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Doc. 189.-speech of A. H. Stephens, at Atlanta, Georgia, May 23.

My fellow-citizens:--The time for speech-making has passed. The people have heard all that can be said. The time for prompt, vigorous, decisive action is upon us, and we must do our duty. Upon the surface, affairs appear to be quiet, and I can give you no satisfaction as to their real condition. It is true that threats of an attack on Pensacola have been made, but it is uncertain whether any attack will be made. As you know, an attack was made on Sewell's Point, near Norfolk, but the vessel making it was repulsed and disabled. But the general opinion and indications are that the first demonstration will be at Harper's Ferry, and that there, where John Brown inaugurated his work of slaughter, will be fought a fierce and bloody battle. As for myself, I believe that there the war will begin; and that the first boom of cannon that breaks upon our ears will come from that point. But let it begin where it will, and be as bloody and prolonged as it may, we are prepared for the issue!

Some think there will be no war; as to that I know not. But whatever others wanted, the object of the Confederate Government is peace. Come peace or war, however, it is determined to maintain our position at every hazard and at every cost, and to drive back the myrmidons of [271] Abolitionism. It is to be hoped that Lincoln will perceive his error and cease his warlike preparations. The war is against all the principles on which the Government of the United States is based. The arrest of Ross Winans, by the order of President Lincoln, is an act of despotism which the autocrat of Russia, with all his absolute power, never thought of exceeding. It is an assumption of power on the part of the Executive which even Congress had never dared to usurp; for the Constitution of the United States expressly provides that no citizen thereof shall be deprived of his life, liberty, or property, except as a punishment for crimes, and after a fair trial by his peers.

The proclamation declaring our ports in a state of blockade, is in violation of the oath taken by Lincoln when he was inaugurated President of the United States; for he swore to maintain the Constitution of the United States, which declares that “no preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one State over those of another State;” and he considers us a part of the United States; yet the ports of Boston and New York were open to the world, while Charleston and other Southern ports were declared to be in a state of blockade. How dare he issue such an ukase? How dare he, with the oath upon his lips to support the Constitution, trample that instrument in the dust? But he declared, shortly after his inauguration, that he had an “oath registered in high Heaven.” By this he means that hie has sworn the subjugation of the South to the legions of Abolitiondom. Well, let them come. We are prepared for them.

The acts of Lincoln exhibit the spirit of anarchy which is abroad in the North, and total disregard of all constitutional obligations and limits by the Abolition despot now in power. The North is fast drifting to anarchy and an established despotism. On you, therefore, as citizens of the Confederate States, depend the success and perpetuation of constitutional liberty; for the day is not far off when freedom will exist only south of Mason & Dixon's line, and your stout arms and brave hearts her only support on all this continent.

We prefer and desire peace if we can have it; but if we cannot, we must meet the issue forced upon us. We must meet Lincoln and his myrmidons on their own ground, and on their own terms — on constitutional principles.

So far, our progress has been all that we could expect. A Government has been organized, Executive Departments and offices supplied, all needful laws passed, and all necessary arrangements made to meet any contingency. At the head of our Government is President Davis--who led the Mississippi Rifles at Buena Vista — and whose flag never yet trailed in the dust. This noble and true son of the South goes to Richmond, to take command in person of our soldiers there, and to lead them upon the battle field against all the military power and talent they can summon — even to their veteran chieftain, General Scott himself.

Whether brought to a bloody conflict or not, we are prepared. Our people everywhere are full of enthusiasm, and strong in their determination never to submit to the rule of Lincoln. Fathers, and mothers, and sisters are all ready, and doing all they can in aid of the cause. We are in the right; and justice is upon our side. We must succeed. The same God who guided our fathers in the bloody Revolution, and who made the glory of the late United States, is yet upon the side of right and justice. Relying upon Him who holds the destinies of all nations in His hands, we will go forth to battle, resolved to conquer or die!--Ohio Statesman, May 30.

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