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WHY SECESSION WAS PRECIPITATED.
Legislature who would gladly have The foregoing detailed, methodical held back were paralyzed and their statement of the process whereby remonstrances silenced. They dared Secession was inaugurated in South neither to speak nor to vote as their Carolina, and of the conceptions and convictions impelled.
purposes developed by that process, All pleadings and efforts for delay, seems to render needless a like parfor reflection, for calm consideration, ticularity with regard to the subsewere stifled or fruitless. A bill call- quent proceedings in that and other
g a Convention, with the distinct States. The germ of the entire purpose of secession, passed the Senate movement, with the ideas whereon it on the 9th and the House on the 12th. was based, is clearly exhibited in the December 6th was the day appointed doings at Columbia and Charleston, for the election of delegates; the during those memorable early days Convention to meet on the 17th of of November, 1860. And, though that month. Whereupon, Gov. Ham- South Carolina ostentatiously precipmond resigned his seat in the U. S. itated the catastrophe by her single, Senate, as his colleague, Mr. Chesnut, sovereign fiat, it is not doubted that had already done.
she did so upon full understanding On the same day (Nov. 12), a Mili with the “Chivalry” of nearly, or tary Convention of Georgians was quite every Slave State. These had, held at Milledgeville, which was at- of course, apprised her own mastertended and addressed by Gov. Joseph spirits, in their conferences at waterE. Brown of that State. He affirmed ing-places and other fashionable rethe right of secession, and the duty sorts during the preceding Summer of other Southern States to sustain and Autumn, that, though they South Carolina in the step she was could not bring their several States then taking. “He would like to see to march abreast with her in the enFederal troops dare attempt the terprise of National disruption and coërcion of a seceding Southern dissolution, they should have little State! For every Georgian who fell difficulty in inducing them to fly to in a conflict thus incited, the lives of her rescue in case she went boldly two Federal soldiers should expiate forward in the predetermined course, the outrage on State Sovereignty.' and thus exposed herself to imminent The Convention, thus harangued, peril on behalf of their common and voted, about two to one, for secession; most cherished interest, Slavery. * and though it had, of course, no legal Theirs was the strategy of the leader or official authority, its action was of a forlorn hope, who, seeing his doubtless potent in precipitating the storming party hesitate and waver in 'Empire State of the South' into the the breach, or under the wall of the abyss of Disunion.
hostile fortress, throws his flag for
ward among the enemy, and rushes, “cut under” his Democratic antagosword in hand, to its recovery, calcu- nist, Beriah Magoffin, but had failed, lating that his soldiers will thereupon and been signally defeated. His instinctively spring to his and its res- more spotless record as a Slavery cue at all hazards. The event proved propagandist had enabled the supthe efficiency of the method, if not porters of Breckinridge to carry even the perfect accuracy of the calculation. Maryland for him against Bell, in
But the long-standing conspiracy 1860. And now, the readiness to for Disunion was favored, at this back South Carolina, or, at least, to crisis, by very powerful incidental in- shield her from harm, was presented fluences, whereof the principal were as a touchstone of earnestness, to as follows:
those of all parties, who had for years 1. No public opposition to Slavery so loudly vaunted their own and having, for many years, been permit- their party's matchless devotion to ted in the slave-holding region, save “ Southern rights.” at a very few points like St. Louis, 2. The patronage of the Federal where the Free-Labor interest had, Government throughout the fifteen from the force of circumstances, Slave States, being wielded and besilently and suddenly achieved a stowed by the Southern members of practical preponderance, the journals, Mr. Buchanan's Cabinet, was almost the religious organizations, and the entirely monopolized by their fellowpolitical parties, were all immeasura- conspirators. The Collectors of Cusbly subservient to the Slave Power. toms, Postmasters, Marshals, etc., In fact, the chief topic of political who had good reason to apprehend contention, whether in the press or the loss of their comfortable places on the stump, had for twenty years on Mr. Lincoln's accession to power, been the relative soundness and were generally “ripe for treasons, thoroughness of the rival parties in stratagems, and spoils.” Many, if their devotion to Slavery. On this not most of them, were early and acground, Gen. Jackson had immensely, tive promoters of the Slaveholders' the advantage of J. Q. Adams, so far Rebellion, even while easily deriving as the South was concerned, when | large emoluments from the Governthey were rival candidates for the ment they were plotting to destroy. Presidency; as Gen. Harrison had 3. The Legislatures and party Consome advantage of Mr. Van Buren; ventions of all the Slave States had Mr. Polk of Mr. Clay; Gen. Taylor long been in the habit of unanimousof Gen. Cass; Gen. Pierce of Gen. ly resolving that they would never Scott; and, lastly, Major Breckin- submit to exclusion from the Terriridge of John Bell. In Kentucky, tories, “Black-Republican dominain the State canvass of 1859, Mr. tion,” etc., etc. Those who were Joshua F. Bell, “ American” candi- really Unionists were apt to let these date for Governor, had tried hard to resolves pass as a matter of course,
5 Howell Cobb, of Georgia, Secretary of the eral, died, and was succeeded, in 1859, by Treasury; John B. Floyd, of Virginia, Secretary Joseph Holt, of Kentucky, who stood by the of War; Jacob Thompson, of Mississippi, Secre- Union. tary of the Interior. Aaron V. Brown, of Ten- ! See, as a specimen, the Alabama resolves-on nessee, Mr. Buchanan's first Postmaster-Gen- / pages 312-13.
THE DISUNION CONSPIRACY IN TEXAS. . 339 regarding them as a sort of theatrical, opening of the African Slave-Trade, sheet-iron thunder, which might scare which was a well-understood Shibthe North into greater subserviency boleth of the South-Western plotters to the Slave Power, and, at the of Disunion. Hardin R. Runnells, a worst, could do no harm. And now, Mississippian, who was the incumthese resolves were triumphantly bent, was placed at its head as a quoted by the conspirators, and the candidate for Governor. The peopeople asked whether they meant ple were alarmed by this bold step ; any thing by passing them, or were Gen. Sam Houston took the field in only uttering threats which they opposition to it as an independent never intended to make good. | Union candidate for Governor; and,
4. The Governors of nearly all the though there was no political organiSlave States, including even Dela- zation in the State but that which he ware, had actively and zealously sup- confronted, while Texas had gone ported Breckinridge, and had thus overwhelmingly for Pierce against justified the withdrawal of a major- Scott, and for Buchanan against ity of the Southern delegates from the Fillmore, Gen. Houston carried .it Charleston Convention, on grounds with all ease, beating Runnells by not essentially differing from those 8,670 majority,' in by far the largest whereon Disunion was now urged. vote ever yet polled in the State. The action now taken by South Car- Andrew J. Hamilton, running as a olina was very fairly claimed to be a Unionist for Congress, in the Western direct and necessary sequence of that District, in like manner beat T. N. bolt. The Governors and other lead- Waul, the regular Democratic candiing politicians who had supported date, by 448' majority. In the EastBreckinridge and Lane in the recent ern District, John H. Reagan, Demcanvass, were held to have thereby ocrat, had no serious opposition. pledged themselves to prosecute that Gen. Houston was thus in a posipolicy to its legitimate results. And tion to thwart the Texan conspiramost of them were fully aware of tors, had he evinced either principle and ready to meet this expectation. or courage, when they commenced Hence, South Carolina had scarcely operating to take their State out of thrown up her signal rocket, an- the Union at the close of 1860. He nouncing the outbreak of the long did refuse to call the Legislature, or meditated revolution, when it was a Convention; whereupon the conresponded to by proclamations and spirators called the Legislature themcalls of Legislatures in most of the selves, by a document signed by sixty Slave States.
of their number, having just as much Texas was not originally of the legal validity and force as a harangue
shown the cloven foot a year too Disunionists were thoroughly united, soon, by nominating, early in 1859, a determined, and ready; while their State ticket pledged to favor the re- adversaries, owing to Houston's pu
Houston, 36,170; Runnells, 27,500.
in 1859, by 20,565 votes to 3,541 for Judge W. 8 Hamilton, 16,409; Waul, 15,961.
B. Ochiltree; but Houston for Governor had 9 Since, Confederate Postmaster-General. Rea- | 4,183 majority in the District at that election;