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A PATHETIC STATEMENT OF GRIEVANCES.
feated. To incense the South still more, it was asserted that the free States had been guilty of the immeasurable impudence and presumption of assuming to decide upon the propriety of their domestic institutions; denouncing as sinful the sacred institution of salvery; establishing societies among themselves whose express object it should be to disturb the peace and injure the property of the South, by enticing their slaves away from their homes, and by inciting those who remained to commit acts of rebellion and servile insurrection,
This extraordinary document enumerated other causes of complaint against the North, which must indeed deeply move the sympathy of the universe. It declared that this malignant spirit, so hostile to the interests of the South, had continued its restless and pernicious agitations for twenty-five years, until at last it had secured a supremacy in the Federal Government. Aggravated, therefore, as former injuries had been, the future promised others still more insufferable. At this stage of the argument, a specimen of South Carolina logic was introduced which presented an astonishing instance of dialectical skill. It was asserted that a sectional party had obtained control of the Federal Government, while, however, it had observed all the forms of the Constitution in so doing. It will remain an impenetrable mystery to all rational beings out of the seceding States, how a party can be sectional whose operations are carried on in strict accordance with the forms and provisions of the Federal Constitution, and yet is so powerful, both in force and in numbers, as to exceed every other party, and obtain a supremacy over all competitors in strict accordance with the provisions of that same Constitution. We may answer, that the triumphant party was either sectional or it was not. If it were sectional, then the National Government must also be sectional. If the government was not sectional, then the triumphant party could not have been sectional. But the National Government is not sectional, according to the admission of the secessionists themselves. Therefore, the party which, by legal and constitutional means, could and did obtain control of that unsectional government, could not possibly have itself been sectional.
But as South Carolina had a logic of its own, so also had it a policy peculiar to itself. After the passage of the Ordinance of Secession, the convention resolved that, until otherwise provided, the Governor of the State should be authorized to appoint collectors and other officers connected with the customs for the several ports of the State, postmasters, and other necessary persons, instead of the Federal functionaries who had been displaced. The oath to be administered to those persons appointed for that purpose was prepared and enjoined. It was as follows: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and true in the allegiance I bear to South Carolina, so long as I may continue a citizen thereof; and that I am duly qualified according to the constitution of this
State to exercise the duties of the office to which I have been appointed; and will, to the best of my ability, discharge the duties of the office, and preserve, protect, and defend the constitution of this State. So help me God."
Thus the Rubicon was at length passed, and secession became a stern yet absurd reality. When the news of this event was conveyed to different portions of the Union, it produced in different localities the most opposite effects. The inhabitants of the free States, both in the East, in the West, and in the centre, received the intelligence with mingled surprise and disgust. They regarded it as an evidence of the amazing stupidity, obstinacy and malignity of the people of South Carolina; who, without any cause or excuse, except such as must excite the derision of all intelligent people, had dissolved their connection with a glorious and beneficent government, and had plunged themselves into all the inevitable horrors of political chaos and ruin. It was evidently a case illustrative of the familiar maxim: Quem Deus vult perdere, priusquam dementat. Even that party in the North from whom the secessionists had confidently expected to receive sympathy and comfort, the former advocates of southern interests, disappointed them in this respect; and joined heartily in the general chorus of censure and condemnation which resounded throughout the land. The border slave States regarded the event with suspicion and apprehension, and sent no message of encouragement or congratulation. It was only in those States which had already expressed their approval of secession that any sympathy with the policy of South Carolina was expressed or exhibited—in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. It is not impossible that this grand and prominent isolation in evil and in ignominy, may have flattered the vanity and strengthened the determination of that State, which has always been so remarkable and eminent for patriotism, and for that extreme modesty which is invariably an accompaniment of superior merit! They had already accomplished what was probably the chief motive of the movement-they had attracted to themselves the attention of the entire nation; and they flattered themselves, doubtless, that soon they would be the object of the admiring scrutiny of the whole world. That eminence would indeed be an ample compensation for all that they would be called upon to suffer and to sacrifice in the future; and they therefore might select for their motto that other maxim Post nubila Phoebus.
