previous next


The secession of South Carolina.

The solemn act of the secession of a sovereign State from the American Union has been accomplished. With unutterable sadness we are compelled to speak of the American Union as a thing that was. It exists no more. One of its brightest stars has disappeared from that resplendent galaxy which has so long lighted up the Western heavens, and to which the oppressed of all nations looked for hope and deliverance.

It is but one star, and yet how soon others may follow none can tell. The golden cord is broken. The falling of a single pearl from the silken thread gives reason to fear that the rest are not secure — that soon the ground may be strewn with the scattered gems. She is but a single Commonwealth, and new States may be added to the Union, but they will not be of the old thirteen. One of our old Revolutionary comrades, and one of the bravest and the best, who never, in those days of trial and of peril, deserted a friend nor turned his back upon a foe, has gone out from among us, and stands alone. Where shall we supply the vacant place? Will Kansas be a substitute for South Carolina?

Deeply as we feel this humiliating disappointment of the hopes and expectations of all patriotic hearts, profoundly as we may regret that South Carolina could not await the co- operation of Virginia and other Southern States, we have no reproaches to utter against that heroic and generous Commonwealth. Virginia feels as deeply as Carolina the long career of injustice and wrong, of spoliation and aggression, of rapine and blood, which has compelled the South to make a final stand for self-preservation, and irritated a proud and high-toned people beyond the capacity of farther endurance. We have believed, and often expressed the belief, that, by a general and united demand of the Southern States, every right which they possess and every guarantee which they require would be conceded by the Northern States. Half-way measures are worse than none, and divided counsels more dangerous than no counsels at all. Our Northern friends themselves earnestly call upon us to unite among ourselves, and, for Heaven's sake, not to be satisfied with temporary expedients, and absurd emollients for a disease which lies deep in the blood. Let us hear this voice. Let the slave States stand together, one and all. Duty to themselves, to their Northern friends, to the Union, demands that we keep together, front and rear, and advance in a solid column.--We regret that South Carolina has felt it her duty, "solitary and alone," to precipitate events, but we have no jealousy of her or any other State. Virginia is too proud to be jealous. Her Past is too glorious; her Future, in any event, too grandly foreshadowed in her geographical position, her inexhaustible mineral resources, her magnificent harbors and rivers, and in the character of a people who, in the harmonious combination of all the virtues that adorn humanity, have no equals on the face of the earth, to permit her for one moment to covet the blessings, or envy the laurels of any sister state. If Virginia does not follow close on the heels of South Carolina, it will be because, in the exercise of her free and independent judgment, she chooses to deliberate, to be circumspect, to look around, to look ahead, to look above. But, in no event, will she or any State of the South, permit coercion to be employed against South Carolina. The first Federal gun fired upon that State, will sound the knell of the American Union.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
South Carolina (South Carolina, United States) (6)
Kansas (Kansas, United States) (1)
Carolina City (North Carolina, United States) (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: