View Full Version : Jefferson Davis speech

03-01-2007, 04:03 PM
I was wondering if anyone knew anything more about this speech. I'm trying to figure out when and where and how the rest of it went. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

"I tried all in my power to avert this war. I saw it coming, for twelve years I worked night and day to prevent it, but I could not. The North was mad and blind; it would not let us govern ourselves, and so the war came, and now it must go on till the last man of this generation falls in his tracks, and his children seize the musket and fight our battle, unless you acknowledge our right to self government. We are not fighting for slavery. We are fighting for Independence, and that, or extermination"- CS President Jefferson Davis


03-01-2007, 04:26 PM

It always helps if you provide the source for a quote. Anyway, it was not a speech, but part of a conversation that Jefferson Davis had with James R. Gilmore, a northern journalist. Gilmore, accompanied by Colonel James Jaquess of the Seventy-third Illinois, traveled to Richmond in July 1864 in an attempt to explore the possibility of peace between the two sections of the country. Their journey was "unofficial," as far as the US government was concerned, but Lincoln was aware of their mission.

Gilmore later wrote about the trip. His article appeared in the September 1864 issue of The Atlantic Monthly, under the title "Our Visit to Richmond." Your quote appears within this article, as Gilmore related the verbal exchange he had with Davis. Many historians have since used the quote in their own writings, citing Gilmore. The full article is available on Cornell University's Making of America (http://cdl.library.cornell.edu/moa/) site.