Sidor som bilder

mond, but knew to be en route to the Florida coast, I changed my direction, and, after a long and hard ride, found them encamped and threatened by a robbing party. To give them the needed protection I traveled with them for several days, until in the neighborhood of Irvinville, Ga., when I supposed I could safely leave them. But, hearing about nightfall, that a party of marauders were to attack the camp that night, and supposing them to be pillaging deserters from both armies, and that the Confederates would listen to me, I awaited their coming, lay down in my traveling clothes and fell asleep. Late in the night my colored coachman aroused me with the intelligence that the camp was attacked, and I stepped out of the tent where my wife and children were sleeping, and saw at once that the assailants were troops deploying around the encampment. I so informed my wife, who urged me to escape. After some hesitation I consented, and a servant woman started with me, carrying a bucket as if going to the spring for water. One of the surrounding troopers ordered me to halt and demanded my surrender. I advanced toward the trooper, throwing off a shawl which my wife had put over my shoulders. The trooper aimed his carbine, when my wife, who witnessed the act, rushed forward and threw her arms around me, thus defeating my intention, which was, if the trooper missed his aim, to try and unhorse him and escape with his horse. Then, with every species of petty pillage and offensive exhibition, I was taken from point to point until incarcerated in Fortress Monroe.* There I was imprisoned for two years before being allowed the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

“At length, when the writ was to be issued, the condition was imposed by the Federal executive that there should be bonds

For a fuller account of my arrest see statements of United States Senator Reagan; W. Preston Johnston, president Tulane University; F. R. Lubbock, Treasurer of Texas; B. N. Harrison, Esq., of New York city, all eye witnesses. Also “The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government," page 700, vol. it; and for my life at Fortress Monroe, “The Prison Life of Jefferson Davis," by Dr. L. J. J. Craven. New York: Carleton, 1866.

men influential in the 'republican' party of the north, Mr. Greeley being especially named. Entirely as a matter of justice and legal right, and not from motives of personal regard, Mr. Greeley, Mr. Gerrit Smith, and other eminent northern citizens went on my bond.

“In May, 1867, after being released from Fortress Monroe, I went to Canada, where my older children were, with their grandmother; my wife, as soon as permitted, having shared my imprisonment, and brought our infant daughter with her. From time to time I obeyed summonses to go before the Federal court at Richmond, until finally the case was heard by Chief-Justice Chase and District Judge Underwood, who were divided in opinion, which sent the case to the Supreme Court of the United States, and the proceedings were quashed, leaving me without the opportunity to vindicate myself before the highest Federal court.

“After about a year's residence in Canada I went to England with my family, under an arrangement that I was to have sixty days' notice whenever the United States court required my presence. After being abroad in England and on the continent about a year, I received an offer of an appointment as president of a life insurance company. Thereupon I returned to this country, and went to Memphis, and took charge of the company. Subsequently I came to the gulf coast of Mississippi, as a quiet place where I could prepare my work on The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government.' A friend from her infancy, Mrs. Dorsey shared her home with me, and subsequently sold to me her property at Beauvoir, an estate of five or six hundred acres, about midway between Mobile and New Orleans. Before I had fully paid for this estate Mrs. Dorsey died, leaving me her sole legatee. From the spring of 1876 to the autumn of 1879 I devoted myself to the production of the historical work just mentioned. It is an octavo book, in two volumes of about 700 pages each. I have

also from time to time contributed essays to the North American Review and Belford's Magazine and have just completed the manuscript of 'A Short History of the Confederate States of America,' which is expected to appear early in 1890.

"Since settling at Beauvoir, I have persistently refused to take any active part in politics, not merely because of my disfranchisement, but from a belief that such labors could not be made to conduce to the public good, owing to the sectional hostilities manifested against me since the war. For the same reason I have also refused to be a candidate for public office, although it is well known that I could at any time have been re-elected a Senator of the United States.

“I have been twice married, the second time being in 1844, to a daughter of William B. Howell, of Natchez, a son of Governor Howell, of New Jersey. She has borne me six children four sons and two daughters. My sons are all dead; my daughters survive. The elder is Mrs. Hayes, of Colorado Springs, Col., and the mother of four children. My youngest daughter lives with us at Beauvoir, Miss. Born in the last year of the war, she became familiarly known as 'the Daughter of the Confederacy.'

"JEFFERSON DAVIS. Beauvoir, Miss., November, 1889.” The above exceedingly modest, but deeply interesting story of his eventful life will increase the public desire to see the fuller autobiography which he was writing, and deepen the regret that he was not spared to complete it.

But after all there are many things to be said about his life and character which he would never have said or even intiniated, and while we cannot enter into full details, we must give some of the things concerning this great man that ought to be written and preserved.



It is very certain that a love of liberty, a deep-toned patriotism, a willingness to sacrifice self for country, were inherited from the patriot soldier of the revolution, and that the brave Captain Samuel Davis, who fought for the colony of Georgia, and the other American colonies, against British oppression, was a fit progenitor of the chivalric Jefferson Davis, who led the Confederate States in their great struggle for constitutional freedom.

Although the father only remained in Kentucky a few years after the birth of his son Jefferson, Mr. Davis always cherished a real filial affection for the state of his birth, and early home, and Kentucky has been ever proud that she gave him birth, and counts him the greatest of all of her illustrious sons.

One of the most pleasant episodes in his life was his giving to the Baptist church in Fairview, Ky, the site of his birth place on which to erect a house of worship—his attendance at the dedication of this church, November 21, 1886—and the tender, appropriate, and eloquent speech, which he made on that occasion.

There was an immense crowd present; the services were of great solemnity and interest; all seemed touched by the

presence of the veteran president of the Confederacy, and Mr. Davis himself was deeply moved by the occasion, and the hallowed memories which caine trooping up from the past, as he saw this beautiful house of worship on the site of the humble cabın in which he was born.

I am indebted to Mrs. J. O. Rust, of Hopkinsville, Ky., for the following copy of a report of the brief address he made to the assembled multitude, when, after the sermon, which he seemed greatly to enjoy, he was called on to make some remarks.

The report is not stenographic, but is said to be nearly his exact words. In his graceful style he spoke, in substance, as follows:

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Congregation: My heart is always filled with gratitude to you, who extend to me so many kindnesses. I am thankful that I can give you this lot upon which to worship the triune God. It has been asked why I, who am not a Baptist, give this lot to the Baptist church? I am not a Baptist, but my father, who was a better man than I, was a Baptist.

“Wherever I go, when I come here, I feel that this is my own, my native land.' When I see this beautiful church it refills my heart with thanks. It shows the love you bear. your creator; it shows your capacity for building to your God. The pioneers of this country, as I have learned from history, were men of plain, simple habits, full of energy and imbued with religious principles. They lived in a day before the dawn of sectarian disturbances and sectional strifes. In their rude surroundings and teachings it is no wonder that they learned that God was love.

"I did not come here to speak. I would not mar with speech of mine the effect of the beautiful sermon to which you have listened. I simply tender to you, through the trustees of Bethel, the sito upon which this church stands.

May the God of heaven bless this community forever, and may the Saviour of the world preserve this church to IIis worship for all time to come."

But in his early youth his father removed to the neighborhood of Woodville, Wilkinson Co., in what was then the territory of Mississippi, and henceforth Jefferson Davis became, intus et in cute, a Mississippian.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »