Augusta Daily Constitutionalist, December 30, 1860
This is the last time we can address our readers of the Weekly Constitutionalist, before they are called upon to decide that issue which involves FREEDOM or SERVITUDE to us and our children, and which issue should alone be written—“Victory or Death.”
Oh, that when young men ask the daughters of the land for song, they would sing the Marseillaise hymn; and that the old and the waiting would learn wisdom of the girls and young children; for the blue cockade of secession contrasts with many dark or golden tresses, and the lonely, golden star of Georgia shines bright amid the robes of little boys and girls, just old enough to lisp of-Mother, God, and Liberty.
From the great popular heart, however, the anxious question is, “Watchman what of the night?” and while we cannot reply, “Day is breaking, and all is well,” yet Revolution twines her crimson wings with the snowy plumes of peace, and both look on, as the great veil of the future slowly lifts upon the second act of the drama of the West.
The stage is yet dim, and the characters shadowy; but the scenes are those of Southern Empire, and the figure plainest seen is Hope. But dramatic rhetoric does not satisfy the questioning heart, and the varied question is, “What of Georgia?” The answer is, she will secede before the 4th of March 1861.
There is no majority in Georgia for secession; but every county meeting, save two or three, has resolved as the sense of its members, and the faith of its nominees for delegates, that disunion is either a necessity now, or will be on the refusal of new guarantees, and even the most conservative will reluctantly vote for immediate secession, because the Abolitionists are not base enough to ask them to delay.
Commercial relations will force Georgia out, for she cannot afford to have a string of custom houses on her Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and perhaps Tennessee frontiers, and kindred and fraternity forbid that we should remain aliens and strangers amid those glorious sisters, which have begun to embroider Independence upon the robes of their empire.
We are told that in all our contests with the North, until this last disastrous one, the South has uniformly been victorious; victors in 1820, victors (it was said) in 1850, victors (in truth) in 1852, victors in 1854, and in 1856, besides innumerable great or less contests scattered over the bosom of the past forty years. Let us grant it all, grant the victories and forget how many such victories would be worse than defeat; but before we thank GOD for such success, let the solemn question be answered, WHY WERE WE ASSAILED? Was it the purpose of the “more perfect Union,” which our fathers sealed in blood, that we should be an eternal target, warding off with fear and trembling, the shafts of a relentless foe, that foe our brothers? Were we ever the aggressors, and have they not always been?
It is true that we have escaped annihilation in a series of conflicts, from each and all of which the Constitution should have been our shield; but each one of these fratricidal blows would have been fatal had it succeeded. Like convicts on the wheel, we have contented ourselves with avoiding the “mercy stroke” which was intended to finish us, and put up each time the piteous petition-oh, say you won’t do it again! The war is against us and defeat is ruin; this day we are defeated, and we must seek the embattled heights of southern independence, or be captives in the next battle on the plains of the Union.It is truly said that the South has never yet been disgraced and ruined. That is true; but with fair notice that the Abolitionists intend to do it, and have just received the power to do it, shall we wait till they do it? Does it become us to stay and court dishonor?Perhaps the most absurd, and yet universal argument against us, is the Psalm to the Stars and Stripes. Strange that “sensible” men can find no evidence of the value of the Union, save a flag, a few graves and some facts of past history! Stranger still when we remember that there is no copyright on the flag to prevent our having one like it; that the graves, worthy to be “The Delphic vales, the pilgrim shrines, the Meccas of the mind,” are on southern soil, and that it is a task for our school children now to remember those historic memories of glory, which are all our own.We are referred to the growth of this country, as evidence of the value of our Government; but emigrants came when there was no Government at all, and its rapid spread is hardly commensurate with the triumphs of Saxon blood, under the cross of St. George, against old empires, Thugs, Asiatic cholera, and the spotted, striped, creeping, and miasmatic death in Bengal.We are told that the Federal Government has done no wrong. Granted; but it is as well to recollect that it has never been more than the paid agent of the States, powerless for harm; and as our old servant has taken service under Abolitionism, we simply discharge him, with a good character and a recommendation to the new master.
Those avoid the issue who say we quarrel with the Government. We do not; but our partner States have sinned, and they, or we, shall quit the firm.
It is said, by our ablest opponents, that we have only two causes of complaint, to-wit: The Territorial question, and the fugitive slave law. That is not true, for it is probable we will abandon the Territories, and are able to let a million or two a year be stolen from us in slaves. It is the northern heart which we complain of, and no marriage bond can be sacred enough to make us cling to a termagant that don’t love us.
It is said to be the extreme of folly to resist evils before they come, but we are accorded permission to get ready to resist. Exactly! And our idea is to form a Southern Union, get armies, navies, treaties, etc. etc., so when an attempt is made to abolish slavery, we will be ready to resist.
The Georgia platform is pled. That never was right, for it held the Federal Government accountable, instead of the States, and ignored State rights. It is said the North threatens but dares not act. Well, it is certainly the first time that a big crowd was afraid to attack a- little one, and if it is all bluster, let us go South out of the cold and let them bluster by themselves. “They lack the power!” Ah, indeed! and who found that out? They will, by the secession of cotton States, have every department of the government by March, and with all the power that is, they are probably satisfied. “LINCOLN tied!” so is the devil, but his chain is long enough to let him walk over hell, earth, and heaven, (vide JOB).
“The South will have the whole military power of the Government to aid her,” in defense of her Constitutional rights, says a great man; and of that “whole military power,” ABE LINCOLN is Commanderin-Chief!
“Pray don’t precipitate things,” cries one and another, and where was ever recorded more calm deliberation, than is seen in the call of the South Carolina and Georgia State conventions?
But there are disunionists, per-se! Yes, and all honor to the men who braved the howl of “treason,” by being the first to say so. Traitors let them be called, but such was WASHINGTON.
The last hope is exhausted, and TOOMBS did violence to his own feelings, that he might demonstrate the hopelessness of Constitutional amendments, by the votes of Republican Senators. Abolitionism will not even listen to that old sage of the Union, CRITTENDEN, and it tells us as plain as it can talk-“there is no compromise.”
The following is a statement of the entire vote cast in the United States, after separating and distributing the fusion ticket:
The DOUGLAS vote being almost double that of BRECKINRIDGE, and the popular vote against LINCOLN, nearly a million.
The causes which led to the election of LINCOLN have been most minutely enquired into, to show that it is not an Abolition triumph. BRECKINRIDGE men in the North voted for him, for dislike to the great opponent of the Administration. DOUGLAS men voted for LINCOLN, because they feared BRECKINRIDGE would get in the House; BELL men, because they hated Democracy. Foreigners and others, because of the fusion with Americans. Pennsylvanians, on the tariff on iron, and other manufacturers for other tariff interests. New Englanders, for the homestead measure, and ten thousand lesser causes were at work. Yet all these things but demonstrate two great truths: first, that a Government which cannot prevent such accidents, is worthless; second, that whoever may have been the first choice of our northern brothers, the second choice was generally an Abolitionist.
We are told that interest will compel the North to do right, but have before demonstrated that it is religious zeal which impels them against interest; and the fact of the committee of thirteen in the Senate, of thirty-three in the House, refusing all compromise even now while their constituents are out of work and bread, proves the desperate tenacity of fanaticism.
But we cannot expect these legislators now elect, to do right, in State or Congress, but wait for the ballot box to speak! It has just spoken.
Let us be unanimous! Certainly, and who keeps us from it?
We will not be able to control fanaticism-it is said-even if we separate from it. That may be so, but we can make the incendiary get a passport, and the peddler and drummer pay duty at the gates of the land.
We can open our ports to the world, and not longer feed the beast which wants to eat us. We can risk our lives upon the chances of glorious battle and if slaves we must be, we at least, can avoid the mockery of being called their brothers.
Some say the border States are frightened; if they are, let them sell their negroes cheap and turn Abolitionists.
But we will lose their sympathy if we do not consult them! We intend to consult, as soon as we get free enough to do it without perjury. Was the Confederacy formed before or after the war of the revolution began?
The brightest idea however is, that slavery cannot extend South, for the Indians, Creoles, Spaniards, et sic de similibus, would be in the way as lords, proprietors of the soil, opposed to slavery, and therefore we are stopped that way. It is conceded that slavery must expand; or to use the elegant wish of the northern Senator, “the viper will sting itself to death.” It was never expected to expand North; deserts, free States and oceans, bar it West and East; we are now informed that it can’t go South, therefore it seems to us that the premises are not true, or we are in a bad predicament, and the continued Union does not aid it a particle.
It is the old argument which was laughed at in the case of Florida, Louisiana, New’ Mexico, California, and Missouri, for the dominant race will supplant all others, and slavery will expand South to Brazil and from her till stopped by snow. It may be an evil, but like cholera, no power can check it but frost.
The British press informs us-and unkindly it is repeated by the Georgia born-that England lets us alone now only from fear of our National greatness, but will no longer respect the MONROE doctrine after we divide. Such is the argument to scare us from independence!
Take heed, oh men of the South, how you shrink from your destiny; for, when the children of Israel, terrified by the report of the spies that there were “giants in the land,” shrunk back from the fords of Jordan and the hills of Canaan, they were led back, and for forty years strewed the desert with their graves. JOSHUA and CALEB alone said, “we are able to take it”; and they alone of all that myriad host lived to go over-the one to dwell in the fertile vales of Hebron, then his own; the other, to die with his people around him, amid the hills of God.
Let those, however, who would shrink from giants, remember, before us we have but the world of aliens to oppose; behind us, the world still stands in arms, and our own Government is chief conspirator. The alternative is not peace at all, but other nations, or other nations and our own.We cannot get Cuba if we go out of the Union. Perhaps not, but we have an excellent opportunity to lose what we have got by staying in the Union.We will save ourselves and look out that England does not get Cuba.If slavery is only respected because the North lends it her countenance, its credentials are very bad, and the sooner we earn it a better reputation, the better we shall do.It is a fact that England had some thoughts about freeing slaves in Texas at the time she became free, but the whole course of British statesmanship only shows their sublime ignorance of the slavery question, and slavery must stand in spite of England and the North, its only bulwark being truth and the sword.Let us hear no more then of the craven voices which croak of the future.
Grant that the world is opposed to us and our property rights, grant that the tariff, the slave trade, the banks, the mouths of the Mississippi, may be difficulties yet unsettled; but the deck of the Union ship is on fire behind us, and whether there be sharks in the ocean of the Future or not, we must leap and swim, supported by truth and guided by the stars.
We would be glad to argue at length each of the positions taken against us; but time will not permit. It has simply been our purpose to give a key to every door in the “Doubting Castle,” which the foes of secession use to imprison thought.
In conclusion, we are happy to be able to inform our readers, that Georgia is committed to disunion, on the failure of new guarantees—a respectable minority of the counties having decided for immediate secession—and all amendments to the Constitution having been refused, we can entertain no doubt of her being out of the Union by the 4th of March, 1861.
Then alone, or with others, she will still be GEORGIA—
“Forever strong in conscious might,
Her pillared flag in faith unfurled,
And her star still shining in steady light,
On the very evening of the world.”