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Did you ever hear that Colonel MacCree refused to dine with the Duke of Wellington ? He, of course, gave no reason on that occasion, but it was well understood to be on mine. President Johnson afterward acknowledged to the Honorable Reverdy Johnson, that he had made a misstatement in answer to my application for a copy of the putative letter. on account of the treatment received by Napoleon after his surrender.
It is not long since a newspaper paragraphist would have been rebuked by public opinion if he had attempted, by epithets and one-sided statements, to inflame the mind of his readers against a prisoner waiting a trial ; but that would have been a small offence compared with that of a law-maker who would seek to produce the effect, and then, by retrospective legislation, to bring it to bear upon an anticipated trial by endowing such prejudiced minds with the power to judge. The minor objections growing out of the official character of the person, which, if alone, would be great, are hidden by the magnitude of the offence of uttering such libellous assertion under the circumstances which he knew surrounded me. That his authority was not called for, that he was not scoffed by the multitude as the home-bred sentiment of fair play demanded, shows you how deep-seated the disease has become.
The same conclusion as to your course is reached by every line of thought. Trying as it may be, you will have to make the effort to leave me, for the present, out of all your plans ; and may our Heavenly Father strengthen your heart for the difficult task of filling the place of both parents to our children. Tarry thou the Lord's pleasure, and let us always remember that all He does is right, and that hereafter it will be given to us to comprehend His ways and say all was well. .
29th. Oh, that the law-makers had facts instead of suggestions on which to base their action in regard to the Southern States. Fear not what man can do, it is God disposes. Now I am shut up and slander runs riot to destroy my fair repute, but any investigation must redeem my character and leave it for an inheritance to my children, which in after-times they will not be the worse for possessing. The treatment I have received will be compared with my treatment of others, and it will be the reverse of the picture my enemies have drawn. Conscious rectitude is a great support to the sufferer, whatever may be the form or the end of the afflictions.
- Jefferson Davis
- Jefferson Davis: ex-President of the Confederate States of America; (1890), Davis, Varina