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[189] from Texas, appeared in his seat and subsequently took the oath.

On motion of Mr. Orr, the daily hour for the meeting of the Senate was fixed at twelve o'clock M.

The Senate then adjourned.

House of Representatives.

At twelve o'clock precisely, the House was called to order by the Hon. Howell Cobb, of Georgia, the presiding officer of the late Provisional Congress, who stated that it was made his duty by an act of the Provisional Congress to preside over the Permanent Congress until its organization. An earnest and impressive prayer was delivered by the Rev. Mr. Duncan of the M. E. Church.

The call of the roll of the members was then commenced, and at its conclusion the presiding officer announced that a quorum was present, after which he proceeded to administer the following oath, which was done by calling up the delegations from the several States of the Confederacy:

You and each of you do solemnly swear that you will support the Constitution of the confederate States: So help you, God.

This was the most deeply impressive part of the whole ceremony. As the delegation from each State gathered around the desk of the Speaker, a solemn stillness pervaded the entire hall, and the whole crowd, members and spectators, seemed to feel the responsibility which rests upon this new and as yet untried body.

Each delegation having thus reverently qualified to assume the high and honorable responsibility of supporting the Constitution of the new government, Mr. Cobb announced that the next duty devolving upon them was the election of a Speaker to preside over their future deliberations.

The nomination of candidates for Speaker being in order, Mr. Foote, of Tennessee, offered a resolution declaring the Hon. Thomas S. Bocock, of Virginia, the choice of the House for Speaker. The resolution of Mr. Foote was adopted with but one or two dissenting voices, and Mr. Bocock was duly declared the Speaker-elect of the first Congress under the permanent government of the confederate States.

On motion of Mr. Boyce, of South-Carolina, a committee of two was appointed to conduct him to the chair.

The presiding officer appointed Messrs. Boyce, of South-Carolina, and Foote, of Tennessee.

After assuming the chair, the new Speaker delivered the following patriotic address, which was listened to with marked attention, and was received, at its conclusion, with warm applause:

gentlemen of the House of Representatives: I return to you my sincere thanks for the honor you have done me in selecting me to preside over your deliberations during this, the first Congress under our permanent Constitution. And I desire to say that it will be my one great aim, in discharging the duties of this office, so to conduct myself, as to show to you, and to the world, that your confidence has not been altogether misapplied. I may be permitted to say that I have a firm determination, so far as I may be able, to maintain the dignity and preserve the decorum of this body; to administer its rules with firmness and courtesy, and to conduct its business with strict impartiality. If such a determination, united with a sincere desire to see our legislation take such shape as will best tend to secure the independence, maintain the honor, and advance the welfare of this entire Confederacy — if this could command success, I am sure I might expect to succeed. But other qualifications are requisite, about which it is not for me to promise. If in anything I may fall short, I trust that the same kind partiality, which has called me to this position, will throw the mantle of charity over my defects, and will give me in every time of trial that kind cooperation and generous support which my deficiencies may require. The unanimity with which you have made this election, is a happy augury of the spirit with which your proceedings will be governed. This is no time for resentments — no time for jealousies or heart-burnings. Influenced by a great common purpose, sharing together the same rich hope, and united by a common destiny, let us hush every murmur of discontent, and banish every feeling of personal grief. Here let us know no man, save as a co-laborer in the same great cause, sustaining those whom circumstances may designate to go forward; seeking nothing for the sake merely of personal gratification, but willing rather to yield everything for the public good; “in honor preferring one another.” That some of you, influenced by momentary impulse, should grow restive under the enforcements of those rules which you may make for your own government, would be a matter neither of surprise nor of complaint. But he will prove himself either a weak or a bad man who, on reflection, fails to call back his wayward spirit, and subject it to necessary restraint. Submission to constituted authority is the primary necessity in all communities, and self-control is the chief lesson of individual life. In the light of passing events, we can measure the height and the depth of the excellence intended to be conveyed, when it is said: “Better is he who ruleth his own spirit than he who taketh a city.” The gaze of the world is fixed upon us. Nations look on, curious to see how this new system of government will move off, and what manner of men have been chosen to guide its earliest movements. It is indeed a new system; for, though coinciding in many particulars with that under which we lived so long, it yet differs from it in many essential particulars. When the Constitution of 1787 was put in operation, the war of the Revolution had been successfully closed. Peace prevailed throughout our whole land, and hallowed all its borders. The industrial operations of the country, long held back, now bounded forward and expanded with all the vigor and rankness of tropical vegetation beneath the influence

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H. S. Foote (3)
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