Senator George F. Hoar of Massachusetts seemed unaware of his State’s deep involvement in the transatlantic slave trade as he arraigns the South for an absence of morals. Senator John Critcher below served during the war as a lieutenant-colonel of the Fifteenth Virginia cavalry.
Bernhard Thuersam, www.Circa1865.com
Eminent and Unmatched Virginians
“In the debate on Education in the House of Representatives, Mr. Hoar, of Massachusetts remarked that slavery in the South was not so observable in the degradation of the slave as in the depravity of the master.
Mr. Critcher, of Virginia replied:
“Reminding the gentleman from Massachusetts that every signer of the Declaration of Independence, except those from his State, and perhaps one or two others, were slave-owners, he would venture to make a bold assertion; he would venture to say that he could name more eminent men from the parish of his residence, than the gentleman could name from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He would proceed to name them, and yield the floor to the gentleman to match them if he could.
On one side of his estate is Wakefield, the birthplace of Washington. On the other side is Stratford, the residence of Light Horse Harry Lee, of glorious Revolutionary memory.
Adjoining Stratford is Chantilly, the residence of Richard Henry Lee, the mover of the Declaration of Independence, and the Cicero of the American Revolution. There lived Francis Lightfoot Lee, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Charles Lee, at one time Washington’s Attorney General; and Arthur Lee, the accomplished negotiator of the treaty of commerce and alliance between the Colonies and France in 1777.
Returning, as said before, you come first to the birthplace of Washington; another hour’s drive will bring you to the birthplace of Monroe; another hour’s drive to the birthplace of Madison, and if the gentleman supposes that the present generation is unworthy of their illustrious ancestors, he has but to stand on the same estate to see the massive chimneys of the baronial mansion that witnessed the birth of Robert E. Lee.
These are some of the eminent men from the parish of his residence, and he yielded the floor that the gentleman might match them, if he could, from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
(Degrading Influence of Slavery, Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 12, Barefoot Publishing, pg. 59)