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Title: Oration on the Life and Character of Henry Winter Davis
Author: Creswell, John A. J.
Language: English
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Delivered in the Hall of the House of Representatives,
February 22, 1866.



The death of Hon. HENRY WINTER DAVIS, for many years a distinguished
Representative of one of the Baltimore congressional districts, created
a deep sensation among those who had been associated with him in
national legislation, and they deemed it fitting to pay to his memory
unusual honors. They adopted resolutions expressive of their grief, and
invited Hon. JOHN A. J. CRESWELL, a Senator of the United States from
the State of Maryland, to deliver an oration on his life and character,
in the hall of the House of Representatives, on the 22d of February, a
day the recurrence of which ever gives increased warmth to patriotic

The hall of the House was filled by a distinguished audience to listen
to the oration. Before eleven o'clock the galleries were crowded in
every part. The flags above the Speaker's desk were draped in black, and
other insignia of mourning were exhibited. An excellent portrait of the
late Hon. HENRY WINTER DAVIS was visible through the folds of the
national banner above the Speaker's chair. As on the occasion of the
oration on President LINCOLN by Hon. GEORGE BANCROFT, the Marine band
occupied the ante-room of the reporters' gallery, and discoursed
appropriate music.

At twelve o'clock the senators entered, and the judges of the Supreme
Court, preceded by Chief Justice Chase. Of the Cabinet Secretary Stanton
and Secretary McCulloch were present. After prayer by the chaplain, the
Declaration of Independence was read by Hon. EDWARD MCPHERSON, Clerk of
the House. After the reading of the Declaration, followed by the playing
of a dirge by the band, Hon. SCHUYLER COLFAX, Speaker of the House of
Representatives, introduced the orator of the day, Hon. J. A. J.





Hon. SCHUYLER COLFAX, Speaker of the House of Representatives, said:

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: The duty has been devolved upon me of introducing
to you the friend and fellow-member, here, of HENRY WINTER DAVIS, and I
shall detain you but a moment from his address, to which you will listen
with saddened interest.

The world always appreciates and honors courage: the courage of
Christianity, which sustained martyrs in the amphitheatre, at the stake,
and on the rack; the courage of Patriotism, which inspired millions in
our own land to realize the historic fable of Curtius, and to fill up
with their own bodies, if need be, the yawning chasm which imperiled the
republic; the courage of Humanity, which is witnessed in the pest-house
and the hospital, at the death-bed of the homeless and the prison-cell
of the convict. But there is a courage of Statesmen, besides; and nobly
was it illustrated by the statesman whose national services we
commemorate to-day. Inflexibly hostile to oppression, whether of slaves
on American soil or of republicans struggling in Mexico against
monarchical invasion, faithful always to principle and liberty,
championing always the cause of the down-trodden, fearless as he was
eloquent in his avowals, he was mourned throughout a continent; and from
the Patapsco to the Gulf the blessings of those who had been ready to
perish followed him to his tomb. It is fitting, therefore, though dying
a private citizen, that the nation should render him such marked and
unusual honors in this hall, the scene of so many of his intellectual
triumphs; and I have great pleasure in introducing to you, as the orator
of the day, Hon. J. A. J. CRESWELL, his colleague in the thirty-eighth
Congress, and now Senator from the State of Maryland.




MY COUNTRYMEN: On the 22d day of February, 1732, God gave to the world
the highest type of humanity, in the person of George Washington.
Combining within himself the better qualities of the soldier, sage,
statesman, and patriot, alike brave, wise, discreet, and incorruptible,
the common consent of mankind has awarded him the incomparable title of
Father of his Country. Among all nations and in every clime the richest
treasures of language have been exhausted in the effort to transmit to
posterity a faithful record of his deeds. For him unfading laurels are
secure, so long as letters shall survive and history shall continue to
be the guide and teacher of civilized men. The whole human race has
become the self-appointed guardian of his fame, and the name of
Washington will be ever held, over all the earth, to be synonymous with
the highest perfection attainable in public or private life, and
coeternal with that immortal love to which reason and revelation have
together toiled to elevate human aspirations--the love of liberty,
restrained and guarded by law.

But in the presence of the Omnipotent how insignificant is the proudest
and the noblest of men! Even Washington, who alone of his kind could
fill that comprehensive epitome of General Henry Lee, so often on our
lips, "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his
countrymen," was allowed no exemption from the common lot of mortals. In
the sixty-eighth year of his age he, too, paid the debt of nature.

The dread announcement of his demise sped over the land like a
pestilence, burdening the very air with mourning, and carrying
inexpressible sorrow to every household and every heart. The course of
legislation was stopped in mid career to give expression to the grief of
Congress, and by resolution, approved January 6, 1800, the 22d of
February of that year was devoted to national humiliation and
lamentation. This is, then, as well a day of sorrow as a day of

More recent calamities also remind us that death is universal king. Just
ten days ago our great historian pronounced in this hall an impartial
judgment upon the earthly career of him who, as savior of his country,
will be counted as the compeer of Washington. Scarce have the orator's
lingering tones been mellowed into silence, scarce has the glowing page
whereon his words were traced lost the impress of his passing hand, yet
we are again called into the presence of the Inexorable to crown one
more illustrious victim with sacrificial flowers. Having taken up his
lifeless body, as beautiful as the dead Absalom, and laid it in the tomb
with becoming solemnity, we have assembled in the sight of the world to
do deserved honor to the name and memory of HENRY WINTER DAVIS, a native
of Annapolis, in the State of Maryland, but always proudly claiming to
be no less than a citizen of the United States of America.

We have not convened in obedience to any formal custom, requiring us to
assume an empty show of bereavement, in order that we may appear
respectful to the departed. We who knew HENRY WINTER DAVIS are not
content to clothe ourselves in the outward garb of grief, and call the
semblance of mourning a fitting tribute to the gifted orator and
statesman, so suddenly snatched from our midst in the full glory of his
mental and bodily strength. We would do more than "bear about the
mockery of woe." Prompted by a genuine affection, we desire to ignore
all idle and merely conventional ceremonies, and permit our stricken
hearts to speak their spontaneous sorrow.

Here, then, where he sat for eight years as a Representative of the
people; where friends have trooped about him, and admiring crowds have
paid homage to his genius; where grave legislators have yielded
themselves willing captives to his eloquence, and his wise counsel has
moulded, in no small degree, the law of a great nation, let us, in
dealing with what he has left us, verify the saying of Bacon, "Death
openeth the good fame and extinguished envy." Remembering that he was a
man of like passions and equally fallible with ourselves, let us review
his life in a spirit of generous candor, applaud what is good, and try
to profit by it; and if we find aught of ill, let us, so far as justice
and truth will permit, cover it with the vail of charity and bury it out
of sight forever. So may our survivors do for us.

