Page:Nullification Controversy in South Carolina.djvu/26

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The Origin of the Conflict

people saw remonstrances proving futfle and began to think of the next necessary step. This, then, became the great question of the hour: What next? Various views were immediately set forth; while one of the South Carolina representatives at Washington said a complete union of the whole South alone could save South Carolina and the South, other writers in the press of the state looked to the state legislature to decide on the proper course of resistance. At this juncture the Mercury, which later became an ardent nullification sheet, took a very sane and moderate position; it merely advocated caution and careful consideration before any step should be taken.[1]

  1. Mercury, May 29, 1828. The editor wrote that the citizens of South Carolina felt with grief that the Constitution had been violated and that the great object of the confederacy had been shamefully perverted; that their remonstrances had been disregarded, their rights denied, and the solemn protests of their delegates laughed to scorn; that they had been reduced to a condition almost tantamount to colonial vassalage, and that they were never regarded except for the purpose of discovering in what way they could be rendered serviceable to the interests of others; that the burdens under which they then labored were but the probable forerunners of others still more oppressive, and that the future held for them nothing but wretchedness and embarrassment; that the great sources of their wealth were about to be dried up, and that the dignity of their state and their prosperity as a people were on the eve of leaving them forever. But, in spite of the fact that the people felt all this so deeply, and in spite of the impression nearly every reader of this