Representatives 
my opinion of his abilities and force was only confirmed when he 
immediately took a conspicuous leadership in that body. 

Of- the merits of the heated controversies in which he engaged 
of course I do not speak in this presence, but that he was the peer 
of the ablest whom he met no one will deny. His fame was at 
once national, and his State only waited for the first opportunity 
to bestow upon him its highest honor. After Mr. HILL became a 
member of this body his daily movements and every word he ut 
tered were marked and scrutinized as those of a leading and im 
portant actor in public affairs. He had been a representative man 
under an order of things and an attempted government which had 
crumbled to the dust, and he could not be less than a representa 
tive character here. To me it was always a curious and most in 
teresting study to watch the workings of his brilliant and fertile 
mind while he grasped the duties and the ideas of the living pres 
ent, and at the same time with reverent care and devotion pro 
tected the motives and the memory of a cause into which he had 
poured the whole ardor of his earlier manhood. His mind was 
essentially daring and progressive, and he did not seek to cling to 
principles and methods which had been tried and failed ; he 
simply guarded well the honor of that vast cemetery in which the 
dead past lies buried. 

Standing, as I once heard him say, in the ashes of desolation, 
he still looked forward with an unfaltering trust to the dawn of a 
new day of glory for his section, and of union and progress for 
the entire country. He was a ready mounted knight, not looking 
back to past fields of encounter, but prompt to enter the lists when- 



36 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

ever or wherever opened. He believed with Edmund Burke that 
statesmanship was the science of circumstances, and he addressed 
himself with wisdom and courage to the situation in which he 
found himself placed. This sometimes caused him to be accused 
of inconsistency by those who forget that the circumstances which 
govern the conduct of the statesman are themselves inconsistent 
from day to day. The law of the world is mutation. 

History is a never-ending panorama, in which the pictures are 
never the same. The same grand purposes and fact of progression 
are there, but the methods of public policy, the ways and means 
whereby governments are created and sustained, the measures which 
from time to time best promote, foster, and encourage the welfare 
of the people, are as various as the different conditions of mankind 
which have called them forth. The principles which have governed 
one generation may have to be discarded for the safety and pros 
perity of the next. The wisdom of to-day may be the folly of to 
morrow in the administrative measures of peace as well as in the 
tactics and strategy of war. 

Senator HILL always appeared as much alive to this great fact 
as any man I ever met in public life. He was always found on the 
skirmish line of advanced and advancing ideas, and in the constant 
encounters which necessarily take place on that line in the field of 
thought, the lightning as it leaps from the sky is hardly more bril 
liant or rapid than were the operations of his mind. Indeed, so 
prolific was his genius when heated by the combat of discussion 
that it seemed at times to partake of the eccentricity of the light 
ning as well as of its brilliancy and power. But he was never al 
lured in his most daring flights so far that he could not upon the 
instant return to meet his adversary at the precise point in issue. 
It was this quality, in great measure, and the intensity with which 
he could identify himself with the actual matter in hand, regardless 
of what the past had demanded of him, which made him the for 
midable antagonist and the resistless orator at the bar, on the hus 
tings, and in the halls of legislation. 

Sir, a character such as I speak of has never in any age failed to 
encounter determined opposition and deep-seated hostility. The 



ADDRESS OF ME. VOORHEES, OF INDIANA. 37 

overthrown antagonist, the routed adversary, never forget and are 
often slow to forgive. The impetuous assault in debate, the fierce 
invective, the merciless sarcasm, leave wounds which seldom alto 
gether heal. This was doubtless true of the public career of the 
bold, aggressive Senator whose loss we deplore ; and yet to those 
who knew him well in private life how gentle, considerate, and 
kind were his words and his ways ! A simple circumstance of an 
accidental character brought about relations between us which re 
vealed him to me in a light I did not expect, although I had been 
acquainted with him for years. 

I saw the self-absorbed, distant manner melt away into the gen 
tlest sunshine. I realized that when he gave his confidence at all 
he gave it entire ; that when he trusted he did so without res 
ervation, and with an unlimited faith. While perhaps " he was 
lofty and sour to those who loved him not," yet he had, in a boun 
tiful degree, those elements -of nature toward friends which make 
man "sweet as summer" to his fellow-man. As the world saw him 
during his active career he was a warrior with his armor on, his 
lance in rest and his visor down ; but away from the scenes of con 
flict and in the midst of those who came close to him he was the 
unassuming, generous, confiding friend. . At such times he always 
spoke with singular gentleness and charity of those from whom he 
differed and with whom his debates had been most heated and de 
termined ; nor do I think I ever heard him speak with a show of 
personal resentment of such even as had dealt most harshly and un 
justly with his name -and fame. 

Sir, the combination of rare and high qualities of mind and heart 
possessed by Senator HILL not only account for the mourning of 
Georgia over his loss, but also for the fact that his death is re 
garded in every section as a national calamity. His power for 
great public usefulness was recognized in every quarter of our vast, 
expanded country. He had a glorious cause at heart, the construc 
tion and development of a grand, harmonious future for the whole 
country, adjusting his own and the kindred States and people of the 
South to the existing conditions of the present day, and insuring 
them their full proportion of the honor and the wealth of the na- 



38 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

tion. What nobler purpose ever animated the human breast ? But 
in the full meridian splendor of his mental vigor and his ripe ex 
perience the unfinished task fell from his hands. That summons 
to which every ear shall hearken and all mortality obey reached 
him at the zenith of his powers, and with his plans of future work 
all spread out before him. 

When the light of the sun fades away at nightfall we behold the 
harmonious fulfillment of nature s law ; but when darkness comes at 
noonday we are struck with awe at the mysteries of the universe. 
When eternity beckons to one whose labors are ended here, and 
who walks wearily under the burden of years, we see him sink down 
to his rest with resignation to the decrees as they are written; but 
when death claims the great and strong, in all their pride of power 
and place, we break forth in grief, and question the ways of Heaven 
and earth, which are past finding out. 

The hand of the reaper 

Takes the ears that are hoary ; 
But the voice of the weeper 

Wails manhood in glory. 

How capricious and various are the ways of death ! On the first 
day of the new year there had gathered at the White House a vast 
assemblage to pay honor to the President of the Republic. Talent, 
beauty, official distinction, all were there. Heroes of the Army and 
the Navy, in the brilliant decorations of their rank, made their offi 
cial obeisance to their Commander-in-Chief ; the embassadors of 
distant courts, blazing in scarlet and gold, paid friendly congratu 
lations to the Chief Magistrate of the foremost commonwealth on 
the globe ; thoughtful legislators and ermiiied judges, men of let 
ters, and professors of science stood in the same presence ; female 
loveliness lent its enchantment to the scene ; soft music charmed all 
the air; the rich odor of flowers came with every breath, and the 
lofty old halls and promenades were vocal with exclamations of 
happy enjoyment. Immediately at my side, in the midst of this 
radiant throng, stood one who was full of years and of honors. 
But the spirit of the glass and scythe was hovering even there, and 
at the touch of its icy hand I saw the venerable man of four-score 



ADDRESS OF MB. VOORHEES, OF INDIANA. 39 

sink down like ail infant to gentle sleep. Without moan or sigh 
or pain he passed in an instant from the light, the music, and the 
perfumes of earth to the world of eternal beauty beyond the sun. 

Fortunate man; fortunate in life, and still more fortunate in 
death ! Not a moment in the dark valley or the shadow between 
the two worlds, he closed his aged eyes upon the joys of time to open 
them upon the brighter visions of eternity. But how shall the 
dreadful contrast which flashes 011 every mind be spoken ? To the 
dead Senator whom we mourn to-day death came in its most appall 
ing form, wearing its most cruel and ghastly mien. No circumstance 
of torture or of horror was omitted from the awful ordeal through 
which he slowly passed. He sought the aid of science, for life was 
sweet to him ; but after he turned his face homeward, to abide the 
will of God, as he said, among his own people, the pages of human 
history in all their wide range present no more striking instance 
than he did of uuquailing, lofty heroism and of sublime submission 
to the decrees of Providence. 

The stoic philosopher of antiquity would have taken refuge in 
self-murder from the frightful aspect worn by the King of Terrors 
on which the dying American statesman looked from hour to hour, 
from day to day, and from month to mouth with unbroken com 
posure. A little more than a year ago the world watched around 
the death-bed of the slowly dying President of the United States, 
and wondered at his calmness and courage ; but to him there was 
administered daily hope. Not a whisper of earthly hope sustained 
Senator HILL as he looked long and steadily at his inevitable doom. 
And yet no murmur, wail, or lament ever escaped his lips ; he ut 
tered no word of grief or disappointment that the end of his pil 
grimage was so near ; no agony of suffering was ever so terrible as 
to extort a single cry of pain; he never appeared so great, so calm 
and strong, as face to face with the mighty monarch before whom all 
must bow. And why was this ? Able, self-reliant, and intrepid 
as he was, could he, unaided and alone, sustain with unclouded se 
renity of mind such a conflict with approaching and painful disso 
lution ? Was there no one with him to soothe and to comfort as he 
passed through the furnace seven times heated ? 



40 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

Sir, we learn that Mr. HILL S father was a minister of the Christ 
ian religion, and that he educated his son in the principles and the 
practices of his own faith. It is a fact, also, that when the son 
grew to manhood, and at every period of his brilliant and at times 
stormy career, this faith abided with him. The good seed sown 
in the morning may have seemed scorched by the sun, or choked 
by the thorns and cares of the day, but it never lost root in his 
mind ; and in his hour of trial it brought forth fruit more than a 
hundred-fold. It enabled him to realize a home of peace and joy 
beyond the reach of disease or death ; it enabled him to smile 
amidst his sufferings as martyrs have smiled in flames at the stake. 
Though of approaching death it might be said, 

Black as night, 

Fierce as ten furies, terrible as hell, 
He shook a dreadful dart, 

yet the pale and wasted orator could for himself truthfully exclaim, 
" Death is swallowed up in victory." His heart could utter, if his 
tongue could not, that loftiest psean of human triumph ever 
chanted on the shores of time : 

O Death ! where is thy sting ? 
O Grave ! where is thy victory T 

Sir, it is a deep and never-ending pleasure to know that in the 
midst of physical wreck, decay, and pain there came to our lost 
comrade in full abundance, and in compensation for all he endured, 
those rich and precious consolations which this world can neither 
give nor take away. 

He sleeps well in the soil of his native State. His memory will 
remain fresh and green in the hearts of his people. Distant and 
rising generations will point out his name in the books which re 
cord these times as they would point out one of the brightest stars 
in the sky. And this is all of earth that remains for him. No 
more will this great pulsating world, with its high, stern battle- 
cries of conflict, arouse his eager spirit to action. The world 
moves on without him, as the ocean rolls in unbroken and heed 
less majesty over the wreck which has gone down in her bosom. 
Great lives have perished at every step in the eternity of time, but 



ADDRESS OF MB. EDMUNDS, OF VERMONT. 41 

the giant march of events has not faltered nor the progress of the 
world been defeated. 

The duties of the dead Senator are all finished. Even this 
solemn occasion, with his name on every lip, is nothing to him. 
His silent dust is alike indifferent to praise or blame, and his im 
mortal presence has passed far beyond the call of human voices. 
But to us, the living, who stand where he so lately stood, this 
hour is freighted with interest and admonition. We are walking 
with unerring steps to the grave, and each setting sun finds us 
nearer to the realms of rest. The fleetness of time, our brief and 
feeble grasp upon the affairs of earth, the certainty of death, and 
the magnitude of eternity all crowd upon the mind at such a mo 
ment as this. They warn us to be in readiness, for no one knows 
in the great lottery of life and death on whose cold, dead, pathetic 
face we may next look in this narrow circle. They call upon us 
to think and speak and live in charity with each other, for the 
last hours that must come to all will be sweetened by recollections 
of such forbearance and grace in our own lives as we invoke for 
ourselves from that merciful Father into whose presence we hasten. 



Address of Mr. EDMUNDS, of Vermont. 

Mr. PRESIDENT : Others more nearly connected with the late 
Senator by ties of location, political sympathy, and personal in 
timacy have spoken of him as only those so situated can well do. 

I will speak of him chiefly as he appeared to me in his public 
career. He was, I think, of the very highest order of intellectual 
strength, both in his perceptive and reflective faculties. He was 
able to perceive with clearness the relations of public questions, 
and the remote, but not less certain, effects of occurring events, 
when to many others the horizon was entirely clouded and in 
definite, or clothed with a distorted and illusory promise. A 
Whig and American down to the time of the attempted se 
cession of the Southern States in 1861, he foresaw something 
of the future and opposed with earnestness and power in the 



42 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

conventions of his native State the movement for secession. But 
when it was resolved upon and undertaken, he gave himself up 
to what he considered his duty to his State, and was thenceforth 
among the foremost in sustaining the Southern cause. 

The notion of fidelity to one s own State, whether her course be 
thought wise and right or not, is almost a natural instinct ; and 
whether it be defensible on broad grounds or not, who does not 
sympathize with it? Even in this body, whose members are 
Senators of the United States, and are not, in a constitutional 
sense, any more representatives of the particular States that elected 
them than of all the other States and the people, it is extremely 
difficult to free ourselves from the feeling that we are the repre 
sentatives of particular States merely, and that we are bound to 
defend and promote the interests of their inhabitants without re 
sponsibility for the effect of what we do upon the people of other 
States. Is it not clear that the fundamental unity of all the 
States, as well as the security of the rights of each, will be much 
more secure, and the National Government much better admin 
istered, if we remember that our obligations and our solicitudes 
should be bounded by no arrangements of political geography ? 
So thinking, I look with large interest and sympathy upon the 
scenes and events in which the late Senator from Georgia bore so 
conspicuous a part, and upon the affection and confidence that the 
great mass of the people of that State felt toward him. And, dif 
fering widely from him in respect of very many of his acts and 
opinions, I felt deeply for him, for his family, and for his people 
in the calamity that came upon him. And how much more ten 
der our sympathy and admiration gre\v when we saw him bearing 
the greatest of human suffering with the calmness of manly forti 
tude and the supreme happiness of Christian faith, and when we 
saw that all the evils of this weary life were powerless to affect 
his soul, that rose " over pain to victory." 

Such events as we now commemorate, interesting and solemn as 
they are and must be to each one of us, are the most common and 
the most certain of all. The life of man, did it end with this earthly 
career, would be the most miserable of phantasms; but to those who 



ADDRESS OF MR. JONES, OF FLORIDA. 43 

see with the eye of faith beyond the narrow border of our mortal 
life "the yoke is easy arid the burden light." On this great stage 
of government the actors appear and act their parts and disappear 
to come again no more, but the grand drama goes on without inter 
ruption. When the greatest and apparently th^ most important 
administrators of government suddenly depart there always comes 
forward from the body of an intelligent people some one to fill the 
vacant place and who is equal to the emergency of the time. While, 
then, we are touched with the suddenness of these separations, let 
us take comfort in the knowledge that oiir country s institutions 
flourish in larger and larger security, and that all our people feel 
more and more the depth and strength of mutual interest, sympathy, 
and good will. 

Address of Mr. JONES, of Florida. 

Mr. PRESIDENT : It is not my intention to weary the Senate at 
this hour by rehearsing the story of Mr. HILL S fame. Every 
thing interesting in his public life has been graphically set forth by 
his able colleague and the Senators who followed him, so that there 
is nothing left for me to do except to put on record my humble testi 
mony of the value of a man like Mr. HILL to this country, and my 
sense of the loss which this Senate and the nation have sustained in 
our deceased brother s sad and untimely death. In surveying the 
great field of life and noting the progress which has been made in 
every science and almost every department of knowledge, it would 
seem from the little advance or change that has taken place in the 
affairs of government that we have reached a point of perfection in 
the art of ruling states and peoples ; that it is beyond the power of 
human genius to do more than maintain the spirit and integrity of 
our existing establishments. 

The best labors of the great minds of this country have been de 
voted to the work of settling in the public mind the great principles 
of our admirable systems of government, so that at all times the 
great body of the people could comprehend the line of separation 
which divides authority from popular rights, and thus secure a loyal 
support of government on the one hand and a steady and intelligent 



44 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

devotion to liberty on the other. In those unhallowed despotisms 
of the earth where man is crushed and oppressed by excessive public 
power, it is the mystery which surrounds the segis and exercise of 
governmental authority that sustains the unfortunate relations of 
tyrant and slave. There nothing is defined, limited, or compre 
hensible, but all is dark, complicated, and forbidding. The popular 
mind, long enslaved by superstitious devotion to slavish names and 
maxims, never sees anything of the light of truth, and power and 
authority united with ignorance and submission keep millions in 
bondage and chains. 

You may ask, what has all this to do with the character or 
merits of the deceased ? I answer that in making up my estimate 
of the loss of our distinguished brother I cannot overlook the 
quality which, above all others, made him both eminent and useful. 
If, as I said awhile ago, we have made no progress in government 
of late, and have added nothing to the discovery of the fathers for 
the security or happiness of the people, it is of the highest impor 
tance that the work which has been accomplished shall be maintained. 
The gifted man whom we mourn to-day was especially fitted for the 
great duty of keeping before the people the beacon-light of political 
truth to teach them their obligations to themselves and their Gov 
ernment; to impress upon their minds true conceptions of political 
liberty, allegiance, and loyalty to the demands of just authority, and 
the preservation of every power and authority which belong to the 
people and the States. His capacity for this great duty made him 
a leader of public opinion. In little matters he was not as great as 
little men. But where the magnitude of the question rose to the 
level of his great ability his power of. argument was felt here and 
in the country. 

The ordinary routine worker had then to stand aside, and every 
one admired the workings of his original, incisive mind as it put 
forth its powerful arguments in terse and pointed speech. This, 
after all, is the highest position a public man can occupy in a 
country like this. Men of detail and method and labor can be 
found anywhere and at all times, but even at a time when every 
thing is in a state of improvement these grand qualities of mind 
which immortalized Fox, Pitt, Canning, Grattan, Webster, Clay, 



ADDRESS OF MB. JONES, OF FLORIDA. 45 

and Calhoun are as rare and far more important than they ever 
were. It was Mr. HILL S great ability as an argumentative speaker 
and writer which gave him his fame. 

He was often called a great orator, but he was more than an orator 
in the popular sense. He always addressed himself to the minds 
of his hearers. I never knew a speaker of the same reputation 
who drew less upon his imagination than Senator HILL. In his 
over-anxiety to fasten conviction on the mind he would often labor 
for the accuracy and precision of the mathematician. While his 
vocabulary was always strong and simple, in my judgment it often 
fell short of the vigor and the depth of his thoughts. Like all truly 
great men, he attached more consequence to his ideas than to his 
language. He was in no sense a wordy but always a thoughtful 
speaker. His views of the Constitution were broad and liberal. 
In his expositions of our great organic law he did not run into the 
extreme maxims of unlimited power on the one hand nor seek to 
abridge by too narrow bounds the authority of the Union on the 
other. While he always admitted that the Constitution of the 
Union was created by the people of the United States, he ever con 
tended that this was accomplished through separate State agencies 
the people of each State acting for themselves in the matter of rati 
fication, independent of the people of every other State. 

But this view did not affect in the least his opinion of the su 
premacy of the Federal Constitution. He always contended that 
the powers granted by the people of the several States, acting as 
organized political factions, to the General Government were as ir 
revocable and as binding upon the people and the States as though 
they emanated from the people of the Union without regard to 
State organizations. The great argument which he drew from the 
mode of ratification was that the States and the Government of the 
Union were parts of one system ; that there could be no question of di 
vided allegiance between them ; that the Union could not exist with 
out the States, although the States did exist before the Union. He 
always advocated a free and liberal exercise of the powers granted 
this Government, but his nature was hostile to everything that had 
the appearance of usurpation. He was one of the few men in 
public life who combined high abilities as a political leader with 



46 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

pre-eminent legal talents. Lord Chatham at one time deprecated 
the presence of the mere lawyer in Parliament, and he said that 
you might shake the constitution of the land to its center and the 
lawyer would sit tranquil in his cabinet, but just touch a cobweb in 
the corner of Westminster Hall and the exasperated spider would 
crawl out in its defense. 

But this was not the case with Senator HILL. He did not sacri 
fice the Constitution to the profession. He brought to the one all 
the support of an enlightened statesman and patriot full of devotion 
for the whole country and its institutions, and the other he adorned 
with legal learning and professional abilities that will long be re 
membered by the bar. Like all men of strong convictions and 
great prominence, lie was? supported by devoted friends, and was 
not without some enemies. Although he was fondly attached to his 
high position where his talents had full play, and tenderly bound 
by the ties of affection to his devoted family, the world does not 
furnish an example more sublime than that which he has left us in 
all the qualities of moral and physical courage, true Christian and 
manly resignation, patient and uncomplaining submission to the 
will of God during the long, tedious months that he awaited in 
agony and suffering the period of his mortal dissolution. All the 
glory of the Senate and the fame of the hustings fade into insignifi 
cance before the grand spectacle presented by this Christian man 
when the time arrived which tested the weakness of human nature. 
Whether bleeding under the operations of the surgeon s knife or 
silently feeling the gradual but sure inroads of the monster that 
was preying upon him, he never murmured or complained, but 
accepted the terrible situation as evidence only of Divine pleasure 
and with the firm conviction that his sufferings would be rewarded 
by a happier life beyond the grave. 

Who can deny the value and efficiency of strong Christian faith 
with such an example of its power and influence before him ? 
With all the glory and renown of the world fading away before 
the shadow of eternity, this strong man, accustomed to all the proc 
esses of reason, under the inspiration of Christian hope was able 
to leave an example of true heroism more valuable and sublime 
than any left by the unbelieving philosophers of antiquity. 



ADDRESS OF MM. BARROW, OF GEORGIA. 47 



Address of Mr. BARROW, of Georgia. 

Mr. PRESIDENT : It is perhaps true that I stand alone here upon 
the point from which I consider the character of the illustrious 
man in memory of whom the Senate meets to-day. All others 
who surround me at this moment have recorded impressions re 
ceived and stamped upon their own mature and well-settled indi 
vidualities. They have studied him and measured him from the 
first in the light which a long experience of their own in public; 
affairs cast upon him, and the figure they contemplate is shaded 
perhaps by some clouds which have never darkened the picture 
upon which I am looking. 

In the buoyant, hero-worshiping, enthusiastic heyday of my early 
college days I first saw him and heard him. Under the ancient 
and historic locusts that stand like sentinels around the court-house 
at Lexington, in the old county of Oglethorpe, in Georgia, in the 
last days of the summer of 1857, there first burst upon my youth 
ful eye the exhibition of his wonderful oratory. Engaged in a 
heated political campaign as a candidate for governor of Georgia, his 
opponent being my present colleague in the Senate, conscious that 
there was before him " a foeman worthy of his steel," and that in 
that old Whig county, thousands of whose best people were con 
gregated to hear the debate, he had an army of friends whom he 
must uphold, encourage, and keep together, he put forth all his 
powers. As he towered and soared in his grand swelling tributes 
to the historic renown of the old Whig party, and, roused to his 
highest pitch, appealed to the immense audience before him in the 
name of its past, its heroes, and its mission, I felt, young Democrat 
that I was, that I was a witness to an almost apostolic revelation 
of eloquence ; and then when he turned upon his opponent and 
began to hurl his terrible invectives, scathing, pitiless, unsparing, 
his every word glittering like steel, his every accent resonant and 
ringing with the very inspiration of passionate indignation, his 



48 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

blazing figure was in my eyes the impersonation of every element 
of vengeance and destruction, the very Apollyon of politics. It 
is doubtful if any speech of his life contained as much of that 
power which operates particularly upon the passions of men as this 
unwritten, unpreserved phenomenal effort. 

Almost undimmed by time, with the same bright hues and radi 
ant lights that greeted and delighted my boyish senses, this vision 
of eloquence remains. Long-after association, as much intimacy as 
disparity in age would allow, frequent opportunity to hear him 
again in the courts, before the people, and elsewhere, have all 
passed over those first impressions leaving them almost unchanged. 

Although born upon the soil of Georgia, reared in the midst of 
of her home influences, surrounded all the time during which his 
character was being formed by all the agencies and forces peculiar 
to her people, taught in her schools, graduated from her university, 
Mr. HILL was still in some respects not a typical Georgian. There 
was something in his nature, an impulse, an insubordination, that 
made him sometimes, when he thought he scented injustice or op 
pression, break over all bounds of seeming prudence and caution 
and rush into the first arena that presented itself to cast down his 
glove. His nature was not discreet. At such times the circum 
spect and deliberate moderation and wisdom that are characteristic 
of the Georgians fretted and chafed him. He would then rebel 
against the slow, fettering caution of his people and would lash out 
in his fiery way against what to him seemed apathy and pusillan 
imity. 

It is not strange, then, that they sometimes misjudged him when 
in the midst of some rebellious outbreak against what to his impet 
uous nature seemed the snail-like march of his people to the threat 
ened point, he rushed on in advance. Men of this mold in all ages 
have been leaders, and the masses of mankind have everywhere 
been saved, when saved at all, by those whom they did not com 
prehend and whom they at some time would greet with the ever- 
recurring verdict of the rabble, "Let him be crucified." This re 
pressive power of the million upon their few great men who, rari 
nantes in gurgite vasto, outlive the wave and see the dangers that 



ADDRESS OF MR. B Alt ROW, OF GEORGIA. 49 

gather in the future which are invisible to the submerged eyes of the 
rest of us, has sometimes cost them their liberties. Its influence, 
deadening, paralyzing, and disheartening, is more powerful than 
ever in this age. It was exerted upon him of whom I speak more 
than once, but he defied it. Alone, seeking no ally, looking with 
disdain upon the clamorous multitude, taking no counsel, trusting 
to his impulse and obeying it, he would burst out upon his meteoric 
course athwart the political heavens. Blazing and flashing w r ith 
the brilliant and almost blinding scintillations of his vivid intelli 
gence, terrifying his friends as to the consequences, overwhelming 
his thunder-stricken enemies, coming into collision with the lifelong 
prejudices and cherished opinions of his own people, he would go 
sweeping on in his grand career. And yet the Georgians always 
forgave him in the end and admired and honored him. 

Whatever of power and attractiveness Mr. HILL may have pos 
sessed as a political orator and debater, it was before a jury that his 
peculiar talents in one direction at least found their fullest play. If 
in the trial of a case in which his feelings became enlisted a corrupt 
and lying witness crossed his path, or the opposite party persisted 
in an attempt to palm off fraud and injustice upon the court to the 
injury of his client, then it was that the terrible lashes of his fiercest 
invective were laid upon their backs. Xo "dint of pity," no limit 
to wrath, no check or curb ever came near him then, and men are 
living now who shiver at the mention of his name, as the Saracen 
did at Richard s, in mindfuluess of some such merciless castigation. 
His greatest power was of this sort. There was but little pathos 
in him. His verdicts, and he won many, were those of the " cloud 
compelling Jove" rather than the "sweet influences of Pleiades." 

Many great orators have had epochs in their lives when their 
style as such suffered a transformation. This was notably true of 
Choate, of Lincoln, and of Gambetta. It became less impassioned 
and more philosophical ; but with Mr. HILL there was a marked 
and powerful exercise in his latest efforts of precisely the same great 
characteristics that distinguished his earliest ; and even the tradi 
tions of his college days, that still lovingly cling around the old 
ivied walls of his alma mater at Athens, dim and shadowy though 
4 H 



50 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

they IK I , handed down from class t( class, still outline the .same 
striking individuality that afterward riveted the attention of a con 
tinent. 

Hut with all his triumphs 

Nothing in his life 

Became him like the leaving it; he died 
As cue that had heeu studied in his death, 
To throw away the dearest thing lie ow d, 
As twere a careless trine. 

Stricken, fatally stricken in that very member which was his 
strength, his glory, and his pride, turning his steps away from the 
Senate after those sad and fruitless efforts to grasp a new life had 
all proved unavailing, calm, composed, resolute, resigned, he sought 
his own home. Happening in Atlanta on the 18th of July, just 
one month before his death, I called to see him. I found him, him 
who was in some respects the greatest talker I had ever known, 
utterly powerless of speech. On his knee he held a paper upon 
which he wrote slowly with a pencil these words : 

Wish I could talk. My present doctors have given me to understand that 
I cannot recover, and my time is uncertain from a few months to several 
years. Have told me to employ any other doctors and remedies I see proper. 

He gave it to me to read and I brought it away with me. It is 
here, and those Avho know his handwriting Avill recognize the 
familiar characters. His eyes as he gave it had a look of inex 
pressible sadness, but not of regret or repining. He had sought 
the refuge of home to die. He knew full well, as he so pathetic 
ally wrote, that his "time was uncertain," but he was in the place 
he had chosen to take his last look of the earth. Surrounded by 
friends, in his own home, under his own native skies, amid the 
scenes of his childhood, his youth, and his manhood, with the silver 
sheen of the maples to greet his weary eyes in the sunlight, and the 
soft lingual accents of his native South from all the myriad voices 
of the street, and the subtle sweetness of the honeysuckle, the jas 
mine, and the roses stealing in the long summer afternoons through 
his open windows, there where the nights always bring silence and 



ADDRESS OF ME. BARROW, OF GEORGIA. 51 

rest and every morning its promise, he sat patiently awaiting his 

summons. When it came he received it- 
Like oue who wraps the drapery of his couch about him 
And lies down to pleasant dreams. 

The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The question is on the adoption of 
the resolutions presented by the Senator from Georgia [Mr. Brown]. 

The resolutions were agreed to unanimously ; and (at one o clock 
and thirty minutes p. m.) the Senate adjourned. 



PROCEEDINGS IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 



IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 

January 25, 1883. 

MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE. 

A message from the Senate, by Mr. Sympson, one of its clerks, 
communicated to the House resolutions adopted by the Senate on 
the announcement of the death of Hon. BENJAMIN H. HILL, late 
a Senator of the United States from the State of Georgia. 

The SPEAKER. The Chair lays before the House the resolutions 
that have just been received from the Senate. 

The Clerk read a * follows: 

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, 

January 25. 1883. 

Rexolved, That earnestly desiring to show every possible mark of respect to 
the memory of Hon. BENJAMIN H. HILL, late a Senator of the United States 
from the State of Georgia, and to manifest the high esteem in which his emi 
nent public services and distinguished patriotism are held, the business of 
the Senate be now suspended that the friends and late associates of Senator 
HILL may pay fitting tribute to his high character, his public services, and 
private virtues. 

Resolved, That in the death of Senator HILL the country has sustained a loss 
which has been felt and deplored to the utmost limits of the Union. 

Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate communicate these resolutions to 
the House of Representatives. 

Resolved, That, as an additional mark of respect for the memory of the de 
ceased, the Senate do now adjourn. 

Mr. HAMMOND, of Georgia. I submit the resolutions which I 
send to the desk. 

The Clerk read as follows : 

Resolved, That the House of Representatives has received with deep sorrow 
the official announcement of the death of BENJAMIN HARVEY HILL, late 
United States Senator from the State of Georgia. 

Resolved, That the House suspend its business, that fitting mention may be 
made of his private virtues and his public worth. 

Resolved, That at the conclusion of such tributes to his memory the House 
shall stand adjourned. 



f)4 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 



Address of Mr. HAMMOND, of Georgia. 

Mr. SPEAKER : So many have spoken and written of the dead 
Senator, so aptly have the prominent incidents of his life and 
phases of his character been noticed that naught but repetition can 
follow. But, representing the district in which he lived, having 
practiced law at the same bar with him for twenty years, and been 
long his neighbor and friend, I cannot allow this occasion to pass 
without adding my tribute to the many already so worthily be 
stowed. 

Born without wealth, he owed to a relative the opportunity for 
completing his education in the University of Georgia. There, in 
1844, he bore off the first honor in a class noted for men who be 
came prominent in the affairs of our State. 

In 1845 he began the practice of law at La Grange, Troup 
County, Georgia. In February, 1848, he was admitted to the su 
preme court of the State. Residing in the interior, among an agri 
cultural people, he had but little use for such branches of the law 
as commercial centers and seaports demand. He used no special 
pleading except in the United States courts, in which, prior to the 
war, the jurisdiction was limited and the business meager. He 
owned few books, and no large law library was within his reach. 

He did not become learned in the law by comparing system with 
system, the polity of our people with those of other nations, 
measuring their weights and computing their values as affected by 
times, places and circumstances. But he had a strong and compre 
hensive mind, and had cultivated his intellectual forces until In- 
had acquired that high art so well described by Cicero : " Quse docet 
rem universam tribuere in partes, latentem explicare definiendo, 
obscuram explanare interpretando ; ambigua primum videre, deinde 
distinguerc; postremo habuere regulam quoveraet falsa judicaren- 
ter et quse, quibus positis, essent, quseque non essent, consequential 

He cited but few authorities and seldom read from books. But 
he had mastered our system of blended law and equity, and this 
power of analysis and combination made him strong before the 




ADDRESS OF MR. HAMMOND, OF GEORff 

bench, searching out and applying principles to facts. His" 
was clear, precise, forcible, and ornate. His splendid physique, his 
graceful and manly delivery, his brilliant oratory, now mild and 
persuasive, now furious as the storm, made him an advocate unsur 
passed in our country. 

Such ability and accomplishments commanded employment at 
the highest compensation, and furnished ample means to supply the 
wants and gratify the tastes of himself and family. A hundred 
acres comprised his suburban home and farm. In front were per 
haps twenty acres square on which grew nothing but massive oaks. 
Midway between them a gravel carriage-way and granite walk led 
to the top of a hill. There he built his house; square, spacious, 
and on three sides shaded by a colonnade of tall and heavy Corin 
thian columns. While one was struck with its adaptation to its 
surroundings, the fruits and fish-ponds in rear, the flowers in front, 
prepared him for the bountiful but unostentatious hospitality and 
plain but tasteful adornment within the lawyer s home. 

Here, in the midst of his family, of which he was at once the stay 
and idol, we leave him to glance at his career in the broader field 
of politics. Thus it has been epitomized by himself in the Con 
gressional Directory : He was State representative in Georgia in 
1851 and State senator in 1859-1860. He ran as the candidate of 
the American party against Hirarn Warner in 1855, and for gov 
ernor of Georgia in 1857 against Governor (now Senator) Brown. 
He was presidential elector on the Fillmore and Donelson ticket in 
1856, and on the Bell and Everett ticket in 1860. He was a dele 
gate to the State convention of Georgia in 1861, and advocated the 
Union until secession had been irrevocably resolved upon ; became 
a delegate to the provisional congress of the Confederate States and 
a senator in its regular congress. He was elected to the Forty- 
fourth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Garnet t 
McMillan, and was elected to the Forty-fifth Congress, but resigned 
upon his election to the United States Senate. There he remained 
from the 5th of March, 1877, till his death. 

The time thus covered was long. It was burdened by the grand 
events which led up to the war, by that terrible struggle for su- 



56 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

premacy and the strife and convulsions of the people slowly wan 
dering bark through untried paths to peace. 

One part of it we may dwell upon, because lie always mentioned 
it with such self-satisfaction that was his love for the Union of 
the States. He favored the Clay compromise measures of 1850; 
he supported Howel! Cobb for governor as the candidate of the 
Constitutional Union party upon a platform declaring those com 
promises " fair, just, and equitable/ and aided in piling up for him 
a then unprecedented majority in a gubernatorial race in our State. 

This platform of 1855 spoke of "the maintenance of the Union 
of these United States as the paramount political good." By that 
of 1856 "the perpetuation of the Federal Union" was regarded 
" as the palladium of our civil and religious liberties and the only 
sure bulwark of American independence." That of 1860 

Resolved, That it is both the part of patriotism and of duty to recognize no 
political principles other than the Constitution of the country, the Union of 
the States, and the enforcement of the laws. 

He opposed the calling of the Georgia State convention of 1860. 
He was elected thereto to oppose secession. In that body, com 
posed of the flower of our State, men superior to him in age and 
political experience, he led the fight for Governor Johnson s reso 
lutions for a convention of States, to defeat those of Judge Xesbit 
for immediate disunion. Though his motion failed, he voted 
against the declaratory resolution for secession with a minority of 
less than a third of the convention. South Carolina had seceded; 
Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama had gone. Georgia then seemed 
to him to have no choice between joining her fortunes with theirs 
and confusion and chaos within her borders. He therefore then 
sought to make the convention unanimous for secession. And 
when the war was over, at an expense of nearly $2,000, he placed 
in front of that broad walk to his house immense iron gates, on 
each of which were shown our flag and eagle, that in going in and 
out he and his children might be daily reminded of the imperish 
able ensigns of their country. 

But while he had struggled for the Union, none doubted his de 
votion to the Southern cause. While Georgia s colonial flag floated 



ADDRESS OF ME. HAMMOND, OF GEORGIA. 57 

over the capitol at Milledgeville lie was chosen by the convention 
of 1860 as a delegate to the provisional congress, charged by a reso 
lution of our State to form a government " modeled as nearly as 
practicable 011 the basis and principles of the Government of the 
United States of America." 

The first session of our general assembly elected him senator in 
the congress of the Confederate States, over Law and Governor 
Johnson, who had opposed secession, and Iverson, Jackson, and 
Toornbs, who had urged disunion. And in that senate the confi 
dence of his State was supplemented by that of President Davis and 
all the most earnest friends of the new government. 

That government failed, but his career was not ended. The 
war restored the Union. But how changed was the situation ! 
The South did not concede that its quarrel had been unjust or its 
action wrong. There, as here, the soldiers gloried in their records. 
There, as here, he who bore a wound received in battle was re 
garded as holding a patent to the love and admiration of his fel 
lows. 

The Union was restored in law, but without the ante-bellum 
surroundings. The Constitution was changed in essentials which 
the North thought would strengthen our system, but which the 
South thought subversive of the fundamental principles of our 
Government. 

A new element was incorporated into the body-politic. The 
North thought that necessary to secure what it called " the fruits 
of the war ; " the South thought that thereby her civilization was 
endangered and the safeguards of constitutional liberty strained 
to their uttermost. " Reconstruction " came in all its various 
phases disfranchisement of former citizens and enfranchisement 
of former slaves, martial law, and bayonet rule. 

The South was repeating the mournful Jeremiad : 

We are orphans and fatherless, our mothers are as widows. * 

Our necks are under persecution ; we labor and have no rest. 

Servants have ruled over us; there is none to deliver us out of their hand. 

Mr. HILL heard and determined to strike for deliverance. Oc 
cupying no official position, he could appeal only as a private citizen. 
lie had been well trained for such work. In 1855 he had met 



58 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

Warner, ex-judge of our highest court, strong, logical, and of spot 
less reputation for integrity, and reduced a large majority to al 
most naught by commanding eloquence on the stump. In his race 
for governor and canvassing as Presidential elector he had become 
well known throughout the State. He was ranked among the very 
best of a host of gifted men. 

He never told an anecdote, indulged in no flights of fancy ; he 
quoted neither poet nor classic, yet he charmed and enchained his 
audiences. 

This new field suited his manner and disposition. His defiant 
speech at Davis Hall, his denunciations at the Bush Arbor, at 
Atlanta, electrified his sympathetic hearers. A larger mass was 
enthused by his "Notes on the Situation," written with a pen 
dipped in the very gall of bitterness. Invective was his forte, and 
in these efforts he excelled himself. He chafed as a caged lion as 
he saw statute after statute aimed by Congress against the political 
equality of his native State and her rightful rule thrice displaced 
by martial law. He believed all those measures " unconstitutional, 
null, and void," and that his would l>e the glory of having them 
so denounced. 

He and his courageous comrades revived the drooping hopes and 
rekindled the courage of our people, and soon saw Georgia resume 
her normal position as a State in the Union, and strengthen by her 
counsel and example her struggling sisters of the South. But in 
all else there was signal failure. The changes wrought by Avar 
were unalterable, and he accepted the inevitable. 

These topics are mentioned only because they cover so large a 
part of Mr. HILL S public life. They are of great weight and full 
of interest, but may not be considered now. Better that the embers 
die out than that they should be rekindled by exposure. With 
restoration came peace and commerce and social intercourse. Pas 
sions cooled, old memories revived, common interests urged to 
common thought and purpose. 

Soon he was elected Representative and then Senator. The 
positions assigned him here on committees and in debates show 
that his reputation was well established and national. His conduct 
here, his votes and speeches have passed into history. They are 



ADDRESS OF MB. HAMMOND, OF GEORGIA. 59 

too recent to need comment or justify discussion now. The pride 
of his State was seconded by the country which cheerfully counted 
him among the great men of our age. 

His name may not be associated with any great reform; his 
genius may not be crystalli/ed in any statute of our country. This 
may be because he belonged to that large class of orators who build 
not themselves, but by encouragement and criticism perfect the 
building of others. Or it may be that a tree so frequently and so 
violently transplanted could not yield its natural fruitage until 
time had cured its shocks. That time was not given. In the 
/enith of his powers the end came. 

That tongue so eloquent was being by a cancer destroyed. The 
cruel knife, intended to stay, seemed but to hasten the catastrophe. 
Nor nature nor art could arrest its progress. With mind unim 
paired he waited and patiently suffered the tortures which preceded 
death. As the sun rose upon the earth on the 16th of August last, 
he was gone. 

His long suffering had mellowed admiration into love. Our 
capital city was draped in mourning, its business stopped, and its 
organizations, private and public, vied with each other in expres 
sions of sorrow. All parts of our State sent delegations to his 
funeral. Through a long lane of sympathizing fellow-citizens, 
Representatives and Senators bore him to his grave. 

They had sat in the church to which he belonged and heard the 
pastor, his life-long friend, tell of his early conversion and his en 
during faith. Long after his power of speech was gone, as the 
cruel cancer was eating his earthly life away, he thought and wrote 
of life eternal. Once, when engaged in such high thought, he had 
read by his pastor Paul s grand reasoning about the fact and 
necessity of the resurrection. Responding, with tremulous, dying 
hand he wrote : 

If a grain of com will die and then rise again in infinite beauty, why may 
not I die and then rise again in infinite beauty and life? How is the last a 
greater mystery than the first? And by so much as I exceed the grain of 
corn in this life, why may I not exceed it in the new life ? How can we limit 
the power of Him who made the grain of corn to die, and then made the 
same grain again in such wonderful newness of life? 

His great soul had grasped the sublime " mystery " that " this 



60 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

corruptible must put on incorruptiou and this mortal must put on 
immortality." And when, on a later occasion, he wrote for this 
man of God, "I cannot suppress a certain elation at the thought of 
going," he had evidently caught the triumphant enthusiasm of the 
Apostle of the Gentiles, when he concluded : 

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruptiou, and this mortal 
shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that 
is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 

O death, where is thy sting ? O grave, where is thy victory ? 



Address of Mr. SPEER, of Georgia. 

Mr. SPPLVKER : To eulogize the deeds and preserve the memories 
of those who either in peace or war have conferred benefits or lus 
ter on their country has ever among the civilized been regarded a 
privilege and a duty. 

The desire of inspiring an ambition to emulate such examples 
has doubtless given birth to such usages and sentiments. Nor can 
it be denied that the means are conducive to a beneficial end. The 
human mind is so constituted that it is not only interested, it is 
aroused and stimulated by lofty ideals of excellence. Indeed, a clear 
conception of what has been done, and therefore what can be done, 
is an important factor in achieving eminence in any profession or 
in any enterprise. 

Caesar might never have won his splendid triumphs as soldier and 
statesman had he not chanced to see in an obscure town in Spain a 
statue of Alexander the Great. His passion for military glorv 
was then and there fired by the thought that the Macedonian at 
thirty years of age had conquered the world, while he, though thirty- 
five, had achieved but little renown. It is certain that an intense 
interest in the lives and deeds of the great men of their common 
wealths formed no small part of the patriotism of the ancient Greeks. 
Athens was but a vast museum of architecture, sculpture, and paint 
ing dedicated to the national glory and the worship of the gods. 
The city was full of the memorials of actual history. Its youth 
were perpetually surrounded with incentives to patriotic devotion. 
Every street and square from the Piraeus to the Acropolis was 



ADDRESS OF MR. SPEER, OF GEORGIA. 61 

adorned with statues (by the most consummate masters that ever 
gave life to marble) of the great men of the republic: Solon the 
lawgiver, Conon the admiral, Pericles the mightiest of their states 
men, and Demosthenes the prince of their orators, in imperishable 
marble, gave inspiration to the Athenian youth. 

Twenty-three centuries have not extinguished this sentiment of 
veneration for the illustrious dead. It still lives to console and ele 
vate humanity. Its memorials are found to-day in every civilized 
land. On the banks of the Danube, that historic river whose waves 
have witnessed the march of the hordes of Attila and the paladins 
of Charlemagne, whose shores have echoed to the tramp of the 
Roman legions, the hymns of the crusaders, and the artillery of 
Napoleon, stands a noble structure of marble called the Hall of 
Heroes, a modern Valhalla, filled with the effigies of the great men 
of all Germany. " By the soft, blue waters of Lake Lucerne," says 
the eloquent Meagher, "stands the chapel of William Tell. In 
the black aisle of the old cathedral of Innspruck the peasant of the 
Tyrol kneels before the statue of Andrew Hofer. In her new senate 
hall England bids her sculptors place the images of her noblest sons, 
her Hampden and her Russel. In the great American Republic, 
in that capital city which bears his name, rises the monument of 
the Father of his Country." Yes, even in young America, the ideal 
izing power of the painter and the sculptor are employed to kindle 
the generous ambition of the youthful aspirant to fame. Sir, how 
apposite in this connection are the melodious verses of Cowper: 

Patriots have toiled, and in their country s cause 
Bled nobly ; and their deeds, as they deserve, 
Receive proud recompense. We give in charge 
Tbeir names to the sweet lyre. The historic muse, 
Proud of the treasure, marches with it down 
To latest times ; and sculpture in her turn 
Gives bond in stone and ever-duriug brass 
To guard them and immortalize her trust. 

