Young, handsome, fearless, and bold, and filled with a
patriotic fire born of his firm conviction of the right of
the cause for which he fought, he was a beau ideal of the
Confederate soldiery. No danger daunted him; no task
was too exacting, for his was a service of loyalty and love.
And, boy though he was, underlying it all was a dignity
and self-respect which he never forgot himself nor per-
mitted others to disregard.
Upon one occasion, during the first days of his service
upon the staff of Gen. Earlj% that officer, with unthinking
abruptness and with needless pereniptoriness, accom-
panied b}' an oath, ordered him upon some mission. The
young adjutant drew himself to attention, and, looking
the old general directly in the eyes, said, " General, when
you address me as one gentleman should address anotlier
I will obey your orders, but not otherwise." To the credit
of Gen. Early, be it said, he was too great a soldier and
himself too much a gentleman not to recognize the justice
of the rebuke, and, revising the terms of the order, he
never again in like manner trenched upon the sensibili-
Address of Mr. Martin, of Virginia
ties of his young subordinate, who became his favorite
officer of all his staff.
While serving on the staff of Gen. Early he saw active
service in many of the severest battles of the Civil War,
including the great Battle of Gettysburg, until he received
the final wound which permanently disabled him from
military service on May 6, 1864, in the Battle of the
During the progress of this battle, and while upon some
service for Gen. Early, he noted a regiment of troops
whose commanding officer had been killed and which
had been thrown into confusion and disorder. Realizing
the necessity for prompt action, he placed himself at their
head and was striving to reorganize them for an advance
in the face of a terrific fire when he was struck in the
left leg by a Minie ball. He fell from his horse and
dragged himself behind a fallen log. Finding his thigh
bone shattered and the femoral vein severed, he unwound
the silken sash from his waist, and, making a tourniquet
above the wound, stanched the flow of blood that had
been dangerously profuse. This presence of mind and
slight knowledge of surgery undoubtedly saved his life.
This wound not only disabled him from further mili-
tary service, but caused him untold agony and pain for
many years thereafter and discomfort and distress all
the remainder of his life. It was due to this injurj- that
he ever afterwards walked with crutches, being unable
to use the wounded member except very cautiously and
for short distances.
Immediately that he recovered from this wound suf-
ficiently to move about, and realizing that his cherished
ambition for a further military career was at an end, he
accepted his condition as the fortune of war and turned
himself to other fields. But all during his life he treas-
ured his service in the army of his beloved South as the
Mi;m()Hiai. Adhkesses: Senator Daniel
most precious of all his incmoiies. Other titles were
conferred upon him which it was his privilege and right
to adopt and use; but he preferred the simple " Major."
After the war, when James L. Kemper, the commander
of the famous Kemper's brigade, became governor, he
appointed Maj. Daniel upon his staff with the rank of
colonel. But the title of " colonel " never stuck to him.
And as Maj. Daniel wrote in a brief autobiographical
sketch he once began :
In truth I did not desire that it should. I had won that of
" major " in the steadiest army of history, the Army of Northern
Virginia. * * * I have always regarded it, and regard it still,
as Gen. Early called it, " my most honorable title." By it my
comrades of battle know me; and when I die I wish it to be
carved on a simple, unostentatious stone above my dust.
Well might he say he had won the title. He had won
it by a bravery, a devotion, a dashing gallantry, and an
elliciency of service not surpassed by any of his com-
patriots. And whatever other inscriptions may be carved
upon the monuments that will be reared to his memory
none will bear to the generations yet to come a higher or
nobler message of patriotism, of loyalty, and of duty than
the simple legend, "Major in the Army of Northern
LAWYER AND AUTHOR
After the war Maj. Daniel found himself, like many
other young men of the South, with maimed body and
shattered fortunes. The environment of wealth that had
been his lot had been changed by the blight of war, and
lie realized that he must make his own fortune and carve
out his own future. Deciding upon law as a profession,
he entered the law school of the University of Virginia
under the great teacher, John B. Minor. He had inherited
from his father and grandfather a peculiar adaptability
to his chosen profession, and his career as a student at
Address of Mr. Martin, of Virginia
the university convinced all who knew him that he was
marked for success at the bar.
He began the practice of his profession in Lynchburg
as a partner with his father, which partnership continued
until the latter's death in 1873. Being studious by nature,
diligent in research, and splendidly grounded in the great
principles of the law, his intellectual ability, high char-
acter, and power of advocacy soon established his reputa-
tion. As his experience widened and his intellect matured
he took higher and higher rank in his profession, until
few lawyers of the country could be regarded as his equal.
His learning, his habits of industry, and his thorough
preparation of every case, together with his winning per-
sonality and magnificent presence, made him a power
before court and jury alike.
For many years he was in full and active practice in the
State and Federal courts of Virginia and in the Supreme
Court of the United States. He appeared in many of the
most important cases before the supreme court of appeals
of Virginia, where his briefs were noted for their scholarly
style, beauty of diction, logical arrangement, and argu-
mentative force; and where his oral arguments are con-
ceded to be the most masterly ever addressed to that
Although his public duties became more and more
exacting as he grew older in the public service, he never
lost his love for his profession and never withdrew
entirely from its practice. For a number of years before
his death he maintained a partnership with his son and
his son-in-law and continued to the end to give personal
attention to the more important business of the firm.
Within three years from his admission to the bar he
issued his first legal textbook, Daniel on Attachments.
This work, designed for use particularly in the States of
Virginia and West Virginia, was published in 1869, met
Memorial Addresses: Senator Daniel
witli immediate success, and has ever since been regarded
as a standard autliority by the courts and bar of lioth of
His splendid treatise on "negotiable instruments" is
the work by which he is best known to the profession gen-
erally and is his legal masterpiece. He had this work
under preparation during eight years, and, in the midst
of the countless demands upon his time and energies,
spent long periods in the law libraries at Richmond, Balti-
more, and New York, where he could have convenient
access to original authorities.
The work first appeared in 1876, was at once recognized
as the leading authority on the subject, and has ever since
been regarded as a standard and a classic in all the courts
of the English-speaking countries. His old law instructor,
John B. Minor, one of the greatest, if not the greatest, law
teacher of this country, and himself an author of a monu-
mental legal work, once said with obvious pride :
Upon the subject of negotiable instruments I bow my head to
John W. Daniel, my pupil.
His publishers, when the work was first in press, asked
him in surprise how it happened that a " provincial
lawj'er" from a small town could have produced so
excellent and exhaustive a treatise. He replied with his
usual modesty that it was, perhaps, because he was a
provincial lawyer from a small town, and therefore had
the necessary time to give to its preparation.
The work has been through five editions, in 1876, 1879,
1882, 1891, and 1902. All of them, save the last, he pre-
pared with his own liand. It is probably this book which,
more tlian any other one thing, won for him his honorary
degree of LL. D., which was conferred upon him by the
University of Michigan, and also bj' Washington and Lee
University in his own State.
Address of Mr. Martin, of Virginia
Maj. Daniel had scarcely become settled in the prac-
tice of his profession before his intellectual gifts, his
talent for public speaking, and his personal popularity as
well, perhaps, as his natural inclination, forced him into
the political arena. He was a Democrat of the purest
extraction, and prided himself upon the fact that for over
a hundred years he and his ancestors had voted with that
party without ever scratching a ticket.
He was elected as a Democrat to the Virginia House of
Delegates in 1869, his constituency embracing the city of
Lynchburg and county of Campbell, and served in that
body for three years.
In 1874 he was elected by the same constituency to
the State senate for four years, and was reelected in
During his service in the State legislature he made an
enviable reputation as a legislator, and especially as a
debater upon the public questions under consideration
at that time. He had taken an active part in the cam-
paigns of his party and had won a personal following
all over the State that insured his rapid political promo-
tion. In the meantime, however, and due more to his
youth than to any other cause, he had been twice defeated
for the Democratic nomination for Congress, and once
for the nomination for governor.
But in 1881 he was nominated as the Democratic can-
didate for the governorship. His speech of acceptance
before the convention at Richmond was a masterpiece
of political oratory and fired his party with enthusiasm
and loyalty. The great issue of the campaign was the
funding of the State debt, and thousands of those who
had theretofore regularly supported the Democratic
Party during this fight allied themselves with the Repub-
licans, and under the party name of " Readjusters " the
Mkmohiai. Ai)I)Hi:ssi:s: Skn.vtoii I)ami;i,
coalition presented the most formidable opposition the
Democrats had ever met, being led by Hon. William E.
Cameron, an able, learned, and aggressive candidate.
The campaign was the most brilliant ever waged in
Virginia. The ablest men in the Commonwealth threw
themselves heart and soul into the contest on one side or
tlic otlier, and public interest was aroused to the highest
pitch of excitement.
Throughout the contest John W. Daniel was the cen-
tral figure. He swept over the State, from the mountains
to the sea, and everywhere cast the spell of his magnetic
eloquence over the thousands who crowded to hear him;
revealing to them his high motives, his magnificent abili-
ties, and his splendid qualifications for leadership. And
although his party was defeated at the polls, he had so
firmly established himself in the confidence and regard
of the people that from that day he became a leader in
Virginia whose clarion voice could ever summon a host
to follow and whose supremacy in their affections was
never afterwards open to question.
In 1884 Maj. Daniel was elected to Congress from the
sixth congressional district and had scarcely entered upon
his actual service when he was elected to the United
States Senate for the term beginning March 4, 1887. To
this high oiBce he was reelected four consecutive times,
each time without party opposition and twice bj' the
unanimous vote of the legislature.
He was elector at large on the Democratic ticket in 1876
and delegate to everj' Democratic national convention
since 1880 except that of 1884. He became a familiar
and favorite figure at these gatherings and was elected
temporary chairman of the convention of 1896.
In 1901 he was elected a member of tlic Virginia con-
stitutional convention and would inevitably have been
elected its president had he permitted himself to be placed
Address of Mr. Martin, of Virginia
in noniination for that office, but, with characteristic
generosity, he declined to do so, and said :
There are so many gentlemen who are eminently worthy of
this office in the convention that it would seem appropriate to
confer the distinction on some one of them who has not been so
favored as myself.
He was made chairman of the committee on suffrage,
and entered so vigorously upon the work of that body,
immediately following a trjing session of Congress, that
his health gave way under the strain, and for several
months he was compelled to withdraw from attendance
upon its sessions. He was able to return, however, before
its close and took a prominent part in the debates upon
its floor and in the actual framing of Virginia's present
At the time of his death Maj. Daniel was the oldest
Democratic Senator in point of service, and but four
among its entire membership had seen a longer con-
tinuous service in this body. By virtue of the rule of
seniority which prevails here, he held membership upon
two of the Senate's most important committees, and
enjoyed all the power and prestige incident thereto. But
apart from this, and by virtue of his character, ability, and
personality alone, there was no Senator on this side of
the Chamber and but few on the other who exercised a
wider or more potent influence both here and beyond
His unfailing courtesy and gentle manners, his honesty
and frank candor, his consideration for others, and his
strict observance of all the highest and best traditions of
this body not only made him a conspicuous and attractive
figure but endeared him to all his associates. And now
that he is gone, and we no longer see his familiar face and
hear his well-known voice, it is not only the distinguished
Senator whom we miss, but a cherished friend as well,
for whom we sincerely grieve.
Mi;m()Hiai. Ai)1)Hi;ssi;.s: Skn.vioh Danif.i.
It is doubtful if any man in public life since the days of
the great triumvirate of oratory in this body has surpassed
Senator Daniei. in all the qualifications of a great orator.
To a mind stored witii classic learning and teeming with
the riches of a broad and brilliant culture, nature had
contributed the aid of features strikingly handsome, a
noble countenance, and a pleasing voice. Manly in bear-
ing and commanding in presence, he was a splendid fig-
ure, to which his lameness added a touch of the pictur-
esque. Trained from his youth in tlie arts of public
speaking, with gestures full of grace and a tongue
schooled to roimdcd phrases, he won the attention of his
auditors with his fii'st sentences, and, captivating their
minds with his brilliance and logic and firing their
enthusiasm with his eloquence, he frequently swayed
them almost at will.
From his earliest manhood he was in constant demand
as a speaker on public occasions, and has perhaps deliv-
ered a greater number of prepared addresses than any
other man of his day. His subjects covered a wide range,
and he was sometimes happiest in a lighter vein, but he
was always thoughtful and never spoke for the sole pur-
pose of entertainment.
At the unveiling of the recumbent statue of Robert E.
Lee, at Lexington, Va., in 1883, he delivered the memorial
address. To this occasion he brought not only all of his
great gifts, but an affection and veneration for his subject
that filled him with inspiration, and the result was a
magnificent oration that aroused his hearers to the highest
pitch of enthusiasm and was immediately acclaimed all
over tlie country as a masterpiece of oratory. It was
undoubtedly his greatest effort, and among the many
splendid addresses he has elsewhere delivered it stands
preeminent and will survive as a classic.
Address of Mr. Martin, of Virginia
But had he never made this speech, numerous others
would have made him great in this field, for there is a
long list of ceremonial occasions upon which he delivered
orations worthy alike of the occasion and himself. Among
those deserving especial mention because of their beauty
and eloquence are:
His speech delivered at the ceremonies attending the
dedication of the Washington Monument.
His address upon " Jefferson Davis," delivered before
the Legislature of Virginia upon its invitation.
His address upon " Stonewall Jackson."
His address at Kings Mountain upon the centennial
anniversary of that battle.
His speech upon " Virginia," delivered at Chicago dur-
ing the World's Fair on Virginia day.
His address in the House of Representatives at the cele-
bration of the centennial of the establishment of the
Government at Washington.
His speech at the Confederate Reunion in New Orleans.
His address upon "Abraham Lincoln."
His oration at the unveiling of the bust of John B.
Minor, at the University of Virginia.
His speech upon " Thomas Jefferson."
His address upon "Americanism," at the University of
Michigan, and his two lectures, "The English-Speaking
People" and "The Unities of the Union."
It is needless to mention his many magnificent speeches
delivered upon this floor. Always alert as to the busi-
ness under consideration, and ready and able to maintain
himself at all times in running debate, yet he rarely
addressed the Senate except upon questions of impor-
tance and only after careful preparation. Upon occasions,
however, when the exigencies of the moment required, he
would take the floor for an impromptu speech, and always
commanded the most respectful attention, for the Senate
Mi;m(iiuai. Ai)1)1(i;ssi;.s: Si;.\ai()H Dami;i,
had loarncd lliat he never spoke save when he had some-
thing to say worth while for it to hear.
His great speech in the Senate on " The Free Coinage
of Silver" is justly regarded as among the ahlest of all
the many utterances upon that suhject, and that upon
" The Independence of Cuha " was an especially brilliant
example of his eloquence and power.
Upon the stump he was peculiarly effective. Delight-
ing to mingle with the great masses of the plain people,
for whom he entertained the greatest admiration and
respect, he accepted everj^ convenient opportunity to
address them in their small towns and country' villages;
and many of his finest speeches were made upon such
With all his splendid capacities and powers, he never
permitted them to be applied to invective or bitterness or
ridicule. But always and ever he displayed an innate
courtesy, an easv' dignity, a gentleness of bearing, a frank-
ness and candor, and a nobility of thought that robbed
the most carping critic of any doubt of his sincerity and
mental integrity. And whether in the United States Sen-
ate, or before the most distinguished courts, or upon the
village greens of Virginia, he was equally at his case;
because he was always conscious of his own honesty of
purpose and purity of motive and knew that nothing save
a lack of these need make him afraid.
His tongiie was taught no phrase of harshness;
His lips could speak no word of guile;
But gentleness and truth, twin virtues,
Attended him, with sweetest smile.
John W. Daniel was one of the most lovable of men.
He possessed a personal magnetism that seemed to draw
to him all classes and conditions alike. Sweet tempered
Address of Mr. Martin, of Virginia
and serene, responding to every advance of friendliness
and affection, and with a superb lojaltj' to those admitted
to his friendship, he became a general favorite from his
first appearance in the Senate. While ever a stanch
defender of Virginia and the South, brooking no unjust
attack upon either from any quarter, he yet had none of
the rancor and bitterness that too often displaj^ed itself
on both sides of this Chamber, especially during the
earlier days of his service.
It is doubtful if any one man during more than a gen-
eration past has exerted a greater influence in the restora-
tion of the harmony and friendship between the North
and the South that is now so happily accomplished. It
was one of the treasured purposes of his life. In the
course of his eulogy upon the late Senator Quay, delivered
upon this floor, and after referring to the era of ill-feeling
that had so long existed, he said:
I could pay to his memory no better and no sincerer tribute,
and for my country could express no better wish, than by saying
at his open grave, " God grant that the departed era may return
no more to our country."
Because of this trait of character, perhaps, as well as
his many other virtues, he has numbered among his
warmest friends and admirers men whose political faith,
sectional affiliations, and familiar associations were utterly
at variance with his own. And thus we see one Republi-
can Vice President directing his portrait to be forwarded
to Senator Daniel with warmest expressions of affection,
and another who writes him from far-off China :
I could pay to his memory no better and no sincerer tribute,
and that you will enjoy a well-earned vacation. Conserve your
strength, for the country has much need of you.
Mere incidents in themselves, but evidences of the uni-
versal regard and esteem in which he was held by all his
Memorial Addkesses: Senator Danmel
III liis I'aniily iclalions he was a most devoted husband
and loving fallur, wliosc keenest delight was to do some
act that would bring pleasure to wife or children. Sim-
ple and unaffected in his manners and habits, but stately
in his courtesy and native dignity, he was a typical " gen-
tleman of the old school," and as a brilliant Virginia
editor recently' wrote in an appreciative editorial, " the
pity of it is that the ' old school ' has closed its doors and
the type is no longer produced."
His affability and approachableness were known to
everyone in his home town of Lj'nchburg, and his daily
drives to his oflice were almost triumphal processions.
Everybody wanted to speak to " The Major," as they all
called him, and to shake his hand. And to none, whether
white or black, was his gracious and courteous salute
He was a most indefatigable worker; and until recent
years rarely ever retired until long after midnight. He
preferred the undisturbed quiet of later hours for his
labors, although his wonderful power of concentration
enabled him to work under conditions that would have
driven most men from the attempt in despair. Few^ could
have sustained their strength under the burden of work
he imposed upon himself, nor could he have done so
except for his splendid constitution and his peculiar
abilitj' to sleep anywhere and at any time when he so
The lure of gold never dazzled the eye of John W.
Daniel. His attainments and professional ability brought
him many flattering offers that would have meant oppor-
tunities to accumulate a fortune commensurate with the
value of the service sought from him. But he preferred
the daily association with those whom he affectionately
called his " own people," and the environment and atmos-
phere of his native Virginia; and after 30 years spent
Address of Mr. Martin, ok Virginia
almost continuously in public office, he died as poor in
purse as when he began. But he has left to his children,
in the memory of his illustrious career, his incorruptible
honesty and stainless honor, and in the assurance of his
enduring fame a heritage more to be treasured than all
the riches of the world.
ILLNESS AND DEATH
During the fall of 1909, while Senator Daniel was in
Philadelphia, he was taken ill with pneumonia and was
confined for some weeks to his room at the Bellevuc-
Stratford. Before he was sufficiently restored to strength
to return home he suffered a slight stroke of paralysis
which affected his right hand and leg. This attack was
not dangerous in itself and, returning to Lj'nchburg, he
soon recovered therefrom. But it was premonitorj' of a
serious condition and none knew better than he what it
portended. His father and grandfather alike, at about
his age, had died from attacks of apoplexy; and he had
frequently stated his belief that his end would come in
Under directions from his physicians he went to Florida