On this date in Tallahassee, Florida, the delegates to the state’s secession convention voted 62-7, in favor of secession. With that vote, after seven days of deliberation, Florida became the third state to formally declare itself out of the United States, following South Carolina and Mississippi. The outgoing governor, Madison Starke Perry and the governor-elect John Milton were both avid secessionists and were on hand to witness the outcome. The Ordinance of Secession would eventually be signed by 65-men, including two future Confederate generals; J. Patton Anderson and Joseph Finegan.
Yet, a former governor, was certainly not in favor of that vote. Richard Keith Call, who had served two times as governor of the territory of Florida in the 1830s and 1840s, was a staunch Unionist. Although he was not a staunch Republican Call decried secession as “high treason against our constitutional government.”
Call found out about the vote when he was approached on the street by a jubilant pro-secessionist individual, who informed him;“Well governor…we have done it [meaning the vote in favor of seceding].”
The 68-year old former governor responded;
“And what have you done?… You have opened the gates of Hell, from which shall flow
the curses of the damned which shall sink you to perdition!”
Unfortunately for the pro-secessionists and the future Confederacy, Call was right.
Unfortunately for Call, he would not live to see his prophesy come to fruition. He died on September 14, 1862, approximately a month shy of his 70th birthday.