previous next

Doc. 144.-the Tennessee league.

Message of Governor Harris.

Executive Department, Nashville, May 7, 1861.
Gentlemen of the Senate and House of Representatives: By virtue of the authority of [202] your joint resolution, adopted on the 1st day of May, instant, I appointed Gustavus A. Henry, of the county of Montgomery, Archibald O. W. Totten, of the county of Madison, and Washington Barrow, of the county of Davidson, “Commissioners, on the part of Tennessee, to enter into a military league with the authorities of the Confederate States, and with the authorities of such other slaveholding States as may wish to enter into it; having in view the protection and defence of the entire South against the war that is now being carried on against it.”

The said commissioners met the Hon. Henry W. Hilliard, the accredited representative of the Confederate States, at Nashville on this day, and have agreed upon and executed a military league between the State of Tennessee and the Confederate States of America, subject, however, to the ratification of the two governments, one of the duplicate originals of which I herewith transmit for your ratification or rejection. For many cogent and obvious reasons, unnecessary to be rehearsed to you, I respectfully recommend the ratification of this league at the earliest practicable moment.

Very respectfully,

Convention between the State of Tennessee and the Confederate States of America.

The State of Tennessee, looking to a speedy admission into the Confederacy established by the Confederate States of America, in accordance with the constitution for the provisional government of said States, enters into the following temporary convention, agreement, and military league with the Confederate States, for the purpose of meeting pressing exigencies affecting the common rights, interests, and safety of said States and said Confederacy.

First: Until the said State shall become a member of said Confederacy, according to the constitutions of both powers, the whole military force and military operations, offensive and defensive, of said State, in the impending conflict with the United States, shall be under the chief control and direction of the President of the Confederate States upon the same basis, principles, and footing as if said State were now and during the intervals a member of the said Confederacy. Said force, together with those of the Confederate States, is to be employed for the common defence.

Second: The State of Tennessee will, upon becoming a member of said Confederacy, under the permanent constitution of said Confederate States, if the same shall occur, turn over to said Confederate States all the public property, naval stores, and munitions of war of which she may then be in possession, acquired from the United States, on the same terms and in the same manner as the other States of said Confederacy have done in like cases.

Third: Whatever expenditures of money, if any, the said State of Tennessee shall make before she becomes a member of said Confederacy, shall be met and provided for by the Confederate States.

This convention, entered into and agreed on in the city of Nashville, Tennessee, on the seventh day of May, A. D. 1861, by Henry W. Hilliard, the duly authorized Commissioner to act in the matter for the Confederate States, and Gustavus A. Henry, Archibald W. O. Totten, and Washington Barrow, commissioners duly authorized to act in like manner for the State of Tennessee. The whole subject to the approval and ratification of the proper authorities of both governmants, respectively.

In testimony whereof, the parties aforesaid have herewith set their hands and seals, the day and year aforesaid, in duplicate originals.

Henry W. Hilliard, [Seal.]

Commissioner for the Confederate States of America.

Gustavus A. Henry, [Seal.]

A. O. W. Totten, [Seal.]

Washington Barrow, [Seal.]

Commissioners on the part of Tennessee.

Joint resolution ratifying the league.

Whereas, A military league, offensive and defensive, was formed on this the 7th of May, 1861, by and between A. O. W. Totten, Gustavus A. Henry, and Washington Barrow, Commissioners on the part of the State of Tennessee, and H. W. Hilliard, Commissioner on the part of the Confederate States of America, subject to the confirmation of the two governments:

Be it therefore resolved by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, That said league be in all respects ratified and confirmed, and the said General Assembly hereby pledges the faith and honor of the State of Tennessee to the faithful observance of the terms and conditions of said league.

The following is the vote in the Senate on the adoption of the league:

Yeas.--Messrs. Allen, Horn, Hunter, Johnson, Lane, Minnis, McClellan, McNeilly, Payne, Peters, Stanton, Thompson, Wood, and Speaker Stovall.

Nays.--Messrs. Boyd, Bradford, Hildreth, Nash, Richardson, and Stokes.

