scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of the head of a civilized nation,” is as distinctly marked in the movements of the Federal Executive
as it was in those of the British
monarch, rendered more atrocious in character by the violent assumptions in the prosecution of the will of the American
despot, of lawless powers which the people of England
would never have permitted to the King
The resistance of the South
has been based on the same eternal principles which justified and glorified the patriots of 1776.
What was won by their struggles, their long endurance, their heroism and their triumph, was the common inheritance of their children, in trust for the liberty and happiness of mankind.
They established, as they thought forever, the great maxim of freedom, that “governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed,” and that “whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as to them shall seem most likely to afford them safety and happiness.”
These fundamental truths are still devoutly cherished in the Southern States
The people of the South
are in arms to defend them against the aggressions and invasions of the degenerate sons of the illustrious patriots who went shoulder to shoulder with the men of the South
, in wresting them, by battle, from the unwilling hands of a mighty monarchy.
, inflamed by the same lust of dominion and the same arrogant confidence in superior strength, has renounced these free maxims for those which enlightened monarchy has since abandoned, and is spreading its banners and arraying armies and fleets to re-establish, in the person of King Mob, the obsolete dogmas of the divine right of government to passive obedience.
In this frightful apostasy of a corrupt generation from the faith of their fathers, the people of the Confederate States
of the South
alone remain loyal to the principles of the Revolution — the great truths of the Act of Independence.
They are the sole guardians left of constitutional liberty in America
They alone have kept unimpaired their inheritance in the glories of the Revolution, and their trust in its beneficent creed.
To them now belongs of right the custody of all the hopes of human progress, of which the Fourth of July is the symbol in history, and it is by their swords that it is to be saved for mankind.
As the States of the South
are alone in having stood steadfast to the principles of the Revolution, so it is their glory that they were among the first to assert them in the face of a frowning despotism.
Among the earliest to announce and firmest to uphold opposition to the tyrannous doctrines of the English King
, the Southern Colonies
took the lead in the crowning work of declaring independence.
The first popular act proclaiming independence was that of the people of Mecklenburgh, in North Carolina
, and the first declaration by any Colonial Legislature, for a public declaration of independence
by the Colonies in Congress, was made by the Legislature of the same State, the 22d of April, 1776.
was the next, and on the 15th of May, unanimously instructed her delegates in Congress to propose the declaration without waiting for the joint declaration.
assumed her own sovereignty, and at once proceeded to provide for a constitution and bill of rights
for her own people.
The mover in Congress for a declaration of independence
, was Richard Henry Lee
, of Virginia
The Declaration was written by Thomas Jefferson
, of Virginia
, and the General
whose wisdom and whose sword won the battles which established it, was George Washington
, a Virginian.
, and their Southern associate States, peopled by the descendants and kindred of these great southerners, are in arms for the same independence for which the treachery and tyranny of the North
have demanded from them a new declaration, and the dedication anew of life, fortune, and honor to the same glorious cause.
It is impossible to read the history of those times without finding on every page new proofs of the complete identity of principles between the struggle of the colonies then and that of the Confederate States
now, and new weapons for the defence of the great conservative doctrine of State sovereignty, in the destruction of which every vestige of American liberty is threatened.
The declaration of July was the announcement by all, of what was true of each, that the Colonies, one and all, were free and independent.
There was no assumption that the people of the Colonies formed one nation — they formed States, united to make known their common resolve to support the sovereignty which each had reclaimed from a tyrannical government.
The Congress of the Colonies was a voluntary league, recognized as an agency, and frequently applied to as a counsellor.
Following the advance of public opinion in the colonies, Congress, in May, 1776, passed advisatory resolves, in which they recommended the several colonial governments no longer to consider themselves as exercising any power derived from Great Britain
, but to adopt such governments as the people of each should consider most advisable.
On the very day
on which this resolve finally passed, at Philadelphia
, Virginia, acting without concert, took steps to erect her own independent government.
It is a curious fact, too, in history, that New Jersey
did this even more thoroughly and effectually than Virginia
, for her Colonial Convention actually formed and adopted an independent government, and put it into action