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[226] Saxon people for liberty, of the peculiar development which took place in America resulting in the successful establishment of the Constitution and the peculiar complex and duplex relations between the States and the Federal Union, and of the development of the country from the time of the establishment of that Constitution until the late war, a history of that war, and then a history of what the Confederates have done since the war.

There is in every great transaction of history a permanent and a transitory element, and it is nearly always in the inverse relation of their importance that the generation that participates in it looks at these different elements. That which is in the eye of the subsequent thinker or philosopher nearly always incidental, if not accidental, seems to be of the highest importance in the opinion of the actors in the transaction. The glamour of battle, the eloquence of the advocates of contending sides, the questions which seem to lie nearest to the people who live in the midst of the changes, so blind the eyes of those who participate in those great epochs that that which is permanent seems to be scarcely regarded. The mere trickling stream of human blood which undermines the foundations of the turreted castle of wrong is sometimes not seen amidst the heat of the conflict and the cries of the battlefield; the mere grain of mustard seed which takes root where the plowshare of battle has left the field fit for it to grow in is not regarded by those who are contending upon that battlefield. But when the castle tumbles into ruin, or the tree grows to its full height and strength and beauty, so that the birds of the air may find lodgment in its branches and the laborer rest beneath its shade, the thinker and philosopher reverse the importance of these transitory elements and the permanent is shown.

It is, therefore, always difficult for a generation to decide whether the cause which marks it as peculiar is lost or won; because it is not always true that the verdict of the generation in which the transaction has occurred is the verdict which posterity will pass upon the same struggle. It was two thousand years from the time when Arminius overwhelmed the legions of Varus in the Black Forest until the Teutons of a different age were enabled to erect a statue to him as the ‘Father of the Fatherland;’ and when Charles II came to his own, who then supposed that the lost cause of Cromwell and of Pym and of Hampden was yet to blossom as the civilization of modern England, and the principles for which they fought to become nearly as universal as the wondrous tongue in which those principles were uttered seems to be destined to become.

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