Such were traitors.
As such, had they met their deserts, they should, at the proper time and on due process of law, have been arrested, tried, convicted, sentenced and hanged.
That in certain well-remembered instances this course was not pursued, is to my mind, even yet much to be deplored.
In such cases clemency is only another form of cant.
Having now discussed what have seemed to me the necessary preliminaries, I come to the particular cases of Virginia
and Robert E. Lee
The two are closely interwoven—for Virginia
was always Virginia
, and the Lees were, first, over and above all, Virginians
It was the Duke
who, on a certain memorable occasion, indignantly remarked, in his delightful French
: ‘Mais avant toutje suis gentilhomme Anglais.’
So might have said the Lees of Virginia
As respects Virginia
, moreover, I am fain to say there was in the attitude of the State
toward the Confederacy
, and, indeed, in its bearing throughout the Civil War
, something which appealed strongly —something unselfish and chivalric—worthy of Virginia
's highest record.
History will, I think, do justice to it. Virginia
, it must be remembered, while a slave State, was not a cotton State.
This was a distinction implying a difference.
the institution of slavery existed, and because of it she was in close sympathy with her sister slave States; but, while in the cotton States slavery had gradually assumed a purely material form, in Virginia
it still retained much of its patriarchal character.
The ‘Border’ States, as they were called, and among them Virginia
especially, had it is true, gained an evil name as ‘slave-breeding ground;’ but this was merely an incident to a system in which, taken by and large—viewed in the rule, and not in the exception—the being with African
blood in his veins was not looked upon as mere transferable chattel, but practically, and to a large extent, was attached to the house and the soil.
This fact had a direct bearing on the moral issue; for slavery, one thing in Virginia
, was quite another in Louisiana
The Virginian pride was, moreover, proverbial.
Indeed, I doubt if local feeling and patriotism and devotion to the State
ever anywhere attained a fuller development than in the community which dwelt in the region watered by the Potomac
and the James
, of which Richmond
was the political center.
We of the North
, especially we of New England
, were Yankees; but a Virginian was that, and nothing else.
I have heard of a New Englander, of a Green Mountain
boy, of a Rhode Islander, of a ‘Nutmeg,’ of a ‘Blue-nose’ even, but