Delivered as the commencement address for South Carolina College, 1887.
What theme is most fitting for me present to the young men of the South, at this celebration of the South Carolina College ? What shall one, whose course is nearly run, say to those whose career is hardly begun ? In my retrospect I deeply sympathize with you in your prospect. You look to a future—a new future; I to the past—the old past. Have they no nexus? Is the New South cut off from the Old South? Is the past of our Southern land to be buried, and the new era to forget and wholly discard its memories, its ideas, and its principles? Because a sweeping revolution has upheaved its society, is all it ever believed and wrought out by its great intellects and its social and political virtue to be deemed the worthless debris of a useful convulsion, fit only to be cleared away to make place for a new order of ideas, principles, and faith ?
I do not believe it.
The old order changeth, yielding place to new,But in all the history of civilized man, every seemingly extinct order has contained the seeds of that which succeeds it, and the rubbish of the past is but its circumstances, its incidents. And the seeds of truth it cherished have survived in the flower and fruitage of a later polity, free only from what was hurtful or unnecessary to the better order, which it will assume, under new conditions and with new surroundings. The child is father to the man: as true in case of a nation as of the individual.
And God fulfils himself in various way.
Much more @ The Abbeville Institute and worth every sentence.