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THE BANNER OF THE CONVENTION.
The ceremony of signing the ordinance commenced at the appointed hour. "The scene was one profoundly grand and impressive," said the Charleston Mercury, the next morning. "There were a people assembled
through their highest representatives-men, most of them, upon whose heads the snows of sixty winters had been shed-patriarchs in age-dignitaries of the land-the high-priests of the Church of Christ-reverend statesmen
which are the words, "Truth, Justice, and the Constitution." On one side of Calhoun is an allegorical figure of Faith, and, on the other side, of Hope. Beyond each of these is the figure of a North American Indian armed with a rifle. In the space formed by the two columps and the arch, is the device on the seal and flag of South Carolina, namely, a Palmetto-tree with a rattlesnake coiled around its trunk, and at its base a park of cannon, and some emblems of the State commerce. On a scroll fluttering from the body of the tree are the words,
THE SIGNERS OF THE ORDINANCE.
and the wise judges of the law. In the midst of deep silence, an old man, with bowed form and hair as white as snow, the Rev. Dr. Bachman, advanced forward with upraised hands, in prayer to Almighty God for His blessing and favor on this great act of His people about to be consummated. The whole assembly at once rose to its feet, and, with hats off, listened to the touching and eloquent appeal to the All-wise Disposer of events."
At the conclusion of the ceremonies, when the signatures had all been affixed by the members, whose names were called in the order of their districts,' the President of the Convention (Jamison) stepped forward, exhibited
"Southern Republic." Over the whole design, on the segment of a circle, are fifteen stars, the then number of Save-labor States. Underneath all, in large letters, are the words, BUILT FROM THE RUINS.
This picture, painted for the South Carolina Convention, and under the direction of its leaders, is a remarkable testimony concerning the real intentions of the conspirators at the beginning, which they continually attempted to conceal beneath the mantle of hypocrisy. It was designed and painted before any ordinance of secession had been adopted, or any convention for the purpose had been held in any State excepting South Carolina, and yet it foreshadows their grand plan, well understood by the conspirators in all of the Slave-labor States, to lay the Republic in ruins, and upon those ruins to construct an empire whose “corner-stone" should be NEGRO LABORERS IN PERPETUAL AND HOPELESS SLAVERY. It was their intention to cast down and break in pieces the Free-labor States, and build the new structure wholly of Slave-labor States, most of which were known to be, at that time, hostile to the disunion schemes of the South Carolina politicians. The egotism and arrogance of these politicians is most conspicuously shown in making South Carolina not only the key stone of the arch, with its revered Calhoun as the surmounting figure-in heraldic language, the symbolizing crest of the device-but in giving as the prominent feature of the affair the palmetto, snake, &c., which are the chosen insignia of the power of the State. It said plainly to the fifteen Slave-labor States, "South Carolina is to be the head and heart of the new Confederacy; the Dictator and Umpire." The banner was intended as a menace and a prophecy. How the events of four succeeding years rebuked the arrogant false prophets! Most of the Slave-labor States were in ruins, and South Carolina, that was to be the key-stone of the new and magnificent tracture, was the weakest and most absolutely ruined of all. This banner is now (1865) in the possession of John S. H. Fogg, M. D., of Boston. It was presented by the painter to John F. Kennard, of Charleston, who, after the attack on Fort Sumter, in April, 1861, sent it to Dr. Fogg, by the hands of Mrs. Fogg, who was then visiting in Charleston. I am indebted to Dr. Fogg for a sketch of the banner, kindly made for my use by J. M. Church, of Boston.
The signatures were written in five columns, and in the following order:
Thomas Chles Perrin,
J. P. Reed.
R. S. Simpson,
Lows Malone Aver, Jr.
W. Pickney Shingler.
Jhs P. Richardson.
John M. Tummons.
Francis Hugh Wardlaw.
"D. F. JAMISON, Delegate from Barnwell, and President of the Convention.
R. G. M. Dunovant.
R. L. Crawford.
A. W. Bethea.
E. W. Goodwin.
Thomas Worth Glover.
James H. Adams.
"Attcat, BENJAMIN F. ARTHUR, Clerk of the Convention,"
DEBATES IN THE CONVENTION.
the instrument to the people, read it, and then said, "The Ordinance of Secession has been signed and ratified, and I proclaim the State of South Carolina an Independent Commonwealth." He then handed it to the Secretary of State, to be placed for preservation in the archives of South Carolina, at Columbia. A great shout of exultation went up from the multitude, and at a little after nine o'clock the Convention adjourned until the next day. The audience then despoiled the two Palmetto-trees at the platform of their foliage, every leaf of which was borne away as a memorial of the occasion.
The question immediately arose in the Convention, after the passage of the Ordinance of Secession, "How does this affect the public officers in this State?" It was an important question. There was no precedent on record. All felt that the question must be immediately answered, or there would be chaos. An ordinance was offered which provided for the continuance in office, and the discharge of the duties of their respective stations, of collectors of customs, postmasters, and other officers of the United States Government within the limits of South Carolina, as agents of that State alone, until the Legislature, or other competent body, should provide otherwise. This elicited debate. Judge Magrath wished immediate action, for, to his understanding, there was then no collector of a port or a postmaster in all South Carolina. The authority of every officer in that State, appointed by the National Government, was extinguished by the Ordinance of Secession; and he was for making provisional arrangements for carrying on government in the lone Commonwealth.
Mr. Gregg believed that, with the passage of the Ordinance of Secession, all the laws of Congress, in South Carolina, fell to the ground instantly. "There is now," he said, "no law on the subject of the collection of duties in South Carolina, now that we have accomplished the work of forty years." "The Congress of the United States is no longer our Government," said Mr. Hayne. "The Legislature," he contended, was competent to declare "what laws of the United States should be continued, and what not."-" All the revenue and postal laws," repeated Mr. Gregg, "fell to the ground on the passage of the Ordinance of Secession." Mr. Cheves declared, to avoid inconvenience to the people, temporary arrangements must be adopted for carrying on the Government. "An immense chasm," he said, "has been made in law." Mr. Miles said that they must prevent confusion and anarchy in the derangement of governmental affairs, and that "things must for the present remain in statu quo, or confusion will arise."
Mr. Mazyck agreed with Cheves and others, that the duties of collectors and postmasters in South Carolina were extinguished. He was favorable to an abandonment of a public postal system altogether, and giving the business into private hands. Mr. Calhoun said, "We have pulled the temple down that has been built for three-quarters of a century. We must now clear the rubbish away, and construct another. We are now houseless and homeless. We must secure ourselves from storms." Chancellor Dunkin said, that the functions of all officers might "go on as before. There is nothing in the ordinance to affect the dignity, honor, or welfare of the State of South Carolina. We must keep the wheels of government in motion." He thought the ordinance had not entirely "abrogated the Constitution of the United
ADDRESS TO SLAVE-LABOR STATES.
States," and noted the fact, that the gold and silver of the National Government was the legal tender in South Carolina.
And so the argument went on. Barnwell was for sacrificing postal conveniences rather than seem to have any connection with the United States. "There never was any thing purchased," he said, "worth having, unless at the cost of sacrifice." Rhett said :-"This great revolution must go on with as little change as possible," and thought the best plan was to use the United States officers then in place. "By making the Federal agents ours,” he said, "the machinery will move on." This was finally the arrangement, substantially.
• December, 1860.
On the 21st, the Convention appointed Robert W. Barnwell, James H. Adams, and James L. Orr, Commissioners to proceed to Washington, to treat for the possession of the National property within the limits of South Carolina. On the same day, the Committee appointed to prepare an "Address of the people of South Carolina to the people of the Slaveholding States," made a report. It was drawn by the
R Barnjice Chitt John Abfred Calhoun W. Peronneau Finley
MF de Sansure Langdow Cheves
Merrick &. Carn.
SIGNATURES OF THE COMMITTEE ON ADDRESS TO THE SLAVE-LABOR STATES.
chairman, R. B. Rhett, and bore in every sentence indications of the characteristics of that conspirator. It was remarkable for a reckless disregard of truth in its assertions, and its deceptive and often puerile logic. It did not, in a single paragraph, rise above the dignity of a partisan harangue. It professed to review the alleged grievances suffered by South Carolina in the Union, but it actually stated not one that might be perceived by the eye of truth. The fact that her politicians had twice placed her in an attitude of hostility to the National Government, to whose fostering care and protection she was indebted for her prosperity and respectability, was shamelessly and ostentatiously paraded; and it was asserted that the Government of the United States was no longer a Government of Confederated Republics, but of a consolidated Democracy;" that the Constitution was but an experiment, and as such had failed; that the relations of "the South to the North" were
DECLARATION OF CAUSES FOR SEPARATION.
such as were those of the Colonies to Great Britain, at the breaking out of the Revolution; and so on, sentence after sentence of like tenor, at the same time appealing to the self esteem of the Southern people by saying: "Whilst constituting a portion of the United States, it has been your statesmanship which has guided it in its mighty strides to power and expansion. In the field, as in the Cabinet, you have led the way to its renown and grandeur." The Address, no doubt, served its intended purpose, namely, to deceive the uninformed, to inflame the public mind in the Slave-labor States, and to hasten the ripening of the rebellion.'
More dignified, but not less reckless in sweeping, unsupported assertions, was the "Declaration of the Causes which justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Government," drawn up and reported by Charles G. Memminger, who was afterward the financial agent of the confederated conspirators. After taking a glance at the history of the Union down to the ratification of the National Constitution by the people of South Carolina, he proceeded in his difficult task of searching for grievances inflicted by the National Government upon the people of that State. He was entirely unsuccessful. It was painfully apparent, that a once honest but now corrupt man was trying to deceive himself and others into the belief that a great crime was a commendable virtue. He complained of the refusal of the people of the North to regard with favor the system of slavery in the South, and also of their exercise of the freedom of speech on the subject. He complained of their refusal to believe that a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States can reverse the judgment and decrees of the Almighty, as recognized by the wisest men in all time; and he pointed to the actions of some of the States northward of the Potomac hostile to the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, as the strongest evidence, among others, of "a sectional combination for the subversion of the Constitution." But in no word in that "Declaration" was the National Government, whose authority and protection he and his followers in crime were defying and discarding, charged with the slightest actual wrong-doing. The debate which this "Declaration elicited, revealed quite a diversity of opinion concerning the real cause of, or the real pretext for, secession. In that debate, several members made the statements quoted on page 69 of this volume.
Memminger's manifesto, which was concluded with a ludicrous appropriation of the closing words of the great Declaration of Independence by the Fathers, in 1776, viewed in the light of truth and soberness, appears in itself a solemn protest against the wicked actions of the conspirators at that time, and ever afterward. It also presents a fair specimen of that counter
1 "South Carolina desires no destiny separate from yours," said the Address, in conclusion. "To be one of a great SLAVEHOLDING CONFEDERACY-Stretching its arms over territory larger than any power in Europe possesses-with a population four times greater than that of the whole United States when they achieved their independence of the British Empire-with productions which make our existence more important to the world than that of any other people inhabiting it--with common institutions to defend, and common dangers to encounter, we ask your sympathy and confederation. . . . All we demand of other people is to be let alone to work out our own high destinies. United together, and we must be the most independent, as we are the most important, among the nations of the world. United together, and we require no other instrument to conquer peace than our beneficent productions. United together, and 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. We ask you to join us in forming a Confederacy of Slaveholding States.”