From the 27 July 1883 issue of The New York Times.


In a letter to the New-Orleans Times-Democrat, Father A. J. Ryan, the poet-priest of the South, who is now in Montreal, describes his emotions at the unveiling of the monument to Gen. Robert E. Lee in Lexington, Va. He writes: “At noon, or a little after, Gen. Early, who presided, in the absence of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, called the assemblage to order and introduced the orator of the day, Major Daniel. He rose amid deafening cheers—a man strikingly handsome, with soul-power in his face. He combines in face and manner the powers of Edwin Booth and John McCullough, the actors. He began his oration in a simple, yet striking way, alluding to the home of Lee before the war. His power of description is strong. It was only the preface to a glorious oration. He rose as he proceeded as a man who is climbing the slopes of a mountain to see the setting sun when he reaches it summit. And his hearers followed him. Half-way up the slope of his oration he seemed to rest, but you could see in his face and hear in the tremor of his voice and his graceful swaying gestures that he rested for a purpose. I think it was the glory-hour of his address. When he flung back his classic head and alluded to President Davis, with his heart in his voice, and in words that were royal, he stilled the crowd for a few minutes; but when he closed his glorious eulogy on him who suffered vicariously for every Confederate man, woman, and child, and who is still disfranchised by the Federal Government, the stillness was broken by such grand thunders of applause that the orator was obliged to pause. It was the grand Southern amen to words grand as they were, and grandly spoken of a man grander than any words. Some eyes were moist with tears then—tributes to our President, who suffered for us all. God bless him. The orator went on rising higher and higher in his eloquence, and when he concluded there was one man in that audience who said to himself, ‘The orator equals the occasion.’ Then Gen. Early. His words were brief, but he commanded your humble servant to come forward and face a crowd already entranced with glorious eloquence. I obeyed: said a few words, recited the ‘Sword of Robert Lee,’ and stole away. Stonewall Jackson’s daughter, Julia, unveiled the statue. Crowds went in and came out, and the faces of most were sad. Clouds were gathering away over on the mountains. The sun went down, and Lexington will never see such a day again, because the world will never know another Robert Lee.”