Lee in Hall of Fame
Jasper T. Darling
Memorial Hall, Chicago, January 1, 1910
“The moving finger writes, and, having writ,
Moves on ; nor all their piety nor wit,
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all their tears wash out a word of it.”
Delivered by Jasper T. Darling
Memorial Hall, Chicago, III., Jan. 1, 1910
TO THE DEPARTMENT COMMANDERS OF THE GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC, GREETING:
The first edition (5,000 copies) of this address, having been quickly exhausted, it has been decided to publish a second edition of 50,000 copies for more extensive distribution.
In accordance therewith, I take the liberty of forwarding to the Commander of each Department of the Grand Army of the Republic a sufficient number of copies to reach every Post in their respective Departments; and I also forward, in same bundle, enough copies to serve each RELIEF CORPS, CIRCLE OF LADIES OF THE G.A.R., CAMPS OF SONS OF VETERANS, and TENTS OF DAUGHTERS OF VETERANS, in each Department.
I most respectfully suggest that each general office in the various departments of the GRAND ARMY send out to every Post at least one copy, and as many more as an equitable distribution will admit; and also notify the head of each of the four other bodies above named that they may call for their donation, this being upon the understanding that they will distribute the booklets throughout the Department to each of their respective bodies; it being my wish and the wish of my Advisory Committee, that this address be read before each GRAND ARMY POST, RELIEF CORPS, CIRCLE and TENT in every Department of our Republic, and that it may be read by every Comrade and others who may be unable to attend their respective meetings.
In Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty, It is my pleasure to subscribe myself,
PHILIP C. HAYES,
Commander of the Dept. of Illinois Grand Army of the Republic
(Late Brevet Brig. General U.S. Vols.)
Special orders for these books will be filled upon application at the rate of $1.00 per hundred, or $8.00 per thousand copies.
Address the Author,
79 Dearborn St., Chicago.
Past Commander Columbia Post, No. 706, Department of Illinois
Grand Army of the Republic
To my Comrades throughout the Nation
To the Woman's Relief Corps
To the Ladies of the Grand Army
To the Sons of Veterans
To the Daughters of Veterans
To all Associate Bodies
To all who love Patriotism and appreciate its worth
I dedicate this addressCordially and Fraternally,
Jasper T. Darling
Suite 1128–30 Unity Bldg.
CAMP FIRE, JAN. 1, 1910.
Memorial Hall, on New Year's Day, 1910, presented a deeply impressive appearance. Fully six hundred Comrades of the Grand Army, representing each of the thirty-seven Posts of Cook County, were assembled for lunch, and then to listen to the delegated speakers of the day.
General Joseph B. Leake, who presided, opened the exercises with a forceful address.
General Philip C. Hayes, Department Commander of Illinois, spoke with vigor and power.
General Grant spoke.
Hon. William Busse, President of the Board of County Commissioners, then addressed the veterans. He was followed by Hon. Henry D. Fulton, Past Commander of General Meade Post.
Hon. Martin B. Madden, Congressman, followed, and he aroused great enthusiasm by his patriotic words.
The following Comrades of the Grand Army then addressed the assembly:
Col. Charles Smith, Pres. of the Commander's Association of Cook Co.
Col. Thomas H. Gault, Hon. John F. Scanlan, and others.
Comrade Col. Jasper T. Darling, whose address is printed in full, was
the next speaker.
Honorable Chairman, General Leake, and Venerable Comrades of Illinois:
Upon questions of public welfare the soldiers of the sixties assume no especial right of proprietorship; and yet, so long as their strength and reason remain, and they see false teachings held up to influence and mislead the rising generations of this Republic, just so long will they continue to raise their voices in solemn protest against all such teachings, and against every infringement upon the sacred principles which they struggled to save.
With astonishment,—yea, with consternation,—we learn that a statue of General Robert E. Lee has been placed in Statuary Hall, at Washington.
This being true, we now demand:
What perjured key has unlocked the door of Freedoms sanctuary, allowing to be placed therein a statue mantled in the uniform of High Treason?
