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Proceedings of the Fourth Congress at Atlanta, GA., April 28 to May 1, 1892
An Address by Judge Hamilton McWhorter.


Mr. President, Ladies, and Gentlemen: I can only hope, within the limitation of this occasion, to crystallize a few thoughts and not to make a speech. If ever an occasion would repel such a vain desire, it is now: just following the wonderfully inspiring eloquence with which this assemblage has been delighted. I desire, however, to protest against this reckless reference to my age—to my seeming judicial youth. I trust there is no malice in this allusion, either expressed or implied. There was a time in my life—it might have been when I was a candidate—when the scruples upon this question seemed multiplied and formidable, and I am now under a faithful promise to one of my venerable, but conscientious Alliance friends who voted for me with great doubt and misgiving, to grow older, and every day and hour I am faithfully and assiduously fulfilling this rash and ruthless promise, and I hope this reference to my youth is intended as no denial of it. On the other hand, my ever watchful wife, whose tender care and constant solicitude gilds home with its brightness and life with its happiness, would insinuate that I sometimes masquerade as "a young man." Since I have been Judge I have heard that I need not criminate myself, and hence I will not give the time nor the occasion of this accusation. Sailing, therefore, on the uncertain craft of seeming youth—between Scylla and Charybdis—between my ever watchful and devoted wife and a patriotic but inquisitive Alliance, this reference to my age tends to my discomfiture. But I will lay down naught in malice. I will ascribe it to the effervescent ebullition of this Irish wake, where malice lies dead, where frank, generous, innocent pleasantry sparkles and radiates.

But for the restraining presence of my father, whose pride in his Scotch-Irish lineage is the only known proof of it, I might confess to you that I do not know by what right I am here. I might tell you that fortunately for our country a link in the lineage of American ancestral proof was dropped in the fathomless deep which divides the twig from the parent tree; and I might further confess to you that I have sought my ancestral stem upon this parent stock, because, perhaps, it could not be traced elsewhere, and presuming upon the benevolent goodness of the Scotch and the generous carelessness of the Irish, I have drafted upon this great Scotch-Irish charter house of ancestral lineage for the license of its patent and the use of its prevailing privileges. But I am restrained by his presence from this confession. Having thus entered, and with this disclaimer fresh upon my lips, I may be permitted now to express my own pride in this scene and in this occasion and join the chorus that would pay tribute to the wealth and worth of the Scotch-Irish character.

From the historic settlement of Strath Clyde, tradition traces this type, and thence, projected and preserved through the trying training school of North of Ireland, and no country can now claim and no clime can now monopolize them. In the illustration of their manly character and thoughtful habits, they have signalized the tranquil, peaceful pursuits of private life, preserved in their inherent integrity, and wrapped in the drapery of their personal uprightness they have traversed in honesty the crowded centers of congested commerce and the busy marts of trying trade; in the strength of their character, upon the highest pinnacle of official station, they have preserved the judicial ermine in its pristine purity and spotless integrity; in the matchless majesty of their manhood they have dashed athwart the political sky in dazzling splendor and enduring greatness; in the purity and probity of their conduct they have walked in fidelity the dizzy heights of ecclesiastical preferment, and at all times and everywhere they have signalized the transcendent ability, illustrated the upright character, reflected the' resolute will of the Scotch-Irish.

If I were permitted, I would liken this union of natures to the union of hearts, for the merry ringing of the marriage bell never caught and blended in its silvery note so much of virtue and so little of vice. It caught in its staid and steady strain for this transfusion from the Scotch his primal piety, his enduring faith, his benevolent goodness, his unaffected and stern integrity, his reserved and rigid simplicity, his conscientious and consistent conservatism, his moderation and temperance, his individual industry, his frugal habits, his systematic methods, his broad, calculating judgment, his clear, level head, his resolute self-denial, his inflexible will, and finally his muscular but angular manhood.

In the merry melody of its refrain, in this alchemy of union, it commingled from the Irish his frank, open nature, his sensitive generosity, his warm, ardent affection, his genial, generous temperament, his affecting sensibility, his active individuality, his acute observance of things, his intuitive knowledge of human nature, his enigmatic personality, and above all the refulgent rays of a radiant sun which rests upon his heart, warms his blood, illumines his life, and radiates from his lips in sparkling eloquence and irresistible humor.

Evolved of this union and a strain of these confluent streams, the Scotch-Irish weds in his veins the virtues of both, and divorces their kindred vices; unites in primal purity the goodly elements of their character, and leaves behind the dross of their joint conceit; unifies the strength of their separate natures and divides and dissipates their unal weakness; blends in sustaining force the signalizing powers of each, and diffuses what would enervate and dwarf; absorbing the good and rejecting the bad; from their provincial inception this type has been evolved, which has everywhere signalized its individuality, raised an enduring monument to its kind, and which any nation may be proud to produce, and country glad to adopt.

To this compendium of private virtues may be added, as a capstone, a pure and priceless patriotism. A child of adoption, they became the children of love; a transplanted exotic, they became to the manor born; a vassal of the king, they transferred their allegiance to a constitutional sovereignty; a pupil of titled aristocracy, they learn and love the lesson of the sovereignty of citizenship; born in political bondage, they are the nation of political freedom; reared in poverty, they would preserve inviolate the honest accumulation of wealth; the willing victims to the cause of liberty, they have never sought or sold justice; they are builders, and not wreckers; they project and do not destroy, for in the support of the civil temple, freighted with the social fabric, in whatever clime or country they may abide, they will be found its pillars of strength, preserving its integrity, its completeness, and its glory.


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