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10th. It assumed as its basis the Consti- | the people, without their tution of the United States, but differed direct consent—as Ordifrom that instrument in important points. nances of Secession had been One of its added provisions recognized and adopted without their submission to a vote protected Slavery. A synopsis of the Consti- of the people as the Confederate Congress tution read as follows: was made up of members whom the people had no voice in selecting as a new Government had been put in force, upon which the people were not permitted to vote-it was expected by the Southern communities that, when the Permanent Constitution was to be ordained, the people would have a vote upon it, thus to give their endorsement to the new order of things. But, never were hopes, rationally formed, doomed to a more certain disappointment. In not a single instance was the Constitution allowed to go before the people
their vote! The same high-handed tyranny which had prevailed to bring about the revo
ing measures of his department.
slaves is continued.
'Representation on the basis of three-fifths for lution, was now too secure in its power to fear the popular clamor; and the State Con“Congress is not allowed, through duties, to foster ventions alone assumed the right to pass any branch of industry.
upon the final organic law. Thus, men chosen merely to consider the question of Union or Dis
"The foreign slave-trade is prohibited.
"Congress is prohibited from making appropria-union-or, if the latter was decided upon, to tions unless by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses, agree upon an Ordinance of Secession, upon except the appropriations be asked by the head of which the voters alone should be permitted to pass some department, or the President. judgment—usurped dictatorial powers, remained
“No extra compensation is to be allowed to any in permanent session, passed Ordinances of Seces
contractor, or officer, or agent, after the contract is made, or the service rendered.
sion, inaugurated a new Government, and,
Every law shall relate to but one subject, and finally, sealed their revolutionary proceedings, by
be expressed by titles.
adopting the new
Constitution—all without once allowing the popular voice any expression!
66 The President and Vice-President are to hold office for six years.
“The principal officers of departments and the diplomatic service are removable at the pleasure of the President. Other civil officers are removable when their services are unnecessary, or other good causes and reasons. Removals must be reported to the Senate when practicable. No captious removals are tolerated.
A parallel for such proceedings can only be found in the bayonet-rule of the First Consul of France, and, like his rule, but prepared the way for the next step in tyranny the assumption of regal power, by one
The Alabama Convention ratified the Permanent Constitution March 11th, by a vote of 87 to 5.
The South Carolina Convention, having taken a recess to April 1st, did not immediately pass the instrument. It was ratified April 6th, by a vote of 114 to 16.
“No person who is foreign, and not a citizen of the Confederate States, is allowed to vote for any officer, civil or political, State or Federal.
“Under the first clauses South Carolina is entitled to 5 Representatives in Congress; Georgia 10; Alabama 9; Florida 2; Mississippi 7; Louisiana 6; Texas 6; and each State to two Senators.
“The State Legislatures may impeach Judicial or Federal officers resident and acting in said States
by a two-thirds vote.
"Both Houses of Congress may grant seats on the floor to either of the principal officers of each executive department, with the privilege of discuss-for
"Other States are to be admitted to the Confederacy by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses.
"The Confederacy may acquire Territory, and Slavery shall be acknowledged and protected by Congress and the Territorial Government.
"When five States shall ratify the Permanent Constitution, it shall be established for said States, until
ratified. The Provisional Constitution shall continue in force, not extending beyond one year."
Another feature of the revolution was now to be developed. As the entire Secession movement had been made over the heads of
Usurpations of the
Ratifications of the
The Louisiana Convention, March 16th, voted down an ordinance for submitting the Constitution to the people--yeas 26; nays 74. The instrument was not adopted until March 21st. It was very bitterly opposed by
ELECTIONS IN THE BORDER STATES.
tne minority, who did not hesitate to pro- | dred and sixty-seven dollars, and forty-six cents, now in the hands of A. J. Guirot, State Depositary, nounce the rule of the Confederate States an unmitigated oligarchy. It was finally adopt-and known as the Bullion Fund, be transferred to ed by a vote of 101 to 7-many of those in the Government of the Confederate States of Amerthe minority having withdrawn rather than ica; and that said State Depositary be, and he is hereby authorized, and instructed to pay said sum, sit under the pressure brought to bear on them. upon the order of the Secretary of the Treasury of The Georgia State Convention remained said Confederate States. in session until March 23d, to adjust all relations with the new Government. It adopted the Permanent Constitution nearly unanimously, and, before adjournment, passed over to the Confederate Government all the forts, arsenals, custom-houses, &c., "seized" from the United States. It also provided for a loan of five hundred thousand dollars, to be raised on State securities, for the benefit of the Central Government.
