Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 14.djvu/173
Address at the Unveiling of the Hill Statue.
the praise due to that calm judgment that looks at results, that political foresight that belongs to a wise statesmanship. Judged by this just standard, who among the distinguished sons of Georgia, in that period when her people most needed that judgment and sagacity, is entitled to a higher honor? Who more clearly foresaw in the clouds that flecked our political sky the storm that was coming? What watchman, stationed to signal the first approach of danger, had more far-reaching vision? What pilot, charged with the guidance of the ship of State, struggled more earnestly to guide it into clearer skies and calmer seas? With that devotion to the Union that always characterized him, and believing that the wrongs of which we justly complained could be better redressed in than out of the Union, or had better be borne than the greater evils that would follow dissolution, he opposed the secession of the State. We may not now undertake to trace the operation of the causes that brought about that event. We can justly appreciate how it could not appear to others as it did to us. As to us, it was not prompted by hatred of the Union resting in the consent of the people, and governed by the Constitution of our fathers. It was not intended to subvert the vital principles of the government they founded, but to perpetuate them. The government of the new did not differ in its form or any of its essential principles from the old Confederacy. The Constitutions were the same, except such changes as the wisdom of experience suggested. The Southern Confederacy contemplated no invasion or conquest. Its chief corner-stone was not African slavery. Its foundations were laid in the doctrines of the Fathers of the Republic, and the chief corner-stone was the essential fundamental principle of free government; that all governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. Its purpose was not to perpetuate the slavery of the black race, but to preserve the liberty of the white race of the South. It was another declaration of American Independence. In the purity of their motives, in the loftiness of their patriotism, in their love of liberty, they who declared and maintained the first were not worthier than they who declared, and failed, in the last. Animated by such purposes, aspiring to such destiny, feeling justified then (and without shame now), we entered upon that movement. It was opposed by war on the South and her people. What was the South, and who were her people? There are those who seem to think she nurtured a Upas whose very shadow blighted wherever it fell, and made her civilization inferior. What was that civilization? Let its products as seen in the people it pro-