South Carolina and Her Sisters of the South

New Orleans Bee, December 28, 1860

The telegraphic dispatches from the Charleston Convention published yesterday place the question of co-operation in the proper light. The body representing the sovereignty of South Carolina, having declared by solemn ordinance the withdrawal of the State from the Union, proceeds forthwith to endeavor to secure concerted and concurrent action from the other States of the South. In the first place, a favorable report was made on the proposition to send Commissioners to the slaveholding States, with a view doubtless of apprising them formally and officially of the action of South Carolina. In the next place, a highly important ordinance was offered by Mr. RHETT, and referred to the appropriate committee, providing amongst other measures for a Convention of the seceding slave States, to arrange for the formation of a Southern Confederacy—Montgomery (Alabama) being indicated as the most suitable location for its session. We entertain little or no doubt of the passage of this measure.

Much invective and reproach has been lavished on the Palmetto State for taking independent action on the question of secession, without consulting with any of her sister commonwealths of the South. But it should be borne in mind that South Carolina had proclaimed months before the result of the Presidential contest that she would consider the election of LINCOLN a legitimate cause for secession. Her conduct was the direct and inevitable sequence of her principles. Moreover, it was requisite that some State should take the initiative; and certainly that position appertained peculiarly to South Carolina, as for years she had been most prominent, emphatic and unconditional in her hostility to and denunciation of the abolition proclivities of the North. It was clear and evident that South Carolina would be foremost in the movement, and that she could not afford to await the tardy deliberation, and perhaps tardier action of the other States of the South.

Nevertheless we see that having deliberately cut herself loose from the Union, South Carolina hastens to recognize her geographical, political and social relations to the other States of the South, and exhibits an entire willingness and even an anxiety to affiliate with them on the basis of a Confederation and a common Constitution. In proportion as each State resumes its individual sovereignty, it will form a league of friendship and fraternity with South Carolina, until, in the course of a few weeks or months, the seceding commonwealths will be sufficiently numerous to form articles of confederation, and combine together for purposes of mutual protection and defense, and of good government. This, as we understand it, is the theory of cooperation universally maintained by the supporters of separate State action. It strikes us as being far more practicable, and more expeditious than any other plan, and likewise as leading to positive and tangible results. If, for example, the partisans of united action were to prevail, it might happen that months would be wasted in fruitless appeals to the border States; and, in the interim, the administration of LINCOLN would be in active existence, and the States professing their determination to resist his sway would be necessarily quietly submitting to it. Nay, the procrastination which would attend these propositions for a Southern Conference and their discussion, and possible rejection by some of the States, would so strengthen the arm of the Federal Government as to render it well nigh impossible for such States as might eventually determine on secession to carry their policy into effect without encountering a vigorous effort at coercion. We need not add that this would be the precursor to a sanguinary and protracted war.

For these among many reasons we conceive that South Carolina has pursued a judicious course, and one that will tend to a speedy and effective combination among the States favoring secession.