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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

November 26, 1860

Jabez Curry Speech Supporting Secession

Jabez Curry was an Alabama politician who had been born in Georgia and educated at the University of Georgia. In 1860 he was serving Alabama in the U.S. House of Representatives, a position he would resign in January 1861. He went on to assist in the drafting of the Confederate Constitution, and served in the Confederate Congress. On this day, he delivered a pro-secession speech in Talledega (AL) Methodist Church, excerpts follow:

…we are overwhelmed with the intelligence of Abolition success. The appalling danger looms up in terrible distinctness before us. The black flag will soon wave over the Federal Capitol. The crimson dagger of fanaticism has been deliberately plunged into the very vitals of the Constitution. Men of all parties in the South are combining for defence and security. … The party which has the supremacy is not only sectional and geographical, but it is based upon opinions which will subvert, if unresisted, the foundations of the social structure of the fifteen southern States. Its fundamental idea is hostility to the South and her peculiar property, and it arrays the eighteen northern against the fifteen southern States of the confederacy. The recent election has consolidated and made permanent a political revolution, which has for several years been in process of establishment. Sectional and hostile candidates, by the popular voice of a sectional majority, have been elected President and Vice-President. Abolitionism has triumphed. Former relations of fraternity and mutuality of interests between confederated States have been destroyed. What our fathers, by patriotism and common sympathy, wrought, in the Constitution, into a compromise of interests, has been changed into a conflict of sections; and at the North, love and good will have degenerated into jealousy and hostility. The North has sectionalized itself, and is controlled by principles and ideas adverse to our equality and property. The Government “in becoming the exponent of that one section, necessarily becomes the enemy of the other.” Future public policy is authoritatively and unmistakably declared. The vox populi which created and must uphold Lincoln’s administration will still have the mastery, and require obedience, and compel the support of northern interests, the development of northern ideas, the security of northern power, and the destruction of African slavery. The institution of slavery is put under the ban, proscribed, and outlawed. Southern States and citizens of those States, because of the possession of slave property, are stigmatized and pilloried and reduced to inferiority. … The South has more elements of strength and wealth, more ability to sustain herself as a separate government than any country of equal size in the world. In territorial area she has 850,000 square miles, more than the United States, prior to the acquisition of Louisiana, and as large as Great Britain, France, Spain, Prussia, and Austria. Her population is four times as large as that of the colonies at the commencement of the Revolutionary war, and is sixty per cent greater than that of the whole United States, when we entered upon the war of 1812. She has 9,000 miles of railroad, which has been mainly built with her own capital. In the sixth year ending 1860 the South built more miles of railroad than the West, but did not exhaust her means in their reconstruction. The West was prostrate while the South was never in a better condition; and in the crash of 1857 we saved the North from ruin by sending her 1,600,000 bales of cotton, which were sold for $65,000,000. … Should the southern States be driven to the necessity of forming a government, adapted to the condition of the society on which it is to operate, war will only result from a tyrannical attempt to coerce or subjugate. The southern States will commit no aggressions upon the North. They will simply withdraw from the dominion of a government which has become hostile and foreign, and has failed to subserve the purposes of its creation. …

Read the full text of the speech here.