By what right have they erected within those Fanes we fought to save the statue of one who deserted the flag which had educated him and protected him even unto a place of high renown?
Robert E. Lee, then a Colonel in the United States Army, sent his resignation to General Scott, but before the first nightfall, and before his withdrawal from his command was received by the government, he had proceeded to Richmond, that he might lead his native state into secession; and then, drawing his sword he thrust it, with all his mighty power, into the very heart of the republic which he hoped and prayed would totter to its fall.
Seven States had gone out.
Would Virginia go? If not, then rebellion must die before the maturity of its birth.
History says, “they looked toward Lee.”
“He hastened to their embrace.”
“They received him with open arms.”
Lee grasped the flag of treason; he mounted the chariot, and he rode at the head of the southern hosts.
His pathway was marked by vast assemblages of human
Southern orators and writers have persistently asserted that Lee felt compelled to “follow his State out of the Union.”
All such statements are a deliberate perversion of the truth.
He deserted his country, and he conspired with other conspirators to force that commonwealth out of the Union.
Let us consult the record.
April 12 Sumter was fired upon.
April 15, Mr. Lincoln called for seventy-five thousand troops.
April 17, the Virginia Convention, then assembled at Richmond, by resorting to “threats of hanging Union members,” succeeded in passing an ordinance of secession, which, however, was not to be, and could not be put into force until ratified by a majority vote of the entire State.
The date for casting such vote was then fixed for the 23rd day of the following month.
On the 18th of April Col. Lee informed Gen. Scott that he was “contemplating a withdrawal from the army, that he might retire to private life.”
Two days later—April 20,—he sent his resignation to Gen. Scott, and then hastened to Richmond, which place he reached the same day.
His resignation was not received by the War Department until April 25, when it was acted upon and accepted.
Not waiting for this acceptance, Col. Lee, on April 22, became Major General and Commander-in-Chief of all Virginia forces.
History says, “at once he stepped from the rank of Colonel in the regular army to the rank of General in the Confederate army.”
Immediately he threw his entire influence to make complete the secession of Virginia, which was accomplished fully a month later.
History also says, “during the first year of the Rebellion Gen. Lee was the chief military adviser of Jefferson Davis and of the Confederate War Secretary.”
Thus he was placed in control of all forces—Virginian and others—that soon began assembling to threaten the city of Washington.
The vast Union sentiment in that great Commonwealth was thus awed into silence, and the State went out of the Union.
Western Virginia, however, remained faithful and formed a new State.
When Robert E. Lee said to Gen. Scott that he was about to “resign and retire to private life,” there was deception in his heart and a falsehood upon his lips.
He deceived his chief. Why did he deceive? Because he had
entered into a covenant with treason.
He knew the truth, but he was resolved to reject it. And why
reject? Because his loyalty was weakened—it was in default.
When the supreme hour was at hand he hesitated. Why did he hesitate? Because his mind was wavering before God.
He saw a Rubicon—its color was red.
Treason said “come.”
Loyalty said “remain.”
He saluted treason.
“The Penalty of Treason is Death.”
When Robert Edward Lee threw down his commission at the feet of the Government; when he turned away from the flag which had fostered him from his youth to the maturity of his power; when he refused longer to respect the oath which he had taken “upon his sacred honor to defend the Union,” deciding, as he did, to receive a higher commission at the hands of a Confederacy, then going into rebellion against the Government, just that moment he became the Benedict Arnold of his day and generation, and no lips of sophistry, I care not how eloquent, can convince an intelligent world to the contrary.
The perfidy and the cunning of Col. Lee stamped him as equal to any, and superior to most of the Great Conspirators.
As the war clouds began gathering, he asked to be transferred
from Texas to Washington.
He well understood that the conflict was almost at hand.
He resolved to place himself close to the central point of action.
He was received into the councils of Gen. Scott and Mr. Lincoln himself.
With all the power of his gifted soul the aged General urged upon Colonel Lee the acceptance of the Commandership of the Union army.
And Mr. Lincoln acquiesced, offering him the highest honors
at his command.
He trusted him even to the extent of placing before him the general plans for stamping out the rebellion.
Col. Lee received all this information with every appearance of loyalty to the Union, and fidelity to the Stars and Stripes.
But when the auspicious time arrived, he sent his resignation by a messenger, and hastened to Richmond, there to receive honors and promotion which he knew were awaiting him.
Was treason ever more treacherous or perfidy more complete?
History is strangely lacking in a more striking example.
And they would enshrine him in the Hall of Fame—a pedestal of glory builded high upon the grandeur of this Republic which he would have swept away.
And was there dearth of famous memories in that grand old commonwealth, when she was casting about for a distinguished son to place beside him whom the Ages love to call The Father of His Country?
Does this proud MOTHER OF PRESIDENTS no longer recollect Thomas Jefferson, the genius of whose brain, gave to the almost despairing Colonies the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, inspiring into life the noblest Nation in all the world?
And could she no longer behold James Madison, whose pen wrote words of wisdom into the Constitution of these United States?
And why turn away from that transcendent genius, whose exposition of the law, based upon the Constitution, clearly defined the sovereign powers of a Federal government, and whose great mind builded, broad and deep and strong, the foundations of a National structure which neither sword nor pen can sweep away?
How remarkable that Virginia has rejected this honor to America's mightiest Chief Justice—the expounder of the Constitution—John Marshall!
And, lest Virginia has forgotten, let us remind her of another immortal son, the value of whose deeds has been proven by the ages, and by the triumphal march of human progress.
The sagacity and the wisdom of James Monroe secured control of the Mississippi and the vast territory to the west making this Republic the dominant power of the New World.
But the crowning effort of his life was yet to come.
Europe, jealous of this nation and its rapid development, planned to crush all the infant republics from our southern border to CAPE HORN.
Her combined powers (EENGLAND alone objecting), formed what was known as THE HOLY ALLIANCE, and prepared to execute their nefarious work.
James Monroe then promulgated and put into force what the Nations have learned to respect—“THE MONROE DOCTRINE.”
This heroic deed caused the ALLIANCE to hesitate, and it saved MEXICO and the CENTRAL and SOUTH AMERICAN REPUBLICS to their own.
This Doctrine has thus far preserved the entity of the western hemisphere.
It has stood the test of almost a century.
Avarice and greed and envy have vanished before it.
The armaments of nations have respected its power.
It survived its greatest, and almost overwhelming enemy, the sword of Robert Edward Lee.
Had our APPOMATTOX been our WATERLOO, all the glories of THE MONROE DOCTRINE would have faded away amid the chaos of this REPUBLIC and amid the disintegration of the Western World.
All these and more!
Strange to have withheld honors due to him who inspired the yeomanry of the south to go forth with the yeomanry of the north, shoulder to shoulder, writing on history's page the name of Lexington, Concord, Valley Forge, Yorktown, and a hundred conflicts, and above them, wreathed amid the halos of immortality, the name of WASHINGTON!
Strange, I say, that THE OLD DOMINION should neglect him, whose fearless words put life into flintlocks, whose message fired the soul of Patriots when a few colonies were struggling for life beneath the grinding heel of British tyranny!
O, Virginia! bright jewel in this diadem of unbroken States, why refuse this champion—Patrick Henry—whose words were borne onward amid the battle-flames to final triumph—“GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH!”
Has thou not mistaken notoriety for Fame, when you select Robert E. Lee as your highest example.
Thomas Jefferson jeopardized his life to build this Nation.
Lee drew his sword to destroy it.
James Madison immortalized his name amid the glories of the MAGNA CHARTA.
Lee hurled into its minutest flaw the corpses of almost a million slain.
John Marshall's name lights up, with glory, this Temple, proclaiming PEACE ON EARTH AND GOOD WILL TO ALL MANKIND.
Lee would have torn down the Temple, and he would have destroyed the equilibrium of the Western world.
Patrick Henry's words#&8212;“GIVE ME LIBERTY OR GIVE ME DEATH”—will ring down the ages.
The sword of Lee would have annihilated liberty, and forged the chains of human bondage forever.
When the Revolution threatened, Patrick Henry exclaimed, “I am not a Virginian ; I am an American!”
When treason threatened, Robert E. Lee drew his sword and said, “I am not an American ; I am a Virginian!”
Patrick Henry lives with the immortals.
And what of Lee?
He saw martyrs hurled into the vortex—a million graves.
He heard plaintive moans—widows, mothers, sisters, and fathers—bending beneath the burden of their woe.
And then his lips were sealed.
His pen became paralyzed.
His Cause was cursed of God.
He lived a hermit life to the end.
Did death redeem him?
And why him who denied the Star of Destiny in its course?
Why him who repudiated the logic of human progress?
Upon none other could they place a Confederate uniform.
Gen. Lee serves their purpose best.
They say, “we have chosen well.”
From Lakes to Gulf; from the Rockies to the Sea, over-crowded cemeteries cry aloud, No!
The blood-bathed, the battle-scarred, the storm-beaten,—once the Nation's pride,—say No!
Is the spirit of true Patriotism dead?
The world's great teacher—Saint Paul—exclaimed, “O grave!
where is thy victory?” And this was his reply:
“The grave is swallowed up in victory.”
Wreathings of Victory robe Liberty's dead.
And what unholy hands would rob the laurel wreaths from off the graves of those who redeemed this land from the mad furies of rebellion, then sworn and struggling to destroy it?
Stern patriotism, sublime heroism, rescued this Republic, and bequeathed it into younger hands—hands and hearts that must now protect it, or prove false to their great and sacred trust.
And do the custodians of our Nation's weal no longer recollect that invocation which fell from the lips of him who said:
“We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this Nation, under God, shall have a new birth of Freedom.”
By what manner of reasoning can that “New Birth of Freedom, which Abraham Lincoln proclaimed—how can that be taught—if Treason's uniform is to be memorialized with equal honor beside the uniform of blue!
What influence is projecting this nefarious work?
Are the UNITED DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY in command of these affairs, so vital to the strength and stability of our Republic?
Are they the power behind the throne bringing into life another “birth,” not “of Freedom,” but rebellion's vindication? Rebellion vindicated makes treason respectable.
Treason respectable means patriotism doomed.
Beware lest the monster leaps again.
Against the protests of their veteran sires. THE DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY reared a monument and inscribed upon it words which breathe defiance against the verdict of eighteen sixty-five.
And now comes a statue of Lee beneath the gilded dome, and Jefferson Davis—the Judas Iscariot of the nineteenth century—soon to follow.
They laugh to scorn the words of Abraham Lincoln, delivered at Gettysburg.
Had Gen. Lee succeeded in that battle there would be today no Hall of Fame, no Thermopylae of human liberty where unrepentant hearts now demand the right to rear, not one alone, but two monuments in recognition of treason itself.
They say that such recognition is necessary for a complete reconciliation between the north and south; and certain coddling pens are editorially writing AMEN to that proposition.
History's greatest lessons would be stultified and the spirit of true patriotism destroyed, should that day ever come.
Exalt Lee amid the bright galaxy that lifted this Nation to its zenith, and you will repudiate the truth of that maxim which was emphasized in the baptism of poured-out blood.
“Treason is the greatest of crimes, and not a mere difference of opinion.”
Should this Republic see fit to close its eyes to the truth of that lesson, then there will come a time when the eyes of another generation will be opened to look upon scenes which we pray, may never crucify civilization again.
Take warning lest history may repeat itself.
It should be the pride of every true patriot to teach truth to the receptive minds of this great and growing Republic.
Can that be done by pointing toward Robert E. Lee as a patriotic example?
Can we tell our children that this man, who would have destroyed every blessing we now enjoy—that he must be regarded as a model for patriotic teaching?
No person of intelligence can answer that question, and tell the truth except by saying no.
And yet Collier's Weekly, under the influence of a strange wedlock, is trying to re-baptize Robert E. Lee—vainly trying to elevate him and exalt him at the expense of patriotic virtue and patriotic truth.
We had our Valandinghams in the nineteenth century; we have them with us to-day.
Those men and women of the south who are looking, not toward the Stars and Stripes, but toward the Stars and Bars, and praying for the redemption of that flag—they are dangerous teachers in this benign Republic.
We understand their motive.
We are compelled to doubt their good faith.
We have ample evidence, warranting the belief that their true purpose is to elevate those who would destroy this Union, to the same high renown as those who died, and of those who struggled in its defense.
Mississippi already demands a pedestal upon which to place a statue of Jefferson Davis—Jefferson Davis who, in the words of Andrew Jackson, was resolved to “reign and ride on the whirlwinds, and direct the storm.”
Lee and Davis! then what?
Methinks I can see a million mothers, their eyes aflame, their hearts exultant, pointing toward this Temple, which once stood as Freedom's last and only hope, pointing thither and saying to their sons, “Behold! there stands the proof of our vindication.”
Purify Lee in the Hall of Fame, and they will put blood on the hands of Abraham Lincoln!
O, ye! givers of the law, congressmen and senators: will you allow that sacred shrine where, for four long years, the Goddess of Liberty knelt and prayed—will you allow it to become the memorial abode of treason—the shrine of those who led their hosts to destroy it?
The greatest teacher the world has ever known went into the Temple of God, and He spoke these words, “it is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves;” and He cast them out.
From Appomattox to his grave, Gen. Lee lived an exemplary life, but was he ever known to raise his voice expressing regret for the great wrong he did when he betrayed his country, and her flag?
His associate—Gen. Armistead—lay mortally wounded at Gettysburg.
He called Mitchell—he of Hancock's Staff—to his side, and said:
“Tell Gen. Hancock I know I did my Country a great wrong when I took up arms against her, for which I am sorry, but for which I cannot live to atone.”
Did Gen. Robert E. Lee ever say as much?
Did he ever admonish his countrymen that they should be loyal to the flag, which he had failed to destroy? No! History has never chronicled such admonition.
A short time before his death, Henry W. Grady implored his people to be “not only loyal to the flag, but loving;” and he adjured them further in these words: “What we do in honor shall deepen, and what we do in dishonor, shall dim the luster of its fixed and glistening stars.”
THE DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY may ignore the dying prayer of Henry Woodfin Grady ; but could they as lightly disregard an appeal, had such an appeal fallen from the lips of Robert E. Lee?
None knew better than did Gen. Lee, that, could he have lived on and on, ten times ten thousand years, no atonement could ever erase the sorrow, the suffering, the trial and travail of that long night of war when he led his hosts to destroy this union—to rob humanity, and the world, of the greatest blessings under the purest flag and the most benign government in all the mighty tide of time.
Six Hundred Thousand—the remnant of those who saved the Union—cry aloud: “Remove that statue of Robert E. Lee from Statuary Hall at Washington.[”]
It has no place within Freedom's most sacred sanctuary.
But, in its stead, memorialize, in lasting bronze, him who, of all that band of Virginia birth, stood foremost, faithful to the flag; him who saw clearly the pathway of righteousness and of right; him who knew the truth and abided by it; him upon whose brow Fame has gently placed her imperishable crown, and above it History has written, in words that will never die, “THE ROCK OF CHICKAMAUGA.”
In 1864, when the war was raging. Statuary Hall was dedicated to Fame, thereto immortalize those who were, or would be, builders of this Republic.
Was General Lee a builder.
Was he not a destroyer?
Consult the record for your reply.
Count the graves.
By what measure of reasoning could he have been in contemplation in that dark period of our Nation's life?
Dying Douglas said, “There can be no neutrals in this war—only patriots or traitors.”