We should not defraud the illustrious dead of their rightful re 
ward, that reward which is the great moral compensation for con 
temporaneous prejudice and injustice. Xay, more, we should never 
take away from coining generations the strongest incentive to pa 
triotism, to the love and service of their country. Rather let it be 



62 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

proclaimed by memorial service and monumental marble, by noble 
and beautiful art, that those who consecrate their talents or their 
lives to the state will not, shall not, be forgotten ; that they shall 
live in memory so long as men shall reverence law, honor patriotism, 
or love liberty. Thus may we hope for a long and glorious bead- 
roll of great statesmen and gallant soldiers, and that it will never 
be said of this Union of States as was said of ancient Rome, "Oc- 
tavius has a party and Antony has a party, but the Republic has 
no party." 

In conformity, then, with a usage sanctioned by the wisdom of 
ages of civilization, we have assembled to pay a national tribute of 
respect to the memory of BP:XJAMIX H. HILL, the late distinguished 
Senator of Georgia. He has already been laid to rest beneath the 
soil of that State which gave him birth, and which he served so long 
and loved so well. Never were public esteem and private affection 
more signally manifested than at his obsequies. The legislature of 
Georgia has ordered his portrait to be placed on the walls of the 
capitol. Public munificence has projected a stately monument to 
mark the place of his burial and as a token of admiration for his 
talents, recognition of his patriotic services, and respect and affection 
for his memory. 

But it is not extravagant to say that neither funeral pomp nor 
public eulogy, neither the painter s pencil nor the sculptor s chisel, 
can do that for his memory which he has done for it himself. 

It will not be expected of me to undertake the superfluous task 
of dwelling in detail on the events of his life, or of attempting an 
elaborate delineation of his character. This has been done by the 
ablest writers of the press with an actiteness of analysis and an opu 
lence of illustration that will convey to posterity a vivid conception 
of the great subject. This has been appropriately done in wise and 
eloquent words in the other wing of the Capitol by Senators who 
have listened with admiration to the voice of our now silent but 
once matchless orator. They may have agreed with him or they 
may have differed from him, but they could not fail to recognize his 
lofty and chivalrous bearing, his commanding ability, his eloquent 
reasoning, his ardent and devoted patriotism. These will be remem 
bered when the asperities of political controversy are forgotten. I 



ADDRESS OF MR. SPEER, OF GEORGIA. 63 

can say, however, from an intimate personal acquaintance with him, 
that he was a man of unimpeachable integrity, ever evincing by pre 
cept and example his respect for morality and religion. The moral, 
the religions, the charitable, the educational institutions of his State 
have lost in him an influential friend and a generous benefactor. 

His name was a tower of strength to every good cause in which 
it was enlisted. One trait only will I stress in this presence, and 
that is his patriotism. He loved his country, his whole country, 
its Constitution, its laws, its liberties. He was a man to whom the 
whole country was ever more than a part. Originally a member of 
the old Whig party, an enthusiastic disciple of Clay and Webster, 
he loved as they did the Union cemented by the blood of our Rev 
olutionary fathers. He regarded that Union as a perpetual bond 
of national brotherhood, and as associated with the most precious 
memories of the past and freighted with the brightest hopes of the 
future. In the darkest period of that fierce sectional controversy 
between the Xorth and the South, which ripened into one of the 
most gigantic wars in the bloodstained annals of our race until hope 
had been swept away by the fiery tide of revolution, he continued 
to hope and to temper the counsels of the people. He was there 
after throughout the struggle steadfast to his kindred and his people. 
This is characteristic of the man, and will be appreciated by the 
generous everywhere. His course was such that it could not be said 
of him as Dr. Johnson said of Junius: 

Finding sedition in the ascendant he was able to advance it; finding the 
nation combustible, he was able to inflame it. 

He knew that our system of government, like all human institu 
tions, however wise in theory and successful in its general operation, 
is liable to abuse; that unwise laws were sometimes enacted; that 
salutary laws were sometimes evaded and even resisted; that party 
spirit, the bane of all free institutions, which Washington himself 
pronounced the worst enemy of popular government, was sometimes 
pushed to the verge of remorseless and maddening convulsion. But 
he never despaired of the Republic. He had little sympathy with 
that dangerous folly which pretends that our national prosperity is 
on the wane; that the meridian of our country s glory ha.s been 
reached and passed; that nothing is to be expected but venality in 



64 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

legislative bodies and corruption in our courts of justice; that the 
"American Astrea, like the goddess of old, has fled to the stars." 

He held, and wisely held, that the founders of our Government 
and their descendants had accomplished more and better results with 
in the century of their existence than had ever been accomplished 
in the same time in the history of any race. He was persuaded that 
they had secured for themselves a larger amount of the substantial 
blessings of life than are enjoyed by any people on the globe. 

He believed that our country might, and by the blessing of Provi 
dence would, reach a height of prosperity of which the world as yet 
lias seen no example. 

But L forbear. Six months have passed since he was taken from 
us. His protracted sufferings and hopeless disease prepared us for 
the inevitable result. But I can not but feel to-day, as I did when 
it was first announced that Senator HILL was dead, that Georgia 
had hardly another, I might say not another, such life to lose. He 
was unselfish, thoughtful of all, generous and kind to all. His life 
and his labors were consecrated to the welfare and happiness of 
others; and, more than all, "for the profit of the people, for the 
advancement of the nation." 



Address of Mr. TUCKER, of Virginia. 

Mr. SPEAKER: In the natural grief which Georgia feels for the 
loss of her great son, it is not fitting that Virginia should manifest 
her sympathy in silence at the tomb of one, who often said he felt 
like standing in her presence ever with uncovered brow. In this 
public calamity which touches the whole country Virginia begs to 
lay the tribute of her respect on his grave. 

My acquaintance with the late Senator HILL began with our en 
trance into this Hall as members of the Forty-fourth Congress. It 
ripened into intimacy from an association as members of the Com 
mittee on Ways and Means. That relation has no doubt made it 
seem appropriate that I should have been invited to say something 
on this occasion. 

Mr. HILL was born in Georgia in September, 1823, of a parent- 



ADDRESS OF MR. TUCKER, OF VIRGINIA. 65 

age which was of English origin and had for generations lived in 
his native State. He loved her with the devotion of a true and 
faithful son. His father, though not very liberally educated, cov 
eted high culture for his children, and secured a classical education 
for his distinguished son, which he completed at the University of 
Georgia, at Athens, in 1844. 

Mr. HILL was admitted to the bar in 1 845, and readied that em 
inence in his profession early in his career which great talents, 
fidelity, and enthusiasm will always secure. He entered the 
legislative halls of Georgia as early as 1851. He was a candidate 
for Congress in 1855 and for governor in 1857, but was defeated 
on both occasions on political grounds ; but it speaks strongly for 
his rapid rise in public estimation that at so early an age he was 
nominated for the chief executive office of that great Common 
wealth. 

He was a decided Whig in politics, and was on the electoral ticket 
of Bell and Everett in the memorable contest of 1860. 

The election of Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency in that year caused 
the call of the convention in Georgia in January, 1861, which passed 
the ordinance for the secession of that State from the Union. To 
that convention Mr. HILL was elected; and in its debates he took 
a prominent part in opposition to secession and in favor of awaiting 
in the Union the results of the triumph of the Republican party. 

When the convention decided against his views he threw himself 
with all the ardor of his powerful intellect into the cause of the 
Confederacy. He was elected to the provisional congress at Mont 
gomery, and afterward to the senate of the Confederate States, in 
which he served his State with great zeal and signal ability until 
the close of the war. He was in 1865 arrested and imprisoned in 
Fort Lafayette for some time by the Federal authorities ; and upon 
his release returned to the bar, practicing his profession with great 
success and participating with the Democratic party in the political 
questions of the period of reconstruction. He was elected to the 
Forty-fourth Congress and was assigned by Mr. Speaker Kerr to 
a position on the Committee on Ways and Means, of which my hon 
orable friend from Illinois [Mr. Morrison] was chairman. Of 
that committee there remain in this House but three members, the 
5 H 



66 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

then chairman, the present honorable chairman of the committee 
[Mr. Kelley], and myself. 

In January, 1876, the debate on the amnesty bill was opened 
with such a display of political excitement and sectional bitterness 
as I have never seen since that time, and which I am glad to hope 
will never be seen again in this Hall. 

In that debate no one who heard it can ever forget the parlia 
mentary eloquence and ability of Mr. Elaine and of General Gar- 
field, and the no less skillful and powerful speech of Mr. HILL. It 
was the battle of giants, and Mr. HILL was the equal of any man 
who took part in it. It placed him at once in the front rank of 
debaters in the American Congress. 

Whether in the labors of the Committee on Ways and Means on 
the questions of tariff and finance, or in the discussions in the House, 
Mr. HILL continued while a member of this bodv to rise higher 

ti 

and higher in public estimation until his election to the Senate in 
the winter of 1877. 

It is. not too much to say that as a Senator he fully maintained 
his high reputation, and measured swords in debate on few occa 
sions in which he was not victor, and in none in which he was van 
quished. 

A mortal disease, insidious in its progress and painful in its na 
ture, ended his life in the summer of last year, and the grave has 
closed upon a career w r hich, though not prolonged to old age, was 
one of the most brilliant and memorable in our parliamentary his 
tory. 

The elements which make up the character of a remarkable man 
it is interesting to analyze and portray. I feel incompetent to do 
so satisfactorily in this case, for while our intercourse was always 
familiar and cordial, our relations were not so close and confiden 
tial as to have enabled me to judge and measure him with critical 
accuracy. 

His tall and striking person, his grave and thoughtful face, his 
clear but dreamy eye, and the gleam of sunshine which lit up his 
countenance when friendly intercourse detached his thoughts from 
the subject in which his mind was absorbed, all combined to inter 
est, attract, and impress every person who came in contact with 



ADDRESS OF Mil. TUCK Ell, OF I lRGINIJ. 67 

him. His ringing voice; his earnest, sometimes vehement, man 
ner; his bold and aggressive style ; his strong, clear, and logical 
reasoning; his exalted and eloquent declamation, and withal his 
self-reliant and confident assertion of his views, made him one of 
the most powerful and impressive speakers of his time. 

He worked with intense and concentrated energy. His mind 
was capable of great abstraction. In the companionship of his own 
thoughts he became often unconscious of all around him, and his 
intellectual powers then glowed with the fires of his own enthusiasm. 

He was an intellectual athlete. His strength was not mere dead 
force, but his sinewy frame enabled him to turn an adversary in 
the decisive wrestle, when he himself seemed to be overthrown. 
He was not technical in his reasoning, but cut down to the root of 
the matter of debate. His nature was bold and aggressive. If his 
foe was in ambush, he uncovered him and forced him into the open 
field. His tactical method was assault. He struck for his enemy s 
center and rarely attacked his flank. But when assailed and in 
retreat, he would suddenly turn upon his foe, retrieve his loss, at 
tack on flank or center as best he might, and snatch victory from 
the jaws of defeat. He was formidable in the opening of battle, 
chiefly for attack, but he was as dangerous in retreat at its close, 
when pressed by a too confident opponent. Disaster did not dis 
may mishap did not demoralize him. His ample resources were 
adequate to any emergency, and lie would convert what seemed a 
fatal mistake into the source of a final triumph by his quick and 
bold repulse of his assailant, which he often pushed to a complete 
rout of his forces. He argued from the workshop of his own 
brain. He intensified thought upon the issue, and discarding au 
thority and extrinsic aids, drew from the well-furnished armory of 
his own mind the weapons and munitions for the conduct of his 
warfare. 

These qualities made him a great advocate at the bar, whether 
before juries or courts, and a great debater in the halls of legisla 
tion ; indeed, as formidable in these respects as any man of his day. 

I believe he thought best on his feet. The fervor of his intel 
lect made his arguments present convictions which might pass away 
and give place to others as strong under mental action at another 



68 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

time. To this peculiarity in his mental operations was due what 
seemed alack of consistency sometimes in the conclusions he reached. 
His intellectual activity was so powerful as to make him seem in 
tolerant to his opponents; but I do not believe it touched his heart. 
He struck the shield of his foe as a knight in the tournament, 
vigorously but without animosity; and when the strife was ended 
he could lift up the adversary he had struck down and clasp him 
in friendly regard with the hand which dealt the blow. 

In his social life, while often abstracted by the thoughts which ab 
sorbed him, he was genial, kind, and loving. Generous and brave, 
he grappled to him friends with hooks of steel. Honest in his 
dealing, sincere and truthful in his intercourse, and cordial in his 
friendships, he died mourned by hosts of warm admirers and fol 
lowers. 

He was not, I think, a great reader of books. For works of fic 
tion he had no taste. He told me once he had never read one of 
Scott s novels, after I had playfully called him in debate a Dalgetty, 
of whose name and character he was ignorant. But his reading was 
such as strengthened his powerful mind, and furnished his style with 
the materials which gave grace and beauty to the solid and simple 
Doric of his severe and classic oratory. 

It was natural for such a man to have ambition. The eaglet in 
his home nest on the mountain cliff feels in his unfledged wing the 
power to soar toward the object on which he ever looks with un- 
blenched eye. So genius, with prophetic instinct, aspires to achieve 
its conscious destiny. It seeks, or at least may not, without fault, 
put aside the opportunity which will enable it to do so. When Lord 
Selborne reached the woolsack some friend congratulated him on 
attaining the summit of his ambition. In substance he replied, 
"Xot so; I have gained the opportunity to serve my country; the 
summit of my ambition is to serve her well, and to do good." 

Such ambition is a noble virtue. The aspiration to uphold the 
right, to destroy the wrong, and to do good, is all of human glory 
which it is fit for human life to aspire to win. That passion for 
place and office, without consciousness of ability to fill it well and 
for the public good, is base and mean ; it is a vice, the vice of our 
day, and leads to crime. 



ADDRESS OF MR. HOUSE, OF TENNESSEE. 69 

Mr. HILL aspired for public positions from the self-conscious 
ness of his fitness to serve his country in and through them. In 
him it was a noble virtue. 

He bore his prolonged and painful illness with patience, fortitude, 
and resignation. As the hopes of continued life faded aAvay the 
light of immortality gleamed upon his latterjdays with the assurance 
of peace and eternal joy. The tongue which had thrilled the multi 
tude and electrified the forum and the Senate, palsied by his mortal 
disease, faltered and was almost still. Yet it cheers us to know that 
in the death valley through which his great soul was called to pass, 
God gave that tongue the power to whisper in tones of touching 
tenderness and faith as his eagle eye gazed upon the opening glories 
of the immortal life, "Almost home!" 

The paths of glory lead but to the grave. 

Xo farther? Ay ! through the grave, where human glory ends, 
the Christian hope plants our feet upon that path which leads to 
celestial glory in the bosom of our Father and our God ! 



Address of Mr. HOUSE, of Tennessee. 

Mr. SPEAKER : When the hand of death struck the name of 
BENJAMIN H. HILL, of Georgia, from the roll of Senators the 
sad event was deplored not only by the State that had honored him, 
but by the whole country. All realized the fact that a man of 
great intellectual power had fallen, and that a vacancy had been 
made in the national councils which could not be readily supplied. 

I well remember the first time I ever met him. It was at a 
maws-meeting during the Presidential campaign of 1860, at Knox- 
ville, Tennessee. His fame even at that time, when he w r as com 
paratively a young man, had traveled beyond the limits of his 
own State. I recall most vividly the impression he made on me 
on that occasion as one of the most eloquent and powerful popular 
orators to whom I had ever listened. The crowd was numbered by 
the thousand, and the speaking took place in the open air in a 
beautiful grove near the town. Without much seeming effort on 



70 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

his purl lie held the undivided attention of the vast assembly dur 
ing an address of some two or three hours. I can never forget the 
trepidation and misgivings with which I arose, according to the 
programme of the day, to address the audience on the same side 
of the question, through fear that it would be impossible for me 
to say anything that would interest a crowd that had listened to 
his magnificent effort. 

