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The Message of
Jefferson Davis.

communication with States that we hope soon to greet as sisters, assembled in Convention in this city, and not only reduced largely the rates heretofore demanded for mail service and conveyance of troops and munitions, but voluntarily proffered to receive their compensation at these reduced rates in the bonds of the Confederacy, for the purpose of leaving all the resources of the Government at its disposal for the common defense. Requisitions for troops have been met with such alacrity that the numbers tendering their services have in every instance great

ly exceeded the demand. Men of the highest official and social position are serving as volunteers in the

ranks. The gravity of age and the zeal of youth rival each other in the desire to be foremost in the public defense; and though at no other point than the one heretofore noticed, have they been stimulated by the excitement incident to actual engagement and the hope of distinction for individual achievement, they have borne what for new troops is the most severe ordeal, patient toil and constant vigil, and all the exposure and discomfort of active service, with a resolution and fortitude such as to command approbation and justify the highest expectation of their conduct when active valor shall be required in place of steady endurance.

"A people thus united and resolved cannot shrink from any sacrifice which they may be called on to make, nor can there be a reasonable doubt of their final success, however long and severe may be the test of their determination to maintain their birthright of freedom and equality, as a trust which it is their first duty to transmit undiminished to their posterity.

"A bounteous Providence cheers us with the promise of abundant crops. The fields of grain which will, within a few weeks, be ready for the sickle, give assurance of the amplest supply of food for man; while the corn, cotton and other staple productions of our soil afford abundant proof that up to this period the season has been propitious.

reliance on that Divine Power which covers with its
protection the just cause, we will continue to strug-
gle for our inherent right to freedom, independence
and self-government. JEFFERSON DAVIS.
"MONTGOMERY, April 29th, 1861."

This we have called a singular and remarkable document. As a tissue of misconceptions of act, misconstructions of facts, misstatements of truths, it certainly will bear the character we claim for it. We can leave it to posterity to adjudge its place in the history of the struggle which it essayed to inaugurate and to justify.

Act Recognizing a "State of War."

The deliberations of the Congress were wholly devoted to providing for a state of war. May 6th, the "Act Recognizing a State of War with the United States" was first published. It was almost wholly devoted to specifications for the issue of letters of marque, and for the conduct of privateers. It read, at length, as follows:

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"Whereas, The earnest efforts made by this Government to establish friendly relations between the Government of the United States and the Confederate States, and to settle all questions of disagree. ment between the two Governments upon principles of right, justice, equity, and good faith, have proved unavailing, by reason of the refusal of the Government of the United States to hold any intercourse with the Commissioners appointed by this Government for the purposes aforesaid, or to listen to any proposal they had to make for the peaceful solution

of all causes of difficulties between the two Governments; and whereas, the President of the United States of America has issued his proclamation, making requisition upon the States of the American Union for seventy-five thousand men, for the purpose as therein indicated of capturing forts and other strongholds within the jurisdiction of, and belonging to, the Confederate States of America, and has detailed naval armaments upon the coasts of the Confederate States of America, and raised, or

"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 honor and inde-ganized, and equipped a large military force to expendence; we seek 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, should not now attempt our subjugation by arms. This we will, this we must resist to the direst extremity. The moment that this pretension is abandoned, the sword will drop from our grasp, and we shall be ready to enter into treaties of amity and commerce that cannot but be mutually beneficial. So long as this pretension is maintained, with a firm

ecute the purpose aforesaid, and has issued his other proclamation, announcing his purpose to set on foot a blockade of the ports of the Confederate States; and whereas, the State of Virginia has seceded from the Federal Union, and entered into a convention of alliance, offensive and defensive, with the Confederate States, and has adopted the Provisional Constitution of the said States, and the States of Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Missouri have refused, and it is be lieved that the State of Delaware and the inhabit

Act Recognizing a State of War.

