Page images

that if the exercise of the highest virtues were always attended in this world by adequate rewards, unselfish and self-sacrificing devotion would have no place in human experience, the loftiest heights of moral achievement would be forever inaccessible, and we should seek in vain for a hero amid a race of hirelings.


Memorial Address on the Life, Character and Public Services of Jefferson Davis, Delivered at the Hall of the House of Representatives, Little Rock, Wednesday

Evening, December 13, 1889


At the public meeting of citizens on the 13th inst., on the occasion of the death of the Hon. Jefferson Davis, Judge Rose, on the invitation of the Committee of Arrangements, delivered the memorial address. He said:

It was the admonition of an ancient philosopher that we should count no man happy until he dies; and by a modern one we are told that “Death hath this also, that it openeth the gate to good fame, and extinguisheth envy." I would that it might be so; and that we might speak of the dead equally without envy or malice, but still not without that finer sense of charity, the attainment of which is the most difficult and the highest achievement of humanity. When a man who has occupied a prominent place in the age in which he has lived, a man who has made his mark upon his era by bold, decisive and aggressive action, ceases to live, there is at first a confused murmur of many voices, in which the discordant notes of indiscreet praise and unwise censure most loudly fall upon the ear. But in the solemn hour of death, when human passion stands confronted with a mightier presence, before which every one sooner or later must bow in humble and silent submission, it is not to these that the votary of truth would yield his confidence; rather would he listen to a more circumspect and dispassionate finding as to questions upon which the world may never be wholly agreed. And yet how shall the fit words be spoken that are “like apples of gold in pictures of silver;" and how is it possible for us to regard the life of a man so full of striking events, so much made up of action having the most extensive effects on important political questions that have excited the

« PreviousContinue »