Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 34.djvu/352

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344 Southern Historical Society Papers.

the smoke clouds on the heights of Gettysburg, as they burst through the wilderness thickness to the salient at Spotsylvania, as they followed to the gloomy glory of Appomattox, Lee's people have pressed and striven and climbed from Appomattox to and now are through the clouds and toward the crest, in the full glow of the light, marching abreast with those who were victors over them, shoulder to shoulder with former enemies in strong and joyous emulation, the spreading spirit of Lee's heroism and patience, purity and splendid purpose and manhood, urging all, ennob- ling all.

Surely nothing more than the bare facts of history are needed to prove that such a people on such a land, and land yielding such results and a people extorting from it such results are invincible and that we have no need to fear for the future, no need to fix any limits to our expectations of wealth and greatness.

During the first five and seventy years of our national life, or, say from the Declaration of Independence by the thirteen original States until 1850, the South was dominant. In the executive chair at Washington, on the bench and in the halls of legislature, Southern men were foremost. Of the first twelve presidents of the Republic, from 1789 until 1850, seven were the sons of one Southern State the Old Dominion Virginia, the mother of presidents. A majority of the chief justices of the United States Supreme Court during these years were Southern men; and more than half of the speakers of the House of Representatives for the same period came from the South.

Surely, it takes no oracle to foresee that the time is now hasten- ing on when the South, seated on the throne of greatness, shall again hold the sceptre of power in our forever united country.

I have no wish to give life to any old quarrels, to arouse the memory of any old wrongs or to pursue any dead men in their graves. It is no unkindly spirit that I recall some of the hideous mistakes that were made in dealing with us, which all now recog- nize. I concede frankly that if it had been Grant instead of Lee who surrendered at Appomattox, we of the South probably would have erred in dealing with the North, as the North did in dealing with us errors of long hatred intensified by the smell of the blood of our own, of old and rooted and fortified misconception and wrong valuations, of honest, intense fanaticism and prejudice, of greed and ambition and lust suddenly loosed and regnant by the