["Berry Hill Version 2"] by Kenneth H. Cook.
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7. Years afterward Mr. Bruce expressed extreme regret that he had voted for the perpetuation of slavery in 1832. IN a speech in Danville, which attracted considerable attention at the time, he declared that the greatest harm of slavery was to the white people, not the blacks, as the institution "cheated the planters with a semblance of wealth." James Coles Bruce also represented Halifax in the Virginia Secession Convention of 1861, where he served with distinction on the very important Federal Relations Committee. In the early days he was opposed to secession, but when Lincoln issued his first call for troops he voted to break with the Union. Thereafter his personal contributions to the Confederacy amounted to more than $150,000. On March 28, 1865, while the fighting around Petersburg was signaling the beginning of the end for the South, death came to James Coles Bruce in his chamber at Berry Hill. He was buried in the family cemetery beside his beloved wife, Elizabeth Douglass Wilkins Bruce. The daughter of William Wyche Wilkins and Elizabeth Judkins Raines of Belmont, Northampton County, North Carolina, she had preceeded him in death in 1850. It is interesting to note here that on June 12, 1865, Alexander Bruce, as his father's executor, paid Thomas Fox of Halifax $50 for his walnut coffin. James Coles Bruce was deeply devoted to his wife, and her death had left a great void in his life. Several years afterward he told his sister-in-law Mrs. Sarah Bruce Seddon of Staunton Hill that he knew the dead never came back to earth. Night after night, he said, he has thrown himself on her tomb and implored her to return to him, but that return she never did. While on his death bed Mr. Bruce said that he felt a rather