Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Until men despise patriotism

From the 1873 funeral for Matthew Fontaine Maury:
As long as the planets roll their nightly courses through the sky, his name will be inscribed on the starry firmament. As long as the ocean heaves, the winds blow, and men seek distant lands in commerce, his praise will not want a voice. Till men forget science, he will not be forgotten; and until men despise patriotism, his example will teach us to give up all at the call of our native land. And for our selves, we will be dead to the sweetness of friendship, the love of virtue, and the admiration of Christian piety, when we cease to cherish the memory of him whose death we here record.

These days our culture would see little beyond the fact that he served with the confederacy during the Civil War, and subsequently write him off and anyone that honors him. This memorial simply mentions that experience as a chapter in his life simply as a matter of faithfulness to his home state that was preceded and succeeded by much accomplishment.

The line about patriotism was written well after the close of the war, and I do not take it to have connotations related to the issues litigated in combat. What I find noteworthy is we seem to be approaching a time, if we're not in it already, when men despise patriotism.

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