Ceremonial Speaking and the
F'einforcing of American Nationalism
in the South, 1875-1890
WALTER STUART TOWNS
A D!SSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE COUNCIL
THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL
FULF;LLf,.IENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION . . . . ...
HONORING THE DEAD: MEMORIAL DAY
ADDRESSES AND EULOGIES . .
PRESERVING THE PAST: MONUMENT
RENEW1IvNG OLD FRIENDSHIPS: VETERANS'
REUNIONS . . . . . .
PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE: ACADEMIC
CEREMONIES . . . . . .
CONCLUSION: SOME OBSERVATIONS AND
SUGGESTIONS . . . . . .
APPENDIX . . . . . . . . . . .
BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . .
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH . . . . . . . .
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the
Graduate Council of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
CEREMONIAL SPEAKING AND THE REINFORCING OF
AMERICAN NATIONALISM IN THE SOUTH, 1875-1890
Walter Stuart Towns
Chairman: Dr. Donald E. Williams
Major Department: Speech
This historical-descriptive study examines twenty-six post-Civil
War ceremonial speeches delivered by Southerners to Southern audiences
in an attempt to determine the nature of post-war rhetoric of reconciliation.
The study is limited to speeches made in the geographical area of
the Confederate States of America, with primary focus on Virginia, North
Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. An additional limitation is that the
speakers studied were long-time residents of the South and men who were
commonly recognized leaders in their communities. The speakers include
William B. Bate, J.C.C. Black, Matthew Butler, John W. Daniel, Charles
E.R. Drayton, Clement A. Evans, John B. Gordon, Henry W. Grady, John
Temple Graves, Atticus G. Haygood, Moses D. Hoge, W.B.W. Howe,
Thomas J. Jarvis, John Kemper, David M. Key, Evander M. Law, Fitzhugh
Lee, Thomas M. Logan, Samuel McGowan, U.M. Rose, James W. Throck-
morton, and Alfred Moore Waddell.
The ceremonial situations examined included Memorial Day,
eulogy-producing events, monument dedications, veterans' reunions,
and educational occasions such as commencements and alumni meetings.
The major themes discovered are: (1) Both the South and the North
have made major contributions to the nation's heritage. (2) The South
accepts the verdict of the sword and is ready to participate again in the
national life. (3) The model of Northern and Southern leaders as they
practice reconciliation should be followed by all citizens. (4) The politician
is largely to blame for preventing total reunion. (5) There is a bright future
for the reunited nation and the South will play a vital role in that future.
These speakers also attempted to reinforce American nationalism by
appealing to the human values of patriotism, forgiveness, friendship:
cooperation, and responsibility.
Based on this survey some suggestions are made concerning the
nature of speaking which would reaffirm reconciliation. It is suggested that
a speaker ground his premises on those human values most directly related
to a spirit of harmony, such as patriotism or loyalty, forgiveness, friendship,
cooperation, and responsibility. Second, it is suggested that speakers
intensify these values by illustrating them with contemporary examples of
reconciliation taking place. Again, a speaker's strategy could include
helping his audience accept the fact that in a situation calling for reinsti-
tuting harmony, there is generally a "loser" and a "winner. Finally,
the speech could provide specific examples of what the two factions, sections,
or groups have in common -- either goals and purposes or heritage and
Reconciliation is not. analogous to a religious philosophy of
"once saved, always saved." Rather, it is a process with no clearly
definable beginning and with no point in time when one is totally
reconciled. It is more accurate to say that the post-Civil War South
was in the process of becoming reconciled to national goals and
purposes -- a process even yet unfinished. This study examines what
these speakers said on the subject of national reunion and suggests
some possible strategies and considerations for contemporary speakers
who would attempt to reconcile antagonistic elements of our national
Problem, Purpose, and Method
In 1937 Paul H. Buck wrote that by 1895 the "people of the United
States constituted at last a nation integrated in interests and united in
sentiments." He went on to remark that "within a single generation true
peace had come to those who had been at war."1 Assuming there is at
least a degree of truth in these statements, it is unusual that students of
Anieliucdi public address have not seized uJUpo Buli cks eeirences in ai
attempt to discover the function and place of speech-making along this road
to peace and reunion. What was the nature of the post-war rhetoric of
reconciliation? This is the prime motivating question behind the present
study. It is assumed that part of the answer may be found in an examination
of speeches made by Southerners on ceremonial occasions; this speech
situation is the focus for the present investigation.
Rhetorical critics and speech historians have largely overlooked this
major area of research: post-bellum Southern speaking. The field of public
address history and criticism contains a wealth of articles, theses, and
1 Paul H. Buck, The Road to Reunion, 1865-1900 (New York: Random
House, 1937), pp. 310, 320.
dissertations dealing with various aspects of ante-bellum Southern oratory
and orators, but with the end of the Civil War, the door is almost closed
on nineteenth century Southern speechmaking.2 For example, Robert T.
Oliver's survey, History of Public Speaking in America, discusses briefly
the post-war speaking of Henry W. Grady, L.Q.C. Lamar, and Booker T.
Washington, but leaves the bulk of Southern public address of the period
in limbo. The three-volume History and Criticism of American Public Address
contains essays on Edwin A. Alderman, Grady, Lamar, and Washington, but
ignores other post-war Southern speakers and the reconciliation issue. There
have been dissertations on Joseph E. Brown, Benjamin Morgan Palmer, Robert
Love Taylor, J.L.M. Curry, Zebulon B. Vance, and Washington, but with these
studies, the survey of modern criticisms of post-war nineteenth century
Southern public address is about complete. Dallas C. Dickey pointed out
2 I have reached this conclusion after investigating Cleary and Haber-
man's Rhetoric and Public Address, A Bibliography, 1947-1961; Knower's
"Index of Graduate Theses, and Auer's "Dissertations in Progress" both of
which appear annually in Speech Monographs. I have also examined the 1971
edition of the Index of The Quarterly Journal of Speech and the various region-
al speech journals as well as the "Bibliography of Speech and Theatre in the
South" which appears each year in The Southern Speech Journal, and Disserta-
tion Abstracts through 1971.
3 V. Littlefield, "An Evaluation of Joseph E. Brown's Invention." Ph.D.
Dissertation, University of Oklahoma, 1965; W.J. Lewis, "The Public Speak-
ing of J.L.M. Curry." Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Florida, 1955;
M. Bauer, "Henry Grady, Spokesman for the New South." Ph.D. Dissertation,
University of Wisconsin, 1939; W.C. Eubank, "Benjamin Morgan Palmer, A
Southern Divine." Ph.D. Dissertation, Louisiana State University, 1943;
Raymond W. Buchanan, Jr., "The Epideictic Speaking of Robert Love Taylor
Between 1891 and 1906." Ph.D. Dissertation, Louisiana State University,
1970; F.R. Shirley, "The Rhetoric of Zebulon B. Vance: Tarheel Spokesman."
Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Florida, 1959; W.N. Pitts, Jr., "A
Critical Study of Booker T. Washington -as a Speechmaker, With an Analysis
of Seven Selected Speeches." Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Michigan,
this vacuum in speech research in 1947 when he said, "The speaking of
southerners on the problems of reconstruction is unknown except for that
of a few men such as Grady and Lamar";4 the situation has not been altered
significantly in the intervening two and a half decades. It is hoped that
this dissertation will begin to open the door to this virtually untouched
resource and thereby help fill this gap in American public address history.
It should be pointed out that the reconciliation process had already
begun by 1875. The General Amnesty Act of 1872, L.Q.C. Lamar's "Eulogy
on Charles Sumner, and countless lesser-known events had encouraged the
reunion process beginning practically with the meeting between Grant and
Lee at Appomattox Courthouse. Therefore, for many Southerners, a feeling
of a re-united nation was already part of their life-style, and orators aimed
their rhetoric at reinforcing this spirit of harmony.
To further illustrate the probability that many Southern orators were
facing audiences at least partly reconciled,one simply needs to recall the
statement Patrick Henry made a century before in the Virginia Ratifying Con-
vention of 1788. Henry, and probably many other Southerners, obviously
had an affection for the new concept of America. In a speech opposing the
proposed American Constitution Henry remarked:
I am a lover of the American Union . . The
dissolution of the Union is most abhorrent to
my mind. The first thing I have at heart is
4 Dallas C. Dickey, "Southern Oratory: A Field for Research,"
The Quarterly Journal of Speech, XXXIII (December, 1947), 461.
American liberty; the second thing is American
Union; and I hope the people of Virginia will
endeavor to preserve that Union.5
Henry's strong American sentiment was doubtless still present in many
Southerners in the immediate pre-Civil War years. An example would be
Robert E. Lee's agonizing decision to leave the Unio* with his native state
and to offer his sword to the Confederacy.
In addition, as James L. Golden demonstrates, there were quite a
few Southerners, who, on the very eve of the civil conflict, deplored and
fought against secession. Sam Houston, the hero of Texas Independence,
remarked in an 1850 Senate speech on the Clay Compromise measures:
If I am of the South, can I not recollect the North?
What is our country? It is a nation composed of
parts, East and West, South and North. It is an
entirety. There are no fractions in it. It is a unit,
and I trust it will so remain. 6
The fact that Houston was Governor of Texas in 1861. attests that there wern
a number of Texans who shared his Unionist sentiment. In 1860, Benjamin I
Perry of South Carolina delivered a speech at the National Democratic Con-
vention in Charleston in which he said he came to the meeting as "a Democr
and a Union man, "who was "determined to do all that I could to preserve the
Democratic party and the Union of the States."7
5 Patrick Henry, "Against the Federal Constitution, Virginia Ratify
Convention, Richmond, June 5, 1788. In Ernest J. Wrage and Barnet Basker-
ville, eds., American Forum (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 196C
6 Quoted in James L. Golden, "The Southern Unionists, 1850-1860.
In Waldo W. Braden, ed., Oratory in the Old South, 1828-1860 (Baton Rouge
Louisiana State University Press, 1970), p. 260.
7 Ibid., p. 273.
In sum, the spirit of national harmony was present in the South.
Many Southerners longed for peace between the sections, as many of the
speeches described in this study reflect. The concept of union was dear
to many, and the Southern speaker's task with these auditors was to rein-
force this attitude. A leading Southern historian, C. Vann Woodward,
confirms this deep-seated Americanism when he writes, "The South was
American a long time before it was Southern in any self-conscious or
distinctive way. "
A description of Southern oratory should be productive in illuminating
the reconciliation process; therefore, the major purpose of this dissertation
will be to characterize Southern ceremonial public speaking as it helped
reinforce the reconciliatory attitudes and actions of the post-Civil War
Southerner. An additional purpose of the dissertation project is simply to
locate ceremonial speech texts for the period 1875 to 1890 in which national
harmony was a theme. No student has made such a collection of prime
sources and it is believed this gathering together of speeches is a contri-
bution in itself.
This first chapter will establish the purpose and parameters of the
study. The second through the fifth chapters will describe what these speakers
said to further reconciliation in various ceremonial situations. In other words,
these chapters will discuss the nature of ceremonial speaking which aimed
at the reestablishing of national harmony. The main body of this inquiry will
b C. Venn Woodward, The Burden of Southern History (Baton Rouge:
Louisiana State University Press, 1960), p. 25.
identify the sub-theme: upon which the reconciliation spokesmen focused
in their effort to reconcile Southerners to political exigencies of the time.
That is, these fourchapters will characterize the values which, together,
made up the content of the reconciliation message. The main body of the
study will also describe the rhetorical strategies employed by the leading
reconciliation orators. This feature of the study will give particular
attention to the rhetorical means by which the speakers sought to reinforce
those values associated with the mood of reconciliation. In sum, it will
be the aim of these four chapters to describe both the what and how of
reconciliatory address, as revealed in the practice of these Southern
speakers. The final chapter will characterize, in an over-all way, the
reconciliation message as expressed by these men, and draw any generali-
zations which may be warranted concerning the nature of reconciliation
oratory. It is anticipated that this descriptive study will expand and
thereby improve our understanding of how a group of speakers on ceremonial
occasions dealt with the task of reinstituting national harmony.9
9 Descriptive studies, according to Auer, are designed to serve one
or more of these goals: "ascertaining norms, establishing goals, or develop
ing methods." This study is primarily concerned with determining,through
observation of speech texts, the norm, or status, of ceremonial public
speaking as it dealt with the problem of national harmony in the post-Civil
War South. In addition, description of what these speakers said about
reconciliation will help expand and improve our knowledge of public address
as a social act. J. Jeffery Auer, An Introduction to Research in Speech (New
York: Harper and Brothers, 1959), p. 35.
Geographical and Chronological
Limits of the Study
This survey will be limited to speeches made in the geographical
area of the eleven Confederate States of America.10 Due largely to lack
of available speech texts from some of the states, the primary focus will
be on Virginia, North Carolina,- South Carolina, and Georgia, but will at
the same time include a number of speeches from other Southern states
which will help illustrate and define the Southern strategy of reconciliation
A further limitation is that the study will include only those
speakers who were either long-time residents or natives of the South, or
were identified in an integral way with the short-lived Confederacy. In
short, the focus is on those men who had first-hand knowlpdgp of Southern
life and values. Yet another limiting factor, by necessity, is that the
study will embrace only those Southern speakers whose speeches have
been recorded and preserved and which are available. The survey is not
concerned just with the nationally famous orators of the post-bellum period
such as Henry W. Grady. It will describe as well addresses presented by
lesser-known men who strove to influence the opinions and values of more
limited areas and groups.
10 The speaking of Southerners in the North has been examined. See
Huber Winton Ellingsworth, "Southern Reconciliation Orators in the North,
1868-1899." Ph.D. Dissertation, Florida State University, 1955.
11 For a definition and discussion of Southern speakers, see Kevin
Kearney, "What's Southern About Southern Oratory? The Southern Speech
Journal, XXXII (Fall, 1966), 19-30.
The limiting dates for this study are 1875 to 1890. Although
these dates may appear to have been chosen arbitrarily, there is a
rationale for limiting the dissertation to this particular time span. In the
first place, political reconstruction was coming to an end in most states
by 1875, although the final settlement was not made in three states (South
Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana) until the celebrated "Compromise of
1877. While the number of Federal troops stationed in the South from 1865
until 1877 were greatly insufficient for their task, 2 their symbolic presence
angered Southerners and made reconciliation efforts more difficult before
their total withdrawal. In fact, one historian believes that for some
Southerners, "military occupation was worse than defeat on the field of
battle." The process of reconciliation has no clearly defined beginning.
Indeed, much reunion had occurred by 1875; but the various centennial
celebrations for the War of Independence, which began in 1875, can be
seen as one significant milestone in the road to reunion.14 By the following
year, "Northern public opinion was also veering toward sympathy for the
white Southerner,"15 and in 1877, the compromise legislation in the presi-
dential administration of Rutherford B. Hayes touched off a wave of recon:cili
tory efforts such as the President's goodwill trip to the South and his
12 Rembert W. Patrick, The Reconstruction of the Nation (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 150.
13 John Hope Franklin, Reconstruction: After the Civil War (Chicago:
The University of Chicago Press, 1961), p. 35.
14 Buck, Road to Reunion, p. 139.
15 Patrick, Reconstruction of the Nation, p. 250.
participation in Memorial Day services in Tennessee.16 Even some of
the Northern "bloody shirt" orators, such as Robert G. Ingersoll, who
fanned the flames of sectionalism after the war, began to support
reconciliation by 1877; Southerners such as Lamar, Hill, and John B.
Gordon responded with similar messages.17 Patrick believes that by
1876-1877 "the time for vengeance had passed; the day of understanding
and appreciation had arrived. Former anti-southern journalists shifted
their bias."18 In other words, prior to the mid-1870's feelings were still
so intense between the sections that reconciliatory rhetoric often fell
upon rocky soil. With the ending of political reconstruction, the total
withdrawal of the token forces of occupation and the essential abandonment
of the "Negro question" to Southern solutions, the ground was more fertile
and speakers were able to reinforce the latent feelings of intersectional
peace and harmony. One can suspect that most Americans longed for a true
national reunion after decades of bitterness and bloodshed. Although there
had been, of course, efforts to promote national harmony prior to the end of
political reconstruction, the process toward intersectional peace gained
impetus in the 1875-1877 period; it suggests an appropriate starting point
for this study.
16 Buck, Road to Reunion, p. 107.
17 Ibid., pp. 108-109.
18 Patrick, Reconstruction of the Nation, p. 290.
Fifteen years later, in 1890, the farmer's revolt against the
"Redeemers," the established white conservative order -- reached its
peak. The success in 1890 of the Farmers' Alliance candidates19 reflected
marked agrarian discontent with the men who had controlled the Southern
states since the mid-seventies. With the election of agrarian Benjamin
Ryan Tillman of South Carolina and James S. Hogg of Texas to their states'
governorship in 1890, the Redeemers were overthrown and a new order took
their place. 20 According to Clark and Kirwan, "A political revolution of a
sort took place in the South in the early 1890's as veterans of State legis-
latures and of Congress were replaced by tillers of the soil. "21 The Ocala,
Florida, meeting of the Southern Farmers' Alliance in 1890 formed what was
to be the platform of the soon-to-be-created Populist Party, thus helping
to identify 1890 as a turning-point year in Southern life. To a large degree,
the process of reunion and reconciliation had run its course by 1890; the
South, as a region, was again in the mainstream of national life, participating
in large-scale public deliberation on popular issues. By the time of the
Spanish American War in 1898, the nation was functionally reunited in the
9 Seven Southern states elected Alliance legislatures and forty-
four Alliancemen were elected to the House of Representatives. Theodore
Saloutos, Farmer Movements in the South, 1865-1933 (Lincoln: University
of Nebraska Press, 1964), p. 116.
20 Woodward, Origins of the New South, 1877-1913 (Baton Rouge:
Louisiana State University Press, 1951), p. 204.
21 Thomas D. Clark and Albert D. Kirwan, The South Since
Appomattox, A Century of Regional Change (New York: Oxford University
Press, 1967), p. 69.
face of a common enemy, with the South furnishing many of the nation's
fighting men. Since 1890 marks the beginning of the end for the reconcilia-
tion-oriented leadership of the Southern states, it presents a useful date
with which to terminate this examination of Southern public address.
The Ceremonial Address
Since it is the position of this study that these speakers who pro-
jected the reconciliation message were primarily concerned with reinforcing
the sentiment of American nationalism, the ceremonial speech was selected
as an appropriate type of speech to examine. As shall be demonstrated,
this speech situation is designed to reaffirm values generally held by an
audience. This speech type played a large role in the life of the post-war
South, as, indeed, it did everywhere in the nation until the advent of
nationwide radio, television, and spectator sports. The Memorial Day or
Fourth of July oration, for example, was a community-wide celebration, and
to be selected as the "orator of the day" was a true honor. In nineteenth
century America, the ceremonial occasion served as a focal point for social
fellowship and, as such, as a key factor in reinforcing community values.
These speeches were often printed, thereby enhancing their potential to
reach a wider audience. This wider distribution implied also that a large
and influential segment of the listeners felt them to be important.
For over two thousand years of public speaking theory and criticism
men have written about the ceremonial address. For Aristotle, the epideictic
was one of the three major forms of Athenian public address. The epideictic
speech was presented to groups on special memorial and celebration days
and was designed for praise or blame of a man or institution.22 It is the
position of this study that the epideictic is a species of a larger, more
encompassing type of address to be labeled here the ceremonial. In
America the Boston Massacre and Fourth of July orations, Memorial Day
addresses, funeral sermons, graduation and bacculatreate addresses,
building dedications, Thanksgiving and Election Day sermons, after-dinner
speeches, convention keynote speeches, and presidential inaugural addresses
are examples of a major speaking genre -- the ceremonial -- which became
part of our oral tradition.
What is the basic function of the address presented on certain
ceremonial days in honor of standardized, conventionalized events? It
seems rather obvious that the chief purpose is to confirm, support, reinforce,
and affirm shared community values Or to put it a different way, to reinforce
community cohesiveness. Many writers have commented on this form of
oratory and its social role. For example, Wil A. Linkugel, R.R. Allen, and
Richard L. Johannesen, in their anthology, Contemporary American Speeches,
point out that on certain occasions,
22 Richard Chase, "The Classical Conception of Epideictic,"
The Quarterly Journal of Speech,XLVII (October, 1961), 299. It should be
recalled, however, that Charles Sears Baldwin, in referring to the trans-
lation of the Greek term for this type of oratory, says: "' demonstrative' is
flatly a mistranslation, 'oratory of display' is quite too narrow a translation,
and 'epideictic' is not a translation at all . .. The French equivalent is
discours de circonstance." Ancient Rhetoric and Poetic (Gloucester,
Massachusetts: Peter Smith, 1959), p. 15.
speakers address audiences about the values that
both share as members of a common group. The
speeches given in such moments are thus noncon-
troversial for a specific audience. They dohot
urge adoption of new values or rejection of old
values. Rather, they seek to reinforce and re-
vitalize the existing audience values. The speaker
seeks unity of spirit or a re-energizing of effort or
commitment; he tries to inspire, to kindle enthusiasm
or to deepen feelings of awe, respect, and devotion.23
John D. Groppe points out that "social ritual is employed on rather specialized
social occasions, such as a group's formal, public occasions, as a means of
manifesting and achieving solidarity." On these occasions, the speeches
presented "are analogues of the creeds that are recited by congregations in
Christian churches . to manifest the unity of the group. "24 In writing
about Memorial Day and rites such as Armistice and Veterans Day, Lloyd
Warner says they are "rituals of a sacred symbol system which functions
periodically to unify the whole community, with its conflicting symbols and
its opposing, autonomous churches and associations.25
-Samuel R. Johnson, in presenting a critique of the Aristotelian model
of epideictic speaking, asserts that "American epideictic speaking is most
often confirmational." He argues that the speaker's purpose may not be to
praise or blame at all, but may be "to speak for maintenance value."26
23 Wil A. Linkugel, R.R. Allen, and Richard L. Johannesen, Con-
temporary American Speeches, 2nd ed. (Belmont, California: Wadsworth
Publishing Company, 1969), p. 278. Italics supplied.
24 John D. Groppe, "Ritualistic Language," The South Atlantic
Quarterly,LXIX (Winter, 1970), 63.
25 W. Lloyd Warner, American Life, Dream and Reality (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1953), p. 3.
26 Samuel R. Johnson, "The Non-Aristotelian Nature of Samoan
Ceremonial Oratory, Western Speech,XXXIV (Fall, 1970), 273. It should
William J. Brandt observes, however, that the speech of praise --
central to the Aristotelian concept of epideictic -- performs an "important
civic function, for as it praises a person, it reaffirms the "traditional
values upon which such praise was based. It was thus an affirmation of
community solidarity. "2
Thus, an important aspect of the ceremonial address is its emphasis
upon community values. The focus is not upon expediency or practicality as
in deliberative, political, policy-making oratory. Nor is the forensic speech
one which centers upon values -- other than the ultimate goal-value of
justice. Here the question is guilt or innocence. But the ceremonial address
is value oriented; it functions to reinforce values. It goes to the very bed
rock of society and employs as its subject matter values that society holds
dear. Indeed, human values must exist before standards of guilt and
innocence can be established and before policy can be determined and action
urged. Ceremonial oratory is, therefore, basically conservative in the best
sense of that word, since it attempts to reaffirm the basic values of a society.
be pointed out, however, that while this student agrees with some of his
conclusions regarding ceremonial speaking, one of Tohnson's contentions,
namely that ceremonial address is "relatively unstructured," is not con-
sidered accurate. Instead, it would appear that ceremonial address is rather
rigidly bound by the situation of the ceremonial event and that audience
expectations play a large role. For further demonstration of the situational
demands on the ceremonial speaker, see Ronald H. Carpenter and Robert V.
Seltzer, "Situational Style and the Rotunda Eulogies," Central States Speech
Journal,XXII (Spring, 1971), 11-15.
27 William J. Brandt, The Rhetoric of Argumentation (Indianapolis:
Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1970), p. 13.
An additional purpose of ceremonial oratory is suggested by
Johnson when he discusses ceremonial address as "oratory of display."
He observes that sometimes the speaker may be addressing the audience
"merely for the satisfaction of the audience and speaker. "28 Brandt also
recognizes this purpose, pointing out that "the oratot who was not partic-
ularly awed by the ceremonial occasion could see in an epideictic oration
a handsome opportunity for personal display."29 Edward P.J. Corbett, in
discussing ceremonial addresses describes it as the "oratory of display, "
in which the speaker is "not so much concerned with persuading an audience
as with pleasing it or inspiring it. "30
J. Richard Chase, in his survey of "The Classic Conception of
Epideictic, "31 shows that Aristotle believed that in epideictic speaking
the audience's "interest is centered upon the speaker's performance." Chase
says this is the focus for, "in epideictic there is no burning issue that
demands a decision. Thus the listener, not caught up in the conflict of
ideas, can better appreciate the artistic efforts of the speaker. Brandt
also makes this distinction, observing that, "members of the audience were
spectators, presumably because they shared the sentiments of the speaker
even before he began. "32
28 Johnson, "Non-Aristotelian Nature," 273.
29 Brandt, Rhetoric of Argumentation, p. 13.
30 Edward P.T. Corbett, Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1965), p. 29.
31 Chase, "Classical Conception," 295, 296.
32 Brandt, Rhetoric of Argumentation, pp. 12--13.
It should be clearly pointed out that the distinctions between'the
three forms of oratory -- deliberative, forensic, and epideictic -- are not
rigid nor mutually exclusive. Writes Corbett:
Ceremonial discourse sometimes shades off into
deliberative discourse, sometimes into judicial.
The ceremonial orator did indeed seem to be more
intent on impressing the audience with the eloquence
of his laudatory efforts than he did in persuading his
audience to adopt a certain course of action. But in
praising a great man, he was suggesting, indirectly
at least, that his audience go and do likewise; and in
thus suggesting a course of action he was moving over
into the realm of deliberative discourse. Likewise,
when he praised or censured a man, he encroached on
the province of judicial discourse, because like the
lawyer in the courtroom he seemed to be engaged in
exonerating or discrediting someone.33
As this passage from Corbett demonstrates, there is much overlapping
of Aristotle's three divisions of the rhetorical act -- perhaps so much th'at
they become practically meaningless.34 For instance, there is the function
of counseling, normally considered the prime aim of the deliberative, policy-
making speech. In the final analysis, the ultimate rationale of all rhetoric
is counseling: helping an audience make decisions based on what the speaker
sees as truth, the best solution to a problem, the best value to be upheld,
or the guilt or innocence, worthiness or unworthiness of a person. Yet in a
33 Corbett, Classical Rhetoric, p. 139.
34 For example, Donald C. Bryant, in his essay, "Rhetoric: Its
Function and Its Scope," says that "any systematic construction of human
phenomena, even Aristotle's, will either leave out something important and
significant or will include a category, however named, which is, in effect,
'miscellaneous.' That I think Aristotle did in discussing the rhetoric of
the ceremonial or epideictic speech." Quarterly Journal of Speech, XXXIX
(December, 1953), 405.
narrower sense than this, there is a counseling dimension of a speech
presented at a ceremonial situation. A hypothetical example should help
make this point clear.
Suppose that a speaker, addressing an audience on Memorial Day,
reinforces the spirit of reunion in an effective manner so that it truly
becomes a meaningful part of the life of a United States Congressman who
was present in the audience. Suppose further that the speaker did not in
any way advocate a policy, state his views on political matters, or do
anything else one might usually consider within the province of a deliber-
ative address. But that Congressman, a week or a month later, recalls
that reunion message and its meaning to him. Because of that speech he
encourages his fellow Congressmen to vote on a certain bill in a way which
will aid in destroying intersectional barriers. That ceremonial speaker,
then, did contribute to the deliberative process -- but did not give a deliber-
ative address as rhetoricians have traditionally thought of it. It is not
within the scope of this study to determine when, or if, this aspect of
ceremonial address occurred. It is simply pointed out as an example of
how the traditional divisions of rhetoric are not mutually exclusive.
Again, ceremonial address can be deliberative -- that is, advice-
giving or counseling -- in yet another situation. The speaker counsels
when he deals with attitudes or opinions held by his auditors which may
be counter to his own point of view or the thesis of his speech. For instance,
when a Southern speaker encouraged his listeners to support the reunion of
the nation, he may have been speaking in the face of deeply held anti-Union
sentiments. Therefore, he is asking his audience to rethink, to deliberate
with themselves, to change this attitude. No vote is taken in a legislative
chamber. Rather, the debate goes on within the listener himself as a result
of our hypothetical speaker's influence on him. Again, this is an aspect of
the ceremonial address with which the present study will not be concerned.
It is simply mentioned as an aspect of the speech type which could, and
probably did, occur.
At any rate, the ceremonial address is basically concerned with first,
reinforcing shared community values and second, with satisfying or enter-
taining an audience with the speaker's display of rhetorical ability. The
first of these functions will be the major focus of this study. It is assumed
that these ceremonial speakers did attempt to reinforce the value goal of
national reunion by calling upon community values such as patriotism,
forgiveness, friendship, and cooperation. This study will attempt to discover
whether, indeed, these speakers did fulfill this value-reinforcing function
of the ceremonial address.
Carroll Arnold, in his study of one of America's greatest ceremonial
speakers, George William Curtis, sums up the genre in this manner:
In general, those who wait upon ceremonial speakers
are drawn from their habitual haunts by a sense of
duty, a personal involvement in the occasion, a
lively curiosity, or -- perhaps most often -- by a
desire to hear a preachment upon the present signi-
ficance of the occasion. And the ceremonial speaker,
freed from the exactions of opposition, from knottily
worded propositions, and from the necessity of
counseling detailed and immediate action, is usually
at liberty to view the celebrated event in its most
symmetrical cosmic attitude. Listener and speaker
are intent upon contemplating together the relation to
the received values honored by all parties. The
celebrants may differ with those outside their bethel,
but differences among themselves are usually excluded
by tacit agreement.
These sanctions of ceremonial address have probably
never been more scrupulously observed in America than
in the late. half of the nineteenth century.35
The body of the study is divided into chapters according to the
various types of important ceremonial occasions under which these speeches
may be grouped: Chapter Two concerns Decoration Day, Memorial Day, and
other eulogy-producing occasions; Chapter Three deals with monument and
statue dedications; Chapter Four discusses Confederate veterans' reunions;
and Chapter Five treats educational occasions such as commencements,
baccalaureates, and alumni gatherings.
The content of these ceremonial speeches which deals with
reconciliation themes, symbols, and values will be described. It is not
the intent of this dissertation to consider ceremonial oratory in general, but
rather to examine how these speakers, on these ceremonial occasions, handled
the theme of national reunion.
Sources and Selection of Speech Texts
It was assumed at the outset of this investigation that public speaking
played some discernible role among the road to reunion in the South. An
attempt was made, therefore, to discover ceremonial speeches which dealt to
35 Carroll C. Arnold, "George William Curtis," in History and
Criticism of American Public Address, Vol. III, ed. by Marie K. Hochmuth
(New York: Longmans, Green and Company, 1955), p. 153. Italics supplied.
some degree with a conciliatory topic: that is, speeches in which the
orator made a direct or a symbolic reference to national reunion, the
causes of disharmony, and solutions to this problem, or a plea for peace
between the North and the South. These speeches were selected because
the speakers attempted to promote good will between the sections.
After consulting^a number of secondary sources describing the
history of the period, the writer compiled a list of speakers who were in
some role or another as public figures. This list was arranged by states,
and a tour of several major Southern historical collections was conducted
in order to locate ceremonial addresses by these men. Speeches were
located in which amity, not emnity, Was an overriding consideration of
the speaker. These speeches are the sources used to describe a portion of
the South's reconciliation speaking.
As pointed out earlier, only those texts of speeches given by South-
erners to Southern audiences, which have been preserved and which have
been found during the research stage, will be utilized in this study. Most
of the speeches examined in this dissertation were printed in pamphlet form
by the speaker himself or by a committee who heard the address and thought
it worthy of recording for a wider audience. 36 The remainder of the speech
texts were found in contemporary newspaper reports of the occasions.
36 Some of the comments regarding the publication of the speeches
are interesting. For example, a committee in writing to Governor Thomas J.
Jarvis of North Carolina requesting permission to publish his speech to the
Society of Alumni at Randolph Macon College felt "assured that happy
results will follow its circulation." Thomas J. Jarvis, Address Delivered
Before the Society of Alumni of Randolph Macon College, June 15, 1881.
(Richmond: Johns and Goolsby, 1881), p. 3.
Admittedly, the bothersome problem of textual authenticity must
be recognized; some of the texts studied probably do not represent a word-
for-word record of what the speaker actually said. For one thing the
speakers may have had a desire to make their speeches "read as well as
possible" when they were published, and second, the possibility for
errors in transcription and printing make it difficult to obtain a verbatim
record of the speeches which were made before the advent of electronic
recorders.37 Doubtless, those speeches which were printed by the speaker
or by a public committee in pamphlet form represent an accurate statement
of the ideational content of the speech. Those speeches discovered in the
public press, however, should be looked upon with some reservation, since
they were often the product of a reporter's memory and his dictation skills.
