CITIZENS OF FLORIDA.1 I SHALL ONLY OCCUPY A FEW MINUTES of your time this evening and will then give way to others who are better qualified to address you by years experience and an intimate acquaintance with your wants. I see around me those whose devotion to yr own best interests and the interests of the country--which are in fact identical has been signalized by toil danger and wounds. These men can speak by authority, sure of respectful audience and credit. I can only say simply what I am sent to you for.
It is pretty well established by this time, on both sides of the lines of the Union armies, that the Rebellion set on foot for the purpose of destroying popular government on this continent has failed of its purpose. Its history has been full of surprises. Its originators thought at first that there would be no fighting at all: that a bold front and a quick arm would carry the thing through to completion with trifling expense, and no more bloodshed than characterizes the annual tumult and riots of election time. Mr. Davis in his recent message to the Richmond Congress says this more plainly than it has been said before. He said it appeared incredible at the outset of the contest that the Northern people would sacrifice blood treasure and liberty in the subjugation of the South, as he is pleased to style it, the
Another chimera was that our fighting would have to be done at home. That the soldiers of the Union marching Southward to sustain the constitution and enforce the laws would have to fight their bitterest battles within their own borders. There was some justification for this hope in the infamous and craven utterances of Northern men.