RICHMOND, VA., April 25, 1861.
Hon. ROBERT TOOMBS,
Secretary of State, Montgomery, Ala.:
After receiving your letter of instruction, with other papers relating to my mission to the Commonwealth of Virginia, on the 18th [19th] instant,* I left Montgomery forthwith and proceeded without delay to this place, where I arrived Monday, the 22d instant. I presented myself, with letter of credence, to Hon. John Letcher, Governor of the Commonwealth, who communicated the same immediately to the State convention, then in session. That body on the same day passed a resolution, a copy of which is herewith sent, inviting me to meet them in session at such time as would suit my convenience. The hour designated was 1 o'clock the next day, Tuesday, the 23d instant. At the appointed time I met the convention in secret session with the Governor, Executive Council, Major-General Lee (the commander-in-chief of the State forces), and some other invited persons present. To the convention I urged the great importance of an immediate union of the Commonwealth with the Confederate States under our Constitution for Provisional Government, with a view to a permanent union under our permanent Constitution. I also urged strong reasons for an immediate conventional agreement between the two governments before such union could take place, particularly in relation to the military forces and military operations.
By another resolution, a copy of which is herewith sent, the convention, appointed a committee of five of its own members, headed by ex-President John Tyler, to confer with me upon the subject.
After conference and full explanation on my part of our Constitution for Provisional Government the committee determined to report to their body an ordinance adopting that Constitution, which was subsequently passed, a copy of which will also be found accompanying this dispatch. In further conference with the committee a convention between the Commonwealth and Confederate States, temporary in its character, and to have effect in the interval between the time of its ratification and the contemplated union of said Commonwealth with our Confederacy, was agreed upon and signed by us. This was done on the 24th instant. By its terms it is to be ratified by both governments before it is to take effect. The ratification on the part of the Government here has just taken place, and I now have the honor of inclosing the convention so agreed upon, with the resolution of ratification, with this dispatch. Of the importance of this arrangement at this particular juncture of our public affairs I need not how speak nor of the embarrassments and difficulties in getting it effected.
Hoping, however, that what has been done will meet the approval of the President and Congress, I submit the whole without further comment or remark.
Yours, most respectfully,
ALEXANDER H. STEPHENS.
[Inclosure No. 1.]
Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to wait upon the Hon. A. H. Stephens, commissioner from the Government of the
*See Series I, VOL. LI, Part II, p. 18.