extensively prevails, and the Union of the States, which is the source of all these blessings, is threatened with destruction? The long-continued and intemperate interference of the Northern people with the question of Slavery in the Southern States has at length produced its natural effects. The different sections of the Union are now arrayed against each other; and the time has arrived, so much dreaded by the Father of his Country, when hostile geographical parties have been formed. I have long foreseen, and often forewarned my countrymen of the now impending danger. This does not proceed solely from the claims on the part of Congress or the Territorial Legislatures to exclude Slavery from the territories, nor from the efforts of different States to defeat the execution of the Fugitive Slave law. All or any of these evils might have been endured by the South without danger to the Union (as others have been), in the hope that time and reflection might apply the remedy. The immediate peril arises, not so much from these causes, as from the fact that the incessant and violent agitation of the Slavery question throughout the North for the last quarter of a century has at length produced its malign influence on the slaves, and inspired them with vague notions of freedom. Hence, a sense of security no longer exists around the family altar. This feeling of peace at home has given place to apprehensions of servile insurrection. Many a matron throughout the South retires at night in dread of what may befall herself and her children before the morning. Should this apprehension of domestic danger, whether real or imaginary, extend and intensify itself until it shall pervade the masses of the Southern people, then disunion will become inevitable. Self-preservation is the first law of nature, and has been implanted in the heart of man by his Creator for the wisest purpose; and no political union, however fraught with blessings and benefits in all other respects, can long continue, if the necessary consequence be to render the homes and the firesides of nearly half the parties to it habitually and hopelessly insecure. Sooner or later, the bonds of such a Union must be severed. It is my conviction that this fatal period has not yet arrived; and my prayer to God is, that He would preserve the Constitution and the Union throughout all generations. But let us take warning in time, and remove the cause of danger. It cannot be denied that, for five-and-twenty years, the agitation at the North against Slavery in the South has been incessant. In 1835, pictorial handbills and inflammatory appeals were circulated extensively throughout the South, of a character to excite the passions of the slaves; and, in the language of Gen. Jackson, “to stimulate them to insurrection, and produce all the horrors of a servile war.” This agitation has ever since been continued by the public press, by the proceedings of State and County Conventions, and by Abolition sermons and lectures. The time of Congress has been occupied in violent speeches on this never-ending subject; and appeals, in pamphlet and other forms, indorsed by distinguished names, have been sent forth from this central point, and spread broadcast over the Union. How easy would it be for the American people to settle the Slavery question forever, and to restore peace and harmony to this distracted country! They, and they alone, can do it. All that is necessary to accomplish the object, and all for which the Slave States have ever contended, is, to be let alone, and permitted to manage their domestic institutions in their own way. As sovereign States, they, and they alone, are responsible before God and the world for the Slavery existing among them. For this, the people of the North are not more responsible, and have no more right to interfere, than with similar institutions in Russia or in Brazil. Upon their good sense and patriotic forbearance, I confess I greatly rely.How a sane man could talk in this way, in full view of the Texas, Nebraska, and Kansas struggles of the last few years, and of the persistent efforts to acquire Cuba, and “regenerate” Central America in the interest of the Slave Power, is one of the problems reserved for solution in some future and higher existence. To expose its inconsistency with notorious facts were a waste of time and effort; to lose temper over it were even a graver mistake: the proper, fittest frame of mind wherein to contemplate it is one of silent wonder. Mr. Buchanan proceeded to argue that the election of Mr. Lincoln “does not of itself afford just cause for dissolving the Union ;” that “from the very nature of his office, and its high responsibilities, he must necessarily be conservative;” that
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