“  cease to collect the revenues, because you are threatened!” In other words, gentlemen, it seems to me — and [ know I speak the wishes of my constituents,--that, while I abhor coercion, in one sense, as war, I wish to preserve the dignity of the government of these United States as well. [Applause.]Mr. Elseffer's amendment was thereupon withdrawn, and the original resolutions unanimously adopted. They are eight in number; whereof the first affirms that “the crisis into which the country has been thrown” has been produced by “the conflict of sectional passions ;” and that the calamities now imminent of civil war can only be averted by concessions. The second condemns a resort to civil war, on the part of the Federal Government, asserting that “civil war will not restore the Union, but will defeat, for ever, its reconstruction.” The third calls for conciliation, concession, and compromise, declaring that “it would be monstrous to refuse them.” The fourth declares that it is eminently fit that we should listen to the appeals of loyal men in the Border States. The fifth approves of the Crittenden proposition, and urges that it be submitted by the Legislature to a vote of the electors of this State. The sixth urges upon Congress “adequate measures of conciliation,” and requests the Legislature to take steps toward the summoning of a Convention of the States. The seventh urges a compliance with the request of the Legislature of Virginia for a meeting of Commissioners at Washington, and asks the Legislature of New York to appoint Commissioners thereto; and, in case of its failure, names seven eminent citizens — not one of them a Republican--as such Commissioners. The eighth implores “the States in the attitude of secession to stay the sword and save the nation from civil war,” so as to give time for perfecting a compromise; appealing also to the nonseceded Southern States to act in a similar spirit. Committees were appointed to present these resolutions to Congress and to the State Legislature, as also to correspond with other States; and then the Convention adjourned, after empowering its President to reconvene it in his discretion. The action of this Convention was of great moment under two distinct aspects; first, as indicating truly and clearly the light in which the Secession movement was regarded by the “conservative” politicians of the North;1 secondly, as revealing to the
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1 The Albany Argus, for example, of November 10, 1860-four days after the election of Mr. Lincoln-thus clearly and temperately expressed the view generally taken of the Secession movement by the Democratic journals of the Free States:
We are not at all surprised at the manifestations of feeling at the South. We expected and predicted it; and for so doing were charged. by the Republican press with favoring disunion; while, in fact, we simply correctly appreciated the feeling of that section of the Union. We sympathize with and justify the South, as far as this-their rights have been invaded to the extreme limit possible within the forms of the Constitution, and, beyond this limit, their feelings have been insulted and their interests and honor assailed by almost every possible form of denunciation and invective; and, if we deemed it certain that the real animus of the Republican party could be carried into the administration of the Federal Government, and become the permanent policy of the nation, we should think that all tie instincts of self-preservation and of manhood rightfully impelled them to a resort to revolution and a separation from the Union, and we would applaud them and wish them God speed in the adoption of such a remedy.In the same spirit, The Rochester Union, two or three days later, argued that the threatened secession of the Slave States was but a counterpoise of the Personal Liberty bills and other measures of antagonism to slaveholding at the North. Said The Union:
Restricting our remarks to actual violations of the Constitution, the North have led the way, and for a long period have been the sole offenders or aggressors. For many years, laws have been on the statute-books of Northern States, which were passed with the avowed object of preventing the “delivering up” of fugitive slaves, which the Constitution says, “shall be delivered up.” Owing to their different circumstances, Northern States have been enabled to secure their cherished object by violating the Constitution in a way that does not necessitate secession from, or a dissolution of, the Union. Owing to their peculiar circumstances, the Southern States cannot retaliate upon the North without taking ground for secession from or a dissolution of the Union. But, in resorting to this mode and measure of redress, they simply followed the example set by Northern States in violating the Constitution to such an extent as they deem necessary to secure their objects. The Northern States stopped at one given point in their career of nullification, because they had no object to gain by going further. The Southern States propose to stop at another given point, which, in their judgment, is indicated by the necessities of their position.
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