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IT has been well remarked that the proceedings, here given, "furnish the most important chapter which has ever been written in the history of the Commonwealth of Mississippi, and have opened up a career teeming with consequences of incalculable moment." Having been granted the exclusive privilege, for a series of years, of publishing the proceedings of the Convention, in book form, (two thousand copies of the official journal excepted,) I at once entered on the task of preparing a full report, including the debates, for the press. I soon, found, however, that a work of such extent, would involve an outlay which prudence suggested the demand might not justify, and I reluctantly concluded to issue the work in a more condensed form, for the present. I have here endeavored to give a clear and comprehensive summary of each day's proceedings, omitting nothing that might be important as a matter of record. In the third day's proceedings will be found the speeches on the final passage of the Ordinance of Secession; also, the vote thereon, and the various substitutes therefor. Through the kindness of several members of the Convention, I am enabled, in this edition, to insert a number of speeches, revised by themselves, on the several important subjects under consideration. The Ordinances, which are the rich result of the session, have been carefully compared with the originals, and may be relied on as correct. A list of the members is also added, showing the post-office, profession, nativity, religious preference, politics, age and social relations of each.
J. L. P.Jackson, Miss., March 1st, 1861.
RESOLVED, That J. L. Power is hereby granted the exclusive privilege, for five years, of compiling for publication, in book form, the proceedings of this Convention; provided, that this is in nowise to interfere with the Ordinance already providing for the publication, by the State Printer, of two thousand copies of the Journals and Ordinances of this Convention.--Passed January 26th, 1861.
IN accordance with an Act of the Legislature, approved November 29th, 1861, entitled "An Act to provide for a Convention of the people of Mississippi," "to adopt such measures for vindicating the sovereignty of the State as shall appear to them to be demanded," said Convention assembled in Jackson, the Capital of the State, in the hall of the House of Representatives on Monday, the 7th day of January, 1861.
On motion of Mr. Gholson, of Monroe, the Convention, at 12 o'clock, M., was temporarily organized by the election of Henry T. Ellett, of Claiborne, as Chairman, and Wm. H. H. Tison, of Itawamba, as Secretary.
Prayer was offered by the Rev. C. K. Marshall, as follows:
Almighty and Everlasting God, we come into Thy presence on this solemn occasion, so freighted with the interests of all we hold dear as a people--so momentous in high purposes and holy resolves--most humbly and earnestly to implore Thee to look down upon us in compassion and mercy, and vouchsafe to these Thy servants, assembled in General Convention, the guidance and support of Thy Holy Spirit. This is a day of sore trial to patriots and Christians, and we are gathered together here to devise measures of government for our protection and well-being, and we fear to trust the issues of the conflict, on the formation of our plans, to mere human wisdom and prudence. We, therefore, devoutly look up to Thee, praying that Thy Fatherly blessing may so inspire this body that by their action and labors the cause of liberty, religion, agriculture, commerce, government, our domestic peace and general prosperity, may be promoted and maintained; and grant, oh, God, that in the performance of their weighty obligations, these Thy servants may consummate such measures as shall result in the establishment of the principles of justice, equality and brotherly concord,--that national strifes, railing controversies, bitter recriminations and animosities may be banished from the land, while the vital doctrines of equality, self-government and constitutional freedom, shall be maintained and inviolable, and handed down to posterity as a Heaven-ordained legacy. Thou, oh, God, has seen the malign and mighty agencies which many of the sister States of this great national family have for years past employed for our annoyance, reproach and overthrow, as equals in the Confederated Union; and how they have pursued the purpose of depriving us of our just rights, and destroying in our midst the institution which Thy Providence has solemnly bound us to uphold, defend and protect. We have cried oh, Lord, to Thee, against wrong and discord, fanaticism and fratricidal strife; and we now beseech Thee, hear the voice of our complaint and grant us Thy favor. Endue the hearts and understanding of the members of this Convention with wisdom from above; teach them as the princes of Thy people the precepts of Thy law, and help them in this momentous crisis to look up to Thee and rely on Thy blessing, that they may lay aside all passion, prejudice and unkindness, and in calmness and self-forgetfulness discharge the duties imposed by their high office. May
they be so guided by Thee that the issue of their labors shall result in measures of prosperity, public tranquility and domestic repose; and if as a State and a people we shall again resume the concessions which bind us to-day to the Federal Union, and in new, untried relations, go forth in pursuit of the rights and privileges lost in the Union, God of our Fathers, leave us not to ourselves--be Thou our Leader and our Defence--raise up for us great and worthy men to utter the words of Thy providential teaching-- shield us from every menacing danger--give unity of sentiment and harmony of action to all the people--deliver us from the power of our enemies and from the sword of our brethren abroad. But if the sword be drawn against us, oh, God of Justice and Mercy, be to us a very present help in the day of conflict, and victorious in arms, we will ascribe the glory of our deliverance to Thy Great Name.
And now, Heavenly Father, we commend to Thy special care and blessing the welfare and interests of the several nationalties, of our own, and distant lands. Bring the day of general peace; stay the hand that seeks the blood of a brother; let truth and charity prevail, that Thy name may be glorified in all the earth. Forgive all our sins--let them not be visited retributively on our homes, or our country. Make us Thy people, and deliver us from all evil, and may we never have occasion to regret the steps we are about to take in the great work that now lies before us. These favors and blessings we humbly implore in the name, and through the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The counties being called in alphabetical order, the delegates registered their names--two only being absent: J. S. Yerger, of Washington, and Jas. S. Johnston, of Jefferson.
The Convention proceeded to the election of permanent officers.
For President--William S. Barry, of Lowndes, was elected on the third ballot.
The following gentlemen were also voted for: J. L. Alcorn, H. T. Ellett, Hugh R. Miller, A. M. Clayton, S. J. Gholson, W. P. Harris, D. C. Glenn, Walker Brooke, J. S. Yerger, Geo. R. Clayton, J. W. Clapp, Samuel Benton.
For Secretary--F. A. Pope, of Holmes, was elected on the second ballot--Messrs. Liddell, Dozier and Rowe being also voted for.
For Door-Keeper--Sam'l Pool, of Hinds, was elected, after the first ballot, by acclamation--Messrs. Israel and Clingan being also voted for.
For Sergeant-at-Arms--W. Ivie Westbrook, of Oktibbeha, was, after the first ballot, elected by acclamation--Messrs. J. J. Denson and E. Farish being also voted for.
On motion of Mr. Ellett, the rules of the House of Representatives were adopted, so far as applicable.
On motion of Mr. Lamar, of Lafayette,
Resolved, That a committee of fifteen be appointed to prepare an Ordinance providing for the withdrawal of Mississippi from the present Federal Union, with a view to the establishment of a new Confederacy, to be composed of the seceding States.
The President appointed as the Committe of Fifteen to prepare Ordinance of Secession:
On motion, the Convention adjourned till Tuesday morning, 10 o'clock.
TUESDAY, January 8th, 1861.
The Convention met at 10 o'clock, and was opened with prayer by the Rev. Mr. Harrington.
On motion of Mr Chalmers, of De Soto,
Resolved, That the President of the Convention be authorized to grant admission to the Hall of such reporters for the public press as he may deem fit, and to remove the same at his pleasure, until it shall be otherwise ordered by the Convention.
On motion of Mr. Rogers, of Monroe,
Resolved, That a committee consisting of the number of five be appointed on election and credentials of members.
Committee--Messrs. Rogers, Wilkinson, Yerger, Reynolds, and Bookter.
On motion of Mr. Clayton, of Marshall,
Resolved, That the Commissioner from South Carolina, as well as the Commissioners from any other State, be invited to seats on this floor.
On motion of Mr. Glenn, of Harrison,
Resolved, That the following standing committees, each to be composed of seven members, be appointed to-wit:
Mr. Clayton, of Lowndes, from committee to wait upon his Excellency, reported that communications had been received by the Governor which he would lay before the Convention in due time.
On motion of Mr Harris, of Hinds.
Resolved, That the door-keeper be instructed to furnish each member of the Convention one copy of the Daily Mississippian during the session.
On motion of Mr. Rogers, of Monroe,
Resolved, That the Judges of the High Court of Errors and Appeals and the Judges of the Circuit Courts of this State, be invited to seats within the bar of this Convention.
On motion of Mr. Aldridge, of Yalobusha,
Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to notify the commissioners of the various States who may attend this Convention, of the passage of a resolution by this Convention, inviting them to a seat upon this floor, and to make necessary and suitable arrangements for that purpose.
Committee--Messrs. F. M. Aldridge, T. A. Marshall, H. R. Miller.
On motion of Mr. Walter, of Marshall,
Resolved, That the committee on constitutional amendments be instructed to report as soon as practicable after its appointment, an amendment to the Constitution of this State authorizing it to borrow money for the purpose of military defence, and to pledge the faith of the State for the repayment of the loan.
On motion of Mr. Anderson, of Hinds,
Resolved, That the door-keeper be required to make arrangements with the postmaster for the prepayment of postage on all printed matter sent by the members of this Convention.
The Convention adjourned at 12 o'clock, till to-morrow morning at 10 o'clock.
WEDNESDAY, January 9th, 1861.
The Convention was called to order at 10 o'clock, A. M., and was opened with prayer by the Rev. W. C. Crane.
A message, with accompanying documents, were received from the Governor, and laid on the table for the present.
The Commissioner from South Carolina, Hon. Armistead Burt, and the Commissioner from Alabama, Judge E. H. Pettus, being in waiting, were invited in, received by the President, and took their seats.
Mr. Lamar, chairman of the committee to prepare an Ordinance providing for the withdrawal of Mississippi from the present Federal Union, reported the following:
AN ORDINANCE--To dissolve the Union between the State of Mississippi, and other States united with her, under the compact entitled "The Constitution of the United States of America."
The People of Mississippi, in Convention assembled, do ordain and declare, and it is hereby ordained and declared as follows, to-wit:
SECTION 1st. That all the laws and ordinances by which the said State of Mississippi became a member of the Federal Union of the United States of America, be and the same are, hereby repealed, and that all obligations on the part of said State, or the people thereof, to observe the same, be withdrawn; and that the said State doth hereby resume all the rights, functions and powers which by any of said laws or ordinances were conveyed to the government of the said United States, and is absolved from all the obligations, restraints and duties incurred to the said Federal Union, and shall from henceforth be a free, sovereign and independent State.
SEC. 2d. That so much of the first section of the seventh article of the Constitution of this State as requires members of the Legislature, and all officers, legislative and judicial, to take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, be and the same is hereby abrogated and annulled.
SEC. 3d. That all rights acquired and vested under the Constitution of the United States, or under any act of Congress, passed in pursuance thereof, or under any law of this State, an not incompatible with this Ordinance, shall remain in force and have the same effect as if this Ordinance had not been passed.
SEC. 4th. That the people of the State of Mississippi hereby consent to form a Federal Union with such of the States as have seceded, or may secede from the Union of the United States of America, upon the basis of the present Constitution of the said United States, except such parts thereof as embrace other portions of such seceding States.
On motion of Mr. Lamar, the Convention, at 11 1/2 o'clock, went into secret session, and continued therein until 4 1/2 P. M.
The doors being opened, on motion of Mr. Rogers,
Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed as a Council on behalf of the Convention, to confer with his Excellency, the Governor, upon such grave matters as he may submit for their consideration.
The consideration of the Ordinance of Secession being resumed, Mr Yerger, of Washington, offered the following as a substitute:
An Ordinance, Providing for the final settlement and adjustment of all difficulties between the Free and Slave States of the United States, by securing further constitutional gurantees within the present Union.
WHEREAS, For a series of years, a dominant majority in the non-slaveholding States have evinced, by a regular system of unconstitutional and unfriendly legislation, a fixed and determined hostility to the slaveholding States of this Union, and a total disregard of every obligation of friendship and comity which should characterize the intercourse and legislation of friendly States towards each other;
And whereas, also, The citizens of the Southern States have been denied an equal right with the people of the non-slaveholding States to enter upon and occupy with their property the common territory of the Union and to be protected in its enjoyment therein, and have thus been subjected to a discrimination against them in the legislation of the General Government, which, if longer submitted to, will tend to degrade them in the opinion of the civilized world;
And whereas, also, The leaders and representatives of this dominant party in the non-slaveholding States have announced
the dangerous and hostile dogma, that a conflict, irrepressible in character, exists between free and slave labor, and have declared that agitation on the subject of slavery shall continue until slavery itself shall be abolished, and to that end have elected to the Presidency of the United States a man fully committed to these views, and who stands pledged to bring to bear all the influence and patronage of the Federal Government to enforce and carry them into effect;
And whereas, The continued agitation of the slavery question tends to the disquiet of the people of the slaveholding States, and illegally and unjustly impairs their constitutional rights to the quiet enjoyment and use of their property;
And whereas, It is the opinion of this Convention that a further continuance of the State of Mississippi as a member of the United States of America, is incompatible with the interests of the State, and can no longer be submitted to with safety and honor, unless additional guarantees shall be given by amendments of the Constitution of the United States, recognizing and fully securing the rights and equality of the slaveholding States in the Union, settling forever and finally all further agitation of the slavery question by the non-slaveholding States, and in the legislation of the General Government;
And whereas, also, In the opinion of this Convention, the safest and most efficient remedy to obtain the redress which the urgency of this occasion demands, and to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty, equality, independence and peace for which the Union of these States was established, will be found in a General Convention of all the slaveholding States, having the same wrongs to redress and a common interest in the great questions involved in this controversy. Therefore,
Be it ordained by this Convention, That all the slaveholding States, or as many of them as will unite therein, be and they are hereby invited and requested to assemble in Convention, at Lexington, in the State of Kentucky, on the 10th day of Februrary next, to take into consideration, the relations which the slaveholding States shall hereafter occupy towards the General Government and the other States of this Union, and also to fix upon and determine what amendments of the Constitution of the United States are necessary and proper to secure the rights of the slaveholding States in the Union, and to finally settle and adjust all questions relating to the subject of slavery in such manner as will relieve the South from the further agitation of that question--secure the people of the slave holding States in the peaceful and rightful enjoyment of their property, and restore that equilibrium in the
organization of the government essential to a further continuance of this Union.
Be it further ordained, That in the event such amendments of the Constitution of the United States, and such measures for the protection of the Southern slave States shall not be made and acceeded to by the people of the non-slaveholding States, then said Convention shall, upon the call of the President thereof, re-assemble, and shall forthwith organize a separate Confederacy of the slaveholding States represented in said Convention and such others as may join therein; and said Convention shall proceed to form a provisional and temporary government for said Confederacy, to continue until an election for delegates can be held for a Convention, and a permanent Constitution be adopted thereby for the government of the same.
Be it further ordained, That seven delegates to said Convention, to be held on the 10th of February next, be chosen by this Convention, to represent the State of Mississippi therein, and that all the slaveholding States be requested to appoint a number of delegates equal to the number of their Senators and Representatives in the Congress of the United States to represent them in said Convention.
Be it further ordained, That the Governor of this State be required to furnish the Governors of each of the slaveholding States with a copy hereof, with a request that the same be laid before their several Legislatures and Conventions now in session; and if no Legislature or Convention be in session, that they be requested to convene their Legislatures to consider and act upon the propositions herein.
Which was rejected by the following vote:
YEAS.--Messrs. Brooke, Blair, Bonds, Bullard, Cummings, Farrar, Flournoy, Herring, Hurst, McGehee of Bolivar, Myers, Parker, Reynolds, Sanders, Sumner, Stephens, Thornton, Winchester, Yerger, Young--20.
NAYS.--Mr. President, Messrs. Alcorn, Anderson, Aldridge, Barksdale, Baldwin, Backstrom, Booth, Brantley, Benton, Beene, Berry, Bolling, Bookter, Clayton of Marshall, Clayton of Lowndes, Catching, Chalmers, Colbert, Clapp, O. Davis, J. S. Davis, Dease, Denson, Douglas, Dyer, Deason, Eckford Edwards, Ellett, Fizer, Fontaine, George, Glenn, Gibson, Gholson, Gwin, Harris, Hill, Holt, Isom, Johnston of De Soto, Johnston of Jefferson, Jones, Keirn, Keith, Kennedy, King, Lea, Lamar, Lewers, Lewis, Mayson, McGehee of Panola, Miller of Pontotoc, Miller of Tunica, Neely, Nelson, Orr, Pattison, Powell of Covington, Powell of Jones, Ramsey, Roberts, Rogers, Semmes, Smart, Terral, Tison, Taylor, Thompson, Vaughan, Walter, Welsh, Witty, Wilkinson, Woods, Wright.--78.
Mr. Alcorn, of Coahoma, submitted the following, as an amendment to the report of the Minority Committee, (in secret session.)
SEC.--. Be it further ordained, That this Ordinance shall not go into effect, until at least the States of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana shall, through their respective Conventions, resolve to secede from the Federal Union, and resume their sovereignty and independence.
Which was rejected by the following vote:
YEAS.--Messrs. Alcorn, Beene, Bonds, Bullard, Cummings, Denson, Dyer, Farrar, Herring, Hurst, Johnston of De Soto, McGehee of Bolivar, McGehee of Panola, Myers, Parker, Powell of Jones, Reynolds, Sanders, Sumner, Stephens, Tison, Thornton, Winchester, Yerger, Young--25.
NAYS--Mr. President, Messrs. Anderson, Aldridge, Barksdale, Baldwin, Backstrom, Booth, Brantley, Brooke, Benton, Blair, Berry, Bolling, Bookter, Clayton of Marshall, Clayton of Lowndes, Catching, Chalmers, Colbert, Clapp, O. Davis, J. S. Davis, Dease, Douglas, Deason, Eckford, Edwards, Ellett, Fizer, Flournoy, Fontaine, George, Glenn, Gibson, Gholson, Gwin, Harris, Hill, Holt, Isom, Johnston of Jefferson, Jones, Keirn, Keith, Kennedy, King, Lea, Lamar, Lewers, Lewis, Marshall, Mayson, Miller of Pontotoc, Miller of Tunica, Neely, Nelson, Orr, Pattison, Powell of Covington, Ramsey, Roberts, Rogers, Semmes, Smart, Terral, Taylor, Thompson, Vaughan, Walter, Welsh, Witty, Winchester, Wilkinson, Woods, Wright.--74.
Mr. Brooke, of Warren, deeming it due to his constituents, offered the following, as a proviso or additional section to the original Ordinance:
Provided, That this Ordinance shall not take effect until the same shall have been ratified by the qualified electors of the State, and to this end an election shall be held at the various election precincts of the State, on the first Monday in February, 1861, under the rules and regulations now in force in regard to the election of State officers. Those voting for the Ordinance shall endorse on their tickets the word "Ratification," and those voting against it the words "No Rratification." The Governor shall issue writs of election to the several sheriffs of this State, and a proclamation duly notifying the people of the holding of said election.
Which was rejected by the following vote:
YEAS.--Messrs. Alcorn, Aldridge, Barksdale, Brooke, Beene, Blair, Bonds, Bullard, Cummings, Denson, Farrar, Flournoy, Herring, Hurst, Isom, Marshall, McGehee of Bolivar, Myers, Parker, Powell of Jones, Reynolds, Saunders,
Sumner, Stephens, Tison, Taylor, Thornton, Winchester, Yerger, and Young--29.
NAYS.--Mr. President, Messrs. Anderson, Baldwin, Backstrom, Booth, Brantley, Benton, Berry, Bolling, Bookter, Clayton of Marshall, Clayton of Lowndes, Catching, Chalmers, Colbert, Clapp, O. Davis, J. S. Davis, Dease, Douglas, Dyer, Deason, Eckford, Edwards, Ellett, Fontaine, George, Glenn, Gibson, Gholson, Gwinn, Harris, Hill, Holt, Johnston of Jefferson, Johnston of De Soto, Jones, Keirn, Keith, Kennedy, King, Lea, Lamar, Lewers, Lewis, Mayson, Miller of Pontotoc, McGehee of Panola, Miller of Tunica, Neely, Nelson, Orr, Pattison, Powell of Covington, Ramsey, Roberts, Rogers, Semmes, Smart, Terral, Taylor, Thompson, Vaughan, Walter, Welsh, Witty, Wilkinson, Woods, Wright--70.
The Ordinance of Secession was then read, when the yeas and nays were called for, and the question of the President, Shall the Ordinance now pass? was responded to as follows:
YEAS.--Mr. President, Messrs. Alcorn, Anderson, Aldridge, Barksdale, Baldwin, Backstrom, Booth, Brantley, Brooke, Benton, Beene, Berry, Bolling, Bookter, Clayton of Marshall, Clayton of Lowndes, Catching, Chalmers, Colbert, Clapp, O. Davis, J. S. Davis, Dease. Denson, Douglas, Dyer, Deason, Eckford, Edwards, Ellett, Fizer, Flournoy, Fontaine, George, Glenn, Gibson, Gholson, Gwinn, Harris, Herring, Hill, Holt, Isom, Johnston of De Soto, Johnston of Jefferson, Jones, Keirn, Keith, Kennedy, King, Lea, Lamar, Lewers, Lewis, Mayson, McGehee of Bolivar, McGehee of Panola, Miller of Pontotoc, Miller of Tunica, Neely, Nelson, Orr, Pattison, Powell of Covington, Powell of Jones, Ramsey, Roberts, Rogers, Semmes, Smart, Sumner, Stephens, Terral, Tison, Taylor, Thompson, Vaughan, Walter, Welsh, Witty, Wilkinson, Woods, Wright--83.
NAYS--Messrs. Blair, Bonds, Bullard, Cummings, Farrar, Hurst, Marshall, Myers, Parker, Reynolds, Saunders, Thornton, Winchester, Yerger, Young--15.
Only one member of the Convention was absent--John H. Wood, of Attala. Pending the final vote, several members gave their reasons for voting in the affirmative.
Mr. Alcorn thought a different course in regard to the settlement of the controversy should have been adopted. But, said he, the die is cast--the Rubicon is crossed--and I enlist myself with the army that goes to Rome. I vote for the Ordinance.
Mr. Brooke, of Warren, said: I throw myself on the indulgence of the Convention for a short explanation of the vote I am about to cast. I was elected by a large majority, as what is known as a co-operationist--which means, as I understand
it, one who was in favor of united Southern action for the purpose of demanding further guarantees, from the North, or, failing in that, the formation of a Southern Confederacy. I have, to the best of my humble ability, endeavored to carry out the views of my constituents in these respects. I have acted in good faith, and with no desire to make a factious opposition. I have failed. Previous co-operation, or co-operation before secession, was the object of my desire. Failing in this, I am willing to take as the next best, subsequent co-operation, or co-operation after secession. The former is now impossible. I, therefore, am willing to adopt the latter. Should I vote against the Ordinance, after what has passed, I should vote for this Convention to do nothing. Shall this Convention adjourn without action? Should we do so, we would make ourselves obnoxious to the scorn and ridicule of the world. The next breeze from the North, or from the East, may bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms. Perhaps already the calm and peaceful waters of Charleston Bay are dyed and tinged with the blood of our friends and countrymen. In this emergency, should we do nothing, a shout of exultant derision would go up from our foes--
"As wild a yell
As is the fiends from heaven that fell,
Had raised the banner cry of hell."
Influenced by considerations of this sort, which I cannot now more fully express, I therefore feel it my duty, painful as it may be, to part from those with whom I have heretofore acted, to assume the responsibility of casting at least one of the votes of Warren county for the passage of the Ordinance as reported.
Mr. Flournoy, of Pontotoc, said we were now called upon to exercise a solemn act of sovereignty on the part of Mississippi. He believed that the passage of the Ordinance absolved every citizen of this State from allegiance to the United States. Until this is done, any citizen of the State who might take up arms against the United States, would, in his opinion, be a traitor; and, so help him God, no act of his should place a citizen of Mississippi in that position. He should vote for the Ordinance.
Mr. Herring, of Pontotoc, said that he was elected as a co-operationist, and he had voted in the affirmative on three distinct propositions which had been voted down by this Convention, and which embraced what he believed to be the views of a large majority of the voters in his county. He had pledged himself thus to vote, except on the second proposition --the minority report--which embraced only six States--he being pledged to co-operation with eight. He had voted for
the minority report, because he preferred it to an unconditional Ordinance. Having thus tried to carry out what he believed to be the wishes of his constituents, and knowing that the Ordinance would be adopted, he saw no further use for apparent division among the people of Mississippi, but on the contrary, great necessity for union, and he therefore cast his vote for the Ordinance.
Mr. Sumner, of Calhoun, having discharged his duty to his constituents, thought he could now best serve his State by voting for the Ordinance.
Mr. Stephens, of Calhoun, said: I was elected to this Convention as a co-operationist. Every vote I have cast since the Ordinance of Secession has been before the Convention, has been cast, to carry out, in good faith, the wishes of a majority of my constituents. I came not to set up a factious opposition to the position that Mississippi is now about to assume. No, far be it from me. I am Mississippian to the core. I love my adopted State--I love her lofty hills and shady groves. All that is dear to me on earth is within her borders. Then let her destiny be what it may, I am with her heart and hand. Amendment after amendment has been proposed to the Ordinance from this side of the house, and each in turn have been voted down by an overwhelming majority, until the proposition has now narrowed down to submission or secession, and as between the two, I am for secession. I vote for the Ordinance.
Mr. Blair, of Tishomingo, stated why he should vote in the negative. He deemed it the highest duty of a delegate to be faithful to the last to the people he represents. No amount of opposition could induce him to act unfaithful to his constituents. An apparent desertion at this time would only tend to exasperate and divide his people. When his vote was cast his duty was performed, and he could go home to his constituents finding them ready to stand up to whatever course the Convention might seem proper to adopt.
Mr. Bullard, of Itawamba, conscientiously thought that a different plan should have been adopted. He should vote against the Ordinance; but he would pledge Itawamba for fifteen hundred volunteers to any enterprise for the defence and integrity of the State.
The vote being announced, the President called on the Rev. Mr. Harrington to offer prayer in behalf of the new-born Republic, which, in substance, is as follows:
Almighty God! we, the people of the State of Mississippi, in convention assembled, have, in this solemn hour, dissolved the connection which bound us in union with our sister States. In this exercise of that sovereignty with which Thou hast ordained us as a free people, we resume the powers delegated to the Federal Union. To Thee, O, God, we look, in this eventful hour, for guidance and safety. We have heard it with our ears,
our fathers of old have told us, that in all Thy Providences, Thou art pledged to the protection and defence of civil and religious liberty. To this end let Thy blessings rest upon this new-born Republic. May the glory of State dawn and culminate upon her future. May her sons be the sons of freemen forever! May the people of Mississippi be armed with the mind which was in their fathers; so that they may ever, as in this hour, bring to her defence and safety their fortunes, their lives and their sacred honor. Her action in the present emergency, we feel, is not the act of a rash and false patriotism; but a patriotism that, while it would not dare to do wrong, neither would it deign to suffer wrong. Since, in Thy Providence, Thou hast made our interests the same, we pray for a united South. May the future witness her prosperity and glory to be far above that which has attended her past. And when the glory of State shall rest upon her, the glory shall be Thine, for Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
On motion, the President was requested to have the Ordinance of Secession written on parchment, and appropriately arranged for the signatures of the members; also, to telegraph the result of this day's proceedings to the Mississippi delegation in Congress, and to the different slaveholding States.
At this point, Mr. C. R. Dickson entered the hall, bearing a beautiful silk banner, with a single star in the centre, which he handed to the President of the Convention as a present from Mrs. H. H. Smyth, of Jackson. The President remarked that it was the first banner unfurled in the young Republic, when the members saluted it by rising--the vast audience present uniting in shouts of applause.
The Convention adjourned till Thursday morning, 10 o'clock.
THURSDAY, January 10th, 1861.
The Convention was called to order at 10 o'clock A. M., and was opened with prayer by the Rev. Jno. Hunter.
The President announced the following Standing Committees:
On motion of Mr. Orr,
Resolved, That the Hon. Armistead Burt, commissioner from the Republic of South Carolina, and Hon. E. H. Pettus, commissioner from the State of
Alabama, be requested to address the Convention, and that a committee of five be appointed to make the necessary arrangements, and to wait upon those gentlemen and ascertain whether it would be desirable to them that the Convention should go into secret session when it may suit them to address the Convention.
Mr. Welsh offered the following:
Be it Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Convention that the Legislature of this State, shortly to convene, ought to pass an act which will effectually prevent the introduction of slaves into this State from any other State or country whatever, unless the owner of said slaves accompany them, with the bona fide intention of becoming a citizen of the State of Mississippi.
Mr. Welsh having briefly advocated the resolution, Messrs. Benton, Wright, Ellett and H. R. Miller spoke against it; and on motion of Mr. Fontaine, the resolution was laid on the table.
Mr. Dyer offered a resolution instructing the Committee on Military Affairs to inquire into the propriety of erecting batteries at Vicksburg, Natchez, and at other points on the Mississippi river, which resolution, after considerable discussion, was laid on the table; and,
On motion of Mr. Harris,
Resolved, That the Committee on Military and Naval Affairs be instructed to report an Ordinance to this Convention creating a Military Board, and amending the Constitution of the State in the 5th Article, so as to authorize the volunteers companies to organize into battalions, regiments and brigades, and to elect field officers.
The following communication was read:
TO THE HON. WM. S. BARRY, PRESIDENT--Sir: I have the honor to lay before the Convention of the people of the State of Mississippi, my credentials as Commissioner from the Convention of the people of the State of South Carolina, and to inform that body that I am prepared to enter immediately upon the discharge of the duties of my mission.
