Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/86

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

zens of America and as proud of it as when we claimed prior allegiance to our mother States. We have become nationalized! The arbitrament of arms and the God of battles to whom we appealed, has resulted in the extinguishment of sectional feelings. Never, since the foundation of the republic, has the entire country been so firmly united in blood, sentiment and loyalty as at present. In the only conflict that has arisen since the Civil War, those who wore the blue and those who wore the gray stood shoulder to shoulder under the same old flag, under the joint command of officers who were opposed to each other in the war between the States. In a contest where victor and vanquished alike displayed such heroic courage, such patriotic devotion, such loyalty to duty, as each saw it, there is no occasion for shame.

We can console ourselves with the reflection, the assurance, that it is not a "lost cause." The conflict is not without result! It has cemented the people East, West, North and South in a common and indissoluble bond of union and patriotic devotion. If the vote were permissible and taken to-morrow the late seceded States would not withdraw from this Union—they are in the house of their fathers to stay. The consummation of these objects, the attainment of this result, the achievement of this end, in the life of a nation may be well worth the sacrifice—the blood so freely shed in their behalf!

I am optimistic in my belief, and the Ruler of Nations and their destinies may have called us to blaze the way, to point out the path of liberty and civilization to people yet unborn, for if we are true to ourselves, true to our principles and traditions we have a great future before us, and are destined to be the great world power.

I have thus briefly and imperfectly attempted an exegesis of the genesis of our government, looking over the pages of history and our own experiences, since these debates occurred, what is our verdict? We can but admit that the fears expressed by the patriots of the Convention of 1788 were well founded. Nearly every anticipated trouble predicted has materialized. The States attempted to resume their respective sovereignties but were compelled by the government they created to remain unwillingly in a Union they wished to withdraw from. A fratri-