Let us call a convention of the people; let all these matters be submitted to it; and when the will of a majority of the people has thus been expressed, the whole State will present one unanimous voice in favor of whatever may be demanded.”
Influences more powerful than any Mr. Stephens
could command were at work upon the public mind.
Only two days before his speech was pronounced, a Military Convention was held at Milledgeville
which was addressed by the Governor
of the State
, in very incendiary language.
He affirmed the right
of secession, and also the duty of all the Southern States
to sustain the action of the South Carolina Legislature. “I would like,” he said “to see Federal troops dare attempt the coercion of a seceding Southern State.
For every Georgian who should fall in a conflict thus incited, the lives of two Federal soldiers should expiate the outrage on State Sovereignty.”
These were brave words in the absence of all danger.
When that danger was nigh-when “Federal soldiers” under Sherman
, just four years later,
were marching through Georgia
, in triumphant vindication of the National
authority, Governor Brown
and many members of the Legislature were trembling fugitives from that very capitol where Toombs
, and Cobb
, and Iverson
, and Benning
, and Brown
himself, had fulminated their foolish threats.
The Military Convention, by a heavy majority, voted in favor of secession; and this action had great weight with the Legislature and the people.
On the following day,
the Legislature voted an appropriation of a million of dollars for arming and equipping the
militia of the State
; and on the 7th of December, an act, calling a convention of the people, was passed, which provided for the election of delegates on the 2d of January,
and their assemblage on the 16th.
The preamble to the bill declared that, in the judgment of that Assembly, the “present crisis in National affairs demands resistance,” and that “it is the privilege of the people to determine the mode, measure, and time of such resistance.”
Power to do this was given to the Convention
by the act.
On the 14th of December, a large meeting of the members of the Legislature assembled in the Senate Chamber
, and agreed to an address to the people of South Carolina
, and Florida
, urging upon them the importance of co-operation, rather than separate State action, in the matter of secession.
“Our people must be united,” they said; “our common interests must be preserved.”
The address was signed by fifty-two members of the Legislature.
It was so offensive to the Hotspurs of the South Carolina
State Convention, that that body refused to receive it. We shall again refer to the action of the Georgia Legislature.
The Legislature of Mississippi
assembled at Jackson
early in November, and adjourned on the 30th.
The special object of the session was to make