point to the tombs of the Revolutionary patriots, Francis Nash and Joseph Warren, of Edward Buncombe and William Davidson, who taught us ‘rebellion’—and died in teaching us—and make answer: ‘Every tree is known by his own fruit.’ The land that gave the ‘rebels’ George Washington and Patrick Henry, Richard Caswell and Jethro Sumner to lead and counsel the men whom we commemorate in centennial celebrations, gave also in these latter days Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, Alexander Stephens and John C. Breckinridge, Leonidas Polk and Albert Sidney Johnston, worthy sons of noble sires.
A good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit, neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.Behold in these men the true exponents of the South and her cause, the outgrowth of her civilization! Does any land show their superiors? By them, our exemplars, let us be judged. But why multiply words? Let the whole world contemn, still will we love and honor the voiceless dust that lies here-aye and all our patriot dead, it recks not where their bodies lie! Even had they in mistaken zeal done wrong, we would still revere their memories for their unselfish devotion and unrepining sacrifice. Long years ago when the lowly Nazarene, who ‘spake as never man spake,’ was doing his work of mercy and love among the hills of Palestine—Himself, the incarnation of love—it is written that he said:
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.That, Ladies of the Memorial Association—that, fellow citizens and soldiers—that, men and women of the South, is what alike the men of the Revolution and they who sleep in this consecrated ground did for you and for me. Shall we not cherish their love? Their precious lives though vainly sped—
Long as its share old Ocean laves,
We'll bow with reverence o'er our dead,
And bless the turf that wraps their graves.
Ladies of the Memorial Association This poor tribute to the deeds and memory of the Confederate dead, I have, at your honored bidding, laid upon their graves. Bear with me a moment longer while I add a word in behalf of the survivors