Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 24.djvu/381

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per cent, in favor of Confederate humanity." Those who will read the sad history of the- prisoners of war, not on one side, but on both, and examine the ceaseless, almost humiliating efforts of the Confed- erate Government to exchange prisoners, or secure alleviations of their condition, and read General Grant's frank admission of the reason for not exchanging, will have no unkind words left for Mr. I >avis. He was fortunate in having the charge raised against him at the time when his enemies could put him on trial for it. No human character was ever subjected to more searching investigations than \vas his life at the time of his imprisonment. The fierce light that beat upon the life of Jefferson Davis revealed no blot or blemish, but instead displayed the image of its white purity upon the screen of the ages.

We love and honor Mr. Davis for his eminent public services. He came from a stock distinguished for its patriotism. His father and uncles fought through the Revolutionary war. Three of his brothers were in the war of 1812. As a cadet at West Point, he entered the service of his country, and for twelve years he bore its arms. He rendered conspicuous service in the Black Hawk war against the Indians. In the Mexican war his gallantry at the storm- ing of Monterey was most conspicuous, while at Buena Vista, the most brilliant victory ever won by United States troops on foreign soil, he is generally believed to have saved the day.


We love and respect him, for he truly represented us in his politi- cal life. He became a member of Congress in 1845, resigning the next year to serve in Mexico. Upon his return from the war he be- came United States Senator. He was eight years a member of the Senate, during the most brilliant epoch of its history, where he sus- tained himself as an equal in debate with the most illustrious states- men in American history. He held his own with Chase and Doug- las, Benton and Clay, Webster and Calhoun.

As Secretary of War he never had his superior. During his administration the routes of the Pacific railroad were surveyed, the Capitol was extended, iron gun-carriages were introduced, the sys- tem of casting heavy guns changed, and the use of coarser grains of powder for artillery was begun. The army was enlarged by four regi- ments. The dictates of politics were disregarded in his official appointments.

Mr. Davis was opposed to disunion, and djd his utmost to pre-