Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/204

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

dispute, he was severely cut in the right hand. He supported General Taylor for President in 1848. In 1850, he opposed secession, and wrote what was called the "Georgia Platform," which declared "the American Union secondary in importance only to the rights and principles it was designed to perpetuate." He declined to support General Scott for President in 1852, but, with a few other prominent Whigs, voted for Mr. Webster after he was dead. In 1854, he defended "Popular Sovereignty," as formulated by Mr. Douglas in the Kansas-Nebraska Act. He aided in electing President Buchanan in 1856, although he had formerly opposed him, and during his term of office he placed himself in antagonism to his administration. He resigned his seat in Congress in 1859, and in 1860 supported Mr. Douglas for President. He did not regard the election of Mr. Lincoln of itself a justification for secession, and on November 14, 1860, made a Union speech which attracted attention throughout the country. He was elected a member of the Georgia Convention of 1861, and sought to delay the passage of the Secession Ordinance. His objections were to the expediency of immediate secession and not at all to the right of his State to withdraw from the Union. When the State Convention of Georgia adopted the Ordinance of Secession, however, he at once yielded obedience and was chosen a delegate to the Provisional Congress which had been appointed to assemble at Montgomery, Ala., by which he was chosen Vice President of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States. He was sent as a commissioner on behalf of the Confederacy to treat with Virginia on the subject of her union with the Confederacy and to negotiate and advise with her. He assisted earnestly in framing the Constitution for the new Government, and believed it was a great improvement on the Constitution of the United States. He said of it that "the whole document utterly negatives the idea which so many have been active in endeavoring to put in the enduring form of history, that the convention at Montgomery was nothing but a set of 'conspirators' whose object was the overthrow of the principles of the Constitution of the United States and the erection of a great 'Slave Oligarchy' instead of the free institutions thereby secured and guaranteed. This work of the Montgomery Convention, with that of the Constitution for a Provisional Government, will ever remain not only as a monument of the wisdom,