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[372]

our duty in peace.

In our country ‘the war-drum throbs no longer and the battle-flags are furled.’ The quiet stars that thirty years ago looked down on sentineled camps of armed men, resting for the morrow's conflict—

midst flame, and smoke,
     And shout and groan and sabre-stroke,
And death-shots falling thick and fast,

now look down, night after night, on quiet homes, where the sleepers, disturbed by no call to arms, peacefully slumber until singing birds wake them to the bloodless labors of a new born day. Fields that thirty years ago were clouded by the smoke of battle, and trampled by charging thousands, and torn by the hoof-beats of the warhorse, and ploughed by the shot of cannon, and drenched with the blood of dead and mangled men, are now enriched by tillage, and contributing their fruits to sustain the life and increase the prosperity of the people. ‘Peace folds her wings o'er hill and valley.’ But peace, as well as war, demands of us high devotion and unswerving loyalty. If, with peace, we have decay of patriotism and loss of virtue, and the triumph of private over public interests, and the sacrifice of law and justice to secure partisan ends—if, with peace, we have the accumulation of wealth at the cost of the country's welfare and the honest manhood of its citizens, our peace must prove but the downward path to the ruin in which so many nations, once great and prosperous, have been swallowed up. Better far the desolations and horrors of war than such peace.

From such peace-peace joined with corruption, and enjoyed at the expense of true and noble manhood—the soldiers and sailors of the Confederacy, speaking through this monument of their selfsacri-ficing and heroic devotion, shall help to save our land. Their spirits, glory-crowned, hover over us and beckon us on in the paths of patriotism and honor. Their example bids us nobly live for the principles for which they bravely fought and died—the principles of State sovereignty and home rule on which this government was wisely founded by our fathers, without which no vast territory like ours can possibly remain democratic, departure from which is rapidly hurrying the country to a choice between anarchy and imperialism, and return to which is essential to the preservation of the life of the republic.

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