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Their constancy perfect and pure.

Never was constancy so perfect and so pure as that of the people of the South to their warriors. For once gratitude to the past is not inspired by the hope of favors to come. The mercenary motive is curiously absent. The knee which bends, the heart which throbs, is the welcome of respect to the intrinsically worthy—the unbought homage never truly known safe by virtue in misfortune when, like a queen, but like a queen in exile, she counts the number of her suitors by the poverty of her rewards. This is the proud pathos of defeat with honor. Thus heroes conquer even in their fall. So reign their ashes ‘dead but sceptred.’

It were sad indeed if no word could be spoken in behalf of that ‘story's purity,’ the justification whereof is now removed from the forum of arms to the bar of history and the scales of time and truth. The story of anti-slavery agitation to-day is written for the world by the enemies of the South, and truth is not always the weapon of their choice. We are the camp of slaves; they are the camp of freedom. The victor is wont to have his own pleasant version of the cause, which has been accepted by stoic fate, if not by Cato's justice. That in the middle of the nineteenth century there were many men opposed to slavery is certainly no matter for surprise and as little for condemnation. It may seem, indeed, a slight inconsistency that every one of the colonies which joined in the Declaration of Independence was at the time a slave-holding colony. Nevertheless, it is the fact that each shared a common responsibility therefor which differed in degree with the differing utility thereof.

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J. L. Cato (1)
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