ants of the Territories of Arizona | Secretary of State, or shall be
and New Mexico, and the Indian delivered to any other officer
Territory south of Kansas, will or person who shall be em-

Act Recognizing a State of War.

refuse to co-operate with the Government of the Uni-ployed to deliver out such commissions, to be by ted States in these acts of hostilities and wanton ag- him transmitted to the Secretary of State. gression, which are plainly intended to overawe, oppress, and finally subjugate the people of the Confederate States; and whereas, by the acts and means aforesaid, war exists between the Confederate States and the Government of the United States, and the States and Territories thereof, excepting the States of Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri, and Delaware, and the Territories of Arizona and New Mexico, and the Indian Territory south of Kansas; therefore,

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SECTION 1. The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That the President of the Confederate States is hereby authorized to use the whole land and naval force of the Confederate States to meet the war thus commenced, and to issue to private armed vessels commissions, or letters of marque and general reprisal, in such form as he shall think proper, under the seal of the Confederate States, against the vessels, goods, and effects of the Government of the United States, and of the citizens or inhabitants of the States and Territories thereof, except the States and Territories hereinbefore named. Provided, however, that property of the enemy, (unless it be contraband of war) laden on board a neutral vessel, shall not be subject to seizure under this act; and provided further, that vessels of the citizens or inhabitants of the United States now in the ports of the Confederate States, except such as have been, since the 5th of April last, or may hereafter be, in the service of the Government of the United States, shall be allowed thirty days after the publication of this act to leave said ports and reach their destination; and such vessels and their cargoes, excepting articles contraband of war, shall not be subject to capture under this act, during said period, unless they shall have previously reached the destination for which they were bound on leaving said ports.

"SEC. 2. That the President of the Confederate States shall be, and he is hereby authorized and empowered to revoke and annul at pleasure all letters of marque and reprisal which he may at any time grant pursuant to this act.

SEC. 3. That all persons applying for letters of marque and reprisal, pursuant to this act, shall state in writing the name, and a suitable description of the tonnage and force of the vessel, and the name and place of residence of each owner concerned therein, and the intended number of the crew; which statement shall be signed by the person or persons making such application, and filed with the

"SEC. 4. That, before any commission or letters of marque and reprisal shall be issued as aforesaid, the owner or owners of the ship or vessel for which the same shall be requested, and the commander thereof for the time being, shall give bond to the Confederate States, with at least two responsible sureties, not interested in such vessel, in the penal sum of five thousand dollars; or if such vessels be provided with more than one hundred and fifty men, then in the penal sum of ten thousand dollars; with condition that the owners, officers and crew, who shall be employed on board such commissioned vessel, shall and will observe the laws of the Confede rate States, and the instructions which shall be given them according to law, for the regulation of their conduct; and will satisfy all damages and injuries which shall be done or committed contrary to the tenor thereof, by such vessel, during her com. mission, and to deliver up the same when revoked by the President of the Confederate States.

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SEC. 5. That all captures and prizes of vessels and property shall be forfeited, and shall accrue to the owners, officers and crews of the vessels by whom such captures and prizes shall be made; and, on due condemnation had, shall be distributed according to any written agreement which shall be made between them; and if there be no such written agreement, then one moiety to the owners, and the other moiety to the officers and crew, as nearly as may be, according to the rules prescribed for the distribution of prize money by the laws of the Confederate States.

"SEC. 6. That all vessels, goods, and effects, the property of any citizen of the Confederate States, or of persons resident within and under the protec tion of the Confederate States, or of persons permanently within the Territories, and under the protec tion of any foreign prince, Government, or State in amity with the Confederate States, which shall have been captured by the United States, and which shall be recaptured by vessels commissioned as aforesaid, shall be restored to the lawful owners, upon payment by them of a just and reasonable salvage, to be determined by the mutual agreement of the parties concerned, or by the decree of any court having jurisdiction, according to the nature of each case, agreeably to the provisions established by law. And such salvage shall be distributed among the owners, officers, and crews of the vessels commissioned as aforesaid, and making such capture, according to any written agreement which shall be

Act Recognizing a State of War.



