3.--Declaration of causes which induced the, secession of South Carolina.
The people of the State of South Carolina
in Convention assembled, on the 2d (lay of April, A. D. 1852, declared that the frequent violations of the Constitution of the United States
by the Federal Government
, and its encroachments upon the reserved rights of the States, fully justified this State in their withdrawal from the Federal Union; but in deference to the opinions and wishes of the other Slaveholding States, she forbore at that time to exercise this right.
Since that time these encroachments have continued to increase, and further for-bearance ceases to be a virtue.
And now the State of South Carolina
having resumed her separate and equal place among nations, deems it due to herself, to the remaining United states of America
, and to the nations of the world, that she should declare the immediate causes which have led to this act.
In the year 1765, that portion of the British Empire
embracing Great Britain
undertook to make laws for the Government
of that portion composed of the thirteen American Colonies.
A struggle for the right of self-government ensued, which resulted, on the 4th of July, 1776, in a Declaration, by the Colonies, “that they are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States; and that, as free and independent States, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent States may of right do.”
They further solemnly declared that whenever any “form of government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government.”
Deeming the Government
of Great Britain
to have become destructive of these ends, they declared that the Colonies “are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown
, and that all political connection between them and the State
of Great Britain
is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”
In pursuance of this Declaration of Independence
, each of the thirteen States proceeded to exercise its separate sovereignty; adopted for itself a Constitution, and appointcd officers for the administration of government in all its departments — Legislative, Executive and Judicial.
For purposes of defence they united their arms and their counsels; and, in 1778, they entered into a League known as the Articles
of Confederation, whereby they agreed to intrust the administration of their external relations to a common agent, known as the Congress of the United States, expressly declaring, in the first article, “that each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right which is not, by this Confederation, expressly delegated to the United States
in Congress assembled.”
Under this Confederation the War
of the Revolution was carried on; and on the 3d of September, 1783, the contest ended, and a definite Treaty was signed by Great Britain
, in which she acknowledged the Independence
of the Colonies in the following terms:
His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz.: New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free, Soveireign, and Indiependent States; that lie treaty with them as such; and, for himself, his heirs and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.
Thus were established the two great principles asserted by the Colonies, namely, the right of a State to govern itself; and the right of a people to abolish a Government when it becomes destructive of the ends for which it was instituted.
And concurrent with the establishment of these principles, was the fact, that each Colony became and was recognized by the mother country as a free, sovereign and independent State.
In 1787, Deputies were appointed by the States to revise the articles of Confederation; and on 17th September, 1787, these Deputies recommended, for the adoption of the States, the Articles
of Union, known as the Constitution of the United States
The parties to whom this constitution was submitted were the several sovereign States; they were to agree or disagree, and when nine of them agreed, the compact was to take effect among those concurring; and the General Government
, as the commonly agent, was then to be invested with their authority.
If only nine of the thirteen States had concurred, the other four would have remained as they then were — separate, sovereign States, independent of any of the provisions of the Constitution
In fact, two of the States did not accede to the Constitution
until long after it had gone into operation among the other eleven ; and during that interval, they each exercised the functions of an independent nation.
By this Constitution, certain duties were imposed upon the several States, and the exercise of certain of their powers was restrained, which necessarily impelled their continued existence as sovereign states.
But, to remove all doubt, an amendment was added, which declared that time powers not delegated to the United States
by the Constitution
, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
On the 23d May, 1788, South Carolina
, by a Convention of her people, passed an ordinance assenting to this Constitution, and afterwards altered her own Constitution to conform herself to the obligations she had undertaken.
Thus was established, by compact between the States, a Government with defined objects and powers, limited to tihe express words of the grant.
This limitation left the whole remaining mass of power subject to the clause reserving it to the States or the people, and rendered unnecessary any specification of reserved rights.
We hold that the Government
thus established is subject to the two great principles asserted in the Declaration of Independence
; and we hold further, that the mode of its formation subjects it to a third fundamental principle, namely, the law of compact.
We maintain that in every compact between two or more parties, the obligation is mutual; that the failure of one of the contracting parties to perform a material part of time agreement, entirely releases the obligation of the other; and that, where no arbiter is provided, each party is remitted to his own judgment to determine tihe fact of failure, with all its consequences.