Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/25

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by those who say that "the best they can do" 1 is to desert the faith of that cause; to lose its feelings and fortitudes; to take test oaths; to beg for pardons; to confess tin- charge of treason, not only to acknowledge tin -uilt of the highest felony known to the calendar of human crime, for themselves, hut in fact and effect to inscribe t re. i son on the graves of these heroic martyrs; to choose the school of morals which teaches the doctrine of taking lesser evils; to ap- prove and endorse the blackest wrongs done to this generation and its heirs forever, against which these immolated comrades fought and died! This thing which we now hear called "accepting the situa- tion " is very different from the acceptance of the situation which these dead comrades made in the pride of patriotism when they ac- cepted graves rather than servile submission, when they tasted death rather than "eat dirt" and live! They made thousands of the foe "bite the dust " rather than be conquered to wear chains by consent and approval. If they were traitors I and every leader of theirs who led them to battle and to death, Lee and all, were murderers! They were not traitors, and Lee and I and others whom they fol- lowed were not their murderers! The morale of their lives and deaths still lives in the memory of the glorious deeds they did, and their examples are immortal. The rights for which they contended and their defence of those rights constituted ' ' the Confederate Cause." And that cause is as undying as those rights are indestruc- tible, and as their defence was glorious! They were true to that Cause, the substance of which was not to be masters of slaves, bid that others should not be their masters, and they were true to the last ditch of its defence, and to the death! Yes! After the bones of these devoted martyrs shall have mouldered into dust; after the deserters of their faith and memories and examples shall have died in the easiest situations which they can accept, and they and their treason shall have rotted and been forgotten, the cause of freedom for which these noble Confederates fell the freedom of conscience and the freedom of self-government, guarded by a standard of fun- damental law of its honest administration the Confederate Cause shall survive and revive and find champions, though its champions for the time be made martyrs! The blood of these martyrs shall be the seeds of new life and new liberty for all the ages of time! and the moral monuments of "These True Men," without marble and without brass, shall be eternal!

I wish it was permitted by this occasion, dedicated to the dead, to speak of and to the survivors of these their comrades, who so