Secession movement at the South.

letter from Lieut. Maury--speech of Gov. Pickens--opinion of the French Press on disunion — Norfolk "Ready Men," &c.

Letter from Lieut. M. F. Maury.

Washington, Dec. 19, 1860.
Wm. H. Macfarland, Esq.--Dear Sir:
--There is a peep today for those who had rather secure the rights of the South in the Union, than go out of it to seek them. The dawn comes from New Jersey. I do not know how you are upon the question of disunion, but I take it for granted that you think, as I believe a large majority of the people at the South think and hold, that matters have now come to such a pass, between the North and South that they must be settled — in the Union if we can, but if we cannot, then out of the Union.

Supposing these to be not only your sentiments, but the sentiments of the great body of the Southern people, it gives me pleasure to inform you of a move which is now on the tapis in New Jersey, the effect of which, I am persuaded, will be not only to secure to the South her rights in the Union, but to give the Union itself a new lease upon time.

New Jersey is one of the Old Thirteen. No State North of Mason and Dixon's line has been more faithful, loyal and true to the Constitution; and none has been more mindful of the rights of the sister States under it than she; and there is not one among them all that commands more of the respect and confidence of the Southern people. Availing herself of the proud position which she occupies, the plan proposed is that she shall undertake the office of mediator between the sections. As far as I understand it, the outlines are these: She is to send a Commissioner to the Conventions of Alabama, Mississippi, etc., to ask of the sovereignties, there assembled, for a statement of the terms and conditions upon which they will be content to remain in the Union. Having thus obtained from the people of the South acting, those of each State in their sovereign capacity, their ultimatum, she is to bring it before her sister States of the North for their action, with the request that those who are willing to accede to it will instruct their Senators and request their Representatives to go for and act, incorporating the terms of it as amendments to the Constitution, to be thence referred, according to its provisions, back to the States for ramification.

Thus our friends at the North will have something tangible to go upon, and something around which the solid men, the quiet men, of the country, both North and South, East and West, may rally.

Having thus fully ascertained directly from the people of the South what will satisfy them in this Union, it will remain for those of the North to accede to it, and save the Union, or to refuse it, and so break up the Union. But there is no fear of any such alternative; for the people of the South are not going to require anything that the North should not right fully yield. The South does not want the North to do anything that is inconsistent with either Northern honor, true dignity or propriety.

Of course the Conventions in Alabama and Mississippi, which are the first that the New Jersey Commissioner can now reach, will each leave in existence a commission, with power to make such modifications as to the details of their ultimatum as may be agreed upon by their sister States.

There is no power but the people, in these Conventions assembled, that can say what will satisfy the South; and to settle the difficulty between the two sections, without knowing this in plain and distinct terms, to be stated by the South herself, would be like attempting to negotiate between two armies, without a proposition from either, or to settle a dispute between your neighbors without knowing what the aggrieved party had to complain of.

Such, hastily sketched, are the general outlines of the plan which I understand, from sufficient authority, is now being discussed in New Jersey. I go for any plan which will draw from the people of the South a statement of the terms and conditions upon which they will be content to remain in the Union. This appears to be most simple, expeditions and direct, and New Jersey has it in her power to do more to save the Union than any State in it; and I, for one, hope she will not be slow to avail herself of the glorious privilege.

In haste, but always
Yours, truly,

M. F. Maury.

Speech of the Governor of South Carolina.

Eight military companies paraded at Charleston, S. C., Friday night, the line of march being Illuminated by a continued shower of rockets and other fireworks. The "Marseillaise" was the music of the night. Gov. Pickens was serenaded at the Mills House, and in acknowledgment made the following speech:

Follow-Citizens: I return you my sincere thanks for the very kind and cordial manner in which you are pleased to receive me. If there is anything calculated to sustain me in the critical and difficult situation which I am called upon to occupy, it is the consciousness that I am supported by a brave and patriotic people. [Applause.] Allow me to say to you, fellow-citizens, that the Convention of South Carolina has placed this State in a proud and a glorious position before the world. [Tremendous applause]. That Convention is now assembled, and, under existing circumstances, it would be obviously improper in me to make any lengthy or protracted remarks. [Cries of "Go on!" "Go on!"] But, fellow-citizens, allow me to say to you that I hope and trust I am in possession of information that, perhaps, there may be no appeal to force on the part of the Federal authorities.--[Cheers.] But if I am mistaken in this, at least as far as I am concerned, we are prepared to meet any and every issue.--I hope and trust that under existing circumstances there will be no imprudence — no rash appeals to counsels caught under the impulse of false rumors; that we will prove to the world that we are not only free and independent, but that we are entitled to be so by our virtues and our character. The Convention, in all human probability, will, in a few days, send the Ordinance to Washington, which proclaims you to be, as you have a right to be, a free and independent Republic. [Applause.] And, until they present the claims of South Carolina to your forts and your public places now in possession of the Federal Government, it is our duty to sustain that Convention by showing that we are ready to await a free and fair demand. But if, in the meantime, there is any attempt to increase the forces that now garrison them, so far as I am concerned, it shall not be done without an appeal to arms. [Loud and prolonged cheering]

’ I sincerely desire that so far as am concerned, we shall triumphantly go through this great controversy without this appeal to arms. But, if it be necessary to vindicate the independence of my country, I vow to you here, that all the power that I have shall be exerted to maintain to the last extremity the independence of South Carolina. [Great applause]. Allow me to say that there is nothing at present, in the present issues, to excite the slightest alarm. Be firm, be united, be true to your country, and your country is safe. I beg you to remember that it is not the first time in the history of South Carolina that she has stood alone. On a memorable occasion she stood alone before even the Declaration of Independence. She fought — and triumphantly fought — the battle of Fort Moultrie, before she was an independent State. She fought it alone — she fought it upon her own resources and responsibility, and if needs be she can fight alone again. [Applause.] I say to you, again on another memorable occasion, at the great battle of Churubusco, the glorious Palmetto Regiment was called upon for the most gallant charge in the history of that campaign, and when the New York and Pennsylvania Regiments failed to answer, and the South Carolina Regiment was called upon, the gallant and glorious leader of that Regiment — his second in command, the brave and intrepid Major Gladden--marched across the field of Churubusco alone, to their immortal honor, and we can stand and march alone again.-- [Applause.] Fellow-citizens, I desire to say nothing that is imprudent or rash. I desire coolness and calmness. I desire that every man shall be ready, standing at his post — ready to do his duty when the word is given to march. I tell you, as far as I am able, when necessary, that word shall be given to march forward to honor and independence — now and forever. [Applause.] Where will the State stand? South Carolina asks no support.--There she stands in the defensive attitude, with her hands grasping her scabbard and not a feather quivering in her plume, raising over her head the Palmetto — the emblem not only of nationality, but the emblem of your independence. Wherever that waves, let it be known that it waves over a free and independent people. [Prolonged cheering.]

The French Press on disunion.

[From La Presse, of Paris, December 4.] France cannot be otherwise than proud to find her protection claimed archer alliance sought by all oppressed nationalities, and it is her interest and her glory not to fall in any of the obligations that her high position imposes upon her. But in the present case, (that of the proffered alliance of the Southern State,) the question of independence is complicated by a question of slavery, and the one flings an unhappy shadow over the other.

France, who abolished slavery herself, can not even seem to protect it in other countries. Such an idea even would do her a serious injury. The Americans of South Carolina must, then, be persuaded that if ever they obtain from the French Government the moral support that they demand, it will not be as proprietors, but in spite of their being proprietors of slaves, and by virtue of the principle, acknowledged for thirty years, that all Governments de facto shall be recognized by the Governments of Europe and America.

There is only one of the divisions of the Union in regard to which France can have, in certain events, any more extended rights and duties. It is Louisiana as it geographically existed when it was ceded by us to the United States in 1803. The treaty of cession guaranteed to the French colonists and their descendants the enjoyment of their property and of their civil and religious rights. The vast and rich territory of Louisiana has formed since then, besides the State itself of Louisiana, the States of Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, parts of Alabama and Wisconsin and the Territories of Minnesota, Nebraska and Kansas. Every time that one of these has had to be organized or admitted to the Confederation, the slave proprietors have invoked their rights guaranteed to them by the treaty of 1803. The right of Arkansas, founded on this argument, was recognized by John Quincy Adams himself in 1836. The Governor of Nebraska invoked the same argument in vetoing the bill to prohibit the introduction of slaves into the Territory, and this doctrine is also to be found in the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States rendered in the case of the negro Dred Scott.

These are the historic and judicial precedents, which will not be without value in case any serious attack is made upon the civil, political and religious rights of the ancient territory of Louisiana. But the institution of Slavery--was it a portion of these rights forever guaranteed? And these rights, are they really ignored? These are questions that France can neither raise nor solve, and which she cannot be called upon to examine except at the request of the Louisiana authorities.--At present this State, happily, seems to take no part in the disunion movement. There is undoubtedly an extreme party, which is recruited chiefly from country planters, whose principal wealth is in slave property, and whose revenue lies in the produce of the soil. But, by strange contrast, while Southern agriculturists are the most determined in favor of slavery, the most fanatical Abolitionists are to be found among the agriculturists of the North.

The sea-coast towns, on the contrary, are strongly conservative. New York gave 25,000 majority against Lincoln; New Orleans voted for Bell, and Charleston, Savannah and all other Southern ports have, to a certain extent, opposed the tide of schism proclaimed at Augusta and Columbia. The reason is that the maritime towns understand better than all others that the prosperity of the Union depends upon union, and that in rupture the basis of its success is destroyed! Commercial instinct rises in them to the height of political intuition, and merchants and traders are at this time the truest patriots.

France has in the United States the same interest that these large towns have, and ought to follow the same line of conduct. The rupture of the Union will entail more risks than benefits; for while the commerce of England and the whole of Europe will be admitted, with our own, to the free ports of the new confederation, the Northern confederation will immediately seek, in an exclusive alliance with England, a counterpoise to the Southern agreement with France. War will inevitably flow from this antagonism. Having as allies slave proprietors, we will be forced, by the nature of things, to defend their institutions and to tolerate their plan of annexing Mexico and the Island of Cuba, which the North up to this time has alone prevented.

France will never lay herself open to such a course. She ought not to allow the Southern States to deceive themselves in this matter. She cannot even lend such consent as silence may afford; her duty is to labor with all her power to prevent a dissolution. There ought not to be for us, on the other side of the Atlantic, either Southern Americans or Northern Americans, but States whose union is important to the equilibrium of the world. The American marine is not less necessary to France than the Russian, Spanish and Italian navies, to prevent a single Power from seizing the empire of the seas.

France was the first ally of the United States--we hope that she will now be their counsellor, and expose the abyss into which they are hurrying — an abyss in which will be buried forever a Past most glorious and a Future most hopeful. For the American Union separation is suicide; it is murder of a great nation and a great principle. France cannot lend a hand to this suicide and this murder. She has helped to make this people — she will never help to destroy them.

Such are, we are convinced, the sentiments of our Government.

Repeal of Personal Liberty bills.

The Boston Journal (Republican) learns from Vermont that there is a strong feeling in favor of a repeal of the Personal Liberty law of that State, and adds:

‘ The effort to secure such a repeal in the last Legislature was not made under the most favorable auspices. It was urged as a party measure by leading Democrats, who seemed to be actuated more by a spirit of party propagandism than by a desire that Vermont should fulfill to the letter and spirit her confederate obligations. But the Legislature, nevertheless, referred the matter to the Commissioners on the Revision of the Statutes for their opinion. It is understood that the Commissioners will advise a repeal, and that Gov. Fairbanks favors this action.

Governor Sprague, of Rhode Island, has publicly declared himself in favor of the immediate abrogation of the Personal Liberty bill of that State, and he thinks that the General Assembly, as soon as they convene (in January,) will without hesitation second his own sentiments by repealing the obnoxious statute. The Rhode Island Personal Liberty act, in the opinion of legal men, is so constructed as not to conflict directly with the provisions of the Constitution. Its spirit and intention, however, no one can doubt. Like the enactments of other States, its aim is to embarrass and obstruct the execution of the constitutional provision for the rendition of fugitives, and in this respect is a violation of the sacred compact.

The repeal of the Personal Liberty laws of the New England States would show the existence of a friendly and fraternal feeling toward the South, and a determination to fulfill all our constitutional obligations. It would demonstrate to the South, and particularly to the conservative men of that section, that we are ready to make such concessions as will put us entirely in the right.

With regard to the Liberty law of Massachusetts, the Journal, after recapitulating its unconstitutional features, calculated to encourage the rescue of fugitives, says:

‘ Such provisions speak their own meaning and effect, and we do not see how they are to be reconciled with our constitutional obligations in the premises. But without further review of the Personal Liberty bill, we submit its provisions to the careful consideration of the public. To us the most important argument for its repeal at the present time is that such an act on the part of Massachusetts would be holding out the alive branch of peace. It is the only concession we can make to Southern feeling without a sacrifice of principle, and it is one which, if made, will strengthen the lands of the conservatives of that section and turn the current of public sentiment in favor of the Union. We have the most positive assurances from conservative and patriotic men of the South that this will be the effect of repeal.

The Senate Committee of Thirteen.

The Senate Committee of Thirteen were in session on Saturday six hours and a half, considering various propositions to arrest the progress of dissolution and give peace to the country.

The amendment to the Constitution proposed by Mr. Crittenden, to settle the controversy between the North and the South finally and forever by a division of the country from ocean to ocean on the parallel of the Missouri line, was the great subject of discussion. Messrs. Crittenden, Douglas and Bigler maintained it with great zeal and ability.

Mr. Douglas reiterated his former determination to consider the question for the preservation of the country, as though he had never cast a vote or uttered a sentiment on the subject before. If that mode of compromise would not answer, he declared himself willing to go for any other consistent with honor or justice.

The appeals of Mr. Crittenden in behalf of the Union are said to have been eloquent and sublime. He, too, was willing to embrace any other effective mode of adjustment.

Mr. Bigler, of Pennsylvania, preferred a division by a line across the country, because in that way the question of slavery could be taken out of Congress and separated entirely from the popular elections in the North, without which we never could have permanent peace.

Messrs. Wade, Doolittle, Collamet and Grimes opposed the proposition with much earnestness and ability. They maintained that the people in the late election decided the question of slavery in Territories, and therefore they had no concessions to make or offer. They manifested great unwillingness to act in the absence of Mr. Seward, but as they could give no assurance of his immediate return the Committee declined to defer action on account of his absence.

Messrs. Davis, Toombs and Hunter discussed the present unhappy condition of the country with unsurpassed ability, and whilst manifesting a willingness to accept any measure of final settlement which would secure their just rights in the Union, insisted that propositions must come from the dominant party, the Republicans.

The vote on Mr. Crittenden's proposition was as follows:

For the proposition--Messrs. Bigler, Crittenden, Douglas. Rice and Powell--5.

Against it--Messrs. Davis, Doolittle, Collamer, Wade, Toombs, Grimes and Hunter--7.

Messrs. Hunter, Toombs and Davis, nevertheless, intimated an inclination to go for it if the Republicans would propose it in good faith.

The second proposition submitted by Mr. Crittenden, denying the right of Congress to abolish slavery in the dockyards and arsenals, was voted against by Messrs. Collamer, Doolittle, Grimes and Wade. The remainder of the committee voted for the proposition, but as it had not a majority of the Republicans, it was defeated under the rules adopted by the committee, that no proposition should be considered adopted and recommended to the Senate which did not receive a majority of the Republican votes, and also a majority of those opposed to the Republicans.

The third clause, denying to Congress the right to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, was defeated by the same vote, the Republicans all voting against it, and the remainder of the committee for it.

The fourth clause, establishing the right of transit, was defeated by the same vote.

The fifth, which is intended to perfect the Fugitive Slave law, by requiring the several States to pay for fugitives who might be rescued from the officers of the law, was lost by the same vote, the Republicans all voting in the negative.

Many other propositions were offered and voted upon, but none of leading importance — none that would meet the great exigencies of the times.

Mr. Davis submitted a resolution expressly recognizing property in slaves, but no vote was taken on it.

Mr. Toombs submitted a series of resolutions, embracing substantially the principles of the Breckinridge platform, but final action was not taken on them.

The committee adjourned to meet at 10 on Monday morning.

"the ready Men."

The Norfolk Day Book has the following paragraph about the "Ready Men" an organization existing in that city:

‘ Yesterday afternon the "Ready Men" hauled down the beautiful flag that had floated over their Burgee, and cut one of the stars from its Union. This they done because of the secession of South Carolina. The beautiful eagle floats proudly from the masthead to-day, but there are but thirty two stars on the deep blue ground of its Union; in place of the star that has been torn from its folds is a void, and the flag is incomplete! We have conversed with some of the most active of the "Ready Men," and they tell us that they are for secession, but want all the Southern States to go together. "The independent haste" of South Carolina has nettled them, and some of them say they are glad she is gone.

Executions in Alabama.

The Montgomery Mail publishes the particulars of the execution at Pine Level, Montgomery county, Ala., on the 16th inst., of four persons convicted of attempting to create a servile rebellion. The letter says:

‘ One white man, and four negroes were hung. The white man's name was Roller, and was proved guilty by his brother, who was arrested with him, but who afterward cleared himself by confessing his brother's guilt. One of the negroes belonged to Mr. Allen Frasier, one to Mr. Terry, and one to the Wright estate, and the other is a ditcher, whose master resides in Montgomery. That the plot is deeply laid, and of considerable extent, is undoubtedly true. New revelations are being made daily, and other white men have an awful doom awaiting them.

The South Carolina Commissioners.

A Washington letter says:

‘ The Commissioners, or as Mr. Wigfall styled them, the Envoys Extraordinary from South Carolina to this Government, will arrive here on Wednesday and present their credentials to the President. In anticipation of this contingency, it is said the President is now preparing a message to Congress, and will thus throw off the whole responsibility of the reception that is to be given them. It is said that the members from Mississippi, Alabama and Florida will retain their seats until their respective States take action in Convention and send their Commissioners.

Serenade to Senator Pugh.

Senator Pugh was serenaded at Washington Saturday night. While thanking his friends for the honor conferred, he said the peace of the country could not be restored by the sword. The shedding of a single drop of blood would make dissolution inevitable and the reconstruction of the Union impossible.--It was only by concession that peace could be produced. Messrs. Crittenden, Vallandigham, Pendleton, Mallory, Woodson and Segar also made speeches, sustaining the views of Mr. Pugh, whose senatorial speech has been much commended.

The National fast day.

Gov. Banks, of Massachusetts, has issued a proclamation in response to that of the President for a fast day, from which we extract the following:

Under the shadow of impending national calamity, let us follow the Christian custom of our fathers and implore the blessings of heaven upon our beloved country: That the priceless privileges that have been transmitted to us may be preserved for ever; that our rulers may be invested with wisdom and courage rightly to discharge their duties; that the people may learn from Him, that the recognition of the rights of others is indispensable to the protection of their own; that idleness may not paralyze the hand of willing labor, nor want cloud its visions of plenty, and that fraternal contests may never rend our land, nor "the trumpet sound its general doom."

Untimely rejoicing.

The Wilmington (N. C.) Journal, in commenting on a joyful secession demonstration in that city, asks:

‘ "Is the spectacle of a people — a happy, prosperous people, suddenly plunged into financial distress and ruin, with families of helpless women and children unexpectedly turned out of comfortable homes to starve of freeze in the streets, calculated to gladden the heart of any civilized, Christian human being? Does the prospect of a great, beneficent and powerful government struggling in the throes of dissolution — of a nation threatened with bankruptcy, civil war, and anarchy, inspire any breast, not dead to every feeling of humanity, with the slightest emotion of gladness? All these things may happen very soon, and some of them now exist. What is there, we ask, in the existing state of things, or in the prospect which disunion opens to us, to furnish cause for gratulation and rejoicing? Does anybody know how the difficulties by which we are surrounded will terminate? Is the path before us one of flowers? Mr. Hunter told Hale in the Senate once that his conduct was "like the laugh of the inebriate by the bed of death." Has that illustration lost its applicability to any other case? We think not."

Curtailment of business.

The Pittsfield (Mass) Sun hears of woolen and cotton mills in all directions, in this and other counties, that have been compelled, in consequence of the stagnation of business, to reduce the hours of labor, and are now running three-fourths or half time, and many will probably suspend work entirely in a few days, unless a different state of things shall be brought about.

Reduction of operations in the Fall River Cotton Mills.

Seven out of the ten cotton mills in Fall River, Mass., have reduced their operations to three-quarters, and the print works in the same city have done the same.

"the Tightness."

The Macon Telegraph of Friday says: ‘A few dollars, or their representatives, may now and then be seen in town, but in the country we are told — and in fact have great reason to feel the truth of it — that money is scarce beyond all precedent, so scarce that it is impossible to pay taxes.’

Out of Employment.

The Nashville Gazette learns by a private letter from Cincinnati that five thousand mechanics have been discharged in that city within the past six days.

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