I saw him no more until I met him at Richmond in the fall of 
1861 as a member of the provisional congress of the Confederate 
States. At the end of the provisional congress our paths diverged. 
He entered the Confederate senate, where he served during the 
remainder of the war. 

The next time I met him was in this Hall as a member of the 
Forty-fourth Congress. That Congress was the first one after the 
war to which full delegations of representative men were admitted 
from the Southern States. They came to Washington fully im 
pressed with the difficulties and complications that surrounded 
them. They felt that the people whom they represented, greatly 
impoverished by the war and struggling to repair their ruined 
fortunes, would be held to a strict accountability for the actions 
and utterances of their representatives. Thus impressed and thus 
appreciating the dangerous ground on which they stood and the 
delicate relations which they sustained to the Government, they de 
termined to tread the path of patriotic duty so plainly and firmlv 
that none could fail to see that they fully and honestly acquiesced 
in the results of the war, and were prepared to discharge in good 
faith every demand imposed by the conditions of a restored Union 
and the common welfare of a reunited people. I think I know the 
animus of the Southern men who took their seats in this Hall as 
Representatives in the Forty-fourth Congress. Whether I have 
stated it truly and fairly I confidently leave the records they have 
made here to determine. 

Soon after the assembling of that Congress a general amnesty 
bill was introduced in the House by Hon. Samuel J. Randall, of 
Pennsylvania, being similar in all respects to a bill which had 
on two previous occasions passed the House of Representatives but 
tailed in. the Senate, The question arose of admitting Jefferson 



ADDRESS OF MR. HOUSE, OF TENNESSEE. 71 

Davis to the benefits of the act. A distinguished Representative 
from Maine in the course of his remarks used this strong and em 
phatic language : 

And I, here before God, measuring niy words, knowing their full extent 
and import, declare that neither the deeds of the Duke of Alva in the Low 
Countries, nor the massacre of St. Bartholomew, nor the thumb-screws and 
engines of torture of the Spanish Inquisition begin to compare in atrocity 
with the hideous crime of Andersonville. [Applause on the floor and in the 
galleries.] 

Up to this time 110 Southern man had taken any part in the pro 
ceedings. The discussion had not proceeded far before it became 
evident that it was destined to provoke more or less of sectional 
bitterness. The Representatives from the South deprecated and 
deplored the agitation of questions growing out of the Avar. They 
felt that all such agitation was mischievous in its tendency and could 
be productive of no good to their section of the country, and they 
were anxious that all such questions should be relegated to the 
tribunal of history. But as the discussion progressed it assumed a 
character which in their opinion demanded that a reply should be 
made from a Southern stand-point. Mr. HILL, from his known 
intimate relations with Jefferson Davis during the war, as well as 
from his acknowledged ability, was generally recognized as the most 
appropriate Southern man to speak for his section in a debate which 
all felt was destined to become historic. But little time for prepa 
ration was allowed him, as the discussion arose rather unexpectedly. 
I know he felt deeply the responsibility and delicacy of his posi 
tion. To defend the Confederate government against the charges 
brought against it and maintain the honor of the Southern name 
without saying anything that would militate against the interests of 
the Southern people in the prevailing temper of the public mind of 
the North required the exercise of the coolest judgment and the 
nicest discrimination. Thus restrained and shackled by the grave 
considerations \vhich surrounded the situation, he felt that he 
could not indulge the usual freedom of debate, and was therefore 
forced to meet his adversaries upon unequal terms. When he 
arose to address the House he faced a most attentive audience upon 
the floor and in the crowded galleries. It was an occasion of dee]) 
solicitude and dramatic interest. I will not risk the imputation 



72 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

of intruding improper and unwelcome suggestions upon this occa 
sion by even a reference to the points or details of the discussion. 
It was watched with the keenest interest by both sides of this 
Chamber, and in fact by the whole country. It aroused feelings 
which, I am happy to say, time has softened and tempered, and 
which I would be the last to recall from the shades of the unhappy 
past. But justice to the dead requires that I should not omit to 
say that, difficult as were the requirements of the occasion, South 
ern Representatives and the Southern people felt that their good 
name suffered no detriment from want of ability in its defender. 

Mr. Speaker, I recall another prominent figure in that memorable 
debate. James A. (rarfield, of Ohio, replied to Mr. HILL. If any 
one had been railed on at that time to point out two men on this 
floor whose robust health and vigorous manhood gave the greatest 
promise of a long life, the selection could not have fallen upon any 
two members more appropriately than upon James A. Garfield and 
BENJAMIN H. HILT,. How little we know or can know of what 
the future has in store for us. How soon were these two distin 
guished men, who encountered each other in that debate, doomed 
to leave this world under circumstances of lingering and protracted 
suffering that stirred the sympathies of all. 

The former in a short wliile was transferred by the voice of his 
State from this House to the Senate, and before he could assume the 
duties of a Senator the voice of the American people called him to 
the Presidency. Honors were showered upon him with a profusion 
that left ambition but little to desire. He was inaugurated amid 
the well-wishes of the whole country. But while the thickly clus 
tered laurels upon his brow were yet wet with morning dew at a 
moment least expected, in the heart of a populous city, in sight of 
the Capitol the bullet of a beastly and vulgar assassin laid him 
low. The national heart stood still with horror when the first shock 
of the great crime was felt. As the distinguished sufferer lay upon 
his bed of pain, the hearts of his countrymen of all parties and all 
sections visited the chamber where he struggled with death, breath 
ing sympathy for his condition and hope for his recovery. This 
painful solicitude was merged into universal sorrow when the tele 
graph bore the news to every part of the country that the struggle 



ADDRESS OF MR. HOUSE, OF TENNESSEE. 73 

was over. The Democrat forgot that lie was a Republican Presi 
dent, and the Southern man that he belonged to the North. All 
party, all sectional feeling was lost in the profound gloom that per 
vaded the whole country. He had met his fate and borne his great 
sufferings with a patient fortitude and lofty courage which silenced 
all criticism and melted all hearts, while it intensified the universal 
horror with which the assassin s crime was regarded. For, Mr. 
Speaker, whatever may be true of other peoples and other lauds, the 
crime of assassination can never be looked upon by the American 
people with other feelings than those of execration and abhorrence. 
It is a noxious plant that can never flourish in our soil. General 
Garfield reached the highest position to which human ambition 
can aspire ; but the grandest proportions which his character ever 
assumed were displayed in the heroism of his death-bed. 

Mr. HILL was likewise called by the voice of his State to a seat 
in the Senate. This was a field much better suited for the exercise 
of his great gifts than the House of Representatives, and he soon 
gained in that body the front rank as a debater and a statesman of 
great and varied attainments. His speech in the Senate in the de 
bate on the bill prohibiting the use of troops at the polls was recog 
nized by all who heard it or read it as an effort of transcendent 
ability. His analysis and exposition of our dual system of gov 
ernment, defining the powers that belonged to the States and those 
that belonged to the Federal Government under the Constitution, 
were thorough and profound. That speech alone was sufficient to 
rank him in the first class of American statesmen, and to that class 
he undoubtedly belonged. As a debater he had few equals, even 
among the distinguished men whose learning and ability dignify 
and adorn the American Senate. Whether on the hustings address 
ing the masses of the people, in the forum before judges and juries, 
or in the halls of Congress discussing great questions of national 
importance, he never failed to impress himself upon those who heard 
him as a man of great power and ability. No antagonist, whatever 
his fame or prowess, ever encountered him upon any of those fields 
of intellectual gladiature without feeling that he stood in the pres 
ence of a foeman worthy of his steel. But in the prime and pleni 
tude of his great powers, when he felt the solid ground of a well- 



74 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

earned national reputation beneath his feet and a long and a brilliant 
career of honor and usefulness opening up before him, the admoni 
tion of death came, not, it is true, in the guise of an assassin s bul 
let, but in a form almost as tragic and no less certain. 

Soon after the meeting of the present Congress I visited the court 
room where President Garn eld s assassin was being tried for his 
life. On leaving I met Senator HILL, and we walked some dis 
tance together. On the way I inquired as to the condition of the 
malady that had excited his fears and the apprehension of his 
friends. I found him hopeful and cheerful, and even buoyant under 
the conviction that he had experienced the worst and that he was 
now in a sure way to permanent and final recovery. But not a 
great while afterward I heard that he had been compelled to again 
seek the offices of his surgeon. I felt then that he was a doomed 
man doomed to excrutiating suffering and certain death. 

"With his robust constitution and great strength of will he made 
a brave fight for his life, and sought all the means within his power 
to preserve and prolong it. -But all efforts proved unavailing, and 
at last he went home to die. Within its peaceful bosom, surrounded 
by his family and friends, and by the people who admired and loved 
and honored him, he looked death calmly in the face as he watched 
its approaches day by day, and knew that nothing could avert 
the inevitable hour. How less than nothingness must have ap 
peared to him all the glories of this world as he passed through his 
terrible ordeal of suffering to the grave that he saw opening to re 
ceive him. Distinguished as was his life, all the honors that clus 
tered around it fade into insignificance in the presence of the sub 
lime courage and Christian patience and resignation that crowned 
his death. 

Men in the whirl of busy life and the carnival of earthly ambi 
tion may treat with a sneer or a jest the power of the Christian relig 
ion to sustain the struggling soul amid the agonies of dissolving 
nature and the gloom of approaching death ; but that sneer is robbed 
of its sting and that jest loses its point beside the beds of protracted 
suffering and lingering death from which the victorious spirits of 
James A. Garfield and BENJAMIN H. HILL left their wasted tene 
ments of clay. 



ADDRESS OF ME. WELLBORN, OF TEXAS. 75 

Mr. Speaker, sooner or later our struggle, with the last enemy must 
come; for whatever may be our hopes, our ambition, our schemes 
for the future, or may have been our achievements in the past, we 
may be assured of one fact time will overlook and death forget 
none of us. And in that solemn hour which witnesses the exchange 
of worlds the obscurest Christian that has honestly endeavored dur 
ing an unobtrusive life to do his duty toward God and man is more 
& ^ 

to be envied than the tallest son of intellectual pride, though he may 
have walked the mountain ranges of human thought, without God 
and Avithout hope in the world. 



Address of Mr. WELLBORN, of Texas. 

Mr. SPEAKER : "How peaceful and how powerful is the grave!" 

The qualities here ascribed to humanity s final resting-place are 
none the less true because poetically asserted. The grave is an 
abode of peace and an instrumentality of power. In both essentials 
it is above the vicissitudes of time, "Bulwarked around and armed 
with rising towers," earthly forces cannot break through nor raze. 

AV hether the sun shines in brightness, or the clouds droop murk- 
ilv ; whether gentle breezes touch lightly, or the storm king rides 
upon the whirlwind, the condition of the grave is always that of 
repose. Enraged elements may beat down the monument, remorse 
less earthquakes swallow up the vault, but in the ideal grave, of 
which the monument and vault are but unsubstantial types, peace 
abideth ever. 

Tranquil is the sleep of him upon whose honored grave the repre 
sentatives of millions of people, arrested for awhile in their ordi 
nary labors, are now laying the merited tributes of a nation s es 
teem ; tranquil will it remain until after the latter days, when the 
promised summons spoke by angel tongue shall awake from the 
embrace of death and call forth the released captive to those awards 
of brightness and joy, which, on the testimonies of time, have al 
ready been entered up in the record-book of eternity. 

ft is not the peace, however, but the power of the grave which 
the memorial services of this hour most strongly proclaim. Oppor- 



76 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. BILL. 

tunities neglected and opportunities abused have caused thousands, 
in dying, to leave behind them but few evidences of their having 
been ; or if many, only sad proofs of misspent and mischievous 
lives. Hence, " Lived to little purpose," or " Lived to a bad pur 
pose," would be inscribed on many tombstones if they were truly 
epitaphed. 

Not so of the marble column which will point coming genera 
tions to the consecrated spot where lie entombed the ashes of Geor 
gia s great Senator. The matchless talents nature gave him were 
early dedicated to high aims, and the fruitful opportunities the wise 
improvement of those talents afforded shaped to their best uses. 
From the peace of his grave, therefore, rises in power an example 
worthy of all imitation, grandly illustrating how native talents use 
fully employed and properly directed can achieve wide and lasting 
renown in different and difficult walks of life, and how, in the su 
preme solemnity of the last hour, when earth and time are fast fad 
ing from view, they can nerve the soul of a feeble, wasted frame 
to bravely and triumphantly cross over the dark borders of that 
mysterious land before \vhose veiled terrors strong manhood is wont 
to tremble. 

The example thus presented for our contemplation is made up 
from the experiences of Mr. HILL, in private, professional, and pub 
lic life. Of the last two only wW I speak, leaving to others more 
familiar with it the portrayal of the first. It is not my purpose to 
undertake a narrative of events, but simply a hurried statement of 
traits of diameter which distinguished him in the public walks to 
which fortune or inclination called him. And in this I shall not 
aim at completeness, but only give a few of the impressions made 
on my mind by a general observation of him as a lawyer, an orator, 
a statesman, and a patriot ; nor shall I communicate these impres 
sions in words of studied panegyric. Too well do I recognize, as 
applied to Mr. HILL, the truth of the apostrophe 

Nature doth mourn for thee. There is no need 
For man to strike his plaintive lyre and fail, 
As fail he must, if he attempt thy praise. 

The splendid triumphs of Mr. HILL S maturer years at the bar 
show that he must have mastered the law as a science during the 



ADDRESS OF MR. WELLBORN, OF TEXAS. 77 

period of his professional pupilage. His attainments were not 
limited to a few scattering rules and forms picked up from particu 
lar decisions used in cases with which he was connected, but were 
opinions and convictions formed from a searching and comprehen 
sive study of jurisprudence as a grand system of principles resting 
on immutable foundations of right and justice. For the discovery 
of these principles he looked to the exercise of his own reason, and 
in forensic contests relied mainly on a conscious knowledge of the 
principles thus discovered. Adjudicated cases he regarded as but 
instances illustrating and applying principles. In other words, his 
own reason, strengthened and equipped by the pupilage before men 
tioned, discovered and applied general principles; precedents were 
invoked largely, if not only, to support and confirm the conclusions 
of his own mind. This view accounts for the singular readiness 
and accuracy with which he could meet the various and often un 
expected exigencies which complicated suits are liable to develop 
during the processes of trial. 

Mr. HILL combined within himself the jurist and the advocate. 
He was gifted with perception to discern and judgment to apply 
appropriate principles to given states of facts. He had also a log 
ical and perspicuous style. The union of these qualities made him 
clear and forcible in the statement and proof of his premises, and 
powerful if not resistless in the conclusions he sought to establish. 
In law, as in politics, he was distinguished for originality of 
thought rather than scholarship. His was the grander power to 
originate, not the lesser faculty of appropriating the creations of 
others. He was a model, not a type. However so great the excel 
lency he may have attained unto in other pursuits, the judicial his 
tory of Georgia, as well as the traditions of her people, will always 
claim his legal attainments and forensic triumphs as among the 
most brilliant experiences of his brilliant life. 

To intellectuality Mr. HILL added the power to feel and to will. 
These mental endowments, with his fluency of language and at 
times impassioned delivery, formed for him what he became one 
of the great orators of his day. 

Eloquence is defined to l)e "the utterance of strong emotion in 
a manner adapted to excite correspondent emotion in others. It 



78 UFE AND CHARACTER OF KEXJAM1X H. HILL. 

ordinarily implies elevated and forcible thought, well-chosen lan 
guage, an easy and effective utterance, and an impassioned manner." 
Those who ever heard Mr. HILL at the bar, in legislative halls, or 
on the stump, when the energies of his nature were thoroughly 
aroused, could not have failed to recognize in his effort marvelous 
and unmistakable manifestations of all these qualities. I remem 
ber to have heard a speech he once made on a noted occasion char- 
acterixed by a critical auditor as " logic on fire." And it was logic, 
burning logic; not the formal disputation of a schoolman, but the 
power of passionately-expressed thought unto the conviction and 
moving of his hearers : 

And each man would turn 
And gaze on his neighbor s face, 
That with the like dumb wonder answered him. 
* You could have heard 
The beating of your pulses while he spoke. 

The traits and acquirements which made Mr. HILL renowned as 
a lawyer and an orator fitted him for greatness in the arts of gov 
ernment. In these, after political engagements and official station 
brought his mind to bear upon them, he soon became deeply versed, 
and took rank with the foremost statesmen of his day. The ques 
tion "how can men be best governed?" was with him a subject of 
profound thought and philosophic research. He rightly looked 
upon it as a problem whose perfect solution the great minds of the 
world on memorable trials had failed to work out. The records 
of history, which he widely and usefully explored, instructed him 
that philosophy, with all its achievements in the realms of political 
science, had not been able to impart perfection or permanency to 
any civil fabric yet built, and that even the testimonies to its mighti 
est triumphs were chiefly chronicled in the dismantled wrecks of 
the institutions it founded. He had fully learned the great lesson 
taught by ages of experience, that human infirmities will always 
impress their images on political as well as other human establish 
ments, and that the Utopia of fiction could never exist in fact. 

The Constitution of the American Union, to which his best 
thought was long and profitably given, he considered the nearest 
approach to perfection in governmental structure human effort had 



ADDRESS OF MR. WELLliORN, OF TEXAS. 79 

yet attained. Under the methods, however, which even this in 
strument provided, lie was prepared to see measures consummated 
which liis judgment condemned as errors and told him were fraught 
with disaster and woe. Emergencies of this kind, the crucial tests 
of character, did not confound his faculties, but rather stimulated 
them to the most reliable, if not highest exertions of statesmanship, 
namely, to see when a thing was inevitable, and, accepting it as such 
to make the best of the situation, however bad it might be. He 
lost no time, therefore, in bewailing accomplished facts, but when 
proposed measures against which he warred became irreversible 
policies, his quick, comprehensive perception took in the whole sit 
uation, and he at once applied himself not to a continuance of vain 
resistance but the more sensible work of so controlling these poli 
cies as to avert, as far as possible, the ruin they threatened, and 
bring out of them the best attainable results. This quality of states 
manship, which, on close analysis, will be found to be nothing- 
more nor less than the power of judicious selection between evils, 
Mr. HILL notably exhibited in his political course prior to and 
during the late war. 

From 1855 up to the passage of the declaratory resolution by 
the convention of Georgia, January 18, 1861, he combated the 
disunion sentiment with all the force and earnestness of his nature. 
The motives which influenced him were his attachment to the Union 
under the Constitution and his desire to avert the calamities he 
profoundly believed war would bring upon the South. 

For years he did all man could do to stay the swelling tide of 
popular sentiment drifting his State and section, as he firmly be 
lieved, into a night of storm and tempest whose starless gloom 
would prove iutenser than Memphian darkness. His efforts were 
ineffectual. The declaratory resolution before referred to, against 
which he voted, fixed and determined Georgia s policy. 

The die was cast. Then it was, under a high sense of duty to 
his State, he accepted as inevitable what he had struggled to pre 
vent, and recorded his vote in favor of the ordinance, believing this 
to be the initial and an important step to the unification of his 
people in the course they had determined against his judgment to 
adopt. Of the conspicuous part he bore during the convulsive 



80 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

throes that ensued I shall not speak further than to say that all in 
vestigations and researches thus far made into that period of storm 
and gloom have but served to confirm and draw out in bolder lines 
as his shining characteristics an intellect equal to every emergency 
in which he was placed, a fidelity to conviction nothing could 
swerve, a resolution difficulties could not unsettle, a courage dangers 
could not appall, and a fortitude whose endurance no adversities 
could exhaust. This chapter of manly virtues will ever be held in 
warm remembrance by his associates in misfortune and defeat, and 
can but be read with respectful attention even by those who condemn 
the cause in which these virtues were displayed. 

Mr. HILL S abilities as a lawyer, an orator, and statesman were 
subjected while he was in public life to the guidance of one grand 
sentiment: " The noblest motive is the public good." 

He loved his country with an intensity and ardor only lofty and 
generous natures can know. Good government he considered the 
highest boon that could be bestowed on a people. For this he 
sought and studied long and diligently. The result of this search 
and study was one of the profoundest and most valued convictions 
of his life, namely, that there was no other form of government nor 
had there ever been one comparable to the Union under the Con 
stitution. Hear him as he tells to a listening Senate, in stately 
phrase, the excellency of this Government : 

It is the noblest government, the greatest government that human wis 
dom ever devised, and it could not have been framed by human wisdom alone. 
The human intellect never existed in this world that could from its own evo 
lutions have wrought out such a thing as this Constitution of the United 
States. * * * It is agovernmeut such as Roman never dreamed of, such as 
Grecian never conceived, and such as European never had the power to evolve. 
When the American people, either for the purpose of dismembering the States 
or of destroying them, shall destroy this unparalleled government, this gov 
ernment without a model, this government without a prototype, they will 
have destroyed a government which seems to have been wisely adapted to 
the peculiar condition of the time and to all their future wants, and they 
will launch out on a sea of uncertainty the result of which uo man can fore 
cast. 

Hear him again, as he declares to a vast multitude at his own 
home, in rapid, beautiful utterance, his admiration for the Ameri 
can system of government : 



UNIVERSITY 




ADDRESS OF MR. It ELLlSOUX, OF 

My countrymen, have you ever studied this wonderful American syst 
free government ? Have you compared it with former systems and noted how 
our fathers sought to avoid their defects? Let me commend this study to 
every American citizen to-day. To him who loves liberty it is more enchant 
ing than romance, more bewitching than love, and more elevating than any 
other science. Onr fathers adopted this plan with improvements in the de 
tails which cannot he found in any other system. With what a noble im 
pulse of patriotism they came together from different States and joined their 
counsels to perfect this system, thenceforward to be known as the " Ameri 
can system of free constitutional government." The snows that fall on 
Mount Washington are not purer than the motives which begot it. The fresh 
dew-laden zephyrs from the orange groves of the South are not sweeter than 
the hopes its advent inspired. The flight of our own symbolic eagle, though 
he blow his breath 011 the sun, cannot be higher than its expected destiny. 

Mr. Speaker, the voice of patriotism calls to us to-day from the 
grave of the great Georgian. In silence more eloquent than 
stirring language it points us to the " American system of free con 
stitutional government" as the "noblest government, the greatest 
government that human wisdom ever devised." It impresses 
upon us that this system is the one founded by Washington and 
other patriots of the Revolution; that it is hallowed by sacred 
memories and freighted with precious hopes; that though the right 
ful inheritance of one people, humanity everywhere has an interest 
in its preservation ; that, if in an evil hour it should perish, its 
ruins would entomb forever the institutions of freedom and give a 
new birth to the establishments of despotism. 

By all these high considerations it pleads for the perpetuation of 
this incomparable system of government, " this government with 
out a mt)del, this government without a prototype," and points 
out the path of public duty by urging as the measure of public 
worth "that he. shall be the greatest patriot, the truest patriot, the 
noblest patriot, who shall do most to repair the wrongs of the past 
and promote the glories of the future." 

Mr. Speaker, the touching scenes and incidents of Mr. HILJ/S 
last sickness were a fitting close to the illustrious labors of his 
active life. The intellect, the resolution, the courage, the fortitude 
which had sustained him in the latter did not desert him in the 
former. But, added to these, was a fuller reliance than ever on 
that unseen arm which alone can guide through the dark valley 
and shadow of death. So composedly did he contemplate his near 
6 II 



82 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

dissolution that lie was able to say, "But for the good I had hoped 
to do my family aud country, I should regard the announcement 
I must die as joyful tidings." 

Above all, how entrancing the vision it was granted him to see 
iust before death took him away, and which he pictured so aptly 
in the last two words he ever spoke, "Almost home!" Home! 
A magic word. The English language has no brighter, the En 
glish tongue can speak no sweeter. It names the best spot on earth, 
the radiant center of pure sentiments and heaven-approved attach 
ments. Thitherward the wanderer in distant lands ever turns his 
eye in bright expectancy ; and when he has been long and far away 
and at last nears the loved place, and familiar objects begin to glad 
den his eye, the tired limbs may almost give out, but the hope- 
buoyed spirit exclaims, "Almost home!" 

The end was at hand. The wanderings of time were over. 
Eternity s glories were breaking around. The dying Senator 
"spoke out in full and even triumphant accent," "Almost home!" 
The pulse throbbed its last beat, and the spirit flew to its God and 
immortal destiny. 



Address of Mr. KASSON, of Iowa. 

Mr. SPEAKER: I deeply regret that, contrary to well-ordered 
custom, I am obliged to speak to-day touching the honored dead 
without the preparation which properly characteri/es such an occa 
sion. I learn to-day that those of my colleagues on this side of the 
House who, from old association with Mr. HILL, late Senator, were 
best fitted to speak of his character and to make just appreciation of 
those qualities which attracted the attention of the whole country, 
were by illness and other special cause prevented from taking part 
in the ceremonies of this day. 

Unwilling that this side of the House, which had also been a wit 
ness of the distinguished ability of Senator HILL while he was a 
member of this body, should be unheard on this occasion, I vent 
ure to trespass on the kindness of my colleagues while I say ex 
temporaneously a few words upon his character and his services. 



ADDEBSS Of MB. KASSON, OF IOWA. 85 

We from the States of the North had only that opportunity to 
become acquainted with Mr. HILL which was offered by his com 
paratively brief public career upon this floor. Some of us, includ 
ing myself, were on the floor at the time of that great debate to 
which so frequent reference has been made by my colleagues upon 
the other side. Few men had a higher appreciation of the intel 
lectual qualities developed by Mr. HILL in that discussion than 
myself. My sympathy with the views which he combated could 
not blind me to his power in debate. 

I am obliged to speak of his qualities chiefly from my memory 
of that session, and especially of that occasion. There were in him 
certain traits of character which have led me to compare him with 
Oliver Cromwell among persons of English history, and with but 
few known to American history. He combined great self-poise 
and apparent consciousness of power with a certain solid, adaman 
tine honesty of purpose which gave to the movements of his in 
tellect unusual, extraordinary strength. Earnest in countenance, 
he expressed in that respect only the earnestness of his nature. 
He moved with solidity in the development of his intellectual 
forces. He could not be cast off his balance by any light attack 
whatever. He kept the main objection point always in view. His 
mind, like Cromwell s, was impregnated with a sense of the obliga 
tions of religion. No man can be a great power in a Christian 
country without this inward sense of responsibility to a greater 
Power, a Power greater, higher than the people, and to whom the 
people themselves owe allegiance and acknowledge responsibility. 
It is the strong rock in human character to which, above all other 
qualities, the people themselves attach their confidence. 

While I recognize these great controliug elements of the human 
mind in him, I did not fail to see that he, like most of us, was still 
animated chiefly by his great sense of responsibility to that part of 
the country which he represented. I recognized that same hon 
esty of character when he determined that the sentiments of those 
who elected him should be also fairly manifested on this floor, and 
should be maintained by all the force of debate. 

And while from our point of view we often thought we dis 
covered in him a strength of prejudice which was ineradicable, we 



84 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

also were obliged to remember that our opponents, bearing the same 
relations to us as we to him, would find for the same reason, for 
.identically the same cause, ground to believe that our views also 
were influenced or controlled by prejudice of section and of associ 
ation. 

Sir, I cannot speak of Mr. HILL S character prior to his entrance 
into the Forty-fourth Congress. We knew him to be a man of 
power. We in the North rejoiced when we heard that his voice was 
lifted to save us from the disasters that followed the opening era of 
secession. We mourned when we found that naturally, if not log 
ically for we appreciated that it was natural he cast in his lot 
with his own State for disunion and separate government. But we 
rejoiced again when at the close of that great struggle, as shown by 
the gentleman from Georgia who first spoke to-day [Mr. Hammond], 
he again presented himself in the front of that column which sought 
to return to the Union with honesty of purpose, with perfect in 
tegrity of heart, and with an earnest desire to do their duty to the 
whole country as faithfully as they had done it to their own sec 
tion. I prefer to remember Mr. HILL from such utterances in that 
speech to which reference has been made as this : 

We had well hoped that the country had suffered long enough from feuds, 
from strife, and from inflamed passions; and we came here, sir, with the patri 
otic purpose to remember nothing but the country and the whole country, 
and, turning onr backs on the horrors of the past, to look with all earnestness 
to find glories for the future. 

When a man like Mr. HILL returns to what we may fairly call 
his first love and his first devotion, it means more than the flippant 
remark of one who desires to turn a phrase in oratory. He was 
of that rugged honesty of nature that, w r hether or not wholly justi 
fied by an impartial judgment in the course he took upon any ques 
tion, he never failed to impress his audience with the certainty and 
honesty of his conviction and of the opinion he professed to en 
tertain. I mourn when such a man passes from the midst of us. 
I regret deeply that the Senate will no longer hear his voice nor 
have the benefit of his sound judgment. 

Sir, among the many sorrows which death inflicts upon the human 
breast it carries with it one blessing. It is the disposition which 
then comes to us all to give to charity and justice their due dominion 



ADDRESS OF MR. HOOKER, OF MISSISSIPPI. 85 

over intellect and heart as we stand by the grave of the dead. 
Would to God that while all are alive we could equally feel and 
exercise those qualities in regard to our associates, whether oppo 
nents or friends. 

I take to myself, I think we can all take to ourselves, from the 
comments made upon such a character as Mr. HILL S, the thought 
how much more profitably, how much more agreeably, more pa 
triotically our duties on this floor would be discharged if we could 
carry from his grave to our work here the sentiments with which 
we all find ourselves inspired as we look into the face of the dead. 
No higher tribute to the character which we now commemorate 
could be given than that each of us should attempt to exercise in 
all our relations those virtues which we here celebrate as the en 
nobling qualities of him to whose memory we this day render the 
final honors. 



Address of Mr. HOOKER, of Mississippi. 

Mr. SPEAKER : Having been invited by my friend from Georgia 
[Mr. Hammond], who sits beside me, to say something on this 
occasion, I have felt it my duty to accept that invitation, because 
of the relations which have existed between the people of my own 
State and the great State of Georgia, to whose distinguished Sena 
tor we have assembled here to-day to pay the last solemn obse 
quies; for while the daughter has somewhat outgrown the mother 
in many respects, she has not ceased to feel filial affection for that 
great country which supplied so many of her early citizens. As 
it is not my custom to write speeches on any occasion, I am con 
strained to speak to-day, so far as affection for the dead is con 
cerned, rather from the heart than from the head. 

With reference to the private life of the great statesman whose 
death we mourn, I can say but little except what I gather from 
the friends who lived closer to-him than it was my fortune to do. 
But in regard to his public character, and the two aspects in which 
it presents itself to the world at large, I will say a few words. 

BENJAMIX H. HILL underwent as a part of his education the 



86 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

severe training of a lawyer. It was in this aspect that he first 
presented himself to the people of his own State. His mind was 
formed by that vigorous discipline which belongs to the profession 
of the law. It made him logical. He is said to have excelled 
especially in that great power of the lawyer, the statement of his 
case. This he made so simply, so briefly, so lucidly, that the most 
unintelligent court must seize the salient facts of the case. It was 
in his capacity as a lawyer that Mr. HILL was first known to the 
people of his own State for his distinguished ability as a reasoner 
and an orator. I have heard from a friend of his an incident of 
his early life, when he was employed to defend a man charged 
with murder. That defense was assumed by him in the courts, 
and he failed. 

At that time in the State of Georgia it was within the power of 
the defendant in a case of this kind to appeal to the senate of the 
State. Mr. HILL made that appeal, not so much in behalf of the 
defendant himself as of the aged and widowed mother, from whose 
heart he wished to avert the blow which would fall upon the head 
of her son. He went into the State senate with his case, with a 
widowed mother leaning on his arm. 

This gentleman describes the scene as he witnessed it one in 
which Mr. HILL looked, for the first time in his life, pallid with 
excitement, because -of the great responsibility which rested upon 
him; for in all his advocacy at the bar he was impressed with the 
sentiment of the great responsibility resting upon the advocate and 
the intimate relation, between the advocate and his client, a senti 
ment which has been beautifully, though perhaps somewhat too 
strongly, expressed by one of the greatest of English lawyers and 
English premiers, Lord Brougham, when he declared that it is the 
duty of a lawyer to stand by the interest of his client even to the 
upturning of the government. Mr. HILL walked into that senate 
chamber and made his appeal to the senate on the ground of the 
insanity of the man who had committed the alleged murder. He 
spoke for hours, and he obtained from the senate a verdict which 
relieved the widowed mother and spared the life of the son. 

In all his relations as a lawyer Mr. HILL achieved distinction 
because he was inspired with fidelity to the great duties which 



ADDRESS OF MR. HOOKER, OF MISSISSIPPI. 87 

devolved upon him. But his great intellect was not destined to 
be confined in its exercise to the bar, though it was the shaping 
and the fashioning of that intellect by close attention to his profes 
sion that prepared him for a new and different arena. I had the 
pleasure of first meeting him here as we entered together the Forty- 
fourth Congress. He leaped into this grand arena of debate like 
Minerva from the brain of Jove, armed [cap-a-pie for any contest 
that might occur. He was prepared to take rank among the first 
in this hall of debate of the American Commons. 

I remember especially an occasion a short time after the con 
vening of the Forty-fourth Congress when he spoke here almost 
from the position in which I now stand. The magnanimous, gen 
erous-hearted Representative from Pennsylvania [Mr. Randall], 
then the leader of this side of the House, had introduced his bill 
for universal amnesty, thinking that the time had come when there 
should be a restoration of the Union, not in name and word, but 
in deed and in truth; that amnesty should be extended to every 
citizen, from the humblest subaltern animated by a sense of duty to 
the lofty-plumed chief who led the Confederate forces ; that all the 
memories of the war should be blotted from the hearts and the 
minds of the entire people. 

In this spirit the gentleman from Pennsylvania introduced that 
resolution upon which Mr. HILL S voice was first heard in this 
Hall, as has been so beautifully described by my friend from Vir 
ginia [Mr. Tucker]. He encountered on that occasion an orator on 
the other side of the Chamber who had been for years the leader 
of his party, who had at one time occupied the seat which you now 
occupy, who, as a debater, as a stater of facts^ as a parliamentary 
tactician, had probably no equal at that time on either side of this 
Hall. 

It was a conflict, as the gentleman from Virginia [Mr. Tucker] 
has well remarked, of giants, which took us back to the older days 
in these halls, when Hayne and Webster and Calhoun and Clay 
and other orators of the past rendered illustrious the days in which 
they lived. As has been well said, it was a battle of the giants, 
and both giants fought with Damascus-like blades. 

But, Mr. Speaker, it was a somewhat unequal con test, for he who 



88 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

represented one side of the question was the victor and wore the 
laurel wreath which crowns the victor s brow, while the other rep 
resented what has become known in history as the " lost cause," and 
wore the melancholy cypress, which is the emblem of defeat and 
death. Therefore I say it was a somewhat unequal contest; but 
those of us for whom he spoke, and spoke with so much clearness, 
so much precision, so much wisdom, so much patriotism, felt that 
we could appeal to the magnanimity of his great opponent ; great 
he was and still is we felt that we could appeal to the magna 
nimity of his great opponent in that contest that Mr. HILL had 
stated his side of the question as no other man could have stated it 
in this Hall. 

During the time he was here as our colleague we all remember 
him with the tenderest affection and esteem. We venerate his great 

o 

ability. We deplore his loss to the State who called him son, and 
to the country who honored him for his patriotism and fidelity. 

It was not long, Mr. Speaker, before the people of his State, in 
1877, called on him to occupy a higher position. I remember his 
being seated in that portion of the Hall from which he had de 
livered his powerful and eloquent speech a few minutes before, and 
receiving a telegram conveying to him the intelligence that the State 
of Georgia had transferred him to the other end of the Capitol. 

He went there, Mr. Speaker, as he came here, and at once took 
his rank in that graver, more dignified body, that body of loftier 
debate, took his seat there when that Chamber was filled with men 
of the highest intellect in this country, when the gigantic intellectual 
form of Thurman sat on one side and on the other the equally gi 
gantic intellectual form of Colliding. BENJAMIN H. HILL took 
his place in the Senate of the United States, as he had done in this 
Hall, as the peer and equal of any man there. He had achieved 
great triumph in every position of life, as lawyer, as Representative, 
as Senator. He had strewed along the pathway of that life mem 
orable acts and wondrous intellectual efforts, "as the giant oak of the 
forest sheds its foliage in a kindly largess to the soil it grows on." 
He has passed from us to another scene of action. He has passed 
from us to that "home" to which he looked so fondly. 

Whether speaking to his people in the State of Georgia, or ad- 



ADDRESS OF MB. HOOKEE, OF MISSISSIPPI. 89 

dressing the Representatives in this Hall on the most delicate ques 
tions, or debating in the Senate Chamber of the United States, 
there never fell from his lips any other words than words of wis 
dom and patriotism. His were 

"Not such words as flash 

From tlie fierce demagogue s unthinking rage 
To madden for a moment an d expire 
Nor such as the rapt orator imbues 
With warmth of facile sympathy, and molds 
To mirrors radiant with fair images, 
To grace the noble fervor of an hour ; 
But words which bear the spirits of great deeds 
Wiug d for the future ; which the dying breath 
Of Freedom s martyr shapes as it exhales, 
And to tbo most enduring forms of earth 
Commits to linger in the craggy shade 
Of the huge valley, neath the eagle s home, 
Or in the sea-cave where the tempest sleeps, 
Till some heroic leader bid them wake 
To thrill the world with echoes." 

Wherever he spoke and whatever lie said, all was for his coun 
try s good. He rose superior to all partisanship because he was a 
statesman, looking always to the best interests of his people. 

It has been said when every other passion which sways the 
human heart has been burned to ashes on its altar, ambition still 
lives and rules and controls. But he had lived even until this 
last passion had died out, and the last hours of his life touched 
scenes in his mortal illness when he was ministered to by his lov 
ing wife and equally loving daughter, which enabled him to 
throw aside every passion and every emotion which rule the hu 
man heart, and look forward with that feeling of hope which be 
longs to the pure Christian man. 

It was at this time that one of his brother members of the bar 
(Mr. John W. Clampitt) of a distant State, the State of my friend 
from Illinois [Mr. Springer], sent him that beautiful poem de 
scribing the very condition of mind in which Mr. HILL then was. 
It reached him only a few days before his death. That gentle 
man is now a member of the bar of this city. I will read a few 
stan/as from that pathetic poem addressed to Senator B, H. HILL, 
and beginning with 



90 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

I am weary of iny burcleii 
And fain would rest. 

Every leaf upon its shore lines 

Is a gem ; 

Not a withered one is drooping, 
While the hand of love is looping 
And into garlands grouping 

All of them. 

In that world there is no sorrow, 

Not a tear ; 

Never comes the broken-hearted, 
From whose eager life departed 
The hopes that once had started 

Fond and dear. 

Not a storm-cloud ever gathers 

On the air ; 

Only summer clouds are drifting, 
And summer breezes sifting, 
And sweetest perfume lifting 

From gardens fair. 

Only music soft and melting 

Soothes the soul ; 
And its billows mild and wooing, 
With a gentle hand undoing 
All the cares that were bestrewing 

Each earthly goal. 

Lead me to that land of beauty, 

So I may abide ; 

Lead me where the flowers are blooming, 
Where the music mild is wooing, 
Where the hand of love is moving 

On every tide. 

Like a little child I ll follow 

Swift after thee ; 
To the land of never weeping, 
Where my father s love is keeping 
Mortal souls who failed in reaping 

Earthly ecstasy. 

1 will take my burden for a pillow 

And lie down to rest ; 
God s love shall dwell beside me, 
And no clouds shall ever hide me 
From the loving ones that guide me 

To the portals of the bleat. 



ADDRESS OF MR. COX, OF NEW YORK. 91 

These lines fitly and appropriately describe the closing scenes of 
that memorable life, which had been so distinguished in the great 
events of this country. It may be said of him, Mr. Speaker, as 
was said by the great Marshall of his friend Menafee, when he 
was describing him after death : 

His escutcheon is broad, spotless, bright, and beautiful as Bayard s ori- 
llanime adorned with the lilies of France. 

Senator HILL died, Mr. Speaker, in the meridian of his life, of 
that singular, fatal, and insidious disease that up to this time has 
defied the eye of the scientist to determine how it originates or 
how it may be relieved. He passed away before he had attained 
that lofty eminence that the future had evidently in store for him. 
But in that dying hour, looking back over the great events in the 
history of his country in which lie had borne so prominent a part, 
he might well have been justified if at its conclusion the power of 
speech had been restored to him, in saying in the language of the 
great Latin poet as he contemplated his mighty epic : 

Jamquc opus cxegi, quod nee Jovis ira, uec ignis, uec vetustiim ferruiu 
poterit delere. 



Address of Mr. Cox, of New York. 

Mr. SPEAKER: When a great French leader of opinion died the 
other day, it was queried whether French institutions would sur 
vive. " The republic is Leon Gambetta," was the sententious 
phrase. Wherever the signs of sorrow were displayed over the 
death of the great x Frenchman, from San Francisco to Syria, the 
powerful tribune of the people, the vehement orator, the energetic 
patriot was mourned as if France herself were lost. The very floral 
offerings were shaped into the tricolor of France. Not so in other 
lands. Disraeli dies, and though his party goes on, sadly lacking 
his genius, the English Government in form and structure receives 
no detriment. I saw nobles of ancient lineage and peasants of the 
country he had so long represented follow his remains to its sepul- 
cher. All that w r as mortal of the dead Hebrew and brilliant 



92 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BEXJAMlN H. HILL. 

minister received the last rites of the established church, but the 
English constitution and English society received no shock. 

So, too, in these cisatlantic republican commonwealths states 
men and Presidents come and go like rainbows, but the state sur 
vives. It is more permanent because of the monumental service 
of the departed statesman it has nourished. 

The eloquent Georgian and Senator whom we honor to-day 
rounded an active life of rarest mold. No glamour of the sol 
dier was his. He was the peerless citizen who led men by voice 
and thought in perilous times, through troubles and tyrannies, 
with a foresight and wisdom all too rare in this land of mercenary 
grasping and unrelaxing excitement. He dies ; but his State and 
the nation grow better by the emphasis of his life and the virtue 
of its lessons. 

It was my privilege to know Senator HILL, even before he be 
came a member here. It is because of delightful, almost intimate 
friendship, that his friends have assigned to me a part in these sad 
obsequies. 

The dates and events, the links connecting such details, which 
make the chain of his personal history and serve to illustrate the 
individual feeling and life, the character of the man these others 
have touched with magnetic, loving hand. 

This chain was fashioned as all character is by surrounding cir 
cumstances. Those who knew him in his early days love to trace 
the main elements of his character to his parentage. His father 
was of slender education, but of robust virtue. He was remark 
able for his invincible will and force. His mother was of an 
earnest, gentle nature, full of reflective and religious qualities. 
These made up the rudiments of that character which enabled him 
to overcome obstacles by endurance and palliate them by persua 
sion. The sturdy oak was garlanded with tenderest flowers. 
Like a Grecian or Doric fane, to which the gentleman from Vir 
ginia [Mr. Tucker] likened it, his character combined beauty with 
strength. 

The old farm-house and the red hills where he passed the scenes 
of his boyhood modified these inborn elements of his nature, and 
gave fresh vigor to his healthful Hie and added grace to his geu- 
tleuesss. 



ADDRESS OF MR. COX, OF NKW YORK. 93 

Iii his college experience the development and discipline of his 
mind was prodigious. His shyness and awkwardness, born of the 
country, soon gave way before his energy and ambition. From 
the rustic boy, in his long jeans coat and scant trousers, he at once 
became a thoughtful student, His habit of abstraction began 
thus early. Whether in the Demosthenian Society, or as its anni- 
versarian orator, or delivering the valedictory of his class, he im 
pressed those who listened with his unequaled power of debate 
and the rare felicity of his eloquence. One index of the gentle 
side of his character may be noted. His theme at the junior com 
mencement was the " Life, Love, and Madness of Torquato 
Tasso," into which he threw all his mother s poetic sensibility 
with his scholarly warmth. 

Soon the scholar ripened into the advocate. Here was his 
field. He had a legal mind. He drove the ..logic of the law 
bravely through every obstacle of fancy and fact. His fluency of 
speech and fertility of expedient, together with his power of appli 
cation and study, gave him a forensic power which Lord Coke 
said a ffood lawver should have for the "occasion sudden;" a 

V 

power which partial friends have compared with that of Erskine. 
As a lawyer few men, even in our largest cities, have had such 
success. Although diverted again and again from his jealous 
mistress, the law, to canvass for Congress, legislature, elector, and 
governor, he was still employed in all the leading cases of the 
State. It is estimated if such estimates may be quoted here and 
now that he had made a million dollars, as fees, by the time he 
was fifty. He was as lavish in the expenditure and as improvi 
dent in the investment of his earnings as he was indefatigable 
with head and voice in their accumulation. 

There is another phase of his life which gave its impress to the 
scholar, the citizen, the orator, the advocate, the statesman, and 
the man. It is the sectional or Southern aspect of his life. 
Without this phase he w r ould not have made the mark which he 
so indelibly did upon his State. He had no act of the dema 
gogue, no party tactics at command, no storied lore racy of the 
soil such as made the " Georgia Scenes " so whimsical and humor 
ous, and little or no conversational loquacity ; but he had the re 
serve which carries the battle, and thus armed he was dauntless. 



94 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

Yet there seems to be an unevenness aiid inconsistency in his 
career and character. This unevenness may have been the result 
of the vicissitudes of the eventful times when the best of men were 
distracted as to duty. Inconsistency ? Gladstone, the young 
Tory, becomes the venerable Liberal, and Palmerston laughed at 
the vanity of consistency. 

Call it what you will, State pride or local affection, and say it 
is irreconcilable with a larger love of country, yet is it not the 
same patriotic impulse which made Tell love the mountains of 
Switzerland, and Webster the rock-bound shores of New Eng 
land ? Besides, is it necessary to reconcile the love one bears the 
mother with that one bears the wife ? When one is true to his 
bridal troth is he less true to the mother who bore him ? 

It was this State pride which led the youth to prefer his own 
State University, at Athens for his education rather than follow 
the advice of his teacher, who was a graduate of Yale. It was 
the same sentiment which colored his after-life and gave glow and 
glory to his oratory. Even while protesting against secession 
ordinances on the hustings and in convention he followed with no 
laggard step his State into revolt against the Federal domination. 
When the question came home to him whether he would have the 
unity of his Georgian people or the unity of a-11 the States, he 
chose, and honestly chose, the unity of his home. 

Herein lies that seeming unevenness and inconsistency which 
some have observed in his character. I shall rather call it the 
tough fiber of his native robust being, its nature gnarled by soil 
and tempest, but none the less beautiful because it had the hard 
intertwisted knot of local devotion. 

True, he contended for "the Union, the Constitution, and the en 
forcement of the laws." He left his lawyer s desk and sought leg 
islative honors, to champion constitutional Federal unity. It was 
because he thought the mother was the loving friend of his bride. 

The first test of the young statesman, thirty years ago, was in 
the contest for the compromise of 1850. He desired to signali/e 
the end of slavery agitation, which he foresaw would end in civil 
war and Southern disaster. Hence his entrance upon political life 
in 1851 as a Union man. 



ADDRESS OF MR. COX, OF NEW YORK. 95 

Throughout his subsequent life, up to the signing of the seces 
sion ordinance, he was, in its best sense, an ardent Federalist. He 
was of such moderate views and so opposed to the ultraists of his 
State that lie traversed Georgia proclaiming fealty to the Union. 
He sounded the tocsin of revolt against the leaders of revolution. 
Never was a crisis met so courageously. At a time when Yancey s 
sentences thrilled the South, and when even Howell Cobb was the 
coadjutor of Senator Iverson, the silver voice of BENJAMIN H. 
HILL, joining that of Alexander H. Stephens, was a trumpet, not 
of sedition, but of loyalty to the Union. 

In his speeches, full of the fervor of that wild day, and in a 
minority, he was to Southern Unionism what Gambetta was to dis 
tracted France. Botli were too late to save, but both lived to re 
build and restore. 

It is not for me to inquire why the late Senator gave his voice 
only for secession and not his arm. It was not from lack of cour 
age, physical, mental, or moral; but he was doubtless continually 
shadowed by his own prophecy. "Take care," he said, "that in 
endeavoring to carry slavery where nature s laws prohibit its en 
trance you do not lose the right to hold slaves at all ! " 

The Senator had no love for the secrecies and ritual of Know- 
nothiugism, and when that semi-religious and anti-American cru 
sade was preached it was condemned by him. But from his con 
servative habitude he defended the Fillmore administration, and 
in 1860 he became a Bell and Everett Union elector. Georgia 
rang from side to side with his elegant and urgent phillipics against 
radicalism North and South and his fervent patriotism for the Union 
of our fathers. 

It is impossible to analyze a life so full of incident or a mind so 
well disciplined and an oratory so alert and brilliant, without draw 
ing upon the language of high encomium. 

All the virtues and genius as w r ell as faults of the man and Sen 
ator center around the love he bore to his own State of Georgia. 

He was a native of Georgia, and had he lived till now would 
have been three-score years of age. He was born in the center of 
that "old red belt which encircles the State from the Savannah to 



96 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

the Chattahoochee." To borrow the language of a friend in the 
days of my first service here, Judge James Jackson : 

He was all a Georgian. The robust physique of the man sprang from the 
soil of our beloved State, and the giant intellect which so distinguished him 
was equally Georgian. If honey was upon his lips, the Georgia bee gathered 
it from Georgia flowers. If the silver ring of his eloquence touched all hearts, 
the silver was dug out of the red old hills we love so much. 

Georgia, geologically and picturesquely, under and above the 
genial soil, has natural advantages and beauties which along with 
her liberal institutions early attracted such adventurous minds as 
the Hebrew Mendez, the English soldier Oglethorpe, and the 
Methodist Wesley. Even the mounds are yet pointed out, in the 
county where our Senator was born, into which De Soto delved for 
gold. Her mountains dip and curl in crested grandeur toward the 
west, while her savannas add their greenery and wealth to her 
shores. 

General James Oglethorpe, who, as Burke said, had called a prov 
ince into existence and lived to see it an independent State, was 
the epitome of Georgia history. Oglethorpe s life was so full of 
achievement and variety that it is a romance. Pope eulogized, Dr. 
Johnson admired, and Thompson celebrated him. He was not only 
ready to defend his honor in the duel, but was the prisoner s friend 
and the founder of an "empire State." Sir Kobert Montgomery 
called the new colony which the gallant general founded "the most 
delightful country of the universe." Even the poet of the Seasons, 
Thompson, in his " Liberty," sang of the swarming colonists who 
sought the "gay colony of Georgia." Pie eulogized it as the calm 
retreat of undeserved distress, the better home of those whom bigots 
chased from foreign lands. It was not built on rapine, servitude, 
and woe. The very history and literature of England thus im- 
bound with this colony is almost unknown to the North. Other 
States, it seems, attracted more literary attention. 

It was this Georgia, the asylum and hope of man, and founded 
in honor, religion, and bravery, that our Senator loved. Even 
John Wesley s mother, when the high church Methodist asked her 
whether he should proceed to Georgia, said : " Had I twenty sons 
I should rejoice if they were all so employed." The very religion 



ADDRESS OF MR. COX, OF NEW YORK. 97 

of Georgia had in it a courage which does not belong to our time, 
when the voyage across the Atlantic is robbed of most of its 
terror. 

In the center and heart of this historic State, and in a county 
which bears the name of the bravest soldier that ever bore a banner 
to victory -Jasper and with the heroic and religious associations 
of its founders, young HILL was born. At an early age he followed 
his family and its fortunes to the Alabama border, near the Chat- 
tahoochee River. The town of La Grange, to which they removed, 
is the county seat of Troup. It was then, and is yet, noted for its 
love of education and its school facilities. There are many asso 
ciations in this county, and even connected with its very name, 
which might well attune a young mind to thoughts of ambition in 
the forum of law and politics. Giants were arrayed in Georgia in 
those days, and their efforts, especially about 1833, when force bills 
and nullification were rife, gave impassioned tone as well as high 
temper to political discussion. 

Doubtless the mind of young HILL took its hue from these sur 
roundings; but in a State the very name of whose counties betoken 
a lofty division of sentiment where Washington, Jackson, Jeffer 
son, Franklin, and Madison speak of the Federal Constitution, and 
Henry, Randolph, Troup, and Crawford speak of State sovereignty 
and local liberty; but where, above all, the names of Pulaski, DC 
Kalb, Morgan, and Carroll shine like primal virtues, all starry 
with our Revolutionary radiance, it could not be otherwise than 
that men of earnest thought should perceive a divided duty, and 
that great controversial acumen and power should enter the arena 
and inspire contentious oratory. 

Doubtless Senator HILL was greatly influenced in his pursuits 
and characteristics by such rare men and events as Georgia has 
produced. These names may not be as familiar to Northern ears 
now as in the days of Jackson and Calhoun, but they are still po 
tential to start a spirit in Georgia, where State pride has lost but 
little of its prestige by the result of the civil war. Read the roster 
of Georgia s forum the brilliant lights ot her bench, bar, litera 
ture, and senate : Beall, Crawford, Berrien, Mclntosh, Clayton, Col- 
quitt, Cobb, Tripp, Dawson, Forsythe, Lumpkin, Lamar, Jackson, 
7 H 



98 LIFE AND CHARACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

Shorter, Reid, Warner, Johnson, Wilde, and Baldwin, not to speak 
of men who yet survive, like her present wonderful chief magistrate, 
and his contrast in stature and mate in intellect, Robert Toombs. 

A State like this, so grand in its beginning and so splendid in its 
hundred and fifty years of prosperous history, must be proud of 
its heroes, whether fit 

For arms and warlike aruenaucc, 
Or else for wise ami civil governance, 
To learn the interdcal of princes strauge; 
To mark the intent of councils, and the change 
Of states. 

Her annals are shining with the names of De Soto, Raleigh, and 
Oglethorpe ; and the names of their successors under conditions of 
later days detract nothing from the luster of their worth and 
renown. 

To emulate the fame of Hortensius, king of the forum, Cicero 
never ceased his efforts till he ascended the throne of oratory. So 
in this unrivaled galaxy of gifted Georgians. Emulation made 
ambition reach high. From sire to sou the names of eminent 
Georgians appear again and again, showing the elevating incentives 
which enlivened and exalted this imperial State of the South. The 
gold in her hills, the silver on the cotton-pod, the sun with its 
balm, the rivers which flow from her mountains, the opulence of 
her soil, are not more Georgian and imperial than the high standard 
of those who gave Georgia to the world as a colony, preserved her 
independence of England, brought her through fire into the federa 
tion of States, and after the vicissitudes of a great civil trial rescued 
her first among the recusant States from the chaos of war. 

The Senator we meet to honor was 110 exception to the emula 
tion and exaltation of his surroundings. His natural ardors and 
ambitions thus received their stimulus and food. But the mass 
ive rnind which made the great advocate and the moral heroism 
which made the defender of individual and civil liberties these 
are of no soil; they belong to no time. They illustrate the age of 
Aristides and give a glory to the fame of Rienzi. They made 
Samuel Adams and Patrick Plenry possible, not as provincial men, 
but as enlarged and loving patriots. 



ADDRESS OF MB. COX, OF XETT YORE. 99 

He who would best portray the salient features of BENJAMIN 
HARVEY HILI, must remember that his devotion to Georgia was 
but the stepping-stone to a broader and loftier devotion to that 
Union which he loved to serve in our councils here. 

The people of New York City have not yet forgotten the ring 
ing periods of Senator HILT,, in one of her halls, as he discoursed 
of the magna charta and other precious monuments of popular lib 
erty. To his impassioned utterance his fine frame and musical 
voice gave a charm beyond the reach of art. 

His State love was, sir, after all, the golden key which unlocked 
the secrets of his grand elocution and opened the casket wherein 
were the jewels of his splendid imagery. 

When the war had ended, and his State was in the grasp of un 
principled adventurers and under the heel of an unbridled satrapy, 
and in the chaos Avrought by the war, he gave to the reconstruction 
acts his defiance, and hurled his anathemas against its spoilers. 

In 1868 he went among his people with the stride of a demi-god. 
He fired their hearts, and though surrounded by bayonets and 
threatened by bastiles, he uttered such sarcasm, scorn, and daunt 
less defiance that the satraps who outraged every canon of law and 
impulse of liberty shrank from their hateful work in the very 
midst of a conquered people. 

Since the war ended we know something of his Federal service 
and career. The gentleman from Iowa [Mr. Kasson] has truly 
given us some rare sentences of fidelity to the Union. One sen 
tence he did not quote, which I well remember: "This is our 
father s house. We have returned to it to stay ! " In hope and 
despair; in and out of his party, in his place of business, in the 
forum of his love, the bar, and outside upon the platform, the same 
iieroic altitude he illustrated to the end gave him power to combat 
the enemies of local and constitutional liberty. No weakness called 
on him for championship that he did not respond. His State was 
lifted up out of the reconstruction mire into the life and vigor of a 
new r birth under the impulses of his eloquence. He gave her beauty 
for ashes. Under his magic wand a new Atlantis such as Bacon 
loved to picture arose above the tide of desolation ; and a new 
Atlanta, with its goblin of steam and its energies, was recreated 



100 LIFE A YD CASRACTER OF BENJAMIN H. HILL. 

under the ribs of death. Matchless in his winged words and fear 
less in his consummate bravery, he stopped at no post of trust until 
he became the foremost Georgian at this Federal center; and in the 
flower of his genius he laid down his eventful life with a Christian 
resignation and devotion only next to that of the martyred Poly- 
carp. 

I doubt, Mr. Speaker, if ever man suffered in the flesh as this 
man. It would not be fitting here to describe the details of that 
mortal malady and those surgical agonies that racked him so long 
and so terribly. He perished day by day, hopelessly perishing 
with a pain which only his Christian fortitude relieved. Out of 
his torture at length came deliverance ; and in the middle of August 
last his courage yielded, but yielded only to death. 

When the great Frenchman Gambetta was agonized by his dis 
ease he cried out,-" It. is useless to dissemble. I welcome death as a 
relief." This was the end of one of Plutarchian mold; but it was 
not the end of our beloved American statesman. Amid the tender 
farewells of his wife and family, with a patience sanctified on high 
and a faith which "endured as seeing Him who is invisible," this 
more than classic hero, this gentle follower of the meek and lowly 
One, sought consolation, courage, and hope in his faith. His last 
words, as given to his pastor, and repeated by my friends from 
Virginia [Mr. Tucker] and from Texas [Mr. AVellborn], were, 
"Almost home." 

It is an illustration of the sympathy and loving kindness which 
make the comforts of home so tender and eloquent that two gentle 
men have most touchingly referred to these last words. But to me 
they have a double, almost personal, meaning. 

1 remember after the war, with a tenderness all too gentle for 
words, .the first greetings 1 received from this Senator. He was 
pleased that I had aided to defeat, by a speech based on the consti 
tutional clause as to attainder of treason, the attempt to take more 
than the life estate, i. <?., the fee-simple, which belonged to the in 
nocent children of the South. I had, he said, thought of the future 
homes of the South. That was our first bond of friendship. 

Home! best of all solaces, without whose social benignities and 
affectionate sweetness all the learning, eloquence, wit, lore, and re- 



ADDRESS OF MB. COX OF NEW YOIIK. 101 

nowu of men fade away. His own sweet home! In the midst of 
his own beloved circle, the immortal spirit looked to that home 
beyond in the mansion not made with hands. Yes! oh, yes! he 
was almost there his heavenly home where pain no longer tor 
tures, where the world has no temptation and the grave no terror, 
where, with the loved ones gone before and the loved ones to follow, 
he would join in the song of the Lamb forever! 

In conclusion : It remains for us that we should so live that we 
be neither surprised, nor leave our duties imperfect, nor our sins 
uncanceled, nor our persons unreconciled, nor God unappeased ; but 
that when we descend to our graves we may rest in the bosom of 
the Lord till the mansions be prepared, where we will sing and 
feast eternally. Amen ! Te Deum laudamus, 

This would be the language of our departed friend from his 
home above, as it is the admonition of sweet Jeremy Taylor in his 
"Holy Living and Dying." It comes from beyond the tomb. 

To the dead he sayeth, Arise! 

To the living, Follow Me ! 
And that voice still soundeth on 
From the centuries that are gone, 

To Ihe centuries that shall le. 



Mr. HAMMOND, of Georgia. As has been remarked, Mr. 
Speaker, by the gentleman from Iowa [Mr. Kasson], there were 
several gentlemen on each side of the House who were to have 
spoken to-day in memory of the late distinguished Senator, but 
who were unavoidably compelled to be absent on this occasion. 1 
ask for them, informally, the privilege of printing in the RECORD 
such remarks as they may see proper to insert in this connection. 

The SPEAKER. There is no objection to the request of the gen 
tleman from Georgia. 

The question is on agreeing to the resolutions which have been 
read. 

The resolutions were unanimously agreed to; and in pursuance 
thereof the House (at \ o clock and 50 minutes p. in.) adjourned. 







to> 






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