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[126] pleasure in pronouncing that impossible of occurrence which was destined soon to occur, and in committing themselves to readings of the book of fate in exact opposition to what the muse of history was wetting the pen to record. Volumes of unmerited abuse and false vaticination—and volumes hardly less amusing now than instructive—could be garnered from the columns of the London Times,—volumes in which the spirit of contemptuous and patronizing dislike sought expression in the profoundest ignorance of facts, set down in bitterest words. Not only were republican institutions and man's capacity for self-government on trial, but the severest of sentences was imposed in advance of the adverse verdict, assumed to be inevitable. Then, suddenly, came the dramatic climax at Appomattox,—dramatic, I say, not theatrical,—severe in its simple, sober, matter-of-fact majesty. The world, I again assert, has seen nothing like it; and the world, instinctively, was at the time conscious of the fact. I like to dwell on the familiar circumstances of the day; on its momentous outcome; on its far-reaching results. It affords one of the greatest educational object-lessons to be found in history; and the actors were worthy of the theater, the auditory, and the play.

A mighty tragedy was drawing to a close. The breathless world was the audience. It was a bright, balmy April Sunday in a quiet Virginia landscape, with two veteran armies confronting each other; one, game to the death, completely in the grasp of the other. The future was at stake. What might ensue? What might not ensue? Would the strife end then and there? Would it die in a death-grapple, only to reappear in that chronic form of a vanquished but indomitable people writhing and struggling in the grasp of an insatiate but only nominal victor? Such a struggle as all European authorities united in confidently predicting?

The answer depended on two men,—the captains of the contending forces. Grant that day had Lee at his mercy. He had but to close his hand, and his opponent was crushed. Think what then might have resulted had those two men been other than what they were,—had the one been stern and aggressive, the other sullen and unyielding. Most fortunately for us, they were what and who they were,—Grant and Lee. More, I need not, could not say; this only let me add,—a people has good right to be proud of the past and self-confident of its future

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