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Secession and Virginia.

Well was that pledge redeemed. South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, and North Carolina, Arkansas, and Tennessee, all seceded, while Kentucky, Missouri and Maryland were divided in sentiment. Jefferson Davis became by unanimous selection President of the Confederate States of America; the capital, first planted at Montgomery, was removed here to Richmond, and for four years the new republic waged for its life the mightiest warfare of modern times. ‘There was something melancholy and grand,’ says a Northern historian, ‘in the motives that caused Virginia at last to make common cause’ with the South. Having made it, she has borne her part with a sublimity of heroism [155] such as was never surpassed, and has uttered no cry in the majesty of her sorrows.

No State has done more for peace than Virginia, as none had done more originally for union; no State more reluctantly or more unselfishly drew the sword; no State wielded a brighter or sterner blade after it was drawn; no State suffered so much by it; no State used triumph with more generosity or faced defeat with greater dignity; no State has abided the fate of war with greater magnanimity or greater wisdom; and no State turns her face with fairer hope or steadier courage to the future. It seemed the very sarcasm of destiny that the Mother of States should have been the only one of all the American Commonwealths that was cut in twain by the sword. But it is the greatness of spirit, not the size of the body, that makes the character and glory of the State, as of the man; and old Virginia was never worthier the love of her sons and the respect of all mankind than to-day as she uncovers her head by the bier of the dead chieftain whose fortunes she followed in storm and trial, and to whose good fame she will be true, come weal, come woe.

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