Succession movement at the South.position of Senator Hunter's Views — letter from Robert E. Scott--General News from the South,&c,&c.
Letter from Senator Hunter.‘ The Examiner, of yesterday, contains a long later from Senator Hunter, of Va. on the He thinks there is little to hope from the North to view of the " almost entire instability" which prevails there relative to the state of public sentiment at the South.--The wrongs of the South reached a climate west Lincoln was elected, and a State which believe that the General Government will be set to imperil the welfare and rights of the withholding States, is about to leave the Confederacy. As to coercion, that is impossible, for: It would fail it attempted, and would never be attempted, unless madness ruled the hour, wild passion waged, when reason ought to govern. But now would we stand it we should attempt to rule by force five States of this confederacy, who declared our government over them to be a tyranny, and claimed the most of governing themselves? Is it not the great American principle, that legitimate government rests on the will or the governed?--Was it not in behalf of the sacred right of self-government that we appealed to the world for sympathy and assistance in our struggle for independent! Is this General Government to play the very part towards some of the United States themselves which was taken toward us by the British Government under Lord Is this General Government to resort to the British statutes to after the Boston Post Bill, and other effective measures used against us in our struggle for self-government, as precedents of the to be affected against some of our State, who are engaged in asserting that same right for which we all contended then it would, indeed, be an instance as ruinous as it was , of the instability of human opinion and of the mutability of man, portion of the old thirteen States should be found unsecuring the port calamary, of Great Britain for modes of the engines of oppression and coercion, and send them against another part of the States which constituted the glorious old Confederacy. But, in my opinion, there is no fighting power in the government of the twin States to coerce a return to the Union, If States acting in their sovereign capacity and seceded from it. They could not defile such a power from either the law of nature or the Constitution of the United States. The Convention which framed that instrument refused to give the power to coerce a State to the General Government. The very nature of the compact of government into which the United States entered implies the right, I believe, to secede from the Union which it formed, when the conditions and obligations upon which it was made have been and . The right of secession is argued at length, and this conclusion drawn: For all the reasons which I have given, and for others not now enumerated, I believe that each State, acting in its sovereign capacity, has a political right to secede from the Union, when it believes that there has been a palpable and dangerous infraction of the Constitution or compact. But whilst I recognize its right to judge for itself, I am also of opinion that the act is morally justifiable only when the infraction is of such a character as to make secession the only remedy, or when the danger of such an infraction is so imminent that secession must be immediate to be a remedy at all. Therefore it is that when I was questioned during the recent canvass to know whether I would regard the election of Lincoln, by constitutional means, as a just cause for secession, that for such a cause I would not added Virginia to secede, but that if any State did them it just cause, and for that reason secede from the Union I hold that she had a right thus to act, without question from me, and that there was no rightful authority anywhere to force her back within the jurisdiction of the General Government. In the case of Virginia, where, is a voter and a citizen, I have a right to speak, I would say, that although such an , in my opinion, affords just cause for serious apprehension, and makes it prudent to prepare the means of self defence, in case of the worst results, still, I would not desire to break up this Union, without at least an honest effort to preserve it, upon terms consistent with the rights and the safety of the South.--To preserve the Union of the Constitution I would be willing, I trust, to make any personal sacrifice. I therefore desire and advocate conference amongst the Southern Sales to and agree upon such guarantees as in their opinion will secure their equality and their rights within the Union. The position of Virginia in case of a dissolution of the Confederacy next occupies his attention. He says: The question, then, for the border slaveholding States will be, not whether the Southern States would have been safe it all had remained in the Union, but to which division of the Confederacy they ought to attach themselves now that it was severed. In such an event, I have not the shadow of a doubt as to what ought to be the course of Virginia and other Southern border States. If they united with the other slave States they would confederate as equals, and with those whose population was homogenous, and whose interests were identified with their own. If they united with the North under such circumstances, they would constitute a helpless minority in association with States, whose population was not homogeneous with theirs, and whose interests would be considered as different and hostile. They could be treated as inferiors by the dominant majority, and considered as having acquiesced in that position by the choice which they had made. In the Southern Confederacy they would find an outlet for their surplus population of slaves, not only in these co-States, but in whatever territory might be acquired by that Union. Under that Government, too, they would find effectual protection for their property and institutions. In the other Confederacy their slave population would indeed be "penned in" and "localized" within their own borders. The dominant party in the North looks to this object as the cardinal principle of their association, and they would be sole to pursue that end without the show of an opposition. This negro population would then be penned up, not only by restrictions from the Northern majority, but by restrictions from the neighboring slave States also, who would probably hold it to be to their interest to force the border States to hold on to their slaves, not only for political reasons, but also from a desire to interpose an obstacle to the escape of their fugitive slaves. What then, would be the position of the slaveholding States in the Northern Confederacy ? As their slave population increased, there would be a tendency to a fall in wage. The white laborer, by emigration, could better his condition by removing where his labor was more productive; but the slave, by the circumstances of his position, must remain and work for the home rate of wages, whatever it might be. In this state of things, the white laborer would emigrate where he could work on better terms, and the slave would remain to increase his hold upon these States, and to become the governing element of their population. Whilst the new territory of this Northern Confederacy would be given to the white man, according to their theory, the old territory of the border slaveholding States would be given to the negro. The consequences of such a process would soon reduce to such an extent the number of whites in these States that they would lose their only, but slender, means of defence, which they had enjoyed through the little political strength with which they had entered that Confederacy. Indeed, how long would it be before the non-slaveholding States would increase to the mark requisite to enable them to abolish slavery within the States by a constitutional amendment? Would they wait for that process if they did not know it to be both rapid and sure? With the principles and feelings of this sectional party — which would wield the power of that Confederacy — how long would the institution of slavery endure in the five or six slaveholding States which were attached to that Union? Is there one of the slaveholding States which would voluntarily incur such a risk, with the fate of the British West Indies before their eyes? In a Union with a Southern Confederacy they should encounter none of these dangers. In that connection the slave population operates us a safety-valve to protect the white laborer against an unreasonable or ruinous decline in the rate wages. With an outlet for emigration, the slave is the first to move under a decline in the rate of wages. The law of profit moves him to a theatre where he will earn more for his master, and yet more for himself, whilst the labor market which he leaves is thus gradually relieved from the pressure, and the white man remains in the land of his birth to enjoy the profits of remunerating operations. As a proof of the truth of this view, I ask if the average rate of wages of the white laborer of the South is not higher than in any other settled portion of the globe? In conclusion he says: When the future which lies before us is so clouded by gloom and uncertainty, we all must feel that the time has come for Virginia to put her house in order. No man end now tell what a day or an hour may bring forth. An accident might fire a train, whose explosion would part the Union asunder. But, be the issue what it may.--peace or war!--and no man desires the former more earnestly than I do — may the noble old Common wealth be prepared to play the part that becomes her. Certain I am that I speak the common voice of nearly all her sons, when I say that, where she leads we will follow; and should she in her sovereign capacity throw her banger to the breeze, we will rely to it as the emblem of our allegiance, whether it bears upon its folds a single star, as the representation of her undivided sovereignty, or a whole constellation to mark the numbers of a confederated system. When she speaks, her voice will be needed at home, and, I trust, respected abroad. ’
Letter from R. B. Scott, Esq.The Enquirer, of yesterday, publishes the following letter:
Richmond, Nov. 30th, 1860.‘ To the Bastards of the Richmond Enquirer; General: In your article of this morning, inviting attention to the letters of Mr. Mison and Mr. Hopkins, you state that these letters were written in response to a letter addressed by one of the editors of the Enquirer to several gentleman, whose name are given, among which I find my own, and you say, ‘"if any of the gentlemen named are not received the letter addressed by us to them, they can, notwithstanding, furnish us with their views on the propriety of assembling a State Convention, as well as to the nature of State union, if any, in their opinion, is desirable at present."’ Without appropriating to myself any part of the complimentary allusion made to those gentlemen, or arrogating to speak on behalf of those with whom I have been connected in party relations; out as an individual, speaking only for myself I have no hesitation in saying, that I concur the 'propriety of assembling a State Convention' The action of some of our Southern sister States, and the obvious results to which this action leads surround us with circumstances too grave to be dealt with an ordinary, General assembly. To take no account of the fact that the members who compose this body were not effected with to those surroundings. It is apparent that those who are trammelled with an oath to support the present Federal Constitution are not in a situation to deal freely with questions of State that revolutions give rise to that a of the Southern States now contemplate a withdrawal from the Union, and that, according to every probability, some of them will shortly decide formal secession, there is no room for doubt. Whether of secession is among the rights reserved to the State, and, therefore constitutional, as some suppose; of whether it arises from a right of revolution, as others maintain, it seems quite useless to determine, because whether just an excused according to the one view of the other, we must deal with it as an existing I know of no means by which any State can be forcibly compared to remain in the Union and perform the duties that pertain to her as a member of the Confederacy, and such is the intimate connexion between the Southern States growing number of the infection of slavery and so dependent is the safety of each upon the power of all in respect to the operation of the Federal Government, that the withdrawal of any considerable number of them necessarily affects the relations of the others and injuriously impairs their condition in their federal Government. These considerations would seem to imply an obligation of friendly concert on the part of all the Southern States, in a crisis so grave as the present, and to forbid unless under the pressure of a solute necessity, the separate action of any under present circumstances, separate action evinces discordant counsels, and leads to the suspicion of an attempt to coerce others into action of revolution that ought to proceed only from common interests, common purposed and accordant counsels and is but too well calculated to antagonisms from which evil consequences are likely to flow. For myself, I am unalterably opposed to that secession which would leave a diminished number of the slaveholding States exposed, defenseless to the Federal power; and I am equally opposed to any form of secession which would leave the present Federal Government installed at Washington. If our union with the free States is to be broken, the government founded upon it should be discarded, and section subjected to the like necessity of forming new associations, and new governments upon them. This can be accomplished by concerted action; if in no other way, it can be accomplished through the instrumentality of our Senators and Representatives in Congress, because against their united action it would be impossible for the government to be administered, and the Lee States would be brought to the alternative of a redress of grievances by voluntary action in the Union, or a dissolution by agreement. The common interests of the slaveholding States are judgment bind them to a common destiny, and to necessitate intimate relations among them, in so much that I do not think we can be said to be masters of our own position the withdrawal of some of the States may compel us to the same, for whatever may be our as to the permit of present evils or the of the proposed remedy, we would be left to a narrow alternative. The position of Maryland connects her especially, with the late of Virginia, and I think we should determine upon no ultimate action without a conference with her people should that state unite in the act of withdrawal the resumption of her jurisdiction over the District of would the Government at Washington, and the accommodations in that city would at once afford all the conveniences for the Capital of the Southern Confederacy. If a Convention of our State be called by the General Assembly, it will trust, be composed of the wisest and best of the sons. The subjects for consideration will be the graves upon which a people can be earned to deliberate, and it would be intrusive in me to suggest in advance her nature of the State action proper to be pursued — Events are on the and it is impossible to the to which they may presently reach situation upon the border of the free States, and standing as it were between the extremes of opposing opinions, our appropriate office would seem to of mediator--‘"tantas componirelites, "’ by friend, adjustment of the controversies that divide the sections in a way to preserve the Union is possible, or is that be impossible by just agreement between the two, whereby they may separate in peace No secession of part of the States, no dissolution of the Union that now binds them together, no over throw of the Federal Government will displace any of them from their geographical position.--they will remain forever adjacent and neighboring States, parts of the same continent, washed by the same penetrated by the same rivers, and linked together by all those artificial structures which science and industry have supplied for the conveniences and necessities of the internal commerce of a great and prosperous nation. They will resign forever free representative republics bound together by the strongest ties that can unite separated communities, the ties of a common languages a common blood, a common region, a common history, a common glory, a common happiness, a common progress and a common interests, and be effected in all time, by common prosperity. If we separate in peace if separate we must; the tares which evil influences have caused to spring up among us; will be eradicated as the productive cause will disappear, and under the blessing of Providence, we will live as neighbors and deal as friends. While these considerations admonish all so strongly to just and temperate action, I can but think that a peaceful solution of all present difficulties is fairly within our reach, and I may venture to express the hope that the Convention of Virginia will address its efforts wisely to the accomplishment of that end. Individually, I think the solution can and ought to be found in the Union. There are terms of settlement compatible with the equal rights the equal interests and the equal honor of all the States; but was her these can be obtained, depends, unfortunately, not upon the nation of Virginia or any one of the States but upon he concurrent action of all. It is the misfortune of some in the needless obstruct of others to be dragged into the conditions of a common fare. I look with much solicitude to the assembling of Congress in the expectation that development of sentiment among the members opinion as to the practicability of a satisfactory adjustment; not that I think and power of adjustment resides in Congress for the evil is beyond its reach but that the opinions of members from the opposing sections may furnish indications of inclination or disinclination to recede from extreme positions and to enter into new agreements and consensus by which the causes of our present destructions withdrawn from federal discussion ’
R. E. Scott.
R. E. Scott.