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"In this canvass, both before and after I became a candidate, no argument or appeal of mine was directed against the perpetuation of the Union. Believing, however, that the signs of tho time portended danger to the South from tho usurpation by the general government of undelegated powers, I counseled that Mississippi should enter into the proposed meeting of the people of the Southern States, to consider what
“At the risk of being wearisome, but encouraged by your marked friendship, I will give you a statement in the case. The meeting of Ostober, 1819, Wos a convention of delegates equally representing the Whig and Democratic parties in Mississippi. The resolutions were decisive as to equality of right in the south with the North to the Territories acquired from Mexico, and proposed a convention of the southern States. I was not a member, but on invitation addressed the convention. The succeeding legislature instructed me, as a Senator, to assert this equality, and, under the existing circumstances, to resist by all constitutional means the admission of California as a State. At a called session of the legislaturc in 1870, a self-constituted committee called on mc, by letter, for my views. They were men who had enacted or approved the resolutions of the convention of 1815, and instructed mo as members of the legislaturc, in regular scssion, in the carly part of the ycar 1850. To them I replicd that I adhored to the policy they had indicated and instructed mo in their official character to pursue.
"I pointod out the modo in rhich their policy could, in my opinion, bo cxccuted with out bloodshed or disastrous convulsion, but in terms of bitter scorn alluded to such as would insult me with a desire to destroy the Union, for which my whole life prored mo to be a devotec.
"Pardon the egotism, in consideration of the occasion, when I say to you that my father and my uncles fought through tho Revolution of 1776, glving their youth, thcir blood, and their little patrimony to the constitutional freedom which I claim as my inheritance. Thrco of my brothers fought in the war of 1812. Two of them were comradcs of the Ucro of tho Hermitage, and received his commendation for gallantry at New Orleans. At sixteen years of ago I was given to the service of my country; for twelvo years of my life I havo borng its arms and served it zealously, if not well. As I feel the infirmitics, which suffering more than age has brought upon me, it would be a bitter reflection, indeed, if I was forced to conclude that my countrymen would hold all this light when weighed against tho empty panegyric wbich a time-serving politician can bestow upon the Union, for which he never made a sacrifice.
“In the Scnate I announced that, if any respectable man would call me a disunionist, I would answer him in monosyllables . . . But I havo often asserted the right, for which the battles of the Revolution were fought-the right of a people to change their government whenever it was found to be oppresslve, and subversive of the objects for which gorernments are instituted-and have contended for the independence and sovereignty of the States, a part of the creed of which Jefferson was the apostle, Madison the expounder, and Jackson the consistent defender.
“I have writen freely, and moro than I designed. Accept my thanks for your friend.y advocacy. Present mo in terms of kind remembranco to your family, and bclicvc mo, rcry sincerely yours,
JEFFERSON DAVIS. “ NOTE.—No party in Mississippi ever advocated disunion. They differed as to the mode of securing their rights in the Union, and on the power of a State to sccede-neither advocating the exercise of the power.
could and should be done to insure our future safety, frankly stating my conviction that, unless such action was taken tlien, sectional rivalry would engender grcater evils in the future, and that, if the controversy was postponed, 'the last opportunity for a peaceful solution would be lost, then the issue would have to be settled by blood.'”
SECRETARY OF WAR UNDER FRANKLIN
The admirable sketch from which we have so often quoted 80 well describes the career of Mr. Davis as Secretary of War that we do not hesitate to givo it in full:
“After seven years of almost uninterruptedly continuous public service, cither civil or military, Mr. Davis was now in retirement for some months. During this period ho has described himself as happy in the peaceful pursuits of a planter, busily engaged in cares for servants, in the improvoment of his land, in building, in rearing live stock, and the like occupations. IIo took, nevertheless, an active interest in the presidential canvass of 1852, and on the clection of General Pierco was invited to a seat in his cabinet. This offer was at first declined, but having accepted an invitation to attend the inauguration, which took place on the 4th of March, 1853, he was induced,' by public considerations,' on its renewal, to reconsider the matter and accept the office of Secretary of War.
“Trequent experience has proved that tho men who take broad views, based upon great principles—the men who are characterized, with somo covert sarcasm, as 'theorists,' doctrinaires,' or 'abstractionists'-when entrusted with the responsibilities of public offico aro often, if not always, the most practical and judicious adıninistrators--more successful than tho men of details.
"It was so with Turgot in France, and IIamilton in America, in matters of finance, and it was eminently so in tho cases of
John C. Calhoun and Jefferson Davis—both regarded by many as 'abstractionists,' but both, by general admission, among the most successful administrators that have ever presided over the War Department of the United States.
“With regard to Mr. Davis, in particular, the combination of the speculative in principle with the practical in action, was one the most distinctive features of his character throughout his career, and has already been the subject of remark. A brief and modest account of the leading cvents of his oflicial term is given in one of the preliminary chapters of his own work, the 'Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government.'
“ Another authority (the 'American Cyclopædia ') says: *His administration of the War Department was marked by ability and energy, and was highly popular with the army. He proposed or carried into effect, among other measures, the revision of the army regulations; the introduction of camels into America; the introduction of the light infantry or riflo system of tactics; the manufacture of rifled muskets and pistols and the use of the minie ball; the addition of four regiments to the army; the augmentation of the sea coast and frontier defenses; and the system of explorations in the western part of the continent, for geographical purposes and for determining the best route for a railroad to the Pacific.'
"To these may be added certain valuable improvements in the casting of heavy guns and the manufacture of gunpowder.
“The Pacific railroad was a project in which he had already taken a lively interest while in the Senate. On the surface it may have seemed contrary to the Democratic tradition of opposition to works of internal improvement by the Federal government, but Mr. Davis, with all his tenacity of adherence to principle, was not one of the unbending theorists who refuse to recognize the existence of exceptional cases in the application of general principles. He advocated this measure on the grounds of the 'military necessity for such means of transporta
tion, and the need of safe and rapid communication with the Pacific slope, to secure its continuance as a part of the Union.'
“With regard to the new regiments authorized by act of Congress in 1855, the appointment of the officers was of course a power vested in the President, but a large uiscretion was no doubt entrusted to the Sccretary in making the selections—in this probably much larger than usual in similar cases, inasmuch as he was a trained soldier, of no little experience, familiar with the requirements of the service and the personnel of the existing army. It was understood that the appointments were to be filled, partly by promotion or transfer of officers already holding commissions in the army, and partly from civil lifcmany of the latter class being men who had given evidence of their fitness by services rendered as volunteers.
“Tho colonels appointed to the command of the two regiments of cavalry were Edwin V. Sumner and Albert Sidney Jolinston; the lieutenant-colonels were Joseph E. Johnston and Robert E. Lee; the majors, William H. Einory, Jolin Scdgwick, William J. Hardee, and George H. Thomas. These were the field officers, all chosen by selection from the army, and all graduates of West Point. Among the company officers are found the names of Gcorge B. McClellan, Thomas J. Wood, Robert S. Garnett, Earl Van Dorn, E. Kirby Smith, George Stoneman, Innis N. Palmer, Robert Ransom, David S. Stanley, J. E. B. Stuart, John B. IIood, Fitzhugh Lee, and others who afterward won distinction in either the Federal or Confederate service of the late war.
“General Early, in reply to an absurd statement of the Count of Paris, analyzes the roster of these two cavalry regiments and shows that they contributed to the United States army nine major-generals, nine brigadier-generals, one inspector gencral and twelve field and staff officers—thirty-one altogether; to the Confederate army five full generals, one lieutenantgeneral, six major-generals, ten brigadier-generals and two colonels—twenty-four in all. He very pertinently asks wheth