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Anderson Daily Mail

Anderson Daily Mail

April 20, 1901

Page 2



In saying this I am not saying that what Hampton did was the wisest thing that could have been done.  I am only expressing my conviction that as the leader of his people in a great, vital political and social struggle he played a high part, a part which no other citizen of the State was probably equal to; a part which in my judgment no other citizen of the State at any period of her history could have played so well.  His mastery of men, of self-willed, even reckless men, was absolute; his power of directing and controlling the forces with which he had to deal and to reach the results he aimed at was truly wonderful.  In the height of surrounding excitement he could be serene and collected; in moments when it was easy to be unrestrained he could be moderate.  Whoever else lost his balance Hampton never did.

Back of all this courage and noise and self-control and supporting them all, there was beyond doubt a firm conviction that his cause was the cause of justice, of peace and civilization.  No man who knew Hampton or is familiar with his career can doubt his profound devotion to the public welfare.  One may question the wisdom of his policy, may think another and different policy might have brought better results, but no one who is well informed can question Hampton’s fidelity to his own best judgment.  He steadily followed the right as he saw it, and he was as sure to follow it in days of defeat as in days of victory.  He fell upon evil times as well as upon prosperous.  He felt “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” as well as the applause and cheers of his fellow citizens, but through it all he bore himself, so far as I can see, without mistake or fault, from the point of view he took.  Over his open grave nothing could persuade me to utter dispraise or blame, if I could see the gravest mistakes in his career, for I feel sure he was true at all times to what he regarded his duty.  There is no higher praise, no greater success than this.  To meet a great crisis successfully, to win the plaudits of a whole people, to see much of the applause changed to distraction, and through it all to keep steadily on the ____ and true path of honor and patriotism, even to the end, is a record which entitles Hampton to a place second to no one in the hearts of his people and the records of his State.

It was Burke who said: “Nothing but the possession of some power can, with any certainty, discover what at the bottom is the true character of any man.”  Hampton was tried by this test, and by it he stands approved and will stand while our memory of him lasts.

Among all the tributes that have been paid to Gen. Hampton there is none that we have seen that is more just and evidently more sincere than the above from ex-Governor Chamberlain.  Its value is greatly enhanced by the fact that it comes from a political enemy and one who had seen his power over men and felt it besides.  It is not often that such a tribute comes from a man toward another before whom he went down to defeat, and it is all the more valuable for that reason.  He had every opportunity to observe the splendid and unexampled poise of the man in the face of a great temptation when thousands of men, many of them old veterans whom he had led in battle, stood ready to do his bidding, and he saw him instead, as with the wand of a magician, quiet the turbulent crowd and still the angry passions that were ready to burst forth in a furious storm.  He had the best opportunity to measure the magnitude of the man in the greatest crisis of his life and he has measured him correctly.


[Transcribed by Sharon Strout]


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