Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/18

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

is equally true that but few men ever lived in our land who were so happy in finding language to give adequate and forcible expression to these motives and principles.

These volumes contain the sentiments and opinions entertained by Mr. Davis as he gave utterance to them during that stormy and perilous period of war, and those who agreed and acted with him then, and who now think as he did, should find ample and complete satisfaction for themselves as they peruse the pages of this work; while those who did not then and who do not now so agree with him and his associates should not only be willing to have what he said in behalf of the Confederacy brought to light, but, on the other hand, should be desirous of having this done, so that from every standpoint publicity may be given to what they consider to have been his and their errors and mistakes.

There will be found in the Index of Volume I a number of encyclopedic articles which are intended to furnish the reader definitions of politico-historical words and phrases, some of which occur in the papers of the Chief Magistrate, or to develop more fully questions or subjects to which only indirect reference is made, or which are but briefly discussed by him. There will also be found brief accounts of more than a hundred battles in which the armies of the Confederate States were engaged. I have earnestly endeavored to make these articles historically correct, and to this end have carefully compared them with the best authorities. There has been no effort or inclination on my part to inject partisan or political opinions of any nature into these articles. On the other hand, I have sought only to furnish reliable historical data and well-authenticated definitions, and to avoid the expression of my own opinion.

The great wonder is that those who delight in hunting up and publishing interesting history, which was so thrilling when the events that made it were being enacted, have not heretofore dug up these papers from their hidden repositories in the archives of the Government at Washington, and given them to the public. This is true especially of the diplomatic correspondence. The addresses, messages, and proclamations of Mr. Davis were all read during the war with the keenest interest as they were published, although they have been buried out of sight since its