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THE NEW POWER IN THE SOUTH. JEFFERSON DAVIS' PROGRESS
Davis en route.
THE journey of Jefferson regarded as a throwing Davis, President-elect of down of the gauntlet, and the Southern Confederacy, sped over the North to confrom Mississippi to Montgomery, was one con- firm the impression of the utter hopelessness of tinued ovation. Great numbers of people any compromise with the Seceded States. A congregated at every station. Twenty-five new Government was formed-the dream of speeches were made by the President, on the dreamers was realized:-the Slave Republic route, to the gathered crowds. He was met, was a fact, which no step of the North or of on his approach to Montgomery; by a Com- the Border States could avert. Compromise mittee of the Congress, and by the city au- not only was not asked for, but was scorned; thorities, who served as an escort, while two while the idea of any reconstruction was only military companies from Columbus, Georgia, entertained to be vituperated. Exhilarated joined the retinue as a body-guard. by the remarkable success of the revolution to a state of nitrogenic delight, any return to the old Union looked, to their elated visions, like a descent to Avernus, and a reconstructionist was regarded as an enemy.
The reception at Montgomery, Saturday evening, (February 16th,) was enthusiastic. At the depot Mr. Davis made a speech to the great concourse in waiting. He addressed them at some length on the state of the South and the duties of its people, assuming a position at once of defiance and menace toward the North.* This speech was
Eleven o'clock Saturday night the President, in answer to the clamors of the people, thus addressed them from the balcony of his
FELLOW-CITIZENS AND BRETH-
* A letter received at Washington, February 24th, STATES OF AMERICA-For now from a " distinguished Alabamian," said:
we are brethren not in name merely, but in fact men of one flesh, one bone, one interest, one purpose-and of an identity of domestic institutions. We have hence, I trust, a prospect of living to
"You may suppose that there is a chance to rebuild the Union which has been torn down. There is none. Not only is there no probability, but there is no possibility of such an event. We do not be-gether in peace, with our institutions subject to prolieve that the North will give us any substantial guarantees, and we could not trust them if they did. The idea which seems to have taken possession of the Peace Congress,' as it is called, that we will be satisfied with the prohibition north of 36 deg. 30 min., and Squatter-Sovereignty south of that line, is a gross insult to our understanding. Be assured, we have no idea of accepting any such terms. The truth is, and our friends outside of the Seceding States ought to be apprised of the fact, we have lost all hope of an amicable adjustment, and are looking to the bayonet as the final arbiter of the dis
tection, not defamation. It may be our career will be ushered in in the midst of storm. It may be that as this morning opened with clouds, mist, and rain, we shall have to encounter inconvenience at the beginning. But, as the sun rose, it lifted the mist and dispelled the clouds, and left the pure sunlight of Heaven; so will the progress of the Southern Confederacy carry us safe to the harbor of constitutional liberty and political equality. Thus, we have nothing to fear at home, because at home we have homogeneity. We will have nothing to fear abroad, be cause, if war should come, if we must again baptize in blood the principles for which our fathers bled in
The Inaugurai Ad-
that the beginning of our ca-
"Our present condition, achieved in a manner un
the Revolution, we shall show we are not degenerate
The Inaugural Address of Jefferson Davis.
The inauguratory ceremonies transpired in the open air, from the front of the Capitol, in the presence of a vast crowd, among whom were many ladies, and an imposing body of military. The Inaugural Address was pronounced, commencing at one o'clock, prior to the administration of the oath. It read as follows:
"GENTLEMEN OF THE CONGRESS OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA-FRIENDS AND FELLOWCITIZENS Called to the difficult and responsible station of Chief Executive of the Provisional Government which you have instituted, I approach the discharge of the duties assigned me with an humble distrust of my abilities, but with a sustaining confidence in the wisdom of those who are to guide and aid me in the administration of public affairs, and an abiding faith in the virtue and patriotism of the people.
"Looking forward to the speedy establishment of a permanent Government to take the place of this, and which, by its greater moral and physical power, will be better able to combat with the many difficulties which arise from the conflicting interests of separate nations, I enter upon the duties of the office to which I have been chosen, with the hope
American idea that Governments rest upon the
The impartial, enlightened verdict of mankind will vindicate the rectitude of our conduct, and He who knows the hearts of men will judge of the sincerity with which we labored to preserve the Government of our fathers in its spirit.
The right, solemnly proclaimed at the birth of the States, and which has been affirmed and reaffirmed in the Bills of Rights of the States subsequently admitted into the Union of 1789, undeniably recog nizes in the people the power to resume the authority delegated for the purposes of Government. Thus, the sovereign States, here represented, proceeded to form this Confederacy, and it is by the abuse of language that their act has been denominated' revolution.' They formed a new alliance; but, within each State, its Government has remained. The rights of person and property have not been disturbed. The agent through whom they communicated with foreign nations is changed; but, this does not necessarily interrupt their international relations. Sustained by the consciousness that the transition from the former Union to the present Confederacy has not proceeded from a disregard, on our part, of our just obligations, or any failure to perform every constitutional duty moved by no interest or passion to invade the rights of others, anxious to cultivate peace and commerce with all nations, if we may
"Doably 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 inay 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.
well-instructed, and disciplined
The Inaugural Address of Jefferson Davis.
"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 general 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 domestic 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 commer
"We have entered upon a career of independence which must be inflexibly 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 per-cial world has an interest scarcely less than our own. ception 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
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 Ad
"Experience in public stations 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 in hope and of most enduring affection. Your generosity has bestowed upon me an undeserved distinction, 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."
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 the public was permitted to scrutinize. At the proper hour the Congress adjourned to attend upon the inauguration. Upon reassembling, the President and Vice-Presi
Proceedings of the Congress.
dent of the Confederacy occupied seats on the right and left of the President of Congress, Howell Cobb. men who agitated for power, found themselves again reunited-not mere subordinates, as in the Federal Congress, but chiefs. They had not "thrown themselves on their country's altar” in vain!
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 Confederacy.
"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 de partment, 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:
PROCEEDINGS OF THE
Proceedings of the Congress.
meet any emergency that may arise, and are daily purchasing and receiving cannons, mortars, shells, aud 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.
Proceedings of the Congress.
"An Act to define more accurately the exemption of certain goods from duty.
"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:
Secretary of State: Robert Toombs, of Georgia;
Treasury: C. G. Memminger, of North
"War: L. Pope Walker, of Alabama; 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. Wm. 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 tran
spired 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.
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 Confederate 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 misde
meanor. 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 the outrageous imposition to which the Fedmade in the pages of this History respecting
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-sustaining.
"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