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Inglis. That, too, received the unanimous support of the convention; so fiercely bent on rebellion were its members, so fully ripe for that supreme act of treason. It repealed the original act of the State ratifying the Constitution of the United States, and declared that the union subsisting between South Carolina and the other States was dissolved. The number of votes cast for the ordinance was one hundred and eighty-nine. The exultant cry, "The Union is dissolved!" went forth, and was caught up by the enthusiastic multitude with sympathetic joy. The people of Charleston, on receiving the intelligence, crowded her streets, with loud huzzas for a Southern confederacy. Palmetto flags fluttered from the windows and .waved over the public buildings. Amid these demonstrations, a body of young men marched to the grave of John C. Calhoun, formed a circle around his tomb, and made a solemn vow to devote "their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to the cause of South Carolina independence."
At seven o'clock in the evening the convention assembled in the great hall of the South Carolina Institute, afterward known as "Secession Hall," and there with imposing ceremonies signed the ordinance of secession. After their signatures had been affixed, the president of the convention, having read it, made formal proclamation: "The ordinance of secession. has been signed and ratified, and I proclaim the State of South Carolina an independent commonwealth." Amid shouts of exultation, the convention adjourned.
On the 21st the convention appointed Robert W. Barnwell, James H. Adams, and James L. Orr commissioners to proceed to Washington to treat with the national government. Robert Barnwell Rhett, from the committee to prepare an "Address of the people of South Carolina to the people of the slaveholding States," made report. The paper was drawn up by Mr. Rhett himself. Though claiming that it had been Southern statesmanship which had guided heretofore the gov ernment of the United States, it nevertheless made the avowal that the Constitution had failed of the purposes of its adop tion. It declared that South Carolina desired no destiny separate from the Southern States; that she wished to be one of a
great slaveholding confederacy; and that "united together we must be a great, free, and prosperous people, whose renown must spread throughout the civilized world, and pass down we trust to the remotest ages." It invoked their aid "in forming a confederacy of slaveholding States."
Charles G. Memminger reported a "Declaration of the causes which justified the secession of South Carolina from the national government." Though unanimous in the act of secession, the debate revealed a palpable disagreement as to the causes to be assigned therefor, or which led thereto. While the formation and success of the Republican party were cited as sufficient cause, Mr. Rhett declared that the secession of South Carolina was not the event of a day.. "It is not," he said, "anything produced by Mr. Lincoln's election, or by the non-execution of the Fugitive Slave Act. It is a matter which has been gathering head for thirty years." He had himself, he said, expressed doubts of the constitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Act on the floor of the Senate, and had expressed the opinion that the States should be responsible for the rendition of fugitive slaves. Mr. Keitt, then a member of the House of Representatives, said, "I have been engaged in this movement ever since I entered political life." Mr. Parker declared it to be "no spasmodic effort that has suddenly come upon us; it has been gradually culminating for a long period of thirty years." And Mr. Inglis, who reported the ordinance, avowed that "most of us have had this matter under consideration for the last twenty years."
On the 24th of December Governor Pickens issued a proclamation. In it he declared that "South Carolina is, and has a right to be, a separate, sovereign, free, and independent State, and as such has a right to levy war, to conclude peace, to negotiate treaties, leagues, or covenants, and to do all acts whatever that rightfully appertain to a free and independent State." The convention, on the 26th, under the lead of Mr. Rhett, invited the seceding States to unite with South Carolina in convention, and to meet at Montgomery on the 13th of February, for the purpose of forming a Southern confederacy; agreed to send commissioners to each of the slaveholding
States that might hold conventions, to ask their co-operation; and authorized the governor to receive ambassadors, ministers, and consuls from foreign countries. When the question of appointing commissioners to each of the States to bear to them a copy of the South Carolina ordinance of secession was pending, Mr. Dargen proposed to send also a copy to each of the States. Affirming that it was not true that all the Northern people were hostile to the rights of the South, he said, "We have a Spartan band in every Northern State." But the proposition failed. Governor Pickens appointed a cabinet of constitutional advisers, and assumed to be the chief magistrate of a nation. After the adjournment of the convention on the 5th of January, the legislature made a call for volunteers, authorized a loan of four hundred thousand dollars, and took other measures for the defence of what they deemed a newborn nation.
The passage of the ordinance of secession was received in the cotton States with wild demonstrations and joyous decla mations. Banners were unfurled, guns fired, music and song hailed and welcomed the advent.
Mississippi next followed. The 20th of December had been appointed for the election of delegates, and the 7th of January, 1861, for the meeting of the convention. The State, though united in favor of secession, was divided into two parties, "immediate secessionists" and "co-operationists." But when the convention assembled on the 7th of January, the former had complete control. The co-operationists sought to postpone action, but they were signally defeated. The committee appointed to draft an ordinance of secession reported on the 8th. The next day it was adopted by a vote of eighty-four to fifteen, and then declared unanimous. The sovereignty of the State was formally acknowledged by Judge Samuel J. Gholson of the United States District Court. In the exercise, too, of her sovereignty, the State assumed the right to dictate the terms upon which the Mississippi should be navigated. The governor ordered that the Whitman battery should be planted on the bluffs at Vicksburg, and that every vessel that should attempt to pass should be hailed and ex
amined. Immediate measures were taken by the legislature to arm the military forces of the State. The governor of Louisiana sent muskets, cannon, and ammunition he had seized in the national arsenal at Baton Rouge. Jefferson Davis and Jacob Thompson guaranteed the payment of twenty-five thousand dollars for the purchase of arms, and Albert G. Brown sent the governor five hundred dollars.
As the politicians of Florida had rivalled those of South Carolina in favor of slavery and the slave-trade, they were now equally earnest for the formation of a Southern confederOn the 3d of January the State convention met at Tallahassee, and on the 10th, by a vote of sixty-two to seven, it passed an ordinance of secession, declaring Florida to be "a sovereign and independent nation." The ordinance was signed, and this action of the State was welcomed by the ringing of bells and every demonstration of joy. Her Senators in Congress did not at once resign, Mr. Yulee giving as a reason for their remaining in their places until the 4th of March, that they could thus embarrass the administration of Mr. Buchanan and prevent the Republicans from effecting any legislation which would strengthen and provide for that of Mr. Lincoln. Delegates were appointed to the Montgomery convention, the legislature authorized the issuing of half a million of treasury notes, and made the holding of office under the national government treason, to be punished with death in the event of hostilities between the State and the nation.
Delegates were elected in Alabama on the 24th of December, and the convention assembled on the 7th of January at Montgomery. Southern Alabama was in favor of immediate secession; but Northern Alabama, freer from the influences of slavery, was for co-operation or for the Union. The convention was divided, as in other Gulf States, between the immediate secessionists and co-operationists; and yet it unanimously resolved that Alabama would not submit to a Republican administration. An ordinance of secession was reported by a committee of thirteen, though there was an accompanying minority report. On the 11th the final vote was taken, and the ordinance was passed by a vote of sixty-one to thirty-nine. The
result was received with such popular demonstrations of approval that the co-operationists, who had in the convention refused to follow the lead of Yancey, pledged themselves and their constituents to the support of the ordinance, though a few delegates refused to sign it. Thomas J. Judge was appointed a commissioner to negotiate with the national government, and the convention adjourned on the 30th of January to the 4th of March, its president declaring Alabama to be “independent," and affirming that all idea of a reconstruction of the old Union should be now and forever "dismissed."
The election of delegates in Georgia was held on the 2d of January. The struggle in that State between the immediate secessionists and the co-operationists was bitter and active. A system of terrorism was organized by the secessionists. Knights of the Golden Circle, " minute-men," vigilance committees, and other disloyal associations, where they could not persuade, bullied and dragooned both before the election and at the ballot-box. Howell Cobb, who had retired from the Treasury Department, Toombs and Iverson, her Senators, and her Representatives in Congress were untiring in their efforts to commit Georgia to immediate secession. Toombs, then and always a violent and bitter secessionist, telegraphed, on the 22d of December, an address to the people of Georgia. Looking to Congress, or to the people of the North for security, he contended, was fraught with nothing but ruin. "Secession by the 4th of March next," he said, "should be thundered from the ballot by the unanimous voice of Georgia on the 2d of January next. Such a voice will be your best guaranty for liberty, security, tranquillity, and glory."
The Unionists of Georgia, who were for securing Southern rights in the Union, were alarmed by this despatch, and sought counsel and assurances from Douglas and Crittenden. While these gentlemen begged them not to despair of the Union, Toombs, the day before the election, telegraphed that the Cabinet had been broken up, that a coercive policy had been adopted by the administration, that Holt, their “bitter foe," had been made Secretary of War, that Fort Pulaski was in danger, and that "the Abolitionists are defiant." But in spite