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Southern Historical Society Papers, Volume 24. (ed. Reverend J. William Jones), The laying of the corner-stone of the monument to President Jefferson Davis, (search)
, went down in darkness and blood. Success is the measure of merit applied alike to every man, to every cause; and even in our moral judgments we sentence the unfortunate. Men do not idly erect monuments to lost causes. Fame has no trumpet for failure. The world hears not the voice of the vanquished. Yet history might teach us strange things of men who fail and causes that are lost. Genius did not keep Hannibal or Napoleon from defeat; heroism went with Joan of Arc to the stake, and Emmett to the scaffold. The eloquence of Demosthenes did not save Greece, or Cato's virtue Rome. The courage of Kosciusko availed naught for Poland, and Hungary went down for all the patriotism of Kossuth. Sometimes defeat gives a tragic pathos which lifts the commonplace into the immortal, and tenderly preserves the memory of the vanquished long after the victor has been forgotten. Since the death of Napoleon there has been no career which illustrates so dramatically the vicissitudes of fort