Eighth Day of Secret Session
The Convention receives Vice President Stephens and Major General Lee, and General Lee replies briefly to an address of welcome by the President. Mr. Stephens addresses the Convention, urging an immediate alliance between the Confederate States and Virginia. Mr. Holcombe submits two ordinances on the duties of the Governor's Advisory Council, which are adopted. Mr. Fisher offers an ordinance directing the Governor to take possession of all customhouses and post offices in the state, and the matter is referred to a special committee. Mr. Morton proposes that a committee be appointed to confer with Mr. Stephens on the terms of an alliance; the resolution is debated, amended and adopted, and a committee of five is appointed.

nature of the Government they were engaged in carrying on. They looked upon it simply as a Government of majorities.

They did not seem to understand that it was a government that bound majorities by constitutional restraints. Now, nothing is more fixed or certain than that constitutional liberty can be maintained only by a rigid adherence to fundamental principles. Government is a science-the Northern mind seems disinclined to that sort of study. Excuse this digression. It may not, however, be altogether inappropriate to the occasion-all things being duly considered. It springs from no disposition on my part wantonly to disparage Northern character. It is intended rather to show where our future safety and security lies. We have our destiny under Providence in our own hands, and we must work it out the best we can. All we ask of our late confederates is to let us alone. But, be this as it may, we shall, I trust, be equal to the future and our mission, whether they choose to pursue toward us a peace or a war policy.

With union, harmony, concert of action and patriotism, our ultimate success in establishing or rather perpetuating a stable and good government on our ancient republican model, need not be feared.

One good and wise feature in our new or revised Constitution is, that we have put to rest the vexed question of slavery forever, so far as the Confederate halls are concerned. On this subject, from which sprung the immediate cause of our late troubles and threatened dangers, you will indulge me in a few remarks as not irrelevant to the occasion. The condition of the negro race amongst us, presents a peculiar phase of republican civilization and constitutional liberty. To some, the problem seems hard to understand. The difficulty is in theory, not in practical demonstration; that works well enough-theories in government, as in all things else, must yield to facts. No truth is clearer than that the best form or system of government for any people or society is that which secures the greatest amount of happiness, not to the greatest number, but to all the constituent elements of that society, community or State. If our system does not accomplish this; if it is not the best for the negro as well as for the white man; for the inferior as well as the superior race, it is wrong in principle. But if it does, or is capable of doing this, then it is right, and can never be successfully assailed by reason or logic. That the negroes with us, under masters who care for, provide for and protect them, are better off and enjoy more of the blessings of good government than their race does in any other part of the world, statistics abundantly prove. As a race, the African is inferior to the white