This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 been presented of despoilment or resistance. How long it would have been postponed no one can tell. Whether our people acted wisely in doing as they did, or would have been gainers by delay, or were culpable in loving the Union so well and deferring action so long, must forever remain unanswered because unanswerable. All I seek to maintain is that, whether wise or unwise, the course of the South was justified by well-founded apprehensions of danger of great injury, as indicated by demonstrations apparently hostile and threatening on the part of the North; and that the indictment against the Southern people for wantonly and capriciously surrendering the ties that bind them to the Union is calumnious and unmaintainable. The false view so often urged, that mad ambition incited prominent leaders, who misled the Southern people, is wholly groundless. Never was the enthusiasm of the masses more nearly universal. History records no instance of greater approximation to unanimity among a people than characterized our Southern movement. True, there were differences of opinion as to what was best to be done, but the apprehension was general and the conviction universal that danger was iminent and that something must be done, in some way, to avert it. Surely the universality of the apprehension was an indication of some just ground for such widespread concern. All classes and conditions shared the feeling. The non-slaveholder of the day, most generally, was found in the front rank of the advocates of action, while those who hesitated and were disposed to delay were ofttimes most largely interested in the great institution supposed to be directly imperilled by the crisis upon the country. When the mists of prejudice which now, to some extent, envelop it shall have been dispelled, and our cause shall be seen as it was by the unobstructed view of impartial history, full justice will be done to the motives of the Confederates, as has already been done to their valor. The valor of our people compelled recognition, for it was so conspicuous, so tangible and manifest it could not but be seen, admired and acknowledged. But motive is not thus capable at once of securing recognition, and the subjection of our motives to persistent misrepresentation has partially succeeded in obscuring from view the true impelling cause of our action; and besides this, we encountered the prejudices of the civilized world in our struggle for the maintenance of an institution which had received its condemnation. It devolves on us, who were part of it, to vindicate the truth of our
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.