The result of the election by the popular vote clearly manifested the certainty of the election of their candidate by that party, and on the 6th day of December, 1860, he was elected by a majority of the electoral vote of the United States. The contingency provided for in the joint resolutions having occurred, I felt it my duty to obey their instructions at the earliest moment afterward, and on the 7th day of December, 1860, issued my proclamation accordingly, and also issued to the sheriffs of the several counties in the State the necessary writs of election to be held on the 24th day of December last.
Before this convention assembled great and important changes had taken place in public affairs, and especially in some of the Southern States. South Carolina, acting under a sense of the common wrong and threatened danger to her sister slave-holding States, in the exercise of her sovereignty, in a convention of her people, on the 20th day of December, 1860, repealed the ordinance by which she ratified the Constitution of the United States, as the compact of union between herself and the other States, and resumed all the powers which, by that compact, she delegated to the Government of the United States. Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, Texas, and Louisiana also called conventions of their people to consider of the exigencies pressing upon them, and the two first have followed the example of South Carolina and withdrawn from the union with the United States, and there can be no question that the others will do the same.
The action of the people of Alabama in their convention in withdrawing from the Federal Union is already known to you. This exercise of the sovereign power of the State "to protect the rights, interest, and honor" of her people, in my opinion, must be regarded as one of wisdom, and, indeed, of political necessity. The rights of the State and the interest of her citizens were no longer protected in the Union, and unless it wad determined to abandon all hope of their preservation no other resource was left than to withdraw from the Union and throw off a government that failed to secure them.
Whatever differences of opinion may have existed as to the proper course of the State, it gives me pleasure to say that I have the strongest assurances that they will all cease, and that all the citizens of the State, in obedience to this organic law of the sovereign power, will sacrifice their objections on the altar of their country, and with one heart sustain the State in this great movement of deliverance and liberty. I believe it will require all the courage, fortitude, and patriotism of her sons to meet and overcome the approaching storm; but I have an abiding confidence that they will prove themselves equal to the emergency and desertion the great destiny that awaits them in the future. The events that occurred in tarleston after the secession of South Carolina are matters of history. The accounts received from Washington all tended to induce the conviction that the Government of the United States intended to adopt a system of coercion against all the States that might secede from the Union. Governor Brown, of Georgia, acting upon this belief, seized upon Fort Pulaski, at the mouth of the Savannah River, in the name of the State of Georgia, and telegraphed me of that event. Satisfied that the State of Alabama would not remain in the Union, and in view of the indications of intention on the part of the Federal Government to coerce the seceding States, I could no longer hesitate as to the course my duty to the State required me to pursue. I could not wait until that Government had thrown troops into the forts commanding the entrance into the harbor of Mobile, and thus place that city and the State at the