that Compromise, or staying away from the polls; not that their convictions had changed one iota, but because they could only thus avert the unutterable woes and horrors of a gigantic and desperate civil war.
Mr. James S. Thayer
(a Whig of other days) followed in a speech which urged the call, by the Legislature, of a constitutional State Convention, to march abreast with similar Conventions in the Border Slave States
, in quest of “some plan of adjustment on this great question of difference between the North
and the South
If we cannot, we can at least, in an authoritative way and a practical manner, arrive at the basis of a peaceable separation [renewed cheers]; we can at least by discussion enlighten, settle, and concentrate the public sentiment in the State of New York upon this question, and save it from that fearful current, that circuitously, but certainly, sweeps madly on, through the narrow gorge of “the enforcement of the laws,” to the shoreless ocean of civil war. [Cheers.] Against this, under all circumstances, in every place and form, we must now and at all times oppose a resolute and unfaltering resistance.
The public mind will bear the avowal, and let us make it — that if a revolution of force is to begin, it shall be inaugurated at home. [Cheers.] And if the incoming Administration shall attempt to carry out the line of policy that has been foreshadowed, we announce that, when the hand of Black Republicanism turns to bloodred, and seeks from the fragment of the Constitution to construct a scaffolding for coercion — another name for execution — we will reverse the order of the French Revolution, and save the blood of the people by making those who would inaugurate a reign of terror the first victims of a national guillotine.1 [Enthusiastic applause.]
proceeded to argue that Southern Secession, under the circumstances, was justified by urgent considerations of necessity and safety.
The Democratic and Union party at the North made the issue at the last election with the Republican party that, in the event of their success, and the establishment of their policy, the Southern States not only would go out of the Union, but would have adequate cause for doing so. [Applause.] Who of us believed that, with the government in the hands of a party whose avowed policy was no more slave States, no further extension of Slavery, and asserting the power and duty of Congress to prohibit it in all the territories, that the Southern States would remain in the Union?
It seems to me, thus encompassed and menaced, they could not, with safety to their largest interest, and any prudent consideration for their future condition and welfare, continue in the confederacy.
What would become, in twenty-five years, of 8,000,000 of white people and 4,000,000 of slaves, with their natural increase, walled in by Congressional prohibition, besieged and threatened by a party holding the seats of Federal power and patronage, that, according to the doctrine of the President elect, must “arrest the further spread of Slavery,” and place the institution itself “ where the public mind will rest satisfied ”