With high considerations, I am, sir,
Your obedient servant,
Mr. Gholson read the following for information:
IN CONVENTION, JACKSON, Miss.,
January 10th, 1861.
To the President of the United States--Sir: On the 9th day of January, A. D., 1861, the sovereign State of Mississippi, by her Ordinance, dissolved her connexion with the late Federal Union, and annihilated all Federal jurisdiction and authority within her limits. Consequently, it is proper for me to inform you that upon this dissolution of the Union, my function and authority as District Judge ceased, and became utterly extinct from and after that date.
I am, sir, your ob't servant,
S. J. GHOLSON.
On motion of Mr. Gibson, of Issaquena,
Resolved, That the Hons. L. P. Conner and John Perkins, delegates elected to the State Convention of Louisiana, be invited to seats within the bar of the Convention, and that a committee of three be appointed to inform the gentlemen of the invitation.
On motion of Mr. Chalmers, of De Soto, Major Earl Van Dorn was invited to a seat within the bar of the Convention.
The President announced as the committee to wait upon the South Carolina and Alabama Commissioners, Messrs. Orr, Alcorn, Eckford, Woods, and Witty.
The Convention, then, on motion of Mr. Gholson, went into secret session.
The following resolutions were passed therein, the obligation of secresy being removed from the same:
Resolved, That the State of Mississippi recognizes the State of South Carolina as a sovereign and independent nation, and will correspond and treat with her as such.
Resolved, That the postmasters, and other officers or agents connected with the mail service in this State, be required to continue to discharge their duties until otherwise ordered by this Convention.
FRIDAY, January 11th, 1861.
The Convention was called to order at 10 o'clock, A. M., and was opened with prayer by the Rev. T. W. Caskey.
On motion of Mr. Gholson, of Monroe,Resolved,
That a committee of three be appointed to report on the enrollment
of the Ordinance to dissolve the union between the State of Mississippi
and other States united with her under the compact entitled "The
Constitution of the United States of America."
Committee--Messrs. Clayton, Harris and Ellett.
Mr. Winchester, of Adams, addressed the Convention on the powers of the Convention, dissenting from the proposition that "we are the people in sovereign power assembled, with the entire sovereignty of the State vested in us."
The President announced as the
Committee on Ways and Means--Messrs. Wright, Benton, Anderson, Catching, Alcorn, Gibson and Denson.
On motion of Mr. Tison,
Resolved, That the President of this Convention appoint a committee of three to prepare a Hall for the accommodation of this Convention during the sitting of the Legislature.
On motion of Mr. Anderson,
Resolved, That the signing of the Ordinance of Secession be postponed until to-morrow at 12 o'clock, M.
Mr. Benton offered the following, which was referred to the Committee on Citizenship:
Resolved, That all citizens of the United States domiciled within this State on the adoption of the Ordinance of separation, January 9th, 1861, be regarded as citizens of Mississippi, entitled to all the rights and privileges and subject to all the liabilities incident thereto.
Mr. Clapp, from committee on Postal Affairs, submitted an Ordinance, which was ordered to be printed. Mr. Clapp
addressed the Convention in explanation of said Ordinance.
The President announced as the
Temporary Executive Council--Messrs. F. M. Rogers, J. L. Alcorn, A. M. Clayton, W. P. Harris, Alfred C. Holt.
Mr. Clayton, of Marshall, submitted the following report:
The committee to whom was assigned the duty of comparing the Ordinance of Secession as enrolled with the original Ordinance as adopted, beg leave to report that they have performed the duty entrusted to them, and that they find the Ordinance prepared for the signatures of the delegates to be a true and perfect transcript of the original.
On motion of Mr. George,
Resolved, That the resolution heretofore adopted by this Convention inviting Judges of the High Court of Errors and Appeals to a seat in the Convention be so extended as to include all persons who have heretofore held that office or the office of justice of the old Supreme Court of this State.
The Hon. Armistead Burt, Commissioner from the Republic of South Carolina to Mississippi, addressed the Convention.
After which the Convention adjourned till Wednesday morning at 10 o'clock.
SATURDAY, January 12th, 1861.
The Convention met pursuant to adjournment, and was opened with prayer by the Rev. D. A. Snow.
The President announced the committees on engrossed and enrolled bills.
Mr. Dyer offered a resolution instructing the Committee on Ways and Means to inquire into the expediency of this State issuing bonds, or certificates of deposit, the interest and one-tenth of the principal to be expended in the military defence of the State. The resolution was appropriately referred.
Mr. Chalmers, from the Committee on Military and Naval Affairs, submitted a report, which was ordered to be printed.
Mr. Brantley submitted "An Ordinance to provide for surveys and fortification of military sites within the State of Mississippi," which was ordered to be printed.
On motion of Mr. Ellett,
Resolved, That all Ordinances that may be passed by this Convention shall be enrolled by the Secretary in a fair hand, on suitable paper, and shall be signed by the President, with the date of the passage thereof, and deposited in the office of the Secretary of State for preservation.
Mr. Fontaine offered the following Ordinance, which was referred to the Committee on Southern Confederacy:
Resolved, Be it ordained, by the, people of Mississippi in Convention assembled, that the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Cherokee Nations respectively be invited to appoint delegates to the Convention of the slave-holding States to assemble at Montgomery, Alabama, on the first Monday in February next, to share in its deliberations in organizing a government for a Southern Confederation; and that said nations be severally invited to enter into a confederation on equal footing with the other slave-holding States; and,
Be it further ordained, by the authority upon said nations, that the Governor of this State be authorized and required to appoint and accredit one or more Commissioners to the said Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Cherokee Nations to confer with their respective governments in relation to the foregoing propositions, and that it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to make an appropriation by law to defray the expenses of said Commissioner or Commissioners.
Mr. Clayton, of Marshall, offered an Ordinance, amending the ninth section of the seventh article of the Constitution of this State, so far as to suspend the force and effect of that part of said section, which required the action of two successive Legislatures to pass a law to raise money, and pledge the faith of the State for the payment thereof, until the difficulties now existing between this State and other foreign States or Governments are adjusted.
The Ordinance was appropriately referred.
Mr. Smart submitted the following, which, with information accompanying it, was ordered to be printed:
Resolved, That the Committee on Military Affairs be instructed to report an Ordinance to form out of the troops provided by an Ordinance entitled, "An Ordinance to regulate the military system of the State," one Brigade of regular troops, to consist of two regiments of Infantry, three squadrons of Cavalry, and one battery of Light Artillery, to be organized, armed and equipped as in the army of the United States, to be commanded by one of the Brigadier-Generals, and to be subject to all the rules and regulations provided for in the Ordinance above referred to.
On motion of Mr. Brooke,
Resolved, That the following words be, by the enrolling Clerk, appended at the end of the Ordinance of Secession: "In testimony of the passage of which and the determination of the members of this Convention, to uphold and maintain the State in the position she has assumed by said Ordinance, it is signed by the President and members of this Convention, this the --day of January, A. D. 1861.
On motion of Mr, Ellett,
Resolved, That the signing of the Ordinance of Secession be postponed until Tuesday next, at 11 o'clock.
On motion of Mr. Gholson,
Resolved, That the Auditor of Public Accounts be instructed to report to this Convention the number of acres and value of land, including town lots, subject to taxation; also, the number of negroes, and the value of other personal property, including the sales of merchandize, and amount of money loaned at interest in this State.
On motion, the Convention went into committee of the whole on the Ordinance to provide for postal arrangements in Mississippi.
After some discussion and sundry amendments, the Ordinance was reported back to the Convention, ordered to be engrossed, and made the special order for Monday at 10 o'clock.
On motion of Mr. Lamar, the Convention went into secret session, and continued therein until adjournment for the day.
The following resolution, offered by Mr. Harris in secret session, was unanimously adopted, and the injunction of secresy removed from the same:
Resolved, That the people of Mississippi recognize the right of the free navigation of the Mississippi river, for commercial purposes, in time of peace, by all States occupying its banks, and that they are willing to enter into proper stipulations to secure the enjoyment of that right.
MONDAY, January 14th, 1861.
The Convention met at 10 o'clock, A. M.
The President read a telegraphic dispatch, dated Washington, 12th, announcing the formal withdrawal of the Mississippi members of the House that morning.
Mr. Harris, from Committee on Federal Jurisdiction and Property, submitted all Ordinance, which was ordered to be printed, and made the special order for 11 o'clock on Wednesday next.
On motion of Mr. Chalmers, the Convention went into committee of the whole on the Ordinance reported by the Committee on Military and Naval Affairs.
After considerable discussion, and sundry amendments, the committee rose, reported progress, and asked leave to sit again on Thursday at 12 o'clock.
Mr. Anderson, from committee to prepare a hall for Convention during the session of the Legislature, reported that the new Concert Hall was being put in readiness for that purpose.
After some discussion as to the joint use of Representatives' Hall, on motion of Mr. Jones,
Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to propose to the House of Representatives that the use of this Hall be yielded to this Convention from and after 2 o'clock, P. M., each day, while both bodies are in session.
Mr. King offered a resolution requiring the Secretary to have the proceedings of the secret sessions separately recorded. Before the resolution was disposed of,
On motion of Mr. Chalmers, the Convention went into secret session, and continued therein until adjournment for the day.
The following resolution was adopted in secret session, and the injunction of secresy removed from the same:
Resolved, That the Postmaster at Jackson, Miss., be furnished by the Doorkeeper with a number of printed copies of said Ordinance, as amended, providing for Postal Arrangements in Mississippi, sufficient to supply with a copy every postmaster in said State of Mississippi.
TUESDAY, January 15th, 1861.
Convention met pursuant to adjournment.
The President announced as the committee to confer with the House of Representatives relative to the joint use of hall, Messrs. Jones, O. Davis and Young.
Mr. Glenn, chairman of Committee on Southern Confederacy, submitted a report, which was ordered to be printed, and made the special order for Wednesday, at 11 o'clock.
The special order, Mr. Smart's resolution, providing for one brigade of regular troops, was taken up, considered, and laid on the table.
The President announced as the
Committee on Indian Affairs--Messrs. Fontaine, Benton, Reynolds, Orr and Keith.
On motion of Mr. Rogers,
Resolved, That Col. John A. Wilcox, a member elect to the Convention of the State of Texas, be invited to a seat within the bar of this Convention.
Also, the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Legislature.
Mr. Brooke, from Committee on Citizenship, submitted a report, which was laid on the table and ordered to be printed.
Mr. Ellett moved that the Convention proceed with the regular order--signing the Ordinance of Secession.
On motion of Mr. Clayton, of Marshall,
Resolved, That when the Convention proceeds to sign the Ordinance of Secession, it be first signed by the President and attested by the Secretary of the Convention; that the counties be then called in alphabetical order, and that the delegates affix their signatures in the order in which their counties and their own names are called.
Resolved, also, That the Governor of this State, and the Senate and House of Representatives be invited to be present, at the time the same is signed.
On motion of Mr. Brantley,
Resolved, That the President of the Convention appoint a committee of three to inform his Excellency the Governor that the Convention is about to proceed to sign the Ordinance of Secession, and invite him to be present.
Committee--Messrs. Brantley, Booth and Tison.
A letter was read from the Treasurer's Department, in connection with the presentation of a gold pen to the President, with which the in members might sign the Ordinance.
Mr. Chalmers said he wished to sign the Ordinance with a pen of his own, which he intended to transmit to some of his posterity.
Mr. Tison, from committee to wait upon His Excellency, reported duty discharged.
The Ordinance of Secession was then, in alphabetical order of counties, unanimously signed, with the exception of three absentees. The first signature was attached at twenty minutes past 11 o'clock, A. M., the last, at fifteen minutes to 1 o'clock, P. M.
On motion of Mr. Ellett,
Resolved, That the Secretary of State be requested to cause the Ordinance of Secession to be suitably framed for its better preservation in his office.
Mr. Wright, from the Committee on Ways and means, presented a report from the majority of that committee, which was ordered to be printed.
Mr. Alcorn presented a minority report, which he desired to have considered in connection with the majority report, and which was also ordered to be printed.
On motion of Mr. Glenn,
Resolved, That the Committee on a Southern Confederacy be instructed to inquire as to the propriety of appointing a commissioner or commissioners whose duty it shall be to visit the city of Washington, and lay before the President of the United States an authentic copy of the Ordinance of Secession passed by this Convention, and confer with him upon the future relations and intercourse of that government and the government of the State of Mississippi, and report by resolution or otherwise.
The Convention adjourned till Wednesday morning, 9 1/2 o'clock.
WEDNESDAY, January 16th, 1861.
Convention met pursuant to adjournment.
Mr. Clayton of Lowndes, offered a series of resolutions relative to the powers and duties of this Convention--that it was called by the people for a specific purpose, to-wit: the secession of the State from the Federal Union, and the formation of a Southern Confederacy, and that its powers and duties are limited to that end, and such incidental subjects as may be necessary to accomplish the same. The resolutions were ordered to be printed.
On motion of Mr. Glenn,
Resolved, That the Committee on Military and Naval affairs be instructed to inquire what measures, if any, are necessary for the protection and defence of the Sea Coast of the State of Mississippi, and the Islands contiguous thereto, and report thereon as speedily as possible, by Ordinance or otherwise.
Mr. Barksdale, from Committee on Enrolled Bills, reported the Ordinance on Postal Arrangements correctly enrolled.
On motion of Mr. Harris, the Convention went into committee of the whole on the report of the Committee on Federal Jurisdiction and Property in Mississippi.
After some discussion, and sundry amendments, the committee reported the bill back to the Convention, when it was concurred in and ordered to be enrolled.
On motion of Mr. Glenn the next special order was taken up--the report of the committee on Southern Confederacy.
The consideration of this report occupied the balance of the day, and night session,--Messrs. Glenn, Benton, Wright, Clapp, Chalmers, Clayton of Marshall, Harris and Barry discussing it at considerable length.
On motion of Mr. Anderson, the committee rose, reported bill back to the Convention, and recommended its passage, which was received and agreed to.
On motion of Mr. Anderson,
Resolved, That when the Convention goes into secret session that it shall be on such matters exclusively as should be considered in secret session only, and that all other matters be ruled out of order by the President.
Mr. Jones, from Committee to confer with the Legislature, relative to use of hall, submitted a report, which was received and agreed to: that the House of Representatives, have, by resolution, agreed to yield occupation of the Hall to this Convention, from and after the hour of 2 o'clock, P. M. on each day, while both bodies are in session.
On motion of Mr. Gholson, the Convention adjourned till to-morrow, 2 o'clock, P. M.
THURSDAY, January 17th, 1861.
Convention met pursuant to adjournment.
On motion of Mr. Fontaine,
Resolved, That F. A. Pope, the Secretary of this Convention, and T. S. Hardee, who obligingly and gratuitously enrolled on parchment the Ordinance of Secession adopted by this body, be and they are hereby invested with the exclusive right to lithograph for their joint use and benefit, the said Ordinance, and the signatures thereto.
A tabular statement was received from the Auditor of Public Acounts, showing the assessment of personalty in the State of Misissippi, together with the number of acres and value of taxable lands for the year 1860:
Mr. Deason, from committee on enrolled ordinances, reported as correctly enrolled, the Ordinance on Federal Jurisdiction and Property in the State of Mississippi.
On motion of Mr. Harris, said Ordinance was taken up for consideration, and, on his further motion, the Ordinance was passed.
The next special order, the resolutions relative to a Southern Confederacy, was taken up for consideration.
Mr. Barksdale offered an amendment providing for the election of delegates to the Montgomery Convention from the several Congressional Districts. This Amendment gave rise to an animated discussion, and was adopted (though subsequently reconsidered and rejected)--46 voting for, and 35 against the proposition.
Mr. Gholson offered an amendment to the 1st section, by inserting after the word "delegate," the words "who are not members of this Convention," which was lost--30 for, 61 against.
Mr. Gholson also moved to amend by inserting after the word "those" in the same section, the word "slaveholding," which was lost--23 for, 67 against.
Mr. Ellett offered an additional section, which was adopted, to the effect that the people of Mississippi, not desiring to bind their representatives by peremptory instructions, would nevertheless prefer that the Convention to be assembled at Montgomery should confine its action to the subject of the formation of a Provisional Government for the States represented therein, referring the same back to the existing Conventions of said States for ratification, and for the election of Senators and Representatives in the Congress to be created, etc.
The various amendments being thoroughly discussed, on motion of Mr. Lamar, the ordinance was refered back to the committee with instructions to frame and report another one.
Mr. Miller from committee on State Constitution, submitted a report, which was ordered to be printed.
The Convention adjourned till to-morrow at 2 o'clock, P. M.
FRIDAY, January 18th, 1861.
Convention met pursuant to adjournment, at 2 o'clock P. M.
On motion of Mr. Chalmers, the Ordinance on Military Affairs was re-committed to the committee, with instructions to report again.
On motion of Mr. Welsh,
Resolved, That a committee of five be appointed by the President of this Convention to confer with a general committee of the like number of the Senate and House of Representatives, as to the course which the two bodies propose to adopt in regard to the various subjects of legislative action, growing out of the present position of the State, and also as to the propriety of the adjournment of one of said bodies to a future day; and that the said two Houses of the Legislature be invited to concur in the proposed conference between the said two Houses and this Convention.
On motion of Mr. Orr, the Convention went into secret session.
After some time spent therein, the Convention resolved itself into Committee of the Whole, on the Ordinance to provide means for the defence of the State.
Mr. Walter offered a substitute for the majority and minority report.
The following, offered by Mr. Baldwin for information, gave rise to considerable discussion:
Resolved, That the Committee on Ways and Means be and it is hereby instructed to report an Ordinance providing for raising so much money as will be necessary to fully arm and equip for the field, eight regiments of volunteers, and leave a balance of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars unexpended; and providing, that said sum shall be raised by a tax on the negro property, the land, exempting all homesteads containing not more than 100 acres; and upon all money loaned at interest, whether in the State or out of it, belonging to our citizens; and providing, that one-half of said tax shall be collected immediately, and the other half in October next; and further providing that said tax may be realized as needed, by the proper authorities, at a discount not exceeding ten per cent per annum.
On motion of Mr. Walter, the Committee rose and reported progress.
On motion of Mr. Marshall,
Resolved, That the Auditor of Public Accounts be required to furnish the Convention a statement of the aggregate amount of the tax assessed on real and personal property in this State for the current fiscal year; the amount of Auditor's Warrants, now issued, and an estimate of the ordinary expenditures of the State during the present year.
Resolved, That the Committee on Military and Naval Affairs be instructed to ascertain and report to the Convention the number and character of arms now owned by the State, and the additional arms, &c., necessary to equip and prepare for the field all the troops proposed to be raised for its efficient defence, and the probable cost thereof.
The Convention adjourned till Saturday, 2 o'clock, P. M.
SATURDAY, January 19th, 1861.
Convention met pursuant to adjournment, at 2 o'clock, P. M.
On motion of Mr. Clayton, of Marshall,
Resolved, That a committee, consisting of five, be appointed to call the attention of the planting interest of the State, by a short address to the people, to the vast importance, under existing circumstances, of home production in the State of Mississippi, of a supply of provisions for all its wants, and to urge upon them especial reference to this subject in planting the crop of the present year.
Committee--Messrs. G. R. Clayton, Vaughan, McGehee, Lea and Keirn.
The President directed the following dispatch to be read:
JEFFERSON CITY, MO., January 16th, 1861.
Gov. J. J. PETTUS--The Convention bill has just passed with great unanimity. Election 18th February.
DAN R. RUSSELL.
Messrs. A. Pattison, of Tallahatchie, and J. H. Edwards, of Choctaw, who were absent on the 15th, signed the Ordinance of Secession.
On motion of Mr. Gholson,
Resolved, That the Convention confirm the appointment of Commissioners heretofore made by the Governor of this State under a resolution of the Legislature of Mississippi, approved 30th day of November, 1860.
On motion of Mr. Orr, the Convention went into committee of the whole on the Ordinance on Citizenship in Mississippi.
Messrs. Brooke, Walter, Barry, Alcorn, Dyer, Ellett, Harris, Aldridge, Orr and O. Davis, discussed the Ordinance, when Mr. Brooke offered a substitute, which was adopted, and after being reported back to the Convention, was ordered to be engrossed. Mr. Brooke, on a subsequent day, withdrew this substitute, and the Ordinance originally reported, with a few amendments, was adopted.
The following communication, handed to the President by Mr. Miller, of Pontotoc, was read, and ordered to be spread upon the journals:
JACKSON, Miss., January 12th, 1861.
HON. WM. S. BARRY, President of the Convention--Sir: The objects of my mission to the Convention of the people of Mississippi having been accomplished, my official relation to that body is at an end. I cannot take leave of that body without expressing my sense of the alacrity and hereoism with which it has met and discharged its high duties. Its generous appreciation of the action of South Carolina, and its noble sentiments of fraternal consideration and regard for that State, excite my sincere and profound gratitude. The counsels of Mississippi and South Carolina are now united, and their hands clasped in a common and glorious cause. I will not repress my own feelings by omitting to say how deeply sensible I am of unmerited kindness and hospitality from the whole State of Mississippi--her Executive Department, her Convention, her Legislature, and her people--to myself, officially and individually. I
have the honor to assure the Convention, and you, Sir, of the high consideration with which I am their and your obedient servant,
On motion of Mr. Ellett,
Resolved, That when this Convention adjourns to-day, it adjourn to meet at Concert Hall on Monday next, at 10 o'clock, A. M.
Mr. Miller, from Committee on State Constitution, to which was referred a resolution instructing it to inquire into the propriety of preparing an appropriate Flag and Coat of Arms emblamatic of the independence and sovereignty of the State, asked to be discharged from the further consideration of the subject, and moved its reference to a special committee of five.
Committee--Messrs. Clapp, Ellett, Thompson, Ramsey and Young.
Mr. Miller, from same committee, to which was referred the Ordinance providing for the appointment of ambassadors, ministers, consuls, &c., to foreign governments, and for the appointment of an Executive Council, reported that they did not deem it expedient or necessary to take any action thereon at the present time, and asked to be discharged from the further consideration thereof. Which was received and agreed to.
The consideration of the revenue bill being resumed.
Mr. Anderson submitted, for information, a basis for State loan, the adoption of which, he said, would immediately secure half a million of dollars, and not conflict with any other plan before the Convention. It was ordered to be printed.
Mr. Aldridge, also, submitted "an Ordinance to raise means for the defence of the State," which was ordered to be printed.
Mr. Berry offered a resolution instructing the Committee on Ways and Means to report an Ordinance levying a special tax of one dollar and twenty-five cents on each slave in this State under sixty years of age, and the same amount on every hundred dollars of money loaned at interest by individuals, or employed by them in the purchase of bonds, bills, notes, or other securities for money, whether the same be loaned or employed within or without the limits of the State; and also a tax on all other taxable property of the state, equal to the tax now required by law.
On motion of Mr. Chalmers, the further consideration of the bill was postponed until Monday at 10 o'clock.
On motion of Mr. Harris,
Resolved, That the late Clerks of the District and Circuit Courts of the United States be and they are hereby authorized to make and certify transcripts of the records of said courts, as heretofore provided by law, and be authorized to allow inspection of the records and files of said courts under the regulations heretofore existing therein.
Mr. Orr stated that the President of the Convention would
necessarily be absent from the city until a late hour on Monday and on his motion,
Mr. Ellett was elected President pro tem of the Convention.
On motion of Mr. Gholson, the Convention adjourned till 7 P. M., to meet at that hour in secret session.
The Convention was in secret session till nearly 10 o'clock, A resolution was passed to meet in the Masonic Hall on Monday morning at 9 o'clock.
Mr. Harris introduced a bill in secret session, which was passed, and the obligation of secresy removed from the same, enabling the Governor to borrow money to sustain the troops of this State now in the field.
The following resolutions, offered by Mr. Lamar, were also adopted in secret session, and the injunction of secresy removed therefrom:
Resolved, That this Convention, sympathizing with South Carolina in her present condition, accepts her invitation to meet with the seceding States for the purpose of forming a Southern Confederacy.
Resolved, That the President be requested to furnish the Hon. Armstead Burt, Commissioner from the State of South Carolina to the State of Mississippi, with an authentic copy of the Ordinance of Secession, and an authentic copy of the resolution recognizing the State of South Carolina as a sovereign and independent nation, adopted by this Convention, and that he be requested to submit the same to the Executive authority of the State of South Carolina.
Resolved, That we perform a pleasent duty in testifying to the authorities of South Carolina our appreciation of the very able and acceptable manner in which their Commissioner, Hon. Armistead Burt, has fulfilled the important duties of his delicate mission.
MONDAY, January 21st, 1861.
Convention met pursuant to adjournment, in the Masonic Hall, at 10 o'clock, A. M.
On motion of Mr. Alcorn,
Resolved, That J. L. Power, Reporter for Daily Mississippian, be invited to a seat during the secret sessions of this Convention.
The consideration of the revenue bill being resumed, on motion, the Convention went into secret session, and continued therein until the hour of adjournment for the day, 6 o'clock, P. M.
TUESDAY, January 22, 1861.
Convention met pursuant to adjournment, in the Masonic Hall, at 10 o'clock, A. M.
Mr. Gholson moved to reconsider the vote by which the amendment offered by Mr. Berry to the revenue bill was adopted. The motion to reconsider was laid on the table--45 yeas, 33 nays.
Mr. Mayson, from Committee on Engrossed Ordinances, reported the Ordinance on Citizenship in Mississippi correctly engrossed.
Said Ordinance being the special order, Mr. Brooke requested that the Ordinance be recommitted to the committee.
On motion of Mr. Chalmers, the Ordinance reported by him yesterday on Military and Naval Affairs, was taken up, considered by sections, and after sundry amendments, was ordered to be engrossed.
Mr. Wright presented a report from the Committee on Ways and Means, which was ordered to be printed.
On motion of Mr. Gholson, the Convention adjourned till 3 1/2 o'clock, P. M., to meet in the Capitol--the Legislature having adjourned sine die.
The Convention met pursuant to adjournment.
The President directed the following dispatch to be read:
CHARLESTON, Jan. 19, 1861.
To HON. A. BURT, JACKSON.--Judge Magrath and myself have sent four telegrams to you. Please urge Mississippi to send delegates to the Montgomery meeting of States, at as early a day as possible--say 4th February-- to form immediately a strong Provisional Government. It is the only thing to prevent war, and let that Convention elect immediately a Commander in Chief for the seceding States. You may as well return, at least as far as Montgomery.
F. W. PICKENS.
Mr. Barksdale, from Committee on Enrolled Ordinances, reported the Ordinance concerning federal property and jurisdiction in Mississispi, as correctly enrolled.
The special order--the report of Committee on Southern Confederacy--was then taken up, in the discussion of which the Convention was engaged till 6 1/2 o'clock P. M., when it adjourned to 7 1/2 P. M.
On re-assembling, the Convention resumed the discussion of the Ordinance pending at adjournment, and after sundry amendments, was reported back to the Convention, passed, and ordered to be engrossed.
On motion of Mr. Glenn, the election of delegates contemplated in the first resolution, was made the special order for to-morrow at 11 o'clock.
The Convention adjourned till to-morrow morning, 10 o'clock.
WEDNESDAY, January 23d, 1861.
Convention met pursuant to adjournment:
On motion of Mr. Glenn,
Resolved, That the Committee on Southern Confederacy be instructed to inquire into the propriety or expediency of having this State represented in such provisional Government as may be formed by the Convention at Montgomery, and the best mode by which such representation can be had, and report by rosolution or otherwise as soon as practicable.
On motion of Mr. King,
Resolved, That the Hon. A. G. Brown, Jefferson Davis, Reuben Davis, John J. McRae, William Barksdale and O. R. Singleton, the Senators and Representatives in Congress, be invited to seats upon the floor of this house during all the sittings of this Convention.
Mr. Clayton, of Marshall, offered an Ordinance, which was referred to the Committee on State Constitution, to the effect that if any part of the present Constitution of the State of Mississippi shall be in conflict with any Ordinance passed by this Convention, such part of said Constitution shall be held to be abrogated and annulled, to the extent of such conflict, but no further.
On motion of Mr. Glenn,
Resolved, That the Convention do now proceed to vote for seven delegates to the Montgomery Convention and no one shall be elected it delegate unless he or they shall receive majority of all the votes polled, without any special nominations being made.
The President appointed as tellers, Messrs. Gholson, Chalmers and Reynolds.
The first ballot resulted in the choice of Wiley P. Harris, of Hinds, who received 50 votes.
Sixty-three others were voted for on the first ballot.
The second ballot resulted in the choice of Walker Brooke, of Warren, who received 52 votes; and W. S. Wilson, of Caiborne, who received 49 votes.
The third ballot resulted in the choice of Alexander M. Clayton, of Marshall, who received 53 votes.
The fourth ballot resulted in no choice--Wm. S. Barry receiving the highest vote, 41.
The fifth ballot resulted in no choice.
The sixth ballot resulted in the choice of Wm. S. Barry, of Lowndes, who received 47 votes; J. A. P. Campbell, of Attala, who received 47 votes; and J. T. Harrison, of Lowndes, who received 47 votes.
Mr. Glenn submitted a report from the Committee on Southern Confederacy, relative to the appointment of Senators and Representatives, in the event the Convention to assemble at Montgomery adopts a plan for a Provisional Government, etc. The report was ordered to be printed.
Mr. Chalmers called up the special order--the Ordinance on Naval and Military Affairs. The Ordinance, as engrossed, was read, and adopted.
On motion of Mr. Chalmers, the Convention proceeded to the election of military officers, by ballot.
The President appointed Messrs. Gholson, Anderson and Beene as tellers.
The Major-Generalship being first in order,
On motion of Mr. Welsh,
Resolved, That this Convention elect four Brigadier-Generals, by electing one at a time, by ballot, until all four are elected.
The first ballot resulted in no choice. The following gentlemen were voted for: Earl Van Dorn, Chas. Clark, J. L. Alcorn, W. C. Falconer, C. H. Mott, J. L. McManus, Thos. W. Harris, J. H. Miller, H. H. Miller, Richard Griffith, C. H. Albert, J. C. Russell, C. H. Shot, D. R. Russell, W. F. Gaines, Jos. R. Davis.
The second ballot resulted in no choice.
The third ballot resulted in the choice of Major Earl Van Dorn, of Claiborne, who was duly declared First Brigadier-General; when the Convention proceeded to the election of Second Brigadier-General.
There being no election on the first ballot, on motion the Convention adjourned to 7 1/2 P. M.
On re-assembling, the Convention resumed balloting for Second Brigadier-General, resulting in the choice of Chas. Clark, of Bolivar, who received 47 votes.
The next ballot resulted in the choice of J. L. Alcorn, of Coahoma, as 3d Brigadier-General, having received 52 votes.
The Convention then proceeded to the election of 4th Brigadier-General-- the first ballot resulting in no choice.
On the second ballot, C. H. Mott, of Marshall, was elected, having received 48 votes.
The Convention adjourned at 9 o'clock, till to-morrow morning at 10 o'clock.
THURSDAY, January 24th, 1861.
Convention met pursuant to adjournment.
A device for Coat of Arms for the State of Mississippi, was received from the Governor, in accordance with a resolution of the Legislature, November 30th, 1860. Referred to special committee.
The following communication, addressed to the Hon. Wm. S. Barry, was read and referred to the Committee on Federal Jurisdiction and Property:
LAND OFFICE, COLUMBUS, MISS., January 19th, 1860.
Dear Sir: Recognizing our allegiance to the State, both in our private and official capacity, we would be pleased, as early as practicable, to have such an expression of her will as would direct us in the proper course to be pursued by us in our official character. Both as President of the Convention, and as one of our immediate delegates, we consider you the appropriate person to be addressed on the subject.
Very truly yours,
F. G. BALDWIN,
R. D. HARDEE,
Mr. Orr offered the following resolution:
Resolved, That a special committee of five be appointed to inquire into the expediency of suspending the execution of decrees, judgments, executions, mortgages and deeds of trust, for twelve months; also, the laws for instituting suits in the various courts in this State, except the attachment laws.
Mr. Benton introduced an additional Ordinance from Committee on Postal Affairs, which was ordered to be printed.
Mr. Glenn called up the special order--the additional Ordinance from Committee on Southern Confederacy.
Mr. Ellett offered a substitute for the Ordinance reported by the committee.
Messrs. Ellett and Glenn having explained the respective plans submitted by them, on motion, the Ordinance reported by the committee, and the amendment of Mr. Ellett, were made the special order for to-morrow at 10 o'clock.
On motion of Mr. Orr, the Convention went into secret session.
After a short time spent therein, the Convention went into committee of the whole on the revenue bill.
After discussion by Messrs. Walter, Ellett, Chalmers and Berry, the Committee rose, reported the bill back to the Convention, add asked to be discharged from its further consideration.
Mr. George offered the following amendment:
Provided, That in order to make the State tax on slaves equal to the State tax on other personalty and on land , the above mentioned tax of fifty per centum on the present State tax, shall not apply to slaves: but instead thereof, an additional special tax of one dollar and twenty-five cents be
imposed on each taxable slave, to be collected and disbursed as the other taxes herein provided for.
Mr. Chalmers offered the following as an amendment to the amendment:
And that the regular tax on slaves be and it is hereby so changed that the tax assessed on each taxable slave shall be the same as on taxable land, and that no slave shall be taxable who is over sixty or under ten years of age, and that slaves shall be so assessed at the next regular assessment of the property of the State.
Mr. Wright moved to lay both amendments on the table.
A division of the question being called, the amendment to the amendment was laid on the table; and the question recurring on the amendment offered by Mr. George, it was lost by the following vote:
YEAS--Messrs. Alcorn, Anderson, Barksdale, Booth, Backstrom, Bolling, Clayton of Lowndes, Colbert, Clapp, Dease, Dyer, Ellett, Fizer, Flournoy, Harris, Hill, Holt, Hurst, Jones, Keirn, Kennedy, Lamar, Marshall, McGehee of Bolivar, McGehee of Panola, Neely, Pattison, Roberts, Sanders, Smart, Semmes, Terral, Taylor, Thompson, Vaughan, Walter, Wilkinson, Yerger--38.
NAYS--Mr. President, Messrs. Baldwin, Brantley, Brooke, Benton, Beene, Blair, Berry, Bonds, Bolling, Bullard, Clayton of Marshall, Catching, Chalmers, Cummings, O. Davis, J. S. Davis, Denson, Eckford, Edwards, Fontaine, George, Glenn, Gholson, Gwin, Isom, Johnston of De Soto, Keith, Lea, Lewers Lewis, Miller of Pontotoc, Miller of Tunic , Nelson, Orr, Parker, Powell of Covington, Ramsey, Rogers, Reynolds, Sumner, Stephens, Tison, Witty, Woods, Wright, Young--46.
Pending the discussion, the Convention adjourned to 3 o'clock P. M.
On re-assembling, Mr. Eckford offered the following resolution:
Resolved, That the Governor is hereby authorized to appropriate to the use of volunteers when called into service, or before, if he may deem it necessary, such cloth, or other material manufactured in the Penitentiary, and now on hand, or which may be hereafter manufactured, as may be, suitable for clothing said troops, and make tents for the same.
Mr. Walter offered the following:
Resolved, That the Military Board created by the Ordinance passed by this Convention, be authorized to employ so much of the labor of the Penitentiary for making tents, clothing, &c., as may be necessary, for the volunteers to be raised by said Ordinance.
Both of which resolutions, on motion of Mr. Marshall, were referred to the Committee on Military and Naval affairs.
The discussion of the revenue bill being resumed,
Mr. Ellett offered the following amendment to the amendment offered by Mr. George:
Strike out all after the word "additional special tax," and insert:
"Sufficient to make the tax on slaves equal to twenty cents on every one hundred dollars in value thereof--the value to be ascertained in the same manner that the value of lands is now ascertained under the revenue law of this State."
Mr. Gholson advocated the amendment offered by Mr. George.
Mr. Aldridge supported the amendment offered by Mr. Ellett.
Mr. Clapp spoke against both amendments; the subject under discussion was peculiarly within the province of the Legislature.
Mr. Marshall objected to, and Mr. Ramsey favored the amendment offered by Mr. George.
M. Chalmers moved the previous question, which was sustained, when the question was taken on the amendment of Mr. Ellett, and adopted by the following vote:
YEAS--Messrs. Alcorn, Aldridge, Backstrom, Benton, Blair, Bolling, Bullard, Chalmers, Cummings, Clapp, Dease, Dyer, Eckford, Edwards, Ellett, Flournoy, Glenn, Gwin, Harris, Hill, Holt, Jones, Keirn, Lewers, Lewis, Marshall, McGehee of Bolivar, Neely, Nelson, Parker, Powell of Covington, Smart, Semmes, Stephens, Terral, Taylor, Thompson, Vaughan, Walter, Welsh, Wilkinson, Woods, Wright, Yerger--45.
NAYS--Mr. President, Messrs. Anderson, Barksdale, Booth, Baldwin, Brantley, Brooke, Beene, Berry, Clayton of Marshall, Clayton of Lowndes, Catching, Colbert, O. Davis, J. S. Davis, Denson, Douglas, Fizer, Fontaine, George, Gholson, Herring, Isom, Johnston of De Soto, Keith, Kennedy, King, Lea, Miller of Tunica, Miller of Pontotoc, McGehee of Panola, Orr, Pattison, Ramsey, Rogers, Reynolds, Sanders, Summer, Tison, Witty, Young--41.
The question was taken on the amendment as amended, and lost by the following vote:
YEAS--Messrs. Aldridge, Baldwin, Benton, Beene, Blair, Bonds, Clayton of Marshall, Chalmers, Clapp, Dease, Fontaine, Gwin, Lewers, Miller of Pontotoc, Nelson, Parker, Young--17.
NAYS--Mr. President, Messrs. Alcorn, Anderson, Barksdale, Backstrom, Booth, Brantley, Brooke, Berry, Bolling, Bullard, Clayton of Lowndes, Catching, Cummings, Colbert, O. Davis, J. S. Davis, Douglas, Dyer, Eckford, Ellett, Fizer, Flournoy, George, Glenn, Gholson, Harris, Herring, Hill, Holt, Isom, Johnston of De Soto, Jones, Keirn, Keith, Kennedy, King Lea, Lewis, Marshall, McGehee of Bolivar, McGehee of Panola, Miller of Tunica, Neely, Orr, Pattison, Powell of Covington, Ramsey, Roberts, Rogers, Sanders, Semmes, Smart, Sumner, Stephens, Terral, Tison, Taylor, Thornton, Thompson, Vaughan, Walter, Welsh, Witty, Wilkinson, Woods, Wright, Yerger--68.
Mr. Glenn desired to make a brief explanation of his vote-- having voted against laying the amendment of the delegate from Carroll on the table, and then voting directly against the amendment itself.
After sundry other propositions to amend, on motion, the Convention adjourned till to-morrow morning, 9 o'clock.
FRIDAY, January 25th, 1861.
Convention met pursuant to adjournment.
On motion of Mr. Rogers,
Resolved, That the President appoint a committee of three, whose duty it shall be to examine the records of this Convention, correct errors, if any therein, and prepare the same for publication.
On motion of Holt,
Resolved, That the Governor be hereby requested to forward promptly to the Executives of the Northwestern States, an authenticated copy of the Ordinance passed by this Convention declaratory of our determination not to obstruct the peaceable navigation of the Mississippi River within our limits.
Mr. Orr called up his resolution suspending execution of judgments, decrees, etc., except attachments.
Mr. Jones moved the resolution be indefinitely postponed, which motion prevailed, by the following vote:
YEAS--Mr. President, Messrs. Anderson, Aldridge, Barksdale, Backstrom, Booth, Brooke, Beene, Benton, Bonds, Bolling, Clayton of Marshall, Clayton of Lowndes, Cummings, Clapp, O. Davis, Dyer, Deason, Eckford, Edwards, Ellett, Flournoy, Fizer, George, Glenn, Gibson, Gholson, Gwin, Holt, Hurst, Johnston of De Soto, Jones, Keirn, Kennedy, King, Lea, Marshall, McGehee of Bolivar, McGehee of Panola, Miller of Pontotoc, Nelson, Parker, Pattison, Powell of Jones, Ramsey, Roberts, Rogers, Sanders, Semmes, Tison, Taylor, Thornton, Thompson, Vaughan, Walter, Welsh, Witty, Woods, Wright--57.
NAYS--Messrs. Brantley, Berry, Catching, Dease, Denson, Keith, Lewers, Neely, Orr, Powell of Covington, Wilkinson, Young--12.
Mr. Brooke introduced the following, which was referred to the Committee on State Constitution:
Be it ordained by the people of the State of Mississippi in Convention assembled, That no law for the purpose of hindering or delaying or the execution of legal process for the collection of debts, or postponing the foreclosure of mortgages or deeds of trust, shall be passed by the Legislature, unless the same shall pass by a majority of three-fourths of each House.
The consideration of the revenue bill being resumed, Mr. King offered a substitute for the 1st section, which was adopted.
Mr. King, also, offered two additional sections, to come in after section 7th, which were adopted.
Mr. George offered two additional sections, which were adopted.
Mr. Alcorn offered an additional section, which was adopted.
Sundry blanks being filled, the Ordinance was ordered to be engrossed and made the special order for 10 o'clock to-morrow.
Mr. Barksdale, from Committee on Enrolled Ordinances, reported the Ordinance on Southern Confederacy as correctly enrolled.
Mr. Harris, from Committee on Federal Jurisdiction and Property, reported "An Ordinance supplemental to an Ordinance concerning the jurisdiction and property of the United States of America in the State of Mississippi."
Pending the discussion of which, the Convention adjourned till 3 o'clock.
On re-assembling, Mr. Brantley, from committee to report an Ordinance to provide for the disbursement of the Military Fund, submitted a report, which, after some discussion, was postponed for further consideration till to-morrow, 10 o'clock.
Mr. Aldridge submitted an ordinance relative to the powers of the Legislature in certain cases, which, on his motion, was referred to the Committee on State Constitution.
Mr. Glenn called up the special order--the additional resolutions reported by the Committee on Southern Confederacy, and Mr. Ellett's substitute therefor.
After some discussion, Mr. Glenn moved the previous question, which was not sustained.
After further discussion, Mr. Orr renewed the call for the previous question, which was sustained.
The main question was then put, when the motion to strike out the resolutions offered by Mr. Glenn, and insert the substitute offered by Mr. Ellett, prevailed--yeas 54, nays 18.
Mr. Clayton, of Marshall, offered the following, which, on his motion, was referred to the Committee on Postal Affairs:
Resolved, That an officer be appointed by this Convention, to be called the Postmaster-General of the State of Mississippi, (whose office and duties shall commence when the present postal system is abolished,) with powers to provide mail facilities for this State, and to that end that he be invested with power to make contracts and raise the rate of postage to meet the wants and requirements of that service.
On motion of Mr. Ellett,
Resolved, by the people of Mississippi, in Convention assembled, That the delegates to the General Convention of the seceding States be allowed
the same compensation and mileage now allowed by law to members of the Legislature, the mileage to be computed by the estimated distance from the residence of the delegate to the place of meeting of said Convention, by the most direct route of travel; and the Auditor shall issue his warrant therefor, on the written statement of each delegate of the amount due him.
Mr. Holt offered the following:
Resolved, That all officers in the military service of the late United States, who have, or shall hereafter resign their commissions in said service, and shall enlist in the military service of the State of Mississippi, shall, until in actual service, receive such pay as their rank entitled them to receive at the time of said resignation.
Which, on motion of Mr. Flournoy, was laid on the table.
Mr. Clapp called up the ordinance to provide for postal arrangements in Mississippi, which, after being discussed and amended, was referred back to the committee, to report again.
On motion of Mr. Benton,
Resolved, That the Governor's Council be instructed to report an Ordinance providing for a Permanent Council of State, of three in number, and defining the duties of said counsellors--said counsellors to continue in office until a Southern Confederacy is established.
Mr. Yerger offered the following, which was referred to the Committee on Postal Affairs:
Resolved, That the Committee on Postal Affairs be and they are hereby instructed to report an Ordinance for the issuance of postoffice stamps, and the rate of postage to be stamped on the envelopes, so that all postal matter may be prepaid before its conveyance or transportation by mail; provided, that such Ordinance shall not go into effect, or be in force unless the present postal system of this State be suspended or superseded by Congress.
The Convention adjourned till to-morrow morning, 9 o'clock.
SATURDAY, January 26th, 1861.
Convention met pursuant to adjournment.
Mr. Brooke, from Committee on Citizenship, re-submitted the Ordinance originally reported, with an amendment thereto, which Ordinance was adopted without debate.
On motion Mr. Fontaine, the Convention went into secret session.
After some time spent therein, the doors were opened. The injunction of secresy was removed from the following proceedings in secret session:
Mr. Holt offered the following resolution:
Resolved, That in the opinion of this Convention, it is not the purpose or policy of the people of the State of Mississippi to re-open the African slave trade.
Mr. Miller, of Pontotoc, moved to lay the resolution on the table, which was decided in the negative by yeas, 26, nays 50.
Mr. Holt moved the previous question, which was sustained, when the resolution was adopted by yeas and nays as follows:
YEAS--Mr. President, Messrs. Alcorn, Anderson, Aldridge, Baldwin, Booth, Brooke, Benton, Berry, Bonds, Bowling, Clayton of Marshall, Clayton of Lowndes, Catching, Clapp, O. Davis, Douglas, Dyer, Eckford, Edwards, Ellett, Fizer, Flournoy Fontaine, Glenn, Gibson, Gholson Gwin, Harris, Herring, Holt, Hurst, Isom, Johnston of De Soto, Keirn, Keith, Kennedy, Lea, Lamar, Lewers, Marshall, McGehee of Bolivar, McGehee of Panola, Miller of Tunica, Nelson, Orr, Parker, Pattison, Powell of Covington, Roberts, Rogers, Reynolds, Sanders, Semmes, Smart, Sumner, Stephens, Taylor, Thornton, Thompson, Vaughan, Walter, Welsh, Wright, Yerger, Young--67.
NAYS--Messrs. Barksdale, Backstrom, Brantley, Beene, Bullard, Cummings, Dease, George, King, Miller of Pontotoc, Neely, Witty, Woods--13.
In open session:
Mr. Glenn offered the following resolution,
Resolved, That when this Convention adjourns, that it do so, subject to be re-assembled upon the call of the President of the same, whenever, in his judgment, the public necessities may require it; and, in case of the death or resignation of that officer, then upon a call of a majority of a committee of three, now to be named by the President; and, unless re-assembled, on or before the first Monday in June, A. D. 1861, then, and in that case, it shall stand adjourned, sine die.
Mr. Yerger moved to amend by striking out all in the resolution after the word "adjourns," and inserting "that it adjourn sine die, not subject to be re-assembled by the order of the President thereof, or the Governor of this State."
The amendment was lost by 50 to 26.
Mr. Miller, of Pontotoc, moved to amend by striking out "first Monday in June," and inserting first Monday in October, which was adopted, by 52 to 18, when the resolution, so amended, was adopted.
The President appointed as the committee suggested in Mr. Glenn's resolution, Messrs. P. S Catching, of Copiah, A. P. Hill, of Madison, Warren P. Anderson, of Hinds.
Mr. Ellett offered the following:
Resolved, By the people of the State of Mississippi in Convention assembled, That the reconstruction of the Union of the United States of America is impracticable and unadvisable, and that hereafter Mississippi ought to confederate only with States having similar domestic institutions to her own.
Mr. Berry moved to lay the Ordinance on the table, which motion prevailed by the following vote:
YEAS--Mr. President, Messrs. Anderson, Aldridge, Baldwin,
Brantley, Brooke, Beene, Blair, Berry, Bonds, Bolling, Bullard, Clayton of Lowndes, Cummings, O. Davis, Douglas, Fizer, Flournoy, Herring, Isom, Johnston of Panola, Keith, Kennedy, King, Lea, Lamar, Lewers, Marshall, McGehee of Bolivar, Parker, Powell of Covington, Reynolds, Sanders, Sumner, Stephens, Terral, Taylor, Thornton, Thompson, Vaughan, Walter, Witty, Wright, Yerger, Young--44.
NAYS--Messrs. Alcorn, Barksdale, Catching, Clapp, Dease, Eckford, Ellett, Fontaine, George, Glenn, Gibson, Gholson, Gwin, Harris, Holt, Keirn, Lewis, McGehee of Panola, Miller of Pontotoc, Miller of Tunica, Neely, Nelson, Orr, Pattison, Roberts, Rogers, Semmes, Smart, Welsh, Woods,--32.
On motion of Mr. Brantley, the resolution to adjourn to-day at 12 o'clock, was rescinded.
Mr Brantley called up the Ordinance to provide for surveys and fortifications of military sites within the State of Mississippi, which, after a slight amendment, was adopted.
Mr. Wright, moved that the Ordinance, to raise means for the defence of the State be considered as engrossed, and put upon its passage.
Mr. Anderson offered section 14, which was adopted, and the Ordinance was then put upon its final passage.
Mr. Clapp introduced an Ordinance from Committee on Postal Affairs, which, on his motion, was considered as engrossed, and put upon its final passage.
Mr. Miller, of Pontotoc, called up the ordinance reported by the committee on State Constitution, which, on his motion, was considered as engrossed and put upon its final passage.
On motion of Mr. Walter,
Resolved, That the Secretary of this Convention forward to each member of the Convention two copies of the Ordinance in reference to revenue, heretofore ordered to be printed, when the same is printed, and that said Secretary have printed immediately three hundred additional copies of said Ordinance.
On motion of Mr. Anderson,
Resolved, That the Address herewith, setting forth the declaration of the immediate causes which induce and justify the secession of Mississippi from the Federal Union, and the Ordinance of Secession, be referred to a special committee.
The President appointed as such
Committee--Messrs. A. M. Clayton, W. P. Anderson, D. C. Glenn, L. Q. C. Lamar, J. L. Alcorn.
Mr. Harris called up the supplemental Ordinance concerning Federal jurisdiction and property in Mississippi, which, being read, on his further motion, the Ordinance was considered as engrossed and put upon its final passage.
Mr. Barksdale offered "an Ordinance to provide for publishing
the Ordinances and Journal of this Convention," which was adopted.
On motion of Mr. Davis,
Resolved, That Mr. J. L. Power be allowed the sum of four dollars per day during the session of this Convention for the reports of its proceedings which have appeared in the Daily Mississippian.
Mr. Miller, from committee to which was referred an ordinance proposing to confer upon the Legislature power to "change, alter or abolish all ordinances passed by this Convention," with certain exceptions, reported the same back to the Convention, with the recommendation that it be not adopted; which report was received and agreed to.
Mr. Miller, also, submitted a report on the following Ordinance, recommending its adoption:
AN ORDINANCE to amend the Constitution of the State of Mississippi in relation to the powers of the Legislature.
Be it ordained by the people of the State of Mississippi in Convention assembled, That no law for the purpose of hindering or delaying the execution of legal process, for the collection of debts, or postponing the foreclosure of mortgages or deeds of trust, shall be passed by the Legislature unless the same shall be passed by two-thirds of each house of said Legislature.
The report being received, Mr. Anderson moved to lay it on the table, which motion prevailed, by the following vote:
YEAS--Mr. President, Messrs. Anderson, Baldwin, Backstrom, Booth, Brantley, Berry, Bolling, Clayton of Marshall, Catching, Clapp, O. Davis, Dease, Douglas, Eckford, Ellett, Edwards, Fizer, Flournoy, Fontaine, George, Glenn, Gholson, Gwin, Harris, Isom, Johnston of De Soto, Keith, Kennedy, Lea, Lewers, Marshall, McGehee of Panola, Miller of Tunica, Neely, Orr, Parker, Powell of Covington, Powell of Jones, Reynolds, Sanders, Semmes, Sumner, Stephens, Terral, Taylor, Thompson, Welsh--49.
NAYS--Messrs. Aldridge, Barksdale, Brooke, Bonds, Bullard, Clayton of Lowndes, Gibson, Herring, Holt, Keirn, Lewis, Miller of Pontotoc, Nelson, Roberts, Thornton, Walter and Woods--17.
On motion of Mr. Marshall,
Resolved, That the Convention recommend the City Hospital at Vicksburg to the favorable consideration of the Legislature, and suggest the propriety of making a suitable appropriation in aid thereof.
Mr. George asked and was granted permission to spread a Protest upon the journals, against the adoption, by this Convention, or the resolution offered by Mr. Holt this morning, in reference to the African Slave Trade, for various reasons having no reference to their individual views on the subject matter of said resolution. The Legislature had already declared a policy on this subject in exact conformity with the resolution
adopted, and the action of this Convention was unnecessary. The question was not made the subject of debate in the late canvass, and the resolution was an usurpation of the just powers of the Legislature, and a negation to that body of the right to exercise a plain constitutional function which had been delegated to them by the people. The Protest was signed by Messrs. George, Beene, Barksdale, Brantley, Witty, Woods, Neely, H. R. Miller, Blair, Bullard, Terral and Dease.
Mr. Baldwin offered a resolution appointing a committee of three to ascertain if anything had been neglected that should be attended to before adjournment.
Mr. Brooke suggested that said committee also inquire whether anything had been done which ought not to have been done.
Mr Baldwin thought such an investigation would impose too much labor on the committee, and be withdrew his resolution.
Mr. Clapp, from committee to report suitable devices for Flag and Coat of Arms, submitted the following report, which was received and agreed to:
MR. PRESIDENT: The Special Committee appointed to prepare a suitable Flag and Coat of Arms for the State, report that they have had the subject under consideration, and they recommend for a suitable Flag the following:
A Flag of white ground, a Magnolia tree in the centre, a blue field in the under left-hand corner, with a white star in the centre--the Flag to be finished with a red border, and a red fringe at the extremity of the flag.
For a Coat of Arms, the Committee recommend the one accompanying the communication of the Governor to the President of this Convention, which was referred to the Committee, and is returned along with this report, except that the recumbent figure designed to represent the Father of Waters be omitted, and a cannon and plow, appropriately arranged, be substituted.
[The design of the Coat of Arms is: A magnolia, containing a nest of eagles, which arc being defended by the parent from the attack of a serpent; a bale of cotton, plow, steamboat, citizen soldier, fortifications and cannon, with motto: Istis Defensoribus.]
On motion the Convention adjourned to 3 o'clock P. M.
On re-assembling, on motion of Mr. Welsh,
WHEREAS, The, Mobile and Ohio Railroad Company has generously offered the free use of their cars and road for the transportation of troops and the munitions of war; therefore,
Be it Resolved, That this Convention do express their high appreciation of this act of patriotic liberality on the part of said Railroad Company, and hereby tender to the Directors and General Superintendent of said Railroad Company the thanks of the people of this State.
On motion of Mr. Clayton, of Lowndes,
Resolved, That the committee appointed to prepare an Address in relation to the importance of producing in the State provisions sufficient for its wants, and to urge upon the planting interest reference to this subject in planting the crop of the present year, be authorized to prepare said Address after the adjournment of the Convention, and furnish the same to the papers for publication.
On motion of Mr. George,
Resolved, That Wiley P. Harris and Warren P. Anderson be and they are hereby appointed Auditors, with authority to audit and allow accounts for such incidental expenses as may have been incurred by the officers of this Convention, and that the Auditor of Public Account be directed to issue his warrant in favor of the person to whom such accounts may be due, upon the certificate of said Auditors.
On motion of Mr. Benton,
Resolved, That the Secretary of this Convention be allowed five days after the adjournment of the Convention to complete the duties assigned him, and that he be allowed the compensation fixed by law, to be paid out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, on the warrant of the Auditor of Public Accounts on the Treasurer of the State.
On motion of Mr. Stephens,
Resolved, That the thanks of this Convention are due and are hereby tendered to the Hon. Wm. S. Barry for the dignified and impartial manner in which he has discharged the duties of President thereof.
On motion of Mr. Gholson, the Convention took a recess for one hour. On re-assembling,
Mr. Clayton, of Marshall, from special committee, submitted "A declaration of the immediate causes which induce and justify the secession of the State of Mississippi front the Federal Union," which was received and adopted.
Mr. Harris, from special committee, reported an Ordinance establishing an Executive Council, which, on his motion, was received and agreed to, considered as engrossed, and put upon its final passage.
On motion of Mr. Harris, the Convention proceeded to the election of said Council.
Mr. Flournoy moved to elect by acclamation, which motion prevailed; when
Mr. Fontaine nominated Messrs. Warren P. Anderson and Madison McAfee, of Hinds, and T. C. Tupper of Madison, as said Council, who were elected by acclamation.
Mr. Anderson, from Committee on Ways and Means, reported an Ordinance appropriating money to pay current expenses of Convention, not provided by law, which was concurred in.
On motion of Mr. Anderson,
Resolved, That twenty-five hundred copies of the Declaration and Address of the immediate causes of the secession of Mississippi from the Federal Union, together with the Ordinance of Secession, with the names of the members who signed it, be printed in pamphlet form, and distributed to the members of this Convention.
On motion of Mr. Glenn,
Resolved, That J. L. Power is hereby granted the exclusive privilege, for five years, of compiling for publication, in book form, the proceedings of this Convention; provided, that this is in nowise to interfere with the Ordinance already providing for the publication, by the State Printer, of two thousand copies of the Journal and Ordinances of this Convention.
On motion of Mr. Miller, of Pontotoc,
Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to wait on his Excellency the Governor of the State, and to inform him that this Convention is about to adjourn, and to inquire whether he desires to make any further communication to it in connection with the public interest.
Committee--Messrs. H. R. Miller, O. Davis and Eckford.
On motion of Mr. Dyer,
Resolved, That our Senators and Representatives in the Congress of the Southern Confederacy, when it shall be formed, be, and they are hereby, requested to use their influence to have established, in the South, a Military Academy, similar to that of the United States, at West Point and that the cadets from the seceding States, now, or recently, at West Point, upon application, be transferred to said Academy, and that others be received therein from time to time, in accordance with the provisions of the Act establishing it.
Be it further Resolved, That the Secretary of this Convention furnish said Senators and Representatives with a copy of these resolutions.
Mr. Miller, from committee to wait on the Governor, reported that his Excellency had no further communication to make to the Convention.
Mr. Gholson moved that the Convention adjourn.
Before the President put the motion, he said, in substance:
Gentlemen of the Convention: It becomes my duty to declare this body adjourned until the public necessities require its assembling again. The action of this Convention is a part, for good or evil, of the history of the country. In obedience to the will of the people, you have accomplished the work of destruction; but the courage, the thought, the wisdom necessary to destroy are not always equal to the task of re-building. More is required in the future that has been in the past; but may we realize the hope of being transferred to a government more satisfactory, more stable, more just. What lies before us will test the higher, the nobler qualities of our race, inherited from revolutionary sires. I would be very unjust to my own feelings did I not express my sense of gratitude for the manner in which I have been sustained in all the duties of my office. Your deportment has rendered my labors light. I wish you all the certainty of a cordial welcome and approval of your conduct when you return to your constituents, and, what is better than public approbation, the consciousness of having discharged your duty; and I take pleasure in testifying to the patience and industry with which you have devoted yourselves to the public service. Renewing my thanks for your uniform courtesy to myself, I now declare the present session of this Convention adjourned.
