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[171]

Reasons for such Papers.

It is well to set forth the reasons that actuate us in preparing such papers as these. These reasons were presented with great force in the Report of 1899. Now, as then, they are found in the fact that denials or perversions of the truth are sown broadcast all over the literature of the North. Not only does this characterize their permanent histories, as then shown with such clearness of criticism and cogency of reply, but their story-writings, their perodicals and transient newspaper publications—all, are vehicles, to a degree at least, of misrepresentation on these points. Their worthiest orators and writers have dared to tell the truth on important points, but the literature we have described is that which reaches the haphazard reader and permeates the South as well as the North. The Grand Army of the Republic contains many brave men. We have met them with arms in their hands. It contains others whose weapons of warfare are opprobrious epithets and denunciatory resolutions. This is a matter of annual display. Annually the Northern public is again misled, and its day of repentance is postponed. The men of the South are, therefore, constrained to make record of the truth. I, therefore, proceed to restate my purpose, which is to show that the South did not, and that the North did, inaugurate the war. Before proceeding to the direct discussion of this question, and because the right of a State to secede from the Union was the real issue involved in the conflict, and the proximate cause thereof, I think it pertinent to inquire particularly, in what special locality, if in any, this doctrine originated; by whom, if by either party rather than the other, it was most emphatically taught; and especially when, if in either section, the threat of the application for the dissolution of the Union was first, most frequently and most ominously heard! In pursuance of this inquiry, and adhering to our plan of calling the North to witness, let us ask first, What was the opinion of Northern and other unprejudiced writers on this question both prior to and since the war? Of course, we know that the right of a State to secede was commonly held by the statesmen of the South, and we venture the assertion that no unprejudiced mind can to-day read the history of the adoption of the Constitution and the formation of this government under it without being convinced that the right of secession as exercised by the South did exist.


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