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[337] Legislature who would gladly have held back were paralyzed and their remonstrances silenced. They dared neither to speak nor to vote as their convictions impelled.

All pleadings and efforts for delay, for reflection, for calm consideration, were stifled or fruitless. A bill calling a Convention, with the distinct purpose of secession, passed the Senate on the 9th and the House on the 12th. December 6th was the day appointed for the election of delegates; the Convention to meet on the 17th of that month. Whereupon, Gov. Hammond resigned his seat in the U. S. Senate, as his colleague, Mr. Chesnut, had already done.

On the same day (Nov. 12), a Military Convention of Georgians was held at Milledgeville, which was attended and addressed by Gov. Joseph E. Brown of that State. He affirmed the right of secession, and the duty of other Southern States to sustain South Carolina in the step she was then taking. “He would like to see Federal troops dare attempt the coercion of a seceding Southern State! For every Georgian who fell in a conflict thus incited, the lives of two Federal soldiers should expiate the outrage on State Sovereignty.” The Convention, thus harangued, voted, about two to one, for secession; and though it had, of course, no legal or official authority, its action was doubtless potent in precipitating the “Empire State of the South” into the abyss of Disunion.

The foregoing detailed, methodical statement of the process whereby Secession was inaugurated in South Carolina, and of the conceptions and purposes developed by that process, seems to render needless a like particularity with regard to the subsequent proceedings in that and other States. The germ of the entire movement, with the ideas whereon it was based, is clearly exhibited in the doings at Columbia and Charleston, during those memorable early days of November, 1860. And, though South Carolina ostentatiously precipitated the catastrophe by her single, sovereign fiat, it is not doubted that she did so upon full understanding with the “Chivalry” of nearly, or quite every Slave State. These had, of course, apprised her own master-spirits, in their conferences at watering-places and other fashionable resorts during the preceding Summer and Autumn, that, though they could not bring their several States to march abreast with her in the enterprise of National disruption and dissolution, they should have little difficulty in inducing them to fly to her rescue in case she went boldly forward in the predetermined course, and thus exposed herself to imminent peril on behalf of their common and most cherished interest, Slavery.1 Theirs was the strategy of the leader of a forlorn hope, who, seeing his storming party hesitate and waver in the breach, or under the wall of the hostile fortress, throws his flag forward

1 On the first day of the South Carolina Secession Convention, at Columbia, December 17, 1860, Hon. William Porcher Miles, M. C. from the Charleston District, one of the delegates, made a short speech against adjournment to Charleston, on account of the epidemic (small-pox) at Columbia; saying that he was just from Washington, where he had been in consultation with Southern friends representing every other Southern State, who had unanimously urged the utmost haste in the consummation of South Carolina's secession. He would adjourn to no other place until the Ordinance of Secession had passed.--See Charleston Courier, December 18, 1860.

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