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The first shot into Fort Sumter was the signal-gun of the greatest and the strangest war ever waged on earth.

That shot was thrown to the feet of Liberty in defiance. It was intended to inaugurate a life-or-death struggle between Slavery and Freedom. It (lid its work; and the cannon which threw it will live longer in history than the torch of the wretch who burned the Ephesian Temple.

Again, and on a higher stage, the struggle was to come, to test the vital forces of Civilization and Barbarism,—of Progress and Retrogression,—of Order and Anarchy,— of Life or Death, for men and communities, for society and governments. Above all was it a final grapple between the Past whose dead had buried its own dead, and the Future which was to give life to all.

Something like this had been witnessed during the [346] many thousand years of deadly strife the human race had been going through, in approaching Liberty as the road to God,—the shrine where all nations are yet to worship.

The records of human defeats, sufferings, and triumphs, show little more than the heroism of the true and the good, in resisting the false and the bad.

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