Nevertheless, he who carefully considers the circumstances which attended this important event will be surprised at a singular and anomalous peculiarity connected with it. He will observe that, in this instance, the most sacred of all political relations, involving in its embrace other ties more tender, other associations more solemn still, was ruptured with a degree of thoughtlessness, of exultation even, which indicated the mastery of malignant passions, and the presence of callous hearts. The actors
LEVITY AND RECKLESSNESS OF SECESSION LEADERS. 65
in this melancholy drama, as they went forth from their ancestral homes and their ancient associates, sent no words of kind farewell, they uttered no parting benediction to those with whom they had been so long connected, and from whose society they thus tore themselves. They made no allusion to past eventual incidents, to storms which, in other and appier times, they had nobly breasted shoulder to shoulder; to scenes of sadness, where their gushing tears had mingled in one hallowed stream; to fields of glory, where they had joined in common struggles and had achieved united triumphs. In that dark hour they seemed unconscious of the real extent of the peril, the disaster, and the disgrace, which, in the impartial judgment of the civilized world, they thereby brought upon themselves. True patriots, disinterested philanthropists, and wise statesmen, do not disport themselves with such levity in the great crisis of human responsibility and destiny. It was indeed a spectacle calculated to excite the pity of the wise and good of all lands and ages.
TREASONABLE PROCLAMATION OF GOVERNOR PICKENS-RESIGNATION OF THE REPRESENTATIVES OF SOUTH CAROLINA IN CONGRESS-THE CRITTENDEN PROPOSITIONS OF COMPROMISE -THEIR PROVISIONS-SCRAMBLE FOR FEDERAL PROPERTY-COMMISSIONERS OF SOUTH CAROLINA TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT-MAJOR ANDERSON-THE REMOVAL OF HIS COMMAND TO FORT SUMTER-MR. SECRETARY FLOYD-HIS RESIGNATION-DEMEANOR OF THE REBEL COMMISSIONERS AT WASHINGTON-THE CONVENTION OF THE SLAVEHOLDING STATES-IMPORTANT EVENTS AT SAVANNAH-SECESSION OF MISSISSIPPI-PERNICIOUS INFLUENCE OF JEFFERSON DAVIS-RESIGNATION OF HIS SEAT IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE -THE SECESSION OF ALABAMA-OF FLORIDA, GEORGIA, LOUISIANA, AND TEXAS.
ON the twenty-fourth of December, 1860, Governor Pickens, of South Carolina, issued a proclamation setting forth that the State having seceded from the Federal Union, was thenceforth an independent and sovereign community; and as such had the right to levy war, to conclude peace, to negotiate treaties, and to do all other acts whatsoever which appertain to a free and independent government. On the same day, the Representatives of that State in Congress-Messrs. McQueen, Bonham, Boyce, and Ashmore-addressed a letter to the Speaker of the House, containing the resignation of their respective posts. That document was as follows: "We avail ourselves of the earliest opportunity, since the official communication of the intelligence, of making known to your honorable body that the people of the State of South Carolina, in their sovereign capacity, have resumed the power heretofore delegated by them to the Federal Government of the United States, and have thereby dissolved our connection with the House of Representatives. In taking leave of those with whom we have been associated in a common agency, we as well as the people of our commonwealth, desire to do so with a feeling of mutual regard and respect for each other-cherishing the hope that in our future relations we may better enjoy that peace and harmony essential to the happiness of a free and enlightened people."
It was at this period that John J. Crittenden of Kentucky came forward in the Senate with his famous propositions of compromise, for the purpose, if possible, of healing the difficulty. As these propositions possess an historical interest and importance, it may be proper here to state their principal contents. They provided that thenceforth slavery or involuntary servitude, except for crime, of which the party should be duly convicted by process of law, should be prohibited in all the Territories of the United States lying north of latitude thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes; that in all the Territories south of that latitude, slavery should not be interfered with by Congress; and that when the Territories north of that