Mr. RHETT asked if there was anything before the Convention.
There being nothing, he moved to take up "The Address of the People of South Carolina, Assembled in Convention, to the People of the Slaveholding States of the United States."
Mr. SIMPSON moved the adoption of the Address.
The Address was then put upon its passage, and after being verbally amended, was adopted as follows: It is seventy-three years since the Union between the United States was made by the Constitution of the United States. During this time, their advance in wealth, prosperity and power has been with scarcely a parallel in the history of the world. The great object of their Union was defence against external aggression of more powerful nations; which object is now attained, from their mere progress in power. Thirty-one millions of people, with a commerce and navigation which explore every sea, and with agricultural productions which are necessary to every civilized people, command the friendship of the world. But unfortunately, our internal peace has not grown with our external prosperity. Discontent and contention have moved in the bosom of the Confederacy for the last thirty-five years. During this time, South Carolina has twice called her people together in solemn Convention, to take into consideration the aggressions and unconstitutional wrongs perpetrated by the people of the North on the people of the South. These wrongs were submitted to by the people of the South, under the hope and expectation that they would be final. But such hope and expectation have proved to be vain. Instead of producing forbearance, our acquiescence has only instigated to new forms of aggression and outrage; and South Carolina, again assembling her people in Convention, has this day dissolved her connection with the States constituting the United States.
The one great evil, from which all other evils have flowed, is the overthrow of the Constitution of the United States. The Government of the United States is no longer the Government of Confederated Republics, but of a consolidated Democracy. It is no longer a free government, but a Despotism. It is, in fact, such a Government as Great Britain attempted to set over our fathers; and which was resisted and defeated by a seven years' struggle for independence.
The Revolution of 1776 turned upon one great principle of self-government and self-taxation; the criterion of self-government. Where the interests of two people united together under one Government, are different, each must have the power to protect its interests by the organization of the Government, or they cannot be free. The interests of Great Britain and of the Colonies were different and antagonistic. Great Britain was desirous of carrying out the policy of all nations towards their Colonies, of making them tributary to her wealth and power. She had vast and complicated relations with the whole world. Her policy towards her North American Colonies was to identify them with her in all these complicated relations; and to make them bear, in common with the rest of the Empire, the full burden of her obligations and necessities. She had a vast public debt; she had an European policy and an Asiatic policy, which had occasioned the accumulation of her public debt; and which kept her in continual wars. The North American Colonies saw their interests, political and commercial, sacrificed by such a policy. Their interests required that they should not be identified with the burdens and wars of the mother country. They had been settled under Charters, which gave them self-government; at least so far as their property was concerned. They had taxed themselves, and had never been taxed by the Government of Great Britain. To make them a part of a consolidated Empire, the Parliament of Great Britain determined to assume the power of legislating for the Colonies in all cases whatsoever. Our ancestors resisted the pretension. They refused to be a part of the consolidated Government of Great Britain.
The Southern States now stand exactly in the same position towards the Northern States that the Colonies did towards Great Britain. The Northern States, having the majority in Congress, claim the same power of omnipotence in legislation as the British Parliament. "The General Welfare," is the only limit to the legislation of either; and the majority in Congress, as in the British Parliament, are the sole judges of the expediency of the legislation this "General Welfare" requires. Thus, the Government of the United States has become a consolidated Government; and the people of the Southern States are compelled to meet the very despotism their fathers threw off in the Revolution of 1776.
The consolidation of the Government of Great Britain over the Colonies, was attempted to be carried out by the taxes. The British Parliament undertook to tax the Colonies, to promote British interests. Our fathers resisted this pretension. They claimed the right of self-taxation through their Colonial Legislatures. They were not represented in the British Parliament, and, therefore, could not rightly be taxed by its Legislation. The British Government, however, offered them a representation in Parliament; but it was not sufficient to enable them to protect themselves from the majority, and they refused it. Between taxation without any representation, and taxation without a representation adequate to protection, there was no difference. In neither case would the Colonies tax themselves. Hence, they refused to pay the taxes laid by the British Parliament.
And so with the Southern States, towards the Northern States, in the vital matter of taxation. They are in a minority in Congress. Their representation in Congress is useless to protect them against unjust taxation; and they are taxed by the people of the North for their benefit, exactly as the people of Great Britain taxed our ancestors in the British Parliament for their benefit. For the last forty years, the taxes laid by the Congress of the United States, have been laid with a view of subserving the interests of the North. The people of the South have been taxed by duties on imports, not for revenue, but for an object inconsistent with revenue - to promote, by prohibitions, Northern interests in the productions of their mines and manufactures.
