Skip to main content

Full text of "Remarks of J. Bryan Grimes : responding for the state of North Carolina, upon the occasion of the dedication of the Maine monument at Salisbury, N.C., May 8, 1908"

See other formats

[Cp 9 70.76 


Dedication of Maine Monument, 
Salisbury, N. C. , 1908 


€&e Hi&rarp 


Ontoersitp of J!3ort& Carolina 

Collection of j]2ort& Carolmiana 
%W tioolt toag ptwnttd 

Q> 97o.TG 
' G^ Coy- 



J. BRYAN GRIMES, i^-wa-a. 





MAY 8. 1908. 


At the urgent request of Governor Glenn and the Hon. 
B. R. Lacy, I reluctantly consented, Thursday afternoon, to 
go to Salisbury and respond in behalf of the State of North 
Carolina upon the occasion of the dedication of the Maine 
Monument there, on Friday, the 8th of May, 1908. Time did 
not permit me to prepare a speech satisfactory to myself and 
I made no notes for the occasion. Since my speech there has 
been misrepresented, several gentlemen have asked me to 
write it out. My memory is distinct and vivid as to what I 
said, and I herewith reproduce it. t Bryan Grimes 

Raleigh, N. C, May 9, 1908. 


Ladies and Gentlemen of Maine, Fellow North Carolinians: 

In the absence of the Governor of Xorth Carolina, who 
deeply regrets his inability to be present, I have the honor 
to welcome you, citizens of the State of Maine, to the State 
of Xorth Carolina. This is indeed a festival of tears. It 
has been said that a people who forget their dead deserve 
themselves to be forgotten. It is meet and proper, and to the 
glory of your old State, that you have assembled here to do 
honor to and fitly commemorate the valor and heroism of those 
men who died for the cause which they believed to be right. 
On both sides, as our distinguished friend has just said, we 
fought for the cause which we believed to be right, as God 
gave it to us to see the right. There are many things in 
common between the people of the North and the people of the 
South, and the glory of the soldier wh< i wore the blue and the 
valor of the soldier who wore the gray are a common heritage 
to all Americans. 

In the early days of our republic there was much in com- 
mon between your mother State, Massachusetts, from which 
the State of Maine was formed, and the people of the Caro- 
linas. In the old days of the Stamp Act, we made the first 
resistance to British oppression, for Col. John Ashe and Col. 
Hugh TVaddell, at the head of the Carolina planters, captured 
the British stamp master on the Cape Fear, burned his stamps 
in the public square, and made him take an oath that he would 
never again attempt to bring more stamps into the colony. 

A few years afterwards, citizens of Massachusetts, dis- 
guised as Indians, at night, as an act of resentment against 
British oppression, threw the tea from the British ships into 
the Boston harbor. For this the port of Boston was closed 
and no ships were allowed to enter or depart from the harbor 
except those bearing food. Many of your best citizens were 
impoverished or ruined, and your sister colony, Xorth Caro- 
lina, deeply sympathizing with you under this act of unjust 
oppression, fitted out sloops loaded with provisions from Wil- 
mington and Edenton and sent them without charge to the 
citizens of Boston. There are other things about which it 
seems that the people of Massachusetts and the people of the 

Carolinas bad similar ideas. It might be said that we 
learned some of tbe lessons of secession from von. 

In 1807, thinking to bring to terms England and France, 
who were imposing upon lis, the Embargo Act was passed, 
which worked injury to your commercial interests, and John 
Quincy Adams notified the President of the United States 
that, unless that act was repealed, the State of Massachusetts 
and Xew England would nullify it and secede. A few years 
afterwards, in 1812, when the Xew England States felt that 
the war with Great Britain was destructive to their business, 
we find the Governors of Massachusetts, Connecticut and 
Rhode Island refusing to furnish troops to the United States 
Government to wage war against Great Britain. The Su- 
preme Court of Massachusetts sustained its Governor. The 
Legislature of Connecticut sustained its Governor and the 
Council of Rhode Island sustained its Governor. This was 
in effect nullification. In 1814, the famous Hartford Con- 
vention was held, in which the States of Massachusetts, Rhode 
Island and Connecticut openly threatened secession and af- 
firmed the principles of the Virginia and Kentucky reso- 

Again in 1814 the State of Massachusetts threatened seces- 
sion upon the issue of the annexation of Texas. 

