Imágenes de páginas

execute, and enforce this ordinance, and such act or acts of the legislature as may be passed to carry the same into operation and effect, according to the true intent and meaning thereof.

And we, the people of South Carolina, to the end that it may be fully understood by the government of the United States, and the people of the co-States, that we are determined to maintain this our ordinance and declaration, at every hazard, do further declare that we will not submit to the application of force on the part of the federal government, to reduce this State to obedience; but that we will consider the passage, by Congress, of any act authorizing the employment of a military or naval force against the State of South Carolina, her constitutional authorities or citizens; or any act abolishing or closing the ports of this State, or any of them, or otherwise obstructing the free ingress and egress of vessels to and from the said ports, or any other act on the part of the federal government, to coerce the State, shut up her ports, destroy or harass her commerce, or to enforce the acts hereby declared to be null and void, otherwise than through the civil tribunals of the country, as inconsistent with the longer continuance of South Carolina in the Union; and that the people of this State will henceforth hold themselves absolved from all further obligation to maintain or preserve their political connection with the people of the other States; and will forthwith proceed to organize a separate government, and do all other acts and things which sovereign and independent States may of right do.

Done in convention at Columbia, the twenty-fourth day of November, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-two, and in the fifty-seventh year of the declaration of the independence of the United States of America.


On receiving the news of Lincoln's election the South Carolina legislature called a convention which passed the Ordinance of Secession December 20, 1860. This was done because, as the South Carolina declaration of independence stated: “A geographical line had been drawn across the Union, and all the states north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery.” Copies of this ordinance were forwarded to the other Southern states which passed similiar ordinances, as follows: Mississippi, January 9, 1861; Florida, January 10; Alabama, January 11 ; Georgia, January 19; Louisiana, January 26; Texas, February 1. Delegates from the seceded states met at Montgomery, Alabama, February 4, 1861, and organized a provisional government. These states were afterwards joined by Virginia, April 17; Arkansas, May 6; and North Carolina, May 20.

Consult Lossing's Civil War, I., 103; Comte de Paris' Civil War, I., 122 ; Greeley's American Conflict, I., 344; Draper's Civil War, I., 514.


An ordinance to dissolve the Union between the State of South Carolina and other States united with her under the compact entitled “The Constitution of the United States of America."

We, the People of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, that the Ordinance adopted by us in Convention, on the Twenty-third of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States was ratified, and also all other Acts and parts of Acts of the General Assembly of the State ratifying amendments of the said Constitution, are hereby repealed, and the Union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of the United States of America, is hereby dissolved.

In justification of the preceding ordinance was issued the following:



The State of South Carolina, having determined to resume her separate and equal place among nations, deems it due to herself, to the remaining United States of America, and to the nations of the world, that she should declare the causes which have led to this act.

In the year 1765, that portion of the British empire embracing Great Britain, undertook to make laws for the government of that portion composed of the thirteen American colonies. A struggle for the right of selfgovernment ensued, which resulted, on the 4th of July, 1776, in a declaration by the colonies, “that they are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states,

and that, as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, to conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do."

They further solemnly declared, that whenever any “ form of government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the right of that people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government." Deeming the government of Great Britain to have be. come destructive of these ends, they declared that the colonies “are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the states of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved."

In pursuance of this declaration of independence, each of the thirteen states proceeded to exercise its separate sovereignty; adopted for itself a constitution, and appointed officers for the administration of government in all its departments—legislative, executive, and judicial. For purpose of defense, they united their arms and their counsels; and, in 1778, they united in a league, known as the articles of confederation, whereby they agreed to intrust the administration of their external relations to a common agent, known as the Congress of the United States, expressly declaring in the first article, “that each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right which is not, by this confederation, expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled."

Under this consideration the war of the Revolution was carried on, and on the 3d of September, 1783, the contest ended, and a definite treaty was signed by Great Britain, in which she acknowledged the independence of the colonies in the following terms:

Article I. His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz.: New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantation, Connecti


cut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, to be free, sovereign, and independent states; that he treats them as such; and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claim to the government, proprietary and territorial rights of the same, and every

part thereof.

Thus was established the two great principles asserted by the colonies, namely, the right of a state to govern itself, and the right of a people to abolish a government when it becomes destructive of the ends for which it was instituted. And concurrent with the establishment of these principles was the fact, that each colony became and was recognized by the mother country as a free, sovereign, and independent state.

In 1787, deputies were appointed by the states to revise the articles of confederation, and on September 17th, 1787, the deputies recommended for the adoption of the states the articles of union known as the constitution of the United States.

The parties to whom the constitution was submitted were the several sovereign states; they were to agree or disagree, and when nine of them agreed, the compact was to take effect among those concurring; and the general government, as the common agent, was then to be invested with their authority.

If only nine of the thirteen states had concurred, the other four would have remained as they then were-separate, sovereign states, independent of any of the provisions of the constitution. In fact, two of the states did not accede to the constitution until long after it had gone into operation among the other eleven ; and during that interval, they exercised the functions of an independent nation.

By this constitution, certain duties were charged on the several states, and the exercise of certain of their powers not delegated to the United States by the con

« AnteriorContinuar »