Today in History:

13 Series IV Volume I- Serial 127 - Correspondence, Orders, Reports and Returns of the Confederate Authorities, December 20, 1860 – June 30, 1862


platform, in view of the movements already inaugurated at the South and the avowed purposes of the representative men of the Republican party, would, I feel assured, receive no favor in that her citizens shall, in the last resort, throw themselves upon the rights of revolution as the inherent right of a free people never surrendered, or shall assert the doctrine of secession, can be of little practical import. When the time of action comes (and it is now fearfully near at hand) our people will be found rallied as a unit under the flag of resistance to intolerable wrong, and being thus consolidated in feeling and action, I may well forego any discussion of the abstract theories to which one party or another may hold to cover their resistance.

It is true that as sovereign political communities the States must determine, each for itself, the grave issues now presented; and it may be that, when driven to the dire extremity of severing their relations with the Federal Government, formal, independent, separate State action will be proper and necessary. But resting, as do these political communities, upon a common social organization, constituting the sole object of attack and invasion, confronted by a common enemy, encompassed by a common peril-in a word, involved in one common cause, it does seem to me that the mode and manner of defense and redress should be determined in a full and free conference of all the Southern States, and that their mutual safety requires full co-operation in carrying out the measures there agreed upon. The source whence oppression is now to be apprehended is an organized power, a political government successful (and I do not for a moment question the issue), might be costly and destructive. We should look these facts in the face, nor close and destructive. We should look these facts in the face, nor close our eyes to what we may reasonably expect to encounter. I have therefore thought that a due regard to the opinions of all the slave-holding States would require that those measures which concern all like and must ultimately involve all should be agreed upon in common convention and sustained by united action.

I have before expressed the belief and confidence, and do not now totally yield the hope, that is such a convention of delegates from the slave-holding States be assembled, and, after calm deliberation, present to the political party now holding the dominance of power in the Northern States and soon to assume the reins of national power, the firm alternative of ample guarantees to all our rights and security for future immunity or resistance, our just demands would be conceded and the Union be perpetuated stronger than before. Such an issue, so presented to the Congress of the United States and to the Legislatures and people of the Northern States (and it is practicable, in abundant time before the Government has passed into other hands) would come with a moral force which, if not potent to control the votes of the representative me, might produce a voice from their constituents which would influence them. But if it fail, our cause would emerge, if possible, stronger fortified by the approbation of the whole conservative sentiment of the country and supported by a host of Northern friends who would prove, in the ultimate issue, most valuable allies. After such an effort every man in the slave-holding States would feel satisfied that all had been done which could be done to preserve the legacy bequeathed us by the patriots of '76 and the statesman of '89, and the South would stand in solid, unbroken phalanx a unit. In the brief time left it seems to me impracticable to effect this object through the agency of commissioners sent to the different States. A convention of authorized delegates is the true mode of bringing about