There is another evil, in the condition of the Southern towards the Northern States, which our ancestors refused to bear towards Great Britain. Our ancestors not only taxed themselves, but all the taxes collected from them, were expended amongst them. Had they submitted to the pretensions of the British Government, the taxes collected from them would have been expended in other parts of the British Empire. They were fully aware of the effect of such a policy in impoverishing the people from whom taxes are collected, and in enriching those who receive the benefit of their expenditure. To prevent the evils of such a policy was one of the motives which drove them on to revolution. Yet this British policy has been fully realized towards the Southern States by the Northern States. The people of the Southern States are not only taxed for the benefit of the Northern States, but after the taxes are collected, three- fourths of them are expended at the North. This cause, with others, connected with the operation of the General Government, has made the cities of the South provincial. Their growth is paralyzed; they are mere suburbs of Northern cities. The agricultural productions of the South are the basis of the foreign commerce of the United States; yet Southern cities do not carry it on. Our foreign trade is almost annihilated. In 1740, there were five ship-yards in South Carolina, to build ships to carry on our direct trade with Europe. Between 1740 and 1779, there were built in these yards, twenty-five square rigged vessels, besides a great number of sloops and schooners, to carry on our coast and West India trade. In the half century immediately preceding the Revolution, from 1725 to 1775, the population of South Carolina increased seven-fold.
No man can, for a moment, believe that our ancestors intended to establish over their posterity, exactly the same sort of Government they had overthrown. The great object of the Constitution of the United States, in its internal operation, was, doubtless, to secure the great end of the Revolution - a limited free Government - a Government limited to those matters only, which were general and common to all portions of the United States. All sectional or local interests were to be left to the States. By no other arrangement would they obtain free Government, by a Constitution common to so vast a Confederacy. Yet, by gradual and steady encroachments on the part of the people of the North, and acquiescence on the part of the South, the limitations in the Constitution have been swept away; and the Government of the United States has become consolidated, with a claim of limitless powers in its operations.
It is not at all surprising, whilst such is the character of the Government of the United States, that it should assume to possess power over all the institutions of the country. The agitations on the subject of slavery are the natural results of the consolidation of the Government. Responsibility follows power; and if the people of the North have the power by Congress "to promote the general welfare of the United States," by any means they deem expedient - why should they not assail and overthrow the institution of slavery in the South? They are responsible for its continuance or existence, in proportion to their power. A majority in Congress, according to their interested and perverted views, is omnipotent. The inducements to act upon the subject of slavery, under such circumstances, were so imperious, as to amount almost to a moral necessity. To make, however, their numerical power available to rule the Union, the North must consolidate their power. It would not be united, on any matter common to the whole Union - in other words, on any constitutional subject - for on such subjects divisions are as likely to exist in the North as in the South. Slavery was strictly a sectional interest. If this could be made the criterion of parties at the North, the North could be united in its power; and thus carry out its measures of sectional ambition, encroachment and aggrandizement. To build up their sectional predominance in the Union, the Constitution must first be abolished by constructions; but that being done, the consolidation of the North, to rule the South, by the tariff and slavery issues, was in the obvious course of things.
The Constitution of the United States was an experiment. The experiment consisted in uniting under one Government, different peoples living in different climates, and having different pursuits of industry and institutions. It matters not how carefully the limitations of such a Government be laid down in the Constitution - its success must, at least, depend upon the good faith of the parties to the constitutional compact, in enforcing them. It is not in the power of human language to exclude false inferences, constructions and perversions, in any Constitution; and when vast sectional interests are to be subserved, involving the appropriation of countless millions of money, it has not been the usual experience of mankind, that words on parchments can arrest power. The Constitution of the United States, irrespective of the interposition of the States, rested on the assumption that power would yield to faith - that integrity would be stronger than interest; and that thus, the limitations of the Constitution would be observed. The experiment has been fairly made. The Southern States, from the commencement of the Government, have striven to keep it within the orbit prescribed by the Constitution. The experiment has failed. The whole Constitution, by the constructions of the Northern people, has been absorbed by its preamble. In their reckless lust for power, they seem unable to comprehend that seeming paradox - that the more power is given to the General Government, the weaker it becomes. Its strength consists in the limitation of its agency to objects of common interests to all sections. To extend the scope of its power over sectional or local interests, is to raise up against it opposition and resistance. In all such matters, the General Government must necessarily be a despotism, because all sectional or local interests must ever be represented by a minority in the councils of the General Government, having no power to protect itself against the rule of the majority. The majority, constituted from those who do not represent these sectional or local interests, will control and govern them. A free people cannot submit to such a Government. And the more it enlarges the sphere of its power, the greater must be the dissatisfaction it must produce, and the weaker it must become. On the contrary, the more it abstains from usurped powers, and the more faithfully it adheres to the limitations of the Constitution, the stronger it is made. The Northern people have had neither the wisdom nor the faith to perceive, that to observe the limitations of the Constitution was the only way to its perpetuity.
Under such a Government, there must, of course, be many and endless "irrepressible conflicts," between the two great sections of the Union. The same faithlessness which has abolished the Constitution of the United States, will not fail to carry out the sectional purposes for which it has been abolished. There must be conflict; and the weaker section of the Union can only find peace and liberty in an independence of the North. The repeated efforts made by South Carolina, in a wise conservatism, to arrest the progress of the General Government in its fatal progress to consolidation, have been unsupported, and she has been denounced as faithless to the obligations of the Constitution, by the very men and States, who were destroying it by their usurpations. It is now too late to reform or restore the Government of the United States. All confidence in the North is lost by the South. The faithlessness of the North for half a century has opened a gulf of separation between the North and the South which no promises nor engagements can fill.
It cannot be believed, that our ancestors would have assented to any union whatever with the people of the North, if the feelings and opinions now existing amongst them, had existed when the Constitution was framed. There was then no Tariff - no fanaticism concerning negroes. It was the delegates from New England who proposed in the Convention which framed the Constitution, to the delegates from South Carolina and Georgia, that if they would agree to give Congress the power of regulating commerce by a majority that they would support the extension of the African Slave Trade for twenty years. African slavery existed in all the States but one. The idea that the Southern States would be made to pay that tribute to their northern confederates which they had refused to pay to Great Britain; or that the institution of African slavery, would be made the grand basis of a sectional organization of the North to rule the South, never crossed the imaginations of our ancestors. The Union of the Constitution was a Union of slaveholding States. It rests on slavery, by prescribing a representation in Congress for three-fifths of our slaves. There is nothing in the proceedings of the Convention which framed the Constitution, to show that the Southern States would have formed any other Union; and still less, that they would have formed a Union with more powerful non-slaveholding States, having majority in both branches of the Legislature of the Government. They were guilty of no such folly. Time and the progress of things have totally altered the relations between the Northern and Southern States, since the Union was established. That identity of feelings, interests and institutions which once existed, is gone. They are now divided, between agricultural and manufacturing, and commercial States; between slaveholding and non-slaveholding States. Their institutions and industrial pursuits have made them totally different peoples. That equality in the Government between the two sections of the Union which once existed, no longer exists. We but imitate the policy of our fathers in dissolving a union with non-slaveholding confederates, and seeking a confederation with slaveholding States.
Experience has proved that slaveholding States cannot be safe in subjection to non-slaveholding States. Indeed, no people can ever expect to preserve its rights and liberties, unless these be in its own custody. To plunder and oppress, where plunder and oppression can be practiced with impunity, seems to be the natural order of things. The fairest portions of the world elsewhere, have been turned into wildernesses, and the most civilized and prosperous communities have been impoverished and ruined by anti-slavery fanaticism. The people of the North have not left us in doubt as to their designs and policy. United as a section in the late Presidential election, they have elected as the exponent of their policy, one who has openly declared that all the States of the United States must be made free States or slave States. It is true, that amongst those who aided in his election, there are various shades of anti-slavery hostility. But if African slavery in the Southern States be the evil their political combination affirms it to be, the requisitions of an inexorable logic must lead them to emancipation. If it is right to preclude or abolish slavery in a Territory, why should it be allowed to remain in the States? The one is not at all more unconstitutional than the other, according to the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. And when it is considered that the Northern States will soon have the power to make that Court what they please, and that the Constitution never has been any barrier whatever to their exercise of power, what check can there be, in the unrestrained counsels of the North, to emancipation? There is sympathy in association, which carries men along without principle; but when there is principle, and that principle is fortified by long existing prejudices and feelings, association is omnipotent in party influences. In spite of all disclaimers and professions, there can be but one end by the submission of the South to the rule of a sectional anti-slavery government at Washington; and that end, directly or indirectly, must be - the emancipation of the slaves of the South. The hypocrisy of thirty years - the faithlessness of their whole course from the commencement of our union with them, show that the people of the non-slaveholding North are not, and cannot be safe associates of the slaveholding South, under a common Government. Not only their fanaticism, but their erroneous views of the principles of free Governments, render it doubtful whether, if separated from the South, they can maintain a free Government amongst themselves. Numbers, with them, is the great element of free Government. A majority is infallible and omnipotent. "The right divine to rule in Kings," is only transferred to their majority. The very object of all Constitutions, in free popular Government, is to restrain the majority. Constitutions, therefore, according to their theory, must be most unrighteous inventions, restricting liberty. None ought to exist; but the body politic ought simply to have a political organization, to bring out and enforce the will of the majority. This theory may be harmless in a small community, having identity of interests and pursuits; but over a vast State - still more, over a vast Confederacy, having various and conflicting interests and pursuits, it is a remorseless despotism. In resisting it, as applicable to ourselves, we are vindicating the great cause of free Government, more important, perhaps, to the world, than the existence of all the United States. Nor in resisting it, do we intend to depart from the safe instrumentality, the system of Government we have established with them, requires. In separating from them, we invade no rights - no interest of theirs. We violate not obligation or duty to them. As separate, independent States in Convention, we made the Constitutions of the United States with them; and as separate independent States, each State acting for itself, we adopted it. South Carolina, acting in her sovereign capacity, now thinks proper to secede from the Union. She did not part with her Sovereignty in adopting the Constitution. The last thing a State can be presumed to have surrendered, is her Sovereignty. Her Sovereignty is her life. Nothing but a clear express grant can alienate it. Inference has no place. Yet it is not at all surprising that those who have construed away all the limitations of the Constitution, should also by construction, claim the annihilation of the Sovereignty of the States. Having abolished all barriers to their omnipotence, by their faithless constructions in the operations of the General Government, it is most natural that they should endeavor to do the same towards us in the States. The truth is, they having violated the express provisions of the Constitution, it is at an end, as a compact. It is morally obligatory only on those who choose to accept its perverted terms. South Carolina, deeming the compact not only violated in particular features, but virtually abolished by her Northern confederates, withdraws herself as a party from its obligations. The right to do so is denied by her Northern confederates. They desire to establish a sectional despotism, not only omnipotent in Congress, but omnipotent over the States; and as if to manifest the imperious necessity of our secession, they threaten us with the sword, to coerce submission to their rule.
Citizens of the slaveholding States of the United States! Circumstances beyond our control have placed us in the van of the great controversy between the Northern and Southern States. We would have preferred that other States should have assumed the position we now occupy. Independent ourselves, we disclaim any design or desire to lead the counsels of the other Southern States. Providence has cast our lot together, by extending over us an identity of pursuits, interests, and institutions. South Carolina desires no destiny separated from yours. To be one of a great Slaveholding Confederacy, stretching its arms over a 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. 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. You have loved the Union, in whose service your great statesmen have labored, and your great soldiers have fought and conquered - not for the material benefits it conferred, but with the faith of a generous and devoted chivalry. You have long lingered in hope over the shattered remains of a broken Constitution. Compromise after compromise, formed by your concessions, has been trampled under foot by your Northern confederates. All fraternity of feeling between the North and the South is lost, or has been converted into hate; and we, of the South, are at last driven together by the stern destiny which controls the existence of nations. Your bitter experience of the faithlessness and rapacity of your Northern confederates may have been necessary to evolve those great principles of free Government, upon which the liberties of the world depend, and to prepare you for the grand mission of vindicating and re%stablishing them. We rejoice that other nations should be satisfied with their institutions. Contentment is a great element of happiness, with nations as with individuals. We are satisfied with ours. If they prefer a system of industry, in which capital and labor are in perpetual conflict - and chronic starvation keeps down the natural increase of population - and a man is worked out in eight years - and the law ordains that children shall be worked only ten hours a day -- and the sabre and the bayonet are the instruments of order - be it so. It is their affair, not ours. We prefer, however, our system of industry, by which labor and capital are identified in interest, and capital, therefore, protects labor - by which our population doubles every twenty years - by which starvation is unknown, and abundance crowns the land - by which order is preserved by an unpaid police, and many fertile regions of the world, where the Caucassian cannot labor, are brought into usefulness by the labor of the African, and the whole world is blessed by our productions. All we demand of other peoples is to be left alone, to work out our own high destinies. United together, and we must be the most independent, as we are among the most important, of 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.
Several of the amendments proposed caused a lively colloquial discussion.
In moving to strike out the following: "Where the Caucassian cannot labor,"
Mr. F.H. WARDLAW said he did not consider that portion of the address true. Some of the most fertile portions of South Carolina are cultivated by the labor of the white man. White men in the upper country make Cotton crops. He thought the sentence would be complete without the portion he proposed to strike out.
Mr. RHETT thought if that was a fact the phraseology might be altered, but he did there were portions of the world, under a tropical climate, where the Caucassian could not labor. If he understood it correctly, one of the great justifications of the institution of slavery is that the Caucassian cannot labor in certain regions where the soil is extremely fertile, and where latitude is of a certain degree. The only way in which the soil of those regions can be made useful to man, is by the cultivation of the African. That is an important position in the defence of our institutions. Our enemies have contended on the other hand that the white man is able to cultivate that soil, and secure all tropical productions. That is the idea he intended to express. If it was untrue the sentence ought to be expunged.
Mr. F.H. WARDLAW was not satisfied with the explanation as to the sentence referred to. It refers to the West Indies, and other tropics, and we cannot say that these regions are "kept in order by an unpaid police." He did not think the force of the sentence would be at all impaired by striking out the portions indicated.
Mr. RHETT said if we agreed with the fact he would be willing to strike out, but he did not believe many portions could be cultivated by the white race. There may be some spots in the up country where Cotton could be produced by him, but as a general rule white men cannot populate a tropical country, nor cultivate the productions of a tropical climate.
Mr. HUTSON suggested that the difficulty might be avoided by striking out the word "most" and inserting the word "many," so as to read, "and many fertile regions of the world where the Caucassian cannot labor, are brought into usefulness by the labor of the African." The Amendment was accepted.
Mr. CHEVES moved that all the proposed amendments be accepted as information, and that the paper be ordered to be printed, and that the Chairman of the Committee be authorised to make all verbal amendments necessary, (if the same be not already adopted) the same to be submitted to the Convention to-morrow.
Mr. RHETT thought the Address should now be either accepted or rejected by the Convention. They could simply say whether they were satisfied or whether they were satisfied or whether they approved of it, and it was better to determine that at once.
Mr. DARGAN said on Saturday he moved to take up the Address in connection with the Report of the Committee charged to prepare a statement of the causes of secession. He then stated his position, that he thought there was an apparent want of congruity between the Address which was prepared by the Committee on the Address to the Southern States, and that prepared by the Committee of a statement of the causes of secession.
They had already manifestations of some want of concurrence of views in the Convention in reference to these Addresses. When the other paper came up there would be similar manifestations. He thought, therefore, the objects of the Convention would best be subserved, and a more satisfactory conclusion arrived at, by recommitting both papers to their respective Committees, or that both together might form a joint committee of revision. Both then might have a conference on the subject of the Addresses. He, therefore, moved that the Address under consideration, in connection with the report of the Committee charged with the report of the Committee charged with the duty of preparing a statement of the causes of secession, be referred to a Special Committee, consisting of the two Committees that have reported these respective Addresses, with the hope that the action of the joint Committee might result in the production of two papers, which would resolve the action of the Convention without discussion.
Mr. CALHOUN said it seemed to him that these two Addresses were very different in character, and that it would be inexpedient to unite them, or to bring them together in perfect harmony. In the one Address we are speaking to those with whom we expect to confederate -- we are speaking to our sister Southern States. In the other we are speaking to the world at large, and informing them of the reasons which induced us to take the important steps we have adopted. He took it, therefore, that the language used in both Addresses should, to some extent, be different and not confined to the same tenor of argument. He was, therefore, of opinion that the true policy for the Convention to adopt was, after putting the extensive verbal criticism already made in the Southern Address, we should regard this measure as having progressed to an extent which justifies this Convention in passing this Address to the people of the Southern States. The policy which has been adopted by the Chairman of that Committee was a liberal one. He happened to be a member of that Committee, and while he did not sanction all the verbal criticisms adopted, yet he thought it the best policy to admit it was right. Absolute accuracy in an Address of that length could hardly be expected. After the minute criticism which the paper had undergone, he thought it was not asking too much of the Convention to adopt the Address and let it stand upon its own merits.
As to the other Address, which sets forth the reasons of secession, he was not prepared to say what changes should be made in that Address, but as it covers the whole ground, and it appears to be correct, he thought it the best policy to admit it was right. He hoped they would on and perfect the Address, and that it would be adopted, independent of any action, with the Address to the world at large. The two papers are not of the same nature. It was not necessary that they should speak in the same terms, and were in many respects essentially different.
