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[334] leaders. Let us weep for them. But if we accept the assumption, we cannot tell our children to imitate them. Let not sentiment blind our judgment. Impelled by a mistaken sense of duty they tried to destroy (we must logically conclude) “the best government the world ever saw,” and failed. We must, then, to be consistent, be thankful that they failed and strive to overcome a sentiment in their favor, and learn to honor and imitate the men who fought on the other side; who fought in a cause that not only they thought was right, but which we now know to have been right. We are compelled by the logical consequences of what has been assumed to believe that we profit now by their bravery and endurance, and are enjoying the blessings of this ‘great and glorious’ Union because they in their superior wisdom prevented us by force from wilfully throwing away, like naughty children, those same blessings. Let us be consistent and learn to build our monuments to Lincoln and Grant, but for whom we should have forfeited forever the privileges and blessings now secured to us and our children in our common country.

Such must logically be the convictions of the man who now looking back at the struggle between the States thinks it was better for the Confederacy to fail. For the sake of my children and the rising generation, who have largely taken the places of those who formed the late Southern Confederacy I can honestly say that I wish I could accept the above-described assumption and all the logical consequences that are shown to follow. It would be better for them and their future in their present environment if we old soldiers of the Confederacy could honestly and truly say to them: ‘We made a grave mistake in 1861, and it was best for the Confederacy to fail. Forgive us the mistake, costly and ruinous as it was, for the sake of our good and honest intentions. Bring up your children to love those who risked their lives or died to preserve the Union.’

But in truth the whole assumption is false. A most grievous wrong and mortal hurt was done to the cause of constitutional liberty by Lincoln and his followers in forcing the seceding States back into the Union. A tyrannical sway was established over them. Our State governments have been debased and corrupted by negro suffrage forced upon us by them, a wrong the guilt of which and the evil consequences of which few are now found to deny. This is a cancerous sore eating into the heart of the body politic. The Union into which Virginia was forced in 1865 is utterly different from the one into which she entered voluntarily in 1788. This Government of

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