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Full text of "A memorial of the Hon. George Davis, born in New Hanover county, North Carolina, March 1st, 1820"

A ]S/[EMORIAL. 

OP THE 

HON. GEORGE DAVIS. 



BORN IN NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA, 
MARCH 1ST, 1820. 

DIED IN WILMINGTON, N. C, FEBRUARY 23RD, 1896. 



,i'CC. 



CI.. 



Bk.. 



THE ETHEL CARR PEACOCK 

MEMORIAL COLLECTION 

Matris amori monumentum 



TRINITY COLLEGE LIBRARY 

DURHAM, N. C. 

1903 

Gift ToTandl^Dred Peacock 




A MEMORIAL 



OF THE 



Hon. George Davis, 



Born in New Hanover County, North Carolina, 
March 1st, 1820. 



Senator from the State of Korth Carolina, in the 

Congress of the Confederate States 

of America. 



Attorney General of the Confederate States of 
S America. 



DIED IN WILMINGTON, N. C, FEBRUARY 23RD, 1896. 



Prepared and published hy direction of the Wilmington ~'^' 
Chamber of Commerce. 

1896. 






In Exchange 
Duke Univoraity 
AUG 2 9 1934 




'^-r^.^z::^ 



Wilmington, N. C. March 5th, 1896. 

At a special meeting of the Wilmington Chamber 
of Commerce called to receive the report of Messrs. 
James Sprunt, William Calder and William R. 
Kenan, a committee appointed at the last meeting 
of the Chamber "to prepare a suitable memorial and 
record " of the Honorable George Davis ; the Presi- 
dent, Mr. James H. Chadbourn, Jr., being in the 
chair, Mr. William Calder, on behalf of the said 
committee, presented and read the following : 



fSDemoriaL 



Ol^OUR committee, appointed to prepare a " suitable memorial 
^and record" of our late distinguished and venerated 
citizen, the Honorable George Davis, approached the task 
assigned them with a profound sense of their own inadequacy to 
offer anything worthy of that noble life, but with an earnest de- 
sire to add to all the true and beautiful things that have been 
said of him some memorial that would more fully set forth the 
labors and achievements of the foremost citizen of our Cape Fear 
section. 

To do this we have thought nothing could be more appropriate 
than a free use of his own writmgs and the testimony of his con- 
temporaries at the various periods of his life — what he said, what 
he wrote and what he did, obtaining thus a clearer conception 
and reminder of his high morality, his great ability and his rare 
eloquence. 

We are also moved to this course by the hope that it may in- 
spire the rising generation with a desire to study his career, and 
in a grateful people the resolve to rescue from oblivion his scat- 
tered compositions. 

Nearly fifty years ago, a gifted young orator, who had from 
boyhood held the admiration and confidence of his fellow- 
citizens of Wilmington, appeared before a large assembly in the 
old Presbyterian church on Front street, and said : 

" He who has watched the sun in its bright course through 
the firmament and seen it gradually decline until it went down 
in darkness beneath the horizon, may turn from the contempla- 
tion with no feelings of sorrow or regret, for he knows that the 
period of its absence is mercifully ordained as a season of neces- 
sary repose to him and to all, and that the morrow will restore 
its beams to revive and reanimate all nature. But if the last 



declining ray which struck upon his eyelids had brought to him 
the conviction that he had gazed for the last time upon the sun 
in the heaven — that henceforward there was to be no more rising 
nor setting, no morning nor evening, nor light, nor heat — no 
effulgent day, with all its glorious beauties and excellencies ; but 
night and darkness, unrelieved save by the twinkling stars, were 
to be the law of earth forever — with what sensations would the 
poor wanderer view that last setting of the sun ! 

" With feelings somewhat akin to those I have imagined we 
behold the death of the great and good whom we love and 
reverence. But now, they were here, with all the generous 
impulses and excelling virtues that dignify and adorn humanity 
clustering thickly around them. We rejoiced in their presence, 
we were better under their benignant influence, we were happy 
in their smiles — we felt that it was day, and looked not into the 
future. They are gone. The places of earth shall know them no 
more forever. The mysterious law which loosens the silver cord 
and breaks the pitcher at the fountain, penetrates the heart. The 
darkness and the thick night of desolation are upon us. But 
we have more than the pale rays of the twinkling stars still left 
to guide and cheer. By the light of their lofty deeds and kindly 
virtues memory gazes back into the past, and is content. By the 
light of Revelation hope looks beyond the grave into the bright 
day of immortality, and is happy. So, with the consolation of 
memory and hope, let us take the lesson of the great calamity 
which has befallen our country." 

The eloquent speaker was George Davis, and the occasion was 
an outpouring of our people to honor the memory of the illus- 
trious Henry Clay. 

Mr. Davis was born March ist, 1820, on his father's planta- 
tion at Porter's Neck, then in New Hanover, now Pender, county. 
His father was Thomas F. Davis, and his mother Sarah Isabella 
Eagles, daughter of Joseph Eagles. 

He left home at eight years of age, and attended the school of 
Mr. W. H. Hardin, at Pittsboro, after which he returned to 
Wilmington, where, upon the invitation of Governor Dudley, he 



was prepared for college by Mr. M. A. Curtis (afterwards the 
Rev. Dr. Curtis, of Hillsboro), who then acted as tutor in the 
Governor's family at his residence on the corner of Front and 
Nun streets. He matriculated at Chapel Hill in the fourteenth 
year of his age, the youngest member of his class, and graduated 
when eighteen, with the highest honors of the University. We 
have before us the time-stained pages of his valedictory address, 
the lofty sentiments of which indicate an embryotic type of true 
manhood, which steadily developed with his years. After a 
polished and scholarly address to the audience and the President 
and Faculty, in which his love for his Alma Mater was manifest, 
he concluded as follows : 

" And for us there is one consolatory thought that relieves in 
some slight degree the stinging pain and bitterness of this 
parting moment : It is the hope that we will leave behind us a 
not unremembered name — that we will still retain, though absent, 
a place in the memory of those whom we have loved with a 
brother's heart — whom we have clasped to our bosoms with 
more than fraternal affection. It is the hope that after we shall 
be no longer with you, when you tread those walks which we 
have loved, when you behold those fair scenes which used to 
gladden our eyes, some kind voice may whisper among you : 
" I wish they were here." This is our hope, this our prayer ; for 
to be thus remembered is to be blessed indeed." 

