as guard against the North.
The first drop of blood spilled on the soil of South Carolina, would bring Virginia and every Southern State with them.
By remaining in the Union for a time, she would not only prevent coercive legislation in Congress, but any attempt for our subjugation.
No argument in favor of resistance was wanted now. As soon as he had performed his duty in Virginia as a citizen, he came as fast as steam could bring him to South Carolina.
He was satisfied if anything was to be done, it was to be done here. He had no doubt it would be done, and the sooner the better.
Every day delayed was a day lost to the cause.
They should encourage and sustain their friends, and they would frighten their enemies.
There was no fear of Carolina remaining alone.
She would soon be followed by other States.
Virginia and half a dozen more were just as good and strong, and able to repel the enemy, as if they had the whole of the slaveholding States to act with them.
Even if Carolina remained alone — not that he thought it probable, but supposing so — it was his conviction that she would be able to defend herself against any power brought against her. Multitudes spoke and said the issue was one of courage and honor, or of cowardice, desertion, and degradation.
A number of second and third-rate traitors followed this Ruffin in a similar vein, but their remarks were not deemed worth reporting.
But, that evening, the busy telegraph reported from Charleston
the more important resignation of the leading Federal officers for South Carolina
, in anticipation of her seceding.
The U. S. District Court had met there in the morning, District Judge Magrath
The Grand Jury — of course, by preconcert — formally declined to make any presentments, because of
The verdict of the Northern section of the confederacy, solemnly announced to the country, through the ballot-box, on yesterday, having swept away the last hope for the permanence, for the stability of the Federal Government of these sovereign States; and the public mind is constrained to lift itself above the consideration of details in the administration of Law and Justice, up to the vast and solemn issues which have been forced upon us. These issues involve the existence of the Government of which this Court is the organ and minister.
In these extraordinary circumstances, the Grand Jury respectfully decline to proceed with their presentments.
They deem this explanation due to the court and to themselves.
received this communication with complaisance, and thereupon resigned his office; saying:
The business of the term has been disposed of, and, under ordinary circumstances, it would be my duty to dismiss you to your several avocations, with my thanks for your presence and aid. But now I have something more to do, the omission of which would not be consistent with propriety.
In the political history of the United States, an event has happened of ominous import to fifteen slaveholding States.
The State of which we are citizens has been always understood to have deliberately fixed its purpose whenever that event should happen.
Feeling an assurance of what will be the action of the State, I consider it my duty, without delay, to prepare to obey its wishes.
That preparation is made by the resignation of the office I have held.
For the last time, I have, as a Judge of the United States, administered the laws of the United States within the limits of the State of South Carolina.
While thus acting in obedience to a sense of duty, I cannot be indifferent to the emotions it must produce.
That department which, I believe, has best maintained its integrity and preserved its purity, has been suspended.
So far as I am concerned, the Temple of Justice, raised under the Constitution of the United States, is now closed.
If it shall never be again opened, I thank God that its doors have been closed before its altar has been desecrated with sacrifices to tyranny.
C. J. Colcock
, Collector at Charleston
, and James Conner
, U. S. District Attorney, likewise resigned; and it was announced that B. C. Pressley
, Sub-Treasurer, would follow, “so soon as was consistent with due respect and regard for our present excellent Chief Magistrate
[Buchanan], by whose appointment he holds the office.”
In the face of such multiform and high-seasoned incitements to go ahead, the efforts of those members of the