[CIVIL WAR -- SOUTH CAROLINA ACT OF SECESSION]. The State of South Carolina. At a Convention of the People of the State...begun and held at Columbia [17-20 December 1860]...An Ordinance to dissolve the Union between the State of South Carolina and the other States...under the compact entitled 'The Constitution of the United States of America'...We the People of the State of South Carolina, in Convention assembled, do declare and ordain...done at Charleston, 20 December 1860... [Charleston, S.C.: Evans & Cogswell], n.d. [ca. March 1861].
Folio broadside (28 11/16 x 24 11/16 in.), lithographed in black ink on heavy wove paper, browned, professionally conserved: marginal tears mended (one at top left edge affecting a tail of one letter), mounted, matted and framed.
ONE OF THE EARLIEST CONFEDERATE IMPRINTS: SOUTH CAROLINA'S OFFICIAL ACT OF SECESSION
One of 200 copies of an imposing, large-format, lithographic facsimile of the original engrossed and signed manuscript Act of Secession, carefully prepared from the original engrossed document. The document features facsimile signatures of D.F. Jamison, President of the Convention, and 169 delegates to the Secession Convention convened by Governor Pickens (even the ink blots which mar the original are carefully reproduced by the lithographers). The historic resolution, which revoked South Carolina's ratification of the U.S. Constitution, was largely the work of Robert Barnwell Rhett, editor of the Charleston Mercury which printed a well-known broadside announcement of the vote, the day it was taken, proclaiming "The Union is Dissolved!"). The resolution was passed unanimously at 1:15 p.m. on December 20. It was accompanied by a longer, legalistic Declaration of Causes maintaining that South Carolina was justified in secession as the Northern States had ceased to comply with their obligations under the Constitution, especially as concerned slavery and the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law. Shortly after adoption of the Ordinance, Evans & Cogswell, the printers to the convention, were asked to prepare a lithographic copy for use by the members. As reported in the March 28, 1861 entry of the Journal of the Convention of the People of South Carolina, the work was done "in a style creditable to the art; and by a careful comparison with the original, the Committee [on Printing] find it to bear a very notable similarity to it." Satisfied with the printer's proof that the Committee had reviewed, the Convention immediately adopted a resolution authorizing Evans & Cogswell to furnish 200 lithographic copies of the Ordinance to be distributed as directed by the President of the Convention. (J. A. May and J. Reynolds Faunt, South Carolina Secedes, 1960, pp. 20, 36-37.) It is unknown whether any additional copies of the lithograph without the Evans & Cogswell imprint were created (see also Charles H. Lesser, South Carolina Dept. of Archives & History 1996, 2d ed. rev. pp. 15-17), suggesting the possibility that this was the printer's proof reviewed by the Committee.
VERY RARE: according to American Book Prices Current, only one other copy has appeared at auction in at least a quarter century (that copy sold by Christie's, 24 May 2002, lot 33, $55,000). Crandall 1887 (citing only 2 copies); Parrish & Willingham 3794 (11 institutional copies); Sabin 87444 (only 2 copies noted).
Provenance: 2d Lt. Albert B. Ashley, 21st Regt., U.S. Colored Infantry (garrisoned in Charleston in 1865 and served throughout S. Carolina in 1864-65); by sale from his heirs to the present owner.