traitors, who had forfeited every right and privilege, and were entitled to neither property, liberty or life, except through their clemency!
Over and over again, during the war, they, in like authoritative forms, proclaimed that the seats of our members in Congress were vacant, and we had only to return and occupy them, as it was both our right and duty to do. Our people laid down their arms and sent on their members, and they were met with the startling proposition that we had neither the right to participate in the administration of the Union
, nor even to make law or government for our own States!
Addressing this Society in Virginia
, during the last summer, Mr. Davis
said: ‘We were more cheated than conquered into surrender.’
The Northern press denounced this as a slander, and some of our Southern press deprecated the expression as indiscreet
! I aver to-night what history will affirm, that the English
language does not contain, and could not form, a sentence of equal size, which expressed more truth.
We were cheated not only by our enemies, but the profuse proclamations of our enemies, before referred to, were taken up and repeated by malcontents in our midst–any of them, too, who had done all in their power to hurry our people into secession.
They coupled these professions and promises of our enemies with brazen assertions that the laws of the Confederate government enacted to carry on the war were unconstitutional and void.
They scattered these documents of twin falsehood and treachery among our people, to prove to them that they had a right to refuse supplies to the soldiers.
They scattered them through the army to convince soldiers it was no crime to desert.
And they scattered them among our enemies, to prove to them that our people were dividing, that our armies were weakening, and that they had only to take courage and keep up the struggle, and surrender was inevitable!
Oh, my friends, we were fearfully, sadly, treacherously, altogether cheated into surrender!
If the demands made after the war was over had been frankly avowed while the war was in progress, there would have been no pretexts for our treacherous malcontents; there would have been no division or wearying among our people; there would have been no desertions from our armies, and there would have been no surrender of arms, nor loss of our cause!
But the Northern States
and people having made these demands as results of the war, when we could join no issue on them in battle, there were only legal and political forums left in which to test their justice and truth.
Had sovereign States committed treason?