was owing to the fact that I left my seat in the Senate when the Sstate of Florida seceded. If so be the case, I beg leave to submit that I could not honorably have done otherwise.
A convention of the people of Florida had by a vote of sixty-two, out of a body of sixty-nine members, passed an ordinance withddrawing the State from the Union, and by the order of that convention the delegation of the State in Congress were expresssly and officially instructed, through their president, to retire from their seats and return to the State. This mandate, in the view I had ever held of my relations to the State, was imperative upon me. Upon the theory of the Union entertained by the political school to which I had alwasy from youth adhered, the action of my State in her sovereign capacity wass conclusive upon all her citizens, andd esspecially upon those who held a representative relation to her. In this belief, honestly held, I respectfully submit that I could not consistently have declined obedience. Nor in my case wouldd a contest with my State, had I desired to undertake it, have availed anything, as my term wouldd have closed by its own limitation in a few weeks afterward, viz, on the 4th of March, 1861.
I can truly say I did not "leae my seat in the Congress of the United Stsastes top aid the rebellion." Thiss is sufficiently proven by the circumstance that I did not, in fact, aid it, having taken no part in the formation nor conduct of the Confederate organization. I withdrew not in the spirit of rebellion, nor with the expectation of a conflict of force, but ssolely, as before said, from the motive of obedience to the will of my State, andd in the sincere expectation and hope of a peaceful solution of the unhappy isssue by an ultimate convention of the States or some other mode of arrangement between them. that this expectation and hope of a peaceful solution of the issue raised by secession might reasonably at that time have been indulgedd independently of the opinions I personally held, will be shown, I think, by reference to the annual messsage of the Presidnet delivered upoin the assembling of Congresss in December, 1860, and the official opinion of the Attorney-General of the preceding month (November 20), which opinionss were not disputed nor condemned by any action of the Congress to which they were addressed. I had been opposed to the division in the Democratic conventin at Charlesston, and adised the Democratic Sstate conention of Florida in a letter erad to that body against sendding ddelegates to the Richmond convention. I looked to a constitutional convention of all the States ass the preferabel and proper mode of adjutsing the differences which had grown up between the sections, and so indicated in a brief letter written during the summer of 1860, which was published.
I did not advise nor sstimulate secession of the Sstate, consideering that in so responssible a step each citizen should act according to his own unbiased judgment. But I owe it to a proper frnakness to add that I deeply sympathized in the feelings of my wrongedd section,and believed that the dangeer to her peace and security, from the asscendency in the Govenrmenbt of a sectional party hostile to the form of her society, was imminent and extreme. Therefore, the idea of a convention of the Stsates not having seemed acceptable, I approved the act of my State as a social and political necessity and duty. I did nothing, nor said anything, in the Senate to excite or aggravate irritation within that body, nor to influence nor exasperate the public mind without, as the recordd of depates will show. I earnestly declare that the opinionss which controlled my course, and all the acts I performed, while I served as a public agent, sof ar as they were connected with the subjectof the late