previous next
[58] right, and owing to the changed condition of National affairs, the other side was right.

The old Confederate has never consented to say he thought he was right. He believes the expression comes of too much complacency or from lack of grit. We did not discuss its expediency after the State made its choice. Our comrades who sleep beneath the sod, died for the right as they saw it. While memory holds its place, you and your sons and daughters will pay the homage of grateful and loving hearts to their heroism and value, as annually you strew their graves with flowers, and teach your children to lisp their names and revere their memories.

As we meet on these memorial occasions, or beside the graves of our heroes, without one bitter thought for those whom they met in deadly conflict, we thank God for the courage that enabled them to face the ‘dangers nature shrinks from,’ and to die in defense of the manhood and self respect of this Southland. We could not have tamely yielded our rights and convictions to avoid suffering and loss.

The necessity for the war was written in the history of the Colonies, in the climate, soil and productions of the different States, on the flag of the first ship that brought slaves to North America. The splendid eloquence and patriotism of Henry Clay and others delayed it. The madness of a few on both sides hastened it. Two questions had to be settled, the right of secession and chattel slavery.

Some writers have contended that it was worth all our dreadful financial losses; all the sufferings of the conflict and all the blood of our precious dead, to have these two questions flung behind us forever. From this conclusion I respectfully dissent, and will endeavor to show that the right of secession rested with the South, while slavery was an incident of, but not the cause of the war; and would have ceased in time without so drastic a measure.

The histories of the Civil war, as well as the books of fiction, by Northern writers, have left a baleful and erroneous impression on the minds of the present generation.

The Southern States exercised a power that had been claimed from the very adoption of the Constitution. In the early days of the Republic their statesmen recognized the theory that the Constitution was a compact between the sovereign States, entered into for the common welfare. The sovereignty of the States was recognized

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.
North America (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Henry Clay (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: