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[465] country. They will pour forth their treasure, their money, their men, without stint, without measure. The most peaceable man in this body may stamp his foot upon this Senate Chamber floor, as of old a warrior and Senator did, and from that single tramp there will spring forth armed legions. Shall one battle determine the fate of empire, or a dozen? the loss of one thousand men or twenty thousand, of one hundred million dollars, or five hundred millions? In a year's peace, in ten years at most, of peaceful progress, we can restore them all. There will be some graves reeking with blood, watered by the tears of affection. There will be some privation; there will be some loss of luxury; there will be somewhat more need for labor to procure the necessaries of life. When that is said, all is said. If we have the country, the whole country, the Union, the Constitution — free government — with these will return all the blessings of well-ordered civilization; the path of the country will be a career of greatness and of glory such as, in the olden time, our fathers saw in the dim visions of years yet to come, and such as would have been ours now, to-day, if it had not been for the treason for which the Senator too often seeks to apologize.

Mr. Breckinridge--I shall detain the Senate, sir, but a few moments in answer to one or two observations that fell from the Senator from California------

Mr. Baker--Oregon.

Mr. Breckinridge--The Senator seems to have charge of the whole Pacific coast, though I do not mean to intimate that the Senators from California are not entirely able and willing to take care of their own State. They are. The Senator from Oregon, then. Mr. President, I have tried on more than one occasion in the Senate, in parliamentary and respectful language, to express my opinions in regard to the character of our Federal system, the relations of the States to the Federal Government, to the Constitution, the bond of the Federal political system. They differed utterly from those entertained by the Senator from Oregon. Evidently, by his line of argument, he regards this as an original, not a delegated Government, and he regards it as clothed with all those powers which belong to an original nation, not only with those powers which are delegated by the different political communities that compose it, and limited by the written Constitution that forms the bond of union. I have tried to show that, in the view that I take of our Government, this war is an unconstitutional war. I do not think the Senator from Oregon has answered my argument. He asks, what must we do? As we progress southward, and invade the country, must we not, said he, carry with us all the laws of war? I would not progress southward, and invade the country. The President of the United States, as I again repeat, in my judgment, only has the power to call out the military to assist the civil authority in executing the laws; and when the question assumes the magnitude and takes the form of a great political severance, and nearly half the members of the Confederacy withdraw themselves from it, what then? I have never held that one State or a number of States have a right without cause to break the compact of the Constitution. But what I mean to say is, that you cannot then undertake to make war in the name of the Constitution. In my opinion they are out. You may conquer them; but do not attempt to do it under what I consider false political pretences. However, sir, I will not enlarge upon that. I have developed these ideas again and again, and I do not care to reargue them. Hence the Senator and I start from entirely different stand-points, and his pretended replies are no replies at all. The Senator asks me, “What would you have us do?” I have already intimated what I would have us do. I would have us stop the war. We can do it. I have tried to show that there is none of that inexorable necessity to continue this war which the Senator seems to suppose. I do not hold that constitutional liberty on this continent is bound up in this fratricidal, devastating, horrible contest. Upon the contrary, I fear it will find its grave in it. The Senator is mistaken in supposing that we can reunite these States by war. He is mistaken in supposing that eighteen or twenty millions upon the one side can subjugate ten or twelve millions upon: the other; or, if they do subjugate them, that you can restore Constitutional Government as our fathers made it. You will have to govern them as territories, as suggested by the Senator, if ever they are reduced to the dominion of the United States, or, as the Senator from Vermont called them, “those rebellious provinces of this Union,” in his speech today. Sir, I would prefer to see these States all reunited upon true constitutional principles to any other object that could be offered me in life; and to restore, upon the principles of our fathers, the union of these States, to me the sacrifice of one unimportant life would be nothing, nothing, sir. But I infinitely prefer to see a peaceful separation of these States, than to see endless, aimless, devastating war, at the end of which I see the grave of public liberty and of personal freedom.

The Senator asked if a Senator of Rome had uttered these things in the war between Carthage and that power, how would he have been treated? Sir, the war between Carthage and Rome was altogether different from the war now waged between the United States and the Confederate States. I would have said — rather than avow the principle that one or the other must be subjugated, or perhaps both destroyed — let Carthage live and let Rome live, each pursuing its own course of policy and civilization. The Senator says that these opinions which I thus expressed, and have heretofore expressed, are but brilliant treason; and that it is a tribute to the character of our institutions

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