Friday, September 9, 2011

150-Years-Ago -- Qualities of President Davis Given

President Jefferson Davis
(Library of Congress)
The Richmond Daily Dispatch
September 10, 1861

President Davis.

--The New York Herald's late funeral oration upon President Davis contains some of the few truths which have ever been uttered by that most mendacious journal in the world. Whilst it is as absurd as usual, in imagining President Davis is the only man in the South capable of guiding the helm of the new Republic in the present emergency, it is beyond a doubt that there are in Davis"the very qualities which, of all others, are most needful to enable him to give force and authority to his position as President of the Confederate States," and that, "considering his extraordinary labors, anxieties and exhausting excitements of the last five months, it is somewhat remarkable that he was not carried off three or four months ago.""Combining the practical training and knowledge and popularity of the regular soldier, with a very large experience as a fire-eating politician, legislator and executive civil officer, State and Federal, Davis was the very man required," &c "Thus we can account for the wonderful military energy, activity and resources brought into the field by the rebel States. They have been called into requisition by Davis," &c. "In connexion with the late disasters to the rebels in the field (Bethel ? Bull Run ? Manassas ? Springfield ?) and the manifest hopelessness of their sinking cause, the loss of Davis, among many of his followers, would be accepted as a judgment of Providence," which ought to have no weight with Bennett, as he has no more faith in God than man.
     Making due allowances for the politic purposes of our enemies to exaggerate every loss which the South may suffer, and which Bennett alleges, in the alleged death of Davis, is as great as a Manassas defeat, no Executive of ordinary merit could command such universal respect as Jefferson Davis does, after his merits have been thoroughly tried in the seven times heated furnace of this unparalleled war. That he has administrative qualities of a character rarely exercised in the old Government of the United States since its primitive days, and that he has devoted himself to the public service with a degree of energy and fidelity never surpassed, if equalled, by the head of any Government, is beyond all doubt. Taking into view the perfect unpreparedness of the South for war, and for war on such a gigantic scale, the military operations and results of his administration, to say nothing of the Herculean labors attending the organizing of a new civil Government, in all its vast and perplexing details, are little short of miraculous.
     It would be absurd to claim for this new Government perfection in every bureau and in all its ramifications; to expect that its heads of departments should be infallible, especially in their appointments; to suppose that the Commissariat and hospitals of the army are unexceptionable, and are under the direct management of Jeff. Davis. The new and immense, machine of such a Government cannot be so completely adjusted at first as to work with a faultless precision, which even chronic croakers and critics will be pleased to applaud. All that we contend for is, that on the whole, the new Government is a grand success, that it is the grandest success of the present age, and that the President of this new Confederacy, in his contributions to that end, has eminently deserved from the whole South the approving verdict "Well done, good and faithful servant !"
     Heaven preserve his honored life ! Heaven inspire for many a long year his dauntless spirit ! After months of such extraordinary labor and anxieties that the Herald is surprised he did not long ago perish under the over-burden of toil and anxiety, her roused himself at the sound of the battle trumpet of Manassas, as the war horse when he hears the shout of the conflict, and rushed to the field of arms with the promptness and alacrity of a lover to a bridal feast. Heaven protect the noble gentleman and true cavalier, merciful as he is brave, who, instead of exulting over a fallen foe, proclaimed to his people, "Never be haughty to the humble, nor humble to the haughty." Heaven defend the hero-President, whose firmness, sagacity, wisdom and patriotism have proved a tower of strength and glory to the Southern Confederacy, and who, if he is spared to continue as he has begun, will be the deliverer of the South from the most galling and the vilest despotism under the sun, and entitle himself to go down to history on the same page with that other illustrious rebel, George Washington.

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