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[60] memory, and a source of heroic inspiration. Nor will honest and candid adversaries withhold their tribute of hearty admiration, for they can not doubt that she acted strictly in accordance with her conscientious convictions, however widely these may have differed from their own. Whenever there is a failure to recognize the moral grandeur of her attitude, it is simply an instance of ‘the eye seeing in all things what it brought with it, the faculty of seeing,’ and that only. The natural consequence of a complete lack of the heroic element is a lack also of faculty to discern it in others. A more paltry, pitifully ignoble view of a great question than that indicated in the extract from Mr. Blaine given above could hardly be conceived.

The constitutional doctrine supported by Virginia at this crisis had been constantly maintained by her from the date of her accession to the Union downward. To have abandoned it now, the moment her faith was put to a practical test-still more, to have aided in coercing others by force of arms to abandon1 it also-would have left an indelible stain upon the brightest of shields.

It was inconsequence of her refusal to be guilty of this act of baseness, to ‘cry craven’ and desert her flag, when called upon to sustain with the sword the principle she had so long advocated with tongue and pen that she was subjected to an outrage similar to those which have left the foulest blots on the pages of European history, Alone among the States, she, the oldest of them all, the mother of so many of them, who had labored far more than all the rest to avert the conflict, suffered, in the loss of a large portion of her territory, the last calamity of foreign conquest, a calamity inflicted on no new and half-formed community, scarcely conscious as yet of its separate existence, but on an ancient and renowned Commonwealth whose record, even as presented by her enemies, may challenge comparison with that of any society known to us in proportion to numbers and duration as an organized body politic.

Those who, in the energetic language of Burke, ‘think there is nothing worth pursuit but that which they can handle, which they can measure with a two-foot rule; which they can tell upon ten fingers,’ may scoff at the notion of a wound inflicted upon such ‘airy nothing’ as the pride and sensibility of a State, but the narrowest


1 The word ‘abandon’ is of course used here only in reference to the immediate practical application of the doctrine in question. To refrain or desist from putting a doctrine in practice on a particular occasion is one thing; to renounce the doctrine itself quite another. Force may indeed restrain from the exercise of a right, but further than this it cannot affect it.

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