Upon Mr. Davis' return to Wilmington, immediately after his 
graduation, he began the study of law, probably in the office of 
his distinguished brother, Thomas Frederick Davis, who prac- 
ticed for a time here, but who was afterwards led to advocate 
higher and more important interests than those of a worldly 
character, and who became Bishop of South Carolina in 1853. 

Before Mr. Davis became of age, in the year 1840, he was 
licensed to practice in all the courts of law, and soon became 
a leader in his profession. Endowed with extraordinary talents, 
which he assiduously developed by close study and painstaking 
preparation, he never entered a cause without a thorough 
knowledge of its bearings. He was well versed in all depart- 



merits of the law, thoroughly equipped in general literature, and 
was a logical and forcible debater. He was held in the highest 
esteem by his fellow-members of the bar, who recognized him 
among the ablest jurists of his time. His honesty of purpose 
and fidelity to his profession distinguished him through life. 

Although a leader in this section of the Whig party, his 
ambition never led him to seek office, and throughout the forty 
years of his active professional and official life he won the calm 
respect and good opinion of all parties by his extensive legal 
acquirements, his quickness of perception, his soundness of 
understanding, and by his dignified and chivalric politeness. 

On November 17th, 1842, he married Mary A. Polk, daughter 
of Thomas G. Polk, and great grand daughter of Thomas Polk, 
one of the signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Inde- 
pendence. Mrs. Davis died 27th September, 1863. 

One of the most attractive features of his well-rounded 
character was his cultivated and refined literary taste. His essays 
are among the choicest expressions of his times, and those upon 
the history and traditions of the Cape Fear region will be oi 
priceless value to coming generations. We have already given 
the introduction of his celebrated eulogy on the life and public 
service of Henry Clay, and we shall recall by brief extracts some 
other literary gems which we trust may be gathered and publishd 
in full by his grateful and devoted people. 

On the 8th of June, 1885, he delivered an address before the 
two literary societies of Chapel Hill on " The early men and 
times of the Lower Cape Fear," some of which we will quote, 
illustrative of his delightful style of narrative, and also as giving 
some indications of the qualities of the ancestry from v/hich he 
sprung. 

A lineal descendant of the founders of the Cape Fear settle- 
ments, he had an intense love for his native section, and it is an 
irreparable misfortune that he never undertook the writing of the 
history of Eastern Carolina. That he desired to do so we are 
assured, but the exigencies of life never permitted what would 
have been to him truly a labor of love. 



In an address before the Historical and Scientific Society of 
Wilmington, on the 26th of November, 1879, entitled "A Study- 
in Colonial History," he said : 

"I have been persuaded that the civil commotion which is 
known in our historj'- as Carey's Rebellion has never been fairly 
treated; that the historians, deriving all their information from 
the Government party, and treading solely in each others foot- 
steps, have told only the story of that party, and have greatly 
misrepresented the motives, the characters and the actions of the 
men who were opposed to it. And I have desired, when time 
and opportunity should serve me, to undertake a careful exami- 
nation of the subject in the hope, if possible, to undo some of 
the wrotig of the historians. The present address is intended 
only as an introduction to that more serious work, and its object 
is to start a new train of thought and prepare the way for it. 

" The historian of the United States has complained of the 
carelessness with which the history of North Carolina has been 
written. The reproach is but too just. As Colony and State 
not yet two centuries old, the story of her infancy and early 
progress is a sealed book to the many, and to the curious few is 
more imperfectly known than that of nations which flourished 
and decayed thousands of years ago. And if this is true of the 
State at large, it is eminently so of that section of it in which I 
live. The Cape Fear country has never had a historian. Its 
public records were always meagre and barren. Its private 
records, once rich and fruitful sources of history, have become 
much mutilated and impaired in the lapse of time by accident, 
and by the division and emigration of families. Its traditions 
are perishing, and are buried daily with our dead, as the old are 
passing away. And the little which has been preserved by the 
pen of the historian is scattered through volumes, most of which 
are rare, and some of them entirely out of print. I have thought, 
therefore, that, instead of sermonizing upon themes which were 
long ago threadbare, I could not better employ my allotted hour 
than in giving you a sketch, imperfect as it may,be, of the early 
Times and Men of the Lower Cape Fear. I shall not aspire to 



lO 

the dignity of history. My time and opportunities for research 
have been too hmited, and the subject is too full for the compass 
of an ordinary address. I assume the humbler, but still pious, 
duty of connecting recorded facts, of perpetuating traditions and 
of plucking away the mosses which have gathered on the tombs 
of some of our illustrious dead. In so doing I may be accused 
of sectional pride. But I can afford to brave such a charge, for 
I feel that the motive is higher and purer ; that it springs from a 
loyal devotion to the honor of my whole State, and a sincere 
admiration for the character of her whole people, and especially 
of her good and great that arc now no more. My single desire 
is to awaken a new interest in her history by assuring you that 
you will find there her amplest vindication from the taunts and 
aspersions which are so freely flung against her. And I would 
fain hope that I need offer no apology for my subject, since I 
come to speak to North Carolinians of things that touch nearly 
the fame of the good old Stato, and the memory of her noble 
dead." 

In an address before the Literary Societies of Chapel Hill, on 
the early Times and Men of the Lower Cape Fear, he said : 

" I begin, now, my sketch with some passages from English 
history, extracting first from Hume's account of the Irish 
Rebellion of 1641 : 'There was a gentleman called Roger 
More, who, though of narrow fortune, was descended from an 
ancient Irish family, and was much celebrated among his coun- 
trymen for valor and capacity. This man first formed the project 
of expelling the English, and asserting the independency of his 
native country. He secretly went from chieftain to chieftain and 
roused up every latent principle of discontent. He maintained 
a close correspondence with Lord Maguire and Sir Phelim 
O'Neale, the most powerful of the old Irish. By conversation, 
by letters, by his emissaries, he represented to his countrymen 
the motives of a revolt,' etc. " By these considerations More 
engaged all the heads of the native Irish in the conspiracy. 

" It is not my purpose to pursue the history of this rebellion. 
It was disastrous to the Irish, and deservedly so, for they 



II 

disgraced themselves by barbarities which shock humanity. 
With these, however, it is certain that More and Maguire had 
nothing to do. For Maguire was taken in the outset of the 
revolt at the unsuccessful attack upon the Castle at Dublin, and 
was condemned and executed. And of More, Hume himself 
says : ' The generous nature of More was shocked at the recital 
of such enormous cruelties. He flew to O'Neale's camp, but 
found that his authority, which was sufficient to excite the Irish 
to insurrection, was too feeble to restrain their inhumanity. 
Soon after he abandoned a cause polluted by so many crimes, 
and he retired into Flanders.' 

" He must have been a man of no ordinary character, and justly 
entitled to the admiration of all lovers of freedom, who, though 
driven into exile and branded as a rebel and a traitor, could yet 
draw forth language like the foregoing from the apologist and 
defender of the Stuarts ! Fortunately, the world will not now 
take its definition of treason from those who bow to the Divine 
right of kings. 

" Two years later another event occurred, of minor importance 
in English history, but worthy of notice here. In 1643 the city 
of Bristol was captured by the forces of the Parliament. At that 
time Robert Yeoman or Yeamans was sheriff, or, as some say, 
an alderman of the city, and active and zealous in the service of 
the King, and after its surrender he was condemned and exe- 
cuted for his loyalty." 

It will appear hereafrer how these two events (the rebellion 
and exile of More and the execution of Yeamans, so entirely 
disconnected in history) have a very important bearing upon the 
subject of this sketch. 

" Soon after the proposals of the Proprietors were first 
published some gentlemen of Barbadoes, dissatisfied with their 
condition, and tempted by the liberal offers which those propo- 
sals held out, in September, 1663, dispatched a vessel under 
command of Captain Hilton to reconnoitre the country along 
the Cape Fear river. They explored both branches of the river 
for many miles, and it is remarkable that two noted places. 



12 

named by them Stag Park and Rocky Point, are so called and 
known at this day. Returning to Barbadoes in February, 1664, 
they published an agreeable account of their voyage and of the 
country which they had been sent to examine. Among the 
planters who had litted out this expedition was John Yeamans, 
eldest son of Robert Yeamans, the sheriff of Bristol, who had 
been hanged at the taking of that city in 1643 He had emi- 
grated to Barbadoes with the view of mending his fortunes, and 
being pleased with the report of the expedition, he determined 
to remove to Carolina, lie went to England to negotiate with 
the Proprietors, and received from them a grant of large tracts 
of land, and at the same time he was knighted by the King in 
reward for the loyalty and misfortunes of his family. Returning 
from England, in the autumn of 1665, he led a band of colonists 
from Barbadoes to the Cape Fear, and, induced by the traces of 
civilization which were left by the New England colony, he 
pitched upon the spot they had inhabited, and purchasing from 
the Indians a tract of land thirty-two miles square, he laid the 
foundations of a town which he called Charlestown, in honor of 
the reigning monarch. Martin and Bancroft declare that the 
site of the town is still a matter of uncertainty; but the doubt is 
only with the historians. Tradition has fixed the spot beyond 
dispute. It is on the north side of Old Town Creek, at its 
junction with the river, nine miles below Wilmington. 

" In the last decade of the seventeenth century a name 
appeared in the history of South Carolina, destined soon to be 
distinguished there, and near a century later to become still more 
illustrious in tlie annals of the Cape F'ear. The head of this 
family was James More, the descendant, and it is believed the 
grandson, of Roger More, who led the Irish Rebellion in 1641. 
In the wreck of his family and fortunes he, too, like so many 
others, had looked towards the setting sun, and fixed his eyes 
upon the ' summer land ' of Carolina. He had inherited all the 
rebellious blood of his grandsire — his love of freedom, his 
generous ambition, and his bold and turbulent spirit. He soon 
acquired great influence in the Province, and upon the death of 



13 

Governor Blake, in 1700, he was elected Governor by the 
deputies of the Proprietors. 

" This Governor, James Moore, married the daughter of Sir 
John Yeamans ; and thus, by a singular fortune, these families, 
which had suffered from such opposite causes in the old world, 
became united in the new ; and the blood of Robert Yeamans 
and of Roger More mingled in North Carolina to breed some of 
the noblest champions of her freedom, and the pioneers of 
permanent civilization upon the Cape Fear." 

From this union of the Yeamans and the Mores, offspring on 
the one side of the martyred adherent of the rights of kings, 
and on the other of the ardent rebel exiled from a country he 
could not free, Mr. Davis was a lineal descendant, and we may 
well believe that in him were united all the worthiest attributes 
of each line of his sturdy ancestry —love of liberty tempered by 
respect for law and prestige, sound conservatism subservient to 
a lofty patriotism, and all directed and inspired by the rare genius 
of his own God-given soul. 

Another address which has been widely quoted was prepared 
for a charitable object and delivered before a large audience in 
Thalian Hall. It was printed afterwards in the Soul//. Atldjiilc 
Matjaziiw. of this place, January, 1879, ^"*^ ''s entitled "An 
Episode in Cape Fear History." 

In it occurs this notable passage, which we may call the 
apotheosis of the slaveholder : 

" Yeamans returned to Barbadoes, and in the autumn of that 
year, as we have seen, led his colony to the Cape Fear. He 
governed there for five years with gentleness, humanity and 
prudence, and then returned to Barbadoes. In 167 1 he was 
appointed a Landgrave of Carolina, with a grant of 12,000 acres 
of land, to be located at his pleasure And in the same year he 
went to settle a plantation on the Ashley river, in South Carolina, 
where a colony under Governor Sayle had landed the year 
before. This seems to be a simple announcement of a very com- 
monplace fact ; but it was the littb cloud no bigger than a man's 
hand. It was the most portentous event of all our early history. 



14 

For he carried with him from Barbadoes his negro slaves ; and 
that was the first introduction of African slavery in Carolina. 
(Bancroft, 2,170; Rivers, 169) 

" If as he sat by the camp fire in that lonely Southern wilder- 
ness, he could have gazed with prophetic vision down the vista 
of two hundred years, and seen the stormy and tragic end of 
that of which he was then so quietly organizing the beginning, 
must he not have exclaimed with Ophelia, as she beheld the 
wreck of her heart's young love — 

" ' O, woe is me ! To have seen what I have seen, see what 
I see ! ' 

" Slavery is in the grave, and nothing can disturb its eternal 
rest. I would not, if I could, raise it from the dead. The slave 
is free. God speed him in his freedom, and make him worthy 
of it. The slaveholder has passed into history at the cannon's 
mouth. His future life must be there, and there he will live 
forever. He did the State some service. Was great in council 
and in action, clear in honor and in truth, and always a man 
wherever true manhood was wanted. He knew how to compel 
the love of friends and the respect of enemies, and how to build 
his proudest monument in his country's greatness. But there 
are those who never loved him, and whose fashion still it is to 
make him the embodiment of evil, the moral scarecrow of the 
times True, he ended well. True, that as he stood and died 
by his hearthstone, fighting, as he believed, for God and country, 
he was something for men and gods to behold. But what is that 
to them? They desire to see nothing but his humiliation, and 
to their distorted vision Belisarius, blind and begging at the 
Roman gates, was not half so poor a sight. They cannot forgive 
him for having been great, and they delight to howl the death- 
song of his greatness. They trample on its grave. They cover 
it with curses, and Pelion upon Ossa they pile their offal upon it. 
And they think that they have buried it out of their sight 
forever. And do they think that the spirit which brought this 
Republic out of chaos, and directed it for the fifty years of its 
truest greatness and purity, can be annihilated by a proclama- 



15 

tion ? And do they believe that Washington and Jefferson, and 
Jackson and Clay, and Stonewall and Lee, and all the long roll 
of our heroes and patriots and statesmen, are but dead names, 
pale ghosts that can but squeak and gibber at their fallen great- 
ness ? That they have left no livmg memories in their children's 
hearts, no sacred seed that can once more bourgeon and bloom 
for our country's honor ? Oh, no ! That spirit is not dead. It 
will rise again. Not in the old likeness, for old things have 
passed away. But transformed and quickened into a new life. 
Once more it will make itself a name for the nation to sound. 
Once again it will step to the front and pass first in fight as it 
was wont to do whenever great opinions arc clashing, or a 
great cause imperilled. Once again to the front, whenever and 
wherever freedom's battle is to be fought. Once again to the 
front, no more to contend with brethren in arms, but only in the 
generous strife for the glory and honor of a common country." 

And again, this description of Cape Fear : 

" Looking, then, to the Cape for the idea and reason of its 
name, we find that it is the southermost point of Smith's Island, 
a naked, bleak elbow of sand, jutting far out into the ocean. 
Immediately in its front are the Frying Pan Shoals, pushing out 
still further twenty miles to sea. Together they stand for 
warning and for woe, and together they catch the long, majestic 
roll of the Atlantic as it sweeps through a thousand miles of 
grandeur and power from the Arctic towards the Gulf. It is 
the play-ground of billows and tempests, the kingdom of silence 
and awe, disturbed by no sound save the sea-gull's shriek and 
the breaker's roar. Its whole aspect is suggestive, not of repose 
and beauty, but of desolation and terror. Imagination cannot 
adorn it. Romance cannot hallow it. Local pride cannot 
soften it. There it stands today, bleak, and threatening, and 
pitiless, as it stood three hundred years ago, when Greenville 
and White came nigh unto death upon its sands. And there it 
will stand, bleak, and threatening, and pitiless, until the earth and 
the sea shall give up their dead. And as its nature, so its name 
is now, always has been, and always will be, the Cape of Fear." 



i6 

In May, 1856, Mr. Davis was invited by the Board of Trus- 
tees of Grecnsborough Fern ile College to address the Literary 
Societies of that celebrated Institution, and his speech on this 
occasion, the publication of which was not anticipated by its 
author, has been regarded by many as one of the best efforts of 
his life. 

In that address occurs the following passage : 

" A rich and well stored mind is the only true philosopher's 
stone, extracting pure gold from all the base material around. 
It can create its own beauty, wealth, power, happiness. It has 
no dreary solitudes. The past ages are its possession, and the 
long line of the illustrious dead are all its friends. Whatever 
the world has seen of brave and noble, beautiful and good, it can 
command. It mingles in all the grand and solemn scenes of 
history, and is an actor in every great and stirring event. It is 
by the side of Bayard as he stands alone upon the bridge and 
saves the army ; it weeps over the true heart of chivalry, the 
gallant Sidney, as with dying hand he puts away the cup from 
his parched and fevered lips. It leaps into the yawning gulf 
with Curtius ; follows the white plume of Navarre at Ivry ; rides 
to Chalgrove field with Hampden ; mounts the scaffold with 
Russell, and catches the dying prayer of the noble Sir Harry 
Vane. It fights for glory at the Granicus, for fame at Agincourt, 
for empire at Waterloo, for power on the Ganges, for religion in 
Palestine, for country at Thermopylae, and for freedom at 
Bunker Hill. It marches with Alexander, reigns with Augustus, 
sings with Homer, teaches with Phito, pleads with Demosthenes, 
loves with Petrarch, is imprisoned with Paul, suffers with 
Stephen, and dies with Christ. It feels no tyranny and knows 
no subjection. Misfortunes cannot subdue it, power caimot 
crush it, unjust laws cannot oppress it. Ever steady, faithful 
and true, shining by night as by day, it abides with you always 
and everywhere." 

In 1 86 1 the shadow of a great national calamity appeared — 
the whole country was convulsed with conflicting emotions. 
The political leaders of North Carolina were divided upon the 



17 

issue. Mr. Davis loved the Union, and steadfastly counseled 
moderation. His appointment by Governor Ellis as a member 
of the Peace Commission, to which further reference is made, 
created a feeling of absolute confidence in the minds of the 
conservative citizens. 

The desire of the people of North Carolina was to see peace 
maintained whether the Union was preserved or not, and for this 
purpose the Legislature on January 26, 1861, appointed Commis- 
sioners to conventions to be held at Montgomery, Richmond and 
Washington City. These Commissioners were Hon. Judge 
Ruffin, Hon. D. M. Barringer, Hon. David S. Reid, Hon. John M. 
Morehead, Hon. D. L. Swain, J. R. Bridgers, M. W. Ransom 
and George Davis, Esqrs. Mr. Davis went to Washington City 
as a member of the Peace Congress which assembled on 
February 4, 1H61. The moral weight of the position, and the 
character of the gentlemen then and there assembled, gave to the 
significance of the occasion portentous aspects. The Congress 
sat with closed doors, ex-President Tyler was elected President, 
and on taking the chair made one of the most eloquent and 
patriotic speeches ever heard. This Conference was in session 
until February 27th, i86r, when Mr. Davis telegraphed: "The 
Convention has just adjourned sine die, after passing seven 
articles of the Report of the Committee, much weakened. The 
territorial articles passed by a majority of one vote. North 
Carolina and Virginia voted against every article but one." 

It is difficult for those of us who remember only the intense 
unanimity of the Southern people after the war was fairly 
inaugurated, to realize how in those previous troublous days the 
minds of men were perplexed by doubts. Up to this time the 
Union sentiment in North Carolina had been in the ascendant. 
The people waited upon the result of this Congress, and in this 
section especially was the decision of many reserved until Mr. 
Davis should declare his final convictions. His announcement 
of them marked an epoch in his life, and in that of countless 
others, for weal or woe. 

Immediately upon his return home, the following correspond- 
ence took place : 



i8 

Wilmington, 2d March, j86i. 

Dear Sir : — Your friends and fellow citizens are exceedingly 
anxious to hear from you with reference to the proceedings of 
the ** Peace Congress," and to have your opinion as to their 
probable effect in settling the distracting questions of the day. 

Will you be kind enough to give them a public address at 
such time as may suit your convenience ? 

Respectfully yours, 

James H. Dickson, 
Robert H. Cowan, 
D. A. Lamont, 
Thomas Miller, 
Donald MacRae, 
Robert G. Rankin, 
James H. Chadbourn, 
A. H. VanBokkelen, 
O. G. Parsley, 
To George Davis. Esq. 



Wilmington, 2d March, 1861. 

Gentlemen : — Being under the necessity of leaving home 
to-morrow, I will comply with the request of my fellow-citizens, 
as intimated in your note, by addressing theni at such hour and 
place this evening as you may appoint. 

Respectfully yours, 

Geo. Davis. 
To Dr. Jas. H. Dickson, and others. 



The newspaper reports of the public meeting, and of Mr. 
Davis' powerful speech which followed, do not convey to our 
minds the overwhelming sensations of those who listened to this 
masterpiece of oratory. Mr, Davis was obliged to close before 
he had finished his address. The people were profoundly 



19 

moved, the hearts of all were deeply stirred. Many left the hall 
while he was speaking, for they could not restrain their emotion. 

The Dally Journal of March 4, 1861, says: "In accord- 
ance with the general desire, George Davis, Esq., addressed his 
fellow- citizens on last Saturday, March 2d, at the Thalian Hall 
in reference to the proceedings of the late Peace Congress, of 
which he was a member, giving his opinion as to the probable 
effect of such proceedings in settling the distracting questions of 
the day. Although the notice was very brief, having only 
appeared at mid-day in the town papers, the Hall was densely 
crowded by an eager and attentive audience, among whom were 
many ladies." The report of the speech is very full, and deals 
with all the vital questions which were discussed at the Peace 
Congress. Mr. Davis said that " he shrunk from no criticism 
upon his course, but, indeed, invited and sought for it the most 
rigid examination. He had endeavored to discharge the duties 
of the trust reposed in him faithfully, manfully and conscien- 
tiously, and whatever might be thought of his policy, he felt 
that he had a right to demand the highest respect for the motives 
which actuated him in pursuing that policy." Referring to his 
own previous position, what he believed to be the position of the 
State, the course of the Legislature in appointing Commissioners, 
and the objections to the action of the " Peace Congress," Mr. 
Davis said he had gone to the " Peace Congress " to exhaust 
every honorable means to obtain a fair, an honorable and a final 
settlement of existing difficulties. He had done so to the best 
of his abilities, and had been unsuccessful, for he could never 
accept the plan adopted by the " Peace Congress " as consistent 
with the right, the interests or the dignity of North Carolina. 

Mr. Davis concluded by "emphatically declaring that the 
South could never — never obtain any better or more satisfactory- 
terms while she remained in the Union, and for his part he could 
never assent to the terms contained in this report of the " Peace 
Congress " as in accordance with the honor or the interests of 
the South." 

When Mr. Davis had concluded Hon. S, J. Person moved 



20 

that the thanks of the meeting be tendered to Mr. Davis for the 
able, manly and patriotic manner in which he had discharged the 
duties of his position as a Commissioner from North CaroHna. 
The motion was enthusiastically carried. 

On June i8, 1861, Mr. Davis and Mr. W. W. Avery were 
elected Senators for the State of North Corolina to the Confed- 
erate Congress. In alluding to his election the Journal, the 
organ in this section of the Democratic party, says : 

" Mr. Davis in old party times was an ardent and consistent 
member of the opposition, and was opposed to a severance from 
the North, until he felt satisfied by the result of the Peace 
Conference that all peaceful means had been exhausted." 

In 1862 he, with W. T. Dortch, was again elected Senator by 
the Legislature. 

In January, 1864, he was appointed by President Davis 
Attorney General in his Cabinet. The commission bears date 
4th January, 1864. 

The high esteem in which Mr. George Davis was held by his 
devoted chief is attested in the following letters addressed by 
the Confederate President to his faithful Attorney General after 
the evacuation of Richmond : 

Charlotte, N. C, 25th April, 1865. 
Hon, Geo. Davis, C. S. Attorney General : 

3fy Dear Sir : — I have no hesitation in expressing to you my 
opinion that there is no obligation of honor which requires you, 
under existing circumstances, to retain your present office. It 
is gratifying to me to be assured that you are willing, at any 
personal sacrifice, to share my fortunes when they are least 
promising, and that you only desire to know whether you can 
aid me in this perilous hour to overcome surrounding difficulties 
It is due to such generous friendship that I should candidly say 
to you that it is not probable that for some time to come your 
services will be needful. 

It is with sincere regret that I look forward to being separated 
from you. Your advice has been to me both useful and cheer- 



21 

ing. The Christian spirit which has ever pervaded your sugges- 
tions, not less than the patriotism which has marked your 
conduct, will be remembered by me when in future trials I may 
have need for both. 

Should you decide (my condition having become rather that 
of a soldier than a civil magistrate) to retire from my Cabinet, 
my sincere wishes for your welfare and happiness will follow 
you ; and I trust a merciful Providence may have better days in 
store for the Confederacy, and that we may licreafter meet, when, 
our country's independence being secured, it will be sweet to 
remember how we have suffered together in the time of her 
sorest trial. 

Very respectfully and truly, your friend, 

Jefferson Davis. 



Charlotte, N. C, April 26, 1865. 
Hon. Georce Davis, Attorney General : 

My Dear Sir : — Your letter dated yesterday, tendering your 
resignation has been received. While I regret the causes which 
compel you to this course, I am well assured that your conduct 
now, as heretofore, is governed by the highest and most honor- 
able motives. In accepting your resignation, as I feel constrained 
to do, allow me to thank you for the important assistance you 
have rendered in the administration of the Government, and for 
the patriotic zeal and acknowledged ability with which you have 
discharged your trust. 

Accept my thanks, also, for your expressions of personal 
regard and esteem, and the assurance that those feelings are 
warmly reciprocated by me. 

With the hope that the blessings of Heaven may attend you 
and yours, 

I am, most cordially, your friend, 

Jefferson Davis. 



This affectionate regard for the beloved leader of the Cape 
Fear has been the subject of repeated conversations in late years 



22 

between a member of your committee and the distinguished lady 
who still bears the honored name of Jefferson Davis, and who was 
ever faithful and true to him and to the people whom he loved. 

Upon the receipt of the sad intelligence of his death, she 
writes from a sick bed the following tender and sympathetic 
lines : 

" I am able to sit up a little, and regret that I am not strong 
enough to say as much about dear Mr. George Davis as my 
heart dictates. 

" He was one of the most exquisitely proportioned of men. 
His mind dominated his body, but his heart drew him near to 
all that was honorable and tender, as well as patriotic and faithful, 
in mankind. He was never dismayed by defeat, but never 
protested. When the enemy was at the gates of Richmond he 
was fully sensible of our peril, but calm in the hope of repelling 
them, and if this failed, certain of his power and will to endure 
whatever ills had been reserved for him. 

" His literary tastes were diverse and catholic, and his anxious 
mind found relaxation in studying the literary confidences of 
others in a greater degree than I have ever known any other 
public man except Mr. Benjamin. Upon being asked one day 
how he was, he answered : ' I am very much comforted and 
rested by Professor Holcombe's Literature in Letters,' which was 
one of the few new books which came out during the Confed- 
eracy. One of the few hard things I ever heard him say was 
when some one asked him if he had read Swinburne's Laus 
Veneris, and added, ' You know it is printed on wrapping 
paper and bound in wall paper.' Mr. Davis answered : * I 
have never thought wall paper wholesome, and am sorry to 
know there was enough wrapping paper on which to print it.' 

" He was fond of tracing the construction of languages, and the 
varients from one root were a favorite subject of conversation 
with him. 

" When he fell in love and married a charming woman, the 
whole of Richmond rejoiced with him, and expressed no doubts 
of the happiness of either. Mr. Davis' public life was as 



23 

irreproachable as his private course. Once when my husband 
came home wearied with the divergence of opinions in his 
Cabinet, he said : ' Davis does not always agree with me, but I 
generally find he was right at last.' 

" I cannot, of course, tell you about his political opinions, 
except that he was one of the strictest construers of the Consti- 
tution, and firmly believed in its final triumph over all obstacles 
to freedom. 

" My husband felt for him the most sincere friendship, as well 
as confidence and esteem, and I think there was never the 
slightest shadow intervened between them. 

" I mourn with you over our loss, which none who knew him 
can doubt was his gain." 

Following his arrest at the close of the war, the late Attorney 
General was imprisoned for some months in Fort Hamilton, 
sharing to that extent the vicarious sufferings of his chief, and 
was finally released upon parole not to leave the State of North 
Carolina. 

During this period Mr. Davis' second marriage was celebrated 
in Weldon, on the 9th of May, 1866, to Monimia Fairfax, 
daughter of Dr. Orlando Fairfax, of Richmond, Va. (Mrs. 
Davis died 27th July, 1889.) 

At this time earnest solicitations were made, and flattering 
inducements offered to Mr. Davis to remove to a Northern State, 
and practice his profession in a more extended field. Doubtless 
such a step would have inured greatly to his worldly advantage, 
but he resisted all the allurements, and declared his intention to 
live among his own people, and share the fate of those whom 
he loved and who had shown him indubitable proof of their 
affection for him. 

On the evening of the 3d of November, 1876, during the 
Tilden- Vance campaign, Mr. Davis delivered in the opera house, 
which was filled to its capacity, a speech of great eloquence and 
power, upon the political issues of the day, which was reported 
for the Morning Star newspaper, in its issue of the 4th of 
November, and editorially referred to as follows : 



24 

" The speech to which we listened is a very memorable one. 
It will long abide with us as one of those felicitous, rounded, 
finished efforts of a highly endowed and noble intellect that will 
be *a memory and a joy forever.' We have pigeon-holed that 
great speech in the escritoire of our own mind, where we have 
stored but few of the productions of the men of our generation. 

" As a composition the effort of Mr. Davis was very admirable. 
There was humor, there was sarcasm, there was an exquisite 
irony, there were flashes of wit, there was an outburst of corro- 
sive scorn and indignation that were wonderfully artistic and 
effective. At times a felicity of illustration would arrest your 
attention, and a grand outburst of high and ennobling eloquence 
would thrill you with the most pleasurable emotion. The taste 
was exceedingly fine, and from beginning to end the workings 
of a highly cultured, refined, graceful and elegant mind was 
manifest. 

" There were passages delivered with high dramatic art that 
would have electrified any audience on earth. If that speech 
had been delivered before an Athenian audience in the days of 
Pericles, or in Rome when Cicero thundered forth his burning 
and sonorous eloquence, or in Westminster Hall, with Burke, 
and Fox and Sheridan among his auditors, he would have 
received their loudest acclaims, and his fame would have gone 
down the ages as one of those rarely gifted men who knew well 
how to use his native speech, and to play with the touch of a 
master on that grand instrument, the human heart. We feel 
confident that no man of taste, culture and intelligence who 
heard Mr. Davis will charge us with undue enthusiasm or exces- 
sive laudation. It was unquestionably the matured production 
of an exceedingly gifted mind, and produced the happiest effect 
upon a large and highly interested audience. 

" And now, with this general statement of our impressions, 
how shall we attempt to reproduce even a meagre abstract of so 
able and imposing an effort ? We could refer at length, if oppor- 
tunity allowed, to the scheme of his argument, to his magnificent 
peroration, in which passion and imagination swept the audience 



25 

and led them captive at the will of the magician ; to the exqui- 
sitely apposite illustrations, now quaint and humorous, and then 
delicate and pathetic, drawn with admirable art from history and 
poetry and the sacred Truth — to these and other points we might 
refer, but it would be in vain. How can words, empty words, 
reproduce the glowing eloquence and entrancing power of the 
human voice, when that voice is one while soft as Apollo's lute, 
or resonant as the blast of a bugle under the influence of deep 
passion ? How can the pen convey to others the sweet melody 
of harp or viol, or how can human language bring back a for- 
gotten strain, or convey an exact impression that is made by the 
tongue of fire when burdened with a majestic eloquence." 

On the 31st of March, 1880, Mr. Davis and Judge Thomas 
Ruffin were selected by the Commissioners named in the Act of 
the General Assembly authorizing the sale of the Western North 
Carolina Rail Road to W. J. Best and associates, to act as 
counsel for the State, and to prepare the deed and contract. 

For their distinguished services in this matter, which are well 
known, he and Judge Ruffin lefused to accept any compensation. 

In January, 1878, Governor Vance offered Mr. Davis the Chief 
Justiceship of the Supreme Court, made vacant by the death of 
Chief Justice Pearson, which was declined for reasons shown in 
the Bnlcigh Observer newspaper of December 22d, 1877, as 
follows : 

HON. GEORGE DAVIS. 

