Page images

"Protection to person and The Georgia Bill of property is the consideration of Rights. allegiance, and a Government which knowingly and persistently denies or withholds such protection from the governed, releases them from the obligation of obedience.

"No citizen shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, except by due process of law; and of life or liberty only by the judgment of his peers.

"The writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when, in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.

"A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a Free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

"The prevalence of the Christian religion among the people, and the basis of Christian principles underlying the laws, entitle this State to be ranked among the Christian nations of the earth, and these principles are independent of all political organization; no religious test shall ever be required for the tenure of any office, and no religious establishment allowed, and no citizen shall be deprived of any right or privilege by reason of his religious belief.

[blocks in formation]

"A faithful, honest, and fearless execution of the laws is essential to good order, and good order in society is essential to true liberty.

"Legislative acts in violation of the fundamental law are void, and the Judiciary shall so declare them.

"Ex post facto laws, or laws impairing the obligation of contracts, or retroactive legislation, affecting the rights of the citizen, are prohibited.

"Laws should have a general operation; and no general law be varied in a particular case by special legislation, except upon notice to all persons to be affected thereby.

"The right of taxation can be granted only by the people, and should be exercised by their agents in government only for the legitimate purposes of gov


"In cases of necessity, private ways may be grant ed, upon just compensation being first paid; and, with this exception, private property shall not be taken except for public use, and then only upon just com

"Freedom of thought and opinion, freedom of speech and freedom of the press, are inherent ele-pensation. Such compensation, except in cases of ments of political liberty. But while every citizen pressing necessity, should be first provided and may freely speak, write, and print on any subject, he paid. shall be responsible for the abuse of the liberty.

"The rights of the people to appeal to the courts, to petition Government on all matters of legitimate cognizance, and peaceably to assemble for the consideration of any matter of public concern, can never be impaired.

"For every right there should be provided a remedy, and every citizen ought to obtain justice without purchase, without denial, and without delay, conformably to the laws of the land.

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unrea sonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated; and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place or places to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

"Extreme necessity only should justify the dec laration of martial law.

"Large standing armies in times of peace are dan

"Every person charged with an offence against gerous to liberty. the laws of the State shall have

"1. The privilege and benefit of counsel;

"2. Shall be furnished, on demand, with a copy of the accusation and a list of the witnesses against him; "3. Shall have the compulsory process of the Court to obtain the attendance of his own witnesses;

"4. Shall be confronted with the witnesses testifying against him; and,

"No soldiers shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war but in a manner prescribed by law.

"Titles of nobility are inconsistent with republican equality; and civil honors should come by merit, and not by inheritance.

"All powers not delegated to the Government ex

“5. Shall have a public and speedy trial by an pressly, or by necessary implication, are reserved to impartial jury.

"No person shall be put in jeopardy of life or liberty more than once for the same offence.

"No conviction shall work corruption of blood or general forfeiture of estate.

"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

the people of the State; and, in all doubtful cases, the denial of the grant is the ground safest for the liberty of the people.

"The enumeration of rights herein contained shall not be construed to deny to the people any inherent right which they have hitherto enjoyed."

The seizure of arms, in New York, supposed to belong to the State of Georgia, at





The Seizure of Arms

in New York.

one time greatly excited the public mind. The counter-seizure, by Governor Brown, of Northern vessels in the harbor of Savannah, was a retaliation which so immediately affected the commercial community of the great metropolis, that a great storm of words followed the several acts.

The facts of the case may thus be cited: On the 22d of January, drays containing muskets were observed unloading at the Savannah pier. The long boxes were immediately run on board the Savannah steamer, then in New York, ready to sail. The fact that immense quantities of arms, purchased of Northern importers and manufacturers, were going South by the Charleston and Savannah routes, as well as by the Adams Express, had become well known to the authorities, and the Police Superintendent resolved, after consultation with the Police Commissioners, to stop the shipments, if possible, by retention. Being informed, on the day named, of the large invoice going on board the steamer, he ordered a seizure. The officers took 38 cases, containing 670 muskets, which were conveyed to the Armory. This fact was immediately telegraphed to the Georgia authorities, when the following telegrams passed over the wires:

66 MILLEDGEVILLE, Jan. 24, 1861.

"To his Honor, Mayor Wood:

"Is it true that arms intended for and consigned

to the State of Georgia have been seized by public authorities in New York? Your answer is important

to us and to New York. Answer at once.


