Fifth annual meeting of the Southern Historical Society, October 31st., 1877.
The following splendid oration treats mainly of post bellum
history; but this is a period of great importance as exhibiting the fruits
of the doctrines of the Federal
The distinguished orator has given a picture of the violation of the peace of ‘65, and the war upon the Constitution
made by the Radical party, which should be widely read, and most carefully preserved as material for the future historian.
The efforts of the Southern Historical Society have been most appropriately directed to the collection of facts relating to the period of actual and open war from 1861 to 1865.
That field is yet but slightly gleaned, and it is indispensable that this generation of Southern men should gather all its sad truths and preserve them until a later period, when, in a cloudless atmostphere, the patient and impartial philosopher shall be able to place facts and deductions side by side, and do justice to the people of the Confederacy
In the future our historical records will probably abound with success and prosperity, which the world takes for the measure of high qualities and great deservings, and we shall not then need that any should vindicate us.
It is our duty, also, to consider well the turning point in our destiny which we have just past, so that the future — that now is dawning so auspiciously-shall not become darker than the past, through a mistake of the facts or principles on which our hopes are rested.
The present is, perhaps, the most important period of our history.
I have selected the events now occurring as the truest interpreters of the past, as they seem to furnish also the most certain indications of the future of our country.