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I am gratified to meet you to-night. I am gratified that Georgia and all the South is a unit. I rejoice to be able to tell you the welcome news that Virginia is a unit. Nearly every single meinber of her Convention will sign the Ordinance of Secession. And now, with my best wishes, I bid you good-night.
His speech was rapturously applauded throughout; and, as he retired, three cheers for Stephens were given with a will.
In a few moments, in response to earnest solicitations, he again came on the platform, and said:
The news from Washington is very interesting. It has been stated in the newspapers-first, that the Virginia troops had occupied Arlington Heights, just across the Potomac from the President's house; and again, that Lincoln's troops had occupied that point. My information is that both these statements are incorrect. Lincoln, however, has occupied Georgetown Heights. He has from fifteen to twenty thousand soldiers stationed in and about Washington. Troops are quartered in the Capitol, who are defacing its walls and ornaments with grease and filth, like a set of vandal hordes. The new Senate chamber has been converted into a kitchen and quarters -cooking and sleeping apparatus have actually been erected and placed in that elegant apartment.
The Patent Office is converted into soldiers' barracks, and is ruined with their filth. The Post-Office Department is made a storehouse for barrels of flour and bacon. All the departments are appropriated to base uses, and despoiled of their beauty by those treacherous, destructive enemies of our country. Their filthy spoliations of the public buildings, and works of art at the Capital, and their preparations to destroy them, are strong evidence to my mind that they do not intend to hold or defend the place; but to abandon it, after having despoiled and laid it in ruins. Let them destroy it-savage-like—if they will. We will rebuild it. Phoenix-like, new and more substantial structures will rise from its ashes. Planted anew, under the auspices of our superior institutions, it will live and flourish throughout all ages.
SPEECH OF J. M. MASON.
AT RICHMOND, VA., JUNE 8, 1861.
SOLDIERS OF THE
MARYLAND LINE: I am
deputed to do a most grateful duty; first, in the name of Virginia, to give you an earnest and cordial welcome to the "Old Dominion;" and next, to present to you, in behalf of the ladies of Maryland, this flag. I see, soldiers of Maryland, that you are "rough and ready"—the highest honor of a soldier in revolutionary times. We all know who you are. We all know what brought you here, and we are all ready, as I trust you have experienced, to extend to you a soldier's welcome-the only welcome, indeed, that can be extended in times like these. Your own honored State is with us heart and soul in this great controversy. By your enterprise, your bravery, and your determined will, you have escaped from the thraldom of tyranny which envelopes that State; and you know, I know-for I
have been among its people-we all know, that the same spirit which brought you here, actuates thousands who remain at home. (Applause.) I welcome you, soldiers of Maryland, upon the threshold of the second great war of independence—a war that will be transmitted by history to the future as the greatest of two wars of independence; a war that is waged against the South with less provocation, less reason, less regard to humanity and honor, than was that waged by the mother country in 1776.
Your presence here is proof that you participate in this sentiment. And I tell you further, my countrymen, in view of these circumstances, there is not a man among you who will dare to return to Maryland with that flag dishonored. Not one. I tell you further, there is not a man among you who will dare to return to Maryland except as a soldier in victory. Do you ask me why? Because we are engaged in a great and holy war of self-defence. In after ages, when history records the transactions of this epoch-when the passions of men shall have subsided, and the historian can take a calm and philosophical view of the events which have led to the present collision between the two sections, he will write that the people of the Southern States understood and protected civil liberty, and that the misguided North either did not comprehend, or
abandoned it? For what have we witnessed? The spectacle of the Chief Justice of the United States, the man who stands at the head of the principal department of the Federal Government-the man who has illustrated in his life, for more than four generations, all that adorns honor, virtue, and patriotism-a native born citizen of your own State of Maryland-Roger B. Taney-that man has put the judicial fiat of condemnation upon the Government of the United States for its shameless abandonment of the very corner stone of our liberties. A native Marylander, he remains at home to defend the last refuge of civil liberty against the atrocious aggressions of a remorseless tyranny. I honor him for it; the world will honor him, posterity will honor him; and there will be inscribed upon his monument the highest tribute ever paid to a man. He has stood bravely in the breach, and interposed the unspotted arm of justice between the rights of the South and the malignant usurpation of power by the North. There he still remains, "a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night," to direct the welfare of our nation in this atrocious aggression upon our liberty.
Now, my countrymen, why are you here? What has brought you across the border? What is your mission to Virginia? You tell your own tale.