Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 26.djvu/71

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.

The Dismemberment <>/ Virginia. 61

and most stubborn of materialists cannot deny the immense effect produced by her dismemberment upon the financial and industrial prosperity of Virginia, und upon her relative weight and position in the Union. It is easy to bring this to the test of figures.

If the State had remained undivided she would, by the census of 1890, have had 2,418,770 instead of only 1,655,980 inhabitants; $53 2 > 35. 328 of assessed property instead of only $362,422,741,; four- teen instead of ten members of the House of Representatives, and sixteen instead of twelve votes in the Electoral College. She would have ranked sixth instead of fifteenth in the list of States; her area would have been 67,230 square miles instead of 42,450, and her re- sources of all kinds, especially mineral and timber, would have been enormously increased, while the negroes the most objectionable and embarrassing element of her population would have formed not much more than 25, instead of, as now, nearly 40 per cent, of the whole.

Neverthless, great as they are, to those capable of judging by a different and higher standard, the injuries thus specified will not ap- pear the only, or the greatest wrongs she has suffered. These, in- deed, are, in their nature, incapable of such specification; cannot be weighed, or measured, or numbered.

It is, as it seems to us, a radically false and deeply injurious view of the subject which, in the supposed interest of harmony, would soften down, and pare away the truth until so little remains that it is virtually suppressed. Deep wounds need not to be covered up and hidden away, but to be fearlessly probed, and thoroughly exposed to light. History weighing with impartial hand the events and charac- ters of the past would but ill discharge the duty of her high office if she shrank from setting the seal of solemn reprobation upon acts like this. Hers is the court of last resort to which the injured, failing of redress in their lives, should be able to appeal with full'security of ob- taining at least posthumous justice. The innocent may receive no vindication, the guilty no punishment in life, but, as the ages roll onward, her verdict acts with ever-increasing force to deter from similar offences. Her late, but sure retribution should await the crimes which escape all other .earthly penalty, and bearing, as she does, no fleshly weapon, but a sword of far keener edge and wider sweep, it deeply concerns the future of mankind that she bear it not in vain.

" None," says a statesman of the deepest insight into the nature of man and of society, ' ' can aspire to act greatly but those who are of force greatly to suffer," a profound and pregnant saying, the truth