Open main menu

A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I/Provisional Congress, First Session (Continued)

< A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I

MESSAGES.

Executive Department,
Montgomery, Ala., February 25, 1861.

Hon. Howell Cobb, President of the Congress.

Sir: I hereby transmit for the advice of the Congress the following nominations of Commissioners to the Government of the United States of America in accordance with the resolution[1] of Congress providing for such commission, and declaratory of the purposes thereof: A. B. Roman, of Louisiana; M. J. Crawford, of Georgia; John Forsyth, of Alabama.

Jeff'n Davis.


LETTER OF PRESIDENT DAVIS TO PRESIDENT LINCOLN.

Montgomery, February 27, 1861.

The President of the United States: Being animated by an earnest desire to unite and bind together our respective countries by friendly ties, I have appointed M. J. Crawford, one of our most settled and trustworthy citizens, as special commissioner of the Confederate States of America to the Government of the United States; and I have now the honor to introduce him to you, and to ask for him a reception and treatment corresponding to his station and to the purpose for which he is sent. Those purposes he will more particularly explain to you. Hoping that through his agency, &c. [sic.]

Jeff'n Davis.

For the purpose of establishing friendly relations between the Confederate States and the United States, and reposing special trust, &c., Martin J. Crawford, John Forsyth, and A. B. Roman are appointed special commissioners of the Confederate States to the United States. I have invested them with full and all manner of power and authority for and in the name of the Confederate States to meet and confer with any person or persons duly authorized by the Government of the United States being furnished with like powers and authority, and with them to agree, treat, consult, and negotiate of and concerning all matters and subjects interesting to both nations, and to conclude and sign a treaty or treaties, convention or conventions, touching the premises, transmitting the same to the President of the Confederate States for his final ratification by and with the consent of the Congress of the Confederate States.

Given under my hand at the city of Montgomery this 27th day of February, A.D. 1861, and of the Independence of the Confederate States the eighty-fifth.

Jeff'n Davis.

Robert Toombs, Secretary of State.


Executive Office, February 26, 1861.

Gentlemen of the Congress: Though the General Government of the Confederate States is specially charged with the questions arising from the present condition of Forts Sumter and Pickens, and the Executive is required by negotiation or other means to obtain possession of those works, and though the common defense and the issues of peace or war of the Confederate States must necessarily be conducted by their general agents, the only material of war which we possess is held by the authorities of the several States. To distribute the arms and munitions so as best to provide for the defense of the country, it is needful that they be placed under the control of the General Government. We have now but little information as to the quantity and quality of the military supplies on hand, and have no authority to call for returns from the officers of the States. The courtesy and patriotism of the respective Governors would no doubt willingly meet such inquiry, and would probably induce them to transfer either armament or stores in compliance with a requisition from this Government, but efficiency requires the exclusive control as well of the means as of the works of defense. The General Government being also charged with foreign intercourse, may have in the course of negotiation to account for the property of the United States which, as a consequence of secession, passed under the authority of the several States anterior to the formation of this Government. For these considerations I respectfully suggest that the proper legislation be adopted to secure the transfer of all arms and munitions now in the forts, arsenals, and navy yards to the custody of the Government of the Confederate States, and that full returns be made of all arms and munitions which have been distributed from the public stores to the troops of the several States, with authority to this Government to take charge of the accountability for them, and also to receive, to be accounted for to the several States, such arms and munitions as have been purchased by them, and which they are willing to devote to the common service of the Confederacy. The difficulty of supplying our wants in that regard by purchases abroad or by manufacture at home is well known to the Congress, and will render unnecessary an argument to enforce the general policy herein presented, and I have only respectfully to commend the subject to your consideration.

Jeff'n Davis.


Executive Department,
Montgomery, Ala., February 26, 1861.

Hon. Howell Cobb, President of the Congress.

Sir: I hereby transmit for the advice of the Congress the following nominations, in accordance with a resolution passed February 13, 1861, to provide for a commission to proceed to Europe under instructions to be given: W. L. Yancey, of Alabama; P. A. Rost, of Louisiana; A. Dudley Mann, of Confederate States.

Jeff'n Davis.


Montgomery, Ala.,
Executive Office, March 5, 1861.

Hon. Howell Cobb, President of the Congress.

Sir: Herewith I have the honor to transmit the estimate of the Secretary of War of the amount required for the support of the Army of the Confederate States, also, of that requisite for the support of a portion of the provisional army, authorized to be raised.

The estimate, it will be observed, is for the authorized strength of the army, and as a large portion of that force will probably not be enlisted or commissioned, there will be a balance of appropriation which, if permitted, might be used to support additional troops of a provisional army, a character of force which may be more speedily raised, and on which we must, in any early necessity, expect mainly to rely.

Jefferson Davis.


Executive Department, March 12, 1861.

Hon. Howell Cobb, President of the Congress.

Sir: To enable the Secretary of War most advantageously to perform the duties devolved upon him in relation to the Indian tribes by the second section of the Act to establish the War Department of February 21, 1861, it is deemed desirable that there should be established a Bureau of Indian Affairs, and, if the Congress concur in this view, I have the honor respectfully to recommend that provision be made for the appointment of a Commissioner of Indian Affairs, and for one clerk to aid him in the discharge of his official duties.

Jefferson Davis.


Executive Department, March 15, 1861.

Hon. Howell Cobb, President of the Congress.

Sir: I hereby transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, suggesting for the consideration of Congress an additional appropriation of one hundred and ten thousand dollars for the purchase of cannon powder and musket powder. Concurring in his belief that his former estimate was insufficient, the additional appropriation asked for is commended to the favorable consideration of the Congress.

Jefferson Davis.


Executive Department, March 16, 1861.

Hon. Howell Cobb, President of the Congress.

Sir: I hereby transmit a communication from the Secretary of War, suggesting an appropriation of five thousand dollars to meet the salaries and incidental expenses of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Jefferson Davis.


VETO MESSAGE.

Executive Department, February 28, 1861.

Gentlemen of Congress: With sincere deference to the judgment of Congress, I have carefully considered the bill in relation to the slave trade, and to punish persons offending therein, but have not been able to approve it, and therefore do return it with a statement of my objections. The Constitution (section 7, article I.) provides that the importation of African negroes from any foreign country other than slave-holding States of the United States is hereby forbidden, and Congress is required to pass such laws as shall effectually prevent the same. The rule herein given is emphatic, and distinctly directs the legislation which shall effectually prevent the importation of African negroes. The bill before me denounces as high misdemeanor the importation of African negroes or other persons of color, either to be sold as slaves or to be held to service or labor, affixing heavy, degrading penalties on the act, if done with such intent. To that extent it accords with the requirements of the Constitution, but in the sixth section of the bill provision is made for the transfer of persons who may have been illegally imported into the Confederate States to the custody of foreign States or societies, upon condition of deportation and future freedom, and if the proposition thus to surrender them shall not be accepted, it is then made the duty of the President to cause said negroes to be sold at public outcry to the highest bidder in any one of the States where such sale shall not be inconsistent with the laws thereof. This provision seems to me to be in opposition to the policy declared in the Constitution — the prohibition of the importation of African negroes — and in derogation of its mandate to legislate for the effectuation of that object. Wherefore the bill is returned to you for your further consideration, and, together with the objections, most respectfully submitted.

Jeff'n Davis.


PROCLAMATIONS.

By the President of the Confederate States.

A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas, an extraordinary occasion has occurred, rendering it necessary and proper that the Congress of the Confederate States shall convene to receive and act upon such communications as may be made to it on the part of the Executive;

Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States, do issue this my proclamation, convoking the Congress of the Confederate States for the transaction of business at the capitol, in the city of Montgomery, on the 29th day of April, at twelve o'clock noon of that day, of which all who shall at that time be entitled to act as members of that body are hereby required to take notice.

Given under my hand and the seal of the Confederate States, at Montgomery, this 12th day of April, A.D. 1861.

[L. S.]

Jefferson Davis.

By the President: R. Toombs, Secretary of State.


By the President of the Confederate States.

A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas, Abraham Lincoln, the President of the United States, has, by proclamation, announced the intention of invading this Confederacy with an armed force for the purpose of capturing its fortresses, and thereby subverting its independence and subjecting the free people thereof to the dominion of a foreign power; and, whereas, it has thus become the duty of this government to repel the threatened invasion, and to defend the rights and liberties of the people by all the means which the laws of nations and the usages of civilized warfare place at its disposal;

Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, do issue this my proclamation, inviting all those who may desire, by service in private armed vessels on the high seas, to aid this government in resisting so wanton and wicked an aggression, to make application for commissions or letters of marque and reprisal to be issued under the seal of these Confederate States.

And I do further notify all persons applying for letters of marque to make a statement in writing, giving the name and a suitable description of the character, tonnage, and force of the vessel, and the name and place of residence of each owner concerning therein, and the intended number of the crew, and to sign said statement and deliver the same to the Secretary of State, or to the collector of any port of entry of these Confederate States, to be by him transmitted to the Secretary of State.

And I do further notify all applicants aforesaid that before any commission or letter of marque is issued to any vessel, the owner or owners thereof, and the commander for the time being, will be required to give bond to the Confederate States, with at least two responsible sureties, not interested in such vessel, in the penal sum of five thousand dollars; or if such vessel be provided with more than one hundred and fifty men, then in the penal sum of ten thousand dollars, with condition that the owners, officers, and crew who shall be employed on board such commissioned vessel shall observe the laws of these Confederate States and the instructions given to them for the regulation of their conduct. That they shall satisfy all damages done contrary to the tenor thereof by such vessel during her commission, and deliver up the same when revoked by the President of the Confederate States.

And I do further specially enjoin on all persons holding offices, civil and military, under the authority of the Confederate States, that they be vigilant and zealous in discharging the duties incident thereto; and I do, moreover, solemnly exhort the good people of these Confederate States, as they love their country, as they prize the blessings of free governmnt, as they feel the wrongs of the past and these now threatened in aggravated form by those whose enmity is more implacable because unprovoked, that they exert themselves in preserving order, in promoting concord, in maintaining the authority and efficacy of the laws, and in supporting and invigorating all the measures which may be adopted for the common defense, and by which, under the blessings of Divine Providence, we may hope for a speedy, just, and honorable peace.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the Confederate States to be affixed, this seventeenth day of April, 1861.

[Signed]

Jefferson Davis.

By the President: R. Toombs, Secretary of State.


Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, to All Whom These Presents Shall Concern, Greeting:

Know ye, that for the purpose of establishing friendly relations between the Confederate States of America and the Commonwealth of Virginia, and reposing special trust and confidence in the integrity, prudence, and ability of Alexander H. Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America, appointed special commissioner of the Confederate States to the Commonwealth of Virginia, I have invested him with full and all manner of power and authority, for and in the name of the Confederate States, to meet and confer with any person or persons authorized by the Government of Virginia, being furnished with like power and authority, and with him or them to agree, treat, consult, and negotiate of and concerning all matters and subjects interesting to both Republics; and to conclude and sign a treaty or treaties, convention or conventions, touching the premises, transmitting the same to the President of the Confederate States for his final ratification, by and with the advice and consent of the Congress of the Confederate States.

In testimony whereof I have caused the seal of the Confederate States to be hereunto affixed.

Given under my hand at the city of Montgomery this 19th day of April, A.D. 1861.

Jeff'n Davis.

By the President: Robert Toombs, Secretary of State.

 



  1. *The resolution is as follows:

    "A Resolution for the Appointment of Commissioners to the Government of the United States of America.


    "Resolved by the Confederate States of America in Congress Assembled, That it is the sense of this Congress that a commission of three persons be appointed by the President elect, as early as may be convenient after his inauguration, and sent to the government of the United States of America, for the purpose of negotiating friendly relations between that government and the Confederate States of America, and for the settlement of all questions of disagreement between the two governments upon principles of right, justice, equity, and good faith."
    Adopted February 15, 1861.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1924. It may be copyrighted outside the U.S. (see Help:Public domain).