From the Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/4/1907, p. 1, c. 2
NO POLITICS AT REUNION, HE SAYS
General Lee Rebukes Crowd and Colonel Bryan Strongly Commends His Stand.
That the Confederate reunions have no part or place in politics, and that the sacred character of the gatherings of the United Confederate Veterans will not be departed from, was emphasized in no uncertain manner, when on yesterday General Stephen D. Lee, commander-in-chief, rebuked those in the immense crowd of people at the Davis Monument unveiling, who called loudly for William Jennings Bryan to speak. “No! No!” exclaimed the ladies representing the Confederate associations, seated on the platform.
General Lee, rising, cried out: “No politics on this occasion,” and introducing Mrs. Hayes, led the minds of the vast audience back to thoughts of the Confederacy.
That the cries for “Bryan” were as great a surprise to the great Nebraskan as to the officers who witnessed the incident, for Colonel Bryan, with Mrs. Bryan, had attended the ceremonies simply as a guest, and had taken a seat on the platform with the other visitors gathered to do honor to the memory of President Davis. In the procession he and Mrs. Bryan occupied a carriage by themselves, and the great ovation which greeted him was extended to the eloquent Democratic leader in his private capacity of a foremost citizen of the republic and a distinguished American.
Enjoyed the Day.
Last night Colonel Bryan, who, as commander of a Nebraskan regiment in the Spanish-American War, came in close touch with many officers of the army who had once served under the Stars and Bars, spoke very freely to a Times-Dispatch writer concerning his pleasure in being present at the reunion.
After paying a compliment to Richmond and expressing his delight in the growth and prosperity of the city, he said:
“I have enjoyed the day immensely. It is the first Confederate Reunion that I have attended, and this one was of especial importance – first, because of the unveiling of the monuments to President Jefferson Davis and General J. E. B. Stuart, and, second, because Richmond is so Richmond in memories connected with the Confederate cause.
“It interested me to note the enthusiasm of those who participated in the parade and of the people who lined the streets.
“The monuments, beautiful in themselves and ornamental to the city, speak louder than words the devotion of the living Confederates to their dead leaders.
“My chief enjoyment arises from the fact that we have reached a period when each side recognizes the high purpose and the conscientiousness of the other side, and when the bravery of the men and the sacrifices of the women on both sides of the line are cherished as the common heritage of the nation.
“The tokens of love which have been reared throughout the South do not cause regrets or criticism in the North, for the loyalty of the South to the Union is more trusted than it would be if the Southern people were less loyal to those who bore with them the burdens and hardships of the war.
“The Union is stronger, not weaker because of the Civil War, and the future is brighter because, both on the Union and Confederate side, American citizens were willing to give their lives in support of their convictions.
“The highest attribute of a man is found in his willingness to make great sacrifices for what he believes to be right.
“My enjoyment of the day was increased by the fact that my wife was able to share the privilege with me and make the acquaintance of so many of the Southern women.
“This visit has given me an opportunity to renew acquaintance with Governor and Mrs. Swanson, whom I learned to know when the Governor and I began politics together in Congress.”
Era of Development.
“Have you noticed the great industrial improvements in the South?” Colonel Bryan was asked.
“Yes. Your section seems to be passing through an era of development such as the North had some years ago. I have noticed all over the South increasing business activity and a considerable investment of Northern capital. I meet in every State people who have gone South to engage in farming or fruit-raising.
“Considering the enormous losses suffered by the Southern people during the war and in the reconstruction period, their recuperation and progress are wonderful.
“Tom Reed predicted some fifteen years ago that manufacturing was likely to move South and the large increase in your cotton factories shows the economy of bringing the machinery and the raw material close together.”
Colonel Bryan left early this morning for Annapolis, where he will be the guest of Governor Warfield. He will speak in Baltimore to-night, and then go to Albany, where he will deliver an address before the New York Legislature.
Mrs. Bryan left yesterday afternoon for Hollins Institute to visit her daughter, who is a student there.