War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0039 CONFEDERATE AUTHORITIES.

Search Civil War Official Records

is best to be done to protect the rights, interests, and honor of the slave-holding States," menaced and endangered by recent political events. Having watched with painful anxiety the growth, power, and encroachments of anti-slaveryism, and anticipating for the party held together by this sentiment of hostility to the rights and institutions of the Southern people a probable success, too fatally realized, in the recent Presidential election, the General Assembly of Alabama, on the 24th of February, 1860, adopted joint resolutions providing, on the happening of such a contingency, for a convention of the State "to consider, determine, and do whatever the rights, interests, and honor of Alabama require to be done for their protection. " In accordance with this authority the Governor has called a convention to meet on the 7th day of January, 1861, and on the 24th instant delegates were elected to that body. Not content with this simple but significant act of convoking the sovereignty of the people, the State affirmed her reserved and undelegated right of secession from the confederacy, and intimated that continued and unceasingly violent assaults upon her rights and equality might "constrain her to a reluctant but early exercise of that invaluable right. " Recognizing the common interests and destiny of all the States holding property in the labor of Africans, and "anxiously desiring their co-operation in a struggle which perils all they hold most dear," Alabama pledged herself to a "cordial participation in any and every effort which, in her judgment, will protect the common safety, advance the common interest, and serve the common cause. "

To secure concert and effective co-operation between Maryland and Alabama is in a great degree the object of my mission. Under our federative system each State, being necessarily the sole judge of the extent of powers delegated to the general agent and controlling the allegiance of her citizens, must decide for herself in case of wrong upon the mode and measure of redress. Within the Union the States have absolutely prohibited themselves from entering into treaties, alliances, and confederations, and have made the assent of Congress a condition precedent to their entering into agreements or compacts with other States. This constitutional inhibition has been construed to include "every agreement, written or verbal, formal or informal, positive or implied, by the mutual understanding of the parties. " Without indorsing this sweeping judicial dictum, it will be conceded that if the grievance or apprehension of danger be so great as to render necessary or advisable a withdrawal from the confederacy there can be between the States similarly imperiled, prior to separation, only an informal understanding for prospective concert and federation. To enter into a binding "agreement or compact" would violate the Constitution, and the South should be careful not to part with her distinguishing glory of having never, under the most aggravating provocations, departed from the strictest requirements of the Federal covenant nor suggested any proposition infringing upon the essential equality of the co-States. It is, nevertheless, the highest dictate of wisdom and patriotism to secure, so far as can be constitutionally done, "a mutual league, united thoughts and counsels," between those whose hopes and hazards are alike joined in the enterprise of accomplishing deliverance from Abolition domination. To Your Excellency or so intelligent a body as the Legislature of Maryland it would be superfluous to enter into an elaborate statement of the policy and purposes of the party which, by the recent election, will soon have the control of the General Government. The bare fact