End to kingly rule.
When on the 7th of June, 1776, Richard Henry Lee
moved in the Continental Congress that ‘these united colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent States,’ and when on the 4th day of July following that Congress adopted and published to the world the Declaration of Independence
drew and the good people of those colonies under the lead of Washington
maintained with bayonet and sword for themselves and their posterity, they put an end to kingly rule forever.
But the kings they dethroned were those who rule by the accident of birth or circumstances, and not those kings of men who rule by right in very truth divine—the right of God-given powers so grand in their proportions and so honestly used for the good of their fellow-citizens for the promotion of truth and justice and the defence of right, whether in council hall or tented field, as to command the homage and respect of men.
Great men never die.
Their bones may sodden in the sun—
Their heads be hung on castle gates or city walls,
But still their spirits walk abroad.
And here to-night, here in the midst of those who knew and honored him in life; here, I may almost say, in this camp of old soldiers who followed where he led, from Richmond
, with courage so heroic and devotion so true that the centuries may be challenged to show their peers; here unseen, but not unfelt, the spirit of Lee
walks amongst us, and for the moment, at least, fills our hearts with somewhat of his own pure love of gentleness and justice and duty, as consciously or not we resolve as well as may be to imitate his great example, though far, so far away.