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grade to this which your kindness has conferred, has taught me that care and toil and disappointments are the price of official elevation. You will see many errors to forgive, many deficiencies to tolerate; but you shall not find in me either want of zeal or fidelity to the cause that is to me the highest in hope and of most enduring affection. Your generosity has bestowed upon me an undeserved distinction, one which I neither sought nor desired. Upon the continuauce of that sentiment, and upon your wisdom and patriotism, I rely to direct and support me in the performance of the duties required at my hands.
We have changed the constituent parts but not the system of our government. The Constitution formed by our fathers is that of these Confederate States. In their exposition of it, and in the judicial construction it has received, we have a light which reveals its true meaning. Thus instructed as to the just interpretation of that instrument, and ever remembering that all offices are but trusts held for the people, and that delegated powers are to be strictly construed, I will hope by due diligence in the performance of my duties, though I may disappoint your expectation, yet to retain, when retiring, something of the good will and confidence which will welcome my entrance into office.
. It is joyous in the midst of perilous times to look around upon a people united in heart, when one purpose of high resolve animates and actuates the whole, where the sacrifices to be made are not weighed in the balance, against honor, right, liberty, and equality. Obstacles may retard, but they cannot long prevent the progress of a movement sanctioned by its justice and sustained by a virtuous people. Reverently let us invoke the God of our fathers to guide and protect us in our efforts to perpetuate the principles which by his blessing they were able to vindicate, establish, and transmit to their posterity; and with a continuance of His favor ever gratefully acknowledged, we may hopefully look forward to success, to peace, to prosperity.
SPEECH OF PRESIDENT DAVIS,
AT KICHMOND, JUNE 1st, 1861.
FRIENDS AND FELLOW-CITIZENS : I thank you for the compliment your presence conveys. It is an indication of regard, not for the person, but for the position which he holds. The cause in which we are engaged is the cause of the advocacy of rights to which we were born, those for which our fathers of the Revolution bled—the richest inheritance that ever fell to man, and which it is our sacred duty to transmit to our children.
Upon us is devolved the high and holy responsibility of preserving the constitutional liberty of a free government. Those with whom we have lately associated have shown themselves so incapable of appreciating the blessings of the glorious institutions they inherited, that they are to-day stripped of the liberty to which they were born. They have allowed an ignorant usurper to trample upon all the prerogatives of citizenship, and to exercise powers never delegated to him; and it has been reserved to your own State, so lately one of the original thirteen, but, now, thank God, fully separated from them, to become the theatre of a great central camp, from which will pour forth thousands of brave hearts to roll back the tide of this despotism.
Apart from that gratification we may well feel at being separated from such a connection, is the pride that upon you devolves the task of maintaining and defending our new Government. I believe that we shall be able to achiere this noble work, and that the institutions of our fathers will go to our children as safely as they have descended to us.
In these Confederate States, we observe those relations which have been poetically ascribed to the United States, but which never there had the same reality-States so distinct that each existed as a Sovereign, yet so united that each was wound with the other to constitute a whole; or, as more beautifully expressed, “Distinct as the billows, yet one as the sea."
Upon every hill which now overlooks Richmond you have had, and will continue to have, cainps containing soldiers from every State in the Confederacy; and to its remotest limits every proud heart beats high with indignation at the thought
that the foot of the invader has been set upon the soil of old Virginia. There is not one true son of the South who is not ready to shoulder his musket, to bleed, to die, or to conquer in the cause of liberty here.
Beginning under many embarrassments, the result of seventy years taxation being in the hands of our enemies, we must at first move cautiously. It may be that we shall have to encounter sacrifices; but, my friends, under the smiles of the God of the Just, and filled with the same spirit that animated our fathers, success shall perch on our banners. I am sure you do not expect me to go into any argument upon those questions which, for twenty-five years, have agitated the country. We have now reached the points where, arguments being exhausted, it only remains for us to stand by our weapons.
When the time and occasion serve, we shall smite the smiter with manly arms, as did our fathers before us, and as becomes their sons. To the enemy we leave the base acts of the assassin and incendiary, to them we leave it to insult helpless women; to us belongs vengeance upon man.
Now, my friends, I thank you again for this gratifying manifestation. (A voice. “ Tell us some thing of Buena Vista.")