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[256] at no great distance of time, be a subjugated people.

As to our unbounded credit based upon the security of King Cotton, it is unnecessary to speak. When we see one of the most influential States in the Confederacy discrediting a very large part of the confederate currency, and the confederate Government itself repudiating, to some extent, its most solemn obligations, we cannot but suppose that the confidence of other nations in the good faith and credit of this government is small indeed. As regards their promise, “to go to war and spill the last drop of their blood in the cause of their beloved South,” I will say nothing. Every body knows how the secessionists of North-Carolina have kept their promise. Every body knows that the leaders, with few exceptions, will neither fight nor negotiate.

What a deplorable spectacle does the foregoing history present to our view! To what a desperate pass have they brought us, and for what? They say that they did it because the North would give us no guarantee in the slavery question. I have before stated that not one of the conventions of the seven Cotton States ever demanded any guarantee whatever. Nay, they even refused to accept of any if their friends of the Border States would procure them for them.

The Legislature of North-Carolina, at its regular session in January, 1801, adopted resolutions appointing commissioners to the Peace Congress at Washington City, and also to the Convention which assembled at Montgomery, Alabama, in February, 1861, for the purpose of adopting a constitution, and establishing a provisional government for the confederate States of America. On the motion of the writer of this, the resolution appointing commissioners to Montgomery was amended so as to instruct them “to act only as mediators, and use every effort possible to restore the Union upon the basis of the Crittenden propositions as modified by the Legislature of Virginia.” The commissioners under these instructions were the Hon. D. L. Swain, General M. W. Ransom, and John L. Bridgers, Esq., who, upon their return, submitted a report to his Excellency, Governor Ellis, which was by him laid before the Legislature, and was printed among the legislative documents of that year, where it may be consulted. In this report they say that they had the most ample opportunities of ascertaining public opinion in the Cotton States, and then add: “We regret to be constrained to state, as the result of our inquiries, made under such circumstances, that only a very decided minority of the community in these States are disposed, at present, to entertain favorably any proposition of adjustment which looks toward a reconstruction of our National Union. In this state of things we have not deemed it our duty to attend any of the secret sessions of the Congress. The resolutions of the General Assembly are upon the table of the Congress, and having submitted them as a peace-offering, we would poorly perform the duties assigned to us by entering into discussions which would serve only to enkindle strife.”

But it will be said that these guarantees could not have been obtained from the North. This I admit to be true, and only produce this piece of history to prove that whatever might have been obtained, nothing would have been accepted. But the Congress of the United States did pass, by the constitutional majority of two thirds, the proposition reported by Mr. Corwin, from the Committee of Twenty-six, to so amend the Constitution as to perpetuate slavery in the States. What stronger guarantees could be given so far as the States were concerned, it would be difficult to conceive. What then would have been left to quarrel about? The Territories. During the session of Congress which closed on the fourth of March, 1861, acts were passed to provide temporary governments for the three remaining new Territories, to wit, Colorado, Nevada, and Dacotah. These acts contain no trace or indication of the Wilmot Proviso, nor any other prohibition against the introduction of slavery, but, on the other hand, expressly declare among other things, that “no law shall be passed impairing the rights of private property; nor shall any discrimination be made in taxing different kinds of property, but all property subject to taxation shall be in proportion to the value of the property taxed.”

Now, when it is considered that all three of these Territories are north of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes, and that in the new territory now owned by the United States south of that line, slavery actually exists and is recognized by the territorial law, the question may well be asked: “What was there worth quarrelling, much less fighting about?” Here was a settlement of the question in the Territories made by a Republican Congress which gave the South all that, up to the time of the Charleston Convention, she had ever asked, and far more than she could hope to gain in any event, by secession. Indeed, I think it must now be apparent that secession, even if it could have been effected peaceably, would have been no remedy for the grievances of which they complained. Nay, so far as any grievances arising from a failure to obtain a return of our fugitive slaves was concerned, I think it must be apparent that it would have been an aggravation instead of a remedy for the evil. I think that all calm and dispassionate men everywhere, are now ready to admit that it would have been far better for us to have accepted the terms offered us and preserved peace and the Union, than to have plunged this once happy country into the horrors of this desolating war, which has spread a pall over the whole land — has brought mourning into every family — has rendered hundreds of thousands of hearthstones desolate — has filled the land with the maimed and disabled, with widows and orphans, and squalid poverty — has crowded our poor-houses and alms houses — has sported away many hundreds of thousands of lives, and many hundreds of millions of treasure, only to find the institution for which they profess to have

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