and say, we, too, are citizens of America.
Carolina is one of these proud States; her arms have defended, her best blood has cemented, this happy Union!
And then add, if you can, without horror and remorse, “This happy Union we will dissolve — this picture of peace and prosperity we will deface — this free intercourse we will interrupt — these fertile fields we will deluge with blood — the protection of that glorious flag we renounce — the very name of Americans we discard.”
And for what, mistaken men!
for what do you throw away these inestimable blessings — for what would you exchange your share in the advantages and honor of the Union?
For the dream of a separate independence — a dream interrupted by bloody conflicts with your neighbors, and a vile dependence on foreign power!
If your leaders could succeed in establishing a separation, what would be your situation?
Are you united at home?
Are you free from the apprehension of civil discord, with all its fearful consequences?
Do our neighboring republics, every day suffering some new revolution or contending with some new insurrection, do they excite your envy?
But the dictates of a high duty oblige me solemuly to announce that you cannot succeed.
The laws of the United States must be executed.
I have no discretionary power on the subject — my duty is emphatically pronounced in the Constitution.
Those who told you that you might peaceably prevent their execution, deceived you — they could not have been deceived themselves.
They know that a forcible opposition could alone prevent the execution of the laws, and they know that such opposition must be repelled.
Their object is disunion: be not deceived by names.
Disunion, by armed force, is treason. Are you really ready to incur its guilt?
If you are, on the heads of the instigators of the act be the dreadful consequences — on their heads be the dishonor; but on your may fall the punishment — on your unhappy State will inevitably fall all the evils of the conflict you force upon the Government of your country.
It cannot accede to the mad project of disunion, of which you would be the first victims — its first magistrate cannot, if he would, avoid the performance of his duty — the consequence must be fearful for you, distressing to your fellow-citizens here, and the friends of good government throughout the world.
Its enemies have beheld our prosperity with a vexation they could not conceal — it was a standing refutation of their slavish doctrines, and they would point to our discords with the triumph of malignant joy. It is yet in your power to disappoint them.
There is yet time to show that the descendants of the Pinckneys, the Sumpters, the Rutledges, and of the thousand other names which adorn the pages of your Revolutionary history, will not abandon that Union, to support which so many of them fought, and bled, and died.
I adjure you, as you honor their memory, as you love the canse of freedom to which they dedicated their lives — as you prize the peace of your country, the lives of its best citizens, and your own fair fame, to retrace your steps.
Snatch from the archives of your State the disorganizing edict of its Convention — bid its members to reassemble and promulgate the decided expression of your will to remain in the path which alone can conduct you to safety, prosperity, and honor — tell them that, compared to disunion, all other evils are light, because that brings with it an accumulation of all — declare that you will never take the field unless the star-spangled banner of your country shall float over you — that you will not be stigmatized when head, and dishonored and scorned while you live, as the authors of the first attack on the Constitution of your country!
Its destroyers you cannot be. You may disturb its peace — you may interrupt the course of its prosperity — you may cloud its reputation for stability — but its tranquility will be restored, its prosperity will return, and the stain upon its national character will be transferred, and remain an eternal blot on the memory of those who caused the disorder.
Turning from the deluded minority to the loyal and Union-loving majority of the American
people, the President
concludes his Proclamation as follows:
Fellow-citizens of the United States!
The threat of unhallowed disunion, the names of those (once respected) by whom it was uttered, the array of military force to support it, denote the approach of a crisis in our affairs, on which the continuance of our unexampled prosperity, our political existence, and perhaps that of all free governments, may depend.
The conjuncture demanded a full, a free, and explicit annunciation, not only of my intentions, but of my principles of action; and, as the claim was asserted of a right by a State to annul the laws of the Union, and even to secede from it, at pleasure, a frank exposition of my opinions in relation to the origin and form of our Government, and the construction I give to the instrument by which it was created, seemed to be proper.
Having the fullest confidence in the justness of the legal and constitutional opinion of my duties, which has been expressed,