Absent and not voting--Messrs. Bumpass, Mickley, Newman, Stokely, and Trimble.

The following is the vote in the House:

Yeas.--Messrs. Baker of Perry, Baker of Weakley, Bayless, Bicknell, Bledsoe, Cheatham, Cowden, Davidson, Davis, Dudley, Ewing, Farley, Farrelly, Ford, Frazie, Gantt, Guy, Havron, Hart, Ingram, Jones, Kenner, Kennedy, Lea, Lockhart, Martin, Mayfield, McCabe, Morphies, Nail, Hickett, Porter, Richardson, Roberts, Shield, Smith, Sewel, Trevitt, Vaughn, Whitmore, Woods, and Speaker Whitthorne.

Nays.--Messrs. Armstrong, Brazelton, Butler, Caldwell, Gorman, Greene, Morris, Norman, Russell, Senter, Strewsbury, White of [203] Davidson, Williams of Knox, Wisener, and Woodard.

Absent and not voting--Messrs. Barksdale, Beaty, Bennett, Britton, Critz, Doak, East, Gillespie, Harris, Hebb, Johnson, Kincaid of Anderson, Kincaid of. Claiborne, Trewhitt, White of Dickson, Williams of Franklin, Williams of Hickman, and Williamson.

an act to submit to A vote of the PEOple a Declaration of Independence, and for other purposes.

section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, That, immediately after the passage of this Act, the Governor of this State shall by proclamation, direct the sheriffs of the several counties in this State to open and hold an election at the various voting precincts in their respective counties on the 8th day of June, 1861; that said sheriffs, or in the absence of the sheriffs, the coroner of the county, shall immediately advertise the election contemplated by this Act; that said sheriffs appoint a deputy to hold said election for each voting precinct, and that said deputy appoint three judges and two clerks for each precinct, and if no officer shall from any cause attend any voting precinct, to open and hold said election, then any justice of the peace, or, in the absence of a justice of the peace, any respectable freeholder may appoint an officer, judges, and clerks to open and hold said election. Said officers, judges, and clerks, shall be sworn as now required by law, and who, after being so sworn, shall open and hold an election, open and close at the time of day and in the manner now required by law in elections for members to the General Assembly.

Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That at said election the following declaration shall be submitted to a vote of the qualified voters of the State of Tennessee, for their ratification or rejection:

Declaration of Independence and Ordinance dissolving the Federal relations between the State of Tennessee and the United States of America.

First: We, the people of the State of Tennessee, waiving an expression of opinion as to the abstract doctrine of secession, but asserting the right as a free and independent people to alter, reform, or abolish our form of Government in such manner as we think proper, do ordain and declare that all the laws and ordinances by which the State of Tennessee became a member of the Federal Union of the United States of America, are hereby abrogated and annulled, and that all obligations on our part be withdrawn therefrom; and we do hereby resume all the rights, functions, and powers which by any of said laws and ordinances were conveyed to the Government of the United States, and absolve ourselves from all the obligations, restraints, and duties incurred thereto; and do hereby henceforth become a free, sovereign, and independent State.

Second: We furthermore declare and ordain, that Article 10, sections 1 and 2 of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee, which requires members of the General Assembly, and all officers, civil and military, to take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, be and the same are hereby abrogated and annulled, and all parts of the Constitution of the State of Tennessee, making citizenship of the United States a qualification for office, and recognizing the Constitution of the United States as the supreme law of this State, are in like manner abrogated and annulled.

Third: We furthermore ordain and declare, that all rights acquired and vested under the Constitution of the United States, or under any act of Congress passed in pursuance thereof, or under any laws of this State, and not incompatible with this ordinance, shall remain in force and have the same effect as if this ordinance had not been passed.

Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That said election shall be by ballot, that those voting for the Declaration and Ordinance shall have written or printed on their ballots “Separation,” and those voting against it, shall have written or printed on their ballots “No separation.” That the clerks holding said election, shall keep regular scrolls of the voters as now required by law in the election of members to the General Assembly; that the clerks and judges shall certify the same with the number of votes for “Separation,” and the number of votes “No separation.” The officer holding the election, shall return the same to the sheriff of the county, at the county seat, on the Monday next after the election. The sheriff shall immediately make out, certify, and send to the Governor the number of votes polled, and the number of votes for “Separation,” and the number “No separation,” and file one of the original scrolls with the Clerk of the County Court; that upon comparing the vote by the Governor in the office of the Secretary of State, which shall be at least by the 24th day of June, 1861, and may be sooner if the returns are all received by the Governor, if a majority of the votes polled shall be for “Separation,” the Governor shall, by his proclamation, make it known, and declare all connection by the State of Tennessee with the Federal Union dissolved, and that Tennessee is a free, independent government, free from all obligations to, or connection with the Federal Government. And that the Governor shall cause “the vote by counties” to be published, the number for “Separation,” and the number “No separation,” whether a majority votes for “Separation,” or “No separation.”

Sec. 4. Be it further enacted, That in the election to be held under the provisions of this act upon the Declaration submitted to the people, all volunteers and other persons connected with the service of this State qualified to vote for members of the Legislature in the counties where they reside, shall be entitled to vote in [204] any county in the State where they may be in active service, or under orders, or on parole at the time of said election; and all other voters shall vote in the county where they reside, as now required by law in voting for members to the General Assembly.

Sec. 5. Be it further enacted, That at the same time, and under the rules and regulations prescribed for the election hereinbefore ordered, the following ordinance shall be submitted to the popular vote. To wit:

An Ordinance for the adoption of the Constitution of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America:

We, the people of Tennessee, solemnly impressed by the perils which surround us, do hereby adopt and ratify the Constitution of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America, ordained and established at Montgomery, Alabama, on the 8th day of February, 1861, to be in force during the existence thereof, or until such time as we may supersede it, by the adoption of a permanent Constitution.

Sec. 6. Be it further enacted, That those in favor of the adoption of said Provisional Constitution, and thereby securing to Tennessee equal representation in the deliberations and councils of the Confederate States, shall have written or printed on their ballots the word “Representation;” opposed, the words “No representation.”

Sec. 7. Be it further enacted, That, in the event the people shall adopt the Constitution of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States at the election herein ordered, it shall be the duty of the Governor forthwith to issue writs of election for delegates to represent the State of Tennessee in the said Provisional Government. That the State shall be represented by as many delegates as it was entitled to members of Congress to the recent Congress of the United States of America, who shall be elected from the several Congressional Districts as now established by law, in the mode and manner now prescribed for the election of Members of Congress of the United States.

Sec. 8. Be it further enacted, That this act shall take effect from and after its passage.

W. C. Whitthorne, Speaker of the House of Representatives. B. L. Stovall, Speaker of the Senate. Passed May 6, 1861.

--Nashville Banner, May 8.

The Ordinance passed.

The deed is done! And a black deed it is — the Legislature of Tennessee, in secret session, passed an ordinance of secession — voting the State out of the Federal Union, and changing the federal relations of a State, thereby affecting, to the great injury of the people, their most important earthly interests. The men who did this deed in secret conclave, were elected two years ago, and they were elected and sworn to support the Constitution of the United States, and the obligations of that oath must rest upon them until their successors are elected. They have dared to pass an ordinance that is really unconstitutional, unjustifiable, and is, upon the whole, a vile act of usurpation. That they say that the extraordinary emergency of the times demanded this outrage, will not do with those of us who know the State of Tennessee has not been oppressed, and is not invaded by a hostile foe, and is not likely to be unless we invite or provoke an attack. It has been the policy of all usurpers, in all ages, to excuse themselves for the exercise of arbitrary power, intended at once to oppress the people and to deprive them of their liberties.

