152 years ago today, Jefferson Davis took the oath of office as Provisional President of the Confederacy, on the front portico of the Alabama State Capitol, across the street from where the First White House of the Confederacy is located today.
They say he was an elegant old “gent” as he stepped out of a carriage drawn by six white horses. Many people milled around, young and old, black and white, male and female. The hopes and fears of a new nation lay upon his shoulders.
Do you think he had a premonition of dread? He must have known in his heart that Lincoln would never let the South go willingly. He had not sought this position, believing, I think, that since he was a military man he would be leading the Miss troops into battle, should the war come. Yet, just as Lee and others did, he took the mantle thrust upon him, and did not look back. Here are a few words from his Inaugural speech:
“Called to the difficult and responsible station of Chief Executive of the Provisional Government which you have instituted, I approach the discharge of the duties assigned to me with an humble distrust of my abilities, but with a sustaining confidence in the wisdom of those who are to guide and to aid me in the administration of public affairs, and an abiding faith in the virtue and patriotism of the people.”
I think history has vindicated him, do you? Truly, he was a man who did his best but could not do the impossible. He had struggled while in Congress to keep the nation together, and failing in that, he struggled to keep the Confederacy intact, but God simply ordained otherwise. Jefferson Davis was an example in defeat and we admire him and pay him homage today.