Those words were not from a soul of passion, but from a heart bowed down in deepest grief.
The moment you elevate treason, and place it upon a pedestal, just that moment you strike a staggering blow against the body of patriotism itself.
Charity for the misguided, even though they "fought for treason, is one thing, but laudation of the bold and conspiring leaders is quite another.
And is there one in this enlightened age who would deny that there is now, as there was then, and ever will be, a dividing line between patriotism and treason?
Is there aught of ambiguity in the meaning of those two words?
Let us see!
Patriotism—love and devotion for one's country, the spirit that, originating in love of country, prompts to obedience to its laws, to the support and defense of its existence, rights and institutions, and the promotion of its welfare.
And how was patriotism exemplified in that great struggle
which tried men's souls?
Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Thomas, Logan, and their
compatriots, stood by their country when it was assailed. They
were obedient to its laws; they defended its existence; they pro-
moted its welfare.
They gave the best that God had bequeathed to them, to save the Union.
That was Patriotism.
And what is Treason?
Treason is a betrayal or betraying; breach of fidelity, or allegiance; treachery; disloyalty; an offense which immediately affects the safety of the sovereign or state.
Davis, Lee, and their co-conspirators betrayed their trust; they renounced their allegiance to their country, and their country's flag. Their deeds were deeds of treachery, and disloyalty to the Union; their offense “immediately affected the safety” of the Republic.
They struggled with all their power to destroy the Union.
If that was not treason, then that word has no meaning in the English tongue.
If this Republic is to endure, truth must be taught and steadfastly maintained.
If it ever falls, it will fall because Falsehood is allowed to corrupt and destroy the virtue of truth.
Victor Hugo wrote these immortal words:
“It is woe to a man to leave behind him a shadow which has
A shadow, dark, and deep, and deadly, follows the form of Davis, of Lee, and of those who drew their swords, and, defying the Nation, which they were sworn to defend, defying humanity, defying God, they declared that “Slavery, and not Freedom,” should be the corner stone of this Republic.
They offended God!
Fit subjects now for pedestals!
Exemplars toward which the eyes of the younger generations are invited to turn, there to behold true lessons in patriotism!
Do I hear a voice asking why the south (I might safely say, The Daughters of the Confederacy)—why do they demand this recognition?
The reason is so plain that he who runs may read.
Could Gen. Lee rise up from his grave, sentient in sinew and flesh, would he not say, “spare my memory the shame?”
And Jefferson Davis! What of him? “Let my bones repose in peace.” “Place me not under the flag I cursed where patriotism may gaze upon my spectral form.”
Was it not quite enough when the Daughters of the Confederacy, a short time ago, unveiled a monument to memorialize the vilest murderer of the western world?
And what TRIUMVIRATE are they now resolved to resurrect for the edification of this enlightened age?
Wirz—the keeper of the “Living Hell!”
Liberty's Temple of the house of Lee!—the memorable abode of Jefferson Davis!
These three—Davis—Lee—Wirz—Treason's Triumvirate!
Davis gave the order—“Sprinkle blood”—“Graspthe torch”—“Northern cities shall feed the flames.”
The day previous to his inauguaration he said:
“Grass shall grow in northern streets where now pavements are worn smooth by the tread of commerce.”
Lee betrayed his trust; he tore open the bosom of his own fair southland that he might plunge therein the bravest of American manhood—almost a million slain.
He prolonged the war long after humanity cried aloud, “cease
the spilling of blood!”
Wirz butchered his hapless victims; he reveled in their gore; he gloated over the grave.
These three—Treason's Triumvirate!
While life lasted Jefferson Davis sojourned through the south with the torch of sectional hate in his hand. Dying, he denied that he had a country.
Just previous to his death he exclaimed, “they may reconstruct the men of the south, but the women never.” And for once he appears to have prophesied the truth.
Go to his grave, ye DAUGHTERS OF THE CONFEDERACY, and breathe into his ashes a new life—fidelity to the flag—before you attempt to resurrect him, and place him upon a pedestal as an exemplar for the rising generations to look upon, and to inhale the spirit of true patriotism thereby.
