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[From the Richmond, Va., Dispatch, Jan. 20, 1898]


The Anniversary very Generally Observed in Richmond.


Many Veterans Gather in its Genial Glow-Captain R. S. Parks delivers a Splendid Oration-Howitzers Salute the Monument.

The anniversary of the birth of General Robert E. Lee was celebrated in Richmond yesterday by the closing of the State and city offices, the banks, and many commercial institutions. Salutes were fired in honor of the event, and from the masthead of nearly every flagpole in the city, the colors of the Confederacy floated to the breeze.

The holiday was generally observed. The particular celebrations of the anniversary, however, took place at the Soldier's Home, and at Lee Camp, where orations were delivered, and carefully prepared programmes were carried out. A salute of seventeen guns.was fired at the Home at noon, and a platoon of the Howitzers fired another salute at 5 o'clock beneath the shadow of the monument to the great General, erected in the western portion of the city.


At night, Lee Camp kindled a camp-fire, the genial glow of which shed nothing but radiance and charm. Within the magic circle were gathered distinguished veterans from all over the State, and the guests of honor were the members of both houses of the Legislature.

The yearly celebration of the birthday of General Robert E. Lee, is the prime event in the calendar of the Camp, and no effort is spared to make it delightful and successful. All along the Southern lines, the camp-fires are lighted on each recurring January 19th, in honor of the great leader, but no fire burns more brightly than that of the Richmond camp, or attracts to it a more distinguished body of men. It was a night of great festivity; a genial and whole-souled

hospitality was dispensed, and warm indeed was the welcome extended to all who came to pay a tribute by their presence, to the memory of the dead chieftain. The feature of the evening was the address delivered by Captain R. S. Parks. It was received with unbounded enthusiasm, and was said by many of those present to be the finest eulogy ever delivered within the walls of Lee Camp.

Following the exercises came a social session of unrestrained mirth and good-fellowship. The good humor of the occasion was infectious and irresistible, and even old men, whose locks were hoary, and whose forms were bent with age, danced and sang, and seemed to grow young again. Old Southern melodies struck pleasantly on the ear, and the familiar songs were sung over and over again. Refreshments were served in great abundance, and the hour for parting came all too soon.


It was nearly a quarter-past 8 o'clock when First-Lieutenant-Commander A. C. Peay, in the absence of Commander Laughton, called the assemblage to order, and in a few words recalled the "sacred cause" which they had come together to celebrate. The doxology was sung by all, standing, after which Hon. J. Taylor Ellyson was called upon and offered a short, but fervent, prayer for a benediction upon those who had come together to commemorate the memory of their chieftain, and asked that they might follow his example, as he had endeavored to follow that of his Divine Master.


The following telegram from the Confederate Veterans' Association, of Washington, D. C., was read and received with applause:

WASHINGTON, D. C., January 19, 1898.

R. E. Lee Camp, No. 1, Confederate Veterans, Richmond, Va.:

The Confederate Veterans' Association of Washington assembled to honor the name of our great leader, General R. E. Lee, send loving greetings to their comrades of Richmond, and remember with them a vow to keep green his memory.



Adjutant J. Taylor Stratton was instructed to telegraph the fol

lowing reply:

RICHMOND, VA., January 19, 1898.

COLONEL ROBERT I. FLEMING, President Confederate

Veterans' Association, Washington, D. C.:

R. E. Lee Camp, Confederate Veterans, reciprocates your kindly greeting, and pledges eternal fidelity to the memory of our illustrious chieftain.


Lieutenant-Commander, Commanding.


Captain Parks was then introduced as the orator of the evening, and was cordially received. After an appropriate introduction, he said:

Borne on the rapid, tireless wings of time, nearly thirty-three years have passed since guns were stacked, flags were furled, and the Southern soldier, with heavy heart, turned his steps homeward. But with every recurring spring time, the people throughout the Southland, upon such days and at such places as may be fixed, meet together, strew the graves of the dead soldiers with flowers, each feeling that whatever part he may perform, he is engaged in a work made obligatory by a lofty sense of patriotism. Associations of various names have been formed, all of which have for their object the commemoration of the Confederate dead, and the keeping green in the minds of the rising generation all that pertains to the struggle in which the blood of the South was poured out like water. Here we meet to-day in the far-famed city of Richmond, whose every street has been trodden by armed men, whose adjacent fields have been crimsoned by the blood of her sons, and whose historic hills have echoed and re-echoed with the scream of shot and shell as they sped on their mission of death, mingled with the shout of victory, or the yell of defiance.


How suggestive such an occasion. These gatherings of the people of the South to decorate the graves of those who died in defence of the Southern cause, and to commemorate the deeds of valor of an army whose banners went down in an unsuccessful struggle, constitute the sublimest and yet most remarkable spectacle that the world has ever seen. Were these men rebels against constitutional govern

ment? If they were, then it would be treason in us to honor their memory; vindicate their principles, and praise their deeds. They were not rebels, and the world will yet know it, and accord to them their meed as patriots.

For what did the South contend? Time would not suffice, nor would it be appropriate to give in detail the causes that led up to the war, nor to discuss the various issues that arose, which produced bittter feeling and stirred up sectional animosities. I assert that the South fought for the preservation of individual liberty and a right of local self-government, which we honestly believed were endangered by the usurpation of power by the Federal Government, and a tendency to centralization and the ultimate destruction of the autonomy of the States.

The germ of free institutions is in the personal consciousness of the individual man, that he is born into the world as a creature of God, with responsibility to Him for the proper use of his God-given powers, and that to work out his personal destiny upon this personal accountability, he needs to be free from the constraints with which despotism would bind his body, mind, heart, and conscience.


When the man has this idea planted in his soul, it becomes a moral force which dreads treason to the Almighty Sovereign more than all the threats of human authority, and makes resistance to tyrants obedience to God. The personal right of the man to his liberty is asserted from his deepest self-consciousness against the government that would abridge or destroy it. The great battle that was fought by our fathers at the formation of the Federal Constitution in 1787 was for the protection of this right of self-government, and in opposition to the centralization of power in the Federal head. They believed that centralization of power in the general government would show itself in a too great tendency to control, regulate and direct the industry and enterprise of the individual man. They believed that such a centralization of power would build up a paternal government, the patria potestas of ancient despotism, and merging the man into the mass and directing the destiny of all, would sacrifice the interest of the toiling, home-staying citizen to the grasp and greed of the few fawning parasites, who crowd the lobby and swarm the corridors of legislative bodies. They believed that paternity in government would beget class legislation, which instead of

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leaving each man to enjoy the fruits of his own toil, would pool the earnings of society, upon which to fatten its favorite children in palaces of splendor, while it would starve its foundlings in hovels of squalor and misery.

It was for local self-government as embodied in the doctrine of States' Rights, as we had learned it from our fathers, that the South fought. It had grown with our growth; strengthened with our strength, and become the very warp and woof of our natures. Το us it was a principle, not a shadowy sentiment; but a principle whose foundations were deep down below the grasp of political earthquakes, and whose spires pierced the stars beyond the sweep of storms of fanaticism. The bitter feelings and sectional animosities to which I have referred became intensified as the years went by. The Constitution of our fathers, as we understood it, was set at naught, and its provisions, as we construed them, were disregarded, and that solemn compact which to us was sacred, was declared by many leading men of the North to be "a league with death and a covenant with hell."


In the fall of 1860, the crisis came. The people of the South, feeling that the time had come when they should resume the powers delegated to the Federal Government, called conventions, and one State after another passed acts of secession, by which they undertook to secede from the Union of States, resumed the delegated powers, and sever their connection with the Federal Government. They did not make war upon any one. They only asked to be let alone. They asked for no property, and demanded nothing except the recognition of their rights to govern their own affairs. These States formed another union of States, known as the Confederate States of America. Our northern brethren did not interpret the Constitution as we did. They denied our right to sever connection with the Union. They declared that we were rebels in a state of rebellion, and they resorted to arms to enforce the laws of the United States, and to compel obedience to its authority. We believed we were right, and, believing this, we had the manhood to dare maintain it. The gage of battle was tendered, and we accepted it. To arms, to arms, was echoed throughout the land. The bugle-call was heard from every hilltop, and throughout every valley. Fathers, husbands, sons, brothers, and sweethearts, gave the farewell kiss, and pressed forward to repel the foe, that as we honestly believe,

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