Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 14.djvu/177
Address at the Unveiling of the Hill Statue.
relations to the government with all the duties those relations imposed. The victorious generals and leaders of the North awaited the highest honors a grateful people could confer. Their armies having operated over an area of 800,000 square miles in extent, bearing on their rolls on the day of disbandment 1,000,516 men, were peacefully dissolved. Then followed the most remarkable period in American history—in any history. After spending billions of treasure, and offering thousands of lives to establish that the States could not withdraw from the Union, it was not only declared that they were out of the Union, but the door of admission was closed against them. While it cannot be denied that gravest problems confronted those who were charged with the administration of the government, a just and impartial judgment must declare that the most ingenious statecraft could not have inspired a spirit which, if it permanently ruled, would more certainly have destroyed all the States. Its success would have been worse for the North than the success of the Southern Confederacy, for if final separation had been estabhshed, each new government would have retained the essentials of the old, while the dominance of this spirit would have destroyed every vital principle of our institutions. The success of the Confederacy would have divided the old into two Republics. If this spirit had ruled, it would have left no Republic. It was, therefore, a monumental folly, as well as crime. It was not born of the brave men who fought to preserve the Union; it was the offspring of that fanaticism that had in our early history, while the walls of the capital were blackened with the fires kindled by the invading army of England, threatened disunion, and from that day forward turned the ministers of religion into political Jacobins, degraded the church of God into a political junto, in the name of liberty denounced the Constitution and laws of the country, and by ceaseless agitation from press and rostrum and pulpit, lashed the people into the fury of war.
In this presence, at the bar of the enlightened public opinion of America and the world, I arraign that fell spirit of fanaticism, and charge it with, all the treasure expended and blood shed on both sides of that war, all the sufferings and sacrifices it cost, and all the fearful ruin it wrought. And in the name of the living and the dead I warn you, my countrymen, against the admission of that spirit, under any guise or pretext, into your social or political systems.There are trials severer than war, and calamities worse than the defeat of arms. The South was to pass through such trials and be threatened with such calamities by the events of that period. Now