" As was natural, when the time came to look around for men 
to put upon the highest judicial tribunal in the State, and people 
everywhere began to seek out the ablest and the best, the people 
of North Carolina instinctively, and, we may say, almost with 
one consent, cast their eyes upon Mr. George Davis, of 
Wilmington. As pure as he is able, and as able as he is true 
and devoted to the land that gave him birth. North Carolina 
never had a more worthy, a more brilliant or more devoted son 
than he, nor one better fitted in all the qualities of head and 
heart for the high position to which people everywhere had 
expected him soon to be called. It is with unfeigned regret, 
therefore, that we publish the following letter to a gentleman in 



26 

this city announcing Mr. Davis' purpose not to allow his name 
to be used in connection with the nomination for the Supreme 
Court bench, and giving his reasons therefor : 

Wilmington, N. C, December 20, 1877. 

My Dear Sir: — You will remember that in a personal inter- 
view some time ago you desired to be informed whether I would 
accept a nomination for the Supreme Court bench, and were 
kind enough to intimate that you believed the Democratic party 
would tender me the nomination if I desired it. I replied that 
it was not a thing to be determined lightly or hastily ; that I 
would give it a deliberate and serious consideration, and at the 
proper time would communicate to you my decision. 

In my judgment that time has now arrived. The subject has 
of late been urged upon me so frequently, and from so many 
different quarters, that silence is no longer proper, if even 
possible. 

No man can hold in higher estimation than I do the dignity 
of such a position. To fill it worthily would be the highest 
reach of my ambition. And even to be esteemed worthy of it 
by any considerable portion of the bar and people of North 
Carolina is an honor which touches me profoundly. 

But in this thing, as in so many others, I am obedient to 
necessity. I cannot live upon the salary. And barely to live is 
not all my need. One of my first duties in life now is to 
endeavor to make some provision for the little children that have 
come to me in my age. At the bar such an expectation may 
not be unreasonable when better times shall come. But upon 
the bench I should be compelled to abandon such a hope 
forever. 

I must therefore decline to permit my name to go before the 
Convention of the Democratic party in connection with such a 
nomination. 

You are at liberty to make such use of this letter as you may 
think proper. 

Very truly, your friend, 

Geo. Davis. 



27 

We also present a few of the letters written to Mr. Davis with 
special reference to this subject : 

Raleigh, N. C, 14th January, 1878. 

3Iy Dear Sir : — Want of time only has prevented me from 
writing to congratulate you, not upon the tender of the Chief 
Justiceship, but upon the universal manifestation of the opinion 
that you were the first man in the State to whom it ought to be 
tendered, and that your acceptance of the place would satisfy 
every demand, and silence every claim in regard to the appoint- 
ment. I do not think your friends, especially personal friends, 
I mean, here, can take any credit to themselves for Governor 
Vance's action — certainly I cannot. He approached me, and not 
I him, having come to my office for the purpose. He said that 
from the time the death of Chief Justice Pearson was announced 
to him, he being then at Charlotte, until the time of speaking, 
and all along the road whenever the matter was referred to, the 
universal expression was that you were the person to whom the 
people were looking to be made Chief Justice. The Governor 
said, aside from his desire to meet the expectation of the people, 
and to make a good appointment, there were considerations 
personal to himself which caused him to desire your acceptance 
of the position ; and it would relieve him from embarrassment 
in choosing from other gentlemen who might desire the place. 
Your appointment, he was satisfied, would not give offence to 
any aspirant not appointed. -^ -st * * * -x- 

I doubt if a Chief Justiceship was ever before tendered to 
any one so exclusively for the reason that personal fitness and 
popular demand concurred in dictating it. Nor were the per- 
sonal considerations that influenced the Governor less compli- 
mentary to yourself; as, but for the other considerations moving 
him to the appointment, you would not have been available to 
relieve him from embarrassment. For to relieve that embarrass- 
ment it was needed the new Chief Justice should hefadU princeps. 

^- * ->t ■/: * * * ^r * ^t 

I have availed myself of the first opportunity to write to you 



28 

and say what you were entitled to know, though I was not at 

liberty to use my information in a public way. 

And so, with the best wishes for you and yours, now and 

ever, I am, 

Very respectfully, 

W. L. Saunders. 
Hon. Geo. Davis, Wilmington, N. C. 



North Carolina, Executive Department, 

Raleigh, N. C, January 24th, 1878. 

Hon. Geo. Davis, Wilmington, N. C. : 

Dear Sir : — I am in receipt of your letter in regard to the 
Chief Justiceship, and although it doe? not call specially for a 
reply, I cannot forbear making a brief response. 

I desire to avail myself of this opportunity to say to you, in 
person, what I have often said and always thought in your 
absence, that you are one of the men who have steadily pursued 
principle for its own sake, spurning alike the temptations of 
office and the lures of ambition when they came not strictly 
within the utmost requirements of dignity and manly honor. 
As such there has come to me, as the result of my position, no 
greater happiness than the ability to testify my appreciation of 
your character and worth, and of the great service your example 
has been in shaping and toning the political ethics of our society. 
In attempting to honor you by the bestowment of that great 
office I have also attempted to show what is my own sense of 
State honor, as well as to give expression to the general voice of 
our people. In this respect I was happy in the belief that I 
could not err as between you and the distinguished gentleman 
who was finally chosen. 

Earnestly hoping that you may not be disappointed in the 
attainment of those ends for the sake of which you declined the 
Chief Justiceship, and with my best wishes for your prosperity 
and happiness, I am, dear sir, as ever since first I saw your face 
in your own home in December, 1854, I have been. 
Your friend and obedient servant, 

Z. B. Vance. 



29 

One of Mr. Davis' most beautiful compositions was dictated 
to an amenuensis a few weeks before his death, and while he was 
disabled by paralysis. It was a memorial of the life and work 
of the late W. T. Walters, of Baltimore, President of the Atlantic 
Coast Line. The occasion was Mr. Davis' last appearance in 
public, at the annual meeting of the Wilmington and Weldon 
Rail Road Company, during which resolutions of respect and 
honor to the memory of the original projector of the Atlantic 
Coast Line system were adopted. 

Mr. Davis was counsel for the Wilmington, Columbia and 
Augusta Rail Road Company, formerly the Wilmington and 
Manchester Rail Road Company, from the date of its existence 
up to his death. 

Upon the death of Mr. William A. Wright, he succeeded him 
as counsel for the Wilmington and Weldon Rail Road Company. 

During a recent interview the Executive of both railroads. 
President Warren G. Elliott, said to one of your Committee, and 
with evident great feeling : 

" My admiration of Mr. George Davis was unbounded. Your 
request that I should add to the memorial of his life which you 
are preparing on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce a few 
lines on the character of this good man, is one that I cannot well 
resist, while any effort on my part to do justice to the occasion 
will necessarily fall far short of the mark. 

" FTaving known Mr. Davis personally for only a few years (for 
I first met him after his face was turned to the setting sun, and 
his feet were on the decline of the road), I must leave to others 
the pleasant ta.sk of recording their personal recollections of his 
earlier career, and confine myself to the impressions made upon 
me by a close personal acquaintance during the declining years 
of his beautiful and exemplary life. 

" It was my good fortune, in the discharge of my official duties, 
to have the benefit of his advice and counsel, and if ever a 
difficult or doubtful question arose it was always solved by him 
on the side of truth and justice. 

" Mr. Davis gave to us a splendid illustration of every manly 



30 

and noble virtue. He was a good man, a just man, a strong 
man ; a patriotic citizen, full of love and affection for his native 
State ; a lovable, companionable friond ; affectionate and tender 
in his domestic relations ; a brave and fearless man, with a love 
for the right and a scorn for the wrong ; chivalrous and honor- 
able, a true and genuine type of the Olden School— the type that 
never had its superior, and that never will. 

" It is almost a useless task that we should undertake to place 
on record any memorial of Mr. Davis as a lawyer. His name 
and his fame will be handed down from generation to generation. 
The recognized head of his noble profession in this State, no 
future historian can ever truthfully record the great deeds of the 
best and ablest sons of this noble old Commonwealth without 
paying tribute to George Davis of New Hanover as an honor to 
his profession, and as a lawyer of the highest eminence and 
purest type. He was indeed a skillful lawyer, a wise counsellor, 
able, strong and vigorous. Appreciated by all as a leader in his 
profession, he has bequeathed to the younger members of the 
Bar an example that they should love to follow and to reverence ; 
a legacy to all of them of inestimable value, for his life was a 
lofty ideal, a standard to be lived up to, and worthy to be 
followed. 

" He has laid down his armor when the tide was at its ebb, 
after having enjoyed during a long and eventful life the greatest 
riches that this world can bestow— the genuine love, reverence, 
respect and admiration of his fellow-men — with his integrity 
unstained, and without a whisper of detraction against his 
motives, his character or his purposes ; and the Christian grace 
and dignity with which he met the final summons was but the 
crowning glory of an honorable and exemplary career on this 
earth." 



The last appearance of Mr. Davis before a general audience 
was at the mass-meeting in the Opera House, in 1889, to do 
honor to the memory of ex-President Davis. He was already 



31 

in feeble health, and unequal to an oration, but the tenderness 
and sweetness of his personal reminiscences, as he presented the 
side of his friend's character that was least known to the world, 
will abide in the memory of those who heard him, like the 
lingering fragrance of flowers that have faded and passed away. 
In the concluding passage, in which he spoke of the President's 
religious faith, he unconsciously reflected his own simple and 
abiding trust in God ; and we can find no words which more 
fittingly describe the Christian life of our Mr. Davis, than those 
that he uttered of his dead chieftain : 

" He was a high-souled, true-hearted Christian gentleman. 
And if our poor humanity has any higher form than that, I know 
not what it is. His great and active intellect never exercised 
itself with questioning the being of God, or the truth of His 
revelations to man. He never thought it wise or smart to 
scoff at mysteries which he could not understand. He never was 
daring enough to measure infinite power and goodness by the 
poor, narrow gauge of a limited, crippled human intellect. 
Where he understood, he admired, worshipped, adored. Where 
he could not understand, he rested unquestioningly upon a faith 
that was as the faith of a little child — a faith that never wavered, 
and that made him look always undoubtingly, fearlessly, through 
life, through death, to life again." 

In that address also occurs the following passage, which is 
worthy of all preservation as the declaration of one of com- 
manding intellect and wide experience, after he had reached the 
limit of three-score years and ten, as to what attribute he con- 
sidered of the highest value in human character: 

" My public life was long since over ; my ambition went down 
with the banner of the South, and, like it, never rose again. I 
have had abundant time in all these quiet years, and it has been 
my favorite occupation, to review the occurrences of that time, 
and recall over the history of that tremendous struggle ; to 
remember with love and admiration the great men who bore their 
parts in its events. 

" I have often thought what was it that the Southern people 



32 

had to be most proud of in all the proud things of their record ? 
Not the achievements of our arms ! No man is more proud of 
them than I; no man rejoices more in Manassas, Chancellors - 
ville and in Richmond ; but all nations have had their victories. 
There is something, I think, better than that, and it was this, 
that through all the bitterness of that time, and throughout all 
the heat of that fierce contest, Jefferson Davis and Robert E. 
Lee never spoke a word, never wrote a line that the whole neutral 
world did not accept as the very indisputable truth. Aye, truth 
was the guiding star of both of them, and that is a grand thing 
to remember; upon that my memory rests more proudly than 
upon anything else. It is a monument better thin marble, more 
durable than brass. Teach it to your children, that they may be 
proud to remember Jefferson Davis." 



As we contemplate the lofty qualities of the noble man who 
has been taken from our community and Commonwealth, we 
cannot repress the sigh of regret that such greatness is no more. 
The soaring thought, the brilliant imagination, the balanced 
judgment, the profound learning, we do not expect to see every 
day, nor in every generation. The stainless honor, the broad 
patriotism, the noble disinterestedness of his public service, are 
unhappily too little seen in our public men. But it is surely not 
too much to hope that the example of his blameless life will not 
be lost upon the people among whom he lived so long, and so 
honorably. 

How well he exemplified in his own career the beautiful 
message, which he brought in his early years to those just 
entering upon the duties of life : 

" Rather be yours the generous ambition to shine only in the 
pure excellence of virtue and refinement. '• * * Go forth, 
then, into the world, and meet its trials and dangers, its duties 
and pleasures, with a firm integrity of heart and mind, looking 
ever onward and upward, and walking erect before the gaze of 



33 

men, fearless, because without reproach. When the glad sun- 
shine is upon you, rejoice and be happy. When the dark hours 
come, hght them with a gentle patience and a Christian faith. 
* '■' ■" This above all : ' To thine own self be true, and it 
must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false 
to any man.' " 



LIBRftRY OF CONGRESS 



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