Resolved, That a committee of --- be appointed by the chair to report an ordinance to assert the right and fulfill the obligation of the State of Georgia to secede from the Union.
He then moved to take up the first resolution, whereupon Mr. Johnson, of Jefferson, offered the following preamble and ordinance as a substitute for Mr. Nisbet's, and moved the reference of both to a committee of twenty-one:
The State of Georgia is attached to the Union, and desires to preserve it, if it can be done consistent with her rights and safety, but existing circumstances admonish her of danger; that danger arises from the assaults that are made upon the institution of domestic slavery and is common to all the Southern States.
From time to time within the last forty years Congress has attempted to pass laws in violation of our rights and dangerous to our welfare and safety, but they have been restrained by the united opposition of the South and the true men of the North, and thus far the country has prospered and the South has felt comparatively secure. Recently, however, events have assumed a more threatening aspect. Several of the non-slave-holding States refuse to surrender fugitive slaves, and have passed laws the most oppressive to hinder, obstruct, and prevent it, in palpable violation of their constitutional obligations. The Executive Department of the Government is about to pass into the hands of a sectional political party pledged to principles and a policy which we regard as repugnant to the Constitution. The considerations of themselves beget a feeling of insecurity which could not fail to alarm a people jealous of their rights. By the regular course of events the South is in a minority in the Federal Congress, and the future presents no hope of a restoration of the equilibrium between the sections in either house thereof. Hence, the Southern States are in imminent peril, being in the power of a majority reckless of constitutional obligations and pledged to principles leading to our destruction. This peril is greatly augmented by the recent secession of South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi from the Union, by which the Southern States are deprived of the benefit of their co-operation and left in a still more hopeless minority in the Federal Congress. Therefore, while the State of Georgia will not and cannot, compatibly with her safety, abide permanently in the Union without new and ample security for future safety, still she is not disposed to sever her connection with it precipitately nor without respectful consultation with her Southern confederates. She invokes the aid of their counsel out of the Union if necessary. Therefore:
First. Be it ordained by the State of Georgia in sovereign convention assembled, That Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Missouri be, and they are hereby, respectfully invited to meet with this State, by delegates, in a congress at Atlanta, Ga., on the 16th day of February, 1861, to take into consideration the whole subject of their relations to the Federal Government, and to devise such a course of action as their interest, equality, and safety may required.
SEC. 2. Be it further ordained, &c., That the independent republics of South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi be, and they are hereby, cordially invited to send commissioners to said congress.
SEC. 3. Be it further ordained, &c., That inasmuch as Georgia is resolved not to abide permanently in this Union without satisfactory guaranties of future security, the following propositions are respectfully suggested for the consideration of her Southern confederates as the substance of what she regards indispensable amendments to the Constitution of the United States, to wit:
1. That Congress shall have no power to abolish or prohibit slavery in the Territories or any place under their exclusive jurisdiction. 2. Each State shall be bound to surrender fugitive slaves, and if any fugitive slave shall be forcibly taken on enticed from the possession of any officer legally charged therewith for the purpose of rendition, the United States shall pay the owner the value of such slave, and the county in which such rest may occur shall be liable to the United States for the amount so paid, to be recovered by suit in the Federal courts.
3. It shall be a penal offense, definable by Congress and punishable in the Federal courts, for any person to rescue or entice, or to encourage, aid, or assist others to rescue or entice, any fugitive slave from any officer legally charged with the custody thereof for the purpose of rendition.
4. Whatever is recognized as property by the Constitution of the United States shall be held to be property in the Territories of the United States and in all places