Today in History:

69 Series IV Volume I- Serial 127 - Correspondence, Orders, Reports and Returns of the Confederate Authorities, December 20, 1860 – June 30, 1862


public policy advocated by the undersigned before the people, and which caused them to oppose the passage of the ordinance of secession in its present form. While the undersigned cannot consent to have even the appearance of modifying or relinquishing these views and principles, they do sincerely disclaim all intention to perpetuate the bitterness and animosities of former party divisions, or to encourage new divisions between those who favored and those who opposed separate State action, and they solemnly pledge themselves to a faithful and zealous support of the State in all the consequences that may result from the ordinance of secession. These principles and views of public policy, to which they stood pledged to their constituents, and which have governed their action in convention, are so well known as to require only a brief enumeration.

First. The great fundamental principle that all representative bodies, exercising a high and responsible public trust, should submit their acts for the approval or condemnation of those by whom the trust was confided, especially when in the discharge of such trust is involved a radical change in the existing government, affecting alike the highest and the lowest in the land, and upon which depends the welfare and happiness of not only this generation, but that of the remotest posterity, demanded that the ordinance of secession should have been submitted to the people of the State for their ratification or rejection at the ballot box. This principle is the foundation of the whole theory of popular government and is the only safeguard to the abuses of trust and the usurpations of power.

Second. Not only comity, but the interest of all concerned, and of none more than Alabama, dictated the policy of respectfully consulting with all the States whose identity of interest makes their ultimate destiny inseparable from ours and who are affected almost as much as ourselves by any action on our part; of devising with them,h of them as would join us in a plan of harmonious and simultaneous action, thus presenting in all our dealings with the Federal Government, foreign nations, or hostile States a united strength, a moral power, and a national dignity which no single State could hope to present; of establishing a new confederacy of all the States engaged in a common cause before finally severing all connection with the Federal Government, and thus avoiding to the individual States the burdens and dangers of an independent and separate national existence, placing the formation of a new confederacy beyond the risks and hazards to which it would be subjected by the conflicting interests and views of disunited States, each acting for itself, without concert one with another, and leaving no interregnum during which men's minds could be unsettled, and all material interests jeopardied by the uncertainties of the future. These views of policy the undersigned are convinced are the only ones consonant with prudence and a wise discretion, and the only ones that can lead to a peaceful and successful termination of present difficulties. It is not yet too late to apply them, at least in part, to the management of public affairs, and as we see with pleasure the cheering indications of their being more generally recognized and adopted than during the first effervescence of popular excitement at the accumulated wrongs and insults of hostile and sectional factions, culminating in the election of a sectional President, it will not be necessary to add, in conclusion, that in refusing to sign the ordinance of secession the undersigned are actuated by no desire to avoid the responsibilities that now attach, or may hereafter attach, to the act by which the State withdrew from the Federal Union. Not only will they share these respon-