previous next

Doc. 50.-address to the people of Georgia.

Fellow — citizens: In a few days the provisional government of the confederate States will live only in history. With it we shall deliver up the trust we have endeavored to use for your benefit to those more directly selected by yourselves. The public record of our acts is familiar to you, and requires no further explanation at our hands. Of those matters which policy has required to be secret it would be improper now to speak. This address therefore will have no personal reference. We are well assured that there exists no necessity for us to arouse your patriotism nor to inspire your confidence. We rejoice with you in the unanimity of our State, in its resolutions and its hopes. And we are proud with you that Georgia has been “illustrated,” and we doubt not will be illustrated again by her sons in our holy struggle. The first campaign is over; each party rests in place, while the winter's snow declares an armistice from on high. The results in the field are familiar to you, and we will not recount them. To some important facts we call your attention:

First. The moderation of our own government and the fanatical madness of our enemies have dispersed all differences of opinion among our people, and united them forever in the war of independence. In a few Border States a waning opposition is giving way before the stern logic of daily developing facts. The world's history does not give a parallel instance of a revolution based upon such unanimity among the people.

Second. Our enemy has exhibited an energy, a perseverance, and an amount of resources which we had hardly expected, and a disregard of constitution and laws which we can hardly credit. The result of both, however, is that power which is the characteristic element of despotism, and renders it as formidable to its enemies as it is destructive to its subjects.

Third. An immense army has been organized for our destruction, which is being disciplined to the unthinking stolidity of regulars. With the exclusive possession of the seas, our enemy is enabled to throw upon the shores of every State the nucleus of an army. And the threat is made, and doubtless the attempt will follow in early spring, to crush us with a giant's grasp by a simultaneous movement along our entire borders.

Fourth. With whatever alacrity our people may rush to arms, and with whatever energy our government may use its resources, we cannot expect to cope with our enemy either in numbers, equipments, or munitions of war. To provide against these odds we must look to desperate courage, unflinching daring, and universal self-sacrifice.

Fifth. The prospect of foreign interference is at least a remote one, and should not be relied on. If it comes, let it be only auxiliary to our own preparations for freedom. To our God and ourselves alone we should look.

These are stern facts; perhaps some of them are unpalatable. But we are deceived in you if you would have us to conceal them in order to deceive you. The only question for us and for you is, as a nation and individually, what have we to do? We answer:

First. As a nation we should be united, forbearing to one another, frowning upon all factious opposition and censorious criticisms, and giving a trustful and generous confidence to those selected as our leaders in the camp and the council-chamber.

Second. We should excite every nerve, and strain every muscle of the body politic, to maintain our financial and military healthfulness, and, by rapid aggressive action, make our enemies feel, at their own firesides, the horrors of a war brought on by themselves.

The most important matter for you, however, is your individual duty. What can you do?

The foot of the oppressor is on the soil of [193] Georgia. He comes with lust in his eye, poverty in his purse, and hell in his heart. He comes a robber and a murderer. How shall you meet him? With the sword at the threshold! With death for him or for yourself! But more than this — let every woman have a torch, every child a firebrand — let the loved homes of youth be made ashes, and the fields of our heritage be made desolate. Let blackness and ruin mark your departing steps if depart you must, and let a desert more terrible than Sahara welcome the vandals. Let every city be levelled by the flames, and every village be lost in ashes. Let your faithful slaves share your fortune and your crust. Trust wife and children to the sure refuge and protection of God--preferring even for these loved ones the charnel-house as a home than loathsome vassalage to a nation already sunk below the contempt of the civilized world. This may be your terrible choice, and determine at once without dissent, as honor and patriotism and duty to God require.

Fellow — Citizens: Lull not yourselves into a fatal security. Be prepared for every contingency. This is our only hope for a sure and honorable peace. If our enemy was to-day convinced that the feast herein indicated would welcome him in every quarter of this confederacy, we know his base character well enough to feel assured he would never come. Let, then, the smoke of your homes, fired by women's hands, tell the approaching foe that over sword and bayonet they will rush only to fire and ruin.

We have faith in God and faith in you. He is blind to every indication of Providence who has not seen an Almighty hand controlling the events of the past year. The wind, the wave, the cloud, the mist, the sunshine, and the storm, have all ministered to our necessities, and frequently succored us in our distresses. We deem it unnecessary to recount the numerous instances which have called forth our gratitude. We would join you in thanksgiving and praise. “If God be for us, who can be against us?”

Nor would we condemn your confident look to our armies, when they can meet with a foe not too greatly their superior in numbers. The year past tells a story of heroism and success of which our nation will never be ashamed. These considerations, however, should only stimulate us to greater deeds and nobler efforts. An occasional reverse we must expect — such as has depressed us within the last few days. This is only temporary.

We have no fears of the result — the final issue. You and we may have to sacrifice our lives and fortunes in the holy cause, but our honor will be saved untarnished, and our children's children will rise up to call us “blessed.”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Georgia (Georgia, United States) (3)
United States (United States) (1)
Providence, R. I. (Rhode Island, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Robert Toombs (1)
Doc (1)
M. J. Crawford (1)
Thomas R. R. Cobb (1)
Howell Cobb (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: