My first object in this work was to prove, by historical authority, that each of the states, as sovereign parties to the compact of Union, had the reserved power to secede from it whenever it should be found not to answer the ends for which it was established.
If this has been done, it follows that the war was, on the part of the United States government, one of aggression and usurpation, and, on the part of the South
, was for the defense of an inherent, unalienable right.
My next purpose was to show, by the gallantry and devotion of the Southern
people, in their unequal struggle, how thorough was their conviction of the justice of their cause; that, by their humanity to the wounded and captives, they proved themselves the worthy descendants of chivalric sires, and fit to be free; and that, in every case, as when our army invaded Pennsylvania
, by their respect for private rights, their morality and observance of the laws of civilized war, they are entitled to the confidence and regard of mankind.
The want of space has compelled me to omit a notice of many noble deeds, both of heroic men and women.
The roll of honor, merely, would fill more than the pages allotted to this work.
To others, who can say cuncta quorum vidi
, I must leave the pleasant task of paying the tribute due to their associate patriots.
In asserting the right of secession, it has not been my wish to incite to its exercise.
I recognize the fact that the war showed it to be impracticable, but this did not prove it to be wrong; now that it may not be again attempted, and that the Union
may promote the general welfare, it is needful that the truth, the whole truth, should be known, so that crimination and recrimination may for ever cease, and then, on the basis of fraternity and faithful regard for the rights of the states, there may be written on the arch of the Union
, Esto perpetua
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