previous next

[372] young man and an ambitious soldier, he refused President Polk's offer of a brigadier-generalship, because he thought the appointment exceeded the president's constitutional power. He answered thus the solicitations of friends to send a force of men to protect his plantation and property in danger of seizure, ‘The President of the Confederacy cannot afford to use public means to protect private interests.’

His aide, Governor Lubbock, of Texas, said of him: ‘From the day I took service with him to the very moment we separated, subsequent to our capture, I witnessed his unselfishness. He forgot himself, and displayed more self-abnegation than any other human being I have ever known.’ One of the strongest traits of his character was his aversion to receive gifts. He declined the beautiful home offered him by the people of this generous city. Over and over again he refused to receive gifts of money, even in his greatest extremities.

Mr. Davis' tenderness of heart was noticeable. On one occasion a commander of the United States forces in Missouri took nine Confederate prisoners and hung them in infamous disregard of the laws of war. The people clamored loudly for retaliation in kind, and it was proposed in the very cabinet that an equal number of prisoners of war, then in Libby Prison, should be taken out and hanged. ‘I have not the heart,’ replied the man, afterwards accused of cruelty to prisoners, ‘to take these innocent soldiers, taken in honorable warfare, and hang them like convicted criminals.’ His Attorney-General said of him: ‘I do not think I am a very cruel man, but I declare to you that it was the most difficult thing in the world to keep Mr. Davis up to the measure of justice. He wanted to pardon everybody. If ever a wife or a mother or a sister got into his presence it took but a little while for their tears to wash out the record.’

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 Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Missouri (Missouri, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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 Davis (2)
Leonidas Polk (1)
Lubbock (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: