From the 2 May 1871 issue of The New York Times.


Advice of Senator Davis, of Kentucky, to the Students at Lexington, Va.—The Doctrine of States Rights—Robert E. Lee their Model, Equally with George Washington.

A letter from Lexington, Va., to the Ricmond Dispatch gives a brief but suggestive account of a serenade tendered Senator GARRETT DAVIS, of Kentucky, by the students of Washington and Lee College, on the evening of April 24. Senator DAVIS had been there for some days, visiting his son, who is a student at the College. The friendly and sympathizing correspondent of the Dispatch gives the following report of his remarks in response to the serenade, showing the kind of education these young Southerners are receiving at the College once known as Washington University, but now bearing the additional title of Lee, in honor of ROEBRT E. LEE, its late President:

Mr. DAVIS, said he, could pay Washington and Lee University no higheer compliment than he had done in placing his son here, where, besides his literary and scientific advantages, he knew that he would be associated with high-toned young men from all parts of our Southern land. He wanted his son to mingle with these generous young men, catch their inspiration, and bear with them some humble part in ridding the country from the mal-adminstration of the party in power at Washington. He alluded to the two historic names that are blended together in this institution,and spoke eloquently of the fitness of wreathing with the name of WASHINGTON that of the son of “Light-horse Harry,” who was the trusted lieutenant of the “Father of his Country” in war, his firm friend and counselor in peace, and his eloquent eulogist on his death. The youth of the country can find no better models than George Washington and R. E. Lee. Let them study their characters and imitate their virtues. He clearly and earnestly set forth that in a country like ours—of wide, extended territory, untold resources, and conflicting interests—the only hope for the liberties of the people is in preserving intact the doctrine of State rights as taught by the fathers of the Republic; that liberty perishes under a consolidated Government, and the rights of the States must be preserved. He drew a vivid picture of the departures from this well-established doctrine by the party in power, who have been utterly regardless of the Constitution, and are ready to do anything to keep themselves in power. The remedy for our real and threatened ills is to turn out the present rulers, and put better men into office. This is a work of patient effort—not of arms, but of reason, moral courage, and energy. The people must awake, change their present rulers, and get in their stead men who love country and liberty. He appealed tothe young men who are, in time, to control the country to enter upon the good work of restoring our lost liberties, and to be active, sedulous and unwearied in their efforts. He was now but a feeble old man, born in a neighboring State, yet taught from childhood to love Virginia and her institutions; but he pledged himself to devote his remaining days and strength to rescuing the country from the lawless desperadoes who now control it. He wanted the young men to rally around him, and Virginia owes it to her historic past, her present and future interests, her daughters of the West, and the cause of righteousness and truth, to lead, now as of yore, the van.

Mr. DAVIS retired amid vociferous cheers, which were renewed when the band struck up Dixie.

Ex-Gov. LETCHER, who was in the crowd, was loudly called for, and literally forced up on the balcony. After several humorous hits, which elicited loud applause, the Governor expressed his great pleasure in listening to his venerable friend from Kentucky. If he had made such a speech he might have landed in the old Capitol Prison again—and he was not certain that it would be safe now to indorse it; but he would, at a venture, indorse it, and express his hearty concurrence in its sentiments. He was heart and soul a Virginian, and he wanted these good old Virginia doctrines revived and agitated until they once more prevail in the land.

Col. ED. PENDLETON, State Senator from Botetour, was called out, and made a brief, stirring response. For weary years we have been accustomed to speak in bated breath, and he rejoiced that the time has now come when we may boldly speak out our true sentiments. He hailed in this the first streaks of the day-dawn to come. He alluded to his opposition to sending the Legislative Committee to Philadelphia, and said that when the measure was finally carried he wanted the committee to be composed of three Ex-Governors of this ancient Commonwealth—WISE, LETCHER and SMITH—who should go to “Independence Hall,” hold up their fettered hands, s[h]ake their manacles in the faces of the grand Committee of Arrangements, and tell them what kind of “independence” Virginia has now to be thankful for.