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 Faithfully and honestly they stood by us in every trial, and under the influence of their counsels and example we took courage and resolved to outlive the revolution, and finally to vote it down. This we have done. We of the South, in concert with the people of the North and West, elected a statesman to the Presidency who was pledged to put an end to this war against the States. His opponent, who became President, had declared his opinions in favor of the principles on which the Southern States have so long stood united, but it was supposed by some who supported him that those declarations were only meant to deceive. They did not rightly appreciate him. They were true words from an honest heart, uttered in harmony with the expressed will of the people, and maintained in acts which prove that his conscience is alert and guides him in an earnest effort to support and obey the Constitution of the United States. How insignificant the prospect that those who have so greatly harmed the country through the evil times of the war of reconstruction will ever be able to undo the work now completely finished. The two statesmen who opposed each other for the Presidency agree that the States must be left to govern themselves, in all matters of home rule, without civil or military interference by Congress. Their followers sustain them, and the covenant of peace is sealed by the authentic act of both the great political parties of the country. The States have regained the dignity with which they clothed themselves, and the immortal honors with which they were crowned by the nations of the earth when, after having achieved their independence, the thirteen States were each received into the circle of the great ruling powers with earnest congratulations, and sat in council together to create the Government of the United States of America. Had Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas then foreseen the abuses that have found shelter in the wreck of the Constitution during the last ten years, it is beyond question that this Federal Government would never have been created. But, looking back over that period, and seeing how they in fact “builded wiser than they knew,” and finding in the hearts of the people of the country an honest and abiding faith in the true principles of the Government they ordained, which can save it and has saved it from perversion and ruin, they enter again the triumphant progress of the States and the people towards a destiny, which now seems to be assured, higher than any country has ever accomplished. The restoration to the people of those constitutional rights which they have never agreed to surrender — which remain to them after four years of open warfare and nearly ten years of misrule and persecution-has removed the last obstacle to perfect reconciliation.
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