South Carolina

Louisville Daily Courier, January 10, 1861

South Carolina is the object of the bitterest and most persistent attacks of those among us in the border Slave States, whose innate and ineradicable hatred of our peculiar institution prompts them to whatever may embarrass or complicate the movements of the people of the South. at this terrible crisis in their affairs.

That noble little State, so fruitful of great statesmen, and heroic and immortal soldiers—the hot-bed of chivalry and generous achievements—the home of domestic virtues and private worth, the very faults of whose people arise from an excess of the sentiments and impulses most honorable in human nature—that State, because she was the first to do that in which her sisters are hastening to join her, is sought to be made odious to the people of the country; and to this end her institutions are libelled, her citizens calumniated, her purposes misrepresented, her actions distorted, and all that the finest wit or the coarsest ribaldry, the most skillful and delicate perversion or the most absurd and palpable falsehood, the most unwarrantable and criminal suppression of facts or the most industrious circulation of unfounded and malignantly false rumors and reports can accomplish, is done to affect public sentiment and destroy the influence of an example which appeals alike to the sympathies and to the interest of the Southern people.

We need enter on no defense of South Carolina. She may have erred; but she at least has erred on the side of safety. She may have been precipitate; but when equality, independence, and liberty are at stake, it is better to strike too soon, than to wait until it is in vain to strike at all. She may not have suffered as much up to this time as Kentucky has; but it is undeniable that she has more to risk in the future. She has nearly twice as many negroes as this State; and while our people might gradually get rid of their slaves by selling them to the States South of us, South Carolina must keep hers, because she cannot find a market for them; and to part with them would be to convert her vast plantations into barren wastes and dreary deserts; white labor may produce corn, and wheat, and cattle, and mules, and horses; but African slavery is indispensable to the production of cotton.—South Carolina did not consult her sister States before withdrawing from the Union; but she has asked consultations and conferences in regard to interests common to all, in times past, and they have refused to meet her, and some of them have treated her with positive indignity: she would not have rejected overtures for a conference with such States, but she could not again propose one.

Acting not rashly, but with due reflection, in view of all the facts, and with a proper regard for the consequences, the people of South Carolina, appealing to God and the civilized world for the rectitude of their intentions and the justice of their conduct, and pledging to each other their lives, fortunes, and sacred honors, have formally and solemnly repealed the act by which they became one of the United States of North America and proclaimed themselves free and independent.

This important ordinance bears date, December 20th, 1860.

South Carolina, having been the first to take this important step, is kept in view by the enemies of a Southern Confederacy to the exclusion of the other States that are joined in a common cause with her, for the purpose of making the impression that she is alone; that she is actuated purely by factious motives and revolutionary considerations; that she is trying to "drag" the other States into the movement, and that she, small in extent and with an inconsiderable population, may be easily dragooned into obedience by the Federal Government.

The idea which it is thus endeavored to convey is equally false and mischievous.

South Carolina was the first to withdraw, but she is not alone. In thirty days from the date of her ordinance of secession Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia will have passed similar ordinances. She deserves no more censure, no more abuse, no bitterer denunciation, than these States do. Their action and hers will be the same. When she is singled out for attack it is but to divert the public mind from the magnitude of the movement she is engaged in, and thus to deceive our people in regard to the nature of the crisis. And this is neither patriotic nor just to our people.