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 Mississippi had enacted a law for a convention which, representing the sovereignty of the state, should consider the propriety of passing an ordinance to reassume the grants made to the general government, and withdraw from the Union, I, as a United States Senator of Mississippi, retained my position in the Senate, and sought by every practicable mode to obtain such measures as would allay the excitement and afford to the South such security as would prevent the final step, the ordinance of secession from the Union. When the last hope of preserving the Union of the Constitution was extinguished, and the ordinance of secession was enacted by the convention of Mississippi, which was the highest authority known under our form of government, the question of the expediency of adopting that remedy was no longer open to inquiry by one who acknowledged his allegiance as due to the state of which he was a citizen. To evade the responsibilities resulting from the decree of his sovereign, the people, would be craven; to resist it would be treason. The instincts and affections of the citizens of Mississippi led them with great unanimity to the duty of maintaining and defending their state, without pausing to ask what would be the consequences of refusing obedience to its mandate. A like feeling pervaded all of the seceding states, and it was not only for the military service, but for every service which would strengthen and sustain the Confederacy, that an enthusiasm pervading all classes, sexes, and ages was manifested. Though our agricultural products had been mainly for export, insomuch that in the planting states the necessary food supplies were to a considerable extent imported from the West, and it would require that the habits of the planters should be changed from the cultivation of staples for export to the production of supplies adequate for home consumption and the support of armies in the field, yet even under the embarrassments of war, this was expected, and for a long time the result justified the expectation, extraordinary as it must appear when viewed by comparison with other people who have been subjected to a like ordeal. Much of our success was due to the much abused institution of African servitude, for it enabled the white men to go into the army, and leave the cultivation of their fields and the care of their flocks, as well as of their wives and children, to those who, in the language of the Constitution, were “held to service or labor.” A passing remark may here be appropriate as to the answer thus afforded to the clamor about the “horrors of slavery.” Had these Africans been a cruelly oppressed people, restlessly
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