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WE ARE CONTENT IN THE HOME OF OUR FATHERS.
The Past asks what of the Future? We can answer as fearlessly as the dead answered the call on them- -we are content in the home of our fathers. Neither fealty to the dead, fidelity to principle, nor any laws of honor or interest, impels us to a different answer. important, however, to inquire why this is so.
It is a narrow and dishonoring view that this content comes from defeat and the parole at Appomattox. A new generation has risen since then. Paroles bind the generation which gives them; but neither future generations or great principles can be paroled. There must be surer and better foundation for this content, now, of millions
in a government from which, a third of century ago, they made so many sacrifices to separate, than the memory of parchment which recalls a disaster in arms.
We are Americans, proud of our country and its flag, because Alabama is lord of her own and vassal to none, and our highest hopes of happiness are bound up in the rule of one government of co-equal States under the Constitution, for the North American continent.
Why should it not be so?
When the Confederate furled his flag, no strange flag vexed him. The new banner that rose over his home was the old flag of his forefathers. Every battle-field and glory it recalls is bright with the valor and achievements of his ancestors. When we left, we did not claim the flag, and as it comes back to us now, it stands for no thought at war with our interest, our liberties or our honor, but lifts its folds proudly in the skies of every land, as our protector and defender. Why may we not love it now as the symbol of a reunited' land?
If, then, not the flag, is it the feeling between those who dwell under the flag, that should keep our hearts apart? Never was there better understanding and more good will between the sections.
Industry and economic conditions have so changed that Federal legislation rarely presents even a sectional aspect. Hostility and discord between the sections are weaker than ever before, since the sections are juster to each other than ever before. We have our share in glories of the Republic. We have thrilled at the thought of a loved Montgomerian, standing under the broad pennant of the Secretary of the Navy, in an American flag-ship, as it ploughed through the waters of the Chesapeake, and he received the salutes
of the navies of the earth. Alabama gave to the country the cavalry leader of the west to win glory at Santiago, at the head of a division of regulars. We have rejoiced at the fame of the Greensboro youth, Alabama's Pelham of the seas, who, rivaling and recalling the daring of that Alabamian who sank the Housatonic in Charleston harbor, sank the Merrimac in Santiago harbor, and then rose in sight. of the world. We have watched regiments of our own sons, and wafted prayers with them, as they marched off under the Stars and Stripes.
If slavery was the cause of the war, it has perished in the march of events. Who would bring it back, or war about it now? Its doom was inevitable, as it had served its day in the purpose of the great Creator. That it was fast becoming a very body of death to our advancement and prosperity, is not now denied. It made a wide and ever widening gulf between the man who owned and the man who did not own slaves. It promoted false ideas of the dignity and worth of labor by the white man, and the economic policies which it created, impoverished us, and shut us out from the world. It is far better for us, at least, that it is dead.
It is simple truth, that the institution, as it existed in 1861, was mildness itself compared with its history elsewhere. It was not the slavery of men of our own race, which in substance, though not in name, often haunts civilization elsewhere. The ancestor of the slave did not lose liberty when brought to his master here. The dominion was not based more on force than the ignorance and need for protection of the slave. It is an imperishable tribute to its kindness that throughout a terrible civil war, in which hostile armies traversed a country filled with slaves, they never once rose anywhere in insurrection against their masters. Whether those who, by force of circumstances, maintained it were not as noble as those who, by force of circumstances, opposed it, we may well leave to the calm judgment of posterity, and to the Providence which placed the institution in our midst, with the names of Washington and Jefferson, Madison and Monroe, Marshall and Calhoun, Clay and Crittenden, Davis and Lee, Maury and Manly, and Stonewall Jackson and Stephen Elliott.
But what of the great principles for which we fought? Have we abandoned them? The great substantial, animating principle for which the South struggled was the right of a State to control its own domestic affairs—the right to order its own altars and firesides without outside interference-the right of local sovereignty for which
brave people struggle everywhere, and without which there is no peace. Secession itself was a mere incident in the application of this principle. So great was the attachment to the principles of union, and so little was the right of secession cherished in itself, that its assertion was wrung from the South only by the conviction of some States that they could no longer live in the Union in peace and honor, and by the dread alternative presented others by the call from Washington for troops to draw the sword for or against their own flesh and blood.
If the defeated Confederate soldier did not immediately vindicate the right of a State to order its own domestic affairs, even at the expense of Union, neither did the victorious Northern soldier vindicate any principle of Union, without regard to the just rights of the States. I speak not now of that mere physical Union, like the chain which bands Ireland and England, but of that living, breathing soul of liberty, which binds co-equal States in unison of happiness around the common altar of the Constitution.
The Union of the fathers, like the rights of the States, was dead for twelve long years after the war. Neither came back until the heart of the North, better understanding itself and the South, abandoned the dream of force, and President Hayes-to whom I am glad to pay this tribute-speaking in the name of Union, declared that the bayonet could not rule, and "the flag should float over States, not Provinces." With that, Union came back inevitably, as night follows day, recognition of the great principle that the safety and happiness of the American people and the future of Constitutional liberty, depend not more on Union than on equality of the States, and the right to work out their own destiny around their own firesides; and that one is not complete without the other. This principle, which underlies all real liberty and happiness, stands to-day, thank God, upright and unchallenged in the hearts of the American people. Of a truth, then, we may declare that "the grand army of martyrs, which is still marching onward beyond the stars," which fought at last, not for secession or slavery, but for the right of a State to govern itself in all that pertains solely to itself, have not died in vain.
"Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee"-was written not alone of those whose name and blood we inherit, but as well of generations which have borne the heat and burden of days that are behind us. A people may neglect the command and forfeit the prom
ise as well as the child.
Those were brave words of the statesman who said: "Society has a soul as well as a body. The traditions of a nation rea a part of its existence—its valor and discipline, its religious faith, its venerable laws, its science and erudition, its poetry, its art, its wise laws and its scholarship, are as much the blood of its life as its agriculture, its commerce and its engineering skill." Bursting granaries, wide orchards and fields, rushing locomotives, the whir of spindles, the smoke of furnaces and the white sails of commerce, alone, cannot make a people great. Without manhood and virtue, love of God and native land, no people can become really great or long remain free. These virtues wither and die in the land where the child forgets father, and is unmindful of the heritage of his noble example and sacrifices. We serve humanity and country when we remind the children of the Confederate soldier of his life and achievements.
ALABAMA SHOULD WRITE HISTORY.
Some have There is but
Look in the
Our duty is not ended with the building of this monument. Where may an Alabamian find a roll of the men who made history, and yet left no name on its pages? Where can he find the names of the great throng who died, with no rank to attract the eyes of the country, and went down to death, uncheered save by the firm beating of their own dauntless hearts? Can he find his name among the archives of the State for which they gave their lives? They are not there. In historic publications of her heroic sons? She has written none. Will he find them on the graves of the dead? no headstones, and many are marked "unknown." one sacred spot on earth, where these names are kept. hearts of our noble women, and there you will find them all. But the gentle lips which said the prayers he could not say, and the white hands which shunned no toil for him, and the pure souls that rose above him with a courage grander than his own, are fast passing away. Almost alone, for thirty-three years, she has guarded the memory of the dead. Her lips have uttered no complaint. Yet one reads in her eyes the wistful thought that the comrades of the dead have not kept full faith with him, when the State for which he died, ruled by his comrades and their children, has not even traced the names of the dead in the chronicles of her history, and leaves the bodies of her dead sons, who perished in prison, far off by the lakes, indebted to the chance kindness of the stranger for the handful of earth and the enclosure that saves them from the beasts of the
fields and the birds of the air. Poverty and despair long pleaded to excuse us, but that excuse is not true now. Let the voice of the people "throng in and become partakers of the councils of State,” until the peoples' representatives take away this reproach. It cannot be, as some have urged, that the State which could send over one hundred thousand men to battle and death, may not, under the Constitution for which they fought, rightly expend money for the roll of their names or history of their achievements. It cannot be that the State which can give a money reward to a civil officer for catching a malefactor, cannot give a sword as reward to a soldier for honoring her people in battle. This State were weak, indeed, if so poor in power and right. Long ago, the law was declared in Alabama that the "whole, unbounded power" of man over man, in matters temporal, resides in the government of the State, save as expressly or by necessary implication denied by the State and Federal Constitutions. There is no want of power.
THE PASSING OF THE CONFEDERACY.
That is a masterpiece-the touching Idyl of the "Passing of Arthur." The king, beaten in his last battle, and drawing near to death, commanded his knight to take the blade, "which would be known wherever he was sung in after time," and throw it in the lake. But the knight, believing the king's fame would be hid from the world in after times, if "so precious thing should be lost from earth forever," feigned obedience, and hid the sword among the waterflags. Then came from the king's pale lips the despairing cry: "Woe is me, authority forgets a dying king, laid widowed of his power." Shamed to obedience, the knight threw the blade in the lake, and Arthur, when told of the arm that rose up from the mists and caught it, sure it would never again be seen by mortal eyes, passed to be king of the dead."
Our Arthur passed to the "island valley of Avilion" with no cry on his lips or thought in his heart that "authority forgets a king, laid widowed of his power; for here the love of a people touched away the scar of the fetters, and crowned him king again. As the monument, whose foundation he laid, crowned in its finished glory with the statues, is about to be committed to the State and Time, we are looking upon the passing of the Confederacy. No "arm clothed in white sasmite, mystic and wonderful," rises out of earth to bear away our treasures from the sight of men; but here, where the Confederacy was born, and in the presence of God and this multitude, we