CIVIL WAR, Confederate
The State of South Carolina. At a Convention of the People of the State ... An Ordinance to Dissolve the Union between the State of South Carolina and the other States ... under the compact entitled 'The Constitution of the United States of America' ... done at Charleston, 20 December 1860
Charleston: Evans & Cogswell, [late March or early April 1861]. Lithographic broadside, 34 x 26 inches. Expert restoration, archivally paper-backed.
South Carolina calls for secession.
The very rare lithographic facsimile of the South Carolina Act of Secession, which precipitated the beginning of the Civil War and is thus one of the earliest Confederate imprints. One of only 200 copies printed.
This large-format, contemporary print of the original engrossed and signed manuscript document presents the Act of Secession as it was passed and signed in the South Carolina State House. It so faithfully executed that it also reproduces the ink blots present on the original document. The document features the text of the secession ordinance and the signatures of D.F. Jamison, President of the Convention, and 169 delegates to the Secession Convention called by Gov. Francis W. Pickens.
The historic resolution, which revoked South Carolina's ratification of the United States Constitution, was largely the work of Robert Barnwell Rhett, editor of the Charleston Mercury , which printed a well-known secession broadside of its own, proclaiming: "The Union Is Dissolved!" The secession resolution was passed unanimously at 1:15 p.m. on Dec. 20, after which Jamison said, "The Ordinance of Secession has been signed and ratified, and I proclaim the State of South Carolina an Independent Commonwealth."
Shortly after passage of the ordinance Evans & Cogswell, printers to the convention, were asked to prepare a copy for use by the members. The convention reconvened in March 1861 to address issues related to the coming war. According to the report of Paul Quattlebaum, Chairman of the Committee on Printing, published as an appendix to the March 28, 1861 entry in the Journal of the Convention of the People of South Carolina , the printing was "in a style creditable to the art; and by a careful comparison with the original, the Committee find it to bear a very notable similarity to it." The convention delegates immediately authorized Evans & Cogswell to print 200 lithographic copies of the Ordinance, to be distributed at the direction of D.F. Jamison. Evans & Cogswell likely printed the 200 copies, including the present copy, in the days that followed, and probably before the Battle of Fort Sumter on April 12. The copies were then most likely distributed to the convention delegates and other prominent state officials.
An exceedingly rare and important Civil War document, with only eleven copies known in institutions according to Parrish & Willingham, and even fewer in auction records.
Crandall 1887; Journal of the Convention of the People of South Carolina, pp. 204, 543. Parrish & Willingham 3794; Sabin 87444.