And so the Convention adjourned on Saturday, January 26th, at 5 1/2 P. M.
The people of the State of Mississippi, in Convention assembled, do ordain and declare, and it is hereby ordained and declared as follows, to-wit:
SECTION 1ST. That all the laws and ordinances by which the said State of Mississippi became a member of the Federal Union of the United States of America be, and the same are hereby repealed, and that all obligations on the part of the said State or the people thereof to observe the same, be withdrawn, and that the said State doth hereby resume all the rights, functions and powers which, by any of said laws or ordinances, were conveyed to the government of the said United States, and is absolved from all the obligations, restraints and duties incurred to the said Federal Union, and shall from henceforth be a free, sovereign and independent State.
SEC. 2. That so much of the first section of the seventh article of the Constitution of this State as requires members of the Legislature, and all officers, executive and judicial, to take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of the United States, be, and the same is hereby abrogated and annulled.
SEC. 3. That all rights acquired and vested under the Constitution of the United States, or under act of Congress passed, or treaty made, in pursuance thereof, or under any law of this State, and not incompatible with this Ordinance, shall remain in force and have the same effect as if this Ordinance had not been passed.
SEC. 4. That the people of the State of Mississippi hereby consent to form a Federal Union with such of the States as may have seceded, or may secede from the Union of the United States of America, upon the basis of the present Constitution
of the said United States, except such parts thereof as embrace other portions than such seceding States.
Thus ordained and declared in Convention the 9th day of January, in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty-one.
F. A. POPE,
WILLIAM S. BARRY,
In Testimony Of the passage of which, and the determination of the members of this Convention to uphold and maintain the State in the position she has assumed by said Ordinance, it is signed by the President and members; of this Convention, this, the fifteenth day of January, A. D., 1861.
A. K. Farrar, J. Winchester, E. H. Sanders, D. W. Hurst, M. H. McGehee, J. Z. George, W. Booth, H. T. Ellett, J. L. Alcorn, P. S. Catching, B. King, S. H. Terral, W. F. Brantley, W. H. Witty, J. H. Edwards, J. A. Orr, C. B. Baldwin, A. C. Powell, W. A. Sumner, M. D. L. Stephens, J. R. Chalmers, S. D. Johnston, T. Lewers, D. H. Parker, T. J. Roberts, W. P. Harris, W. P. Anderson, W. B. Smart, J. M. Dyer, W. L. Keirn, D. C. Glenn, J. B. Deason, A. C. Gibson, R. O. Beene, A. B. Bullard, W. H. H. Tison, M. C. Cummings, O. C. Dease, A. E. Lewis, J. S. Johnston, J. H. Powell, O. Y. Neely, T. H. Woods, W. Gwin, George R. Clayton, W. B. Colbert, J. B. Ramsey, F. C. Semmes, L. Q. C. Lamar, T. D. Isom, A. M. Clayton, J. W. Clapp, S. Benton, H. W. Walter, W. M. Lea, A. P. Hill, S. J. Gholson, F. M. Rogers, H. Mayson, Israel Welsh, D. M. Backstrom, M. M. Keith, T. C. Bookter, P. J. Myers, J. M. Nelson, J. B. Fizer, E. F. McGehee, C. D. Fontaine, J. B. Herring, H. R. Miller, R. W. Flournoy, Wm. Denson,E. P. Jones, W. J. Douglas, W. Thompson, C. W. Taylor, A. Pattison, A. E. Reynolds, W. W. Bonds, T. P. Young, J. A. Blair, A. Miller, O. Davis, J. H. Berry, J. S. Davis, D. B. Wright, J. S. Yerger, A. C. Holt, W. J. Eckford, W. Brooke, T. A. Marshall, J. Kennedy, W. S. Bolling, F. M. Aldridge, W. R. Barksdale, H. Vaughan, G. B. Wilkinson.
In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery--the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of the commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery, is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has long been aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.
That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove.
The hostility to this institution commenced before the adoption of the Constitution, and was manifested in the well-known Ordinance of 1787, in regard to the North-western territory.
The feeling increased, until, in 1819-20, it deprived the South of more than half the vast territory acquired from France.
The same hostility dismembered Texas, and seized upon all the territory acquired from Mexico.
It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves, and refuses protection to that right on the high seas, in the territories, and whenever the government of the United States had jurisdiction.
It refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union, and seeks to extinguish it by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion.
It tramples the original equality of the South under foot.
It has nullified the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free
State in the Union, and has utterly broken the compact which our fathers pledged their faith to maintain.
It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst.
It has enlisted the press, its pulpit and its schools against us, until the whole popular mind of the North is excited and inflamed with prejudice.
It has made combinations and formed associations to carry out its schemes of emancipation in the States and wherever else slavery exists.
It seeks not to elevate or to support the slave, but to destroy his present condition without providing a better.
It has invaded a State, and invested with the honors of martyrdom, the wretch whose purpose was to apply flames to our dwellings, and the weapons of destruction to our lives.
It has broken every compact into which it has entered for our security.
It has given indubitable evidence of its design to ruin our agriculture, to prostrate our industrial pursuits, and to destoy our social system.
It knows no relenting or hesitation in its purposes; it stops in its march of aggression, and leaves us no room to hope for cessation or for pause.
It has recently obtained control of the Government, by the prosecution of its unhallowed schemes, and destroyed the last expectation of living together in friendship and brotherhood.
Utter subjugation awaits us in the Union, if we should consent longer to remain in it. It is not a matter of choice, but of necessity. We must either submit to degradation, and to the loss or property worth four billions of money, or we must secede from the Union framed by our fathers, to secure this as well as every other species of property. For far less cause than this, our fathers separated from the Crown of England.
Our decision is made. We follow their footsteps. We embrace the alternative of separation; and for the reasons here stated, we resolve to maintain our rights with the full consciousness of the justice of our course, and the undoubting belief of our ability to maintain it.
The people of Mississippi, in Convention assembled, do declare and ordain as follows, to wit:
SEC. 1. That it shall be the duty of the tax collectors of the several counties in this State forthwith, after the passage of this Ordinance, to collect in the manner now provided by law for the collection of other taxes, from every tax payer in his county, an additional special State tax of fifty per centum on the regular State tax of such tax payer, and also a tax from every inhabitant of this State of three-tenths per centum upon all money owned or controlled by such inhabitant, and deposited, loaned or employed in the purchase of notes, bills, stocks, or any securities for the payment of money, without the limits of this State, or kept from use and circulation within the same, at any time during the fiscal year, and to pay the same into the State Treasury, subject to all the laws, restrictions and penalties that apply to and regulate the collection and payment of other State taxes; and the money so collected shall constitute a Military Fund, and a separate account thereof shall be kept by the Auditor and Treasurer, and the same shall be disbursed by warrant issued on the order of the Governor, and shall be applied by the Governor to such purposes of defence and miltary service of this State as may be authorized by law, this Convention, or the Legislature: Provided that the money invested in the loan to the State, authorized by the second section of this Ordinance, shall be exempt from all taxes, whether the same be State, county, municipal, special, school or military; and provided further, that money temporarily deposited without the limits of this State, or kept from use and circulation within the same, in contemplation of use, other than for loan or employment in the the purchase of stocks, bond, bills or other evidences of debt or permanent deposits without the limits of this State, shall be exempt from said tax of three-tenths per cent; and provided further, that the Board of Police of such counties as shall have a surplus of money in their respective county treasuries, shall be authorized to apply such surplus money, by causing the same to be paid to the proper tax collectors in or towards the discharge of said tax of fifty per centum in their respective counties.
SEC. 2. That the Governor be authorized to cause certificates of loan, or treasury notes, to be prepared, signed and issued, in such sums as may be applied for by persons desiring to loan money to the State, to all amount not exceeding in the aggregate the sum of one million of dollars, one-third thereof to he redeemable in one year, one third in two years, and one-third in three years from the first day of June, A. D. 1861, bearing interest at ten per cent. per
annum from date, and the Governor shall issue the same, from time to time, as the public exigencies may require, to such persons as may desire to loan money to the State thereon, and, if necessary, he may adopt such means as he may deem expedient to afford the people of the several counties an opportunity to participate in the loan hereby proposed.
SEC. 3. That the said certificates or notes, shall be signed by the Treasurer and countersigned by the Auditor, and the faith of the State is hereby pledged for the redemption of the same, and no law shall be passed to impair their validity and obligation.
SEC. 4. That the said certificates or notes shall be negotiable, and shall be receivable in payment of any money due to the State in any fiscal year in which they may severally fall due, and any officer receiving the same in payment of public dues, shall endorse on one of them the date of such receipt and the amount of interest allowed thereon in such payment, and shall sign his name thereto, and the interest upon such certificates or notes shall cease from that date; and it shall be the duty of each tax collector who shall have on hand any money collected under the provisions of this Ordinance, to receive and pay any treasury note or certificate of loan issued in pursuance of this Ordinance, and which shall be payable at the end of the fiscal year for which the tax in the hands of the assessor was collected; and if any tax collector, having sufficient money on hand arising from said tax, shall refuse to pay any certificate or note as aforesaid to the holder, on presentation and demand thereof, he shall be liable to the holder thereof in a sum equal to the amount of the said note or certificate, to be recovered on an execution in any court having jurisdiction thereof.
SEC. 5. That the Treasurer and Auditor shall keep separate, full and accurate accounts of the number, date and amount of said certificates or notes, signed and sountersigned by them respectively, and they shall keep similar accounts of all the said certificates or notes redeemed, as the same shall be returned and cancelled. They shall also make annual statements of the amount of said certificates or notes, signed and countersigned as aforesaid, and of the amount thereof that may have been redeemed, and shall furnish such accounts to the Governor, who may cause the same to be published, and shall lay the same before the Legislature.
SEC. 6. That the money raised upon the said certificates and notes shall be paid into the Treasury of the State, and shall constitute a part of the military fund, and shall be applied to the defence and military service of the State, in the manner directed in the first section of this Ordinance.
SEC. 7. That it shall be the duty of the tax collectors of the several counties in this State, in every year commencing with the
fiscal year beginning on the first day of May next, to collect from every tax payer in his county, in the manner county taxes are required to be collected, an additional special State tax, the same as is provided in the first section of this Ordinance, and to pay the same into the State Treasury, subject to the same laws, restrictions and penalties, that apply to and regulate the collection and payment of other State taxes; and the amount of such special tax, shall constitute a special fund for the redemption of the principal and interest of the certificates and notes to be issued in pursuance of this Ordinance, and shall be faithfully applied to that purpose, and the said tax shall be irrepealable by the Legislature, until such certificate and notes shall be fully paid and satisfied, at which time the collection of said tax shall cease and determine: Provided, however, That if on the first day of December, in the present, or any subsequent year, it shall appear that so large an amount of tax as is contemplated by this Ordinance, will not be required to pay the principal and interest of said certificates and notes falling due and properly payable out of the tax of that fiscal year, it is hereby made the duty of the Governor, by Proclamation directed to the tax collectors of every county, to reduce the said tax to an amount sufficient to pay such certificates and notes so falling due and payable, and to direct the collection of a smaller per centage on the State tax; and when the certificates and notes authorized by this Ordinance, shall be fully paid, the Governor, by like Proclamation, shall direct the collection of such tax to be discontinued.
SEC. 8. That it shall be the duty of the tax collectors, when collecting the taxes levied by this Ordinance, until the assessors shall make other assessments of personalty, to assess the said tax of three-tenths of one per cent. upon all money owned or controlled by the inhabitants of this State, and deposited, loaned or employed in the purchase of notes, bills, bonds, stocks, mortgages, or any securities for the payment of money, without the limits of this State, or kept from use and circulation within the same, at any time during the fiscal year, and to require such inhabitants to give in the said assessment, under oath to be administered by said tax collectors, and to return one copy of said assessment to the Board of Police, of the proper county, and one to the Auditor of Public Accounts; and should such inhabitant fail or refuse to give in said assessment, the said collectors shall levy and collect from such inhabitant the sum of five thousand dollars; provided that the tax collectors shall, for their compensation for collecting the taxes raised by this Ordinance, receive three per cent. upon the amount collected from the tax payers, and nothing for receiving the amounts that shall be paid by the Board of Police in discharge of the said tax of fifty per centum.
SEC. 9. That each assessor of taxes in this State, in all subsequent
assessments for taxes, until said treasury notes are paid, shall require each inhabitant of his county, to render on oath, to be by him administered, the amount of money owned or controlled by him, and deposited, loaned or employed in the purchase of notes, bills, bonds, stocks, mortgages, or any securities for the payment of money without the limits of this State, or kept from use and circulation within the same, at any time during the fiscal year, and should said tax payer fail or refuse to render said amount or take said oath, then said assessor shall assess against him or her the sum of five thousand dollars, as taxes for money deposited, loaned or employed without the State, or kept from use and circulation within the same as aforesaid; which sum so assessed shall be collected and paid over as other taxes are to be collected and paid over as hereinbefore provided.
SEC. 10. That when any of the said certificates or notes shall fall due, it shall be the duty of the Auditor to issue his warrant in favor of the holder thereof for the amount due thereon, and shall thereupon take up and cancel such certificates or notes, and shall endorse thereon the amount of interest allowed; and if at any time there shall be money in the Treasury applicable to the redemption of such certificates or notes, the Governor shall cause notice to be given by Proclamation, to the holders of such certificates or notes, that those of certain descriptions or denomintions, will be redeemed on presentation, and all interest shall cease thereon after sixty days from the date of the publication of such notice.
SEC. 11. That the sum of twenty-five hundred dollars is hereby set aside from any money in the State Treasury, net otherwise appropriated, to defray the expense of engraving, issuing and negotiating said certificates or notes; the Auditor shall issue his warrant for such sum within said maximum as the Governor may certify as necessary to be supplied for the engraving, and, while the compensation for negotiating and labor performed by the departments of this State shall be fixed by the Legislature, the same shall not exceed the appropriation.
SEC. 12. Be it further Ordained, That immediately on the passage of this Ordinance, each sheriff and tax collector in this State shall execute a bond, with good security, payable to the State, and in a penality equal to the present State tax of his county, and conditioned for the due and faithful performance of the duties imposed on him by this Ordinance, which said bond shall be approved, filed and recorded in the same manner as Sheriffs bonds are now required by law to be approved, filed and recorded.
SEC. 13. Be it further Ordained, That if any sheriff shall fail to execute said bond with security, as provided in the last preceding section of this Ordinance, by the first day of March next, his office shall thereby become vacated, and the vacancy thereby occasioned
shall be filled as other vacancies in the office of sheriff are now required by law to be filled.
SEC. 14. Be it further Ordained, That the tax now imposed by the present revenue bill, on money loaned at interest be so amended or construed as to include all money used, or that may have been used or employed by being loaned at interest, or in the purchase of notes, bills of exchange, bonds or other securities, during the past fiscal year, and the parties so interrogated shall answer under oath, to be administered by the tax collector, and all money so used or employed, not heretofore assessed as money loaned at interest, shall be taxed three-tenths of one per cent.
SEC. 1. Be it ordained by the people of the State of Mississippi in Convention assembled, That one Division of Volunteers be as early as practicable, enlisted and mustered into service by order of the Military Board, hereinafter constituted, to serve until discharged as hereinafter provided, and to consist of four Brigades, each Brigade to be composed of two Regiments, and each Regiment of ten Companies of Infantry or Riflemen, and each Company of not less than forty-eight, nor more than one hundred men, and also not exceeding ten Companies of Cavalry of not less than fifty men each, and not exceeding ten Companies of Artillery, of not less than sixty men each, and that the Volunteers so enlisted shall not be subject in any manner to the officers of the Militia.
SEC. 2. That the eight Regiments of Infantry or Riflemen, shall be raised as follows, to-wit:
1st Regiment from the counties of De Soto, Marshall, Tunica, Coahoma, Panola, and Lafayette.
2d Regiment from the counties of Tippah, Tishomingo, Pontotoc, and Itawamba.
3d Regiment from Bolivar, Sunflower, Washington, Issaquena, Yazoo, Warren, Claiborne and Jefferson.
4th Regiment from Yalobusha, Calhoun, Carroll, Choctaw, Holmes, Attala and Tallahatchie.
5th Regiment from Chickasaw, Monroe, Oktibbeha, Lowndes, Winston, Noxubee, Neshoba, and Kemper.
6th Regiment from Madison, Leake, Scott, Hinds, Rankin, Copiah and Simpson.
7th Regiment from Adams, Franklin, Lawrence, Wilkinson, Amite, Pike, Covington and Marion.
8th Regiment from Newton, Lauderdale, Smith, Jasper, Clark, Jones, Wayne, Perry, Greene, Harrison, Jackson and Hancock.
And the Companies of Cavalry and Artillery shall be raised indiscriminately from the State at large; and in case any of the Regimental Districts as aforesaid, shall fail to furnish ten Companies, the Military Board are hereby authorized to raise from other portions of the State, Companies sufficient to complete such Regiment.
SEC. 3. That there shall be one Major-General and four Brigadier-Generals of Volunteers, to be elected each in succession by this Convention. One Colonel and Lieutenant-Colonel one Major for each Regiment, one Captain and three Lieutenants for each Company, who shall be elected by a majority of the Volunteers within their respective commands, and that the Division, Brigade and Regimental officers, shall appoint their own Staff, and each Captain shall appoint as many Sergeants and Corporals as may be necessary.
SEC. 4. That all officers of Volunteers of equal grade shall take rank and precedence according to priority of election, which shall be evidenced by the priority of commission, to be issued by the Governor of the State, to all officers elected as heretofore provided, and to their Staff.
SEC. 5. That the Volunteers after being mustered into service as provided for in the first section of this ordinance, shall be considered as on furlough, subject, however, to be drilled at such times and places, within their respective counties, as their Company officers may order, until called out for drill or actual service by their Major-General, who, when ordered by the Governor, shall have power and authority to order all or any portion of said Volunteers, or their officers, out for drill at any time and to any place, subject to the limitations hereinafter provided.
SEC. 6. That the Governor of the State ex-officio, the Major-General and Brigadier-Generals elected as heretofore provided, shall constitute a Military Board, any three of whom shall be a quorum, to be assembled on the call of the Governor, and said Board shall have power and authority:
To make all needful rules and regulations not contrary to law, for the government and discipline of the Volunteers, including articles of war, subject to the approval of the Convention, or of the State Legislature, after this Convention shall have finally adjourned.
To prescribe the uniform, arms and equipments of the Volunteers: Provided, That the Companies now organized, if mustered into service, shall be permitted to retain the arms and uniforms which they have adopted.
To order the number and rank of Division, Brigade and Regimental Staff.
To organize Engineers, Ordinance, Quarter-Master, Commissary, Medical and Pay Departments, and to appoint the officers thereof and designate their rank.
To organize the Regiments into Brigades, and to assign the Brigadiers to their commands.
To determine how the Cavalry and Artillery Companies shall be disposed of, and, if they deem it necessary, to order the election of field officers for said corps: Provided, That the Major-General, when in actual service, may at any time alter the disposition of troops as he may deem fit.
To order the time and mode of electing all officers to be chosen by the Volunteers, and making returns thereof.
And to have entire control over all the arms and military property of the State, until otherwise ordered by the Convention, or by the State Legislature after the Convention shall have finally adjourned.
SEC. 7. That the officers enlisted under this Ordinance, when in actual service, or when on drill by order of the Major-General, shall receive the same compensation as is now provided and allowed by law to the officers of the United States Army; that the pay of privates and non-commissioned officers shall be sixteen dollars per month, together with the rations and clothing allowed in said army, until the Southern Confederacy is formed; after which time both the officers and men shall receive such pay as may be allowed to the officers and men of the army of said Southern Confederacy; but before the Volunteers are called into actual service, except while on drill, as aforesaid, no officer or private shall receive any compensation, except that now allowed by law to volunteers: Provided, The members of the Military Board, except the Governor, be allowed four dollars per day, when actually engaged in the duties of said Board.
SEC. 8. That in case any vacancy shall occur in any office below that of Brigadier-General, the vacancy shall be supplied as the office was originally filled. Any vacancy in the office of Brigadier-General shall be filled by the appointment of the Major-General, and a vacancy in the office of Major-General shall be filled by the appointment of the Governor, the appointment of each being subject to the approval of the State Senate.
SEC. 9. That all Volunteers enlisted under this Ordinance shall be allowed such exemptions and compensation as are now allowed by law to the Volunteers in the manner now prescribed, and also be exempt from poll tax, and shall be entitled to their discharge when friendly relations shall be established
by treaty or otherwise between the State of Mississippi, or any Confederacy of which she is a member, and the non-seceding States of the late Federal Union: Provided, That said Volunteers shall not be required to serve more than one year after being called into actual service.
SEC. 10. That all such officers and privates as may be disabled while in actual service, before the formation of a Southern Confederacy, shall be entitled to one year's pay after their discharge from the service, and the widows of those who shall be killed in the service shall also receive for one year, the compensation that their husbands would be entitled to if living.
SEC. 11. That all parts of the Constitution, all act and all laws in conflict with this Ordinance, and so much of the Constitution as may limit the right of any Volunteers from electing their own field officers in any manner prescribed by the Legislature, be and the same are hereby abrogated and annulled.
SEC. 12. That this Ordinance shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage, and continue in operation until changed, altered or amended by this Convention, or the State Legislature after this Convention shall have finally adjourned.
Approved January 23d, 1861.
The people of the State of Mississippi, in Convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained that the Constitution of the State be amended and altered in the following particulars, to-wit:
1st. That the words "the United States," where they occur in the first section of the third article of said Constitution, be stricken out.
2d. That the words "the United States," in the seventh section of the third article of the said Constitution, be stricken out.
3d. That the words "the United States," in the fourteenth section of the third article of the said Constitution, be stricken out.
4th. That the words "the United States, or," in the twenty-seventh section of the third article of the said Constitution, be stricken out.
5th. That the words "the United States for twenty-years," in the third section of the fifth article of the said Constitution,
be stricken out, and the word "and" inserted instead of the words stricken out.
6th. That the words "except when they shall be called into the service of the United States," in the fifth section of the fifth article of the said Constitution be stricken out.
7th. That the words "not incompatible with the Constitution and laws of the United States in relation thereto," in the first section, under the title "Militia," in the said Constitution be stricken out.
8th. That the words "the Constitution of the United States and," in the first section of the seventh article of said Constitution, be stricken out.
9th. That the words "or of the United States," in the eleventh section of the seventh article of the said Constitution, be stricken out.
10th. That the words "the United States (the office of Postmaster excepted) of any other State of the Union, or under," in the thirteenth section of the seventh article of the said Constitution, be stricken out.
11th. That the ninth section of the seventh article of the said Constitution be amended by adding thereto the following additional proviso, to-wit:
"And provided further, That the Legislature may raise a loan of money and pledge the faith of the State for the payment thereof, when required to suppress insurrections, repel invasions, or provide for the defence of the State."
12th. That the words "or memper of Congress," in the first section of the third article of said Constitution, be stricken out.
13th. That the words, "members of Congress, nor any," in the thirteenth section of article seven of said Constitution, be stricken out.
14th. That the words "Representatives in Congress and," in amendment fifth to the said Constitution, inserted by act of the Legislature, approved February the 2d, 1856, be stricken out.
15th. That the Legislature shall have power to fix the time of holding all elections, and may adjust the terms of office to conform to any changes hereafter to be made, and may fix the time for the commencement of its biennial sessions.
16th. Be it ordained and declared, and it is hereby ordained and declared, That if any part of the present Constitution of the State of Mississippi shall be in conflict, with any Ordinance passed by this Convention, such part of said Constitution shall be held to be abrogated and annulled to the extent of such conflict, but no further.
Adopted January 26th, 1861.
The people of the State of Mississippi, in Convention assembled, declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained as follows, to-wit:
SEC. 1. That the title to waste and unappropriated lands, fortifications, light-houses, hospitals, custom-houses, and all other properly owned or held by the said United States, within the limits of the State of Mississippi, on the 9th day of January, 1861, and all jurisdiction over the same is hereby resumed and vested in the State of Mississippi.
SEC. 2. The Legislature shall have power to pass all laws necessary for the preservation and disposition of said lands, fortifications, light-houses, hospitals, custom houses, and other property, and the records pertaining to the same, or pertaining to lands heretofore granted or sold by the said United States, and may provide for the adjustment of the claim of the said United States thereto.
SEC. 3. The Legislature shall have power to provide by law for the custody and preservation of the records and judicial proceedings of the Circuit and District Courts of the United States in this State; and to prescribe the manner in which suits and proceedings, civil and criminal, now pending in said courts, shall be tried and determined, as well as to prescribe the manner in which the judgments of said courts, or of the Supreme Court of the United States in which a citizen of this State is a party remaining unexecuted, and the judgments, mandates and decrees of the Supreme Court of the United States, in cases now pending therein, in which a citizen of this State may be party, shall be Carried into effect.
SEC. 4. The judicial power of this State shall extend to cases of admiralty and maratime jurisdiction, and the Legislature shall provide in what courts such jurisdiction shall be exercised.
SEC. 5. That the late Marshals of the United States for the Northern and Southern Districts of this State, and their assistants, be and they are hereby authorized and empowered to continue the exercise of their duties so far as it may be necessary to complete the census returns of the United States, but no further.
Adopted January 16th, 1861.
The people of the State of Mississippi, in Convention assembled, declare and Ordain, and it is hereby declared and Ordained, That until otherwise provided by this Convention, or the Legislature, the sale of waste and unappropriated lands in this State be and the same is hereby suspended, and that the Registers and Receivers in the several land offices in this State be and they are hereby authorized and required to perform all the duties of said offices, in other respects, according to the rules and restrictions heretofore existing under the laws of the said United States, and in case of the death or refusal of any of said officers to perform said duties, the Governor is hereby empowered to appoint a suitable person or persons to perform the same; Provided, that nothing herein contained shall impair the right of any person having title to pre-emption, according to the laws of the United States, in force on the 9th day of January, 1861.
Adopted January 26th, 1861.
WHEREAS, It is proper and necessary to avoid, as far as practicable, any disturbance of existing arrangements and contracts for carrying, delivering and distributing the mails;
Therefore, The people of Mississippi, in Convention assembled, do ordain and declare, and it is hereby ordained and declared, that all laws, contracts and regulations made by the authority of the United States for conveying, delivering and distributing the mails, and for the protection thereof against depredations, which were subsisting and in force prior to the date of an Ordinance adopted by the people of Mississippi, in Convention assembled, on the ninth day of January, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, entitled "An Ordinance to dissolve the Union between the State of Mississippi and other States united with her under the compact entitled, 'The Constitution of the United States of America,'" be and the same are hereby continued in full force and effect so far as they are not incompatible with the terms and intent of said Ordinance, or with the provisions hereinafter made; and that persons charged with duties imposed by said contracts and
regulations shall continue to discharge the same; and all violations of the postal laws aforesaid shall be prosecuted in the name and by the authority of the State of Mississippi, in the courts of said State having jurisdiction of crimes and misdemeanors, in the same manner as other prosecutions are now conducted and determined by the laws of this State.
SEC. 2. Be it further ordained, That this Ordinance shall take effect from and after its passage, and shall continue in force until repealed by this Convention, of suspended by such treaties as may be adopted or assented to for that purpose by the State of Mississippi.
Adopted January 12th, 1861.
SEC. 1. Be it Ordained by the people of the State of Mississippi, in Convention assembled, That the office, of Postmaster General of Mississippi be and the same is hereby created and established, and that in the event of suspension or interruption of existing Postal Arrangements in this State, the Governor of this State and his Council be and they are hereby empowered to elect or appoint a Postmaster General, with a salary at the rate of twenty-five hundred dollars per annum, who shall, by virtue of his office, be constituted a member of said Executive Council, and shall enter into bond, with security, to be approved by the Governor, in the penalty of fifty thousand dollars, payable to the State of Missisippi, and conditioned for the faithful discharge of the duties of his office, which bond shall be deposited in the office of Secretary of State, and may be sued upon as other official bonds in any of the Courts of this State having jurisdiction thereof.
SEC. 2. Be it further Ordained, That the said Postmaster General, after he shall have qualified as aforesaid, has full power and authority, by and with the consent of the Governor and his Council, to increase the rate of postage to an amount not exceeding quintuple the present rate; to prescribe suitable stamps for the prepayment of postage, to appoint and remove Postmasters, and to make all contracts and arrangements which may be necessary in the contingency contemplated in the first section of this Ordinance, for carrying, delivering and distributing the mails in this State, which provisions and regulations shall remain in force until superseded by this Convention, or by the action of such government as may be organized
by Mississippi and the other seceding States, and all laws passed and regulations made by the authority of the United States which are in conflict therewith, are hereby repealed and annulled.
SEC. 3. Be it further Ordained, That in order to carry this Ordinance into effect, the said Postmaster General be and he is hereby empowered to employ any money in the treasury, or other funds of the State, to all amount not exceeding the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, and the Auditor of Public Accounts shall, upon the written order of said Postmaster General, approved by the Governor, issue his warrant on the Treasury in favor of said Postmaster General, for such sum as may be named in such order: Provided, the aggregate amount of such warrants shall not exceed the said sum of one hundered thousand dollars.
