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[21] veterans—men advanced in years, and of somewhat grave aspect, who are not without the marks of care and anxiety, oppressed, doubtless, by the troublous times through which themselves and those dependent upon them have passed in the struggle for life, and during a period of waste and misrule unexampled in the history of the world. Yet we feel sure that trained as you have been, and nurtured in the school of adversity, these difficulties were confronted with brave hearts, made strong by the experiences of the past.

Some of us, even at the beginning of the contest, had reached what the poet of the Inferno calls ‘the middle of the journey of life’; and now, when near a quarter of a century has elapsed, and we are still spared, we might recall with profit the sad but beautiful allegory, ‘The Vision of Mirza,’ and remember the bridge with the swiftly moving tide that flowed underneath, with the innumerable trap doors that lay concealed, and through which the passengers were falling one by one, some dropping in unexpectedly; and it was observed that the greater number fell near the beginning and at the ending of life. Or we may well be admonished, each of us, that we must soon join the great army which has gone before; and it will surely be esteemed a privilege and an honor that we, also, were of the number of those who went to the defence of their State and country, and did what in them lay to protect, uphold and preserve, by land and sea, ‘A Lost Cause.’

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