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[450] a suspension of specie payments by the Banks; and, though the lawyers in most places patriotically refused to receive Northern claims for collection, a load of debt weighed heavily on the planting1 and trading classes of the entire South, of whom thousands had rushed into political convulsion for relief from the intolerable pressure. Industry, save on the plantations, was nearly at a stand; never before were there so many whites vainly seeking employment. The North, of course, sympathized with these embarrassments through the falling off in its trade, especially with the South, and through the paucity of remittances; but our currency was still sound, while Southern debts had always been slow, and paid substantially at the convenience of the debtors, when paid at all. Still, the feeling that the existing suspense and apprehension were intolerable, and that almost any change would be an improvement, was by no means confined to the South.

Secession, as we have seen, had been initiated by the aid of the most positive assurances that, once fairly in progress, every Slave State would speedily and surely unite in it; yet, up to this time, but seven of the fifteen Slave States, having a decided minority of the population, and a still more decided minority of the white inhabitants, of that “section,” had justified the sanguine promise. On the contrary, the so-called “Border States,” with Tennessee and Arkansas, had voted not to secede, and most of them by overwhelming majorities; save that Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware, had scarcely deigned to take the matter into consideration. And, despite Vice-President Stephens's glowing rhetoric, it was plain that the seceded States did not and could not suffice to form a nation. Already, the talk in their aristocratic circles of Protectorates and imported Princes2 betrayed their own consciousness of this. Either to attack the Union, and thus provoke

1 The following private letter from a South Carolina planter to an old friend settled in Texas, gives a fair idea of the situation:

Abbeville C. H. S. C., Jan. 24, 1861.
dear Sir:--I desire you to procure for me, and send by mail, a Texas Almanac. Six months since, I felt perfectly willing to remain in South Carolina; but I can remain here no longer. At the election of Lincoln, we all felt that we must resist. In this move, I placed myself among the foremost, and am yet determined to resist him to the bitter end. I had my misgivings, at first, of the idea of separate Secession; but thought it would be but for a short time, and at small cost. In this manner, together with thousands of other Carolinians, we have been mistaken. Everything is in the wildest commotion. My bottom land on Long Cone, for which I could have gotten thirty dollars per acre, I now cannot sell at any price. All our young men, nearly, are in and around Charleston. Thither we have sent many hundreds of our negroes (I have sent twenty) to work. Crops were very short last year; and it does now seem that nothing will be planted this coming season. All are excited to the highest pitch, and not a thought of the future is taken. Messengers are running here and there, with and without the Governor's orders. We have no money. A forced tax is levied upon every man. I have furnished the last surplus dollar I have. I had about $27,000 in the bank. At first, I gave a check for $10,000; then $5,000; then the remainder. It is now estimated that we are spending $25,000 per day, and no prospect of getting over these times. It was our full understanding, when we went out of the Union, that we would have a new Government of all the Southern States. Our object was to bring about a collision with the authorities at Washington, which all thought would make all join us. Although we have sought such collision in every way, we have not yet got a fight, and the prospect is very distant. I want the Almanac to see what part of Texas may suit me. I want to raise cotton principally, but must raise corn enough to do me. I cannot live here, and must get away. Many are leaving now; at least 10,000 negroes have left already; and, before long, one-third of the wealth of South Carolina will be in the West. I desire you to look around and help me to get a home.

As ever yours,

2 Wm. H. Russell, of The London Times, in his “Diary, North and South,” writing at Charleston, April 18, 1861, says:

These tall, thin, fine-faced Carolinians are great materialists. Slavery, perhaps, has aggravated the tendency to look at all the world through parapets of cotton-bales and rice-bags; and, though more stately and less vulgar, the worshipers here are not less prostrate before the “almighty dollar” than the Northerners. Again, cropping out of the dead level of hate to the Yankee, grows its climax in the profession, from nearly every one of the guests, that he would prefer a return to British rule to any reunion with New England. * * * They affect the agricultural faith and the belief of a landed gentry. It is not only over the wine-glass — why call it cup?--that they ask for a Prince to reign over them. I have heard the wish repeatedly expressed within the last two days that we could spare them one of our young Princes, but never in jest or in any frivolous manner.

Mr. Russell's letters from Charleston to The Times are to the same effect, but more explicit and circumstantial.

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