Secession movement at the South.
Letter from Gov. Letcher--position of Maryland--further from the South, &c,
another letter from Gov. Letcher.
of yesterday publishes a letter from Gov. Letcher
to Lewis D. Vail
, of Philadelphia
, upon Pennsylvania
's nullification of the fugitive slave law. Gov. Letcher
felly demonstrates that the unconstitutional and obnoxious laws of Pennsylvania
are still in full effect and force, and that, not withstanding Mr. Vail
is ‘"proud that he is a citizen of this good old State, the keystone of the arch, "’yet he is lamentably ignorant of the legislation of his own State.
After thoroughly discussing the legal points of the question, he says:
And, finally, the Constitution of the United States
, in the fourth article, and second section, declares:
‘"No person held to service or labor in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of and late or regulation therein, be discharged from such service of labor, its shall be delivered up, on claim of the party, to them such service or labor may be due.
Under this provision of the Constitution
, what is the duty of Pennsylvania
and the order non-slaveholding States!
Is it not plainly and palpably their duty to aid in giving full effect to this requirement When a person, held to service or labor in Virginia
, escapes into your State, and is there found, is it not incumbent on your citizens to see that he or she ‘"shall be delivered up, on claim of the party, to whom such service or labor may be due!"’ Ought not your Legislature to require your judges, justices of the peace, aldermen, and other officers, to aid, by all legitimate means, the claimant in recovering the possession of his slave property, that may be found in your State!
It cannot be said that your law of 1847, as it now stands upon your statute book, was intended to effect this object.
In reenacting this law, at your last session, it will not be claimed, I am sure, that the object was to secure a more efficient execution of the fugitive slave laws of 1793 and 1850, and a more faithful performance of the duty imposed upon your citizens by this article and section of the Federal Constitution
If the Union
is to be preserved, it is necessary that all causes of complaint, irritation and dissatisfaction, shall be speedily removed.
In the present condition of affairs, delay ends in destruction.
It the non-slaveholding States desire to save the Constitution
from overthrow, and the Confederacy
from dissolution, let them ‘"show their faith by their works."’--Let them repeat at once all statutes which are injurious to the rights and interests of their Southern fellow-citizens, and which are in say degree calculated to embarrass them in the recovery of fugitive slaves.
This cannot be done a moment too soon, and I urge you and all other conservative men in your section, to act without delay, and show to the South
that you really desire the preservation of the Union
You can do much to allay the excitement now existing, to restore concord and fraternal feeling, to revive lost confidence between the sections, and you owe it to yourselves, to your country, and to those who are to succeed you, to do your duty and your while duty, promptly and faithfully.
In the same kind and conservative spirit which dictated your letter, I have replied to it. The question discussed is one of great interest and importance at this time, and is attracting much of public attention.
In the earnest hope that the discussion may result in same practical good, I have concluded to publish your letter and my reply.
With respect, I am truly, Your obedient servant, John Letcher
, of Maryland
, has declined to call an extra session of the Legislature.
In replying to the request by a number of citizens that be should do so, he says that he trusts to the ‘" second sober thought of the conservative masses at the North
,"’ for the repeal of the nullification laws.
He thinks a meeting of the Maryland Legislature would only serve to increase the excitement in that State, instead of allay it. In conclusion he says:
You speak, gentlemen, of Maryland
's peculiar position as a border slave State.
That position, between the extremes of North and South, seems, thus far, to have kept sectionalism from her councils, and to have inclined her people to moderate measures.
But there are other border slave States as much interested in these questions as Maryland
can be, which ought to be consulted before we take the initiative in this matter.
I believe that neither Kentucky
, nor Missouri
has taken any such action.
The Legislature of the great State of Virginia
, which has been called together to take action as to her works of internal improvements, will have these matters under their consideration; and it seems only wise and proper to await the decision of our nearest Southern sister, rather than run the risk of clashing with her by hasty action — our people will not fail to act with boldness when it becomes necessary, because we waited with patience the true time for action, instead of becoming alarmed before danger had actually arrived, and rushing into perils which prudence may avoid.
In addition to these reasons, it seems to me we should wait to hear from the National Executive
It is his duty to look not to Maryland
alone, but to the entire Union.
He is, doubtless, correctly advised as to the true condition of the country, whose chief officer he is, and must have means of judging correctly as to its condition, far more extensive than those at my command, and of deciding properly as to what measures are best suited to compose our national troubles; and I will say, that I consider it but respectful to award the recommendations of that high functionary.
Congress, &co, will be in session on the 3rd prox., and coming, as its members will do, from every section of the country, it is but reasonable to hope that they, in their congregated wisdom, will give aid to the National Executive
, and that wise and temperate counsels will prevail, and proceeding's be had which will allay much of the unkind and unnatural prejudice existing between the different sections of our once united and happy country.
Believing that all should act, or decline to act, as circumstances may render proper, I must, as at present advised by my own judgment, founded upon much information of the wishes of the people, and great deliberation, respectfully decline to gratify the request so politely made; but shall hold myself ready to act promptly when I shall believe the honor and safety of Maryland
require me to act in the promises.
With great respect,
South Carolinas in the Field.
The Life and correspondence of Gen. John
A Quitman is published.
The following is an extract of the description of the battle of Churubusco
, of the South Carolinas, had left his sick bed against the remonstrances of his friends to lead the Palmettos to the combat.
Early in the engagement his horse was shot under him. Soon after he received a painful wound in the knee, and yielded the command to Lieutenant-Colonel Dickinson
.--Taking the Palmetto
flag from the hands of Sergeant Beggs
placed himself in front, and Beggs
was immediately shot down.
new came up to resume the command, and was killed by the side of Dickinson
while standing under the flag.
himself soon fail mortally wounded, (he died some weeks afterward,) and Major Gladden
received it from his hands and committed it to Lieut. Baker
, who being unable, from debility and exhaustion, to carry it, Major Gladden
placed it in the hands of Patrick Leonard
, and led his regiment to the charge.
His men fell rapidly, but not one wavered, from first to last, under the concentrated fire of the enemy.
In the whole history of war there has never been a more striking example of indifference to death, the result of stern resolve.
Each man fought for the honor of Carolina
Several companies were almost annihilated.
Some had not men enough left to bury their dead, or bear their wounded to the ambulances.--The uniforms of some of the officers were literally torn from their persons; the color-bearers were shot down; but the flag, bathed in their blood, was always seized as they fell and borne to the front.
Proudly it floated through the tempest of death until the victory had been was, and then, all torn and blood-stained, it drooped over its own glorious dead.--The regiment entered the battle with 273, rank and file, and when it was over it mustered 169!
It had no missing; its dead and wounded made up the deficiency.
Cadets of a noble State, sort of a sunny clime.
branded by their country as traitors for defending the Constitution
and their rights from usurpation and outrage, yet dying cheerfully for that country in a foreign land — the world may learn that such a race, in defence of their own homesteads and institutions, can never be subdued!
The original "Minute" Men.
From Lossings' Field Book of the Revolution we take the following about the original Minute Men of this country:
The Committee of Safety, in Virginia
, appointed July 18, 1775, raised an armed force to defend the Colony.
The Convention appointed Patrick Henry
of the First Regiment, and "Commander
of all the forces raised for the defence of the Colony." He immediately summoned a corps of volunteers from various parts of the Colony.
300 Minute Men instantly assembled at Culpeper Court-House and marched for Williamsburg
One-third of them were Culpeper
men, who adopted a flag with the significant device of a rattlesnake, as seen in the engraving.
The engraving represents a flag, at the top of which are the words, "The Culpeper Minute Men," it the centre a coiled rattlesnake with crest erect, on either side of which are disposed the words "Liberty or Death" and beneath is the motto "Don't Tread on Me." The devices upon this flag, it will be remembered, are similar to those upon the flag first used by our Navy.
It was the flag under which the war of the Revolution was begun.
They were dressed in green hunting shirts, with Henry
's words, "Liberty or Death," in large white letters, on their bosoms.
They had buck's fails in their hats and in their belts tomahawks and scalping-knives.--Their fierce appearance alarmed the people as they marched through the country.
They did good service in the battle at the Great Bridge
in December following.
There is great anxiety, in view of the secession movements at the South
, and the momentous consequences likely to follow disruption of the Union
, to know the views of President Buchanan
on all the important points involved in the controversy now agitating the country.
This anxiety will doubtless be relieved early in the coming week, (on Tuesday next, probably,) when the President
's annual Message will be communicated to Congress.
Meanwhile, the following extract from a speech made by Mr. Buchanan
in the United States Senate in 1835, will be read with interest:
"The Constitution has, in the clearest terms, recognized the right of property in slaves.
It prohibits any State, into which a slave may have fled, from passing any law to discharge him from slavery, and declares that he shall be delivered up by the authorities of such State to his master.
Nay, more, it makes the existence of slavery the foundation of political power, by giving to those States, within which it exists, representatives in Congress, not only in proportion to the whole number of free persons, but also in proportion to three-fifths of the number of slaves.
"Sir, this question of domestic slavery is a weak point in our institutions.
Tariffs may be raised almost to prohibition, and then they may be reduced so us to yield no adequate protection to the manufacturer; our Union is sufficiently strong to endure the shock.
Fierce political storms may arise; the moral elements of the country may become convulsed by the struggles of ambitious men for the highest honors of government.
The sunshine does not more certainly succeed the storm than that all will again be peace.
Touch this question of slavery --let it once be made manifest to the people of the South
that they cannot live with us, except in a state of continual apprehension, and alarm for their wives and children, for all that is near to them upon earth, and the Union
is from that moment dissolved.
It does not then become a question of expediency, but of self-preservation.
It is a question brought home to the firesides, to the domestic circle of every white man in the Southern States
A New organization.
The Norfolk Day Book notices a new organization, called the "Ready Men," as follows:
There are over three hundred "Ready Men" in this city, who are regularly organized
at a moment's notice to stand by the State
Their motto is "Union," if it can be had with honor to the South
; if not, they go in for Virginia first, the South
The Ready Men are having daily accessions to their ranks, and propose to hold a public meeting in a few days, at which they will avow their sentiments and admit all who wish to sign.--They have made application for arms and accoutrements, which they expect to receive as soon as they are fully organized into companies, and have selected their officers.
Their uniform is to be black pants, red shirt, (after the style worn by the Lexington Cadets
at Harper's Ferry
,) glaze caps a la militaire
and white gloves, with cross-belts, &c.,&c. They are working warmly and systematically, under the law passed by the last session of the Legislature, and so quietly, that it was by the merest accident that even we, who are ever on the qui vive
for news, found out the tenor of their ways.