Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/54

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It is important to the State that you of the majority should be right, and that I should be wrong. However much personal gratification I might feel hereafter in finding that I was right on this great question and that you were wrong, that gratification would, indeed, be to me a poor consolation in the midst of a ruined and desolated country. Therefore, as the passage of the ordinance of secession is the act by which the destiny of Alabama is to be controlled, I trust that you are right and that I am wrong. I trust that God has inspired you with His wisdom, and that, under the influence of this ordinance, the State of Alabama may rise to the highest pinnacle of national grandeur.

To show, sir, that the declarations I now make are not forced by the exigencies of this hour, I read one of the resolutions from the platform upon which I was elected to this convention: "Resolved, That we hold it to be our duty, first, to use all honorable exertions to secure our rights in the Union, and if we should fail in this, we will maintain our rights out of the Union; for, as citizens of Alabama, we owe our allegiance first to the State; and we will support her in whatever course she may adopt."

Thus, Mr. President, you will observe that the course I now take is the result of the greatest deliberation, having been matured before I was a candidate for a seat in this convention; and there is a perfect understanding on this subject between me and my constituents. It but remains for me to add, that when your ordinance passes through the solemn forms of legislative deliberation, and receives the sanction of this body, I shall recognize it as the supreme law of the land; my scruples will fall to the ground; and that devotion, which I have heretofore, through the whole course of my public life, given to the Union of the States, shall be concentrated in my allegiance to the State of Alabama.

Another said: "I have opposed secession as long as opposition was of any avail. Now that the ordinance will pass, as a patriot, I feel bound to take the side of my native State in any contest which might grow out of it. I will vote against the ordinance."

On the 11th of January, the secession of Alabama from