every Southern member of Congress, and apparently quite adequate to its end. The United States
in every instance have exerted, when called upon, and effectually, their entire force for its faithful execution.
The State laws conflicting with it, or designed or serving to defeat or embarrass it, were all passed long since.
There is no present occasion for re-opening the Territorial controversy.
The status of our existing Territories would seem to be ultimately fixed, even by nature's laws; and there is no present prospect of future acquisitions.
Tariff laws, incidentally protecting manufactures, are coeval with the Government
, and have never actually interfered with the welfare of any State.
The whole nation has, either by their aid, or in spite of them, prospered throughout its entire limits, as was never paralleled in any other that ever existed.
Why then, I again ask, the present dread of disunion?
Is it the election, in a perfectly constitutional mode, of a citizen as President
, who is thought to hold principles fatal to Southern rights?
Suppose he does; will he not be impotent for harm?
His powers for any such purpose are subordinate to those of Congress, and the action of both, if illegal, can be revised and annulled by a patriotic judiciary, which has ever shown itself capable and willing to uphold, with even hand, the rights of all the States.
But is the President elect
so hostile to Southern rights?
I do not deem it necessary or advisable, in the present excited state of the South
, to hunt up what he may have said in an electioneering canvass.
One thing I know, the South
did not always view him as specially dangerous, for certainly they did not pursue the course the best, if not the only one, even promising to defeat his election.
A speech in the Senate, that became at once a Southern and a Northern campaign document, used to defeat in the one section Judge Douglas
, and in the other to promote the cause of Mr. Lincoln
, was made by Mr. Benjamin
, in May, 1860, with his specious ability and pleasing eloquence.
That gentleman on that occasion endeavored to show that Mr. Lincoln
was more conservative and true to the South
than Mr. Douglas
Referring to the Senatorial contest which they had recently had in Illinois
, he said what I read to you. “In that contest the two candidates for the Senate of the United States, in the State of Illinois
, went before their people.
They agreed to discuss the issues; they put questions to each other for answer ; and I must say here, for I must be just to all, that I have been surprised in the examination that I made again, within the last few days, of this discussion between Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Douglas, to find that Mr. Lincoln
is A far more conservative man, unless he has since changed his opinions, than I had supposed him to be
. There was no dodging on his part.
started with his questions.
Here they are with Mr. Lincoln
Question 1.--I desire to know whether Lincoln to-day stands as he did in 1854, in favor of the unconditional repeal of the Fugitive Slave law?
Answer.--I do not now, nor ever did, stand in favor of the unconditional repeal of the Fugitive Slave law.
Question 2.--I desire him to answer whether he stands pledged to-day, as he did in 1854, against the admission of any more slave States into the Union, even if the people want them?
Answer.--I do not now, nor ever did, stand pledged against the admission of any more slave States into the Union.
Question 3.--I want to know whether he stands pledged against the admission of a new State into the Union with such a Constitution as the people of that State may see fit to make?
Answer.--I do not stand pledged against the admission of a State into the Union with such a Constitution as the people of that State may see fit to make.
Question 4.--I want to know whether he stands to-day pledged to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia?
Answer.--I do not stand to-day pledged to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia.
Question 5.--I desire him to answer whether he stands pledged to the prohibition of the slave trade between the different States?
Answer.--I do not stand pledged to the prohibition of the slave trade between the different States.
Question 6.--I desire to know whether he stands pledged to prohibit slavery in all the Territories of the United States.
North as well as South of the Missouri Compromise line?
Answer.--I am impliedly, if not expressly, pledged to a belief in the right and duty of Congress to prohibit slavery in all the United States' Territories.
Question 7.--I desire him to answer whether he is opposed to the acquisition of any new Territory unless slavery is first prohibited therein?
Answer.--I am not generally opposed to honest acquisition of Territory, and in any given case I would or would not oppose such acquisition, accordingly as I might think such acquisition would or would not aggravate the slave question among ourselves.
The distinguished Senator
evidently did not then think, he certainly did not even intimate, that these opinions of the President elect
were so unconstitutional and violative of Southern rights as to justify revolution on the contingency of his election.
On the contrary, they were produced and relied upon to satisfy the South
that he would be truer to her than Douglas
And yet, who supposes that if the latter had been the choice of the people, the present troubles could or would have been produced?
Nor, in truth, is there any thing in his opinions so clearly wrong as to cause alarm.