Patriotism, loyalty to the flag, obedience to the laws of the land—these are the lessons which must be taught throughout the centuries, or this Republic will go down into disintegration and decay, as did the republics of old.
Memorializing Davis in the south is one thing, but, in that city which he marked for the flames, where truth triumphed, and where patriotic virtue should forever guard the bivouac—that is quite another.
Robert E. Lee, MEMORIALIZED in granite and bronze on the battlefields where he fought, is an object lesson for the ages; but Robert E. Lee IMMORTALIZED as an exemplar of National allegiance, and placed where the youth of this republic will be asked to look upon him, and revere him as such—that cannot be either in this generation, or in any future generation so long as the words of Abraham Lincoln live in the souls of men.
The shaft reared to memorialize THE BUTCHER OF ANDERSONVILLE stands as an insult to patriotism, and an attempt to impeach the integrity of that tribunal which pronounced a murderer's doom.
The act of the builders betrayed a reincarnation of the old spirit—that spirit which loyalty to the Stars and Stripes may do well to observe.
The power that builded the Wirz monument, has placed the statue of Lee in Washington, and the same power is now determined thus to perpetuate the memory of Jefferson Davis.
The pen of Genius wrote:
“Truth crushed to earth shall rise again.”
If the statue of Lee is allowed to remain in that hall of patriotic teaching, then the word “Truth” in Bryant's poem might well be erased, and “Treason” written in its stead.
Of that Treason, John Bright—the great English Statesman—exclaimed:
“It was the most stupendous act of guilt that history has recorded in all the annals of mankind.”
In one of his early messages Mr. Lincoln said:
“Great honor is due to the officers who remained true, despite the example of their treacherous associates.”
And a vision of two forms stood before him—Lee—Thomas.
Could this great man look again through mortal eyes, and behold, standing side by side, equally honored, those who proved treacherous, with those who remained true—could he see all this—his teachings reviled, betrayed—would he not cry aloud in his anguish and say:
“Justice to our immortal dead forbids!”
“The safety of our Republic forbids!”
“Defile not this temple wherein God's promise was redeemed.”
And would he not admonish us to teach the rising generations that there is a chasm broad and deep between right and wrong—this side Fidelity, that side Treachery—this side Truth, that side Treason?
Robert E. Lee crossed the chasm ; he drew his sword on the other side.
He must remain where he volunteered to go, where history has identified him ; and from whence there can be no retreat.
And could that great apostle of Freedom speak again, would he not say: “With malice toward none, with charity for all,” if it is their right to bring him back—him whom I loved, and would have leaned upon—him who deserted me that he might chastise me and scourge my land with sorrow and blood and pain—if they must return him to these halls, once honored by his tread, but which he would have destroyed, then let him be borne hither within the embrace of a casket, sorrow-draped, that I may look upon him, even as did David when, gazing upon his son, he gave way to the resistless eloquence of his woe:
And thy dark sin—Oh! I could drink the cup,
If, from this woe, its bitterness had won thee:
May God have called thee, like a wanderer, home;
My lost son Absalom!
Comrades of Illinois, may that invocation, so familiar to your ears, so earnest of utterance, be handed down from father to son, wherever float the Stars and Stripes—“ETERNAL VIGILANCE IS THE PRICE OF LIBERTY.”
Veterans of the bivouac and the battlefield, our duty is plain. We can do no less than to raise our voices protesting against this bold attempt to thwart the verdict of everlasting truth, that verdict which you and your dying comrades wrote with the bayonet's point; that verdict which was sealed and cemented and consecrated in the baptism of their poured-out blood.
History has rendered its last decree.
Heaven and humanity have approved if.
It is written in every land and every tongue.
It is garnered, like the ripened grain, into every library around the globe.
No appeal can be maintained.
The deeds of Robert E. Lee cannot be blotted out.
He challenged Destiny.
He defied God.
