South Carolina Out of the Union--The Act of Secession Passed the Convention by a Unanimous Vote
Cleveland Daily Plain Dealer, December 21, 1860
The Revolution has begun—one of the “Original Thirteen” States, by a solemn ordinance, unanimously passed by a delegated Convention of her Sovereign people, is to-day out of the Union. A whole State has revolted! The compact which our Fathers, dripping with the blood of the Revolution, made, and which has created us a great, prosperous, and powerful nation, is broken, and our boasted Nationality is gone. What a feeling of shame comes over us when we consider with what feelings of delight this news will be received by the Crowned Heads and petty tyrannies of Europe; and what a cold shudder seizes and shocks our nerves at the view of impending dangers which this first act of rebellion opens before us.
As our readers all know, we have been prepared for this event. We have spent a good portion of the year campai[g]ning in the South. We were at the seige of Charleston, and at the battle of Baltimore. We have eat, drank, slept and fought with the leaders in this Secession movement. [sic] We know the men and we know their metal.
They are in earnest, dead earnest, and are driven by a public opinion as irresistible as that which controls all public men in these fiery Northern Abolition States. A candidate for Congress was slaughtered in this Congressional District for simply declaring that a Fugitive Slave Law of any kind ought to be enforced, and one selected who defies all such constitutional enactments[,] not even “dignifying them with a repeal.” Political conservativeism [sic] in the North is political death. So we found it in the South. There are some brave spirits there as there are. here, but when the cry of radicalism is raised they have to succomb [sic] or go under.
The spirit of intolerance pervades and predominates not only in political parties, but throughout our churches, christian associations, and moral relations, North and South. For years the Union has, in fact, been dissolving. Political parties first divided. The universal Whig party was first rent asunder. Then the churches North and South divided. Then our Bible, Tract, and Missionary Societies, and finally the social relations to an alarming extent.
Last, but not least, the great National Democratic Party, which had stood by the South to the last and fought its battles in the North until its own prestige and power were gone in nearly every free State, fell to fragments, a demoralized, disjointed and degraded mass at Charleston. That party was the last hope of the Union. It was the only thing national left, and when that divided, the Union, in fact, from that moment was severed. We said so then; we say so now.
The Secession of South Carolina, yesterday, was but the culmination of events which have been progressing for years. It is startling because it inaugurates political revolution and precipitates civil war, which awakes the country as nothing else will.
The next step will be the seizure of the Forts and Arsenals, in and around Charleston Harbor. Rebels as they are and in for it as they are, they will put themselves in an attitude of bloody resistance to all opposing powers. Without these Forts their Secession will be a farce, but with them and their position maintained, the other Cotton States will join their standard in sixty days.
With property and interests in common, the balance of the slave States will be presented the alternative of joining their plantation neighbors in the South, or their Black Republican “irrepressible” friends in the North. They will not halt long. Interest will soon kick the beam and over they will go (as they did at Baltimore) to the Southern Confederacy.
It is only a question of time. All this talk about Compromise Lines, Committees and Compromises can only stay the dissolution, not prevent it. Mark what we say.