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[385] their blood, and he spoke to their surviving comrades. It was therefore meet and right that he should not only pay a ‘tribute to the memory of brave men,’ who gave their lives in defence of their firesides and their homes, but that he should also refer to and vindicate ‘the cause for which they fell.’

He spoke of the past, not of the present; of the Constitution as our fathers framed it, and not of that Constitution as amended by the mailed hand of war, and Lee Camp emphatically answers that it endorses the statements made in his oration, in justification of the course of the Southern States, when, in 1861, they took up arms to maintain the rights and liberties guaranteed to them and their people by the Constitution as then framed.

We believe with him, and with him we maintain, that Robert E. Lee and the brave and noble men who fought under the flag that was furled forever at Appomattox were patriots as pure and as true as was the truest and best of the soldiers who carried to ultimate victory the flag that we all now gladly and proudly hail as the flag of our glorious country. Esto perpetua!

In the war for our independence no traitor, so far as we know, was bred on Southern soil. There were many rebels until Yorktown stamped the seal of success on the Colonial cause, when the rebel became the patriot! But success, dear sir, is not the touchstone by which the motives or conduct of men can be rightly tried. As Mr. Cave well said, though not intending the inference you have probably drawn, ‘Suwaroff triumphed and a Kosciusko fell.’ The monument unveiled in this city on the 30th of May last was not erected in honor of traitors or rebels, but to perpetuate the memory of brave men and true, who knew their rights and died in defending them.

According to the people of the North, perfectly honest in the views they entertained and the course they pursued, we claim for ourselves motives as honorable and as pure. The differences between us were submitted to the stern arbitrament of war. We lost, and we have in good faith accepted the result, and we propose as loyally to abide it. More than this we cannot say or do; and more, brave and magnanimous men should not and will not ask of us.

We gladly note you remember the kind feelings with which Lee Camp met the veterans of Illinois on a former occasion, and we indulge the hope that you will not permit forced constructions of isolated sentences in the speech to which you refer, detached from their context and misinterpreted, to lessen the mutual friendship and respect which we should feel for each other as soldiers, or weaken the


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