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[130] The element of character most God-like, is self-sacrifice.

According to this standard, we are here to-day, thirty years after the deep-mouthed cannon have hushed their voices, to honor the memory of the most peerless heroes in the annals of the world.

He who imagines that the statesmen of the South, above all the people of North Carolina, rushed into the tremendous conflict of the Civil War in thoughtless pride, or mad determination to preserve a single species of property, knows nothing of the true spirit that filled the hearts of the best of the land.

The Union had been the beloved object of Southern patriotism. Alamance and Mecklenburg sounded to arms for the revolutionary struggle, Patrick Henry's eloquence fired the torch of liberty, Washington led her hosts, Madison drafted the Constitution, Marshall interpreted the laws—Southern men all. King's Mountain and Guilford were the precursors of the inevitable close of the drama of the revolution at Yorktown. For seventy years and more Southern genius dominated the country and led it, step by step, to the pinnacle of fame. Jefferson and Jackson were the great executives of the first half of the century. The second War of Independence, in 1812, was maintained chiefly by Southern valor. Scott and Taylor, as well as Lee and Davis, in the Mexican war, were men of the South. Fought by an overwhelming majority of Southern men, that war, with the purchases previous thereto and succeeding, by Southern statesmanship, had doubled the area ruled by the Federal government, against the repeated protest of the North. The South had given to the general government, of her own accord, the princely territory of the States between the Tennessee and the Great Lakes. There was never a a conflict in behalf of the Union and the Constitution of these United States, in which the men of the South did not far outnumber those of any other section, and give their precious lives in due proportion.

The world will never know how much it cost the South; how stupendous was the price that North Carolina paid to defend the Constitutional rights of the States. Was there no sorrow in contemplating the destruction of the fabric reared by the efforts of Southern statesmanship and cemented with the blood of her children?

Who, to-day, would have had this old Commonwealth trample upon her traditions—even from the earliest colonial days, ‘of the freest of the free,’ in Bancroft's words—and tamely submit to military usurpation from Washington to send her sons into the field, against every dictate of conscience and settled conviction of the sovereign

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