Civil War Important
Extremely Rare South Carolina Confederate Imprint “Secession of South Carolina From The Federal Union And The ORDINANCE OF SECESSION.” 1860
(South Carolina Secession) FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF THE EARLIEST CONFEDERATE IMPRINTS. The Declaration was drawn up by C. G. Memminger titled: “Declaration Of The Immediate Causes Which Induce And Justify The Secession of South Carolina From The Federal Union And The Ordinance Of Secession.” With Original Wraps. Choice Very Fine.
“DECLARATION OF THE IMMEDIATE CAUSE WHICH INDUCE AND JUSTIFY THE SECESSION OF SOUTH CAROLINA FROM THE FEDERAL UNION; AND THE ORDINANCE OF SECESSION. - CHARLESTON: EVANS & COGSWELL, PRINTERS TO THE CONVENTION, - 1860” with 13 pages, measuring 8” x 5 3/8”, Choice Very Fine. Original Pale yellow cover wraps, the interior pages are extremely clean, sharply printed, and the paper crisp. This being the First Edition with the word “CAUSE” in its title and “Streets” in the Printers’ address line at bottom. The first ten pages explain the decision to Secede from the Federal Union, noting that; “On the 4th of March next, this party (Lincoln’s) will take possession of the Government... all hope of remedy is rendered vain...”.
The final three pages contain the historic Ordinance: “To Dissolve The Union Between The State Of South Carolina And Other States United With Her Under The Compact Entitled: ‘The Constitution Of The United States Of America.’”
On December 20th, 1860, South Carolina officially Seceded from the Union, becoming the first state to Secede from the Union. South Carolina troops also fired the first shots of the Civil War in 1861 when they fired on Union troops in Fort Sumter. Considered among the most historic Confederate Imprint Documents, held in multiple institutions yet rarely available for sale. A defective counterfeit period copy having the words “Causes” and “Street” corrected in its title, was sold by Sotheby’s in their Two Centuries Of American History sale May 25, 2016, lot 65, disbound, lacking its printed cover wraps, vertical fold, light glue stain in upper margin of title-page, which sold for $4,375 with buyer’s commission. A stained, heavily tape repaired slightly (days) earlier “Draft” Broadside style printed copy measuring 13.5” x 8.25” of “AN ORDINANCE TO DISSOLVE THE UNION BETWEEN THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA AND OTHER STATES UNITED WITH HER UNDER THE COMPACT ENTITLED “THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.”, (Charleston, S.C.: Evans and Cogswell, Dec. 18 or 19, 1860), was offered by W. Reese and Company for $75,000. This current Imprint example is the full issued version, one of the finest known in quality that we have been able to trace.
South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union. On Dec. 24, 1860, its government issued a “Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union.” In it, South Carolinian leaders aired objections to laws in Northern states—specifically, those that sprung from the case of Prigg v. Pennsylvania (1842), in which the US Supreme Court ruled that state authorities could not be forced to help return fugitive slaves to the South.
Ensuing individual state legislation in New England would double down on that very ruling, expressly forbidding state officials from enforcing the federal Fugitive Slave Acts, or the use of state jails to detain fugitive slaves.
In effect, South Carolina seceded because the federal government would not overturn abolitionist policies in Northern states. South Carolina seceded because the federal government would not violate a state’s right to abstain from slavery and its concomitant policies.
The number of Free and Slave-States was kept equal until 1846, when the count reached 15 and 14, respectively. This imbalance exacerbated tensions between North and South significantly, reducing Southern leaders to a culture of extreme paranoia. Secession, in this sense, was very much a preemptive move.
The Southern aristocracy feared the impending election of Abraham Lincoln would ultimately bring about nationwide emancipation. He and his supporters were known, after all, as “black Republicans,” a term purposefully designed to conjure an image of radical abolitionism. Lincoln’s famous “House Divided” speech of 1858 only aggravated tensions, clarifying the divide between an abolitionist North and a slave-dependent South:
“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new—North as well as South.”
So, as this preemptive secession commenced, Southern state governments issued declarations of secession that placed the preservation of slavery front and center. Of all the state governments that published “declarations of the causes of secession” like these (some published shorter “ordinances of secession”), none mentioned the ostensible injustices of America’s tariff system. None complained of high taxes, or even states’ rights in a general sense.
All, however, passionately pontificated on the necessity of preserving an institution of slavery; and that no such preservation could be maintained within the Union as it was then organized. Ironically, secession, and the creation of a Confederacy was the only conceivable way of maintaining the status quo.
Christopher Gustavus Memminger was considered a moderate on the secession issue, but after Lincoln’s election, Memminger decided secession was necessary. When South Carolina seceded from the United States in 1860, Memminger was asked to write the Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the Federal Union which outlined the reasons for secession. He was a delegate to the South Carolina secession convention from the Charleston, St. Phillip & Michael’s Parishes and signed the ordinance on the column 4 number 25.
When other states also seceded, Memminger was selected as a South Carolina delegate to the provisional congress which formed the Confederate States of America, and was the chairman of the committee which drafted the Confederate Constitution. The twelve-man committee produced a provisional constitution in only four days.