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 Peace is the fruit of reconciliation. The peace of 1877 relieves the anguish and heals the heart-burnings of two wars — the open and honorable struggle of the war of 1861, and the military persecution of the war of 1867. Its reconciliation reaches back to 1820, when the slavery question began to agitate the country; nay, it goes back to the birth-day of the Constitution, “with healing in its wings,” and cures the grief and bitter memories of the past. Honest and patriotic people on all sides are prepared for this benediction of Heaven's good will to man. They desire that every human being shall be included in this blessing. Those who conquered in the war of 1861 turn with confidence and affection to the people of the South, and welcome them as victors in the war of reconstruction. They esteem us as men who fought honorably and in open warfare for what we believed to be our rights, and afterwards showed our devotion to the Constitution with constancy and long-suffering, when the mailed hand of oppression was laid heavily upon the Southern States. They looked on in helpless grief and shame when they saw that those who avoided the fierce struggle of the war of 1861, and had followed the armies only to speculate upon the necessities of the country, had seized their victorious banners, and, followed by pillagers and no less heartless politicians, led on in a new war of reconstruction and conquest. In the darkest times they stood by us and spoke to us in words of encouragement, and conjured us to forbear to shed blood in the defence of our rights and liberties. We listened and suffered, and withheld our hands, and waited for the hour of deliverance; and, now. that it has come, we rejoice with them in fraternal peace and unity over the restoration of constitutional rule to our beloved country. The desire of the people for peace and reconciliation existed, and was a controlling sentiment for years, during which the politicians kept them apart and seemingly in bitter antagonism, Few of this class of rulers have been present on occasions, so credible to humanity, when the people have given sad but genuine expression to their reconciliation. During the last spring, and on many previous occasions, the peaple met in true sympathy, and those who had only met in battle before knelt around the graves of friends and foes alike, and scattered flowers over the ashes of their heroic dead, whose glory has at last become the equal heritage of pride to the whole American family. This reconciliation is not on either side the result of humiliating confession of wrongs done to the country or to posterity. It has not followed the pardoning of offences.
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