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ART. V.-SOUTH CAROLINA, ONE OF THE UNITED
1. Universal Suffrage, and Complete Equality in Citizenship, the Safeguards of Democratic Institutions; shown in Discourses by HENRY WARD BEECHER, ANDREW JOHNSON, and WENDELL PHILLIPS. Boston: Press of Geo. C. Rand & Avery, 3, Cornhill. 1865. 2. Manifesto of the Citizens of Abbeville District, South Carolina, June 21, 1865.
3. Address of the Citizens of Boston, assembled at Faneuil Hall, June 21, 1865.*
"WHAT constitutes a State?" The answer to this query, varying in different ages, is something of an index to the character of political thought in each age. In antiquity, the State was the city, Tos. This term carried with it no notion of territory outside the city limits, except it was subject territory. The essential idea underlying the institution is that of political organization; and this idea enters into our definition of the State, as that portion of it which we have inherited from the ancients. In the Middle Age the prominent conception is that of sovereignty. The term was a new one, and it follows that the thing designated by it was not an altogether familiar one. The paramount authority of the baron, balanced by the reciprocal tie of allegiance, was a different thing from the brute force of an oriental despotism, or the "primus inter pares" of a Roman magistrate. Very, soon the mediæ val State becomes distinctly territorial; it is identified with the land over which its sway extends, and every tract, however narrow, must form an integral part of some political organization. These three essential ideas organization, sovereignty, and territory-together make up the inherited and accepted definition of the State.
Our age is not yet satisfied, but searches further, and de
* The writer of the present article has been, for the larger part of the last two years, a resident of the South; and his observations are dated from Charleston, S.C.
mands to know where the sovereignty belongs. Not to the baron, is the answer, as in the Middle Age; not to any ruler by divine right, but to the people. From this answer follows an idea, which, more than almost any other, is significant of the political tendencies of the present day. The people are sovereign; but who are the people? In the stormy turmoil of European political movements, there is one prevailing purpose clearly discerned. Everywhere we find an effort to determine, by investigation into the origin of peoples, and their character and associations, precisely how far the natural limits of each State extend, and who they are that constitute what may be called a political family. Communities arbitrarily tied together by the ambition of rulers or the intrigues of diplomacy, but at heart aliens to each other, are struggling to free themselves from distasteful connections, and to follow the laws of natural affinity, the promptings of natural affection. Therefore, to the great traditionary principle, that the State is an organization, attached to a definite territory, and endowed with a sovereignty which resides in its people, the nineteenth century adds the requirement, that the "people" shall themselves be a natural unit, homogeneous and distinct, - that is, a nationality.
Nationality is, by the side of democracy, the governing political thought of the nineteenth century. We see Holstein annexed to Germany, and Savoy to France. Thessaly is demanded for Greece, Rome and Venice for Italy. Pan-slavism is groping in the dark for a national life. The kingdom of Italy is nearly complete. Scandinavia and Germany are both longing for unity. The independent confederation of the Danubian principalities is one of the dreams of statesmen, which events may soon hurry upon us. Nay, in our great rebellion, the mad cry of the South was, "Are we not aliens; cavaliers and puritans, of different blood and different nature?" While the North calmly replied, "Are we not kindred; of one blood and one faith? Do not nature and necessity make us one nation?"
States, like constitutions, must not be arbitrarily shaped out of chance materials, but must have a vital principle of their
own; and each community must have a sense of unity, of personality, and of mature power. A city or a canton battling from its birth with aggressive tyrannies or fierce rivals grows into political manhood and political thought both at once, and develops an appropriate organization by the time it becomes maturely conscious of the need of one. This is accomplished by the moulding of events. But our American method hast been to reverse this process, and hasten political organization before there exists any social community prepared to receive it. Narrow, almost uninhabited, strips, just conquered from the wilds, are endowed with self-government, and welcomed into our sisterhood of States, often with indecent haste, to gain some political end. And, to-day, we are impatient to reconstruct the seceded States, before they have recovered from the anarchy into which their own acts have brought them, and before they understand their new relations. The inhabitants of South Carolina do not at present form a people; they are a mass of individuals. Society there is disorganized. The citizens must rally from the shock of war, and the ruin of their fortunes; they must become imbued with the spirit of the national life, before they will be ready to form a true State. And this will be best done under a temporary military rule. We would not undervalue the influence of State action, of the organization itself, in bringing about this result. As soon as the times are ripe for it, civil institutions will be of the greatest service in developing a true State sentiment. But, at present, delay seems to be the all-important principle. For elements of reconstruction do not exist; the materials are heterogeneous and hostile.
In the first place, there are the genuine Unionists, few in number among the whites, but of an intense and bitter loyalty. The people of the North, in their safe homes, do not know what an earnestness of conviction and strength of purpose it demanded, to stand up against a despotism of public opinion, of which they have seen no example, amid all the discouragements of the war. We call popular opinion tyrannical at the North, sometimes, and we are apt to fancy it peculiar to democracies; but members of the proudest houses in the haughty
aristocracy of Charleston quailed and humbled themselves before the peremptory commands of their order. And when a little band has kept its faith through four such years, meeting in secret, and paying their homage to the loved flag at the risk of their lives, can we wonder that they loath treason, and would visit traitors with stern and swift retribution? Citizens of Massachusetts have no right to feel one throb of vindictive passion; or, if any, it is only they who in their own person, or that of some near friend, have suffered the tortures of Belle Isle, Florence, or Andersonville. But a loyalist of Tennessee or Missouri may be pardoned if he passes, in intensity of hatred, even beyond the bounds of just vengeance. Of the blacks, who form a majority of the loyalists, we shall speak below.
The second class is larger, and is daily increasing in numbers.* It consists of those who, seeing that the rebellion has
* The rapidity of the change, and its satisfactory nature, may be shown by a comparison of the following extracts from the papers. At a public meeting held at Orangeburg, June 12, the following preamble and resolution were adopted :
'Whereas, it is held by the Government of the United States that the Ordinance of Secession, adopted by a Convention of the people of South Carolina, on the 20th day of December, 1860, was and is null, void, and inoperative, and that the Federal Union remained of full force, and unaffected save by actual resistance to its authority;
"And whereas, all such resistance on the part of the people of South Carolina has now wholly ceased and been abandoned, and it would seem to follow, that the State, still in the Federal Union, and offering no resistance to its authority, need no longer be deprived of the benefits of Civil Government, so important to the interests of the great body of her people. Therefore,
"Resolved, That, under the circumstances above set forth, a committee of
be appointed by the Chairman of this meeting to draft and report a petition to the President of the United States, praying that the functions of Civil Government, now suspended, may be permitted to be resumed in the State of South Carolina."
On the 3d of July, Mr. Orr (formerly member of Congress) spoke to the following effect at Anderson ::
"That we had met for the purpose of taking our position as members of the United States; that we had pursued a course adverse to its Government, and had found ourselves, by the fortunes of war and circumstances, to be necessitated to be again subjected to its laws; and our duty, as good citizens, was to bow and acquiesce in the decree. That it should be no half-handed acquiescence, but that we should now give the Government our full and hearty support; and, as citizens, 20
VOL. LXXIX. 5TH S. VOL. XVII. NO. II.
failed, tired of fighting, and convinced that further fighting would be useless, take the oath of allegiance in good faith, and without reservation; not repenting perhaps of the past, but perfectly sincere as to the future. These men will make good citizens, and, at an earlier period than we are apt to think, will be a majority of the citizens. The rapidity with which, under the healthy influences of trade, free speech, free labor, and intercourse with Northerners, they actually change their views as to secession and slavery, and become loyal, not merely in name and in act, but at heart, is most gratifying. They acknowledge that slavery is at an end; and most of them say, frankly, that they are not sorry, and that both themselves and the State will be no losers by it. If planters, they readily and cheerfully make contracts with their former slaves, and try honestly to live up to them.
There still remains a body of citizens who do not, and never will, accept the new order of things in good faith. They acknowledge that for the present the slaves are free from their control, and enter into contracts with them, because the military authorities require them to do so. They take the oath with their lips, because they must do this or starve, and will keep it as long as our troops remain in their neighborhood. Indeed, to do them justice, there is probably no disposition among them to make any further resistance, and there would be no outbreaks, even if the troops were withdrawn. But, as towards the freedmen, they cannot be trusted. They make it no secret, that they expect Congress still to restore slavery, or at least make emancipation gradual; and meanwhile they submit reluctantly to what they consider a temporary inconvenience, and give grudgingly just so much as they have no power to refuse. So long as this class of men form a majority of the qualified voters of the State, as they have done until recently, and perhaps do still, there can be no safety in restoring civil rule. But the conversions from
conform ourselves to the laws and regulations adopted for the government of the people."
The Abbeville Manifesto, which we have placed at the head of our article, is in the same temper and tone.