previous next


[293] by the by, was not original with Mr. Lincoln, but had been used by speakers and writers since 1794.

We should, as we do, render to those men of the olden time love and thanks. We recall their actions, cherish their memories, but above all it is most incumbent upon us to preserve intact their priceless legacy. We should ever bear in mind that this inestimable inheritance of selfgovernment is not wholly our own. It is not to be bartered away, or for any reason to be parted with. In it we have but a life estate, and hold it in trust for those who are to follow us, solemnly pledged to transmit it to them in no whit shorn of its fair proportions, but rather, if so it may be, with its blood-bought privileges enlarged and extended. But if the men of King's Mountain, of Eutaw, and of Yorktown, had toiled in vain, if their heroism had ended in disaster and crushing defeat, would it be right or necessary to villify them for the gallant struggle they made, or to withhold admiration for their brave efforts in behalf of what they believed to be their right? I trow not! No voice is raised in their condemnation, no one insinuates a doubt of the purity of their intentions. Why should it have been otherwise if the issue had been different? Now, if beliefs and actions of Southern people in our own times were similar to those of our ancestors of our first revolution, will it be any more than just to draw the same conclusions, and to render like judgment in the one case as in the other? What was right and meritorious in the Continental statesman and soldier cannot have been wrong and blameworthy in the Confederate. What was honorable and patriotic in Richard Caswell and Cornelius Harnett, in George Washington and Francis Nash, can hardly have been despicable and traitorous in Jefferson Davis or John W. Ellis, in Robert E. Lee, Charles F. Fisher, William Pender, L. O'B. Branch, or in the men who followed them.

It was sad indeed that disagreements politically between countrymen could not be adjusted without an appeal to the sword. Their divisions were political only and had their origin in what was honestly held to be right by both parties, and most conducive to the welfare of each. They were, says an eminent writer, ‘the expression of political principles concerning which parties and sections had long been divided, and which separated the best and wisest of our land long before their antagonism’ culminated in warfare.

Both parties in the late war between the States were equally honest in their belief of the right of their respective causes, and neither

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.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Yorktown (Virginia, United States) (1)
Eutaw (Alabama, United States) (1)

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

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1794 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: