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INAUGURAL ADDRESS OF JEFFERSON

DAVIS.

411

The Inaugural Ad

dress of Jefferson Davis.

lessly engaged in it."

not hope to avoid war, we may at least expect that posterity will acquit us of having need

"Donbly justified by the absence of wrong on our part, and by wanton aggression on the part of others, there can be no cause to doubt that the courage and patriotism of the people of the Confederate States will be found equal to any measures of defence which their security soon may require.

"An agricultural people, whose chief interest is the export of a commodity required in every manufacturing country, our true policy is peace, and the freest trade which our necessities will permit. It is alike our interest, and that of all those to whom we would sell, and from whom we would buy, that there should be the fewest practicable restrictions upon the interchange of commodities. There can be but little rivalry between ours and any manufacturing or navigating community, such as the North-eastern States of the American Union.

"It must follow, therefore, that mutual interest would invite good-will and kind offices. If, however, passion, or lust of dominion, should cloud the judgment, or influence the ambition of those States, we must prepare to meet the emergency, and maintain, by the final arbitrament of the sword, the position which we have assumed among the nations of the earth.

"We have entered upon a career of independence which must be fuflexibly pursued through many years of controversy with our late associates of the Northern States. We have vainly endeavored to secure tranquillity and obtain respect for the rights to which we were entitled. As a necessity, not a choice, we have resorted to the remedy of separation, and henceforth our energies must be directed to the conduct of our own affairs, and the perpetuity of the Confederacy which we have formed. If a just perception of mutual interest shall permit us peaceably to pursue our separate political career, my most earnest desire will have been fulfilled. But if this be denied us, and the integrity of our Territory and jurisdiction be assailed, it will but remain for us, with firm resolve, to appeal to arms, and invoke the blessing of Providence on a just cause.

"As a consequence of our new condition, and with a view to meet anticipated wants, it will be necessary to provide a speedy and efficient organization of the branches of the Executive Department having special charge of Foreign Intercourse, Finances, Military Affairs, and Postal Service.

"For purposes of defence, the Confederate States may, under ordinary circumstances, rely mainly upon their militia; but, it is deemed advisable, in the present condition of affairs, that there should be a

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"I may also suggest, that, for the protection of our harbors, and commerce on the high seas, a navy adapted to those objects will be required. These necessities have doubtless engaged the attention of Congress.

"With a Constitution differing only from that of our fathers in so far as it is explanatory of their well-known intent, freed from sectional conflicts which have interfered with the pursuits of the gen eral welfare, it is not unnatural to expect that the States from which we have recently parted may seek to unite their fortunes with ours, under the Government we have instituted. For this, your Constitution makes adequate provision; but, beyond this, if I mistake not, the judgment and will of the people are, that union with the States from which they have separated is neither practicable nor desirable. To increase the power, to develop the resources, and promote the happiness of a confederacy, it is requisite there should be so much of homogeneity that the welfare of every portion would be the aim of the whole. Where this does not exist, antagonisms are engendered, which must and should result in separation.

"Actuated solely by a desire to preserve our own rights, and to promote our own welfare, the separation of the Confederate States has been marked by no aggression upon others, and followed by no do mestic convulsion. Our industrial pursuits have received no check; the cultivation of our fields progresses as heretofore; and, even if we should be involved in war, there would be no considerable diminution in the production of the staples which have constituted our exports, in which the commercial world has an interest scarcely less than our own. This common interest of producer and consumer can only be intercepted by an exterior force which should obstruct its transmission to foreign markets -a course of conduct which would be detrimental to manufacturing and commercial interests abroad. Should reason guide the action of the Government from which we have separated, a policy so detri mental to the civilized world, the Northern States included, could not be dictated even by a strong desire to inflict injury upon us; but, if it be otherwise, a terrible responsibility will rest upon it, and the sufferings of millions will bear testimony to the policy and wickedness of our aggressors.

"In the mean time there will remain to us, besides the ordinary remedies before suggested, the wellknown resources for retaliation upon the commerce of an enemy.

The Inaugural Address of

Jefferson Davis.

tions of a subordinate grade to this which your kindness has conferred, has taught me that care, and toil, and disappointments, are the price of official elevation. You will see many errors to forgive, many deficiencies to tolerate, but you shall not find in me either want of zeal or fidelity to the cause that is to me the highest

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Thus, the

"Experience in public sta- | dent of the Confederacy oc-
cupied seats on the right
and left of the President
of Congress, Howell Cobb.
men who agitated for power, found them-
selves again reunited-not mere subordinates,
had not "thrown themselves on their coun-
as in the Federal Congress, but chiefs. They
try's altar" in vain!

