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In Their Own Words

November 12, 1860

T.R.R. Cobb Called for Secession

In Milledgeville, some of the state’s leading citizens debated what course of action the state should take following the election of Abraham Lincoln as president. In that debate, Athens lawyer T.R.R. Cobb made clear his position:

“This is a most solemn question and no man should rashly advise his countrymen at such a time. For myself, for months, nay years, I have foreseen this coming cloud… . I have called my heart into the council and listened to its beatings. Nay, more, my friends, I fear not to say I have gone to the God I worship, and begged him to advise me… . I believe that the hearts of men are in his hands, and when the telegraph announced to me that the voice of the North proclaimed at the ballot-box that I should be a slave, I heard in the same sound, the voice of my God speaking through His Providence and saying to His child, “Be free, Be free.”

“… Marvel not then that I say my voice is for immediate unconditional secession.”

Source: Spencer B. King, Jr., Georgia Voices: A Documentary History to 1872 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1966, reprinted 1974), p. 272.