Monthly Record of Current Events.
|For LINCOLN, votes directly cast||1,825,000||180|
|For DOUGLAS, votes directly cast||925,0000||1,275,000||12|
|For DOUGLAS on "Fusion" tickets||350,000|
|For BRECKINRIDGE, votes directly cast||680,000||750,000||72|
|For BRECKINRIDGE on "Fusion" tickets||70,000|
|For BELL, votes directly cast||620,000||780,000||39|
|For BELL on "Fusion" tickets||130,000|
From this table it appears that each electoral vote cast for Lincoln represents about 10,100 voters; each for Breckinridge, 10,400; each for Bell, 18,700; each for Douglas, 106,000.
The feeling at the South in favor of secession from the Union has assumed a magnitude wholly unexpected. In South Carolina it appears to be altogether unanimous. In Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida it is largely predominant. In Georgia, Arkansas, and Texas, notwithstanding the opposition of some of the most distinguished citizens, it is in the ascendant. The Message of Governor Gist, of South Carolina, to the Legislature of that State, is a fair exponent of the extreme Southern sentiment. He looks upon the immediate secession of his own State as beyond question, and says that there is "no reasonable doubt but that Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Texas, and Arkansas will immediately follow, and that the other Southern States will eventually complete the galaxy." He argues against his State waiting for a conference with the other Southern States. "It is too late," he says, "now to receive propositions for a conference; and the State would be wanting in self-respect, after having deliberately decided on her course, to entertain any proposition looking to a continuance in the present Union." In view of what he considers to be the fixed determination of South Carolina to secede at once, and at all events, the Governor suggests several topics of legislation: Direct, trade with Europe should be encouraged, and the State should "guarantee an interest of five per cent. per annum upon the capital invested in a line of steamers, so long as they shall continue the service." — As the postmasters throughout the State will resign, he recommends an arrangement with Adams's Express Company to perform postal service. — He says that "The law prohibiting masters from permitting negroes to hire their own time, and make contracts, should be so amended, and such penalties attached to its violation, that no one would venture to disregard it." He suggests that both the owner and the hirer of the slave should be punished with fine or imprisonment. "It not unfrequently happens," he says, " that slave mechanics hire white men to work under their direction . . . . . . . . This state of things should not be permitted; there must be a distinction between the races, as marked as are their different colors; and it must be distinctively understood that the white is the governing race, without an exception, and without regard to disparity of intellect, merit, or acquirements." — The allegiance of citizens of South Carolina to the Federal Government ceasing as soon as the State withdraws from the Union, it is recommended that laws be passed, advising those who "should be so forgetful of their duty to their sovereign, and so reckless of her displeasure as to disregard her ordinances or obey any other commands than those of the constituted authorities of the State, that they will be dealt with as traitors and punished accordingly . . . . . . . . South Carolina must insist upon the implicit obedience of all her citizens, both native and naturalized, and no one can be permitted to put his individual construction upon the relation he bears to the State of his birth or adoption." — In order "to dispense with the necessity, as much as may be possible, of resorting to Lynch law and illegal executions," the Governor recommends the enactment of a law "punishing summarily and severely, if not with death, any person that circulates incendiary documents, avows himself an abolitionist, or in any way attempts to create insubordination or insurrection among the slaves." — To secure a proper supply of arms, Governor Gist recommends that South Carolina should accede to a proposition from Major Ripley to establish an armory either in Georgia, Alabama,
256or South Carolina, upon the condition that each of these States shall agree to purchase from him annually fifty thousand dollars worth of arms for five years, and to extend their patronage for a short time thereafter. — Governor Gist also recommends that " the introduction of slaves from other States, which may not become members of the Southern Confederacy, and particularly the border States, should be prohibited by Legislative enactment; and by this means they will be brought to see that their safety depends upon a withdrawal from their enemies, and an union with their friends and natural allies. If they should continue their union with the non-slaveholding States, let them keep their slave property in their own borders, and the only alternative left them will be emancipation by their own act, or by the action of their confederates. "We can not consent to relieve them from their embarrassing situation, by permitting them to realize the money value of their slaves by selling them to us, and thus prepare them, without any loss of property, to accommodate themselves to the Northern Free-soil idea." — This view is also embodied in the Message of Governor Pettus of Mississippi, who says: "As it is more than probable that many of the citizens of the border States may seek a market for their slaves in the cotton States, I recommend the passage of an act prohibiting the introduction of slaves into this State unless their owners come with them and become citizens, and prohibiting the introduction of slaves for sale by all persons whomsoever."
This Message of the Governor of South Carolina presents views which will probably be indorsed by the Convention of that State, which meets on the 17th of December, and will be strongly advocated in other Conventions soon to be held in the extreme Southern States. As far as can now be judged, the border Southern States, Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, are disposed to act as mediators, discouraging all hasty action on the part of the South, while insisting upon action on the part of the Northern States which shall obviate all legitimate ground of complaint from the South.
The influence of these manifestations upon commerce and industry has been disastrous. A large proportion of the Southern Banks have suspended specie payments. It is therefore difficult to procure funds to send cotton to market, and though the ordinary supply is reduced, yet the current price has within a month fallen two or three cents per pound equivalent to a decline of from 20 to 80 per cent. The price of the grain of the West has fallen in about the same proportion. National and State Stocks have been greatly depreciated. Thus the United States 5 per cent. loan of $10,000,000, which a few weeks since was taken at a little above par, has been sold at 90. State Stocks have declined still more. Missouri sixes, which sold November 10 at 76, brought 64 December 8. Railway Stocks have been still more depreciated. New York Central fell from 79 to 70; Eric from 32 to 24; Michigan Central from 59 to 43, and other leading stocks in equivalent proportions.
Congress convened on Monday, December 3, a large majority of the members of both Houses being present. The Representatives from South Carolina took their seats, but the Senators from that State were absent. The President's Message was transmitted on the 4th. It opens with an elaborate discussion of the state of the country. The long-continued and intemperate interference of the Northern people, says the President, has at length produced its natural effects; the different sections of the country are now arrayed against each other, and the time has come when hostile geographical parties have been formed. This does not proceed solely from the claims on the part of Congress or the Territorial Legislatures to exclude Slavery, nor from the efforts of different States to defeat the execution of the Fugitive Slave Law. All or any of these evils might have been borne by the South without danger to the Union, in the hope that time and reflection might apply the remedy. The immediate peril arises from the fact that the agitation of the Slavery question at the North has at length inspired the slaves with a vague notion of freedom. Hence a sense of security no longer exists, the feeling of peace at home has given place to apprehensions of servile insurrection. Should this apprehension pervade the masses of the Southern people disunion will be inevitable. It is the belief of the President that this period has not yet arrived. The American people might settle the Slavery question, and restore peace and harmony simply by leaving the Southern States to manage their domestic institutions in their own way. As sovereign States, they, and they alone, are responsible before God and the world for the existence of Slavery among them. — The election of any person to the office of President does not, of itself, afford just cause for dissolving the Union. In order to justify a resort to revolutionary resistance, the Federal Government must be guilty of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of powers not granted by the Constitution. The late Presidential election has been held in strict conformity with the express provisions of the Constitution. Neither are the apprehensions aroused by the antecedents of the President-elect sufficient to justify revolution. His position compels him to be conservative; and, moreover, his province is to execute, not to make laws. It is a remarkable fact that, with the possible exception of the Missouri Compromise, no act has ever passed Congress impairing in the slightest degree the rights of the South to their property in slaves; and no probability exists of the passage of such an act by the present or the next Congress. No act has passed, or is likely to pass Congress, excluding slavery from the Territories; and the Supreme Court has decided that slaves are property, and that their owners therefore have a right to take them to the Territories, and hold them under the protection of the Constitution. The Territorial Legislature of Kansas did indeed pass, over the veto of the Governor, an act prohibiting slavery in that Territory; but the Supreme Court has decided that no Territorial Legislature possesses the power to pass such an act; and this will be declared void by the Judiciary when presented in a legal form. This power does not belong to any Legislature, whether State or Territorial, but solely to the people when forming or amending a State Constitution. Neither Congress nor the President is responsible for the State laws designed to defeat the execution of the Fugitive Slave Law. All courts, State and National, before whom the question has been brought, with the single exception of a State court in Wisconsin, whose decision has been reversed by the proper appellate tribunal, have decided in favor of the constitutionality of the Fugitive Slave Law. These State laws, having been passed in violation of the Federal Constitution, are null and void; and it is to be hoped that they will be repealed. At all
257events, it will be the duty of the President faithfully to execute the Fugitive Slave Law as well as others; and it is not to be presumed, in advance, that he will fail to perform this duty. — The President then proceeds to argue against the doctrine that secession is a constitutional remedy for any wrongs. The Constitution contains no sanction for such a measure. The Government created by it derives its powers directly from the people, was designed to be perpetual, and was invested with all the powers necessary to carry out its laws. "To the extent of its delegated powers," says the President, "the Constitution of the United States is as much a part of the Constitution of each State, and is as binding upon its people, as though it had been textually inserted therein;" and "all Senators and Representatives of the United States, and all members of State Legislatures, and all Executive and Judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, are bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution." The right of resistance on the part of the governed against the oppression of their governments is indeed admitted. "It exists," says the President, "independently of all constitutions, and has been exercised at all periods of the world's history. Under it old governments have been destroyed and new ones have taken their place. It is embodied in strong and express language in our own Declaration of Independence. But the distinction must ever be observed, that this is revolution against an established government, and not a voluntary secession from it by virtue of an inherent constitutional right. In short, let us look the danger fairly in the face: Secession is neither more nor less than revolution. It may or it may not be a justifiable revolution, but still it is revolution." — The President then gives his views of the powers and duties of the Government in the present crisis. The Executive is bound by oath to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. But the only laws which define his action are those of February 28, 1795, and March 3, 1807, These authorize him, after he has ascertained that the Marshal with his posse comitatus is unable to execute civil or criminal process in a particular case, to call forth the militia and employ the army and navy to aid him in performing this service. But this duty can not be performed in a State where no judicial authority exists to issue process, where there is no Marshal to enforce it, and where, if there were such an officer, the entire population would resist him. This state of things now exists in South Carolina, where all the Federal officers through whose agency the laws can be executed have resigned, and whose places it is now impossible to fill. These obstacles do not lie in the way of the collection of the revenue at Charleston; this is still collected at that port, and should the Collector resign, his place might be filled. The property of the United States in South Carolina has been purchased, with the consent of the Legislature of that State, for the erection efforts, etc., and Congress has the power of exclusive legislation therein. It is not believed that any forcible attempt will be made to expel the United States from this property; but in case such an attempt shall be made, the officer in command has orders to act strictly on the defensive; and in this case the responsibility for consequences will rightfully rest on the heads of the assailants. — The President then discusses the question whether Congress has the constitutional power to coerce a State into submission which is attempting to withdraw, or has withdrawn, from the Confederacy. He concludes that so far from this power having been delegated to Congress, it was expressly refused by the Convention which framed the Constitution;" and even if Congress possessed this power, it would be unwise to exercise it. — This portion of the Message concludes by recommending conciliatory measures. That which the President suggests is an "explanatory amendment" to the Constitu tion on the subject of slavery. Several instances are cited in which a similar course has been pursued. The amendment suggested by the President, which might originate either with Congress or the State Legislatures, is confined to the final settlement of the true construction of the Constitution on three special points:
"1. An express recognition of the right of property in slaves in the States where it now exists or may hereafter exist.
"2. The duty of protecting this right in all the common Territories throughout their territorial existence, and until they shall be admitted as States into the Union, with or without Slavery, as their Constitutions may prescribe.
"3. A like recognition of the right of the master to have his slave, who has escaped from one State to another, restored and delivered up to him, and of the validity of the Fugitive Slave Law enacted for this purpose, together with a declaration that all State laws impairing or defeating this right, are violations of the Constitution, and are consequently null and void."
Passing to our foreign relations, the Message represents them, with a few exceptions, as highly satisfactory. This is especially the case with respect to Great Britain, France, Russia, Austria, Brazil, China, and Japan. With none of these nations, Great Britain only excepted, exist any questions of difference; and with Great Britain only that of the sovereignty over the island of San Juan, which is now under negotiation. With Spain our relations are more complicated, though less dangerous, than before. The President repeats his former recommendation for the acquisition of Cuba by fair purchase. — With Mexico our relations remain wholly unsatisfactory, the distracted condition of that republic preventing any satisfactory adjustment. It is believed that the treaty now before the Senate will prove advantageous. — With the republics of Central America our relations are, upon the whole, satisfactory. — The state of things in Utah and Kansas is presented in a gratifying aspect. The destitution in the latter Territory, occasioned by the failure of crops, is referred to the consideration of Congress, with a recommendation that if any constitutional measure for relief can be devised, it should be adopted. — No slaves have within the year been unlawfully introduced from Africa; and a strong sentiment prevails against the crime of setting on foot military expeditions against States with which we are at peace. — In view of the deficiency of our revenues, the President urges a revision of the existing tariff, recommending specific instead of ad valorem duties. He repeats his former recommendations of a law appointing a certain day, previous to the 4th of March, in each odd year, for the election of representatives to Congress throughout the Union for an act to favor a railroad to the Pacific; and for a law authorizing the Executive to employ our naval force for the protection of American citizens in Mexico and Central and Southern America.
In the House of Representatives, upon the motion of Mr. Boteler, of Virginia, by a vote of 145 to 38, so much of the Message as relates to the perilous state of the Union was referred to a Select Committee, to consist of one member from each State.
Some members from the South declined to vote on this resolution: one from South Carolina on the ground that his State was, except as a matter of form, out of the Union, and therefore the delegation took no interest in the question; and several members from other Southern States, because their Legislatures had called conventions to consider the matter, and they did not wish the aid of Congress.
The Secretary of the Treasury reports that the entire expenditures of the Government for the year ending June 30, 1860, were as follows :
|Civil, foreign intercourse, etc||$27,969,871|
The revenue, from all sources, was —
|Balance, July 1, 1859||$4,389,275|
|Treasury notes and loans||20,775,200|
— Leaving a balance on hand July 1,1860, of $3,629,207. Before January 1 over a million and a quarter will be required to pay interest on the public debt, five millions to redeem maturing Treasury notes, and large sums for the current expenses of Government. The Secretary recommends that Treasury notes should be issued for ten millions of dollars, to be secured by a pledge of the public lands. He estimates the expenditures of the ensuing year at $60,000,000, and the revenues at, $63,000,000." These estimates, however, are made irrespective of the present revulsion, which must materially reduce the receipts of Government. — The Secretary of War reports that the army has been actively employed against hostile Indians. Its strength is the same as last year. He recommends the rifling of our smooth-bore cannon, and that the entire army be supplied with breech-loading arms. — The Secretary of the Navy reports that the Commission appointed to examine the sailing-vessels of the United States recommend the conversion into steamers of three line-of-battle ships, but do not advise the application of steam to brigs, sloops, and frigates. He urges an increase of the navy. During the year 12 slavers have been captured by our vessels, and 3119 Africans liberated. — The Secretary of the Interior reports that, during the year and a quarter ending September 30, 16,385,361 acres of public lands were proclaimed for sale, 9,649,471 surveyed, and 12,060,053 sold. There are 13,284 pensioners, who draw $1,001,018. During the year 5638 patents have been issued, and 84 caveats filed. — The Postmaster-General reports the following statistics of his Department from 1858 to 1860, with estimates for 1861-'62:
|1858||$12,721,636 56||$8,183,792 86||$4,534,843 70|
|1859||14,964,493 33||7,968,484 07||6,996,009 26|
|1860||14.874,772 89||9,218,067 40||5,656,705 49|
|1861||15,665,135 04||9,676,711 00||5,988,424 04|
|1862||14,955,535 23||10,388,934 60||4,568,600 63|