SECESSION. The act of withdrawing; separation.
The attempted secession of eleven of the states from the Union led to the War of Se cession in 1861-65, and gave rise to many important decisions affecting the mutual re lotions of the national and state govern ments, and the rights of citizens under con tracts made before and during the war.
As to the Bight of Secession.
"The Union of the States never was a purely artificial and arbitrary relation. It began among the colonies, and grew out of common origin, mutu al sympathies, kindred principles, similar interests, and geographical relations. It was confirmed and strengthened by the necessities of war, and received definite form, and character, and sanction from the Articles of Confederation. By these 'the Union was solemnly declared to 'be perpetual.' And when these Articles were found to be inadequate to the exigencies of the country, the Constitution was ordained 'to form a more perfect Union.' It is dif ficult to convey the idea of indissoluble unity more clearly than by these words. What can be indisso luble if a perpetual Union, made more perfect, is not? "But the perpetuity and indissolubility of the Union by no means implies the loss of distinct and individual existence, or of the right of self-govern ment by the States. Under the Articles of Confed eration each State retained its sovereignty, free dom, and independence, and every power, jurisdic tion, and right not expressly delegated to the United States. Under the Constitution, though the powers of the States were much restricted, still, all powers not delegated to the United States, nor prohibited to the States, are reserved to the States respective ly, or to the people. Not only, therefore, can there be no loss of separate and independent autonomy to the States, through their union under the Constitu tion, but it may be not unreasonably said that the preservation of the States, and the maintenance of their governments, are as much within the design and care of the Constitution as the preservation of the Union and the maintenance of the National gov ernment. The Constitution, in all its provisions,
looks to an indestructible Union, composed of in destructible States.
"When, therefore, Texas became one of the United States, she entered into an indissoluble relation. All the obligations of perpetual union, and all the guaranties of republican government in the Union, attached at once to the State. The act which con summated her admission into the Union was some thing more than a compact ; it was the incorpora tion of a new member into the political body. And it was final. The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as in dissoluble as the union between the original States. There was no place for reconsideration, or revoca tion, except through revolution, or through consent of the States." Texas v. White, 7 Wall. (U. S.) 700, 724, 19 L. Ed. 227.
As to the Validity of Contracts. Where one en gaged actively in the service of the Confederate government purchased cotton which was afterwards seized by the military forces of the United States, sold, and the proceeds paid into the treasury, held, that his purchase of the cotton was illegal and void and gave him no title thereto ; Desmare v. U. S., 93 U. S. 605, 23 L. Ed. 959 ; Mitchell v. U. S., 21 Wall. (U. S.) 350, 22 L. Ed. 584. The Confederate govern ment had no corporate power to take, hold, or con vey a valid title to property, real and personal, and a purchaser of cotton from said government during the rebellion acquired no title thereto ; Sprott v. U. S., 8 Ct. Cl. 499.
Confederate Bonds. The bonds issued by the se ceding states do not constitute a valid consideration for a promissory note ; Hanauer v. Woodruff, 15 Wall. (U. S.) 439, 21 L. Ed. 224; and so of the se curities known as Confederate treasury notes; Bail ey v. Milner, 1 Abb. U. S. Rep. 261,_ Fed. Cas. No. 740 ; but a promise to pay in "Confederate notes" in consideration of the receipt of such notes and of drafts payable by them, is neither a nudism pac tum nor an illegal contract ; Planters' Bank v. Bank, 16 Wall. (U. S.) 483, 21 L. Ed. 473.