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[397] upon Virginia's soil sealed with their brave young blood their devotion to those principles, which, since the days of Runnymede, have been the common heritage of all English-speaking folk.

Well nigh one hundred years ago at Oberhausen, in Bavaria, fell in the full flush of victory, Latour d'auvergne, ‘the first grenadier of France’—and there, upon the very spot, where like a soldier he met a soldier's death, his comrades reared in that foreign land a monument to his memory, which his commanding general, in the ‘order of the day,’ declared was ‘consecrated to virtue and to courage, and placed under the protection of the brave of every age and country.’

Not in vain was this soldierly appeal made to German honor.

Faithfully was that monument guarded and cared for by his ancient foes, who had so often yielded to his headlong valor.

So standing here by the once imperial clay of these dear comrades, in full reliance on the soldierly sympathy of our old adversaries of the North, we consecrate to-day this shaft ‘to virtue and to courage,’ and feel assured that the gallant men from whom these dead heroes so often wrested victory by skill and daring, will take no shame to stand uncovered here, and yield that tribute of respect and reverence which ‘the brave of every age and country’ ever accord to those who on field of battle lay down their lives for what they count the right.

To all such, indeed, whether the uniform be blue or gray, a generous soldier yields a soldier's homage.

But on one point let us be explicit, lest silence seem to discredit the patriotism of the living and cast dishonor on the memory of the dead.

In the Constitution itself, built as it was upon compromise, lay the germ of inevitable future strife.

As time passed, and the nation grew apace in power and splendor, as the interests of the two sections became divergent, the North insisted upon a wider and looser interpretation of that instrument, while the South as strenuously clung to the ‘strict construction’ of ‘the fathers of the Republic.’

Deeper than the question of slavery lay the essential cause of the great civil conflict—but slavery furnished the occasion, and as the North became more radical in its demands, and nullified with fiercer passion the explicit guarantees of the Constitution, the South met defiance with defiance, and finally claimed the right of secession, which not even Massachusetts had denied previous to 1830—nay, a

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