Friday 17 December 2010

The path to war...

One Hundred and Fifty Years ago today, a Convention  which had been elected on December 6th, met in South Carolina to discuss secession. It had been summoned by the South Caolina's state legislature. Delegates from the several districts and parishes of the State assembled in Columbia. On 20th December - at 1.15pm they passed a resolution - unanimously, to secede.

It stated

"The State of South Carolina At a convention of the People of the State of South Carolina, begun and holden at Columbia, on the Seventeenth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty, and thence continued by adjournment to Charleston, and there by divers adjournment to the Twentieth day of December in the same year- 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"

We, the people of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained. That the Ordinance adopted by us in Convention, on the twenty-third day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and also all Acts and parts of Acts of the General Assembly of this State, ratifying amendments of the said Constitution are hereby repealed; and that the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States under the name of "The Constitution of the United States of America" is hereby dissolved. Done at Charleston, the twentieth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty."

An important step had been taken, which led to the outbreak of hostilities on 12th April at Fort Sumter. South Carolina's actions were followed by Mississippi (Jan. 9th), Florida (Jan. 10th), Alabama (Jan. 11th), Georgia (Jan. 19th), Louisiana (Jan. 26th), and Texas (Feb. 1st) -- and the threat of secession by four more -- Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina.

There are a number of good websites dedicated to providing information about the civil war - they include

The Civil War homepage (Civil War Net)
Civil War Preservation Trust

One year later this "news item" appeared


The first newspapers from London printed after the “Trent Affair” had exploded there, reached the former colonies in America today, and reactions were strong and immediate. Capt. Charles Wilkes, U.S. Navy, had stopped the British mail ship “Trent” on the high seas by force of arms, and had removed the Confederate commissioners Mason and Slidell, who now languished in a prison in Boston Harbor. To which the London Times commented: “By Capt. Wilkes let the Yankee breed be judged. Swagger and ferocity, built on a foundation of vulgarity and cowardice, these are the characteristics, and these are the most prominent marks by which his countrymen, generally speaking, are known all over the world.” In more diplomatic circles, Lord Russell was debating whether to demand an apology or just declare war.