rights of the States; to send her sons, I say, against their brethren of Virginia
and South Carolina
—bone of their bone, and flesh of their flesh, not only in the claims of blood, but in history and sentiment?
Never have the annals of history known a line of statesmen like those who guided the fortunes of this country for three-quarters of a century or more!
Think of the purity of character of Nathaniel Macon
, of John C. Calhoun
, of William A. Graham
, of Jefferson Davis
Who knew more of the constitutional authority of the State
to order her citizens to stand in her defence than such statesmen?
My comrades, when men stand above the graves of our sacred dead and drop a flower there to honor them, because they died for what they thought was right, and bend their heads before your gray hairs, in token that your suffering for long years touches them, because you thought you were right—there is a vain and empty echo to such words, kindly meant as they may be.
For one, I am here to affirm, before high Heaven, that they were right
, and that North Carolina
would have been recreant to every principle of honor and duty had she done otherwise.
When I see the saintly Bishop-General
, who was born on your own soil, leaving the pulpit under the imperative sense of overwhelming duty and sharing the dangers of the field; at one moment stretching forth his arms in blessing upon the stricken people, and the next moment torn apart by an enemy's shot, I feel, with the poet—
A flash from the edge of a hostile trench
A puff of smoke, a roar,
Whose echo shall roll from Kennesaw hills
To the furthermost Christian shore,
Proclaim to the world that the warrior priest
Will battle for right no more;
And that for a cause which is sanctified,
By the blood of martyrs unknown,
He kneels, a meek ambassador,
At the foot of the Father
When I think of Stonewall Jackson
, wounded unto death, yet wrestling in prayer with his God, as he was wont to do, in the valley of the Shenandoah
, before some bloody enterprise of the next day, like the stern Covenanters of old, and then committing his cause and