Page:A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Confederacy, Including the Diplomatic Correspondence, 1861-1865, Volume I.djvu/354

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Messages and Papers of the Confederacy.

To the Honorable House of Representatives, Confederate States of America.

I herewith return to the House the act to provide for holding elections for Representatives in the Congress of the Confederate States in the State of Tennessee, with a statement of the objections which have caused me to withhold my approval of the same.

The first clause of the fourth section of the first article of the Constitution authorizes Congress to legislate as to the time, place, and manner of holding elections for Representatives.

I have grave doubts whether this extends to the proposed change from the district to the general ticket system of representation, which seems to me to be rather to change the mode of representation than to alter the manner of holding elections.

The fifth section of the bill is, in my judgment, unconstitutional in this, that it assumes that a citizen may forfeit his right of citizenship by adhering to the enemy, and recognizes the right of a citizen to elect to be a citizen, not of his own State, but of the United States, a foreign nation. This directly repudiates State sovereignty and admits that a citizen's allegiance to his State may be renounced while resident therein.

This section is subject also to the objection that it exercises the power of prescribing the qualifications of voters, which belongs exclusively to the States.

Jefferson Davis.

Richmond, Va., May 1st, 1863.


By the President of the Confederate States.


It is meet that, as a people who acknowledge the supremacy of the living God, we should be ever mindful of our dependence on him; should remember that to him alone can we trust for our deliverance; that to him is due devout thankfulness for signal victories bestowed on us, and that by prayer alone can we hope to secure the continued manifestation of that protecting care which has hitherto shielded us in the midst of trials and danger. In obedience to his precepts, we have from time to time been