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[331] equality in the Union, and ultimately reduce the Southern States to mere provinces of a consolidated despotism, to be governed by a fixed majority in Congress hostile to our institutions, and fatally bent upon our ruin, I would respectfully suggest that the Legislature remain in session, and take such action as will prepare the State for any emergency that may arise.

That an exposition of the will of the people may be obtained on a question involving such momentous consequences, I would earnestly recommend that, in the event of Abraham Lincoln's election to the Presidency, a Convention of the people of this State be immediately called, to consider and determine for themselves the mode and measure of redress. My own opinions of what the Convention should do are of little moment; but, believing that the time has arrived when every one, however humble he may be, should express his opinions in unmistakable language, I am constrained to say that the only alternative left, in my judgment, is the secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union. The indications from many of the Southern States justify the conclusion that the secession of South Carolina will be immediately followed, if not adopted simultaneously, by them, and ultimately by the entire South. The long-desired cooperation of the other States having similar institutions, for which so many of our citizens have been waiting, scorns to be near at hand; and, if we are true to ourselves, will soon be realized. The State has, with great unanimity declared that she has the right peaceably to secede, and no power on earth can rightfully prevent it.

If, in the exercise of arbitrary power, and forgetful of the lessons of history, the Government of the United States should attempt coercion, it will become our solemn duty to meet force by force; and, whatever may be the decision of the Convention, representing the Sovereignty of the State, and amenable to no earthly tribunal, it shall, during the remainder of my administration, be carried out to the letter, regardless of any hazard that may surround its execution.

I would also respectfully recommend a thorough reorganization of the Militia, so as to place the whole military force of the State in a position to be used at the shortest notice, and with the greatest efficiency. Every man in the State, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, should be well armed with the most efficient weapons of modern warfare, and all the available means of the State used for that purpose.

In addition to this general preparation, I would recommend that the services of ten thousand volunteers be immediately accepted; that they be organized and drilled by officers chosen by themselves, and hold themselves in readiness to be called on upon the shortest notice. With this preparation for defense, and with all the hallowed memories of past achievements, with our love of liberty, and hatred of tyranny, and with the knowledge that we are contending for the safety of our homes and firesides, we can confidently appeal to the Disposer of all human events, and safely trust our cause in His keeping.


Mr. James Chesnut, Jr., one of the United States Senators from South Carolina, was among the large number of leading politicians in attendance at the opening of the legislative session. He was known as a zealous advocate of Secession, and as such was serenaded on the evening of November 5th, aforesaid. Being called out to speak, Mr. Chesnut (as reported by telegraph to The Charleston Courier) said:

Before the setting of to-morrow's sun, in all human probability, the destiny of thin confederated Republic would be decided. He solemnly thought, in all human probability, that the Republican party would triumph in the election of Lincoln as President. In that event, the lines of our enemies seem to be closing around us; but they must be broken. They might see in the hurried paths of these starched men of livery the funeral cortege of the Constitution of the country. Peace, hope, independence, liberty, power, and the prosperity of Sovereign States, may be draped as chief mourners; still, in the rear of this procession, there is the light of the glorious past, from which they might rekindle the dying blaze of their own altars. We see it all — know it all — feel it all; and, with heaven's help, we will meet it all.

It was evident that we had arrived at the initial point of a new departure. We have two ways before us, in one of which, whether we will or not, we must tread; for, in the event of this issue, there would be no repose. In both lie dangers, difficulties, and troubles, which no human foresight can foreshadow or perceive; but they are not equal in magnitude. One is beset with humiliation, dishonor, émeutes, rebellions — with submission, in the beginning, to all, and at all times, and confiscation and slavery in the end. The other, it is true, has its difficulties and trials, but no disgrace. Hope, duty, and honor, shine along the path. Hope

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