War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0161 CONFEDERATE AUTHORITIES.

Search Civil War Official Records

would be welcomed to the embrace of her ancient confederate and ally, I endeavored to persuade her that she would find her true interest, prosperity, and honor in uniting her destiny with the "Confederate States of America. " That the affection of the members of her Legislature and the large audience of her sons and daughters that honored me with their presence is still warm and strong for their former sisters, whose safety and honor required them to resume the powers delegated to a Government which has failed to secure the one or regard the other, I had still more flattering and encouraging proof in the indignant and universal negative response made to the question propounded," whether they would see Federal troops march from or through their State to coerce and attempt to subject their Southern brethren. "

In response to this address I was charged by the General Assembly, through their accredited organ, the Hon. Henry T. Clark, speaker of the Senate, to bear this message to the people of Georgia:

After giving this momentous our best and most anxious deliberation, we have referred it to the sovereign people in convention assembled. Their judgment and decision will form the guide of our faith and the rule of our conduct, and to that tribunal alone can we look for any authorized response to the friendly counsels and suggestions of our fellow-suffering sister State. But without reference to the amount of our sympathy or the extent of our co-operation with her in her present struggle, we will at least assure her that no hostile foot shall ever march from or through our borders to assail her or hers.

I take the liberty of transmitting, through you, to the convention a copy of the remarks I had the honor to submit on the occasion. *

What seemed to me the greatest obstacle to the immediate co-operation of North Carolina with the Confederate States was the belief entertained by the larger number of her citizens that the Peace Conference (so called), then in session at Washington City, would grant the demands for new guaranties in the Constitution made by Virginia and North Carolina; that their recommendation would be sanctioned by the Congress of the United States and adopted by the requisite majority of the States remaining in the old confederacy to make it a part of the Constitution, and that upon this basis an entire reconstruction of the Union would be effected.

In combating this view I ventured the opinion that, so far as the action of the Peace Conference and Congress was concerned, this confidence would be disappointed; but even if it was fully met and sustained it would not be acceptable to the States that had seceded; that they had no objection to the old Constitution, which, when properly interpreted and fairly carried out, was adequate to secure all the objects for which it was formed; that there could be no more solemn or binding covenants than those contained in that instrument. The fault was not in the law, but in its execution. We could not expect the Northern people to observe new compacts better than they had observed the old; that they would have to be re-educated; their morals would have to be reformed and their very natures changed before we could again give them our confidence. That so far as we were concerned the separation was "final and irrevocable," and the people of North Carolina were therefore reduced to the necessity of choosing between an alliance with the North or with the Confederate States of America. I was fully justified in my statement as to the disposition of our people to reconstruct by the declaration made by the

---------------

* Omitted.

---------------

11 R R-SERIES IV, VOL I