Impulses and Youthful Commanders
“The source of our impulses has always been to me a fascinating study. Whence come the sudden flashes that illuminate the mind and start us on a course of action? One of them made me a novelist. Another led me to name a man for the Presidency who got the office.
[A]n old friend, Rev. J.D. Hufham, the most influential leader of the [Baptist] denomination…was on his way to a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the [Wake Forest] College. He explained, laughingly, that the next day they would hear nominations for honorary degrees.
[I asked] “I’ve a candidate for the degree of LL.D that will come before your Board tomorrow. Will you act as my advocate and see that he receives the honor?”
“If you say he’s worthy of it. Yes.”
“He is. His name is Woodrow Wilson, a school mate of mine at Johns Hopkins University, a lawyer of learning and a profound student of American History.”
[On the day of the Board meeting, Rev. Hufham said,] “Now tell me all about your friend Woodrow. One old fellow shouted out that he was a Presbyterian. The son of a Presbyterian minister from Wilmington…is that so?”
“Certainly,” I acknowledged. “What’s the matter with the Presbyterians?”
“Between you and me, nothing.” Hufham smiled,“”but my tormentor asked why a Baptist College should worry about honorary degrees for the Presbyterians. They say he is only twenty-nine years old. Is that so?”
“True. But what of that? Alexander was only twenty-six when he conquered the world. The greatest Cavalry Commander America ever produced, J.E.B. Stuart, was but twenty-seven when killed at Yellow Tavern, where, with three thousand men, he battled Sheridan’s ten thousand and saved Richmond. He was a Major General at twenty-six.”
(Southern Horizons, The Autobiography of Thomas Dixon, IWV Publishing, 1984, pp. 198-200)