previous next

[42] the beginning and inclining the twig the way the tree should grow. You are now, or will be some day, the mothers of future generations. See that you transmit to them the traditions and memories of our cause, and of our glorious, if unsuccessful, struggle, that they may in their turn transmit them unchanged to those who succeed them. And let them learn from you that although the same inscrutable Providence that once permitted the Grecian cross to go down before the Moslem crescent has decreed that we should yield to Northern supremacy, and that we should fail in our endeavor, yet, for all that, we were right.

And this points to another great lesson to be instilled into their minds.

The worship of success, no matter how achieved, is but too universal in the world. In the North it is the great idol of the day. Generals whose luck it was to come upon the stage when they could oppose to the exhausted remnants of the South the unlimited resources of the North, have been magnified into demi-gods, and receive the daily adorations of the multitude. So far does this idolatry blind the Northern people that they cannot understand our lack of admiration for the men whose ruthless course deluged our land with blood, and whose tracks were marked by the ashes of our desolate homes. Still less can they comprehend the love, veneration, and enthusiasm that we still continue to feel for our own unsuccessful leaders. The events of the last ten years have impressed upon the Northern mind that failure is ignominious, and that success, no matter how iniquitous, is the only criterion of right.

It is for you, Southern matrons, to guard your cherished ones against this foul idolatry, and to teach them a nobler and a higher moral. It is for you to bring the youth of our land to these consecrated mounds, and to engrave in their candid souls the true story of our wrongs, our motives, and our deeds. Tell them in those tender and eloquent words that you know so well how to use; tell them that those who lie here entombed were neither traitors nor rebels, and that those absurd epithets are but the ravings of malignant folly when applied to men who claimed nothing but their right under the Constitution of their fathers—the right of self-government. Tell them how we exhausted every honorable means to avoid the terrible arbitrament of war, asking only to be let alone, and tendering alliance, friendship, free navigation—everything reasonable and magnanimous—to obtain an amicable settlement. Tell them how, when driven to draw the sword, we fought the mercenaries of all the world until,

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Providence, R. I. (Rhode Island, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: