We, the descendants of the leaders of that illustrious race of men who achieved our independence and established our institutions, were to become a degraded and a subject class, under that government which our fathers created to secure the equality of all the States—to bend our necks to the yoke which a false fanaticism had prepared for them, and to hold our rights and our property at the sufferance of our foes, and to accept whatever they might choose to leave us as a free gift at the hands of an irresponsible power, and not as the measure of our constitutional rights.
All this, gentlemen, we were expected to submit to, under the fond illusion that at some future day, when our enemies had us in their power, they would relent in their hostility; that fanaticism would pause in its career without having accomplished its purpose; that the spirit of oppression would be exorcised, and, in the hour of its triumph, would drop its weapons from its hands, and cease to wound its victim. We were expected, in the language of your own inspired orator, to “indulge in the fond illusions of hope; to shut our eyes to the painful truth, and listen to the song of that syren until it transformed us into beasts.”
But we in Mississippi, gentlemen, are no longer under that illusion. Hope has died in our hearts. It received its death-knell at the fatal ballot-box in November last, and the song of the syren no longer sounds in our ears. We have thought long and maturely upon this subject, and we have made up our minds as to the course we should adopt. We ask no compromise and we want none. We know that we should not get it if we were base enough to desire it, and we have made the irrevocable resolve to take our interests into our own keeping.
— Excerpt from address by Hon. Fulton Anderson, Commissioner of Mississippi to the Virginia Secession Convention, Monday, 18 February 1861.