The points in the Constitution of the Confederate States.
was enthusiastically received at Augusta, Ga.
, Friday, on his way to Savannah
In a speech acknowledging the reception, he took occasion to explain the benefits of the Constitution
of the Confederate States
as contrasted with that of the Union
from which they have withdrawn.
In the first place, Congress is forbidden from fostering one branch of industry at the expense of another.
Thus, the merchant, the mechanic, the business man, and the laborer, are all placed upon the same footing in that respect--one interest has no more claim to the protection of the Government
and, therefore, honest labor can now work its own reward, by energy, industry, and perseverance.
This he considered a wise provision; it settled the question of protection forever.
In the second place, the question of internal improvements was also settled.
Under the old Constitution, the improvements in one State were made often at the expense of another.
Thus, for instance, Georgia
, which had acquired the title of Empire State on account of her numerous improvements, had to pay several millions of dollars to the General Government
, by way of duties, on the very iron which she used in those improvements; and out of these duties money was taken to improve Northern harbors and rivers.
This was manifestly unjust, and was entirely obviated by the new Constitution.
Under this one, each section can make its own improvements, and is authorized to levy a tax upon those who are benefited by such improvements.--Thus, if Savannah
desires to improve her harbor, she can do so, and then levy a tax or duty upon the commerce benefited by such improvements.
or New Orleans, or any other port, desires to make improvements, they all have the same privilege, and hence Georgia
will not have to pay for improving Mobile harbor, and vice versa.
In a word, those who receive the benefits, will have to pay for them.
This provision he considered wise and just.
In the third place — and this is a very important improvement upon the old Constitution --the public money is protected.
We have been accustomed, in the old country, to hear the Presidents
charged with the extravagance of the public expenditures.
Thus we had heard of the extravagances of John Quincy Adams
, of Andrew Jackson
, of Martin Van Buren
, and, finally, of Jas. Buchanan
; but these extravagances were not really chargeable to the presidents.
Their estimates of the probable expenditures had fallen short of the reality; thus, in some cases, the expenditures had increased two or three millions over the estimates; and, in the case of Mr. Buchanan
, as much as twenty millions.
His estimates were sixty millions, and yet Congress had appropriated eighty millions.
It was generally the fault of the Congress
, and the result of logrolling by the members.
As, for instance, on the last night of a session, it frequently happened that in the hurry of finishing the business of the session, and passing the appropriation bill, some member would succeed in fastening upon it an appropriation of a million here, and another a million somewhere else-- all done without reflection, and often by an irresponsible body of men — men whose time of service was completed, and who would, perhaps, never return to Congress.
But all this is obviated by the new Constitution.
The Congress of the Confederate States can only make such appropriations as the President
recommends; or, if they exceed these, it must be done by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses.
Thus you see, my countrymen, that a very important point is gained.
You have the public treasury well guarded, and you can hold the President
responsible at the ballot-box, if he rushes the Government
into extravagant expenditures.
It makes no difference how much business a merchant transacts — no difference how much profit arises — if there are too many hands in the till, he is bound to be ruined.
As mercantile men, you will understand and appreciate this illustration.
And the illustration applies to the Government Treasury
But that, I think, is now properly guarded — and so we have another improvement upon the old Constitution.
In the fourth place — and this is the principal and most important point of all — we have settled, and, I trust, settled forever, the great question which was the prime cause of our separation from the United States
--I mean the question of African
The old Constitution set out with a wrong idea on this subject; it was based upon an erroneous principle; it was founded upon the idea that African
slavery is wrong, and it looked forward to the ultimate extinction of that institution.
But time has proved the error, and we have corrected it in the new Constitution.
We have based ours upon the principle of the inequality of races, and the principle is spreading — it is becoming appreciated and better understood; and though there are many even in the South
who are still in the shell upon this subject, yet the day is not far distant when it will be generally understood and appreciated — not only in the South
, but everywhere else.
The world is rapidly progressing in its views on this subject, and in a very few years we may witness great changes in respect to this institution.