The Inauguration of President DavisThe Illustrated London News, vol. 38, no. 1080, p. 267.
March 23, 1861
Our last Number contained a Portrait of the Hon. Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, President of the Confederate States of America; and we now give, from a photograph by A.C. M'Intyre, of Montgomery, an Illustration of the ceremony of Mr. Davis's inauguration. The hon. gentleman arrived at Montgomery, Alabama—where the Southern Congress is sitting, and in which town the inaugural ceremony took place—on Saturday, the 16th of February last. His trip from his home in Mississippi was one continuous ovation. At twenty-four different places along his route he was called out, and made speeches in return for complimentary addresses. At various dépôts, also, salutes were fired by local military companies. The Committee of Congress and the Montgomery authorities met the new President about eighty miles off, and formally received him. Two fine military companies from Columbus, Ga., joined the escort at Opelika. They all reached Montgomery at ten o'clock at night, amid shouts from the enthusiastic populace and the firing of cannon.
Mr. Jefferson Davis was inaugurated President of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America on Monday 18th ult. The inaugural ceremonies constituted, we are told, the grandest pageant ever witnessed in the South. The city was alive, from early morning, with delegations from the various States and people from the adjoining country, and the Capitol Hill was filled with the beauty and chivalry of the South. A large number of military companies from this State, Mississippi, and Georgia were also present, and gave éclat to the occasion. The oath of office was administered to the President by the Chief Justice of Alabama in the principal hall of the Capitol. In his immediate presence were the members of the Southern Congress, now in session at Montgomery, the delegations from the Confederate States, and the chief civil and military authorities.
Another account says:—As soon as the procession reached the Capitol Square, and the military were placed in position, the barouche which conveyed President Davis was brought up, and its occupants alighted amidst the shouts of thousands. The bands played the "Marseillaise," and its cheering and stirring notes awakened memories of "long time ago," and sent a thrill through the vast crowd. The President was cheered and greeted until he reached the porch of the Capitol, and then, when he appeared in full view to the crowd, one universal shout rent the air. Ladies waved their handkerchiefs, and many threw bouquets. On the right of President Davis sat Vice-President Stephens, and on his left was the Hon. Howell Cobb. Prayer was offered by the Rev. Dr. Basil Manly. Mr. Cobb formally announced that President Davis had arrived, and was now ready to take the oath of office, as President of the Confederate States of America. President Davis then came forward and delivered his address—an abstract of which has appeared in this Journal. At the close of the President's speech the oath of office was administered to him by Mr. Cobb.
On the same day the members of Congress signed the Constitution in the following order—the names of the States having been entered on the parchment according to their geographical position—South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.