Act Recognizing a State of War.

made between them; and in | be of equal or inferior force, case of no such agreement, the same to be divided as in then in the same manner and other cases of prize money; and upon the principles hereinbefore provided in case a bounty of twenty-five dollars shall be paid to the of capture. owners, officers, and crews of the private armed vessels, commissioned as aforesaid, for each and every prisoner by them captured and brought into port, and delivered to an agent authorized to receive them, in any port of the Confederate States; and the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby authorized to pay or cause to be paid to the owners, officers, and crews of such private armed vessels, commissioned as aforesaid, or their agent, the bounties herein provided.

"SEC. 7. That before breaking bulk of any vessel which shall be captured as aforesaid, or other disposal or conversion thereof, or of any articles which shall be found on board the same, such captured vessel, goods or effects, shall be brought into some port of the Confederate States, or of a nation or State in amity with the Confederate States, and shall be proceeded against before a competent tribunal; and after condemnation and forfeiture thereof, shall belong to the owners, officers, and crew of the vessel capturing the same, and be distributed as before provided; and in the case of all captured vessels, goods and effects, which shall be brought within the jurisdiction of the Confederate States, the District Courts of the Confederate States shall have exclusive original cognizance thereof, as in civil causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; and the said courts, or the courts, being courts of the Confederate States, into which such causes shall be removed, and in which they shall be finally decided, shall and may decree restitution, in whole or in part, when the capture shall have been made without just cause. And if made without probable cause, may order and decree damages and costs to the party injured, for which the owners and commanders of the vessels making such captures, and also the vessels, shall be liable.

"SEC. 8. That all persons found on board of any captured vessels, or on board any recaptured vessels, shall be reported to the collector of the port in the Confederate States in which they shall first arrive, and shall be delivered into the custody of the marshal of the district, or some court or military officer of the Confederate States, or of any State in or near such port, who shall take charge of their safe keeping and support, at the expense of the Confederate States.

"SEC. 9. That the President of the Confederate States is hereby authorized to establish and order suitable instructions for the better governing and directing the conduct of the vessels so commissioned, their officers and crews, copies of which shall be delivered, by the collector of the customs, to the commanders, when they shall give bond as before provided.

“SEC. 10. That a bounty shall be paid by the Confederate States of twenty dollars for each person on board any armed ship or vessel belonging to the United States at the commencement of an engagement, which shall be burnt, sunk, or destroyed by any vessel commissioned as aforesaid, which shall

"SEC. 11. That the commanding officer of every vessel having a commission, or letters of marque and reprisal, during the present hostilities between the Confederate States and the United States, shall keep a regular journal, containing a true and exact account of his daily proceedings and transactions with such vessel and the crew thereof; the ports and places he shall put into, or cast anchor in; the time of his stay there, and the cause thereof; the prizes he shall take, and the nature and probable value thereof; the times and places when and where taken, and in what manner he shall dispose of the same; the ships or vessels he shall fall in with; the times and places when and where he shall meet with them, and his observations and remarks thereon; also, of whatever else shall occur to him, or any of his officers or marines, or be discovered by examination or conference with any marines or passengers of or in any other ships or vessels, or by any other means, touching the fleets, vessels, and forces of the United States; their posts and places of station and destination, strength, numbers, intents, and designs; and such commanding officer shall, immediately on his arrival in any port of the Confederate States, from or during the continuance of any voyage or cruise, produce his commission for such vessel, and deliver up such journal, so kept as aforesaid, signed with his proper name and handwriting, to the collector or other chief officer of the customs at or nearest to such port; the truth of such journal shall be verified by the oath of the commanding officer for the time being; and such collector or other chief officer of the customs shall, immediately on the arrival of such vessel, order the proper officer of the customs to go on board and take an account of the officers and men, the number and nature of the guns, and whatever else shall occur to him on examination, material to be known. and no such vessel shall be permitted to sail out of port again until such journal shall have been delivered up, and a certificate obtained under the hand of such collector or other chief officer of the customs

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Act Recognizing a
State of War.

that she is manned and armed according to her commission; and, upon delivery of such certificate, any former certificate of a like nature which shall have been obtained by the commander of such vessel shall be delivered up.

"SEC. 12. That the commanders of vessels having letters of marque and reprisal as aforesaid, neglecting to keep a journal as aforesaid, or willfully making fraudulent entries therein, or obliterating the record of any material transactions therein, where the interest of the Confederate States is concerned, or refusing to produce and deliver such journal, commission, or certificate pursuant to the preceding

section of this act, then and in such cases the commissions or letters of marque and reprisal of such vessels shall be liable to be revoked; and such com

mander respectively shall forfeit for every such of fense the sum of one thousand dollars, one moiety thereof for the use of the Confederate States, and

the other to the informer.

Act Recognizing
State of War.

maintenance of such persons
as may be wounded and disa-
bled on board of the private
armed vessels commissioned as aforesaid, in any en-
gagement with the enemy, to be assigned and dis-
tributed in such manner as shall hereafter be pro-
vided by law."

The Military Act also passed at an early date, empowered the President to accept all volunteers offering, whether cavalry, mounted riflemen, artillery or infantry, no matter where enlisted, nor whether they came in companies or organized battalions-the President to name all the officers, and to accept the troops for the term of the "existing war.”

Virginia was admitted to the Southern Confederacy, in secret session of the Montgomery Congress, May 6th, and her delegates admitted to seats. Messrs. Hunter, Rives, Brockenborough, Staples and Cameron were "SEC. 13. That the owners or commanders of named as such delegates. The Confederate vessels having letters of marque and reprisal as Government had, however, closed its conaforesaid, who shall violate any of the acts of Contract for the State upon the occasion of Mr. gress for the collection of the revenue of the Confederate States, and for the prevention of smuggling, shall forfeit the commission or letters of marque and reprisal, and they and the vessels owned or commanded by them shall be liable to all the penalties and forfeitures attaching to merchant vessels, in like


"SEC. 14. That on all goods, wares, and merchandise captured and made good and lawful prizes of war, by any private armed ship having commission or letters of marque and reprisal under this act, and brought into the Confederate States, there shall be allowed a reduction of thirty-three and a third per cent. on the amount of duties imposed by law.

Stephens' visit to Richmond in April; for we find the centralization of troops ordered in Virginia openly, immediately after the passage of the Ordinance.

[It was not necessary to wait for the people to vote on that Ordinance. The Confederates were in full possession of the State (and meant to be so) before the day of that vote; and thus, when the day came, to vote the Union ticket was to court arrest and confiscation! But more of this hereafter.]

By April 30th about ten thousand troops were en route or in rendezvous for Virginia, The State was farmed out by the dignitaries at Montgomery with as much deliberation as if the "mother of Presidents" had been one of the Original Seven. "To prevent confusion," the Confederate Secretary of War gave Major-General Robert E. Lee control of all forces of the Confederate States in Vir

"SEC. 15. That five per centum on the net amount (after deducting all charges and expenditures) of the prize money arising from captured vessels and cargoes, and on the net amount of the salvage of vessels and cargoes recaptured by the private armed vessels of the Confederate States, shall be secured and paid over to the collector or other chief offi cer of the customs at the port or place in the Confederate States at which such captured or recap-ginia, May 10th-a temporary concession to tured vessels may arrive, or to the consul or other public agent of the Confederate States, residing at the port or place, not within the Confederate States, at which such captured or recaptured vessels may arrive. And the moneys arising therefrom shall be held, and are hereby pledged by the Government of the Confederate States as a fund for the support and maintenance of the widows and orphans of such persons as may be slain, and for the support and

the sensibilities of the Virginians, who rather fretted to find their State independence utterly swallowed up in the supremacy of the Southern power. General Lee, ere long, was superseded by General Beauregard; Richmond became the "Capital" of the Confederate States, and Virginia independence was among

"The things that were

A school-boy's tale, the wonder of an hour."