The subject of this address was born on the 16th of August, 1817.

His father, Rev. Henry Lyon Davis, of the Protestant Episcopal church,
was president of St. John's College at Annapolis, Maryland, and rector
of St. Ann's parish. He was of imposing person, and great dignity and
force of character. He was, moreover, a man of genius, and of varied and
profound learning, eminently versed in mathematics and natural sciences,
abounding in classical lore, endowed with a vast memory, and gifted with
a concise, clear, and graceful style; rich and fluent in conversation,
but without the least pretension to oratory and wholly incapable of
_extempore_ speaking. He was removed from the presidency of St. John's
by a board of democratic trustees because of his federal politics; and,
years afterward, he gave his son his only lesson in politics at the end
of a letter, addressed to him when at Kenyon College, in this laconic
sentence: "My son, beware of the follies of Jacksonism."

His mother was Jane Brown Winter, a woman of elegant accomplishments and
of great sweetness of disposition and purity of life. It might be
truthfully said of her, that she was an exemplar for all who knew her.
She had only two children, Henry Winter, and Jane, who married Rev.
Edward Syle.

The education of Henry Winter began very early, at home, under the care
of his aunt, Elizabeth Brown Winter, who entertained the most rigid and
exacting opinions in regard to the training of children, but who was
withal a noble woman. He once playfully said, "I could read before I was
four years old, though much against my will." When his father was
removed from St. John's, he went to Wilmington, Delaware, but some time
elapsed before he became settled there. Meanwhile, Henry Winter remained
with his aunt in Alexandria, Virginia. He afterward went to Wilmington,
and was there instructed under his father's supervision. In 1827 his
father returned to Maryland and settled in Anne Arundel county.

After reaching Anne Arundel, Henry Winter became so much devoted to
out-door life that he gave small promise of scholarly proficiency. He
affected the sportsman, and became a devoted disciple of Nimrod;
accompanied always by one of his father's slaves he roamed the country
with a huge old fowling-piece on his shoulder, burning powder in
abundance, but doing little damage otherwise. While here he saw much of
slaves and slavery, and what he saw impressed him profoundly, and laid
the foundation for those opinions which he so heroically and constantly
defended in all his after-life. Referring to this period, he said long
afterward, "My familiar association with the slaves while a boy gave me
great insight into their feelings and views. They spoke with freedom
before a boy what they would have repressed before a man. They were far
from indifferent to their condition; they felt wronged and sighed for
freedom. They were attached to my father and loved me, yet they
habitually spoke of the day when God would deliver them."

He subsequently went to Alexandria, and was sent to school at Howard,
near the Theological Seminary, and from Howard he went to Kenyon
College, in Ohio, in the fall of 1833.

Kenyon was then in the first year of the presidency of Bishop
McIlvaine. It was the centre of vast forests, broken only by occasional
clearings, excepting along the lines of the National road, and the Ohio
river and its navigable tributaries. In this wilderness of nature, but
garden of letters, he remained, at first in the grammar school, and then
in the college, until the 6th of September, 1837; when at twenty years
of age he took his degree and diploma, decorated with one of the
honorary orations of his class, on the great day of commencement. His
subject was "Scholastic Philosophy."

At the end of the Freshman year, a change in the college terms gave him
a vacation of three months. Instead of spending it in idleness, as he
might have done, and as most boys would have done, he availed himself of
this interval to pursue and complete the studies of the Sophomore year,
to which he had already given some attention in his spare moments. At
the opening of the next session he passed the examination for the Junior
class. Fortunately I have his own testimony and opinion as to this
exploit, and I give them in his own language:

     "It was a pretty sharp trial of resolution and dogged diligence,
     but it saved me a year of college, and indurated my powers of study
     and mental culture into a habit, and perhaps enabled me to stay
     long enough to graduate. I do not recommend the example to those
     who are independently situated, for learning must fall like the
     rain in such gentle showers as to sink in if it is to be fruitful;
     when poured on the richest soil in torrents, it not only runs off
     without strengthening vegetation, but washes away the soil itself."

His college life was laborious and successful. The regular studies were
prosecuted with diligence, and from them he derived great profit, not
merely in knowledge, but in what is of vastly more account, the habit
and power of mental labor. These studies were wrought into his mind and
made part of the intellectual substance by the vigorous collisions of
the societies in which he delighted. For these mimic conflicts he
prepared assiduously, not in writing, but always with a carefully
deduced logical analysis and arrangement of the thoughts to be developed
in the order of argument, with a brief note of any quotation, or image,
or illustration, on the margin at the appropriate place. From that brief
he spoke. And this was his only method of preparation for all the great
conflicts in which he took part in after life. He never wrote out his
speeches beforehand.

Speaking of his feelings at the end of his college life, he sadly said:

     "My father's death had embittered the last days of the year 1836,
     and left me without a counsellor. I knew something of books,
     nothing of men, and I went forth like Adam among the wild beasts of
     the unknown wilderness of the world. My father had dedicated me to
     the ministry, but the day had gone when such dedications determined
     the lives of young men. Theology as a grave topic of historic and
     metaphysical investigation I delighted to pursue, but for the
     ministry I had no calling. I would have been idle if I could, for I
     had no ambition, but I had no fortune and I could not beg or

All who were acquainted with his temperament can well imagine what a
gloomy prospect the future presented to him, when its contemplation
wrung from his stoical taciturnity that touching confession.

The truth is, that from the time he entered college he was continually
cramped for want of money. The negroes ate everything that was produced
on the farm in Anne Arundel, a gastronomic feat which they could easily
accomplish, without ever having cause to complain of a surfeit. His
aunt, herself in limited circumstances, by a careful husbandry of her
means, managed to keep him at college. Kenyon was then a manual-labor
institution, and the boys were required to sweep their own rooms, make
their own beds and fires, bring their own water, black their own boots,
if they ever were blacked, and take an occasional turn at grubbing in
the fields or working on the roads. There was no royal road to learning
known at Kenyon in those days. Through all this Henry Winter Davis
passed, bearing his part manfully; and knowing how heavily he taxed the
slender purse of his aunt, he denied himself with such rigor that he
succeeded, incredible as it may appear, in bringing his total expenses,
including boarding and tuition, within the sum of eighty dollars per

His father left an estate consisting only of some slaves, which were
equally apportioned between himself and sister. Frequent applications
were made to purchase his slaves, but he never could be induced to sell
them, although the proceeds would have enabled him to pursue his studies
with ease and comfort. He rather sought and obtained a tutorship, and
for two years he devoted to law and letters only the time he could
rescue from its drudgery. In a letter, written in April, 1839, replying
to the request of a relative who offered to purchase his slave Sallie,
subject to the provisions of his father's will, which manumitted her if
she would go to Liberia, he said: "But if she is under my control." (he
did not know that she had been set to his share,) "I will _not consent
to the sale_, though he wishes to purchase her subject to the will." And
so Sallie was not sold, and Henry Winter Davis, the tutor, toiled on and
waited. He never would hold any of his slaves under his authority, never
would accept a cent of their wages, and tendered each and all of them a
deed of absolute manumission whenever the law would allow. Tell me, was
that man sincere in his opposition to slavery? How many of those who
have since charged him with being selfish and reckless in his advocacy
of emancipation would have shown equal devotion to principle? Not one;
not one. Ah! the man who works and suffers for his opinions' sake places
his own flesh and blood in pledge for his integrity.

