in the admirable sobriety of its temper, it stands as a monument to his genius and as a model of constitutional exposition.
It has never been answered, and it is unanswerable.
It was intended and it serves as a complete vindication of the right of the Southern States
to withdraw from the Federal Union, to terminate the compact which they had made with their sister States and to reassume the powers which had been delegated to the Federal
government as a common agent.
Buried in the huge tomes of which it forms a part, this grand constitutional argument has not attracted the attention which it deserves.
It is complete in itself, and I believe it would be a service to all the people of this country if it were published by itself in a small volume or pamphlet and disseminated throughout the land.
It should be read by every patriot, Northern as well as Southern.
It deals with what is to-day a purely historical question.
As citizens of a re-united country and a restored Union, living under a constitution from which all admit that the right of peaceable secession has been eliminated by the inveterate res adjudicata
of war, and, therefore, irrevocably bound together for weal or woe, we are all concerned in finding the true basis on which we may forever live together as friends.
The safest guarantee of the permanence of the Union
and of peace, harmony, happiness and prosperity of our people must be found in the mutual respect and forbearance from insult of all sections of the people towards each other.
Nothing can conduce to this so powerfully as a true and correct understanding of the grounds and motives on which the Southern States
acted when they seceded from the Union
, and on which especially the people of those States, as well those who opposed as those who favored secession, believed it their duty to yield their allegiance to the States of which they were citizens.
But let me pass from this subject and proceed with my sketch.
Such a light as that of Jefferson Davis
could not remain hid under a bushel.
In 1844 he was chosen as the Democratic
candidate for presidential elector in the canvass between Mr. Clay
and Mr. Polk
He canvassed the State
, and thus became known to the people of Mississippi
From that time he became their idol.
In 1845 he was married to the noble and gifted woman who clung to him, not only as a faithful wife, but as his ‘guide, philosopher and friend,’ through all the vicissitudes of his checkered career—who shared and sympathized in all his ambitions and triumphs— who, in his hour of calamity, such as has rarely fallen to human lot,