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dent is perplexed"; and that "his feelings are with the South, but he is afraid to assist them openly."
Stimulated by the enthusiasm of the people and encouraged by the assurances received from other States, the legislature at once proceeded to act, boldly taking the initiative in what proved the terrible "dance of death." Members vied with each other in presenting resolutions providing for the withdrawal of the State from the Union. All were in favor of secession, but a few in both houses were in favor of awaiting the co-operation of other States; and resolutions to this effect were presented, though they received small support. In the House, Mr. McGowan reminded that body that co-operation with their Southern sisters had been the settled policy of the State for ten years. The Southern States, he contended, had more motives and greater necessity for concert and union than any people that ever lived, for they were one in soil, climate, and institutions. They alone, he said, of all the earth, had a peculiar institution, absolutely necessary for them, without which they would cease to exist, and against which, under the influence of a fanatical sentiment, the world is banded. Isolated from the whole world upon that question, he thought the outside pressure would compel the slaveholding States to unite. He would say "to Georgia, the Empire State' of the South," "the keystone of the Southern arch," that South Carolina would forego the honor of being first, for the sake of promoting the common cause, and would follow her lead.
Such a policy, however, was too slow and sensible to suit the fiery zeal that ruled the hour. Something more summary was demanded. "If we wait," said Mr. Mullins, " for co-operation, slavery and State rights will be abandoned, and State sovereignty and the cause of the South will be lost forever. After we have pledged ourselves to take the State out of the Union I am willing to send a delegation to Georgia or to any other Southern State." Upon information he pronounced "perfectly authentic," he said that " the representative of one of the imperial powers of Europe, in view of the prospective separation of one or more of the Southern States from the present confederacy, has made propositions in advance for the
establishment of such relations between it and the government about to be established in this State as will insure to that power such a supply of cotton for the future as their increasing demand for that article will require." But in spite of all efforts to await co-operation, a bill providing for the election of delegates on the 6th of December, to meet in convention on the 17th, passed the House on the 9th, and the Senate on the 17th. Without waiting, however, for either the election of delegates or the meeting of the convention, their Senators in Congress resigned their seats, so eager were they to consummate their fell work, and to diminish the chances of retracing the rash steps already taken.
All eyes were now turned towards Georgia. The "Empire State of the South," her size, resources, and position invested with great importance her action, and all, both the friends and the enemies of the Union, saw that her decision would have large influence in this crisis of affairs. Great efforts had been made by Toombs and Iverson, United States Senators, by Representatives in the House, and other influential men, to prepare the State for secession and secure control of the legislature, which met on the day after the presidential election. Governor Joseph E. Brown devoted his message largely to national affairs, reviewing the legislation of Northern States and discussing the duty of the South. Though opposed to the policy of secession, he counselled thorough preparation for the possible exigencies of the occasion. He recommended the appropriation of a million dollars to arm the State. He thought the time had come for bold and decided action, and proposed the enactment of a law making it a penal offence to introduce merchandise into the State from States that had passed personal liberty bills. By a large majority it voted that a sovereign State had a right to secede from the Union. Among the voices raised for disunion none were louder and more potent than that of Senator Toombs. On the evening of the 13th he addressed the members of the legislature in a speech in the highest degree seditious and violent. Betraying his distrust of the popular feeling, he discountenanced the calling of a convention and urged the legislature to act. "I
ask you," he said "to give me the sword; for if you do not give it to me, as God lives, I will take it myself." He urged them to withdraw their sons from the army and navy and from every department of the Federal service, to keep their own taxes, buy arms with them, and "throw the bloody spear into this den of incendiaries and assassins." He called upon them to strike while it was yet time. The twenty years of toils and taxes expended in preparation, he said, would not make up for the advantages their enemies would gain.
On the evening of the 14th Alexander H. Stephens addressed a meeting of members of the legislature and the people in the Assembly chamber. His speech was in a different vein, and his counsels were milder. His object, he said, was not to stir up strife but to allay it, not to appeal to passion but to reason. To the question, Shall the people of the South secede in consequence of the election of Mr. Lincoln? he said: "My countrymen, I tell you frankly, candidly, and earnestly that I do not think they ought. In my judgment, the election of no man, constitutionally chosen to that high office, is sufficient cause for any State to separate from the Union. It ought to stand by and aid still in maintaining the Constitution and the country. To make a point of resistance to the government, to withdraw from it because a man has been constitutionally elected, puts us in the wrong." He avowed that he did not believe the Union to have been "a curse"; that they could not find a government that better protects the liberties of the people. He denied that it had proved a failure. "Some of our public men have failed in their aspirations," he added; "that is true, and from that comes a great part of our troubles." He advocated, however, in spite of these utterances, the calling of a convention, and he avowed that he should, though reluctantly, acquiesce in her decision, should Georgia determine to go out of the Union. "I shall bow to the will of her people," he said; "their cause is my cause and their destiny my destiny." The friends of the Union welcomed and applauded these calm and patriotic utterances, and gave Mr. Stephens far more credit than subsequent events proved him entitled to. His "great and leading object," he confessed in
a private letter, written eleven days after this speech was made, "was to produce harmony on a right line of policy." "If," he added, "our State has to quit the Union, it is of the utmost importance that all our people should be united cordially in this course."
Two days previous to the speech of Mr. Stephens, a military convention was held at Milledgeville. Governor Brown addressed it, and in his speech he affirmed the right of secession and the duty of sustaining South Carolina in her action. He declared that if Federal troops should dare to attempt the coercion of a seceding Southern State, the lives of two Federal soldiers, for every Georgian who might fall in the encounter, should expiate the outrage on State sovereignty. The convention, stimulated by these violent and treasonable utterances, voted in favor of secession. The next day the legislature . voted an appropriation of a million dollars for arming and equipping the State militia. On the 7th of December it passed an act declaring that the "present crisis in national affairs demands resistance"; and it provided for the election of delegates on the 2d of January to a State convention to assemble on the 16th.
Early in November the legislature of Mississippi met, and adjourned to the 30th of that month to make preparation for the secession of the State. An act was promptly passed for the election of delegates on the 20th of December, and for the assembling of a convention on the 7th of January. The governor, John J. Pettus, was authorized to appoint commissioners to visit each of the Southern States to express the hope that they would co-operate with Mississippi.
The Alabama delegation in Congress were in favor of disunion; and her governor, Andrew B. Moore, heartily co-operated with Yancey in firing the Southern heart, and in preparing that State for revolution. As early as February, 1860, its legislature had passed resolutions providing that in the event of the election of a Republican candidate for President, a convention should be held; and it appropriated two hundred thousand dollars for military contingencies. Early in November Governor Moore, in an address to the people of that State,
said that the only hope for the future security of Alabama and other slaveholding States was in secession. On the 6th of December he issued a proclamation ordering delegates to be chosen on the 24th of December to meet in convention on the 7th of January.
The legislature of Florida assembled on the 26th of November. Governor Madison S. Perry, in his message, declared that the domestic peace of that State depended upon "secession from their faithless and perjured confederates." Scouting the idea that they should wait for an overt act, he exclaimed: My countrymen, if we wait for an overt act of the Federal government our fate will be that of the white inhabitants of St. Domingo."
Governor Morse of Louisiana called an extraordinary session of the legislature to meet on the 10th of December. In his message he said that it did not comport "with the honor and self-respect of Louisiana, as a slaveholding State, to live under the government of a Black Republican President." He declared that the question rose above ordinary political considerations, and involved their present honor and future existence. Asserting the right of a State to secede from the Union, he declared that if the Federal government should attempt to coerce a sovereign State, Louisiana would hasten to her assistance. "If I am not mistaken in public opinion," he said, "the convention, if assembled, will decide that Louisiana will not submit to the Presidency of Mr. Lincoln." The legis lature called a convention to assemble on the 22d of January, appropriated half a million dollars for military purposes, and gave the governor authority to correspond with the governors of Southern States. On the 26th of January the convention adopted an ordinance, by a vote of one hundred and thirteen to seventeen, declaring that "the union now subsisting between Louisiana and other States under the name of the United States of America' is hereby dissolved."
Similar movements were inaugurated in the other States which afterwards seceded, but not with the same immediate success. Excepting South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida, none were sufficiently ripe for