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[346]

A heroine and martyr.

From the anti-revolutionary period of our country's history few families have wielded a more potent influence than the Breckinridges. Intellectually and physically vigorous, they had never been wanting in patriotism until the outbreak of the late Rebellion, when a scion of the house on whom the nation had showered its honors far beyond his deserts, a man who for four years had presided over its Senate and occupied the highest position but one in the Republic, took the fearful leap into treason, and, after doing what injury he could to the nation to which he owed so much in the Senate chamber, completed his infamy by entering the army of the rebels, where he soon became a major-general, though without achieving any considerable success. Like Lucifer of old he drew downward with him the third part of his family, and led them with him into the mire of rebellion; but the old Spartan spirit yet remained in the family, bred by a mother who, in the time of the Revolution, sent her sons forth to fight for their country with the injunction, “Come back to me living or dead, as God may will it, but never with a wound in your backs!”

There were a considerable number of clergymen in the different generations of the family, and for the most part they belonged to the church militant; men of great logical power, and loving dearly to fight a giant wrong. Among these was the present patriarch of the family, Rev. Robert I. Breckinridge, who, during the

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