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And so, we say, the time has come when these intended opprobrious epithets should cease to be used. But whether called ‘rebel’ or not, the Confederate soldier has nothing to be ashamed of. Can the soldiers of the Federal armies read this record and say the same?

Yes, our comrades, let them call us ‘rebels,’ if they will; we are proud of the title, and with good reason. More than a hundred years ago, when, as Pitt said, ‘even the chimney-sweeps in London streets talked boastingly of their subjects in America,’Rebel was the uniform title of those despised subjects (and as our own eloquent Keiley once said):

‘This sneer was the substitute for argument, which Camden and Chatham met in the Lords, and Burke and Barre in the Commons, as their eloquent voices were raised for justice to the Americans of the last century. ‘Disperse Rebels’ was the opening gun at Lexington. ‘Rebels’ was the sneer of General Gage addressed to the brave lads of Boston Commons. It was the title by which Dunmore attempted to stigmatize the Burgesses of Virginia, and Sir Henry Clinton passionately denounced the patriotic women of New York. At the base of every statue which gratitude has erected to patriotism in America you will find “Rebel” written. The springing shaft at Bunker Hill, the modest shaft which tells where Warren fell, * * * the fortresses which line our coasts, the name of our country's capital, the very streets of our cities—all proclaim America's boundless debt to rebels; not only to rebels who, like Hamilton and Warren, gave their first love and service to the young Republic, but rebels who, like Franklin and Washington, broke their oath of allegiance to become rebels.’

And so, we say, let them call us what they may, the justice of our cause precludes fear on our part as to the final verdict of history. We can commit the principles for which we fought; we can confide the story of our deeds; we can consign the heritage of heroism we have bequeathed the world to posterity with the confident expectation of justice at the hands of the coming historian.

In seeds of laurel in the earth
     The blossom of your fame is blown,
And somewhere waiting for its birth
     The shaft is in the stone.

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