previous next

[76] courage was born of the conviction that we were fighting for the right, and I ask to be excused for adding a few words to urge our descendants to read the history of those times for themselves, and to study the form of our government as it existed then.

While we submitted to the result of war, there is nothing before or since to show that we were wrong. The very States which waged war against the South have been since most tenacious to maintain State rights, for which we fought, and the first to resist interference on the part of the Federal Government. I hope it will ever be so, and the children of Northern and Southern soldiers alike, will live and die to maintain State rights, or home government. If they do not, the liberty of this country will be gone. No free government can ever exist on any other basis. Though the South did not achieve her independence, the principle of State rights is her only hope. Though millions of dollars of private property were taken from her without law, and for which she has never received a dollar, still, the very principle of State rights, which recognized that property, but which was disregarded by Mr. Lincoln and his party, is the same that we, of the South and those of the North must alike rely on, alone, to give us home government and liberty. I hope then, that none of our descendants will ever think that we were fighting in the wrong. Let them study the United States Constitution, writings before and pending its adoption, the decisions of the Supreme Court, and the great expounders of that Constitution, and they will see that we were right.

The members of our company and their descendants have gone north and south, east and west, in this country, and some have followed the western sun half around the globe! But I hope they will never go where they will not be able to maintain that we fought in the right. There is no fear that they will ever go where our valor is not recognized, for those who were our enemies now proclaim it from the housetops; and it is now spoken of around the world. But, is there not danger that some of them will not study these questions, and too easily conclude we were wrong, because we were not victorious? Let none think, either, that because, in the providence of God, we were not allowed to establish our independence, therefore, we were wrong in trying to maintain our cause. If that were so, all failures to defend one's acknowledged rights would prove he had none. Let us impress upon our descendants their duty to carefully and impartially study those questions. From their study they must


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Abraham Lincoln (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: