Imagini ale paginilor


many of the companies, who would bring into practical operation, in training our militia, the science and skill which they have acquired at the institute. In case of war, we could then bring into the field a large force of well-trained volunteers, commanded by officers of thorough military education, who would, in almost every case, be patives of our soil. Our untrained militia, if called into the field, with such a force and such officers at their head, would at once become infused with the military spirit, and soon with much of the military skill, of the volunteers, and would constitute with them an invincible army."


Again he says, in urging the claims of the military institute, and his plans for its success :

“ It would not only put the institute upon a solid basis, and add largely to the number of educated persons in our State, affording a collegiate education to many of the poorest, though brightest and most intellectual boys in Georgia, but would diffuse a knowledge of military science among the people of every county in the State; which all must admit, in these perilous times, is a desideratum second in inportance to no other,

“We should not only arm our people, but we should educate them in the use of arms, and the whole science of war. We know not how soon we may be driven to the necessity of defending our rights and our honor, by military force. Let us encourage the development of the rising military genius of our State; and guide, by the lights of military science, the energies of that patriotic valor which nerves the stout heart and strong arm of many a young hero in our midst who is yet unknown to fame."

Following these vigorous and bold enunciations in his general message of November, 1860, he urged the erection of a foundry for the manufacture of arms and other munitions of war, and an arsenal for the arms of the State.

, The bold and dauntless spirit of the Governor, who had the unrestricted confidence of the masses of the people, produced a revolution in the public mind, not only of opinion, but sentiment and feeling, upon the matter of the public preparation for defence, and the prompt use of the citizen soldiery of the State, not only with reference to the then possibility of a conflict with the Northern people, but to the public defence from foreign assaults, as well as internal disorder.

The people began to wake up from the many years of stupor and carelessness and inactivity in military matters. They knew with certainty that they had the blood of brave ancestry in their veins ; that they individually were endowed with dauntless courage that prepared them for the imminent deadly breach, and for any feats of daring to which the public duty or private demands of personal honor might summon them.

But they realized an almost total want of the knowl. edge of arms and of war, in any organized method of their use, as well as of discipline and drill in camp and field. Men of individual courage, but strangers to the magic power and effect of discipline, drill, and the harmonious movements of large bodies of men in uniform. Skilled in the single use of the rifle, they knew not its potency by the regiment and corps, under simultaneous obedience to orders.

The patriotic spirit of the Governor was caught by the people, and reflected by their representatives in the Legislature. And large numbers of volunteer companies were organized in the towns and cities, and incorporated by law, with liberal provision for arms at the expense of the State.

In the course of his three years of administration prior to the election of Abraham Lincoln, which was followed by prompt action on the part of several slaveholding States to secede from the Union, the Governor of Georgia had rapidly advanced from the position of a young and inexperienced mountaineer to that of a front and controlling rank among Southern governors and statesmen. In this position he combined the rare qualities that had enabled him to leap to it so soon: superior ability, sleepless energy, unequalled forecast, boldness, full confidence


in the great results, patriotic devotion to his section and State and ardent love of her people, ambition for fame to be achieved by faithful and beneficial public service, and the esteem and admiration of the people towards

Under his lead, it was natural for his State to hold an important and controlling influence over the course of the Southern people in the then approaching crisis of their relations with the Federal government, and States of the North. The communications of her Governor, in connection with the published opinions of her leading statesmen holding office at Washington, were read and accepted in this State, and in every part of the South by men not disposed to submit to Northern aggression. And they exercised a vast and rapid influence in preparing the public mind for, and raising the public temper to the point of, armed resistance and organized preparations for the public safety.

On the assembling of the Legislature, when the result of the presidential contest was not reached, the Governor transmitted the invitation of South Carolina to all the Southern States to meet in convention to“ concert measures for united action,” which had been accepted by the States of Mississippi and Alabama, and declined by Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Texas. He advised against this movement because so few States would be represented in it, and therefore but little good could be expected to result from it.

In the same special message he used the following pointed language :

“If it is ascertained that the Black Republicans have triumphed over us, I recommmend the call of a Convention of the people of the State at an early day; and I will cordially unite with the General Assembly in any action, which, in their judgment, may be necessary to the protection of the rights and the preservation of the liberties of the people of Georgia against the



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

further aggressions of an enemy, which, when flushed with victory, will be insolent in the hour of triumph.

“For the purpose of putting this State in a defensive condition as fast as possible, and preparing for an emergency which must be met sooner or later, I recommend that the sum of one million of dollars be immediately appropriated as a military fund for the ensuing year; and that prompt provision be made for raising such portion of the money as may not be in Treasury as fast as the public necessities may require its expenditure. «Millions for defence, but not a cent for tribute,' should be the future motto of the Southern States.

To every demand for further concession, or compromise of our rights, we should reply, “The argument is exhausted,' and we now stand by our arms."

This message was sent to them on November 7th, and on the 16th the Governor approved a bill appropriating $1,000,000 as a military fund for the year 1861, “ for the protection of the rights and preservation of the liberties of the people of Georgia,” “to be expended by the Governor in such manner as he may deem best for the purpose of placing the State in a condition of defence,” etc.

In this special message on federal relations prepared pending the presidential contest, he presented the subject of the violation of constitutional obligations by several of the Northern States by the passage of severe laws against reclamation of fugitive slaves, as required by the Constitution of the United States, and provided for by Act of Congress, and argued the matter with great ability and at length; and recommended retaliatory legislation on the part of this State. But the election of Mr. Lincoln transpired ; and the General Assembly adopted the plan of calling a State convention, and providing for military defence as recommended in that contingency.



ZATION OF THE CONFEDERACY. The seventh day of November, A. D., 1860, the national election day, to which the people of the United States, divided in interest and consequently in opinion and feeling, looked anxiously, had dawned upon us. Its sun had risen with bright beams of hope and promise to the infatuated and aggressive majority section. But a deep gloom and oppressive foreboding had settled on the great popular heart in the South. Conscious of numerical weakness, as the North was of strength, the bitter cup seemed about to be presented to the unwilling lips of the Southern people; to drink which portended political death; to refuse and repel it was to change the strife from the forum to the tented field of war; from the hitherto peaceful and harmless play of the ballot to that of the direful bayonet and bullet; to replace the eloquence of the hustings and legislative hall by the tread of armed legions, and the hoarse music of artillery and muskets. Two great peoples, long bound together by common ties of mutual interest and protection, still held together by the tenure of law and organized government, had grown into immense sectional factions, and feeling themselves separate and distinct, in interest, in aims, and destiny, were about to argue with each other, with lead instead of logic, the vesed problems the latter had failed to solve ; were about to reach a final analysis in the flow of the blood of broth

« ÎnapoiContinuă »