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Title: Speeches of the Honorable Jefferson Davis 1858

Author: Hon. Jefferson Davis

Release Date: March, 2004  [EBook #5205]
[This file was first posted on June 5, 2002]
[Most recently updated: May 18, 2003]

Edition: 10

Language: English

Character set encoding: US-ASCII


Converted by Dave Maddock
Proofread by Curtis Weyant

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Speeches of the Honorable Jefferson Davis 1858
by Hon. Jefferson Davis

Speeches of the Hon. Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi,

Delivered During the Summer of 1858:

On Fourth of July, 1858, at Sea.
At Serenade, at Portland, Maine.
At Portland Convention, Maine.
At Belfast Encampment, Maine.
At Belfast Banquet, Maine.
At Portland Meeting, Maine.
At Fair at Augusta, Maine.
At Faneuil Hall, Boston.
At New York Meeting.
Before Mississippi Legislature.
etc. etc.

Baltimore... Printed By John Murphy & Co.
Marble Building,
182 Baltimore Street. 1859.

To the People of Mississippi.

I have been induced by the persistent misrepresentation of popular Addresses made by me at the North and the South during the year 1858, to collect them, and with extracts from speeches made by me in the Senate in 1850, to present the whole in this connected form; to the end that the case may be fairly before those by whose judgment I am willing to stand or fall.

Jefferson Davis.

Extracts From Speeches in U.S. Senate.

In the Senate of the United States, May 8, 1850, in presenting the Resolutions of the Legislature of Mississippi:

It is my opinion that justice will not be done to the South, unless from other promptings than are about us here--that we shall have no substantial consideration offered to us for the surrender of an equal claim to California. No security against future harassment by Congress will probably be given. The rain-bow which some have seen, I fear was set before the termination of the storm. If this be so, those who have been first to hope, to relax their energies, to trust in compromise promises, will often be the first to sound the alarm when danger again approaches. Therefore I say, if a reckless and self-sustaining majority shall trample upon her rights, if the Constitutional equality of the States is to be overthrown by force, private and political rights to be borne down by force of numbers, then, sir, when that victory over Constitutional rights is achieved, the shout of triumph which announces it, before it is half uttered, will be checked by the united, the determined action of the South, and every breeze will bring to the marauding destroyers of those rights, the warning: woe, woe to the riders who trample them down! I submit the report and resolutions, and ask that they may be read and printed for the use of the Senate.--(_Cong. Globe_, p. 943-4.)

In the Senate of the United States, June 27, 1850, on the Compromise Bill:

If I have a superstition, sir, which governs my mind and holds it captive, it is a superstitious reverence for the Union. If one can inherit a sentiment, I may be said to have inherited this from my revolutionary father. And if education can develop a sentiment in the heart and mind of man, surely mine has been such as would most develop feelings of attachment for the Union. But, sir, I have an allegiance to the State which I represent here. I have an allegiance to those who have entrusted their interests to me, which every consideration of faith and of duty, which every feeling of honor, tells me is above all other political considerations. I trust I shall never find my allegiance there and here in conflict. God forbid that the day should ever come when to be true to my constituents is to be hostile to the Union. If, sir, we have reached that hour in the progress of our institutions, it is past the age to which the Union should have lived. If we have got to the point when it is treason to the United States to protect the rights and interests of our constituents, I ask why should they longer be represented here? why longer remain a part of the Union? If there is a dominant party in this Union which can deny to us equality, and the rights we derive through the Constitution; if we are no longer the freemen our fathers left us; if we are to be crushed by the power of an unrestrained majority, this is not the Union for which the blood of the Revolution was shed; this is not the Union I was taught from my cradle to revere; this is not the Union in the service of which a large portion of my life has been passed; this is not the Union for which our fathers pledged their property, their lives, and sacred honor. No, sir, this would be a central Government, raised on the destruction of all the principles of the Constitution, and the first, the highest obligation of every man who has sworn to support that Constitution would be resistance to such usurpation. This is my position.

My colleague has truly represented the people of Mississippi as ardently attached to the Union. I think he has not gone beyond the truth when he has placed Mississippi one of the first, if not the first, of the States of the Confederation in attachment to it. But, sir, even that deep attachment and habitual reverence for the Union, common to us all--even that, it may become necessary to try by the touchstone of reason. It is not impossible that they should unfurl the flag of disunion. It is not impossible that violations of the Constitution and of their rights, should drive them to that dread extremity. I feel well assured that they will never reach it until it has been twice and three times justified. If, when thus fully warranted, they want a standard bearer, in default of a better, I am at their command.--(_Cong. Globe_, p. 995-6)

On Fourth of July, 1858, At Sea.

[From the Boston Post.]

The fine ship _Joseph Whitney_, from Baltimore, Captain S. Howes, was making for this port on the day of the celebration of the nation's birth, and among an unusually brilliant array of passengers from different parts of the country, was the distinguished Senator, Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi. The patriotic suggestion of the captain, to celebrate the day in a manner befitting the great anniversary, met with a hearty response from the company, among whom were zealous republicans, democrats and Americans. A committee was appointed to invite the Senator to make an address, and he consented.

First, the Declaration of Independence was read by Sebastian F. Streeter, Esq., of Baltimore, when Senator Davis made an address of singular felicity of diction and impassioned eloquence, and of such a character as to command the admiration of those who listened to it. He commenced by happy allusions to the array of beauty and intelligence that stood before him from all parts of our common country; he then passed in review the condition of the feeble and separate colonies of 1776, and contrasted with it the country now--the only proper republic on earth, as it stood before the world in its wonderful progress in art, and agriculture, and commerce, and all the elements that constitute a great nation. When thus sailing on the Atlantic, looking to the coast of the United States, he was reminded of those bold refugees from the British and French oppression who crosses these water to found a home in what was then a wilderness. The memory, too, arose of the many sorrowing hearts and oppressed spirits since born over these waves to that refuge from political oppression which our fathers founded as the home of liberty and the asylum of mankind. Her terrtiory {sic}, which now stretches from ocean to ocean, contains a vast interior yet unpeopled; and, with a destiny of still further and continued expansion of area, why should the gate of the temple be now shut upon sorrowing mankind? Rather let it be that the gate should be forever open, and an emblematic flag, hereafter as heretofore, wave a welcome to all to come to the modern Abdella--fugitives from political oppression.

Senator Davis dwelt at some length on the right of search question--on the insulting claim which Great Britain made to a peace-right to visit our ships. Under the pretence of stopping the slave trade--a trade against which the United States was the first nation to raise its voice--she had interrupted and destroyed a lucrative commerce we had enjoyed in ivory and other products on the coast of Africa. The late outrages in the Gulf found us, as a people, with domestic quarrels on our hands; but if this power counted on existing divisions and on making them wider, the result showed how great was her error. The insult was resented by a united people; the Senate, as one man, leaped up against British pretensions; while England, as suddenly, astonished, withdrew her pretensions. The claim she so long preferred is given up--entirely abandoned. The same spirit that resented insult in the past will resent it in the future. I stand, said the Senator, substantially on the deck of an American vessel; it is American soil; the American flag floats over it; its right to course the ocean pathway is perfect. When the blue firmament reflected its own color in the sea, it was the unappropriated property of mankind; and it was arrogant and idle for any nation to deny to the United States her full enjoyment of this common property. It was for the full and undisturbed enjoyment of this right that out fathers, when much less prepared for war than we are now, engaged in the conflict of 1812; and for this right we were ready to strike in 1858. Let a feign power, under any pretence whatever, insult the American flag, and it will find that we are not a divided people, but that a mighty arm will be raised to smite down the insulter, and this great country will continue united.

Trifling politicians in the South, or in the North, or in the West, may continue to talk otherwise, but it will be of no avail. They are like the mosquitoes around the ox: they annoy, but they cannot wound, and never kill. There was a common interest which run through all the diversified occupations and various products of these sovereign States; there was a common sentiment of nationality which beat in every American bosom; there were common memories sweet to us all, and, though clouds had occasionally darkened our political sky, the good sense and the good feeling of the people had thus far averted any catastrophe destructive of our constitution and the Union. It was in fraternity and an elevation of principle which rose superior to sectional or individual aggrandizement that the foundations of our Union were laid; and if we, the present generation, be worthy of our ancestry, we shall not only protect those foundations from destruction, but build higher and wider this temple of liberty, and inscribe perpetuity upon its tablet.

