584 History of Wake Forest College
ration, professed to think their vindication complete, and Dr. Hooper
refuted, but the unbiased reader of the present day would hardly agree
with them; in reading the two one cannot fail to be struck with the
high moral tone which pervades the fiercest invectives of Dr. Hooper
and makes his indignation powerful; on the other hand the reader will
be amused at the pettiness and weakness of the severe language which
the writer of the "Vindication" used in an attack that is personally
abusive.19 That it was the "swan-song" of the aged speaker was said
with some show of satisfaction. Even this statement proved to be
false, for two years later, at the "Buchanan Commencement" at the
State University, Dr. Hooper made his great speech, "Fifty Years
Since," :among the very best of alumni addresses, and the pride of the
University historian.20
The courage and elevated moral tone of Dr. Hooper are perhaps best revealed in
his fearless denunciation before a Southern audience of Brooks's attack on Sumner
in the United States Senate, which he used to introduce his second topic; somewhat
abbreviated it is as follows:
But alas ! What avails my feeble voice to dissuade the youth of our country from
violent personal encounters, when the representatives of the nation, in the very halls
destined for calm and high debate on the momentous interests of this country, set
examples of ruffian assault, and when half the nation applaud the deed ! In pursuing
my present line of thought, I can hardly omit, without being faithless to my cause
―――――――
19 Some of the hard sayings to which the writer of the "Vindication" objected
were: "The tribunals of justice, the very sanctuary and palladium of our safety,
betray us into the hands of murderers." "She delivers us, the innocent and the
helpless, to the dagger and the pistol, and throws the shield of her defence around
the ruffian and the assassin." "But in most cases where the killer is rich and of an
influential family, his conviction is next to an impossibility." "Every great criminal
lawyer ought to have this sign over his office door: `Life Insurance Office For
Murderers and other Felons."' "Such is the power given to the advocate by packing
the jury."
20 At the time there were some who spoke highly of Dr. Hooper's address. After
reading it, a writer for the Biblical Recorder of October 22, 1857, said: "The times
require such a satire," and it was a credit to Dr. Hooper to have been the first to
enlist in checking the evils of which he spoke, and that "Those who do not admit the
justice of his conclusions object because they touch harshly upon their own darling
practices."
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