Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 27.djvu/125

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/. rate Dead of Flori'l". 117

gentle-man's modestv from doing so, most gladly would I speak of his wonderful and thrilling career as a soldier in his youth and of his it work as a dti/rn in his mature years. But I am not permitted to panegyrize him as he deserves to be, yet I can express a wish for him. And well do I know, hearers, that you will heartily unite with me in that wish, which is, that his life may be as long and happy as the soul which sustains it is generous and patriotic, and that distant, far distant, may be the time when monumental legend or eulogistic addresses shall tell us that he is no longer in the land of the living.

This beautiful shaft, dedicated "To the Soldiers of Florida," with its fitting and impressive inscriptions, though silent, yet eloquently speaks to us, and will so speak to coming generations, of the brave men whose intrepid valor and ardent love of home and country it is intended to commemorate. Who were these men and whence came they? They were citizens of Florida, many of them "native here and to the manner born," and others citizens by adoption. They came from every section of the State from the shores of ocean and gulf, from field and forest, and from mainland and coral isle. They came from every vocation in life from bench and bar, from bank and counting-room, from editor's sanctum and teacher's study, from farm and shop, and from the pulpit, the Lord Almighty's rostrum on the earth. Why did they come? Because their State called them.

On the loth day of January, in the year 1861, the people of the State of Florida, in convention assembled, did solemnly ordain, publish and declare:

"That the State of Florida hereby withdraws herself from the confederacy of States existing under the name of the United States of America, and from the existing government of said States, and that all political connection between her and the government of said States ought to be, and is hereby, totally annulled, and said union of States dissolved. And the State of Florida is hereby declared a sovereign and independent nation. And that all ordinances hereto- fore adopted, in so far as they create and recognize said Union, are rescinded. And all laws and parts of laws, in so far as they recog- nize or assent to said Union, be, and they are hereby, repealed."

Florida having thus seceded from the Union, and her citizens believing that to their State, in which were their homes and loved ones, they owed allegiance, promptly responded to her call and soon became actors in the great " war between the States." They were animated by that heroic spirit which was conspicuously displayed at