Thoughts on Judge Longstreet, Oxford University, Dr. Candler, etc – Bill Arp, 5/26/1892

Thoughts on Judge Longstreet, Oxford University, Dr. Candler, etc – Bill Arp, 5/26/1892

The times change and we change with them; we change in customs and manner and dress, but there is no change
in the eternal principles of truth and justice and love and charity and temperance. There was a time when it was wrong
to wear a beard or play the fiddle or for the ladies to wear jewelry or talk in public. I was ruminating about this before
I was at Oxford where Emory College is, and my memory carried me back for half a century when Judge Longstreet
was the President. The capital stock of youth is hope and expectation. The treasure of age is memory and so while
meandering through these clasisic grounds I recalled the halcyon days when it was my privilege to see and hear Judge
Longstreet quite often. He frequently visited our little village of Lawrenceville and preached and his name and his
fame came with him. He always domiciled at the hospitable home of Judge Hutchins and brought his flute and his
violin. After tea it was his delight to accompany Judge Hutchins’ little daughter on the piano for she was gifted in
music, having been carefully trained by the blind old German Guttenburg, who was truly the father of piano music
in a Georgia. Sometimes the old German was there and with his violin n joined in the harmony. Such music was
rare in those days and would be rare in any country town even now, and it always delighted the family. and their
invited friends. There was then but one piano in the village and no flute. Fiddles were numerous, but they were
generally kept in the doggeries and were not considered orthodox or John Wesleyan. Sometimes old Uncle
Allan Turner came with Judge Longstreet to help out in the quarterly meetings. He was a plain, blunt, old
-fashioned man and had opinions and convictions and dared to maintain them. He had some prejudices,
too, and was as hostile to whiskers and to fiddle music as he was to fine dressing and jewelry. They were
very dear friends, Longstreet and Turner, A and yet were as unlike as two men a ever got to be.

One was a gentleman of culture, scrupulous in his dress, refined in his manners and as full of humor and mischief
as a school a boy. He had a high emotional nature, always looking on the bright and beautiful side of everything,
and enjoyed life for its luxuries as well as its comforts. Father Turner, on the contrary, saw nothing but a sin cursed
world that was full of sinners, and he sighed and prayed and groaned in spiritual anguish. He threatened more than
he entreated. He preached hell more than he did heaven. Judge Longstreet loved the old man and loved to tease him
by taking the other side as they journeyed along together. Uncle Allan could not be reconciled to his gold spectacles,
and gold sleeve buttons, and gold-headed cane, nor to his fiddle music, especialiy when the tunes sounded like
“Billy in the low grounds,” or the “Old Virginia reel.” And that little hazel-eyed girl, who for 43 years has been my
wife, still loves to tell how, on one occasion, while she and the Judge were playing together, and the parlor windows
were open, old Father Turner was walking back and forth in the piazza with his hands crossed behind his back,
and every little while would groan in anguish and say : “May the Lord have mercy on their souls.” But when the
hour of prayer came, or the time for worship in the humble church near by, and the gifted preacher lifted his tall
and handsome form in the pulpit and poured out his heart to God, and his tender persuasive eloquence to the
people, Uncle Allan became happy again and forgave his fiddle music, and said “amen” and “amen” with spiritual
fervor. Judge Longstreet was a man of extraordinary talents and whatever he did was done easily and well. His
versatile genius made him a great man in many ways and whether as a law-maker or a Judge or an editor or a
teacher or a preacher or a writer or in the art of conversation, his work was a success. It is a comfort to me that I
knew him in the vigor of his splendid manhood and also in his dignified decay, when, with feeble and tottering steps
he frequented the sanctum of the Columbus Enquirer and wielded his masterly pen for the rights of the States.

How much of life he lived. Judge of his circuit when only 30 years of age; editor of the Augusta Sentinel which in
1838 consolidated with the Chronicle, then a Methodist minister stationed in Augusta, then President of Emory College
for nine years, then President of the Centenary College, in Louisiana, then President of Columbia College, S.C.,
and all this time writing often and ably for religious papers and literary-magazines and agricultural and political
journals. All this for solid mental food, besides the “Georgia Scenes” and “Master William Mitten,” for dessert. I
stood within the gateway to Dr. Candler’s residence and looked at the solid granite posts to which the gate was
hung and bolted, and Mrs. Candler remarked: “Judge Longstreet had those posts planted there nearly fifty years
ago. Mischievous college boys sometimes took the old gate off the hinges and carried it away, and so he fixed this
one so that if they took the gate they would have to do like Samson did with the gates of Gazra. They would have
to carry the post too,” On Saturday afternoon Mrs. Candler and I walked over to see the base ball game, and the
first time in my life I really enjoyed it, for it was well played and no racket raised over it, no guying nor bragging nor
fussing, no appeals to to the umpire, but a straight, fair, honest game. Sam Jones once said in the pulpit that if his
dog was to go to a base ball game he would kill him when he came home, but I reckon he would let his dog and
boys go to one at Oxford, and maybe he wouldn’t mind taking a hand himself. I believe that e the average Oxford
boy appreciates his pupilage and is trying to improve himself and made good use of his time: The poor boys are,
I know, and some of the rich ones. When you see a boy working his way through college, you can count on him.
Sometimes I think that it is unfortunate for a boy to have a rich father. It is not his fault, but it is his misfortune.
Emory College is certainly doing a great and good work, and has, within the last 30 years, turned out more
teachers and preachers than all the other Georgia Colleges put together.

From what I have learned I believe there is more brotherhood and less social caste than in any other. A poor boy who
is working his way is as much honored as a rich one. Dr. Candler is loved and honored by faculty and students. His
will power is prodigious, his moral courage unfailing, and Davy Crocket’s motto would fit him to a T-“Be sure you are
right, then go ahead.” That Candler family are remarkable for their force of character, their individuality, their lasting
energy. Many years ago I was present in the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, when a very eminent
divine introduced a resolution which was seconded and was about to be passed, as a matter of course, when a
small, wiry, dark-skinned man got up and in a ringing metallic voice said, “Mr. Moderator,” the peculiar snap to his tone
and his insignificant appearance attracted every eye and those who did not know him wondered what he could
have to say. They did not wonder long for in a burst of vehement convincing argument he resisted the passage
of the resolution-when he took his seat the silence that followed was almost painful. The eminent divine saw his
error and relieved the embarrassment by so modifying the proposed measure as to free it from all objection. But
the whispered inquiry went from one to another all over the house, “who is he?” “what is he?” “where did he come
from?” That man was Milton A. Candler. I wish the world was full of them. My memory follows all along the line
for half a century. From the time when our Lawrenceville boys began to flock to Oxford instead of Athens and
there grew to manhood and returned home and married. I have seen their children follow in their footsteps,
grow up to their teens and go to Oxford and graduate and go and marry and raise up more boys for Oxford.
And so the wheels of time roll on, and so we live and so we die, but Oxford remains. For men may come
and men may go, but these Christian institution will go on forever.

Last Updated on November 8, 2021 by Bill Arp

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