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SION. GENERAL PROCEEDINGS. THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE ADOPTED.
Assembling of the
THE South Carolina Con- | ordinance proper to be vention of Delegates as adopted by the Convensembled in Columbia, De- tion, was submitted by Mr. cember 17th. After four ballots for Presi- Inglis, viz:dent, General D. F. Jamison was chosen to preside over its deliberations. The smallpox raging as an epidemic at Columbia, induced the Convention to adjourn to Charleston. Hon. F. W. Pickens hav
Governor Pickens ing been elected Governor by the Legislature, was inaugurated December 17th. His message was quite up to the sentiment of the State. Mr. Pickens was chosen Governor for his firmness, sagacity, and strong Southern feelings. His succeeding administration proved him to have been an able and judicious officer.
The Ordinance of Se cession.
"AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the Union between the State of South Carolina and other States united with her under the Compact entitled the Constitution of the United States of America.'
"We, the people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, that the ordinance adopted by us in Convention, on the 23d day of May, in the year of our Lord 1788, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and also all Acts and parts of Acts of the General Assembly of this State ratifying the amendments of the said Constitution, are hereby repealed, and that the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States under the name of the United States of America is hereby dissolved."
Dec. 19th, theConvention assembled in Charleston, and held a session, on that This was passed by the unanimous vote of day, chiefly to organize, name committees, 169, at quarter past one o'clock, P.M., (Deand prepare for business. As preliminary to cember 20th.) The fact of its adoption, was ima full understanding of the responsibilities mediately given to the great crowd gathered and changes to be incurred by secession, mem-in front of the building, created the wildbers had a free interchange of sentiments-est enthusiasm, while the news flew over Chancellor Dunken and Judge Magrath mak- the wires to the uttermost corners of the ing speeches. Several important resolutions, Union, to excite and interest the public. looking to a Conference of States to form a An interesting debate new Government, to a Commission of adjust-followed, in the Convenment to the President, &c., &c., were referred to the proper Committees.
On the 20th, a Committee was named to draft a Summary of Causes of the secession of South Carolina. Mr. Rhett's resolution to appoint a Committee of Thirteen for the purpose of providing for the assemblage of a Convention of the Seceding States, and to form a constitution, was adopted. A report from the Committee to prepare and draft an
tion, upon the adoption.
In order to show how the act affected the immediate interests of the State, in the opinion of the leading men of the Convention, we may give a summary of their remarks;
Mr Magrath-I think the special matter of the ordinance should be immediately considered. To my understanding there is no collector of the port nor postmaster now
within the limits of South Carolina.
Mr. Gregg-After South Carolina abrogated the Constitution of the United States, are its laws still in force? I think not. All the laws of Congress fall instantly to the ground, on the act of secession.
Mr. Cheves-As an immense chasm will be made in the law, and as it is necessary, to avoid inconvenience to the people, we must make some temporary arrangements to carry on the government.
Mr. Gregg-There is no law on the subject of the collection of the duties in South Carolina now. We have now accomplished the
work after forty years.
Mr. Haynes-The Congress of the United States is no longer our government. It will be for our Legislature to say what laws of the United States shall be continued, and what not. The simple act of secession does not abrogate all the laws. We have a great many laws on our statute books, which were passed by the Governor and the Privy Council. Mr. Gregg-The Congressional laws for the collection of revenue, are for the support of the Federal Government at Washington, and all our Post-Office laws fall, on our dissolution with that Government.
Mr Miles-We have to deal with facts and stern realities. We must prevent confusion, anarchy and the derangement of our Government affairs. Things must, for the present, remain in statu quo, or confusion will arise. Mr. Hayne-Sudden action is injurious. Mr. Chestnut-Two questions are involved -power and duty. We must preserve our people, not only from inconvenience but chaotic condition. We must revivify such laws as will best preserve us from calamities. As to duty, if you turn the ship of State adrift what will become of the officers ?
Mr. Maseyck-There is no duty for the Collector of the port to do. The Post-office has been swept off. My opinion is that the present system of postai arrangement is a nuisance. The public can be better served by private parties between cities like Philadelphia and New York for one cent instead of three, and between less important, ten or more cents.
Mr. Calhoun-We have pulled a temple down that has been built three-quarters of a century. We must clear the rubbish away to reconstruct another. We are now houseless and homeless, and we must secure ourselves against storms.
Mr. Dunkin-If that ordinance be passed, things will go on in the Custom-house and Post-office exactly as now, until other arrangements can be made by this Convention. There is nothing in the ordinance to affect the dignity, honor, and welfare of the State of South Carolina. We must keep the wheels of the Government going. The Constitution of the United States is not entirely abrogated by the ordinance. What is legal tender in the payment of debts? Is it not gold and silver of the United States? In the case of clearing and entry of vessels, we are very liable to have the same confiscated.
Mr. Carroll-The present revenue would be continued till an act of the Legislature authorized otherwise.
Mr. Brown-There is no longer communication with the Government from which we are just separated.
Mr. Dunkin-The spirit of the ordinance must be temporarily sustained till we treat with the General Government.
Mr. Gregg-The President of the United States has thrown down the gauntlet in his Message. He has said that it was his duty to collect the revenue, and that he would do it. On one side, the Federal Government claims the right and declares its intention to execute the powers of collecting revenue in our ports; on the other side we have declared that we are free. I desire no compromise. Is it necessary to maintain the 15 to 40 per cent. duties imposed by the Congress of the United States? Should these duties continue to be levied, our people will suffer a terrible calamity. For carrying the mails, let the present contracts
be assumed by South Carolina instead of the this State, to exercise the office to which I have been United States.
appointed, and will, to the best of my ability, discharge the duty of the office, and preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of this State, so help me
Mr. Rhett This great revolution must go on with as little danger as possible to the country. By making the Federal agents ours, As the Convention sat, on all important octhe machinery will move on. The Federal laws of taxation must not exist over us. casions, in secret session, much of its proBy a special trust that the present system of taxation has ceedings are veiled in mystery. vote a reporter was rejected, and a resolution not to have the proceedings printed, passed with only three negative votes.
Mr. Barnwell-We have seceded from the United States, and established our independence. We can't allow the United States to exercise authority over us any more. postal convenience be sacrificed if necessary. There never was anything purchased worth having unless it cost a sacrifice.
Mr. Maseyck said in regard to the mail, all restrictions must be removed. Let us appoint our own officers. Let the Collector of the port battle with the difficulties as they come.
At 3:40 P. M., the Convention took a recess, to meet at Institute Hall at 6 o'clock, for the purpose of signing the ordinance. As the Convention was leaving St. Andrew's Hall, the chimes of St. Michael's Episcopal Church pealed forth “Old Lang Syne," and other tunes.
The Declaration of
The Declaration of Cau-
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE OF SOUTH CAROLINA.
The Declaration of
"In the year 1765, that portion of the British EmOn the 21st, Mr. Rhett, pire embracing Great Britain, undertook to make Chairman of the Commit-laws for the government of that portion composed tee on an address on the of the thirteen American Colonies. A struggle for the right of self-government ensued, which resulted causes of the Secession of the State, reporton the 4th of July, 1776, in a Declaration by the Coed. The Commissioners were elected "to lonies, that they are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, and that, as free and independent States, they have full power to levy war, to
dependent States may of right do.'
treat with the United States," viz:-Ex-Governor J. H. Adams, Ex-Congressman J. L. Orr and Mr. R. W. Barnwell, who were auconclude peace, contract alliances, establish comthorized to proceed immediately to Wash-merce, and to do all other acts and things which inington, to enter upon negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the relations between the United States and the "sovereign" State of South Carolina, including the transfer of the forts, &c. A Committee reported a modification of the Constitution of the State,* so far as to substitute a new oath of allegiance, viz:
"All persons who shall be elected or appointed to any office of profit or trust, before entering into the execution thereof, shall take, besides special oaths not repugnant to this Constitution prescribed by the General Assembly, the following oath :--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will bear faithful and true allegiance to South Carolina, so long as I may continue a citizen thereof, and that I am duly qualified, according to the Constitution of
They further solemnly declared, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the right of
* See page 48, "A queer case." The modifica tion of the oath was in defiance of the State Constitution, which positively stipulated that no part of that instrument should be altered, "unless a bill to alter the same shall have been read three times, &c., and agreed to by two-thirds of both branches, &0.; neither shall any alteration take place until the bill, as agreed to, be published three months previous to a new election," &c., &c. The delegates doubtless assumed the principle that desperate emergencies require desperate resorts. The entire proceedings of the Convention were illegal according to the Con stitution of the State.
"The parties to whom this Constitution was submitted, were the several sovereign States; they were to agree or disagree, and when nine of them agreed, the compact was to take effect among those concurring; and the General Government, as the common agent, was then to be invested with their authority.
"If only nine of the thirteen States had concurred, the other four would have remained as they then
"In pursuance of this Declaration of Independence, each of the thirteen States proceeded to exercise its separate sovereignty; adopted for itself a constitution, and appointed officers for the administration of government in all its departments-legis-were-separate, sovereign States, independent of lative, executive, and judicial. For purposes of defence, they united their arms and their counsels; and, in 1778, they entered into a league, known as the Articles of Confederation, whereby they agreed
to intrust the administration of their external relations to a common agent, known as the Congress of the United States, expressly declaring, in the first article, that each State retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right which is not, by this confederation, expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled.'
