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ilization and intelligence, so I show indifference to any of the great, complicated far as to be able to settle all interests and relations with which she was surcontroversies and issues in- rounded. volving political rights, by an appeal to reason, interest, to free discussion, to Conventions, to treaties and covenants, rather than by an appeal to brutal force.
"True, we have encountered misrepresentation and abuse, and for a people so small in numbers as we are to make such an issue as we did, was full of danger and difficulty.
"But no people are fit to be free, unless they are able to treat denunciation with indifference, and to meet danger with fortitude.
"From peculiar circumstances, South Carolina was called on to take the first step in this march to independence. She had to encounter the first shock in the bitterness and fierce passions of our opponents. Those who had mastered the power of the
Government, and were fondly gazing on the rich and ripe fruit supposed to be just within their grasp, naturally felt exasperated in disappointment, caused by this State interposing to arrest them in their lawless career of mad ambition and wild fanaticism. For a period we were surrounded with great difficulties, and threatened with danger that appeared imi
“As far as the Executive is concerned, I always considered that the peculiar mission of this State was, by a firm and temperate course, to lay the
foundation of the Confederacy of States, homogeneous in feeling and interest, with such institutions and domestic civilization as would unite them in one common destiny, with a government devoted to their peace and safety, and with no interest to produce the slightest aggression upon other people; but deeply interested to develop those productions that are so largely demanded in the peaceful pursuits of mankind, and entering so largely into the comforts and progressive civilization of the world.
"When this State first withdrew from the Federal Union, I felt that we bore, on one side, critical relations to the Confederacy we had left, and also very delicate and peculiar relations to those Slave States which constituted the border of the Southern States; and we had still higher and more sacred duties and relations toward our sister States of the South, who were expected nobly to come to our side in the formation of a new Confederacy.
"When your illustrious body adjourned, you saw the State standing alone, surrounded with peril, and clouds resting upon the future. Under the kind dispensations of a superintending Providence, I am now able to present her to you under a brighter day, surrounded by other States rich in their resources, with their brave and patriotic sons standing as a guard in the portals of a new Temple, reared by our common counsels, and dedicated to the separate sovereignty of free and independent States.
"F. W. PICKENS."
This Message, while it gives us an interesting view of the Southern view of the revolution, also proves that its author, one of the most outwardly belligerent of Secessionists, really regarded the state of peace as as
sured. The same assurance was extended to the people by the Montgomery Congress in its appointment of Commissioners to Washington, to negotiate for the amicable settlement of all old relations, and the friendly arrangement of new relations between the two Gòvernments. [See their communication to the Secretary of State, pages 16–17, Vol. II.]
It is not necessary to re
mark upon the singular The Dosire for Peace. presumption on which this confidence in "peace and good will” rested: the "Memorandum" of Mr. Seward [see pages 17-18,] will answer on this point; but, that the intelligent people of the South not only hoped for peace but also deprecated a state of war, we assume to be conclusive, despite the offensive attitude of affairs. The fact of men being in arms-of the investment of Forts Pickens and Sumter-of the thorough military organization of States, were the outward means to intimidate the North-to
the Southerners were necessary to give the conquer a peace;" and, in the opinion of appearance of power to the new Government. But, the better class of citizens, even where they had espoused the cause of secession, shrunk from the terrors and disabilities of actual war as too fearful a price for the mere change of their national capital from Washington to Montgomery; and, if the forces called into the field were ever used to precipitate the conflict, the people were powerless before the Star Chamber tyranny of the
Mr. Stephens' Exposition.
Mr. Stephens' Exposition.
ture of the Constitution* | pire. France, in round numgiving Cabinet Ministers bers, has but 212,000 square and Heads of Departments miles. Austria, in round numthe privilege of seats on the floors of Con- bers, has 248,000 square miles. Ours is greater than gress; to the tenure of the Presidential term of both combined. It is greater than all France, Spain, office; and followed with his allusions to the Portugal, and Great Britain, including England, Ireland, and Scotland, together. In population we Slave-feature as incorporated in the Constitu- have upward of five millions—according to the cention, pronouncing the sentiment that freedom to the negro was a wrong-that the social fabric of the States was founded upon Slavery —that Slavery was the corner-stone of the new edifice. [See pages 30-31, Vol. I., for his words on this point.] He continued :"I have been asked, what of the future? It has been apprehended by some that we would have arrayed against us the civilized world. I care not who or how many they may be, when we stand upon the eternal principles of truth, we are obliged and must triumph.
"Thousands of people, who begin to understand these truths, are not yet completely out of the shell; they do not see them in their length and breadth. We hear much of the civilization and Christianization of the barbarous tribes of Africa. In my judgment those ends will never be attained, but by first teaching them the lesson taught to Adam, that 'in the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat bread,' and teaching them to work, and feed and clothe themselves.
But, to pass on. Some have propounded the inquiry: Whether it is practicable for us to go on with the Confederacy, without further accessions. Have we the means and ability to maintain nationality among the powers of earth? On this point I would barely say, that as anxious as we all have been, and are, for the Border States, with institutions similar with ours, to join us, still, we are abundantly able to maintain our position, even if they should ultimately make up their minds not to cast their destiny with ours. That they ultimately will join us, be compelled to do it, is my confident belief; but, we can get on very well without them, even if they should not.
"We have all the essential elements of a high national career. The idea has been given out at the North, and even in the Border States, that we are too small and too weak to maintain a separate nationality. This is a great mistake. In extent of territory we embrace 560,000 square miles and upward. This is upward of 200,000 square miles more than was included within the limits of the original thirteen States. It is an area of country more than double the territory of France or the Austrian em
sus of 1860; this includes white and black. The entire population, including white and black, of the original thirteen States, was less than 4,000,000 in 1790, and still less in '76, when the independence of our fathers was achieved. If they, with a less population, dared maintain their independence against the greatest power on earth, shall we have any apprehension of maintaining ours now?
"In point of material wealth and resources, we are greatly in advance of them. The taxable property of the Confederate States cannot be less than $22,000,000,000. This, I think I venture but little in saying, may be considered as five times more than the Colonies possessed at the time they achieved their independence. Georgia alone possessed, last year, according to the report of the Comptroller-General, $672,000,000 of taxable property. The debts of the seven Confederate States sum up, in the aggregate, less than $18,000,000; while the existing debts of the other of the late United States sum up, in the aggregate, the enormous amount of $174,000,000. This is without taking into account the heavy city, corporation, and railroad debts, which press, and will continue to press, a heavy incubus upon the resources of those States. These debts, added to others, make a sum total not much under $500,000,000. With such an area of territory-with such an amount of population-with a climate and soil unsurpassed by any on the face of the earth—with such resources already at our command—with productions which control the commerce of the world-who can entertain any apprehensions as to our success, whether others join us or not?
"I believe I state but the common sentiment, when I declare my earnest desire that the Border States should join us. The difference of opinion that existed among us anterior to secession, related more to the policy in securing that result by cooperation, than from any difference upon the ultiThese mate security we all looked to in common. differences of opinion were more in reference to policy than principle; and, as Mr. Jefferson said in his Inaugural, in 1801, after the heated contest preceding his election, there might be differences in opinion without differences on principle,' and that 'all, to some extent, had been Federalists, and all
* For the Constitution, at length, see Appendix, Republicans;' so it may now be said of us, that, Vol. I, pages 513–20.
whatever differences of opinion as to the best policy
in having a co-operation with our Border sister | But, if we become divided-if schisms arise-if disSlave States, if the worst come to the worst, that sensions spring up-if factions are engendered-if as we are all co-operationists, we are now all for party spirit, nourished by unholy personal ambiindependence, whether they come or not." tion, shall rear its hydra head, I have no good to prophesy for you. Without intelligence, virtue, integrity, and patriotism on the part of the people, no republic or representative government can be durable or stable.
Mr. Stephens' Expoisition.
The speaker then congratulated the Southern people that the revolution had been bloodless, and promised so to be —a statement which he felt constrained to make, in order to throw the responsibility of hostilities upon the Federal authorities, and thus to render the cause of the South just in the eyes of the conservative classes. He said: “I was not without grave and serious apprehension, that, if the worst came to the worst, and cutting loose from the old Government would be the only remedy for our safety and security, it would
"We have intelligence, and virtue, and patriotism. All that is required is to cultivate and perpetuate these. Intelligence will not do without virtue. France was a nation of philosophers. These philosophers became Jacobins. They lacked that virtue, that devotion to moral principle, and that patriotism which is essential to good government. Organized upon principles of perfect justice and right-seeking amity and friendship with all other powers-I see no obstacle in the way of our upward and onward progress. Our growth, by acces be attended with much more serious ills than it has sions from other States, will depend greatly upon been, as yet. Thus far we have seen none of those whether we present to the world, as I trust we incidents which usually attend revolutions. No such material as such convulsions usually throw shall, a better government than that to which they up, have been seen. Wisdom, prudence, and pat-belong. If we do this, North Carolina, Tennessee, riotism have marked every step of our progress and Arkansas cannot hesitate long; neither can thus far. This augurs well for the future, and it is Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. They will necesa matter of sincere gratification to me that I am sarily gravitate to us by an imperious law. We made enabled to make the declaration. Of the men I met ample provision in our Constitution for the admission in the Congress at Montgomery (I may be pardon- of other States; it is more guarded, and wisely so, I think, than the old Constitution on the same ed for saying this) an abler, wiser, a more conservative, deliberate, determined, resolute and patri-subject, but not too guarded to receive them as fast otic body of men, I never met in my life. Their as may be proper. Looking to the distant future, works speak for them; the provisional govern- and perhaps not very distant either, it is not beyond ment speaks for them; the Constitution of the the range of possibility, and even probability, that permanent government will be a lasting monument all the great States of tlie North-west shall gravi of their worth, merit, and statesmanship. tate this way, as well as Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, &c. Should they do so, our doors are wide enough to receive them, but not until they are ready to assimilate with us in principle.”
"But, to return to the question of the future: What is to be the result of this revolution? Will
everything, commenced so well, continue as it has begun? In reply to this anxious inquiry, I can only say, all depends upon ourselves.
A young man starting out in life on his majority, with health, talent, and ability, under a favoring Providence, may be said to be the architect of his own fortunes. His destinies are in his own hands. He may make for himself a name of honor or dishonor, according to his own acts. If he plants himself upon truth, integrity, honor, and uprightness, with industry, patience, and energy, he cannot fail of success. So it is with us; we are a young Republic, just entering upon the arena of nations; we will be the architect of our own fortunes. Our destiny, under Providence, is in our own hands. With wisdom, prudence, and statesmanship on the part of public men, and intelligence, virtue, and patriotism on the part of the people, success to the full measure of our most sanguine hopes, may be looked for.
As to the prospect of an open rupture with the North, and civil war, he said:
"The prospect of war is, at least, not so threatening as it has been. The idea of coercion shadowed forth by Mr. Lincoln in his Inaugural, seems not to be followed up, thus far, so vigorously as was expected. Fort Sumter, it is believed, will soon be evacuated. What course will be pursued toward Fort Pickens and the other forts on the Gulf, is not so well understood. It is to be greatly desired that all of them should be surrendered. Our object is peace, not only with the North, but with the world. All matters relating to the public property, public liabilities of the Union, when we were members of it, we are ready and willing to adjust and settle, upon the principles of right, equality, and good faith. War can be of no more benefit to the North than to us. The idea of coercing us, or subjugating us, is
Mr. Stephens' Exposition.
utterly preposterous. Whether the intention of evacuating Fort Sumter is to be received as an evidence of a desire for a peaceful solution of our difficulties with the United States, or the result of necessity, I will not undertake to say. I would fain hope the former. Rumors are afloat, however, that it is the result of necessity. All I can say to you, therefore, on that point is, keep your armor bright and your powder dry.
"The surest way to secure peace is to show your ability to maintain your rights. The principles and position of the present Administration of the United States-the Republican party-present some puzzling questions. While it is a fixed principle with .them never to allow the increase of a foot of slave territory, they seem to be equally determined not to part with an inch of the "accursed soil." Notwith
Without proposing to solve the difficulty, he barely made the following suggestion :
"That as the admission of States by Congress under the Constitution was an act of legislation, and in the nature of a contract or compact between the States admitted and the others admitting, why should not this contract or compact be regarded as of like character with all other civil contracts--liable to be rescinded by mutual agreement of both parties? The seceding States have rescinded it on their part. Why cannot the whole question be settled, if the North desire peace, simply by the Congress in both branches, with the concurrence of the President,
nition of our independence? This he merely offered as a suggestion-as one of the ways in which it might be done with much less violence to constructions of the Constitution than many other acts of that government. The difficulty has to be solved in some way or other-this may be regarded as a fixed fact."
standing their clamor against the institution, they giving their consent to the separation, and a recogseem to be equally opposed to getting more, or letting go what they have got. They were ready to fight on the accession of Texas, and are equally ready to fight now, on her secession. Why is this? How can this strange paradox be accounted for? There seems to be but one rational solution, and that is, notwithstanding their professions of humanity, they are disinclined to give up the benefits they derive from slave labor. Their philanthropy yields to their interest: The idea of enforcing the laws has but one object, and that is a collection of the taxes raised by slave labor, to swell the fund necessary to meet their heavy appropriations. The spoils are what they are after, though they come from the labor of the slave. He alluded to the difficulties and embarrassments which seemed to surround the question of a peaceful solution of the controversy with the old government. How can it be done? is perplexing many minds. The President seems to think that he cannot recognize our independence, nor can he, with and by the advice of the Senate,
With this exposition the the Confederates were willing to rest their case. Sustaining its views, they went into battle, the aggressors and assailants; defending its assumed prerogatives, they wasted their best blood and treasure. That the sentiments proclaimed were repulsive to the spirit of every civilized people in Christendom did not affect Southern polity and purpose: to own a "nigger" was the end and aim of every revolutionist. The Confederate Constitution was to secure and perpetuate that "inestimable privilege to every loyal Southerner."