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[227] posterity to see that our children shall know the virtues and rise worthy of their sires; to see that the sons grow up worthy of their noble mothers — those mothers who never faltered through all the hours of trial through which we passed. [Applause.]

They who now sleep in the grave cannot be benefitted, it is true, by anything we may do; their cause has gone before a higher tribunal than any earthly judgment-seat, but their children and children's children are to be benefitted by preserving the record of what they did, and, more than all, the moral with which they did it. As for me — I speak only for myself — our cause was so just, so sacred, that had I known all that has come to pass, had I known what was to be inflicted upon me, all that my country was to suffer, all that our posterity was to endure, I would do it all over again. [Great applause.]

It is to me most desirable that the conduct of our men in defense of that cause should be so presented to the world as to leave no stain upon it. They went through trials which might have corrupted weaker men, and yet thoughout the war I never went into an army without finding their camp engaged in prayer. After the war was over, see how many of these men who bore muskets in the ranks became ministers of the Gospel. It is your good foutune to have one presiding over your diocese now, and who is the successor of one who drew his last breath on the field of battle, the glorious holy Bishop Polk!

It is not necessary that we should have recorded what is conceded by all the world, that our men were brave, that they had a power of endurance and self-denial which was remarkable, but if you would have your children rise to the high plane you desire them to occupy, you must add the evidence of their father's chivalry and forbearance from that staining crime of the soldier, plunder, under all the circumstances of the war. True that we did not invade to any great extent, though we did to some. It is a fact which I am happy to remember that when our army invaded the enemy's country, their property was safe. I draw no comparisons, as I am speaking now of our people and of our country. If somebody else did not behave as well, let it rest. [Laughter.]

We had no army at the opening of the war; our defenders were not professional soldiers. They were men who left their wives, children and peaceful occupations, and, at the first call of their country, seized such arms as they could gather, and rallied around their flag like a wall of fire to defend the rights their fathers left them. Could there be cause more sacred than this? If there be anything that justifies human war, it is defense of country, of family, of constitutional rights. [Applause.]

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W. N. Polk (1)
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