Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 06.djvu/172

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162
Southern Historical Society Papers.

Presentation of Army of Tennessee Badge and Certificate of Membership to Ex-President Davis.

The Louisiana Division of the Association of the Army of Tennessee did itself credit in their excursion to Mississippi City for the purpose of presenting a badge and certificate of membership to ex-President Jefferson Davis. The ceremonies were of deep interest, but we have only space for the presentation address and Mr. Davis' reply.

ADDRESS OF COLONEL JAMES LINGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE ASSOCIATION.

Comrades of the Army of Tennessee, Ladies and Gentlemen: We have met here to-day for the purpose of tendering a testimonial of our hearts, our warm hearts' affection, and of our respect for one upon whom in the past the people of the South have heaped every honor and power within the gift of a free people.

We have assembled here for the purpose of looking back on the past, in order to learn a lesson for the future. We have assembled for the purpose of doing honor to the past, reviving memories of the dead and paying honor to the living. At the graves of our dead comrades we have no bitterness to cherish; we look rather towards the future for the realization of the hopes lost to them, preserved to us in a prosperous and successful country. We can honor the living without inciting any of the antagonism of the past, because, throughout its length and breadth, the country, from the Rio Grande to its northernmost part, has rung with the name of him whom we meet here to-day to honor. It is not alone the ordeal through which we have passed together that we are called upon to-day to memorize, because the name of Jefferson Davis long before the war between the sections was a name honored and revered throughout the land, a name at which every man felt proud of his country and his manhood.

It would, therefore, be in bad grace for any one to say that the people of the South could not to-day do honor to him without reopening questions or issues, or feelings or prejudices, which we, at least, desire forever to be buried in the past.

You, Mr. Davis, I am instructed by the Association of the Army of Tennessee to inform, that at a regular meeting of our association you have been elected an honorary member.

On behalf of that association I hand you this engraved certificate of membership, and inasmuch as many here will perhaps not be able to see it in person, I will read the description.

[Colonel Lingan here read the certificate of membership, which runs as follows:

THE ASSOCIATION OF THE ARMY OF TENNESSEE.

To whom it may concern:

We do hereby declare and certify that Jefferson Davis entered the military service of the Confederate States of America as President and Commander-in-Chief, which position