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[190] of a midsummer sun. The trial which that Constitution had to encounter, in its earliest as well as in more matured existence, was simply one engendered by a conflict of those interests. The question was, whether it could give protection to all these interests, without becoming the partisan of one and the oppressor of the other; or, in fact, whether it has the sustaining power to preserve its integrity against the influence of interest, wielded by ambition. We have seen the result. The case with our Constitution is very different. It is put in operation in time of war, and its first movements are disturbed by the shock of battle. Its. trial is one created by the urgencies of this contest. The question to be decided is, whether, without injury to its own integrity, it can supply the machinery, and afford the means requisite to conduct this war to that successful conclusion, which the people, in their heart of hearts, have resolved on, and which, I trust, has been decreed in that higher court from whose decisions there is no appeal. The solution of this question is in the bosom of the future. But our system can never perish out like that to which I have alluded. When ambition and interest seized upon that, and destroyed its integrity, they were not allowed to appropriate the rule altogether to themselves. Fanaticism came forward, and demanded to be received as a participant of power with them, and it claimed not in vain. Beneath the sway of this unholy triumvirate, justice was forgotten, intolerance was established, private morals were ruined, and public virtue perished. All feeling of constitutional restraint passed away, and all sense of the obligation of an oath was forever lost. The whole machinery of government degenerated into the absolute rule of a numerical majority. Already the weaker section was marked out for destruction by the stronger, and then came disruption and overthrow. Since then, tyranny the most absolute, and perjury the most vile, have destroyed the last vestige of soundness in the whole system. Our new system is designed to avoid the errors of the old. Certainly it is founded in a different system of political philosophy, and is sustained by a peculiar and more conservative state of society. It has elements of strength and long life. But at the threshold lies the question I have already stated. Can it legitimately afford the means to carry the war to a successful conclusion? If not, it must perish, but a successful result must be achieved. But it must be destroyed not by the hand of violence, or by the taint of perjury. It must go out peacefully, and in pursuance of its own provisions. Better submit to momentary inconvenience than to injure representative honor, or violate public faith. In the whole book of expedients there is no place for falsehood and perjury. Let us, on the contrary, assiduously cultivate the feeling of respect for constitutional limitation, and a sacred reverence for the sanction of an oath. Seeing, therefore, gentlemen of the House of Representatives, that we are custodians of the nation's life, and the guardians of the Constitution's integrity, what manner of men should we be? How cool, how considerate, how earnest, how inflexible, how true! Having no prospect in the future, save through the success of our cause, how regardless should we be of all selfish views, and plans of personal advancement! Selected by the people to take care of the state in this time of difficulty and of trial, how we ought to dedicate ourselves in heart, mind, soul, and energy to the public service! Neither history has recorded, nor song depicted, nor fable shadowed forth, higher instances of self-devotion than ought to be shown in the conduct of this Congress. It is not allowed us to pursue a course of obscure mediocrity. We inaugurate a government, we conduct a revolution. We must live, live forever, in the memory of men, either for praise or for blame. If we prove equal to the crisis in which we are placed, we maintain imperishable honor. But if, on the contrary, we show ourselves incompetent to the discharge of our duty, we shall sink beneath the contempt of mankind. Truly, our position is one of great import. Our gallant army now holds, as it deserves, the first place in the thoughts and affections of our people. But of scarcely less importance in the estimation of all, is the legislative authority which initiates the true civil policy of the Confederacy, and which sustains and upholds that army itself. And when the latter shall have accomplished its holy mission, by driving the invader from the soil which he desecrates and pollutes; and when the hearts of a grateful and free people, more generous than a Roman senate, shall for this service decree to it one life-long ovation, if true to ourselves, and competent to their duty, this Congress will be united in the triumphal honors. And if this Constitution be desired to go forward, as we hope and believe it will, to a distant future, gaining new strength from trial, winning new triumphs from time, giving protection and peace to successive generations of happy and enlightened people, as the gray-haired sires and venerated patriarchs of ages now remote, shall seek to inspire the courage, and fire the hearts of the ingenuous youth of their day, by recommitting the heroic deeds of the army which achieved our independence, let the lesson be extended and enlarged by enabling them to tell also of the self-sacrifice, patriotism, and enlarged statesmanship of the Congress which inaugurated the permanent Constitution of this Southern Confederacy. Again, I thank you.

When the Speaker had concluded his remarks, Mr. Curry, of Alabama, moved that the House proceed to the election of a Clerk, and put in nomination Mr. Emmett Dixon, of Georgia.

Mr. Pryor, of Virginia, nominated Mr. M. W. Cluskey, of Tennessee, and supported the nomination earnestly.

Mr. Lyons, of Virginia, nominated Mr. James McDonald, of Virginia, and earnestly supported the nomination. He spoke of Mr. McD.'s position as one of the editors of an influential journal in this city — a journal which, he said, had taken an early and decided stand in defence of our rights, and which had zealously labored for the

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