War of the Rebellion: Serial 127 Page 0256 CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.

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MONTGOMERY, April 20, 1861.

GENTLEMAN OF THE CONGRESS:

It is my pleasing duty to announce to you that the Constitution framed for the establishment of a permanent Government for the Confederate States has been ratified by conventions in each of these States to which is was referred. To inaugurate the Government in its full proportions and upon its own substantial basis of the popular will, it only remains that elections should be held for the designation of the officers to administer it. There is every reason to believe that at no distant day other State, identified in political principles and community of interests with those which you represent, will join this Confederacy, giving to its typical constellation increased splendor, to its Government of free, equal, and sovereign States a wider sphere of usefulness, and to the friends of constitutional liberty a greater security for its harmonious and perpetual existence. it was, not however, for the purpose of making this announcement that I have deemed it my duty to convoke you at an earlier day than that fixed by yourselves for your meeting. The declaration of war made against this Confederacy by Abraham Lincoln, the President of the United State, in his proclamation issued on the 15th day of the present month,* rendered it necdgment, that you should convene at the earliest practicable moment to devise the measures necessary for the defense of the country. The occasion is indeed an extraordinary one. It justified me in a brief review of the relations heretofore existing between us and the State which now unite in warfare against us and in a succinct statement of the events which have resulted in this warfare, to the end that making may pass intelligent and impartial judgment on its motives and object. During the war waged against Great Britain by her colonies on this continent a common danger impelled them to close alliance and to the formation of a Confederation, by the terms of which the colonies, styling themselves State, entered 'severally into a firm league of friendship with each other for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other against all force offered to or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever. " In order to guard against any misconstruction of their compact the several States made explicit declaration in a distinct article-that "each State retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled. "

Under this contract of alliance, the or the Revolution was successfully waged, and resulted ion the treaty of peace with Great Britain in 1783, by the terms of which the several State were each by name recognized to be independent. The Artillery of Confederation contained a clause whereby all alterations were prohibited unless confirmed by the Legislatures of every State after being agreed to by the Congress; and in obedience to this provision, under the resolution of Congress of the 21st of February, 1787, the several States appointed delegates who attended a convention "for sale and express purpose or revising the Articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress and the several Legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as shall, when agreed to in Congress and confirmed by the

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* See Series III, VOL. I, p. ^&.

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