By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Memorial Addresses on the Life and Character of William H. F. Lee (A Representative from Virginia) - Delivered in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, - Fifty-Second Congress, First Session
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Memorial Addresses on the Life and Character of William H. F. Lee (A Representative from Virginia) - Delivered in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, - Fifty-Second Congress, First Session" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

[Illustration: Hon. W.H.F. Lee.]










       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


     _Resolved by the House of Representatives_ (_the Senate
     concurring_), That there be printed of the eulogies delivered in
     Congress upon the Hon. W.H.F. LEE, late a Representative from the
     State of Virginia, eight thousand copies, of which number two
     thousand copies shall be delivered to the Senators and
     Representatives of the State of Virginia, which shall include fifty
     copies to be bound in full morocco, to be delivered to the family
     of the deceased, and of those remaining two thousand shall be for
     the use of the Senate and four thousand for the use of the House of
     Representatives; and the Secretary of the Treasury is directed to
     have engraved and printed a portrait of the said W.H.F. LEE to
     accompany the said eulogies.

     Agreed to in the House of Representatives March 23, 1892.

     Agreed to in the Senate March 22, 1892.



DECEMBER 23, 1891.

Mr. MEREDITH, of Virginia: Mr. Speaker, I rise to make the painful
announcement to the House of the death of Hon. WILLIAM H.F. LEE, a
Representative in the Fiftieth and Fifty-first Congresses of the United
States and a Representative-elect to the Fifty-second Congress.

He died at his home, in Fairfax County, Va., on the 15th day of October
last, after a lingering illness. Later in the session I shall ask this
House to fix a day when his colleagues and friends can do justice to his
memory and express their appreciation of his high character.

It is only meet and fitting on this occasion that I should say that in
the death of Gen. LEE the State of Virginia has lost the services of one
of her most chivalrous and noble sons, and the district he so well
represented a faithful guardian of the interests of all its people.

I send to the desk and ask the adoption of these resolutions:

The Clerk read as follows:

     _Resolved_, That the House has heard with deep regret and profound
     sorrow of the death of Hon. W.H.F. LEE, a Representative from the
     State of Virginia.

     _Resolved_, That the Clerk be directed to communicate a copy of
     these resolutions to the Senate.

     _Resolved_, That as a further mark of respect the House do now

The resolutions were unanimously agreed to.

And accordingly (at 12 o'clock and 37 minutes p.m.) the House adjourned
until Tuesday, the 5th day of January next.


FEBRUARY 6, 1892.

The SPEAKER. The Clerk will report the special order.

The Clerk read as follows:

     _Resolved_, That Saturday, February 6, beginning at 1 o'clock
     afternoon, be set apart for paying tribute to the memory of Hon.
     WILLIAM HENRY FITZHUGH LEE, late a member of the House of
     Representatives from the Eighth district of the State of Virginia.

Mr. MEREDITH. Mr. Speaker, I offer the resolutions which I send to the

The resolutions were read, as follows:

     _Resolved_, That the business of the House be now suspended, that
     opportunity be given for tributes to the memory of Hon. WILLIAM
     HENRY FITZHUGH LEE, late a Representative from the State of

     _Resolved_, As a further mark of respect to the memory of the
     deceased, and in recognition of his eminent ability and
     distinguished public services, that the House, at the conclusion of
     these memorial proceedings, shall stand adjourned.

     _Resolved_, That the Clerk communicate these resolutions to the

The resolutions were adopted.


Mr. SPEAKER: This day having been set apart for the purpose of paying a
last tribute to the memory of one who so lately was a loved and honored
member of this House, I shall, in the brief remarks which I propose to
make, attempt nothing but a plain and truthful narrative of some of the
characteristics and public services of a Christian gentleman, who in my
judgment measured fully up to that standard which makes man the noblest
work of God.

On the 15th day of October, 1891, at Ravensworth, his beautiful home in
Fairfax County, Va., surrounded by those loved ones whose constant care
and tender nursing had done all that human power could do to stay the
hand of the fell Destroyer, all that was mortal of Hon. WILLIAM HENRY
FITZHUGH LEE passed from this earth, and his noble spirit returned to
the God who gave it.

If the earnest supplications to Almighty God, offered by the good people
of his native State upon their bended knees night and morning, during
the period of his lingering illness, could have availed, he would have
been restored to health and usefulness, and these melancholy proceedings
postponed for many a long year.

The great sorrow which made the heart of Virginia heavy and bowed in
grief the heads of her true sons and daughters when the sad intelligence
of his death was flashed over the electric wires was more genuinely
spontaneous than were the loud lamentations of the Roman populace (so
graphically described by Tacitus) when they beheld the widow of
Germanicus, with her weeping children entering the gates of the imperial
city. Nor was this sorrow confined to those of his own political faith.
Men of all parties vied with each other in their expressions of regret
at his death and in their sympathy for his bereaved family.

The blameless life he had led, his high character, his gentle and
unassuming manners, won for him not only the respect but the admiration
of all with whom he came in contact.

As gentle as a child and as tender as a woman, with the courage of a
hero and a faith that never faltered, he proved himself a worthy
descendant of that race of famous men from whom he sprang, and most
worthily bore a name which will be honored as long as a liberty-loving
people shall find a dwelling place upon the earth.

WILLIAM H.F. LEE was the son of Gen. Robert E. Lee, and was born at
Arlington, on the 31st day of May, 1837.

He was educated at Harvard, where he ranked not only as a good scholar,
but on account of his splendid size and strength became quite famous in
athletics, being "stroke oar" of the University Rowing Club.

His great ambition was to follow the profession of his father and to go
to West Point; but having had an older brother there, that fact was
considered in those days an insuperable obstacle. While still at
Harvard, completing his education, he was, through the interest taken in
him by Gen. Winfield Scott, who made the request as a special and
personal favor to himself, appointed in 1857 a second lieutenant in the
Sixth Regiment, United States Infantry, and inaugurated his military
career by taking a detachment of troops to Texas by sea and then by land
up the country to San Antonio.

In 1858 he accompanied his regiment, under the command of Col. Albert
Sidney Johnston, in the expedition to Utah against the Mormons, taking
an active part in that campaign, marching from Fort Leavenworth to Salt
Lake City, and then, when the troubles were quelled there, traveling on
foot to Fort Benicia, Cal. While on the Pacific coast he received a
letter from his father, written January 1, 1859, in which he said:

     I can not express the gratification I felt in meeting Col. May in
     New York, and at the encomiums he passed upon your soldiership,
     zeal, and devotion to your duty. But I was more pleased at the
     report of your conduct. I always thought and said there was stuff
     in you for a good soldier, and I trust you will prove it.

Resigning his commission in the Army, he came home to be married to his
cousin, a Miss Wickham, and settled down as a farmer at the "White
House" (where Washington met Martha Custis and was married), a large
estate on the Pamunkey River, left him by his maternal grandfather, G.W.
Park Custis, of Arlington.

When that irrepressible conflict of 1861 was upon us, and Virginia
called upon her sons to defend her soil, he, sharing the faith of his
fathers, in the belief that his allegiance was due to his State, quickly
raised a company of cavalry, and was attached to the Army of Northern
Virginia. Serving in every grade successively from captain to
major-general of cavalry, he led his regiment in the famous raid around
McClellan's army, and was an active participant in all those brilliant
achievements which made the cavalry service so proficient.

In that terrific fight which occurred at Brandy Station, in June, 1863,
he was most severely wounded, and taken to the residence of Gen. William
C. Wickham, in Hanover County, where he was made a prisoner by a raiding
party, and was carried off, at the expense of great personal suffering,
to Fort Monroe. From the latter place he was conveyed to Fort Lafayette,
where he was confined until March, 1864, and treated with great
severity, being held, with Capt. R.H. Tyler, of the Eighth Virginia
Regiment, under sentence of death, as hostages for two Federal officers
who were prisoners in Richmond, and whom it was thought would be
executed for some retaliatory measure.

Exchanged in the spring of 1864, he returned, to find his young wife and
children dead, his beautiful home burned to the ground, his whole estate
devastated and laid waste by the ruthless hand of war; and yet almost
his first act on reaching Richmond was to go to Libby Prison, visit the
two Federal officers for whom he had been held as hostage, and who, like
himself, had been under apprehension of being hung, and shake hands with
and congratulate them.

Immediately joining his command, he led his division in every engagement
from the Rapidan to Appomattox, where, with his father, the greatest
soldier of modern times, he surrendered to the inevitable.

In a letter written by one of the most brilliant cavalry generals of the
late war, in speaking of Gen. W.H.F. LEE, he uses this language:

     He was a zealous, conscientious, brave, and intelligent soldier,
     who fully discharged all of his duties. He was one of those safe,
     sound, judicious officers, and you always felt when you sent
     instructions to him that they were going to be obeyed promptly and
     to the letter.

What greater tribute could be paid a soldier?

Having been married to one of the most accomplished ladies in Virginia,
Miss Bolling, of Petersburg (who, with two sons, survives him) he
removed in 1874 to Ravensworth, and was the next year elected to the
senate of Virginia, where he made an honorable record.

He was elected to the Fiftieth and Fifty-first Congresses, and served
his State with that fidelity which had characterized his every act
through life--faithful, conscientious, and painstaking--ever alert to
the interests of his constituents and seeking only how he could serve

He was again reëlected to the Fifty-second Congress, and though by the
will of Divine Providence he was not permitted to take his seat, he will
ever be held in grateful remembrance by his late constituents, and when
the long roll of Virginia's noble and heroic dead is called, the name of
WILLIAM H. FITZHUGH LEE will be mourned by his mother Commonwealth as
one of her noblest and truest sons.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I shall read, as the most fitting tribute I
have seen, an editorial from the Alexandria Gazette written the day
after the death of Gen. LEE:

     Gen. WILLIAM HENRY FITZHUGH LEE, second son of Gen. Robert Edward
     Lee, is dead. The bells here tolled late yesterday evening. A few
     hours before the general had crossed over the river and was at rest
     under his roof tree at Ravensworth, the southern sun lighted his
     deathbed and the autumn breeze sang his requiem. Afterlife's fitful
     fever he sleeps well. He was sick a long time, and as his disease
     was incurable, death was a relief. No more pain for him now, but
     the long and peaceful sleep of the just. His sorrowing family were
     at his bedside, but he told them not good-bye, preferring to greet
     them when they shall rejoin him in a better world. His death is
     regretted by all the many who knew him; the more so by those who
     knew him well.

     Gen. LEE, like his father, was naturally quiet and retiring, and in
     his intercourse with others, when right and principle were not
     involved, invariably acted in accordance with the rule of _noblesse
     oblige_, but when they were involved he was as firm in support of
     his convictions as any other man could be. He stood foursquare to
     all the winds that blow, but always with the propriety that
     characterizes the perfect gentleman. He did his duty to his God,
     his family, his State, and his country, and did it well, and
     executed faithfully all the trusts committed to him in both
     military and civil life. He liked the old manners and customs of
     Virginia, but tried to conform to the new order of things with
     becoming grace, and did so with no audible complaint and no useless
     repinings. He served his State efficiently in her senate and in the
     national Congress, and in the Confederate army he filled, by
     merited promotion, every position from captain up to major-general
     of cavalry. It was different once, but Virginia can ill-afford to
     part with such a man now, and in his death, as in that of his
     illustrious father, she has lost a true and gallant son, who when
     not on duty was as gentle as a woman. Her fame has been increased
     by having had such a son. May she have many more; like him.


Mr. SPEAKER: It is not my purpose to attempt any extended remarks upon
the life and character of Gen. WILLIAM H.F. LEE, late a Representative
from the Eighth Congressional district of Virginia, yet I can not permit
this occasion to pass and my hand and heart to fail to pay my humble
tribute to his memory. Gen. LEE's life had been spent after manhood in
arms or as a tiller of the soil. In early life he saw military service
as lieutenant in the Sixth Regiment, United States Infantry, and was
with Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston in the expedition in 1858 against the

Resigning from the Army, he returned to his native State of Virginia and
engaged in the pursuit of agriculture. Early in the late civil struggle
he raised a cavalry company, and rose from the position of company
commander to that of major-general, and followed the cause in which he
had enlisted until the end at Appomattox. There two great military
chieftains met, and one, his illustrious father, gave up to the other
his sword and the mutilated remnant of an army which had fought with the
utmost bravery and fortitude under a leader of unsurpassed skill and

Gen. LEE, after the struggle had ended, resuming his citizenship in
peace, returned to his farm and occupation of agriculture.

He was elected by his people from his senatorial district to the
legislature. He served one term in the senate of Virginia and declined a
renomination. He was afterwards elected from the Eighth Congressional
district of his State to the Fiftieth and Fifty-first Congresses and
again returned by his constituency to the present Congress; but the hand
of death interposed, and he did not live to again take his seat in this
legislative hall.

The name of Lee, Mr. Speaker, has been an illustrious one in Virginia.
No one can with safety challenge the assertion that that old
Commonwealth has furnished, from the time of the Revolution, as many
great men, in peace and in war, as any of the States of our Union. When
the foundations of this great Republic were laid and constitutional
principles evolved, whether the sword of the warrior or the mind and
philosophy of the statesman were needed, you will find the marks and
handiwork of some son of that State.

Among those great men the ancestry of Gen. LEE were conspicuous. He
inherited from his great father a disposition that was frank, manly, and
chivalrous. Although with these distinguished surroundings, Gen. LEE had
no undue pride, reserve, or self-assertion. His nature, on the contrary,
was eminently amiable, generous, and sympathetic, and at the same time
he was dignified, manly, brave, and ever courteous.

Identified with the agricultural interests of his State, at one time
president of the State society, and himself a practical and successful
farmer and proud of his occupation, he mingled freely and congenially
with that great class of our citizens upon whose shoulders repose in
great measure the preservation and safety of the institutions of our
common country. While he was especially devoted to the interests of the
farmer, he was essentially a patriot, and loved his State and all its
diverse interests with an enthusiastic devotion and yearned for her

He was a faithful, able, and vigilant Representative, and had in the
greatest degree the confidence of his constituents and the people of his
entire State. No one who ever knew him could fail to implicitly trust
him. His State has lost a pure and noble son; the country a wise,
conservative, and faithful Representative. We who knew him here can
recall his manly robust form, his genial kindly face, his frank
accessible address, his unfailing gentleness of manner, his cheerful
friendly voice, as he walked along the aisles of this Hall.

A man of his character and bearing could but wield an influence for good
wherever his presence was.

In a republic, where the people are the state, the advice, the
suggestions, and the example of a citizen so high-minded and
incorruptible are of great value not only in the councils of the nation,
but in the everyday walks and details of life, in his beautiful rural
home, surrounded by and mingling with his country people; and it was
ever the pleasure and practice of Gen. LEE to associate freely and
unrestrainedly with the great body of the people. His generous and noble
heart had a sympathetic touch with them and their struggles, their
callings, their work.

But he has passed from us under the decree of the great Master to the
great hereafter, leaving the record of a life of singular purity,
directness of purpose, and freedom from guile; the record of a character
unblurred, untarnished, unshadowed by the least stain; the record of a
man high, noble, honorable, faithful to all the duties and relations of

Mr. Speaker, Virginia, one of the oldest of the Commonwealths, within
whose borders lie the remains of many great names, and the energies and
reserved forces of whose people in times gone by have risen to great
heights, receives to her bosom her dead son and bows with sincere grief
over his grave; for to her, whether her hand wore the mailed gauntlet
or followed the gentler pursuits of peace, he had ever been faithful,
loyal, and true.


Mr. SPEAKER: I shall leave to others the task of portraying the life of
Gen. LEE in its diversified pursuits, and shall content myself with the
effort of giving to the House my conception of some of the
characteristics of our deceased friend which made him throughout his
life, wherever placed, a conspicuous actor in private and public

In the early period of Virginia's history lived William Randolph, of
Turkey Island (a plantation some 15 or 20 miles from the city of
Richmond, near the scene of the terrific battle of Malvern Hill). He was
the ancestor of all of that name in Virginia, and from him was descended
in direct line Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and Robert E. Lee; the
last-named the father of our departed friend. How could _he_ have
manifested in his life less patriotism, justice, and courage with such
exemplars of these virtues ever before him?

His mother, as is well known, was a descendant from the wife of Gen.
Washington by her prior marriage with John Parke Custis. Sprung from
such a lineage; trained in a school where the amenities of life as well
as "the humanities" were taught in their highest excellence, he
practiced from his earliest childhood a scrupulous regard for the rights
and feelings of others, and an indulgence to all faults except his own.

With a self-control and equipoise which were never disturbed under the
most trying circumstances, and a graciousness of manner which broke
down all barriers, giving to the humblest as well as to the highest the
assurance of his friendly consideration, and a mind well disciplined by
education in the highest schools, it was impossible that he could have
been other than a man of mark and influence in his State.

It is not claiming too much to say that Gen. LEE was the natural product
of the civilization existing in Virginia during his boyhood and early
manhood, which, alas, except here and there in certain localities, is
fast passing away. The home, not the club, was its center; the family,
not each "new-hatched, unfledged comrade," its unit. The father was the
_head_ of the family, not the joint tenant with the wife of a house nor
the tenant at will of his wife. The wife and the mother was the queen of
the household, not merely a housekeeper for a husband and the family.
Obedience to those in authority was the first lesson exacted of the boy.
Inculcated with tenderness, it was enforced with severity, if need be,
until the word of the father or the expressed wish of the mother carried
with it the force of law as completely as the decree of a court or the
mandate of a king.

Reverence for superiors in age and deference to all, rather than
arrogant self-assertion, was magnified as a cardinal virtue, not as
teaching humility and enforcing a lack of proper self-respect, but
rather to exalt high ideals and stimulate an admiration for "the true,
the beautiful, and the good."

Fidelity to truth, the maintenance of personal honor, deference for the
opinions and feelings of others, without abating one's own or
aggressively thrusting them on others; a kindliness of manner to
dependents, a knightly courtesy to all, but with special and tender
regard in thought, word, and action toward woman, were in turn patiently
taught in all the lessons of the fireside and at the family altar, and
earnestly insisted upon in the formation of the character of a true
gentleman. "Any man will be polite to a beautiful young woman, but it
takes a gentleman to show the same respect to a homely old woman" was
the stinging rebuke of a father to his son who failed to remove his hat
in passing a forlorn old woman on the public highway.

The old-field school, the private tutor, the high school, whose
excellence in Virginia I can not praise too much, the college, the
university, led the young mind by easy stages to its full intellectual

Nowhere was the principle "_Sana mens in sano corpore_" more
scrupulously taught than in Virginia. The rod and stream, the gun, the
"hounds and horns," the chase, with the music of the pack, the bounding
steed, all lent their ready aid in developing the physical manhood of
the boy. In the pure atmosphere of his country home, amid its broad
fields and virgin forests, contracted houses in narrow streets had no
charms for him. To join the chase was the first promotion to which the
boy looked as evidencing his permanent release from the nursery. The gun
and dog became his constant companions, while "Old Betsey," his father's
trusted double-barreled gun of many years' usage, standing in the
sitting-room corner or hanging on stag-horns or dog-wood forks on the
side of the wall, was the eloquent subject of nightly rehearsals of her
prowess and power in the annual deer hunt "over the mountains." Skill in
horsemanship was essential, and breaking colts was naturally followed by
broken limbs; but manhood found a race of trained horsemen, both
graceful and skillful in the saddle, unexcelled, I dare venture to
assert, by any civilized people. A child of nature, the Virginia boy
communed with her as his mother, and from her purest depths drew the
richest inspirations. To him no mountains were so blue as hers, no
streams so clear, no forests so enchanting, no homes so sweet.

    While others hailed in distant skies the glories of the Union
    He only saw the mountain bird stoop o'er his Old Dominion.

How vividly the picture comes to me now (never to be effaced) of a
learned professor in one of Virginia's highest schools, himself
three-score years and ten, a soldier of two wars, as he led the way
through a quiet Virginia town on horseback, followed by two sons,
distinguished ministers of the gospel, and they in turn by a younger son
and the grandson of the leader, with a goodly train of friends, amid the
blasts of horns and baying of hounds, who followed, eager for the chase
among the beautiful hills which surrounded the town of Lexington, even
as the mountains stand "round about Jerusalem."

Religion--the duty of man to his Creator, not sectarianism--was
scrupulously taught, and Sunday morning found the family alive in
preparations for attending religious service at Zion or Trinity, as it
might happen to be the first or the fourth Sunday of the month. From
this duty none were exempt from the least to the greatest. The pastor
was the friend on whom all troubles both temporal and spiritual were
cast, and his visits were long remembered and talked of in the life of
each family. Deference to his wishes and reverence for his character
were well-nigh universal.

    A man he was to all the country dear,
    And passing rich with forty pounds a year;
    Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
    Nor e'er had changed, nor wished to change his place.

    Unskillful he to fawn, or seek for power,
    By doctrines fashioned to the varying hour;
    Far other aims his heart had learned to prize,
    More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.

Such was the atmosphere in which our deceased friend was reared. He was
a trustee in the venerable institution of Washington and Lee University
at Lexington, Va., founded by Gen. Washington, and presided over by Gen.
Robert E. Lee during the last years of his life; he was faithful to the
trust, and ever watchful of the best interests of the school. The loss
sustained by this institution in his death has been most fittingly
expressed in the appended minute of the faculty of the university,
adopted on the 19th of October, 1891:

     At a meeting of the faculty of Washington and Lee University, held
     October 19, 1891, the following minute was adopted:

     Upon the announcement of the death of Gen. W.H.F. LEE the faculty
     of Washington and Lee University unite in sorrowful sympathy with
     his family, bereaved of husband, father, and brother; with the
     Commonwealth in the loss of a patriotic citizen; and with the board
     of trustees of this university, of which he was an esteemed member.

     He was graduated at Harvard for the life of a civilian, but took a
     commission in the United States Army as lieutenant, and served with
     fidelity to duty under Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston in the Utah
     expedition of 1858.

     At its close he resigned and returned to his country home, where he
     continued to live until 1861, when he entered the Confederate army,
     and, rising by rapid promotion to the rank of major-general of
     cavalry, closed his efficient and faithful military career in 1865,
     when he again returned to country life, and died at the seat of his
     ancestors, at Ravensworth, in Fairfax County.

     In the mean time his private life was interrupted by the voice of
     his people, which called him to their service in the senate of
     Virginia and for three terms as their Representative in Congress,
     two of which he completed, and left the vacancy in the third by his
     untimely death.

     Truth, honor, and courage to do good and to resist evil, sincerity
     in all relations and fidelity to all duty, were heirlooms of his
     race and lineage, which he kept and left untarnished to his

     With a mind strong and vigorous, a judgment sound and well-poised,
     a calm and self-contained temper, which impelled him to the right
     and restrained him from the wrong, and a moral sense which guided
     and controlled his purposes and his actions along the path of
     absolute rectitude, he lived a life adorned by noble virtues and
     filled with noble deeds. Gentle but firm, decided, and fixed in his
     convictions, but respectful and deferential to those of others, he
     was a model of all the splendid qualities which make up the
     character of a courteous and Christian gentleman.

     In addition to all these natural gifts his convictions led him to
     the profession and practice of a simple and genuine faith in the
     religion of Christ.

     After an honorable military and civil career, in the peace of God
     and in charity with his fellow-men, this worthy son of an
     illustrious family died the death of the righteous and in the hope
     of immortality through Him in whom he believed and trusted.

     The faculty therefore declare--

     That they have heard of the death of Gen. LEE with deep sorrow, and
     mourn it as a calamity to his family, his friends, his country, and
     to this university.

     That they tender to his family these expressions of their
     affectionate esteem for him as a personal friend as well as for his
     service as a public man, and their sincere sympathy with them in
     their peculiar and irreparable bereavement.

     A copy. Teste:

     _Clerk of the Faculty_.

An intimate association with Gen. LEE in the Fifty-first Congress and as
members of the board of trustees of Washington and Lee University at
Lexington, Va., and in private life, enabled me to form a just estimate
of his character and of those personal qualities of head and heart that
made him beloved by all who really knew him. While they have been well
expressed in the foregoing minute, I may add from my own observations a
brief summary of his noble character. His mind was eminently practical,
and arrived at its conclusions more from an unerring instinct of justice
and common sense than through the exacting processes of logic. His
judgment was rarely at fault, for his intellect was not swerved by
passion or prejudice, but was held in perfect equipoise to receive the
truth on both sides of every question. His deference to the opinions of
others and his caution in seeking the views of those on whose discretion
he relied suggested to some who did not know him that he was hesitating
in temperament. This was not true. He sought all the light possible on
every subject patiently and earnestly, and when he arrived at his
conclusion no man adhered to it more tenaciously or enforced it more

As a speaker, Gen. LEE possessed many of the attributes of the orator, a
gift inherited from his grandfather, Light-Horse Harry Lee. He was
graceful in delivery, persuasive in manner, and forcible in argument.

His diction was pure, unpretentious, and simple. His speeches were
often embellished with references to ancient and modern history and
mythology with which he seemed to be very familiar.

Dutifulness, I believe, was the most prominent trait of his character.
It was the star by which his life was guided. Once persuaded that a
certain measure or a certain line of policy was right, and he was
unflinchingly firm in its support. No burden was too heavy, no privation
too severe, if only they were borne along the path of duty.

He exemplified in his life the noble utterance of his distinguished
father: "Duty is the sublimest word in the English language."

In politics he was a Democrat, but not a partisan, and he firmly
believed that the supremacy of his party was necessary for the good of
the country and the welfare of the people. His patriotism was exalted,
and his faith in the ultimate triumph of the right never wavered.

His manly appearance, his gracious but dignified manner, his courtly
bearing and pleasing conversation marked him as a gentleman of the "old
school," as one of nature's noblemen.

Any sketch of Gen. LEE would indeed be imperfect that failed to mention
his love for little children, and his friends will never fail to recall
the tender interest he always manifested in the children of their
families, especially in the youngest.

His life, Mr. Speaker, was a truly noble one. It was on the highest
plane. His character had no spot or blemish upon it that sweet charity
would now consign to oblivion, but it was robust, well-rounded, and
symmetrical, open as day. His ambition was not to attain but to deserve
the praise of the good, and that higher benediction, to be pronounced by
the final Judge of the world: "Well done, good and faithful servant;
enter thou into the joys of thy Lord."

He was an earnest believer in the Christian faith. The abstruse
doctrines of the church formed no part of his creed. His faith was in
the Christ the Saviour of mankind; a faith which illumined his pathway
in life, lightening his burdens, exalting his nature, and which
sustained him without fear when he met the last enemy of the race as he
walked through "the valley of the shadow of death." It was the faith of
a little child--

                           An assured belief
    That the procession of our fate, howe'er
    Sad or disturbed, is ordered by a Being
    Of infinite benevolence and power,
    Whose everlasting purposes embrace
    All accidents, converting them to good.

His funeral and burial, Mr. Speaker, will never be forgotten by those
who witnessed it. The autumn sun was fast sinking behind the bright
curtain of the west, bathing "the mellow autumn fields" of Old Virginia
with its purple hues. Untrumpeted by official authority, scores of
friends from city, town, village, farm, and cabin gathered at
Ravensworth to pay the last sad honor to their beloved friend. White and
colored, rich and poor, high and low, soldiers, citizens, and statesmen,
all were there.

His body was borne from the house to the ivy-clad family graveyard by
the sturdy yeomanry of the neighborhood. In the presence of that vast
throng, with uncovered heads, his comrades, who had followed him on many
a hard-fought battlefield, performed the last sad rites, and with their
own hands filled his grave and planted upon it the "immortelles" of
their affection and devotion. Faces that never blanched amid the storm
of battle paled; hearts that never quailed in the presence of an enemy
broke in the presence of the last enemy of us all, and the silent,
pitiless tear which fell from the eye was hidden by the lengthening
shadows of the evening, which were fast gathering round the scene.

    Beloved friend, farewell and hail!
      Removed from sight, yet not afar,
    Still through this earthly twilight veil
      Thou beamest down, a friendly star.

    The prophet's blessing comes to thee,
      The crown he holds to view is thine;
    Forever more thy memory
      In heaven and in our hearts shall shine.


Mr. SPEAKER: These occasions of tribute-offering in this Hall never fail
to impress me with extreme sadness, increase my awe and reverence of Him
who holds in the hollow of His hand every moment we live and every
breath we draw, and teach me the lesson of our mortality.

These scenes have become very familiar to me, and their frequency
reminds me with terrible force that--

    All that lives must die,
    Passing through nature to eternity.

Most naturally am I more than usually touched and pained by the death of
him which now hangs its somber drapery around the walls of our hearts
and casts its pall over this Chamber. It is a death within the
representative circle of which I am a member. It is the death of a
colleague, a friend, whose presence in that circle always brought
sunshine and never shadow.

Tributes to his memory, clothed in language of beauty and breathing
with love and burning with pathos, have already been paid, and others
will follow; and now, while I can not hope to charm with the tongue of
eloquence or touch the soul with the figures of rhetoric, I come with my

It will be plain and unadorned, but it will at least have the merit of
sincerity, and, like the widow's mite, be all that I can give.

WILLIAM HENRY FITZHUGH LEE, of Virginia, is no more.

How the name of Lee, whenever uttered, wherever chivalry has erected her
altar, sends a thrill like an electric current through every fiber of
the manly man.

How the name of Virginia has been upon every tongue since Queen
Elizabeth, nearly three centuries ago, gave that name to that section
around which to-day historic memories linger and traditions and glories
cluster as thick "as the stars in the crown of night," the section where
Christopher Newport and his devoted followers "builded an altar unto the
Lord and in the savage wilderness" deposited the germ of this mighty
nation, "and where God blessed them as He blessed Noah and his sons,
saying unto them, 'The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon
every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that
moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your
hand are they delivered.'"

Virginia! The land of legends and lays--the land where the cradle of
republican liberty was rocked, and where, in 1765, the first denial was
heard of the right of the British Parliament to levy taxes upon the
Colonies which kindled the fire of patriotic fervor and led to the
ever-living, soul-inspiring words of her Henry and the raising up of her
Jefferson to heights of imperishable fame and her Washington to the
pinnacle of everlasting renown.

Virginia! The land of battlefields and battle gore, colonial relics and
Revolutionary monuments, spotless fame and unsullied honor; the land of
patriot soldiers and heroes, and of a Yorktown, where the tyrant's head
was bruised and the glorious strife ended which struck from our fathers
the fetters and gave to them and their posterity a country gleaming in
the golden sunlight of republican liberty, and throwing wide open her
gates to the oppressed of every clime.

Virginia! The land of mountains, upon whose summits and in whose gorges
the spirit of freedom roams unfettered and unconquerable; the land of
valleys, which are hung like alcoved aisles with scenes of heroism and
pictures of daring, self-sacrifice, and devotion to principle; the land
of rivers and rivulets, which reflect like mirrors the fields upon which
her blood has been poured out like water upon the ground; the land of
zephyrs and breezes, and where the storm king sometimes dwells, gently
murmuring or in thunder tones proclaiming her glories and her fame; the
land of blue beautiful skies, radiant with the virtues of her daughters
and bespangled with the deeds of her sons; the land of memorials of the
past, that inspire the Virginia youth, whether born in poverty or in
riches, reared in the cottage humble or in the mansion stately, with a
patriotism that knows not section and yet a State love that knows not

It was in this land that Richard Henry Lee, the fire and splendor of
whose eloquence burned like a hot iron into the soul of tyranny, and
Francis Lightfoot Lee, both of them signers of the Declaration of
Independence, were born; it was in this land that Arthur Lee, through
whose instrumentality the Colonies secured the friendship and support of
France, and "Light-Horse Harry" Lee, whose legion following his plume,
struck the enemy in the bivouac, on the march, in the lurid glare of
battle, on the flank, and in the front like a thunderbolt from the
skies, were born. It was in this land that Robert Edward Lee, whose
services on the fields of Mexico decked his brow with the warrior's
laurel, and whose leadership of the Confederate armies in the
unfortunate strife between the States made his name immortal, and whose
virtues shine with the brilliancy of a polished diamond, wreath his
character in moral grandeur, and draw pæans and praises from friend and
foe and from every clime where exalted manhood and a spotless life find
devotees, was born; and it was in this land that WILLIAM HENRY FITZHUGH
LEE, whose memory we are here to perpetuate, was born--all, all of the
same lineage and blood.

What a line of illustrious and distinguished men of one name for one
State to produce. What a line of illustrious men to spring from the old
cavalier family that under the reign of Charles I settled in the county
of Northumberland, between the waters of the Rappahannock and Potomac,
since glorified by the pen of the historian and the lyre of the poet.

WILLIAM HENRY FITZHUGH LEE! How sweet does that name sound to me. What
recollections does it awaken. How quickly do I find my heart throbbing;
how rapidly my blood rushes through its channels.

Less than a twelvemonth ago he sat in yon seat or moved hither and
thither about this Hall and along these passageways, pausing here and
there to speak a pleasant word or exchange a friendly greeting. His tall
and commanding person, his open, frank, and benevolent face and courtly
bearing marked him among the membership of this House, and would have
marked him in any assemblage, whether in the glittering splendor of
royalty or in the plain dignity of our republican institutions. To see
him once was to remember him forever. His image is as distinct before me
this moment as if he stood in the flesh with his eye beaming forth the
goodness of his nature and his hand outstretched, as was his wont, to
receive mine.

Mr. Speaker, his illustrious father, when the shadows of Appomattox
closed round him, when the darkness of defeat enveloped him, when his
soul was rent and torn and his mind was filled with anguish and his
ragged and tired and worn veterans, reduced to a mere thin skirmish
line, the remnant of an army that had shed unfading luster upon the
American arms and the American soldier, gathered with tear-moistened
cheeks about him to bid him farewell and receive his blessing, gave
utterance to a sentiment just quoted by my colleague [Mr. TUCKER], a
sentiment as grand and noble as was ever written upon any Roman tablet
or carved upon any column of enduring marble that was ever reared in the
flood light of glory:

    Duty is the sublimest word in our language.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, thus spoke Robert Edward Lee, the soldier, hero,
Christian, and philanthropist: and when we come to study the life and
character of WILLIAM HENRY FITZHUGH LEE we are impressed with the fact
that he took duty as his talismanic word, that it was the star that
guided him, and that he followed it as faithfully as the "wise men"
followed the Star from "the East" to Jerusalem and thence to Bethlehem.

We believe that in his youth, on the heights of Arlington, where his
eyes first opened upon the light, he learned at his father's knee and by
his father's daily walk and conversation the great lesson of duty which
steered his course and pointed out his pathway in life.

He was born, as has been said, on the 31st day of May, 1837. In 1857 he
was appointed a second lieutenant in the Sixth Regiment of United States
Infantry, and served in 1858 in the then far West under Albert Sidney
Johnston, whose fame Shiloh echoes and reëchoes along the banks of the
Tennessee. In 1859 he resigned his commission in the Army and returned
to Virginia and located on his estate in the county of New Kent. In
1861, when the Southern tocsin sounded and Virginia's voice was heard
calling for troops, he raised a cavalry company and joined the Army of
Northern Virginia. He rose gradually from captain to major-general of
cavalry; was wounded in the terrific engagement between the Confederate
and Federal cavalry at Brandy Station on the 9th day of June, 1863; was
captured at Hanover Court-House, and was confined at Fort Monroe and
Fort Lafayette until March, 1864, when he was exchanged, and repaired to
his command, and served until the flag which he loved was furled forever
at Appomattox.

From that time forward he cultivated his large estate with much care,
serving one term in the senate of his State, declining a renomination.
In 1886 he was elected to the Fiftieth Congress from the Eighth
Congressional district of Virginia, and again in 1888 to the Fifty-first
Congress, and still again in 1890 to the present Congress.

It was my privilege and pleasure to form his acquaintance in the army
and to watch his flashing blade amid the carnage of battle, observe his
cool courage and intrepid bearing and the love and confidence of his men
upon more than one sanguinary field. He was as calm when the leaden hail
was rattling and as cool when the shells were shrieking and bursting as
he was upon this floor. He was a leader, not a follower of his men; if
they went into the jaws of death, he was at their head. He fared as his
men fared; if their haversacks were empty, his was empty; if they laid
down in the mud, he laid there too; if they sweltered in the summer heat
or shivered in the winter blast, he sweltered or shivered too; and thus
it was he kindled in the breasts of his men intense love for himself and
secured their implicit confidence in his leadership.

The promotions he received, rising from a captain to a major-general,
speak in terms stronger than any words of mine of his courage and valor
and his qualities as a soldier and military chieftain.

As a civilian, pursuing the quiet walks of rural life and devoting
himself to agriculture, the noblest of all arts, he was honored by all
the people and drew to him his neighbors, binding them with the steely
bands of constant friendship. His word was as good as his bond, and the
dusky son of toil as well as the intelligent tenant on his wide
possessions relied upon it with absolute faith; and the most beautiful
tribute that could be paid to his memory was the deep sorrow which
manifested itself in a meeting after his death of those whose brawny
muscle had held the plow-handles and whose toil had made the corn and
the wheat grow on his rich and fertile fields.

In politics he was a Democrat, and he was as pure in the political arena
as in private life. He scorned the ways of the demagogue and the
timeserver, and believed that "men should be what they seem." In the
councils of his State and in the councils of the nation he was found at
all times in full accord with the principles and policy of his party.

As a Representative he was as true to his constituents as any subject to
his sovereign, laboring in season and out of season to serve them, and
even when his strong frame began to weaken and the germs of disease had
been planted in his system he disregarded the warning calls for rest
and continued to bend all his energies in the discharge of his trust,
and I but speak the truth when I say that he fell a martyr to duty.

But, Mr. Speaker, while he was grand as a soldier, pure as a man,
exalted as a citizen, and faithful as a Representative, it was in the
home circle, as husband and father, and not on the battlefield, in civil
life, or in the halls of legislation, that the beauty and loveliness of
his character drew a halo around him.

He loved home, and it had a charm for him which neither pleasures,
honors, nor fame could pluck from his bosom. Blessed by the
companionship of one worthy of all adoration, and who presided like a
queen over his household, entering into all his joys, sharing all his
sorrows, and encouraging all his aspirations, he loved the breezes that
kissed her cheeks, the birds that made sweet music to her ear, the
rivulets that gently murmured her name, the flowers that shed their
fragrance in her bowers, and the stately oaks under which the children
of their union had prattled and the pebbled walks upon which they had
played and gamboled.

Yes, he loved home, and in its sacred circle his presence was like a
sunbeam, brightening every face and warming every heart. He was all
patience, gentleness, kindness, and love, and if there ever was a home
which was a fit emblem of heaven it was Ravensworth, the home of this
distinguished man.

Mr. Speaker, he is gone. He lives now only in memory. In October last,
when the frosts were blighting and the leaves were falling and the
autumnal winds were sighing, after patient waiting for the fatal hour it
came, and God's finger touched him, and the brave soldier, honored
citizen, faithful Representative, devoted husband, and affectionate
father was dead.

He passed away quietly, strong in Christian faith and in the hope of a
blissful eternity.

WILLIAM HENRY FITZHUGH LEE! His State mourns his death. Within the bosom
of her soil he rests--peacefully rests. In his ancestral land near by
Arlington, historic, revered Arlington, the scene of his childhood and
early manhood, he sleeps--sleeps the sleep that knows no waking.

    Earth, that all too soon hath bound him,
      Gently wrap his clay!
    Linger lovingly around him,
      Light of dying day!

And Virginia--

                Bending lowly,
    Still a ceaseless vigil holy
    Keep above his dust.


Mr. SPEAKER: In accordance with a beautiful and impressive custom we put
aside for to-day our legislative duties to pay a tribute of respect to
the memory of Hon. WILLIAM H.F. LEE, of Virginia. In November, 1890, he
was elected to serve as a member of this Congress from the Eighth
district of that State, receiving in that action of his devoted
constituents a merited indorsement of his conduct and services as their
Representative for the two preceding terms. But when the day of our
assembling arrived my colleague was not present to answer to the call of
his name. He had passed over the river and was resting under the shade
of the trees on the other side. He was beloved and honored by all the
people of Virginia, and the announcement of his death, which occurred on
the 15th day of October, 1891, was received everywhere within her
borders with expressions of the deepest sorrow. He was born at
Arlington, on the Virginia heights, opposite this beautiful city, on the
31st day of May, 1837, and at the time of his death was in the
fifty-fifth year of his age.

In 1857, when he was pursuing his studies in the University of Harvard,
in preparation for the active and serious duties of life, he received
from the then President of the United States the appointment of brevet
second lieutenant in the Sixth Infantry. At that time the spirit of
resistance to the authority of the National Government was being
exhibited to such an extent in Utah as to call for measures of
repression. Assassinations and outrages of all kinds were common, and
the officers of the United States were powerless either to prevent or
punish their commission.

When Mr. Buchanan became President the resolution was formed that the
insubordination and conflict of authority existing in that Territory
should cease, and the necessary executive and judicial officers having
been appointed for the enforcement of the laws of the United States and
the preservation of the public peace, it was determined to send a
detachment of the Army to protect them against violence and to assist
them as a posse comitatus, when necessary, in the performance of their
duties. Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston became the commander of this
military force, and Lieut. LEE had his first experience of the service
in this expedition. As the occasion does not call for a recital of the
events of that period, I will content myself with the remark that he was
then, as on every occasion in after years, faithful to the obligations
of duty. His term of service in the Army was of short duration, and from
that fact we may infer that he was not enamored with the life of a
soldier in time of peace.

In 1859 he resigned his commission, and soon thereafter was married to
Miss Wickham, the daughter of a family distinguished in the annals of
Virginia. They went to reside at the White House, on the Pamunkey River,
in the county of New Kent. It was at this old historic country home that
the marriage of George Washington with the Widow Custis was celebrated.
It descended to Gen. LEE from his mother, who was the great-granddaughter
of Washington's wife.

Here he devoted himself to the tillage of the soil and became engrossed
with the pursuits of a plain and unostentatious farmer. His condition
and surroundings at this time were such as to invite contentment and
encourage the cultivation of those pure and lofty sentiments for which
he was ever distinguished.

Being in the flower and strength of his young manhood and blessed with
affluence and the love of an accomplished wife, there seemed wanting
nothing to make his home an earthly paradise.

But the course of this peaceful and happy life was not to run thus
smoothly to the end. Dark and threatening clouds of war soon lowered
upon our land, and the political conflicts and antagonisms, which had
grown in intensity and bitterness with the flight of years, ripened into
civil war in 1861. The crisis then arrived when the appeal to arms was
inevitable, and with it the necessity that all men should decide whether
allegiance was first due to the State or General Government. There were
honest differences of opinion on this question, which had existed from
the very foundation of the Republic.

He was connected by blood with a long line of illustrious men, who had
borne a conspicuous part in the events which led to the declaration of
American independence and the establishment of this constitutional
Government. It was Richard Henry Lee who offered in the Continental
Congress, in June, 1776, that stirring resolution which proclaimed to
the world "that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be,
free and independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance
to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and
Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved."

It was his own grandfather, known in history as "Light-Horse Harry Lee,"
who, in the long struggle which followed this bold declaration, struck
such sturdy blows for the liberties and rights of his countrymen as
caused him to receive the special commendation of George Washington, of
whom in turn he uttered those memorable words: "First in war, first in
peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." Bearing a name thus
associated with all the glorious achievements of the past, it was but
natural that he should have felt an ardent attachment to the Union. But
he was a son of Virginia, "where American liberty raised its first voice
and where its youth was nurtured and sustained."

There the doctrine of the sovereignty of the State was accepted as the
true interpretation of the Constitution almost without division of
sentiment. Her people held that allegiance was first due to their State,
and while all deplored the necessity for, few, if any, doubted as to the
right of separation. When in April, 1861, a convention representing her
people passed the ordinance of secession, he felt no hesitation in
adopting his course. He resolved at once to consecrate himself and his
sword to the sacred duty of defending her homes and firesides.

Having raised a company of cavalry, he was made its captain, and was
rapidly promoted from rank to rank until he reached that of
major-general. Soon after his entry into the Confederate service he
became associated with the command of Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, and
participated thereafter in nearly all the movements of that fearless and
dashing leader, whom the brave Gen. Sedgwick, of the United States Army,
pronounced "the best cavalry officer ever foaled in North America." On
June 3, 1862, Gen. Robert E. Lee, the father of my deceased colleague,
assumed the command of the Army of Northern Virginia three days after
the retiracy of Gen. Joseph E. Johnston, caused by a wound received in
the battle of Seven Pines.

The plans of the Federal commander for the capture of the capital of the
Southern Confederacy had been well chosen. His army, according to his
own report, numbered 156,000, of whom 115,000 were ready for duty as
fighting men. All the vast resources of his Government were being
employed to enable him to prosecute his campaign with efficiency and
vigor. His troops had been furnished with artillery and small arms of
the most approved description and best pattern. They had abundance of
ammunition of the finest quality and ample supplies of food and
clothing. Gen. McDowell, then at Fredericksburg with 40,000 men, and
Gens. Banks and Frémont in the valley of Virginia, were expected to
coöperate in the movement. A line of fire was slowly but steadily being
drawn around Richmond. These plans, as I have said, had been well
conceived and were being executed with great precision and skill.

To oppose this formidable advance there were less than 100,000 fighting
men in Virginia, and they were greatly inferior to the enemy in both
equipments and supplies. Gen. Johnston, penetrating the designs of his
adversary, commenced operations to prevent their accomplishment. The
bloody and stubbornly contested battle of Seven Pines was fought in part
execution of his plans. When Gen. Robert E. Lee succeeded to the
command it was apparent that some decisive blow must be struck to save
the Southern capital from a state of siege. Surveying the whole field
with a keen and practiced eye, he saw that the left wing of the Union
army, which had been thrown across the Chickahominy and advanced to
within four or five miles of Richmond, occupied a strong and almost
impregnable position. An attack upon the center promised no better

Under these circumstances he turned his attention to the right wing,
and, in order to obtain the fullest and most accurate information
concerning McClellan's position and defenses on that portion of his
line, ordered Gen. Stuart to make a reconnoissance in the direction of
Old Church and Cold Harbor. With 1,500 picked men that pink of Southern
chivalry immediately undertook the execution of the orders of the
commanding general. This daring exploit was popularly known as "Stuart's
ride around McClellan." It is a fact that he did pass entirely around
the Union army, and, building a bridge across the Chickahominy,
reëntered the Confederate lines in safety. In this perilous expedition
he was assisted by his bravest and best officers, among whom were Gens.
WILLIAM H.F. LEE, and his cousin, the dashing Fitz Lee.

More was accomplished than had been anticipated, and it was ascertained
that the right and rear of McClellan were unprotected by works of any
strength. In consequence of the information thus obtained the decision
was formed to make the attack in that direction, and on the 26th of
June, 1862, began that series of splendid battles which culminated in
the retreat of McClellan's army to Harrisons Landing, on the James
River, and the deliverance of Richmond from danger. On the 9th of June,
1863, there occurred near Brandy Station, in the county of Culpeper,
Va., one of the most extensive and stubborn cavalry fights of the whole
war. Two divisions of Federal cavalry, commanded by Gens. Buford and
Gregg, and supported by two brigades of "picked infantry," fell upon
Stuart with such suddenness and fierceness that the attack was almost
crowned with victory. Nothing saved him from defeat, if not from greater
calamity, but his own coolness and that of his lieutenants, coupled with
the indomitable pluck and intrepidity of his troopers.

In this engagement that brave Georgian Gen. Young, formerly a member of
this House, by a splendid charge with sabers, without carbine or pistol,
repulsed a dangerous and gallant assault on the rear, while Gen. WILLIAM
H.F. LEE, with equal courage and dash, protected the left of the
Confederate position. In this encounter Gen. LEE received a severe
wound, which necessitated his retirement from the field. He was carried
to Hickory Hill, in Hanover County, the home of Gen. Wickham, a near
relative of his wife, and here he was captured and placed in solitary
confinement in Fort Monroe as a hostage, certain officers of the United
States being then held under sentence of death in Libby Prison in
retaliation for the execution of certain Confederate officers in the

Gen. Custis Lee, being then a young unmarried man, on the staff of the
Confederate President, met, under special flag of truce, representatives
of the Government at Washington, and begged to be permitted to take the
place of Gen. WILLIAM H.F. LEE, giving as a reason for the proposed
exchange his desire to save from punishment the innocent wife and
children of his wounded brother. The offer was declined, and he was told
that the burdens of war must fall where chance or fortune placed them.

In this incident we have a beautiful and touching illustration of the
strength and warmth of brotherly love and of the knightly bearing of the
Lees of Virginia. While thus detained as a prisoner of war, racked with
physical suffering and those mental tortures which a sensitive and
high-strung man must feel under such circumstances, there came the sad
tidings of the death of his loved wife and two children; and thus was
added another, the most poignant of all the griefs with which he had
been afflicted. His old Virginia home, associated with so many sacred
memories, had been reduced to ashes, and now there remained of the once
happy family which formerly occupied it only the captive father. This
weight of woe would seem too much for human endurance, but he bore it
with the fortitude of a Christian soldier. He was exchanged in the
spring of 1864, and returning to his division, led it in all the
engagements, from the Rapidan to the Appomattox, where the curtain fell
upon the stirring and bloody scenes in which he had been such an active

As a soldier he was always calm, cool, and self-possessed. Those who
have had experience in the ranks know that the bravest and best soldiers
will falter and hesitate when they are without confidence in the
ability, judgment, and foresight of their leader. The soldiers who were
ranged under the standard of Lee, believing that their noble commander
was equal to all emergencies, followed him with unwavering trust, and
their survivors testify to the affection in which a spirit so gentle and
yet so brave was held.

No higher eulogy can be pronounced upon any man than to say of him that
which can be truly alleged of Gen. LEE, that he was an honored and
trusted leader in that splendid Army of Northern Virginia, which only
failed where success was impossible. They challenged the respect and
admiration of the world, and of their great captain it has been said
that "a country which has given birth to men like him and those who
followed him may look the chivalry of Europe in the face without shame,
for the fatherlands of Sidney and Bayard never produced a nobler
soldier, gentleman, and Christian than Robert E. Lee."

These meager details of our civil war have not been given with the
purpose of reviving unpleasant memories or of perpetuating sectional
animosities. They have been related because they constitute an important
part of the story of the life of him whom we mourn.

On both sides were displayed the highest qualities of the military
leader, and illustrated as never before the pluck, endurance, and dash
of the American soldier. They were Americans all, and, without
distinction of sections, we can claim part of the honor of their
achievements and partake in the pride of their great names. We have
furnished to the world the indubitable proof that these States united
are invincible. When, at Appomattox, our arms were stacked and banners
furled we returned to our homes with no divided allegiance.

We believe that in the safety of the Union is the safety of the States.
And we rejoice that "the gorgeous ensign of the Republic is still full
high advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original luster,
not a stripe polluted or erased, not a single star obscured, bearing for
its motto no such miserable interrogatory as 'What is all this worth?'
Nor those other words of delusion and folly, 'Liberty first and Union
afterwards,' but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living
light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the sea and
over the land and in every wind under the whole heavens, that other
sentiment, dear to every true American heart, 'Liberty and Union, now
and forever, one and inseparable.'"

But while entertaining these sentiments, we can not, we will not, forget
our glorious dead. The brave men against whom we fought neither expect
nor desire such unnatural conduct. Whether the cause for which they died
was just or not it would be idle to discuss. It is enough for us to know

    They were slain for us,
    And their blood flowed out in a rain for us--
    Red, rich, and pure, on the plain for us;
    And years may go,
    But our tears shall flow
    O'er the dead who have died in vain for us.

After the cessation of hostilities Gen. LEE resumed the occupations of a
farmer on the old plantation which he had left in 1861. The implements
of warfare were exchanged for those of the husbandman, and following the
plow on the furrows he commenced the work of repairing the losses he had
sustained. In 1868 he married Miss Mary Tabb Bolling, the daughter of
Col. George W. Bolling, of Petersburg, and they continued their residence
at the White House until 1874, when they removed to Ravensworth, in the
county of Fairfax, where he died.

He was an able and faithful Representative, and always devoted to the
interests of his constituents. As a fitting eulogy to his worth it may
be truly said that it was his disposition to follow the line of duty to
the end. The conscientious performance of every trust confided to him
was the watchword of his life. In his conduct as a legislator he was
never ruled by faction or interest, but the promotion of the public good
was the motive of all his actions. While exhibiting none of the showy
and sparkling qualities of the orator, he was distinguished for the
possession of good judgment and strong practical common sense. He was a
man of calm and even temperament, and was seldom, if ever, controlled by
prejudices or swayed by passion. Those who were associated with him here
remember his dignified and courteous bearing. No words of bitterness or
reproach ever escaped his lips, and he never forgot what was due to
others as well as to himself.

I never heard him speak an unkind word of another, and while reserved,
and to a certain extent formal, in his demeanor, he was a man of
infinite sweetness of disposition:

    And thus he bore without abuse,
    The grand old name of gentleman.

Both in his public and private life he furnished an example worthy of
the emulation of all who love the true nobility of humanity. We will
draw aside the curtain only for a passing glance at the domestic circle,
of which his beautiful and lovely wife was at once the pride and the
ornament. Surrounded by this devoted helpmeet and two manly sons, there
was not a happier home in old Virginia. Warmed by the love of his big
and generous heart, it was the abode of contentment and peace. The dread
messenger was never more unwelcome than when he entered the portals of
Ravensworth and made vacant forever the chair of the husband and the

We can say nothing to assuage the poignant grief of the widow and
children, but our hearts are filled with the fervent prayer that
Heaven's choicest blessings may be showered upon them.


Mr. SPEAKER: In this brief tribute to the memory of Gen. WILLIAM H.F.
LEE I should be unworthy of the friendship which it was my privilege to
claim did I indulge in anything else than the language of soberness and
truth. In him there was no manner of affectation; he pretended to be
nothing but such as he was, and it is certain that if he had been giving
directions to his biographer he would have laid down the rule announced
by Thomas Carlyle, in his review of the life of Lockhart, that the
biographer in the treatment of his subject "should have the fear of God
before his eyes and no other fear whatever."

Froude, as biographer, claims subsequently to have applied to the life
of Carlyle his own rule; and all the world knows that in the portrayal
of Carlyle's faults of character the biographer left many a sting in the
hearts of those who had loved the great man while he lived and who felt
that the failings on which the historian had dwelt ought to have been
interred with his bones. The biographer who shall perform faithfully the
task of writing the life of "ROONEY" LEE will not paint him as a genius
like Carlyle; but, sir, if there was any single feature in the character
of our friend that, laid bare to the world even by the bold hand of an
Anthony Froude, would cause the faintest blush to tinge the cheek of
family or friends, I, who knew him well, do not know what it was.

It is true, sir, that it was not my fortune to be thrown in contact with
him in the earlier years of his life. I did not know him when his
character was being shaped and molded by the generous and refining
influences which surrounded him from his cradle to his manhood.

My personal acquaintance with him may be said to have begun only when he
had taken his seat by my side in this Hall. But his fame had come before
him. A representative of the most distinguished family in America, he
had been, by this circumstance alone, conspicuous from his birth; and
yet he came among us with not a spot upon his name.

During the civil war, from a subordinate position rising rapidly to high
command and always in the bright light that surrounded him as a son of
the most illustrious general of modern times, he bore himself as a
soldier without reproach. Neither in civil life nor in war had calumny
assaulted him. Such a man, entering here upon a new career, attracted
attention the moment he came into this Hall.

It soon appeared to those who watched him closely that he was singularly
modest. This modesty was not diffidence. He was at all times
self-poised. On this floor, addressing himself to a public question just
as in a private conversation among his friends, he always had the easy,
unpretentious manner of the thoroughbred gentleman, but his modesty was
easily apparent in an utter lack of self-assertion. He never put himself
forward except when duty prompted, and then he did nothing for display;
never a word did he speak for himself, but only for his cause.

He made indeed no pretensions to oratory; he had never been trained in
its arts; but his mind was broad and highly cultured, he had a vast fund
of vigorous common sense, and he expressed himself readily and
pointedly. With these faculties he would in time have taken rank as a
strong debater.

While broadly patriotic, he had at the same time a high sense of
obligation to his immediate constituency, and he was patient to a
remarkable degree. His district, you will remember, Mr. Speaker, lay
just beyond the Potomac.

It was an easy matter for his constituents to come to the Capitol, and
naturally many of them sought office at his hands. I sat near him in the
Fifty-first Congress. Often have I known him to be carded out a dozen
times a day; and if he ever expressed himself to me as worried by these
interruptions he never failed to show by what he said that his annoyance
arose not so much from the importunities of his friends as from his
inability to serve them.

In address he was remarkably pleasing. Indeed, his manner was so genial,
so pleasant, so hearty and sincere, that the memory of his kindly
greeting will not be forgotten until the whole generation of his friends
shall pass away. Who is there among his associates on this floor that
will ever cease to remember him as, morning after morning in the
springtime, he came into this Hall, bringing from his home a basket of
roses to distribute among his friends? He was not seeking popularity.
Such a thought had not occurred to him, nor did it enter into the mind
of anyone here. He simply loved his friends, and he loved flowers just
as he loved all things beautiful and true.

Such a man could not but be, as Gen. LEE was, a model brother, husband,
and father. In all his life nothing was more lovely and beautiful than
his family relations.

He had about him none of the arts of the demagogue; he was always true
to himself, and therefore never false to any man. His whole walk and
conversation illustrated that he was the worthy son of his noble father;
that from his youth up he had profited by the precepts and example of
that illustrious chieftain, who declared, in those memorable words
already quoted by my eloquent friend [Mr. Tucker], that duty was the
sublimest word in the English language. And, Mr. Speaker, let me say
that the idea conveyed by this word duty, as taught by the father and
practiced by the son, was far higher than that ideal, lofty though it
was, expounded by philosophers like Plato and Cicero. With the Lees duty
meant Christian duty.

With all these characteristics Gen. LEE could not but grow and continue
to grow as he did in power and influence in a body like this; and had he
been spared for that long career in this Hall hoped for by his friends
he would have risen to eminence as a legislator.

But this was not to be. He has passed away from us forever.

When such a man dies out from among us, let critics cavil as they may
about time wasted in memorial addresses. We should do violence to our
own feelings did we not pause to honor his memory; we should do wrong to
the American people, whose heritage they are, did we not spread before
them the lessons of his life, that the whole country may venerate his
virtues and the youth of the land may emulate his example.


Mr. SPEAKER: Of all picturesque spots on the face of the earth there is
perhaps none that can rival in scenic beauty Mount Arlington, in the
State of Virginia. Shaded by the primeval forest to the rear, and in
front beautified by the gently sloping lawn, decorated by variegated
flowers and artistically trimmed shrubbery, with the dark-green waters
of the Potomac ebbing and flowing not far away and in full view the
mighty nation's splendid capital city, stands the stately old mansion,
with its classic columns, where nearly fifty-five years ago was born
our departed friend and colleague, and one of the beloved
Representatives of the people of Virginia--Gen. WILLIAM H.F. LEE. Born
in Virginia, he remained a Virginian continuously to the hour of his

Inheriting the martial genius of his eminent ancestry, he early aspired
to a career in the military service of his country, and at the
comparatively early age of twenty we find him bidding adieu to his
college studies at Harvard and uniting with the Army in its expedition
to Utah in 1858, where he first experienced the fatigues and hardships
incident to the life of the soldier in the long march over the arid
plains and through the mountain canyons into the Mormon territory. The
prospect of inaction, with a long period in garrison, proved a
disappointment to so ambitious a spirit, and he resigned his commission
and returned to the domestic welcome of his Virginia farm.

Soon, however, the indication of a long peace proved delusive, and the
scene shifted. This time it was decreed that he should behold the
terrible conflict in which one portion of his unhappy country was to
engage in deadly array with another portion. Obeying what he conceived
to be the mandate of his State, he followed the impulse of his feelings
and the example of his kindred and his friends, and periled all in that
belief. He participated at once, and most actively, in some of the most
sanguinary engagements of the civil war. Wounded at one place, taken
prisoner at another, then exchanged, and again in the van of battle, we
find him following the forlorn hope until the close of the struggle at
Appomattox, when he again returned to the old farm.

He possessed the undivided confidence of his constituents. He was
regarded by them, as he was so long observed by us in our intimate
associations with him in this Hall, and especially in the committee
rooms, as an intelligent and conscientious legislator, a laborious
servant of the people, a courtly gentleman, a generous and devoted
companion. Loyal as he was to his political convictions, he was yet the
most considerate and the most conservative in his relations with those
who radically differed with him. He admired frankness; he despised
duplicity. While he was obedient to the reasonable edicts of caucus and
party organization, we recall occasions when he was prompt to rise above
the partisan. He was as broad-gauge and comprehensive in the study and
performance of his duty toward all parts and all interests of his
reunited country as he was anxious for the obliteration of sectional
animosity and sincere and generous of heart in his social obligations to
all of his fellow-men.

The most touching remembrance we bear of Gen. LEE's goodness of heart
has reference to his custom in springtime of bringing to this Hall from
his farm great quantities of lovely roses, and having them distributed
to his associates of both political parties on this floor with his
compliments. Here we have a practical illustration that flowers are the
interpreters of man's best feelings. In oriental lands the language of
flowers was early studied and made expressive. As Percival says:

    Each blossom that blooms in their garden bowers,
    On its leaves a mystic language bears.

With Gen. LEE they bore tidings of good will to partisan friend and
partisan foe alike. They bespoke in mute eloquence the expansive heart
of one "that loved his fellow-men." Little, however, did he think at the
time that these beautiful roses were especially speaking to him as
emblems of a near immortality. Awakening from their sleep of winter,
they were also harbingers of a brighter day to him and of the bloom of
a glorious resurrection. The Germans have a saying that "he who loves
flowers loves God." If this be applied to Gen. LEE, we have the blessed
assurance that he has approached close to the celestial throne.

Gen. LEE belonged to one of the most historic families of America.
Looking back to the early settlement and the pioneer struggles of the
peninsula and then through the plantation and colonial period of entire
Virginia, we everywhere discover the genius, the dauntless courage, the
independence, and the resolute patriotism of the Lees. It has been well
said, sir, that Virginia is the mother of Presidents; and this is true.
A momentary reflection does not suffice to demonstrate the various
causes which combined to bestow upon the Old Dominion this prominence. A
mature study, however, will serve a double purpose. It will teach us not
only how Virginia more than any other State became the nursery for
Presidents and statesmen, but how at the same time were given character
and fame to its distinguished family--the Lees.

The permanency and prosperity of states and political bodies are as much
due to the character of their superstructures as are the strength and
stability of the material edifice to the foundation upon which it rests.
The Argonauts of Virginia united in a remarkable degree the pride and
culture and learning and loyalty of the Cavaliers with the conviction of
purpose and martial courage and discipline of the followers of Cromwell.
First came the heroic vanguard--the men like Capt. John Smith--who
blazed the way through the forests of the James, the York, the
Chickahominy, and Pamunkey. Then followed the refined, enthusiastic, and
chivalric gentlemen of the polished court of Charles I, with many of the
clergy, who brought with them their intense loyalty to the Crown, as
well as to the episcopal government and Anglican ritual. Among these,
too, were the proselyted royalists; old and honorable families after the
defeat of Charles, seeking exile in the far distant yet faithful
Virginia. Then came those who triumphed at Naseby, and overthrew the
kingly office and maintained the constitution of the realm and the
integrity of Magna Charta and the Petition of Rights.

The necessity for self-defense and the maintenance of order originated
self-government and the assertion of individual right, and these united
the widely variant elements of the community in a loyal union. It was
the amalgamation of such spirits in Virginia in 1676 which demanded the
right of personal liberty, of universal suffrage, and of representation;
and here was fought the prelude of that great drama one hundred years
later, when a Virginian, in the name of a whole nation, penned the
immortal words which proclaimed to all the world the "inalienable right
to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Here were the Lees, the
Patrick Henrys, the Randolphs, the Jeffersons, the Madisons, and the
Masons of Virginia; and here, to close the drama with freedom's
triumphant army, was the most illustrious of them all--George
Washington. It was from such an ancestry our late colleague was
descended, and it was from such teachings and such examples he imbibed
his zealous convictions of right and his sturdy regard for the exalted
prerogatives of a free people.


Mr. SPEAKER: On the 15th of last October death again invaded the ranks
of this House. The mysterious messenger laid the summons of his cold
silent hand upon one who had immeasurably endeared himself to all whose
good fortune it had been to know him. To-day we pause amid the rush of a
nation's public business to mourn the country's loss and to pay a just
tribute to the noble dead. When such a man as our late colleague, Gen.
WILLIAM H.F. LEE, is taken from our midst, a void is made which can
nevermore be filled. It is not his visible presence or his tangible body
that we shall so much miss. It is the magnetism of a pure mind, the
silent, potent influence of a spotless character, the power of a great,
good, and noble soul to elevate and dignify all with whom it came in
contact that will prove our irreparable loss. No man ever associated
with Gen. LEE without feeling the better for it. To have been with him
made you feel like one who had drawn a long deep inspiration of pure
fresh air into his lungs after breathing the stifling atmosphere of a
close room. His thoughts, his conversation, his ideas diffused about him
a sound and healthy morality, that was as natural to him as its delicate
odor is to the rose. Modest and gentle as a woman; sympathetic as a
child; guileless as the day; a logical, well-trained, accurate mind; a
horror of injustice; absolutely devoid of resentment; a benignant
countenance, and a splendid physique, made him indeed a man among men.

Sir, I believe not only in early training, but in the force of early
surroundings and family traditions. Sprung from an illustrious line of
statesmen and patriots, who had left their impress on every page of the
history, civil and military, of this country from the colonial days to
the present; born on those beautiful heights overlooking this city at
Arlington, where the house was filled with the sanctified relics and the
very atmosphere he breathed in childhood was pregnant with the
traditions and precepts of "the Father of his Country;" his mother being
the daughter of George Washington Parke Custis, the adopted son of the
immortal Washington; his father that world-renowned military commander,
the self-poised, calm, patient, dignified, glorious Gen. Robert E. Lee,
it would be unnatural not to expect to find the impress of all these on
the heart and mind and character and life of Gen. WILLIAM H.F. LEE.

To some my words of eulogy may appear fulsome; but having known him in
public and in private, at home by his own fireside, as well as abroad on
the active field of life, I know that my poor words can but fail to do
full justice to his true worth. With him the performance of duty was
accompanied by no harsh word or cynical expression; on the contrary, his
calmness and uniform sweetness of manner were almost poetical. I recall
a notable instance in the Fiftieth Congress, when, pressing under the
most trying circumstances the passage of a bill for the relief of the
Episcopal high school near Alexandria, he was temperate and patient.
Standing on the Republican side of this Hall, among those who questioned
him, his words fell softly and evenly as snowflakes on the turbulent
House, which finally by an almost unanimous vote passed his bill.

He shrank from publicity; therefore he never spoke on this floor unless
it was necessary to push a measure intrusted to his charge; then he
always acquitted himself with credit. In the committee and among his
colleagues his influence was irresistible, because his judgment and
integrity were above dispute.

With him a public office was a public trust, which he accepted and
administered for his State and his constituents without regard to race,
color, or party affiliation. Many times have I seen him, when coming in
from his country home in the morning, met at the depot by a dozen or
more of his constituents, claiming his attention to their private
matters with the Departments of the Government.

The patience and tender care with which he heard and looked after each
were paternal and pathetic. His love for little children was intense and
beautiful. Nothing made him happier than to fill some little fellow's
hands and pockets with candies and fruits, claiming only in return a shy
caress. In his home is where his perfectly balanced Christian character
shone in its brightest light. As father and husband he was indeed a
model man.

I shall attempt no extended biographical sketch; that has already been
well done by others. Yet I can not refrain from saying that in every
stage of his career Gen. LEE did his whole duty, actuated entirely and
solely by the loftiest motives.

A graduate of Harvard at twenty, he was appointed a second lieutenant in
the regular Army. Often I have heard him tell of the wearisome march
across the plains to California with his regiment, long in advance of
civilization and railroads, when most of that journey through the desert
was made perilous by roving bands of hostile Indians. Retiring from the
Army, he married and settled at the historic White House, in lower
Virginia. There he was the typical Southern country gentleman of
refinement and culture, taking an active interest in agriculture and the
public affairs of his community. When the war between the States
summoned Virginia's sons to her defense he again became a soldier.

Throughout the struggle he discharged every duty and was equal to every
responsibility placed upon him. His soldiers loved and trusted him as a
father, for they knew he would sacrifice no life for empty glory. The
saddest chapter in all his life was when--a prisoner of war at Fort
Monroe, lying desperately wounded, with the threat of a retaliatory
death-sentence suspended over his head, in hourly expectation of its
execution--he heard of the fatal illness of his wife and two little
children but a few miles away. Earnestly his friends begged that he
might be allowed to go and say the last farewell to them on earth. A
devoted brother came, like Damon of old, and offered himself to die in
"Rooney's" place. War, inexorable war, always stern and cruel, could not
accept the substituted sacrifice, and while the sick wounded soldier,
under sentence of death, lay, himself almost dying, in the dungeon of
the Fort, his wife and children "passed over the river to rest under the
trees" and wait there his coming. Yet no word of reproach ever passed
his gentle lips. He accepted it all as the fortune of war.

In all the walks of life--as a student at college, as an officer in the
regular Army, as a planter on the Pamunkey, as a leader of cavalry in
the civil war, as a farmer struggling with the chaos and confusion that
beset him under the new order of things following the abolition of
slavery, as president of the Virginia Agricultural Society, as State
senator, and as a member of Congress--Gen. WILLIAM H.F. LEE met every
requirement, was equal to every emergency, and left a name for honor,
truth, and virtue which should be a blessed heritage and the inspiration
for a nobler and loftier life to all those who shall succeed him.


Mr. SPEAKER: It is not my purpose at this time to make any extended
remarks upon the life and public services of the late Gen. WILLIAM H.F.
LEE. Other gentlemen of the House, more intimately acquainted with Gen.
LEE in his lifetime, are better prepared to do justice to his memory
than I am. But having enjoyed a very pleasant acquaintance with the
deceased during his four years' service as a member of this body, I
desire to express the great respect which I entertained for him as a
gentleman of high character and of noble, manly qualities. Descended
from one of the most highly honored families in the State in which he
had his birth, he was liberally educated, and at an early age entered
the Army as a second lieutenant and served as such until 1859, when he
resigned his commission and returned to the peaceful pursuits of civil
life. In 1861 he followed his illustrious father, and entered the
service of the Confederate States as a captain of cavalry. That he was a
brave and gallant soldier there can be no doubt, for his military
history shows that he rose step by step from the rank of a captain to
that of a major-general of cavalry. In 1865 he surrendered with his
father at Appomattox, and renewed his allegiance and devotion, as I am
glad to believe, to the Government of the United States.

I can but wish, Mr. Speaker, that such honored names as those of Gen.
WILLIAM H.F. LEE and his distinguished father had never been led into
rebellion against the Government of their country. But they felt it to
be their duty to follow the fortunes of their State, and let us to-day,
while mourning the departure of our deceased friend, rejoice that the
surrender at Appomattox has been followed by a restored Union, and that
our reunited, undivided country is now one of the strongest, most
powerful, and prosperous of all the nations of the earth.

As a Representative in this body, while he was not inclined to
participate actively in the discussion of public and political
questions, still Gen. LEE took great interest in all that pertained to
the public welfare, and especially in that which, in his judgment, was
in the interest of his immediate constituents. He was an able, faithful,
and efficient Representative as well as a noble, manly man, and in all
my intercourse with men I never met a more genial, warm-hearted,
pleasant gentleman than the distinguished citizen to whose memory we pay
tribute to-day. I well remember his kindly greetings, and I am sure all
of us who knew Gen. LEE deeply regret his loss as a member of this body,
to which he was for a third time elected by his confiding constituents,
and extend to his sorrowing bereaved family our warm heartfelt


Mr. SPEAKER: I have not been in the habit of speaking upon occasions of
this kind, but it is one of the joys of my life, a very great joy
indeed, to feel that I had a place in the heart of the gentleman whom we
are now commemorating. I knew him very well, and in many respects I
regarded him as one of the most fortunate men whom it was ever my
pleasure to know. While many men here are struggling for fame, while
many of them will leave the struggle heartsick, weary, defeated, he had
that power, that charm, so precious and so lovely, of attaching men to
him by the ties of affection. Little children loved him.

There was a benignancy, a sweetness of demeanor, which attracted them to
him, and while his name may not be sounded in the trump of fame, yet the
subtile power of his gentleness and goodness has permeated many lives,
will shape many destinies, and will have a force in the history of the
world greater than that which will be exerted by many who will succeed
him here. He was a soldier, yet he was gentle and kind. He was a
descendant of a long line of honored ancestry, yet he did not believe
that mere wealth was necessary either to respectability or to greatness.
He was a farmer and loved the soil. He looked upon the ripened grain as
the flower of human hope and as a minister to human needs. He loved the
breath of cattle, and he regarded the occupation of an agriculturist as
the noblest and the best in which a man could be engaged. He was a true
son of the soil--hearty, simple, gentle, true.

But, sir, the particulars of his career, both public and private, have
been recounted by those who knew him well; have been recounted with
great force, with great eloquence and propriety. There is, however, one
part of that career to which I wish to refer. He was engaged in the
memorable struggle which convulsed this nation from center to
circumference and which fastened the gaze of the civilized world. I wish
upon this occasion to say emphatically, that wherever we may have stood
in that struggle, whatever was good and great in any man participating
on either side of it is a precious heritage to the entire American
people to-day. We proved that, North, South, East, West, we had not
degenerated in the qualities which make a nation great.

Grant and Lee, Sherman, Sheridan, and the two Johnstons have gone from
us forever, and every day the green sward of peace, the flowers of
affection, are placed above the grave of some hero of the blue or the
gray. But I love to think that above these graves stands the Genius of
American freedom, serene and grand, and bids the world behold how brave
the sons of the Republic were in the past; how united they are in one
purpose and one destiny in the present; how certain they are to be a
people noted for reasonable liberty, for perfect union, and for
sufficient material power to be formidable and just alike to the other
nations of the earth.

And so, sir, I come and lay the flowers of my Northern home upon the
bier of this son of Virginia, this good citizen, this patriot, this man
who, I am proud to believe, held even me in his affection. And when
gentlemen here speak of the terror and the mystery of death, I tell them
that to such a man death has no terrors, and that to the good man it has
no mystery; for in that illimitable hereafter, which must be populated
by all the sons of men, it must be, it will be, well with all of us.


Mr. SPEAKER: The House has already heard from his friend and successor
the story of Gen. LEE's life. I shall not, therefore, repeat it even in
briefest outline. Enough for me to say that he was one in a long lineage
of noted men, who by some innate force and virtue had stood forth in
three generations as leaders of their fellow-men; that he was the son of
the greatest of all who have borne the name, and that in early manhood
he exhibited the soldierly instincts and the soldierly capacity that
seemed to be historically associated with it.

With such a lineage and with such a history he came to this House, and I
believe I can offer no higher tribute to his memory to-day than to say
that in all his associations with us here he was the embodiment of
gentleness and modesty. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, as I now recall Gen. LEE,
and explore with aching heart the memory of a close and cordial
friendship with him, I can say with confidence that in the blending of
these rare traits I have never known his equal. They were a part of his
nature, not more illustrated in business and social intercourse with
fellow-members than in his relations with the page who did him service
and who learned to regard himself in some way as the special friend and
associate of Gen. LEE.

Many of us doubtless can recall the evident pride of the little fellow
who occasionally placed upon our desks the roses which his kindly patron
brought by the basketful in the spring mornings from his Virginia home
to brighten the sittings of the House. And this gentleness and modesty
were the more attractive because they were the adornment of a sincere
and manly character. How much came to him as the rich legacy of
ancestral blood and how much was wrought into his nature by the training
of his youth it is idle to speculate. In both respects he was lifted far
above the common lot of men. Of his mother it is said by those who knew
her well that she was one of the most accomplished and at the same time
most domestic, sensible, and practical of women. Of his father's
influence and teaching, to say nothing of his lofty example, we have the
striking proofs, if any were needed, in letters that have been
published. Let me cull but an occasional expression from these
unaffected outpourings of the heart of Robert E. Lee toward the son he
loved so well. "My precious Roon," as he was wont to call him.

When the boy was not yet ten years of age he closes a playful letter,
adapted to such tender years, with these earnest words:

     Be true, kind, and generous, and pray earnestly to God to enable
     you to keep His commandments and to walk in the same all the days
     of your life.

A year later, writing from the ship _Massachusetts_, off Lobos, to his
two sons, a letter full of interest to boys, he urges them to diligence
in study:

     I shall not feel my long separation from you if I find that my
     absence has been of no injury to you, and that you have both grown
     in goodness and knowledge as well as in stature; but how I shall
     suffer on my return if the reverse has occurred. You enter into all
     my thoughts, into all my prayers, and on you in part will depend
     whether I shall be happy or miserable, as you know how much I love

Ten years later, when the son had become a lieutenant in the Army, he
admonishes him:

     I hope you will always be distinguished for your avoidance of the
     universal bane whisky and every immorality. Nor need you fear to be
     ruled out of the society that indulges in it, for you will acquire
     their esteem and respect, as all venerate, if they do not practice,
     virtue. I hope you will make many friends, as you will be thrown
     with those who deserve this feeling. But indiscriminate intimacies
     you will find annoying and entangling, and they can be avoided by
     politeness and civility. When I think of your youth, impulsiveness,
     and many temptations, your distance from me, and the ease (and even
     innocence) with which you might commence an erroneous course, my
     heart quails within me and my whole frame and being tremble at the
     possible results. May Almighty God have you in His holy keeping. To
     His merciful providence I commit you, and I will rely upon Him and
     the efficacy of the prayers that will be daily and hourly offered
     up by those who love you.

A year or two later, on New Year's Day, 1859, he writes:

     I always thought there was stuff in you for a good soldier and I
     trust you will prove it. I can not express the gratification I
     felt, in meeting Col. May in New York, at the encomium he passed
     upon your soldiership, your zeal, and your devotion to your duty.
     But I was more pleased at the report of your conduct; that went
     more to my heart and was of infinite comfort to me. Hold on to your
     purity and virtue; they will proudly sustain you in all trials and
     difficulties and cheer you in every calamity.

So, too, when the young lieutenant had married and settled down a
typical Virginian farmer upon the estate left him by his grandfather
Custis, the well-known "White House" on the Pamunkey, the home of Martha

     I am glad to hear that your mechanics are all paid off and that you
     have managed your funds so well as to have enough for your
     purposes. As you have commenced, I hope you will continue never to
     exceed your means. It will save you much anxiety and mortification
     and enable you to maintain your independence of character and
     feeling. It is easier to make our wishes conform to our means than
     to make our means conform to our wishes. In fact, we want but
     little. Our happiness depends upon our independence, the success of
     our operations, prosperity of our plans, health, contentment, and
     the esteem of our friends, all of which, my dear son, I hope you
     may enjoy to the full.

With such counsels, glowing with a father's love and enforced by the
constant example of a father's life, it is no wonder that the son grew
into the manliness, the gentleness and modesty, the charitableness of
judgment, the unconspicuous and patient devotion to duty, and the
personal lovableness of Gen. LEE.

Mr. Speaker, I might say much more from the promptings of a strong and
unfeigned affection and from a sense of the public merits of our late
colleague, but where there are so many to speak, it is not necessary for
one to attempt a catalogue of his private virtues and of his public

Perhaps I may fitly add a word in closing as to Gen. LEE's military
career. From a captain of volunteer cavalry he rose on his own merits at
the age of twenty-six to the rank of major-general. I have not searched
the annals of war to recite his military history, for it is not the
soldier that I have been commemorating, but I may recall a testimony not
improper to be placed on record here to-day. I happened to be in company
with Gen. Joseph E. Johnston about the time that Gen. LEE was first
nominated for Congress. The old commander, who, as all know, was not
given to effusive speech, expressed to me his hearty gratification at
the event, and in doing so his high estimate of Gen. LEE as a man and of
his ability as a soldier. His praise was strong and unstinted, and no
one will question its sincerity. Mr. Speaker, what more need I add than
to say that in all the acts and relations of life, as son and soldier,
as husband and father, as private citizen and as Representative of the
people, as friend and as Christian, our departed colleague left a memory
we may well cherish and an example we may well follow.


Mr. SPEAKER: Great as is our country, its history is comparatively
brief. Though brief, it is exceedingly instructive. So far as there can
be an outcome in ever-recurring events, it is the outcome of a
tremendous social and political struggle. Sir, it hardly suits the
occasion to refer to the origin of this struggle or to trace its
progress, but the effort for popular government is discernible through
many centuries. As we come nearer to our time it becomes more
intelligent and determined. Our great Declaration was its best
pronunciamento. Our written Constitution was its most concise
expression. The events that produced them founded a normal school for
patriotism. In it was perfected a new departure. Fealty to lord and king
was supplanted by fealty to human rights. Proclaimed in the council
chamber, these rights had to be won in the field. Yorktown completed our
first endeavor at nation-making; we graduated masters at Appomattox. The
first proclaimed the prowess of the Confederation, the second testified
to the strength of the Union. Both astonished the world. Both transpired
in Virginia.

Conspicuous in this analogue of our history were the Lees of Virginia.
They have a lineage too illustrious for praise. Its escutcheons are too
bright for adornment. It reaches back for centuries loyal to honor and
to truth. Him we mourn to-day was a gifted scion of that great name. His
highest distinction was won in Confederate arms.

Thank God, I can now speak of our civil war with satisfaction and not
with reluctance. I allude to it with a satisfaction akin to that one
feels in gazing upon a plain fertilized by an inundation. Flowers spring
up, birds sing, and golden grain nods in the sunlight. But our civil war
was more like an upheaval than like a deluge. It shook every timber in
the grand structure with which we had surprised the world. Other
governments have fallen of their own weight; our matchless edifice could
not be shattered by an explosion.

Both contestants stood guard over the popular principle and would not
let it be mined. They were instructed in the same school and by the same
teacher. Local privilege was as strong with the one as with the other.
The dispute was whether the Union should endure the strain of the race
and slavery issue. The long and vexing argument was adjourned to the
battlefield. In no other respect was our system even threatened. This
close connection at the root made the angry divergence begin to
assimilate at the very outset.

So kindred was it, that when Grant met his heroic opponent at Appomattox
he says that he fell into such a reunion with him that he had twice to
be reminded of the occasion that brought them together. He then
conformed to it, and treated those who surrendered not as conquered, but
as reclaimed. Lincoln went further. He found a Confederate legislature
ready-made to his hand, and promptly permitted it to repair the
situation. In thus mingling the gray with the blue he was neither
color-blind nor purblind. He knew what he was doing. He desired to
blend them, as emblematic of a more perfect Union. Possibly the
Confederate legislature suited his purpose best.

After this testimonial it looks to me something like treason to that
great name to try to exclude Confederate worth from the annals of the
strife or from the glory of its grand consummation. Neither act nor
actor can be profitably spared.

Mr. Speaker, the other day in this very Hall I laid a chaplet on the
bier of a dead comrade. To-day I am trying to commemorate the virtues of
a Confederate colleague. Both died while members of this House. That
both were my countrymen warms my heart. As my countrymen I can make no
invidious distinction. If living neither would permit it, and he is more
reckless than I who would profane the memory of either.

Mr. Speaker, I have said that I could speak of the civil war with
satisfaction and not with reluctance. The occasion prompted me to say
so. The occasion requires that, as a Union soldier, I should state my
reasons. We learn from experience, and war is the toughest kind of
experience. When it raised its horrid front and began its work of
seeming devastation, we shrank back from its terrible promise. The world
looked to see us dismembered; but the great Republic, like a daring
cruiser, emerged from the tempest sound from keel to truck. Not a brace
swung loose, not a plank was sprung, no spar was shivered. Within there
had to be readjustment. Aloft the Stars and Stripes rose and fell in
graceful recognition of the trial. The thunder of her broadsides
proclaimed the value of this object-lesson in nation-making.

We had learned a juster appreciation of ourselves as a whole people, and
if this were all, it was worth the tuition. But we had besides garnered
into our storehouse of knowledge vast consignments for the use of
liberal economic government. We had infused into our laws, our language,
and our institutions new vigor for conquest and for human enlightenment.
Venality, that dogs great efforts, undoubtedly there was. But the high
tide of the conflict showed no mercenary taint. On both sides it was
urged from the highest motives of patriotism and of honor and in defense
of the popular principle. That principle with us means local
self-government and representative union. The rebel yell was because
they thought local government in peril. The Federal huzza was for
representative union. Together they were cheering the same deeply
embedded sentiment.

Those who would study the phenomenon must remember that where opinions
approximate on parallel lines, but from some interest or sentiment
refuse to coalesce, the passions are liable to ignite. Fusion then takes
place in a terrible heat. The heat must be sufficient to remove the
obstacles that the mass may become unified. We have as a result a firmly
established representative union of local self-governments. The cooling
and finishing process has left no flaw. Sir, what sort of a soldier must
he be who is not proud of having been tempered in such a trial? If after
the unmatched tournament this is not the spirit of victor and
vanquished, then the lights of chivalry are burnt out and magnanimity is
no more.

Mr. Speaker, I know of no greater praise of a life than to say it was
one of honest endeavor. Whatever faculties comprise it, this is the
scope of human duty. When to this is added a conscience adequate to all
the suggestions of a great and busy career, the sum of human excellence
has been reached All this I believe in my soul can be truthfully said of
"ROONEY" LEE. "Rooney" was his father's term of endearment, which all
who knew him, without distinction of age, race, or sex, delighted to
apply to him when absent. When present, it was always "general." A
thorough soldier, there was an idyllic strain in his nature. He was
essentially rural in his tastes. He loved the wheat fields and tobacco
plantations of his native State. Its very air seemed to inspire him.

The Blue Ridge was to him the perfection of natural beauty. He was warm
in his friendships and true to his kinships. Always dignified, there was
a heartiness in his greetings that was irresistible. He was as broad as
his acres. Riding or driving over his vast estate or in its vicinity,
his cheerful halloo rang in the ears of those who had not seen him, and
the cheery swing of his hat, though paid to all, was a cherished
compliment. If the spirit of mortal be proud, it was not his spirit.
Courteous, sympathetic, unobtrusive, patriotic, knightly, and
beneficent, he was a part of the soil of Virginia itself. He had the
loving hospitality that would take all into the march of progress. How
much of these qualities was innate, how much he drew from his high
lineage, how much from the teachings of his illustrious father, can
never be known, but he blended them in a halo that will not soon fade
from his memory.

Sir, others have spoken of the incidents of his life and of his unabated
fidelity to its claims. I can not add to his record. I have met him in
battle array; I have embraced him with a soldier's warmth. We entered
Congress together; we have fought here side by side. It has fallen to my
lot to eulogize him. This I will venture: It would mar the catalogue of
bright names of which America is so proud if his were omitted from the


Mr. SPEAKER: Truly "in the midst of life we are in death." There is
scarcely one of the associates and colleagues of Gen. WILLIAM H.F. LEE
who knew him here and up to the closing days of the late Congress who
would have been deterred by the thought of personal risk from exchanging
the chances of life or death with him for a few months; and yet, in so
short a time the dread summoner, who soon or late is to call us all, has
taken him from this life into that which fadeth not, neither does it

    The hand of the reaper
      Takes the ears that are hoary,
    But the voice of the weeper
      Wails manhood in glory.
    The autumn winds rushing
      Waft the leaves that are searest,
    But our flower was in flushing
      When blighting was nearest.

Yes, death, the unsolved and unsolvable mystery, has enveloped him, and
he has passed from our view never more to be seen and known of men on
this earth. But yesterday the living, moving, brave, sympathetic,
generous friend, and now, alas, but a memory--and yet a memory dear to
all who knew and appreciated his noble attributes of heart and mind; a
memory which has left its impress upon his fellow-men for nobility of
character; a memory which can not wholly fade, but must influence for
good not only his own immediate posterity, but all those who may come
after him.

My acquaintance with Gen. LEE began in the early part of the war between
the States. It was upon a night march, as we rode with the advance guard
of the army, where we might expect at any moment a hostile volley. He
related to me in a low impressive tone of voice an experience which had
occurred to him when his command by reason of surprise had met with some
disaster. What impressed me most at the time was that, although others
must have been to some extent culpable, he took all the blame upon
himself, and had not a word of complaint for either officer or man who
served under him.

This trait of magnanimity, such a splendid companion to personal
courage, I found afterwards to be characteristic of the man.

Though springing from a long line of heroic and patriotic ancestors, he
had not a particle of pretentious pride, but to all men, privates in the
ranks as well as officers, so that they were but brave and good
soldiers, he always found "time enough for courtesy." He never tried to
appropriate another man's laurels, but he possessed in a high degree
that quality of courage which is so well described by Emerson:

    Courage, the highest gift, that scorns to bend
    To mean devices for a sordid end.
    Courage, an independent spark from Heaven's bright throne,
    By which the soul stands raised, triumphant, high, alone.
    Great in itself, not praises of the crowd,
    Above all vice, it stoops not to be proud.
    Courage, the mighty attribute of powers above,
    By which those great in war are great in love.
    The spring of all brave acts is seated here,
    As falsehoods draw their sordid birth from fear.

In his friendship he was gentle and tender as one who is full of love
and human sympathy. You might have thought him better fitted for the
paths of peace, and yet upon the battlefield he was brave as the
bravest. Whenever and wherever duty called him his personal safety was
by him never considered. Often have I seen him in the thickest of the
fight, by his presence and personal direction cheering and encouraging
both officers and men. Though the son of the general in chief of the
army, he took no favor by it.

He never took advantage of his rank to keep to the rear and send his
regiments in. You could always measure his estimate of you by the manner
in which he met you. The soul of candor, his heart shone in his eye, and
placing a high estimate upon manhood, he loved all in whom he recognized
it. For about two years during the latter part of the war I served in
his command, and had every opportunity to observe and know him.

My acquaintance with him here was but a revival of old memories. I
always loved him as one who--

    Spake no slander; no, nor listened to it.
           *       *       *       *       *
     Who reverenced his conscience as his king.

Who, if he committed an error or wronged any man, was swift to redress
it; never laying his blame at another man's door. Who excelled in all
the virtues which go to make up a beautiful private life in all the
essentials of faithful friendship and truthful character; who lived--

                   Thro' all this tract of years,
    Wearing the white flower of a blameless life.

Think for a moment how much better and happier every one would be if all
men were earnestly to strive to live up to this high standard and how
much of pain would be spared the world. He was one of the most faithful
members upon this floor; faithful to the public interest, and whenever
any proposition was under consideration which specially concerned his
own people, they always had in him an able advocate and strong defender.

He is gone! sincere Christian, loving husband and father, trusted
friend. The life that was given him has been taken away. The widow and
the orphan mourn, and their grief is our grief; but a merciful Father
has given him more than he has taken away, and this strength and comfort
through the tender mercy of our Saviour is theirs--

     I am the resurrection, and the life, he that believeth in me,
     though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and
     believeth in me shall never die.


Mr. SPEAKER: I never had the pleasure of Gen. LEE's acquaintance, so far
as I could recall, until he entered this House as a Representative of
the district which lies just across the river; but there were many
things in common between us which soon caused a kindliness of feeling
much warmer than the frequency of our association would indicate. It
happened that we were almost of the same age, born within a few weeks of
each other, and that on all great questions of the day we were
singularly alike in our opinions, and, if I may use such an expression,
even in our prejudices.

Amid all the trials of life we two found we had adhered to simple
beliefs of those Southern homes in which we were the reared; that no
advance in civilization, no pretense of progress, had ever obscured our
views as to the olden beliefs and the simpler truths which had been
inwrought into our being by the venerable fathers and beloved mothers
with whom we had been blessed. The substratum of our beliefs was
precisely the same. And we found that we were not ashamed of that
substratum, that we were not given to apologizing for adhering to
so-called "obsolete" traditions or to creeds "that were passing out of

We also found that on the political questions of the day we were
similarly in accord. We believed in the same political principles. And
so it was a very rare occurrence that when the roll was called in this
House we were not found voting, even on what seemed to be trivial
matters, upon the same side. It was not strange that with these
coincidences of belief and with our having both served in the
Confederate army and the local accident of the nearness of our seats
which threw us together, there grew up a regard greater than was
indicated by our association outside of this Hall.

If I were to select in my acquaintance him who, as much as any other,
deserved the title, I would say of Gen. LEE that he was a gentleman. All
that had concurred in producing him was of the best. The blood which
gave him life, the soil out of which he grew, the kindly influences
which always surrounded him, the molding powers to which he had been
subjected--all were of the noblest. A son of such houses, reared at such
knees, influenced by such powers, he passed early under the influences
of Harvard. Later he took his young experience as a soldier under Albert
Sidney Johnston. He began his civil life in a delicious home, with the
love of an exquisite young wife. And in the Confederate service he was
associated with the best and the bravest volunteers of the Old Dominion

It was not strange that the product of such influences should be a
gentleman. All that was courageous, all that was loyal to truth, all
that was courteous to those with whom he came in contact, all that was
gentle and kindly was not only the heritage which he received with his
name and his blood, but it was developed by all the environments which
he was so fortunate as to have surround him. If I were to select a
character of which it might be said that it was round, without angles,
even without salient points, it would be his--not because he was weak,
but because the calmness, the serenity, and the magnificence (if I may
use a word that seems to be hyperbolic) of the equipoise of his
qualities made each of them seem less important than it would have
seemed if other qualities had been less.

It would not be extravagant to apply to him the paraphrase of the
apostolic description of a Christian gentleman--loving without
dissimulation; abhorring the evil; cleaving to the honorable; preferring
to confer honor rather than to receive it; earnest in the work of life,
and careful of time and opportunity to labor; hopeful of all good;
patient in tribulation; forbearing to resent trespass; charitable in
thought and word, as in deed; given to hospitality; at peace with his
own conscience and with God.

We live, Mr. Speaker, in a heroic age. I constantly hear of this being
an age of materialism, of the worship of the "almighty dollar." I
challenge all the past, in all the endeavors of man, to reach a higher
level, to equal the heroism of the age in which we have been called to
perform our part--the devotion to duty, the readiness to make
sacrifices, the willingness to give all for the truth which have marked
our generation--the era in which we have to act our part.

This simple, kindly, unaffected, modest gentleman; this man, with his
sweet calm smile, who met us every day, passing in and out with a
certain reticence of modesty, was himself but the type of the age in
which he lived and of the people from whom he sprang. All modest as he
was, he had given up everything at the call of duty. All simple and
kindly as he seemed to be, he had at the head of charging squadrons
captured cannon, and with more heroic endurance had lain without
complaint in the cell of solitary confinement. He carried about with him
in the simple modesty of his everyday life the heart that at a moment's
notice was ready to still its beating at the call of duty; and with the
same simplicity, with the same freedom from ostentation, with the same
delicious smile, he would have walked into the jaws of death if it had
become him as a gentleman to do so.

To live in such an age, to be associated with such men--and, thank God,
they are not uncommon amongst us--the bar at which I practice, the
tables at which I sit in the kindliness of social intercourse, the men
with whom I have been blessed enough to be called into contact, the very
strangers who call on business at my house, rank among them men just
like unto him. I say to live in such an age, to be associated with such
men, to play a part, however obscure, in such drama, make life worth the
living; make the hereafter nobler for him who has been so blessed.

Mr. Speaker, to-day, in the midst of this the ending of the nineteenth
century, we who will soon pass away, we who are but the remnants of a
generation of war, can proudly hand over to those who shall come after
us the example of lives that in war feared nothing but God, in peace
strove for nothing but the good of the people.



MARCH 4, 1892.

The VICE-PRESIDENT. The Chair lays before the Senate resolutions from
the House of Representatives, which will be read.

The resolutions were read, as follows:

     IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, _February 6, 1892._

     _Resolved_, That the business of the House be now suspended, that
     opportunity be given for tributes to the memory of Hon. WILLIAM
     HENRY FITZHUGH LEE, late a Representative from the State of

     _Resolved_, As a further mark of respect to the memory of the
     deceased, and in recognition of his eminent abilities as a
     distinguished public servant, that the House, at the conclusion of
     these memorial proceedings, shall stand adjourned.

     _Resolved_, That the Clerk communicate these resolutions to the

Mr. BARBOUR. Mr. President, I offer the resolutions which I send to the

The VICE-PRESIDENT. The resolutions will be read.

The resolutions were read, as follows:

     _Resolved_, That the Senate has heard with profound sorrow the
     announcement of the death of Hon. WILLIAM H.F. LEE, late a
     Representative from the State of Virginia.

     _Resolved_, That the business of the Senate be now suspended, in
     order that fitting tribute may be paid to his memory.

     _Resolved_, That as an additional mark of respect the Senate shall,
     at the conclusion of these ceremonies, adjourn.


Mr. PRESIDENT: The resolutions just read were passed by the House of
Representatives on the 6th day of February last in respect to the memory
of WILLIAM H.F. LEE, deceased, late a member of that body from the
Eighth Congressional district of Virginia.

Before asking the Senate to adopt the resolutions it is incumbent upon
me, as one of the Senators from Virginia, as it is in harmony with my
own personal feelings, to submit some remarks in explanation of their
purpose and object; a sad and mournful duty to be performed on my part.

Gen. LEE was my immediate successor in the House of Representatives, and
served with ability and efficiency in both the Fiftieth and Fifty-first
Congresses. He was reëlected to the present Congress, but his career was
arrested by that higher and supreme Power to which we must all yield,
and on the 15th of October, 1891, he departed this life at his home in
the county of Fairfax, and in the midst of his family and friends.

I do not consider it necessary in this presence or on this occasion to
go into much detail touching the life and character of the deceased.

The full and eloquent tributes paid to his memory in the House of
Representatives show the high appreciation in which he was held by his
associates in that body, and express in far more fitting terms than I
could employ their estimate of his character, services, and virtues.

Gen. LEE came from a distinguished lineage. Two of the family signed our
Magna Charta, the Declaration of Independence, and another was
Attorney-General under Gen. Washington.

On the paternal side he could refer to his distinguished grandfather,
Gen. Henry Lee, of the Revolutionary army, who was known as Light-Horse
Harry, the commandant of Lee's Legion, so conspicuous in the annals of
that period. His maternal grandfather was the late G.W. Parke Custis, of
Arlington, the stepson of Gen. Washington, and familiarly called in his
day the child of Mount Vernon.

His father, Gen. R.E. Lee, the chief military figure on his side in the
late civil war, was too well known for comment at my hands. It is the
boast of some of the old baronial families of England that their
ancestors rode with William the Conqueror at Hastings. To a certain
extent the pride of ancestry is an ennobling sentiment, and Virginians
must be pardoned when tempted to refer to the illustrious names which
their State in the past has furnished to the nation. The name of Lee has
been a household word in Virginia for three generations of men. In the
death of Gen. WILLIAM H.F. LEE the State has lost one of her truest and
worthiest sons and the Federal Government a faithful and patriotic

Although acquainted personally with Gen. LEE for many years, it was only
within a year or two before his death that I had the opportunity to
appreciate fully the high personal qualities of the man and to
understand the real nobility of his nature. The more I saw of him the
higher became my respect and admiration. He grew upon me with closer
contact and more intimate association.

I was greatly impressed with his invariable courtesy of manner and great
amiability and kindness of heart, to which was added a knightly bearing
and cordiality of greeting which, combined, made Gen. LEE with all
classes of society an imposing and attractive figure.

He has gone to his last resting place, mourned by his family and friends
and lamented by an extensive acquaintance throughout the country. He had
filled the measure of his duties in every respect, and was entitled, as
he passed from the stage of action, to the plaudit, "Well done, good and
faithful servant."


Mr. PRESIDENT: My acquaintance with WILLIAM HENRY FITZHUGH LEE commenced
in the summer of 1854, when we met at Cambridge as members of the new
freshman class at Harvard College. He was just then entering his
eighteenth year, was well grown for his age, tall, vigorous, and robust,
open and frank in his address, kind and genial in his manners. He
entered upon his college life with many advantages in his favor. The
name of Lee was already upon the rolls of the university, for other
representatives of different branches of the family had entered and
graduated in the years gone by and had left pleasant memories behind
them. His distinguished lineage made him a welcome guest in the older
families of the University city, and of Boston, its near neighbor, who
felt a just pride in the historic and traditional associations connected
with the earlier history of the country, and many of the influential
members of the class belonged to such families.

He was rather older than the average age of his classmates, and his life
had been spent amid surroundings that had enabled him to see a good deal
of society and the world, so that he brought with him into his college
life a more matured mind and a greater insight than the student usually
possesses at the threshold of his career. He had enjoyed excellent
advantages in preparing for the entering examinations, and was well
grounded in the languages as well as mathematics, so that he entered the
class well fitted for the course of study to be pursued. Thus, from the
first, he was prominent in the university, and soon became popular among
his classmates, and his prominence and popularity were maintained during
his stay among us.

This was due not to superior distinction in any particular study or in
any one feature of college life, but rather to his general standing and
characteristics. He kept pace with his classmates in the recitation
room, not so much by hard and continuous study as by his quick
comprehension and ready grasp of the subject in hand and the general
fund of knowledge at his command. He was of a friendly and companionable
nature, and there were abundant opportunities in a large class to
develop this disposition, cultivate social intercourse, and strengthen
the bonds of good fellowship. He had been accustomed to an outdoor life
in his Virginia home, and his manly training had given him an athletic
frame which required constant and vigorous exercise. This he sought in
active sports on the football ground and in the class and college boat
clubs, where he was welcomed as a valuable auxiliary.

In a large university--and Harvard had gained that rank even as far back
as those days--there are various fields of action, and other honors are
recognized than those marked on the catalogue or contained in the
degrees. The graduate who excels in mathematics, the languages, the arts
and sciences, is decked with the highest honor on commencement day, but
there are unwritten honors given by general consent of classmates to
those who have developed a superiority in any mental or physical
excellence. When in after life the members of a class meet on some
public college anniversary or gather together at a reunion and the
memories and traditions of college life are talked over anew, the merits
of those who excelled in pleasant companionship, in kindly bearing, in
generous conduct towards their associates, in outdoor games and sports
requiring strength and dexterity, are pleasant subjects to dwell upon,
even if the possessors failed to stand among the highest upon the roll
of scholarship.

Thus it was that LEE established himself among his associates during the
three years that he remained among us, and though he contented himself
with a medium standing in scholarship and exhibited no ambition to gain
a high rank upon the college rolls, he won the regard and confidence and
respect of all his classmates and held a warm place in the hearts of
those with whom he was most intimate.

Towards the close of our junior year, in the early part of 1857, upon
the recommendation of Gen. Winfield Scott, he received a commission as
second lieutenant in the Army, and was assigned to the Sixth Regiment of
Infantry, which was ordered into active service on the Western frontier,
and took part in the expedition to Utah which was commanded by Col.
Albert Sidney Johnston. LEE accepted this appointment, closed his
connection with the college, and our paths in life diverged for more
than thirty years.

In 1887 we both became members of the Fiftieth Congress. I well remember
his coming to me, with kindly face and outstretched hand, on the first
day of our session in December, as I sat in my seat in this Chamber,
expressing pleasure at meeting me after so many years of separation and
satisfaction that we were to have opportunities of renewing the
acquaintance and friendship of our early days. Though the exacting
duties of Congressional life gave me fewer opportunities of associating
with him than I could have wished, yet I saw much of him during the
years we spent here together, and I shall always remember those
occasions with satisfaction. Sometimes it was only a word in passing, a
shake of the hand, a brief conference on public business, but whether
the interview was brief or prolonged his manner and conduct were always
kind and friendly and sincere.

While we were together in Congress he often referred to our college life
and its associations, and remembered them with evident satisfaction. He
became a member of the Harvard Club here in Washington, and I recall a
pleasant evening when he was one of the after-dinner speakers there. In
the summer of 1888 he went to Cambridge, to revisit the old scenes and
once more meet his friends and associates of the olden time. He attended
the commencement exercises and spoke pleasantly at the class supper. His
classmates who then met him will long cherish the remembrance of that
last visit, his hearty greetings, his cordial manners, the interest he

The renewal of our acquaintance soon satisfied me that the experience of
life had strengthened and developed all that was good and noble and
manly in the young student. The same warmth and cordiality which had
endeared him to his classmates won the regard and affection of his
associates here. The same general ability and rotundity of character
which had made him prominent in the little world of college life made
him useful and influential in various lines of duty in the wide field of
Congressional legislation.

During the intervening years the manly bearing, the physical
superiority, the nobility of spirit which had characterized him in the
earlier days had made him a leader among men when the storm of war raged
over the land. Brief as were the days of the unacknowledged Southern
Confederacy, his name was enrolled in bright letters upon the pages of
its history, and his brave deeds will in future days be chronicled in
song and story by those who admire true courage and recognize all that
was gallant and noble and heroic in the lives of all those who fought on
both sides of our great struggle as worthy of preservation and

When LEE first left college his military duties, as has been already
stated, carried him to the far West, and he there saw some rough
service. The Utah expedition was a training school for soldiers and
generals, and many who afterwards gained renown and fame, under the
different standards were there associated together in a common duty.
Besides the leader and commander, Col. Johnston, were Robert E. Lee,
Hardee, Thomas, Kirby Smith, Palmer, Stoneman, Fitz Lee, and Hood. When
the Army first entered upon this service there was a small cloud of war
in the horizon, but it soon cleared away, and the company to which LEE
was attached was assigned to a dull and monotonous routine of garrison
life. This possessed no attractions for the young lieutenant, and there
were other influences drawing him towards his native State. He resigned
his commission, returned to Virginia, and settled at the White House, in
New Kent County, where George Washington had married the widow Custis.

The plantation had descended to her son, George Washington Parke Custis,
and from him through LEE's mother to the grandson. He soon established
his cousin, Miss Wickham, as queen of this historic home, and he was
here with his little family amid these surroundings, with everything to
make life attractive, when Virginia and her sister States of the South
passed their ordinances of secession and sent delegates to Montgomery to
unite in the attempt to form a Southern Confederacy. LEE never doubted
that allegiance was due first to his State, and when war followed he
drew his sword in defense of Virginia.

As long as the strife continued he avoided no danger, he shunned no
peril, he feared no adversary.

Now with a company, now a squadron, now a regiment, now a brigade, now a
division of cavalry behind him, he went upon the march, formed the line
of battle, or rode into the enemy's lines. Whatever duty was assigned to
him, he entered upon its discharge with energy and vigor. In the varying
fortunes of war he was wounded, captured, held as a hostage; but the day
of recovery and exchange came, and he once more headed the brave
followers who loved and honored and trusted him, and during the last
year of the struggle he again shared their hardships and privations and
dangers. But the end came at last, the issue was settled, the
arbitrament of war was decided adversely, and he sheathed his sword and
returned to the place where his home had been.

The year 1865 marked a low ebb in the fortunes of the Southern people,
and perhaps it may not be unprofitable to dwell briefly upon their
conduct when under the shadow of defeat and disaster. The distinguished
father of him to whose memory we are this day paying tribute went from
the head of a great army to train the new generation of young men of the
South in the halls of a university to usefulness in the various walks of
citizenship. The students who enjoyed the privilege of sitting at the
feet of this grand college president there learned lessons of
patriotism. They were advised to build up the places left waste and
desolate, and to look hopefully forward to a reunited country and a more
prosperous future.

Whatever public disappointment or private grief or loss he suffered was
buried in his own breast. He advised his countrymen that the great
questions which had long divided the country, and upon which opinions
had been so diverse that legislative debate and administrative action
had failed in finding a solution, had been finally settled by the sword,
and that henceforth their duty was to the Union restored and

With so illustrious an example the immediate restoration of peace and
good order all over the South is not to be wondered at. The annals of
all nations may be searched in vain for a parallel. It is an easy task
for men who have accomplished all they desired to lay down their arms
and return to their homes and resume their former avocations.

The Southern soldier did all this after failure and defeat. The cause
was lost; his efforts availed nothing. The homes of many were in ashes;
sorrow was in every household; many were stripped of their all. The
labor system of the country was destroyed; commerce was dead. Many had
not seed to plant their lands. The workshop, the manufactory, the
shipyard were silent as the grave. The arts of peace seemed to have
perished. The soldiers were disbanded without the means of reaching
their homes, and the few survivors of those who went forth with bright
hopes, proud and confident in their strength, returned one by one weary
and footsore and disheartened.

The history of other nations would have suggested to the historian that
the result must be open riots and secret assassinations, a reign of
violence and terror, years of turbulence and lawlessness, before society
would settle down to its former condition. But how different was the
result. The parole upon which the soldier was released was in no
instance violated. The situation was accepted without a murmur or
complaint. The laws were obeyed. The terms imposed were acceded to. Soon
the busy hum of industry was heard through the land. The arts of peace
were revived. Agriculture and trade once again flourished, and our fair
country began to bloom again into something like its old-time beauty and

There were few Southern soldiers who returned to a greater desolation
than did our late associate, Gen. LEE. Fate seemed to have done its
worst. The beloved wife and the two dear children who had made his home
at the "White House" a paradise had died in 1863, while he was held as a
prisoner and a hostage at Fort Lafayette and Fort Monroe. The place had
been occupied by Union troops; the mansion, with all its surroundings,
had been destroyed by fire, and, as has been well said by another, there
was "not a blade of grass left to mark the culture of more than a
hundred years." Had he been an ordinary man he would have sunk with the
load of sorrow and trouble which weighed him down. But he had a brave
heart, which defeat and affliction and disaster with united effort could
not conquer.

With the same noble spirit which had actuated his father, the elder Lee,
he threw aside his discouragement and took up the duties of life and
citizenship anew. He had made himself famous as a soldier; he now began
in earnest to cultivate the arts of peace. It was no easy task, for the
era of reconstruction immediately succeeded the war, and only those who
were actually under its ban can realize the burdens and hardships it
entailed upon an unfortunate people emerging from a disastrous

He rebuilt and reëstablished his home at the White House plantation. He
was married November 27, 1867, to Miss Mary Tabb, daughter of Hon.
George W. Bolling, of Petersburg. In 1874 the family removed to
Ravensworth, in Fairfax County.

At both these places he cultivated his broad acres and interested
himself in all matters relating to agricultural progress and
development. He advanced and promoted these interests as president of
the Virginia State Agricultural Society. He represented his county for a
term in the State senate, but declined a reëlection, and returned to his
plantation and the enjoyment of home life. After a few years of quiet he
was called, in 1886, to a new field of activity by neighbors and
political friends, who desired his services at the national capital, and
he became the Representative from the Alexandria district in the
Fiftieth Congress, and he was in his third term, when, on the 15th day
of October, 1891, the hand of death removed him from his career of
usefulness. For weeks his strong constitution and vigorous frame had
resisted disease in his Ravensworth home. All that kindness and skill
could suggest was done in his behalf, but skill and kindness were of no
avail, and he bade adieu to home and family, companions and associates,
earthly duties and surroundings, and entered upon his eternal rest. His
mortal life was closed.

I well remember a day spent in his company nearly four years ago, and
its occurrences gave me an opportunity to witness the regard in which he
was held by those among whom he had lived and to whom he was best known.
It was on Decoration Day, in a section of country where he had seen
service as a soldier, not far from where he had lived in his early
childhood. He was the orator of the occasion. Many of his old
companions in arms and members of their families were among his
audience, and they listened eagerly as he made appropriate reference to
the departed comrades who slept under the little hillocks near by them,
bright and fragrant with the flowers of early summer, which the loving
hands of woman and childhood had heaped upon them. As he descended from
the platform he was surrounded by old and young, who thronged about him
to shake his hand or give expression to a friendly greeting. Admiration
and affection were expressed upon their countenances for the brave man
before them, whose gallant deeds had been told at every fireside in the
country around, and who was loved and honored because, in addition to
his own merits and virtues, he represented the great leader whose name
was the embodiment of a precious memory.

I have portrayed WILLIAM HENRY FITZHUGH LEE as a student, a soldier, a
planter, a public man representing his people in the State legislature
and the National Congress.

Some have united in paying tribute to his memory because they were born
and reared in the State which gave him birth, some because they shared
with him the hardships and dangers of his military career, some because
they were associated with him in Congressional life and committee work.
But while I take a great pride in all that he accomplished in the after
years, it is more pleasant to me to recollect him as the student, for in
that relation I was first drawn into companionship with him; it was
during that period of our lives that I first learned to regard him, and
my tribute is to my classmate and friend of auld lang syne. May he rest
in peace in the bosom of the honored State he loved so well and served
so faithfully.


Mr. PRESIDENT: The biography of WILLIAM H.F. LEE has been furnished by
his colleagues and associates. I do not propose to dwell upon the
details of his public or private career, or that of his distinguished
ancestors, who acted so conspicuous a part in the history of the
American Colonies and in the trying times of the Revolution by which our
independence was gained.

I had the good fortune to form the acquaintance of Gen. LEE and his
estimable wife at the beginning of the Fiftieth Congress. I was strongly
impressed with his noble presence, and his genial, modest, and dignified
bearing. He seemed to me an ideal specimen of true American manhood. His
wife was a lady whose appearance at once attracted attention and whose
qualities of head and heart charmed and delighted friends and
associates. He was a devoted husband. His tender and gentle bearing
toward his wife were natural and unaffected. The daily life and conduct
of both were a conspicuous example of the benign influence of a husband
and wife who love, honor, and respect each other.

My impressions of him were so favorable and agreeable as to create a
desire on my part to cultivate his acquaintance and know more of his
character. We met frequently, and discussed freely the social and
political topics which engaged the attention of members of Congress at
the national capital. He was modest and unobtrusive in the expression of
his opinions; but as I knew him better I was profoundly impressed with
the scope and breadth of his information.

His judgment of men and measures was as free from local prejudice and
partisan bias as any man's I ever met. He was induced by his generous
nature to attribute good rather than unworthy motives to those with whom
he differed. He was honest, true, and unsuspicious. On all occasions he
expressed attachment to the Union of the States, and manifested a
patriotic devotion to the Constitution as the charter of our liberties.

He was a brave soldier, and fought on the losing side in a war that
convulsed the continent and astonished the civilized world; and as a
brave soldier he accepted without reservation the verdict of the war. It
is to be regretted that his heroic services were not on the side of the
Union, but the conditions which placed him in hostility to the flag of
the United States are forever removed. Every cause which produced that
terrible conflict was eradicated and obliterated in carnage and blood.
The horrors of that fratricidal war are now history. The glorious
results achieved are being realized in the abolition of slavery; in the
Union of the States restored, strengthened, and cemented; in the
respect, confidence, and just estimation of the people of all the
sections for each other, and in the establishment beyond question of the
capacity of the citizens of the Republic to dare and to do in great
emergencies what to all the world seemed impossible.

To-day the virtue, the patriotism, and the renown of the fathers of the
Revolution and the founders of our free institutions are the common
heritage of all the people, both North and South. The gallant and daring
exploits of Legion Harry or Light-Horse Harry Lee, the grandsire of the
deceased, inspire the same admiration and respect in the sons of the
North as in the sons of the South. It is most gratifying that the
descendants of the comrades in war and associates in council who gained
the independence and established the Government of the United States
are again united in stronger bonds of interest, good fellowship, and
respect than ever before existed.

Generations to come will enjoy not only the fruits of the Revolutionary
struggle and the establishment of constitutional liberty, but they will
be blessed with liberty that knows no slavery and with a Union forever
indivisible, and they will contemplate with no partisan feeling the
sacrifices which were necessary to secure such results. The type of
manly virtue of which our deceased friend was a conspicuous example is
one of the best fruits of free institutions. His death in the prime of
his manhood and in the days of his usefulness was a great loss to the
country and a bereavement to his family for which there is no earthly
compensation. But he has left for them in his good name, his
unimpeachable character, and his many virtues an inheritance more
valuable than gold.

He has gone where all must soon follow. The wealth of his example is an
inspiration to the living to emulate his virtues, enjoy a conscience
void of offense, and leave to surviving relatives the inheritance of an
honored name. Such an ambition is worthy of an American citizen, and the
value to humanity of such a life as that of Gen. LEE can hardly be

Why should death be regarded as a calamity? It is the inevitable fate of
all the living. May it not be a part of life? The hope of immortality is
the greatest boon conferred upon the living. On an occasion like this
words will not soothe the grief of those who are near and dear to the
deceased. Their consolation must be in the hope of reunion beyond the


Mr. PRESIDENT: It is a difficult and delicate task to draw with justice
and propriety the character of a public man. Fulsome panegyrics have
often been pronounced upon the character of the dead either out of
flattery to the deceased or to gratify the ambitious desires of the

In paying a tribute to WILLIAM H.F. LEE I am not influenced by any such
questionable views. To do honor to his memory I need only say what
justice and truth dictate. There is little danger, in speaking of him,
of committing the offense of exaggerated eulogy. There is more danger of
doing the injustice of understatement in commemorating a character so
rounded and symmetrical.

As a son, Gen. LEE's filial piety was so marked as to make him an
example worthy of all imitation by the youth of his country. In every
post of honor or trust to which he was called--and they were many and
exalted ones--he met his engagements with such fidelity and courage as
never to incur censure and seldom provoke criticism.

His bearing as a private citizen was of such dignity and benevolence as
to secure the love, while it evoked the admiration, of all who knew him.

His character was made up of blended chivalry and courtesy and adorned
with the mild luster of a religious faith.

He was frank and open, plain and sincere, speaking only what he thought
without reserve, and promising only what he designed to perform.

As he was plain and sincere, so he was firm and steady in his purposes;
courteous and affable, he was not influenced by servile compliance to
his company, approving or condemning as might be most agreeable to them.
He was a man of courage and constancy, qualities which, after all, are
the ornaments and defense of a man.

He had in the highest degree the air, manners, and address of a man of
quality; politeness with ease, dignity without pride, and firmness
without the least alloy of roughness. He loved refined society, but he
had great respect and sympathy for those who had been reared in simple
habits and the toils of life.

He possessed an even and equal temper of mind. Those who best knew him
can testify of him what has often been asserted of his great father,
that they never heard an acrimonious speech fall from his lips; that his
whole temper was so controlled by justice and generosity that he was
never known to disparage with an envious breath the fame of another or
to withhold due praise of another's worth.

Mr. President, the friends of Gen. LEE do not claim for him brilliant
talents and the gifts of genius. It is doubtless a beneficent ordination
of Providence that the best interests of society are not solely
dependent on what in common parlance is called genius. Fortunately for
the good of mankind, great gifts and powers of mind are not
indispensable to our happiness or to a safe and salutary development of
social conditions.

Patient industry and impregnable virtue are the essential cardinal
qualities that make the man, in the vast majority of cases, worthy of
love and honor, and which conserve the best interests of the world.

That man who in his career and relations to society has gone on from day
to day and from trust to trust, never disappointing but always realizing
every just expectation, it seems to me is the character who deserves of
his fellow-men the highest meed of praise, and gives in his person and
example the surest guaranty that the world will be all the better for
his agency in shaping its affairs.

The friends of Gen. LEE enjoy the perfect assurance that in every walk
of life, on every occasion when duty called him, his responses were ever
marked by a dignified and intelligent performance of the tasks assigned

What higher honor can we ask for him than this: that weighty as were the
responsibilities that devolved upon him by inheritance and high as the
expectations which were the natural implications of this inheritance, he
fully and nobly met them. Much as was expected of him, he more than
realized the claims and obligations of a noble lineage. His
fellow-citizens and his contemporaries regard his career as an honor and
his companionship as a delight and a resource that adds poignancy to
their grief in the loss of so loved and valued a friend.

I might refer to the incidents of his military career to illustrate his
courage and fidelity, but it may not be considered appropriate to the
time and the occasion. It is cheering, however, to believe that in this
exalted body there is not to be found that spirit of truculent
uncharitableness which refuses any credit to an honorable adversary.

Time, which touches all things with mellowing hand, has softened the
recollections of past contests, and they who looked upon him as a foe
now only remember the glory of the fight, and would join hands with us
to weave the garland of his fame.

Securely may the friends and admirers of this noble character rest in
the belief that his name for generations to come will be enrolled in the
glorious list of worthies that has for all time made the name of
Virginia illustrious and among the foremost of all the commonwealths of
the ages past.


It was my good fortune, Mr. President, to know Gen. WILLIAM H.F. LEE
with the intimacy of personal friendship for more than a quarter of a
century, and I can pass no higher encomium upon him than by saying he
had all the qualities that constitute a true gentleman, a gentleman in
the highest and best sense. He inherited from a very illustrious and
distinguished ancestry a prestige rarely enjoyed in this country, and
yet he was as unpretending, unaffected, and modest as the humblest man.
His self-contained dignity of character never deserted him. His placid,
well-balanced, well-poised equanimity always sustained him.

It would be extravagant to say he inherited the commanding abilities of
his illustrious father, but it would be entirely within the line of a
just criticism to affirm that he did inherit many of the highest
characteristics and qualities of that great man. In personal demeanor,
in that suave, gracious, considerate, self-respecting, and respectful
bearing which give assurance of the perfect gentleman he very much
resembled his father. He was always approachable and cordial, and yet I
doubt if any man ever attempted an improper liberty or ventured undue
familiarity with him. His high character and affability of manner
protected him against such relations.

In the late civil war we served side by side in the same cavalry corps
in the same army almost continuously from the beginning to the end. I
therefore had the best opportunities of forming a correct estimate of
him as a soldier and man, and it is within the bounds of just judgment
to place him among the most distinguished in that brilliant array of
American soldiers and men of that eventful period.

I recall with vivid recollection my first association with him at
Ashland, Va., in June, 1861, where he was stationed as a young captain
of cavalry at a school of instruction. Thence he rose by regular
gradations to major-general of division, resigning his sword with that

Gen. LEE never aspired to be what is sometimes called a "dashing"
soldier. He was quite content with the serious, earnest, steady
performance of his duties. It would be no compliment to say that a son
of Robert E. Lee and grandson of "Light-Horse" Harry Lee had courage.
Such a quality is a necessary ingredient of such a man's character. But
his courage was not of that frothy, noisy kind so often paraded to
attract attention. In battle he was as steady, firm, and immovable as
any soldier who ever wielded a sword or placed a squadron in the field.
In his relations to his subordinates he was the perfection of military
propriety, always considerate and kindly, but firm and impartial in the
enforcement of discipline.

Towards his equals and superiors in rank he bore himself with a knightly
chivalry that at once commanded respect and confidence. How could he
have been otherwise, descended from such a noble sire, with such an
example of courtly dignity and untarnished manhood?

After the close of hostilities, having discharged his whole duty as he
understood it with fidelity and courage, he retired to his native State,
to his farm, and there, by the same quiet, honorable, manly course of
conduct devoted himself to the duties of civil life, establishing by his
example a standard of citizenship worthy the great Republic to which he
renewed his allegiance.

The people of the Commonwealth of Virginia could not and did not permit
a man of his exalted character, sound intellectual qualities, and safe,
conservative judgment to remain in private life. His services and
example were too valuable to the public, and he was called into the
public service, first as senator in the State legislature, later into
the lower House of Congress.

There, as elsewhere, he soon took rank among the wisest and safest
legislators in the body pursuing the even, modest tenor of his way with
that faithful regard for his duty to his constituents and his country
that characterized every relation and position of his life.

Those of us, Mr. President, who were favored with his acquaintance
recall with a respect bordering on reverence his commanding figure as he
came in this Chamber, his courtly presence, his gentle bearing,
persuasive conversation, amiable, respectful manners. The consciousness
that we shall never see him again is a sad and depressing reflection,
and a mournful reminder that it is only a question of time--how long
mortal man can not foretell--when those of us who survive him must obey
a similar summons, and disappear, as he has done, from the scenes of
life forever.

In paying tributes of respect and affection to departed friends I know
how hard it is to impose restraint upon our partiality for them and how
strong the temptation to indulge in expressions of exaggerated eulogy.
Knowing Gen. LEE as I did, I can say of him with absolute sincerity and
truth that he was as free from the small and petty faults of our nature
as any man I have ever known. In his private relations he was literally
without guile or deceit. Straightforward, honorable, just in all his
dealings, he was a model citizen and faithful friend.

In his public life he proved himself equal to every station. Zealous,
attentive, conscientious, untiring, he met every responsibility with
fidelity and confidence. He never disappointed a friend, betrayed a
trust, or took unfair advantage of an opponent. In a word, Mr.
President, he lived a perfect gentleman, discharged faithfully every
duty of life, and died honored and beloved by his friends.

Others have spoken of the life and character of this distinguished man
more in detail, more eloquently, with more finished oratory, but I yield
to none in the sincerity of my humble tribute to his memory.


Mr. PRESIDENT: The echoes of the voices of those who pronounced eulogies
upon the life and character of the late distinguished Senator from
Kansas have hardly died away in this Chamber, and we have again laid
business aside to pay our tributes to the memory of a late honored
member of the House of Representatives and a distinguished son of

These sorrowful occasions, which are deprecated by some as involving a
loss of the time of the Senate and needless expense to the Government, I
can not think are unprofitable to us or to the country. Surely in the
mad rush and hurry of business we may be permitted to halt long enough
to take notice of the invasion of our ranks by death and to voice our
esteem for a departed member. The death of an eminent member of the
Senate or of the House is not only a loss to his immediate constituency,
but to the whole country, and, in accordance with a long and honored
usage, demands from his former associates formal and appropriate action.

After such an hour spent in the contemplation of the common end of all
that live, in introspection and retrospection, who of us does not again
take up the burdens of life with renewed resolutions to redouble our
energies to faithfully discharge every public and private duty.

My acquaintance with Mr. LEE was not intimate. I frequently met him
socially, but he did not belong to the party with which I am affiliated,
and no fortuitous circumstance occurred to bring us together in the
discharge of public duties. The incidents of his life, his public
services, and his domestic relations have been fittingly alluded to by
others, and it only remains for me to cast an evergreen upon his grave,
to add my poor tribute to his memory, and give expression to the
emotions awakened by the occasion and the exercises of the hour. Coming
from a long line of distinguished ancestors, serving with marked
distinction in the Confederate army until the cause he championed was
hopelessly lost, honored by the people of his State by election to high
civil positions, in which he did credit to himself and honored them with
a rounded character and well-developed manhood, at once the incarnation
of gentleness, tenderness, and courage, it is not to be wondered at that
sorrow for his death hung over his State like a funeral pall, and all
parties vied with each other in giving expression to the universal sense
of private and public loss.

He was the son of a distinguished sire, who in life was the idol of the
people of Virginia; but he was held in the highest esteem by the people
of his State not so much on account of his illustrious father as on
account of his own ability and worth. His public services and his
blameless life, touching, tender, and beautiful, won the tributes to his
memory pronounced by his colleagues at the other end of this Capitol.
Fortunate, indeed, is the man who can win such admiration from his

What higher eulogy can be pronounced on any man than that in every
station, public and private, he was true to himself and faithful to the
people and was equal to the duties of his station? Not every man can
become great; genius is the gift of the few, but goodness and fidelity
to duty are within the reach of all. He has gone the way of all the
living. He has found the level of the grave. Our words of eulogy can not
reach him there.

    Can honor's voice provoke the silent dust,
    Or flatt'ry soothe the dull, cold ear of death?

Solomon, summing up this question, said:

     For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any
     thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them
     is forgotten.

     Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished;
     neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is
     done under the sun.

To human reason the death of him we mourn was untimely. He was born May
31, 1837, and died October 15, 1891. He was therefore in the prime of
manhood, and apparently had many years of useful life before him. But
death sometimes strangely selects his victims. No season, no station, no
age is exempt from his fatal shafts. When death comes to the aged as the
end of a fully completed life we regard it as natural. But when death
comes to the young, the gifted, and the promising, we with our finite
vision look upon it as sad and mysterious. We are constantly reminded

    The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
      And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
    Await alike the inevitable hour.
      The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

It is creditable to our humanity that at the grave animosities are
buried, and those who speak of the dead remember their virtues and pass
over their frailties.

     Death is a mighty mediator. There all the flames of rage are
     extinguished, hatred is appeased, and angelic pity, like a weeping
     sister, bends with gentle and close embrace over the funeral urn.

     The reconciling grave swallows distinction first that made us foes;
     there all lie down in peace together.

To the grave, "the world's sweet inn from pain and wearisome turmoil,"
we are all hastening. Earth's highest station and meanest place ends in
the common receptacle to which we shall all be taken. Dark and gloomy
indeed would be the grave without a hope in a personal immortality, a
belief that the soul survives the body, and that to this immortal part
the tomb is the gate to heaven. When one feels like Theodore Parker when
he said:

     When this stiffened body goes down to the tomb, sad, silent, and
     remorseless, I feel there is no death for the man. That clod which
     yonder dust shall cover is not my brother. The dust goes to its
     place; man to his own. It is then I feel my immortality. I look
     through the grave into heaven. I ask no miracle, no proof, no
     reasoning for me; I ask no risen dust to teach me immortality. I am
     conscious of eternal life.

Or like Byron when he wrote:

     I feel my immortality oversweep all pains, all tears, all time, all
     fears, and peal, like the eternal thunders of the deep into my ears
     this truth--thou livest forever!

Death loses its terrors and the grave becomes a welcome goal for weary
and buffeted mariners on life's stormy sea--the gate to endless life.

By these oft-repeated scenes in this Chamber; by the frequent visits of
the stern messenger to both Houses of Congress to summon a member from
his field of labor here to the bar of the Supreme Ruler of the Universe
above; by the constant changes going on around us in obedience to the
inevitable law of nature, by which death everywhere succeeds to life,
we are reminded that we shall not long continue as we now are. It is
possible that as we are startled by the announcement of the death of an
associate we mentally ask ourselves, Who will be called next?

    So live, that when thy summons comes to join
    The innumerable caravan which moves
    To that mysterious realm where each shall take
    His chamber in the silent halls of death,
    Thou go not, like the quarry slave at night,
    Scourged to his dungeon; but sustained and soothed
    By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
    Like one that wraps the drapery of his couch
    About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.


Mr. PRESIDENT: The late Gen. WILLIAM H.F. LEE was conspicuously
connected with the public affairs of his State for more than thirty
years. He was deservedly honored, loved, and trusted by the people. For
two terms he represented the Eighth district of Virginia in Congress and
he was elected for a third term, but when Congress met in December last
his chair was vacant. Surrounded by his beloved family and bemoaned by
all who knew him he peacefully breathed his last at Ravensworth, his
home, in Fairfax County, on the 15th day of October, 1891.

Thus, Mr. President, disappears one singularly endowed with the
qualities that win the confidence and affections of mankind. His noble,
honest face, beaming with intelligence and benevolence, was a true index
to his nature. Strength of character and sweetness of disposition made
him a man of mark and influence in all the relations of society. His
life was full of noble uses. Respect for the rights and tenderness for
the feelings of others stamped his conduct on every occasion. He
fulfilled Sidney's definition of a gentleman, "high thoughts seated in a
heart of courtesy," and I know of no better legacy that a father could
leave his household or a patriot leave his country than such a record as
he has left to attest his virtues.

I will not penetrate the sanctity of the home bereaved by his death. The
fond and noble wife and the sons who miss the husband and father, who
was representative to them of life's dearest boons, have in his memory
whatever earth can give them of consolation, and they learned from none
more than from him to look above in sorrow and affliction.

As a Representative in Congress Gen. LEE was diligent in the service of
his constituents and in behalf of policies which commended themselves to
his favor. He seldom spoke, but it was not because he could not speak
well and forcibly. He was not noted as the peculiar champion of any of
the great measures before Congress, but it was not because he did not
comprehend them nor take great interest in them, and I doubt if there be
many Representatives who have had a more wholesome or further-reaching

His fine character and engaging manner made friends for him and for his
people. His excellent judgment had great weight in council, his
political ideas were eminently liberal, and his tact and attention
reached results where perhaps more aggressive qualities would have been
ineffectual. On one occasion that I recall he was urging the passage of
the bill to pay for use and occupation of the Theological Seminary near
Alexandria during the war. He became the mark, in doing so, of inquiry
and badinage, and some one, meaning to disparage the claim by
intimation that the clerical professors of the institution had been
enemies of the Government, called out to him, "How did they pray?" He
answered instantly, "For all sinners." His ready pleasantry put
everybody in good humor and the bill was passed.

Gen. LEE was a representative man in a larger sense than that of
official designation. He was a representative country gentleman, and the
flavor of his native soil was in his character. He was born in the
country, at beautiful Arlington, with the woods and fields and streams
and mountain vistas around him. He lived in the country all his life,
and died in the country, at his home in Fairfax County, an owner of
land, loving the land; his home, a fine old country seat of colonial
pattern, the scene of domestic peace and love and hospitality; his
voice, that of the good people of his vicinage; his life, daily tasks,
intermingled with daily studies and contemplation; his aims, those of
the patriot and Christian, his country, God, and truth.

Gen. LEE was a representative American of broad gauge and vision. Many
of us--and I have felt myself amongst them--are quite provincial. We
know our own neighborhoods and their people, and we grow slowly into
knowledge of other sections and their people. Local caste, prejudice,
interest, and bias warp us and minify our usefulness. Gen. LEE was not
of this kind. There was no sectionalism in his caste, no bigotry in his
creeds. His strong local attachments, natural to a true nature, neither
dwarfed his opinions, soured his reflections, nor darkened his vision.
His was a ripe mind and his a generous nature. He understood men,
because he understood mankind. He had respect for all men, because he
respected manhood. He dealt considerately and justly with all men of all
races, creeds, opinions, and aspirations, because he respected men and
because he had a good man's sympathy, with the hopes of his race, his
country, and humanity.

I would not speak of him as a brilliant man. He was more. He was a wise
and good and true man. Gen. LEE was a representative of our racial
history. The story of his family began when his remote ancestor rode
with the Norman knights at Hastings. Another led a company of English
volunteers with Coeur de Lion on the third crusade to the Holy Land,
and was made the Earl of Litchfield. Still another was that Richard Lee
who, intense loyalist as he was, became a commissioner from Virginia and
urged Charles II to fly for refuge to the Old Dominion when his throne
was trembling under him. Quarrel and fight as we may and as our fathers
did before us, the continuity of race achievement is unbroken.

The growth of race ascendency and the expanse of race domination are
unceasing. The picture is unique and the nation one, however the theater
enlarges, however the scenes shift, however the actors differ in the
drama. Gen. LEE was a representative democrat or republican, for I use
the words in their generic sense. His grandfather was that young
American Capt. Henry Lee, the ardent youth of nineteen, who at the head
of his company of Virginia horse reported to Washington for duty when
the first army of Continentals were ranging themselves upon the plains
of Boston. He was the first to break the record of his line for loyalty
to the Crown of England in espousing the cause of American independence,
the first to draw his sword for the new king proclaimed at
Philadelphia--the sovereign people.

As "Light-Horse Harry" Lee he goes down to history and renown;
distinguished in general orders of the army and in promotion from
Congress for one exploit, and for another with the thanks of Congress
and a gold medal. In statesmanship as in soldiership, he was the friend
and follower of Washington. In the Virginia legislature, when the
resolutions of 1798 were debated, he took sides against them, and in his
speech you may find nearly all the arguments which are used in favor of
the Federal construction of the Constitution. When Washington died he
was a member of Congress, and pronounced upon him the memorable words,
"First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his
fellow-citizens." He was one of those virile men who could write, speak,
and fight.

When Gen. Winfield Scott led the American Army to Mexico there rode by
his side Capt. Robert E. Lee, the son of Henry Lee, an officer of
engineers upon his staff. He was four times brevetted for gallant
conduct and came back famous. When Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston led the
Utah expedition in 1858 there marched on foot in his columns Lieut.
WILLIAM HENRY FITZHUGH LEE, the son of Robert E. Lee. He was not a
soldier by education, but by instinct. A graduate of Harvard College and
the stroke oar of his class, he was well prepared for military life, and
the third of his line to bear arms for the United States. But no war
ensued; the canker of a long peace was settling on military aspirations.

Lieut. LEE resigned, married, and settled on his farm, the White House,
on the Pamunkey. With the prattle of little children around his knees
and pastoral scenes before him, his prospects were those of domestic
tranquillity and joy.

What a rush was there to the standards when war broke out in 1861!
Americans acted like Americans. They divided in conviction. They did not
differ as to the method of dealing with conviction. To divide was the
propulsion of conditions, to fight the law of blood. Not one of the Lees
had provoked war, but not one stood back. The whole family of Lees
became representative soldiers of their people; Gen. Robert E. Lee
commanded the greatest of the Southern armies and his brother became an
admiral of the Southern navy. His sons and nephews were soldiers and

The nephew of Northern identity kept place with the North. The more
numerous class of Southern identity kept place with the South; the boy,
a private in the ranks or cadet on shipboard, the young men leading
companies and regiments and winning brigades and divisions, the sire and
chief commanding all. Their names are interwoven with war's dread story
and splendid deed. Not one had any reproach; not one struck a blow below
the belt. The woman, the child, the captive found a fortress in the hand
of Lee, the foeman met his peer. The history of two continents and many
centuries was written over again on fields of blood.

WILLIAM H.F. LEE raised a company of cavalry at the beginning of the war
and surrendered as a major-general of cavalry at Appomattox. He fought
his way to his rank and suffered all of war's vicissitudes save death.
His men believed in him and followed him. He was wounded; he was twice a
prisoner; he was held as a hostage in solitary confinement with death
impending. His wife and his children died while he lay wounded and in
prison. Whatever man may suffer he suffered to the uttermost. Amongst
his first acts when he emerged from prison was to visit, shake hands
with and congratulate the Federal officer for whom he had been held as
hostage. He was a representative Christian, void of vindictiveness and
uncomplaining; he made no outcry of pain; he sealed his lips to

I knew him well, respected him profoundly, and loved him dearly. I have
often heard him speak at gatherings of old soldiers and on a variety of
occasions; sometimes those of turbulence. I have marveled at his
self-poise and reserved power. Never once did I hear him say ill of any
man, nor allude to his own sufferings or deeds, nor utter words of
bitterness. He took his lot as it came to him, as a man who does the
best he can and leaves the rest to the Disposer of events. His
conscience and his human sympathy, like his soldiership, were instincts,
and his Christian creed was the sum of his intuitions. Gen. LEE was a
representative of the times in which he lived, eccentric in no opinion,
even-tempered, wise, cautious, prudent, steadfast, and gentle; he sought
to be useful rather than to shine. He took deep and active interest in
all that concerned his State.

As a State senator he could be relied upon to support liberal and
progressive measures; as president of the State Agricultural Society he
did much to excite interest and develop improvements; as a trustee or
visitor to educational institutions he rendered valuable practical
service to the cause of popular enlightenment. In political life he had
sharp contests; friend was surprised and opponent discouraged when
emergency brought forth the reserve forces of his character and ability.
If modesty cloaked his powers in retirement, opposition elicited them;
and the fluency, tact, and ability with which he discussed issues and
met exigencies were remarkable in one whose experiences of early life
had separated him from civil pursuits and training.

If I have spoken of Gen. LEE's ancestral distinctions, it was not
because either he or his people have ever presumed upon them. On the
contrary, no people whom I have ever known have rested less of claim
upon their antecedents or less sought to substitute reminiscences for
achievements. The independent, honest, and simple Republicans and
Democrats of our country justly despise a pretender who boasts the
shadow of a name; but that of which the individual may not boast becomes
his country's pride; and I count it great glory to our country that its
institutions have nourished and the highest characteristic of our race
that it has produced successive generations of men who preserve the
continuity of sterling virtues. I count also as the star of hope for
this grand Republic that a distinguished soldier of a lost cause becomes
the beloved statesman of the cause that won, and finds around him the
old-time comrades and old-time foes, all his friends and each other's
friends united in the service of our common country.

No nobler words have been spoken of the late Gen. LEE than by soldiers
who fought against him, and I respond to them with honor and praise. The
production of men who may maintain the rights their fathers won, and
ever grow in liberal thought, noble character, and worthy achievement is
the highest mission of republican institutions. From Hastings, A.D.
1066, to Boston in 1776, the name of Lee was blended with the glories of
our fatherland. But from Boston to Appomattox it grew the more
illustrious with grander opportunities. Victorious through a track of
eight hundred years to the 9th of April, 1865, it has been still more
victorious since--rising to the height of harder trials and sterner
tasks and grander duties than those of leading embattled lines. The
glorious nation of which he was a type and the glorious band of which he
was the son come forth from ruin and desolation on one side, moved by
gracious institutions and magnanimous sentiments upon the other, taking
their place in the reunited columns of parted friendship, cementing anew
by adaptive virtues the broken ties, marching again with the mutual
magnanimities of companionship at the head of column.

If a race that has won liberty and made it a birthright lets it slip
away through hands of weakness or deeds of folly, and if the self-made
man of to-day loses the vantage ground of his life work with his
fleeting breath, the careers of nations would be brief, the story of
liberty would be a nurse's tale, and the careers of individuals would be
vanity of vanities. The prepotent blood that made an empire of an
insignificant island and stamped its language and its laws upon it made
also here the most splendid Republic of the earth out of a savage
wilderness and assimilated to itself all tributaries. That Republic
delegates its unfinished tasks to a posterity that will lift higher the
monuments of its greatness and strengthen the foundations of its
endurance; and in the lives of Gen. LEE and those of his worthy
compatriots of all sections who unite as friends the moment conditions
cease that made them foes, I see exemplified the noblest qualities of
our kind and read the auguries of prolonged peace, progress, happiness,
and stability.

The VICE-PRESIDENT. The question is on agreeing to the resolutions
submitted by the Senator from Virginia.

The resolutions were agreed to unanimously, and under the last
resolution the Senate (at 4 o'clock and 20 minutes p.m.) adjourned until
Monday, March 7, 1892, at 12 o'clock m.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Memorial Addresses on the Life and Character of William H. F. Lee (A Representative from Virginia) - Delivered in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, - Fifty-Second Congress, First Session" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.