Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 23.djvu/370

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364 {southern Historical Society Papers.

Every spot is sacred, every room is hallowed. If these walls could but speak what tales of joy and anxiety, happiness and woe they would unfold. In their massiveness they stand indeed as a memorial to the great man who once occupied them, and in their stateliness as a reminder of the lofty character of the beloved chief magistrate of the short-lived but glorified and immortalized Confederacy.

But while the tendrils of all our hearts entwine ;his historic struc- ture, there is no lingering feeling of bitterness engendered by inter- necine strife in our breasts. Neither are we engaged in this work in any spirit of disloyalty to our reunited land. Oh, no. We are one people under the aegis of one flag, affirming allegiance to one constitution, worshipping at one altar, and moving forward to one goal. While we have no retractions to make, no recantations to sing, while we intend ever to be true to ourselves, to our martyred dead and our heroes, dead and living, to our traditions and civiliza- tion, to everything that characterized a brave and chivalrous race, we proclaim ourselves loyal sons and daughters of this Union.

I must now discharge a duty which has been assigned me. I must perform a task which, though pleasant, will be labor lost. I have the honor of introducing to you a gentleman who needs no introduction to a Richmond or Virginia audience the distinguished soldier and honored citizen, General Bradley T. Johnson, who will address you.


When the applause which followed the Governor's eloquent pre- sentation of the distinguished orator subsided, General Johnson arose, made graceful recognition, and said:

Ladies of t/ie Confederate Memorial Literary Society,

Friends, and Fellow- Confederates, Men and Women :

To-day commemorates the thirty-fifth anniversary of the inaugura- tion of the last rebel President and the birthday of the first. It commemorates an epoch in the grandest struggle for liberty and right that has ever been made by man. It celebrates the baptism of a new nation born thirty-five years ago to-day. And this com- memoration is in the capital city of the Old Dominion and of the Confederacy.

More than a generation after the utter failure of the attempt, it is by the statesmen of Virginia, by her public authorities, by the