the powers of the Government
Taking the whole argument through, and that is the plain meaning of it. Mr. Spratt
says that sooner or later it will be done; and if the present revolution will not accomplish it, it must be brought about even if another revolution has to take place.
We see, therefore, that it is most clearly contemplated to change the character and nature of the Government
so far as they are concerned.
They have lost confidence in the integrity, in the capability, in the virtue and intelligence of the great mass of the people to govern.
Sir, in the section of the country where I live, notwithstanding we reside in a slave State, we believe that freemen are capable of self-government.
We care not in what shape their property exists; whether it is in the shape of slaves or otherwise.
We hold that it is upon the intelligent free white people of the country that all governments should rest, and by them all governments should be controlled.
I think, therefore, sir, that the President
and the Senator
have stated the question aright.
This is a struggle between two forms of government.
It is a struggle for the existence of the Government
The issue is now fairly made up. All who favor free government must stand with the Constitution
, and in favor of the Union of the States as it is. That Union being once restored, the Constitution
again becoming supreme and paramount, when peace, law, and order shall be restored, when the Government
shall be restored to its pristine position, then, if necessary, we can come forward under proper and favorable circumstances to amend, change, alter, and modify the Constitution
, as pointed out by the fifth article of the instrument, and thereby perpetuate the Government
This can be done, and this should be done.
We have heard a great deal said in reference to the violation of the Constitution
seems exceedingly sensitive about violations of the Constitution
Sir, it seems to me, admitting that his apprehensions are well founded, that a violation of the Constitution
for the preservation of the Government
is more tolerable than one for its destruction.
In all these complaints, in all these arraignments of the present Government for violation of law and disregard of the Constitution
, have you heard, as was forcibly and eloquently said by the Senator
) before me, one word uttered against violations of the Constitution
and the trampling under foot of law by the States or the party now making war upon the Government
of the United States
Not a word, sir.
enumerates what he calls violations of the Constitution
— the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, the proclaiming of martial law, the increase of the army and navy, and the existing war; and then he. asks, “Why all this?”
The answer must be apparent to all.
But first, let me supply a chronological table of events on the other side:
The revenue cutter William Aiken
surrendered by her commander, and taken possession of by South Carolina
December 28. Fort Moultrie
and Castle Pinckney, at Charleston
The United States arsenal at Charleston
January 2. Fort Macon
and the United States arsenal at Fayetteville
seized by North Carolina
January 3. Forts Pulaski
, and the United States arsenal at Savannah
, seized by Georgia
January 4. Fort Morgan
and the United States arsenal at Mobile
seized by Alabama
January 8. Forts Johnson
, at Smithville
, seized by North Carolina
; restored by order of Gov. Ellis
The Star of the West, bearing reinforcements to Major Anderson
, fired at in Charleston harbor
The steamer Marion
seized by South Carolina
; restored on the 11th.
The United States arsenal at Baton Rouge
, and Forts Pike
, St. Philip
, and Jackson
, seized by Louisiana
January 12. Fort Barrancas
and the navy-yard at Pensacola
seized by Florida
January 12. Fort McRae
, at Pensacola
, seized by Florida
These forts cost $5,947,000, are pierced for 1,099 guns, and are adapted for a war garrison of 5,430 men.
We find, as was shown here the other day, and as has been shown on former occasions, that the State of South Carolina
seceded, or attempted to secede, from this confederacy of States without cause.
In seceding, her first step was a violation of the Constitution
She seceded on the 20th of last December, making the first innovation and violation of the law and the Constitution
of the country.
On the 28th day of December what did she do?
She seized Fort Moultrie
and Castle Pinckney, and caused your little band of sixty or seventy men under the command of Major Anderson
to retire to a little pen in the ocean--Fort Sumter
She commenced erecting batteries, arraying cannon, preparing for war; in effect, proclaiming herself at once our enemy.
Seceding from the Union
, taking Fort Moultrie
and Castle Pinckney, driving your men, in fact, into Fort Sumter
, I say were piratical acts of war. You need not talk to me about technicalities, and the distinction that you have got no war till Congress declares it. Congress could legalize it, or could make war, it is true; but that was practical war. Who began it?
Then, sir, if South Carolina
secedes, withdraws from the Union
, becomes our common enemy, is it not the duty, the constitutional duty, of the Government
and of the President
of the United States
to make war, or to resist the attacks and assaults made by an enemy?
Is she not as much our enemy as Great Britain
was in the revolutionary struggle?
Is she not to-day as much our enemy