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n it saw fit; and one, Rhode Island, did not transfer itself from the old compact to the new, for three years. Yet neither the new nor the old confederation dreamed of assailing the other: both recognized the sovereign rights of the States, to secede or to accede. Accession to the new could only take place, by means of secession from the old Union; which had precisely the same claims to the adhesion of its members. So that, when Washington and his illustrious associates of the Convention of 1787, proposed a new Constitution to the States they were proposing secession. It is plain, then, that to speak of a State committing treason against the Government of the United States, is just as absurd as to describe a parent as being guilty of insubordination to his son. There might be injustice or violence; there could be no treason. To speak of resistance organized by the sovereign States against the Federal Government as rebellion, is preposterous. It was just as easy for Great Britai
be it wise or foolish, good or bad, was the one to which they were actually bound in covenant. This, and no other form of government, was what they had pledged themselves to obey. In this way they had uniformly explained the obligations which they considered themselves as assuming. This explanation had been at first accepted by all parties; Virginia, declaring it in the sovereign act by which she made herself a member of the Federal Union, and repeating it in her famous resolutions of 1798-99, had never ceased to reiterate her claims; and in this she had been followed by the other Southern States, her sisters and daughters. Secession, then, was no dishonest after-thought, suggested by a growing sectional ambition, but the ancient, righteous remedy, to which the Southern States were reluctantly driven, by a long course of treachery and oppression. Ever since 1820, they had seen with grief that the true balance of the Constitution was overthrown, the Government centralized, and
a slander equally against his head and his heart. His political opinions were maturely formed, and were exceedingly fixed. Few who witnessed the deferential silence with which he listened to the talk of more dogmatical acquaintances, were aware how distinct and firm his conclusions were. He was pre-eminently given to forming his own resolves, especially upon every question of duty; and, even where he listened to advice, it was weighed with a sturdy independence equal to his politeness. In 1856, the question of free-soil had assumed somewhat of its angry importance, and the defection of the professed supporters of the rights of the States at the North had begun, under the pretext of squattersovereignty. To the few friends to whom Jackson spoke of his own opinions, he then declared that the South ought to take its stand upon the outer verge of its just rights, and there resist aggression, if necessary, by the sword; that, while it should do nothing beyond the limits of strict righte
December 20th (search for this): chapter 6
on December 20, 1860, that the State of South Carolina, by the unanimous vote of a Convention, called by her Legislature, formally seceded from the Union. At this time Major R. Anderson was commandant of the Federal forces at Charleston. His Headquarters were at Fort Moultrie on the mainland; Fort Sumter, the strongest of all the defences, and placed in the middle of the bay, not being occupied. A grand banquet was given in honor of the Ordinance of Secession, on the evening of the day (Dec. 20), on which it passed. At midnight, Anderson, who must have received secret orders how to act, having spiked the guns, abandoned Moultrie, and conveyed all his men and stores to Sumter. Next morning, to the amazement of the South Carolinians, they saw the Union flag floating over it, and found Anderson in possession. As was to be expected, this act of treachery greatly incensed them; for the authorities of South Carolina had received a pledge from President Buchanan that the existing mili
on, be it wise or foolish, good or bad, was the one to which they were actually bound in covenant. This, and no other form of government, was what they had pledged themselves to obey. In this way they had uniformly explained the obligations which they considered themselves as assuming. This explanation had been at first accepted by all parties; Virginia, declaring it in the sovereign act by which she made herself a member of the Federal Union, and repeating it in her famous resolutions of 1798-99, had never ceased to reiterate her claims; and in this she had been followed by the other Southern States, her sisters and daughters. Secession, then, was no dishonest after-thought, suggested by a growing sectional ambition, but the ancient, righteous remedy, to which the Southern States were reluctantly driven, by a long course of treachery and oppression. Ever since 1820, they had seen with grief that the true balance of the Constitution was overthrown, the Government centralized,
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