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
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 expansion.
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
It has made combinations and formed associations to carry out its
schemes of emancipation in the States and wherever else slavery
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
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 England.
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