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Broken with the storms of State.

A few months ago, in the city of New Orleans, the President of the Confederate States of America lay dead—‘an old man broken with the storms of State,’ who for twenty-five years had been proscribed and disfranchised by the government under which he lived; denied the rights of citizenship accorded to his former slaves; without country, without fortune or influence, and by whose life or death no man could hope to be gainer or loser. [371]

No mercenary motives influenced a single individual to mourn for him. And yet the whole Southland, all the sons and daughters of the Confederacy, all their children and their grandchildren, from the gray-haired veteran to the infant of tender years, wept over his bier and mourned with genuine heart-felt sorrow for Jefferson Davis.

Dead, but his spirit breathes;
     Dead, but his heart is ours;
Dead, but his sunny and sad land wreathes
     His crown with tears for flowers.

A statue for his tomb;
     Mould it of marble white;
For wrong, a spectre of death and doom;
     An angel of hope for right.

They mourned for him, not because they grieved for the proud banner which was furled, or for the cause which was lost, but because he had been their President, just and true, in the days of their trial and adversity, and because he had been persecuted for their sakes.

History records no more touching scene than the South weeping at the grave of Jefferson Davis—a scene which touched even the bitterest foes of the sad mourners.

Mr. Ingalls, then United States Senator from the State of Kansas; a man as noted for his hatred of the Southern people as for his brilliant talents, from his place in the Senate chamber said: ‘He could understand the reverence of the Southern people for Jefferson Davis.’ ‘He honored them for their constancy to that heroic man.’ ‘Ideas could never be annihilated.’ ‘No man was ever converted by being overpowered.’ ‘Davis had remained to the end, the immovable type, exponent, and representative of those ideas for which he had staked all and lost all.’

Such a tribute was scarcely to have been expected from that source, and seems to have been wrung reluctantly from him by the admiration excited by the spontaneous outpouring of the sorrow of a whole people over the loss of their loved and faithful leader. Had these words been all, spoken by that brilliant but bitter man on that occasion, it would have been better for his future fame and better for the country.

But he said more that was uncalled for and unjust to his fellow-citizens of the South. He said: ‘The South had not forgiven the North for its supremacy and superiority.’ ‘If the South could [372] hold the purse and the sword it was patriotic.’ ‘The Southern people had not accepted the amendments to the Constitution in good faith.’ ‘They had their heroes and their anniversaries.’ ‘They exalted their leaders above the leaders of the Union cause.’

To these charges—that the South has its ‘heroes and its anniversaries;’ that it ‘exalts its leaders above the leaders of the Union cause’—we plead guilty, and we are proud of our guilt. Yes, the South has its heroes and its anniversaries. The State of Virginia has, by solemn enactment of her General Assembly, made the natal day of her illustrious son, Robert E. Lee, a legal holiday, equal in in its observance to the birthday of her other great son, George Washington, the father of his country.

If that be treason, let them make the most of it.

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