Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/413

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Jrfferson Dav>s. 407

He saw victory sweep illustrious battle-fields and he became a captive.

He ruled millions and he was put in chains.

He created a nation ; he followed its bier; he wrote its epitaph and he died a disfranchised citizen.

But though great in all vicissitudes and trials, he was greatest in that fortune which lifting him first to the loftiest heights, and casting him thence into the depths of disappointment, found him everywhere the erect and constant friend of truth.

He conquered himself and forgave his enemies, but bent to no one but God."

In these pages have been recorded the deeds of the former leaders of the so-called army of the Rebellion, and short sketches of their lives given. We refer to the biographies of R. E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, J. E. B. Stuart, Mosby, Forrest, etc.

We believe that the President, prominent in position and revered by all the above-named generals in spite of manifold points of differ- ence, is well worthy to be ranked among these portraits as original as they are significant; and so much the more since rarely has a purer character been more unworthily treated and more falsely judged in history, by a generation incapable of judging.

May these lines contribute to the end that history will become more just to a pilot who steered his ship of state in storm and danger, in calamities and evil times, faithfully, courageously, and skilfully through five troubled years. If the leaky vessel sank at last it was entire exhaustion of all its resources, and the will of a being stronger than 'human hand which permitted the catastrophe. But the vessel did not go to pieces, for with new courage and fresh power the South raises itself from the ruins to which the war had reduced its re- sources; already it takes a bold start, even taking precedence of the proud North in industrial enterprise. If, through the abolition of slave labor the cultivation of cotton and of tobacco has been dimin- ished and "King Cotton" buried with It, yet the whole South, whose States had united to free themselves from the arrogance of New England, springs up lustily in other departments, and even in literature. The purity of character of their leader, and the satis- faction with which they can look back on those deeds by which they struck for years, almost always victoriously, opponents who were two or three fold their superior in numbers, contributed not a little to the strong self- consciousness of the subjugated. Not a little con-