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knowing the passive orders given, there was in the
same manner to communicate with yourselves and them, will remain intact as the basis on which the present instruction is given.
How one-sided was the truce will be seen by the preparations continued at Charleston, where batteries were strengthened and extended, a float built carrying a 'battery protected with railway. iron, and, while the place was rendered unattackable by any force at the government's command, and the eventual fate of Sumter made certain, the now powerful naval force off Pensacola, reinforced by the Brooklyn, the frigates Macedonian (ordered from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, January 5), Sabine, and St. Louis, idly looked on the desolate sand-beaches which mark the entrance to Pensacola Bay, which it had but to enter, and the navy-yard, with its hundreds of guns, later to go to arm the batteries of Port Hudson and Vicksburg, would have been again in possession of the United States government. The hands of the president were indeed tied, but by himself.
On February 4, 1861, the delegates of six states -South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana-met at Montgomery, Alabama. The states had passed ordinances of secession in the order named; the first, December 20, 1860; the others, January 9, 10, 11, 19, and 26, 1861. The delegates were apportioned as were the senators and representatives in the Congress of the 1 Naval War Records, IV., 74.
Union, but voting by states as units. The date of meeting had been advanced from February 15, on a resolution of the Mississippi legislature of January 29, urged by the governor of South Carolina; and it is "another evidence of the secret and swift concert of secession leaders, that in six days thereafter the delegates" of every cotton state but Texas (which wa. represented provisionally February 14) w. thus assembled.1 Howell Cobb, of Georgia, was elected permanent chairman. As it was impossible that it should remain, with any efficacy, as a convention, it was determined that it should declare itself, on its own authority, the congress of a provisional government; and it thus exercised for the time all the functions of government, executive as well as legislative. In the opinion of Alexander H. Stephens, the congress, taken all in all, was "the ablest, soberest, most intelligent and conservative body" he "was ever in. Nobody looking on would ever take this Congress for a set of revolutionists.” 2
Four days after the convention assembled a "Constitution for the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America was adopted, a speed which again indicated the intimate working together of the leaders.
1 Nicolay and Hay, Abraham Lincoln, III., 197.
2 Johnston and Browne, Stephens, 392.
3 See Davis, Confederate Government, I., 640-648; compared with U. S. Constitution, Am. Annual Cyclop., 1861, p. 155.
The next day the officers and members of the congress were sworn to support the provisional constitution, and proceeded to elect a president. States had one vote each, and Jefferson Davis received the whole six; Alexander H. Stephens was elected vice-president. A considerable number had favored Howell Cobb and Toombs, both of Georgia, and particularly the latter, for the presidency. Toombs is stated to have been the choice of the South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, and possibly the Alabama delegations, and in the opinion of Stephens had qualifications for the presidency superior to those of any other connected with the secession movement. His name was, however, not brought forward in the convention, apparently through a misunderstanding as to the preference of Georgia for Cobb.' The laws of the United States in force November 1, 1860, which were not inconsistent with the provisional constitution were continued; committees were appointed on all principal subjects, and also a committee of two from each state to report a permanent constitution, which was submitted to the states a month later.
Though Mississippi had seceded January 9, Florida on the 10th, and Alabama on the 11th, and in their own theory were foreign countries, it was not until January 21 that the senators from these states received official notification; and meanwhile
1 Johnston and Browne, Stephens, 389-391; Stephens, War between the States, II., 329-333.
they defiantly retained their places in the Senate.
The organization of the machinery of the Confederate government proceeded rapidly. Executive departments were created, and by March 7 an army of 100,000 men was authorized; bills were passed for a loan of $15,000,000, payable in ten years at eight per cent., for which an export duty after August 1, 1861, of one-eighth of a cent per pound on cotton was pledged; all questions between the states of the Confederacy and the United
1 Alfriend, Jefferson Davis, 225-230.
2 Davis, Confederate Government, I., 230.