Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/399

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Lee's Birthday. 393

started and the modification of English society made by Cromwell, as seen in the death of Charles I and the banishment of Charles II, by which the power of the Romish Church was hurled back and the way was thus prepared for the admission of dissenting clergy- men to benefices, for the enlargement of English families and for the speedy coming of William of Orange, by whom James II was de- throned, the growing papal power was broken and English liberties were extended. So conquered at last only by attrition, not by valor on the field of battle, the four years of a nation's agony finds in its story the history of a great struggle between five hundred thousand ill-equipped but well-drilled Confederates and two million well-kept Federal soldiers, their very struggle modifying not the armors only, but each section of this great nation, and reinforcing North and South among the States the great principles underlying our consti- tutional government. On the one side State sovereignty and perso- nal rights, on the other the supremacy of the nation in its unity. We of the South, with arms laid down and the hope of separate independence wrapped in the tattered folds of the surrendered flag, may see as the smoke of battle lifts that State sovereignty and perso- nal rights still stand like mountains in the heart of this nation, while we recognize the fact that the States are one and indivisible, and ought to be. After the lapse of more than a quarter of a century we look over the field of carnage where Lee and his soldiers met and defeated in successive campaigns more than double their num- bers; we see the undivided life of the nation, the rights of the States and the rights of citizens alike maintained. Never again may the wiles of politicians, the heat of partizans or the extravagance of demagogues excite on these themes another battle-cry. If we have another war between the States, it will not, cannot be on this line. But the cause is not lost, as the genius of our republic is felt in Eu- rope. As kings tremble on their thrones at the march of the thought of government by the people, and as new republics are being born, so the stroke by Southern men in arms for self government is felt among the States. Now again are the Southern States steadily marching to the front in this nation's history in all that constitutes greatness. Let Virginia be a sample.


The destruction of slavery as a result of the war has opened the finest soil of the Atlantic slope to the markets of the world. With a