previous next
[47] of the Confederate States cannot be less than $22,000,000,000. This, I think I venture but little in saying, may be considered as five times more than the colonies possessed at the time they achieved their independence. Georgia alone possessed last year, according to the report of our comptroller-general, $672,000,000 of taxable property. The debts of the seven Confederate States sum up in the aggregate less than $18,000,000; while the existing debts of the other of the late United States sum up in the aggregate the enormous amount of $174,000,000. This is without taking into the account the heavy city debts, corporation debts, and railroad debts, which press, and will continue to press, a heavy incubus upon the resources of those States. These debts, added to others, make a sum total not much under $500,000,000. With such an area of territory — with such an amount of population — with a climate and soil unsurpassed by any on the face of the earth — with such resources already at our command — with productions which control the commerce of the world — who can entertain any apprehensions as to our success, whether others join us or not.

It is true, I believe, I state but the common sentiment, when I declare my earnest desire that the border States should join us. The differences of opinion that existed among us anterior to secession related more to the policy in securing that result by cooperation than from any difference upon the ultimate security we all looked to in common.

These differences of opinion were more in reference to policy than principle, and as Mr. Jefferson said in his inaugural, in 1801, after the heated contest preceding his election, there might be differences in opinion without differences on principle, and that all, to some extent, had been Federalists and all Republicans; so it may now be said of us, that whatever differences of opinion as to the best policy in having a cooperation with our border sister Slave States, if the worst come to the worst, that as we were all cooperationists, we are now all for independence, whether they come or not. [Continued applause.]

In this connection, I take this occasion to state that I was not without grave and serious apprehensions that if the worst came to the worst, and cutting loose from the old Government would be the only remedy for our safety and security, it would be attended with much more serious ills than it has been as yet. Thus far we have seen none of those incidents which usually attend revolutions. No such material as such convulsions usually throw up has been seen. Wisdom, prudence, and patriotism have marked every step of our progress thus far. This augurs well for the future, and it is a matter of sincere gratification to me that I am enabled to make the declaration of the men I met in the Congress at Montgomery (I may be pardoned for saying this) an abler, wiser, a more conservative, deliberate, determined, resolute, and patriotic body of men I never met in my life. [Great applause.] Their works speak for them; the Provisional Government speaks for them; the constitution of the permanent Government will be a lasting monument of their worth, merit, and statesmanship. [Applause.]

But to return to the question of the future. What is to be the result of this revolution?

Will every thing, commenced so well, continue as it has begun? In reply to this anxious inquiry I can only say, it all depends upon ourselves. A young man starting out in life on his majority, with health, talent, and ability, under a favoring Providence, may be said to be the architect of his own fortunes. His destinies are in his own hands. He may make for himself a name of honor or dishonor, according to his own acts. If he plants himself upon truth, integrity, honor, and uprightness, with industry, patience, and energy, he cannot fail of success. So it is with us: we are a young Republic, just entering upon the arena of nations; we will be the architect of our own fortunes. Our destiny, under Providence, is in our own hands. With wisdom, prudence, and statesmanship on the part of our public men, and intelligence, virtue, and patriotism on the part of the people, success, to the full measure of our most sanguine hopes, may be looked for. But if we become divided — if schisms arise — if dissensions spring up — if factions are engendered — if party spirit, nourished by unholy personal ambition, shall rear its hydra head, I have no good to prophesy for you. Without intelligence, virtue, integrity, and patriotism on the part of the people, no Republic or representative government can be durable or stable.

We have intelligence, and virtue, and patriotism. All that is required is to cultivate and perpetuate these. Intelligence will not do without virtue. France was a nation of philosophers. These philosophers became Jacobins. They lacked that virtue, that devotion to moral principle, and that patriotism which is essential to good government. Organized upon principles of perfect justice and right — seeking amity and friendship with all other powers — I see no obstacle in the way of our upward and onward progress. Our growth by accessions from other States, will depend greatly upon whether we present to the world, as I trust we shall, a better government than that to which they belong. If we do this, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas can not hesitate long; neither can Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. They will necessarily gravitate to us by an imperious law. We made ample provision in our constitution for the admission of other States; it is more guarded, and wisely so, I think, than the old Constitution on the same subject, but not too guarded to receive them as fast as it may be proper. Looking to the distant future, and perhaps not very distant either, it is not beyond the range of possibility, and even probability, that all the great States of the north-west shall gravitate this way as well as Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, &c. Should they do so, our doors are wide enough to receive them, but not until they are ready to assimilate with us in principle.

The process of disintegration in the old Union may be expected to go on with almost absolute certainty. We are now the nucleus of a growing power, which, if we are true to ourselves, our destiny, and our high mission, will become the controlling power on this continent. To what extent accessions will go on in the process of time, or where it will end, the future will determine. So far as it concerns States of the old Union, they will be upon no such principle of reconstruction as now spoken of, but upon reorganization and new assimilation. [Loud applause.] Such are some of the glimpses of the future as I catch them.

But at first we must necessarily meet with the inconveniences, and difficulties, and embarrassments incident to all changes of government. These will be felt in our postal affairs and changes in the channels of trade. These inconveniences, it is to be

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Jefferson (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1801 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: