To this sacred spot then we have come this day to render
duly our reverent expression of praise and thanksgiving.
It has been well said that God acts through His prepared
agencies, and that He prepared Virginia to place the seal of
His favor on and the Virginia colonists and their successors as
His instruments to accomplish His mighty work.
On this sacred spot, chastened by the solemn associations
which this holy ground evokes, we cannot but echo this thought;
and when I speak o)f 17irginia, it is not so much the present
Virginia that T bear in mind as that, "Old Virginia," whose
eastern shores es.ter'ded from her Floridian confines on the
south to the forty-fifth degree of north latitade on the north,
and whose border to the westward reached to "the furthest
From her northeastern territory of " North Virginia,"
charted by and cleared of invaders by her Governors, came
New England, and from her southern, her western and her
northwestern territory, explored and conquered by her sons,
have come all the States from the Carolinas to the "Furthest
In fact, this occasion belongs to all America. This spot
belongs to the continent. The heart of it is Old Virginia; the
core of the heart is this spot. But the body to which this
heart and this heart's core belong is this Land-this People,
whose representatives from all over the Union are assembled
here today. Virginian as I am in every fibre of my being, I
declare my belief before the High God that this spot belongs
by indefeasible title to all the people of this country, and that
there is no power under heaven to defeat their claim. To
Massachusetts and Maine and New York and Michigan as to
Kentucky and West Virginia, I say, it is yours-here our
forefathers first planted the tree whose fruit was to be for the
salvation of the nations. We hold it, but as a sacred trust
for all. For here was the cradle not only of the Common-
wealth of Virginia, but of the Republic.