Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/583

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551
Second Congress.

no choice but to continue the contest to a final issue, for the people of the Confederacy can be but little known to him who supposes it possible that they would ever consent to purchase at the cost of degradation and slavery permission to live in a country garrisoned by their own negroes and governed by officers sent by the conqueror to rule over them.

Having thus fully placed before you the information requisite to enable you to judge of the state of the country, the dangers to which we are exposed, and the measures of legislation needed for averting them, it remains for me but to invoke your attention to the consideration of those means by which, above all others, we may hope to escape the calamities that would result from our failure. Prominent above all others is the necessity for earnest and cordial cooperation between all departments of government, State and Confederate, and all eminent citizens throughout the Confederacy. To you especially, as Senators and Representatives, do the people look for encouragement and counsel. To your action, not only in legislative halls but in your homes, will their eyes be turned for the example of what is befitting men who, by willing sacrifices on the altar of freedom, show that they are worthy to enjoy its blessings. I feel full confidence that you will concur with me in the conviction that your public duties will not be ended when you shall have closed the legislative labors of the session, but that your voice will be heard cheering and encouraging the people to that persistent fortitude which they have hitherto displayed, and animating them by the manifestation of that serene confidence which in moments of public danger is the distinctive characteristic of the patriot who derives courage from his devotion to his country's destiny and is thus enabled to inspire the like courage in others.

Thus united in a common and holy cause, rising above all selfish considerations, rendering all our means and faculties tributary to the country's welfare, let us bow submissively to the Divine will and reverently invoke the blessing of our Heavenly Father, that, as he protected and guided our sires when struggling in a similar cause, so he will enable us to guard safely our altars and our firesides and maintain inviolate the political rights which we inherited.

Jefferson Davis.