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Browsing named entities in Raphael Semmes, Memoirs of Service Afloat During the War Between the States. You can also browse the collection for Patrick Henry (Virginia, United States) or search for Patrick Henry (Virginia, United States) in all documents.

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Chapter 1: A brief historical Retrospect. The disruption of the American Union by the war of 1861 was not an unforeseen event. Patrick Henry, and other patriots who struggled against the adoption of the Federal Constitution by the Southern States, foretold it in burning words of prophecy; and when that instrument was ad it sometimes takes more than one generation or one revolution to establish a principle. At first sight, it may appear that there is some discordance between Patrick Henry and Jefferson Davis, as the one struggled against the adoption of the Constitution, and the other to preserve it. But they were, in fact, both engaged in a sime South will be permanently enslaved. We endeavored to bring about the separation, and we sacrificed our fortunes, and risked our lives to accomplish it. Like Patrick Henry, we have done our utmost to preserve our liberties; like him, we have failed, and like him, we desire that our record shall go down to such of our posterity as
several States united by this instrument. And this is the foundation that the Northern advocates of a consolidated government build upon, when they declare that the people of the United States in the aggregate, as one nation, adopted the Constitution, and thus gave the fundamental law to the States, instead of the States giving it to the Federal Government. It is well known that this phrase, We, the people, &c., be came a subject of discussion in the Virginia ratifying Convention. Patrick Henry, with the prevision of a prophet, was, as we have seen, bitterly opposed to the adoption of the Constitution. He was its enemy a l'outrance. Not having been a member of the Convention, of 1787, that framed the instrument, and being unacquainted with the circumstances above detailed, relative to the change which had been made in the phraseology of its Preamble, he attacked the Constitution on the very ground since assumed by Webster and Story, to wit: that the instrument itself proclaime
scattered it to the winds; and finally, when the South threw herself on the defensive, as Massachusetts had threatened to do, in 1803 and 1815, she subjugated her. What was the powerful motive which thus induced the North to overthrow the government which it had labored so assiduously with the South to establish, and which it had construed in common with the South, for the period of forty years? It was the motive which generally influences human conduct; it was the same motive which Patrick Henry had so clearly foreseen, when he warned the people of Virginia against entering into the federal compact; telling them, that interested majorities never had, in the history of the world, and never would respect the rights of minorities. The great American System, as it has been called, had in the meantime arisen, championed by no less a personage than Henry Clay of Kentucky. In 1824, and again in 1828, oppressive tariffs had been enacted for the protection of New England manufacturer
his allegiance to another government, yet it is quite certain, that he could not, ex mero motu, divide his allegiance. His allegiance then was transferred to the Federal Government, by his State, whether he would or not. Take the case of Patrick Henry, for example. He resisted the adoption of the Federal Constitution, by the State of Virginia, with all the energies of an ardent nature, solemnly believing that his State was committing suicide. And yet, when Virginia did adopt that Constit short, he felt the inspiration of patriotism, that noble sentiment which nerves men to do, and dare, unto the death, for their native soil. Will it be said, can it be said, without revolting all the best feelings of the human heart, that if Patrick Henry had lived to see a war of subjugation waged against his native State, he would have been a traitor for striking in her defence? Was this one of the results which our ancestors designed, when they framed the federal compact? It would be unch
cially, the one to the other With social institutions as wide asunder as the poles, and with their every material interest antagonistic, the separation of the two peoples, sooner or later, was a logical sequence. As had been anticipated by Patrick Henry, and others, the moment the new government went into operation, parties began to be formed, on sectional interests and sectional prejudices. The North wanted protection for her shipping, in the way of discriminating tonnage dues, and the Souand justice, and the latter sank, hopelessly, into the condition of a tributary province to her more powerful rival. All this was done under a federal compact, formed by sovereign States, for their common benefit! Thus was the prophecy of Patrick Henry verified, when he said: But I am sure, that the dangers of this system [the Federal Constitution] are real, when those who have no similar interest with the people of this country [the South] are to legislate for us—when our dearest rights ar
ts. They had rushed to the defence of New England, in the war of the Revolution, and had equally responded to her call in 1812, in defence of her shipping interest. Mr. Madison relied much upon these ties, as a common bond of union. When Patrick Henry and other Southern patriots were warning their people against the new alliance, proposed to them in the Federal Constitution, he spoke the following fervid language in reply to them, in one of the numbers of the Federalist. Hearken not to twill, if they design to essay another republic, eliminate all discordant materials. The experiment of trusting to human honesty having failed, they must next trust to human interests—the great regulator, as all philosophy teaches, of human nature. They must listen rather to the philosophy of Patrick Henry, than to that of James Madison, and never attempt again to bind up in one sheaf, with a withe of straw, materials so discordant as were the people of the North, and the people of the South
mpulses. Under a proclamation of President Lincoln the martial hosts of an enraged and vindictive North were assembling, to make war upon her sisters, and this was enough—her ordinance of secession was passed, by a very gratifying majority. Patrick Henry had become a prophet, and the beautiful, and touching apostrophe of James Madison to the kindred blood, and the mingled blood of the American people, which was given to the reader a few pages back, had proved to be the mere chimera of an exciected of the builders, and which, though, it did not afterward become the chief corner-stone of the temple, I endeavored to work into the building which the Confederates were then rearing, to remind their posterity that they had struggled, as Patrick Henry and his contemporaries had struggled before them, in defence of their liberties. The next day, the chief clerk of the Navy Department handed me the following order: Confederate States of America, Navy Department, Montgomery, April 1
old, distrust. ful, and cautious, and he has no hope of an early recognition. I am pained to remark here, that this distinguished statesman died soon after his return to the United States. He was one of the able men of the South, who, like Patrick Henry, and John C. Calhoun, seemed to be gifted with the spirit of prophecy; or, rather, to speak more correctly, his superior mental powers, and knowledge of men and of governments, enabled him, like his great predecessors, to arrive at conclusions, natural and easy enough to himself, but which, viewed in the light of subsequent events, seemed like prophecy to his less gifted countrymen. Mr. Yancey much resembled Patrick Henry in the simplicity and honesty of his character, and in the fervidness and power of his eloquence: January 30th.—A fine, clear day, with the wind from the eastward. Having received a note last evening, from Colonel Freemantle, informing me that horses would be in readiness for us, this morning, at the Governm
by land, in whose presence my own poor name was unworthy to be mentioned, was indeed beyond all price to me. To keep company with this sword, a noble English lady presented me with a mammoth Confederate flag, wrought with her own hands from the richest silk. There is not a spot on its pure white field, and the battle-cross and the stars, when unfolded, flash as brightly as ever. These two gifts shall be precious heirlooms in my family, to remind my descendants, that, in the words of Patrick Henry, I have done my utmost to preserve their liberty. Furl that Banner, for 'tis weary; Round its staff 'tis drooping dreary; Furl it, fold it, it is best: For there's not a man to wave it, And there's not a sword to save it, And there's not one left to lave it In the blood which heroes gave it; And its foes now scorn and brave it; Furl it, hide it—let it rest. Furl it! for the hands that grasped it, And the hearts that fondly clasped it, Cold and dead are lying low; And that Banner—it i
ortunes—was now rising over Richmond. Some windows, which fronted to the east, were all aglow with his rays, mimicking the real fires that were already breaking out in various parts of the city. In the lower part of the city, the Schoolship Patrick Henry was burning, and some of the houses near the Navy Yard were on fire. But higher up was the principal scene of the conflagration. Entire blocks were on fire here, and a dense canopy of smoke, rising high in the still morning air, was coverinormed a prominent feature in the grand procession. Alongside of the black savage marched the white savage—worthy compeers! nay, scarcely; the black savage, under the circumstances, was the more worthy of respect of the two. The prophecy of Patrick Henry was fulfilled; the very halls, in which he had thundered forth the prophecy, were in possession of the stranger, against whom he had warned his countrymen! My temporary safety lay in two circumstances: first, the enemy was so drunk with his