Another Mode of Settling the South Carolina Difficulty
Augusta Kennebec Journal, January 25, 1861
It is quite obvious to any one who has observed the present secession movement, to say nothing of the progress of treason in the South for the past thirty years, that the whole trouble springs from the factious, disloyal, rebellious and mischievous people of South Carolina. All the other States that are now in the attitude of insurgents, have been coaxed, driven or bullied into it by the example and evil teachings of the Palmetto State. The very origin and heart of the disease that now infects the Body politic are to be found on her soil, and unless a remedy, speedy and radical, is applied there, the consequences may prove more direful than the most evil forebodings now conjecture. Were the exciting cause removed, we have no doubt that the evil already done would soon be corrected, and that the other States, however gangrened they may now seem with secession and nullification, would very soon be restored to their wonted soundness of loyalty to the Union and allegiance to the Government. But there is no hope of infusing into the South Carolina rebels any feeling of true devotion to the Confederacy. Their veins are filled with Tory blood, and with some honorable exceptions that shone out with splendor in the earlier days of the Republic, their leading men have been at all times secretly or openly hostile to the Federal Government. Under this condition of affairs it is idle to expect that they will ever become good and loyal citizens of the Union, and their own happiness as well as the peace and prosperity of all, seem to demand a separation.
We cannot afford, however, to have them exist as a distinct nation where they now are, for no disintegration of the Confederacy can be permitted under any circumstances—"The Union—it must be preserved." A middle ground of fair compromise may, however, be found on the proposition which we have now to make—and that is to purchase at a fair valuation the territory of South Carolina and remove the present inhabitants—just as thirty years ago the Federal Government removed the Creeks and Cherokees from Georgia and Alabama and at a later day the Seminoles from Florida. We could supply them a new home in Sonora, or Chihuahua, or some of the adjoining Mexican States, where they could peacefully work out the great problems of Palmetto statesmanship and theorize and grow poor ad infinitum without any outside interference from any quarter whatever. We should be willing to bind our Government by Constitutional obligations and Treaty stipulations to protect the Utopians in their new realm and guaranty unto them the sublime right of making fools of themselves so long as the experiment should prove pleasing.
And then with the fair soil of Carolina, rid of its burden of impracticable malcontents, a great State would at once be built up. It might be opened for settlement by Congress under the provisions of the Homestead Act, and at once be filled with an intelligent, industrious, thrifty and loyal population. Its product[ion] of Cotton and Rice and Indigo would be immensely stimulated by the new order of things, agriculture would flourish as never before, and the demands of commerce would then make Charleston an Emporium indeed, instead of the decayed city wherein pride and poverty and treason now find a joint and congenial habitation. The other States of the South then, with the inciting cause taken away, would bound back to loyalty and love, and we should have as of old a Union wherein "peace and good fellowship" should find their homes. Let Congress take this proposition into consideration. It has every characteristic to recommend it to all sections and all classes. It is pacific; it is reasonable; it is practicable; and if adopted, would secure to us an "era of good feeling" till the generations should forget or fail to know the evils wherewith we are now beset.