he might have noticed that the Constitution of the United States
at that time made it mandatory on the Governor
of a State to give up a fugitive from justice to the Governor
of the State
he had fled from, in order that he might be tried by the laws of that State; but that, notwithstanding the Constitution
, governors of sovereign States did not give up offenders unless they chose to do so. Indeed, in a rendition contest between the States of Ohio
, Mr. Taney
, then Chief Justice
of the United States
, delivering a decision of the Court
, said: “While admitting that the Constitution
was mandatory on the governors, there was not a line in it which gave power to the General Government
to compel a State to do anything.”
had probably read, too, that a convention composed of the representatives of the New England
States had assembled in Hartford, Conn.
, in 1814, to protest against the war with England
because of the great damage it was inflicting on the shipping interests of that section.
He might have seen that secession was advocated as the remedy, while the declaration was made that “if the Union
be destined to dissolution,” some new form of confederacy should be substituted among those States which shall not need to maintain a federal relation with each other.
Fortunately, peace was declared with Great Britain
, or at that time there might have been a secession of the New England
It was an interesting question to this lieutenant colonel of cavalry, that if this action had been taken by the New England
States, and the States remaining in the Union
had invaded their territory for the purpose of coercion, upon what side would the large majority of the citizens of the New England
States have been found fighting?
The more Robert E. Lee
thought upon the subject the more he became convinced, first, that Virginia
in seceding from the Union
was exercising the right she had reserved when she entered it. Second, that if war must follow, his sword should be drawn in her defense, and not be pointed against her. In the soil of old Virginia
were buried those nearest and dearest to him. His ancestors had first settled within her limits.
She was to be invaded because she exercised a right not denied her