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[345] work-shops and arsenals. There is little but a meagre and widely scattered population, for the most part men of the field, the prairie, the forest and the mountain, ready to stand the hazard of an audacious endeavor, to meet aggression with whatever weapons freemen can lay their hands on, and to carry high the banners of the free, whatever may betide.

Did he fail? Ah, did he fail? His beloved State would be trampled in the mire of the ways; the Confederacy would be blotted from the family of nations,—home and country would survive only in memory and in name; his people would be captives, their very slaves their masters; and he,—if of himself he thought at all,—he, mayhap, might have seen in the dim perspective, the shadow of the dungeon or the scaffold.

On the other hand stands the foremost and most powerful Republic of the Earth, rich in all that handiwork can fashion or that gold can buy. It is thickly populated. Its regular army, and its myriad volunteers, rush to do its bidding. Its navy rides the Western seas in undisputed sway. Its treasury teems with the sinews of war, and its arsenals with weapons. And the world is open to lend its cheer and aid and comfort. Its capital lies in site of his chamber window, and its guns bear on the portals of his home. A messenger comes from its President and from General Scott, Commander-in-Chief of its army, to tender him supreme command of its forces. Did he accept, and did he succeed, the conqueror's crown awaits him, and win or lose, he will remain the foremost man of a great established nation, with all honor and glory that riches and office and power and public applause can supply.

Since the Son of Man stood upon the Mount, and saw ‘all the kingdoms of the earth and the glory thereof’ stretched before him, and turned away from them to the agony and bloody sweat of Gethsemane, and to the Cross of Calvary beyond, no follower of the meek and lowly Saviour can have undergone more trying ordeal, or met it with higher spirit of heroic sacrifice.

There was naught on earth that could swerve Robert E. Lee from the path where, to his clear comprehension, honor and duty lay. To the statesman, Mr. Francis Preston Blair, who brought him the tender of supreme command, he answered:

Mr. Blair, I look upon secession as anarchy. If I owned the four millions of slaves in the South, I would sacrifice them all to the Union. But how can I draw my sword against Virginia?’

Draw his sword against Virginia? Perish the thought! Over all

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