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Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 31.djvu/258

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250 Southern Historical Society Papers.

Commonwealth of Virginia; and to Thy name shall be the praise forever. AmenĀ !


At the conclusion of the prayer, Hon. George L. Christian, on behalf of the Association, made the presentation address as follows:

Ladies, my Countrymen and my Comrades:

We are assembled to-day to perform a patriotic as well as a proud and pleasant task; to unveil and to donate to Virginia a monument to one of her most eminent, devoted and patriotic sons. My friends, we Virginians of to-day have a heritage of glory of which we have a right to be proud. If there should be struck from the history of this country the record of the achievements of Vir- ginians, in almost every line; nay, if there should be struck from the territory of our country the contributions made thereto by Vir- ginia and Virginians, the annals of our country would be stripped of their brightest pages, and our land would be shorn of its fairest and richest domain.

Look at yonder pile! Where in all this, or in any other land, can you find the effigies of so many men that were both good and greatĀ ? There stands Washington, the " Father of his Country," the fore- most soldier and statesman of his day, the leader of our Revolutionary armies, as well as the wisest and best of our civic leaders. There stands Henry, the leading "rebel" of his time, he whose eloquent voice not only stirred our ancestors to revolt against the oppressions of their then sovereign, but who with almost prophetic vision saw the dangers lurking in the constitution subsequently framed, which dangers brought forth another revolution in an attempt to escape oppressions tenfold more galling than those which produced the first revolution. There stands Jefferson, the author of the Declara- tion of Independence, and the most profound political philosopher of any time. There stands Mason, author of the " Bill of Rights" of Virginia, the model for all such declarations for all States and for all time. There stands Marshall, the great expounder of the Con- stitution; universally conceded to have been one of the greatest jurists of any age. There stands Nelson, the financial support of the Revolutionary army; one of the truest patriots of his day, who insisted that his own house should be fired upon, because it shielded for the time the enemies of his country; and lastly, there stands