Saturday, February 12, 2011

150-Years-Ago -- The Last of the Union in Louisiana

The Charleston Mercury
Feb. 19, 1861

[From the New Orleans Delta.]

The South's Defender
The Statue of Southern Liberty!
(Photo by Mike Jones)
   Louisiana has discarded the old order, and has wedded herself to the new. Louisiana has changed her political alumnae, and inscribed her name on the roll of an era which shall date from the 26th of January, 1861. Louisiana has joined the Southern exodus; she has passed dry-shod through the chasm; she has placed a gulf of storm and water, cloud and darkness, thunder and lightning, between herself and Egypt and servitude. Let Pharaoh and his hosts follow at their peril.
   Louisiana, the great exporting State of North America; Louisiana, the State of the great Commercial Metropolis of the South; Louisiana, which sits at the seaward portal of the Mississippi Valley and its majestic Rivers; Louisiana, which, of all the slave holding States, has the strongest material reasons for pursuing a conservative policy; Louisiana has publicly, formally, and by authentic and sovereign act, repudiated a Union which was without friendship, and a despotism which could not offer even the poor boon of a tranquil servitude, and, turning away from an unsatisfying past, has gone forth, bravely and hopefully, to reap the harvests of the coming years.
   This act of Louisiana closes the lid on the coffin of the old Federal Union. Abraham Lincoln will be fortunate if he can make himself its legal administrator; he can never be representative as a living reality. The day of the temporizers and compromisers is over. The men of the past must give way to the men of the future. The statesmanship that was devoted to be perpetuation of decay must yield to the statesmanship which aims to bring out of corruption incorruption, and to cause a new and more vigorous life to blossom from the very body of death. It is a high and sacred office, and should be discharged with sacramental fervor and religious devotion. It looks to nothing less than a national palangenesis.
   Thus for the patriot and philanthropist, the friend of liberty and the friend of peace, have cause to rejoice at the means which have been used to achieve Southern independence. They have been the progress of a revolution at once orderly and irresistible, at once bloodless and effectual. Never before in the history of civilization have an insulted and injured people thus vindicated their rights without warlike collision, without carnage, and without dangerous social convulsions. Let us hope that this spectacle will be presented to the end. Let it not be the fault of the South, at least, if the drama of the revolution shall yet be marked with sword and desolated fields and burning cities. But let it always be remembered that to be armed at all points is the surest guarantee against war; that, in assertion of our rights, to speak words as hard as cannon balls, and which mean cannon balls, as the surest way of saving our liberty as well as our ammunition. Semper paratus, semper tutus.

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