The apology for doing this deed in secret session is, that it would not do to act with open doors, and thereby let the United States Government know what was transpiring. This is only a pretext for this act — it was to prevent the People of Tennessee from knowing what vile work they were engaged in, and applying the remedy. They did not want the real people to read the speeches of Union men delivered in that body, who gave reasons, numerous and strong, why Tennessee should not go into Jeff. Davis's repudiating Confederacy. But unprincipled politicians have resolved upon governing the people, and to induce them to submit, they must keep them in the dark as to their vile schemes.

In June, we are called upon to vote for or against this Ordinance of Secession, and all trains of evil, such as enormous taxes, and the raising of fifty thousand troops! Will the people ratify it, or will they reject it? Let every man, old and young, halt and blind, contrive to be at the polls on that day. If we lose then, our liberties are gone, and we are swallowed up by a military despotism more odious than any now existing in any monarchy of Europe!--Knoxville Whig, May 11.

Tennessee seceded.

Tennessee is disenthralled at last. Freedom has again crowned her with a fresh and fadeless wreath. She has broken through the meshes of tyranny. She has shaken off the shackles which tyrants and usurpers were fastening upon her that they might reduce her to helpless and hopeless bondage. She has left a Union in which she was no longer an equal. She has dissolved her connection with States bent on her subjugation and destruction. She has thrown off the yoke of a Government prostituted to the vile purposes of injustice and oppression. Nobly has she asserted her independence and vindicated her sovereignty.

She has taken her place in the Southern constellation. She has added another star to the flag of the Confederate States, which floats over the dome of her capitol, the proud and unsullied emblem of Southern nationality. She has united her destiny with a sisterhood of [205] States, identified with her in sympathies, in interests, and institutions — with the new born republic of the South, which, like another Mars, has sprung into existence full armed — a young giant, whose tread is already on the pathway of victory and national renown; whose prowess, power, and resources challenge the recognition of civilized nations, and to whom a future of unexampled prosperity and glory has already opened.

We congratulate Tennessee and the Confederate States upon the mutual good fortune of this auspicious alliance. She brings into the new republic the rich dowry of her unsullied patriotism, her ancestral valor, and her mighty and varied resources, while from it she receives the protection and respectability of a powerful and rising nationality.

We hail this decisive step of Tennessee, as the glorious realization of patriotic hopes, long and fondly cherished by us, amid the gloom of discouragement and despondency, as the fruition of years of struggle, and toil, and anxious, and often despairing effort, in the cause of Southern rights.

There is a moral sublimity in the triumph of a great cause that stirs the deepest emotions of the soul. Not in the narrow spirit of political partisanship have we battled in this cause, but as a son of the South, prompted alone by an ardent desire for her safety, her freedom, and her honor. The exultant pleasure of this triumph is enhanced by the reflection that it is shared by all classes of our fellow-citizens alike, without reference to former party distinctions; all past political prejudices being obliterated by the noble and irrepressible patriotism which now animates and unites all Tennesseeans in the common cause of their State and section.

This important change in the political relations of Tennessee creates new and weighty duties and responsibilities, while it awakens new hopes and aspirations. At this moment they urge her to instant and strenuous action. The advent of the new republic has invoked the red thunderbolts of war upon its devoted head. It is no sooner born than it is called upon to defend its right to exist. It seems destined to pass through the fiery ordeal of the fiercest and bloodiest strife which, perhaps, history has yet recorded.

The faithless, meddling, and overbearing North, foiled in her long-cherished scheme of sectional domination, usurpation, and tyranny, by the unexpected revolt of the South, gnashes her teeth, and threatens the extermination of her victim. Her people are frenzied with rage; the hell-born passions of avarice, hate, and revenge, sway her infuriated mobs, thirsting for the blood of a people from whom they have received only benefits and favors. A spirit of wild and bloody atrocity, akin to that which raged in the French Revolution, has seized the entire Northern people, extinguishing at once all the sentiments of Christianity, and the feelings of humanity. Schemes of fiendish cruelty, at which hell itself might turn pale and stand aghast, and demons blush, are now discussed and approved by the sleek and sanctimonious clergy of the North. Even woman, repressing the instinctive humanity and tenderness of her nature, clamors for the massacre of Southern women and children. An imbecile, but perfidious and atrocious Government, leads this wild and bloody raid upon the south. Its armies are now mustering and advancing upon us, with the insolent boast upon their lips that they will either subjugate or exterminate us.

Such are the black and threatening clouds of danger, charged with the lightnings of destruction, which now darken the horizon of the Southern Republic. Tennessee, in this tremendous crisis, will do her entire duty. Great sacrifices are demanded of her, and they will be cheerfully made. Her blood and treasure are offered without stint at the shrine of Southern freedom. She counts not the cost at which independence must be bought. The gallant volunteer State of the South, her brave sons now rushing to the standard of the Southern Confederacy, will sustain by their unflinching valor and deathless devotion, her ancient renown achieved on so many battle fields. In fact our entire people — men, women, and children — have engaged in this fight, and are animated by the single, heroic, and indomitable resolve to perish rather than submit to the despicable invader now threatening us with subjugation. They will ratify the ordinance of secession, amid the smoke and carnage of battle; they will write out their endorsement of it with the blood of their foe — they will enforce it at the point of the bayonet and the sword.

Welcome, thrice welcome, glorious Tennessee, to the thriving family of Southern Confederate States!--Memphis Avalanche, May 6.

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 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.
Henry W. Hilliard (4)
Gustavus A. Henry (4)
Washington Barrow (4)
William R. Williams (3)
Archibald O. W. Totten (3)
Isham G. Harris (3)
W. C. Whitthorne (2)
James W. White (2)
B. L. Stovall (2)
Robert Richardson (2)
Kincaid (2)
Reverdy Johnson (2)
Jefferson Davis (2)
Davidson (2)
Samuel Baker (2)
Woodard (1)
Fernando Wood (1)
A. J. Williamson (1)
S. Hayward Whitmore (1)
Weakley (1)
Vaughn (1)
I. R. Trimble (1)
Trevitt (1)
Archibald W. O. Totten (1)
David Thompson (1)
Strewsbury (1)
James H. Stokes (1)
Stokely (1)
Stanton (1)
J. Hyatt Smith (1)
Sewel (1)
Senter (1)
John Russell (1)
C. W. Roberts (1)
F. J. Porter (1)
Georgiana S. Peters (1)
Richard J. Perry (1)
Payne (1)
Norman (1)
W. H. Newman (1)
David Nash (1)
Thomas A. Morris (1)
Minnis (1)
Mickley (1)
McNeilly (1)
McClellan (1)
McCabe (1)
Mayfield (1)
Knott V. Martin (1)
Mars (1)
Lockhart (1)
Lea (1)
C. E. Lane (1)
William Knox (1)
Duncan F. Kenner (1)
R. L. Kennedy (1)
William Hemphill Jones (1)
Ingram (1)
Thomas T. Hunter (1)
Horn (1)
Hildreth (1)
Hickman (1)
Hebb (1)
Julius Hart (1)
Guy (1)
Samuel W. Greene (1)
Gorman (1)
Gillespie (1)
Gantt (1)
M. Franklin (1)
Ford (1)
J. L. Farley (1)
Edwin H. Ewing (1)
David Dudley (1)
Doc (1)
Doak (1)
Dickson (1)
Critz (1)
Cowden (1)
Claiborne (1)
Cheatham (1)
James M. Caldwell (1)
B. F. Butler (1)
Bumpass (1)
Britton (1)
Brazelton (1)
A. W. Bradford (1)
Carlisle Boyd (1)
Bledsoe (1)
Bicknell (1)
Tom Bennett (1)
Beaty (1)
Bayless (1)
Barksdale (1)
Armstrong (1)
Robert Anderson (1)
William H. Allen (1)
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.
May 7th, 1861 AD (2)
June 24th, 1861 AD (1)
June 8th, 1861 AD (1)
May 6th, 1861 AD (1)
February 8th, 1861 AD (1)
1861 AD (1)
June (1)
May 11th (1)
May 8th (1)
May 7th (1)
May 6th (1)
May 1st (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: