which every well-wisher of liberty must pray may be perpetual It was a rebellion succeeding
that gave freedom to Holland
and prosperity to Naples
; it was a rebellion failing
that keeps Poland
dismembered and Ireland
If this was the appropriate time or place much might be said of the causes, many and far reaching, which induced the strife, and of the many errors industriously spread to degrade and disparage the lost cause in the esteem of the world; and one thing in that connection has need to be said.
There never was a more unfounded slander than the averment that the motive which welded the Southern
people into a solid mass of revolt, was devotion to, or even defence of slavery.
It would be as false, as unjust and as unphilosophical, to describe the first rebellion as a contest for free tea, or a flame fed by a three-penny stamp on a lawyer's declaration.
Not one in twenty of those who lie here, or in any Southern cemetery, owned or ever expected to own a slave.
As little is it true that the illustration or enforcement of any abstract theory of government, inspired the great sacrifices of the South
Men make, voluntarily, no such sacrifices for abstractions; and this war, on the part of the South
, was eminently a volunteer war: no similar unanimity of popular support can be claimed for any appeal to arms in modern history.
For the right of secession, save as an incident to the higher right to which I shall presently refer, a corporal's guard would not have followed the recruiter's drum in any Southern State.
Undoubtedly it happened here, as in all great political movements, that personal, local and, in a word, petty purposes, contributed their trifling streamlets to swell the flood, and colored, when they did not control, the course of many who participated in the strife.
But the great consuming tide that bore aloft and onward that mighty though ill-starred movement for self-government, was born, like the master tides of the ocean, of two great impulses--one political, the other social--one the sturdy and cherished outgrowth of American freedom — a principle discredited now in many ways and many quarters, but destined to regain its sway in this Republic, as surely as the Republic
is destined to become and remain the home of ordered liberty.
The other a plant of hardier growth, of deeper root and lustier limbs, an exotic in no land, or clime, or age. One the love of State--the other the love of Home.
has made one valuable contribution to political