previous next

[220] these States, through their representatives, adopted the permanent Confederate Constitution.

To understand the full effect of this important step, and how it was regarded by the great majority of the people of the border States, as we shall see, it must be remembered that nothing had occurred at that time to change the legal or political condition of the people of the seceding States. Mr. Lincoln had been duly elected, it is true, after a very exciting election, but the Republican party which elected him had not control of Congress. No law, therefore, on the statute-book at the time the cotton States seceded had been enacted by a Republican Congress or approved by a Republican President. A Democratic Congress and a Democratic President, both friendly to the opinions generally held in the slave States on Federal subjects connected with slavery, were responsible for the laws of the country as they stood when Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated on the 4th of March, 1861. But that there was nothing in Federal legislation obnoxious to the cotton States themselves at the time the Confederate Government was organized at Montgomery, is shown by the very first act of the Provisional Congress.

Statute 1, chapter 1 of the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States, adopted on the 9th of February, 1861, is as follows:

An act to continue in force certain laws of the United States of America.

Be it enacted by the Confederate States of America in Congress assembled, That all the laws of the United States of America in force and in use in the Confederate States of America on the first day of November last, and not inconsistent with the Constitution of the Confederate States, be and the same are hereby continued in force until altered or repealed by the Congress.

Adopted February 9, 186.

The exception named in the act I have quoted, included no law that had been among the causes of dispute between the two parts of the Union. The Confederate Constitution restricted the power of Congress with reference to duties on imports, but secession had not been resorted to in order to relieve the seceding States from legislation on the subject of duties.

A remarkable illustration of what I now say occurred during the discussion in the convention of South Carolina of the address proposed to be issued to the people of the slave-holding States, declaring the causes of the action of that State. Mr. Maxey Gregg, afterwards the brave General Maxey Gregg, who died nobly on the field

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (6)
Montgomery (Alabama, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Abraham Lincoln (2)
Maxey Gregg (2)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March 4th, 1861 AD (1)
February 9th, 1861 AD (1)
February 9th, 186 AD (1)
November 1st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: