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[160] always be a virgin and have the first oblations in all sacrifices. She was not only granted her desire, but received this further honor among the Romans, that a perpetual fire was kept in her temple, not upon an altar, nor in the fireplace, but in earthen vessels hanging in the air, which the vestal virgins tended with so much care, that if by chance this fire was extinguished, all public and private business was interrupted, and a vacation proclaimed, till they had expiated the unhappy event with incredible penalties and pains.

In recompense for this severe law the vestals obtained extraordinary privileges and respect; they had the most honorable seats at the games and festivals; the consuls and magistrates gave way whenever they met them; their declarations in trials were admitted without the form of an oath, and if they happened to encounter in their path a criminal going to the place of execution, he immediately obtained pardon.

Upon the calends of March every year, though the fire was not extinguished, they used to renew it, with no other fire than that which was produced by the rays of the sun.

This vestal fire, while kept by virgins in Rome, was kept by widows in Greece—a beautiful symbol for purity in womanhood and honor in manhood.

The men of the names on this stone stood like a wall of steel and iron for the safety of our town, at Craney Island in 1813, and ‘like a stone wall’ for State's rights and our city's honor and glory in 1861-65.

The spirit of chivalry and the patriotism of peace have erected this shaft for their remembrance, constituting it a vessel, not earthen, hanging in the air, but solid granite firmly planted in the highway under the azure dome of the sky for an altar where the fire of patriotism will forever burn, and these old veterans have decreed, not the virgins of Rome nor the widows of Greece, but the Daughters of the Confederacy of Portsmouth Chapter No 30, vestals to keep its blaze, withour penalties and pains, but with more honor than thundering Jupiter could order or Grecian art could picture.

Captain Charles A. Cuthriell, your Portsmouth Artillerymen and their successors, must be the guards of this temple as long as the vestal lamp holds out. Let your young soldiers make duty

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