Probably, however, the basic macrostructure of the content, the ideas
expressed, and the general language used by the speaker is enough similar
to what was verbalized on the platform that these speeches will be useful
in this descriptive study of Southern public speaking.
Studying speeches presented years ago places another burden on the
modern student when one realizes to what a limited extent printed texts
include on-the-spot attempts by the speaker to adapt to his individual audience
and his possible reactions to feedback. For example, the newspaper account
of a speech by John B. Gordon remarks that the orator prefaced his prepared
address by "several minutes impromptu speaking."38 Nowhere in the reports
37 Lester A. Thonssen, A. Craig Baird, and Waldo Braden, Speech
Criticism, 2nd ed. (New York: Ronald Press, 1970), pp. 323-346.
38 Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia), April 28, 1887.
of this speech does any hint appear about the content of these impromptu
statements, which doubtless affected the rhetorical situation. If the
critic cannot discover how the speaker might have made immediate adapta-
tions to the audience and social environment, he must neglect consideration
of this potentially important rhetorical tactic.
An additional problem presents itself when one considers the printed
speech text. Speeches are transitory acts. Critics have observed that
there are "many elements of an evanescent sort" present in the speaking
process. These elements are "effective and significant while the speech
is being delivered but irretrievably lost once the speaker leaves the plat-
form. "39 The student and his reader must accept this fact and realize that
not hearing the spoken word and not seeing the gestural language of the
orator nor his physical appearance on the platform, places additional limits
upon the effectiveness of the study.
Most of the speech texts selected for this study, as well as others
which were originally selected but later rejected as either being too repetitious
of other speeches or as not covering the reunion theme in more than just
passing reference, were uncovered during research in the excellent historical
collections at the following University libraries: University of South
Carolina, University of North Carolina (at Chapel Hill), Duke University,
University of Virginia, Louisiana State University, Emory University and
the University of Georgia. Others were selected from the Cossit Library
39 Thonssen, Baird, and Braden, Speech Criticism, p. 9.
in Memphis, Tennessee, and the Little Rock, Arkansas, Public Library,
as well as the Universities of Texas, Houston, Arkansas, Mississippi,
and Florida, and the North Carolina State Library.
Public speaking always grows out of a situational problem in the
speaker's social environment; as Lloyd Bitzer put it, "the situation calls
the discourse into existence.40 The speaker speaks because he sees --
or thinks he sees -- a problem, or an issue, and has something he wishes
others to hear about it. His discourse may be either appropriate or
inappropriate to that situation. This is for his audience to determine. But
the speaker is compelled by circumstances to respond to what Bitzer calls,
an "exigence," defined as "an imperfection marked by urgency; it is a
defect, an obstacle, something waiting to be done, a thing which is other
than it should be."41 The focus of this study is the exigence of national
disharmony and some of the attempts Southerners made to deal with this
Study in the field of Southern public address history focusing on the
rhetorical strategy of post-Civil War reconciliation is patently warranted.
At a time in America's history when unity and harmony over national purpose
are practically non-existent for certain segments of our population, when
40 Bitzer, "The Rhetorical Situation," Philosophy and Rhetoric, I
(January, 1968), 2.
41 Ibid., 6.
sectional battles over racial policy echo the debates of the previous
century and when a developing gulf is threatening between those who
would destroy our environment and those who would conserve it, serious
students of communication in American society should focus more
specifically upon research pertaining to reconciliation and national
harmony. Perhaps this study can contribute to this urgent quest by
describing how a group of men, living in the decades following the Civil
War, attempted to mend the spirit of a broken nation.
HONORING THE DEAD: MEMORIAL DAY ADDRESSES AND EULOGIES
The Civil War ground to a halt in the Spring of 1865. Within a
matter of weeks, Southern women began the practice of honoring their
dead heroes who had fought and died in the "Lost Cause." Indeed this
process had begun in some towns even before the war's end.1 Throughout
the South, springtime flowers were brought to the gravesides as women
attempted to beautify the tombs of the fallen gray-clad soldiers. As the
azealea, wisteria, buttercups, and gardenias bloomed, their blossoms
were brought to the new cemeteries scattered across the Southland --
cemeteries filled with thousands of freshly dug graves. The women of
the South did their share to make the last resting places more elegant
and pleasant that Spring, but they felt more could be done.
Accordingly, the next March, Mrs. Mary Williams of Columbus,
Georgia, wrote a letter to the Columbus Times in behalf of her bereaved
comrades and the men they wished to honor:
The ladies are now and have been for several days
engaged in the sad but pleasant duty of ornamenting
and improving that portion of the city cemetery sacred
to the memory of our gallant Confederate dead, but we
1 Paul S. Buck, The Road to Reunion, 1865-1900 (New York:
.Random House, 1937),p. 120.
feel it is an unfinished work unless a day be set
apart annually for its special attention . .
we can keep alive the memory of the debt we owe
them, by dedicating at least one day in each year
to embellishing their humble graves with flowers . .
and we propose the 26th day of April as the day.2
By 1875 this custom had spread throughout the South, although
there was never any total uniformity in dates. Many localities did adopt
Mrs. Williams' April 26 holiday, but the date varied from town to town.
Certainly there was no uniformity as there was in the North where May 30
was legalized as Memorial Day in 1868 and celebrated as such throughout
that victorious section under the direction of various local posts of the
Grand Army of the Republic.3
An editorial statement in the Atlanta Constitution dated April 22,
1887, explained some of the history of the Confederate memorial observance:
For the past twenty years the people of the South have
been accustomed to gather about the graves of the
heroes of the 'lost cause' on the 26th of April to pay
their tribute . . This beautiful rite was instituted in
Georgia. It was suggested and founded by Mrs. C. H.
Williams of Columbus . . The 26th of April was chosen
because it is the anniversary of the surrender of the last
organized army of the confederacy . . The women of
the South instituted it, and they have constantly maintained
it with loving pride and heroic devotion.4
2 I. W. Avery, The History of the State of Georgia from 1850 to
1881 (New York: Brown and Derby, 1881), p. 715.
3 Buck, Road to Reunion, p. 121.
4 "Shall Memorial Day Be Changed?", Editorial, Atlanta
Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia), April 22, 1887, p. 4.
A running controversy in the Constitution over the next few days
gives further insight into the nature of the holiday. The suggestion had
been made to bring the South's celebration into line with the North's
observance of Memorial Day by changing the often-accepted Southern
date of April 26 to May 30 -- which was by the 1880'3 a "national"
holiday. Among the several comments between April 22 and 26 which
appeared in the Constitution there was this notable one from C. H.
Williams, the son of the holiday's founder:
I do not understand how such a change could be
seriously considered for a moment by any one who
comprehends the true tenderly mournful meaning of
our "Memorial Day" . . it is now woven into
the sweet and tender traditions of the south as one
of mourning not of exultation. "Decoration Day" at
the north is celebrated as a day of triumphant exul-
tation over the last expiring gasp of the cause we
seek to mourn for and sanctify in the memory of the
youth of the land.
The editorial writer of the Constitution replied that same day with
the comment that the origin of Confederate Memorial Day "is something
worthy of being remembered with patriotic pride. We owe the day to a
noble southern woman's devotion. "6
Although in due time the South did agree to participate in the
national celebration, April 26 is still Confederate Memorial Day in many
parts of the South.7
5 Letter to the Editor, ibid., April 26, 1887, p. 4.
6 "Suggested by the Day," Editorial, ibid.
7 Confederate Memorial Day is still being observed at various places
in the South. See, for example, the Pensacola (Florida) News Journal,
April 27, 1969, for a brief description of the 1969 observance of the event
In the South, the annual observance was one of the key factors
enabling the "Lost Cause" to achieve potent myth status, by which
several generations of Southerners have lived. If the Lost Cause did
assume a religious character, as two scholars have recently pointed out,8
Confederate Memorial Day (or Decoration Day as it was known in some
places) played a significant role in this process. The Raleigh, North
Carolina, News and Observer clearly expressed in an 1887 editorial the
prevailing sentiment in that region:
Again the 10th of May rolls around and we repair to the
last resting places of those who wore the gray and died
in that patriotic service specially to recall once more
the heroic value of the sleeping army and the virtues of
those who gave up all that made life sweet to go cheerily
to war because it was for home and country. It is a
custom as appropriate as it is touching, and we trust it
-ll alwayss and without breach be observed in our southland9
in that northwest Florida City. See also Herbert F. Birdsey, "Rose Hill
Cemetery -- Macon, Georgia, April 26, 1866 -- April 26, 1966" The
Georgia Review, XXI (Fall, 1967), 370-72.
8 Thomas D. Clark and Albert D. Kirwan, The South Since
Appomattox, A Century of Regional Change (New York: Oxford University
Press, 1967), p. 51.
9 "Memorial Day," Editorial, News and Observer (Raleigh, North
Carolina), May 10, 1887. In her delightful description of Decoration Day,
Margaret Inman Meaders expresses how some in the South needed this
celebration: "The defeated have left to them only the transforming of
grief into glory. Losses can be endured only when wreathed in laurel.
Memories must march to drums; and fears, be beaten down by fifes.
Pride must be reborn before its earlier death can be admitted." "Post-
script to Appomattox: My Grandpa and Decoration Day," The Georgia
Review,XXIV (Fall, 1970), 298-99.
This social phenomenon, heavily steeped in symbolism, is
deserving of careful study. It is important to the present investigation
to report what was said on these annual occasions, and to determine
what role the observance played in the reconciliation process. For
only through this context are we able to understand fully the rhetorical
phenomenon of post-Civil War reconciliation oratory.
A typical Memorial Day ceremony in the South can be characterized
in this way: There was usually a procession of the Confederate veterans
and the women and school children from the center of town to the cemetery
where the bands and choral groups of the locality presented one or two
"appropriate" selections. If held in a hall, the women prepared and
arranged elaborate trappings such as black sashes and drapes, evergreens,
and pictures of the famous deceased such as Robert E. Lee or "Stonewall"
Jackson. The ladies of the community were generally accorded places of
honor both on the platform and in the procession. Prayers were offered
by various clergy members, and there was always the ubiquitous oration,
which was often followed by more prayers and musical selections.
In considering specific celebrations of this event, two speeches
made by the noted Georgia journalist and orator, John Temple Graves,
provide an appropriate starting point. The first of these was delivered at
West Point, Georgia, on April 26, 1876;10 the second was addressed to
10 John Temple Graves, "Memorial Address," Delivered at West
Point, Georgia, April 26, 1876. Text from an undated, newspaper clipping
in John Temple Graves Scrapbook, The South Caroliniana Library, University
of South Carolina.
the Union "Decoration Day" ceremonies in Jacksonville, Florida, on
May 30, 1885.11
The West Point address was one of at least two memorial addresses
Graves made in the two years following the completion of his college work
at the University of Georgia in August, 1875. The other speech was made
in 1877 at LaGrange. Taken together, these two addresses significantly
helped in building Graves' reputation as "the orator of Georgia," as he was
grandly introduced for a speaking engagement at the opening of the 1890
Piedmont Exposition in Atlanta.12 The eulogistic biographical sketch in
A Standard History of Georgia and Georgians says that during his period as
teacher at West Point and La Grange, "he attracted much attention for two
memorial addresses, delivered over the graves of Confederate soldiers."13
The young orator begins his speech14 with a brief statement to the
effect that Memorial Day is the occasion for "grateful memory" of the past
11 Graves, "Union Decoration Day Speech," delivered at Jackson-
ville, Florida, May 30, 1885. Text from an undated, unknown newspaper
clipping in ibid.
12 Atlanta Constitution, October 16, 1890. Clipping in ibid.
13 "John Temple Graves," in Lucian Lamar Knight, A Standard
History of Georgia and Georgians, Vol. VI (Chicago: Lewis Publishing
Company, 1917), p. 2873.
14 The only text found for the La Grange oration is a badly
mutilated copy of a newspaper clipping from which is missing a large
portion of the speech. Therefore, only the earlier West Point address
will be examined. All quotations from the speech are from the text in
and a memorial as well to woman's deathless gratitude. He also makes
it clear that "the sorrows, trials, and bitterness of our desolation have
dulled no chord of memory's music. "
After his standard introduction, which points out the significance
of the occasion, Graves moves into a melodramatic portion in which he
paints an emotionally vivid but highly romanticized description of war:
Now we see the glittering sabre gleam in the bouyant
hand and then dash onward to the foe; the grand leaders
calm, serene and dauntless in the jaws of death . .
Then the roar and the rush . death shots falling thick
and fast, like lightning from the mountain cloud . .
Then the slow ambulance and the heated hospital, and
the mangled, bleeding loved ones coming home to linger
or to die.
He perpetuates this mood as he describes the period immediately
after the war:
And after this the calm -- the calm when the storm is
spent and awed nature wonders at the deep repose she
holds. The solemn stillness of despair and desolation
broken only by the miseres /sic/ sighing through the
tall proud pines, with sad soothing to a people mourning
over dead hopes and perished principles in a land strewn
with the salt and ashes of desolation.
The youthful Georgian then turns quickly from the horrors of war
to a glowing tribute to the idealized women of the South who whisper
"comfort to the troubled hearts that droop above these idolized dead."
In a passage more appropriate to his later "New South" advocacy, he
challenges them not only to continue the yearly tribute to the dead, but
also to "work now to build again the land /the Confederates/ died to
save, and make it bloom and blossom like the rose."
Graves makes a smooth transition from the early portion of the
address: "But these are memories and we cannot live in memories for-
ever. There is a clamorous present and an unformed future. We must
live the one and bravely mould the other. "
He then turns to the principal theme of the o-ation, national
reconciliation. He points out that the Southerner still has "a part to
play in our nation's history," that Georgia is still "among the Union of
original states," and that, "we still claim, and justly, the heritage and
honor of American citizens." He urges his listeners to "tear aside this
veil of prejudice and personal feeling" and to "speak peace to the troubled
tides of passion and revenge that sweep upon the surface of our sectional
heart." He feels that Northern "dastardly and designing politicians" have
"fostered and fed the flame of sectional hatred, but that "behind the
prosperous corruption" of these men the South's "Northern brethern"
have hearts "that beat true and pure."
Graves moves ahead with this theme of true peace between the
sections as he urges those Southerners of his generation to "come as brothers
with the clasped hand of brothers, knowing around the common altar of our
common country, no North, no South, no East, no West." He explains that
both sides fought for what they believed, and that had the "political renegades"
left them alone, "they would have clasped hands above the red stream of
their comrades /sic/ blood, and settled there forever the issues of the war. "
He calls for "a sorrowing, regretful sigh about the last home of the
soldier in blue, who fought and died for his belief."
Then Graves almost negates his positive plea for intersectional
harmony by contending that the "truth of history" will vindicate the South
and its role in the preceding "fifteen shadowed years." History, he says,
will compare the principles of these "who are said to have failed, with the
principles of the men who are said to have succeeded": for example,
Jefferson Davis as Secretary of War under President Pierce will be contrasted
with W. W. Belknap, Secretary of War under President Grant. In other
words, the honor and integrity of the lives of Southern leaders are more
lasting than these character attributes as they were reflected by Northern
leaders. This rhetoric of vindication is one of the recurring threads of
Southern oratory for this period and is worthy of a full study itself.
The young Georgian returns to the reconciliation theme, however,
saying, "Now we wish peace and brotherly love . . Oh, we would
plead for peace in this storm lashed motherland!" When the birthday celebra-
tion for the nation's centennial occurs, let the "jubilate of reconciliation
swell out in the grand chant."
Returning to his discussion of Southern principles, Graves urges
his listeners, especially the younger ones, to "remember and cherish
those that have come to you bathed in your fathers' blood. Cling to them,
as the last heritage of a better and a purer day, study them, honor them,
live them out in your lives."
This speech is a curious mixture of reconciliation and vindication;
doubtless, Graves' ex.:reme youth at this point led him to speak cautiously
with reverence for the past (as would be expected by the Memorial Day
audience) and to support staunchly Southern principles (which he never
clearly delineated in any specific way). At the same time, his participation
and membership in a new generation called for him to turn to the future and
urge reconciliation -- if reunion could come without the expense of Southern
tradition and ideals. The following passage illustrates this dichotomy:
God grant that ere my eyes may close forever, I may
see this land which I do love supremely, once again
the sunny South of history, with no gloom of tyranny
or darkness of oppression shrouding her.
When her states shall be sovereign, her people
free, and her liberties disenthralled. When she shall
take her stand co-equal with her brethern of the North
and the wide and measureless chasm which grasping
politicians and thieves have made shall be closed for-
ever by a reunited solidery who weep their mutual dead !
When the time-honored flag of Washington and Jefferson
shall not be foul with the odors of civil rights and race
amalgamation, but with the glorious motto of "Constitutional
Liberty"15 blazing on every fold, it shall sweep triumphant
upon every breeze, in every land, on every sea, fostering
patriotism, awakening freedom and scattering the mists of
tyranny from the world!
Graves' expression of hope for the far distant future, "ere my eyes
may close forever, seems a bit artificial and out of place for a youth of
twenty, but the rest of this passage illustrates the pressures his generation
faced and the major problems they had to deal with: intersectional
15 In the newspaper text found in the Graves Scrapbook, "Consti-
tutional Liberty" has been capitalized and set off by hand in ink with
quotation marks; presumably Graves himself did this.
animosity and racial conflict. It was a plea for the bright future of the
South, but with the North granting many of the South's wishes --
especially in respect to the racial question.
The tone again seems to shift back to the earlier romantic mood as
Graves concludes his address. He thanks the women and once again
gloriously eulogizes the Lost Cause and shows he is aware of and con-
cerned about the expectations of his auditors: "Forgive me if I have made
no florid eulogy above the sweetly sleeping patriot dead. They need no
praise from me where every floweret breathes their fame, and I shrink
from a withered offering." He then concludes with several more romanti-
cized passages and with a stanza from a poem that ends with the hallowed
"name of Lee." Since Robert E. Lee was considered the leading Southern
hero of the War, reference to him was a most appropriate conclusion.
Nine years later, Graves, by this time a prosperous Florida journalist,
participated in a "Decoration Day" celebration in Jacksonville, Florida,
which was sponsored by the Grand Army of the Republic. The scrapbook copy
of this address has a significant note penned across the bottom: "This
speech was one of the most successful of my life." The oration was fairly
brief, in contrast with typical nineteenth century speeches, as, again in
Graves' own words, he spoke "five minutes on the following line." Graves
assessed the event as "a grand affair" in which he spoke to "an immense
concourse of people."16
16 All quotations are from the text in Graves Scrapbook.
The entire address is centered on the theme of reconciliation.
Early in the speech Graves sets the tone by the following clause, "The
Grand Army of the Republic locking arms with the remnant of Confederate
Veterans leads a great host of citizens who sing: 'My Country 'tis of
Thee. "' This skillful juxtaposing of the "Grand Army of the Republic"
with "remnant of the Confederate Veterans" leaves no doubt who was the
victor. Thus, from the beginning, the audience, and the sponsoring organi-
zation, understand clearly who is leading the "great host of citizens."
This represented a marked change from Graves' earlier Confederate
Memorial Day address in which he called for reconciliation only on
Southern terms. Two reasons perhaps can explain this different tone.
First, the North had noticeably capitulated by this time to Southern
demands to "let us settle the race question"; in short, reconciliation, to
the degree that it had occurred, was on Southern terms. So Graves saw
no need to be antagonistic; the South had lost the war, but she had won
the peace.17 In the second place, Graves was doubtless deferring to
the demands of the situation. The G. A. R. was sponsoring the event
at which he was one of the featured speakers; why not bolster its ego --
indeed, could he have performed differently?
17 Woodward writes that in 1877, the North not only withdrew
the remaining Federal troops, they also abandoned the Negro as "a ward
of the nation, gave up trying to guarantee his civil equality, and
acquiesced in "the South's demand that the whole problem be left to the
disposition of the dominant Southern white people." The Strange Career
of Jim Crow, 2nd Rev. Ed. (London: Oxford University Press, 1966),
This entire oration is a prime example of how the rhetorical
situation can drastically shape the nature of a message. The entire
ceremony was oriented toward reconciliation; the resting places of both
Blue and Gray were decorated by the participants. Both Northerners and
their rebel counterparts had a role in the event. Accordingly, Graves'
speech was a total reflection of the occasion and, as such, served to
reinforce the mood generated that day by the rest of the program.
Graves depicts the nation as once again whole: "the bloody
chasm is bridged by Northern heartiness and Southern warmth and mutual
generosity, and the heart of Florida beats at last in loyal unison with the
heart of Maine." The Southern orator points out a number of examples of
reconciliatory efforts on the part of the North in an attempt to illustrate
why the South was ready for this grand day of reconciliation. One of
these occasions was when a Maine regiment sent a memorial to Congress
petitioning for a pension for the "maimed and disabled veterans of the
dead Confederacy." As for Southern evidence that reconciliation had
occurred, Graves cites the fact that the South was sending "sincere and
heartfelt and universal sympathy" to the bedside of the North's great hero
/Grant/, dying in New York."
In concluding, the orator appeals to the whole nation to "chant
the praises of our dead together" and "honor these men simply as soldiers
who fought like lions, who endured like martyrs, and bore the separate
flags of the cause they loved with an heroic faith, a matchless patience, a
splendid patriotism that will live as long as the name of Jackson and
the name of Grant." By thus juxtaposing the names of Jackson and Grant,
Graves skillfully implies that the nation is one.
In both of these speeches, one presented by an untested young
man, the other delivered by a respected citizen who had earned a name
for himself, Graves appeals to the traditional Southern value of honor of
the past and paints an optimistic, positive verbal picture of the reunited
nation and its future. He also reflects the Southern respect for womanhood
and the love of a martial spirit. He gaines credibility and audience identity
by urging the listeners to respect and remember the past, then moves to
his advocacy of a reunited nation. Based on these basic strategies, he
builds a reconciliation message which was bound to be appealing to his
On May 9, 1879, Alfred Moore Waddell attended a Memorial Day
celebration at New Bern, North Carolina, and delivered "a most scholarly,
beautiful and appropriate address" which "for good taste and ability, has
been rarely equaled and never surpassed by any similar oration in this city. "18
This speechl9 was presented less than a year after Waddell had been
defeated as the incumbent in a race for Congress. Although his defeat
18 Newbernian (New Bern, North Carolina), May 17, 1879.
19 Alfred Moore Waddell, "Memorial Day Address," delivered at
New Bern, North Carolina, May 9, 1879. Text from an undated, unknown
newspaper clipping in Waddell's Papers, Southern Historical Collection,
The University of North Carolina Library, Chapel Hill.
had been at least partially caused by a mass circulation of an 1865 speech
he had made advocating limited Negro suffrage,20 the foregoing statement
by a local newswriter reflects that Waddell's credibility was indeed still
strong. According to the newspaper report, "upwards of two thousand
persons" attended the ceremonies. 21
The program itself fit well the demands of the occasion. There was
a choir "composed of many of the best voices in the city" as well as a band
for accompaniment. The first number was "a well known requiem" written
by a North Carolinian, Mrs. Mary Bayard Clarke, "The Guard Around the
Tomb." This piece was followed by "an appropriate prayer" by the Reverend
L. C. Vass of the First Presbyterian Church and another hymn, "Cover Them
Over With Flowers."22
After the mood was thus appropriately created, the Honorable Mr.
Waddell delivered his address.23 It is fitting that this speech is the last
to be considered in this survey of the Memorial Day orations, for the speaker
begins the message with a description of all that he sees a Memorial Day
address as being. His introduction discusses so well what this study bears
20 A. R. Newsome, "Alfred Moore Waddell," Dictionary of American
Biography, XIX, edited by Dumas Malone (New York: Charles Scribner's
Sons, 1936), p. 300.
21 Newbernian, May 17, 1879.
23 All the quotations used here are from the newspaper text in
out concerning the occasion, that it is worth repeating in full:
Ladies of the Memorial Association:
It is customary on these occasions for those who perform
the duty assigned to me today, to paint, as best they may,
that picture of the past on which Southern eyes will always
gaze with admiration, and before which, Scuthern hearts
will always throb with mingled pride and sorrow. They try
to portray in vivid colors the heroism, the splendid courage,
the patient toil and suffering, the unselfish patriotism and
the sublime devotion of our countrymen whc died in an
unequal struggle for the preservation of what they believed
to be the sacred inheritance of constitutional liberty
bequeathed to them by their fathers. The tribute is just,
the service is proper, though mortal tongue may vainly
strive to form in fitting words the thoughts which such an
occasion and such a theme inspire. The season too, is
meet, for it is redolent of hope and promise. Not beneath
withered branches swaying in the winter wind, and admidst
dead leaves strewed upon the naked earth shall such services
be held; but in the tender spring-time, when to the music of
soft winds, odorous with the breath of flowers and gladdened
by the songs of birds, transfigured nature makes manifest the
miracle of the resurrection. Amidst such surroundings we meet
today in this silent city to do honor to the memory of our dead.
After thus sketching what the Memorial Day oration and the ceremonies
should be, Waddell announces he will break the mold: "I am here, not as a
mere eulogist, but as one of the survivors of the war, who, instructed by its
lessons and by the experience of the fourteen years that have elapsed since
its close, deems it wiser to speak more of other things than of our love and
veneration for the memory of our dead kinsmen and friends. He then enhances
his credibility by pointing out that he had given Memorial Day speeches in
other North Carolina cities, in the nation's capital, and "in a Northern city
at the request of thousands of those who confronted us in battle during the
war." He thus presents himself as not only a survivor of the war, but also as
one who has participated actively in public service after the battles were over.
Waddell believes that "war has generally been the precursor of
every advance in civilization"; he develops this idea at some length and
it serves as the major premise for all that follows in the address. The
next major point growing out of his basic assumption is that through the
destruction of slavery the South "reaped a threefold advantage." In the
first place, the South was "relieved of what was an incubus upon us,
and . a reproach in the eyes of other nations." Secondly, the section
has "secured the inestimable benefits of free labor," and, finally, the
defeated nation "returned to /its/ position in the Union, with largely
increased political power, there to remain."24
Then, proceeding on his guiding assumption, Waddell makes the
point that had the Confederacy won the war, the victory would "have been
disastrous to us eventually." He then declares that "our dead died not in
vain" -- a sentiment which doubtless the Ladies of the Memorial Association
were expecting to hear. Because of "their heroic valor and patient fortitude,"
compromise was impossible; thereby those "extreme measures /war and
emancipation/, the inevitable reaction of which must produce the ultimate
prosperity of the South, were brought upon the section.
The orator again reminds his listeners of his basicpoint of view,
that "war has generally been the precursor of every advance in civilization."
24 Some historians have argued, however, that the post-war South
accepted a "humbler position in the government of the nation than the
Old South would have been content to accept." They cite as evidence the
fact that from 1865 to 1968 the South furnished only 14 of 133 cabinet
members and only 7 of 31 Supreme Court Justices. Clark and Kirwan, South
Since Appomattox, p. 52.
The energies released by war "are subsequently directed to the acts of
peace, which thus receive a new impulse and are promoted accordingly."
Therefore, the South's recuperative powers are great and will help the
defeated states meet the responsibilities of the present. He reinforces
a feeling of oneness with the victor by asserting that there are currently
few in the South who would "advocate the separate independence for
which we fought. Again exemplifying the spirit of vindication so often
present in these addresses, Waddell points out that the South's principles
have not changed but simply that "circumstances are entirely different. "
Waddell's second major premise is that civil liberty must be
preserved at all costs and in a government where "law is supreme over
all." Here the orator moves into the reconciliation theme by expressing
his view that these civil liberties are the common interest of every American
citizen. In order to preserve them, the citizens must struggle against
"party and sectional animosity, based upon inherited prejudice and stimulated
by personal ambition." He continues to develop this theme and encourages
all to realize the value in the "union of co-equal states under the consti-
tution" and the laws made under its jurisdiction. He states his hope that
the union will live and "be perpetual." This sentiment is echoed, he says,
from the "earth which holds these ashes," from "where soldiers sleep," and
from "the graves of our forefathers."
Waddell concludes by invoking the last words of Stonewall Jackson --
"Let us cross over the river" -- and by praying for the future peace of "our
Memorial Day being what it was -- an occasion to recall the sacri-
fices of life offered up in war with a bitter enemy -- it is surprising that
there was any reconciliatory rhetoric at all. But as we have seen in these
three examples, some Southerners saw this situation as an opportunity to
express their feelings of sectional peace. For the other 364 days of the
year, we can imagine that many, due to the bitterness and animosity still
present in their localities, were compelled to mute their desire for harmony.
But in the quiet cemetery on a day dedicated to honoring the dead, sentiments
bespeaking intersectional peace were not out of place; those whose hearts
were touched by the occasion and surroundings would be susceptible to
oratorical pleas that the sectional hostility which caused the war and which
was further generated by the struggle itself could be at last laid to rest.
The Memorial Day observances provided a natural platform for the speakers
to express their ideas concerning respect for Southern traditions and honor
for Confederate heroes. Once they had convinced their audience that they
were true to the South, they could make their appeals for intersectional
peace and harmony.
Doubtless the sanctity of womanhood in the South contributed greatly
to the success of Memorial Day and the orations delivered for the occasion.
The women, by and large, founded, organized, and sustained the occasion
through their local Memorial Associations. The men doubtless felt that their
support of the services would reflect their honor and respect for the women
of the South. And, of course, their support of the ceremonies would be one
way in which they could compensate for having lost the war. Their humiliation
over their defeat on the battlefields was indeed strong,25 especially after the
glorious send-offs they had received from the hometown women in 1861. The
Confederate soldier felt he owed the Southern woman a great debt; Memorial
Day gave him an opportunity to repay it in part. As one newspaper writer
expressed it, the Memorial services were to be respected because of the
woman's place in it:
In the gentle light of Spring, with the deep blue
heavens above, fair women gather around the
graves on the anniversary of the death of the
Confederacy and cover them with choicest
flowers . . Monuments of stone or bronze are
naught compared to the beautiful ceremony of decor-
ating the mounds over the remains of the heroes who
were buried in the gray . . Then let us gather in
our quiet cemetery tomorrow, and aid the devoted
women of our city and country in paying respect to
the dead of the Lost Cause. 26
Clement Eaton and other Southern historians have demonstrated that
in the immediate post-war years it was the women who felt the most bitterly
toward the despised Yankee.27 In many cases, the soldier was ready to
25 Richard M. Weaver, The Southern Tradition at Bay, A History of
Postbellum Thought, edited by George Core and M. E. Bradford (New York:
Arlington House, 1968), p. 117-8.
26 "Memorial Day," Daily Chronicle and Sentinel (Augusta, Georgia),
April 25, 1875. Women in the South have continued to be in the vanguard of
efforts to praise, recapture, and relive the past. A contemporary example is
the mid-twentieth century historical preservation movement which has perhaps
reached its apex in Savannah, Georgia. As a 1971 article points out, "Women,
in fact, have been a driving force behind Savannah's renaissance. As a young
male restorationist notes: 'They aren't twittering old ladies in tennis shoes.
They use their brains, they work and they've got clout.'" "Saving Savannah,"
Life, May 7, 1971, p. 58.
27 Clement Eaton, The Waning of the Old South Civilization, 1860-
1880's, Mercer University Lamar Memorial Lectures, No. 10 (Athens: Uni-
versity of Georgia Press, 1968), p. 117.
forgive and forget, but the women were hardly so forgiving. This fact tells
us much about demands levied upon the reconciliatory orator, especially
when the occasion at which he spoke was sponsored by local women and
he had been invited by them to participate.
Graves and Waidell were both effective in their attempts to meet
the demands of the situation. By rooting their remarks on reconciliation in
a rhetoric of "vindication" (i.e., the South and her "principles" were right),
these two speakers were able to make their audience more receptive to their
ideas of reconciliation and reunion. By referring to the glories of war to a
people who were traditionally martial in spirit, they could strengthen their
line of argument that intersectional peace was right and good. Through both
these considerations, the speakers were starting with premises already held
by their auditors and moving from them into ideas which were perhaps not
quite so readily acceptable.
In addition, both speakers imbued much of their messages with
sentiments likely to be compelling for the women in their audiences who
- had planned the ceremonies. For instance, Graves on several occasions
praised the women for their role in helping honor the Southern dead. Both
Graves and Waddell recognized that the South had a great resource in her
women, and in general both heaped praise on Southern womanhood and the
chivalric code. Waddell, for example, identified with the sentiments of the
women in his audience by praising them, by asserting that God had ordained
the South's defeat, and by praising the dead and affirming that what they
died for was good.
