[Copied by Justin Sanders from
"Journal of the State Convention", (Jackson, MS: E. Barksdale, State Printer,
1861), pp. 86-88]
A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which
Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.
In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving
its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that
we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.
Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of
slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product
which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth.
These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an
imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun.
These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at
commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at
the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the
mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted
to work out our ruin.
That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a
reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove.
The hostility to this institution commenced before the
adoption of the Constitution, and was manifested in the well-known Ordinance of 1787, in
regard to the Northwestern Territory.
The feeling increased, until, in 1819-20, it deprived the
South of more than half the vast territory acquired from France.
The same hostility dismembered Texas and seized upon all the
territory acquired from Mexico.
It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves,
and refuses protection to that right on the high seas, in the Territories, and wherever
the government of the United States had jurisdiction.
It refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union,
and seeks to extinguish it by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of
It tramples the original equality of the South under foot.
It has nullified the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free
State in the Union, and has utterly broken the compact which our fathers pledged their
faith to maintain.
It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and
promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst.
It has enlisted its press, its pulpit and its schools against
us, until the whole popular mind of the North is excited and inflamed with prejudice.
It has made combinations and formed associations to carry out
its schemes of emancipation in the States and wherever else slavery exists.
It seeks not to elevate or to support the slave, but to
destroy his present condition without providing a better.
It has invaded a State, and invested with the honors of
martyrdom the wretch whose purpose was to apply flames to our dwellings, and the weapons
of destruction to our lives.
It has broken every compact into which it has entered for our
It has given indubitable evidence of its design to ruin our
agriculture, to prostrate our industrial pursuits and to destroy our social system.
It knows no relenting or hesitation in its purposes; it stops
not in its march of aggression, and leaves us no room to hope for cessation or for pause.
It has recently obtained control of the Government, by the
prosecution of its unhallowed schemes, and destroyed the last expectation of living
together in friendship and brotherhood.
Utter subjugation awaits us in the Union, if we should
consent longer to remain in it. It is not a matter of choice, but of necessity. We must
either submit to degradation, and to the loss of property worth four billions of money, or
we must secede from the Union framed by our fathers, to secure this as well as every other
species of property. For far less cause than this, our fathers separated from the Crown of
Our decision is made. We follow their footsteps. We embrace
the alternative of separation; and for the reasons here stated, we resolve to maintain our
rights with the full consciousness of the justice of our course, and the undoubting belief
of our ability to maintain it.