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The Southern declaration of Independence.

When, in the course of events, our plans were fully matured, and our determination to overthrow the Government had reached its culminating point — when we were ready to invoke foreign aid, and ask the recognition of our nationality, to which the institution of slavery and our hatred of freedom entitled us, a respect for ourselves would seem to require us to declare the causes which led us to desire a separation from the Northern people.

We hold these truths to be undeniable, that some men are born to command, and are possessed of certain inherent rights; that among these are, power, dominion, and the spread of slavery; that to secure those rights a form of government is instituted among us, deriving its only power from those who govern; that whenever the people will not allow us to hold the reins. of government, and absorb the funds of the treasury, to our own benefit, and for our own aggrandizement, we have the right to seize the Capital, overthrow the Government, and drench the land with blood. Prudence has caused us to wait till we got a goed chance to accomplish our ends. But when at last an Administration was in power, which was completely at our control, and the people, by electing his successor, gave us to understand that our sceptre would depart, and the spoils of office would no more help to rivet the chains on those we could no longer control, the history of their forbearance and devotion has no parallel in any age or country. Let facts be submitted to a candid world.

They have for a long series of years submitted to our dictation.

They have not complained when the General Government was carrying our mails at an expense of some millions of dollars, in excess of receipts, in the Post-Office Department.

They have many times refused to give audience in some parts of the country, and sometimes maltreated abolition lecturers.

They have on several occasions furnished men and money to fight the battles of the country.

They have acquiesced in the purchase, by the General Government, of Louisiana and Florida for our benefit.

They sanctioned the annexation of Texas, by electing James K. Polk on that issue, thereby adding extensively to our domains.

They have accorded to us the right to hang John Brown and his abettors, when he frightened us almost out of our senses, by his raid upon our cherished and much-admired institution in the Old Dominion.

They have never insisted upon Congress passing laws for the abolition of slavery in the States, but they have prevented us from extending it into all the territories; denying that the Constitution guarantees to us the right to do so.

They have insisted upon their right to denounce slavery.

They have protested against abridging the right of franchise, and establishing a censorship over the press.

They have contended for the right of free speech, and free and liberal education.

They have at last succeeded in electing a President upon these principles, thereby endangering the stability of our institutions, and depriving us of the power of ruling at will.

In every stage of these proceedings we have resisted.

We have labored to prove to them that slavery was better than freedom — that ignorance among the masses was better for us than a system of general education.

We have warned them from time to time of the danger of free institutions, and their attempts to enlighten all, without our consent. [87]

We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement in the territories.

We have appealed to them to refrain from assisting free emigration from free States.

We have sought to gain the ascendency by inducing them to remain in statu quo, but they have been deaf to the vice of our dictation. We must, therefore, resort to arms, and hold them as enemies, until they are willing to acknowledge our pretensions as a superior race.

We, therefore, the self-constituted rulers of the Southern people, at Montgomery assembled, appealing to King Cotton, and relying upon the protection of masked batteries, and the ardor of our soldiers, declare that they are absolved from their allegiance to the General Government; and that these States are, and of right ought to be, wholly and solely devoted to slavery. And in support of these pretensions, we pledge ourselves to stand whan we can, and run when we must, to save our lives and our ammunition.


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