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Cruel, wicked, relentless war.

And so we say, our comrades, that just because the States of the South did, in the most regular and deliberate way, exercise their constitutional and legal right to withdraw from a compact which they had never violated but which the Northern States had confessedly violated time and again, a right which, as we have seen, was not only recognized by the leading statesmen of the North, but which it had threatened on several occasions to put into execution—we say, [182] just because the Southern States did take this perfectly legal step in a perfectly legal way, these same people of the North, with Abraham Lincoln at their head, proceeded, as we shall presently show, without warrant of law or justice, to inaugurate and wage against the South one of the most cruel, wicked and relentless wars of which history furnishes any record or parallel. Is there any wonder, then, that the representatives of the Grand Army of the Republic would have us be silent about the facts which we have referred to, and not teach the truths of this history to our children, when we thus condemn them out of their own mouths.

But we come now to consider, who were the agressors who inaugurated this wicked war

We think it important to make this inquiry, for the reasons already given and because we apprehend, there is a common impression, that inasmuch as the South fired the first gun at Fort Sumter, it really thereby brought on the war, and was hence responsible for the direful consequences which followed the firing of that first shot. Nothing could be further from the truth. Mr. Hallam, in his Constitutional History of England, states a universally recognized principle, when he says:

‘The aggressor in a war (that is, he who begins it) is not the first who uses forces, but the first who renders force necessary.’

Now which side, according to this high authority, was the aggressor in this conflict? Which side was it that rendered the first blow necessary?

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