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[342] afford to bolt the regular Democratic nomination for President, and so gave at least a nominal support to Douglas, who thus obtained the vote of Missouri in November, when Gov. J. and a large proportion of his supporters were in feeling and purpose with the backers of Breckinridge. He was fully in the hands of the conspirators from the start, and in due time united openly in the Rebellion. Outside of Missouri, the Douglas Democracy had been so thoroughly, overwhelmingly beaten in the vote of the Slave States for President — as thoroughly in Delaware or Maryland as in Georgia or Arkansas--that they seemed to be crushed out of life, or anxious to merge their distinctive character by a plunge into the common abyss of Rebellion. Mr. Douglas himself, being catechised on the subject,1 frankly declared that, should Lincoln be chosen President, he would not consider that a cause for resistance, but should adhere to and uphold the Union. Yet the result of the election had hardly transpired when his friend Gov. Letcher of Virginia, Mr. George N. Sanders, of Kentucky, who had been one of his busiest and noisiest champions, and many more such, made haste to swell the gathering cohorts of Secession. The ablest and most respectable of their number was Mr. Alex. H. Stephens, of Georgia, whose courage and loyalty endured at least a week after those of his late compatriots had bidden them a final adieu. The Legislature of Georgia having assembled,2 Mr. Stephens presented himself and spoke3 boldly as well as ably against the meditated treason; saying:
The first question that presents itself is, Shall the people of the South secede from the Union in consequence of the election of Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency of the United States? My countrymen, I tell you frankly, candidly, and earnestly, that I do not think that they ought. In my judgment, the election of no man, constitutionally chosen to that high office, is sufficient cause for any State to separate from the Union. It ought to stand by and aid still in maintaining the Constitution of the country. To make a point of resistance to the Government — to withdraw from it, because a man has been constitutionally elected — puts us in the wrong. We are pledged to maintain the Constitution. Many of us have sworn to support it. Can we, therefore, for the mere election of a man to the Presidency — and that, too, in accordance with the prescribed forms of the Constitution — make a point of resistance to the Government, and, without becoming the breakers of that sacred instrument ourselves, withdraw ourselves from it? Would we not be in the wrong? Whatever fate is to befall this country, let it never be laid to the charge of the people of the South, and especially of the people of Georgia, that we were untrue to our National engagements. Let the fault and the wrong rest upon others. If all our hopes are to be blasted, if the Republic is to go down, let us be found to the last moment standing on the deck, with the Constitution of the United States waving over our heads. (Applause.) Let the fanatics of the North break the Constitution, if such is their fell purpose. Let the responsibility be upon them. I shall speak presently more of their acts; but let not the South, let us not be the ones to commit the aggression. We went into the election with this people; the result was different from what we wished; but the election has been constitutionally held. Were we to make a point of resistance to the Government, and go out of the Union on that account, the record would be made up hereafter against us.

But, it is said, Mr. Lincoln's policy and principles are against the Constitution, and that, if he carries them out, it will be destructive of our rights. Let us not anticipate a threatened evil. If he violates the Constitution, then will come our time to act. Do not let us break it, because, forsooth, he may. If he does, that is the time for us to strike. (Applause.) I think it would be injudicious and unwise to do this sooner. I do not anticipate that Mr. Lincoln will do anything to jeopardize our safety or security, whatever may be his spirit to do it; for

1 While speaking at Norfolk, Va., during the canvass of 1860.

2 At Milledgeville, Nov. 8, 1860.

3 At the State House, Nov. 14, 1860.

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