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THE SOUTH CAROLINA CONVENTION PROCEEDINGS CONTINUED
ADDRESS TO THE SLAVE HOLDING STATES, IMPORTANT LEGISLATION.
THE Address to the peo- the United States. The GovernAddress to the Slave
Address to the Slaveholding States. ple of the Slaveholding ment of the United States is no
holding states. States was introduced by longer the government of a conMr. Rhett, in the South Carolina Convention, federate republic, but of a consolidated democracy. Monday, Dec. 24th. It was considered Mon- It is no longer a free government, but a despotism. day and Tuesday, and, after various amend- It is, in fact, such a government as Great Britain at
tempted to set over our fathers, and which was rements, was adopted as follows :
sisted and defeated by a seven years' struggle for THE ADDRESS OF THE PEOPLE OF SOUTH CARO- independence. LINA, ASSEMBLED IN CONVENTION, TO THE PEOPLE “ The Revolution of 1776 turned upon one great OF THE SLAVEHOLDING STATES OF THE UNITED principle, self-government and self-taxation, the criSTATES.
terion of self-government. Where the interests of " It is now seventy-three years since the union two people united together under one Government between the United States was made by the Consti- are different, each must have the power to protect tation of the United States. During this period their its interests hy the organization of the Government advance in wealth, prosperity, and power, has been or they cannot be free. The interests of Great Briwith scarcely a parallel in the history of the world.tain and of the colonies were different and antagoThe great object of their union was external defense nistic. Great Britain was desirous of carrying out from the aggressions of more powerful nations ; now the policy of all nations toward their colonies of complete, from their mere progress in power, thirty- making them tributary to their wealth and power. one millions of people, with a commerce and navi. She had vast and complicated relations with the gation which explores every sea, and of agricultural whole world. Her policy toward her North Ameproduction which are necessary to every civilized rican colonies was to identify them with her in all people, eommand the friendship of the world. But, these complicated relations, and to make them bear, unfortunately, our internal peace has not grown in common with the rest of the empire, the full burwith our external prosperity. Discontent and con- den of her obligations and necessities. She had a tention have moved in the bosom of the Confederacy vast public debt; she had a European policy and for the last thirty-five years. During this time South an Asiatic policy, which had occasioned the accuCarolina has twice called her people together in so mulation of her public debt, and which kept her in lemn convention, to take into consideration the ag- continual wars. The North American colonies saw gressions and unconstitutional wrongs perpetrated their interests, political and commercial, sacrificed by the people of the North on the people of the by such a policy. Their interests required that they South. These wrongs were submitted to by the should not be identified with the burdens and wars people of the South, under the hope and expectation of the mother country. They had been settled under that they would be final. But these hopes and ex- charters which gave them self-government, at least pectations have proved to be void. Instead of be
so far as their property was concerned. They had ing incentives to forbearance our submission has taxed themselves, and had never been taxed by the only instigated to new forms of aggressions and out-Government of Great Britain. To make them a part rage, and South Carolina, again assembling her peo- of a consolidated empire, the Parliament of Great ple in convention, has this day dissolved her con Britain determined to assume the power of legislatnection with the States constituting the United ing for the colonies in all cases whatsoever. Our States.
ancestors resisted the pretension. They refused to * The one great evil, from which all other evils be a part of the consolidated Government of Great have flowed, is the overthrow of the Constitution of Britain.
“ The Southern States now the British Government, the Address to the Slave holding states. stand exactly in the same posi- taxes collected from them Address to the Sleve
holding States. tion toward the Northern States weuld have been expended on that our ancestors in the colonies did toward Great other parts of the British Empire. They were fully Britain. The Northern States, having the majority in aware of the effect of such a policy in impoverishing Congress, claim the same power of omnipotence in the people from whom taxes are collected, and in enlegislation as the British Parliament. “The general riching those who receive the benefit of their expenwelfare' is the only limit to the legislation of either; diture. To prevent the evils of such a policy was one and the majority in Congress, as in the British Par- of the motives which drove them on to revolution. Yet liament, are the sole judges of the expediency of the this British policy has been fully realized toward the legislation this ' general welfare' requires. Thus the Southern States by the Northern States. The peoGovernment of the United States has become a con- ple of the Southern States are not only taxed for the solidated Government, and the people of the South benefit of the Northern States, but after the taxes ern States are compelled to meet the very despotism are collected three-fourths of them are expended at their fathers threw off in the Revolution of 1776. the North. This cause, with others connected with
“ The consolidation of the Government of Great the operation of the General Government, has provBritain over the colonies was attempted to be car- incialized the cities of the South. Their growth is ried out by the taxes. The British Parliament un paralyzed, while they are the mere suburbs of dertook to tax the colonies to promote British inter- Northern cities. The basis of the foreign commerce ests. Our fathers resisted this pretension. They of the United States are the agricultural productions claimed the right of self-taxation through their Col- of the South; yet Southern cities do not carry it on. onial Legislatures. They were not represented in Our foreign trade is almost annihilated. In 1740 the British Parliament, and therefore could not there were five ship-yards in South Carolina to build rightfully be taxed by its Legislature. The British ships to carry on our direct trade with Europe. BeGovernment, however, offered them a representation | tween 1740 and 1779 there were built in these yards in the British Parliament; but it was not sufficient twenty-five square-rigged vessels, besides a great to enable them to protect themselves from the ma- number of sloops and schooners, to carry on our jority, aud they refused it. Between taxation with coast and West India trade. In the half centary out any representation, and taxation without a rep- immediately preceding the Revolution, from 1725 to resentation adequate to protection, there was no 1775, the population of South Carolina increased difference. By neither would the colonies tax them- seven-fold. selves. Hence they refused to pay the taxes laid by “ No man can for a moment believe that our anthe British Parliament.
cestors intended to establish over their posterity “The Southern States now stand in the same rela- exactly the same sort of government they had overtion toward the Northern States, in the vital matter thrown. The great object of the Constitution of the of taxation, that our ancestors stood toward the peo- United States, in its internal operation, was, doubtple of Great Britain. They are in a minority in Con- less, to secure the great end of the Revolution-a gress. Their representation in Congress is useless limited free government-a government limited to to protect them against unjust taxation, and they those matters only which were general and commor are taxed by the people of the North for their bene- to all portions of the United States. All sectional fit, exactly as the people of Great Britain taxed our or local interests were to be left to the States. By ancestors in the British Parlisment for their benefit. no other arrangement would they obtain free goFor the last forty years the taxes laid by the Convernment by a Constitution common to so vast a gress of the United States have been laid with a view Confederacy. Yet by gradual and steady encroachof subserving the interests of the North. The people ments on the part of the North, and submission on of the South have been taxed by duties on imports, the part of the South, the limitations in the Constinot for revenue, but for an object inconsistent with tution have been swept away, and the Government revenue--to promote, by prohibitions, Northern in- of the United States has become consolidated, with terests in the productions of their mines and manu. a claim of limitless powers in its operations. factures.
" It is not at all surprising, while such is the charac“ There is another evil in the condition of the ter of the Government of the United States, that it Southern toward the Northern States, which our an- should assume to possess power over all the insticestors refused to bear toward Great Britain. Our tutions of the country. The agitations on the subancestors not only taxed themselves, but all the ject of Slavery in the South are the natural results taxes coilected from them were expended among of the consolidation of the Government. Responsithem. Had they submitted to the pretensions of bility follows power; and if the people of the North
8 L A VEHOLDING
have the power by Congress top hend that seeming paradox, that Address to the Slaye
Address to the Slayeholding States. promote the general welfare o the more power is given to the
holding States. the United States' by any means general Government the weaker they deem expedient, why should they not assail it becomes. Its strength consists in its generality and and overthrow the institution of Slavery in the limitations. To extend the scope of its power over South? They are responsible for its continuance or sectional or local interests, is to raise up against it existence, in proportion to their power. A majority opposition and resistance. In all such matters the in Congress, according to their interested and per- General Government must necessarily be a despotverted views, is omnipotent. The inducements to ism, because all sectional or local interests must ever act upon the subject of Slavery, under such circum- be represented by a minority in the councils of the stances, were so imperious as to amount almost to a General Government—having no power to protect moral necessity. To make, however, their numeri- itself against the rule of the majority. The majority, cal power available to rule the Union, the North constituted from those who do not represent these must consolidate their power. It would not be sectional or local interests, will control and govern united on any matter common to the whole Union-them. A free people cannot submit to such a Govin other words, on any constitutional subject--for ernment, and the more it enlarges the sphere of its on such subjects divisions are as likely to exist in power the greater must be the dissatisfaction it must the North as in the South. Slavery was strictly a produce, and the weaker it must become. On the sectional interest. If this could be made the crite-contrary, the more it abstains from usurped powers, rion of parties at the North, the North could be and the more faithfully it adheres to the limitations united in its power, and thus carry out its measures of the Constitutions, the stronger it is made. The of sectional ambition, encroachment, and aggran- Northern people have had neither the wisdom nor dizement. To build up their sectional predominance the faith to perceive that to observe the limitation in the Union, the Constitution must be first abolished of the Constitution was the only way to its perby constructions; but, that being done, the consoli- petuity. dation of the North to rule the South, by the tariff "Under such a Government there must, of course, and Slavery issues, was in the obvious course of be many and endless irrepressible conflicts,' bethings.
tween the two great sections of the Union. The * The Constitution of the United States was an ex same faithlessness which has abolished the Constituperiment. The experiment consisted in uniting tion of the United States, will not fail to carry out ander one Government different peoples, living in the sectional purposes for which it has been abolishdifferent climates, and having different pursuits of ed. There must be conflict; and the weaker secindustry and institutions. It matters not how care- tion of the Union can only find peace and liberty in fully the limitations of such a government be laid an independence of the North. The repeated efforts down in the constitution—its success must at least made by South Carolina, in a wise conservatism, to depend upon the good faith of the parties to the con arrest the progress of the General Government in its stitutional compact in enforcing them. It is not in fatal progress to consolidation, have been unsupthe power of human language to exclude false infer- ported and denounced as faithless to the obligations ences, constructions, and perversions, in any consti- of the Constitution by the very men and States who tation; and when vast sectional interests are to be were destroying it by their usurpations. It is now subserved, involving the appropriation of countless too late to reform or restore the Government of the millions of money, it has not been the usual expe- United States. All confidence in the North is lost rience of mankind that words on parchment can ar in the South. The faithlessness of half a century has rest power. The Constitution of the United States, opened a gulf of separation between them which no irrespective of the interposition of the States, rested promises or engagements can fill. on the assumption that power would yield to faith " It cannot be believed that our ancestors would that integrity would be stronger than interest, and have assented to any union whatever with the peothat thus the limitations of the Constitution would ple of the North'if the feelings and opinions now exbe observed. The experiment has been fairly made. isting among them had existed when the Constitution The Southern States, from the commencement of was framed. There was then no tarifr-no Negro the Government, have striven to keep it within the fanaticism. It was the delegates from New England orbit prescribed by the Constitution. The experi- who proposed, in the Convention which framed the ment has failed. The whole Constitution, by the con- Constitution, to the delegates from South Carolina structions of the Northern people, has been swal- and Georgia, that if they would agree to give Conlowed up by a few words in its - preamble. In their gress the power of regulating commerce by a majorecklese lust for power they seem unable to compre-rity, that they would support the extension of the
African slave-trade for twenty to preclude or abolish Slavery Address to the Slave holding States. years. African Slavery existed in a Territory, why should it be Address to the Slave.
holding States. in all the States but one. The idea allowed to remain in the States? that they would be made to pay that tribute to their The one is not at all more unconstitutional than the Northern Confederates which they had refused to other, according to the decisions of the Supreme pay to Great Britain, or that the institution of Afri- Court of the United States. And when it is considcan Slavery would be made the grand basis of aered that the Northern States will soon have the sectional organization of the North to rule the power to make that Court what they please, and South, never crossed their imaginations. The Union that the Constitution never has been any barrier of the Constitution was a Union of Slaveholding whatever to their exercise of power, what check States. It rests on Slavery, by prescribing a repre- can there be in the unrestrained counsels of the sentation in Congress for three-fifths of our slaves. North to emancipation? There is sympathy in assoThere is nothing in the proceedings of the Conven- ciation, which carries men along without principle; tion which framed the Constitution to show that the but when there is principle, and that principle is Southern States would have formed any other fortified by long existing prejudices and foelings, asUnion, and still less that they would have formed a sociation is omnipotent in party influences. In spite Union with more powerful non-Slaveholding States, of all disclaimers and professions, there can be but having a majority in both branches of the Legisla- one end to the submission by the South to the role ture of the Government. They were guilty of no of a sectional Anti-Slavery Government at Washingsuch folly. Time and the progress of things have ton; and that end, directly or indirectly, must be totally altered the relations between the Northern the emancipation of the slaves of the South. The and Southern States since the Union was first estab- hypocrisy of thirty years—the faithlessness of their lished. That identity of feeling, interests and insti- whole course from the commencement of our union tutions which once existed is gone. They are now with them-show that the people of the non-Slavedivided between agriculture, and manufacturing, holding North, are not and cannot be safe associates and commercial States—between Slaveholding and of the Slaveholding South under a common Governnon-Slaveholding States. Their institutions and in ment. Not only their fanaticism, but their erro. dustrial pursuits have made them totally different neous views of the principles of free Governments peoples. That equality in the government between render it doubtful whether, separated from the the two sections of the Union which once existed no South, they can maintain a free Government among longer exists. We but imitate the policy of our themselves. Brute numbers with them is the great fathers in dissolving a Union with non-Slaveholding element of free Government. A majority is infallible Confederates, and seeking a Confederation with and omnipotent. “The right divine to rule in kings' Slaveholding States.
is only transferred to their majority. The very ob"Experience has proved that Slaveholding States ject of all constitutions, in free, popular governcannot be safe in subjection to Non-Slaveholding ments, is to restrain the majority. Constitutions, States. Indeed, no people ever expect to preserve therefore, according to their theory, must be most their rights and liberties unless they are in their own unrighteous inventions, restricting liberty. None custody. To plunder and oppress where plunder ought to exist, but the body politic ought simply to and oppression can be practiced with impunity, have a political organization, to bring out and enseems to be the natural order of things. The fairest force the will of a majority. This theory may be portions of the world have been turned into wilder- harmless in a small community, having an indentity nesses, and the most civilized and prosperous com- of interests and pursuits, but over a vast State--still munities have been impoverished and ruined by more, over a vast Confederacy, having various and Anti-Slavery fanaticism. The people of the North conflicting interests and pursuits—it is a remorseless bave not left us in doubt as to their designs and despotism. In resisting it, as applicable to ourselves policy. United as a section in the late Presidential we are vindicating the great cause of free governelection, they have elected as the exponent of their ment, more important, perhaps, to the world than policy one who has openly declared that all the the existence of the United States. Nor in resisting States of the United States must be made Free States it, do we intend to depart from the safe instrumenor Slave States. It is true that among those who tality the system of government we have established aided in this election, there are various shades of with them requires. In separating from them we Anti-Slavery hostility. But if African Slavery in the invade no rights-no interest of theirs. We violate Southern States be the evil their political combina- no obligation of duty to them. As separate, indetions afirm it to be, the requisitions of an inexorable pendent States in Convention, we made the Constilogic must lead them to emancipation. If it is right I tution of the United States with them; and as sepa
SLAVE HOLDING STATES.
rate, independent States, each and grandeur. You have loved Address to the Slave
Address to the Slave. holding States. State acting for itself, we adopt- the Union, in whose service your
holding States. ed it. South Carolina, acting in great statesmen have labored, her sovereign capocity, now thinks proper to secede and your great soldiers have fought and conquered from the Union. She did not part with her sovereignty --not for the material benefits it conferred, but with in adopting the Constitution. The last thing a State the faith of a generous and devoted chivalry. You can be presumed to have surrendered is her sover have long lingered and hoped over the shattered eignty. Her sovereignty is her life. Nothing but a remains of a broken Constitution. Compromise clear, express grant can alienate it. Inference after compromise, formed by your concessions, has should be dumb. Yet it is not at all surprising that been trampled under foot by your Northern confedthose who have construed away all the limitations erates. All fraternity of feeling between the North of the Constitution should also by construction aud the South is lost, or has been converted into claim the annihilation of the sovereignty of the hate, and we, of the South, are at last driven together States. Having abolished all barriers to their om by the stern destiny which controls the existnipotence by their faithless constructions in the ence of nations. Your bitter experience of the faithoperations of the General Government, it is most lessness and rapacity of your Northern confedenatural that they should endeavor to do the same rates may have been necessary to evolve those great toward us in the States. The truth is, they having principles of free Government, upon which the liberviolated the express provisions of the Constitution, ties of the world depend, and to prepare you for the it is at an end as a compact. It is morally obliga- grand mission of vindicating and re-establishing tory only on those who choose to accept its per them. We rejoice that other nations should be satFerted terms. South Carolina, deeming the com- isfied with their institutions. Self-complacency is a pact not only violated in particular features, but great element of happiness, with nations as with invirtually abolished by her Northern Confederates, dividuals. We are satisfied with ours. If they prewithdraws herself as a party from its obligations. fer a system of industry in which capital and labor The right to do so is denied by her Northern Con are in perpetual conflict--and chronic starvation federates. They desire to establish a despotism, not keeps down the natural increase of population and only omnipotent in Congress, but omuipotent over
a man is worked out in eight years—and the law orthe States ; and as if to manifest the imperious dains that children shall be worked only ten hours a necessity of our secession, they threaten us with day—and the saber and bayonet are the instruments the sword, to coerce submission to their rule.
of order—be it so. It is their affair, not ours. We " Citizens of the Slaveholding States of the United prefer, however, our system of industry, by which States, circumstances beyond our control have labor and capital are identified in interest, and capplaced us in the van of the great controversy ital, therefore, protects labor, by which our populabetween the Northern and Southern States. We tion doubles every twenty years; by which starvaFould have preferred that other States should have tion is unknown, and abundance crowns the land; assumed the position we now occupy. Independent by which order is preserved by an unpaid police, ourselves, we disclaim any design or desire to lead and the most fertile regions of the world where the the councils of the other Southern States. Provi- Caucasian cannot labor are brought into usefulness dence has cast our lot together, by extending over by the labor of the African, and the whole world is us an identity of pursuits, interests and institutions. other peoples is to be let alone to work out our ow
blessed by our own productions. All we demand of South Carolina desires no destiny separated from yours. To be one of a great Slaveholding Confede-high destinies. United together, and we must be racy, stretching its arms over a territory larger than the most independent, as we are the most important any power in Europe possesses—with population among the nations of the world. United together, four times greater thad that of the whole United and we require no other instrument to conquer States when they achieved their independence of the peace than our beneficent productions. United toBritish Empire—with productions which make our
gether, and we must be a great, free, and prosperexistence more important to the world than that of the civilized world, and pass down, we trust, to the
ous people, whose renown must spread throughout any other people inhabiting it-with common institations to defend, and common dangers to encounter, remotest ages. We ask you to join us in forming a we ask your sympathy and confederation. While
confederacy of Slaveholding States. constituting a portion of the Uuited States, it has
On Wednesday, Dec. 26th, among other rebeen your statesmanship which has guided it in its solutions offered, was one by Mr. Spain, that mighty strides to power and expansion. Iu the field the Governor be requested to communicate to as in the Cabinet, you have led the way to its renown the Convention in secret session, any informa