SEC. 4. Be it further Ordained, That all monies received and accruing from the Postal Department in this State, in the contingency aforesaid, for postage or otherwise, shall be collected by said Postmaster General, and shall be deposited by him in the Treasury of this State, and placed to the credit of the Postal Department, and a separate account thereof shall be kept by the Treasurer.
Adopted January 26th, 1861.
We, the people of Mississippi, in Convention assembled, do declare and resolve, and it is hereby declared and resolved:
First, That this Convention will immediately after the passage of these resolutions, proceed to the election, by ballot, of seven delegates, whose duty it shall be, when elected to represent the State of Mississippi in a Convention of those States which have seceded, or which may hereafter secede from the Government formerly known as the United States of America.
Second, That this Convention receives and adopts the suggestion that the Convention hereby contemplated shall meet and hold its sessions in the city of Montgomery and the State of Alabama, and that the time for said meeting shall be the first. Monday and fourth day of February, A. D. 1861.
Third, That this Convention accept the suggestion that each of the States seceding from the Government of the United States, and concurring in the formation of a Southern Confederacy by said Convention, shall be entitled to one vote in the said Convention upon all questions which may be acted upon therein, and that each State send as many delegates to said Convention as are equal in number to the number of Senators and Reprensentatives to which it was entitled in the Congress of the United States.
Fourth, That the said delegates be authorized to provide for the formation of a Provisional Government for the States represented in said Convention, to be organized and put in operation as spedily as possible; to submit to the said Convention the Constitution of the United States of America, as a basis of said Provisional Government, and to provide in the plan of said Provisional Government, or otherwise, that as early as conveniently and properly may be, a Convention of the States forming such Government, and such other States as may have seceded, and then may desire to attach themselves thereto, shall assembled to revise the Constitution and plan of Government be so established, propose amendments and alterations therein, and adopt a permanent plan of Government for such States-- to be submitted for ratification to Conventions of the several States represented therein, and to be composed of delegates elected by the people of said States in such manner as the said Convention, or the Legislatures of the several States may prescribe; that the said Provisional Government shall continue until the said permanent plan of Government shall be adopted and established.
Fifth, That in case the said Convention to be assembled at Montgomery, as contemplated in the second of the preceding resolutions, shall proceed to consider and adopt a Constitution and Plan for a Permanent Government, establishing a Southern Confederacy between the States represented therein--then such Constitution or Plan shall be referred to this Convention for its action: Provided, That if this Convention shall then have adjourned sine die, then said Constitution or Plan shall be referred to the people of this State for ratification in such manner as the said Convention at Montgomery shall prescribe.
Sixth, That in the event the Convention of seceding States shall not for any cause assemble at the time and place indicated by their resolutions, then the delegates appointed by this Convention shall be and they are hereby accredited to any Convention of seceding States which may meet at any other time and place, and having, for its object the formation of a Southern Confederacy.
SEC. 1. Be it Ordained by the people of the State of Mississippi, in Convention assembled, That all citizens of the United States domiciled within this State on the adoption of the Ordinance of Secession, viz: January 9th, 1861, be regarded as citizens of Mississippi, entitled to all the rights and privileges, and subject to all liabilities incident thereto.
SEC. 2. And be it further Ordained, That all free white persons born within the limits of the United States, or made citizens thereof by naturalization or treaty, coming into this State with intent to reside therein, shall become citizens of the State according to the Constitution and laws of this State now in force, and as to all other persons coming into this State with the intent aforesaid, the present naturalization laws of the United States shall apply and be in force, except that their oath of allegiance shall be taken to the State of Mississippi, instead of to the United States--and that all such persons who have made their declaration of intention of becoming citizens of the United States, in any of the courts of this State, or any of the States or Territories of the United States, may, at the expiration of the time prescribed, perfect their naturalization in any of the courts of record in this State.
SEC. 3. Be it further Ordained, That this Ordinance shall be subject to such laws on the subject of naturalization as may hereafter be adopted by the Constitution and laws of such Confederacy as this State may hereafter become a member; and after the formation of such Confederacy, any citizen of such Confederacy may become a citizen of this State according to the provisions of the present Constitution of this State.
Adopted January 26th, 1861.
The people of Mississippi, in Convention assembled, declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, That there be and is hereby established a Council of three persons to be elected by this Convention, whose duty it shall be to advise the Governor upon important matters of State concern; who shall continue in office until the formation of a Confederacy between
this State and other seceding States, and receive for compensation five dollars per day while actually engaged in their duties.
Adopted January 26th, 1861.
SEC. 1. Be it ordained by the people of Mississippi, in Convention assembled, That the Governor and Military Board of this State be, and they are hereby authorized and empowered to enter into any contracts on behalf of the State, for the purchase of all Arms, Munitions and Military Equipments, which may be necessary for its defence, and to provide suitable Arsenals and Magazines, for securing the same, and that they be also authorized in their discretion, to purchase for this State, separately or jointly, with any other State or States, all such machinery as may be necessary in the erection and completion of an Armory for the manufacture of fire arms, and to appoint any agent or agents under them to carry into effect any of the foregoing provisions.
SEC. 2. And be it further ordained, That all sums of money which may be expended by the said Governor and Military Board, for any of the purposes mentioned in the foregoing section of this ordinance, shall be paid by the Treasurer of this State, on the warrant of the Auditor, to be issued on the requisition of the Governor, out of the fund to be collected by virtue of an Ordinance "Entitled an Ordinance to raise means for the defence of the State."
SEC. 8. Be it further ordained, That the Military Board is invested with full authority, in the execution of the powers herein conferred, to erect, or cause to be erected, if in their opinion the safety of the public requires it, lines of telegraph communication upon the eastern bank of the Mississippi river, or in such other portions of the State as the public safety, in the opinion of said Board may require.
Adopted January 26th, 1861.
Resolved, by the people of Mississippi, in Convention assembled, as follows, to-wit:
SEC. 1. That Jefferson Davis and Albert G. Brown be and they are hereby appointed Senators to represent the State of Mississippi in the Senatorial branch of any Congress or other legislative body, of any Confederacy or Government to be formed between the State of Mississippi and other States, as contemplated by the action of this Convention; and that they hold their office until the end of the next regular or called session of the Legislature, when their successors shall be chosen in the manner now provided by law for the election of Senators in the Congress of the United States; and should any vacancy occur in the meantime, the Governor shall make an appointment to fill such vacancy.
SEC. 2. That Reuben Davis, Lucius Q. C. Lamar, William Barksdale, Otho R. Singleton and John J. McRae, be and they are hereby appointed Representatives of the State of Mississippi in the Representative branch of any Congress, or other legislative body, of any Confederacy or Government to be formed between the State of Mississippi and other States, as contemplated by the action of this Convention; and that they hold their office until superceded by election, to be held in the manner hereinafter provided; and if a vacancy shall happen, or if the State shall be entitled to more than five Representatives, such vacancy or deficiency shall be filled for the unexpired term by a special election, to be ordered, conducted and returned in the manner directed by law for filling vacancies in any State office.
SEC. 3. That an election shall be held at the time of holding the next regular State election, for the number of Representatives to which this State may be entitled in the Congress of any new Confederacy or Government of which the State may become a member, to hold for such term as the Constitution of such Confederacy may prescribe. If entitled to five Representatives, the election shall be by Districts as now established by law; but if the number of Representatives to which the State is entitled, be increased above five, then one shall be chosen in each District, as now organized, and the additional number shall be chosen by the election of the State at large; and if the number of Representatives be diminished, then the whole number shall be chosen by the electors of the State at large; but the Legislature may, in the meantime, reorganize the said Districts, and increase or diminish the same, if necessary, and the election shall be held accordingly.
SEC. 4. That all laws providing for the election of Senators and Representatives in the Congress of the United States, are hereby annulled, so far as they authorize the election of Senators or Representatives in the said Congress, but such laws shall continue in force so far as to authorize and regulate the election of Senators and Representative in the Congress of any new Confederacy or Government of which this State may become a member.
Adopted January 26th, 1861.
The people of the State of Mississippi, in Convention assembled, do ordain, and declare and it is hereby ordained and declared, as follows, to-wit:
SEC. 1. That the Military Board established under the provisions of an Ordinance of this Convention, entitled "An Ordinance to regulate the military system of the State of Mississippi," shall cause all necessary surveys to be made of military sites within this State.
SEC. 2. That after the surveys shall have been made, as directed, in the foregoing section hereof, the said Board shall report the same to the Legislature, designating the fortifications necessary to be erected, with estimates of the cost of the same, and thereupon the Legislature may make such order in reference thereto as they may deem advisable.
Adopted January 26th, 1861.
The people of the State of Mississippi, in Convention assembled, declare and Ordain, and it is hereby declared and Ordained, That the Governor be empowered to borrow a sufficient amount of money to defray the expenses of the troops of this State, now in the field; and, to secure such loan, the Auditor of Public Accounts be, and he is hereby required, to issue his drafts or warrants on the sheriffs of any of the several counties of this State, which warrants, so drawn, shall be paid by the said sheriffs out of any State taxes in their hands, collected for the present fiscal year, or received by them for the State taxes of any person presenting the same: Provided, however, that not more than ten thousand dollars of such warrants shall be drawn.
Be it ordained by the people of Mississippi in Convention assembled, That the Journals of this Convention shall be deposited by the Secretary in the office of the Secretary of State; and the Ordinances passed, and the said Journals, shall be printed by the State Printer in the style and manner prescribed by law for the publication of the Laws and Journals of the Legislature, except that the Ordinances and Journals shall be bound in one volume, in the style prescribed for the binding of the laws. Two thousand copies of the said Ordinances and Journals shall be published, and the printer shall be allowed the same compensation as for printing the Laws and Journals of the Legislature. When printed, the Secretary of State shall transmit, by mail, to each member of the Convention one copy thereof, and shall distribute the residue pro rata to the several counties, as the Laws and Journals are distributed.
Adopted January 26th, 1861.
Be it Ordained, That the Auditor of the State of Mississippi, shall issue his warrants on the State Treasury for the following accounts, to be paid out of any money not otherwise appropriated, which shall be in full of said accounts, to-wit:
More fully reported, on voting against the Ordinance of Secession.
MR. PRESIDENT: By permission, I desire to say a few words before casting my vote. I deem it the highest duty of a delegate to remain faithful, in every contingency, to the people whom he may represent. No amount of odium or opposition, existing or to come--no isolation or disaster--nor the ease of concord--nor any transient influences--shall cause me, willingly, to violate this sacred and vital principle. No logic can convince me that success and honor, in any valuable sense, will attend betrayal and desertion. It is true, momentous and rapidly occurring events, and the manifest voice of my own State renders and declares the opinions of my constituents in reference to an adjustment or settlement of the difficulties of the country, erroneous, and that this adverse declaration, so emphatic and irresistible, naturally abates my interest in their further consideration, and my preceding remarks were not intended to repel or condemn anything I have seen inconsistent with the high principle which governs me; but respectfully to state the potential influence which justifies me in opposing, to the last honorable extent, the declared voice of the State, and recording myself against that which so soon should command my obedience. And I further desire that the circumstances attending its passage should be such as to receive the commendation of my people, and that they should pass upon its merits, and their allegiance to it, as dispassionate and dutiful citizens; and most especially do I desire that the intelligence which informs them of its passage, should not convey to them the exasperating news of a cowardly perversion of trust by one of their representatives, and thus possibly cause them to transfer their indignation and contempt from an unworthy representative to the solemn act of the State. Then, with this view of duty and policy, for me to vote for the Ordinance, instead of its being a mark of patriotic and expedient concession and capitulation, would be a solemn and perpetual evidence of weakness and treachery. But, Mr. President, as anxious as I am touching my position and acts as a representative, if it were possible, I am still more anxious to have all to understand who notice my vote; that I am for resistance--not submission to Black Republican rule: only differing somewhat in the form and time in which that resistance should be made; and also differing in opinion as to its effects upon those things which should be the subject of the anxious care of every patriot's heart. The discussion upon these differences has
been exhausted. I have no disposition to re-open that discussion. It has ceased to be the mode for the refutation or vindication of either or both. Here my opposition is terminated, and I cease to be a citizen of the United States by virtue of the fundamental principles of every independent community, and for the future, by the operation of the same principle, owe allegiance to the State of Mississippi alone, and shall, with all my humble strength, conduct to an honorable result, the position she has taken. With this explanation, I vote against the Ordinance.
On submitting the Ordinance to provide for Postal Arrangements in Mississippi.
He said that the committee of which he had the honor to be the organ, appreciated the novelty and importance of the measures coming before them, and the necessity of moving with great caution and deliberalion, and he thought that no ordinance or resolutions contemplating action on the part of this body, should not be adopted until every facility was offered for scrutinizing and criticizing it thoroughly. The subject of postal arrangements was a very complicated and comprehensive one, and the legislation deemed necessary to make these arrangements efficient, extended through a long series of years, and covered a very wide field. If the object contemplated by Mississippi were a separate, independent political organization, it would be necessary by an amendment of the Constitution to clothe the Legislature with the authority to provide a system of laws for the mail service within and without the State. But as we looked forward to a new confederation at an early day, of which Mississippi would be a member, and as these postal arrangements would properly pertain to the federal jurisdiction that may be established, all that is now necessary, is not to interfere with the State Constitution, which is a system of permanent organic laws, but by special Ordinance to make a provisional and temporary arrangement, to avoid as far as practicable any disturbance in existing regulations, and in the habits of our people, which might lead to invidious comparisons between the new state of things and the old.
In the Ordinance reported by the committee, the laws, contracts and regulations made by authority of the United States, in connnection with the postal department, were recognized and continued in force without recognizing the jurisdiction of the government by which they were made. In drafting this ordinance
the committee had availed themselves of the action of our sister State, South Carolina, who had broken the ice and was the pioneer in the present movement at the South, but had gone a step further than the South Carolina Ordinance, by making provision for the enforcement of the penal laws heretofore in force, and which are neccessary to protect the mails from depredations. This Ordinance would afford relief to those at present committed with the mail service, who feel embarrassed by the new attitude assumed by the State, and the new duties thereby imposed upon her citizens; and it will, at the same time, continue existing safeguards, without which confidence in transmissions or remittances by mail will be lost.
At present the Federal Government ignores the independence of Mississippi, and as long as the two governments occupy towards each other the present anamolous position, the presumption is that existing postal arrangements will be continued unless obstructed by the action of Mississippi, which it is not her interest to do. Should, however, the views or policy of the Federal Government change in this respect, it will then be necessary for us to adopt other and appropriate steps to supply the citizens of the State with mail facilities.
On submitting the Ordinance concerning Federal Jurisdiction and Property in the State of Mississippi.
The position and character of this body, as respects its powers and functions, in our political system was discussed the other day. He did not intend to renew that discussion. There was no conflict of opinions on the main point, which was the power to adapt our State government to the new order of things initiated by the Ordinance of Secession--those who believe that our power is without limitation, acknowledge a sense of duty which will confine our action within the narrowest limits compatible with the necessities springing out of the change of relations with the government of the United States, and the resumption of powers conferred by the Constitution of the United States on that govornment, in its former relations to us. It is not necessary, therefore, to fortify by argument, the opinion which I entertain in common with a majority of the committee, that when the sovereign power is called into action, it is supreme, and that the causes or motives for invoking it, however strongly they many constrain the representatives of the people here, through their sense of duty, cannot be assumed
as the limit of their power. It is undoubtedly the unanimous sentiment of this body that the disturbing hand of indiscriminate innovation shall not be employed on the State Constitution. The public mind may and ought to repose in the conviction that the existing State government stands today unshaken in its authority, and that in making it independent, so far from weakening it we have made it stronger, for the protection of life, liberty and property, and moreover we have made it stronger, because it is now the object of our undivided devotion.
The act of secession has been achieved through the forms of the Constitution so far as the people of Mississippi are concerned, and by their free consent, It is sanctioned by their organic law and their bill of rights. It is completely obligatory within the limits of this State, and its legitimate consequence must be accepted by all of her citizens, and undoubtedly is accepted by a vast majority of them with hearty good will. In his mind there is not a doubt that one of these consequences is to clothe the existing State government with all the powers which belong to the sovereign authority of a nation, and which were suspended by the operation of the Constitution of the United States, so long as we acknowledged is authority, and that the State government is to-day supreme over all the rightful subjects of government except so far as it may be restrained by our State Constitution.
The Legislature, therefore, on this hypothesis may rightfully, without an alteration of the Constitution, and without further authority from this body, deal with the soil of Mississippi--the public lands, and dispose of the subjects of the judicial power of the United States, arising in this State; or which are now in process of litigation in the Federal Courts.
The political jurisdiction of the United States acquired by cession, as in the case of the Ship Island fortifications, is annihilated by the Ordinance of Secession, and that jurisdiction which was exercised through the Federal Judiciary, shared the same fate.
There exists in the minds of some persons, however, a doubt whether the mere declaration of the powers which were dormant while we were in the federal Union, imparts to our State government, under the present Constitution, any additional power; as that Constitution was framed by a people, living at the time of adoption, under the Constitution of the United States, having emerged from the territorial condition into a State. It is supposed that the language of a Constitution made with reference to admission into the Union, and by a people already bound by the Constitution of the United States, must be construed with reference to that condition, and consequently,
that the words "legislative power" in the State Constitution, meant only such power as the people then had, and could not now be construed to embrace subjects covered by the Constitution of the United States. Hence the necessity of some additional organic provision by this body, to bring these subjects within the range of the legislative power of the State government. Without examing the soundness of this view, to remove all doubt, the committee have deemed it best in form, to confer this power. It is important that no doubt shall exist, and none can exist if the ordinance is passed.
The government of the United States was not only a polititcal sovereign in some respects and in some localities in this State, but was a property owner--in trust for all the States of the Union. This ownership existed as to the public lands, the fortifications, lighthouses, hospitals and the like. As to the public lands, we cannot recognize in future any title derived from a foreign government after the act of secession, nor can we permit a foreign government to dispose of fortifications or other property held within our limits, as the mere instruments of an authority which has ceased. The committee therefore thought fit to declare that the title is now in the State of Mississippi, in order that no doubt may arise on that subject, with a view to the sale and disposition of the public lands and other property, and at the same time looking to the adjustment by treaty or otherwise, of the claim of the United States for compensation.
The propriety of the disposition made by the ordinance, of the pending suits and unsatisfied judgments in the Courts of the United States, will be assented to, we think, by every one. Our object has been not to legislate, but to remove all doubt of the power of the Legislature over the subjects embraced in the ordinance.
In Convention, January 19th, 1861, on the Ordinance to regulate the right of Citizenship in Mississippi.
Mr. Dyer said, in substance, that as one of the committee that reported the Ordinance, he heartily endorsed it. The object of the committee was to make as little change as possible in the naturalization laws of the United States--indeed, to continue them, with slight modifications, until a Southern Confederacy should be formed, when a general system could be adopted. He was in favor of a liberal system. He had no
desire, as some gentlemen seemed to have, to dig an impassable chasm between us and the non seceding States. If some of their people wish to come here and unite their fortunes with ours, he would not throw obstacles in their way.
There were now in the Northern States upwards of five hundred thousand persons who were born upon Southern soil, and to the South and its institutions are warmly attached. Many of them will return to their native land. If war shall take place between the two sections, thousands of them will rush to our support. Will you require those who have gone from Mississippi, when they return home, to take an oath of allegiance to their mother? Can you suppose that they will be untrue to her? There is now here a gallant Mississippian, who has been, for upwards of twenty year, absent from the State, in the military service of the United States, but like a true son, when difficulties surround it, he has come back and tendered his sword to his native State. He will, if necessary, peril his life in its defence. He will uphold our flag, or fall beneath it. Will you ask him, who is ready to sacrifice life, everything, in defence of his State, to take an oath of allegiance to it? His presence at such a time, and for such a purpose, is the best evidence that he can offer of his fidelity to Mississippi. There are other sons of Mississippi now in the military service of the United States who will rush to our standards if a collision takes place between the North and South; their acts will prove their devotion to their State; from them no oath of fidelity should he exacted. He referred to this class of persons to show the hardship of requiring them to be naturalized.
There were also Northern people who were as true to the South and its institutions as if born here, and who are ready to give to us our full constitutional rights. Many of this class will desire to move South, in the event of a permanent division of the Union. He could see no necessity for their going through a regular course of naturalization; but it is said that unless an oath of allegiance is required, that enemies and spies will come from the North to reside amongst us. If there be such, an oath will not restrain them. If they are base enough to come here and act the part of spies, they will not hesitate, to commit perjury. If such come here, we will deal with them promptly and decidedly--deal with them as Texas did with a similar class lately. They will find no protection in an oath of allegiance.
He thought that in our system of government and laws, too many oaths were required--they are too often made but to be broken.
There is a large amount of capital now out of employment
at the North, which we should, by every proper means, invite and induce to come South; but if the views of some gentlemen are to he adopted, it will be driven away. Capital is timid, and will not go where risks are to be incurred. If Northern capitalists are to be looked upon with suspicion--if they are to be treated as foreigners--they will not come here. Their money will seek other channels for investment.
If foreigners come here, he would require them to be naturalized. They generally speak a different language from ours, and are unfamiliar with our laws and our system of government, and hence should go through a course of pupilage to fit them for citizenship; but such is not the case with those born within the United States, and with them such pupilage is not necessary.
But, further, those who come here will not be at once clothed with the rights of citizenship. A residence of twelve months in the State, and four months in the same county, will be necessary to authorize them to exercise any public rights.
In the short period of sixty days, a Southern Confederacy will be formed. Why not wait till then, before adopting a general system of naturalization? There is no great necessity for adopting one now. The Ordinance, if adopted, will be sufficient for the present exigency, and the General Convention can make provision for the future.
On the powers and duties of the Convention, as set forth in a series of resolutions introduced by him, January 15th, 1861.
He said in substance--that he had introduced the resolutions for the purpose of defining the duties and power of the Convention to prevent confusion hereafter, and also save the State from a precedent which might endanger the liberties of the people. That he could not subscribe to the theory that the power of the Convention was absolute and unlimited over the persons and property of the citizen. Conventions of the people by delegates occurred but seldom, and some crude opinions existed as to their power. He conceived that they possessed no inherent power, but only derivative. The relation between the delegate and the people was that of representative and constituent; principal and agent; and they could exercise no power except such as had been entrusted to them by those they represented. They acted alone in a fiduciary character, and not discretionary beyond the trust reposed.
The doctrine of absolutism in the Convention changed the form of our government from a representative democracy to an oligarchy. He invoked the consideration of the Convention to avoid the dangerous precedent that might be established by their action, and in avoiding Scylla take care that the political bark might not be wrecked upon Charybdis. He desired also to elicit from gentlemen whose analytical and synthetical power of mind enabled them to investigate great fundamental principles of government, views and opinions which would materially direct the action of this body and prevent conflicts between the Convention and the departments of government already established under the Constitution, in whom have been reposed the exercise of the power over subjects proposed to be acted on by this body.
The first resolution enunciated the principle that the power of the Convention was limited in the opinion of Mr. C. to the specific object which called them together, and such incidentals necessary to accomplish the same. He did not believe that any other subject could legitimately be acted on by the Convention without submitting it to the people for their ratification. He felt satisfied it would be the proper course to pursue, whatever might be the opinion of gentlemen upon the abstract question of conventional power.
The only question presented to the people, of his county was the secession of the State from the Federal Union and the formation of a Southern Confederacy. Upon all matters connected with that object he felt himself fully instructed, and could carry out the wishes of his constituents, and felt fully authorized to act. But upon subjects not discussed and considered by the people of his county, he did not realize authority to bind them without consultation or submitting to them those subjects for their decision. Whether he was right or wrong in his views abstractly, as a practical question he was sure it was the safest course to protect the political rights of the citizen.
He confessed the second resolution assumed a bold position, but he considered it correct. It enunciated two propositions: 1st. That the people had a right to alter or abolish their form of government at pleasure. 2d. That until expressly altered or abolished, in was supreme to the extent of its power. That the first proposition was fully established by the second section in the "declaration of rights" in the State Constitution. The second proposition he thought was equally true. All political power was in the people in the first instance, but when delegated to departments to be exercised under a form Of government for the common good, it could not be exercised even by the people themselves until resumed. That many of
the subjects presented to the Convention for action were purely legislative, designed to act immediately and upon the citizen. The Constitution had placed all legislative power in the Senate and House of Representatives, and declared that no acts even of those bodies should have the "force and effect" of law until certain forms had been complied with. He conceived that no power could, therefore, legislate so as to give force and vitality to law which would be obligatory upon the people, but in the department in whom the legislative power had been vested. That the people of the State assembled en mass could not pass a law that would be recognized by the courts, without first changing their Constitution; and if the people could not do so, surely their delegates could not do it. That he did not think the condition of the country rendered a fundamental change of the form of our government necessary; that everything this Convention contemplates of a legislative character was fully within the power of the legislative department of our State government, and could be carried out in a constitutional manner; that we might be brought in conflict with that department if we attempted legislation without an alteration of the Constitution, which he did not deem necessary.
He stated that the third resolution enunciated a similar principle with the second--that if the Convention had power to exercise the functions of one department it could the other, and by ordinance reverse the decisions of the Supreme Court --that the course of the Convention, if many ordinances proposed were adopted, was uprooting the very foundations of the government. Gentlemen had said this was a Provisional Government we were adopting. He saw no necessity for a Provisional Government. We had a perfect government. Provisional Governments were generally the result of revolutions. He could not admit the action of the State was a revolution. It would place our citizens in an awkward position with the Federal Government. That as a sovereign State we had resumed the power delegated to the Federal Union, and those powers were, by the act of secession, under the control of the respective departments of the State Government to which they belong, whether Executive, Judicial or Legislative --that all the Convention was required to do was to amend the Constitution where necessary to adapt the government to the new order of things, and the Legislature to pass such laws as were proper for the free use and enjoyment of the resumed power.
That he considered the fourth resolution as pointing out the proper course for the Convention to pursue, viz: This Convention having adopted and ratified the ordinance of secession,
resuming it the name of the State of Mississippi, the powers delegated to the Federal Government, should make only such alterations in the Constitution as will place the State Government in full and complete exercise of the resumed powers, and take such action as it may deem necessary for the organization of a confederacy of the seceding States, leaving all other matters connected with the interests of the people in the respective departments to which they belong, under our present form and system of government.
On the proposition to levy a special tax on slaves. In Convention, January 21st, 1861.
Mr. Clayton said: The proposition before the committee, is to lay a tax of sufficient amount at once, to meet the necessities of the State in the present crisis. He frankly acknowledged that he preferred the system reported by the Committee of Ways and Means. Their plan, in substance, was to raise by means of Treasury notes and bonds to be issued from time to time, as the Executive might deem necessary, as much money as would serve the purposes of the country. In their general plan he concurred, though he might differ as to some of the details, and he was ready to surrender all minor differences to the paramount interests of the State.
In the last hundred years, no nation had undertaken to raise by immediate, direct taxation, the funds necessary to carry on war. The most absolute despot in Europe would as soon think of abdicating his throne as to resort to such a course. Indeed, it would amount to abdication, for it would result in revolution, and in an overthrow of the government. Now, in the event of war, every nation in Europe seeks the capitalists to obtain funds for its maintenance.
The same course is now being pursued by the States on this Continent. New York has just passed a bill to raise a loan of ten millions to be tendered to the United States to aid in coercing the South. Virginia has passed a similar bill to raise one million, by way of loan, to prevent this coercion. Let Mississippi follow these examples, and appeal to the patriotism of her own people. Let her issue treasury notes of so small an amount that even the humblest of her citizens can aid in the movement.
When Louis Napoleon, in his war with Austria, was reduced to extremity for money, and when he found the coffers of every
capitalist closed against him, he resorted to this plan. He appealed to the French people for loans in very small sums. It enlisted the sympathy and support of his people; they came to his aid, furnished the necessary means, and caused victory to perch upon his banners.
The same policy here will lead to the same result, and exempt the State from heavy taxation.
There is another reason for this course. The benefits of this great movement, if our hope should be realized, will be greater to our children than to ourselves. It is but just, then, that they should bear their share of the burthen. This call only be done by raising a fund of which they will have to pay their share.
But the plan of the committee does not propose to rely entirely on this issue of notes and bonds to create the necessary funds. It also proposes to lay a tax of limited amount for the same purpose. Of this I entirely approve. It has the double effect of lessening the amount of treasury notes to be issued, and of inspiring confidence in their payment. In this manner it will tend to secure their sale, and to raise the money which is needed.
The point on which I must differ from the report of the committee, is as to the nature of the tax to be laid. Instead of placing it on all the taxable property of the State, I propose to lay a special tax of seventy-five cents on each taxable slave in the State, in addition to the already existing tax upon slaves. I propose to do this, because the entire tax will then approach very nearly to the advalorem principle adopted in reference to most all other kinds of property. If we assume $600 as the present average value of negroes, the tax of one dollar and fifty cents is just one-fourth of one per cent. on the value.
It is with no wish to discriminate against this species of property, nor with any wish to inaugurate a system of class legislation, that I advocate this plan, but solely with a view to make the system of taxation as nearly uniform as possible, and to place it on the most equitable principle, Taxation is the price which property pays for protection; and that price should be commensurate to the value. I shall submit an amendment in conformity with these views.
Before concluding, I beg to say a few words on the banking feature contained in two of the substitutes offered in lieu of the ordinance of the committee.
