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“When that Convention selected me as one of its candidates, looking at my humble antecedents and the place of my habitation, it gave to the country, so far as I was concerned, a personal and geographical guaranty that its interest was in the Union.”

In addition to that, in Tennessee we headed our electoral ticket, as if to give unmistakable evidence of our devotion to the Union, and the reason why we sustained him, “National Democratic ticket. ‘Instead of dissolving the Union, we intend to lengthen it and to strengthen it.’ --Breckinridge.” Where are his eloquent tones now? They are heard arraigning the Administration for what he conceives to be premature action, in advance of the law, or a slight departure from the Constitution. Which is the most tolerable, premature action, action in advance of law, a slight departure from the Constitution, (putting it on his own ground,) or an entire overthrow of the Government? Are there no advances, are there no inroads, being made to-day upon the Constitution and the existence of the Government itself? Let us look at the question plainly and fairly. Here is an invading army almost within cannon-shot of the capital, headed by Jeff. Davis and Beauregard. Suppose they advance on the city to-night; subjugate it; depose the existing authorities; expel the present Government: what kind of government have you then? Is there any Constitution in it? Is there any law in it? The Senator can stand here almost in sight of the enemy, see the citadel of freedom — the Constitution — trampled upon, and there is no apprehension; but he can look with an eagle eye, and, with an analytic process almost unsurpassed, discriminate against and attack those who are trying to manage your Government for its safety and preservation. He has no word of condemnation for the invading army that threatens to overthrow the capital, that threatens to trample the Constitution and the law under foot. I repeat, suppose Davis at the head of his advancing columns should depose your Government and expel your authority: what kind of government will you have? Will there be any Constitution left? How eloquent my friend was upon Constitutions! He told us the Constitution was the measure of power, and that we should understand and feel Constitutional restraints; and yet when your Government is perhaps within a few hours of being overthrown, and the law and Constitution trampled under foot, there are no apprehensions on his part; no words of rebuke for those who are endeavoring to accomplish such results.

The Old Dominion has got the brunt of the war upon her hands. I sympathize with her most deeply, and especially with the loyal portion of her citizens, who have been brow-beaten and domineered over. Now the war is transferred to Virginia, and her plains are made to run with blood; and when this is secured, what do we hear in the far South? Howell Cobb, another of these disinterested patriots, said not long since, in a speech in Georgia:

The people of the Gulf States need have no apprehensions; they might go on with their planting and their other business as usual; the war would not come to their section; its theatre would be along the borders of the Ohio River and in Virginia.

Virginia ought to congratulate herself upon that position, for she has got the war. Now they want to advance. Their plans and designs are to get across into Maryland, and carry on a war of subjugation. There is wonderful alarm among certain gentlemen here at the term “subjugate.” They are alarmed at the idea of making citizens who have violated the law simply conform to it by enforcing their obedience. If a majority of the citizens in a State have violated the Constitution, have trampled it under foot and violated the law, is it subjugation to assert the supremacy of the Constitution and the law? Is it any more than a simple enforcement of the law? It would be one of the best subjugations that could take place if some of them were subjugated and brought back to the Constitutional position that they occupied before. I would to God that Tennessee stood to-day were she did three months ago.

Mr. President, it is provided in the Constitution of the United States that “no State shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another State, or with a foreign power, or engage in war unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.” The State authorities of Tennessee, before her people had even voted upon an ordinance to separate her from the Union, formed a league by which they transferred 55,000 men, the whole army, over to the Confederate States for the purpose of prosecuting their war. Is it not strange that such a palpable violation of the Constitution should not be referred to and condemned by any one? Here is a member of the Union, without even having the vote taken upon an ordinance of separation or secession, forming a league, by its commissioners or ministers, and handing over 55,000 men to make war upon the Government of the United States, though they were themselves then within the Union. No one seems to find fault with that. The fact is, that in the whole progress of secession, the Constitution and the law have been violated at every step from its incipiency to the present point. How have the people of my State been treated? I know that this may not interest the Senate to any very great extent; but I must briefly refer to it. The people of a portion of that State, having devotion and attachment to the Constitution and the Government as framed by the sires of the Revolution, still adhering to it, gave a majority of more than twenty thousand

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Jefferson Davis (2)
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