“SEC. 2. It is further ordained, That the sum of one hundred and forty-seven thousand, five hundred and nineteen dollars, and sixty-six cents, being the balance received by said State Depositary from the Custom-House, the 31st of January last, be transferred to said Government, and paid by said Depositary upon the order of said Secretary."
The Mississippi Convention ratified the Constitution March 30th, by a vote of 78 to 7.
The Florida Convention, having adjourned, reassembled in April, and then, by an almost unanimous vote, accepted the Con
An Ordinance to transfer certain funds to the Govern
ment of the Confederate States of America: “SECTION 1. It is hereby ordained, That the sum of three hundred and eighty-nine thousand, two hun
Five hundred and thirty-six thousand, seven hundred and eighty-seven dollars, and twelve cents--what a windfall! Truly, those Southern men, "endowed with such keen sense of honor and lofty respect for private virtue," were great rogues, nevertheless—or, rather, their ideas of meum and tuum were those of the highwayman. "By their plunder shall ye know them," grew to become a well-received aphorism, as applied to the Confederates, early in the year 1861. The Louisville Journal thus humorously, but severely, adverted to the Southern mania for
The loan called for by The Confederate the Confederate Congress was reported, at first, as having been eagerly absorbed, at par; a few days later it was reported that "a few mil-"seizures" and "appropriations" of Federal lions had been reserved, for the people to have | property: the privilege of investing in ;" still later, the Charleston papers began to scold the banks for their tardiness in subscribing to it; and, by March 10th, it was confessed that the Confederate Treasury was able to obtain from the loan scarcely enough for current expenses over and above the Customs receipts. Georgia, as stated above, came to the rescue, with a loan to the Government of five hundred thousand dollars-Alabama having, several weeks previously, voted a like sum. But, in neither case was the money forthcoming. Hence, the Treasury grew weak, and the directors turned longing eyes towards the money belonging to the United States, still in the Mint and Sub-Treasury at New Orleans. How must the hearts of those unpaid patriots have rejoiced on the receipt of the following refreshing document
"Crime is progressive, and after the first plunge nothing is more easy than to go from bad to worse. A cotemporary says the fatally demoralizing effect of the first step is seen in the easy transition to other wrongful acts, as in De Quincey's case of the man who, beginning the downward path with murder, went on by degrees until he came to lying, and at last to procrastination; so the Seceding States, beginning with treason and levying war, find it easy to go on until at last they come to downright theft not of forts only, but of vessels, arms, and money."
The elections ordered in Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee, to test the sentiments of the people on the question of secession, resulted, in the first, in the choice of thirty-five "unconditional Secessionists" and forty "Union men” as delegates to the Convention called. The Union men, however, were known to be so only conditionally. The officers of the Convention were chosen from among the "Unionists." It was represented that Arkansas would be
governed entirely by the course of Virginia | to form an Association for the purpose of maintainand Missouri. The Convention, after a noting Southern rights and placing Kentucky in her very exciting session, adjourned March 20th, proper position with the South.' having passed no Ordinance of Secession. It ordered, however, an election to be held in August, in which the people should vote simply “Secession" or "No Secession." This result did not add to the satisfaction of the Confederate leaders, who confidently expected to have Arkansas in their embraces. It was understood, however, that the State was "all right" for the Southern cause, in event of hostile measures being resorted to by the Federal Government. [See Chapter IV.] In North Carolina the vote taken was for "Convention" or "No Convention,” and, being very warmly contested by the Secessionists, resulted in a larger vote for Convention than was anticipated, though many who voted for the calling of such a body did so with no intention of voting for disunionists as delegates. The final result, as proclaimed, gave the non-Conventionists a small majority. This result was no sooner determined than the Secessionists called a "State Rights Convention" at Raleigh, which, it was resolved by the intriguants, should do what people had refused to do carry the State out of the Union. The Convention assembled March 22d, and was at tended by large delegations from almost every county in the State. There were also present several influential leaders from Southbear the reputation which will attach to the Carolina, Virginia, &c. From the very first day's proceedings it became evident that the usual usurpation was to be practiced to commit the State to the revolution-to proclaim the “Ordinance" in spite of the people's acknowledged rejection of it.
