SEVEN HONORABLE FLORIDIANS
69 Floridians voted in 1861 on whether Florida should secede from the United States. Of these individuals, seven (7) opposed the resolution. Seven Honorable Floridians tells the true-life story of these seven courage individuals. Who were they? Why did they vote no? What happened to each?
The following is an excerpt from the EBook: Seven Honorable Floridians:
Florida’s Secession Convention began January 3, 1861, but as early as December 1, 1860, not yet a month after Abraham Lincoln was elected President, Cleveland Ohio’s Morning Leader newspaper reported: “Newsfrom Florida State is that Secession Flags are flying, and the Secession feeling largely predominates there.”
A week later, December 8, 1860, the Cincinnati Daily Press wrote: “Senator Yulee, of Florida, has written a letter from Washington, to the Legislature of that State, announcing that upon learning, at any time, of the determination of Florida to dissolve connection with Northern States, he will promptly and joyfully return home to support the banner of the State to which he owes allegiance.”
A meeting of those responsible for deciding if Florida should secede had not yet been called, but already the Florida Senator in Washington was making known his plan to return home.
Many believed Florida’s Secession had been a foregone conclusion. But who should decide such an important issue? Florida voters? NO!
Despite 13,301 votes cast for President in November, the citizens would not cast a vote to determine if their State of Florida should secede. They would instead pick 69 individuals to make the decision for 13,301!
Florida’s Lawmakers would not have a say either! State Senators met in General Assembly November 26, 1860. That day, 16 of the State’s 20 Senatorial Districts were represented. Then, four days later, on the 30 day of November, they passed a resolution by a vote of 12 to 4, stating: “that this General Assembly having implicit confidence in the wisdom and patriotism of the people and the delegates whom they will select to the Convention, commit to them the interest of the State without a suggestion as to the course proper to be pursued.”
Lawmakers abdicated their lawmaking responsibility, saying they had implicit confidence in the wisdom and patriotism of the delegates to revise laws as delegates saw fit.
Four days before the convention, December 31, 1860, Cleveland Morning Leader newspaper wrote: “Advices from Jacksonville, Florida, dated 24 instant, show four-fifths of the delegates elected to the State Convention will go for immediate secession.”
Delegates had been elected December 22: “Among them were some of the best known, most respected and wealthiest men of the State”, said the New York Herald on 7 January, 1861.
“Little record remains of the manner in which they were elected, whether fair or foul,” said author Davis in his, Civil War and Reconstruction, but we do know for certain that at least one delegate represented each Florida County, and one delegate represented each of the State’s Senatorial Districts.
Most convention delegates resided in North Florida, where the majority of Florida’s 1860 populous resided. 70 delegates were listed, 69 voted on the final question of Florida’s Secession. Delegates represented 1 vote for every 192 voters taking part two months earlier in the November 1860 Presidential election.
END OF EXCERPT: Available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited members can read this book FREE. For further details, visit my Righting Florida History webpage