TO MY SONS
As you well know, I love that which inspires worthy dreams. I love decent folks. I believe there is always something to gain in the company of noble souls.
Therefore -- and you have probably guessed it -- the defeated man I want to present to you was a noble-hearted one. One of those human beings whose pure and beneficent example must be saved from oblivion. And yet, during the war that tore America to pieces, this defeated man, while defending his native land, fought, as you will see, for the South -- the land of slavery.
You will discover with what deep conviction of obeying to his sense of duty, with what heart-rending suffering he made the ominous choice that decided his life.
For him, no more than for any other American, the war, in its beginning, did not have as its principle objective the suppression of slavery. No, he certainly was not pro-slavery -- he who, long before, had already liberated all the slaves of his estate ; but, grandson by marriage of George Washington, raised with the faith in the principles on which the union of the states had been built, he was convinced that on a land as vast as America, it was necessary to maintain the traditional independence of the states.
This independence was a protection against the eventual encroachments of the central power. Defending it was, in his
eyes, defending state's rights, law, liberty, and so he took
- Mme B. Boissonnas is writing.