A form of ceremonial address closely related to the Memorial Day
speech which praised the entire body of dead soldiers was the eulogy given
in honor of a single departed citizen. The eulogy has been a part of
Western rhetorical history and theory for twenty-five centuries, but perhaps
nowhere did it exist as a more refined, artistic type of utterance than it did
in the Southern states during the late nineteenth century. The eulogistic
occasion called for an address which exalted the departed as a man of
honor and principle. Facing no small task in discovering ample reason to
pay homage to some of those who had died, the orator of the day considered
carefully how he could discuss the deceased in the best possible light. The
dead who were commemorated had usually participated in the war effort, and
there would have been little or no way to avoid discussing their military
exploits and contributions. Yet, in speaking of their wartime experiences,
the eulogist would have violated the audience's expectations and taboos to
rekindle sectional animosity. The listeners wished to hear of the heroic
aspects of warfare -- their romantic, daring knight with his dashing cavalier
attitudes about war. They did not wish to recall the intersectional hatred
and bitterness that caused the conflict. Therefore, the eulogy afforded an
ideal opportunity to focus on the message of reconciliation.
One of the first post-war deaths of a national figure, which served to
reinforce the reconciliation spirit, was that of President James A. Garfield in
September, 1881. After many weeks of suffering the agony inflicted by the
assassin's bullet, Garfield died in New Jersey. His struggle to avoid death
had been accompanied and followed by the deep concern of the nations of
the world; when he lost the battle, the world grieved. In the South, many
memorial services were held, two of which featured eulogistic sermons
worthy of consideration.
The first eulogy to be examined here was delivered by the Right
Reverend William Bell White Howe, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of
South Carolina, at Grace Church, Charleston, on September 26, 1881.28
The Sunday service represented a combined effort of all the Episcopal
Churches of Charleston; the attendance was described as "very large."29
Bishop Howe begins the oration by pointing out that although the
President of the United States and the Governor of South Carolina had pro-
claimed a day of mourning for the late President, the South Carolinians
were fulfilling "no reluctant but a ready obedience." He then devotes some
time to a discussion of how amazing had been the sympathy demonstrated
around the world for Garfield's months of suffering. It is not the world-wide
attention shown Garfield that is so wonderful to Howe, but the "sympathy for
him in these Southern States, especially the sympathy of this state."
He then tries to determine why it is that the South felt a "very deep
and profound" sympathy over the assassination. He points out that it was not
only Garfield's long and brave effort to live nor yet our respect for his early
28 Right Reverend W. B. W. Howe, Address on the Death of Presi-
dent Garfield (Charleston, South Carolina: The News and Courier Book
Presses, 1881). All the quotations from this speech are from this published
copy found at the University of South Carolina Library.
29 "Garfield's Death," The News and Courier (Charleston, South
Carolina), September 27, 1881.
struggle for education and his climb to the Presidency, but rather, it is
the simple fact that "he was the President of the United States." This
fact alone causes the Southerner to recognize once again that he is a
member of a "body of which /the President/ is the he.d." The long months
of agony suffered by Garfield caused the South to realize, according to the
speaker, that "the United States is one Nation, that we of the South are a
part of that Nation, and that in the death of President Garfield our head was
destroyed, and that we the body were smitten in him."
Reverend Howe then turns from this discussion of why the South was
in sympathy with Garfield -- because he was the American President -- to a
rather lengthy, and,in this critic's judgment, an unnecessary and tasteless
idea in the context of the eulogy for Garfield. He contends that the South
was right in the late Civil War and that "the North was wrong in her inter-
pretation of the fundamental principles of the Constitution. He feels that
the South accepts the defeat and that indeed, the war opened "a new chapter
in American history /in which/ . the future of his growing country may
have its meridian come to birth in great part out of the pangs and travail of
the late war. He makes the statement that the South accepts defeat, but
holds fast to her "former convictions. He cites as evidence the fact that
the South regards those issues which divided the nation as now settled and
its "profound sympathy for our late President based . on the recognition
of the unity of the country, and of him as its legitimate head." If the South
truly did accept the decision of the war, then it could no longer hold fast to
its former convictions which the war had supposedly settled. At any rate,
Bishop Howe's assertion that the South saw the nation to be unified over
the sadness of Garfield's death doubtless served to reinforce that belief,
nascent though it might have been.
The eulogist concludes the assassination shows that "we need .
more reverence for our laws and those in authority." He reflects his
American nativistic fear of foreign-inspired anarchy when he says that
"these lawless disorders in the Old World," such as the murder of the
Russian Emperor, will "find their way to this side of the Atlantic."
Apparently Howe felt some concern that he had not spoken as his
audience had expected him to speak, for he observes, "If I have spoken
today in a way not cdutomary to our pulpit, the occasion which bring us
together will answer as my excuse." Obviously the Bishop believed his
congregation did not like to hear politics from the pulpit: "Because a man
is a clergyman, he is none the less a citizen, but interested equally with
the layman in all that appertains to the welfare and the prosperity of the
country in which he lives." He then cites the Biblical examples of Christ
and St. Paul, who were interested in the political dimension of life..
Near the end of the sermon, Howe repeats his earlier statement that
Southerners were "conscientious in our struggles and in our convictions."
This time he says that "God decided against us." If the South is to be just
to its "living children and in humble submission to the will of God," it must
move into the future, and solve such issues as the Southern race problem and
also the national civil service problem, which had caused the death of
What was Bishop Howe's main purpose in speaking that day to
the assembled Episcopalians of Charleston? Was he merely trying to
pay tribute to the slain President? Or was he concerned with an idea
more fundamental and important? As one observation, Howe is quite
forceful in his statements concerning the role of the President -- the
leader of all the nation. .Very early in his sermon he is careful to assert
that the sympathy shown in the South for Garfield is deep and widespread.
He is equally concerned to express his belief that the President is
ordained by God: that his authority to rule comes from God. These and
other statements regarding the grief and sympathy of the entire nation,
the concern of the American citizen, his repeated use of the phrase "the
Nation, and his description of the "mass of voters," all lead one to
believe that the Bishop's major goal was to express his belief in inter-
sectional reconciliation. He obviously wanted to believe, and hoped his
auditors would believe, that the animosity of past years had died during
the months that Garfield suffered. It does not appear, however, that
Howe was truly convinced himself; perhaps, as he reinforces the belief
in the efficacy of reconciliation several times in the minds of his listeners,
he was similarly reinforcing it in his own mind. He is deeply concerned
about strengthening his listener's feeling for intersectional peace; this
student believes that through the clarity of his message and the positive
repetition of the reconciliation theme, Bishop Howe effectively achieved
this major goal.
Howe is obviously very much concerned about conforming to the
expectations or demands of his specific rhetorical situation. In addition,
he is trying to make his parishioners see that he does have the right to
speak to them about political matters. Yet he is not too sure how they will
respond to this "meddling" in politics. Therefore, he shows that other
great names in the Church had also been so concerned. Thus, a second
purpose -- and one that is important at least to Howe -- is to perform in
the manner congruous with the set expectation of his audience within
their situation. The Bishop shows an admirable awareness of the nature
of his audience, but it can be argued that at points he is overly negative
in his approach. Possibly he is unsure of his leadership of his people
at this particular point in time. There is good reason for Howe to be
concerned that he live up to his auditors' expectations. For the preceding
decade, the Bishop had been deeply involved in a major battle within his
diocese regarding the role of the Negro in the Episcopal Church. Howe,
who was liberal in the matter, was charged by some "with the desire to
ignore racial lines in the church and break down social barriers. "30
Doubtless he was constantly taking care to stay out of troubled waters as
much as possible since this issue was causing so much disharmony within
his state; this speech is a fine example of his concern. He is obviously
aware of the need to consider the expectations and concerns of his auditors,
and such awareness is essential if speech communication is to be effective.
30 Albert Sidney Thomas, A Historical Account of the Protestant
Episcopal Church in South Carolina, 1820-1957 (Columbia: R.L. Bryan,
1957), p. 84. For a full explanation of this struggle, see Thomas,
On October 5, 1881, Atticus G. Haygood delivered a memorial
sermon on Garfield to the newly enrolled students at Emory College, near
Atlanta.31 Obviously, Haygood, the president of Emory, saw the occasion
as one in which he could teach the new students some moral lessons drawn
from the life and death of Garfield; in fact, part of the subtitle reads, "an
incentive to the young men of the Nation. This speech constitutes a good
example of a lecturing style in which most of the supporting materials are
presented in the terms of the speaker's authority and credibility and out of
his personal knowledge and conviction.
Haygood praises the fact that the whole world was aware of Gar-
field's condition each morning "before breakfast" due to the "progress of
the art and inventions of our time." In comparison, he points out that
"when President Harrison died, it was six weeks before the fact was known
in every county east of the Mississippi River. All the world not only
knew of Garfield's suffering, but sympathized with him and his family.
The preacher asserts that he believes every Christian man, woman, and
child were praying to the "good God to spare his life." The impressive
facts of Garfield's funeral "illustrate in reality what we teach in theory --
the brotherhood of the human race."
Although the nation, indeed the world, was praying for the wounded
man, Haygood believes that these prayers were lacking in confession of our
31 Atticus G. Haygood, "Garfield's Memory," Text found in Haygood's
Papers, Emory University Library, Atlanta, Georgia. All quotations are from
this copy. Italics supplied.
common guilt in the killing of Garfield. He expresse;3 his belief that the
assassination "was but the final expression of the rancorous hates, that
have disgraced and dishonored our politics for at least three decades of
bitter years." Later, he remarks, "there is perhaps nothing in the history
of any people that contains so much unmitigated hate and prejudice as the
literature of American politics for a generation past."
Haygood then denounces the excesses of the American political
party battles and the spoils system -- which, to some degree, had led to
the death of Garfield. The President's murder was not only the "final
expression of rancorous hates" between the North and South, but also the
"final expression of the bitterness and prejudice of our politics and of the
greed for office that amounts almost to a national mania." It is at this
point that Haygood turns to his most explicitly moralistic, lecturing style,
"Let us remember, /he says/ it is as murderous to stab a reputation as a
body; it is as devilish to destroy a man's fame by slander as it is to take
his life by shot, or steel, or poison."
The college president then abruptly moves into a discussion of
whether the prayers of the nation were answered. He believes they were,
since Garfield's family was given "great grace" and was "sustained beyond
the power of human fortitude or sympathy." In addition, the prolonging of
the President's life gave time for his successor to become better equipped
for the Presidency and the nation better prepared for a change in administra-
tion. But the chief reason Haygood believes the prayers were answered was
that this long period of suffering brought the nation together as it "had not
been brought together in fifty years." He remarks, "There is more genuine
brotherhood and true national sentiment in the masses of the American people
today than there has been in the last half century." Indeed, Haygood asserts
that Garfield on his death bed had done "more to heal the bleeding wounds
of his country than all others have done since the horrid war began." From
Haygood's point of view, "It was worth dying for to have done such a work."
Turning from this reconciliation theme, Haygood goes to "other
aspects of this man's career." In the first place, he points out, in the
grandest Horatio Alger tradition, Garfield's climb from a "widow's son in
poverty" to the White House is possible only in the United States. His
college career is viewed as an example to be followed by all those students
who wish to raise themselves out of poverty. And, finally the nation
sympathized, not just because Garfield was President, although that
contributed a partial explanation, but also because his personal character
was to be admired and because he was a Christian.
To Haygood, Garfield was "in himself a large expression of the true
American idea of this government." That idea involves several principles
and the speaker mentions three "of the corner-stones": "the perpetual union
of these States," "an unsectional administration of the government," and "a
fair chance and equal justice for all men of every race."
The preacher concludes by pointing out "some duties and principles of
supreme importance" which Garfield's life and death exemplified and which all
add to Haygood's call for national peace. First, "Let us have done with
abuse, and lying, and fraud, and violence, in our politics." Secondly, "We
. should cultivate a true.spirit of national brotherhood." Again he
observes, "to hand down to our children bitterness of a quarrel . is
treason to the country. And, finally, "We owe a dui:y to President
Arthur. His position is difficult, his burden heavy . . We owe him
respect, patience, a fair trial, honest support, and our fervent prayers,
that he may have divine grace and help for the duties of his great office."
Haygood goes on to say: "We cannot afford to return to the old bitter and
savage way; we cannot forget either our own interest in a good government
or the world's stake in this best and greatest of all Republics that ever
flourished or fell. "
At the time Haygood delivered this sermon, he was approaching the
peak of his fame and prestige. His widely hailed "New South" sermon had
been presented the Fall before; his triumphant Northern speaking tour of the
past Winter was over; a Northern banker had donated a large sum to Emory
College because of Haygood's leadership; he was within six months of being
elected Bishop of the Methodist Church (an honor he declined until 1890); and
-- a year later -- he would be appointed General Agent for the John Slater Fund,
which was established by the Northern textile manufacturer for the benefit
of Southern Negro education. He had been the highly successful president
of Emory College since 1875 and had strengthened immensely its sagging
fortunes. As his leading biographer states, "From the summer of 1880 on,
Dr. Haygood's exuberant self-confidence marked him as an extraordinary
man . .. Major credit for this transformation was obviously attributed to
successful management of Emory College during the difficult years before
1879.32 Not only had he rescued Emory from financial and enrollment
trouble,33 he had brought a "new seriousness"34 to the Oxford campus.
The students held Dr. Haygood in high regard and they especially liked
to hear him preach.35
This particular speech is obviously designed to instruct and inspire
Haygood's young charges. The pervasive tone of the college president's
address is quite dogmatic, however, and relies heavily on his own personal
credibility to support much of what he says. At other times, his rhetorical
support lies within the auditors themselves as he reinforces ideas which they
doubtless already have. Again, he uses Biblical proof for some of his asser-
tions. But he does not go deeply into elaborate proofs in the development of
his main ideas. Obviously he is confident that his listeners picture him as
a man who can be trusted and believed. This assumption would seem reason-
able, for, as Mann points out in his biography of Haygood, "to all Georgia
Methodists, the pulpit at Oxford . was thought to be, verily, a holy
place.36 Combine this feeling of mystique and awe with Haygood's high
ethos in the eyes of the students and faculty at Emory, and Haygood could
well be expected to lecture in a rather authoritarian manner, and be excused
for it -- indeed, to be highly successful.
32 Harold W. Mann, Atticus Greene Haygood (Athens: University of
Georgia Press, 1965), p. 110.
33 Ibid., pp. 94-5.
34 Ibid., pp. 100-101.
35 Ibid., p. 102.
36 Ibid., p. 19.
Both Howe and Haygood show that Garfield personified the
American ideal: a poor boy raising himself to the White House. As Haygood
puts it, his career "was not and is not possible in any country in the world
but ours . . A country is worth loving and dying for in which such a
career as Garfield's is possible." Howe points out "how he struggled with
poverty and hardships in behalf of mental culture, and how he overcame and
at length rose to the highest office of the State, and then, just as he reached
the summit to which there is no beyond for the American citizen /was killed/. "
Both speakers thus show that this American dream is worth support and
pursuit by their Southern auditors. Garfield, a Northerner, is held up as a
model to follow in the Horatio Alger tradition -- a rhetorical strategy which
doubtless enhanced these speakers' reconciliation effort.
These two ministers also claimed that Garfield's suffering brought
the nation together as one, and that the South lost her President since Gar-
field was, in Haygood's words, "the President of the whole nation." Both
men believed that Garfield would have been just to the South and that --
again to use Haygood's words -- "his administration would tend to restore
the lost brotherhood of our people." In sum, both Howe and Haygood skill-
fully used this national period of mourning as an occasion to call for
On August 7, 1885, the victorious Union General, Ulysses Simpson
Grant, died and many in the South mourned his death. Across the Southland --
in Atlanta, Savannah, Charleston, Knoxville, and in many other Southern
cities and towns -- businesses closed, flags were at mourning height, and bells
tolled. In many of the cities, the Negro churches and Negro militia
organizations held special services and parades. In the capital of the
Confederacy, the Richmond Howitzers fired cannon on the half hour from
sunrise to sunset and the Phil Karney Post of the Grand Army of the
Republic sponsored an honorary burial service for the deceased President.
In Lynchburg, Virginia, all the city offices, banks and a few business
houses were closed in respect and at Pensacola, Florida, bells tolled
from noon until 2:00 p.m. on the eighth of August.37
One of the most impressive services was held at the Methodist
Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Saturday, August 8. The service
was dominated by the reconciliation theme, with each member of the local
G. A. R. being accompanied side-by-side in the procession by an ex-
Confederate soldier. The crowd was quite large, with every seat and
all standing room in the church filled, and with "hundreds" standing out-
side the doors.39 Four speakers were included in the ceremonies: two
former Federals, Reverend T. C. Warner and Major C. D. McGuffey, and
two reconstructed Confederates, David M. Key and Reverend J.M. Bachman.40
Reverend Warner delivered a "deeply solemn and impressive" speech during
37 This account of Southern services for General Grant is from The
Daily Register (Columbia, South Carolina), August 9, 1885, p. 1.
39 "Services for Grant," Sunday Times (Chattanooga, Tennessee),
August 9, 1885, p. 1.
40 Daily Register.
which tears fell freely from all eyes." He pleaded to God for the "new
made grave /to/ mark a period to all bickering, /and/ sectional prejudices."
Again, he hoped that God would "keep us all an indivisible and a united
people for all time to come."41
This former Yankee Chaplain was followed by David M. Key of
Tennessee, the Postmaster General in President Hayes' administration,
who delivered a brief address which "was listened to with marked attention
throughout"42 and which the second Union speaker, Major McGuffey,
appraised as "eloquent. "43
Judge Key begins the address in a highly personal way by referring
to the honor bestowed upon him by the committee which chose him to repre-
sent the Confederates. He then expresses his awareness of the "delicacy
and embarrassment of the position . and the great danger of saying
something inappropriate to the purposes . or . of giving utterance
to some idea of sentiment contrary to the opinions and feelings of the body
of our people whose representative I am deputed to be."44 He goes on to
say that he is "anxious not to wound or offend."
Key says that although this particular service cannot escape the
"sight and presence" of "our late struggle," he trusts "the time has come
41 Sunday Times.
44 David M. Key, "Memorial to General Grant," in ibid. All the
quotations from this speech have been taken from this source.
when we can offer . our prejudices and animosities as an unclean
sacrifice . upon the altars of patriotism and religion." The Tennessean
then uses the oft-expressed story of Grant's letter to General Buckner
which observed that the differences between the sections would have been
solved, had the soldiers who had fought the war been left alone to solve
them in their own way. Key believes that those who would prevent recon-
ciliation are those whc "did not seek or find opportunities for heroic
achievement on one side or the other." If one were to look for a person
"who wallows and revels in the bitterness and hates of the past," it would
be seen, once he is found, that his name "was upon no muster roll, or if it
was, the roll tells of no deeds of valor he performed or wounds he endured."
But those who fought for "great principles" on either side were "prepared to
stand by the decision" of arms.
The speaker moves next into his basic theme, that "The South did
not place a proper estimate upon the character, abilities and services of
General Grant . /but now/ they see the man and appreciate and honor
him." He uses two brief analogies -- one of a boy being chastized by his
mother and the other of a man losing a fight. From the analogies he
concludes: it will take time for both the boy and the man to get over their
resentment toward those persons who defeated them.
The former Confederate is careful to point out two examples of
Grant's magnaminity: his not claiming the horses of Southern soldiers after
Appomattox, and his interposition to prevent the arrest of General Robert E.
Lee. Then Key goes on to the ultimate expression of reconciliation:
He /Grant/ believed in the justice of the cause he
had espoused . and for myself, though I zealously
and honestly opposed him and his cause until the end
of the struggle, I am free to say here and now, as I
have said heretofore that it was best for us, for the
South, that General Grant and his cause triumphed, and
there are many, very many thousands of as gallant men
as periled their lives to the Southern cause who are of
the same opinion.
Key then tempers this statement somewhat, pointing out that Grant
could not have fought for any other force than the Union Army, having been
a citizen and a native of free states; according to the "Southern theory of
the powers of the general and State governments," he "would have been a
traitor to both had he joined the South." He then goes on to contend that
Grant should be honored by the South because of "his success over a
powerful and gallant foe." The future will praise Grant even more, contends
Key, "when the smoke of the strife in which he engaged shall have lifted and
the passions and prejudices of our times have been forgotten."
Key concludes by praising Grant: "The brightest star has fallen
from our nation's firmament, but the story of its lustre and beauty shall
live as long as history and song shall last."
At some point in the speech -- apparently after his formal presentation
had closed -- Key told two stories from his own personal experience with
Grant which reflect the dead General's kind feelings toward Southerners, his
compassion for others, and his modesty. Although it is impossible to tell
from the newspaper report at what point in the speech the speaker told these
stories, it is obvious that they effectively supplemented his very personal
introduction and related well with the tone of reconciliation and sectional
harmony which Key was careful to create and sustain in his message.
This speech is a skillful adaptation to the difficult situation. Key
is in an awkward position as he acknowledges early in the address and, as
he says, he is "anxious not to wound or offend." His words reflect that
there are some "unreconstructed" rebels in the audience who have no love
or respect for Grant; after all, as he put it, Grant "had triumphed over the
principles they held sacred." What could he say that would temper their
feelings against Grant, pay the dead General honor and respect, and yet
not build a barrier between himself and his rebel auditors?
His prestige as the Southerner who was an integral part of the bargain
of 1877 -- Hayes agreed to appoint him as a cabinet member -- gave him a
certain aura of respect. As we have seen, his speech is diplomatic and
courteous, as warranted by the situation. By pointing out in the first
moments of the address that he does not wish to "wound or offend," Key lets
his audience know that he does not intend to stir up animosities, but rather
will speak for intersectional peace. He, like many other post-war speakers
who wished to advocate reunion, placed the blame for reconstruction and
disharmony on politicians and not on the general citizen on both sides who
had "risked his honor and his life." He asks Northerners in his audience
to accept the fact of human nature that the South only recently is coming to
"place a proper estimate" on the life of Grant, and thereby excuses the South
for not honoring Grant as it should have. By showing specific examples of
how magnanimous Grant was, Key leads the Southerners in his audience to
see virtue in a Northern hero. He says that in all of Grant's military and
civil dealings with the South he was "kindly and generous to his Southern
opponents when he had the opportunity." Therefore, the South could have
no reason to dislike him or to fail to honor him. If the South could respect
Grant, progress toward reconciliation could be made. Key devotes most of
his speech to this strategy: showing the South how fine a man Grant really
was. In support of this approach, Key uses some personal experiences he
had with Grant, thus giving a deeper sense of credibility to his remarks.
His speech surely helped to bridge the chasm between the Northerners and
Southerners present in his audience by instilling respect for the late Presi-
dent and victorious Union commander.
In the closing year of the 1880s Jefferson Davis, the only
President of the Confederate States of Anierica.died at his home on the
Mississippi Gulf Coast. Although Davis had been maligned by Northerner
and Southerner alike, his death brought waves of sorrow across Dixie. It
appeared almost that his fellow Southerners wished to do penitence for the
harsh feelings they had felt toward their President who had failed. The
North's treatment of Davis after the war, while admittedly not harsh, had
strengthened in some Southerners their hatred for the North45 and added to
the need for reconciliation. Southern sympathy abounded for Davis, and at
the same time the death of the CSA President opened the floodgates for a
new surge of the reconciliation spirit, as reflected and encouraged in two
45 Eaton, Waning of Old South, p. 119.
The first was given in Richmond, Virginia, by Reverend Moses
Drury Hoge on December 11, 1889,46 and the other was presented two
days later in Little Rock, Arkansas, by Judge U.M. Rose.47 The first
was delivered to an audience in the Second Presbyterian Church of Rich-
mond and the second in a more secular setting, the Hall of the Arkansas
House of Representatives. These speeches were not selected because
of any significant degree of representativeness; they are being discussed
here simply because they are the only texts of eulogies for Davis that were
found. They will reflect, however, what was said in two separate states
with presumably different type auditors: the one, the heartland of the
Confederacy; the other, a "border state."
In the former capital of the Confederacy, sorrow ran deeply. The
Second Presbyterian Church, a congregation "of great influence in the
Presbyterian Church of the United States, 48 was "crowded from floor to
dome, and hundreds of people stood in the aisles and around the doors,
such was their eagerness to hear the address"49 at this memorial service.
46 Reverend Moses D. Hoge, "Address on Jefferson Davis," delivered
in Richmond, Virginia, December 11, 1889. Text of speech printed in The
Central Presbyterian-Supplement N.D., N.P. Copy in Alderman Library,
University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
47 U.M. Rose, "Memorial Address on the Life, Character and Public
Services of Jefferson Davis," delivered in Little Rock, Arkansas, December 13,
1889. Text in U.M. Rose, Addresses of U.M. Rose, With a Brief Memoir by
George B. Rose. Ed. by George B. Rose (Chicago: George I. Jones, 1914).
48 Joseph D. Eggleston, "Moses Drury Hoge," Dictionary of
American Biography, IX, Ed. by Dumas Malone (New York: Charles
Scribner's Sons, 1932), p. 121.
49 The Central Presbyterian-Supplement.
Hoge had come to this church as its first pastor in 1E45, two years after
he had finished his academic program at Virginia's Union Theological
Seminary, and had remained with the church until his death in 1899. His
great ethos lent additional power to this service for Davis, and,due to the
location, the prestige of the church, and the close relationship of the
pastor to Davis himself during the war years, this simple ceremony in
Richmond was doubtless second in importance only to the actual funeral
itself in New Orleans. Hoge was at the peak of his fame in 1889, having
made one of the principal addresses at the London Alliance of Reformed
Churches in 1889 and was one of the leading speakers at the Boston meeting
of the Evangelical Alliance for the United States in 1889. The following year
he was "proclaimed the first citizen of Richmond by the people of Richmond,
regardless of race or creed."50
Reverend Hoge begins his address by an astute introduction which
relates him in a very personal way to President Davis. He says that he
heard Davis' first speech to the people of Richmond, heard his inaugural
address, had ridden horseback with him "along the lines of fortification
which guarded the city, "had experiences of his courtesy in his house and
in his office, and was with Davis after the evacuation of Richmond. All
these experiences "enabled me to learn the personal traits which characterized
him as a man, as well as the official and public acts which marked his admin-
50 Eggleston, "Hoge,", pp. 121-22.
After thus relating himself closely to Davis, Hoge moves into the
major reconciliatory discussion in the oration, describing how it is the
duty of the minister
to soften asperities, to reconcile antagonistic elements,
to plead for mutual forbearance, to urge such devotion
to the common weal as to bring all the people, North,
South, East and West, into harmonious relations with
each other, so as to combine all the resources of the
entire country into unity of effort for the welfare of the
He then says that "there are no geographical boundaries to the
qualities which constitute noble manhood," so there should be many in
states outside the South "who will be in sympathy with the eulogies which
will be pronounced to-day."
This address could well have been titled, "Statesman for Our Time,"
for this topic is what the minister spends much of his time discussing: "The
qualities and attributes which constitute the patriot statesman." In the
first place, the eulogist observes, we need men "who are profound students
of History, philosophy, and ethics /emphasis his/." He uses as examples
the founding fathers, and he brings them before the audience through rhetorical
questions which require the listener to think with the speaker in order to
reach the conclusion. For example, Hoge says, "Who wrote the Declaration
of Independence and the Constitution . . ? Who built up our system of
Jurisprudence?" For centuries, the rhetorical question has been thought of
as a useful tactical tool for the speaker, and Reverend Hoge employs them
most effectively in this address. Secondly, he contends, the country now
needs men who can "lead public opinion . instead of waiting to ascertain
the popular drift. And in the third place, the statesmen of the day should
be men of unquestioned integrity.
In this rather lengthy discussion of the qualities and attributes
needed in our legislative leaders, Hoge is making a subtle, but forceful
criticism of the composition of the current Congress, with its domination
of business-oriented men. He attempts to demonstrate that the nation
needs leaders with more than merely this business-industrial background,
and implies that Congress is less effective because its members are too
exclusively oriented to the world of finance and industry. He handles his
criticism so skillfully, however, that the leading railroad magnate or
Congressman could hardly take exception. For example, as Hoge develops
this portion of his speech, he admits that commercial background is useful
and necessary for some of our legislators; others need training in history,
philosophy and ethics either along with or in lieu of their business training.
He then implies that our representatives should be similar to men like
Burke, Fox, Chatham, and Peel, or men with the attributes of Jefferson,
Madison, or Washington. Holding up these ideals could serve to inspire
our delegates, while at the same time subtly reminding them that they did
not fit this mold. Still holding up an ideal to the business-oriented Congress
and political leadership, Hoge says the statesman must have the "courage
and the ability to lead public opinion in ways that are right, instead of
waiting to ascertain the popular drift, no matter how base, that he may
servilely follow it." Again presenting the ideal political leader as a man of
integrity with "untarnished honor, incorruptible honesty, and the courage
to do right at any hazard, Hoge establishes an inspiring goal with which
few Congressmen could disagree.
The preacher closes by a summary statement that if we "duly heed"
these lessons, "this solemnity . will be a preparation for the time when
we shall follow our departed chief. He then pronounces a benediction
statement and the services close with the singing of a hymn and a benedic-
tion by one of the other ministers present.
This speech by Reverend Hoge is a masterpiece of nineteenth-century
public address. Its organization is tightly knit; smooth transitions make it
easy to follow and his clear word choice promotes "instant intelligibility."
His method of forcing his audience to think actively along with the speaker
not only makes the address more communicative, but also reflects the
preacher's respect for the intelligence of his listeners. This address is,
in addition, one of the less sentimental of all the eulogies surveyed for
this paper and was one of those speeches oriented less to flights of
stylistic fancy. Thus Hoge demonstrates his basic respect for the sensi-
bilities of his listeners. In this appraisal of Davis, Hoge is quite realistic,
choosing those aspects of Davis' life about which he can talk with honesty
and sincerity -- a tone which is often missing from late nineteenth-century
southern eulogies. In focusing on Davis' exemplary character, Hoge is
able to draw moral lessons aimed at bettering the lives of the listeners
while at the same time paying homage to Davis.
The Presbyterian minister begins his speech with one of the better
introductions of all those dealt with in the present study. He skillfully
relates himself to Davis and enhances his credibility in the minds of his
listeners, but without appearing too egotistical as relates to his relation-
ship with the deceased Confederate President. With his own outstanding
war record in the minds of his auditors,51 his brief recounting of his role
in the hostilities in concert with Davis would truly have made his own
prestige grow, thus solidly enhancing his ethos.
In addition, Hoge reveals his sensitivity to the memorial situation
by counselling against an acrimonious attitude and saying that he expects
the "outlying congregations to feel and act in sympathy with what is now
passing in the sad but queenly city which guards the gates of the Mississippi."
He must take care not to praise the departed Confederate Chieftain too
lavishly, in order not to offend the feelings of those who had little respect
for Davis' conduct of the war (that is, those Southerners who had opposed
Davis and doubtless came to the memorial service out of a sense of duty,
not respect). At the same time, however, Hoge must paint a glowing picture
of Davis' life in order to satisfy those who loved and respected Davis and
all he stood for. Perhaps of all the speeches examined for this dissertation,
this one best illustrates the passage in Pericles' celebrated Funeral Oration
1 Ibid., p. 121. Hoge's war record included serving as Chaplain
at Richmond where he preached to the Confederate soldiers at least twice a
week. In addition, and more spectacularly, he ran the Union blockade from
Charleston to go to England for Bibles and other religious books for the
Southern soldier. His mission was successful for he brought back 10,000
Bibles, 50,000 Testaments, and 250,000 printed portions of the Scriptures.
in which the Athenian laments:
And I could have wished that the reputation of many
brave men were not to be imperilled in the mouth of
a single individual, to stand or fall according as he
spoke well or ill. For it is hard to speak properly
upon a subject where it is even difficult to convince
your hearers that you are speaking the truth. On the
one hand, the friend who is familiar with every fact
of the story may think that some point has not been
set forth with that fullness which he wishes and knows
it to deserve; on the other, he who is a stranger to the
matter may be led by envy to suspect exaggeration if
he hears anything above his own nature. For men can
endure to hear others praised only so long as they can
severally persuade themselves of their own ability to
equal the actions recounted: when this point is passed,
envy comes in and with it incredibility.52
The eulogy is indeed a difficult speech assignment, but Hoge
fulfilled it well.
One writer says that Hoge "madp careful and thorough special nrppa-
ration for every discourse";53 it is not difficult to imagine that he took
special caution in his choice of examples and his wording of ideas for this
important message. Its impact and acclaim was such that the address was
printed as a special supplement to The Central Presbyterian church newspaper.
Only at one time early in the eulogy does Hoge directly appeal to
the spirit of reunion. In this extended passage, the eulogist reminds the
52 Pericles. "Funeral Oration." Thucydides: The History of the
Peloponnesian War, translated by Richard Crawley. The Great Books of
the Western World, VI (Chicago: The University of Chicago, 1956),
53 Walter W. Moore, "Moses Drury Hoge," Library of Southern
Literature, VI, edited by Edwin A. Alderman (Atlanta, Georgia: Martin
and Hoyt, 1910), p. 2438.
congregation that "political harrangues and discussions calculated to
excite sectional animosities are utterly inappropriate to the hour. Hoge
also hopes that
there will be many in the Northern and Western states
who will be in sympathy with the eulogies which will
be pronounced today by the speakers who hold up to
view those characteristics of their dead chieftain which
have always commanded the admiration of right-minded
and right-hearted men in all lands and in all centuries.
