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[497] so frequently consecrated ourselves to the protection and maintenance of those lofty columns of the Constitution by which it was upheld. No visionary enthusiasts were they, dreaming vainly of the impossible uniformity of some wild Utopia of their own imaginations. No desperate reformers were they, madly bent upon schemes which, if consummated, could only result in general confusion, anarchy, and chaos. Oh, no! high-hearted, but sagacious and practical states-men they were, who saw society as a living fact, not as a troubled vision; who knew that national power consists in the reconcilement of diversities of institutions and interests, not their conflict and obliteration; and who saw that variety and adaptation of parts are the necessary elements of all there is sublime or beautiful in the works of art or of nature. Majestic were the solid foundations, the massive masonry, the columned loftiness, of that magnificent structure of the Union. Glorious was the career of prosperity and peace and power upon which, from its very birthday, the American Union entered, as with the assured march of the conscious offspring of those giants of the Revolution. Such was the Union, as conceived and administered by Washington and Adams, by Jefferson and Madison and Jackson. Such, I say, was the Union, ere the evil times befell us; ere the madness of sectional hatreds and animosities possessed us; ere, in the third generation, the all-comprehensive patriotism of the Fathers had died out, and given place to the passionate emotions of narrow and aggressive sectionalism. * * * Glorious, sublime above all that history records of national greatness, was the spectacle which the Union exhibited to the world, so long as the true spirit of the Constitution lived in the hearts of the people, and the government was a government of men reciprocally respecting one another's rights, and of States, each moving, planet-like, in the orbit of its proper place in the firmament of the Union. Then we were the model republic of the world, honored, loved, or feared where we were not loved, respected abroad, peaceful and happy at home. No American citizen was then subject to be driven into exile for opinion's sake, or arbitrarily arrested and incarcerated in military bastiles — even as he may now be — not for acts or words of imputed treason, but if he do but mourn in silent sorrow over the desolation of his country; no embattled hosts of Americans were then wasting their lives and resources in sanguinary civil strife; no suicidal and parricidal civil war then swept like a raging tempest of death over the stricken homesteads and wailing cities of the Union. Oh, that such a change should have come over our country, in a day, as it were — as if all men in every State of the Union, North and South, East and West, were suddenly smitten with homicidal madness, and ‘the custom of fell deeds’ rendered as familiar as if it were a part of our inborn nature; as if an avenging angel had been suffered by Providence to wave a sword of flaming fire above our heads, to convert so many millions of good men, living together in brotherly love, into insensate beings, savagely bent on the destruction of themselves and of each other, and leaving but a smouldering ruin of conflagration and of blood in the place of our once blessed Union. I endeavor sometimes to close my ears to the sounds and my eyes to the sights of woe, and to ask myself whether all this can be — to inquire which is true, whether the past happiness and prosperity of my country are b)ut the flattering vision of a happy sleep, or its present misery and desolation haply the delusion of some disturbed dream. One or tile other seems incredible and impossible: but, alas! the stern truth can not thus be dispelled from our minds. Can you forget, ought I especially to be expected to forget, those not remote days in the history of our country, when its greatness and glory shed the reflection at least of their rays upon all our lives, and thus enabled us to read the lessons of the fathers, and of their Constitution, in tile light of their principles and their deeds? Then war was conducted only against the foreign enemy, and not in the spirit and purpose of persecuting non-combatant populations, nor of burning undefended towns or private dwellings, and wasting tile fields of the husbandmen, or the workshops of the artisan, but of subduing armed hosts in the field. * * * how is all this changed! And why? Do we not all know that the cause of our calamities is the vicious intermeddling of too many of the citizens of the Northern States with the constitutional rights of the Southern States, cooperating with the discontents of the people of those States? Do we not know that the disregard of tile Constitution, and of the security it affords to the rights of States and of individuals, has been the cause of the calamity which our country is called to undergo? And now, war! war, in its direst shape — war, such as it makes the blood run cold to read of in the history of other nations and of other times — war, on a scale of a million of men in arms — war, horrid as that of barbaric ages, rages in several of the States of the Union, as its more immediate field, and casts the lurid shadow of its death and lamentation athwart the whole expanse, and into every nook and corner of our vast domain. Nor is that all; for in those of the States which are exempt from the actual ravages of war, in which the roar of the

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