Page images

South Carolina refused to comply with the federal laws, and rebelled against the power of the general government, General Jackson, by prompt measures, quelled the rebellion, and restored that peace which, until that time and subsequently, reigned through the country.

[ocr errors]

The Primary Cause. As every thing must have its origin in something, so with this movement of secession. This originated from an expressed sentiment among the people of the South that, if a Republican President was elected, they would secede from the Union. In no other place was this feeling more openly expressed than in South Carolina. The Southern press reiterated the threats made by their public men, and sedulously inflamed the minds of the entire people, until at last, while all were looking towards South Carolina, each of the Southern States were, to a greater or less degree, preparing to follow her when she should withdraw from the Union. Thus, as the months rolled on, and the time approached when the people of the whole confederacy would be called upon to select a ruler for the next four years, the barrier seemed raising slowly but surely, and it needed but the declaration of the people on the sixth of November, to throw this demarcating wall to such a towering height as to completely darken the whole horizon, mental and social. Then commenced the strife of words so soon to reach that of war.

The Secession of South Carolina. South CAROLINA, the pioneer of the seceding States, is about 200 miles in length and 160 in breadth, containing 30,213 square miles, or 19,336,320 acres, bounded N. by N. Carolina ; S. E., by the Atlantic Ocean; S. W., by Georgia, from which it is separated by the Savannah river. The population in 1860, was 715,371, 407,185 of whom were slaves. The State is divided into 29 districts, as follows: Abbeville, Anderson, Barnwell, Beaufort, Charleston, Chester, Chesterfield, Colleton, Darlington, Edgefield, Fairfield, Georgetown, Greenville, Horry, Kershaw, Lancaster, Laurens, Lexington, Marion, Marlborough, Newberry, Orangeburg, Pickens, Richland, Spartanburg, Sumter, Union, Williamsburg, York. Columbia is the seat of government.

The country on the sea-coast is level for 100 miles towards the interior, after which is a range of sand hills, and beyond these a diversity of hill and dale which is very fertile. The climate is healthy in the interior, and sickly on the sea-coast in summer and autumn. The principal rivers are the Pedee, Santee, Cooper, Ashley, Edisto, and Savannah. The staple productions are cotton, rice, Indian corn, potatoes, wheat, peas, rye, oats, tobacco, indigo, lumber, oils, silks, tar, pitch, and turpentine. Charleston is the leading commercial port of the State.

The first constitution of South Carolina was formed in 1775, the first formed in the Union. The present constitution was ratified June 3, 1790. In 1670 the first permanent settlement was made in South Carolina by a



small body of English emigrants at Port Royal Island. In 1679 they removed to Charleston, then styled Oyster Point. In 1706 the French and Spaniards made an attack on Charleston, and were defeated. In 1715 the Yemasee Indians were defeated by Governor Craven. In 1720 the government of the Crown was established. In 1775 the first military force was raised for the defence of the colony against the Crown, and the importation of British goods was prohibited. In 1776 the British attacked .Fort Moultrie and were defeated. In 1780 Charleston was besieged by Sir Henry Clinton, and taken at the end of six weeks. In 1782 the British evacuated Charleston. In 1794 cotton was first exported. In 1822 an insurrection among the negroes at Charleston was defeated. In 1833 President Jackson and Gov. Haynes issued counter proclamations on the subject of nullification, originating in the tariff. The State in convention adopted the constitution of the United States, May 23, 1788—Yeas, 149; Nays, 73. December 20, 1860, the State, in convention, threw off her allegiance to the Union, and was proclaimed a free and independent sovereignty.

Following the general election of the sixth of November, South Carolina, as every one south, and very many north, expected she would, moved. Steps were taken to perfect the act of secession, and for this purpose the people were called upon to select delegates to a convention, which should seriously corsider the step about to be taken, and for which there seemed such imperative necessity. The election for these delegates took place on the 6th of December. The delegates to the convention assembled on the 17th of December at Columbia, but, owing to the prevalence of small-pox in that city, removed to Charleston.

The legislature of the State convened at Charleston on the 17th, when Governor Pickens delivered his inaugural address, which concluded as follows:

We now have no alternative left but to interpose our sovereign power as an independent State, to protect the rights and ancient privileges of the people of South Carolina.

This State was one of the original parties to the federal compact of the Union. We agreed to it as a State under peculiar circumstances, when 'we were surrounded with great external pressure, for purposes of national protection, and for the general welfare of all the States, equally and alike; and when it ceases to do this, it is no longer a perpetual Union. It would be an absurdity to suppose it was a perpetual Union for our ruin. The constitution is a compact between co-States, and not with the Federal Government.

I think I am not assuming too much, when I say that her interests will lead ber to open her ports to the tonnage and trade of all nations, reserving to herself the right to discriminate only against those who may be our public enemies.

She has fine harbors, accessible to foreign commerce, and she is in the centre of those extensive agricultural productions that enter so largely into the foreign trade and commerce of the world, and form the basis of those comforts, in food and clothing, so essential to the artisan and mechanic laborers in the higher latitudes, and which are also so essential to the prosperity and success of manufacturing capital in the North and in Europe. I therefore may safely say it is for the benefit of all who may

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small][subsumed][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »