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Doc. 48.-the “Confederate” Congress.

Meeting of the First session.


Tuesday, Feb. 18, 1862.--The Senate convened at noon. The Vice-President elect of the Confederate States; the Hon. A. H. Stephens, in the chair.

The Vice-President, under the authority of the Constitution, formally opened the session of the Senate. He called the attention of Senators to the published acts passed by the Provisional Congress, and caused the temporary clerk to read the last clause of the permanent Constitution; also, the act of the Provisional Congress putting in operation the permanent government of the Confederate States, and the act supplemental to the same.

The roll being called, the following Senators answered to their names:

Arkansas--Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Johnson.

Florida--Mr. Maxwell and Mr. Baker.

Georgia--Mr. Hill.

Kentucky--Mr. Simms.

Louisiana--Mr. Sparrow.

Mississippi--Mr. Brown.

Missouri--Mr. Clark and Mr. Peyton.

North-Carolina--Mr. Davis and Mr. Dortch.

South-Carolina--Mr. Barnwell and Mr. Orr.

Tennessee--Mr. Haynes and Mr. Henry.

Texas--Mr. Oldham.

Virginia--Mr. Hunter and Mr. Preston.

Nineteen Senators being present, (a quorum,) the oath to support the Constitution was then administered — the Senators taking the oath in parties of four at a time.

The Vice-President announced that the first business before the Senate was the election of a President of the Senate pro tempore.

Mr. Davis, of North-Carolina, moved that the Hon. R. M. T. Hunter, of Virginia, be unanimously chosen President of the Senate pro tempore. Carried.

The election of a Secretary of the Senate being in order, the following nominations were made:

Mr. Sparrow, of Louisiana, nominated Richard Charles Downs, of Louisiana.

Mr. Clark, of Missouri, nominated Andrew H. H. Dawson, of Alabama.

Mr. Oldham, of Texas, nominated J. Johnson Hooper, of Alabama.

Mr. Preston, of Virginia, nominated Jno. L. Eubank, of Virginia.

Mr. Barnwell, of South-Carolina, nominated Jas. H. Nash; of South-Carolina.

The first ballot resulted as follows: Dawson, 6; Nash, 4; Hooper, 4; Eubank, 2; Downs, 2; Montague, 1. No candidate having a majority.

Four additional ballots were had without an election.

The following was the result of the sixth and last ballot, in detail:

For Mr. Nash--Messrs. Barnwell, Baker, Brown, Clark, Haynes, Henry, Hill, Hunter, Orr, Preston, and Simms--11.

For Mr. Hooper--Messrs. Davis, Maxwell, Mitchell, Oldham, Peyton, and Sparrow--6.

For Mr. Dawson--Messrs. Johnson and Dortch--2.

James H. Nash, of South-Carolina, having a majority of the votes cast, was declared the Secretary of the Senate, and came forward and was duly qualified.

On motion of Mr. Orr, the Senate proceeded to the election of a Doorkeeper.

Two ballots were had, the last resulting in the election of Mr. James Page, of North-Carolina.

During the balloting Mr. Wigfall, the Senator [189] from Texas, appeared in his seat and subsequently took the oath.

On motion of Mr. Orr, the daily hour for the meeting of the Senate was fixed at twelve o'clock M.

The Senate then adjourned.

House of Representatives.

At twelve o'clock precisely, the House was called to order by the Hon. Howell Cobb, of Georgia, the presiding officer of the late Provisional Congress, who stated that it was made his duty by an act of the Provisional Congress to preside over the Permanent Congress until its organization. An earnest and impressive prayer was delivered by the Rev. Mr. Duncan of the M. E. Church.

The call of the roll of the members was then commenced, and at its conclusion the presiding officer announced that a quorum was present, after which he proceeded to administer the following oath, which was done by calling up the delegations from the several States of the Confederacy:

You and each of you do solemnly swear that you will support the Constitution of the confederate States: So help you, God.

This was the most deeply impressive part of the whole ceremony. As the delegation from each State gathered around the desk of the Speaker, a solemn stillness pervaded the entire hall, and the whole crowd, members and spectators, seemed to feel the responsibility which rests upon this new and as yet untried body.

Each delegation having thus reverently qualified to assume the high and honorable responsibility of supporting the Constitution of the new government, Mr. Cobb announced that the next duty devolving upon them was the election of a Speaker to preside over their future deliberations.

The nomination of candidates for Speaker being in order, Mr. Foote, of Tennessee, offered a resolution declaring the Hon. Thomas S. Bocock, of Virginia, the choice of the House for Speaker. The resolution of Mr. Foote was adopted with but one or two dissenting voices, and Mr. Bocock was duly declared the Speaker-elect of the first Congress under the permanent government of the confederate States.

On motion of Mr. Boyce, of South-Carolina, a committee of two was appointed to conduct him to the chair.

The presiding officer appointed Messrs. Boyce, of South-Carolina, and Foote, of Tennessee.

After assuming the chair, the new Speaker delivered the following patriotic address, which was listened to with marked attention, and was received, at its conclusion, with warm applause:

gentlemen of the House of Representatives: I return to you my sincere thanks for the honor you have done me in selecting me to preside over your deliberations during this, the first Congress under our permanent Constitution. And I desire to say that it will be my one great aim, in discharging the duties of this office, so to conduct myself, as to show to you, and to the world, that your confidence has not been altogether misapplied. I may be permitted to say that I have a firm determination, so far as I may be able, to maintain the dignity and preserve the decorum of this body; to administer its rules with firmness and courtesy, and to conduct its business with strict impartiality. If such a determination, united with a sincere desire to see our legislation take such shape as will best tend to secure the independence, maintain the honor, and advance the welfare of this entire Confederacy — if this could command success, I am sure I might expect to succeed. But other qualifications are requisite, about which it is not for me to promise. If in anything I may fall short, I trust that the same kind partiality, which has called me to this position, will throw the mantle of charity over my defects, and will give me in every time of trial that kind cooperation and generous support which my deficiencies may require. The unanimity with which you have made this election, is a happy augury of the spirit with which your proceedings will be governed. This is no time for resentments — no time for jealousies or heart-burnings. Influenced by a great common purpose, sharing together the same rich hope, and united by a common destiny, let us hush every murmur of discontent, and banish every feeling of personal grief. Here let us know no man, save as a co-laborer in the same great cause, sustaining those whom circumstances may designate to go forward; seeking nothing for the sake merely of personal gratification, but willing rather to yield everything for the public good; “in honor preferring one another.” That some of you, influenced by momentary impulse, should grow restive under the enforcements of those rules which you may make for your own government, would be a matter neither of surprise nor of complaint. But he will prove himself either a weak or a bad man who, on reflection, fails to call back his wayward spirit, and subject it to necessary restraint. Submission to constituted authority is the primary necessity in all communities, and self-control is the chief lesson of individual life. In the light of passing events, we can measure the height and the depth of the excellence intended to be conveyed, when it is said: “Better is he who ruleth his own spirit than he who taketh a city.” The gaze of the world is fixed upon us. Nations look on, curious to see how this new system of government will move off, and what manner of men have been chosen to guide its earliest movements. It is indeed a new system; for, though coinciding in many particulars with that under which we lived so long, it yet differs from it in many essential particulars. When the Constitution of 1787 was put in operation, the war of the Revolution had been successfully closed. Peace prevailed throughout our whole land, and hallowed all its borders. The industrial operations of the country, long held back, now bounded forward and expanded with all the vigor and rankness of tropical vegetation beneath the influence [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 [191] maintenance of constitutional liberty. He hoped it would be the pleasure of the House to elect Mr. McDonald, which would be an evidence on the part of the House, in its organization, to disregard former political opinions in the selection of its officers.

A member from Missouri nominated Mr. Thos. B. Johnson, of that State, and sustained his nomination by an appropriate and touching allusion to the sacrifices made by her citizens, and the sufferings she had endured to release herself from the oppressive thraldom of the Abolition Government. Mr. Johnson was a gentleman of eminent qualifications, and the State of Missouri would accept as a high compliment his selection as the Clerk of the first Congress under the new government. The Clerk then proceeded to call the roll, with the following result: First vote — Dixon, thirty-six; Clusky, twenty-eight; Johnson, twenty-one; McDonald, seven. Mr. Lyons withdrew the name of Mr. McDonald, and the House proceeded to a second vote, as follows: Dixon, forty-one; Cluskey, twenty-seven; Johnson, nineteen. There being no election, a third and final vote was had, which decided the contest in favor of Mr. Dixon. Third vote — Dixon, forty-four; Cluskey, twenty-six; Johnson, seventeen.

Mr. Dixon having received a majority of the votes cast, was duly declared elected Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Mr. Russell, of Virginia, moved that the House proceed to the election of a Doorkeeper, and the choice fell upon Mr. R. H. Wynn, of Alabama.

“Confederate” Congress.

The following is a list of the members of the first Congress of the permanent government of the confederate States.

Those marked with an asterisk (*) are members of the provisional Congress.


C. C. Clay, Jr.James Phelan.
William L. Yancey,A. G. Brown,
Robert W. Johnson,*J. B. Clarke,
C. B. Mitchell.R. L. E. Payton.
James M. Baker,George Davis,*
A. E. Maxwell.William T. Dortch.
Robert Toombs,*R. W. Barnwell,*
B. H. Hill.*James L. Orr.*
H. C. Burnett,G. A. Henry,
William E. Sims.L. C. Haynes.
Edward Sparrow,Lewis T. Wigfall,
T. J. Sommers.W. S. Oldham.*
R. M. T. Hunter,
William B. Preston.

House of Representatives.

 Alabama. North-Carolina.
Dist. Dist. 
1.T. J. Foster,1.W. N. H. Smith,*
2.W. R. Smith,2.R. R. Bridgers,
3.J. P. Rawls,3.O. R. Keenan,
4.J. L. M. Curry,*4.T. D. McDowell,
5.F. S. Lyon,5.A. H. Herington,
6.W. P. Chilton,*6.J. R. McLean,
7.D. Clopton,7.-----Ashe,
8.J. L. Pugh,8.William Lander,
9.E. S. Dargan.9.B. S. Gaither,
Arkansas.10.A. T. Davidson.*
1.G. A. Garland,South-Carolina.
2.James M. Patterson,1.John McQueen,
(Incomplete.)2.W. P. Miles,*
Florida.3.L. M. Ayer,
1.James B. Dawkins,4.M. L. Bonham,
2.R. A. Hilton.5.James Farrow,
Georgia.6.W. W. Boyce.*
1.Julian Hartridge,Tennessee.
2.Chas. S. Munnerlyn,1.J. B. Heiskill,
3.Hines Holt,2.W. G. Swann,
4.A. H. Kenan,*3.-----Tibbs,
5.D. W. Lewis,4.J. B. Gardenshire,
6.W. W. Clark,5.H. S. Foote,
7.R. P. Trippe,6.Meredith P. Gentry,
8.L. J. Gatrell,7.G. W. Jones,
9.Hardy Strickland,8.-----Menses,
10.A. R. Wright.9.J. D. C. Atkins*
Kentucky.10.J. V. Wright,
(Not yet elected.)11.D. M. Currin.*
Louisiana.1.J. A. Wilcox,
1.C. J. Villere,2.C. C. Herbert,
2.Charles M. Canrad,*3.P. W. Gray,
3.Duncan F. Kedner,*4.F. B. Sexton,
4.L. J. Dupre,5.M. D. Grapham,
5.J. L. Lewis,6.B. H. E. P. Person.
6.J. Perkins, Jr.*Virginia.
Mississippi.1.M. R. H. Garnett,
1.J. W. Clapp,2.J. B. Chambliss,
2.Reuben Davis,3.J. Tyler,
3.Israel Welch,4.R. A. Pryor,*
4.H. C. Chambers,5.T. S. Bocock,*
5.O. R. Singleton,6.J. Goode, Jr.,
6.E. Barksdale,7.J. P. Holcombe,
7.John J. McRae.8.D. C. De Jarnette,
Missouri.9.William Smith,
1.W. M. Cook,10.A. R. Boteler,
2.T. C. Harris,11.J. B. Baldwin,
3.C. W. Bell,12.W. R. Staples,*
4.A. H. Condon,13.Walter Preston,*
5.G. G. West,14.A. G. Jenkins,
6.L. W. Freeman,15.Robert Johnson,*
7.-----Hyer.16.C. W. Russell.

--Brandon (Miss.) Republican.

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