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[545] struggle to maintain that civilization, and of the people who so bravely made it.

Virginia has a history which well may make us proud. An appanage of the Kings of England—her arms were quartered on the royal standard. Her territory stretched from the Atlantic to the Mississippi, till in 1756, she wrested the Northwest Territory from France, and extended her domain to the great lakes.

When, at the conclusion of the war for independence, the burthen of the debt incurred by the colonies was under adjustment, responding to the complaints of the feebler, poorer colonies of New England, Virginia, with a generosity unparalleled in the history of nations, deeded all that vast domain now embracing Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin to be a common territory of the United States, and procured an enactment that no slave should ever enter them; that whoever trod that soil should be forever free.

Not Greek nor Roman can show a nobler record than Virginia; no people in all the history of the world has ever accomplished so much of all that ennobles mankind as her people have in three generations. And this district of the Northern Neck, which lies before our eyes, is the very nidus of all that has made this country great. Here, one hundred years ago, lived and thought, and wrought those good and great men who conceived and accomplished that scheme of civil liberty which to-day blesses all mankind. What made those men so wise confounds the wisdom of the wisest living to-day, and the greater the intellect, the broader the views, the wider the range of knowledge of men and things, the profounder is the veneration for those sages. Only bigotry and ignorance ever venture to disparage them.

The great Georgia Senator (Hill), in the last speech he ever made (the hand of death was then upon him), declared: ‘I never enter Virginia that I do not feel I should uncover my head in reverence to her great dead and in respect to her great living men; for I tell you that never has any nation in the world's history produced so many men so great.’

That great lawyer, Jere Black, who has just left a void in the world of intellect that cannot well be filled, said: ‘The histories of this country are erroneous. They have been mostly written by New England book-makers, and they make the impression on young minds that New England had much to do with the scheme of civil liberty in America, while the truth is it was conceived and matured by a dozen Virginians, and New England had little to do with it.’

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