Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/157

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Stephens Refused Presidency of the Confederacy.

From the Times-Dispatch, February 17, 1907.


Colonel David Twiggs Hamilton, of Georgia, tells this story of why Alexander H. Stephens was not elected President of the Southern Confederacy:

"The subject was broached to Mr. Stephens on the way to Montgomery," says Colonel Hamilton. "Mr. Toombs took the train with us at Crawfordville, and we found Mr. Chestnut, of South Carolina, aboard. He came over and took the seat in front of Mr. Stephens and me. Mr. Toombs was in the seat behind.

" 'Mr. Stephens,' said Chestnut, 'the delegation from my State has been conferring and has decided to look to Georgia for a President.'

" 'Well, sir,' Mr. Stephens replied, 'we have Mr. Toombs, Mr. Cobb, Governor Jenkins and Governor Johnson. Either will suit; I will give my vote to either.'

" 'We are only looking to you and Mr. Toombs, Mr. Stephens,' Chestnut answered positively. 'No other names were mentioned, and the majority of the delegation favors you.'

" 'No, that can never be, that can never be,' Mr. Stephens replied excitedly. And I thought his face turned a little pale.

" 'What is it, Alec?' Toombs asked, leaning over the back of our seat.

" 'Come over here,' Stephens told him.


"I started to get up to give Toombs my seat, but Mr. Stephens put a hand on my knee, and Mr. Toombs took the place beside Mr. Chestnut, who repeated the proposition, very candidly saying that a majority of the South Carolina delegation favored Mr. Stephens.

" 'That settles it, Alec,' said Toombs. 'You are the choice of