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SOVEREIGNTY OF SOUTH CAROLINA PROCLAIMED.
111 feit statesmanship which for years was palmed off on the confiding people of the Slave-labor States as genuine.1
pendent State." He declared the proclamation to be given under his hand, on
On the same day when the "Declaration" was adopted, Governor Pickens issued a proclamation declaring to the world that "South Carolina is, and has a right to be, a separate, sovereign, free, and independent State, and, as such, has a to a free and inderight to levy war, to conclude peace, to negotiate treaties, leagues, or covenants, and to do all acts whatever that rightfully appertain
SOUTH CAROLINA MEDAL.
the 24th of December, 1860, "and in
the eighty-fifth year
of the sovereignty and independence of South Carolina."
With perfect consistency, the Charleston papers now published intelligence from all the other States of the Union as "Foreign News." In various ways, the world was given to understand that South Carolina was a first-class Power among the nations of the earth, whose smiles would be blessings, but whose frowns would be calamitous; and a small medal was struck in commemoration of the great act of separation, which was adorned with appropriate devices and inscriptions.3
On the day when the Ordinance of Secession was passed, the Convention adopted a banner for the new empire. It was composed of red and blue silk, the former being the ground of the standard, and the latter, in the form of a cross, bearing fifteen stars. The largest star was for South Carolina. On the red field was a silver Palmetto and Crescent. The introduction of the Crescent
1 The Augusta (Georgia) Chronicle and Sentinel, a leading newspaper in the South, said, twelve days after the Ordinance of Secession was passed in the South Carolina Convention:-"It is a sad thing to observe, that those who are determined on immediate secession have not the coolness, the capacity, or the nerve, to propose something after that. . . . No statesmanship has ever been exhibited yet, so far as we know, by those who will dissolve the Union."-January 1, 1861.
* The London Morning Star, commenting on this declaration of the "Sovereignty" of South Carolina, said :— "A nationality! Was there ever, since the world began, a nation constituted of such materials-a commonwealth founded on such bases? The greatest empire of antiquity is said to have grown up from a group of buts, built in a convenient location by fugitive slaves and robber huntsmen. But history nowhere chronicles the establishment of a community of slaveholders solely upon the alleged right of maintaining and enlarging their property in man. Paganism at least protected the Old World from so monstrous a scandal upon free Commonwealths, by shutting out the idea of a common humanity, and of individual rights derivable from inalienable duties. . . . They are not content to be left in undisturbed possession of the human beings they have, bought or bred. They demand that the law and government of a confederacy embracing States twice as popnlous as their own shall consecrate slavery forever; that in none of these States shall there be any hiding-placefor the fugitive; nay, no platform on which the abstract rights of the slave may be asserted. It is not on account of abolition that they separate from the Union, but of Abolitionism. In the vulgar but expressive phraseology invented by themselves, they not only claim the right to wallop their own niggers,' but that all their neighbors shall for them turn slave-catchers and scourgers. They would make the vast territory of the Union one great slave-field, and put in the hand of every freeman a fetter and a whip for himself as well as for the negro. Such audacity of folly and wickedness revolts the common sense of mankind. For the sake of interests dear to all humanity, we pray the Northern States to let these madmen go, rather than restrain or chastise them with the sword. But the burlesquers of the grand drama of American independence excite only seorn, and their blasphemous appeals to Divine and human sympathy can bring down only the rebuke of universal hatred and contempt."
* The engraving is the exact size of the medal. On one side is a Palmetto-tree; a group of barrels and bales of cotton; a cannon and heap of balls; the date 1860; a radiation of light from behind the Palmetto and its accompaniments, and fifteen stars, with the words. "NO SUBMISSION TO THE NORTH." On the other side is a group of Southern productions of the earth, and over and around them the words, "THE WEALTH OF THE SOUTH -RICE, TOBACCO, SUGAR, AND COttox."
