A Perceptive Postwar Southern Congressman
The following is taken from the biographical essay of North Carolinian Benjamin Franklin Grady on www.cfhi.net. Grady served under General Hiram Granbury and General Patrick Cleburne, witnessing both die in battle at Franklin, Tennessee. It is said that no officer above the rank of lieutentant in Cleburne’s division survived the war, including Cleburne himself.
Cape Fear Historical Institute
A Perceptive Postwar Southern Congressman:
Benjamin Franklin Grady held political views consistent with his North Carolina roots, especially regarding the War Between the States. In May 1894 while serving as a US Representative he penned a response to a Pennsylvanian in which he reflected upon the dismal outcome of that war. He condemned the “cranks, fanatics and unscrupulous tyrants” who were in national political power and regarded his own State of North Carolina as a conquered province of the victorious North. He saw the unbridled military power of the Washington government unleashed during the War as dangerous; and verbally attacked the “advocates of imperialism” who considered the globe as their own.
He viewed that “the cause of the South (during the war) was the cause of Constitutional government, the cause of government regulated by law, and the cause of honesty and fidelity in public servants. No nobler cause did ever man fight for!”
Grady was wary of politicians and government, and saw that “Extravagance is almost unavoidable when the method of taxation enables the Legislature to lay unperceived burdens on the shoulders of the taxpayers.” He recognized too the dangers of unrestrained democracy and demagogues as “written constitutions present no effective barrier to the avarice of classes, the ambition of individuals, the schemes of party, or the machination of fanatics; and so long as the mass of the people are unable to understand the structure and administration of their Government, they will continue to be dupes of callow statesmen and professional office-seekers, and victims of misgovernment."