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Doc. 34.-our National emblem.

To the Editor of the Richmond Examiner:
A National emblem should symbolize the national government in its history, nature, office and fundamental principles.

The lion of England ascribes the royal character, and undisputed supremacy of the king of beasts to that noble government.

Various nations, as Austria, Russia, etc., have assumed the free eagle, as typical of the characteristics of their governments.

It is believed to be susceptible of proof, that the single star is our proper national emblem.

Inasmuch as there are various orders and classes of stars, it is proper that a question be first raised in that connection. In this view we should not think of our star as one of the so-called fixed stars, which are, to human sight, in their order, almost too small to be assigned mere twinkling points, without apparent career, having, as far as men have yet discovered, no influence in creation, unless we accept the conjecture of astronomers, that they are suns, the centres of other [126] systems than our own; in which case, though these reasons disappear, a yet stronger one arises in the fact that, as suns, they would shine by inherent rather than borrowed light — which idea will be found inapplicable. But rather should we think of it as a planet, a world in itself, shining steadily, having an evident career, bright and marked, unchangeable, complete, of Almighty design, an essential chord in the universal harmony, of which a single false note, the slightest irregularity, would destroy that harmony, and upturn the universe.

Now for the points of the analogy:

1. Our government hath foundations well laid and sure. The star is created, placed in its relative position, and held there, coursing on through space by an Almighty hand--we ask no more. Though all the firmament were studded thick as the silver dust that sprinkled the gorgeous milky-way, and every star were as thickly inhabited, the universe combined could not affect one tittle in its integrity, nor move one jot from its course, the single star so created, so placed, and so held. The Almighty hand we do not defy; human hands we do. The star, then, well symbolizes the fact that our government is durably founded.

2. The confederate government, as the prominent idea of its constitution, possesses no powers of its own, but only exerts such as may have been conferred upon it by the States--the star has no light of its own, but simply reflects such as it receives, and so symbolizes the nature of our government.

3. Inasmuch as the star borrows its light from a source possessing inherent light — the sun; as the emblem of the confederate government, it would indicate that the source from which that government derives its powers, possesses itself inherent powers; in other words, that the States are independent sovereigns; and as this fact is a fundamental principle of our government, the star is eminently appropriate as indicative thereof.

4. This State sovereignty is no new principle, but equally original and eternal; and as the very right of secession was based upon the fact that this principle was original to the old contract, this fact should be indicated by retaining, as our emblem, that which originally symbolized this relation, to wit, the single star.

5. As we are not an unrecorded people, newsprung from the womb of time, but have a history peculiarly our own, gloriously illustrated by the noble deeds which our great Southern sires have done, it is fit that, as Southerners, we retain some suitable connection with the past; and the single star, as the symbol of that grand principle, (lost by the abomination of despotism, and our peculiar property,) which was the source of all that is to be remembered in the system of that past, furnishes that suitable connection.

6. We stand preeminent, bordered, on either side, by nations steeped in political darkness. The stars, in their courses, lifted on high, shine amid surrounding darkness, and so illustrate our position and functions. Accordingly, as the star was selected to guide the wise men to the source of human blessedness, so the star of our Confederacy shall be a beacon to the nations, to guide them to that utmost of political blessings, pure republican liberty.

So much for the single star of itself; now to view it comparatively.

The sun and moon are both set by the Almighty, but,

1. The star is a better emblem than the sun, because the sun shines by a light inherent in itself, not borrowed and reflected, like the light of the star, or the powers of our government. Moreover, the sun puts out of view all other lights within the compass of its power; no State rights man will agree that such an idea shall be expressed, even remotely, by the emblem of the confederate government.

2. The star is better than the queen of night, because she, to human sight, is ever changing, waxing or waning, and one no less than the other; the only course of change for us must be onward.

3. The single star is better than a number of stars, proportioned to the number of States, for if such a number of stars be the emblem of the nation, any change in the number of the States would necessitate a change in the emblem, and this involves the idea that the character, or rather the completeness of the nationality, depends upon the number of States composing it — the very idea which proved so pernicious under the late Union, and which, entirely opposed as it is to our whole system, we should most carefully avoid. This number of stars, each for a State, is further objectionable, because the States possess inheren powers, are suns, while a star simply reflects.

To the “Southern cross,” besides what has just been said, an objection is found in the fact that, however “far-sighted” our statesmen, none of them can make that constellation from even the southernmost point of the Confederacy. It is not ours; we are not quite far enough from the North, however painful the fact; and for us, a people fighting for our own rights, to assume it, would be exceedingly unbecoming, as a clear violation of the rights of the dwellers in Terra del Fuego, a people weaker than ourselves.

The objection to the cross itself, as the prominent feature of our flag, may be found on inspecting a chart of the flags of other nations, where it will be found, in every variety of shape and color, endlessly repeated.

It is right, and certainly desired by every thoughtful man in the nation, that some thankful acknowledgment of the Deity be a feature of our banner; but the prominent feature of the national banner should be the national emblem, and that emblem for us, a single star.

I am, sir, etc.,


[We have printed the foregoing communication, not because we approve the idea, but because the subject is one on which it is well to hear all rational suggestions.

Before we got our national emblem, we must get rid of stars and stripes in all their variations. So, too, of all arrangements of red, white and blue. [127] Nothing can be gotten from either but plagiarisms, poor imitations, feeble fancies. Our coat-of-arms must be not only in accord with the higher law of heraldry, but, above all, original, our own, and not another's.

Not one of the thousand writers on this topic has yet presented an original or appropriate idea. Yet there is a thought which starts to the mind's eye.

The national emblem of the equestrian South is the horse. Its colors are black and white. Its shield is the sable horse of Manassas, on a silver field; its flag is the white flag with the black horse. Both colors are already united to make the grey of the confederate uniform; and emblem and colors are alike suggestive of the country and its history, and neither belong to any other natian of Christians.--Ed. Ex.]

--Richmond Examiner, February 11.

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