In the course of his beautiful speech, senator Davis passed a noble eulogium on our mother country; and dwelt on the many reasons why the most cordial friendship should be maintained with her; and he concluded by a tribute to the fair sex--the women--beautiful woman; to the wondrous educational influence as the mother which she exercised over the minds of men. It is ever, at all times, felt and operative--upon the dreary waste of ocean, on the lonely prairie, in the troublous contests at the national halls. And when the arm is moved in the deadly conflicts of the battle-field, and the foe is vanquished, then the gentle influences instilled by women do their work, and the heart melts into tears of pity and prompts to deeds of mercy.

After this intellectual repast, then succeeded congratulations; the air was made vocal with song; while, through the foresight of the gallant captain, at the evening hour, the sky about the good ship Joseph Whitney was brilliant with those various pyrotechnic displays which must be so grateful to the spirit of patriotic John Adams, of bonfire and illumination-memory.

Speech at the Portland Serenade, July 9th, 1858.

After the music had ceased, Mr. Davis appeared upon the steps, and as soon as the prolonged applause with which he was greeted had subsided, he spoke in substance as follows:

Fellow Countrymen:--Accept my sincere thanks for this manifestation of your kindness. Vanity does not lead me so far to misconceive your purpose as to appropriate the demonstration to myself; but it is not less gratifying to me to be made the medium through which Maine tenders an expression of regard to her sister Mississippi. It is moreover, with feelings of profound gratification that I witness this indication of that national sentiment and fraternity which made us, and which alone can keep us, one people. At a period, but as yesterday when compared with the life of nations, these States were separate, and in sorts respects opposing colonies; their only relation to each other was that of a common allegiance to the government of Great Britain. So separate, indeed almost hostile, was their attitude, that when Gen. Stark, of Bennington memory, was captured by savages on the head waters of the Kennebec, he was subsequently taken by them to Albnny {sic} where they went to sell furs, and again led away a captive, without interference on the part of the inhabitants of that neighboring colony to demand or obtain his release. United as we now are, were a citizen of the United States, as an act of hostility to our country, imprisoned or slain in any quarter of the world, whether on land or sea, the people of each and every State of the Union, with one heart, and with one voice, would demand redress, and woe be to him against whom a brother's blood cried to us from the ground. Such is the fruit of the wisdom and the justice with which our fathers bound contending colonies into confederation and blended different habits and rival interests into a harmonious whole, so that shoulder to shoulder they entered on the trial of the revolution, step with step trod its thorny paths until they reached the height of national independence and founded the constitutional representative liberty, which is our birthright.

When the mother country entered upon her career of oppression, in disregard of chartered and constitutional rights, our forefathers did not stop to measure the exact weight of the burden, or to ask whether the pressure bore most upon this colony or upon that, but saw in it the infraction of a great principle, the denial of a common right, in defence of which they made common cause; Massachusetts, Virginia and South Carolina vieing with each other as to who should be foremost in the struggle, where the penalty of failure would be a dishonorable grave.

Tempered by the trials and sacrifices of the revolution, dignified by its noble purposes, elevated by its brilliant triumphs, endeared to each other by its glorious memories, they abandoned the confederacy, not to fly apart when the outward pressure of hostile fleets and armies were removed, but to draw closer their embrace in the formation of a more perfect union. By such men, thus trained and ennobled, our Constitution was formed. It stands a monument of principle, of forecast, and, above all, of that liberality which made each willing to sacrifice local interest, individual prejudice or temporary good to the general welfare, and the perpetuity of the Republican institutions which they had passed through fire and blood to secure. The grants were as broad as were necessary for the functions of the general agent, and the mutual concessions were twice blessed, blessing both him who gave and him who received. Whatever was necessary for domestic government, requisite in the social organization of each community, was retained by the States and the people thereof; and these it was made the duty of all to defend and maintain.

Such, in very general terms, is the rich political legacy our fathers bequeathed to us. Shall we preserve and transmit it to posterity? Yes, yes, the heart responds, and the judgment answers, the task is easily performed. It but requires that each should attend to that which most concerns him, and on which alone he has rightful power to decide and to act. That each should adhere to the terms of a written compact and that all should cooperate for that which interest, duty and honor demand. For the general affairs of our country, both foreign and domestic, we have a national executive and a national legislature. Representatives and Senators are chosen by districts and by States, but their acts affect the whole country, and their obligations are to the whole people. He who holding either seat would confine his investigations to the mere interests of his immediate constituents would be derelict to his plain duty; and he who would legislate in hostility to any section would be morally unfit for the station, and surely an unsafe depositary if not a treacherous guardian of the inheritance with which we are blessed.

No one, more than myself; recognizes the binding force of the allegiance which the citizen owes to the State of his citizenship, but that State being a party to our compact, a member of our union, fealty to the federal Constitution is not in opposition to, but flows from the allegiance due to one of the United States. Washington was not less a Virginian when he commanded at Boston; nor did Gates or Greene weaken the bonds which bound them to their several States, by their campaigns in the South. In proportion as a citizen loves his own State, will he strive to honor by preserving her name and her fame free from the tarnish of having failed to observe her obligations, and to fulfil her duties to her sister States. Each page of our history is illustrated by the names and the deeds of those who have well understood, and discharged the obligation. Have we so degenerated, that we can no longer emulate their virtues? Have the purposes for which our Union was formed, lost their value? Has patriotism ceased to be a virtue, and is narrow sectionalism no longer to be counted a crime? Shall the North not rejoice that the progress of agriculture in the South has given to her great staple the controlling influence of the commerce of the world, and put manufacturing nations under bond to keep the peace with the United States? Shall the South not exult in the fact, that the industry and persevering intelligence of the North, has placed her mechanical skill in the front ranks of the civilized world--that our mother country, whose haughty minister some eighty odd years ago declared that not a hob-nail should be made in the colonies, which are now the United States, was brought some four years ago to recognize our pre-eminence by sending a commission to examine our work shops, and our machinery, to perfect their own manufacture of the arms requisite for their defence? Do not our whole people, interior and seaboard, North, South, East, and West, alike feel proud of the hardihood, the enterprise, the skill, and the courage of the Yankee sailor, who has borne our flag far as the ocean bears its foam, and caused the name and the character of the United States to be known and respected wherever there is wealth enough to woo commerce, and intelligence enough to honor merit? So long as we preserve, and appreciate the achievements of Jefferson and Adams, of Franklin and Madison, of Hamilton, of Hancock, and of Rutledge, men who labored for the whole country, and lived for mankind, we cannot sink to the petty strife which would sap the foundations, and destroy the political fabric our fathers erected, and bequeathed as an inheritance to our posterity forever.

Since the formation of the Constitution, a vast extension of territory, and the varied relations arising there from, have presented problems which could not have been foreseen. It is just cause for admiration--even wonder, that the provisions of the fundamental law should have been found so fully adequate to all the wants of government, new in its organization, and new in many of the principles on which it was founded. Whatever fears may have once existed as to the consequences of territorial expansion, must give way before the evidence which the past affords. The general government, strictly confined to its delegated functions, and the States left in the undisturbed exercise of all else, we have a theory and practice which fits our government for immeasurable domain, and might, under a millennium of nations, embrace mankind.

From the slope of the Atlantic our population with ceaseless tide has poured into the wide and fertile valley of the Mississippi, with eddying whirl has passed to the coast of the Pacific, from the West and the East the tides are rushing towards each other--and the mind is carried to the day when all the cultivable and will be inhabited, and the American people will sign for more wildernesses to conquer. But there is here a physico-political problem presented for our solution. Were it was purely physical--your past triumphs would leave but little doubt of your capacity to solve it.

A community, which, when less than twenty thousand, conceived the grand project of crossing the White Mountains, and, unaided, save by the stimulus which jeers and prophecies of failure gave, successfully executed the herculean work, might well be impatient, if it were suggested that a physical problem was before us, too difficult for their mastery. The history of man teaches that high mountains and wide deserts have resisted the permanent extension of empire, and have formed the immutable boundaries of States. From time to time, under some able leader, have the hordes of the upper plains of Asia swept over the adjacent country, and rolled their conquering columns over Southern Europe. Yet, after the lapse of a few generations, the physical law to which I have referred, has asserted its supremacy, and the boundaries of those States differ little now from those which obtained three thousand years ago. Rome flew her conquering eagles over the then known world, and has now subsided into the little territory on which her great city was originally built. The Alps and the Pyrenees have been unable to restrain imperial France; but her expansion was a leverish action; her advance and her retreat were tracked with blood, and those mountain ridges are the re-established limits of her empire. Shall the Rocky Mountains prove a dividing barrier to us? Were ours a central consolidated government, instead of a Union of sovereign States, our fate might be learned from the history of other nations. Thanks to the wisdom and independent spirit of our forefathers, this is not our case. Each State having sole charge of its local interests and domestic affairs, the problem which to others has been insoluble, to us is made easy. Rapid, safe, and easy communication and co-operation among all parts of our continent-wide republic. The network of railroads which bind the North and the South, the slope of the Atlantic and the valley of the Mississippi, together testify that our people have the power to perform, in that regard, whatever it is their will to do.

We require a railroad to the States of the Pacific for present uses; the time no doubt will come when we shall have need of two or three; it may be more. Because of the desert character of the interior country the work will be difficult and expensive. It will require the efforts of an united people. The bickerings of little politicians, the jealousies of sections, must give way to dignity of purpose and zeal for the common good. If the object be obstructed by contention and division as to whether the route to be selected shall be northern, southern or central, the handwriting is on the wall, and it requires little skill to see that failure is the interpretation of the inscription. You are a practical people and may ask, how is that contest to be avoided? By taking the question out of the hands of politicians altogether. Let the Government give such aid as it is proper for it to render to the Company which shall propose the most feasible and advantageous plan; then leave to capitalists with judgment sharpened by interest, the selection of the route, and the difficulties will diminish as did those which you overcame when you connected your harbor with the Canadian Provinces.

It would be to trespass on your kindness and to violate the proprieties of the occasion, were I to detain the vast concourse which stands before me, by entering on the discussion of controverted topics, or by further indulging in the expression of such reflections as circumstances suggest.

I came to your city in quest of health and repose. From the moment I entered it you have showered upon me kindness and hospitality. Though my experience has taught me to anticipate good rather than evil from my fellow man, it had not prepared me to expect such unremitting attention as has here been bestowed. I have been jocularly asked in relation to my coming here, whether I had secured a guaranty {sic} for my safety, and lo, I have found it. I stand in the midst of thousands of my fellow citizens. But my friend, I came neither distrusting, not apprehensive, of which you have proof in the fact that I brought with me the objects of tenderest affection and solicitude--my wife and my children; they have shared with me your hospitality, and will alike remain your debtors. If at some future time, when I am mingled with the dust, and the arm of my infant son has been nerved for deeds of manhood, the storm of war should burst upon your city, I feel that, relying upon his inheriting the instincts of his ancestors and mine, I may pledge him in that perilous hour to stand by your side in the defence of your hearth stones, and in maintaining the honor of a flag whose constellation though torn and smoked in many a battle, by sea and land, has never been stained with dishonor, and will I trust forever fly as free as the breeze which unfolds it.

A stranger to you, the salubrity of your location and the beauty of its scenery were not wholly unknown to me, nor were there wanting associations which bust memory connected with your people. You will pardon me for alluding to one whose genius shed a lustre upon all it touched, and whose qualities gathered about him hosts of friends, wherever he was known. Prentiss, a native of Portland, lived from youth to middle age in the county of my residence, and the inquiries which have been made, show me that the youth excited the interest which the greatness of the man justified, and that his memory thus remains a link to connect your home with mine.

A cursory view, when passing through your town on former occasions, had impressed me with the great advantages of your harbor, its easy entrance, its depth, and its extensive accommodation for shipping. But its advantages, and if facilities as they have been developed by closer inspection, have grown upon me until I realize that it is no boast, but the language of sober truth which in the present state of commerce pronounces them unequaled in any harbor of our country.

And surely no place could be more inviting to an invalid who sought a refuge from the heat of a southern summer. Here waving elms offer him shared walks, and magnificent residences surrounded by flowers, fill the mind with ideas of comfort and of rest. If weary of constant contact with his fellow men, he seeks a deeper seclusion, there, in the back ground of this grand amphitheatre, lie the eternal mountains, frowning with brow of rock and cap of snow upon the smiling fields beneath, and there in its recesses may be found as much of wildness, and as much of solitude, as the pilgrim weary of the cares of life can desire. If he turn to the front, your capacious harbor, studded with green islands of ever varying light and shade, and enlivened by all the stirring evidences of commercial activity, offer him the mingled charms of busy life and nature's calm repose. A few miles further, and he may site upon the quiet shore to listen to the murmuring wave until the troubled spirit sinks to rest, and in the little sail that vanishes on the illimitable sea, we may find the type of the voyage which he is so soon to take, when, his ephemeral existence closed, he embarks for that better state which lies beyond the grave.

Richly endowed as you are by nature in all which contributes to pleasure and to usefulness, the stranger cannot pass without paying a tribute to the much which your energy has achieved for yourselves. Where else will one find a more happy union of magnificence and comfort, where better arrangements to facilitate commerce? Where so much of industry, with so little noise and bustle? Where, in a phrase, so much effected in proportion to the means employed? We hear the puff of the engine, the roll of the wheel, the ring of the axe, and the saw, but the stormy, passionate exclamations so often mingled with the sounds, are no where heard. Yet, neither these nor other things which I have mentioned; attractive though they be, have been to me the chief charm which I have found among you. For above all these I place the gentle kindness, the cordial welcome, the hearty grasp, which made me feel truly and at once, though wandering far, that I was still at home.

My friends, I thank you for this additional manifestation of your good will.

Speech at the Portland Convention.

On Thursday, August 24th, 1858, when the Democratic Convention had nearly concluded its business, a committee was appointed to wait on Mr. Davis, and request him to gratify them by his presence in the Convention. He expressed his willingness to comply with the wishes of his countrymen, and accordingly repaired to the City Hall. On entering he was greeted in the most cordial and enthusiastic manner. After business was finished, he proceeded to the rostrum, and, addressing the Convention, said:

Friends, fellow-citizens, and brethren in Democracy, he thanked them for the honor conferred by their invitation to be present at their deliberations, and expressed the pleasure he felt in standing in the midst of the Democracy of Maine--amidst so many manifestations of the important and gratifying fact that the Democratic is, in truth, a national party. He did not fail to remember that the principles of the party declaring for the largest amount of personal liberty consistent with good government, and to the greatest possible extent of community and municipal independence, would render it in their view, as in his own, improper for him to speak of those subjects which were local in their character, and he would endeavor not so far to trespass upon their kindness as to refer to anything which bore such connection, direct or indirect--and he hoped that those of their opponents who, having the control of type, fancied themselves licensed to manufacture facts, would not hold them responsible for what he did not say. He said he should carry with him, as one of the pleasant memories of his brief sojourn in Maine, the additional assurance, which intercourse with the people had given him, that there still lives a National Party, struggling and resolved bravely to struggle for the maintenance of the Constitution, the abatement of sectional hostility, and the preservation of the fraternal compact made by the Fathers of the Republic. He said, rocked in the cradle of Democracy, having learned its precepts from his father,--who was a Revolutionary Soldier--and in later years having been led forward in the same doctrine by the patriot statesman--of whom such honorable mention was made in their resolutions--Andrew Jackson, he had always felt that he had in his own heart a standard by which to measure the sentiments of a Democrat. When, therefore, he had seen evidences of a narrow sectionalism, which sought not the good of the whole, not even the benefit of a part, but aimed at the injury of a particular section, the pulsations of his own heart told him such cannot be the purpose, the aim, or the wish of any American Democrat--and he saw around him to-day evidence that his opinion in this respect had here its verification. As he looked upon the weather-beaten faces of the veterans and upon the flushed cheek and flashing eye of the youth, which told of the fixed resolve of the one, and the ardent, noble hopes of the other, strengthened hope and bright anticipations filled his mind, and he feared not to ask the questions shall narrow interests, shall local jealousies, shall disregard of the high purposes for which our Union was ordained, continue to distract our people and impede the progress of our government toward the high consummation which prophetic statesmen have so often indicated as her destiny?--[Voices, no, no, no! Much applause.]

Thanks for that answer; let every American heart respond no; let every American head, let every American hand unite in the great object of National development. Let our progress be across the land and over the sea, let our flag as stated in your resolutions, continue to wave its welcome to the oppressed, who flee from the despotism of other lands, until the constellation which marks the number of our States which have already increased from thirteen to thirty two, shall go on multiplying into a bright galaxy covering the field on which we now display the revered stripes, which record the original size of our political family, and shall shed its benign light over all mankind, to point them to the paths of self-government and constitutional liberty.

He here referred to the history of the Democratic party, and numbered among its glories the various acts of territorial acquisition and triumphs through its foreign intercourse in the march of civilization and National amity, as well as in the glories which from time to time had been shed by the success of our arms upon the name and character of the American people. He alluded to the recent attempt by some of the governments of Europe, to engraft upon National law a prohibition against privateering. He said whenever other governments were willing to declare that private property should be exempt from the rigors of war, on sea as it is on land, our government might meet them more than half way, but to a proposition which would leave private property the prey of national vessels and thus give the whole privateering to those governments which maintained a large naval establishment in time of peace, he would unhesitatingly answer no. Our merchant marine constituted the militia of the sea--how effective it had been in our last struggle with a maritime power, he need not say to the sons of those who had figured so conspicuously in that species of warfare. The policy of our government was peace. We could not consent to bear the useless expense of a naval establishment larger than was necessary for its proper uses in a time of peace. Relying as we had and must hereafter upon the merchant marine to man whatever additional vessels we should require, and upon the bold and hardy Yankee sailor, when he could no longer get freight for his craft, to receive a proper armament, and go forth like a knight errant of the sea in quest of adventure against the enemies of his country's flag.

He said our country was powerful for all military purposes, and if asked to compare her armies and her navy with those of the great powers of Europe, he would answer, that is not our standard. History teaches that our strength is in the courage and patriotism, the skill and intelligence of our people. A part of the American army was before him, and a part of the American navy was lying in the harbor of their city. That army and that navy had fought the battles of the Revolution, of the "war of 1812" and of the war with Mexico, and would never be found wanting, whilst the patriotism of the earlier days of the Republic, proved a sufficient cement to hold the different parts of our wide spread and extending country together. He said that everything around him spoke eloquently of the wisdom of the men who founded these colonies-their descendants, who sat before him, contrasted strongly, as did their history and present power, stand out in bold relief, when compared with those of the inhabitants of Central and Southern America. Chief among the reasons for this, he believed to be the self-reliant hardihood of their forefathers who, when but a handful, found themselves confronted by hordes of savages, yet proudly maintained the integrity of their race and asserted its supremacy over the descendants of Shem, in whose tents they had come to dwell. They preferred to encounter toil, privation and carnage, rather than debase their lineage and race. Their descendants of that pure and heroic blood have advanced to the high standard of civilization attainable by that type of mankind. Stability and progress, wealth and comfort, art and science, have followed their footsteps.

Among our neighbors of Central and Southern America, we see the Caucasian mingled with the Indian and the African. They have the forms of free government, because they have copied them. To its benefits they have not attained, because that standard of civilization is above their race. Revolution succeeds Revolution, and the country mourns that some petty chief may triumph, and through a sixty days' government ape the rulers of the earth. Even now the nearest and strongest of these American Republics, which were fashioned after the model of our own, seems to be tottering to a fall, and the world is inquiring as to who will take possession; or, as protector, raise and lead a people who have shown themselves incompetent to govern themselves.

