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Foreign and Colonial News

The Illustrated London News, vol. 38, no. 1077, pp. 184-85.

March 2, 1861


In accordance with a provision of the American Constitution, the electoral vote for President and Vice-President had been formally counted by the Congressional Committee, in the presence of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Hamlin were declared to be duly elected. The scene is described to have been very impressive.

Mr. Lincoln is on his way to Washington. At every town on his route he was received with the most enthusiastic demonstrations. During his stay at Indianopolis [sic] he delivered a Presidential speech, which is believed to be the key to his Presidential policy. After admitting that the marching of an army into South Carolina with hostile intent would be coercion and an act of invasion, he said:— "But if the United States should merely hold and retake its own forts and other property, and collect the duties on foreign importations, or even withhold the mails from places where they were habitually violated, would any or all these things be 'invasion' or 'coercion?' " This indicates an intention on his part to uphold the Federal authority wherever it has been assailed. Again, in another part of his speech, he inferentially denies the right of a State, any more than of a district or a county, to secede—putting his opinions in the form of questions, which he asks his fellow-citizens to consider. This speech, delivered at the present juncture, undoubtedly possesses great significance. At Columbus, in Ohio, he made a speech before the Legislature, in which he said, all that was wanted was time, patience, and reliance on God.

Page 185

The Southern Convention, assembled at Montgomery, Alabama, adopted a Constitution on the 9th. The title is "The Constitution for the Provisional Government of the Confederated States of America." The preamble reads, "We, the deputies of the sovereign independent States of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, invoking the favour of the Almighty, hereby, in behalf of the States, ordain and establish this Constitution for a Provisional Government of the same, to continue one year from the inauguration of the President, or until a permanent Constitution or Confederation be put into operation." The seventh section provides that Congress shall pass laws effectually preventing the importation of negroes from other than slaveholding States, also to prohibit the introduction of slaves from any State not a member of this Confederacy. The second section provides that an escaping slave shall be delivered up by the Executive of the State where found, and for full compensation with expenses in case of rescue. The sixth article says that the Government hereby instituted shall take immediate steps for the settlement of all matters relating to the public debt and public property at the time of withdrawal from the United States, these States declaring an earnest desire to adjust everything pertaining to the common property, liabilities, and obligations of that Union upon principles of right, justice, equity, and good faith. The tariff clause provides that Congress shall levy and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises for revenue necessary to carry on the Government, such to be uniform. The other portions of the Constitution are almost identical with that of the United States. The Congress has elected Mr. Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, president, and Mr. Alex. H. Stevens, of Georgia, vice-president. The above Congress has taken up the question of the forts and arsenals, and until it issued a formal declaration no collision was expected to take place, unless commenced by the Federal Government. The latter had concentrated large reinforcements of men and supplies, ready to rush into Charleston harbour.

The Virginia State Convention assembled on the 13th ult.; its President made a union speech, but said that Virginia would insist upon her rights as a condition of remaining in the confederacy.

The Kentucky Legislature, without doing any[t]hing of a national character, had adjourned to March 20 to await and consider the action of the Peace Commissioners at Washington.

The convention at New Orleans had unanimously adopted a new flag for Louisiana. It consists of a yellow star in a red field, with thirteen stripes, alternate blue, white, and red, emblematic of the origin of the State—France, Spain, and America. It was hoisted in the convention amid cheers and plaudits of approval.

The Texas Convention had passed an ordinance favouring the formation of a Southern confederacy, and elected seven delegates to the Southern Congress.

The Governor of Georgia accepts the mediation of Virginia, and gives authentic assurances that Georgia would abstain during the period contemplated from all acts calculated to produce a collision of arms between that State and the general Government.

There is a report that the British Consul at Mobile or Savannah had been tarred and feathered, or subjected to some other gross indignity and injury, but the truth of the rumour seems very doubtful.

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