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February 4th, 1861 AD (search for this): chapter 10
r H. Stephens Vice-President of the Confederacy, 252. Stephens's speeches committees appointed, 253. action of the Convention concerning a flag for the Confederacy, 254. first assumption of Sovereignty South Carolinians offended, 256. Davis journeys to Montgomery his reception and inauguration, 257. Davis's Cabinet, 258. sketch of Davis and Stephens, 259.--Confederate Commissioners sent to Europe Stephens expounds the principles of the New Government, 260. On Monday, the 4th of February, 1861, the day on which Slidell and Benjamin left the Senate, a Convention known as the Peace Congress, or Conference, assembled in Willard's Hall, in Washington City, a large room in a building originally erected as a church edifice on F Street, and then attached to Willard's Hotel. This Convention, as we have observed, See page 194. was proposed by resolutions of the Virginia Legislature, passed on the 19th of January, 1861. and highly approved by the President of the Republic. Th
February 6th, 1861 AD (search for this): chapter 10
a confederacy of seceded States, and that a committee be appointed to report a plan for a provisional government, on the basis of the Constitution of the United States; that the committee consist of thirteen members; and that all propositions in reference to a provisional government be referred to that committee. Alexander H. Stephens then moved that the word Congress be used instead of Convention, when applied to the body then in session, which was agreed to. On the following day, February 6, 1861. commissioners from North Carolina ap. peared, and were invited to seats in the Convention. The Commissioners were David L. Swain, M. W. Ransom, and John L. Bridges. They came only as commissioners from a State yet a part of the Federal Union, and had no right to appear as delegates. Their object was, according to instructions, See page 198. to effect an honorable and amicable adjustment of all the difficulties that distract the country, upon the basis of the Crittenden Resolutio
February 9th, 1861 AD (search for this): chapter 10
and seemed inclined, at one time, to reject all leagues, and have their gallant State stand alone as an independent nation. The arrogance of the South Carolina politicians was sometimes gently rebuked by their friends. The Mobile Mercury, at this time, said:--They will have to learn to be a little more conforming to the opinions of others, before they can expect to associate comfortably with even the Cotton States, under a federative Government. On the sixth day of the session, February 9, 1861. the President of the Convention and all of the members took the oath of allegiance Jefferson Davis. to the Provisional Constitution, and at noon the doors of the hall were thrown open to the public, and the Convention proceeded to the election of a President and Vice-President of the Confederacy. Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, received six votes (the whole number) for President, and Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, the same number, for Vice-President. The announcement of the r
February 11th, 1861 AD (search for this): chapter 10
Confederacy. There will be solicitations enough from South Carolina for offices. But keep this to yourself. --Autograph Letter of R. B. Rhett: to his Son, February 11, 1861. Robert Barnwell Rhett, the most belligerent of the demagogues of the Palmetto State --the perfect representative of the disloyal politicians of South Carolever been wise in pushing myself forward to office or power, and, I suppose, never will be. I cannot change. Prepare for disappointment. --Autograph Letter, February 11, 1861. Memminger aspired to be secretary of the treasury, and James Chesnut, Jr., who had patriotically made a sacrifice of his seat in the National Senate, Seeouth, that within two months a whole State could not take a fort defended by but seventy men. The thing is absurd. We must be disgraced. --Autograph Letter, February 11, 1861. The Alabamians seem to have been special objects of Rhett's dislike. Alabama, he said, has the meanest delegation in this body. There is not a statesma
February 15th, 1861 AD (search for this): chapter 10
ment. The rest of the delegation were on their way. In this act, as in all others, the conspirators utterly disregarded the will of the people. On the same day, the Convention commenced preparations for war, by instructing the Military and Naval Committees to report plans for the organization of an army and navy, and to make provision for the officers in each service who had deserted their flag and were seeking employment from the Confederates at Montgomery. Preparations were now February 15, 1861. made for the reception and inauguration of Davis. He was at his home near Vicksburg when apprised of his election, and he hastened to Montgomery on the circuitous railway route by the way of Jackson, Grand Junction, Chattanooga, and West Point. His journey was a continuous ovation. He made twenty-five speeches on the way, all breathing treason to the Government by whose bounty he had been educated and fed, and whose laws he had frequently sworn to uphold. A committee of the Conven
February 18th, 1861 AD (search for this): chapter 10
ple of the South, that within two months a whole State could not take a fort defended by but seventy men. The thing is absurd. We must be disgraced. --Autograph Letter, February 11, 1861. The Alabamians seem to have been special objects of Rhett's dislike. Alabama, he said, has the meanest delegation in this body. There is not a statesman amongst them; and they are always ready for all the hasty projects of fear. Our policy has but little chance in this body. --Autograph Letter, February 18, 1861. Men like Stephens, and Hill, and Brooke, and Perkins, controlled the fiery spirits in that Convention, and it soon assumed a dignity suited to the gravity of the occasion. The sessions of the Montgomery Convention were generally held in secret. On one or two occasions. propositions were made to employ two stenographers to take down the debates. These propositions were voted down, and no reporters were allowed. They had open as well as secret sessions. Their open sessions the
February 22nd, 1861 AD (search for this): chapter 10
onal Capital by increasing the military force there; and Tyler seems to have gone so far as to have given President Buchanan to understand that the appearance of National troops as participators in the celebration of Washington's Birthday, February 22, 1861. would be offensive to the Virginians, and unfavorable to the harmony of the Peace Convention. They did participate in the festivities of the occasion, for which offense the President, not unaccustomed to a kindly yielding to the wishes ofTyler, near Charles City Court House, which the owner, one of the leaders among the enemies of his country, had abandoned. There Assistant Adjutant-General W. H. Long found the letter alluded to. The following is a copy:-- Washington, February 22, 1861. my dear Sir:--I found it impossible to prevent two or three companies of the Federal troops from joining in the procession to-day with the volunteers of the District, without giving serious offense to the tens of thousands of people who
February 26th, 1861 AD (search for this): chapter 10
all of the States to be represented in it. These various propositions and others were earnestly discussed for several days, and votes were taken upon several proposed amendments to the Constitution. These votes were by States, each State having one vote. The eighteenth rule for the action of the conference prescribed this, and added:--The yeas and nays of the members shall not be given or published-only the decision by States. Finally, on the twenty-second day of the session, February 26, 1861. David Dudley Field, of New York, moved to amend the majority report by striking out the seventh section and inserting the words: No State shall withdraw from the Union without the consent of all the States convened, in pursuance of an act passed by two-thirds of each House of Congress. This proposition was rejected by eleven States against ten. Ayes--Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Kansas--10. Noes--Delaware, Kentucky,
February 28th, 1861 AD (search for this): chapter 10
sires. . . . It is probable that the result to which you have arrived is the best that, under all the circumstances, could be expected. So far as in me lies, therefore, I shall recommend its adoption. Thirty-six hours afterward he was in Richmond, and in the speech alluded to he cast off the mask, denounced the Peace Convention as a worthless affair, declared that the South had nothing to hope from the Republican party; Telegraphic dispatch from Richmond, dated the evening of Thursday, February 28, 1861, quoted by Victor, in his History of the Southern Rebellion, page 490. and then, with all his might, he labored to precipitate Virginia into the vortex of revolution, in which its people suffered terribly. There were many persons of influence extremely anxious for peace, and preferring a dissolution of the Union (which they hoped would be temporary) to war, who were ready to consent to the secession of the fifteen Slave-labor States in order to secure this great desire of their
March 2nd, 1861 AD (search for this): chapter 10
had been, appointed Secretary to the Convention, returned to Ohio with the remains of his father, and J. H. Puleston served the Convention as Secretary during the remainder of the session. On the following day, one hundred guns were fired in Washington in honor of the Convention Compromise. The President of the Convention immediately sent a copy of the proposed amendments to the Constitution, adopted by that body, to Vice-President Breckinridge, who laid the matter before the Senate. March 2, 1861. It was referred to a Committee of Five, consisting of Senators Crittenden, Bigler, Thomson, Seward, and Trumbull, with instructions to report the next day. Mr. Crittenden reported the propositions of the Convention, when Mr. Seward, for himself and Mr. Trumbull, presented as a substitute a joint resolution, that whereas the Legislatures of the States of Kentucky, New Jersey, and Illinois had applied to Congress to call a convention of the States, for the purpose of proposing amendments
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