ON NIAGARA'S BRINK--AND OVER
THE election of Lincoln in November, 1860, found South Carolina expectant and ready for action. The Legislature was in session, and immediately ordered an election to be held December 6 for a convention to meet December 17, and pass on the question of Secession. The action of the convention was in no doubt.
Governor Pettus of Mississippi summoned a group of leading men to consider the question of immediate Secession. In the conclave the principal opponent of instant action was Jefferson Davis. His grounds were prudential; he knew that the arsenals, foundries, and military supplies were chiefly at the North; he foresaw a long and bloody war; he advised that further efforts be made at compromise, or at least that united action of the South be insured. This counsel prevailed, and the convention was deferred until mid- January.
In the Georgia Legislature it was proposed that the question of Secession be at once submitted to a popular vote. Toombs and Stephens threw each his whole weight respectively for and against Secession. Stephens has preserved his own speech in full. He emphasized the gravity of the South's grievances, and the need of redress from the North if the Union was to permanently endure. But he denied that the danger was so pressing as to justify immediate Secession. He pointed out that Lincoln would be confronted by a hos-