All the efforts of the powers that were, to ‘make treason odious,’ were concentrated upon the defenseless head of Jefferson Davis
The floodgates of slander and obloquy were opened wide upon him, His character was distorted and vilified; he was painted as a monster of cruelty and cowardice, a vile conspirator who plotted the ruin of his country and deluged a continent in blood, with no better motive than to gratify a criminal ambition and to advance his personal interests.
He was charged with being the instigator and abettor of the murder of Mr. Lincoln
, with all the malignity, but without the courage, of the actual assassin.
He was accused of intentional and inhuman cruelties to defenceless prisoners.
He was charged with having basely rifled the treasure chests of the Confederacy
and appropriating them to his private emolument.
All who knew Mr. Davis
, all who will take the slightest pains to study the ample record of his life and character, must view such charges with peculiar horror and indignation.
, as a man, undoubtedly had his faults, as who has not; but they were the faults of an open and generous nature.
He had strong friendships and violent prejudices for individuals.
He was, perhaps, too blind to the shortcomings of his friends, and too intolerant to those of his enemies.
But whatever may be said of him, he was, from top to toe, a gentleman, in the highest acceptation of that word.
He had a fine and delicate sense of honor, which resented the slightest stain upon it as he would a blow in the face.
He had a chivalric courage, written in his martial bearing, and in his aqueline and defiant countenance, which shirked no conflict, but which always fought in the open, and scorned all indirect or underhand advantage.
He had, as is common with men of that type, a romantic tenderness for the weak and the dependent—as illustrated by the exquisite and inimitable courtesy and deference of his bearing towards women—by his delight in the society of children, and his charming faculty for attracting their confidence and affection—and by his gentle, just and humane treatment of his numerous slaves, which made them his devoted friends, whose respect and allegiance stood unshaken even after they became free.
His whole public life was pitched on the highest plane of devotion to duty and of inflexible adherence to principle.
It was, perhaps, his defect as a practical statesman that he scorned too much the politician's arts, and shrunk too sensitively from everything which involved a sacrifice of principle to expediency.
In private life he was a man whose word was ever his bond, scrupulously faithful to every engagement, sensitively