Rev. Dr. Marham’s Memorial to Jefferson Davis
“Reading yesterday, from the other side, a not unfriendly criticism, it was said Mr. [Jefferson] Davis died unrepentant. And of what was he to repent? That as “a good and faithful servant” he had obeyed the voice of his own sovereign State and then of his and her sister sovereignties? Repent! Why, had the faintest whisper of such a word parted his lips, from a hundred Confederate cemeteries, and from a thousand battle-fields where sleep our undiscovered dead, skeleton forms, reanimated, turning uneasily in their graves, would have cried “shame!” and have rent the heavens with their groans. He repent! Why should he?
Who repents? Not the men who wore the gray. Not one woman. Thanks God, our wives, sisters, and mothers and the wives of your sons have never through one such utterance swelled the chorus of the time serving and timid. That to me would be treason. Treason to truth and right, to honor and duty. A crime which through that war and after could not be laid at our door. Could it have been, the man whose memories we are reviving tonight, would have expatiated that crime by the shedding of his blood. Never would he have stepped forth a free man from that fortress where they bound him in fetters of iron—fetters that we esteem anklets of gold, for he wore them for us. Mr. Davis and we fought for the Constitution framed by our fathers.
At Appomattox, by the arbitrament of arms, that Constitution was changed…”
(Memorial Address of Rev. Dr. T.R. Markham, December 11, 1889, to the Association of the Army of Tennessee Veterans)