• The Crescent was placed in the South Carolina flag in 1775, under the following circumstances:-The Provincial Council had taken measures to fortify Charleston, after the Royal Governor was driven away. "As there
ORGANIZATION OF THE NEW "NATION."
or New Moon on the standard was considered even by thinking South Carolinians, as singularly appropriate, for those who there inaugurated the rebellion were certainly afflicted with lunacy, "a species of insanity or madness," says the lexicon, "which is broken by intervals of reason, formerly supposed to be influenced by the changes of the Moon." It is related of the late Judge Pettigru, of Charleston, who resisted the madness of the secessionists while he lived, that on being asked by a stranger in the streets of his city the right direction to the Lunatic Asylum, he pointed to the east, the west, the north, and the south, and said, "It is there, and there, and there, and therethe whole State is a lunatic asylum."
On the 26th, the Convention agreed to send a commissioner to each Slavelabor State that might hold a convention, to bear to them a copy of the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession;' to ask their co-operation; to propose the National Constitution just abandoned as a basis for a provisional government; and to invite the seceding States to meet South Carolina in convention at
Montgomery, Alabama, on the 13th of February, 1861, for the December 26, purpose of forming a Southern Confederacy. They also made pro1860. vision for continuing commercial operations, by using the United States officers and revenue laws, but changing the style of all papers to the name of "South Carolina," and ordering all duties to be paid into the State treasury. On the following day, the Governor was authorized to receive embassadors, ministers, consuls, &c., from foreign countries, and to appoint the same officers to represent South Carolina abroad. It was also decreed, that all citizens of the United States who were living within the limits of South Carolina at the time of the passage of the Ordinance of Secession should be considered citizens of the new "nation."
On the 29th, the Convention, which assumed supreme dignity in the State, transferred to the Legislature the powers lately vested in Congress, excepting during the session of the Convention. The judicial powers of the United States were vested in the State Courts; and Governor Pickens, who had organized his cabinet, assumed the exalted position of the Chief Magistrate of an independent nation. His constitutional advisers consisted of A. G. Magrath, Secretary of State; D. F. Jamison, Secretary of War; C. G. Memminger, Secretary of the Treasury; W. W. Harllee, Postmaster-General; and A. C. Garlington, Secretary of the Interior. After making provision for
was no national flag at the time," says General Moultrie, in his Memoirs, "I was desired by the Council of Safety to have one made, upon which, as the State troops were clothed in blue, and the fort [Johnson, on James Island] was garrisoned by the First and Second Regiments, who wore a silver crescent on the front of their caps, I had a large blue flag made, with a crescent in the dexter corner, to be in uniform with the troops. This was the first American flag displayed in the South." See Lossing's Pictorial Field-book of the Revolution, ii. 545.
1 When this question was before the Convention, a member (Mr. Dargan) proposed to send a copy of the ordinance, with the "Declaration of Causes, &c.," to all the States of the Union; and, when it was objected to, he said that a statement of reasons is required, as well as the ordinance. "Courtesy to our late Confederates." he said, "whether enemies or not, calls for the reasons that have actuated us. It is not true, in point of fact. that all the Northern people are hostile to the rights of the South. We hare a Spartan band in every Northern State. It is due to them that they should know the reasons which influence us." The proposition was not agreed to.
The following are the names of the Commissioners appointed to visit other Slave-labor States:-To
REBELLION IN SOUTH CAROLINA APPLAUDED.
military operations, and transacting some other business, chiefly in secret session, the Convention adjourned, on the 5th of January, 1861, subject to the call of the President. They had ordered the table, President's chair, inkstand, and other things used at the ceremony of signing the Ordinance of Secession, to be placed in the State House at Columbia, for preservation.
The Legislature of South Carolina, which had been in session during the sitting of the Convention, but almost idle, now took measures for putting the State in a strongly defensive attitude. A loan of four hundred thousand dollars was authorized, which was immediately taken by the banks of the State, they having been permitted, by legislative decree, to suspend specie payments. A call for volunteers was made, and also provisions for a draft, if it should be necessary. Little else was done during the session but preparations for making the revolutionary movement a success.
Thus the South Carolina politicians rebelled, and prepared to resist the authority of their Government by force of arms. When intelligence of the passage of their Ordinance of Secession went over the country, it produced, as we have observed, a profound sensation. That action was greeted with delight by disunionists in most of the Slave-labor States. A hundred guns were fired both at Montgomery and Mobile, by order of the Governor (Moore) of Alabama, in honor of the event. In the latter city there was also a military parade. Bells were rung and oratory was heard. At Macon, Georgia, bells rang, bonfires blazed, cannon thundered, processions moved, and the main street of the city was illuminated. A hundred guns were fired at Pensacola. The same number were discharged in New Orleans, where the Pelican flag was unfurled, speeches were made to the populace, and no other airs were played in the streets but polkas and the Marseillaise Hymn. At Wilmington, in North Carolina, one hundred guns were fired. In Portsmouth, Virginia, fifteen were fired, being the then number of the Slave-labor States; and at Norfolk, the Palmetto flag was outspread from the top of a pole a hundred feet in hight. A banner with the same device was displayed over the custom-house at Richmond. An attempt was made to fire fifteen guns in Baltimore, when the loyal people there prevented it. On the 22d, a jubilant meeting at Memphis, Tennessee, "ratified" the ordinance. Fifteen guns were fired, and the office of the Avalanche, then an organ of the conspirators in that region, was illuminated. At the same time, the politicians of several of the Slave-labor States, as we shall observe presently, were rapidly placing the people in the position of active co-operation with those of South Carolina. Those who did not choose to follow the lead of South Carolina were treated with amazing insolence by the usurpers in that State, and were scorned as unworthy of association with the Palmetto Chivalry.
The news was received with far different feelings in the Free-labor States,
Alabama, A. P. Calhoun; to Georgia, James L. Orr; to Florida, L. W. Spratt; to Mississippi, M. L. Bonham: to Louisiana, J. L. Manning; to Arkansas, A. C. Spain; to Texas, J. B. Kershaw; to Virginia, John S. Preston. According to the returns made to the Controller-general of South Carolina, for the month of December, 1560, the number of banks in that State was only twenty, with an aggregate capital of about fifteen millions of dollars, and a circulation of about seven millions of dollars. They had only one million three hundred and fiftyAve thousand dollars in specie.
On the great seal of Louisiana is the device of a Pelican, hovering over a nest of young ones in the attitude of protectron, at the same time feeding them. The same device was on the Louisiana flag. It was designed to symbolize the parental care of the National Government, and it appeared out of place in the hands of men banded to destroy that government.
FEELING IN THE FREE-LABOR STATES.
where reason and not passion ruled the people. The leaders of the Breckinridge Democrats,' who were more intimately affiliated, as partisans, with the politicians in the Slave-labor States than others, were eager to suppress all discussion of the Slavery question at the North, and were willing to give Slavery free scope by the repeal of all Personal Liberty Laws, the rigid execution of the Fugitive Slave Act, and an amendment of the Constitution, so as to secure the right of property in slaves everywhere. The Douglas Democrats' adhered to the doctrine of Popular Sovereignty, but were willing to make liberal concessions to the Slave interest by the repeal of Personal Liberty laws and the rigid execution of the Fugitive Slave Act. The Republicans adhered to their opposition to Slavery, yet favored conciliatory measures, as shadowed by one of their chief leaders; while a few corrupt politicians, whose love of party and its honors and emoluments was far greater than love of country, openly defended the course of the traitors, and advocated secession as not only a constitutional right, but as expedient. But while there was a general desire to conciliate the madmen of the South, the great mass of the people in the Free-labor States, comprising the bulk of all parties, were firmly attached to the Union, and resolutely determined to maintain the National integrity at all hazards. Union meetings were held, and Union sentiments were expressed with a vehemence and power which alarmed the more discreet leaders in the South.
The men of the North had watched the rising rebellion, first with incredulity and then with amazement; but when it assumed tangible form and substance-when it became a reality, aggressive and implacable-they prepared to meet it with calmness and firmness. They deprecated all inflammatory proceedings like the commemoration, in Boston, of the execution of John Brown, and were anxious to be exactly just toward their brethren in the Slave-labor States: yet they were ready and willing to oppose force to force, morally and physically, when the insurgents should attack the bulwarks of the Republic.
The conservative influence of commerce and manufactures was a powerful restraint upon the passions of the indignant people of the North, when they perceived the utter faithlessness of the Southern leaders, not only in their political, but in their business relations. The South was an ́immense debtor to the North for merchandise purchased on long credits, and it was very soon apparent, from the recommendations of the leaders in the Slavelabor States, that a scheme was on foot for the repudiation of all debts due to merchants and manufacturers in the Free-labor States. So early as the day of the Presidential election, it was evident to sagacious men that a
1 See page 33.
2 See page 33.
3 See page 33.
4 In a speech at Auburn, New York (his home), on the 20th of November, 1860, Mr. Seward counseled moderation and conciliation. He begged them to be patient and kind toward their erring brethren. "We are all fellow-citizens, Americans, brethren," he said. "It is a trial of issues by the forces only of reason."
5 Quite a number of citizens of Boston, and some from other places, assembled in Tremont Temple, in that city, on the 3d of December, 1860, to celebrate the anniversary of the execution of John Brown, in Virginia, the year before. A larger number of inhabitants, led by a man named Fay, also assembled there, took possession of the Temple, organized a meeting, denounced the acts of John Brown as "bloody and tyrannical,” and his sympathizers as disturbers of the public peace; and then, according to a published account, expelled from the hall "the Abolitionists and negroes by sheer force."
More than two hundred millions of dollars were due to the Northern merchants and manufacturers by
FINANCIAL CONDITION OF THE COUNTRY.
monetary crisis was impending, and then commenced business restrictions and the withdrawal of capital from investment. Manufacturers and importers became anxious to get rid of their stocks on hand, and the markets, in commercial centers, were soon crowded.
By the middle of November, remittances from the South had almost entirely ceased, partly on account of the dishonesty of a large class who had resolved not to pay, partly because of the absolute inability of others to do so, and partly because of the high rates of exchange on the Northern commercial cities and the depreciation of Southern bank-notes, the Legislatures of several States having authorized the banks to suspend specie payments. The consequence was the subjection of large business houses, and, indeed, whole communities in the North, to great financial straits. Added to this was the sad condition of the National exchequer, and consequent distrust of Government paper. Howell Cobb, the treacherous Secretary of the Treasury, who found the coffers of the Government so overflowing when they came into his custody, in 1857, that the treasury notes next due were bought in, had so adroitly managed his scheme for the paralysis of this strong arm of the Republic, for the benefit of the conspirators, that it was empty in the summer of 1860; and in the autumn of that year he was in the market as a borrower of money to carry on the ordinary operations of the Government and to pay the interest on its loans. His management had created such distrust in financial circles, that he was compelled to pay ruinous premiums at a time when money was never more abundant in the country. Even bids on this loan were not all paid in; and early in December he left the treasury greatly embarrassed, to the delight of his fellow-conspirators.
free governinent, the Never were the people the North were in a
The cereal crop of the West had filled the granaries to repletion, and operators were pushing heavy quantities to the sea-board cities for exportation; while the cotton-growers, anticipating great trouble ahead, were in equal haste to press the heavy crop of their staple on the market.' But capital had hidden in fear of danger, and could not be found to assist in the movement of these materials of national wealth. Doubt and uncertainty every where prevailed, and a desolating panic seemed inevitable. Fortunately for the Republic and the cause of country was never really so rich as at that moment. generally in such easy circumstances. The banks in very healthy condition. The exports had greatly exceeded the imports. The exportation of cotton and grain had been very large, and the tide of trade and exchange was running so heavily in our favor toward the close of November, that coin soon came flowing into the country from Europe in immense volume. The pressure on the market, in the mean time, of unsalable foreign exchange, was so great, and the wants of commission merchants had become so pressing, that the banks of New York City, to give relief, purchased two millions five hundred thousand dollars of foreign exchange, upon which gold might be realized in thirty days. They also resolved upon a liberal line of discounts, by a consolidated fund arrangement with the Clearing-house, and thus they set
1 See Trescot's letter in note 2, page 44.