Fellow-citizens:--I feel that I cannot compensate you for the trouble you have taken to call me out. You, as citizens of Atlanta
, know that there has been no instance of my being called upon by you, in which I failed to respond, unless for the very good reason that I had nothing to say;
and this evening I must offer this excuse for failing to address you at length.
I presume that a curiosity to know what we have been doing in the Congress
recently assembled at Montgomery
, has induced you to make this call upon me.
We have made all the necessary arrangements to meet the present crisis.
Last night we adjourned to meet in Richmond
on the 20th of July.
I will tell you why we did this.
The “Old Dominion,” as you know, has at last shaken off the bonds of Lincoln
, and joined her noble Southern sisters.
Her soil is to be the battle-ground, and her streams are to be dyed with Southern blood.
We felt that her cause was our cause, and that if she fell we wanted to die by her. (Cheers.) We have sent our soldiers on to the posts of danger, and we wanted to be there to aid and counsel our brave “boys.”
In the progress of the war further legislation may be necessary, and we will be there, that when the hour of danger comes, we may lay aside the robes of legislation, buckle on the armor of the soldier, and do battle beside the brave ones who have volunteered for the defence of our beloved South.
The people are coming up gallantly to the work.
When the call was made for twelve months volunteers, thousands were offered; but when it was changed to the full term of the war, the numbers increased
! The anxiety among our citizens is not as to who shall go
to the wars, but who shall stay at home
? No man in the whole Confederate States
--the gray-haired sire down to the beardless youth — in whose veins was one drop of Southern blood, feared to plant his foot upon Virginia
's soil, and die fighting for our rights.
In Congress, the other day, I told them that if no other arm was raised to defend Virginia
, noble old Georgia
--proud in her love of independence — would rise up to a man, and crossing to the southernmost bound of Abolitionism, would say to Lincoln
and his myrmidons, “Thus far, traitor
! shalt thou come; but no farther
(Tremendous applause.) This good old Commonwealth — solitary and alone, if need be — will fight until she sees the last foul invader in his grave!
And I know, fellow-citizens, that there is no loyal son of Georgia
before me, whose heart does not beat a warm response to this pledge.
(Cries of, “We will!
We will!” )
But we not only need soldiers, we must have treasure to carry on this war. Private
contributions have been offered to a vast amount.
I will mention an instance which occurred on the Mississippi
a few days ago. An aged man — whose gray hairs and tottering limbs forbade his entering the ranks, and whose children of the first and second generations were in the ranks of his country's defenders — was asked how much he would give to carry on the war. The spirit of the old man rose up in him--“Tell them,” he said, “that my yearly crop of 1,000 bales of cotton they may have.
Only give me enough to sustain me, and let the balance go to my country!”
Offers of this sort come pouring in upon the Government
from all parts of the country.
But the Government
does not require contributions from individuals; she has the means within herself of sustaining this war. No donations are necessary, except for the equipment of your own volunteers, and those you can and will provide for. But I tell you what you may do. Those of you who raise large crops of cotton, when your cotton is ready for market, give it to your Government at its market value, receive in return its bonds, and let it sell your produce to Europe
for the specie to sustain our brave “boys” in Virginia
This was agreed on at Montgomery
, and we promised to throw out the suggestion, that the people might think about it.
I raise some cotton, and every thing above my necessary expenses my Government shall have, When this was proposed in Congress, a gentleman from Mississippi
rose up and said that he did not raise cotton; it was his misfortune not to be able to help his country in that manner.
“But,” said lie, “I will go home and canvass my section, and every man that I meet, who raises cotton, sugar, and rice, I will persuade him to sell it to his Government.”
But this patriotism is not confined to the men; the women, with warm hearts and busy fingers, are helping the soldiers.
I will give you an instance that happened at Montgomery
A message was received on Friday evening that a thousand sand-bags were wanted, with which to build batteries to protect our men at Pensacola
What could be done?
Some one suggested that the ladies be made acquainted with our wants.
It was done on Saturday morning. Monday evening I received notice to attend a meeting to be held at 5 o'clock in the Methodist church.
Between the reception of the message and 5 o'clock that evening, the money had been raised, the cloth purchased, and the lovely women of that city, with their own delicate hands, at their homes and in the sanctuary of the living God, were making bags; and on Tuesday I saw the sand-bags start for Pensacola
, to protect our brave soldiers!
(Cheers.) Talk about subjugating
Why, we might lay aside the men, and all Abolitiondom couldn't run down the women even
! (Prolonged applause.)
They say at the North
that we are alarmed.
What cause have we to be so?
When the Congress
assembled at Montgomery