He deliberately sealed his own fate.
Of such OMAR KHAYYAM spoke
The moving finger writes, and, having writ,
Moves on ; nor all their piety, nor wit,
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line;
Nor all their tears wash out a word of it.
At the conclusion of Col. Darling's address the following Preamble and Resolutions were offered by Col. John L. Manning, Chairman of Committee on Speakers:
WHEREAS, A nation's life rests on the patriotism and honesty of its people. If patriotism and treason are permitted to occupy the same pedestal of fame, how will the people judge who is the patriot and who is the traitor?
WHEREAS, The veterans of Illinois assembled in this Memorial hall, dedicated to patriotism and love of our country, on this birth of a new year, have listened with rejuvenated souls to the timely and patriotic and manly address of our estimable citizen and comrade, Jasper T. Darling, on a question of vital importance to this republic; a question which had better be stamped out in its incipience, before it divides our nation into baneful sectionalism, based on making traitors patriots; a question with which its insidious authors would seem to be testing the forbearance of the people who saved this republic from treason and destruction; therefore be it
Resolved, That we approve of this patriotic and timely address of our fellow citizen and comrade, and order the same to be printed in pamphlet form and that a copy of the same be mailed to the President, to the members of his cabinet, each of the congressmen and United States senators at Washington, hoping thereby that the acceptance of the statue of Col Robert E. Lee may not be sanctioned by the government of the United States.
Resolved, That this preamble be adopted by this assembly of the G.A.R., and the same signed as our representative by our distinguished chainnan, Gen. Joseph B. Leake, and that he appoint a committee to carry these resolutions into force.
Upon the question of its acceptance being submitted, a call for a rising vote was made, and so ordered by the Chairman; whereupon with but a single dissenting voice, all Comrades and others present, rose en masse and voted in the affirmative.
In accordance with the foreging Preamble and Resolutions, I have the honor to appoint the following named Comrades of the Grand Army of the Republic, as a Committee to carry the same into effect:
(Signed) JOSEPH B. LEAKE Chairman.
GENERAL PHILIP C. HAYES, Dept. Commander of Ill. G.A.R.
COLONEL JOHN S. VARLEY, Senior Vice Commander, Department of Illinois.
GENERAL ROBERT MANN WOODS, Past Department Commander of Ill.
GENERAL JOSEPH ROSENBAUM, Past Department Commander of Illinois.
COLONEL LE GRAND W. PERCE, Past Commander U. S. Grant Post.
COLONEL CHARLES R. WINN, Past Commander Gen. Wm. E. Strong Post.
COLONEL H. R. BRINKERHOFF, (Ret), Past Commander Gen. Phil. Sheridan Post.
COLONEL W. H. H. PEIRCE, Commander George H. Thomas Post.
COLONEL THOMAS H. GAULT, Past Commander George H. Thomas Post
COLONEL CHARLES H. TEBBETTS, Past Commander George H. Thomas Post.
COLONEL EDWARD WATSON, Commander U. S. Grant Post.
HON. JOHN. F. SCANLAN, U. S. Grant Post.
COLONEL JOHN L. MANNING, Past Commander U. S. Grant Post.
COLONEL HENRY STEPHENS, Past Commander Columbia Post.
COLONEL GEORGE WASHINGTON WADE, Commander Abraham Lincoln Post.
COLONEL JESSE J. COOK, Past Commander Abraham Lincoln Post.
COLONEL JOSEPH GAUBATZ, Commander General Winfield Scott Post.
COLONEL O. B. FELT, Commander Farragut Post.
COLONEL GEORGE C. ABBOTT, Commander Julius White Post.
COLONEL W. H. LICHTY, Past Commander William E. Strong Post.
COLONEL WALTER L. WAY, Commander General B F. Butler Post.
COLONEL J. J. QUINLAN, Commander General Philip Sheridan Post.
COLONEL WILLIAM P. TURNER, Commander General John A. Logan Post.
COLONEL W. W. FLETCHER, Commander Old Glory Post.
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