Union then existing; and it was stipulated on the other side, that they should have the protection of the Constitution and laws of the Union. That the Confederates kept the terms of their capitulation, no one will be heard to deny.
The question soon arose as to how the seceded States were to be brought back into the Union. It was at first attempted to effect this by force, and on this plan military commanders were assigned to duty as governors over the seceded States. This proved a failure. It was then attempted to rehabilitate the seceded States by unjust and oppressive reconstruction laws. This, too, proved a failure. The United States government had at last to recognize the great principle of home rule and community independence, which is the corner stone of the Constitution of 1789, and allow the States, in their own conventions, to resume their places in the Union.
The sovereign power and entity of the States had not been destroyed by the secession of the States, nor had it been destroyed by the terrible four years’ war between the States. The Supreme Court itself, that august tribunal to whose ultimate decisions all good citizens bow, declared in the celebrated case of Garland that this was "an indissoluble Union, composed of indestructible States." And so the termination of the war found Mississippi and all the Southern States with indestructible sovereignties still theirs, and yielding a willing obedience to the laws of the Union.
Having thus prefaced my task with a brief résumé of the causes of the war, I proceed to show, in detail, the civil action of the State of Mississippi and the history of the troops in the field.
The reasons that moved Mississippians to withdraw from the Federal Union were given by themselves in their legislative as well as their sovereign capacity. Before presenting these reasons, however, and for the purpose of comparison hereafter, and to show the unanimity with which the people acted, an observation or two may