Notwithstanding his irksome and exacting duties, he kept his eye
steadily on the University of Virginia, and read, without assistance, a
large part of its course. He delighted especially in the pungent pages
of Tacitus and the glowing and brilliant, dignified and elevated epic of
the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. These were favorites which
never lost their charm for him. When recently on a visit at my house, he
stated in conversation that he often exercised himself in translating
from the former, and in transferring the thoughts of the latter into his
own language, and he contended that the task had dispelled the popular
error that Gibbon's style is swollen and declamatory; for he alleged
that every effort at condensation had proved a failure, and that at the
end of his labors the page he had attempted to compress had always
expanded to the eye, when relieved of the weighty and stringent fetters
in which the gigantic genius of Gibbon had bound it.

About this time--the only period when doubts beset him--he was tempted
by a very advantageous offer to settle in Mississippi. He determined to
accept; but some kind spirit interposed to prevent the despatch of the
final letter, and he remained in Alexandria. At last his aunt--second
mother as she was--sold some land and dedicated the proceeds to his
legal studies. He arrived at the University of Virginia in October,

From that moment he entered actively and unremittingly on his course of
intellectual training. While a boy he had become familiar, under the
guidance of his father, with the classics of Addison, Johnson, Swift,
Cowper, and Pope, and he now plunged into the domain of history. He had
begun at Kenyon to make flanking forays into the fields of historic
investigation which lay so invitingly on each side of the regular march
of his college course. As he acquired more information and confidence,
these forays became more extensive and profitable. It was then the
transition period from the shallow though graceful pages of Gillies,
Rollin, Russel, and Tytler, and the rabbinical agglomerations of
Shuckford and Prideaux to the modern school of free, profound, and
laborious investigation, which has reared immortal monuments to its
memory in the works of Hallam, Macaulay, Grote, Bancroft, Prescott,
Motley, Niebuhr, Bunsen, Schlosser, Thiers, and their fellows. But of
the last-named none except Niebuhr's History of Rome and Hallam's Middle
Ages were accessible to him in the backwoods of Ohio. Cousin's Course of
the History of Modern Philosophy was just glittering in the horizon, and
Gibbon shone alone as the morning star of the day of historic research,
which he had heralded so long. The French Revolution he had seen only as
presented in Burke's brilliant vituperation and Scott's Tory diatribe. A
republican picture of the great republican revolution, the fountain of
all that is now tolerable in Europe, had not then been presented on any
authentic and comprehensive page.

Not only these, but all historical works of value which the English,
French, and German languages can furnish, with an immense amount of
other intellectual pabulum, were eagerly gathered, consumed with
voracious appetite, and thoroughly digested. Supplied at last with the
required means, he braced himself for a systematic curriculum of law,
and pursued it with marked constancy and success. While at the
university he also took up the German and French languages and mastered
them, and he perfected his scholarship in Latin and Greek. Until his
death he read all these languages with great facility and accuracy, and
he always kept his Greek Testament lying on his table for easy

After a thorough course at the university, Mr. DAVIS entered upon the
practice of the law in Alexandria, Virginia. He began his profession
without much to cheer him; but he was not the man to abandon a pursuit
for lack of courage. His ability and industry attracted attention, and
before long he had acquired a respectable practice, which thenceforth
protected him from all annoyances of a pecuniary nature. He toiled with
unwearied assiduity, never appearing in the trial of a cause without the
most elaborate and exhaustive preparation, and soon became known to his
professional brethren as a valuable ally and a formidable foe. His
natural aptitude for public affairs made itself manifest in due time,
and some articles which he prepared on municipal and State politics gave
him great reputation. He also published a series of newspaper essays,
wherein he dared to question the divinity of slavery; and these, though
at the time thought to be not beyond the limits of free discussion, were
cited against him long after as evidence that he was a heretic in
pro-slavery Virginia and Maryland.

On the 30th of October, 1845, he married Miss Constance T. Gardiner,
daughter of William C. Gardiner, Esq., a most accomplished and charming
young lady, as beautiful and as fragile as a flower. She lived to
gladden his heart for but a few years, and then,

    "Like a lily drooping,
    She bowed her head and died."

In 1850 he came to Baltimore, and immediately a high position,
professional, social, and political, was awarded him. His forensic
efforts at once commanded attention and enforced respect. The young men
of most ability and promise gathered about him, and made him the centre
of their chosen circle. He became a prominent member of the whig party,
and was everywhere known as the brilliant orator and successful
controvertist of the Scott campaign of 1852. The whig party, worn out by
its many gallant but unsuccessful battles, was ultimately gathered to
its fathers, and Mr. DAVIS led off in the American movement. He was
elected successively to the thirty-fourth, thirty-fifth, and
thirty-sixth Congresses by the American party from the fourth district
of Maryland. He supported with great ability and zeal Mr. Fillmore for
the Presidency in 1856, and in 1860 accepted John Bell as the candidate
of his party, though he clearly divined and plainly announced that the
great battle was really between Abraham Lincoln, as the representative
of the national sentiment on the one hand, and secession and disunion,
in all their shades and phases, on the other. To his seat in the
thirty-eighth Congress he was elected by the Unconditional Union party.

