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Chapter 6

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
The Secession Movement 1860‑1861

by
Dwight Lowell Dumond

in the
Negro Universities Press edition,
New York, 1968

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Chapter 8

This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

p113 Chapter VII
The Basis for Immediate Southern Independence

The election of Lincoln to the presidency marks the beginning of active measures for separation. When the movement began, there was in every state a great diversity of sentiment, according as men believed that a way could or could not be found for insuring the rights of the South against further aggression without disrupting the Union. Three courses were open to the South: (1) recognition of the Lincoln administration, and resistance to any overt act which might be committed; (2) coöperative action to obtain a redress of grievances; and (3) separate state secession, and the formation of a Southern confederacy. The possibility of mere submission in any and all contingencies may be passed over with but slight notice. There were some who subscribed to the doctrine, notably in eastern Tennessee, but nowhere else were they of sufficient number to be regarded as constituting a party, save in those districts contiguous to free states, which may rightfully be considered a part of the North in all questions of sectional dispute. In every Southern state the contests decided according as a majority subscribed to one or another of these policies; but in every case majorities were determined from time to time by the p114attitude of Northern governors, state legislatures, and congressman toward the proposed compromises and the question of peaceable separation or coercion. Men differed in November, 1860, over the question of immediate separation or coöperative action for a redress of grievances; but they differed according as they believed or did not believe the election of Lincoln represented the verdict of a Northern majority on the question of ultimate abolition of slavery in the Southern states; and, in spite of this diversity of sentiment, the South was united upon the fundamental issues involved. To understand that unity of sentiment, it is necessary to remember the increasing manifestations of hostility to slavery, on the part of a minority at the North, over a period of a quarter of a century. A long sequence of events had caused to accumulate, upon the statute books of the Northern states, a series of acts known as personal liberty laws. These laws varied from state to state, but in general they forbade the use of all state and county jails for the detention of fugitive slaves; provided for their defense by the public attorneys and at the expense of the public treasury; imposed heavy penalties upon any citizen and state and local official who assisted in the execution of the federal fugitive slave law; granted freedom to any slave brought within the limits of the state, and provided fines of from one thousand to five thousand dollars and prison sentences up to fifteen years for any master who thereafter attempted to exercise control over the same; and extended the benefits of habeas corpus and trial by jury to apprehended fugitives.1

p115 It was not the personal liberty laws in themselves, however, nor the denial of the right of slave owners to the protection of their property in the common territories which precipitated the people of the South to effect the separation of the states. These were grievances in the sense that they represented anti-slavery sentiment at the North, and Southerners differed only in the extent to which they believed these aggressions represented the attitude of the Northern majority. Those who favored immediate separation were convinced that there was a deep and abiding hatred in the hearts of the Northern people for Southern institutions. Those who counselled deliberation, proposed compromises, and arranged conferences did so because they felt there was still conservative sentiment enough left at the North to join them and relieve the crisis. Just as rapidly as they became convinced that they were wrong in their estimate of the Northern attitude, they became separationists.

Northern antipathy for the Southern people and their institutions had manifested itself in various and more or less active forms, in addition to those already mentioned. Through the three most powerful institutions for the dissemination of propaganda, — the churches, the schools, and the press — the rising generation was being taught that slavery was a barbaric institution, degrading alike to master and slave, and a national dishonor. The separation of the churches had especially tended to alienate the two sections. Speaking before the Virginia convention, John S. Preston of South Carolina said:

This diversity at this moment is appearing not in forms of denominational polemics, but in shapes as bloody and terrible as religion has ever assumed since Christ came to earth. Its representative, the Church, has bared her arm for p116the conflict — her sword is already flashing in the glare of the torch of fanaticism — and the history of the world tells us that when that sword cleaves asunder, no human surgery can heal that wound. There is not one Christian slaveholder here, no matter how near he may be to his meek and lowly master, who does not feel in his heart that from the point of that sword is now dripping the last drop of sympathy which bound him to his brethren at the North. With demoniac rage they have set the Lamb of God between their seed and our seed.2

Denunciations of slavery and slaveholders in the name of Christian morality were not confined to public forums at the North. They were frequent occurrences in Congress, where such prominent members as Sumner, Lovejoy, and Giddings lost no opportunity to annoy and humiliate Southern representatives. The South did not discriminate between the spirit of the Republican slavery repression policy, supported by a veritable flood of hostile oratory and journalistic endeavor, and the open and avowed purpose of the abolitionists. They made no distinction between abolition societies which sent armed bands to the territories to exclude forcibly the slave owner with his property, and a political party which purposed to exclude them by legislative enactment. They did not discriminate between mobs which violently rescued fugitive slaves from government officials, and a political party which had by statutory enactments virtually abrogated the fugitive slave law and denied the right of transit to the slave owner in many Northern states. They did not distinguish between those who eulogized John Brown's band as martyrs, and the governors who refused to surrender the fugitives from justice. Those who favored immediate p117separation made no distinction between men who favored violent methods and the political party they supported; and they regarded the election of Lincoln by substantial majorities as the crowning offence of a party which had for years waged an unrelenting war upon slavery through the media of their literature, schools, legislative halls, and courts.

Those who favored immediate separation did not do so because they expected overt acts from the incoming administration. What they did fear was a subtle campaign to divide the South; an ever increasing effort, in one fashion or another, to array the non-slaveholder against the slaveholder.3

They regarded, therefore, a policy of delay until the incoming administration should commit an overt act as the very quintessence of insipidity. They expected the states of the upper South to become divested rapidly of slaves. Increased activity of the underground railway and the uncertain future value of slave property would suffice to influence slaveholders in those states to dispose of their property in the markets of the lower South. The corresponding increase of slave population in some states would only serve to render the horrors of eventual emancipation p118more terrible; and the abolitionizing of the states of the upper South, coupled with the admission of new free states in the West, would hasten the evil day. Ways were innumerable for sowing dissension, distracting the counsels of the Southern people, and eventually paralyzing resistance to emancipation.4

The immediate secessionists admitted that the election of any man to the presidency by constitutional methods did not constitute just cause for resistance; but they contended that the success of the Republican party constituted more than a change of administration. It represented the triumph of now governmental principles, new constitutional interpretations; and the success of a party which purposed the direction of all the agencies of the federal government to the ultimate extinction of slavery.5 It represented the triumph of a party which regarded the United States as a consolidated nation; and which, acting upon that theory, purposed to proceed to the centralization of power in the federal government, and in one branch of that government, Congress, which was regarded as the judge of the limits of its own powers. Its p119political principles were such as to render a majority in power equivalent to the whole. Its numerical superiority would give it power to annoy and abuse the weaker section continually.6

The immediate separationists did not believe that the Republican party would be disposed to grant concessions;7 nor did they believe Northern sentiment would be changed by congressional action or constitutional amendments. They were not inclined, therefore, to accept mere paper guarantees unless supported by substantial proof of a change of heart among the masses. They wanted the statesmanship of the country freed from its thraldom of intolerance and fanaticism.8 They were disposed to reject any compromises granted as measures of expediency which might be thrust aside when the emergency had passed.9 They demanded a cessation of the perpetual agitation and the insulting taunts to which slaveholders had been subjected. Finally, at no time after the election of Lincoln would they have agreed to less than a self-protecting power in the control of minority interests. Exactly p120what they would have been satisfied with in that respect is not clear; but some new governmental machinery certainly, along the lines of Calhoun's doctrine of concurrent majority.10

The separationists based their right of action upon the theory of state sovereignty. They believed the federal government to have been created by a voluntary union of states, conceived in a spirit of mutual confidence and respect, and inspired by the desire to insure domestic tranquillity by a recognition of equal rights and privileges relative to the diverse interests and institutions of the several sovereign states. Some agreed with President Buchanan that a state had no constitutional right to withdraw from the Union; and they doubted whether that action could be justified on the claim of reserved rights. They regarded secession as revolution, undertaken by the state at its peril; and leaving to the remaining states the decision as to whether policy and expediency justified coercion by their federal government.11 Others based their right to act upon constitutional grounds. They maintained that certain states had expressly reserved, in their articles of ratification, the right to resume all powers of government at their own discretion; and that those reservations were a part of the Constitution, their benefits inuring equally to all the states.12 This interpretation, they contended, gave to each state the right, p121with or without cause, to withdraw from the Union. Others, and by far the great majority, based their action upon what they chose to regard as eternal principles of human rights as expressed in the Declaration of Independence; that the people are the source of all political power, and possess the inalienable right to alter their form of government when it ceases to promote the objects of its creation. All united in denying the existence of a consolidated nation. They believed that sovereign and independent states had fought the Revolutionary War for the right to determine their own social and political institutions. They contended that the sacrifices of that war, in treasure and human life, were expended, not in the interest of a federal government, but "to vindicate and to establish community independence, and the great American idea that all governments rest on the consent of the governed, and that the people may, at their will, alter or abolish their government, however and by whomsoever instituted."13 As one editor put it, "The right to change a government, or to utterly abolish it and to establish a new government, is the inherent right of a free people; and when they are deprived of that right they are no longer free — not a whit more so than the serfs of Russia or the down-trodden millions of Austria."14

Advocates of prompt separation included both those who favored separate state action and one group of coöperationists. During the early phases of the secession movement, up to and including the first week of January, 1861, those who opposed separate state secession were generally known as coöperationists. The term is a most confusing one, and requires explanation to be intelligible. p122In the aggregate, coöperationists desired a convention of delegates from all the Southern states to discuss the existing crisis and agree upon some line of action which would be acceptable to all; but in the motives which prompted their assumed position, there were at least three distinct groups, and it is not always possible to classify properly a particular individual. The first group was heartily in favor of immediate separation from the North, but honestly believed that a conference of all the slave states, followed by concerted action along definite and predetermined lines, held the possibility of greater success than did separate state action. "We intend to resist," said Posey in the Alabama convention. "It is not our purpose to submit to the doctrines asserted at Chicago; but our resistance is based upon consultation, and in unity of action, with the other slave states."15 They believed that separate state action would give rise to a disunited South, and ultimately end in the destruction of the rights they sought to preserve; and that the only way to prevent civil war was to forestall attempted coercion by the demonstration of a united South.

The second group of coöperationists opposed immediate separation because they were more sanguine of the Northern attitude, and refused to relinquish hope of preserving the Union until the sentiment of the Northern people could be tested by presenting guarantees of Southern rights for their endorsement. They desired a conference of Southern states for the purpose of presenting a final ultimatum to the Northern states, to be followed by immediate separation unless satisfactory guarantees were given. Their plan was (1) for each state to hold a convention, draw up a compendium of grievances and proposed p123remedies and send it to the governor of each state; (2) for the delegates of the Southern states to meet in convention, prepare an ultimatum, and send it to the governor of each Northern state, with the request that it be taken under consideration by a convention of the people; and (3) if the Northern people deliberately refused the demands thus made upon them, arrangements for a Southern confederacy should be completed, and separation consummated.16

A third group of coöperationists, although advocating a determined effort to secure a redress of grievances and guarantees against future aggression, would submit to the administration of the federal government by the Republican party until a positive act of aggression should be committed. Some in reality were in favor of no action whatever until the incoming administration should commit an overt act; but they realized the weakness of their position and advocated coöperative action in the hope that the delay necessary to effect concurrent action would permit sufficient time to elapse to prevent the entire movement.

Each of these positions was supported in part by the same arguments against immediate separate state secession, and for that reason only by the most careful analysis of the public utterances and subsequent action of any man can his proper position be determined. The important fact must be remembered, that actually men differed from each other only in the point of time and the conditions on which they would be willing to resort to arms in defense of Southern rights.17

p124 Foremost among the arguments presented in support of a conference of Southern states was, that by no other procedure could Southern unity be preserved. The Southern states and the Southern people were united by a community of interests arising from the institution of slavery; not because all classes shared in the social and economic benefits of institution, but because they dreaded the social equality and racial conflict which would immediately follow emancipation. On the other hand, every one realized that the establishment of an independent Southern confederacy, while insuring the perpetuation of the institution of slavery, would give rise to other questions of public policy with regard to which there was no such unanimity of sentiment. A feeling existed in the states of the upper South, without substantial evidence, that the planting interests intended to force the reopening of the p125African slave trade. The reopening of that trade, it was estimated, would reduce the value of slaves by one third to one half and ruin the slave-producing business of the upper South. The loss would fall heaviest, of course, upon the slave owner; but in a state such as Tennessee, where the taxable value of slave property exceeded $100,000,000, it did not require a shrewd economist to see that ultimately this loss in the aggregate wealth of the state must be distributed, by taxation and the increased difficulty of earning a living, among the poorer, non-slaveholding classes as well.

There was also a diversity of sentiment over the question of free trade; and in this instance the division was not upon social lines. Free trade, while no doubt beneficial to the cotton planter, would be injurious to the sugar planter of Louisiana, to the infant industries of Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Virginia; and would necessitate the raising of revenue by direct taxation, which in some sections would increase the taxes as much as an estimated five hundred per cent.18 Aside from these questions of future public policy, there was the question of possible war with the North. In case the incoming administration refused to acknowledge the independence of those states which might withdraw from the Union and attempted to assert its authority over them, armed conflict was an absolute certainty. The states of the upper South would suffer most from a civil war, and they urged that, if they were to fight for Southern independence, they must first be heard. Louisiana was in the midst of a period of prosperity never before equaled in the history of the state. Before 1860, the commerce of New Orleans p126had steadily increased, doubling regularly every ten years, until one half of the total exports of the Union passed yearly through that port; including $100,000,000 in cotton, $25,000,000 in sugar, and $40,000,000 in other raw products. Economic interests indissolubly bound that state to those of the West and North. From those states, Louisiana dreaded to sever her political connections, and whatever else was done, the Mississippi River must be kept open to free and unrestricted commerce. Conscious of the value of their geographical location, they feared that, in a confederacy of Southern states, they would be forced to contribute toward the elevation of the cities of the Atlantic coast to an artificial rivalry with New York. Furthermore, if the federal government attempted to coerce the South by forcible collection of the revenue, New Orleans would be the first to suffer, being open to attack by no less than five routes from the Gulf and from the upper Mississippi.

What was true of Louisiana was equally true of virtually every other Southern state in some degree; and justice and prudence alike demanded that all the states possessing a community of interests should be consulted in whatever action might be taken.19 Accordingly, those who believed that the Southern states must eventually assert their independence but opposed separate state action, opposed it because they wished to combine every possible element of strength on the side of the South, and because they wished to prevent individual states from adopting an isolated position.

In the second place, they favored coöperative action in p127order that a Southern confederacy, when formed, might be respectable in numbers and resources and fully able to take care of itself. Slavery was peculiar to the South, and the only hope of its preservation against the assaults of Northern and foreign foes alike lay in the fact that fifteen states sanctioned it and were willing to assert their combined power for its protection. No one state, separate and independent of the rest, would long be able to preserve its institutions.20 The Southerners were well aware that hostility to slavery was not confined within the limits of the Northern states. It is true that some of them hoped for a recognition of their independence by Great Britain, but they hoped for it in spite of her pronounced anti-slavery proclivities, and because they expected her material needs to overcome her humanitarian ideals.

Not all Southerners were hopeful of cotton being the determining factor in foreign relationships. The triumph of anti-slavery sentiment in England over the cherished ideal of colonial self-determination and in the face of subsequent ruin and desolation in the West Indies, stood as immutable evidence that no single Southern state which set itself up as the champion of slavery need expect any assistance from that quarter. Secretary of War Floyd, writing to Nathaniel Tyler, editor of the Richmond Enquirer, December 1, 1860, said:

p128 The South can never count upon the friendship of England and of her tolerating evils not her own; once within the reach of her power, she will fix upon us forever the very badge of inferiority which we are ready to destroy the Union for. To sacrifice the interests of a class, or even to starve to death a few hundred thousand of her subjects in what she considers a laudable task, will constitute a very small obstacle in her policy. It is a fatal error to suppose that the interests of England would prompt her to foster the planting interests of the South. It is known that the Prince Consort sat silently by and witnessed the deliberate insult of the American Minister, Mr. Dallas, by a British Peer, before the congregated intelligence of all Christendom, simply because slavery existed in the United States. There is not an Englishman who does not in his heart abhor slavery, if he does not also abhor the country where it exists. England will have margin enough to supply her wants in cotton.21

The second group of coöperationists were in favor of delaying secession until every possible hope of preserving their constitutional rights within the Union was exhausted. They agreed with the immediate separationists in refusing to acknowledge a federal administration along the lines of the Chicago platform, and consequently scorned the idea of quietly acknowledging Republican control of the federal government until some positive act of aggression should be committed. They denied, however, that immediate resumption of independence by separate state action would be any remedy for past grievances. Separation from the Northern states would not blot out remembrance p129of the long-continued campaign of vilification and the often repeated imputations of moral turpitude, nor bring about a change in the hearts of the Northern people; it would not remove the personal liberty laws from the statute books, nor render more certain the return of fugitive slaves; it would not open the territories to the slaveholder, nor provide any other relief from the danger of relative slave increase. On the contrary, the disruption of the Union would relieve the exponents of anti-slavery fanaticism of all constitutional restraints, and give rise to a continued crusade against the institution. Separation was not resistance to the control of the federal government by the Republican party, but simply withdrawal from its consequences. In the last analysis, it would be submission to that party, and a surrender without a struggle of Southern equity in the territories, navy, and other more intangible but none the less valuable interests; and that was a sacrifice which this group of coöperationists was not prepared to make. They favored, therefore, a convention of delegates from each of the Southern states, for the formulation of specific guarantees which they would be willing to accept in the nature of amendments to the federal constitution. If, after having exhausted every possible method of securing guarantees of their constitutional rights, the Northern people continued adamant, they favored immediate Southern independence.22

Governor Magoffin of Kentucky sent to the governors of the slave states on December 9, 1860, an urgent request for a conference of Southern states, and the following p130propositions as a possible basis for constitutional amendments: (1) the repeal of all laws in the free states which nullified or otherwise obstructed the execution of the fugitive slave law; (2) compensation to slave owners for slaves lost through obstruction placed in the way of their recovery; (3) the forced surrender by one state to another of fugitives from justice; (4) the division of the territories on the 37th parallel; all south of that line to eventually be created into slave states and all north into free states; (5) a guarantee of the free navigation of the Mississippi River to every state; and (6) power to be given to the South in the Senate to protect itself from oppressive anti-slavery legislation.23 Other men spoke of additional and slightly different guarantees, of which non-interference with slavery in the District of Columbia, the right of the slaveholder to pass through all states and territories with his slaves, and non-interference with the interstate slave trade were most frequent.

The third group of coöperationists, those who opposed secession until some further act of aggression should be committed, contended that no immediate danger threatened the South. They argued that Lincoln was not an abolitionist; that he was not in harmony with the extremists of his party; and that, if he possessed the courage to abide by his expressed convictions, no serious consequences would follow his inauguration. They further maintained that even if he wished to encroach upon the South, he would be unable to do so, because majorities in both branches of Congress would be against him.24 By p131an analysis of the Lincoln vote they arrived at the conclusion that the political success of the Republican party would not be repeated. One third of his vote they held to have come from men who would welcome the immediate cessation of the slavery agitation, but had been influenced in the previous election by their opposition to the Democracy. Of the remaining two thirds, they declared, not more than one half were so anti-slavery in sentiment as to be willing to adhere to their avowed purposes when presented with the probable disruption of the Union.25

They claimed that the South had many friends at the North who had steadfastly defended their constitutional rights at all times; that the conservative reaction, then in progress, would add to this number a great class of people represented by the Everetts, the Cushings, the Winthrops, the Dickinsons, the Douglases, and others; and that hasty action, in the nature of secession or retaliatory legislation, would force these people, through self-preservation, to unite with those who favored coercive action in maintaining the integrity of the federal Union.26

p132 To this argument, the immediate separationists replied that Lincoln was a politician, who had by his reticence and mental reservations successfully disguised his true position; that he would be unable to resist the pressure of the extremists, even though he might wish to do so; and that, although temporarily handicapped by opposition majorities in Congress, the defeat for reëlection of at least six conservative senators at the North, including Pugh of Ohio and Fitch of Indiana, did not augur well for the future. They acknowledged the existence of many conservative Northern men, but said Hale, "They are utterly powerless, as the late Presidential election unequivocally shows, to breast the tide of fanaticism that threatens to roll over and crush us. With them it is a question of principle, and we award to them all honor for their loyalty to the Constitution of our fathers. But their defeat is not their ruin. With us it is a question of self-preservation — our lives, our property, safety of our homes and hearthstones — all that men hold dear on earth is involved in the issue."27

Believing, however, that the election of Lincoln was not a true indication of the sentiments of the Northern people on the slavery question, and that the elevation of the Republicans to power in the federal government was but temporary, the most conservative group of Southern men sought to delay the disruption of the Union until future events should justify revolutionary action. They did not believe that secession was a constitutional right, nor that it was a reserved right of the states. They may, however, be properly regarded as members of the state-rights p133school of political thought. They agreed that, in case of dispute between a state government and the federal government, neither Congress nor the Supreme Court was the final arbiter. They endorsed the exercise of state interposition; but they did not concede to the state the right of determining its own measures of redress. Neither Congress nor a state, speaking through their delegates to a national convention, should render the ultimate decision in case of dispute. Here was a case where the Republican party, recently elevated to power in the federal government, claimed the right to Congress of abolishing slavery in the territories. That claim was denied by every slaveholding state in the Union. Where was the remedy? They held that Congress must abandon its claims or secure their confirmation by constitutional amendments; and that by no other means could despotism on the one hand, or hopeless confusion and a disruption of the Union on the other, be avoided. They regarded it as the solemn duty of Congress, therefore, in December, 1860, or of the several state legislatures, to provide for a national convention as soon as it became apparent that amendments of such nature as to relieve the situation could not be secured in the usual manner. The Union, to them, was too precious to be sacrificed at the altar of fanaticism, passion, or prejudice. It was not a partnership in a material sense alone, and its dissolution would be accompanied by evils commensurate with the blessings it had dispensed. Civil war, if not immediate, would eventually follow dissolution; and civil war would mean fraternal strife, servile insurrection, destruction of life and property, business depression, oppressive taxation, misrule, and military tyranny. "It would wrench apart the tenderly entwined affections of millions p134of hearts, making it a crime in the North to have been born in the South, and a crime in the South to have been born in the North," and destroy a spiritual heritage obtained through many generations which rightfully belonged to the millions yet to be born.28

Among those who favored separate state action, the Alabama commissioners expressed a forthright opinion that the Constitution forbade united action but did not prohibit separate state secession.29 Others — Yancey, Pettus, and Rhett followers — believed separation absolutely essential for the preservation of Southern institutions, and chose separate state action as the plan most likely to succeed. Coöperation necessitated delay; and the more complete the Southern organization by March 4, the less the possibility of attempted coercion. South Carolina and Mississippi had tried, early in 1860, to bring the states into line for coöperative action and had failed. They now planned to secure immediate separate state secession in one or more states, following which the remaining states would be forced to choose between seceding with friendly states or remaining under a hostile government, and perchance, assisting in coercion.30 The latter contingency p135would be certain to minimize opposition in the states of the upper South.

This policy, however, presented one major difficulty. Southern unity must be preserved and jealousies and mistrust among the states avoided. The problem was how to proceed on the basis of separate state secession, yet at the same time secure concurrent action and a free interchange of opinion. The governors of Alabama and Mississippi solved the problem by the appointment of interstate commissioners and, when the practical value of the plan became apparent, conventions in other states followed their example.31

These commissioners received their appointments previous to the assembling of any convention in a Southern state and, together with those from South Carolina and Georgia, constituted the diplomatic service of the secession movement. They went to every slave state to urge governors to convene extra sessions of the legislatures, to influence legislatures to provide for conventions, to advocate secession before conventions and, where necessary, before the people in state-wide canvasses. They supplied the governors of their respective states with valuable information on the status of public opinion in those states to which they were accredited. They received dispatches from headquarters concerning the general state of affairs elsewhere, and presented them to the authorities of those p136states in which they were working. Briefly, while many men were urging a conference of states for coöperative action, the commissioners were effecting coöperation without conference and its attendant danger of delay. Through their efforts, each state was able to secede as soon as public opinion was ready for it; and public officials and conventions were constantly aware of conditions in other states. In the seven states of the lower South, they were largely bearers of dispatches and organizers of a confederacy. They added to those important functions, in the states of the upper South, a final effort to convince the people that the preservation of Southern institutions and Southern independence were inseparable.

Alabama and Mississippi were prevented by untoward circumstances from initiating the secession movement, and by the same circumstances South Carolina was thrust into the position of nominal leadership. This situation was generally recognized in the South at the time.32 Following the Harper's Ferry incident, the legislatures in these two states had appropriated funds for military purposes.33 Alabama, anticipating by nearly a year the election of a Republican President, had instructed Governor Moore in that event to order an election of delegates to a state convention.34 p137Governor Moore was an ardent secessionist but a tenacious constitutionalist, and he withheld his proclamation until after a majority of the electoral votes had been cast for Lincoln, thus delaying action in that state by nearly a month.35 Doubtless, his devotion to constitutional form, like that of the Alabama commissioners, was strengthened by the exigencies of the secession program. A few weeks' delay did much to soften the bitterness of the presidential canvass and, considering the rapidity with which secession sentiment gained ground, may have been the determining factor in the ultimate action of the state convention.

Unlike Alabama, Mississippi had attempted, in conjunction with South Carolina, to secure a conference of Southern states following the Harper's Ferry incident; and had made no provision for a state convention. The next regular session of the state legislature was to begin on the first Monday of January, 1861. It was necessary, therefore, for Governor Pettus to convene an extra session of that body in order to secure authorization for a convention. He had received meanwhile an admonition from Governor Gist of South Carolina not to ask "for a Southern Council, as the Border and non-acting States would outvote us and thereby defeat action."36 At his invitation, the Mississippi congressmen met with him at Jackson, recommended the immediate secession of the state, p138and requested that South Carolina be urged to make her ordinance of secession effective immediately upon passage.37 An immense mass meeting of men from all political parties met at Jackson, November 13, and adopted a series of resolutions endorsing the proclamation of Governor Pettus, advocating resistance to the administration of the federal government by the Republican party, and pledging support to any state against which coercive measures might be attempted.38 The legislature passed, unanimously and without debate, a bill providing for a convention on January 7, 1861,39 and a series of resolutions urging separate state secession by all slave states.40

Of all the states in 1860, South Carolina was the only one in which the presidential electors were still chosen by vote of the legislature. That body, having cast the vote of the state for Breckinridge, decided to remain in session until the result of the election should become known. The action was regarded by all as an indication that a state convention would be called in event of Lincoln's election, and an attempt was made by the conservative members to postpone action by adjourning to the next regular session. Public sentiment, however, was too strong, and the first, in fact the only, show of resistance met defeat. The night preceding this decision by the legislature, a great mass meeting was held at Charleston. Senator Chestnut, Barnwell Rhett, Ex-Governor Adams, and Governor Gist spoke, and each advocated immediate p139separate state secession. The populace was enthusiastic, and apparently there were few conservative men in the state. Writing to Governor Pettus the following day, Gist said: "If your Legislature gives us the least assurance that you will go with us, there will not be the slightest difficulty, and I think we will go out at any rate."41 It was the desire of the South Carolina leaders that Mississippi should secede first, but the legislature was not in session in that state and could not act for some time. In the meantime anything might happen, with the conservative men both North and South grasping at every possible hope of compromise. South Carolina's legislature was in session, a convention could be called quickly, and the movement would be under way. The situation was ideal, and from every side South Carolina was urged to act among other things. The legislature, therefore, ordered an election for December 6. The delegates were to assemble in convention at Columbia on December 17. During the interval, the Mississippi and Alabama commissioners received their appointments.

Three days before the South Carolina convention assembled, John A. Elmore, commissioner from Alabama, arrived at Columbia. He was followed the next day by C. E. Hooker, commissioner from Mississippi, and shortly thereafter by Henry Dickinson, commissioner from Mississippi to Delaware, J. W. Garrott, commissioner from Alabama to North Carolina, by Governor Perry of Florida, and by most men of prominence from all parts of the South. Elmore and Hooker had both been instructed to advise secession on the part of South Carolina without waiting for other states to act. Their headquarters at the p140hotel became the meeting place for a free interchange of opinion. They interviewed practically every man of prominence in the legislature and the assembling convention. They freely guaranteed the secession of Mississippi and Alabama, and disseminated the already widely accepted opinion "that the only course to unite the Southern states in any plan of coöperation which could promise safety was for South Carolina to take the lead and secede at once from the Federal Union without delay or hesitation. . . ."42 On the evening of the first day of the convention, Hooker and Elmore addressed the body in public session. Hooker declared the right of the people to abolish a government which had exceeded its authority as beyond dispute. The issue had passed the stage of argument as indicated by the calm and unanimous manner in which the Mississippi legislature had provided for her convention and for commissioners to other states. Formerly, the leaders of Mississippi had hoped that South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and Alabama might act simultaneously, but since accidental circumstances had caused South Carolina's convention to assemble in advance of the other states, to delay action now would "have a tendency to throw a damper upon the South and Southwest."43

An epidemic of smallpox having broken out in Columbia, the convention adjourned to Charleston; and on Thursday, December 20, the ordinance of secession was passed by a unanimous vote. There was nothing elaborate about the ordinance itself; it simply repealed the act p141of May 23, 1788, by which South Carolina had ratified the Constitution, repealed all acts ratifying amendments to the same, and declared the union between South Carolina and other states dissolved. After the ordinance was passed, South Carolina was declared by the president, D. F. Jameson, to be an independent sovereignty, and the convention proceeded to the organization of her government as such.

Meanwhile, a resolution providing for the sending of commissioners to each slave state was adopted by the convention. The commissioners to Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas were elected on January 2, 1861. No one received a majority of the votes cast for the missions to Georgia and Texas, and those commissioners, together with those to Florida and North Carolina, received their appointments at a later date.44 The commissioners were instructed to proceed to the states to which they were accredited and present a copy of South Carolina's ordinance of secession to the highest constituted authorities of such states. They were to offer, to such states as might secede, the Constitution of the United States as a basis for a provisional government in the formation of a Southern confederacy. The committee on relations with slaveholding states, in recommending the existing constitution as a workable basis for a provisional government, declared it to be the work of master minds and sufficient as to details if interpreted honestly and administered impartially. Many people of the South held a veneration for the instrument, were familiar with its provisions, and would feel safe under it as construed by the South. The committee further felt that no better instrument p142could be devised in the short time allowed by the circumstances for the formation of a provisional government. They felt that it would allay any suspicions of selfish designs on the part of South Carolina; and believed that Europe would regard such a form of government as "competent to produce a prompt organization for internal necessities, and a sufficient protection of foreign commerce."45 The commissioners met in Charleston the day following their appointment, and agreed upon the first Monday in February as a date to propose to other states for holding the Southern convention.46

The first step in the movement for Southern independence and the formation of a confederacy had been accomplished with but little opposition. Meanwhile, the legislatures in Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana had provided state conventions.

