Davis, Jefferson Finis

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

Carronade

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 4, 2011
Messages
4,717
Location
Pennsylvania
"Fellow citizens, if there is to be war, let it come. We can be ready in ten days. In another ten days we will take Washington. Philadelphia will be ours ten days later. In tend days more New York will fall into our hands. Boston we don't want because we don't care for baken beans!" -- Jefferson Davis.

Welcoming speech at local stop during Jefferson Davis's trip from Vicksburg to Montgomery, February 1861.

This was over a month prior to Lincoln taking office.
If all we knew was that it was in February, it would most likely be less than a month prior to Lincoln's inauguration on March 4.

Moreover we can date it more precisely to sometime between Davis' selection as CS President on Feb 9 and his inauguration on the 18th. So for whatever significance it has, it was about 2-3 weeks prior to Lincoln taking office.
 

James N.

Lt. Colonel
Forum Host
Civil War Photo Contest
Annual Winner
Featured Book Reviewer
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Messages
12,158
Location
East Texas
I see nobody's seen fit to rise to my challenge of proving Jefferson Davis actually HAD a middle name when all evidence is to the contrary! I suppose Jefferson ( NMI ) Davis lacks that "ring"?

I don't want to question or comment on Davis' utterings, but rather his NAME: in the title of this thread it reads ( as I have seen all-too-often in the past few years ) Jefferson FINIS Davis. Although author William C. Davis ( who I otherwise respect ) calls him this, I distinctly remember an old article in Civil War Times Illustrated convincingly stating that Davis HAD NO MIDDLE NAME. According to the article, the FINIS ( which of course is French for "end" and is pronounced "fin-knee" ) was applied to him in derision by Northern newspapermen like Horace Greely, akin to all the stuff about "The Last Ditch", etc. predicting the imminent downfall of the Confederacy.

According to William Davis' biography, Jefferson Davis was supposedly given the middle name "Finis" since he was from a large family and was intended to be the final child. This sounds like so much uninformed revisionist BS - UNLESS there is a birth certificate or some other early document showing this to be a fact. Does any such exist? If this is NOT true, then why is it that throughout his life prior to and including the Presidency he is simply "Jefferson Davis"?

There does exist a precedent for the "Finis" notion here in Texas; there was an ex-Confederate soldier and post-war memoirist named Decimus et Ultimus Barziza whose strange moniker translates from Latin ( his father must've fancied himself a Classicist ) "Tenth and Last", reflecting his particular place on the family tree! So I'm NOT disputing the idea itself; but rather its application to President Davis. For example, his book is NOT The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government by Jefferson F. Davis! And if in his own lifetime HE disavowed the middle name ( even assuming there WAS one ), who are WE to saddle his memory with it!
 

brass napoleon

Colonel
Retired Moderator
Member of the Year
Honored Fallen Comrade
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Messages
14,968
Location
Ohio
We feel that our cause is just and holy; we protest solemnly in the face of mankind that we desire peace at any sacrifice save that of honour and independence; we ask no conquest, no aggrandizement, no concession of any kind from the States with which we were lately confederated; all we ask is to be let alone; that those who never held power over us shall not now attempt our subjugation by arms.

'President Jefferson Davis - 29 April 1861'
From the same speech:

"Finally a great party was organized for the purpose of obtaining the administration of the Government, with the avowed object of using its power for the total exclusion of the slave States from all participation in the benefits of the public domain acquired by all the States in common, whether by conquest or purchase; of surrounding them entirely by States in which slavery should be prohibited; of thus rendering the property in slaves so insecure as to be comparatively worthless, and thereby annihilating in effect property worth thousands of millions of dollars. This party, thus organized, succeeded in the month of November last in the election of its candidate for the Presidency of the United States.

In the meantime, under the mild and genial climate of the Southern States and the increasing care and attention for the well-being and comfort of the laboring class, dictated alike by interest and humanity, the African slaves had augmented in number from about 600,000, at the date of the adoption of the constitutional compact, to upward of 4,000,000. In moral and social condition they had been elevated from brutal savages into docile, intelligent, and civilized agricultural laborers, and supplied not only with bodily comforts but with careful religious instruction. Under the supervision of a superior race their labor had been so directed as not only to allow a gradual and marked amelioration of their own condition, but to convert hundreds of thousands of square miles of wilderness into cultivated lands covered with a prosperous people; towns and cities had sprung into existence, and had rapidly increased in wealth and population under the social system of the South; the white population of the Southern slaveholding States had augmented form about 1,250,000 at the date of the adoption of the Constitution to more than 8,500,000 in 1860; and the productions of the South in cotton, rice, sugar, and tobacco, for the full development and continuance of which the labor of African slaves was and is indispensable, had swollen to an amount which formed nearly three-fourths of the exports of the whole United States and had become absolutely necessary to the wants of civilized man. With interests of such overwhelming magnitude imperiled, the people of the Southern States were driven by the conduct of the North to the adoption of some course of action to avert the danger with which they were openly menaced." - JD

Source: http://books.google.com/books?id=DiVXAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA122&lpg=PA131
I guess "just and holy" is in the eye of the beholder, but it sounds to me like his real complaint was that they were being left alone. It's hard for me to imagine how a peaceful secession was going to "avert the danger" of the United States "surrounding them entirely by States in which slavery should be prohibited".
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top