case of a man the liberty of whose country has been trampled upon — whose rights have been disregarded — a hale, healthy, hearty man, who is able to go to the field, but never has been, and asks the judge to sit at chambers to free him from the service which he owes his country.
I believe my brethren of the bar have what they call a black letter book, and I tell you all the authorities upon it are cited.
Who, then, I say, shall decide the question?
I cannot, but the Constitution
of your country has declared who shall decide it — in whose hands such power and such discretion shall be intrusted.
I care not whether you are the friend or the enemy of your President
I care not whether you are in the list of his devoted friends or among those who have raised up a standard of opposition to him. I come not here to-night to eulogize or praise, but to speak of our duty.
We have a President selected by our own unanimous voice, chosen for the discharge of high and responsible duties.
Into his hands we have committed this power.
That he may have sometimes erred none will deny.
His worst enemy will not say that he has been false to his trust.
Upon him the Constitution
and laws of your country have devolved the responsibility of saying who shall and who shall not be called into the field.
No other tribunal can decide that question.
We must leave this power to him, of all must be lost.
I ask you to-night as patriots, as men who love your country and are desirous of preserving your liberties, when your President
summons you to the field, will you respond to the call?
Georgians, will you go?
Will you falter?
Shall it be written of you in the future history of your country, that when the enemy was upon one border of your country, and the other threatened by that enemy; when your soil was the theatre of this war; your homes, your families and fire-sides involved in the issue, you remained quiet at home, and trusted your defence in the hands of those brave men of other States, who are this night in the faithful discharge of their duty?
It cannot, it must not be. Better meet the enemy at the door-sill than wait for him at the hearth-stone.
Better stand by the side of those brave men in the front, than meet the desolation that will come upon you after their shattered ranks shall have been driven back.
I trust that you will, and that we shall have no more of that complaining spirit which has led some to shun the service which they owed to their country.
My friends, not only must we go forward to the field in the discharge of this duty, but there are other duties to be performed by those who will not be called to the field.
Our planters and our farmers have their duty to perform, and this is one of deep responsibility.
These brave men must be fed. I apprehend there is not a man, woman, or child within the hearing of my voice who does not respond with all his heart when I declare, again, this army must be fed. These brave men have enough to endure, enough to suffer, without the sufferings of hunger.
The planters and the farmers of the country, and I apprehend I have the pleasure, to-night, of addressing many of them, must come up to the work.
Your country calls upon you to make sacrifices.
I shall not attempt to mince words to you; I say sacrifices; and your duty required you to make them.
You tell me that the government should have your produce; all you ask is just compensation.
How much better are you than the enemy?
If the enemy could furnish us with corn and meat, they would do so for a just compensation.
You demand, again, just compensation for your produce.
Have you ever asked yourselves what would be a just compensation to that soldier who has lost an arm or leg, or who, a few months ago, was strong and hearty, but now with tottering steps goes through our streets, soon to be a victim for the grave?
Tell me, my fellow-planter, what would be a just compensation to him?
Where is the treasury to pay him for his loss?
Who is to give just compensation to his widowed wife and orphaned children?
Talk not, my friends, of just compensation.
Let us hear no more of this from farmers going to county meetings and setting down the last dollar which they can put upon the price of their produce.
For whom does your government demand this produce — for whom does it ask it?
For your sons — those brave soldiers that cheerfully went forth at the first call of your country.
Do you love your corn, your bacon, and your wheat more than you love the children of your own loins?
You sent them to encounter dangers and death upon the battle-field.
They, with their comrades, stand as sentinels to-night to guard and defend you and your property, and they ask of you provisions to feed them.
Do you pause to count up the cost and ascertain how much profit you can make before you will sell them?
If your government can pay you just compensation, have confidence to believe that it will be done.
Suppose it cannot pay but one half, or one fourth of what your provisions are worth in the market, I appeal to you as men, as patriots, as men in whose hearts beat the warm instincts of humanity, will you hug your corn and your meat to your bosom, while your soldiers are hungering in the field?
Had you rather sell your provisions a half-dollar higher in the bushel or pound, or had you not rather give it to them than that it should be written in history that while your granaries and your meat-houses were full, your brave defenders could not keep off the enemy because they could not be fed?
You must come up to your duty.
I appeal to you as men loving your country and your kindred.
Complain not if the strong arm of the law shall put its clutches upon your property, if you refuse to do at this hour what duty demands at your hands.
I know not what others may do; I speak only for myself; but, as God is my judge, so long as my country intrusts me with the command of any portion of these brave men, they shall not starve, if there be provisions in the country and I can get them, law or no law. I tell you, my friends, you may denounce