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volume. His keen interest in the Society and its activities ended only with his life.
Here, according to the usual practice, I should stop, leaving others to characterize Mr. Chamberlain more fully. But Mr. Morton Dexter, upon whom this would naturally have devolved, is necessarily absent; and so, as I have already intimated, I propose in this case to make an exception to the rule. I have something further to say.
My personal relations with Mr. Chamberlain date back to the period of the War of Secession, as he very properly and discriminatingly preferred to designate 1 that great struggle first called by us the Southern Rebellion and then the Civil War. When, in the autumn of 1864, I was commissioned lieutenant-colonel of the Fifth Massachusetts Cavalry (colored), I found, on assuming command of the regiment in the absence of Colonel H. S. Russell, that Chamberlain, then a recent graduate of Yale, held in it a lieutenant's commission. Subsequently, when I became colonel, he was regimental adjutant. We were thus thrown into close relations. After the close of the war, my own health having broken down in consequence of long service under somewhat trying conditions, I resigned my commission, and did not again see Chamberlain, or, indeed, hear of him, until he loomed up a national character, first as Attorney-General of South Carolina, and subsequently as Governor of that State during the reconstruction period. This portion of the story of his life (1868–1877) has been recently told in graphic terms and a judicial spirit by our associate Mr. Rhodes, and I now refer to it for introductory purposes only.
Years afterwards, from 1884 to 1890, I was President of the Union Pacific Railroad Company. At that time the United States government was represented on the Board of Direction of that corporation by five appointed members; and while I was its president, it so chanced that two of those members were from the South. Both had seen much service in the Confederate army; one indeed bore on his face the scars of a terrible wound. The first of the two was General E. P. Alexander, prominent as an artillery officer in the Army of Northern Virginia, and the author of an extremely interesting volume only recently published, entitled “ Military Menoirs of a Confederate." When General Alexander presently resigned his seat in the Board, he was succeeded by his relative by marriage, Colonel A. C. Haskell, of South Carolina. With both of these gentlemen my official relations were close, and I soon grew to feel a strong personal regard for them. They represented the best type of southern character, - a type of a very high class, and one which must be met intimately to be appreciated, - a type with which we of the North are as a rule not familiar. Chamberlain had been brought in contact with it; he understood and appreciated it. Indeed, I do not know of any such striking and sympathetic estimate of it as one I heard given by him in this very room. He then, speaking from “much and varied experience,” referred to the " typical Southern gentleman” as “a distinct and really noble growth of our American soil. For, if fortitude under good and under evil fortune, if endurance without complaint of what comes in the tide of human affairs, if a grim clinging to ideals once charming, if vigor and resiliency of character and spirit under defeat and poverty and distress, if a steady love of learning and letters when libraries were lost in flames and the wreckage of war, if self-restraint when the long-delayed relief at last came, — if, I say, all these qualities are parts of real heroism, if these qualities can vivify and ennoble a man or a people, then our own South may lay claim to an honored place among the differing types of our great common race.” General Alexander and Colonel Haskell I am able from personal observation to pronounce distinct specimens of this type. I soon learned to recognize them as such.
1 2 Proceedings, vol. xviii. pp. 13, 14. See, also, on this point debate in the United States Senate, in Congressional Globe of Friday, January 11, 1907.
2 History of the United States, vol. vii. pp. 142–173.
And now we approach the catastrophe. Our associate Mr. Rhodes has told the story, unconscious wholly, so far as the present occasion is concerned, of its dramatic features. It can be found in the forty-fourth chapter of his History. I read it there a few weeks ago, and from my own personal knowledge and private correspondence identified the dramatis personce and supplied the missing links. It is history; and, as such, properly finds its place in our Proceedings.
In the closing months of 1876 and the opening months of 1877 the wretched pantomime known in history as Congressional Reconstruction had worn itself out. It still, however,
held the stage in South Carolina; though there by virtue solely of Governor D. H. Chamberlain's vigor, and the reformatory life his personality had infused into the moribund body. Long subsequently the statement was made that “no proud people ever suffered such indignities or endured such humiliation and degradation" as had then been inflicted on South Carolina, and in this statement there was no exaggeration; for, as was truly observed in another connection, “ History till now gives no account of a conqueror so cruel as to place his van. quished foes under the dominion of their former slaves.” 1 Chamberlain, struggling desperately to accomplish the impossible, was the one redeeming factor in the South Carolina situation. The great aim, the strongest desire, of the South Carolinians was to throw off the reconstruction yoke at home, — to get in control of their local affairs once more. My supposition has always been that, recognizing the inevitable, Chamberlain's scheme was to have himself elected to the United States Senate; then to resign the office of Governor, and to be succeeded by a South Carolinian. Moreover, I had supposed that the best people of the State, to whom Chamberlain had by his course greatly commended himself, were disposed cheerfully, even gladly, to acquiesce in this arrangement. The desire of their hearts was to secure control of their State government; for that they would concede representation in the Senate, or indeed anything in the national field. Thus all would be pleasantly arranged.
The closely contested presidential election of 1876 suddenly changed the whole aspect of affairs. Encouraged by the national outlook, the issue was sharply drawn in South Carolina by the root-and-branch white-man's party, determined to make no terms with the reconstruction régime or any of those identified with it. Once more, and for the last time, the national government intervened. A close vote resulted at the November election; and recourse was then had by the reconstructionists to the returning-board device. But, as may be learned from Mr. Rhodes's pages, the reconstruction returning-board played an important part during the closing months of 1876 in States other than South Carolina, — indeed, as a bit of political machinery, it was manifestly overworked. While, accordingly, in the outcome of the national election, it secured the presidency for the candidate of the Republican party, practically, though by tacit agreement, this result was acquiesced in with the understanding that all national armed support should be withdrawn from the last remaining reconstruction governments. This was in reality one of the conditions precedent to the installation of President Hayes, - the flag was to wave over States and not over provinces. The opportunity of South Carolina had thus come; Chamberlain was to miss his destiny. Driven from the executive chair of the State, he was not to represent South Carolina in the national Senate. Instinctively feeling that the hour of redemption was at hand, the Carolinians now claimed all; and in the forefront of those who then asserted the white man's ascendency, disposed to stop at absolutely no action necessary to secure it, was Haskell. His path thus crossed that of Chamberlain. It was a very grim situation; for Haskell gave the unmistakable impression of being a man of his word, one of those who could be counted on to do anything he said he proposed to do, though certain, perhaps, himself to drop a moment later. Chamberlain wisely recognized the fact, and yielded to the inevitable. Further to have contended would have been to challenge destruction. The outcome is now matter of record.
1 Rhodes, vol. vii. p. 141; vol. vi. p. 323.
Years passed. Fate so ordered things that I in process of time got to know Haskell better than I knew Chamberlain ; and I can truthfully say that of those I have met in life there have been few to whom I have felt more drawn, or have grown to entertain a sense of greater personal regard. In the closing days of 1902 I had occasion to visit South Carolina to deliver an address at Charleston. I afterwards here gave an account of that experience, to be found for such as care to look it up in our Proceedings. Governor Chamberlain had two years before become a member of our Society ; but, with failing health, he could not face the rigor of our northern winters, and had sought escape by going to Columbia. I exchanged letters with him in regard to the invitation to speak at Charleston, and he had strongly advised me to accept. In the course of our correspondence he referred to his life at Columbia and those le there associated with, and especially to one he described as “once his worst enemy, but now his best friend." Some instinct told me he meant Haskell; and, surely enough,
1 2 Proceedings, vol. xvii. pp. 90-110.
a few days later, when, on December 27, 1902, I found myself in Columbia, I next met Chamberlain before Haskell's hospitable fireside. They had grown to know each other, to respect each other. Their relations were more than merely friendly. Creditable to both, they were especially so to Chamberlain.
It was consequently no cause for great surprise to me that, a few days since, and after Chamberlain's death, I got a letter from Colonel Haskell referring to that event, in which I found this expression: -“ He [ Chamberlain ) passed through an eventful career, and, showing ability at every step, showed also by his steady advancement in integrity of thought what was the eminent trait which raised him finally to high moral rank. I am glad I knew him in his latter years.
And now comes the sequel to my story. Recalling what had occurred in the years long gone, I felt moved to write to Haskell asking him, in view of this occasion and my announcement here of Chamberlain's death, if he would not prepare for my use an account, from his point of view, of what had taken place between him and Chamberlain in the long-ago reconstruction days. I told him it was all ancient history now, and, as such, I would like to put it on record. Somewhat to my surprise, — for his health was poor, - and greatly to my satisfaction, he complied with my request; and, two days ago, I received by mail the extremely interesting paper I now propose to read; for, creditable both to the writer and to him of whom he wrote, it is the redeeming last page of a dismal record :
My professional acquaintance with Mr. Chamberlain began during his term as Attorney-General of South Carolina, 18681872. I was opposed to him in several cases, one of considerable importance. He was elected Governor in 1874; his administration was marked by great improvement over those which had preceded him, but he was hampered by the Legislature, and by many who had been, and still were, his political associates. This was specially marked in the election of two of the most objectionable characters in the State as Judges. The Governor denounced the action of the General Assembly, and refused to issue commissions, thus keeping these men out of office. For this he had the gratitude of the people of the State. He rendered other great services, among which was