done so. This may be true; but if it is, it is all for treachery, as they gave traitorous assurances to our Commissioners at Washington
For weeks they were kept there under the most positive assurances of a pacific policy and intentions towards us — all with the basest motives that can actuate a treacherous heart.
If peace propositions are made by them now, I conjure you not to trust them for a single moment — they only intend to deceive and betray — to lull your energies and suspicions, till they secure some cowardly advantage.
Our enemies say that they only want to protect the public property; and yet I have it from unquestioned authority that they have mined all the public buildings in Washington
— the Capitol
and all the other Departments — for the purpose of destroying them.
They have called out 75,000 men, they say to protect the public property now in their possession, and to retake and protect that which they have been forced to give up; yet, wherever they are now, they have prepared to destroy the property, and have destroyed, or attempted to destroy, all that we have compelled them to relinquish, because of their intentions to use it for the purpose of subjugating us. Sumter
was mined to be blown up on leaving it. Much of the property was burned up at Harper's Ferry
, in hastily vacating that place; and an attempt was made to burn up not only all the public property, on leaving Gosport Navy Yard, but the whole city of Norfolk
This is one of the most remarkable instances on record where Providence
was on our side.
Plans were laid to burn up the Navy Yard
and the whole city.
The incendiary fires were lighted; and, if their intentions had succeeded, such a conflagration had never been witnessed on this continent, and would have been second only to the burning of Moscow
; but, just at the critical moment, before the ravages had extended, the wind turned!
The winds of Heaven turned, and stayed the spread of the devouring element.
The same wind that kind Heaven sent to keep off the fleet at Charleston
was reduced, came to the relief of Norfolk
at the critical moment.
was signally on our side.
They attempted to blow up the Dock, the most expensive one on the continent — but there was a break in the train they had laid, and it failed.
They attempted to burn down the old Pennsylvania, Germantown
, and the Merrimac
. They set the match, while they endeavored to get out of the way of their intended destruction; but the vessels sunk before the fire caught — another remarkable instance of the interposition of Providence
on our behalf, and the strongest evidence of our rectitude.
We were right at first, are right now, and shall keep ourselves right to the end.
What is to take place before the end, I know not. A threatening war is upon us, made by those who have no regard for right!
We fight for our homes, our fathers and mothers, our wives, brothers, sisters
, sons, and daughters, and neighbors!
The hirelings and mercenaries of the North
are all hand to hand against you.
As I told you when I addressed you a few days ago, Lincoln
may bring his seventy-five thousand soldiers against us; but seven times seventy-five thousand men can never conquer us. We have now Maryland
, and all the Border States
with us. We have ten millions of people with us, heart and hand, to defend us to the death.
We can call out a million of people, if need be; and when they are cut down, we can call out another, and still another
, until the last man of the South
finds a bloody grave, rather than submit to their foul dictation.
But a triumphant victory and independence, with an unparalleled career of glory, prosperity and progress, await us in the future.
God is on our side, and who shall be against us
? None but His omnipotent hand can defeat us in this struggle.
A general opinion prevails that Washington city
is soon to be attacked.
On this subject I can only say, our object is peace.
We wish no aggressions on any one's rights, and will make none.
But if Maryland secedes
, the District of Columbia will fall to her by reversionary right — the same as Sumter
to South Carolina
, and Pickens
When we have the right we will demand the surrender of Washington
, just as we did in the other cases, and will enforce our demands at every hazard and at whatever cost.
And here let me say that our policy and conduct from the first have been right, and shall be to the last.
I glory in this consciousness of our rectitude.
It may be that “whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.”
But for Lincoln
's wicked and foolish war proclamation, the border States--some of them at least, would still have lingered in the hope that the Administration and its designs were not so basely treacherous as that document has shown them to be. Tennessee
and other States would have lingered for some time.
Now, all the slave States are casting in their lot with us, and linking their destinies with ours.
We might afford to thank Lincoln
a little for showing his hand.
It may be that soon the Confederate
flag with fifteen stars will be hoisted upon the dome of the ancient Capitol
If so, God's will be done is my prayer.
Let us do nothing that is wrong.
Let us commit our cause into His hand — perform our whole duty, and trust in Him for the crowning results.
I have many things I would like to say to you, but my strength will not admit, even if it were necessary for your encouragement — but it is not. I find that you are fully up to the music, that you thoroughly comprehend our condition, and are resolved to do your whole duty.
I find our people everywhere are alive to their interests and their duty in this crisis.
Such a degree of popular enthusiasm was never before seen in this country.
I find my fellow-citizens