Saturday, March 5, 2011

150-years-ago -- Confederate Government in Full Operation

The Richmond Daily Dispatch
March 5, 1861

Affairs at the Southern Capital.

     MONTGOMERY, Alabama - The Capital of the Southern Confederacy seems to be as popular with office-seekers as the Washington. There were 104 arrivals per day at the Exchange Hotel from the 11th to the 22d ult. The papers announce that the residence of Col. Ed. Harrison has been procured for the use of President Davis. One day last week a wag advertised for 20 accountants, the applicants to apply at the "Government Building." The consequence was a terrific rush, and equally terrific disappointment.--The Columbia (Ga.) Times publishes a series of interesting letters, giving a view of affairs at Montgomery. From one dated the 27th ult., we take the following:
     The President has his quarters at the Exchange Hotel, where he transacts the public business. A house has been rented for him for the period of one year at the sum of $5,000, in a convenient part of the city. The Vice-President, Mr. Stephens, and the Secretary of State, Mr. Toombs, have rooms together in a small, pretty house, a few blocks from the Exchange. They are the great men, to whose advice and counsel much weight is attached in the present crisis.
     The government is moving along slowly and gaining strength day by day. There is harmony and good feeling in Congress, and the secret sessions facilitate the business. There is no talk of reconstruction, nor will the idea be entertained for a moment. The all-absorbing theme is, how to build up the new government so as to combine strength and durability. A conflict of arms being anticipated, every provision is made to preserve our credit, relying upon the patriotism of the people to bear temporary inconveniences and submit to sacrifices.
     The policy of Congress is that of peace and not war. The President has entertained but one opinion, to wit: that coercion will be attempted, and the present difficulties will have to be settled by the arbitrament of the sword. Hence, his earnest desire is to be in the defensive, and have the Republicans inaugurate the war. This will put us right with all Christendom, and will command more sympathy from the border States than an aggressive war.
     The Commissioners have left for Washington. Rather, Mr. Crawford has gone, and will await the arrival of Messrs. Forsyth and Romain. The prevailing opinion here is, that Carolina is rather impatient. While admiring the spirit and chivalry of the brave boys who are anxious to attack Sumter, they fear matters will be precipitated by their overzealous patriotism, making us initiate the war. Arrangements are in progress to put fifty thousand volunteers in the field and prosecute the war with vigor.
     Captain Baxton Bragg, of a "little more grape" notoriety, has been telegraphed for to command the brave troops at Charleston.--They want an officer there to restrain the impetuosity of the soldiers, and in whose judgment and skill they have confidence.

Stephen Mallory of Florida was
appointed Secretary of  the Navy.
(Library of Congress)
     The President believes that Mr. Mallory, of Florida, is well fitted for the post of Secretary of the Navy, but this gentleman is vigorously opposed by the men from his own State. In all probability Capt. Ingraham will be selected. He has gained some reputation as a Naval Commander, and would do well as a Cabinet officer.
     Mr. Yancey has not left yet for Europe. He is sanguine that our Government will be recognized by foreign powers, and that they will resist blockade. Mr. Toombs, it is said, would have preferred a mission, to the high post he occupies.
     It is not probable that Montgomery will be selected as the permanent Capital. The high board and rather poor fare have turned the scale against her. Atlanta, Macon, Columbus, or some other central spot, will be looked to.
     A small tax of one eighth of one per cent. has been levied upon cotton exported, to take effect after next August, if the contingency requires it.
     The permanent Constitution is not yet adopted. It provides for a term of six years for the President, and gives the Cabinet officers the power of vindicating themselves, and speaking in Congress, but not to vote. It preserves the three-fifths ratio of representation in slaves.
     Hon. Howell Cobb makes a capital President of Congress, and Dixon, of Georgia, cannot be surpassed as a Clerk.

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