'n hope and of most enduring affection. Your gen-
erosity has bestowed upon me an undeserved dis-
tinction, one which I neither sought nor desired.
Upon the continuance of that sentiment, and upon
your wisdom and patriotism, I rely to direct and
support me in the performance of the duty required
at my hands.

"We have changed the constituent parts, but not the system, of our Government. The Constitution formed by our fathers is that of these Confederate States. In their exposition of it, and in the judicial

construction it has received, we have a light which

reveals its true meaning. Thus instructed as to the just interpretation of that instrument, and ever remembering that all offices are but trusts held for the people, and that delegated powers are to be strictly construed, I will hope, by due diligence in the performance of my duties, though I may disappoint your expectations, yet, to retain, when retiring, something of the good-willl and confidence which will welcome my entrance into office.

"It is joyous, in the midst of perilous times, to look around upon a people united in heart, where one purpose of high resolve animates and actuates the whole; where the sacrifices to be made are not weighed in the balance against honor, right, liberty and equality. Obstacles may retard, but they cannot long prevent, the progress of a movement sanctioned by its justice and sustained by a virtuous people.

"Reverently let us invoke the God of our fathers to guide, and provide, and protect us, in our efforts to perpetuate the principles which, by His blessing, they were able to vindicate, establish, and transmit to their posterity, and with a continuance of His favor, ever gratefully acknowledged, we may hopefully look forward to success, to peace, to prosperity."

February 19th the following bills were reported from the Committee on Engrossments as ready for signature: An Act for the enforcement of the Revenue Laws; An Act for the preservation of the records of Congress; An Act committing certain powers to the Committee on Naval Affairs. The Report of the Committee to Organize the Executive Departments was read. Its brief was:

"The first section provides that there shall be an Executive Department known as the Department of State; and there shall be a principal officer known as Secretary of State, who shall discharge such duties as may be assigned him by the President, and in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the Confederate States, and receive such compensation as may be fixed by law.

"The second section-that it shall be the duty of the Secretary of State to preserve all bills, resolutions, orders, &c., and affix to them the great seal of State; also to give public notice of all laws passed by Congress in at least three public journals within the Confederacy; and also to cause two printed copies of all acts, resolutions, &c., to be sent to

each of the Governors of the States of this Con

federacy.

"The third section-that there shall be in said department a chief clerk, and such other clerks as may be found necessary in the business of the department, who shall receive such compensation and take such oaths as may be regulated by law.*

It was considered in secret session. The State of Texas was regularly called on the roll, on and after this day!

Very little transpired of the session of February 20th. A discussion arose on the establishment of an armory, in the course of which a member of the Military Committee, in a thoughtless moment, made the following interesting confession:

Monday, February 18th, the Confederate Congress Members signed the Provisional Constitution. [See page 337.] A bill was introduced to organize a Patent-office, and to define its duties. Secret session being ordered, nothing further transpired which "My colleague, however, greatly errs, when he the public was permitted to scrutinize. states we are unprepared for war, and have no arms, At the proper hour the Congress adjourned and I am unwilling to let the assertion go undenied. to attend upon the inauguration. Upon Sir, we have arms, and in abundance, though no arreassembling, the President and Vice-Presi-mories. Every Siate has amply provided itself to

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meet any emergency that may arise, and are daily purchasing and receiving cannons, mortars, shells, and other engines of destruction, with which to overwhelm the dastard adversary. Organized armies now exist in all the States, commanded by officers brave, accmplished and experienced; and even should war occur in twenty days, I feel confident that they have both the valor and the arms to successfully resist any force whatever. Let the issue come, I fear not the result.

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"An Act to authorize the Secretary of the Treasury to establish additional ports and places of entry and delivery, and to appoint officers therefor. "An Act for the establishment and organization of a Central Staff for the Army of the Confederate States of America.

"An Act to raise money for the support of the Government, and to provide for the defence of the

Mr. Davis (February 21st) named his Confederate States of America. Cabinet as follows:

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"War: L. Pope Walker, of Alabama ;

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Navy: Stephen R. Mallory, of Florida. Mr. Elet, of Mississippi, was named Postmaster-General, but he declined the appointment, when John H. Reagan, of Texas, was named. Win. L. Yancey, of Alabama, was tendered a Cabinet appointment, but declined it, preferring the post of Minister Extraordinary to the Courts of England and France.

Mr. Benjamin, of Louisiana, was also, at a later day, named Attorney-General. Mr. Slidell, for his share, preferred a European Mission, which was given him. So of Rust, of

Arkansas, and Mason, of Virginia.*

The Proceedings after this date were so exclusively debarred to the public, that nothing is known of them further than such as transpired when it became necessary to publish the acts for their enforcement. The list of those acts which went into force, at an early moment after their signature, comprises, among others, the following:

"An Act to prescribe the rates of postage in the Confederate States, and for other purposes. Also, a supplemental act to the same subject.

"An Act to modify the Navigation Laws, and to repeal all discriminating duties on ships or vessels. An Act in relation to the Slave-trade, and to punish persons offending therein.

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* And thus the disinterested agitators found themselves all repaid for their arduous services in behalf of "Southern Independence." Not one of them, except the "irrepressible Wigfall," but was handsomely provided for in the new order of things. The people had not a word to say in the whole matter. The Government and offices were farmed out just as spoils-gatherers would distribute their plunder.

"An Act to raise the provisional forces of the Confederate States of America, and for other purposes.

"An Act to define the jurisdiction of the Federal Courts in certain cases.

"An Act to provide for the registration of vessels owned in whole or in part by citizens of the Con federate States.

"An Act guaranteeing the free navigation of the Mississippi River."

Several of these Acts threw a flood of light upon the policy of the new Government. The

Slave-Trade act President Davis vetoed-for the first time exercising that nullifying power. The grounds of the veto did not transpire, but it was understood that the Congress had so modified the Federal law as to strip the slave-trade of the penalties for piracy, and to modify the penalties for misdemeanor. The veto left the Federal law in force, since the Congress had adopted, by special provision, all Federal laws until repealed or otherwise modified by the Congress. The Postal law will prove statements already made in the pages of this History respecting the outrageous imposition to which the Fed

eral Government was forced to submit, for many years, in the matter of mails over hundreds of routes in the Southern States whose postages scarcely paid for the locks on the mail-bags used. We quote the exhibit made by the Committee as the basis of their law:

"The Committee have mainly directed their inquiries to the question whether, without material inconvenience to the public, the Post-Office Department of this Confederacy can be made self-sus taining.

"The Committee find, from the latest and most reliable means of information of which they have been able to avail themselves, that the excess of expenditure over the receipts of this department in the six States composing this Confederacy, for the

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not been able to obtain the

report of such receipts and expenditures for the last fiscal year, but they presume the above furnishes an aproximation sufficiently accurate for the predicated of our present action.

"To provide for this deficit, your Committee would suggest that the rates of postage may be in

Proceedings of the
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fiscal year ending June 30, 1859, | modestly worded, consider-
was $1,660,695.83. They have ing that it proposed to pre-
serve the postage stamps be-
longing to the Federal Government. Several
hundred thousand dollars worth of stamps
of the United States Government were in the
hands of postmasters in the Seceded States,
on sale. To render these profitably avail-
able, it was only necessary to preserve them,
just as the mint at New Orleans was pre-
served, with its five hundred thousand dol-
lars of coin. The non-use of the word steal,
doubtless, was owing to the "chivalrous
sense of honor" which animated the bosoms
of those remarkable men.

creased, as proposed by the accompanying bill. By
this bill they estimate an increase of receipts ap-

proximating $578,874.83.

"They believe that a saving can be effected by a change in the mode of letting out mail contracts, adopting what is usually called the star-bid system,' providing for all our safeguards for the celerity, certainty, and security of the mails, but without restrictions as to the mode of transportation. In this way your Committee are satisfied that the expense of mail transportation may be reduced-say 33 per cent. upon the present cost-say $619,033.

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They are further of opinion that there should be

a discontinuance of numerous routes, the cost of which is greatly disproportioned to their convenience, and the receipts of the post-offices supplied by them. In this way they believe a saving of onetenth of the present cost of transportation may be attained-say $206,344.

"The service upon many of the routes may, withont material detriment, be changed, daily routes reduced to tri-weekly, &c., at an estimated reduction of say $206,344.

"They would also recommend the abolishing a number of minor post-offices, which occasion considerable expense, without corresponding profit or convenience. In this way a saving to the Department might be readily reduced to the amount of "say $50,000.

"These sums added, say by increased receipts by reason of postage rates... "By savings as above, indicated total.

"Total......

"Present excess of expenditures over

$578,874 83 1,081,721 00 $1,660,595 83

receipts....... $1,060,595 83 "Your Committee are of opinion that steps should be immediately taken to preserve the postage stamps of the denomination of ten, five, and twenty cents; that these stamps will be sufficient to meet the wants of the Department for the present."

Texas, the most expensive of all the States, from its long non-paying routes, was not inIcluded in this exhibit, or the deficit of receipts would have been increased by the sum of nearly six hundred thousand dollars annually. That little paragraph, last quoted, is

The Act for the organization of the Confederate Army Staff reproduced, with slight change, the Army Regulations and pay of the United States service.

The Act to provide money for carrying on the Government would deserve but passing notice, were it not for the fact that the proposed loan, after the most extraordinary exertions on the part of the "friends of the South," was never, we believe, entirely taken, although its amount was but fifteen millions of dollars.* We give the Act:

SEC. 1-The Congress of the Confederate Stites do enact, That the President of the Confederate states be and he is hereby authorized, at any time withiɑ

*A letter found its way into print, purporting to have been written by a Charleston banker to a London house, proposing for it to assist in placing the loan, and stating the securities to be offered to Foreign takers, as follows:

First: A mortgage on the property seized from the United States, of forts, arsenals, custom

houses, &c.

Second: A pledge to pay off the delayed debts of Mississippi and Florida. The State of Florida to be transferred to trustees in security for the payment of its debt, while Mississippi should pledge its own honor and good faith to pay the new bonds to be issued for those repudiated.

Third: A pledge of the revenues of the CustomHouse and Post-Offices, after current expenses were paid.

Fourth: A mortgage on all territory to be "acquired, " and usufruct thereof.

If this was not a canard, (as it doubtless was) then it only proves what a miserable state the finances of the country must have been in, that any such pledge should have been even thought of.

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twelve months after the passage a sinking fund to carry into of this act, to borrow, on the effect the provisions of this secCongress. credit of the Confederate tion: Provided, however, That States, a sum not exceeding $15,000,000, or so much the interest coupons, issued under the second thereof as, in his opinion, the exigencies of the pub-section of this act, when due, shall be receivable in lic service may require to be applied to the payment of appropriations mdea by law for the support of the Government, and for the defence of the Confederate States.

"SEC. 2. That the Secretary of the Treasury is hereby authorized, by the consent of the President of the Confederate States, to cause to be prepared

certificates of stock or bonds, in such sums as are

hereafter to be mentioned, for the amount to be bor

rowed as aforesaid, to be signed by the Register of the Treasury, and sealed with the seal of the Treasury; and the said certificates of stock or bonds shall be made payable at the expiration of ten years from the 1st day of September next; and the interest thereon shall be paid semi-annually, at the rate of three per cent. per annum, at the Treasury, and such other place as the Secretary of the Treasury may designate. And to the bonds which shall be issued as aforesaid shall be attached coupons for the semi-annual interest which shall accrue, which coupons may be signed by officers to be appointed for the purpose by the Secretary of the Treasury. And the faith of the Confederate States is hereby pledged for the due payment of the principal and in

terest of the said stock and bonds.

"SEC. 3. At the expiration of five years from the 1st day of September next, the Confederate States may pay up any portion of the bonds or stock, upon giving three months previous public notice at the seat of Government of the particular stock or bonds to be paid, and the time and place of payment; and from and after the time so appointed, no furher interest shall be paid on said stock or bouds.

"SKC. 4. The certificates of stock and bonds shall be issued in such form and for such amounts as may be determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, and may be assigned or delivered under such regu lations as he may establish. But most of them shall be for a less sum than $50; and he shall report to Congress, at its next session, a statement in detail of his proceedings, and the rate at which the loans may have been made, and all expenses attending the same.

"SEC. 5. From and after the 1st day of August, 1861, there shall be levied, collected, and paid, a duty of one-eighth of one per cent. per pound on all cotton in the raw state exported from the Confederate States, which duty is hereby specially pledged to the due payment of interest and principal of the loan provided for in this act; and the Secretary of the Treasury is authorized and required to establish

payment of the export duty on cotton: Provided, also, That when the debt and interest thereon, herein au thorized to be contracted, shall be extinguished, or the sinking fund provided for that purpose shall be adequate to that end, the said export duty shall cease and determine."

It was announced by the Southern press quite generally that, so patriotic were the masses, the loan was eagerly absorbed by the people; that every man who could muster one hundred dollars was investing in a bond. This story served the purpose designed-of inspiriting the Secessionists, and of dispiriting the Unionists in the States of Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. To have confessed the truth-that the credit of the new Government was so low as to be unable to obtain its first loan-would have been fatal to the further progress of the revolution to the North; hence, the usual resort was had to deception. The loan went begging at the banks, at the doors of planters, on the street: and, up to July, it had been but about half taken. Does the reader ask, How was it possible for the Government to progress without money? The curiosity-gatherer will be able to answer when he collects a specimen of each issue of Treasury notes, certificates, cotton-deposit acknowledgments, &c., &c., by the Government, and of the utterly illimitable issue of notes of every denomination, by banks, corporate and stock companies, cities, railways, individuals, and churches. flood of promises-to-pay was only paralleled by an Autumnal fall of leaves. As it was dangerous for a person to demand the specie on any of these issues, there was no want of "currency," although there was a great want of coin. The history of these paper issues will form an amusing record, if it ever is written.

The

The Act to provide for the "provisional” army of the Confederate States was as follows:

"SECTION 1. The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That to enable the Government of the Confederate States to maintain its jurisdiction over all questions of peace and war, and to provide

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