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which cannot be local. Its settlement concerns all of the country, North and South alike. The South more immediately and acutely, it is true, but equally in its far-reaching consequences it touches all the people. It should not be left to the South to work it out alone and unaided. I am as insistent as any son of the South can be upon our supreme right to settle in our own way our social affairs, and I insist that in our social and racial treatment of the question our hands should be free to fend as meets our need. That aspect is local and personal. However, upon the great question of its final settlement in its national aspect, it will take all of the united wisdom and resources of the whole people. Why should not this supreme question have the undivided labor of our reunited and loving people, rendered almost omnipotent in the grandeur of its accomplishment, because the endeavor is crowned and glorified by the Brotherhood which, with each fading sunset, grows sweeter and dearer as the sullen crimson lights of the sad past
“Tinge the sober twilight of the Present
Well remembering what in our nakedness and emptiness we have accomplished in the settlement of the Race Question, yet I make obeisance to those of the North who by their assistance have rendered it possible for the South to have accomplished so much. With all my soul I plead that with us no narrow spirit of sufficiency or suspicion of untoward interference on the part of the North should prevent the intertwining of our lives and our energies in the unravelling of the complexities of a situation which more vitally affects modern civilization than any question of the present day. For us to do so was for Theseus to refuse the sword of Ariadne, and to cast aside the skein of silk proffered by the loving hand of the daughter of Minos. A follower of Him, the latchet of whose shoe we are not worthy to loose, relates that on one of the carnagestricken fields of old Virginia an officer of a Massachusetts regiment lay wounded to death. His regiment had passed on leaving him alone with the fading light and amid the quickly-coming shadows. He was lying in the line of the march of the Southern troops, and as a Southern soldier hurried by he called and asked him to pray with him. “Oh, I am sorry I cannot,” he said; “I have never learned to pray for myself.” Yet with soft hands and tender sympathy he placed the dying officer under the grateful shade, pillowed His head, and cooling his fevered lips with water from his canteen, he left him with words of cheer and hurried away to the battle-field. Soon the ears almost in hearing of the majestic music of that better land and rendered doubly acute by its near approach, again heard coming footsteps, and as another Southern soldier passed by the pleading lips called out, “I beg you to come and pray with me.” Seeing the dimming eyes and the broken form, the Southern soldier knelt down beside his erstwhile foeman and poured over that battle-stricken field his prayer for the guidance of one about entering the encircling shadows, and for the sweet and divine consolation of those dear ones he had left at home. As the man of the South prayed, there came to the wistful, fast-closing eyes a vision of the homestead in the North, with the old mother looking down the flower-bordered lane and listening for footsteps too long in their returning; the well, with its sweet water, under the shadow of the waving elms; the sweet meadow, with its fragrance of newly-cut grass and flowers; the children at their little play; the evening table and the vacant chair, and the sweetfaced waiting wife with the little one in her arms; and with each supplication and sweet reminder of life and loved ones and of the nearer and other life, the weakening arms, clothed in their uniform of blue, wrapped themselves around the gray-clad soldier. Nearer and nearer crept the wounded form in blue, and as the last tender supplication went out to the Throne from the lips of the Southerner, the spirit of the soldier of the North went on its journey and left its mortality, holding in close embrace the gray-clad soldier of the South. And here, my countrymen, in this splendid presence, I invoke, as a touchstone to our lives and a guide to our feet, often wandering, that spirit of unity of love and action which touched the battle-fields with the tenderness of unseen hands and gave amidst the lonely pines of old Virginia a foretaste of the spirit of better days yet to come. Then, sir, let us approach this supremest question of our civil life with hearts touching and arms about each other and strengthened by a consecrated union of purpose and interest, and we will, as conquerors, ascend those imperial heights of self-abnegation, patriotism, and true statesmanship, where amidst the blooming of sweet flowers of love and perfect trust we will contemplate a happy people undivided by internecine conflict and unshaken by sectional difference. Yea, we will not approach this question with broken bodies clothed with the blue and the gray, and over fields strewn with the ruck of a despairing civilization, tinged with the dun colors of sectional conflict and difference; but rather as brothers whose endeavor is illumined by the golden sunlight encompassing the rich cities, the fields abounding with fertility, the advancing commerce and civil glory of a united people. Conscious of the ultimate rectitude of an enlightened nation and touched with the spirit of Him who taught as never man taught the unchangeable principles of right and justice to all men of every condition, we together, the North and the South, will work out to its finality this great problem, in love, in justice, and in moderation, to the glory of our civilization, and leave to our children's children the priceless illustration of a people forgetting the sorrows and hatreds of other days, surrendering sectional advantage, doing equal justice to every man of every color and condition, and resolutely turning the face to a day of wider and better and brighter and more glorious national life which will hasten the time when justice will be the delight of our people and the chiefest glory of our free government!