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Doc. 50. speech of Jefferson Davis

at Columbia, S. C., October 4, 1864.
Ladies and gentlemen of the metropolis of South Carolina: Your Mayor has welcomed me to your home. I receive his greeting with that gratitude which one only feels when he .hears expressed the language of commendation from those whose silence would have made him realize that his conduct had been bad indeed. If in this great struggle for the rights of the States and the liberties of the people, to secure the possession of which, and to transmit which to us, our fathers of the Revolution shed their blood, South Carolina, who has stood for thirty years in the vanguard, should give him who asserted those rights no word of well done, he might feel convinced that he had failed, as a public servant, to perform his mission, and as a man had proven unable to cope with the responsibilities of his position. Therefore, it is, Mr. Mayor, and fellow-citizens of Columbia, that I feel heartily grateful for the welcome received at your hands.

South Carolina has struggled nobly in the war, and suffered many .sacrifices. There is, indeed, no portion of our land where the pall of mourning has not been spread; but I thank the Giver of all good, that our people still remain firm there, above all other places. I am told there have been none to waver and none to doubt. It often happens that at a distance from a scene of action, men, who if present would measure it, magnify danger, until at last those become despondent whose hearts, if actually stirred by perils, would no sooner think of shrinking from the prompt performance of duty than the gallant sons of South Carolina, whose blood has so generously flowed on the many battle-fields of this war. But if there be any who feel that our cause is in danger, that final success may not crown our efforts, that we are not stronger to-day than when we began the struggle, that we are not able to continue the supplies to our armies and to our people, let all such read a contradiction in the smiling face of our land, and the teeming evidences of plenty which everywhere greet the eye; let them go to those places where brave men are standing in front of the foe, and there receive the assurance that we shall have final success, and that every man who does not live to see his country free, will see a freeman's grave. [Applause.]

There are those who, like the Israelites of old, are longing to turn back to the flesh-pots they have left; who have thought there still may have been some feasible mode of reconciliation, and even be willing to rush into a reconstruction of the Union. Such, I am glad to know, do not flourish on the soil of South Carolina. Such cannot be the sentiments of any man in the Confederate States, if he will only reflect that from the beginning down to the present hour, your Government has made every effort within its power to avoid a collision of arms in the first instance, and since then, to obtain every possible means of settlement, honorable to ourselves, based on a recognition of our independence. First we sent commissioners to ask on what terms the quarrel could be adjusted, and since that time we have proclaimed in every public paper, our desire for peace. Insolently our every effort has been met. The Vice-President of the Confederate States was refused a passport to the North, when his object was negotiation — that means by which all wars must be terminated. The door was rudely shut in our faces. Intervention and recognition by foreign states, so long anticipated has proved an ignis fatuus. There is, then, but one means by which you can hope to gain independence and an honorable peace, and that is by uniting with harmony, energy and determination, in fighting those great battles, and achieving those great victories, which will teach the world that we can defend our rights, and the Yankee nation that it is death to invade them. [Applause.]

With every Confederate victory our stocks rise in the foreign market — that touchstone of European sentiment. With every noble achievement that influences the public mind abroad, you are taking one step forward, and bringing foreign nations one step nearer your aid, in recognizing and lending you friendly intervention, whenever they are satisfied that, intervention or no intervention, the Confederacy can sustain itself.

Does any one believe that Yankees are to be conciliated by terms of concession? Does any man imagine that we can conquer the Yankees by retreating before them, or do you not all know that the only way to make spaniels civil is to whip them? And you can whip them, if all the men capable of bearing arms will do their duty by taking their places under the standard of their country, before the veteran troops of the North receive the fresh increment which is being gathered in the Northern States. Now is the good and accepted time for every man to rally to the standard of his country, and crush the invader upon her soil; and this, I believe is in your power. If every man fit to bear arms will place himself in the ranks with those who are already there, we shall not battle in vain, and our achievements will be grand, final and complete. Is this a time to ask what the law demands of you — to inquire whether or not you are exempt under the law or to ask if the magistrate will take you out of the enrolling office by a writ of habeas corpus? Rather is it not the time for every man capable of bearing arms to say: “My country needs my services, and my country shall have them!” When your heroic fathers, the Whigs of the Revolution, fought in that war which secured your birthright, their armies were not gathered by asking who can be forced into the field, but “Who are able to fight?” No man was too old and no boy too young, if he had the physical

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