Friends and fellow-citizens :--I thank you for the compliment your presence conveys.
is an indication of regard, not for the person, but for the position which he holds.
The cause in which we are engaged is the cause of the advocacy of rights to which we were born, those for which our fathers of the Revolution bled — the richest inheritance that ever fell to man, and which it is our sacred duty to transmit to our children.
Upon us is devolved the high and holy responsibility of preserving the constitutional liberty of a free government.
Those with whom we have lately associated have shown themselves so incapable of appreciating the blessings of the glorious institutions they inherited, that they are to-day stripped of the liberty to which they were born.
They have allowed an ignorant usurper to trample upon all the prerogatives of citizenship, and to exercise powers never delegated to him; and it has been reserved to your own State, so lately one of the original thirteen, but now, thank God, fully separated from them, to become the theatre of a great central camp, from which will pour forth thousands of brave hearts to roll back the tide of this despotism.
Apart from that gratification we may well feel at being separated from such a connection, is the pride that upon you devolves the task of maintaining and defending our new Government.
I believe that we shall be able to achieve this noble work, and that the institutions of our fathers will go to our children as safely as they have descended to us.
In these Confederate States
we observe those relations which have been poetically ascribed to the United States
, but which never there had the same reality--States so distinct that each existed as a Sovereign, yet so united that each was wound with the other to constitute a whole; or, as more beautifully expressed, “Distinct as the billows, yet one as the sea.”
Upon every hill which now overlooks Richmond
you have had, and will continue to have, camps containing soldiers from every State in the Confederacy
; and to its remotest limits every proud heart beats high with indignation at the thought that the foot of the invader has been set upon the soil of old Virginia
There is not one true son of the South
who is not ready to shoulder his musket, to bleed, to die, or to conquer in the cause of liberty here.
Beginning under many embarrassments, the result of seventy years of taxation being in the hands of our enemies, we must at first move cautiously.
It may be that we shall have to encounter sacrifices; but, my friends, under the smiles of the God of the Just, and filled with the same spirit that animated our fathers, success shall perch on our banners.
I am sure you do not expect me to go into any argument upon those questions which, for 25 years, have agitated the country.
We have now reached the points where, arguments being exhausted, it only remains for us to stand by our weapons.
When the time and occasion serve, we shall smite the smiter with manly arms, as did our fathers before us, and as becomes their sons.
To the enemy we leave the base acts of the assassin and incendiary, to them we leave it to insult helpless women; to us belongs vengeance upon man.
Now, my friends, I thank you again for this gratifying manifestation.
“Tell us something of Buena Vista
Well, my friends, I can only say we will make the battle-fields in Virginia
another Buena Vista
, and drench with blood more precious than that which flowed there.
We will make a history for ourselves.
We do not ask that the past shall shed our lustre upon us, bright as our past has been, for we can achieve our own destiny.
We may point to many a field, over which has floated the flag of our country when we were of the United States
--upon which Southern soldiers and Southern officers reflected their brave spirits in their deeds of daring; and without intending to cast a shadow upon the courage of any portion of the United States
, let me call it to your remembrance, that no man who went from these Confederate States
has ever yet, as a general officer, surrendered to an enemy.
Pardon me if I do not go into matters of history, and permit me, again, to thank you for this kind manifestation of your regard, to express to you my hearty wishes for the individual prosperity of you all, with the hope that you will all pray to God to crown our cause land our country with success.
He then retired from the windows amid prolonged cheers.
Calls were then made for ex-Governor Wise
, to which, after a short delay, he responded as follows:
speech of. Ex-Gov. Henry A. Wise
my friends :--You all know that I am a civil soldier only, and that in that capacity I was nearly worn down in the siege of the Virginia Convention.
Thank God, however, that with a little rest, some help, and some damage from the doctors, I have been enabled to recruit my exhausted energies.
The time of deliberation has given place to the time of action, and I have taken up my bed as an individual, in common with others, to march to Richmond
to meet the President
of our now separate and independent republic.
I am ready to obey his orders, not only with pride, pleasure, and devotion to the cause, and respect to the office he fills, but with respect to the man himself as one who has our fullest confidence.
You have to meet a foe with whom you could not live in peace.
Your political powers and rights, which were enthroned in that Capitol when you were united with them under the old constitutional bond of the Confederacy
, have been annihilated.
They have undertaken to annul laws within your own limits that would render your property unsafe
within those limits.
They have abolitionized your border, as the disgraced North-west will show.
They have invaded your moral strongholds and the rights of your religion, and have undertaken to teach you what should be the moral duties of men.
They have invaded the sanctity of your homes and firesides,,and endeavored to play master, father
, and husband for you in your households; in a word, they have set themselves up as a petty Providence
by which you are in all things to be guided and controlled.
But you have always declared that you would not be subject to this invasion of your rights.
Though war was demanded, it was not for you to declare war. But now that the armies of the invader are hovering around the tomb of Washington
, where is the Virginian
heart that does not beat with a quicker pulsation at this last and boldest desecration of his beloved State?
Their hordes are already approaching our metropolis, and extending their folds around our State as does the anaconda around his victim.
The call is for action.
I rejoice in this war. Who is there that now dares to put on sanctity to depreciate war, or the “horrid glories of war.”
None. Why? Because it is a war of purification.
You want war, fire, blood, to purify you; and the Lord
of Hosts has demanded that you should walk through fire and blood.
You are called to the fiery baptism, and I call upon you to come up to the altar.
Though your pathway be through fire, or through a river of blood, turn not aside.
Be in no hurry — no hurry and flurry.
Collect yourselves, summon yourselves, elevate yourselves to the high and sacred duty of patriotism.
The man who dares to pray, the man who dares to wait until some magic arm is put into his hand; the man who will not go unless he have a Minie, or percussion musket, who will not be content with flint and steel, or even a gun without a lock, is worse than a coward — he is a renegade.
If he can do no better, go to a blacksmith, take a gun along as a sample, and get him to make you one like it. Get a spear — a lance.
Take a lesson from John Brown
Manufacture your blades from old iron, even though it be the tires of your cart-wheels.
Get a bit of carriage spring, and grind and burnish it in the shape of a bowie knife, and put it to any sort of a handle, so that it be strong — ash, hickory, oak. But, if possible, get a double-barrelled gun and a dozen rounds of buckshot, and go upon the battle-field with these.
If their guns reach further than yours, reduce the distance; meet them foot to foot, eye to eye, body to body, and when you strike a blow, strike home.
Your true blooded Yankee will never stand still in the face of cold steel.
Let your aim, therefore, be to get into close quarters, and with a few decided, vigorous movements, always pushing forward, never back, my word for it, the soil of Virginia
will be swept of the Vandals who are now polluting its atmosphere.
The band then struck up “Dixie,” which was followed by “We may be happy yet.” --N. Y. Express
, June 13.