Even after Maine was separated from the mother State of 
Massachusetts, it asserted its State sovereignty, in 1831, when 
the King of the Netherlands, acting as arbitrator in the 
boundary dispute with Canada, awarded part of the territory 
of Maine to that country. Maine nullified this award, and 
her mother State of Massachusetts, which still claimed a 
reserved interest in part of the Maine territory, sustained her 
daughter for ten years, or until the Webster-Ashburton 
Treaty, in 1842, settled the controversy. 

So it seems, my friends, that the doctrine of State rights 
and secession was not a new one, and its promulgation was not 
confined entirely to the South. 

In the great war between the States that followed the 
South's secession, many thousands of Eederal prisoners fell 
into our hands, and to commemorate the death of these men 
from Maine who died for their country's sake and for the 
preservation of the Union you have gathered to celebrate the 
unveiling of this magnificent monument. We are once more 
united. We can now talk of the facts that were as past his- 
tory. We can talk about it without bitterness, as seekers 

after truth, for the day has passed when we dip our pen in 
gall in writing the story of our great Civil War. 

In that greatest and bloodiest of fratricidal strifes that 
is known to history, there were 270,000 Federal soldiers con- 
fined in Confederate prisons. Of this number, in round 
figures, 22,000 of them died away from their homes, away 
from the clash of arms and in loneliness and misery and 
hunger and sickness and suffering. They were no less 
martyrs to the cause than if they had fallen upon the field 
of battle. Eight per cent, of the prisoners that fell into our 
hands died. In your prisons there were 220,000 Confed- 
erates confined; of this number, 26,000 died. Our loss was 
twelve per cent, of the men that fell into your hands, and 
your loss was eight per cent, of the men that fell into our 
hands. We did not sustain your prisoners with the comforts 
or with the rations to which they were accustomed. We did 
not have them for our own men. We could scarcely feed 
our armies in the field, and many a Confederate general as he 
rode down the lines was not unfamiliar with the cry of 
"bread, bread, bread," when there was no bread. We could 
not feed our soldiers, and we could not feed our prisoners 
as they should be fed. Your prisoners in our hands lacked 
the medical attention which they should have had. The 
Federal Government declared medicines to be contraband of 
war and we could not obtain them. The Surgeon-General 
of the Confederacy called the attention of the governmental 
authorities to the pitiable need of medical supplies and the 
Confederate Government, through Mr. Ould, offered to buy 
from the United States medical supplies at two and three 
times the regular prices, to be paid for in gold, tobacco or 
cotton. This medicine was to be devoted strictly and ex- 
clusively to the use of Federal prisoners, and Mr. Ould 
further offered, if the Federal Government insisted upon it, 
that their surgeons could come within our lines and administer 
to their sick and wounded and see that this medicine was 
restricted exclusively to the use of Union prisoners. This 
was denied to us. We were helpless and unable to get it. 
So you will see that the Confederate Government was not 
entirely responsible for the great sufferings and death in these 
prisons. Our Confederate authorities made overture after 
overture to the Federal Government to exchange prisoners, 
but they were steadily refused. Finally General Lee took 
this matter up with your great commander-in-chief. General 


Grant, as he believed the sufferings of the soldiers would ap- 
peal to the martial spirit of that old hero; but General Grant 
denied it ; and, that we may keep within the record, I will 
read von an abstract from General Grant's letter : 

"City Point, August 18, 1864. 
"To General Butler. 

"On the subject of exchange, however, I differ from Gen- 
eral Hitchcock. It is hard on our men held in Southern 
prisons not to exchange them, bnt it is humanity to those 
left, in our ranks to right out battles. Every man released 
on parole, or otherwise, becomes an active soldier against ns 
at once, either directly or indirectly. If we commence a 
sy stem of exchange which liberates all prisoners taken, we 
will have to tight on until the whole South is exterminated. 
If we hold those caught, they amount to no more than dead 
men - * * * * L * * '* * * « n g_ Graxt/ , 

Bnt, my friends, we are to-day, thank God, a reunited 
country, and Maine and Carolina join hands and vie with each 
other in their efforts to make this the greatest government on 
earth. This is our flag as much as your Hag. It has been 
laved in the blood of Southern heroes and Carolina heroes, 
and we of the South have done as much to make it great and 
glorious as you men of the Xorth have. When we were 
fighting Great Britain for the establishment of this govern- 
ment, we find that North Carolina was the first State to make 
a declaration of independence, and every Bchoolboy is familiar 
with the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, thirteen 
months before the Declaration at Philadelphia. At Halifax, 
on April 12, 1776, Xorth Carolina was the first State as 
an organized government to declare for independence from 
Great Britain, and right nobly on many a battle-field did we 
maintain the stand we had taken. At AEoores Creek, Kings 
Mountain and Guilford Courthouse, which last made neces- 
sary the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Carolina's 
blood flowed freely. When Washington crossed the Dela- 
ware, coming south, discouraged and dejected, he was met by 
General Xash, with his six regiments of North Carolinians, 
and with them Washington turned about and gave battle to the 
British at Germantown and Brandywine. In the Revolution 
North Carolina was the great recruiting ground of the South, 
and, although we had only 9,000 troops on the pay rolls, 

nearly 27,000 men in North Carolina shouldered their 
muskets for the cause of independence. 

The South, as I have said, contributed largely to the estab- 
lishment, as well as the development and perpetuation, of this 
Union. Peyton Randolph, the first president of the Continen- 
tal Congress, was a Southern man. Richard Henry Lee, the 
author and the mover of the resolution for independence, 
was a Southern man. The organizer of the navy of the infant 
United States was a Southern man, Joseph Hewes, of North 
Carolina. The first commander-in-chief of the United States 
Navy, James Nicholson, of Maryland, was a Southern man. 
The commander-in-chief of the armies of the United States 
and the first President of the Republic was a Southern man. 
Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of In- 
dependence, the greatest statesman of America, and the man 
who did more to guide the steps of the infant republic than 
any other man, was a Southern man. James Madison, the 
author of the Constitution, was a Southern man. Upon the 
high seas, he who did more to make the Stars and Stripes 
known, feared and respected all over the world, and the 
greatest naval hero of the century, was John Paul Jones, a 
North Carolinian and a Southern man. In all the great 
developments of our country, those men who have added most 
to its expansion were Southern men. Thomas Jefferson added 
the -great Louisiana purchase ; James Monroe added the 
Florida territory ; James K. Polk, the North Carolinian, ac- 
quired Texas and all that great western part of our country, 
more than an empire in extent, that belonged to Mexico. 
Southern States have been generous in their donations to the 
Union. Virginia gave the great Xorthwest territory, and our 
old State of North Carolina gave the Tennessee territory to 
this government. In the war of 1812, which was necessary 
to establish firmly our independence from Great Britain, 
Johnston Blakeley, of North Carolina, carried the Stars 
and Stripes to victory in foreign seas. And that sturdy old 
North Carolinian, Andrew Jackson, commanding North 
Carolinians and Tennesseans, hammered the life out of the 
British at New Orleans. 

I say this flag is as much our fla°; as it is yours. We 
have made as many sacrifices to maintain it as you have. 
You love it and we love it, for it is the flag of our common 
country, the greatest country on which the sun shines. 

Time will not permit me to tell of the glories of our State : 
but in the great Civil War, although we loved the Union and 
were loath to leave it, when our constitutional rights as we 
saw them were overridden, we sprang to arms, and we found 
that the State of North Carolina could raise an army in less 
time than she could call a convention. We made the first 
sacrifice at Bethel and laid down our arms last at Appomattox. 
Out of a military population of 115,000, we put 127,000 
troops in the field, and lost 10,275, or thirty-five per cent, of 
our male population — the very flower of our manhood. After 
four years of bloody strife, we surrendered at Appomattox, 
amid the bitter tears of bronzed veterans unwilling to be sur- 
rendered. The war was over; we had appealed to the Bword, 
to the great high court of final arbitration, and when the 
decision was against us we accepted it in good faith and as 
men. We surrendered our armies and surrendered what we 
thought were our constitutional rights, even if we did not 
surrender our convictions. 

Jlore than forty years ago, when you were here before, you 
found our beautiful homes desolated; woe and poverty and 
sorrow were everywhere ; but to-day, when you come to us, 
the scene is changed. Instead of scowls of hate, you are 
greeted with smiles of friendship. We are still 'if great agri- 
cultural State, as we were then, but we are also a great 
manufacturing State, rivaling Xew Engrand in the wealth and 
greatness of our manufacturing interests. We are glad to 
have you, men and women of Elaine, come down and become 
better acquainted with our people. Here is a land of in- 
exhaustible natural resources; here is a land with a magni- 
ficent climate; here are some of the world's greyest water 
powers; here are growth and prosperity everywhere. 'We are 
rich in all these, but ricnest in our men and women. To 
this land of plenty, to our prosperous homes, to our beautiful 
Sunny Southland, our own fair Carolina, we love to have 
you come. 

Note. — An intended reference to North Carolina^ part in the 
Spanish-American war was omitted, as the time limit had expired. 



« * 

; i 

* *