He then asserts that soon "the question will not relate so much to
the color of the uniform, blue or gray, as to the character of the men who
wore it. "
Although the statements just quoted represent the extent of his
overtly reconciliatory rhetoric, Hoge still creates an implied theme of
national unity throughout the address. Two examples can be given. As a
first consideration, Hoge describes the total character of the ideal states-
man, and suggests that this ideal leader is to be best recognized by his
service to an entire nation -- not to a narrow interest group or to a local
region. Secondly, the minister mentions Davis' life in service to the nation
as West Point cadet, Mexican War Hero, and United States Senator.
In both his direct and indirect appeals to national reunion, Hoge is
effective. On the one hand, he appeals directly to the highly respected
American values of fairness and justice. Facing the question of sectionalism
squarely, he simply expects the nation to act as though it were reconciled,
forcefully telling his audience -- and the North -- that it should be. In the
second place, Hoge's rhetorical appeals to national unity, showing as they
do Davis' service to the nation, refer to an attitude or opinion that would be
hard, if not impossible, for his auditor to reject.
At the same time, in the "western" state of Arkansas, Judge U.M.
Rose delivered that state's official memorial oration for President Davis.54
Judge Rose begins his address by discussing the inevitability of death and
the difficulty of making valid judgments about a man's. life so soon after
his death. He declares, "We live too near the thrilling events, the
tremendous concussions, the strife, the passion, the crash and the conflict
of the period in which /Davis/ played a principal part. After continuing in
this vein briefly, Rose then says that regardless of what history will write
about Davis' actions and his mistakes "he has been made the scapegoat
for many sins that should be laid at the doors of others."
After this rather lengthy and rambling introduction, the Judge moves
into a long rationalization and justification for the South's entering into
secession and civil conflict. He lays the blame for slavery in the South on
the Spaniards who first advised that Negroes could be imported and on the
"good Puritan brethern of New England /who/, with many a prayer and never
a misgiving, fitted out their ships for the African coast." He does not believe
that slavery was "the direct cause of the war," but he points out that it "had
made a very visible line of distinction between Northern and Southern parts
of our country. Rose says that the national leaders from the Founding Fathers
until the Civil War saw the unharmoniouss development of the North and the
South," and some -- like Calhoun and Clay -- tried to find answers. Yet
underlying it all was the "deeply seated ground for apprehension .. in the
54 Rose, "Address on Davis." All quotations are from the text
cited in Rose, Addresses.
fact that no definite remedy had been provided . if any State . .
should attempt, in their sovereign capacity, to withdraw from the Federal
Union." He then points out that the Constitution is subject to "a great
variety of interpretations," but that coercion of a state is directly counter
to the Declaration of Independence. Rose then goes to Southerners --
Jefferson and Jackson -- as well as Northern sources -- Webster and
Hamilton -- to substantiate this interpretation. None of these leaders of
public opinion felt, according to Rose, that a state could be coerced into
remaining within the Union. Concluding this line of thought, Judge Rose
points out that the "first threat of secession came from New England during
the War of 1812, and not from any part of the South."
Rose justifies his remarks in this vein, which are surely inappropri-
ate to the occasion, observing that if anyone is to judge properly the career
of Davis, these are the facts required to understand fully the situation. He
says that now "the Union is a perpetual one," but that when Davis was
President of the Confederacy, this was not a fact, and was made a part of
the fundamental law only "by the final determination of a resort to arms from
which there is no appeal. This extended justification for secession does
not seem to fit the memorial occasion, since it was a man, not a fact of
history, that was being commemorated.
Still not dealing directly with Davis, the eulogist registers an
expression of pride that the Civil War was fought. Rose sees the war as
having been necessary to settle the issues between North and South. Finally
he shifts to reconciliation, praising the North for the lenityy and moderation
exhibited by the conquerors in the hour of triumph, which he thinks "is
unexampled in history. His praise of the North is honest and forthright,
and obviously a well-thought-out statement; in part, he says, "This /the
lenity of the North/ is a fact that should be borne in mind; for if we would
have justice done to ourselves, we must do justice to others." He continues
this reconciliatory strain by praising the warriors on both sides for their
lofty minds, pure hearts, and undaunted courage.
Approximately one-half of his memorial had dealt with the difficulty
of determining the verdict of history, a vindication and justification of the
South, praise of those who fought and especially of Northern magniminity,
and praise of the war itself. Rose then turns in the last half of the address
to a eulogy of Davis. The speaker first presents a brief summary in glowing
terms of Davis' political and military career. He then discusses how Davis
had fared after the defeat of the South and how well Davis had endured all
the attacks and the reverses of his ill fortune. Rose praises President
Lincoln and Horace Greeley as examples of Northern leaders who had great
"magnaminity of feeling" toward Davis and his fallen comrades.
Rose defends Davis against the slurs aimed at him; for example, the
charge that he appropriated the funds of the Confederacy for his own use.
Yet he speaks only in generalities and does not mention any specific charges.
He then defends Davis' personality saying, in effect, that for those who knew
him well, Davis was kind of heart, genial of disposition, and cheerful of
demeanor. He points out that after the Civil War, some of his former
Northern comrades in the Black Hawk War visited him in the South, thus
expressing their love and devotion to Davis regardless of what time and
the war had produced. This example of how the spirit of reunion had been
illustrated in a specific case certainly helped to vivify and make real
Rose's expression of the spirit of reconciliation.
Judge Rose closes the address with a romantic description of Davis'
How full of memories must his mind have been, as he
trod the shores of that southern gulf that broke in har-
monious sounds by his secluded home! Perhaps to him,
as to many others, that complaining sea, extending far
beyond the reach of human vision, containing in its
sombre depths so many mysteries forever un-explained,
presented the emblem of that wise eternity upon whose
echoless shore are hushed all the sounds of human
strife. Or perhaps when the tempest spread its black
wings over the angry waves, it recalled the stormy
scenes in which his life had been so largely spent; and
it may be that in the succeeding calm that brooded on
the quiet waters he perceived the type of that peace
that awaits the tired mariner when the uncertain voyage
of life is over.
And finally, Rose observes, "The chieftain, whose strange career
is so deeply impressed on the page of history, having received God's great
amnesty, has entered upon that last repose which shall never more be
disturbed by the voice of praise or blame."
The Arkansan's address on Davis was not as reconciliatory as one
might have expected in a state which had felt a strong Union sentiment before
and during the war. There was, however, a slight emphasis on reunion by
Rose, as some of these quoted remarks demonstrate. Yet Rose was at last
able to express an appeal for national harmony, as indicated in the following
passage from a Memorial Day address:
The once hostile soldiers whose tombs fair hands will
deck with impartial flowers today, rest here upon their
arms by the great and silent river of death, with no
vestige of human passion or pride to divide them in
their unbroken slumber. 55
In this eulogy, Rose effectively pictured the reconciliation sentiment
as it developed in Davis' own life.
If in the early period of his retirement he sometimes
grieved his friends by public expressions that recalled
too vividly the bitterness of the past, the feelings of
which these were the evidence find no trace in the book
in which he recorded his mature judgment of the decisive
events in which he played such a prominent part.
Reconciled with the irrevocable past, he was able
to perceive that our great Civil War had worked out
many beneficial results, and that the future might
open up to the United American people such an immense
field of usefulness and prosperity as would dim even
the brightness of their own past.
This process of mellowing apparently happened to many in the post-war
South, and,doubtless, Rose's description of how it affected Davis' life
helped his auditors believe it could happen to them. Or if it had already
happened, his words could serve to reinforce this reconciliatory attitude.
Still other eulogies found a secure place in the literature of the
post-war South. One by John W. Daniel of Virginia on the dead Confederate
President was a classic and highly reconciliatory.56 In this two-hour oration,
Daniel expressed many thoughts on reconciliation. For one, the North and
55 Rose, "Confederate Dead," N.D., N.P., Anthologized in Rose,
56 John W. Daniel, Oration on the Life, Services and Character of
Jefferson Davis. Delivered in Richmond, Virginia, January 15, 1890.
(Richmond: J.H. O'Bannon, 1890).
the South are, in truth, "nearly, if not quite, identical," in that both
support "racial integrity, they "thirst for power and broad empire," and,
among other things, they have a "love of confederated union." In addition,
by a skillful juxtaposing of Washington with Hamilton, Jefferson with
Adams, and Madison with Franklin, the orator shows that both sections
have contributed great leaders for the good of the whole nation. Senator
Daniel also stresses the South's role in the Revolutionary War in an attempt
to demonstrate the affirmative answer to the rhetorical question, "Did the
South love the Union?" A difficult task for a post-war Southerner was to
praise Lincoln and call his assassination "a most infamous and unhappy
deed." Yet Daniel attempts to do this in his eulogy on Lincoln's former
enemy. The "Lame Lion of Lynchburg" includes in his remarks on Davis
the following reconciliatory passage which could serve as the model of all
similar statements surveyed in this study:
As we are not of the North, but of the South, and are
now alike all Americans both of and for the Union,
bound up in its destinies, contributing to its support,
and seeking its welfare, I feel that as he was the hero
in war who fought the bravest, so he is the hero now
who puts the past in the truest light, does justice to
all and knows no foe but him who revives the hates of
a bygone generation.
If we lost by war a southern union of thirteen States,
we have yet a common part in a continental union of
forty-two, to which our fathers gave their blood, and
upon which they shed their blessings, and a people who
could survive four years of such experience as we had
in 1861-65 can work out their own salvation on any
spot on earth that God intended for man's habitation.
We are, in fact, in our father's home, and it should be,
as it is, our highest aim to develop its magnificent
possibilities and make it the happiest dwelling place
of the children of men.
Only one month earlier, in Atlanta, John Temple Graves delivered
a eulogy on Henry Grady,57 which contains a passage that has lived to the
present day. In fact, it is engraved upon the Grady statue in Atlanta as a
summation tribute to the Georgia journalist and orator. Graves' "gem of
oratory" was "received with the wildest outburst of enthusiasm by an
audience which packed the opera house from pit to gallery, and at its close
the speaker received an ovation which lasted for several minutes."58 This
response seems rather inappropriate for a memorial service, but apparently
this particular oration prompted this reaction. The sentence that has lived
on in stone is at the end of a passage describing Grady's role in the post-war
reconciliation process. It begins, "It is marvelous past all telling how he
caught the heart of the country in the fervid glow of his own!, and ends,
"When he died, he was literally loving a nation into peace."9
As has been pointed out in this survey of the Memorial Day address
and the eulogy for departed Americans, this type of speech situation served
on these occasions to reinforce Southern feelings about national reconciliation.
An editorial writer in the Daily Phoenix of Columbia, South Carolina, stated
in 1875 that,
57 John Temple Graves, "Eulogy of Henry W. Grady." Delivered in
Atlanta, Georgia, December 28, 1890. In Knight, A Standard History of
Georgia and Georgians, III. pp. 1608-11.
58 Ibid., p. 1608.
59 Ibid., p. 1609.
The addresses delivered on the occasion of the late
decoration days in the North and portions of the South,
exhibited a most fraternal and conciliatory spirit --
one worthy to characterize like commemorations here-
The Southern memorialist speaker -- at least in these 'speeches examined
here -- attempted to promote intersectional peace. What were his basic
In the first place, he spoke of respect for war. Waddell was the
most blatantly enamored by war, but all the speakers left the impression
that they saw war as a natural, normal part of the life of man. Second,
they all implied that much could be learned from the lives of other men --
that all citizens should study the lives of national heroes and attempt to
emulate their virtues and to profit from their mistakes. The student of
heroes could see reflected courage, fortitude, integrity, and the leading
Southern value -- honor -- in the lives of those being eulogized.
A third theme operative in these speeches was the unanimous
positive, optimistic view of the future. All these orators featured forecasts
that the coming decades would be years of peace and prosperity with the
South once again taking a leading part in shaping the destiny of a great
Closely related, of course, was the fourth basic premise: reconcilia-
tion is in the best interest of the South. According to the speakers, the
South has and will continue to assist the rest of the nation as America fulfills
her destiny. The people of the North respected us for going to war to fight
60 The Daily Phoenix (Columbia, S.C.), June 5, 1875.
for our principles; they, too, fought for what they believed was right.
If it were up to the soldiers, and not the politicians, reconciliation would
have occurred in the Spring of 1865. But in spite of political machinations,
the Nation is becoming one again.
Curiously juxtaposed with this strong reconciliation spirit, was the
aura of vindication which permeated these addresses. To a man, these
speakers asserted clearly and strongly that the South was right in her beliefs
and that her battles for "constitutional liberty" were all in the best interests
of her people and the entire nation. In fact, they asserted that history was
already showing the correctness of the Southern position; they never made
clear, however, how this process was happening. The speakers urged their
listeners to hold fast to their true principles and to always believe that the
dead who fell in "The War" did not die in vain.
These speeches honoring the dead -- whether a single figure like
Garfield or Grant or the mass of Southern war dead -- all served to unify
the diverse feelings within a local community and to focus attention upon
a common goal: national harmony. W. Lloyd Warner writes that "the
ceremonial calendar of American society" is designed through Memorial Day,
the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and other days, to "allow Americans to
express common sentiments about themselves and share their feelings with
others on set days pre-established by the society for this very purpose. "
He accurately describes the purpose of Memorial Day and by implication,
the Memorial Address, when he writes that this ceremonial calendar "functions
to draw all people together to emphasize their similarities and common
heritage; to minimize their differences; and to contribute to their thinking,
feeling, and acting alike"(italics mine). 61
Since these ceremonial days are designed, partly at least, for
unification of a community, the speaker selected for that occasion would
be most concerned to chose his topic and purpose for speaking with the aim
of unity foremost in his mind. He would not be expected to be radically
controversial, but, rather to speak about themes and topics to reinforce
the beliefs the audience already had. His purpose would be to intensify
belief; he probably would not try to create a new and possibly controversial
cluster of opinions.
In these speeches surveyed in this chapter, the speakers were
attempting to intensify belief in the need for and value of national harmony.
By relating the facts that the South had made significant contributions to
the nation and that it would continue to do so, the speakers were able to
encourage their auditors to feel that reunion was desirable. In addition,
the speakers asserted over and over that the nation was one again -- that
- sectionalism was dead. By the power of repetition, this belief was intensi-
fied, but the speakers failed to really make this assertion come alive by
clear and vivid examples of where this act of reunion had occurred. Only
61W. Lloyd Warner, American Life, Dream and Reality (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1953), p. 2. The importance of Memorial Day,
historically and in the mid-twentieth century, is described by Conrad Cherry
in "Two American Sacred Ceremonies: Their Implications for the Study of
Religion in America," American Quarterly,XXI (Winter, 1969), 739-754.
Cherry sums up the ceremony as "an American sacred ceremony, a religious
ritual, a modern cult of the dead." 741.
in a few cases did a speaker give a specific example of an act of recon-
ciliation. This lack of intense vivification through example was a major
rhetorical weakness; the speakers too often spoke in vague and generalized
terms to be as effective as possible in their attempts to reinforce belief.
In terms of the basic premises expressed, these speakers all met well the
demands of their situations, for all of the basic themes mentioned earlier
were already held by the audiences they faced. In terms, however, of
support for those premises, these speakers, with a few exceptions, fell
short of what their hearers needed for as full intensification as was possible.
John Temple Graves well stated the major reconciliatory thrust of
these speeches: "So while we love our dead and revere our trampled
principles, we must not forget that we have yet a life to live, a part to play
in our nation's history."62 The six speakers surveyed in this chapter did
what they could to make the defeated South reconcile herself to the North.
The next chapter will deal with those memorial speakers who addressed
ceremonies devoted to dedicating monuments to the Confederate dead.
62 Graves, "Memorial Address," West Point, Georgia, April 26,
PRESERVING THE PAST: MONUMENT DEDICATIONS
Closely related to the eulogy and the Memorial Day addresses are
the orations delivered at the innumerable monument dedications that the
South loved so well in the decades after the war. Literally every community
below Mason and Dixon's line supported a fund-raising drive (usually
sponsored by a Ladies Memorial Association) for statues of varying size
and configuration. If the local town or county could not boast of a real
hero, they dedicated the monument to the "Confederacy, or the "Boys in
Gray, or the "Private Soldier." Each dedication ceremony involved the
same essential ingredients: a parade through the city streets to the site,
several brief welcoming addresses by local notables, some musical selec-
tions "appropriate to the occasion, a poem or two read by the local town
laureate, and the ever-present oration; finally the cover was lifted from the
monument and the memorial stood as a granite symbol of the Lost Cause. A
casual drive through any Southern state today from Virginia to Texas will
show these monuments still exhibited in places of honor and surrounded by
For the purposes of this study, we shall examine six speeches made
in Virginia and Georgia from 1875 to 1889. The first five were given in
honor of individual heroes and at the dedication of monuments to these
specific Southern leaders: Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson, Robert E. Lee,
and Benjamin H. Hill. The last two were presented at" monuments honoring
the Confederate dead, in general.
In 1875 the last vestiges of Republican rule were ending in the
South. Former Confederate leaders who had been kep': out of leadership
positions by the Fourteenth Amendment had been covered by a general
amnesty bill passed by Congress in 1872, and they had begun to assume
their pre-war posts in their respective states. Whites began more overtly
to control the Negro through various "red-shirt" and other white-supremacy
groups and by 1875 the Negro was fast becoming an economic ward of his
former master. The conservatives had assumed control of all the Southern
statehouses except Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina; these were to
fall to conservative Southerners in the months following Rutherford Hayes'
election to the Presidency and the "Compromise of 1877."
In national politics, the Democratic Party had captured the House of
Representatives in 1875 and the scandals of the Grant regime forecast a
possible Democratic win in 1876. Northerners were beginning to forget the
Negro and were starting to believe that the South should control her own
state governments. Civil service reform was drawing the attention of northern
reformers. Since Southerners were becoming staunch supporters of industrial-
ization and commerce, Northern businessmen began to look to the South as a
target for their investments. Northern writers and editors urged their readers
to forget the bloody past and to link hands over the sectional chasm.
1 Rembert W. Patrick, The Reconstruction of the Nation (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1967), pp. 249-50.
Although most of the Southern states had been "redeemed" by the
mid-1870 s, the Southern economy, transportation, agriculture, education,
and social system were still in a shambles. As late as 1880, "visitors
reported the South crushed, wretched, and still licking its wounds. "
Reconciliation was not easily encouraged in a land which saw itself as
having been ravaged by its conquerors.
The first of these orations to be considered is a bit atypical of the
group, due to the fact that it is an introductory address and not the main
"oration of the day, but it has such strong overtones of reconciliation
spirit that it should be described. In October, 1875, the Commonwealth of
Virginia unveiled a statue to its hero of Manassas and Malvern Hill: Thomas J.
"Stonewall" Jackson. Governor John Kemper inaugurated the Richmond
celebration with a short speech of welcome and introduction.3 In this
address, we find the usual combination of Southern arrogance and pride
mingled with an apparently genuine call for intersectional reconciliation.
Kemper hopes that the life of Jackson "speaks to our fellow-citizens of the
North, and, reviving no animosities of the bloody past, commands their
respect for the valor, manhood, integrity and honor of the people of whom
this Christian warrior was a representative type." He then asserts that
Jackson's old comrades will not "prove recreant to the parole and contract
2 Ibid., p. 243.
3 John Kemper, "Address at the Unveiling of Jackson's Statue,"
Richmond, Virginia, October 26, 1875. Text in the Columbia, South
Carolina Register, October 31, 1875.
of honor which binds them . to the constitution and the union of the
States." At this point, the Governor says, "Let the spirit and design with
which we erect this memorial today admonish our whole country that the
actual reconciliation of the States must come, and, so far as honorably in
us lies, shall come." He does, however, qualify this reconciliatory
attitude by remarking that the "equal hour and equal liberties of each
section shall be acknowledged, vindicated and maintained by both." In
other words, the South will be reconciled on her terms. Kemper concludes
the address with a plea that the statue of Jackson
endure as a symbol of the respect which both the
sections will accord to the illustrious dead of each,
signifying that while differing as to the past, each
will assert its manhood, its rectitude and honor, and
both will equally and jointly strive to consolidate
the liberty and the peace, the strength and the glory
of a common and indissoluble country.
Most of this brief welcoming address was focused on the theme of national
harmony as these selected passages indicate.
Kemper's welcoming address was not aimed at the Northerner in his
audience, apparently, so much as it was designed for the former Confederate.
His tone is one of insistence; there is little of a compromising nature in this
address. For example, he insists that the North accept Jackson's life as a
model for all to follow; no reasons are given why they should. Again, the
Governor insists that both sections must be treated as equals in the nation's
councils. For the Southerners in the 1875 audience, this "no-compromise"
attitude was probably commendable. Kemper does not try to persuade them
to accept the verdict of the sword and be reconciled, he simply asserts
that the South was willing to be reunited if it could be done on her terms.
He bases his contentions not on extensive persuasive appeals, but,
rather, on the force of his ethos and authority. Governor Kemper does,
however, set a tone of reconciliation for the occasion by mentioning the
urgent need for reunion and by asserting to his audience that the South
was ready for it. He uses the life of Jackson as a reminder that the South
will honor its defeat and parole. Jackson's "knightly and incorruptible
fidelity to each engagement of duty, should be a model for the Southerner.
The main orator of the day, Moses Hoge, approached the reconciliation
theme in a more subtle and persuasive manner, but still Hoge was aided by
Kemper's having introduced the theme of reconciliation.
These brief introductory remarks set the stage most appropriately
for the ceremonies which followed and for the major address of the day
presented by Richmond's great Presbyterian pastor, Moses Drury Hoge. One
biographical sketch of Hoge expresses the belief that this speech at
Jackson's statue was "perhaps the noblest oration of his later life."4
According to the Charleston, South Carolina, newspaper accounts of the
ceremonies, the event was the "most imposing pageant ever seen"5 in
Richmond. A recent history of Virginia in the post-war years included this
description of the ceremonies:
4 Edwin A. Alderman and Joel Chandler Harris, eds., Library of
Southern Literature, VI (Atlanta: Martin and Hoyt Co., 1910), p. 2439.
5 "Jackson's Statue," The News and Courier (Charleston, South
Carolina), October 27, 1875.
With 40,000 people watching the Jackson procession
which was two to three miles long, even the Negroes
wanted to be included. Moses D. Hogue /sic/, the
rector of St. Paul's was the feature orator in Capital
Square, and Jones describes the group on the speaker's
stand as a 'who's who' of Virginia Confederate and
political leadership. Fireworks at night were followed
by a reception for Mrs. Jackson in the governor's
Dr. Hoge's popularity was demonstrated by the fact that he was "greeted
with much enthusiasm by the immense assemblage."7 Apparently he did
not disappoint his auditors, as the "oration was frequently interrupted
with enthusiastic applause."
The Richmond religious leader had been unanimously elected
moderator of the Presbyterian General Assembly in 1875. His fame and
prestige had spread accordingly beyond the bounds of his native Virginia;
this feature of his ethos was appropriate for these ceremonies, as was
his devotion to the Confederate cause and his blockade-running trip to
England during the Civil War to obtain Bibles for Confederate soldiers.
The audience contained many visitors from across the nation as well as
several Englishmen -- indeed, the statue was a gift from the Mother
Country and had been created by an English sculptor.
6 Alien W. Moger, Virginia: Bourbonism to Byrd, 1870-1925
(Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia, 1968), p. 26.
7 "Jackson's Statue," News and Courier.
9 Joseph D. Eggleston, "Moses Drury Hoge," Dictionary of American
Biography, IX, Ed. by Dumas Malone (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons,
1932), p. 121.
Often the eulogistic biographical sketches found in the various
works on Southern leaders are not particularly useful for the student of
Southern culture. In the case of Hoge, however, one biographer gives an
interesting clue about his rhetorical strategy, as he remarks, "Dr. Hoge,
then, was not only an crator but a teacher . .. He never for a moment
relinquished or lowered his conception of the teaching function of the
ministry."10 That this minister felt himself essentially a teacher is quite
apparent in this address at Jackson's monument. It is obvious that his
major purpose is to answer the question, "Why was General Jackson so
cherished and honored by citizens of this and other nations?" In answering
this query, Hoge intends to demonstrate that Jackson's life is a model
worthy of imitation. By describing Jackson's virtues as a paradigm for the
Christian, Southern gentleman, Hoge can easily fulfill his concept of the
ministry's teaching function. And in relation to this study, as we shall
see, Hoge used Jackson's life as illustrative material as he tries to enhance
a reconciliatory mood in the minds of his listeners. 11
In this speech, Hoge employs five reconciliatory themes: 1) We
are patterning ourselves after the ancient Greeks who met together with their
enemies during their festivals and promoted harmony; 2) Jackson's life serves
as a model for us as we begin to become reconciled with the North; 3) The
10 Alderman and Harris, Library of Southern Literature, p. 2438.
11 Rev. Moses D. Hoge, "Oration of the Inauguration of the
Jackson Statue," Presented at Richmond, Virginia, October 26, 1875.
Copy located at Duke University Library.
South respects the outcome of the sword; 4) National pride is and should
be present in the South; and 5) The South's self-interest demands that the
nation become reunited.
The first of these reconciliation themes is introduced early in the
address when Hoge says:
More impressive is this assemblage of citizens and
representatives from all parts of our own and of
foreign lands, than ever gathered on the banks of the
ancient Alpheus at one of the solemnities which united
the men of all of the Grecian States and attracted
strangers from the most distant countries. There was
indeed one pleasing feature in the old Hellenic festi-
vals. The entire territory around Olympia was conse-
crated to peace during their celebration, and there
even enemies might meet as friends and brothers, and
in harmony rejoice in their ancestral glories and
This comparison to the ideal of the ancient Greek state was doubtless quite
meaningful to the Southern audience assembled in Richmond. The pre-war
Southern culture had been based in part on the ideal of the Greek democracy,12
and if an orator pointed out that the Greeks could refrain from hatred of their
enemies, then the Southerners should be able to do likewise.
The fact that there were Northerners present in the audience provided
support for this theme and gave rhetorical meaning to the comparison. When
Hoge refers in this analogy to the ancient Greeks meeting to "rejoice in their
ancestral glories and national renown," he prepares his listeners for the
12 See Anthony Hillbruner, "Inequality, The Great Chain of Being,and
Ante-Bellum Southern Oratory, "The Southern Speech Journal, XXV (Spring,
1960), pp. 172-89.
reunion message he returns to later in the speech: the important role
played by the South in the nation's history and the Southerners' pride
in that contribution.
The second major reunion motif used by the Presbyterian minister
was closely related to the subject of his oration and the person in whose
honor the ceremony was being held: "Stonewall" Jackson. At several
points in the address, Hoge uses Jackson as a model or focal point for
his reconciliation message. His most obvious and explicit reference to
this theme comes early in the speech:
We assert no monopoly in the glory of that leader. It
was his happy lot to command, even while he lived,
the respect and admiration of right-minded and right-
hearted men in every part of this land, and in all
lands. It is now his rare distinction to receive the
homage of those who most differed with him on the
questions which lately rent this republic in twain
from ocean to ocean. From the North, and from the
South, from the East, and from the West, men have
gathered on these grounds today, widely divergent in
their views on social, political, and religious topics,
and yet they find in the attraction which concentrates
their regard upon one name, a place where their hearts
unexpectedly touch each other and beat in strange
A few minutes later, Hoge briefly asserts, with no proof or explana-
tion, that Jackson, "would have cheerfully laid down his life to avert the
disruption" of the Union and the war which followed. Since the listener
heard no supporting testimony, either from Jackson himself, or any of his
cohorts, he would have to accept this assertion on Hoge's authority. If
Jackson himself loved the Union, the auditor would perhaps see that the
Union was, after all, not such an enemy.
Then late in the speech, the orator of the day returns to this theme
when he praises the Governor of Virginia and implies again that Jackson is
revered and honored by people outside his own Southland -- even in the
Your Excellency did well to make the path broad
which leads through these capitol grounds to this
statue, for it will be trodden by the feet of all
who visit this city, whether they come from the
banks of the Hudson, the Mississippi, or the
Sacramento; whether from the Tiber, the Rhine, or
If a Confederate General could be this well-respected and admired by those
who did not sympathize with his section -- indeed, those who had fought
against him -- then this fact would be a powerful example of magnanimity
on the part of the victors in the civil struggle. Should not the Southerner
return that good will? That was the implication of Hoge's message. In
addition, given the widespread, eulogistic esteem with which Southerners
held Jackson, indeed, most Confederate Generals, Hoge's use of Jackson
as a symbol of reconciliation would be an effective rhetorical tactic.
A third important approach Hoge uses in his efforts to promote
intersectional understanding and rapport centers around his contention that
the South accepts the verdict rendered by the sword. At the first point in
the speech where he discusses this theme, the speaker focuses on the
attitude of the Confederate soldier after the war. The veterans:
laid down their arms at its close and mingled again
with their fellow-citizens, distinguished from the
rest only by their superior reverence for law, their
patient industry, their avoidance of all that might
cause needless irritation and provoke new humilia-
tions, and their readiness to regard as friends in
peace, those whom they had so recently resisted
as enemies in war.
Doubtless, most in his audience had worn the gray, and thus, Hoge was
speaking directly to them and appealing explicitly to their pride and honor --
two values held in great esteem by Southerners.
He then moves from the specific Confederate soldier to the general
Southern public as he asserts that the "people" of the South followed the
lead of their soldiers:
Defeat came, and they accepted it, with its conse-
quences, just as they would have accepted victory
with its fruits. They have sworn to maintain the
government as it is now constituted. They will not
attempt again to assert their views of state
sovereignty by an appeal to the sword.
Hoge, in the next breath, turns back to the warrior, as he says:
None feel this obligation to be more binding than the
soldiers of the late Confederate armies. A soldier's
parole is a sacred thing, and the men who are willing
to die for a principle in time of war, are the men of all
others most likely to maintain their personal honor in
time of peace.
In other words, the South will not again challenge the North on the field of
As is so typical in these messages aimed at national unity, Hoge
appeals to national pride. In this fourth conciliatory theme, the minister
refers first to the American revolution in a manner calculated to stir
national patriotism in the hearts of his listeners:
Such a crisis was the Revolution of 1776, when thirteen
thinly-settled and widely-separated colonies dared to
offer the gage of battle to the greatest military and naval
power on the globe.
The story of that struggle is the most familiar in
American annals. After innumerable reverses, and
incredible sufferings and sacrifices, our fathers
came forth from the ordeal victorious.
This appeal to Southern pride in the exploits of the Revolutionary War
heroes served the purpose of creating a feeling of national pride in the
minds of those Virginians who recalled the deeds of their own Patrick
Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. In fact, Hoge makes
explicit the connection between these national heroes and the new statue
of Jackson which will join the group of monuments in Richmond honoring
the South's Revolutionary War heroes. This portion of his message
comparing the Southern states and the Civil War with the English colonies
and the Revolutionary War, and the Revolutionary heroes with the Southern
Confederacy's heroes, is a masterful rhetorical stroke and' surely appealed
to the varied audience which witnessed the dedication.
A few moments later, the Virginian asserts very quickly, and with
no elaboration, the role played by his native state in helping to create the
very Union she was later forced to fight. He declares, again with no
evidence to support his contention, that Virginia had hoped to preserve
the Union "which she had assisted in forming, and to whose glory she had
made such contributions." He makes it appear that Virginia had withdrawn
from the Union only as a last resort. He assumes that because of the
State's significant role in the early national history of the country, the love
of Union was still present in the hearts and minds of her citizens.
The final mediatory motif which Hoge uses is sectional self-
I speak not for myself, but for the South, when I
say it is our interest, our duty and determination
to maintain the Union, and to make every possible
contribution to its prosperity and glory, if all the
states which compose it will unite in making it such
a Union as our fathers framed, and in enthroning
above it not a Caesar, but the Constitution in its
He goes on quickly to assert:
If ever these states are welded together in one great
fraternal, enduring Union, with one heart pulsating
through the entire frame as the tides throb through
the bosom of the sea, it will be when they all stand
on the same level, with such a jealous regard for
each other's rights that when the interest or honor of
one is assailed, all the rest feeling the wound, even
as the body feels the pain inflicted on one of its
members, will kindle with just resentment at the out-
rage, because an injury done to a part is not only a
wrong but an indignity offered to the whole.
Once more turning to the usually eulogistic and therefore not very
helpful Southern biographical sketches, one can find interesting verbal
pictures of Hoge in the pulpit or on the podium. Since the words used to
describe his voice and appearance are heavily connotative, not much can
be gained other than realizing what some of his contemporaries thought
about him. To the student of public speaking in the 1970's, these descrip-
tions have little meaning. For instance, this sentence is typical:
It was a voice in a million -- flexible, magnetic,
thrilling, clear as a clarion; by turns tranquil and
soothing, strenuous and stirring, as the speaker
willed; now mellow as a cathedral bell heard in
the twilight, now ringing like a trumpet, or rolling
through the building like melodious thunder, with