View single post by wondering
 Posted: Mon Feb 3rd, 2014 09:02 pm
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Joined: Tue Dec 31st, 2013
Location: Alberta Canada
Posts: 109

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I stray from the intent of the original post, but the arguments for such a trial exist in Jefferson Davis' own words (The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, A Short History of the Confederate States of America, other papers). What would have been the result? -- to the victor the spoils. Shall one presume with one final flourish, a last broadside of chain, Davis could have de-masted the North, convinced the Supreme Court to strike its colors, that Southern States were legally entitled to secede? I appreciate the theoretical aspects of hearing it argued, but hardly doubt the outcome. He spent time in irons afterward, justifiably so. It was always a question of law; they had swift justice back then: guilty.

Yes he wanted a court case, though might have started with that sentiment rather than powder. He was as responsible as Lincoln ever was for the deaths of hundreds of thousands, the sufferings of so many more. The way I see it he no longer deserved a trial, perhaps better a yardarm. When choosing adjudication by combat don't expect to be retried by jury. That would be a courtesy, not a right. Whereas most sighed, thank God it's over, he curled up on the old plantation, filled his memoirs with bile. Wiser men let him stew in it; aye, in your own fate frye.

I believe his writing post-war tarnishes his reputation more than his less resilient conduct during, or his substantial service before. Might he have shown a measure of that Southern chivalry, especially after Lincoln's ignominious assassination? He remained silent, then came back up firing, stuck to his guns (pardon me, almost reminiscent of Alexander Hamilton publishing a tome to justify adultery), his legacy would have been far better served by no defence, no contest, no trial. Instead he produced long-winded testaments on racism. These laments preserve for posterity his final verdict.

I don't mean to offend, and should probably take my own advice. I'm no lawyer, and it's easy to be a pompous, pin-headed, pseudo-constitutional moralist these days, but in my own humble opinion, he might have accepted the olive branch with a tad more of that fabled and amazing grace. I suppose he had sailed too far by then, couldn't change course, and like an old mariner went down with the ship. I am compelled to have both admiration and pity for the man. Maybe it was a mercy too harsh ... but let history be his jury.

I remain your obedient servant.

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