The first proposes to make the State a large stockholder. I object to any union of Bank and State. It converts the bank into a political machine, and turns it away from the proper objects and purposes of a bank.
The other proposes the free banking system. In highly
commercial cities, as in New Orleans, this system has proved successful. In agricultural communities, I should have great fears of its appropriateness. In Illinois and in Tennessee it has proved a lamentable failure. I should therefore very much distrust its efficiency to aid in raising revenue, in an emergency like this. I very much prefer the plan of the committee to these.
The amendment proposed is as follows:
Resolved, That in order to equalize the tax on slaves with ad valorem tax on other property, an additional tax of seventy-five cents shall be levied upon each and every slave in this State, under the age of sixty years for the present fiscal year; which tax shall be collected and paid into the treasury of the State at the same time and manner as other State taxes, to aid in creating a fund for the defence of the State.
In Convention, January 15th, on the "Resolutions to provide for the formation of a Southern Confederacy."
Mr. Clap said: When this subject was before the Convention on a former day: he had expressed no opinion in reference to it, but it was not because he did not entertain a fixed and matured opinion. He did not suppose that any one who had studied the philosophy of the present movement could have a reasonable doubt that there was an irreconcilable antagonism of opinion between the two sections. The President elect has sounded the key-note, and struck at the root of the difficulty when he said "there is a judgement and conscience at the North against slavery which casts more than a million and a half of votes, and which must find an outlet either through the peaceful channel of the ballot-box, or in the multiplication of John Brown raids.
Our policy toward the non-slaveholding States should be dictated by prudence; and whilst we prepare for war, we should do nothing to produce unnecessary exasperation, but extend to them the olive branch. However brave a people might be, and however well prepared for war, yet war was, under almost all circumstances, a calamity--a terrible calamity, to be avoided by all honorable means. But whilst we avoid giving unnecessary offence, we should at the same time reject all idea of re-union or political confederation with the non-slaveholding States. The moral antagonism is irreconcilable and ineradicable, and must wherever we are brought together under the same government, necessarily result in political antagonism. Their tendency is toward aggregationalism
and centralism--ours toward individualism; their idea of liberty was the unrestricted control of numerical majorities--our idea of liberty was Constitutional and Institutional. Our fathers who framed the Federal Government, perceived these sources of discord, and endeavored to guard against them in the provisions of the federal compact. But how long before these guaranties were disregarded? It was because of the inefficiency of these Constitutional restraints that we were driven to the necessity of separating from the non-slaveholding States.
We are now touching chords that will vibrate throughout the world, and for coming years, vitally affecting not only the interests of our State and of the South, but of this continent and the world. Having snatched the Constitution, the work of our fathers, from the hands of those who were ruthlessly violating its provisions, we owe it to the memory of its authors and to ourselves that we shall not expose it to the same peril, with the moral certainty of a like result.
Were we to re-unite the scattered fragments of this confederacy to-day upon the footing of equality of representation, giving to each section the same population, this inequality must, in the nature of things, be of short continuance. As long as we remain almost exclusively an agricultural people, our white population must he comparatively sparse, and whilst the North would at least keep pace with us in natural increase, the drift of immigration would add to their numbers from two to four hundred thousand annually, which would swell the basis of their representation until the South would soon find herself again in a hopless minority, warring against a spirit of aggression, that it diverted from one object of attack, would soon single out another. It is not slavery alone that is now assailed, but government and law wherever they impose restraints, or tend to conserve existiag institutions.
Woman was to be degraded, by conferring upon her rights foreign to her sex, and identifying her with the strifes and competitions of the sterner sex, whilst the marital tie is to give way to the licentiousness of free-loveism. Agragrianism, now directed against the public domain, will be directed against property rights in some other form. The Bible is to be overthrown and supplanted by spiritualism and infidelity, and the Deity Himself dethroned, that fanaticism may have undisputed sway. These are the fearful elements at work under the foundations of society in the non-slaveholding States, and which must work out their legitimate results--first anarchy--then civil commotion and bloodshed, from which a refuge will be sought in military despotism.
The eternal antagonism between labor and capital, whose battle cry is "bread or blood!" will produce the same results in the
North that have been witnessed in France and wherever the experiment has been tried, and the same feeling of self-preservation that placed the crown upon the heads of the two Napoleons, will hand over the reins of government to some military chieftain clothed with despotic power.
Having escaped from this "irrepresible conflict" by peaceful separation, let us not be so blind to the lights of history, so forgetful of the past in our own experience, as to incorporate these perilous elements of discord and dissolution into the new government which we propose to inaugurate, but let that government set out in its career composed of homogeneous interests and materials, that it may have a fair opportunity to vindicate the great cause of constitutional and institutional liberty, and to develop those gigantic resources within its control. If our fathers were baffled in their patriotic effort to bind this demon of discord with the thongs of the Constitution, how can we hope to be more fortunate? Let us profit by their experience, and, if I may use the expression without irreverence, let us be wiser than they were, and instead of vainly attempting to adapt man to government, let us adapt government to man.
If history has taught us one truth more clearly and unmistakably than another, it is that if the institution of slavery is to be permanent, it must be controlled exclusively by the people amongst whom it exists. Foreign authority, or the power to intermeddle by a government or people not identified with the institution, is death. It was a clear perception of this truth that weighed upon the mind of the illustrious Calhoun, and it was his inability to avert the impending doom of the South in the Union, and the misconception of his motives, that ultimately crushed his proud spirit and broke his great heart.
Let us, then, whilst we cultivate friendly relations with the people and States of the non-slaveholding section, and if need be, present an unbroken front with them as to the rest of the world, yet preserve our government and institutions separate and distinct. But whilst I entertain these views--the result of my deliberate convictions--I would not feel justified in persistently maintaining them against a contrary opinion entertained by the Southern States with whom we propose to confederate; and if I were to find my individual judgment, or that of my State, against South Carolina--the Harry Percy of the South, that has led the van in our great movement--against Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and other Cotton States, thoroughly identified with us in interest, I should distrust the correctness of that judgment, and defer to their opinion. This, our delegates to the Southern Confederating Convention would not be at liberty to do, under the amendment offered by the gentlemen from Monroe, (Mr. Gholson) but would be compelled to return home; whilst there, I would
not make the exclusion of every free State a sine qua non with our proposed Confederate States. I would, by the vote of this Convention, advise our delegates of the course we wish them to pursue as our representatives.
January 11th, 1861, on the powers and duties of the Convention.
He said, in substance, that the Convention, before taking further proceedings, should settle definitely the powers of the delegates here. The question was incidentally raised on the second day of the session, and various members participated in the discussion. From the opinions then expressed, it was obvious that there was a great difference of opinion. That he could not assent to all that was then advanced. That it was asserted that we were the people in sovereign power assembled, with the entire sovereignty of the State vested in us. That he could not agree to this. That while it was true we represented the sovereignty of the State, it was to a limited extent. The Legislators represented the sovereignty of the State, but it was to a limited extent. His Excellency, the Governor, represented the sovereignty of the State to a limited extent, also; and so did the Judges. They, as well as we, are the agents of the people in their sovereignty. But our powers are limited by the letter of attorney which called us here. We are delegates to a convention. The powers of a convention, for the purposes for which we are elected, are as well defined under our American system of conventions, as are the powers of a Legislature. The delegates to a Convention have the power to form, where no government has been established, a government; or, where a government has been formed, to make such revision, change or alteration as circumstances may require. But the power of a Convention is, by our American system, limited to the establishment of a democratic, republican form of government. Now when we met here, how stood the State of Mississippi? She had a government formed. Part of the powers were vested in the federal government of the United States, and the residue in the State government. This Convention had seen fit to annul and abrogate the powers confided to the Federal Government. Having done that, our powers were at an end, unless it became necessary to alter or add to the powers of our State government. Some alteration might be necessary in our State Constitution, and some additions might be rendered necessary. The people had seen fit to place a restriction upon themselves as to their qualifications as electors. They had said none but a citizen of the United States
should be a qualified elector in this State. It might be necessary to strike out this clause, as well as several others of the same import, in the Constitution, by way of amendment. It might be necessary to add, that the Legislature should have power to declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisals, and make rules concerning captures on land and water; and it might be deemed advisable to abrogate entirely the 9th section of Article VII. of the Constitution, and insert in lieu a provision that the Legislature be empowered "to borrow money on the credit of the State." This done, our powers and duties were at an end. The public anxiety would be relieved: no fears would be apprehended that we were about to establish a monarchy, a despotism or an oligarchy. We would have finished our work, and established a complete, democratic, republican form of government, with all the machinery to carry it into execution, "The powers of the government of the State of Mississippi shall be divided into three distinct departments, and each of them confided to a separate body of magistracy, to-wit: those which are legislative to one, those which are judicial to another, and those which are executive to another." By adopting these amendments, changes and additions to the organic law, which, in his estimation, embraced the whole power of this Convention, our work would be ended in an hour so far as settling the organic law of Mississippi is concerned--all matter else would be as to our own internal affairs.
January 25th, on the Ordinance to raise means for the defence of the State.
Mr. Yerger said, he had not intended to have said anything in support of the amendment offered by the delegate from Copiah, (Mr. King,) but to content himself with casting his vote in favor of it again, as he had done on two previous occasions when it was before the Convention.
The propositions contained in the amendment had seemed to him so eminently just and proper under the circumstances in which we were placed, as to commend them to the sanction and approval of the Convention, without the necessity of speech or argument to enforce their adoption.
But in this supposition, it seems, by the determined opposition manifested this morning to the adoption of the amendment, he was mistaken. He should, therefore, ask the indulgence of the Convention whilst he made some suggestions tending to show the power of the Convention to levy the tax proposed by the amendment, and the justice and propriety of
the tax itself. The liability of the citizen, and his duty to pay his contributive share to the revenue, to support and maintain the government, is a debt of allegiance which every citizen and subject owes to the sovereignty and government of which he is a member. This debt and duty rest alike upon every citizen, and is a personal obligation that attaches to him individually, and not on his property, unless so provided by law.
The amount and the mode of payment are to be determined by the sovereign will, either in fixing it, as a debt in personam, to be paid per capita, or as a debt in rem, to be charged alone upon the property of the citizen within the jurisdiction of the State. In this State, by its policy and legislation, taxes have always, with a few rare exceptions, been assessed in personam, and the property of the individual used as a criterion by which to ascertain and adjust equally and fairly the amount which each citizen should contribute and pay to the support of the State government, and as a means of securing the punctual payment of the tax assessed and ascertained. The proposition contained in this amendment is to introduce, as an additional subject of taxation, money loaned at interest, invested in stocks, bills, etc., beyond the limits of the State, by the citizens of the State. It simply proposes to tax the citizen personally, and as a means of ascertaining the proper and just amount with which he should be taxed, directs that it shall be ascertained what means he has in addition to his property located in the State, and upon the amount being ascertained, fixes the per centum upon the whole as the amount that it is his duty and obligation to contribute to the revenue of the State; thus creating a more personal debt and liability on him.
The power and authority of the State so to fix and determine his liability is unquestionable. It rests upon the jurisdiction of the State over the person of the citizen, and of his duty and obligation to pay that which the State may determine is his proper proportion, toward the necessary support and maintenance of the revenue of the government which protects him.
The certificates of stock, bills, notes and securities for money, are but choses in action, which in contemplation by law follow, and are always with the person of the owner, and as much within the jurisdiction of the State, for the purpose of taxation, as his land and slaves lying within the borders of the State, or his money in his possession, or loaned within the State. If he dies, they pass by the law of distribution of his domicile. If transferred, they pass by the law of the State in which the transfer may be made; thus showing that they are purely personal rights, which have no situs except the place where the holder resides, or is. Wherever he is, or wherever they reside, there they are. Thus it is with money: wherever the
citizen resides, with him his money always is, in contemplation by law, for all purposes of disposition and appropriation.
The State of which he is a citizen as much protects him in the possession, use, enjoyment, investment and disposition of his money and choses in action, as it does in the possession and cultivation of his lands, or the labor and profits of his slaves. The opponents of this amendment mistake its object and scope, when they suppose that the tax is laid upon the money, and choses in action in which the money has been invested. The tax, is upon the citizen. The money, and choses in action in which it is invested, are but used as the criterion for ascertaining the amount proper to be assessed against him, as has been remarked before.
There is no restriction in our Constitution, or in the act of convoking this Convention, which limits the power of the Legislature or of this Convention to the imposition of a tax upon the property located, or the money invested, within the State. They can impose the tax upon the person of the citizen alone, or upon the property alone. It is a subject peculiarly within their discretion and jurisdiction--the exercise of the sovereign power, without any constitutional check or limitation. They can impose it upon one, or both, or upon the individual personally, making the property security for its payment, as is proposed to be done by this amendment.
If gentlemen who oppose this amendment will show the decision of one respectable Court gainsaying the position he had assumed, in any State having similar provisions to our Constitution, or which denies to the State the right to ascertain and fix the liability of the tax payer, as a personal obligation, he would at once change his vote, and cast it with them in opposition to the amendment. This, he was confident, they could not do, as he had, in another forum, occasion most carefully to examine the authorities upon that question, and was unable to find any respectable authority militating against the proposition here assumed. He did, however, find ample authority to sustain and uphold his position, and the principle of this amendment. If the power exists, the propriety of its exercise, in the present exigency of the State, is unquestionable. Why should we scruple or hesitate to exercise this power in the manner designated in the amendment, at this time of all others, when the very existence of the sovereignty of the State, and the protection of its citizens, and their property, so much depend upon the accumulation of revenue sufficient to arm and equip an efficient body of citizen soldiers. We now tax the money of the citizen loaned and invested within the borders of the State, and why should we refuse to tax the citizens of the State an equal amount on account of the money
that he lends or invests beyond the limits of the State.
The exemption and immunity, thus sought to be created in favor of the citizen who loans and invests his money abroad, have no sound policy to sustain them, and would be most unjust and iniquitous so long as we tax the citizen of the State on money loaned and invested within it.
If any exemption is to be made, it should be in favor of the citizen who loans his money within the State, thus adding to its capital and means of development.
If the citizen takes the proceeds of his crop, and product of his property, and invest it in the purchase of land and property within the State, this property, so purchased, is taxed. Upon what principle of policy or justice is it that the citizen, who takes the proceeds of his property, and instead of investing it within the State in other property, diverts it to other channels of trade beyond the jurisdiction of the State, should be exempt from the same tax paid or imposed upon his neighbor. He could see none. The same constitution, the same law protects the persons of both citizens, and the possession and use of their property alike; and he thought it but just that each should bear an equal proportion toward the support and maintenance of the government that protected both. These suggestions, thus hastily thrown out, had been sufficient to determine him to support the amendment before the Convention, and he hoped might aid in disabusing the minds of members of the Convention of the artificial and sophistical reasons assigned as sufficient to warrant members in opposing the amendment. He knew that gentlemen could not find any respectable judicicial authority to sustain their view on the question of power to lay the tax, and to his own mind the justice and fairness of the proposition were evident. The legal power and authority of the Convention to impose the tax proposed by the amendment is unquestionable, both in principle and authority. The proposition itself had fairness, justice and equality to sustain and sanction it, and he should vote in favor of it.
In Convention, January 24th, on the proposition to lay a special additional tax on negroes.
MR. CHAIRMAN: I am in favor of the resolution offered by the gentleman from Carroll, (Mr. George,) for the simple reason that it embodies the same proposition, in substance, that I had the honor to submit a few days ago. In providing means for
the defence of the State, there is no good reason why negroes should not bear as great a burthen as any other property. I do not wish my position upon this question to be misunderstood. I am utterly opposed to class legislation, or of making any discrimination against negro property, or of doing anything else that would be prejudicial to the institution of slavery. No one, sir, believes more strongly than I do in the great truth enunciated by Mr. Calhoun: that African slavery, as it exists in the South, is a blessing to both the white and black races. In no other country, nor in any other age of the world, so far as their history is known, have the African race attained so high an elevation, or enjoyed so much happiness, as they have in a state of servitude in the South. On the other hand, there is no place upon earth where the poorer classes of white people occupy so high a position as they do here, where African slavery exists. An abiding conviction of these truths upon the public mind gives to slavery its chief strength. It is this conviction that places it so high in the affections of the people. We should be careful to do nothing here that would, in the slightest degree, diminish this attachment for it. And I now ask gentlemen, in all candor, if the conviction should be forced upon the minds of the non-slaveholders of this State that negro property is not to bear as heavy a burthen in providing means for our defence, as land or other property, if it will not sow the seeds of discontent and excite a prejudice against the institution of slavery itself? I represent, sir, a constituency, a large majority of whom are non-slaveholders; and I venture to predict that should the soil of Mississippi be pressed by the footsteps of an invading foe, my constituents will be found in the front rank and in the thickest of the fight, in repelling the aggressor. But I do not ask, nor do they desire, any discrimination in their favor, or any exemption from a just and equal share of pecuniary burthens. What I ask, and what they have a right to demand, is, that every one shall be taxed according to his ability, or in proportion to what he is worth, This is in strict accordance with the good old Scriptural rule; and here permit me to remark, that as distinguished as this Convention is for talent and ability--composed, as it is, of the most distinguished men in the State, with the exception of myself, and perhaps a few others, [laughter]--they are not so highly exalted as to be above the obligations of Divine authority. The Scriptural rule alluded to, is: Let every one contribute "according to what he hath, and not according to what he hath not."
The distinguished gentleman from Marshall, (Mr. Walter,) contends that negro property already bears a full share of public burthens--even nine-tenths of the burthens of the country,
if I understand him correctly; and furthermore, that negroes were a burthen, or tax, to their owners, from infancy until they are twelve years of age. Now, by whatever process-- speculative or otherwise--by which my distinguished friend arrived at his conclusions, I beg leave to assure him, with the kindest feelings and highest respect, that as long as the people have before them the plainest facts and figures, deduced from the public records, directly conflicting with his position, so long will they believe that our present revenue system makes a discrimination in favor of negro property, and is therefore unequal and unjust. To show this conclusively, let us pause a moment. The average value of land in this State, according to the last assessment, is seven dollars per acre, or eleven hundred and twenty dollars per quarter section. The State tax is twenty-five cents for every one hundred dollars in value, amounting on an average to two dollars and twenty-four cents per quarter. By imposing the same rate of taxation upon all negroes under sixty years of age, estimating their average value at six hundred dollars, the tax upon each one would amount to one dollar and twenty-five cents--precisely sixty per centum more than the present tax, which is seventy-five cents per capita. These facts and figures speak for themselves, and cannot, I think, be gainsayed or refuted.
With regard to the burthen of supporting young negroes, to which the gentleman alludes, allow me to say that it is just such a burthen, or tax, as most persons are very willing to pay, and usually results in making them and their children rich.
The question again recurs, sir, with all its force, what good reason can there be for exempting negro property from a full and equal share of taxation? This policy is not only unjust, but, under existing circumstances, I think exceedingly unwise. I beg leave to remind gentlemen that it is a storm without, against this species of property, that is the source or all our troubles, and we should be careful to give no just cause of complaint, within, against it. Conflicting views and opinions should be respected, and, if possible, harmonized. Indeed, sir, it is one of the highest attainments of true statesmanship, in revolutions like that through which we are now passing, to unite all discordant elements, and to bold the masses of the people together, and to keep them moving steadily on toward the accomplishment of the great object in view. We have an illustrious example of the success of this policy in the history of Virginia. In the beginning of the Revolution, some of her people were too hot, some too cold--some were moving too fast, others too slow. Such were the consumate skill and wisdom
of her councils, that those who were too fast were held back; those who were too slow, were impelled forward; and thus all were kept moving steadily together in support of the great cause of Independence. The result was, less division in Virginia than in any other Colony, or, in other words, fewer tories. I trust, sir, that we shall profit by her noble example. Let equal justice be meted out to every interest and to all classes. Let all the citizens of the State feel, from our proceedings here, that we regard them as standing upon a common platform, and united with us as a band of brothers in a common cause, determined to maintain, at all hazards, the rights, the honor, the dignity and the independence of the State of Mississippi.
Permit me to apologize to you, sir, and to the Convention, for having detained you longer than I intended. Nothing but all imperative sense of duty, which I owe to those whom I have the honor, in part, to represent on this floor, could have induced me to address you at all upon the present occasion.
On voting against the amendment of Mr. George to increase the tax on slaves, having previously voted againt laying said amendment on the table. January 24th, 1861.
His reasons were these: He confessed himself not familiar with the principles or details of measures of revenue. Since he had been here he had sought information where he could best find it, the Committee of Ways and Means, and no member of it had sent us any report. He had heard all said upon the floor and was not greatly enlightened. In this condition of things, members propose a sudden increase of taxes upon slaves. To justify it they have offered a bare assertion that the present tax on slaves is greatly less than the tax on lands. If this be so, it certainly should not remain so. Equality, or so near an approach to it, in a tax bill, as in the nature of varied property can be attained, should be our rule. In reply, those who oppose this motion have been as sparing of facts, figures and argument for their cause as those who maintain it. Thus members are left to be guided solely by their own reflections.
The first reason which presented itself to him was, that the gross inequality of the tax on slaves complained of, had for years existed by law in our State, and had received the sanction of many Legislatures. How could this be? Why has it not been pointed out and corrected before? Why was it not brought to the attention of the law-makers in time of quietness and peace? Why was its discovery reserved for this hour of perplexity and confusion? Is there not a significant, a dangerous implication in the
fact that it is now for the first time pressed home upon the law-making power? It is said, though, that it has been pressed upon the Legislature. If so, then it must have failed there of course, and that alone raises a powerful presumption against it.
As for the position that there was anything in the nature of the property sought to be taxed in connexion with present or coming events, which would sustain the resolution, he wholly dissented from it. As for himself, if his mind was in doubt on any subject, and one course might suggest the idea of discrimination and the other would not, that fact would solve his doubts, and resolve him upon the latter course. No especial property was here imperilled, but all property and all right. The law was violated, without which no property can usefully exist. If violated as to one species it is violated as to all. Though aimed at a special point, the whole frame-work of our civil rights must bear the shock. For instance, but one citizen may hold a contract, if you violate it, for the time being, but the one may suffer; yet all in this or in some other vital point will inevitably say a penalty for a violated principle. Under the law it is true a man's rights are positive, but they are also relative. While my rights are protected it is an implied, if not an expressed condition of society, that my neighbor's shall be also. There is, there can be no property in Mississippi which needs either special privileges or merits special burden. There are, there can be no rights in Mississippi, which under any circumstances should pay a dearer price than others for that protection which is the end and aim of all government.
He believed there was wisdom in adopting the present revenue laws of the State as a basis for our action. There may be mistakes, errors or inequalities in them. The presumption is, however, against them. If there be such, leave them for the Legislature to correct, amend or abolish as the may feel instructed by their convictions to do Taking this basis, with addition of new subjects of taxation only, he was willing to vote an increase of any per cent. upon present rights deemed necessary to meet the wants of our people.
On the proposition of Mr. George, "that in order to make the State tax on slaves equal to the State tax on other personalty and on land, the above mentioned tax of fifty per centum on the present State tax, shall not apply to slaves, but instead thereof an additional special tax of one dollar and twenty-five cents be imposed on each taxable slave, to be collected and disbursed as the other taxes herein provided for." Jan. 24th, 1861.
My apology for asking the attention of this body, is, I have rarely expressed my opinions except by voting. The ordinance under consideration provides for increasing the revenue by an
increase of the present State tax fifty per cent. That law taxes negroes seventy-five cents each--a specific tax--and land at twenty-five cents on the hundred dollars. The amendment of the gentleman from Claiborne, (Mr. Ellett,) proposes to lay a tax upon all property at its value, whether that property consists in land or negroes. The amendment of the gentleman from Carroll, (Mr. George,) increases the tax upon all taxable property fifty per cent., except negroes, and upon them fixes an additional specific tax of one dollar and twenty five cents.
It is urged by the friends of this ordinance that we should not disturb the principle of taxation fixed by the Legislature, but only increase it so as to meet the present exigencies of the State. If this argument is worth anything, it establishes too much. It was proposed that the Legislature should have taken the whole subject of revenue under consideration, as it is the ordinary law-making power of the State. It would have had full and ample power, after a few constitutional restrictions and limitations were removed by the Convention in relation to the mode of pledging the faith of the State. The Convention, however, thought proper to enter into the general subject of legislation in raising the necessary revenue. This policy having been adopted, we should not be trammeled by any precedents or rules established by the Legislature further than they have the approbation of our judgments, as to the proper policy of the State. We act for ourselves, and not for the Legislature, and it would be no apology for our violation of a correct principle of legislation, that the Legislature had established the precedent. Their policy of legislation has been that of class of legislation, which is wrong in principle, and fruitful of innumerable ills in practice. Laws should be few, simple and general.
What is the effect of the class legislation adopted by the Legislature? Under its operation, capital invested in a slave worth fifteen hundred dollars only pays seventy-five cents tax, while the same amount of capital invested in land pays triple that sum. Is there any reason why capital invested in slaves should pay less to the support of the government than the same amount invested in lands? The office and purpose of government is to protect life, liberty and property, and if any sufficient reason can be given why any class of property should not contribute its due proportion for the protection afforded it, I will withdraw my objections to the principle of this bill.
The principle we have ever maintained is, that slaves are property: and if so, why should we legislate differently in relation to this species of property, except to protect their persons? I favor no agrarian system of legislation, but one that operates equally upon every property holder, whether the property may consist of slaves, lands, money or stocks. This theory of taxation, if properly
established, is a barrier to all class legislation and agrarianism, and does equal justice to all.
Many gentlemen have spoken of what are the views of their constituency on this subject, and manifest a desire to conform legislation to those views. I have no definite information upon this subject from those I in part represent, but my opinions as to the right and equitable mode of levying taxes, are firmly and unalterably fixed, and I hope they may be satisfactory to my constituents. Whatever may be their views does not affect the correctness of the principle.
My objection to the amendment of the gentleman from Carroll is, that it fixes all arbitrary value on negroes, when in fact their value is constantly fluctuating. It is obnoxious to the objection that it specifies the fixed tax on slaves, instead of placing them upon the same footing of taxation as other property. If, however, the amendment that establishes the ad valorum system of taxation on all property does not prevail, then I shall vote for his amendment, which approximates to this principle.
On his resolution to raise means for the defence of the State.
Mr. Dyer said that the resolution offered by him proposed that the State should issue bonds, or certificates of deposit, bearing eight per cent. interest, per annum, and that the interest and one-tenth of the principal should be paid annually, by the State, and to that extent should be receivable in taxes. These bonds were proposed to be sold to our citizens, at par, to raise means for the defence of the State.
A hostile collision with the North must be reasonably expected, and prompt and ample preparations should be made to meet it. To carry on a war, money will be needed. Heavy expenditures must be made. Our own people will have to furnish the means. In the midst of revolution and the difficulties incident to it, it is idle to expect to borrow money from foreign governments or foreign bankers, but we must look to and rely upon our own citizens. How, then, shall the necessary money be obtained from them? Shall it be raised by immediate taxation? That would be too onerous: No people have ever attempted to carry on war by immediate taxation. At such a time, monetary and commercial affairs are deranged, industry is to a great extent paralyzed, and taxes are then more oppressive than at any other period. We must, therefore, not rely solely upon taxation, but must, as other people have, under similar circumstances, resort to our credit.
We must appeal to the patriotism of the people. This movement originated with them, and they will see that it does not languish for the want of means. An appeal to them will receive a favorable response. In his own county he believed fifty thousand dollars of the bonds could be disposed of; other counties would, no doubt, be equally as liberal and patriotic. But aside from patriotism, he thought that the investment would be a good one. The security will be ample, and the interest is sufficiently high to induce capitalists to purchase the bonds. The planter, who has large annual taxes to pay, might safely buy, because he could discharge his tax with the interest and that portion of the principal which would be yearly payable, and having in his own hands the means of indemnity, he certainly would be willing to advance liberally to the State, to aid in so glorious a cause as its defence against a ruthless invader.
The distinguished gentleman from Coahoma (Mr. Alcorn) has proposed a different plan to raise the requisite means for our military defence. He suggests, the chartering of a Bank by this Convention, with which the State shall be connected, and from which the means shall be borrowed for the prosecution of the war. To this the objections are insuperable. Many are now living who recollect the Bank history of this State--the most disastrous known to any people. The banks demoralized the people, bankrupted the State, and inflicted upon it innumerable woes, from which it has scarcely yet recovered; and what has once happened will probably occur again. Into such institutions the breath of life should not be breathed.
Mississippi, too, is strictly an agricultural people, and Banks can alone succeed in commercial communities. They are dependent for their existence upon short credits, and short credits are of no use to planters. They receive the proceeds of their crops but once a year, and consequently want loans for a long period, and such loans are ruinous to banks; but at commercial points, discounts are made for a short time, usually to merchants who pay their debts promptly. By such debtors, Banks can be sustained, but by none other. Punctuality is the very life of a merchant, but it is of but little consequence to a planter: hence a commercial community sustains banks, and an agricultural one breaks them.
Further, it would be the interest of the Banks of Tennessee and other States, whose paper circulates here, to destroy the credit of a Bank of this State, because it would interfere with and entrench upon their business, and they would do so.
Again, Banks are the creatures of confidence, and can only exist in time of peace and quiet. To start one now in this State, with such troubles as we have in prospect, nothing but suspension and failure could be reasonably expected. Without further remarks, he would ask that the resolution be referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.
MR. PRESIDENT: The Committee to whom was referred the subject of the formation of a Southern Confederacy have had the same under consideration; and in view of all the events of the last month, and the prospect before us, your committee is of opinion that it is a subject which should be acted upon with promptness and decision by the Convention. They furnish conclusive reasons for the necessity of an efficient government for the seceding States of the late Union, before the 4th day of March next. They are now without a federative form of government, and an early and cordial union among them is needed to preserve peace, to promote order, to protect rights, and to avenge wrongs. Both at home and abroad, its influence will be felt, and its formation and perfection was the great and leading object for which this body was constituted.
To this end the committee recommend the election of seven delegates, to meet with delegates from other States, at Montgomery, Alabama, on the first Monday in February, 1861. This time and place meet the views of South Carolina and Alabama, and will doubtless be sanctioned by Florida, Georgiana, Louisiana and Texas, and all other Southern States who may hereafter co-operate with us.
The number of delegates recommended is the same as that of our Senators and Representatives in the Congress of the late United States. It is believed that thus while we may secure ability of a varied character, we also avoid the confusion and delay sometimes incident to too large a representation in point of numbers.
In the deliberations of such a body as is proposed, your committee think that each State should stand on a footing of perfect equality with every other State, and that each should cast one vote. Each State will alike be sovereign, and, as equals, they should consider, act and unite for the common welfare of all.
For this Convention, your committee have thought it wise to instruct the delegates to propose the Constitution of the late United States as a basis and outline of a Provisional Government for the seceding States. This instrument is familiar to us all, and while we have seceded from certain Northern political communities which are traitors to its provisions and false to its principles, we still admire the one and are true to the other. It is a guide which can safely be trusted, and an adherence to it as far as possible will lead to that which all now desire, the prompt erection of a Southern Federal Union.
And toward this end of pressing importance, your committee
believe it proper that said delegates should cast the vote of Mississippi for a President and Vice-President under said Provisional Government. Without a doubt, the delegates who will be selected by this Convention will be men of tried fidelity, and worthy to fill this high trust.
It is proposed that this Provisional Government shall continue a short time, and only until a Constitution and Permanent Plan of Government can be adopted by the intended Convention. As soon as such a plan is matured, it should forthwith be reported back to us by our delegates for our ratification or rejection.
Your committee is not advised whether it is proper in them to recommend in regard to the nature or character of said Constitution and Plan. Yet they will say that in their opinion the Constitution of the United States again should be mainly relied on as a precedent. Our experience will, however, suggest some changes to be made, as well as some dangers to be avoided. Should the Convention believe it necessary to instruct the delegates, that object can be attained by instructions to this committee to report the same by way of resolution or ordinance, or by way of a direct instruction from the Convention itself.
On the proposition to exclude all but slave-holding States from the new Confederacy. January 16th, 1861.
We are in the midst of a great work. This movement was inaugurated to protect the institution of slavery, and to preserve it from destruction. The importance of the undertaking could not be over-estimated. The slaves of the South were about four millions in number, and about four billions of dollars in value. Their labor contributed more to the wealth, to the prosperity, the commerce and civilization of the world, than any other institution in it. And yet, by some strange solecism, the public opinion of the whole world, outside of those States and countries in which it existed, was strongly against it. Even those States which derived their chief elements of greatness from it, were loud in their condemnation of it. Was it wise or politic to do anything which would add strength to this feeling?
The North-Western States were justly jealous of any step which lorked towards any interference with the navigation of the Mississippi. If the Southern Confederation should determine to exclude all but the slave-holding States from their councils, it might lead the North-West to fear for the free navigation of that great stream. It was now the policy of the
world to force open and keep open the great rivers of the earth. The policy of seclusion would not now be tolerated. For this reason our own government had forced its way into the great rivers of South America, and opened them to the entrance of commerce. For the same reason, England and France and the United States had forced India, Japan and China to abandon their exclusive policy, and to enter into the commercial spirit of the age. We should be obliged to make concessions to this feeling. We could not remain isolated. The first movement for the dissolution of the Union was made by the Western States, to obtain the free navigation of the Mississippi. It was a necessity then, it is a necessity now. That necessity would be carried out either by war, or by treaty. If by treaty, the more intimate the terms, the better. The age would not tolerate a continued state of open war. The question must therefore be settled by treaty. Now. a Constitution for the government of several independent States, is but a compact, or treaty. A treaty, it is true, of the most intimate kind, but not the less a treaty on that account.
Georgia and South Carolina are to-day sending abroad commissioners to make commercial treaties with European States, and to regulate their intercourse with them. The nations of Europe are not less hostile to the institution of slavery than the North-Western States of the former Union. Almost every European nation formerly held possessions in the West Indies, in which slavery was tolerated. They have all abolished it with the exception of Spain, in Cuba and Porto Rico. But still our neighboring sisters are seeking the most intimate terms of alliance with them. Of course they do not propose to give these nations any control in their domestic affairs--any voice in the management their slave institutions. Neither would I give any such power to any of the free States, if they should ever enter into a Constitutional compact with the South. The subject of slavery should be a prohibited subject--placed above and beyond the reach of Congressional legislation. It should be secured by the strongest guarantees and provisions which could be framed.
But it is said we could not trust to any pledges or any guarantees they might give. That is putting the case too strongly. We have lived for more than seventy years under the guarantees of the present constitution, for a good part of the time in comparative tranquility. Latterly they have broken through all guarantees and all restraints, because they had been told by Seward and others they could do so with impunity. That the South was subdued and dared not to resist. If the present movement is successful, as we hope it will be, they will be undeceived. They will be convinced of the necessity of complying
with their obligations, and may therefore be forced by circumstances to do it.
But this is not all. We shall be obliged to have treaties with them. We cannot live without them in peace. Whatever treaties we may have, we must rest upon their assurances to carry them out. There is no other course.
When the French owned a large portion of this continent they were fully sensible of the necessity of connecting the Lakes with the Gulf of Mexico. More than a century and a quarter ago, Bienville, then Governor and Commandant of French America, set on foot two armaments to carry out this idea. One was to move from Mobile up the Tombigbee river, the other from the neighborhood of Chicago, and they were to build forts, and establish trading posts, and to meet somewhere in the Chickasaw country. The Northwestern forces arrived on the ground first, and were defeated by the Chickasaws, always the friends of the English, at the Chickasaw old fields in what is now Pontotoc county. The other detachment was defeated near Cotton Gin, in Monroe county, and the expedition was broken up. This was the first blow which shattered the French power on this continent. The scheme, though unsuccessful, showed a far-reaching sagacity. Shall we be less wise than the French, and shut the door against any negotiation which may secure to us the advantage of this commercial connection. I would not solicit it, neither would I say in advance I would not accept it. I would leave the matter open to the future.
There is another view which renders the amendment impolitic. It may be to our interest and advantage to be united with the Pacific States. The gold mines of California may be potent auxiliaries to the cotton fields of the South. United with those States under a common government, and connected with them by a railroad, our own South would have the nearest and most direct route to the commerce of the East Indies, and of China. This would place in our grasp the richest commerce on the globe. With the great valley of the Mississippi thus united with the Pacific, we could feed the world, we could clothe the world, and if assailed, we could resist the world.
But it is said that for even all this, we should no permit any free State to have a voice in the control of our slave institutions.
I know that Europe is throwing her surplus population on our shores at the rate of some six hundred thousand a year. I believe it is necessary to deprive these foreigners of political franchises and priveleges among us. They flee from the restraints of government in their own country, and think that
here they are to have unmeasured excess of liberty; that they can trample all rights of property, all law, all religion, all morality, under foot. They will have to be deprived of this power, whether we have free States in our confederation or not. This can be done by prolonging the time during which they cannot come to the ballot-box.
The danger apprehended from a confederation with any of the free States, may be still farther avoided by Constitutional provisions, which will place it beyond their power to interfere with it. If they desire a Union with us, they will concede these provisions, and will moreover comply with them. If they are unwilling to give these guarantees, then it cannot be expected that we should enter into a confederation with them, because that would be planting the seed of dissolution in the cradle of our government.
As yet we have no evidence that these States will ever desire to unite with us. In my opinion, it is unsafe to say beforehand what we will do in that event. We may best decide when the time comes.
One other view, and I have done. What are called the border slave States, it is said, are already considering the propriety of a separate Union with some of the central free States. It is certainly desirable that we should have all the slave States in the new Confederacy. I think, therefore, it is better not to make a declaration in advance which might drive some of the Southern States from consultation with us. Let us select our best men for the occasion, and leave some latitude for their wisdom and discretion.
For these reasons I shall vote against the proposed amendment.
In Convention, January 15th, on the "Resolutions to provide for the formation of a Southern Confederacy."
Mr. Chalmers had objected both to the amendment offered by the gentleman from Monroe (Mr. Gholson) and to that of the gentleman from Pontotoc (Mr. Fontaine.) And therefore, in accordance with the views expressed by the chairman of the committee, whose opinions had always great weight with him, he prepared an independent and additional resolution which he proposed to insert after the 1st resolution, and which he now asked leave to read for information:
2d. Resolved, That our delegates to the Southern Convention contemplated in the foregoing resolution be and they are hereby instructed to declare our willingness to unite with any State or territory, which by its
laws, recognize and protect, within its proper limits, property in slaves, and none other; and that whatever any State which may unite with us, shall, by its laws, deny or destroy the right of property in slaves, it shall be no longer recognized as a member of said Union.
Mr. Fontaine asked if the gentleman would allow him to withdraw his amendment.
Mr. Chalmers--with pleasure, and then he offered his resolution as an amendment to that of the gentleman from Monroe.
This resolution avoids the difficulties presented by gentlemen upon both sides of this question. He concurred very fully with almost everything said by his friend from Marshall, (Mr. Clapp) but with all due deference to him he must say that the great Carolinian to whom he alluded, did not advocate the formation of a homogeneous government, but on the contrary, showed most conclusively in his work on government, and particularly in that portion relating to the State Constitution of South Carolina, that the best government is that which is founded on an equitable and honest compromise of conflicting interests. He believed with the gentleman from Lowndes, (Mr. Barry) that a good government can be formed by us embracing the Southern portion of the States lying north of the Ohio river; and he believed further with him that we have friends there who are sound upon the question of granting to us our rights and full protection to our property. They are the descendants of emigrants from Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, and nearly every Southern State. They are now powerless. They have been overrun and trampled under foot by political demagogues and religious fanatics. They are now down. But the day of retribution must come. Want, starvation and misery must follow upon a final separation from us. They will soon feel, and our friends will soon have power to rise up and crush out the irresponsible rabble who have thus put them down, if we give them any encouragement. But if we shut the door upon them now and forever, we cut off all hope and make enemies of those who would be our friends.
They are united to us by the waters of the Mississippi and its tributaries, which percolates through the whole great vallies of the West, like the veins through the human system. A common interest binds governments together, and if once interest compels the North-Western States to adopt State laws in order to secure an union with us, it will be the entering wedge which will, in all probability lead to the establishment of slavery itself in the rich plains of Illinois, Indiana, and the valley of the Mississippi and Ohio. If the newspapers are to be believed, they are now holding large meetings in Southern Indiana, in which it has been declared that if a line is drawn between the North and the South they intend to be on the
Southern side of that line. And for himself he now declared that he was willing to unite with any State which by its State laws will recognize and protect within its limits property in slaves. And if this leads to a reconstruction of the Union he was not ashamed to say that he would be willing to see the Union reconstructed on the principles which our fathers gave to it. This was all that we demanded. We would have been willing to sustain the Union if we could have secured our rights in it. And if every Northern State could now be regenerated, and public sentiment thoroughly changed, we might consent to a reconstruction of the Union. But he did not look for nor expect a reconstruction of the Union. He had no idea, no hope, and no desire that the Yankee States in the "far-off down-East" will ever be redeemed. And it is also true that no free State is now asking admission to our proposed union. But we are preparing to make a government not for the present alone, but with the hope that it may continue for years, and the time may come when the border slave States may not contain a single slave, but still they might have laws recognizing and protecting our property, and so long as this is so they may continue with us. In view of these facts he was unwilling to shut the door of admission forever against the North-Western States; but still on the other hand he was unwilling to say that we will unite with any State if she will simply secede. We propose to unite under the old Constitution, and if we say that we will unite with any State that will secede, the Northern States, if they have the sense to understand it, can secede and claim a right to come into our Convention and re-unite with us under the same Constitution and on the same footing as before. This would render our action simply ridiculous. He was therefore in favor of placing some limitation upon the right to unite, and he thought that limitation should be made now.
This debate has developed the fact that there are differences of opinion between us and between prominent gentlemen who are likely to be our delegates. They may go to Montgomery and agree to something on this subject which would not be satisfactory to us. Then when their action comes back to us for ratification, we might disapprove of it, and our work would have to be done over again. He thought it better, therefore, to settle this question now, and make our delegates represent the views of the Convention, and not their individual sentiments.
This is the fair, open and manly course, and we had better say now distinctly what we intend to do, that there may be no misunderstandings hereafter.
On his proposition to amend the 5th resolution reported by the Committee on Southern Confederacy, which resolution is as follows:
Fifth--That this Convention do further instruct said delegates, that they use all proper means to the end that the Convention of said seceding States shall proceed forthwith to consider and propose a Constitution and Plan for a Permanent Government, establishing a Southern Confederacy among those States which have seceded, or may hereafter secede from the late Federal Union, which Constitution and Plan, when adopted, shall be referred back to this convention for its ratification or rejection.
When the Committee on Southern Confederacy made the first report, on the tenth day of the session, the fifth resolution of the report provided for the establishment of a permanent government, and provided that the plan of a permanent government should be submitted to this Convention for ratification or rejection. At that time, as now, I was opposed to the plan of a permanent government being adopted without first being submitted to the people in some form, so that they should decide upon a government for themselves. The gentleman from Claiborne (Mr. Ellett,) offered an amendment by way of additional resolution, proposing the course to be adopted in forming the provisional government, and also a plan for the formation of a permanent government, which proposition of the gentleman from Claiborne was adopted by the Convention without debate, and I then discovered that there was a conflict between the fifth resolution, as reported by the committee, and the resolutions offered by the gentleman from Claiborne and adopted by the Convention. I first offered to amend the 5th resolution by striking out the word "permanent," and inserting the word "provisional." After some debate, I offered to amend by striking out the 5th section. Other gentlemen offered amendments which, as I discovered, would, if adopted, have the effect I desired; and, not wishing to have the matter complicated, I withdrew my amendment, but no vote was taken on either the resolutions as reported by the committee, nor any of the amendments, except the one offered by the gentleman from Claiborne, and upon the motion of the gentleman from Lafayette, (Mr. Lamar) the resolutions were referred back to the committee, with instructions to report again. I find the 5th resolution as reported now with the same objections as before--referring the constitution and plan for a permanent government back to this Convention for ratification or rejection. I take the position that the delegates to this Convention were not elected for the purpose of adopting a permanent government, and we should not assume that power. Not wishing to debate the question, I shall say no more unless it becomes necessary.
Messrs. Clayton, of Marshall, Glenn, Brooke, Lamar, Fontaine and Ellett having discussed the question,
Mr. Rogers again spoke in support of his amendment. He said: The difference between myself and the gentleman from Warren is this: I am in favor of the Convention at Montgomery reporting a constitution or plan for a permanent government, and of submitting, that constitution or plan to the people to be assembled in Convention. The gentleman from Warren is opposed to that Convention taking any step whatever in the formation of a permanent government. But the difference between myself and the gentleman from Lafayette (Mr. Lamar,) is of more importance. That difference involves a great and important principle. I am in favor of submitting that constitution for a permanent government to the people, to be in Convention assembled, to ratify or reject that consitution when it is finally adopted. The gentleman from Lafayette is opposed to submitting that constitution to the people for their action, and says if we "fail to establish and perfect a permanent government, we will not have performed the high mission upon which we have been sent.& Mr. President--the high mission upon which we have been sent is well nigh discharged. We were sent here to dissolve the bonds which held our State to the old government, and to take steps to protect our institutions. We have passed the Ordinance of Secession, made Mississippi an Independent Sovereignty, and as rapidly as it is prudent, we are now perfecting measures which we consider necessary to protect her institutions-- raising men and money. When we have perfected the two last measures, we will then have discharged our high duty. The people did not send us here to form, perfect and adopt a permanent government; nor have we the power, elected as we were, to do any thing more than is necessary to vindicate the sovereignty of Mississippi, and to protect her institutions. Then, sir, is the adoption of a permanent government necessary for the protection of our institutions?
By authority of the 4th resolution, our delegates to the Montgomery Convention are empowered and instructed to form a provisional government. Does the gentleman consider that provisional government a rope of sand, unequal to our protection? If so, why did he, as one of the committee, report such a resolution, if that provisional government will be sufficient for our protection for the time being, until a permanent government can be formed (and he must have so thought or he would not have reported the 4th resolution?) Then the ratification by this Convention of the constitution for the permanent government is not necessary for the protection of our institutions, and such great haste to adopt the constitution of the permanent government is not so vitally important. But, sir, there is a broad difference between the gentleman from
Lafayette and myself as to the people--not, sir, in reference to their patriotism or integrity, but as to their capacity for self-government. I have an abiding confidence in the capacity of the Southern people for self government. I believe that they are capable of selecting the form of government under which they should live, and that we have no power to usurp that right from them. They never delegated that power to us. The gentleman is mistaken in the people of the State when he fears that among them there would be a feeling of re-union. This movement was brought about by no flush of excitement: it was the deep, intense feeling of men determined--men who knew they were wronged, who understood their rights, and who were determined to maintain them. That same solemn, determined feeling which exist in the State, is truly represented and exhibited itself here in this hall on the glorious 9th, at the passing of the Ordinance of Secession. He who witnessed that, and understood it properly, can never fear that such men, after taking the step of secession to assert their rights, could ever be for re-union.
But, Mr. President, this permanent government, when formed, we hope to be the government under whose protecting power we and generations to come after us will live. I, as one of the people, desire to have some part in saying what sort of government that shall be. It is the right of the people. The Constitution under which we lived so long and happily--until Northern traitors violated it--was submitted to the people. Have we now more wisdom than the men who submitted that constitution to the people? The very objection of the gentleman to submitting the constitution to the people, would induce me to favor it. He says they might reject. Then, sir, I do not want a government that the Southern people would reject. I will be satisfied with a government under which they are willing to live, and no other. But, sir, it does not necessarily follow that because we were elected to destroy one government, we must go on and make a new one. The same people who sent us here to break up the old one, have the power and right to elect others, if they choose, to create a new one.
In Convention, January 17th, in favor of Mr. Ellett's motion that the Convention disagree to amendment adopted in Committee of the Whole providing for electing delegates to Montgomery according to Congressional Districts.
It had not been his purpose on this, or any other subject, to address the Convention. But, notwithstanding the sanction it
had received in committee of the whole, so irreconcilable was his opposition to the amendment then under discussion, that he could not, without doing violence to his impulses and convictions, refrain from expressing his repugnance to it.
The effect of the proposition submitted was, that the members of this body should, in the election of delegates to the contemplated Southern Convention, at Montgomery, be required to choose them with special geographical reference to the former Congressional Districts in this State. A local restriction, at once, so wholly unnecessary, so inconvenient and so inappropriate, contained not a single element to commend it to his favor or respect. Had he been present at the adoption of this amendment, the day before, in committee of the whole, he would have combatted it there; And when, as it was, on that day to undergo the ordeal of another vote, cordially did he second the motion made by his friend from Claiborne, (Mr. Ellett,) that the recommendation of the Committee be disagreed to by the Convention.
Why, he would respectfully ask, should we be called upon to re-establish the abrogated Congressional divisions of the State? If necessary for an important or salutary end that we should again trace the obliterated lines of those Districts, he would not object; but for himself, he was free to confess that he cherished no such lingering affection for the late Federal authority that he would, without another motive, be swift to reconstruct any part of its cast-off machinery. What general considerations--what reasons, founded either upon utility or principle, might exist for territorial subdivision of the State, in this Ordinance, he acknowledged himself altogether unable to discover. Were the seven delegates to Montgomery to cast seven votes? On the contrary, was it not provided in the Ordinance itself that the representatives whom we are to accredit to the Southern Convention, are to be entitled to cast but one vote in that body?--that they are to blend their opinions, and to speak, unitedly, the solemn voice of he sovereignty, "one and indivisible," of the State of Mississippi. The number of delegates had been limited to seven, corresponding to the State's representation in both houses of Congress--in consonance, perhaps, with the example of South Carolina, to prevent the body from being unwieldy--with some reference to population, and as a kind of basis, or multuple, affording to each State a relative proportion of minds to consult together as to its separate, single vote. The numbers of delegates composing these delegations it surely was not contended had been adjusted with reference to any supposed subordinate interests within the several States. It had not been thought in South Carolina that she had sectional claims to be respected. Her statesmen, not deeming it proper to regard any interest but the great one of her paramount sovereignty, had selected her delegation to Montgomery from the State at large,
and he thought we might do well to emulate the disinterested spirit displayed by the public men of that gallant State, by the adoption, on our part, of the same wise and comprehensive policy. If then, our seven delegates shall be required, as an unit, to act in the Southern Convention for the whole people of Mississippi, as one homogeneous community, would it not be instance of equal ill-taste and bad judgment for us, in the very method of their appointment, to suggest the unworthy ideas of petty sectional rivalships and internal State dissensions? It was superfluous for him to insist that it would be utterly impossible for a question to arise in the Southern Convention which could affect, however remotely, the citizens of any one Congressional District in this State, without, to exactly the same extent, affecting those of every other. Local State questions, then, being wholly inadmissable in the action of these delegates, local prejudices and partialities ought to be equally so in their selection. For himself, in such an epoch in her history as the present, he would know no North, no South, East or West, within the limits of the State--he would know nothing but the sovereign State of MISSISSIPPI, and the united destiny of her entire people. In this spirit, he would discard every sectional feeling, and select the delegates in complete forgetfulness of the accident of mere locality. In times like these, an enlarged patriotism ought to over-rule and absorb every other consideration. Let us, then, unite in the selection of the best men. Let us choose them by moral and intellectual test alone. Let them be statesmen--firm of purpose, sagacious in council, brave in resolve, and invincible in fortitude--men, the impulses of whose patriotic hearts would ensure in behalf of their country's sacred cause the highest exertion of all their highest qualities and powers. Give him but such a man for representative, who had "a name" in the State, and he cared not to enquire in what part of it he claimed his "local habitation." Such were his sentiments on this head, that he did not hesitate to declare he would not vote for a citizen, even, of his own county, if recommended only because he happened to reside in the Second Congressional District; while, on the other hand, he would cheerfully vote for any number of these delegates from any one county in any other district in the State, if he believed them the most eminently qualified for the discharge of the momentous trust to be committed to them.
Before he proceeded farther, he begged leave to state that he was not in the hall when the gentleman from Claiborne made his motion, nor did he bear what had been said in its support. He, therefore, hoped to be excused if he repeated views which had already been more ably presented by the other gentlemen who preceded him on the same side in this debate. He also feared that, from his absence, he might fail to give due weight to the arguments used by the advocates of the Congressional Districts.
He had entered the hall only in time to hear a portion of the remarks of the gentleman from Holmes, (Mr. Dyer,) who had occupied the floor immediately before himself. In his advocacy of the amendment, his friend from Holmes had alluded to a matter which he would not have been the first to mention there; but, it having been introduced by others, and he being in somewhat a peculiar position with reference to it, he at once availed himself of the occasion; and would beg the indulgence of the Convention while, for a few moments, he invited attention to this subject, of the separate "caucus" which, it was understood had been held by the delegates representing in this body several of the late Congressional Districts.
The gentleman from Holmes stated that certain nominations "IN CAUCUS" had already been made, and gravely suggested and urged the fact as a reason for the adoption of this ill-advised amendment. He differed, in toto, on this point, with his friend from Holmes. The precipitate zeal with which these caucuses had been convoked, furnished, indeed, to his mind, a cogent argument against the recognition of the Congressional Districts. He felt no inclination to comment on the famous "caucus" system. It was a political engine, sometimes, perhaps, necessary; but it had been so generally employed for mere personal and party ends, that it had never attracted his admiration or won his confidence. He had hoped, indeed, that in the new order of things just inaugurated-- that, in a purified Southern Confederacy--it was destined to lose somewhat of its former misdirected power and influence. He was sorry to find it, with such alacrity, appealed to in this Convention. The amendment touching the Congressional districts had not yet been incorporated in the Ordinance. Whether it should be, or not, was the question that had to be decided. The day previous, it had received a recommendation in Committee, and before the Convention could consider it, as mentioned by the gentleman from Holmes, several district caucus nominations had been announced. To say the least of it, he felt justified in characterizing this action as premature. He did not believe that a bare majority, (consisting of only nine or ten generally,) of the delegates from any set of counties that had happened to have been once associated together in the same Congressional District, ought to be permitted to dictate to this Convention the choice of a delegate who was in the Montgomery Convention to represent the last inch of territory, and every man, woman and child in the whole State of Mississippi. Yet be did not see how this unwelcome "caucus" influence could be avoided, if we mapped off the State into Districts, from each one of which a delegate to Montgomery should be taken.
He would now beg leave to refer to the caucus of the delegates from his former Congressional District, which had been held the
previous afternoon. He was urged to be present, and had reluctantly attended. After upwards of a dozen ballots, they adjourned without a nomination. At the close of the night's session of the Convention, he was solicited to attend another caucus, to be composed as before. This he declined to do, and authorized and requested a friend to apprise the meeting that he not only refused to participate in its proceedings, but respectfully gave notice that he would not be bound by any result of its action. His message had been duly delivered, and thus he, at least, stood there untrammeled by any species of dictation, however it might be with the rest of the delegates from the late Second Congressional District. It was proper that he should state that he could not claim the pleasure of even a passing personal acquaintance with the gentleman who had been honored by receiving the nomination from that District, and he desired it to be understood that he intended no disparagement to that gentleman when he declared his purpose to withhold from him his vote. Apart from the mode and source of the nomination, he objected to it, because the recipient occupied a seat in this Convention.
This objection brought him to a subject in regard to which he entertained some views that he feared might prove unacceptable-- views which had not before been introduced into that hall, and which he, therefore, would present with great diffidence. But, honestly and conscientiously believing his position to be correct, and sustained, as he was, by this conviction, he would venture to say that, in his opinion, places and offices of high honor and trust ought not to be ordained by this Convention, and then be immediately filled by members of the body that created them. He would indulge in no elaborate argument on this point. He would, however, beg leave to refer to that clause of the State Constitution which declares that no member of the Legislature shall be eligible, for one year, to any office created during his term of service, nor to any office the appointment to which is to be made by either house of that Legislature of which he is a member. He did not contend that the Constitution, in this respect, fettered the action of this Convention, but he did say that the Constitution of the State, in force, was the highest known expression of the sovereign will of the people of Mississippi. Supreme as might be the power arrogated to itself by this body, (and he feared, in some quarters, too much had been claimed for it,) and although it was admitted that the principle to which be referred had no bearing whatever upon it, yet he doubted whether it might not be entitled to some slight degree of general respect from the Convention. If this principle was wholesome and conservative in regard to members of the Legislature, it must assuredly be equally so with regard to members of that Convention. The analogy was complete--the application just. But, upon general considerations of common
policy and prudence, he questioned the propriety of appointing members of this Convention to offices or places for the creation of which they had voted. He was incapable of appealing to those considerations which could only influence demagogues; but yet he ventured to say that he feared nothing would be more likely to engender discontent and disaffection in the minds of the people towards this convention than the distribution among themselves, by its members, of the honors and positions which they had breathed into existence. It was very far from his intention to insinuate, for a moment, that any gentleman on that floor could be controlled in his vote on any Ordinance by a selfish greed for personal promotion. It should, however, be remembered that it was easy and common for the disaffected, the envious and uncharitable, to misjudge and malign the best motives of the truest men. Apprehensions of this character had, indeed, little enough weight with him, but still, above all personal interests, did he anxiously desire, for the sake of the cause they had espoused, that this Convention should go forth, without accusation or reproach. He knew it could not be justly impeached--that it was patriotic and pure in its purposes--but he would have it, like Cæsar's wife, to be "above suspicion." He, therefore, regretted the disposition to select from that hall the delegates to Montgomery. He did not believe that this Convention had gathered and monopolized all the talent and patriotism of the State. Reject this needless district limitation, and he was confident that from the State at large, men--able, tried and true--outside of this body, could be found to worthily represent Mississippi in the Southern Convention. Those whom he addressed were committed--they stood upon the record on the immortal Ordinance of Secession; and he suggested if it would not be well to engage in and identify with this great movement of our day and generation, other of Mississippi's devoted sons, who would bring to it, as fresh accessions, all the moral and material sanction and aid of their names, characters and active participation.
He wished, however, to say that he wished to confine the objections he had urged, to civil appointments; and that he would except from them the military offices to be filled by the Convention. There was no civil post or duty which, he would say, should detain a man from obeying his impulses whenever he desired to perform a soldier's service in the hour of his country's danger.
While he thought that any citizen might well be content with the honor of a seat in this body, and with the performance of its duties, without seeking any other civil position, yet, if any gentleman there proposed to descend from that floor--no, he would not say descend, but to ELEVATE himself from that floor--to seek a patriot's place upon the field of battle, he, for one, would honor the choice, bid him "God speed," and hope the warrior the good fortune to win laurels that he might long live to wear in the sight of his grateful countrymen. But, with this peculiar exception, his opposition to members of the body receiving high appointments at the hands of this Convention, was so extreme, that rather than allow membership a rule, as it seemed, for selection, he would greatly prefer that it should be made one of total exclusion. It was proposed, in certain contingencies, to refer the action of the Montgomery Convention, so far as Mississippi might be concerned, to this Convention. He submitted if it would be proper that members of this Convention should hereafter be called upon to defend and ratify their own acts done at Montgomery? A main reason for his refusal to attend the second caucus, in his district, was, that he had observed, in the first, that nine-tenths of the ballots cast were for the members then present. He meant no reflections or disparagement when he stated his conviction that many received votes there who would not have been balloted for at all if they had not been members of this body. As to the nomination finally made at the second "caucus," he had already declared that it would not receive his support. He was the only delegate from the late Second Congressional District who was free so to act, as others had participated
in the nominating meeting; and he then, in advance, proclaimed his intention, at the proper time, to oppose to that nomination the name of some worthy citizen of the District, not a member of this Convention, in whose behalf he would earnestly invoke the aid of all those who sympathized with himself, or approved the views which he had presented. This unpleasant collision, however, he hoped might be avoided. It certainly would be prevented by ignoring the Congressional Districts in the election of the delegates to the Southern Convention; and he, therefore, trusted that the motion of the gentleman from Claiborne would prevail.
On a subsequent day, the 22d, the Ordinance being again under discussion, Mr. Jones moved to strike out from the second line of the first section the word "two," and from the third line the words, "one from each Congressional District," on which motion,
He said: That having, when the subject was last under debate, took occasion to express his views at considerable length, and, perhaps, with an indiscreet degree of zeal, in opposition to that clause of the Ordinance requiring the delegates to the Montgomery Convention to be selected according to the former Congressional representation of the State, it was not his present purpose to repeat or refer to any of the varied considerations and objections which he had before endeavored to impress upon the Convention. It was simply his object to examine this proposal purely as a practical measure, and he believed he would be able to demonstrate that if the design of its advocates was to distribute equally these appointments throughout the State, this District scheme would be as inefficacious in its operation as it was manifestly unwise its policy.
He begged leave, especially, to call attention to the fact that our Congressional Districts extended from the Eastern to the Western limits of the State--crossing it in zones, as it were, from the Alabama line to the banks of the Mississippi river. We might, then, choose one delegate from the South-eastern extremity of Tishomingo county, in the first district; another from the North-eastern extremity of Itawamba, in the second district--both residing in sight of each other, and also of the Alabama line. If next we select the two (Senatorial) delegates for the State at large from the same vicinage, we would have four out of the seven (a majority of the delegation, which could control its every vote,) all coming from one neighborhood in a remote corner of the State--it might be, from within less than the limits of a single township. The other three delegates might be taken from counties bordering on the State of Alabama, in each one of the Congressional Districts, respectively: and then, would we not have an entire representation from the extreme Eastern boundary of the State, while Middle and Western Mississippi would be totally ignored in the Southern Convention? On the other hand, we might choose a delegate from some county on the Mississippi river, in each one of the five Congressional Districts, and the two for the State at large, also, from the banks of that river, and then would not Middle and Eastern Mississippi be without a representative son in that Convention? He respectfully asked whether all this sectional preference and preponderence might not occur, and yet this rule, so profoundly devised for the territorial distribution of these honors, be in nowise violated?
Since he had claimed citizenship in Mississippi, never having sympathized with, or been susceptible to, such influences, he had obtained no knowledge whatever touching the geographical belts, shadowing the regions of those sectional jealousies, in the assumption of the existence of which he supposed this Congressional District scheme could only have had its origin. He hoped no such lines could be drawn; but if division or rivalry did exist in the State, he had thought it was as much the result of contrast between East and West as between North and South Mississippi. The utter futility of the District system, as to Eastern and Western partitions of the State in
regard to these appointments, was palpable, although it might prevent all of the delegation being taken from the Southern or Northern end of the State alone. But he proposed to examine it a little farther. If intended to effectuate equal, or general distribution, a committee should have been appointed to divide the State into seven districts, for there are seven delegates. If this be not done, why, then, this most excellent rule could be good in its application for three-fifths, or four-fifths only, of itself. After giving one delegate to each of the five Congressional districts, the two from the State at large would have to be allotted among the same districts. If both the Senatorial delegates were taken from one district, that favored association of counties would boast the honor of furnishing three of the seven delegates; but, at best, two of the districts would necessarily have two delegate each, while three of them could only have one each.
There was another reflection that occurred to his mind. It was this: that the two (Senatorial) delegates for the State at large would inevitably appear to have received something of a higher honor than those from the districts. Would they not appropriate to themselves a superior compliment? and would it not be difficult to divest others of the idea that they had been clothed with robes of a little higher dignity? Yet, in point of fact, they would only be "equal among peers,"--constituting, together, two-sevenths of the unit by which the vote of the State would be cast. This seeming inequality and impropriety was an objection to the proposed plan. The effect of his amendment would be to strike from the Ordinance the Congressional District feature, and to leave each member unfettered in his choice of delegates to the Montgomery Convention.
In Convention, January 17th, on his motion to amend the 5th of the Resolutions on Southern Confederacy, by inserting after the word "back," in the 5th line: to the people of this State, or to a Convention called under the authority of the Legislature, for its ratification or rejection.
I do not propose, with the signs of impatience which have been already shown in regard to the discussion of amendments to these resolutions, to enter upon that interminable field of discussion--but I desire to submit the reasons which have induced me to offer this amendment. I do not consider that our work here is one alone of destruction, but I recognize the duty of this Convention to engage in a work of construction also. I think it clearly within the province of this Convention, and was in the contemplation of my constituents when they sent me here as a delegate, that we should meet any or all of the States seceding for like reasons with ourselves, at a time and place agreed upon after consultation on that subject, for the purpose of uniting with them in the formation of a harmonious and homogeneous Union. but here our work of construction ends, and the people's work of approval begins. The constitution of the new permanent Union must be ratified by the States which it is proposed shall become parties to it, like that glorious constitution which was the result of the labors of that Convention of which Washington was President.
That constitution was discussed before the people of every State that ratified it, and a convention, elected with special reference to its adoption, ratified it. The Federalist was written, to incline the States to adopt and ratify it. How else could it have been rationally and intelligibly ratified? If the principle that one people are capable of self-government is still to continue the basal idea of government, I do not see any foundation for the apprehension that a constitution framed by a convention at Montgomery is liable to an arbitrary and capricious rejection by the people of Mississippi. But if, on the other hand, we assume without authority to make Mississippi a party to a permanent new constitutional compact, croaking and disappointed demagogues will seize upon this to stir up groundless opposition to that new constitution. The amendment only recognizes the right of each distinct political community which it is proposed shall become a party to the compact, determining for itself whether it will become such party or not. This is the great centripetal force of our system of government. I therefore offer the amendment.
In Convention, January 23d, on asking permission to change his vote on the final vote on the substitute offered by Mr. Fontaine for the resolution of Mr. Rogers.
He voted under a misapprehension. At the time the resolution was offered, there were so many amendments pending, that he found it difficult to understand them properly. He thought the meaning of that resolution was to refer the action of a provisional or temporary government to the action of the people. But he found, upon examination, that it was to refer the formation of a permanent government to the people. This knowledge changed his vote. He could not consent, by any act of his, to bind a free people to any form of government without their acquiescence or consent. This he considered to be the strongest principle in a republican government. He should vote, therefore, to refer the formation of a permanent government for the people of Mississippi to the people of Mississippi themselves. He did not take this stand from the fear of popular indignation--it was from an honest conviction of what he conceived to be right. He had no fear concerning a record, for by reference to his resolutions on the military bill--the bill liable to ruin a delegates record more than all others, should he make a mistake--it will be seen that he had ventured far. On all be had done on that subject, he had no regard to popularity. He acted under a sense of right, whether it was popular or not. So, also, he wished to do on this question.
The Southern Convention, composed of delegates from the States of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina, assembled at Montgomery, Ala., on Monday, the 4th day of February, A. D. 1861, in the Senate chamber of the Capitol.
At half-past 12 o'clock, W. P. Chilton, of Alabama, ascended the rostrum, called the Convention to order, and moved that the Hon. R. W. Barnwell, of South Carolina, be selected as temporary chairman. which motion was adopted.
Mr. Barnwell, on taking the chair, thanked the Convention for the honor thus conferred upon him, and called upon Rev. Dr. Basil Manley to officiate in prayer. The entire assembly rose in their seats, and maintained the most profound silence. Each seemed to set his heart and mind upon the eloquent words of the venerable father's petition, Each seemed to implore the great God of Nations to bless the new Commonwealth about to be created, Each seemed to utter a hearty amen to the glowing petition.
On motion of Mr. Shorter, A. R. Lamar, Esq., of Georgia, was appointed temporary secretary.
On motion of Memminger, the delegates from the several States, in alphabetical order presented their credentials to the Secretary, and signed their names to the roll of the Convention, as follows:
Alabama--R. W. Walker, R. H. Smith, J. L. M. Curry, S. F. Hale, Colin J. McRae, Jno. Gill Shorter, David P. Lewis, Thomas Fearn.
Florida--James B. Owens, J. Patton Anderson,--(Jackson Morton was not present.)
Georgia--Robert Toombs, Howell Cobb, Francis S. Bartow, Martin J. Crawford, Eugenius A. Nisbet, Benjamin H. Hill, A. R. Wright, Thomas R. R. Cobb, Augustus H. Kenan, Alexander H. Stephens.
Louisiana--John Perkins, Jr., A. Declouet, Charles M. Conrad, D. F. Kenner, Gen. Edward Sparrow, Henry Marshall.
Mississippi--Wiley P. Harris, Walker Brooke, W. S. Wilson, Alex. M. Clayton, Wm. S. Barry, Jas. T. Harrison.
South Carolina--R. B. Rhett, Sr., R. W. Barnwell, L. M. Keitt, James Chestnut, Jr., C. G. Memminger, W. Porcher Miles, Thos. J. Withers, W. W. Boyce.
On motion of Mr. Rhett, the Hon. Howell Cobb, of Georgia, was declared permanent President, by acclamation.
On motion of Mr. Chilton, Johnson J. Hooper, of Alabama, was elected permanent Secretary, by acclamation.
On the fifth day of the session, "The Constitution for the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America," was adopted. It follows, in the main, the Constitution of the old Union, with the following alterations, additions, omissions, and temporary provisions. The Preamble reads:
We, the Deputies of the sovereign and independent States of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, invoking the favor of Almighty God, do hereby, in behalf of these States, ordain and establish this Constitution for the Provisional Government of the same, to continue one year from the inauguration of the President, or until a permanent Constitution or Confederation between the said States shall be put in operation, whichsoever shall first occur.
1st. The Provisional Constitution differs from the other in this: That the legislative powers of the Provisional Government are vested in the Congress now assembled, and this body exercises all the functions that are exercised by either or both branches of the United States Government.
2d. The Provisional President holds his office for one year, unless sooner superceded by the establishment of a permanent Government.
3d. Each State is erected into a distinct Judicial District-- the Judge having all the powers heretofore vested in the District and Circuit Courts; and the several District Judges together compose the Supreme Bench--a majority of them constituting a quorum.
4th. Wherever the word "Union" occurs in the United States Constitution, the word "Confederacy" is substituted.
1st. The President may veto any separate appropriation, without vetoing the whole bill in which it is contained.
2d. The African slave trade is prohibited.
3d. Congress is empowered to prohibit the introduction of slaves from any State not a member of this Confederacy.
4th. All appropriations must be upon the demand of the President, or heads of departments.
1st. There is no prohibition on members of Congress holding other offices of honor and emolument under the Provisional Government.
2d. There is no provision for a neutral spot for the location of a seat of Government, or for sites for Forts, Arsenals and Dockyards. Consequently, there is no reference made to the territorial powers of the Provisional Government.
3d. The section in the old Constitution in reference to capitation and other direct tax, is omitted; also, the section providing that no tax or duty shall be laid on exports.
4th. The prohibition of States keeping troops or ships of war, in time of peace, is omitted.
1st. The fugitive slave clause of the old Constitution is so amended as to contain the word "slave," and to provide for full compensation in cases of abduction, or forcible rescue, on the part of the State in which such abduction or rescue may take place.
2. Congress, by a vote of two-thirds, may, at any time, alter or amend the Constitution.
1st. The Provisional Government is required to take immediate steps for the settlement of all matters between the States forming it, and their other late confederates of the United States, in relation to the public property and the public debt.
2d. Montgomery is made the temporary seat of Government.
3d. This Constitution is to continue one year, unless altered by a two-thirds vote, or superceded by a permanent Government.
Provides that the Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, for revenue necessary to pay the debts and carry on the government of the Confederacy, and all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the Confederacy.
On Saturday, February 19th, Hon. Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, was elected President, and Hon. Alex. H. Stephens, of Georgia, Vice-President, of the Confederate States of America --the vote for each being unanimous.
A resolution was adopted authorizing the appointment of a committee to report a Constitution for the permanent government of the Confederacy. Two delegates from each State were appointed as such committee.
On Monday, February 11th, the committee appointed to notify Mr. Stephens of his election to the office of Vice-President, submitted a report, which being read,
Mr. Stephens said: From this it appears to be the general desire that I should in person make known to the body, in a
verbal response, my acceptance of the high position to which I have been called.
This I now do. I, in this august presence, before you, Mr. President, before the Congress, and before this large concourse of people, under the bright sun and brilliant skies which smile so auspiciously upon us--I now take the occasion to return my most profound acknowledgments for this expression of confidence on the part of Congress. There are special reasons why I place an unusually high estimate on it. The considerations that induce me to accept it I need not state; suffice it to say, that it may be deemed questionable whether any good citizen can refuse to discharge any duty that may be assigned him by his country in an hour of need.
It might be expected that I should, at this time, indulge in some remarks upon the state of our public affairs, the dangers that threaten us, and the most advisable measures to be adopted to meet pressing exigencies. Allow me to say, that, in the absence of the distinguished gentleman who has been called to the Chief Executive chair, I think it best to forbear to say anything on such matters. We expect him here in a few days --by Wednesday, of this week, at furthest, unless providentially detained longer. When he comes, we will hear from him on all these difficult questions, and I doubt not we shall cordially and harmoniously concur in the line of policy his superior wisdom and superior statesmanship shall indicate. In the meantime, there are matters we may very profitably be directing our attention to: such as providing necessary postal arrangements, making provision for the transfer of the custom-houses from the jurisdiction of the separate States to the Confederacy, and the imposition of such duties as will be necessary to meet present and expected exigencies. In the exercise of the power to levy duties, we are limited to the objects of revenue. A small duty, not exceeding ten per cent., upon importations, it is believed will be sufficient.
And, above all, in the interim between this and the arrival and inauguration of the President, we can be devoting our attention to the construction of a Permanent Government, stable and durable, which is one of the leading objects of our assembling. I am now ready to take the oath of office.
Mr. Stephens then approached the President, when the Bible was placed in his hand.
The President: You do solemnly swear that you will faithfully execute the office of Vice-President of the Confederate States of America, and will, to the best of your ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution thereof, so help you God?
To which Mr. Stephens responded Aye, and kissed the book, amidst the applause of the spectators.
On Monday, February 18th, the inauguration of the President elect took place, and was witnessed by about five thousand persons, amidst the firing of cannon, display of flags, strains of music from several bands, and other demonstrations of enthusiasm. The ceremonies are thus described:
The President and Vice-President were escorted to the Capitol by an imposing procession, military and civic. When the procession reached the Capitol Square, and the military were placed in position, the barouche, drawn by six white horses, which conveyed Messrs. Davis and Stephens, was brought up, and its occupants alighted, amidst the shouts of the multitude. The bands played the Marseillaise, and its cheering and stirring notes sent a thrill through the vast crowd. The President was cheered and greeted until he reached the porch if the Capitol, and then, when he appeared in full view to the crowd, one universal shout rent the air; ladies waved their handkerchiefs, and many threw boquets to testify their appreciation of the important services being performed in inaugurating the first President of the Southern Republic.
On the right of President Davis sat Vice-President Stephens, and on his right was the Hon. Howell Cobb. Prayer was offered by the Rev. Dr. Basil Manly. Mr. Cobb formally announced that President Davis had arrived, and was now ready to take the oath of office as President of the Confederate States of America. President Davis then came forward and delivered the Inaugural Address.
At the close, he said he was ready to take the oath of office, which was accordingly administered to him by Mr. Cobb.
The President, in a most solemn and impressive manner, responded, "So help me God," and kissed the sacred volume.
Called to the difficult and responsible station of Chief Executive of the Provisional Government which you instituted, I approach the discharge of the duties assigned to me with an humble distrust of my abilities, but with a sustaining confidence in the wisdom of those who are to guide and to 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 that the beginning of our career, as a Confederacy, may not be obstructed by hostile opposition to our enjoyment of the separate existence and independence which we have asserted, and with the blessing of Providence intend to maintain. Our present condition, achieved in a manner unprecedented in the history of nations, illustrates the American idea that Government rests upon the consent of the governed, and that it is the right of the people to alter or abolish Governments whenever they become destructive of the ends for which they were established.
The declared purpose of the compact of Union from which we have withdrawn, was "to establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity;" and when, in the judgement of the sovereign States now composing this Confederacy, it has been perverted from the purposes for which it was ordained, and had ceased to answer the end for which it was established, a peaceful appeal to the ballot box declared, that so far as they were concerned, the government created by that compact should cease to exist. In this they merely asserted a right which the Independence of 1776, had defined to be inalienable; of the time and occasion for its exercise, they, as sovereigns, were the final judges, each for itself. The impartial and 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 in 1789, undeniably recognized in the people the power to resume the authority delegated for the purpose of government. Thus the sovereign States, here represented, proceeded to form this Confederacy, and it is by abuse of language that their act has been denominated a revolution. They formed a new alliance, but within each State its government has remained the same, nor have the rights of person or property been disturbed. The agent through which 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 just obligations, or any failure to perform every constitutional duty; moved by no interest of passion to invade the rights of others and anxious to cultivate peace and commerce with all nations, if we may not hope
to avoid war, we may at least expect that posterity will acquit us of having needlessly engaged in it. Doubly justified by the absence of wrong on our part, and by wanton aggression, on the part of others, there call 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 honor and security 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 free States of the American Union. It must follow, therefore, that a mutual interest would invite good will and kind offices. If, however, passion or the lust of dominion should cloud the judgment or inflame the ambition of those States, we must prepare to meet the emergency and to maintain, by the final abitration of the sword, the position which we have assumed among the nations of the earth. We have entered upon the career of independence, and it must be inflexibly pursued. Through many years of controversy, with our late associates, the Northern States, we have vainly endeavored to secure tranquility, and to 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 to us, and the integrity of our territory and jurisdiction be assailed, it will remain for us, with firm resolve, to appeal to arms and invoke the blessings 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 for the speedy and efficient organization of branches of the Executive Department, having special charge of foreign intercourse, finance, military affairs, and the 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 well instructed and disciplined army, more numerous than would usually be required on a peace establishment. I 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 is it is explanatory of their well known intent, free from the sectional conflicts which have interfered with the pursuit of the general welfare, it is not unreasonable to expect that States from which we have recently parted may seek to unite their fortunes with ours under the government which e have instituted. For this your constitution makes adequate provision; but beyond this, if I mistake not the judgment and will of the people, a re-union with the States from which we have separated is neither practicable nor desirable. To increase the power, develop the resources, and promote the happiness of a Confederacy, it is requisite that there should be so much of homogeneity that the welfare of every portion shall be the aim of the whole. Where this does not exist, antagonisms are engendered which must and should result in separation.
Actuated solely by the desire to preserve our own rights and 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 has progressed as heretofore--and even should we be involed in war, there would be no considerable diminution in the production of the staples which have constituted our exports, and in which the commercial world has an interest scarcely less than our own. This common interest of the producer and consumer can only be interrupted by an exterior force, which should obstruct its transmission to foreign markets--a course of conduct which would be as unjust towards us as it 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 detrimental to the civilized world, the Northern States included, could not be dictated by even the strongest desire to inflict injury upon us; but otherwise, a terrible responsibility will rest upon it, and the suffering of millions will bear testimony to the folly and wickedness of our aggressors. In the meantime, there will remain to us, besides the ordinary means before suggested, the well known resources for retaliation upon the commerce of an enemy.
Experience in public stations, of subordinate grade to this which your kindness has conferred, has taught me that care, and toil, and disappointment, 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 a want of zeal or
fidelity to the cause, that is to me 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, is 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 the 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, somethin of the good will and confidence which welcomes 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, and right, and liberty, and equality. Obstacles may retard, they cannot long prevent the progress of a movement sanctified by its justice, and sustained by a virtuous people. Reverently let us invoke the God of our fathers to guide 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, and to prosperity.
At the date of this publication, March 6th, the Interior Department was not supplied.
The Capital, for the time being, of the Southern Confederacy, is also the Capital of the State of Alabama. It is situated on the eastern bank of the Alabama river, 300 miles from the Gulf Coast. Population about 12,000.
Jefferson Davis, who has just been chosen President of the Southern Confederacy, was born June 3, 1808, in what is now Todd county, Kentucky. While yet an infant, his father, Samuel Davis, a revolutionary soldier in Georgia, removed to Mississippi, and settled in Wilkinson county. Jefferson Davis was sent at the usual age to Transylvania College, Ky., from which he was transferred in 1824 to the Military Academy at West Point, which he left in 1828 with the brevet appointment of 2d Lieutenant. He was in the army about seven years, and distinguished himself in active service on the Western frontiers in the Black Hawk and other Indian wars. His capture of the chief Black Hawk, and the friendship which sprang up between him and his prisoner, are among the most romantic episodes of the history of the war. With the rank of 1st Lieutenant of Dragoons, he resigned out of the army in 1835; and having married a daughter of General Taylor, he returned to Missisippi, and became a cotton planter in Warren county, where he lived in retirement until about 1844, when he first took an active part in politics as a Democrat. His first appearance as a public speaker was at a "barbecue" in Warren county, in answer to the celebrated S. S. Prentiss. On that occasion he sustained himself with such ability and bore himself with such gallantry against a man who was regarded as a sort of Napoleon of stump oratory on the Whig side of politics, that he at once attracted general attention, and was soon earnestly desiderated by the Democratic masses as a champion of Democracy. From that moment he became the Bayard of the Mississippi Democracy--a leader without fear and without reproach--a leader equally sagacious and intrepid --a leader whom none know what that thing was of which he was afraid, unless dishonor--a leader who shrunk, from no fair and open contest, and who never came from battle with a lowered crest or a sullied escutcheon.
In 1844, Jefferson Davis was chosen one of the Presidential Electors of Mississippi, in which capacity he voted for Polk and Dallas. In the succeeding year, he was nominated by the Democratic party of his State as a candidate for Congress, was elected, and took his seat in that body in December.
While in Congress he was foremost among the members who assisted to organize the war against Mexico, and in July, when the First Regiment of Mississippi Volunteers was enrolled for service in Mexico, he was elected its Colonel, when he left his seat in the House, and, joining his regiment, led it
to reinforce the army of General Taylor on the Rio Grande. His services in the army thenceforth are matter of history-- from his conspicuous participation in the capture of Monterey to his brilliant, exploit at Buena Vista. His conduct on this last field has been alike the theme of admiration to military criticism and to martial patriotism. Equally skillful and intrepid; his regiment attacked by an immensely superior force, which the repelled unsupported; and he himself, though wounded, remaining in the saddle until the enemy was beaten, he was acknowledged to have decided the fate of the day, and was warmly mentioned by Gen. Taylor for his remarkable display of coolness and gallantry. It was just after that action that Gen. Taylor, whose daughter Col. Davis had married under circumstances displeasing to her father, consented to be reconciled to his long repudiated son-in-law.
On the raturn of his regiment in July, 1847, Col. Davis was tendered the appointment of Brigadier-General of volunteers, which he declined, on the ground that the States and not the Federal Government had the right to appoint the officers of the militia. He was a pointed by the Governor of Mississippi, in the same year, to fill a vacancy in the U. S. Senate, and was afterwards unanimously elected by the Mississippi Legislature for the remainder of the term, which expired March 4, 1851.
In September, 1851, Col. Davis resigned his seat as Senator on being nominated for Governor by the secession wing of the Democratic party, in opposition to Henry S. Foote, the Union candidate, and was beaten by a majority of only 999 votes, although the Union party went into the field with a majority of 12,000 votes, as indicated by the Convention election a short time before.
Col. Davis was in retirement then, until 1852, when he rendered effective service on the stump for Gen. Pierce as Democratic candidate for President. Appointed to the War Department by President Pierce, he continued in that position until the inauguration of Mr. Buchanan in 1857. And it may be safely said, no doubt, that no head of that Department ever administered it with more ability, discrimination and energy. No previous administration had been so fruitful of judicious changes and wholesome improvements. He revised the army regulations; he introduced light infantry, or the rifle system of tactics; he caused the manufacture of rifled muskets and pistols, and the use of the Minie ball; he induced the addition of four regiments to the army, and organized a cavalry service peculiarly adapted to the wants of the country; he augmented the seacoast and frontier defense of the country; and had the western part of the continent explored for scientific, geographical and railroad purposes.
Col. Davis was elected to the Senate by the Mississippi Legislature in 1856, before his retirement from the War Department. He again entered the Senate, therefore, in 1857, for the term ending the 4th of March, 1863. His State having seceded from the Union in the early part of last month, Col. Davis, on being apprised of the fact, withdrew from that body, and announced his withdrawal in a brief address of characteristic loftiness of tone, manliness of sentiment and decision of utterance.
In testimony of the confidence which his constituents reposed in him, the Mississippi Convention elected Col. Davis Major-General of the Army of the State, and also transferred him to the Senate of the Southern Confederacy. The duties of the former position, he devoted himself to, as a Member of the Military Board, immediately on his return from the scene of his labors in Washington City. It was while engaged upon the task of organizing the military forces of his State and preparing them for active service, that the Convention of the seceding States conferred upon him the high trust of Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the Southern Confederacy.
It is almost needless to refer to the political opinions and tendencies of the first President of the Southern Confederacy. Let it suffice that, judging him by his whole public career, no man, unless Calhoun or Quitman were living, could well dispute with him the highest place in Southern confidence; and that certainly none, dead or living among Southern statesman, could be named who, on the score of administrative ability, are equally adapted with him to fill the high and responsible, position to which he has been called, in an emergency which imperiously demands that the right men shall be in the right places.
Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, first Vice-President of new Southern Confederacy, was born in Georgia on 11th February, 1812, and is consequently forty-nine years of age. When in his fourteenth year his father died, and the homestead being sold, his share of the entire estate was about five hundred dollars. With a commendable Anglo-Saxon love of his ancestry, Mr. Stephens has since purchased the original estate, which comprised about two hundred and fifty acres, and has added to it about six hundred acres more. Assisted by friends, he entered the University of Georgia in 1828, and in 1832
graduated at the head of his class. In 1834 he took his position at the Georgia bar, and instantly gave proof of the talents which have since led him to be considered by many as the "strongest man in the South." His eloquence has ever had a powerful effect upon juries, enforcing, as it does, arguments of admirable simplicity and legal weight. From 1837 to 1840 he was a member of the Georgia Legislature. In 1842 he was elected to the State Senate; in 1843 he was elected to Congress, as a Whig; but at the dissolution of the Whig party he acted with the Democracy of the South, and soon became a leader in Congress. He remained in Congress till the election of 1858, when he refused to be a candidate any longer, and withdrew --as he supposed--from public life. In the House he served prominently in the most important committees, and effected the passage of the Kansas-Nebraskas bill through the House at a time when its warmest friends despaired of success. He was subsequently appointed chairman of the Committee on Territories, and was also Chairman of the Special Committee to which was referred the Lecompton Constitution. Mr. Stephens is most distinguished as an orator, though he does not look like one who can command the attention of an audience at any time or upon any topic. He has all his life been a martyr to disease, being afflicted with four abscesses and a continued derangement or the liver, which give him a consumptive appearance, though his lungs are sound. He has never weighed over ninety-six pounds, and to see his attenuated figure bent over his desk, the shoulders contracted, and the shape or his slender limbs visible through his garments, a stranger would never select him as the "John Randolph" of our time, more dreaded as an adversary and more prized as an ally in debate than perhaps any other man in the country. He is a careful student, but so careful that no trace or study is perceptible as he dashes along in a flow of facts, arguments and language that to common minds, is almost bewildering. His voice is shrill, and at first quite unpleasant to the ear; but his eloquence is so sure and practical, and his judgment so reliable that, wherever he is, he is sure to be a leader. Possessing hosts of warm friends who are proud of his regard, an enlightened Christian virtue and inflexible infegrity, such is Alexander H. Stephens, the Vice-President elect of the Confederate States. Such has been the upright, steadfast and patriotic course he has pursued, that no one in the present era of faction and selfishness or suspicion, has whispered an accusation selfish motives or degrading intrigues against him. Mr. Stephens is a remarkable example of what energy and integrity may do for a man.
FLAG OF THE CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA: Blue union, with seven white stars; three horizontal sripes, red, white and red. The first red and white extending from the union to the end of the flag, and the lower red stripe extending the whole length of the flag, occupying the whole space below the union. The stripes are of equal width.
FLAG OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI: White ground, a magnolia tree in the centre, a blue field in the upper left-hand corner, with a white star in the centre--the flag to be surrounded with a red border, and a red fringe at the extremity of the flag.
The description of this flag, on page 42, locates the blue field in the under left-hand corner, which is a mistake.