"SAVANNAH, January 24th, 1861.

"To Cromwell & Co.:

The Seizure of New York Vessels.

"The seizure of the arms from the 'Monticello' causes excitement here. Can you get them back? We fear retaliation."

Twenty-eight of the cases were consigned to parties in Montgomery, Alabama, and contained 560 Minie rifles; ten cases were consigned to private individuals in Georgia.

Demands were immediately made, by parties interested, for a release of the arms; but the Superintendent refused to make the return, except to the Sheriff, or by regular legal process. A writ was thereupon served, upon which the twenty-eight cases were delivered to the Deputy-Sheriff. process was served for the ten cases, and they remained, accordingly, in the Superintendent's possession.


Thus matters stood until February 9th, when a telegram announced the seizure, at Savannah, by order of Governor Brown, of the following Northern vessels: Barks, Adjuster, Murray, Kibby; brig, Golden Seas;` schooner, Julia A. Hallock-all of which were taken as reprisals for the seized guns. The Governor-as in almost every instance of overt acts against the General Government by States and Conventions--"assumed the responsibility," acting without any authority whatever. January 7th, in his message to the Georgia Legislature, he had asked that certain powers of seizure be granted to him. He said:

"Let us meet unjust aggression and unconsti

Mayor Wood returned the following char- tutional State legislation with just retaliation. To acteristic reply:

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

this end, I recommend the enactment of a law authorizing the Governor of this State, in case any citizen of this State, shall in future be deprived of his slaves or other property, under the operation of the aggressive legislation of Massachusetts, to which I have referred, or of like legislation of any other State, or by neglect of any such State to fulfill her constitutional obligations to Georgia or her citizens, by delivering up to the owner, on demand, his slave which may have escaped into such State, to call out such military force as he may deem necessary for the purpose, and to seize such amount of the money or property of any citizen of such offending and faithless State, which may be found within the limits of this State, as may be amply sufficient fully to indemnify such citizen of this State, who may have

been robbed of his property by the failure of such faithless State to discharge its constitutional obligations, and forthwith to notify the Governor of such State of the seizure. In case the Governor of such State shall fail, within thirty days from the time he receives such notice, to cause the property of our own citizen to be returned to him, or its full value paid to him, that it shall then be the duty of the Governor of this State to deliver such quantity of the property so seized to the injured citizen of this State as may be sufficient fully to indemnify him against all damages sustained by him."

merce, in effect levying tribute, and the declaration of the Montgomery Congress in opening the South ern ports free to foreign commerce, John Cochrane, of New York, will call up on Monday, and press to a passage, the bill heretofore introduced by him, [see page 305,] providing for the thorough execution of the Federal Revenue laws, and for the protection of the commercial interests of the nation against flagitious attacks upon them by the Seceded States." The pressure brought to bear on Governor Brown, both from Montgomery and WashingThe Legislature, how-ton, by the directing conspirators, induced an early release of the vessels. February 8th ever, refused to grant the they were discharged from his Executive required authority, and the Governor acted without it. The Governor's keeping, upon being informed, as he said, order for the act of reprisal was as follows:

Governor Brown's


[blocks in formation]

"Colonel H. R. Jackson, A. D. C. :
"SIR-I have demanded of the Governor of New
York the prompt delivery to my agent, for D. C.
Hodgkins & Sons, citizens of this State, of their
guns, seized by the police of New York on board
the Monticello, and deposited in the arsenal of that

State. The demand has been delivered to him; he

has had a reasonable time, and has made no reply. I am determined to protect the persons and property of the citizens of this State against all such lawless violence, at all hazards. In doing so, I will, if necessary, meet force by force. I feel it my duty in this case to order reprisals. You will, therefore, direct Colonel Lawton to order out sufficient military force, and seize and hold, subject to my order, every ship now in the harbor of Savannah belonging to citizens of the State of New York.

