My fellow-citizens:--I think the country may be considered safe, since your interest in its welfare has brought you out at this hour of the night.
I have just returned from a mission to old Virginia
It will be gratifying to you, I know, to state that she is not only out of the Union
, but she is a member of the Southern Confederacy, and has sent delegates to our Congress, now assembled
. North Carolina
will have her delegates with us, also, in a few days.
Her Legislature meets to-morrow, and I doubt not she will be out of the Union before Saturday night
. The fires which first kindled the old Mecklenburgh Declaration of Independence
are again burning throughout all her domains.
From all that we have learned in the last few days, Tennessee
will soon put herself on the side of the South
, and be a new star in our shining galaxy.
The news is also good from Kentucky
, though I have nothing official from there.
A few of her public men are trying to put the brakes down on her people; but they seem unwilling to submit any longer.
the news is most cheering, and Arkansas
will soon be with us.
But the best of all is, that Maryland
--gallant little Maryland
--right under the guns of Lincoln
, and the threats of Blair
, to make it a Free State, if the blood of the last white man has to be shed in accomplishing it--has resolved, to a man, to stand by the South
! She will be arrayed against Abolitiondom, and cling to the South
: and if she has not delegates with us now, she is in open defiance of Lincoln
and his Government, and will soon be with us, even by revolution.
The cause of Baltimore
is the cause of us all, from the Atlantic
to the Rio Grande
Her hands must be held up, and triumph must be assured to her.
You have probably seen it stated that overtures of peace had been made by Lord Lyons, and, perhaps, by other parties.
I tell you it is not true, and is only intended to deceive you. It is also said that the Lincoln Government
done so. This may be true; but if it is, it is all for treachery, as they gave traitorous assurances to our Commissioners at Washington
For weeks they were kept there under the most positive assurances of a pacific policy and intentions towards us — all with the basest motives that can actuate a treacherous heart.
If peace propositions are made by them now, I conjure you not to trust them for a single moment — they only intend to deceive and betray — to lull your energies and suspicions, till they secure some cowardly advantage.
Our enemies say that they only want to protect the public property; and yet I have it from unquestioned authority that they have mined all the public buildings in Washington
— the Capitol
and all the other Departments — for the purpose of destroying them.
They have called out 75,000 men, they say to protect the public property now in their possession, and to retake and protect that which they have been forced to give up; yet, wherever they are now, they have prepared to destroy the property, and have destroyed, or attempted to destroy, all that we have compelled them to relinquish, because of their intentions to use it for the purpose of subjugating us. Sumter
was mined to be blown up on leaving it. Much of the property was burned up at Harper's Ferry
, in hastily vacating that place; and an attempt was made to burn up not only all the public property, on leaving Gosport Navy Yard, but the whole city of Norfolk
This is one of the most remarkable instances on record where Providence
was on our side.
Plans were laid to burn up the Navy Yard
and the whole city.
The incendiary fires were lighted; and, if their intentions had succeeded, such a conflagration had never been witnessed on this continent, and would have been second only to the burning of Moscow
; but, just at the critical moment, before the ravages had extended, the wind turned!
The winds of Heaven turned, and stayed the spread of the devouring element.
The same wind that kind Heaven sent to keep off the fleet at Charleston
was reduced, came to the relief of Norfolk
at the critical moment.
was signally on our side.
They attempted to blow up the Dock, the most expensive one on the continent — but there was a break in the train they had laid, and it failed.
They attempted to burn down the old Pennsylvania, Germantown
, and the Merrimac
. They set the match, while they endeavored to get out of the way of their intended destruction; but the vessels sunk before the fire caught — another remarkable instance of the interposition of Providence
on our behalf, and the strongest evidence of our rectitude.
We were right at first, are right now, and shall keep ourselves right to the end.
What is to take place before the end, I know not. A threatening war is upon us, made by those who have no regard for right!
We fight for our homes, our fathers and mothers, our wives, brothers, sisters
, sons, and daughters, and neighbors!
The hirelings and mercenaries of the North
are all hand to hand against you.
As I told you when I addressed you a few days ago, Lincoln
may bring his seventy-five thousand soldiers against us; but seven times seventy-five thousand men can never conquer us. We have now Maryland
, and all the Border States
with us. We have ten millions of people with us, heart and hand, to defend us to the death.
We can call out a million of people, if need be; and when they are cut down, we can call out another, and still another
, until the last man of the South
finds a bloody grave, rather than submit to their foul dictation.
But a triumphant victory and independence, with an unparalleled career of glory, prosperity and progress, await us in the future.
God is on our side, and who shall be against us
? None but His omnipotent hand can defeat us in this struggle.
A general opinion prevails that Washington city
is soon to be attacked.
On this subject I can only say, our object is peace.
We wish no aggressions on any one's rights, and will make none.
But if Maryland secedes
, the District of Columbia will fall to her by reversionary right — the same as Sumter
to South Carolina
, and Pickens
When we have the right we will demand the surrender of Washington
, just as we did in the other cases, and will enforce our demands at every hazard and at whatever cost.
And here let me say that our policy and conduct from the first have been right, and shall be to the last.
I glory in this consciousness of our rectitude.
It may be that “whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.”
But for Lincoln
's wicked and foolish war proclamation, the border States--some of them at least, would still have lingered in the hope that the Administration and its designs were not so basely treacherous as that document has shown them to be. Tennessee
and other States would have lingered for some time.
Now, all the slave States are casting in their lot with us, and linking their destinies with ours.
We might afford to thank Lincoln
a little for showing his hand.
It may be that soon the Confederate
flag with fifteen stars will be hoisted upon the dome of the ancient Capitol
If so, God's will be done is my prayer.
Let us do nothing that is wrong.
Let us commit our cause into His hand — perform our whole duty, and trust in Him for the crowning results.
I have many things I would like to say to you, but my strength will not admit, even if it were necessary for your encouragement — but it is not. I find that you are fully up to the music, that you thoroughly comprehend our condition, and are resolved to do your whole duty.
I find our people everywhere are alive to their interests and their duty in this crisis.
Such a degree of popular enthusiasm was never before seen in this country.
I find my fellow-citizens
all along the railroad line eager to hear the news, and to speed our glorious cause with their services.
This is the fifth speech which I have made since I left home this evening at 6 o'clock. In my town, yesterday, a meeting was held, a company was organized, and their services tendered to our government.
A flag was made in two hours by our patriotic ladies and presented to the company, and $2,200 was raised to equip the company and take care of the needy families of soldiers who may go off to fight for our country.
My friends, forget not the soldier
! Send him contributions to make him comfortable while he is in the service.
Take care of his family while he is absent.
Employ your hands and your substance in doing works of charity in this day of your country's trial.
If any should fall in the battle, remember the orphan and the widow, and take care of them.
God will bless you in the noble performances of a patriotic duty.
My fellow-citizens, I must close these remarks.
I am gratified to meet you to-night.
I am gratified that Georgia
and all the South
is a unit.
I rejoice to be able to tell you the welcome news that Virginia
is a unit.
Nearly every single member of her Convention will sign her Ordinance of Secession.
And now, with my best wishes, I bid you good-night.
His speech was rapturously applauded throughout; and, as he retired, three cheers for Stephens
were given with a will.
In a few moments, in response to earnest solicitations, he again came on the platform, and said:
The news from Washington is very interesting.
It has been stated in the newspapers--first, that the Virginia troops had occupied Arlington Heights, just across the Potomac from the President's house; and again, that Lincoln's troops had occupied that point.
My information is that both these statements are incorrect.
Lincoln, however, has occupied Georgetown Heights.
He has from fifteen to twenty thousand soldiers stationed in and about Washington.
Troops are quartered in the capitol, who are defacing its walls and ornaments with grease and filth, like a set of vandal hordes.
The new Senate chamber has been converted into a kitchen and quarters — cooking and sleeping apparatus having actually been erected and placed in that elegant apartment.
The Patent Office is converted into soldiers' barracks, and is ruined with their filth.
The Post-Office Department is made a storehouse for barrels of flour and bacon.
All the departments are appropriated to base uses, and despoiled of their beauty by those treacherous destructive enemies of our country.
Their filthy spoliations of the public buildings, and works of art at the Capital, and their preparations to destroy them, are strong evidence to my mind that they do not intend to hold or defend the place; but to abandon it, after having despoiled and laid it in ruins.
Let them destroy it — savage-like — if they will.
We will rebuild it. We will make the structures more glorious.
Pl.oenix-like, new and more substantial structures will rise from its ashes.
Planted anew, under the auspices of our superior institutions, it will live and flourish throughout all ages.
---Atlanta (Ga.) Confederacy
, May 2.