He said our fathers laid the foundation of Empire, and declared its purposes; to their sons it remained to complete their superstructure. The means by which this end was to be secured were simple and easy. It involved no harder task than that each man should attend to his own business, that no community should arrogantly assume to interfere with the affairs of another--and that all by the honorable obligation of fulfiling that compact which their fathers had made.

He then referred to the commercial position of Maine, and spoke of her brightly unfolding prospects of prosperity and greatness. Many considered her wealth to consist of her forests, and that her prosperity would decline when her timber was exhausted--he held to a different opinion, and thought they might welcome the day, when the sombre shadows of the Pine gave place to verdant pastures and fruitful fields. Was he asked, what then was to become of the interest of ship-building? He would answer--let it be changed from wood to iron. The skill to be aquired be a few years' experience, would at a fair price for iron, enable our ship builders to construct iron ships, which, taking into account their greater capacity for freight and greater durability, would be cheaper than vessels of wood, even whilst timber was as abundant as now;--at least such was the information he had derived from persons well informed upon those subjects.

He expressed the gratification he felt for the courtesy of the Democracy in Maine, and doubted not that the Democracy of Mississippi would receive it, with grateful recognition, as evincing fraternal sentiment by kindness done to one of her sons, not the less a representative, because a humble member of her Democracy.

Speech at Belfast Encampment.

About the o'clock the troops at the encampment being under arms, Col. Davis was escorted to the ground and reviewed them. He was then introduced to the troops by Gen. Cushman, as follows--

Officers and fellow soldiers, I introduce to you Col. Jefferson Davis, an eminent citizen of Mississippi,--a man, and I say a hero, who has, in the service of his country, been among and faced hostile guns.

Col. Davis replied as follows--

Citizen Soldiers:--I feel pleased and gratified at the exhibition I have witnessed of the military spirit and instruction of the volunteer militia of Maine. I acknowledge the compliment which has been paid to me, and I welcome it as the indication of the liberality and national sentiment which makes the militia of each State the effective, as they are the constitutional defenders of our whole country.

To one who loves his country in all its parts, it is natural to rejoice in whatever contributes to the prosperity and honor, and marks the stability and progress of any portion of its people. I therefore look upon the evidence presented to me of the soldierly enthusiasm and military acquirements displayed on this occasion, with none the less pleasure because I am the citizen of another and distant State. It was not the policy of our government to maintain large armies of navies in time of peace. The history of our past wars established the fact that it was not needful to do so. The militia had bee found equal to all the emergencies of war. Their patriotism, their intelligence, their knowledge of the use of arms, had given to then all the efficiency of veterans, and on many bloody fields they have shown their superiority over the disciplined troops of their enemies. A people morally and intellectually equal to self-government, must also be equal in self-defence. My friends, your worthy General has alluded to my connection with the military service of the country. The memory arose to myself when the troops this day marched past me, and when I looked upon their manly bearing and firm step. I thought could I have seen them thus approaching the last field of battle on which I served, where the changing tide several times threatened disaster to the American flag, with what joy I would have welcomed those striped and starred banners, the emblem and the guide of the free and the brave, and with what pride would the heart have beaten when welcoming the danger's hour, brethren from so remote an extremity of our expanded territory.

One of the evidences of the fraternal confidence and mutual reliance of our fathers was to be found in their compact or mutual protection and common defence. So long as their sons preserve the spirit and appreciate the purpose of their fathers, the United States will remain invincible, their power will grow with the lapse of time, and their example show brighter and brighter as revolving ages roll over the temple our fathers dedicated to constitutional liberty, and founded upon truths announced to their sons, but intended for mankind. I thank you, citizen soldiers, for this act of courtesy. It will long and gratefully be remembered, as a token of respect to the distant State of which I am a citizen, and I trust will be noted by others, as indicating that national sentiment which made, and which alone can preserve us a nation.

Banquet After Encampment at Belfast.

The Mayor then gave:

The heroes who have fought our country's battles: may their services be appreciated by a grateful people.

Loud calls being made for Col. Jefferson Davis, that gentleman arose and said:


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