Since the adjournment of the thirty-eighth Congress he has been
profoundly concerned in the momentous public questions now pressing for
adjustment, and he did not fail on several fitting occasions to give his
views at length to the public. Nevertheless, he frequently alluded to
his earnest desire to retreat for awhile from the perplexing annoyances
of public life. He had determined upon a long visit to Europe in the
coming spring, and had almost concluded the purchase of a delightful
country-seat, where he hoped to recruit his weary brain for years to
come from the exhaustless riches of nature. When the thirty-ninth
Congress met, and he read of his old companions in the work of
legislation again gathering in their halls and committee-rooms, I think,
for at least a day or two, he felt a longing to be among them. During
the second week of the session he again entered this hall, but only as a
spectator. The greeting he received--so general, spontaneous, and
cordial--from gentlemen on both sides of the House, touched his heart
most sensibly. The crowd that gathered about him was go great that the
party was obliged to retire to one of the larger ante-rooms for fear of
interrupting the public business. A delightful interview among old
friends was the reward. He was charmed with his reception, and mentioned
it to me with intense satisfaction. Little did you, gentlemen, then
think that between you and a beloved friend the curtain that shrouds
eternity was so soon to be interposed. His sickness was of about a
week's duration. Until the morning of the day preceding his death, his
friends never doubted his recovery. Later in the day very unfavorable
symptoms appeared, and all then realized his danger. In the evening his
wife spoke to him of a visit, for one day, which he had projected, to
his old friend, Mrs. S. F. Du Pont, when he replied, in the last words
he ever uttered, "It shows the folly of making plans even for a day." He
continued to fail rapidly in strength until two o'clock on the afternoon
of Saturday, the 30th of December, when HENRY WINTER DAVIS, in the
forty-ninth year of his age, appeared before his God. His death
confirmed the opinion of Sir Thomas Browne, who declared, "Marshaling
all the horrors of death, and contemplating the extremities thereof, I
find not anything therein able to daunt the _courage_ of a _man_, much
less a _well-resolved Christian_." He passed away so quietly that no one
knew the moment of his departure. His was--

                "A death, life sleep;
    A gentle wafting to immortal life."

Mr. DAVIS left a widow, Mrs. Nancy Davis, a daughter of John B. Morris,
Esq., of Baltimore, and two little girls, who were the idols of his
heart. He was married a second time on the 26th of January, 1857. His
nearest surviving collateral relation is the Hon. David Davis, associate
justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, who is his only
cousin-german. To all these afflicted hearts may God be most gracious.

Thus has the country lost one of the most able, eloquent, and fearless
of its defenders. Called from this life at an age when most men are just
beginning to command the respect and confidence of their fellows, he has
left, nevertheless, a fame as wide as our vast country. He died nineteen
years younger than Washington and eight years younger than Lincoln. At
forty-eight years of age Washington had not seen the glories of Yorktown
even in a vision, nor had Lincoln dreamed of the presidential chair; and
if they had died at that age they would have been comparatively unknown
in history. Doubtless God would have raised up other leaders, if they
had been wanting, to conduct the great American column, which He has
chosen to be the bodyguard of human rights and hopes, onward among the
nations and the centuries; but in that event the 12th and 22d days of
February would not be, as they now are, held sacred in our calendar.

Mr. DAVIS had gathered into his house the literary treasures of four
languages, and had reveled in spirit with the wise men of the ages. He
had conned his books as jealously as a miner peering for gold, and had
not left a panful of earth unwashed. He had collected the purest ore of
truth and the richest gems of thought, until he was able to crown
himself with knowledge. Blessed with a felicitous power of analysis and
a prodigious memory, he ransacked history, ancient and modern, sacred
and profane; science, pure, empirical, and metaphysical; the arts,
mechanical and liberal; the professions, law, divinity, and medicine;
poetry and the miscellanies of literature; and in all these great
departments of human lore he moved as easily as most men do in their
particular province. His habit was not only to read but to reread the
best of his books frequently, and he was continually supplying himself
with better editions of his favorites. In current, playful conversation
with friends he quoted right and left, in brief and at length, from the
classics, ancient and modern, and from the drama, tragic and comic. In
his speeches, on the contrary, he quoted but little, and only when he
seemed to run upon a thought already expressed by some one else with
singular force and appositeness. He was the best scholar I ever met for
his years and active life, and was surpassed by very few, excepting mere
book-worms. He has for many years been engaged in collecting extracts
from newspapers, containing the leading facts and public documents of
the day; but he never commonplaced from books. His thesaurus was his

I have but little personal knowledge of Mr. DAVIS as a lawyer. It was
never my good fortune to be associated with him in the trial of a cause;
nor have I ever been present when he was so engaged. But at the time of
his death he filled a high position at the bar, and was chosen to lead
against the most distinguished of his brethren. On public and
constitutional questions, as distinguished from those involving only
private rights, he was a host, and in the argument of the cases which
grew out of the adoption of the new constitution of Maryland he won
golden laurels, and drew extraordinary encomiums even from his opponents
in that angry litigation. He was thoroughly read in the decisions of the
federal courts, and especially in those declaring and defining
constitutional principles.

Possessed of a mind of remarkable power, scope, and activity; with an
immense fund of precious information, ready to respond to any call he
might make upon it, however sudden; wielding a system of logic formed in
the severest school, and tried by long practice; gifted with a rare
command of language and an eloquence well nigh superhuman; and withal
graced with manners the most accomplished and refined, and a person
unusually handsome, graceful, and attractive. Mr. DAVIS entered public
life with almost unparalleled personal advantages. Having boldly
presented himself before the most rigorous tribunal in the world, he
proved himself worthy of its favor and attention. He soon rose to the
front rank of debaters, and whenever he addressed the House all sides
gave him a delighted audience.

I shall not attempt a review of the topics discussed in the
thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth Congresses. The day was fast coming when
contests for the Speakership and battles over appropriation bills, ay,
even the fierce struggle over Kansas, would sink into insignificance,
and Mr. DAVIS, with that political prescience for which he was always
remarkable, seemed to discern the first sign of the coming storm. The
winds had been long sown, and now the whirlwind was to be reaped. The
thirty-sixth Congress, which had opened so inauspiciously, and which his
vote had saved from becoming a perpetuated bedlam, met for its second
session on the 3d of December, 1860, with the clouds of civil war fast
settling down upon the nation. In the hope that war might yet be
averted, on the fourth day of the session, the celebrated committee of
thirty-three was raised, with the lamented Corwin, of Ohio, as chairman,
and Mr. DAVIS as the member from Maryland. When the committee reported,
Mr. DAVIS sustained the majority report in an able speech, in which,
after urging every argument in favor of the report, he boldly proclaimed
his own views, and the duties of his State and country. In his speech of
7th February, 1861, he said:

     "I do not wish to say one word which will exasperate the already
     too much inflamed state of the public mind; but I will say that the
     Constitution of the United States, and the laws made in pursuance
     thereof, _must be enforced_; and they who stand across the path of
     that enforcement must either _destroy_ the _power_ of the _United
     States_, or it will _destroy them_."

For such utterances only a small part of the people of his State was on
that day prepared. Seduced by the wish, they still believed that the
Union could be preserved by fair and mutual concessions. They were on
their knees praying for peace, ignorant that bloody war had already
girded on his sword. His language was then deemed too harsh and
unconciliatory, and hundreds, I among the number, denounced him in
unmeasured terms. Before the expiration of three months events had
demonstrated his wisdom and our folly, and other paragraphs from that
same speech became the fighting creed of the Union men of Maryland. He
further said, on that occasion:

     "But, sir, there is one State I can speak for, and that is the
     State of Maryland. Confident in the strength of this great
     government to protect every interest, grateful for almost a century
     of unalloyed blessings, she has fomented no agitation; she has done
     no act to disturb the public peace; she has rested in the
     consciousness that if there be wrong the Congress of the United
     States will remedy it; and that none exists which revolution would
     not aggravate.

     "Mr. Speaker, I am here this day to speak, and I say that I do
     speak, for the people of Maryland, who are loyal to the United
     States; and that when my judgment is contested, I appeal to the
     people for its accuracy, and I am ready to maintain it before them.

     "In Maryland we are dull, and cannot comprehend the right of
     secession. We do not recognize the right to make a revolution by a
     vote. We do not recognize the right of Maryland to repeal the
     Constitution of the United States, and if any convention there,
     called by whatever authority, under whatever auspices, undertake to
     inaugurate revolution in Maryland, their authority will be resisted
     and defied in arms on the soil of Maryland, in the name and by the
     authority of the Constitution of the United States."

In January, 1861, the ensign of the Republic, while covering a mission
of mercy, was fired on by traitors. In February Jefferson Davis said, at
Stevenson, Alabama, "We will carry war where it is easy to advance,
where food for the sword and torch await our armies in the densely
populated cities." In March the thirty-sixth Congress, after vainly
passing conciliatory resolutions by the score, among other things
recommending the repeal of all personal liberty bills, declaring that
there was no authority outside of the States where slavery was
recognized to interfere with slaves or slavery therein, and proposing by
two-thirds votes of both houses an amendment of the Constitution
prohibiting any future amendment giving Congress power over slavery in
the States, adjourned amid general terror and distress.

Abraham Lincoln, having passed through the midst of his enemies,
appeared at Washington in due time and delivered his inaugural, closing
with these memorable words:

     "In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine,
     is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail

     "You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors.
     You can have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the
     government, while I shall have the most solemn one to 'preserve,
     protect, and defend' it.

     "I am loth to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not
     be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break,
     our bonds of affection.

     "The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and
     patriot grave to every living hearth and hearth-stone all over this
     broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again
     touched, as surely as they will be, by the better angels of our

Words which, if human hearts do not harden into stone, through the long
ages yet to come,

    "Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
    The deep damnation of his taking off."

The appeal was spurned; and, in the face of its almost godlike
gentleness, they who already gloried in their anticipated saturnalia of
blood inhumanly and falsely stigmatized it as a declaration of war. The
long-patient North, slow to anger, in its agony still cried, "My
brother; oh, my brother!" It remained for that final, ineradicable
infamy of Sumter to arouse the nation to arms! At last, to murder at one
blow the hopes we had nursed so tenderly, they impiously dragged in the
dust the glorious symbol of our national life and majesty, heaping
dishonor upon it, and, like the sneering devil at the crucifixion,
crying out, "Come and deliver thyself!" and then no man, with the heart
of a man, who loved his country and feared his God, dared longer delay
to prepare for that great struggle which was destined to rock the earth.

Poor Maryland! cursed with slavery, doubly cursed with traitors! Mr.
DAVIS had said that Maryland was loyal to the United States, and had
pledged himself to maintain that position before the people. The time
soon came for him to redeem his pledge. On the morning of the 15th of
April the President issued his proclamation calling a special session of
Congress, which made an extra election necessary in Maryland. Before the
sun of that day had gone down, this card was promulgated:

     _To the voters of the fourth congressional district of Maryland:_

     I hereby announce myself as a candidate for the House of
     Representatives of the 37th Congress of the United States of
     America, upon the basis of the _unconditional maintenance of the

     Should my fellow-citizens of _like views_ manifest their preference
     for a different candidate on _that basis_, it is not my purpose to
     embarrass them.

                                                        H. WINTER DAVIS.
     APRIL 15, 1861.

But dark days were coming for Baltimore. A mob, systematically
organized in complicity with the rebels at Richmond and Harper's Ferry,
seized and kept in subjection an unsuspecting and unarmed population
from the 19th to the 24th of April. For six days murder and treason held
joint sway; and at the conclusion of their tragedy of horrid barbarities
they gave the farce of holding an election for members of the house of

To show the spirit that moved Mr. DAVIS under this ordeal, I cite from
his letter, written on the 28th, to Hon. William H. Seward, the

     "I have been trying to collect the persons appointed scattered by
     the storm, and to compel them to take their offices or to decline.

     "I have sought men of undoubted courage and capacity for the places

     "We must show the secessionists that we are not frightened, but are
     resolved to maintain the government in the exercise of all its
     functions in Maryland.

     "We have organized a guard, who will accompany the officers and
     hold the public buildings against all the secessionists in

     "A great reaction has set in. If we _now_ act promptly the day is
     ours and the State is safe."

These matters being adjusted, he immediately took the field for
Congress on his platform against Mr. Henry May, conservative Union, and
in the face of an opposition which few men have dared to encounter, he
carried on, unremittingly from that time until the election on the 13th
of June, the most brilliant campaign against open traitors, doubters,
and dodgers, that unrivalled eloquence, courage, and activity could
achieve. Everywhere, day and night, in sunshine and storm, in the
market-houses, at the street corners, and in the public halls, his voice
rang out clear, loud, and defiant for the "unconditional maintenance" of
the Union. He was defeated, but he sanctified the name of _unconditional
union_ in the vocabulary of every true Marylander. He gathered but 6,000
votes out of 14,000, yet the result was a triumph which gave him the
real fruits of victory; and he exclaimed to a friend, with laudable
pride, "With six thousand of the workingmen of Baltimore on my side, won
in such a contest, I defy them to take the State out of the Union."
Though not elected, he never ceased his efforts. With us it was a
struggle for homes, hearths, and lives. He said at Brooklyn:

     "You see the conflagration from a distance; it blisters me at my
     side. You can survive the integrity of the nation; we in Maryland
     would live on the side of a gulf, perpetually tending to plunge
     into its depths. It is for us life and liberty; it is for you
     greatness, strength, and prosperity."

Nothing appalled him; nothing deterred him. He said, at Baltimore, in

     "The War Department has been taught by the misfortune at Bull Run,
     which has broken no power nor any spirit, which bowed no State nor
     made any heart falter, which was felt as a humiliation that has
     brought forth wisdom."

He also said, speaking of the rebels, and foretelling his own fate, if
they succeeded in Maryland:

     "They have inaugurated an era of confiscations, proscriptions, and
     exiles. Read their acts of greedy confiscation, their law of
     proscriptions by the thousands. Behold the flying exiles from the
     unfriendly soil of Virginia, Tennessee, and Missouri."

And so he worked on, never abating one jot of his uncompromising
devotion to the Union, like a second Peter the Hermit, preaching a
cause, as he believed, truly represented by insignia as sacred as the
Cross, and for which no sacrifice, not even death, was too great.

But his crowning glory was his leadership of the emancipation movement.
The rebels, notwithstanding "My Maryland's" bloody welcome at South
Mountain and Antietam, claimed that she must belong to their confederacy
because of the homogeneousness of her institutions. They contended that
the fetters of slavery formed a chain that stretched across the Potomac,
and held in bondage not only 87,000 slaves, but 600,000 white people
also. Their constant theme was "the deliverance" of Maryland. We
resolved to break that last tie, and to take position unalterably on the
side of the Union and freedom, and thus to deal the final blow to the
cause and support of rebellion. We organized our little band, almost
ridiculous from its want of numbers, early in 1863. A Sibley tent would
have held our whole army. Our enemies laughed us to scorn, and the
politicians would not accept our help on any terms, but denied us as
earnestly as Peter denied his Lord. Mr. DAVIS was our acknowledged
leader, and it was in the heat and fury of the contest which followed
that our hearts were welded into permanent friendship. He was the
platform maker, and he announced it in a few lines:

     "A hearty support of the entire policy of the national
     administration, including immediate emancipation by constitutional

It was very short, but it covered all the ground. The campaign opened
by the publication of an address, written by Mr. DAVIS, to the people of
Maryland, which, I venture to say, is unsurpassed by any state paper
published in this age of able state papers for the warmth and vigor of
its diction, and the lucidity and conclusiveness of its argumentation.
It is a pamphlet of twenty pages, glowing throughout with the
unmistakable marks of his genius and patriotism, and closing with these
words of stirring cheer:

     "We do not doubt the result, and expect, freed from the trammels
     which now bind her, to see Maryland, at no distant day, rapidly
     advancing in a course of unexampled prosperity with her sister
     _free_ States of the _undivided_ and _indivisible_ Republic."

Mr. DAVIS was ubiquitous. He was the life and soul of the whole contest.
He arranged the order of battle, dictated the correspondence, wrote the
important articles for the newspapers, and addressed all the concerted
meetings. In short, neither his voice nor his pen rested in all the time
of our travail. He would have no compromise; but rejected all overtures
of the enemy short of unconditional surrender. On the Eastern Shore he
spoke with irresistible power at Elkton, Easton, Salisbury, and Snow
Hill, at each of the three last-named towns with a crowd of wondering
"American citizens of African descent" listening to him from afar, and
looking upon him as if they believed him to be the seraph Abdiel. His
last appointment, in extreme southern Maryland, he filled on Friday,
after which, bidding me a cordial God-speed, he descended from the
stand, sprang into an open wagon awaiting him, travelled eighty miles
through a raw night-air, reached Cambridge by daylight, and then crossed
the Chesapeake, sixty miles, in time to close the campaign with one of
his ringing speeches in Monument square, Baltimore, on Saturday night.
In this, our first contest, we were completely victorious.

But we had yet a weary way before us. The legislature had then to pass
a law calling a convention. That law had to be approved by a majority of
the people. Members of the convention had then to be elected in all
parts of the State, and the Constitution which they adopted had to be
carried by a majority of the popular vote. He allowed himself no
reprieve from labor until all this had been accomplished. And when the
rest of us, worn out by incessant toil, gladly sought rest, he went
before the court of appeals to maintain everything that had been done
against all comers, and did so triumphantly.

Let free Maryland never forget the debt of eternal gratitude she owes to

If oratory means the power of presenting thoughts by public and
sustained speech to an audience in the manner best adapted to win a
favorable decision of the question at issue, then Mr. DAVIS assuredly
occupied the highest position as an orator. He always held his hearers
in rapt attention until he closed, and then they lingered about to
discuss with one another what they had heard. I have seen a promiscuous
assembly, made up of friends and opponents, remain exposed to a beating
rain for two hours rather than forego hearing him. Those who had heard
him most frequently were always ready to make the greatest effort to
hear him again. Even his bitterest enemies have been known to stand
shivering on the street corners for a whole evening, charmed by his
marvelous tongue. His stump efforts never fell below his high standard.
He never condescended to a mere attempt to amuse. He always spoke to
instruct, to convince, and to persuade through the higher and better
avenues to favor. I never heard him deliver a speech that was not worthy
of being printed and preserved. As a stump orator he was unapproachable,
in my estimation, and I say that with a clear recollection of having
heard, when a boy, that wonder of Yankee birth and southern development,
S. S. Prentiss.

Mr. DAVIS'S ripe scholarship promptly tendered to his thought the
happiest illustrations and the most appropriate forms of expression. His
brain had become a teeming cornucopia, whence flowed in exhaustless
profusion the most beautiful flowers and the most substantial fruits;
and yet he never indulged in excessive ornamentation. His taste was
almost austerely chaste. His style was perspicuous, energetic, concise,
and withal highly elegant. He never loaded his sentences with
meretricious finery, or high-sounding, supernumerary words. When he did
use the jewelry of rhetoric, he would quietly set a metaphor in his page
or throw a comparison into his speech which would serve to light up with
startling distinctness the colossal proportions of his argument. Of
humor he had none; but his wit and sarcasm at times would glitter like
the brandished cimeter of Saladin, and, descending, would cut as keenly.
The pathetic he never attempted; but when angered by a malicious assault
his invective was consuming, and his epithets would wound like pellets
of lead. Although gallant to the graces of expression, he always
compelled his rhetoric to act as handmaid to his dialectics.

Style may sometimes be an exotic; but when it is, it is sure to partake
more and more, as years increase, of the peculiarities of the soil
wherein it is nurtured. But the style of Mr. DAVIS was indigenous and
strongly marked by his individuality. Although he doubtless admired, and
perhaps imitated, the condensation and dignity of Gibbon, yet it is
certain that he carefully avoided the monotonous stateliness and the
elaborate and ostentatious art of that most erudite historian. I look in
vain for his model in the skeptical Gibbon, the cynical Bolingbroke, or
the gorgeous Burke. These were all to him intellectual giants; but
giants of false belief and practice. Not even from Tacitus, upon whom he
looked with the greatest favor, could he have acquired his burning and
impressive diction.

HENRY WINTER DAVIS was a man of faith, and believed in Christ and his
fellow-man. His heart and mind were both nourished into their full
dimensions under the fostering influences of our free institutions; so
that, being reared a freeman, he thought and spake as became a freeman.
No other land could have produced such dauntless courage and such heroic
devotion to honest conviction in a public man; and even our land has
produced but few men of his stamp and ability. His implicit faith in
God's eternal justice, and his grand moral courage, imparted to him his
proselyting zeal, and gave him that amazing, kindling power which
enabled him to light the fires of enthusiasm wherever he touched the
public mind.

To show his power in extemporaneous debate, as well as his determined
patriotism, I will introduce a passage from his speech of April 11,
1864, delivered in the House of Representatives. You will remember that
the end of the rebellion had not then appeared. Grant, with his
invincible legions, had not started to execute that greatest military
movement of modern times, by which, after months of bloody persistence,
hurling themselves continually against what seemed the frowning front of
destiny, they finally drove the enemy from his strongholds, made Fortune
herself captive, and, binding her to their standards, held her there
until the surrender of every rebel in arms closed the war amid the
exultant plaudits of men and angels. Our hopes had not then grown into
victory, and we looked forward anxiously to the terrible march from the
Rappahannock to Richmond. Thinking that perhaps our army stood appalled
before the great duty required of it, and that the people might be
diverted from their purpose to crush the rebellion when they saw that it
could only be accomplished at the cost of an ocean of human blood, a
call was made on the floor of the American Congress for a recognition of
the southern confederacy. Speaking for the nation, Mr. DAVIS said:

     "But, Mr. Speaker, if it be said that a time may come when the
     question of recognizing the southern confederacy will have to be
     answered, I admit it. * * * * When the people, exhausted by
     taxation, weary of sacrifices, drained of blood, betrayed by their
     rulers, deluded by demagogues into believing that peace is the way
     to union, and submission the path to victory, shall throw down
     their arms before the advancing foe; when vast chasms across every
     State shall make it apparent to every eye, when too late to remedy
     it, that division from the south is anarchy at the north, and that
     peace without union is the end of the Republic; _then_ the
     independence of the south will be an accomplished fact, and
     gentlemen may, without treason to the dead Republic, rise in this
     migratory house, wherever it may then be in America, and declare
     themselves for recognizing their masters at the south rather than
     exterminating them. Until that day, in the name of the American
     nation; in the name of every house in the land where there is one
     dead for the holy cause; in the name of those who stand before us
     in the ranks of battle; in the name of the liberty our ancestors
     have confided to us, I devote to eternal execration the name of him
     who shall propose to destroy this blessed land rather than its

     "But until that time arrive it is the judgment of the American
     people there shall be no compromise; that ruin to ourselves or ruin
     to the southern rebels are the only alternatives. It is only by
     resolutions of this kind that nations can rise above great dangers
     and overcome them in crises like this. It was only by turning
     France into a camp, resolved that Europe might exterminate but
     should not subjugate her, that France is the leading empire of
     Europe to-day. It is by such a resolve that the American people,
     coercing a reluctant government to draw the sword and stake the
     national existence on the integrity of the Republic, are now
     anything but the fragments of a nation before the world, the scorn
     and hiss of every petty tyrant. It is because the people of the
     United States, rising to the height of the occasion, dedicated this
     generation to the sword, and pouring out the blood of their
     children as of no account, and vowing before high Heaven that there
     should be no end to this conflict but ruin absolute or absolute
     triumph, that we now are what we are; that the banner of the
     Republic, still pointing onward, floats proudly in the face of the
     enemy; that vast regions are reduced to obedience to the laws, and
     that a great host in armed array now presses with steady step into
     the dark regions of the rebellion. It is only by the earnest and
     abiding resolution of the people that, whatever shall be our fate,
     it shall be grand as the American nation, worthy of that Republic
     which first trod the path of empire and made no peace but under the
     banners of victory, that the American people will survive in
     history. And that will save us. We shall succeed, and not fail. I
     have an abiding confidence in the firmness, the patience, the
     endurance of the American people; and, having vowed to stand in
     history on the great resolve to accept of nothing but victory or
     ruin, victory is ours. And if with such heroic resolve we fall, we
     fall with honor, and transmit the name of liberty, committed to our
     keeping, untarnished, to go down to future generations. The
     historian of our decline and fall, contemplating the ruins of the
     last great Republic, and drawing from its fate lessons of wisdom on
     the waywardness of men, shall drop a tear as he records with sorrow
     the vain heroism of that people who dedicated and sacrificed
     themselves to the cause of freedom, and by their example will keep
     alive her worship in the hearts of men till happier generations
     shall learn to walk in her paths. Yes, sir, if we must fall, let
     our last hours be stained by no weakness. If we must fall, let us
     stand amid the crash of the falling Republic and be buried in its
     ruins, so that history may take note that men lived in the middle
     of the nineteenth century worthy of a better fate, but chastised by
     God for the sins of their forefathers. Let the ruins of the
     Republic remain to testify to the latest generations our greatness
     and our heroism. And let Liberty, crownless and childless, sit upon
     these ruins, crying aloud in a sad wail to the nations of the
     world, 'I nursed and brought up children and they have rebelled
     against me.'"

Mr. DAVIS'S most striking characteristics were his devotion to principle
and his indomitable courage. There never was a moment when he could be
truthfully charged with trimming or insincerity. His views were always
clearly avowed and fearlessly maintained. He hated slavery, and he did
not attempt to conceal it. He remembered the lessons of his youth, and
his heart rebelled against the injustice of the system. His antipathy
was deeply grounded in his convictions, and he could not be dissuaded,
nor frightened, nor driven from expressing it.

He was not a great captain, nor a mighty ruler; he was only one of the
people, but, nevertheless, a hero. Born under the flag of a nation which
claimed for its cardinal principle of government, that all men are
created free, yet held in abject slavery four millions of human beings;
which erected altars to the living God, yet denied to creatures, formed
in the image of God and charged with the custody of immortal souls, the
common rights of humanity; he declared that the hateful inconsistency
should cease to defile the prayers of Christians and stultify the
advocates of freedom. No dreamer was he, no mere theorist, but a worker,
and a strong one, who did well the work committed to him. He entered
upon his self-imposed task when surrounded by slaves and slave-owners.
He stood face to face with the iniquitous superstition, and to their
teeth defied its worshipers. To make proselytes he had to conquer
prejudices, correct traditions, elevate duty above interest, and induce
men who had been the propagandists of slavery to become its destroyers.
Think you his work was easy? Count the long years of his unequal strife;
gather from the winds, which scattered them, the curses of his foes;
suffer under all the annoyances and insults which malice and falsehood
can invent, and you will then understand how much of heart and hope, of
courage and self-relying zeal, were required to make him what he was,
and to qualify him to do what he did. And what did he? When the rough
hand of war had stripped off the pretexts which enveloped the rebellion,
and it became evident that slavery had struck at the life of the
Republic, unmindful of consequences to himself, he, among the first,
arraigned the real traitor and demanded the penalty of death. The
denunciations that fell upon him like a cloud wrapped him in a mantle of
honor, and more truthfully than the great Roman orator he could have
exclaimed, "_Ego hoc animo semperfui, ut invidiam virtute partam,
gloriam non invidiam putarem_."

This man, so stern and inflexible in the execution of a purpose, so
rigorous in his demands of other men in behalf of a principle, so
indifferent to preferment and all base objects of pursuit, had a monitor
to whom he always gave an open ear and a prompt assent. It was no demon
like that which attended Socrates, no witch like that invoked by Saul,
no fiend like that to which Faust resigned himself. A vision of light
and life and beauty flitted ever palpably before him, and wooed him to
the perpetual service of the good and true. The memory of a pious and
beloved mother permeated his whole moral being, and kept warm within him
the tenderest affection. Hear how he wrote of her:

     "My mother was a lady of graceful and simple manners, fair
     complexion, blue eyes, and auburn hair, with a rich and exquisite
     voice, that still thrills my memory with the echo of its vanished
     music. She was highly educated for her day, when Annapolis was the
     focus of intellect and fashion for Maryland, and its fruits shone
     through her conversation, and colored and completed her natural
     eloquence, which my father used to say would have made her an
     orator, if it had not been thrown away on a woman. She was the
     incarnation of all that is Christian in life and hope, in charity
     and thought, ready for every good work, herself the example of all
     she taught."

It was the force of her precept and example that formed the man, and
supplied him with his shield and buckler. His private life was spotless.
His habits were regular and abstemious, and his practice in close
conformity with the Episcopal church, of which he was a member. He
invariably attended divine service on Sunday, and confined himself for
the remainder of the day to a course of religious reading. If from his
father he drew a courage and a fierce determination before which his
enemies fled in confusion, from his mother he inherited those milder
qualities that won for him friends as true and devoted as man ever
possessed. Some have said he was hard and dictatorial. They had seen him
only when a high resolve had fired his breast, and when the gleam of
battle had lighted his countenance. His friends saw deeper, and knew
that beneath the exterior he assumed in his struggles with the world
there beat a heart as pure and unsullied, as confiding and as gentle, as
ever sanctified the domestic circle, or made loved ones happy. His heart
reminded me of a spring among the hills of the Susquehanna, to which I
often resorted in my youth; around a part of it we boys had built a
stone wall to protect it from outrage, while on the side next home we
left open a path, easily traveled by familiar feet, and leading straight
to the sweet and perennial waters within.

He lived to hear the salvos that announced, after more than two
centuries of bondage, the redemption of his native State. He lived to
vote for that grand act of enfranchisement that wiped from the
escutcheon of the nation the leprous stain of slavery, and to know that
the Constitution of the United States no longer recognized and protected
property in man. He lived to witness the triumph of his country in its
desperate struggle with treason, and to behold all its enemies, either
wanderers, like Cain, over the earth, or suppliants for mercy at her
feet. He lived to catch the first glimpse of the coming glory of that
new era of progress that matchless valor had won through the blood and
carnage of a thousand battle-fields. He lived, through all the storm of
war, to see, at last, America rejuvenated, rescued from the grasp of
despotism, and rise victorious, with her garments purified and her brow
radiant with the unsullied light of liberty. He lived to greet the
return of "meek-eyed peace," and then he gently laid his head upon her
bosom, and breathed out there his noble spirit.

The sword may rust in its scabbard, and so let it; but free men, with
free thought and free speech, will wage unceasing war until truth shall
be enthroned and sit empress of the world. Would to God that he had been
spared to complete a life of three score and ten years, for the sake of
his country and posterity. When I think of the good he would have
accomplished had he survived for twenty years, I can say, in the
language of Fisher Ames, "My heart, penetrated with the remembrance of
the man, grows liquid as I speak, and I could pour it out like water."

At the portals of his tomb we may bid farewell to the faithful
Christian, in the full assurance that a blessed life awaits him beyond
the grave. Serenely and trustfully he has passed from our sight and gone
down into the dark waters.

    "So sinks the day-star in the ocean bed,
    And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
    And tricks his beams, and with new-spangled ore
    Flames in the forehead of the morning sky."

From this hall, where as scholar, statesman, and orator he shone so
brightly, he has disappeared forever. Never again will he, answering to
the roll-call from this desk, respond for his country and the rights of
man. No more shall we hear his fervid eloquence in the day of imminent
peril, invoking us, who hold the mighty power of peace and war, to
dedicate ourselves, if need be, to the sword, but to accept no end of
the conflict save that of absolute triumph for our country. He has gone
to answer the great roll-call above, where the "brazen throat of war" is
voiceless in the presence of the Prince of Peace. Let us habitually turn
to his recorded words, and gather wisdom as from the testament of a
departed sage; and since we were witnesses of his tireless devotion to
the cause of human freedom, let us direct that on the monument which
loving hearts and willing hands will soon erect over his remains, there
shall be deeply engraved the figure of a bursting shackle, as the emblem
of the faith in which he lived and died.

For the Christian, scholar, statesman, and orator, all good men are
mourners; but what shall I say of that grief which none can share--the
grief of sincere friendship?

Oh, my friend! comforted by the belief that you, while living, deemed me
worthy to be your companion, and loaded me with the proofs of your
esteem, I shall fondly treasure, during my remaining years, the
recollection of your smile and counsel. Lost to me is the strong arm
whereon I have so often leaned; but in that path which in time past we
trod most joyfully together, I shall continue, as God shall give me to
see my duty, with unfaltering though perhaps with unskilful steps, right
onward to the end.

Admiring his brilliant intellect and varied acquirements, his
invincible courage and unswerving fortitude, glorying in his good works
and fair renown, but, more than all, _loving the man_, I shall endeavor
to assuage the bitterness of grief by applying to him those words of
proud, though tearful, satisfaction, from which the faithful Tacitus
drew consolation for the loss of that noble Roman whom he delighted to

     "Quidquid ex Agricola amavimus, quidquid mirati sumus, manet
     mansurumque est, in animis hominum, in æternitate temporum, fama

Transcriber's Note

Minor typographical errors have been corrected without note.

The writer uses some archaic spelling which has been kept as printed.

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