Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 17.djvu/123
Life^ Services and Character of Jefferson Davis. 115
wealth to the common cause, to strengthen our hands, and to give success to our struggle for liberty and independence.'*
In reply, President Davis said : ** Your assurance is to me a source of the highest gratification ; and while conveying to you my thanks for the expression of confidence of the General Assembly in my sin- cere devotion to my country and its sacred cause, I must beg per- mission in return to bear witness to the uncalculating, unhesitating spirit with which Virginia has, from the moment when she first drew the sword, consecrated the blood of her children and all her material resources to the achievement of the object of our struggle.**
Our ** sacred cause** was lost, and, after long years of vicarious suffering, through all of which he was true to us and to our dead, our chieftain has passed away, but the love for the principles for which we contended, and the memory of him who contributed so much to make our record in that struggle glorious, will live forever in the hearts of all true men and women throughout our Southland. It is our purpose on this occasion to review the brilliant life and spot- less character of Mr. Davis, and in selecting as the orator, *that fear- less son of Virginia whose eloquent words, as enduring as marble, have held up for review by coming generations the life and character of other of our great leaders who have " crossed over the river,*' we again have your approval, and his name is so indelibly written in our affections, that your reception of him here to-night will further demonstrate that it is a needless task for me to more formally intro- duce to a Virginia audience — ^John W. Daniel.
Mr, Speaker^ Gentlemen of the General Assembly of Virp^inia,
Ladies and Gentlemen :
Noble are the words of Cicero when he tells us that ** it is the first and fundamental law of history that it should neither dare to say any- thing that is false, or fear to say anything that is true, nor give any just suspicion of favor or disaffection."
No less a high standard must be invoked in considering the life, character, and services of Jefferson Davis — a great man of a great epoch, whose name is blended with the renown of American arms and with the civic glories of the Cabinet and the Congress hall — a son of the South, who became the head of a confederacy more populous and extensive than that for which Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Inde-