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some ability. She was educated in Europe, and has written “ An Irish Knight" [story of Robert Emmet), and articles for magazines. Mrs. Jefferson Davis' Life of Mr. Davis is a work of rare excellence and interest. See also Davis Memorial Volume, by J. Wm. Jones.
Rise and Fall of the Confederacy.
Autobiography, (unfinished; it is included
in Mrs. Davis' book.] Mr. Davis' writings have a force and dignity of style that accord well with his character. “His orations and addresses are marked by classical purity, chaste elegance of expression, a certain nobleness of diction, and a just proportion of sentence to idea.”—John P. McGuire.
TRIP TO KENTUCKY AT SEVEN YEARS OF AGE, AND VISIT TO
GENERAL JACKSON. (From Autobiography in Mrs. Davis' Life of Davis. *) My first tuition was in the usual log-cabin school-house; though in the summer when I was seven years old, I was sent on horseback through what was then called “ The Wilderness”—by the country of the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations—to Kentucky, and was placed in a Catholic institution then known as St. Thomas, in Washington county, near the town of Springfield.
When we reached Nashville we went to the Hermitage. Major Hinds wished to visit his friend and companion-in-arms, General Jackson. The whole party was so kindly received that we remained there for several weeks. During that period I had the opportunity a boy has to observe a great man—a stand-point of no small advantage—and I have always remembered with warm *By Permission of Mrs. Davis,
affection the kind and tender wife who then presided over his house.
General Jackson's house at that time was a roomy loghouse. In front of it was a grove of fine forest trees, and behind it were his cotton and grain fields. I have never forgotten the unaffected and well-bred courtesy which caused him to be remarked by court-trained diplomats, when President of the United States, by reason of his very impressive bearing and manner.
Notwithstanding the many reports that have been made of his profanity, I remember that he always said grace at his table, and I never heard him utter an oath. In the same connection, although he encouraged his adopted son, A. Jackson, Jr., Howell Hinds, and myself in all contests of activity, pony-riding included, he would not allow us to wrestle; for, he said, to allow hands to be put on one another might lead to a fight. He was always very gentle and considerate.
Our stay with General Jackson was enlivened by the visits of his neighbors, and we left the Hermitage with great regret and pursued our journey. In me he inspired reverence and affection that has remained with me through my whole life.
LIFE OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
Those who have intimately known the official and personal life of our Presidents cannot fail to remember how few have left the office as happy men as when they entered it, how darkly the shadows gathered around the setting sun, and how eagerly the multitude would turn to gaze upon another orb just rising to take its place in the political firmament.
Worn by incessant fatigue, broken in fortune, debarred by public opinion, prejudice, or tradition, from future employment, the wisest and best who have filled that office have retired to private life, to remember rather the failure of their hopes than the success of their efforts. He must, indeed, be a self-confident man who could hope to fill the chair of Washington with satisfaction to himself, with assurance of receiving on his retirement the meed awarded by the people to that great man, that he had “done enough for life and for glory,” or even feeling that the sacrifice of self had been compensated by the service rendered to his country.
FAREWELL TO THE SENATE, 1861, ON THE
OCCASION OF THE SECESSION OF MISSISSIPPI FROM THE UNION.
I rise, Mr. President, for the purpose of announcing to the Senate that I have satisfactory evidence that the state of Mississippi, by a solemn ordinance of her people, in convention assembled, has declared her separation from the United States. Under these circumstances, of course, my functions are terminated here. It has seemed to me proper, however, that I should appear in the Senate to announce that fact to my associates, and I will
little The occasion does not invite me to go into argument, and my physical condition would not permit me to do so, if it were otherwise; and yet it seems to become me to say something on the part of the State I here represent on an occasion so solemn as this.
It is known to Senators who have served with me here that I have for many years advocated, as an essential attribute of State sovereignty, the right of a State to secede from the Union. Therefore, if I had not believed there was justi. fiable cause, if I had thought that Mississippi was acting without sufficient provocation, or without an existing neces
sity, I should still, under my theory of the government, because of my allegiance to the State of which I am a citizen, have been bound by her action. I, however, may be permitted to say that I do think she has justifiable cause, and I approve of her act. I conferred with her people before that act was taken, counselled them then that, if the state of things which they apprehended should exist when their convention met, they should take the action which they have now adopted.
I hope none who hear me will confound this expression of mine with the advocacy of the right of a State to remain in the Union, and to disregard its constitutional obligations by the nullification of the law. Such is not my theory. Nullification and Secession, so often confounded, are, indeed, antagonistic principles. Nullification is a remedy which it is sought to apply within the Union, and against the agent of the States. It is only to be justified when the agent has violated his constitutional obligations, and a State, assuming to judge for itself, denies the right of the agent thus to act, and appeals to the other States of the Union for a decision; but when the States themselves, and the people of the States have so acted as to convince us that they will not regard our constitutional rights, then, and then for the first time, arises the doctrine of secession in its practical application.
A great man, who now reposes with his fathers, and who has often been arraigned for a want of fealty to the Union, advocated the doctrine of nullification because it preserved the Union. It was because of his deep-seated attachment to the Union_his determination to find some remedy for existing ills short of a severance of the ties which bound South Carolina to the other States-that Mr. Calhoun advocated the doctrine of nullification, which he proclaimed to be peaceful, to be within the limits of State power, not to