Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/417

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Jefferson Dave's. 411

It was the South also which at first prohibited the slave trade, and Virginia at the head.

When Jefferson Davis was born, the slave trade was in the hands of only Northern merchants who had made terms with the slave planters of South Carolina.

Other curious facts may here be introduced. A statue of Lincoln was executed, which represented him as loosing the chains of the slave. What would the beholder say if the following words which he wrote after the secession of South Carolina were chiseled on the pedestal: " Does the South really fear that a republican administra- tion could directly or even indirectly interfere in its slave affairs ? The South would in this matter be just as safe as in the time of Washing- ton." Or what he wrote on the 4th of May, 1861 : " I have not the intention of attacking the institution of slavery ; I have no legal right, and certainly no inclination to do it, etc., etc."

Again, January 10, 1861, Jefferson Davis, like General R. E. Lee, earnestly strove for the reconciliation of the States, and those were not the words of an ambitious, self-seeker; but of a troubled patri- otic heart, when he said, " What, senators, to-day is the condition of the country ? From every corner of it comes the wailing cry of patriots in pleading for the preservation of the great inheritance we derived from our fathers. Is there a senator who does not daily receive letters appealing to him to use even the small power which one man here possesses to save the rich inheritance our fathers gave us ? Tears are trickling down the faces of men who have bled for the flag of their country and are now willing to die for it ; but patriotism stands powerless before the plea that the party about to come to power adopted a platform, and that come what will, though ruin stare us in the face, consistency must be adhered to, even though the government be lost."

On the 2oth of January, Mississippi united with the secession movement, and thereupon Davis resigned his seat. It will also in- terest our military readers (for here state-craft and the art of war are closely connected), to recall the words of the future President of the seceded States on parting from his former colleagues.

" In the course of my service here, associated at different times with a great variety of senators, I see now around me some with whom I have served long. There have been points of collision ; but whatever of offence there has been to me, I leave here. I carry with me no hostile remembrance. Whatever offence I have given, which