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[392] 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.” He continued:

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.]

Mr. Thayer proceeded to argue that Southern Secession, under the circumstances, was justified by urgent considerations of necessity and safety. He said:

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 ”

1 The Bangor (Maine) Union of about this date (copied approvingly into The Cincinnati Enquirer of February 8th), said:

The difficulties between the North and the South must be compromised, or the separation of the States shall be peaceable. If the Republican party refuse to go the full length of the Crittenden Amendment — which is the very least the South can or ought to take — then, here in Maine, not a Democrat will be found who will raise an arm against his brethren of the South. From one end of the State to the other, let the cry of the Democracy be, Compromise or peaceable separation.

The Detroit Free Press of February 3d or 4th (copied into The Cincinnati Enquirer of February 6th), more boldly and frankly said:

We can tell the Republican Legislature, and the Republican Administration of Michigan, and the Republican party everywhere, one thing: that, if the refusal to repeal the Personal Liberty laws shall be persisted in, and if there shall not be a change in the present seeming purpose to yield to no accommodation of the National difficulties, and if troops shall be raised in the North to march against the people of the South, a fire in the rear will be opened upon such troops, which will either stop their march altogether, or wonderfully accelerate it.

In other words, if, in the present posture of the Republican party toward the National difficulties, war shall be waged, that war will be fought in the North. We warn it that the conflict, which it is precipitating, will not be with the South, but with tens of thousands of people in the North. When civil war shall come, it will be here in Michigan, and here in Detroit, and in every Northern State.

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