Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 23.djvu/20

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14 Sou (In- r n Historical Society Papers.

asserted the claim to hold the Colonies dependent for laws and liber- ties upon the royal will, the American discussions had the same fire, the protests showed the same spirit and the resolutions of Assemblies assumed the same form. The idea of Colonial association grew. Franklin formed a "New England Confederacy," and made the fatal mistake of confining the Union -to the States of the East, in memory whereof, I may here take courage to suggest that the word "Confederacy" as applied to a compact among States can never hold an unwelcome place in the American lexicon since the use of the term was born in the brain of Franklin, and that the sound thereof should be as sweet to New England ears as the cooing of a babe, because the first political child of that name was baptized in the waters of Massachusetts Bay.

Now in those old times, when the Union idea was struggling up- ward into life and light, what aid came from that Southern section which this generation has been taught to think were ever the restless and inveterate opposers of the Union ? I proceed, by your leave, to state as a fact which shines forth in cloudless evidence, that the Southern Colonies were the foremost to nurse the earliest hope of Colonial alliance, and when troubles increased, when Franklin's Confederacy (limited) had been ditched in the sectional mire, when patriots were trying to devise nearer and broader relations the first practical step toward our present organized American Union was taken when Dabney Carr, in 1773, proposed in the Legislature of Virginia to provide a plan of concerted action, and the State having adopted the first scheme of inter-Colonial correspondence, as a great Northern historian justly says, "laid down the foundation of the Union." A crisis was reached in 1774, upon the passage by Parlia- ment of the bill to close the port of Boston, but this attempt to coerce a sister Colony by armed invasion fired the Southern heart, and then the fraternal cry that ' ' the cause of Massachusetts is the cause of all ' ' rang like a liberty bell from Maryland to Georgia. Virginia in the lead, called for a Congress of Deputies to consider the common defense, and in June following Massachusetts agreed to the proposal. Other Colonies clustered to a center, and the first Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia. Concerning this advance toward Union, Bancroft quotes the words of Gadsden: ' ' Had it not been for South Carolina no Congress would have hap- pened." To that first Congress, Georgia, having broken over the opposition of the royal governor, sent a representative one thousand miles by land to make known its people's espousal of the common