"When the property of which our citizens have been robbed is returned to them, the ships will be delivered to the citizens of New York who own them.

"I am, sir, your obedient servant,

This act of open assault on the property of loyal citizens of course created much excitement in political as well as commercial circles, since it gave the Federal Administration a just casus belli. Southern leaders were alarmed at the catastrophe which it threatened. As indicative of the course to be pursued, a dispatch from Washington announced, (Feb. 9th:)

[blocks in formation]

that the arms were restored, and "the honor of Georgia vindicated." But the fact was, the arms consigned to private parties in Alabama were delivered over to the Sheriff, Feb. 7th, as stated, while the Police held possession of the ten cases belonging to Georgia citizens for some days after the release of the vessels, and were finally released only upon proof of their being private property of citizens who could not be proven disloyal. A second reprisal was made by Gov. Brown, which will be referred to hereafter.

Northern Cupidity

vers1⁄448 Patriotism.

This seizure, and the excitement which grew out of it, called public attention to the fact that Northern manufacturers and dealers had heavy orders from all of the Southern States for arms of all kinds. States did not order direct, but accomplished their purpose through individuals; and thus, under the guise of "private property," swords, sabres, pistols, rifles, muskets, ammunition, military goods, and, in some instances, even field-pieces and heavy ordnance, all passed, in a steady stream, from the North to the South. The gold which should have been paid on debts over-due manufacturers and merchants in Northern cities, was used to purchase arms with which to resist the collection of those debts; and the cupidity of the manufacturers of, and dealers in, arms was such that, though they well knew the purposes of the great orders, a chronic love of money forbade them to say "nay" even to avowed traitors. These purchases, and the rich store providently placed, by Floyd, in the Southern arsenals for



seizure, gave the different States arms enough | conspiracy was said to have been discovered

to equip several divisions each for immediate service. Had it not been for these sales by Northern men, during December, January, February and March, and the filling up of the Southern arsenals, during the summer of 1860, the rebellion would have been almost powerless for want of arms.

Sad Condition of
Monetary Affairs.


Outrages perpetrated on Northern Men.

The excitement against Northern men became so great, that, when the secession movement took the shape of certainty in its accomplishment, persecutions were so generally inflicted as to cause a perfect hegira of Northern mechanics and agents, as well as of those entertaining Union sentiments. Almost every steamer from Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans, during the months of February, March, April, and May, brought numbers of persons of Northern birth, fleeing from the South for their lives. In some instances great amounts of property were left behind-the "Committee of Safety" allowing no time for a man to close his affairs prior to leaving. The summons to leave generally stipulated twenty-four hours as the required time in which to escape from threatened "consequences." The history of some of these cases is peculiarly revolting, and excites in the mind a feeling of incredulity that

just previous to the holidays, which caused apprehension for a while, and only ended by the hanging of several negroes, by a self-constituted court, and the most terrible punishment of flogging administered to others of the blacks supposed to be implicated. The various communities in the Cotton States The condition of mone- were qui vive in regard to the negroes; and tary affairs throughout all the extraordinary precautions taken by plantthe Seceded States grewers, by committees of safety, and by the daily more oppressive, as the winter advanced. minute-men organizations, prove that, pracMoney became of extreme scarcity. tically, the Southern people regarded their general suspension of specie payment by human "property" in any other light than as Southern banks had not given any percepti- cattle and horses.* ble relief to the community. Property so rapidly depreciated as to have no longer any fixed value. Real estate in Charleston, New Orleans, Savannah, &c., commanded no sale, at any price; while the inexorable tax levies daily aggregated in their demands until the prospect of oppression as well as of ruin stared property-holders in the face. The two hundred millions due to the North was, by the acts of secession and the general suspension of Federal Courts, as well as by "stay laws" passed by most of the "original seven," placed upon the retired list "to be paid when amicable relations with the North should be restored." Yet, this enormous virtual repudiation scarcely affected the masses -it only gave immunity from pressure to the commercial class; but, even merchants, with stores stuffed by Northern goods, for which only Southern promises-to-pay were given, could find no sale for their stocks except by extending credits, which, in turn, filled their hands with promises-to-pay, liable to be assessed as so much taxable property, upon which assessments must be paid in coin. Slaves, in common with other property, de-able; but, the presence of an overawing power is preciated; and, in all districts they were regarded as a source of weakness rather than of strength in event of a state of war. Several millions of bondmen, ignorant to a degree almost bordering on barbarism, but with native instincts which rendered them a shrewd and persevering race, were not calculated to inspire their masters with a feeling of security; hence, we find alarms of insurrections greatly exciting the States of Alabama and Georgia, during the winter. In the former State a

*It is denied, in some quarters, that the negroes are a source of weakness. Under military and civil

pressure they may be regarded as docile and tract

considered, by the Southerners themselves, as their only safety. The history of the Denmark Vesey insurrection in South Carolina-of the Nat. Turner insurrection in Southampton County, Virginia—prove that in the black breasts of the negroes there is a

slumbering fire which no power on earth may quench.

The Charleston papers said their slaves would do the food-raising, the intrenching, &c., while the young men of the South would do the fighting; but, it is to be doubted if any community in the South, during 1861, was left without its available guard against uprisings.

such wrongs could have been perpetrated in | several instances, when the victim was hangany civilized community. The case stated on ed, the papers recorded the event in a humorpage 134 was almost daily confirmed, during ous strain. We shall recur to this feature of the months named, by the story of the wrongs the revolution in a future chapter, giving of some wretched sufferer, at the hands of a such accredited statements as will place the self-constituted "committee" in the revolu- fact and nature of these outrages beyond all tionary sections. Southern papers occasion- controversy. They will cast a shadow across ally would chronicle these outrages, and even the darkness of the dark record of the would not fail, in all cases, to affix the stigma revolution, and will serve to give both the of "abolitionist" to the persecuted party as a Christian philanthropist and the politician full and only justification for the violence suggestive mile-stones by which to direct perpetrated "by a body of our citizens." In their future steps.






Extraordinary Character of the Congress.

Extraordinary Char acter of the Congress.

THE Montgomery Con- | towards them by their revention of Delegates as- spective Conventions. This sembled Monday, February Montgomery Convention 4th. The plans and policy of the Conven- was composed of delegates elected by the sev tion appear to have been quite generally eral State Conventions. How they were comunderstood by the people to be-a recon- posed the reader has already been informed, struction of the Union of Slave States upon [see p. 203-4.] It thus represented an organthe basis of the Federal Constitution.* This ized revolution, solely-one which, in all cases, understanding, indeed, made the people tol- refused to allow the people to decide for erant of the open-handed usurpation practiced themselves, [see Yancey's speech, page 205,

*Thus, the Memphis (Tenn.) Inquirer used the following language, to induce the Tennessee people to join in the movement for a Southern Confederacy:

"It is well known beforehand that the Constitution, as it is, will be readopted, and such explanations of contested sections of that instrument added as amendments, as to leave not the shadow of a doubt concerning their effect on the Southern social system. That is, it will be the same as though the Constitution of the United States were taken up and amended, at the discretion of Southern statesmen, so far as it affects Southern rights, all without the opposition or interruption of Northern members. It

will not be touched at present, any further than to be rendered perfectly unambiguous as to the domestic institutions of the South. Has anybody in the South any objection to this? The very crisis that now weighs like lead on every man's mind has arisen from a diversity in the interpretation of certain clauses in the Constitution; or, which is the same thing, the fanaticism of the North has been wheedled into the idea that its sectional character is, at least, not adverse to the Constitution itself. It will now at once be seen that the Constitution of the United States, thus explained and amended, would still authorize the reception of States, just as it has always done; and should Tennessee secede, she

« PreviousContinue »