Toombs: Committee of Thirteen Useless – Secession Now!

Sunday, December 23, 1860

The Committee of Thirteen had been in debate since their formation five days ago. The progress was not nearly as hopeful as Robert Toombs of Georgia would have liked.

On this date, he sent a telegraph to his state complaining that his proposal had not been accepted by even one Republican on the committee.

His proposal, of course, was based around the idea that anyone could move to any new territory with any and all personal property (including slaves). He also wanted a much stricter enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law (something Republicans generally had no problem with) and wished for the punishment of anyone taking part in a slave uprising (also something on which most Republicans could agree).

The sticking point, aside from the unabated spread of slavery into all territories was that Toombs proposed that “no law shall ever be passed by Congress in relation to the institution of African slavery in the States or Territories, or elsewhere in the United States, without the consent of a majority of the senators and representatives of the slaveholding States.”1

After informing Georgia that the Committee had adjourned on Friday without coming to any compromise, he fumed that the whole affair was “controlled by the Black Republicans, your enemies, who only seek to amuse you with delusive hope until your election, that you may defeat the friends of secession.”

He warned that “all further looking to the North for security for your constitutional rights in the Union ought to be instantly abandoned.”

It should come as no real surprise that Toombs then urged the secession of Georgia before Lincoln’s inauguration day, Monday, March 4, 1861. Georgia’s elections were in two weeks and he urged the peoples’ voice to be heard – “Such a voice will be your best guarantee for liberty, security, tranquility and glory.”2

  1. From Toombs’s Compromise Proposal, December, 1860. []
  2. From the Richmond Daily Dispatch, December 27, 1860. []
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Toombs: Committee of Thirteen Useless – Secession Now! by CW DG is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International


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