addressed the Mississippi Legislature, at Jackson
, on the 26 of ult. The galleries were filled with ladies, and when the President
appeared the whole hall rang with applause.
The address was quite a lengthy one.
We give the chief points:
The President spoke of his love for the old Union.
He alluded to it, however, as a matter of regret, that the best affections of his heart should have been bestowed upon an object so unworthy — that he should have loved so long a Government which was rotten to its very core.
He had predicted from the beginning a fierce war, though it had assumed more gigantic proportions than he had calculated upon.
He had predicted war, not because our right to secede was not an undoubted one, and clearly defined in the spirit of that declaration which rests the right to govern upon the consent of the governed, but the wickedness of the North
would entail war upon the country.
The present war waged against the rights of a free people was unjust, and the fruit of the evil passions of the North
In the progress of the war those evil passions have been brought out and developed; and so far from resulting with such a people — a people whose ascendants Cromwell
had gathered from the bogs and fens of Ireland
--a people whose intolerance produced discord and trouble wherever they went — who persecuted Catholics
, Episcopalians, and every other sect that did not subscribe to their bigoted and contracted notions.--who hung witches, and did a thousand other things calculated to make them forever infamous — the President
was emphatic in his declaration that under no circumstances would be consent to reunion.
He drew a glowing picture of the horrors of war, and the ravages of the enemy; and while his tears flowed for those who suffered, yet all these would be endured, cheerfully, before our manhood and our liberties would be surrendered.
The war upon Northern soil.
He alluded briefly to his desire to transfer the war upon Northern soil, but the failure, to do this processed not from a want of inclination but of power.
We were not an old-established nation; with armies and navies at our command.
These had to be improvised from the scanty materials to be found within the limits of our own Confederacy.
We were blockaded and cut off from other nations, and everybody knows that we had been an agricultural people, and that our facilities for manufacturing materials of war were extremely limited.
Notwithstanding this fact, patent to the most casual observer, we had now an army larger than ever before — our arms and munitions of war were increased in number and improved in quality, and we are in a better condition to day than we were twelve months ago.
Conscription and exemption laws.
He alluded to the conscription and exemption laws of Congress, explaining the necessity of the
one and the intention of the other.
Was sorry to perceive that there had been a false construction put upon the first of these laws.
There was no dishonor in being conscripted.
The Government had as much right to make laws requiring the services of its citizens in the army as to compel them to work public reads or to pay taxes.
The object of that portion of the exemption law which exempted the owner, agent, or overseas of twenty negroes, was not intended to draw any distinction whatever between classes.
He benefit was intended to the rich from it. It was simply to provide a police force which Congress thought necessary, and to facilitate the agricultural productions of the country to supply the wants of both the poor people and the army.
Any law intended to hear unfairly upon the poor even to a feathers weight, would never have received his signature. "The poor have fought our battles." says the President
, "and so have the rich" The poor in all revolutions are the main stay and grope of the country.
But while the poor have nobly done their duty, we have no cause to complain of the rich.--All have done well, and many of the wealthiest and most distinguished families in the South
have sons in the ranks.
He instanced Hon. Israel Welsh
and others, who had fought as privates in the bloodiest engagements of the war. He thought there might be very properly a revision of the exemption law, and trusted there would be no conflict between Confederate and State laws upon the subject of the military.
That there should be no war with States; and if any State chose to inflict a blow upon the common cause by enacting conflicting military laws, he hoped that Mississippi
would be the last to adopt such a suicidal policy.
Indigent families — Reserved Corps.
The President expressed he gratification at the message of Gov. Pettus
, and cordially endorsed his views to reference to making provisions for indigent families and the of exempts, who could be ready upon an emergency to go forth and occupy the trenches while the disciplined troops and active soldiery could take the field.
The calls for such services could be for thirty, sixty, or ninety days, and when the emergency had passed they could return to their pursuits.
Raw soldiers, the President
contended could do efficient service in the trenches, and the adoption of such a policy would strengthen our means of defence quite materially.
In his allusion to the vast numbers of the North
, the President
said that upon any fair field we were willing to fight them two to one; we have often whipped them three to one; at Antietam Gen. Lee
whipped them four to one; but this might not be the case always.
As the enemy progressed in discipline, they approached nearer to our own troops in efficiency.
Hence the necessity of providing something like a corresponding force to that which the enemy are bringing against us.
The President denounced in terms of scathing but dignified rebuke the habit of straggling from the army.
He invoked public opinion to frown it down and called upon the women to drive the stragglers back to duty.
Fill up the ranks.
He urged the necessity of filling up the thinned ranks of our regiments.
Those veterans who had gone through many hard fought battles looked for their kindred at home to supply the places which had been made vacant by the death of their comrades.
A brigade which mustered only twelve hundred men, would have to bleed as much as if it had its full quota of 4,000.
Their ranks must be filled; humanity demands it. It was a time for patriots to throw off the shackles of private interest, fly to the rescue of those herons whom the ravages of war had yet spared, and consecrate themselves to the most sacred cause on earth.
The real Danger.
The President remarked that when he arrived here he thought the enemy were pressing down upon us from the Northern
borders of our State, but when he went to Grenada
he there learned that nothing could be seen of them but their backs.
They were going back perhaps with the intention of reinforcing the heavy column that was now being thrown down the Mississippi river
; The real points of attack were at Vicksburg
and Port Hudson
; and to all who desired to lend a helping hand to the country in her present exigency he would, any, "Go to Port Hudson
Necessity of Harmony — permanent military system.
He spoke of the salutary effects of harmonious action between the several States and the Government
, and urged upon legislators, both State and Confederate, the necessity of establishing a permanent military system; for even after the present war was ended we might expect trouble from our enemies unless our military establishment was of such character as to give them a wholesome fear of precipitating a war upon us. The true theory was to adopt a military system which would be permanent and operative in times of peace.
The question at issue.
The issue involved in this war was no ordinary ones.
The question is will you be free, or will you be the slaves of the most depraved and intolerant and tyrannical and hated people upon earth?
This was the real question to be decided.
Everything else was as dust in the balance.
A people who had demonstrated their utter incapacity for self-government, who have destroyed their own liberties in the vain effort to deprive us of ours, seek to be our masters, and inflict upon us such galling chains as have no parallel in the annals of tyranny.
is the object of their peculiar hatred: upon her is to be visited their refined vengeance.
But our cause is just and vengeance belongs to the Lord
We will resist the power of the enemy.
Discard all other considerations but the public defence, and victory will again be ours.
Aspersions of the Administration.
The President alluded very briefly to the false hoods which had been circulated relative to the Administration, which he could not disprove, because such disapproval would give the enemy a knowledge of things which the good of the cause required to be concealed from him. That he had committed some errors he did not doubt, though they were never the result of improper motives — For a vindication of himself from the aspersions of some of his follow citizens, he confidently awaited the time when the cause would not suffer from such vindication, he, however, explained the great necessity of public confidence in the officers of the Government
and pointed to that great and good man Gen. Albert Sidney Johnson
as a shining example of the ill affects of withholding that deserved confidence which the public welfare require.
Duration of the war.
Though the war had somewhat exceeded his expectations, yet he never doubted our final success, and he considered it now as absolutely certain.
The duration of the war was a question of time.
He thought, however, it was not possible for a war waged upon such a tremendous seals to be long protracted.
Be it long or short, however, we could not be the first to cry "hold, enough."
Recognition — foreign nations.
To the question of recognition and intervention, the President
devoted only a few words.
We had a right to expect recognition long since, but it had not come, and his advice was, "Put not your faith in princes, nor rest your hopes upon foreign nations." It seemed that England
still refused to take any steps towards either recognition or mediation.
had made a move that looked friendly to us, and when she extended the hand of friendship we would be ready to grasp it.
The President took a brief retrospective view of the movements of our armies since the fall of New Orleans — an event as unexpected to him as it was to us — and showed that we had not retrograded, but had gathered largely in strength.
Armies are not made up in numbers only.
We have now an army that we can safely rely on. We have stripped gunboats of their terrors.
We have improved in all those things which go to make us invincible.
Our prospects are much better than they were twelve months ago.
Two objects of the enemy.
There are two grand objects of the enemy: 1st, to get possession of the river, and thus cut our Confederacy in two; and, secondly, to seize the Confederate
capital, and hold it up to foreign nations as an evidence that the Confederate
does not exist.
The President dwelt at so he length upon the vast importance of thwarting the enemy's designs upon this valley; he considered its defence a necessity not only to the people here, but to the Confederacy
and Port Hudson
were points that must be defended, and every effort must be strained for this purpose.
, he said, would stand, and Port Hudson
would stand it the people were true to themselves.
This done, the Northwest
would grow restive, and cause to support a war ruinous to them and beneficial only to New England
From the Northwest
he looked for the first gleams of peace.
The President expressed his gratification that General Pemberton
, whom he had sent here believing him eminently suited to this command, had sustained in a signal manner the high character he had given him. He also spoke of Brigadier-General Lee
, to whom he had entrusted the defences of Vicksburg
, in terms of hearty commendation.
The Trans Mississippi Department.
On the other side of the river our prospects are brighter than ever before, and are long he hoped that we would be enabled to proclaim Missouri
, too, was an object of solicitude to him, and he spoke of her gallant people in the kindest and most commendable terms.
Our cause in the Ascendant.
The President laid particular stress upon the encouraging fact that we had improved in every respect since the war began.
Our armies were superior in number, and improved in quality and appointments.
Our manufactories had made rapid progress;--Mississippi
alone had clothed and subsisted the whole army upon her soil.
Our people had learned to economize.
They were homespun.
He felt like taking off his hat to a woman dressed in homespun.
He had an unfaltering belief in the justice of our cause, and a profound reverence for the decrees of Heaven.
He noticed with evident satisfaction, the superior morality of our army to that of the invader.
In God and the valor of our troops he trusted.
At the conclusion of his remarks, Gen. Joseph H. Johnston
was vociferously called for. The scarf worn here looked a little nervous, while the house
rang with lend, swelling and prolonged applause.
He arose and said:
--My only regret is that I have done so little to merit such a greeting.
I promise you, however, that hereafter shall be watchful, energetic and indefatigable in your defences"
This speech was greeted with tremendous, uproars us and prolonged plaudits.