Page images

gives the reader a glimpse of the true purpo- | the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cor

Mr. Stephens' Expo


ner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man. That Slavery-subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition. This, our new Government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who hear me, per

ses in view-not to recognize an equality of rights of persons, but to secure, to the dominant class, the "rights" it " inherited." All this, however, is not only clearly stated by the Vice-President of the "Confederate States," but the curtain is drawn aside, and we are permitted to see the moving cill of the ambitious scheme of the Secession-haps, can recollect well, that this truth was not geneists. Mr. Stephens' exposition of the powers of their Constitution and the purposes had in view in its formation, was made at Savannah, March 21st, 1861. We may, therefore, here give place to such portions of his speech as will serve to illustrate our chapter subject, side, complete throughout the length and breadth of viz. :-"The objects of Secession," which it is the Confederate States. It is upon this, as I have highly important to understand as a prelimi-stated, our actual fabric is firmly planted; and I cannary to a just comprehension of all the events not permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of which have followed upon the rupture of old a full recognition of this prineiple throughout the relations: civilized and enlightened world.

[ocr errors]

"The new Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions-African Slavery as it exists among us the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson, in his forecast, had anticipated this as the rock upon which the old Union would split.' He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature: that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was, that somehow or other, in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the Constitution, was the prevailing idea at the time. The Constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly used against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the idea of a government built upon it; when the storm came and the wind blew, it fell.'

rally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many as late as twenty years ago. Those at the North who still cling to these errors, with a zeal above knowledge,

we justly denominate fanatics.

"In the conflict thus far, success has been, on our

"As I have stated, the truth of this principle may be slow in development, as all truths are, and ever have been in the various branches of science. It was so with the principles announced by Gallileo-- it was so with Adam Smith and his principles of politi cal economy-it was so with Harvey and his theory of the circulation of the blood. It is stated that not a single one of the medical profession, living at the time of the announcement of the truths made by him, admitted them. Now they are universally ac knowledged. May we not, therefore, look with confidence to the ultimate universal acknowledgement of the truths upon which our system rests. It is the first government ever instituted upon principles of strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of certain classes; but the classes thus enslaved, were of the same race, and in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature's laws. The negro, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper materials, the granite; then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it, and by experience we know that it is best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the ordinance of the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question "Our new Government is founded upon exactly them. For His own purposes He has made one race






[ocr errors]

to differ from another, as He has made one star to | tainty. We are now the nucleus of a growing power, differ from another star in glory.' which, if we are true to ourselves, our destiny and high mission, will become the controlling power on this continent. To what extent accessions will go on in the process of time, or where it will end, the future will determine."

"The great objects of humanity are best attained when conformed to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments, as well as in all things else. Our Confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This stone which was rejected by the first builders is become the chief stone of the corner' in our new edifice.

"The progress of disintegration in the old Union may be expected to go on with almost absolute cer

This sets at rest all doubts in regard to the distinctive objects in view in severing relations with the old Confederacy, while it also demonstrates the moral and political spirit which will direct the new Government.




Treasonable Utter


ELECTIONS held in the several Northern States, during September and October, indicated pretty clearly that Mr. Lincoln, the Republican nominee, would carry each of those States, with a fair prospect, also, of obtaining a majority in California and Oregon. This indication served to awaken the slumbering disunion feeling, and various projects were agitated, by Southern papers," to meet a common danger." In South Carolina there was but one sentiment-that of secession. The election of a Republican to the Presidency was not urged as the sole, or even the leading, cause of the disunion feeling; but the course of events seemed to have demonstrated that the people were rife for the formation of a Slave Confederacy, and the leaders prepared, even before the 6th of November, the programme of this disunion


think available for meeting it (the issue) is just to tear the Constitution of the United States, trample it under foot, and form a Southern Confederacy, every State of which shall be a slaveholding State. I believe it as I stand in the face of my Maker-I believe it on my responsibility to you as your honored representative that the only hope of the South is in the South, and that the only available means of making that hope effective is to cut asunder the bonds that tie us together, and take our separate position in the family of nations."

This speech, violent as it was considered at the time, in the North, really reflected the sentiment of his State. A sympathy with that sentiment prevailed, to a great extent, throughout all the Cotton States; but, up to the date named, (Nov. 6th,) except in South Carolina, no action was taken which looked to immediate secession. Even in Virginia the feeling against "submission" was SO

As early as 1856, one of the South Carolina representatives in Congress, Mr. Preston strong that Governor Letcher, in his Message Brooks-who, but a few weeks previously, had assaulted United States Senator Sumner -in a speech made at an ovation given in his honor said among other things ::

"I tell you, fellow-citizens, from the botom of my heart, that the only mode which I

to the Legislature said :-"It is useless to attempt to conceal the fact, that in the present temper of the Southern people, it (the election of a Republican President) cannot and will not be submitted to. * * The idea of permitting such a man to have the

ward Everett, of Massachusetts, Vice-President......

control and direction of the army and navy | For John Bell, of Tennessee, President, and Edof the United States, and the appointment of high judicial and executive officers, postmasters included, cannot be entertained by the South for a moment."

[blocks in formation]


172,161 160,215



8,543 51,889



The popular vote was largely against Mr. Lincoln, as will be perceived. Had all the opposition been united the vote would have stood:Opposition......

For the Republican candidates...

.2,804,560 ..1,857,610

[blocks in formation]

Majority in favor of the Democracy,..... 356,319 These figures are of particular interest as proving Union. Bell. that the election was lost 27,875 to the Democrats by their own divisions, for 20,094 6,817 which the South alone was responsible. The 3,291 Charleston Convention, (April 23d,) packed 3,864

5,437 with disunionists, sought to drive the North42,886 ern Democrats into declarations on the sub


2,404 4,193 ject of Slavery at once distasteful and hos139,033 115,509 12,295 70,409 55,111 1,048 1,673 tile to their convictions,; and, by their efforts 1,364 25,651 53,143 66,058 to force Mr. Douglas from the list of candi7,625 22,681 20,204 62,111 26,693 6,398 dates, incurred the hostility of his friends to 2,046 2,294 5,966 42,482 41,760 such a degree that further co-operation was Massachu's... 106,533 34,372 22,331 impossible without a compromise of self-re405






[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

S. Carolina....Electors chosen by Legislature.


[blocks in formation]




62 spect. The malcontents, thwarted in their 25,040 plans for the demoralization of the Northern 58,372 Democrats, on the question of Slavery, withdrew, or "seceded,” to prevent a nomination. The Convention failing of a nomination adjourned to meet at Baltimore, June 18ththe "Seceders" having adjourned to meet at Richmond, June 11th. The Convention at Baltimore was beset by the "Seceders" and their unaccredited delegates; but, after much discussion and voting they were ruled out, when Mr. Douglas received the nomination. The "Seceders," headed by Caleb Cushing, gathered at the Front Street Theatre, in Baltimore and nominated John C. Breckenridge, Twelve States were not represented at all, in that gathering. The "Seceders" at Richmond-composed entirely of delegates from the cotton growing States, with one from 72 Tennessee and one from Virginia-having ad



Total..... 1,857,610 1,365,976 847,953 590,631
For Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, and Hannibal
Hamlin, of Maine, Vice-President.....
For Stephen Arnold Douglas, of Illinois, Presi-
dent, and Herschel V. Johnson, of Georgia,

For John C. Breckenridge, of Kentucky, Presi-
dent, and Joseph Lane, of Oregon, Vice-Presi-




journed to await the action of the Baltimore | election at Charleston, was received with long-conConvention, "ratified" the nomination of tinued cheering for a Southern confederacy.

Mr. Breckenridge, who thus became a candidate of the extremists, or disunionists. That Mr. Douglas was the regular and just nominee is evident from the fullness of the delegations in the Convention and by the popular


WASHINGTON, D. C., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 1860.
There is a good deal of excitement here. Several

extreme Southern men in office have donned the
cockade, and declared themselves ready to march


COLUMBIA, S. C., Thursday, Nov. 8th.

The Speaker of the House last night received a dispatch from Virginia, tendering the services of a volunteer corps in the event of South Carolina's se cession. Edmund Ruffin spoke last night. He said Southern independence could only be secured by the secession of South Carolina. His speech was raptu

The election of Mr. Lincoln was, therefore, owing to the disorganization of the opposition by the Southern men, and that these disorganizers should have proceeded to organize a scheme of treason against the Government, using their defeat as a pretext, demon-rously applauded. strates the wisdom of the course pursued by the Douglas men in repudiating the dictation of the extremists.

For the election of a Republican President the country is indebted to the extremists of the South.

[blocks in formation]

CHARLESTON, S. C., Thursday, Nov. 7, 1860. The bark James Gray, owned by Cushing's Boston Line, lying at our wharves, under instructions from her owners, has hoisted the Palmetto flag, and fired a salute of fifteen guns.

NEW ORLEANS, La., Thursday, Nov. 8, 1860.
Placards are posted about the city, calling a Con-
vention of those favorable to the organization of a
corps of "Minute Men."

WASHINGTON, D. C., Friday, Nov. 9, 1860.
The President is still in doubt what to do. He is

know how to meet them. His feelings are with the
South, but he is afraid to assist them openly.

tion of a dissolution of her relations with the
Union, that State was looked to by the Seces-apprehensive of troubles in the South, but does not
sionists to take the initiative in the rebellion.
She did not shrink from the responsibility.
Before the day of election her Governor had
laid a strong disunion message before the
Legislature, advising the calling of a Conven-
tion of Delegates to act for the State in dis-
solving her relations with the Union.

How the Election was regarded.

Such dispatches as the following flew over the wires on the days succeed

ing the Presidential election:

RALEIGH. N, C., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 1860. The Governor and Council are in session. The people are very much excited. North Carolina is ready to secede.

COLUMBIA, S. C., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 1860. William W. Boyce, member of Congress, spoke from the steps of the Congaree House, on Tuesday night,urging secession in case of Mr. Lincoln's election. He was followed by other prominent Carolinians.

MONTGOMERY, Ala., Wednesday, Nov. 7 1860.

Large numbers of the Bell men, headed by T. H.

Watts, have declared for secession, since the announcement of Lincoln's election. The State will undoubtedly secede.

AUGUSTA, Ga., Wednesday, Nov. 7, 1860. The Charleston Mercury says the news of Lincoln's


A large quantity of arms was yesterday shipped from our arsenal to the South. But the place of des tination remains a secret.

The proclamation of Gov. Brown, of Georgia, has created much excitement. It is the most unconsti tutional manifesto ever published in the United States, and it depends now upon the President whether he will use his authority, and enforce the laws of the United States.

Growth of the Seces-
sion Sentiment

Each day added to the
intensity of the excitement.
The press of the South,
early in November, was widely divided, even
in the Gulf States. In New Orleans, the ma-
jority of press and people seemed to regard
the threats of disunion with disfavor. So in
Savannah, Mobile, Memphis, Nashville, &c.,
there were found stern and strong voices for
the Union. "Wait until Mr. Lincoln is in-
augurated, and commits the overt act," the
Union men urged; but, it soon became evi-
dent that the antipathy to the North and to
the Union gained in fervor; and, day by day,
the public mind of the South became more
reconciled to the views of the few men who
assumed a leadership in the crisis, viz.: Wm.

[ocr errors]

L. Yancey, Jefferson Davis, Robert Toombs | vention bill was adopted-December 6th beU.S. Senator Iverson, U. S. Senator Benjamin, ing fixed as the day for the election of deleU. S. Senator Wigfall, U. S. Senator Cling-gates, the Convention to meet December 17th. man, U. S. Senator Clay, Jr., and Messrs. Mason, Wise and Hunter, of Virginia.

[blocks in formation]

Virginia's Protest.

These "precipitate" demonstrations gave especial alarm to the Union men in the South, who were rapidly becoming power

movement was perceptible, as will be indicat-less before the growing feeling against any ared by the dispatches of the 15th, viz. :—

[blocks in formation]


rangement with the North. In Virginia, although the disunion sentiment largely prevailed, the disinclination to precipitate steps was so strong as to call forth such protests as the following, from the Alexandria Gazette, against the course of South Carolina:


Throwing aside the question of Constitutional right to secede at all, there is something due to comity, to neighborhood associations, to propriety. No man has a 'right,' by setting fire to his own house, to endanger the house of his neighbor. Vir

Gov. Moore, of Alabama, awaits the election of ginia, in this Union, or out of it as a sovereign, and

Lincoln by the electoral college, on the fifth of December, before calling a State Convention. He will issue his call on the 6th of December, fixing election of delegates for the 24th. The Convention assembles 7th January, 1861. The Convention will be composed of one hundred members. From the indications given in private correspondence from leading men in each county, at least seventy-five members of the Convention will be for unconditional disunion. MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. The leading men of all parties had a conference to-day, and unanimously agreed to a State Convention. They recommend resistance, the time and mode to be settled by the Convention. Good feeling prevailed.


"Florida is with the gallant Palmetto flag," said a dispatch from Governor Perry, of that State, to Governor Gist, of South Carolina.


Governor Letcher has called an extra session of the Legislature for the 7th of January, to take into consideration the condition of public affairs, and determine calmly and wisely what action is necessary|

in this emergency.

South Carolina Acts.

as potential as South Carolina, and has her own interests to look after, her own rights to be secured, her own feelings to be respected-and she wili demand this from South Carolina, just as much as she would from any other State in the present United States. It would seem as if in the course now pursued, fearing the conservative action of Virginia, and not desiring, in truth, a United South,' certain Cotton States were for going off by themselves, for the mere sake of 'forming a Cotton Confederacy,' totally irrespective of other Southern States which do not recognize Cotton as their King, and totally regardless of any interests or any views but their

[ocr errors]

own. It used to be a "United South !" It was for

merly Disunion and Secession for aggression by the

General Government. It is now a disunited Southsecession on account of the untoward result of a Presidential election! This is not the way to uphold the rights of the States, and the rights of the South. It is weakening our own position, and destroying our own strength."

To this view of the case the Charleston Mercury replied :

The Iron Rule.

"Virginia and the other frontier States may as November 10th, in the well at once understand their position with the Cotton States. They are not expected to aid the Cotton South Carolina Legislature, States in protecting themselves and redeeming their important action was had liberties. They will practically aid the Northern A bill was reported for the immediate enStates in attempting to obtain in the South an acquirolment of 10,000 volunteers. November 21st escence in the rule of Abolitionists at Washington. was fixed as a day of humiliation, fasting The Southern States, however, will disregard their and prayer. The resignations of Messrs. Ham-counsels. They want no conference but in the conmond and Chestnut, United States Senators, vention which will assemble to frame the Constita were accepted "enthusiastically." The Con- tion, and complete the organization of a Southern

« PreviousContinue »