Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 17.djvu/161

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LifCy Services and Character of Jefferson Davis, 153

every corner of it comes the wailing cry of patriotism 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 willing now to die for it ; but partriotism 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/'

Even as he spoke, though perhaps as yet unknown to him, Missis- sippi the day before had passed the ordinance of secession.


On the 20th of January he rose in the Senate to announce that fact, and that " of course his functions there were terminated.'*

In language characterized by dignity and moderation, in terms as decorous and in sentiments as noble as became a solemn crisis and a high presence, he bade farewell to the Senate.

    • In the course of my service here," he said, ** associated at dif-

ferent times with a great variety of Senators, I see now around me some with whom I have served long. There may have been points of collision, but whatever of offense there has been to me I leave here. I carry with me no hostile remembrance. Whatever offlense I have given which has not been redressed, or for which satisfaction has not been demanded, I have, Senators, in this hour of our part- ing, to off*er you my apology for any pain which in the heat of dis- cussion I have inflicted. I go hence unincumbered of the remem- brance of any injury received, and I have discharged the duty of making the only reparation in my power for any injury offered."

In clear statement he summarized his political principles.

    • h is known to you. Senators, who have served with me here, that

I have for many years advocated, as an essential attribute of State sovereignty, the right of a State to secede from the Union ' ' ; but he hoped none would " confound the expression with the advocacy of the right of a State to remain in the Union and to disregard the con- stitutional obligation by the nullification of the law. Such is not my theory. Secession belongs to a different class of remedies. It is to be justified upon the basis of State sovereignty. There was a time when none denied it."