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[299] here, come to give their sanction and endorsement to the objects and purposes of this great gathering of peaceful citizens.

Assembled for such a purpose, we naturally look back to the causes and the conduct of the civil war, that we may see for what and how those to whom this monument is reared struggled and suffered and died.

The occasion permits of but a cursory review, and affords no opportunity to make contributions to history, or do more than comment briefly on what is history now, and what it teaches and illustrates.

In the foreground stands the monumental fact, always to be kept in view, that although it has since been settled by arms, and settled finally, that a State cannot secede from the Union, it was not so settled in 1861, and the absence of a power, in this government of granted powers, to coerce a sovereign State had not then been supplied by actual force, and the forced construction of the Federal Constitution, which exists now, had not then been established.

Without looking further back for the origin and advocates of the view of constitutional power on which the Southern people took up arms, it may be said that John C. Calhoun, in his day, was the leading representative and exponent, and it was of him that Mr. Jefferson Davis said, in the United States Senate, the day after Mississippi passed the ordinance of secession, ‘He was the wisest statesman I ever knew.’

Devoted to the peculiar interests and institutions of the South, but an ardent lover of peace and of the Union, all through his public life Mr. Calhoun vigorously contended for a strict construction of the Federal Constitution, and persistently claimed for the States every right which they had not surrendered under it.

His political philosophy had the endorsement of a long list of distinguished names, but, as to its leading features, there was none more emphatic or more potential than that of Mr. Davis, despite some divergence in their views touching the limits of a State's power while remaining in the Union.

By his powerful reasoning Mr. Calhoun sought to enforce certain sound and salutary lessons of constitutional interpretation, which, had they been accepted in both sections of the Union as they were in one, our country would have been spared four years of waste and suffering and blood. But they were rejected, and out of the construction, and, as we thought, the perversion of our written Constitution, arose the gigantic conflicts of arms which followed. In that conflict,

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