Mr. HAYNE wished to say a single word upon the subject. He quite agreed with the speaker who preceded him, that the two papers being addressed to different quarters, should not be necessarily the same. It is essential that two different steps be taken in relation to them -- but, nevertheless, the two subjects are certainly kindred -- and it may be that similar positions are taken in each, and there may be apparent opposition in the Addresses. For this reason he thought it best to refer both to the same Committee. They could then see the difficulties that had arisen by reference to separate Committees. He would suggest that as each Committee only consisted of seven, they might meet in joint committee, and the whole fourteen could thus consider the Addresses, and bring them into such harmony as would prevent the seeming inconsistencies that appeared. He proposed to send the amendments and the Addresses before the Committee, and they would discover all discrepancies, avoid them in the perfected paper that would result from their labors. He thought they might make a report to-morrow, which would be satisfactory to many who now entertained doubts in mind.
Col. T. Y. SIMONS. Mr. President, we have passed an Ordinance by which we have declared this State a separate and independent Commonwealth. We are now engaged in bringing those principles to a practical conclusion, which we have asserted and declared upon paper. It is exceedingly important that the Address to the Southern States, whom we hope soon to be our confederates, as well as the Address setting forth the immediate causes which induce and justify the secession of this State, should be placed as speedily as possible before our people and the world. They present the grounds of our action. They contain our appeal and our justification. These matters have been referred to able Committees of this body, who have been engaged in anxious and earnest deliberation upon them. They reported, several days since, to this Convention the fruits of their counsel in the Addresses, which they regarded worthy of the occasion, and entitled to our adoption. We have been engaged the whole morning in their discussion. Such amendments and alterations as the wisdom of this body thought these State papers required, have been suggested and adopted. Now, when they have thus been perfected, and we are about carrying into practical execution the principles therein declared, we are asked to refer the whole matter back to a special joint committee. I see no necessity for it. It can but result in delay, without any prospect of arriving at a clearer or more satisfactory conclusion. What differences is there in these two addresses. The only distinction is that the one enters more in detail than the other. The one prepared by my distinguished colleague, (Mr. Memminger,) justifying the causes of secession, addresses itself solely and simply to those objects. This is its scope and design, and is eminently right and proper. But when we come to the Address to our Southern sister States, that sets forth plainly, though at length, the nation's reasons, not only directly leading to our present action. To refer these papers back to a joint, committee, is to arrive no nearer to a practical conclusion. We have their views here embodied. We can have no other, unless we intend there shall be but one Address.
I have yet to learn of a single member of the Convention, who has arisen in his seat and offered any other than mere verbal criticisms and alterations. I, for one, am prepared to vote for both Addresses. Each is admirable in its kind. It is important they should be sent forth in life and vigor at once. I can see no advantage in postponement. Prompt and decided action on all these matters is necessary to ensure and complete the success of that important measure, which we, a few days ago, inaugurated. If gentlemen have objections to the Addresses. let them state them now. Let them be discussed now. Let them be determined now. We can perfect them as well, and much better at this time, than at any other. Let us take immediate cognizance of them. I trust, Mr. President, that before we adjourn we shall have adopted both, and sent them forth with the sanction of our authority, as a fit and proper sequel to the great act which we have already ordained, and thus stand justified before the world for our course, and answer the grave purposes for which we are assembled.
Mr. DUNKIN moved to go into consideration of the first special order, the same being an Ordinance to provide for the continuance of commercial facilities for South Carolina.
Mr. HARLEE moved that the special order be passed over, and that the Convention should at once act upon the Address under consideration.
Mr. DUNKIN said he could give some very strong reasons why the special order should not be discharged. He was not sure that the lights in the Lighthouses would not be turned down as you would turn down a gas-burner. The Collector of the Port told us on Saturday that some of the very persons employed in these Lighthouses had already thrown up their situations.
Mr. SMITH. I think we should go into secret session upon this matter.
Mr. DUNKIN. If the special order is not discharged, I shall move to go into secret session immediately.
Mr. HARLEE moved to discharge the special order for thirty minutes. Agreed to.
Mr. SMITH. When I came to this Convention I was almost oppressed under a sense of the magnitude of the subjects we were to take into consideration. Either that sense was exaggerated. or else with all deference to this honorable body, I say we are moving rather slowly in forwarding the purposes of this body. We have passed an Ordinance which puts us in a position before the world. That Ordinance is to be followed up with other measures, or else we stand before the world in the ridiculous position of seceding upon paper. We have expended hours in verbal criticism; we have done so much work, at all events. I take it that the adoption of the Address is not all the work we have to do. We have work before us upon which the sun should not set, or upon which our eyelids should not close, before it is finished. I move that the Address which we have already deliberated upon be adopted, and that the other Address be laid upon the table. [Cries of "Question, question."]
Judge D.L. WARDLAW. I trust that this Convention will not, through fear of ridicule, be driven from its propriety, but that it will be done well. We need not be so anxious to get through with business in a hasty manner. No elections in the Southern States take place in a day or two before your Address can be printed, unless, possibly, in the State of Georgia. There is none but the people of that State, in all the South, whom your Address could reach before the elections. There is, therefore, no need for hurry in reference to this special Address. There is not one single sentence of that Address which I do not heartily endorse. It is an able and admirable exposition of the structure of our Government and its general operations. I do not say that it is exactly the Address to the Southern people that it should be.
I think it deals too much and too largely in some subjects, and does not touch upon others that are very important. From the beginning I have been desirous that these two papers should be made consistent with each other, to operate either upon the opinions of the Southern people or upon the opinion of the world. My objection to the Address to the People of the Southern States is that it does to the People of the Southern States is that it does not deal as it should upon matter connected with the immediate causes of our actions, and matters connected but with slavery. My objections to the other Address is that it deals too much with the Fugitive Slave Law and upon Personal Liberty Bills. It is too much like special pleading.
It does not set out, as it should, the causes of special action. The subjects in the Address now under consideration, does not set forth to the Southern people our defenceless condition -- that already our adversary has the House of Representatives, and will soon have the Senate. Of course they will have the President, and that they will have the judiciary in their own hands, to suit themselves; and that, having the entire power to form the Government, it is in vain for us, or any of the Southern States, to hope for anything by remaining inactive. It does not set out, as I think it should, that the election of Lincoln is virtual emancipation; and that the emancipation of the slaves in this country, to which our adversaries do unquestionably look, will be the result of that election; that this is urged no less by the moderate men of the North than the Abolitionists; that they all deny our right to take our slaves to the Territories, all deny the equality of slaves. All parties, Whigs, Democrats and Abolitionists are, in fact, our adversaries upon this subject.
The Address does not set forth as I think it should to the world what would be the necessary effects of emancipation; that it would be destruction of the black, the degradation of the white; that there must be a continuance of slavery, or the degradation of both races, or absolute extermination of the black; that humanity for the slave States alone requires that this condition should be continued, and those who choose to interfere pragmatically and officiously with our social structure have no justice; none of these considerations are set forth in the Address.
When they, too, with shameful hypocrisy, cry out sin, the sin of slavery, yet do not choose to relieve themselves by withdrawal from the Confederacy, will they cry sin against us and perpetuate a monstrous enormity and violate that agreement as a means of extricating themselves from that responsibility which they choose to assume in this matter. Therefore I think it is that these matters ought to be deliberately considered, as I feel there is no necessity for the immediate adoption of either Address. When they go forth, they should go forth as a solemn edict -- as a solemn State paper by which we must stand. Every word in these papers should be most carefully considered. They should contain nothing superfluous, and nothing important should be omitted.
Mr. MEMMINGER said he believed the question before the Convention was the committal of the paper now before the Convention to the Committee. As far as the Committee on drawing the Declaration of Independence was concerned, he presumed it was quite indifferent to them what course the House adopted. Their great purpose was to produce such a document as the State of South Carolina could stand upon before the world. The Committee, to which the matter was suggested by gentlemen on this floor, never thought of a conflict between these two Committees. He, (the speaker,) supposed that there might be some sort of conflict between the Committee appointed to prepare the Ordinance of Secession, and that appointed to draw a statement of the causes which induced the secession of the State. Therefore, when he made the motion for the appointment of the Committee, he had said that if the Committee on the Ordinance saw fit to place a preamble stating those causes, he would move to discharge that Committee.
In forming the Address to the people of the Southern States, we think the Committee has framed a document which justifies the secession of South Carolina before the whole world. That Address is a unit. We first affirmed that South Carolina was a State -- an Independent Nation. That is a proposition which the world may deny; a proposition which the North may deny; a vital proposition connected with our right of secession. In the Declaration, the first thing done shows that the mother country, by the articles which acknowledged independence, also acknowledged the independence of South Carolina, and named her as a free, sovereign, and independent State. We went on to show that, being thus an independent State, she entered into the Articles of Confederation, in which she was again recognized as a colleague -- as a sovereign and Independent State. We went on to show that the Constitution provided that it should take effect if nine of thirteen of the States agreed to it. What then was the condition of the other four? If four did not agree to the Constitution of the United States, what was their condition? They had been acknowledged as sovereign and independent States.