The Georgia legislature assembled in regular session at Milledgeville, November 8, 1860. Governor Joseph E. Brown recommended retaliatory legislation against the Northern states. His plan was for the legislature to enact laws authorizing the seizure of property of any citizens of states responsible for loss incurred by Georgia's citizens, and provide a tax of 25 per cent on all goods from states which refused to repeal their unfriendly legislation. He believed that this procedure would strengthen rather than weaken the Union by destroying the sectional controversy and narrowing the issue to a contest between states. He defended the right of peaceable secession, and expressed the opinion that if the Southern states would meet in convention and withdraw as a unit there would p143be no war. He urged the legislature to call a convention as soon as it was ascertained that the Republicans had won the presidential election, and asked for an appropriation of $1,000,000 for military purposes.47

Excitement in the state was intense, but the legislature was far from unanimous on any course of procedure.48 Alexander H. Stephens, his brother, Linton Stephens, Benjamin Hill, and Herschel V. Johnson were the foremost leaders against separate state action. Senator Robert Toombs, T. R. R. Cobb, and Governor Joseph E. Brown were their most powerful antagonists. The contest in the legislature reached its climax in the struggle between Toombs and Stephens over the question of immediate secession or delay and coöperation. Toombs addressed an assembly of the two houses on November 13, advocating immediate action. It was a magnificent defense of Southern rights. He believed that the Northern people had subverted the fundamental principles of the federal government, and closed the door to all compromise and conciliation; that the ultimate object of the Republican party, foreshadowed by many acts of hostility, was the abolition of the institution of slavery; and that guarantees from men who had already violated their plighted faith to uphold the Constitution were worthless.49 The following day Stephens delivered one of the greatest speeches p144of his career in answer to Toombs. He did not deny the right of secession, but hoped that it would not be necessary. His plan was to call a state convention, coöperate with the other Southern states in attempting to secure a repeal of the unfriendly statutes of the Northern states, and resist the first unconstitutional act of the incoming administration. Stephens was standing upon the Georgia platform; and the difference between Toombs and himself was not essential so far as the action of the legislature in calling a convention was concerned. Toombs wanted immediate action, and was quite willing to have the legislature take the state out of the Union. Stephens felt that there was no immediate danger, because Congress would be controlled by the opponents of Lincoln; that there was some slight hope of adjusting the difficulties; and, above all, that whatever action was taken should be by a state convention. Stephens had faith in a convention; Toombs was afraid of it.50 Three days later the legislature definitely decided upon an aggressive policy, and appropriated $1,000,000 to arm the state. At the same time it passed an act providing for an election, January 2, of delegates to meet in convention on January 16, 1861. The act gave to the convention the power "to consider all grievances impairing or affecting the equality of rights of the people of Georgia as members of the United States, and to determine the mode, measure, and time of redress."51

In none of the other states of the lower South was there any difficulty in securing provision for state conventions except Texas, where the refusal of Governor p145Houston to convene the legislature forced extra legalº procedure on the part of the secessionists.52

The program outlined and put into operation by the governors of Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina created actual working majorities of immediate separate state secessionists in all of the cotton states, and left little for the opposition to contend for except methods of procedure. Sanguine of something being accomplished and Congress, they urged that secession ordinances be made effective as of March 4, or that they be submitted to the people for ratification. They were not seeking by dilatory tactics to prevent Southern action. That point can scarcely be overemphasized. They were seeking a sense of security with respect to persons and property, the loss of which in the Union was responsible for the existing agitation at the South, and without which no new government could long survive. The action of South Carolina was regarded by many as overhasty, perhaps eccentric, but as a typical manifestation of the prevailing sentiment in the cotton states.


The Author's Notes:

1 A complete analysis of the personal liberty laws of the sixteen Northern states may be found in the "Report of the Committee on the Harper's Ferry Outrage, to the Legislature Virginia" in [McCabe], Facts versus Fancies, 23‑28.

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2 Addresses delivered before the Virginia State Convention by Hon. Fulton Anderson, Commissioner from Mississippi, Hon. Henry L. Benning, Commissioner from Georgia, and Hon. John S. Preston, commissioner from South Carolina, February, 1861, 61.

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3 "We have been fighting against abolitionism at the North; and, as a contest of sections within the Union, we have lost the battle. Let us beware of the day when the struggle shall be transferred to our own soil; when the slavery question shall cease to be a sectional question, and shall become a domestic question; when the armies of our enemies will be recruited from our own forces." The Daily Delta, New Orleans, November 1, 1860. "The great lever by which the abolitionists hope to extirpate slavery in the States is the aid of non-slaveholding citizens in the South. They hope and propose to array one class of our citizens against the other, limit the defense of slavery to those pecuniarily interested and thereby eradiateº it." The Kentucky Statesman, Lexington, October 5, 1860. See, also, Richmond Enquirer, July 10, 1860; and the Daily Courier, Louisville, October 5, 1860.

Thayer's Note: One is instantly reminded of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "When today the synagogues are set afire, tomorrow the churches will burn." And sure enough, having concurred in voiding the rights of Southern states, not by Constitutional measures but by the force of arms, the northern states were to realize too late that they would reap what they sowed: the steady erosion of state rights and individual liberty in favor of big government.

Where Jackson had for the most part failed, Lincoln, taking advantage of the clear, undoubted moral high ground that slavery was an evil — I don't side with the South, and am amazed that honorable men could ever have defended slavery — would succeed by using military coercion. The impression I am left with is not so much that Lincoln wished to free the slaves, but that he wished to consolidate big government, as indeed some people started to foresee in this same mid‑19c (see pp118‑121). Eventually, Franklin Roosevelt, another president with dictatorial propensities, would crown the edifice. Americans now take for granted a state of affairs that the founders of this country would have considered an abomination.

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4 The Frankfort Commonwealth, January 23, 1861; Richmond Semi-Weekly Examiner, November 16, 1860; New Orleans Daily Crescent, December 14, 1860; the Daily Courier, Louisville, October 12, 1860; Benjamin, Remarks in the Senate, December 31, 1860, Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., I, 217; The Review, Charlottesville, January 4, 1861.

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5 There is abundant evidence that it was so regarded by the Republicans themselves. See Doolittle to Selleck, November 16, 1860, quoted by Lane, December 5, 1860, Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., I, 9; Hale, Remarks in the Senate, December 5, 1860, ibid., 10. For the Southern attitude, see Curry to Hicks, December 28, 1860, in Smith, The History and Debates of the Convention of the People of Alabama . . . 1861, 404; Wigfall, Remarks in the Senate, December 12, 1860, Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., I, 73; Richmond Semi-Weekly Examiner, December 4, 1860; The Kentucky Statesman, January 6, 1860; Daily Chronicle and Sentinel, Augusta, March 8, 1860; Nashville Union and American, September 30, 1860; The Daily True Delta, New Orleans, October 12, 1860.

