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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.”
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.'
right to levy war, to conclude peace, to negotiate treaties, leagues,
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 independent State." He declared the proclamation to be given under his hand, on the 24th of December, 1860, "and in
nants, and to do all acts whatever that
RICE TOBACCO, SUGAR COTTON
HA DE SOUTH CAROLINA MEDAL.
of the sovereignty and independence of South Carolina."
the eighty-fifth year
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 were 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.
2 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 populons as their own shall consecrate slavery forever;, that in none of these States shall there be any hiding-place for 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 scorn, 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 1360; 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 COTTON."
• The Crescent was placed in the South Carolina flag in 1775, under the following circumstances:-"he 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 provision 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