We place our present action upon two broad principles, or rather upon three broad principles. First -- As a sovereign, independent nation, we have a right to govern ourselves. Second -- As a sovereign, independent nation, if the other parties attempt to set it aside, which it has not, it releases us from all obligation. Third -- If the government which we established be destructive of the end for which it was instituted, we have the right to abolish it. Those three principles are inserted in that document. On these three principles South Carolina is justified in her present action.
Nothing mars a nation's escutcheon more than breach of faith. That document shows, both in letter an in spirit, that our co-States have broken the Constitution of the United States. Our co-States have broken their faith and violated the compact, and therefore have discharged us from all obligation. It is a breech of contract. For five and twenty years they have maintained the slavery agitation, and against an equal in the Union they have denounced its institution. They have established an organization for the purpose of destroying us. They have perverted the Constitution of the United States by seizing hold of that section in relation to the Executive Department; by electing a sectional President, and in putting into office those who are enemies of our institutions.
The real objection which we have is the election of Abram Lincoln and his Representatives of a hostile section, with an avowed determination against the institutions of the South. On the 4th of March next these men will be in possession of the government which stood as a common agent. Their tribunal will be sectional.
The document is submitted as a unit for the purposes designed.
Mr. RHETT said that the secession of South Carolina was not the event of the day. It is not simply the election of Mr. Lincoln which is the cause. This matter had been gathering in the head for thirty years. Some of the most gigantic intellects and patriotic statesmen have participated in the events. The secession of South Carolina is only the consummation of the labors of such men as Calhoun, McDuffie, and others. The election of Mr. Lincoln, and the sectional organization at the North, was the last straw on the back of the camel.
The Speaker said that he doubted the constitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Law. Mr. Webster opposed it in the Senate of the United States as unconstitutional. Mr. Butler also opposed the same in the House on the same grounds. The clause which demands that runaway slaves shall be delivered up, when found in the possession of others, shows that there was a guarantee between States on the subject of fugitives from labor. The Northern people have shuffled off the obligations imposed on them by their own legislation in Congress. There is no faith in the Northern people in the present state of affairs. The nations of Europe disdain slavery. It is necessary to show them the justness of the American institution as it exists. To show them the happiness and prosperity of the civilized world depends on our cultivation of Cotton particularly, and Rice, Sugar, and Tabacco generally.
The emancipation of our slaves would reduce freemen of European countries and of Northern States to abject wretchedness.
Mr. MEMMINGER said he concurred the Constitution of the United States required the rendition of fugitive slaves by the States and not by the common government. He maintained that the simple truth is the very best document that could be placed before the world as a declaration of the causes which have led to this issue.
Mr. WITHERS understood that the document was a diplomatic paper. Is not the address to the Southern States, to solicit them to assist in forming a new Confederacy? He wanted to know whether South Carolina would receive the cordial support of Louisiana, Missouri, and Kentucky, as all of these States desire protection on account of their manufactures. He would vote for the document before the Convention. He said that, in regard to the supplies for the army and navy, the government would have been obliged to procure them in foreign countries if they had not sought a market in the North. He looked upon the manoeuvre of the Yankees as being rather cunning.
In regard to fugitive slaves he said that if a citizen of Maryland were to pursue his runaway into Pennsylvania, and there should loose his life by murder, and the Courts refused to convict the murderer, then it would be time enough for Maryland to take up arms against Pennsylvania. Such a State would be an unworthy confederate.
After numerous other amendments were offered,
Mr. M. GREGG asked the question, whether the date mentioned in the document of the adoption of the Articles of Confederation was correct. He thought it was not until 1781-2 that the Legislature of the State adopted them.
Mr. MEMMINGER then read from an official source, that the Articles were done at Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania, on the 9th day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight, and in the third year of the Independence of America.
Mr. GREGG desired to postpone the further consideration until the next day the Convention was in session, when, he proposed, it should be made the special order. In the meantime he wanted it printed as amended.
The question on printing and making it the special order, according to Mr. Gregg's proposition, was lost.
Mr. GREGG then moved to lay the Declaration on the table.
Mr. Finley desiring to make a few remarks, Mr. Gregg withdrew his motion.
Mr. FINLEY said that the Declaration of Independence was reported in 1776; that it was discussed for two years, or until the year 1778; that it was then adopted by ten of the States; that, in 1781, Maryland being the last State to adopt it, finally ratified it.
Mr. MEMMINGER insisted that the statement, as made in the report, was correct.
Mr. GREGG thereupon insisted upon the ayes and noes. Result of the call: yeas, 31; nays, 121.
The Declaration was then adopted almost unanimously.