The Confederate

May 14th, the Congress passed a resolution | that they were expected to invest a few score calling upon their President to name a day of bales, each, in the "National fund." This for fasting and prayer. This was done in vitalized the bonds for a brief period; but, open session. As only acts of secondary im- Southern intelligence soon began to compreportance were done in open session, the in- hend the true nature of the transaction :-The ference was natural that the resolution was cotton depots might be found wanting of harmless an inference strengthened by the cotton when the day of redemption came. fact that the usual word humiliation was Thus, the Confederate authorities were ciromitted from the invocation. That word cumscribed by the "lack of a generous confiwas too offensive to Southern ears to be used dence in their ability to meet every emergenin a resolve of their Congress. cy"; and, adopting the shinplaster policy of States, corporations and individuals throughout the South, the Government relieved its "pressing necessities" by the emission of Treasury notes to a perfectly limitless extent. It need not amaze another generation that such a baseless currency really became the circulating medium. To refuse a Treasury note was to incur the odium of disloyalty and to run the risk of arrest; therefore, in selfdefense, the currency was accepted. Gold' ere long became unknown in the channels of trade; the extraordinary. premium which it soon commanded was not able to draw it from its secret hiding-places. The history of the Confederate currency system, if it can be truthfully written, must prove one of the curiosities of modern literature. A second financial scheme adopted by the Congress, and approved by Jefferson Davis-the person most instrumental in inducing Mississippi to go into repudiation-was the act "prohibiting Southern persons, owing moneys to Northern creditors, from paying the same to such creditors, and providing for the payment of the sums due such creditors into the Treasury of the Confederate States." As about one hundred and twenty millions of dollars were due to commercial men alone, in the North, this act, if it could be enforced-as it was to some extent-would give the Confederates pocket-money for some time. What with arsenals robbed, forts seized, mints, custom-houses and post-offices appropriated, and Northern debts confiscated, the Confederate Government started off with very fair prospects of "meeting every emergency"; but, alas for it! even these enormous robberies did not suffice for its needs, and the stability of Southern institutions soon became allied to the instability of the shinplaster currency.

May 17th, the Congress authorized the issue of fifty millions of dollars in Confederate bonds, payable in twenty years at an interest not to exceed eight per cent-twenty millions of Treasury notes to issue in lieu of bonds, without interest, of small denominations for general circulation, if the needs of the Departments required. It was a wise substitution. The needs of the Departments did require the twenty millions, and the Treasury notes soon became "generally circulated," as very few persons cared to keep them longer than necessary. The remaining thirty millions did not sell well-in fact, were not to be sold through the ordinary monetary processes, and further legislation was afterwards resorted to to provide a basis for redemption in order to give the bonds the validity of security. But what security could the Confederate Government give? It had no property -it was but an experiment-the State Rights doctrine stripped it of the power of State or local taxation-the blockade rendered the tariff receipts nothing; and thus, there was only "Southern honor" for security. But, even that intangible basis of redemption was suspected. The men who had participated in the celebrated repudiation of Mississippi indebtedness-thereby rendering many a confiding capitalist in Europe and America a beggar-were not implicitly trusted, even by those who had been benefited by the act of repudiation; hence, the sale of the bonds was despairingly slow:-like the snake coming out of its state of torpidity-it seemed as if there Lever would be sun enough to warm it into life. Later in the day the shrewd few in power conceived the happy idea of taking cotton for the bonds, storing it in Government depots. Large planters were politely informed

Confiscation of Northern Claims.

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