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[117]

The South knew him and therefore honors him.

The people of the South knew Jefferson Davis. He mingled his daily life with theirs under the eager ken of those who had bound up with him all that life can cherish.

To his hands they consigned their destinies, and under his guidance they committed the land they loved, with husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers, to the God of Battles.

Ruin, wounds, and death became their portion. And yet this people do declare that Jefferson Davis was an unselfish patriot and a noble gentleman; that as the trustee of the highest trusts that man can place in man he was clear and faithful; and that in his high office he exhibited those grand heroic attributes which were worthy of its dignity and of their struggle for independence.

Thus it was that when the news came that he was no more there was no Southern home that did not pass under the shadow of affliction. Thus it was that the Governors of Commonwealths bore his body to the tomb, and that multitudes gathered from afar to bow in reverence. Thus it was that throughout the South the scarred soldiers, the widowed wives, the kindred of those who had died in the battle which he delivered, met to give utterance to their respect and sorrow. Thus it is that the General Assembly of Virginia is now convened to pay their tribute. Completer testimony to human worth was never given, and thus it will be that the South will build a monument to record their verdict that he was true to his people, his conscience, and his God; and no stone that covers the dead will be worthier of the Roman legend:

Clarus et vir fortissimus.

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