The final figures reduced this majority to a little over fifty thousand. What should be the meed of infamy to attach to a Governor who bargained to deliver the State over to the Confederate authorities, in the face of such a vote as this? No patriot will care to
name of Isham G. Harris !
The signers of the Circular also called upon the people to name delegates to a State Convention, which should assemble at Frankfort, March 20th. That insurrectionary secret organization, the "Knights of the Golden Circle," were very powerful in the State, and lent all its energies to the cause of the Disunionists.
The popular vote in Tennessee was very emphatic against calling a Convention. The vote given for delegates, in event of the success of the call for a Convention, was the true test of the comparative sentiment of the people on the question of Union or Disunion. This vote was announced as follows, (March 10th,) several counties not being then heard from:
30,903 5,577 36,809 9,828
Union majority... ...... 67,054
the Evacuation of Sumter.
The news of the prob- Congratulations over able evacuation of Fort Sumter delighted the Secessionists greatly; and the leading journals
of the Seceded States were not slow to use the announcement as evidence of the virtual rec
ognition of Southern independence. The Charleston Mercury said :
Sumter is to be ours without a fight. All will nu rejoiced that the blood of our people is not to be shed in our harbor, in either small or great degree. To those who have troubled themselves with vague fears of war on a large scale, and the horrors of war extensively, the relief will be as great as the appre
hension has been grievous.
"For ourselves, notwithstanding all the Northern thunder, we have never been able to bring ourselves seriously to believe in the probability of any more
THE VIRGINIA CONVENTION.
than a few collisions, sufficient to show that we are | Union-menders are too late in their attempts upon in earnest, and competent to make good our position of independence against our would-be masters. These gentry 'hold our valor light,' as also the honesty of the determination of the Southern people to be quit of them and their impertinent and determined interference through a Government in
the virtue and integrity of our peoples. Crushed egg-shells and friendship abused can never be mended.
"It may, perhaps, yet be necessary to instruct them a little in these particulars. But it appears that for the present, under the circumstances in this case, they are inclined sensibly to dispense with experiment and its teachings. How far this discretion will revivify the hopes and stimulate the efforts of reconstructionists throughout the South, is a matter
to be discovered by observation. The temper and
The Virginia Convention.
"We have no doubt, however, that herculean efforts will be made in that direction, and must only take good care of these weaker brethren at the South, whose sentiments are stronger than their reason, or who live in the past rather than the future. The strait-jacket was a valuable invention. But, in the mean time, the prospect of having Sumter is very pleasant."
THE ACTION OF THE STATE CONVENTIONS DURING MARCH.
This last paragraph indicates the entire under current of the Southern movement. "Union-menders" were to be put in straitjackets, and all who looked backward with longing were to be regarded as weak
It will be impossible for us to trace at length the daily progress of those fiery debates. A volume of compenduous proportions would be required to chronicle the
THE caldron of Virginia | proceedings of that most politics seethed and bub-notable Convention. When bled dreadfully during the heat of strife is past, we March. The anxiety of the Secessionists be- may hope that some impartial hand will came greater as the days progressed, and their gather together the records to serve at once to violence grew with their anxiety. That the enlighten as well as to warn a future genUnionists should have held them so long at eration. We may, however, recur to some of bay was aggravating to the rash spirits who the results of its labors, as showing the led the van of revolution; but, there was no feeling which animated its counsels. remedy, except in the slow process of thrusting the Unionists down. That the State was to secede had been a foregone conclusion for weeks; even Unionists would quietly concede their cause to be hopeless; but, they struggled on, contesting their ground inch by inch, in a controversy of debate and diplomacy which elicited many eminent speeches -- called forth many displays of patriotism, as well as of treason.
On Saturday, March 9th, the Committee on Federal Relations reported its majority report, through Mr. R. T. Conrad. The resolutions were stated to be, in brief, as follows:
"The first reaffirms the doctrine of State rights;
the second declares interference with Slavery by
the Federal or other authorities, or the people, contrary to the Constitution, offensive and dangerous; the third condemns the formation of geographical or sectional parties; the fourth demands a fair partition of the Territories, and equal protection therein; the fifth declares that in time of profound peace with foreign nations as now exists, and when no symptoms of domestic insurrection appear, it is un
The Virginia Convention.
wise, impolitic, and offensive to accumulate within the limits of a State interested in the irritating pending questions of the deepest importance, an unusual number of troops and munitions of war; the sixth indulges in the hope of a restoration of the Union and fraternal feelings; the seventh recommends the repeal of unfriendly, unconstitutional legislation, and the adoption of proper amendments to the Constitution; the eighth concedes the right of States to withdraw for just causes; the ninth alludes to the position of the Federal Government as disclaiming the power, under the Constitution, to recognize withdrawal; the tenth, without expressing an opinion on the question of power, desires to confer upon the Government powers necessary to deal peaceably with the questions involved, and, if necessary, to recognize the separate independence of the Seceding States, make treaties, and pass such laws as separation may make proper. The eleventh resolution recommends the people of her sister States to respond at their earliest convenience to the foregoing positions, and to an amendment to the Constitution to be proposed hereafter. In the event that Virginia fails to obtain satisfactory responses from the Non-Slaveholding States, she feels compelled to resume her sovereign powers, and throw herself upon her reserved rights. The twelfth makes it an indispensable condition that a pacific policy be adopted towards the Seceded States; that no attempt be made to reenforce or recapture the forts or exact payment of imposts upon commerce, or any measure calculated to provoke hostilities. The thirteenth would regard any hostile action by either side as hurtful and unfriendly, and as leaving Virginia free to determine her future policy. The fourteenth recommends a conference of the Border Slave States, to be held at Frankfort, Kentucky, on the last Monday in May."
The Virginia Convention.
Several minority reports were offered. One by Ex-Governor Henry A. Wise deserves mention, as an evidence of the peculiar form of compromise which the "Fire-Eaters” demanded as the price of their remaining in allegiance to the Union. The substance of the Governor's propositions was:
5. As to the rendition of fugitive slaves.
66 6. As to the protection of the right and comity of transit with slaves through the limits of the States, by land or water, and of the right of transportation of slaves on the high seas.
"7. The protection of the right of citizens of the United States owning slaves to sojourn temporarily with their slaves within the limits of Non-Slaveholding States.
"2. As to Slavery in the District of Columbia. "3. As to the powers of the Federal Government over African Slavery, and the employment of slave labor in the forts, arsenals, dock-yards, and all places ceded by the States for Federal uses.
"4. As to protection against the pretension to lay and collect excessive direct taxes on slaves.
The Virginia Convention.
8. The protection of equality of settlement by owners of slaves, with their slave property, in the common Territories of the United States.
"9. As to the rights of negroes or free persons of the African race to all the privileges and immunities of citizens of the several States.
"10. As to the equality of the African race with the white race in the States where it may reside, and the protection of that equality by State laws, and by the laws of the United States.
"11. As to the better security of the independ ence of the Judicial Department of the Government of the United States, by changing the mode of appointing the Federal Judges.
"12. As to the protection of the Slaveholding States against the abduction of their slaves, by repealing such State or Federal laws as may countenance the wrong, or by passing such laws by the States and by the Federal Government as may be necessary and proper to suppress it.
"13. As to the protection of the domestic tranquillity of the people of the United States by suppressing the incendiary assemblages, associations, and publications which have engendered the sectional wrongs and hatred which have rent the Union asunder, and now threaten a civil war.
"14. The protection of the public peace by suppressing societies and individual efforts for the collection of money and other means to invade the States or Territories of the United States.
"15. And by suppressing all organizations seek
ing and introducing foreign aid and influence to in
cite domestic violence in any of the States or Territories of the United States."
The report proposed to give the Free States until 1862 to arrange the guarantees. “1. As to a full recognition of the rights of prop-conditional, for the proposition added: But the peaceful status of Virginia was only
erty in African slaves.
“That, in the mean time, it be recommended to the people of this Commonwealth, in the event the Federal authorities shall, under any pretext what ever, attempt to enforce their claim of jurisdiction over the people of the Seceded States, as by collect ing the duties for revenue, or diverting the transit or entrance of commerce, or in any other mode, by