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Secession of the States.

In the fall of 1860, the crisis came. The people of the South, feeling that the time had come when they should resume the powers delegated to the Federal Government, called conventions, and one State after another passed acts of secession, by which they undertook to secede from the Union of States, resumed the delegated powers, and sever their connection with the Federal Government. They did not make war upon any one. They only asked to be let alone. They asked for no property, and demanded nothing except the recognition of their rights to govern their own affairs. These States formed another union of States, known as the Confederate States of America. Our northern brethren did not interpret the Constitution as we did. They denied our right to sever connection with the Union. They declared that we were rebels in a state of rebellion, and they resorted to arms to enforce the laws of the United States, and to compel obedience to its authority. We believed we were right, and, believing this, we had the manhood to dare maintain it. The gage of battle was tendered, and we accepted it. To arms, to arms, was echoed throughout the land. The bugle-call was heard from every hilltop, and throughout every valley. Fathers, husbands, sons, brothers, and sweethearts, gave the farewell kiss, and pressed forward to repel the foe, that as we honestly believe, [359] was invading our territory. From every State came the sons of the South. From the plains of Texas, from the States washed by the Gulf, from across the Father of Waters, from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Maryland, from the Carolinas and Florida, from every State of the Southland they came. They came from the farm, from the store, from the office, and workshop; from every trade and profession, till Virginia bristled with bayonets, from the driftwood of the Ohio to the sands of the seashore. There were those who were not of our race, but were adopted from other climes, who stood with us. I would not forget them.

Some months ago, while in this city, I visited the Jewish Cemetery, and saw the plat dedicated to the graves of those of that race who fell in the Southern army. Had I ever felt disposed to deride those people, and give them the cold shoulder, I could do so no more. They touched elbow with us, and died for us. We know what part they played in the history of the past, and if I read the lines of prophecy correctly, they will have an important part yet to act in the great drama of life, and I do believe that the descendants of Judah will yet herd their flocks amid the hills of Assyrian kings, and sing songs to the Messiah beneath the white stars of the Chaldean sky. All, all were our comrades—

Who, living, were true and tried for us,
And, dying, sleep side by side for us.

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