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6 "The government will be the minister of the orders of a numerical majority of the whole people, not the agent of the States. . . . No change can be effected in the action of the Government, except by an appeal to this majority at the elections held for Federal officers. . . . The supreme despotism of numbers will know no restraint but its own will, use no ministers but its own appointees, have no policy but that devised by its own agents dependent for bread and place on its pleasure. The reign of national demagogues will be inaugurated." Richmond Semi-Weekly Examiner, November 9, 1860; see, also, The Daily South Carolinian, Columbia, December 24, 1860.

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7 The Daily Herald, Wilmington, February 6, 1861; The New Orleans Bee, April 21, 1860; The Daily Picayune, New Orleans, January 19, 1861; Richmond Enquirer, December 18, 1860; the Daily Courier, Louisville, December 19, 1860.

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8 The Daily Picayune, New Orleans, December 4, 1860; Nashville Daily Patriot, February 19, 1861.

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9 The Daily Herald, Wilmington, January 7, 1861; New Orleans Daily Crescent, February 14, 1861; The Daily Picayune, November 25, 1860.

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10 Richmond Semi-Weekly Examiner, November 13, 1860; The New Orleans Bee, November 19, 1860; The Daily Picayune, December 20, 1860; The Daily South Carolinian, Columbia, December 24, 1860.

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11 Buchanan, "Fourth Annual Message," in A Compilation of the Papers of the Presidents, 1789‑1897 (James D. Richardson, ed.), V, 623‑659; Iverson, Remarks in the Senate, December 5, 1860, Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., I, 10‑12.

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12 Wigfall of Texas, Remarks in the Senate, December 5, 1860, Cong. Globe, 36 Cong., 2 Sess., 13.

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13 Davis of Mississippi, Remarks in the Senate, December 10, 1860, ibid., 29.

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14 New Orleans Daily Crescent, November 13, 1860.

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15 Smith, op. cit., 27; see, also, Remarks by Clemens, ibid., 28‑29.

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16 "Speech of Joseph W. Taylor at Eutaw, Alabama, December 1, 1860," in the Republican Banner, Nashville, December 25, 1860; Magoffin to Hale, December 28, 1860, in Smith, op. cit., 384‑389.

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17 This fact is clearly indicated by the following statements from leading newspapers of each of the three political parties: "The parties in the South were contending with one another for possession of the Government. They were not contending about Lincoln's self-government. . . . The mass of the supporters of Bell and Douglas never did sanction the ultra federal doctrines, and the idea of submission to a sectional government, whatever some of the leaders may have done." Richmond Semi-Weekly Examiner, November 16, 1860. "We began our career with the recommendation of Breckinridge or Hunter for the Presidency; defended Douglas from falsehood, supported him and our own Johnson from a sense of duty and party obligation . . . never endorsed the Territorial views of Douglas or doubted the right of secession; stood pledged to abide by the vote of our section. . . . Why should not Southern rights men of 1850 and Douglas men of 1860 rally now to this movement which looks to independence out of the union?" The Daily Constitutionalist, Augusta, December 5, 1860. "We regret to see any attempt to create the impression that there is a division of opinion at the South. The Union ought to be preserved, if possible. Every opportunity ought to be given the misguided men of the North to recede from their intention to put the South under the ban of political and social inferiority. . . . If they still persist, and the issue is precipitated upon us, Governor Moore ought to know that the Southern supporters of Bell and Everett will be as true as his own party in their own defense." New Orleans Daily Crescent, October 18, 1860.

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18 The Republican Banner, Nashville, December 4, 1860; The Daily True Delta, New Orleans, November 20, 1860; Edwin H. Ewing to Alexander H. Stephens, November 28, 1860, in the Republican Banner, November 29, 1860.

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19 "Speech of Joseph W. Taylor at Eutaw, Alabama," in the Republican Banner, Nashville, December 25, 1860; Edwin H. Ewing to Alexander H. Stephens, December 3, 1860, in ibid., December 4, 1860; Magoffin to Hale, December 28, 1860, in Smith, op. cit., 386; Houston to Calhoun, January 7, 1861, Official Records . . . Armies, Series IV, Vol. I, 72‑76.

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20 "The Constitution of the United States recognizes and protects slavery. . . . Hence, for years, the Abolitionists have hated and cursed the Constitution of the United States, because that alone stood in the way of their fiendish purposes. . . . Dissolve this Union on the slave line, let all the Northern States become a united anti-slavery power, aiding and abetting instead of restraining and overawing the abolitionism of Europe, and where would American slavery be?" Louisville Daily Journal, January 26, 1861. See, also, Republican Banner, Nashville, January 26, 1861; The Daily Picayune, October 31, 1860; and Speech of Joseph W. Taylor at Eutaw, Alabama, in Republican Banner, December 25, 1860.

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21 Floyd to Tyler, December 1, 1860, in the Republican Banner, Nashville, December 8, 1860. How substantially correct this prophecy was may be seen from confidential letter of Yancey, who, while in London as the agent of the Confederate States, gave as one of the reasons for his failure to secure recognition, "The anti-slavery sentiment is universal. 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' has been read and believed." Yancey to Reid, July 3, 1861, in Letters and Papers of William L. Yancey.

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22 Claiborne F. Jackson to General Shields, December [image ALT: an underscored blank], 1860, in Smith, op. cit., 406‑408; R. M. Stewart to A. B. Moore, December 30, 1860, ibid., 411‑412; Magoffin to Hale, December 28, 1860, ibid., 386‑387; Governor Letcher to Virginia Legislature, January 7, 1861, in The New Orleans Bee, January 12, 1861; The Daily Picayune, New Orleans, October 31, 1860.

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23 Magoffin, "Letter to the Governors of the Slave States," in the Nashville Union and American, December 16, 1860.

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24 Ex-Governor Neill S. Brown to A. Milman, A. C. Beech, E. Cunningham, W. S. Cheatam, and others, December 10, 1860, in the Republican Banner, Nashville, December 13, 1860; Robert A. Barrow to William Creevy, H. E. Castellanos, J. Dunlap, and others, December 10, 1860, in The Daily True Delta, December 16, 1860. The estimated strength of the Republican and combined opposition parties in the Thirty-seventh Congress, as compiled by the opponents of immediate secession, was as follows:

Senate

House

Republicans Opposition Republicans Opposition
Elected 24 30 99 54
To be elected 5 7 9 75
Opposition majority 8 21
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25 Bell to Burwell, December 6, 1860, in the Republican Banner, Nashville, December 8, 1860; "Speech of Joseph W. Taylor at Eutaw, Alabama," in ibid., December 25, 1860.

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26 Magoffin to Hale, December 28, 1860, in Smith, op. cit., 386‑387; Edwin H. Ewing to Alexander H. Stephens, December 3, 1860, in the Republican Banner, Nashville, December 4, 1860; Houston to Calhoun, January 7, 1861; Official Records . . . Armies, Series IV, Vol. I, 72‑76.

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27 Hale to Magoffin, December 27, 1860, in Smith, op. cit., 380; see, also, Remarks by Brown of Mississippi, Benjamin, and Pugh in the Senate, December 10, 1860, Cong. Globe, 36 Cong, 2 Session, I, 33‑34; and The Daily Picayune, New Orleans, January 19, 1861.

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28 North Carolina Standard, Raleigh, July 11, 1860; Republican Banner, Nashville, December 18, 1860; The Daily Herald, Wilmington, December 11, 1860; Richmond Semi-Weekly Examiner, December 14, 1860; The Daily True Delta, New Orleans, November 23, 1860.

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29 Curry to Hicks, December 28, 1860, in Smith, op. cit., 401; A. B. Moore to Elmore, Phelan, Pettus, and others, November 14, 1860, in ibid., 409‑411; Clopton to Burton, January 1, 1861, Official Records . . . Armies, Series IV, Vol. I, 34‑38.

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30 The work of the interstate commissioners presents unmistakable evidence that the leaders of the movement had so analyzed the situation. See Elmore to Moore, January 5, 1861, Official Records . . . Armies, Series IV, Vol. I, 20. Curry and Pugh to Brooks, January 10, 1861, ibid., 46‑47; Harris to Pettus, December 31, 1860, Journal of the Mississippi State Convention . . . 1861, 197.

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31 The legislature of Mississippi, November 30, 1860, instructed Governor Pettus to send commissioners to each slave state, using his own judgment as to the number to be sent. Governor Moore appointed commissioners to each slave state upon his own responsibility, but with the knowledge and urgent request of many prominent men of the state. See Legislature of the State of Mississippi, "Resolutions providing for the Appointment of Commissioners," in Journal of the Public and Secret Proceedings of the Convention of the People of Georgia . . . 1861, 318; and Commission of John Gill Shorter as State Commissioner from Alabama, in ibid., 308.

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32 Shorter to Brown, January 3, 1861, Official Records . . . Armies, Series IV, Vol. I, 16; McQueen, "Address Before the Texas Secession Convention, February 1, 1861," in Journal of the Secession Convention of Texas, 50‑52; A. P. Calhoun, "Address to the Alabama Convention, January 8, 1861," in Smith, op. cit., 31.

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33 In his message to the legislature, January 14, 1861, Moore reported that during the year he had purchased with the appropriation 9,000 stand of small arms, 10 brass rifled cannon, 2 columbiads, 20,000 pounds of lead, 20,000 pounds of powder, and 1,500,000 caps. Moore to House of Representatives, Official Records . . . Armies, Series IV, Vol. I, 47‑52. Sixty-five companies of militia were organized in Mississippi during the ensuing year, but few arms were purchased. Attorney General Sykes to Governor Pettus, January 18, 1861, ibid., 61‑68.

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34 "Joint Resolutions of the Alabama Legislature, February 24, 1860," in Smith, op. cit., 9‑10; Shorter to Brown, January 3, 1861, Official Records . . . Armies, Series IV, Vol. I, 15‑17; Weekly Mississippian, Jackson, November 7, 1860.

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35 In his proclamation as eventually issued he named December 24 as the date for the election and January 7, 1861, for the assembling of the convention. See Moore to Elmore, Phelan, Pettus, and others, in Smith, op. cit., 13‑17.

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36 Gist to Pettus, November 8, 1860, Official Correspondence of Governor John J. Pettus, 1859‑1860.

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37 Davis, Recollections of Mississippi and Mississippians, 390‑392.

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38 "A Union of Parties in Mississippi for the Sake of the South," in Weekly Mississippian, November 21, 1860.

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39 "Mississippi Convention Bill, November 29, 1860," in Journal of the . . . Proceedings of the Convention of the People of Georgia . . . 1861, 312‑314.

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40 "Resolutions of the State of Mississippi, declaring Secession to be the proper Remedy for the Southern States," in Weekly Mississippian, December 5, 1860.

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41 Gist to Pettus, November 6, 1860, Official Correspondence of Governor John J. Pettus, 1859‑1860.

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42 E. W. Pettus to A. B. Moore, December 12, 1860, in Smith, op. cit., 420‑422; Elmore to A. B. Moore, January 5, 1861, Official Records . . . Armies, Series IV, Vol. I, 19‑22.

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43 Hooker, "Address before the South Carolina Convention, December 17, 1860," Journal of the Mississippi State Convention . . . 1861, 174; The Charleston Mercury, December 19, 1860.

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44 Journal of . . . the Convention of the People of South Carolina . . . 1861, 36‑37, 103‑104.

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45 Convention of South Carolina, Report and Resolutions from the Committee on Relations with Slaveholding States.

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46 A. P. Calhoun, "Address to the Alabama Convention, January 8, 1861," in Smith, op. cit., 33.

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47 Governor Joseph E. Brown, "Message to the Legislature of Georgia," in the Weekly Mississippian, November 21, 1860; see, also, Fielder, A Sketch of the Life and Times and Speeches of Joseph E. Brown, 168‑169.

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48 The political classification of the two houses of the legislature was uncertain, but on joint ballot the Constitutional Democrats had approximately 200; the Constitutional Unionists, 80; and the Douglas Democrats, 25.

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49 "Speech of Hon. Robert Toombs delivered before the Legislature of Georgia," in the Daily Missouri Republican, December 20, 1860.

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50 "Speech of Hon. A. H. Stephens, delivered in the Hall of the House of Representatives of Georgia, Wednesday Evening, November 14, 1860" in the Daily Missouri Republican, November 26, 1860.

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51 "The Georgia Convention Bill," in the Weekly Mississippian, November 28, 1860.

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52 For the attitude of Houston, see Crane, Life and Select Literary Remains of Sam Houston of Texas, II, 60. The details of the method by which a convention was secured are given in Journal of the Secession Convention of Texas, 1861, 9‑14.


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