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Discourse of the Life and Character of the Hon. Littleton Waller Tazewell   By: (1806-1881)

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First Page:

DISCOURSE

ON THE

Life and Character

OF THE

HON. LITTLETON WALLER TAZEWELL,

DELIVERED IN THE

FREEMASON STREET BAPTIST CHURCH,

BEFORE THE

BAR OF NORFOLK, VIRGINIA, AND THE CITIZENS GENERALLY,

ON THE 29th DAY OF JUNE, 1860,

BY

HUGH BLAIR GRIGSBY, LL.D.,

MEMBER OF THE AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL SOCIETY, OF THE HISTORICAL SOCIETIES OF VIRGINIA, PENNSYLVANIA, ETC., ETC.

NORFOLK:

PUBLISHED BY J.D. GHISELIN, JUN.,

No. 6 WEST MAIN STREET.

1860.

DISCOURSE.

GENTLEMAN OF THE BAR:

When the sad event occurred which has drawn us together this morning, you met in your accustomed hall, and expressed the feelings which such an event might well inspire. You then adjourned to assist in performing the last solemn rites over the bier of your departed friend. Clad in mourning, you attended his remains from his residence to the steamer, and, embarking with them, transported them over the waters of that noble bay which our venerable friend had crossed so often, and of which he was so justly proud as the Mediterranean of the Commonwealth; and, in the deepening shadows of the night which had overtaken you, and which were rendered yet deeper by the glare of the solitary candles flickering in the wind, more touching by the ceremonies of religion, by the grief of his slaves, and by the smothered wailing of his children and grandchildren, and more imposing by the sorrowing faces and bent forms of some of our aged and most eminent citizens, you deposited the honored dust in its simple grave; there to repose with two seas sounding their ceaseless requiem above it till the trump of the Archangel shall smite the ear of the dead, and the tomb shall unveil its bosom, and the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the statesman who ruled the destinies of empires, and the peasant whose thoughts never strayed beyond his daily walk, shall rise together on the Morn of the Resurrection.

But you rightly deemed that your duty to the memory of your illustrious brother did not cease at his grave. You knew that, whatever may be the estimate of the value of the life and services of LITTLETON WALLER TAZEWELL, it was never denied by his contemporaries that he was endowed with an extraordinary intellect, and that in popular assemblies, at the Bar, in the House of Delegates, and in the Senate of the United States, if he did not as it was long the common faith in Virginia to believe that he did bear away the palm from every competitor, he had few equals, and hardly in any department in which he chose to appear, a superior. And you thought that such a life, so intimately connected with your profession, deserved a special commemoration; that its leading facts should be recalled to the public mind; and that you might thus not only refresh your own recollections by the lessons presented by so remarkable a career, but hand down, if possible, whatever of instruction and encouragement and delight those lessons may contain, for the eye of those who are to succeed you. Your only error and I speak from the heart is in the hands to which you have confided the task.

The time for performing this duty has arrived; and I rejoice to see associated with you the Mayor and the Recorder of the City, the gentlemen of the Common and Select Councils, the officers of the army and navy, the President, Professors, and Students of William and Mary College, his venerable alma mater , and various public bodies distinguished by their useful and benevolent purposes. It is meet that it should be so. At the call of your fathers, gentlemen, he was ever prompt to render any service in his power; and on two occasions especially, when important interests affecting Norfolk were in jeopardy, at great pecuniary sacrifices on his part, he was sent abroad to protect them. On another occasion, when a foreign fleet was in our waters, he undertook the errand of your fathers, and performed it with unequalled success. It was in the service of your fathers that he won his great reputation as a lawyer; and to them and to you, disregarding the obvious dictates of personal interest and ambition, he clung for almost two thirds of a century, as to his friends and neighbors, and to your city as the abode of his brilliant manhood, and the home of his declining years; and he has left his children and grandchildren, those dear objects of his love on whom his eyes rested in the dying hour, to live and to die among you... Continue reading book >>




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