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Record Group Number: 001001
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Creator: Florida. Executive Council.
Title, Dates: Executive Council record group.
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Biographical/Historical Note:     After the Ordinance of Secession was signed on April 13, 1861, the Convention of the People of the State of Florida adjourned sine die on April 27, unless convened by President John C. McGehee on or before December 25.  Finishing his term of office, Governor Madison Perry did little to provoke controversy between his policy and the terms of the Convention. However, when Governor John Milton took office in 1861 and reversed some of the policies of his predecessor, a move was started to reconvene the Convention.  President McGehee issued a proclamation on December 13 for the Convention to meet on January 14, 1862, at Tallahassee.  Milton challenged the Convention's constitutional authority but won little support.
    The members of the Convention argued that the powers of the wartime executive should not be placed in the hands of one man, so they appointed an Executive Council of four men to share the responsibilities.  James A. Wiggins, Mariano D. Papy, W.D. Barnes, and Smith Simpkins made up the Council.  The Convention granted to the Governor and the Council certain powers to meet the crises of war.  These included martial law; arresting disloyal persons; appropriating private property for public use; bringing any of the population into public service; securing arms and ammunition; creating new state agencies; and appointing military officers.  The Council, however, met only five times between February 28 and May 24, 1862.  In most instances, the Council gave Milton little opposition, thus negating the need for its existence.
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