"Under this confederation the war of the Revolu
tion was carried on, and, on the 3d of September, 173, the contest ended, and a definitive treaty was signed by Great Britain, in which she acknowledged the independence of the Colonies in the following
"Article 1.-His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz., New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, to be free, sovereign, and independent States; that be treats with them as such; and for himself, his heirs and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, proprietary and territorial rights of the same and every
"Thus was established the two great principles asserted by the Colonies, namely, the right of a State to govern itself, and the right of a people to abolish a government when it becomes destructive of the ends for which it was instituted. And concurrent with the establishment of these principles was the fact, that each colony became and was recognized by the mother country as a free, sovereign, and independent State.
"In 1787, Deputies were appointed by the State to revise the articles of confederation, and on the 17th of September, 1787, these Deputies recommend
any of the provisions of the Constitution. In fact,
two of the States did not accede to the Constitution until long after it had gone into operation among the other eleven; and during that interval, they exercised the functions of an independent nation.
"By this Constitution, certain duties were charged on the several States, and the exercise of certain of their powers restrained, which necessarily implied their continued existence as sovereign States. But, to remove all doubt, an amendment was added, which declared that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. On the 23d of May, 1788, South Carolina, by a convention of her people, passed an ordinance assenting to this Constitution, and afterward altered her own constitution, to conform herself to the obligations she had undertaken.
"Thus was established, by compact between the States, a government, with defined objects and powers, limited to the express words of the grant, and to so much more only as was necessary to execute the power granted. This limitation left the whole remaining mass of power subject to the clause reserving it to the States or to the people, and rendered unnecessary any specification of reserved rights.
is subject to the two great principles asserted in "We hold that the government thus established the Declaration of Independence, and we hold further that the mode of its formation subjects it to a third fundamental principle, namely, the law of compact. We maintain that in every compact between two or more parties, the obligation is mutual -that the failure of one of the contracting parties to perform a material part of the agreement entirely releases the obligation of the other, and that, where no arbiter is provided, each party is remitted to his own judgment to determine the fact of failure with all its consequences.
"In the present case that fact is established with certainty. We assert that fifteen of the States have
The Declaration of
past to fulfill their constitutional
The Declaration of
deliberately refused for years | union, establish justice, insure
their own statutes for the proof.
"No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.'
"This stipulation was so material to the compact, that without it that compact would not have been made. The greater number of the contracting parties held slaves, and the State of Virginia had previously declared her estimate of its value by making it the condition of her cession of the Territory which now compose the States north of the Ohio River. "The same article of the Constitution stipulates also for the rendition by the several States of fugitives from justice from the other States.
"These ends it endeavored to accomplish by a Federal Government, in which each State was recognized as an equal, and had separate control over its own institutions. The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to free persons distinct political rights; by giving them the right to represent, and burdening them with direct taxes for threefifths of their slaves; by authorizing the importation of slaves for twenty years, and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives from labor.
"We affirm that these ends for which this government was instituted have been defeated, and the government itself has been made destructive of them by the action of the non-slaveholding States. These States have assumed the right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions, and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted the open establishment among them of societies whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloin the property of the citizens of other States. They have encouraged and assist ed thousands of our slaves to leave their homes, and those who remain have been incited by emissaries,
The General Government, as the common agent, passed laws to carry into effect these stipulations of the States. For many years these laws were executed. But an increasing hostility on the part of the Northern States to the institution of slavery has led to a disregard of their obligations, and the laws of the General Government have ceased to effect the objects of the Constitution. The States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connec-books and pictures to servile insurrection. ticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa, have enacted laws which either nullify the acts of Congress, or render useless any attempt to execute them. In many of these States the fugitive is discharged from the service or labor claimed, and in none of them has the State government complied with the stipulation made in the Constitution. The State of New Jersey, at an early day, passed a law for the rendition of fugitive slaves in conformity with her constitutional undertaking; but the current of anti-slavery feeling has led her more recently to enact laws which render imperative the remedies provided by her own law and by the laws of Congress. In the State of New York even the right of transit for a slave has been denied by her tribunals, and the States of Ohio and Iowa have refused to surrender to justice fugitives charged with murder and with inciting servile insurrection in the State of Virginia. Thus the constitutional compact has been deliberately broken and disregarded by the nonslaveholding States, and the consequence follows that South Carolina is released from its obligations.
The ends for which this Constitution was framed are declared by itself to be to form a more perfect
"For twenty-five years, this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to its aid the power of the common government. Observ ing the forms of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that article establishing the executive department the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be intrusted with the administration of the common government, because he has declared that that 'government cannot endure permanently half slave, half free,' and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate ex
"This sectional combination for the subversion of the Constitution has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship persons, who, by the su preme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens, and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy hostile to the South, and destructive of its peace and safety.
"On the 4th of March next, this party will take