or self-protection, and the Federal Government will have become their enemy.
This is the great indictment found by the South
against the North
, and proclaimed as the all-sufficient vindication of the rebellion.
While it is true in the main fact alleged — the election of a sectional President
— it is untrue in other points.
I am no defender of the Republican party, its Anti-Slavery doctrines, or its candidates.
From the day of the commencement of the Anti-Slavery agitation, thirty years ago, till the present time, I have opposed it without variation.
But I detest falsehood, by whomsoever employed, for whatever purpose; and when it is used to justify the destruction of the Government
of the Nation, it demands of me, and of every true man, unbounded execration.
Let us examine this indictment, and fairly and honorably decide how far it is, in point of fact, true.
Leaving the main fact — the election of a sectional President
— to be considered last, we will notice in the first place the allegations made against the party that elected him. Concerning this party it is averred that “it has announced that the South should be excluded from the common territory
Taking the Platform of the Chicago Convention as the criterion of the principles of the Republican party,--and we have a right to judge it by that, as it has a right to object to being judged by any thing else,--this charge is true; for in the eighth resolution of that Platform they “deny the authority of Congress, of a Territorial Legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any Territory of the United States
This, in effect, excludes the South
from the Territories
, and so sustains this charge.
But when they go further, and charge the Republican party with announcing, “that the Judicial tribunal shall be made sectional
,” regard for truth requires me to say that no such announcement is to be found in the Platform of that party.
True, individuals did give expression to such an idea; but no party is ever held responsible for all that individuals utter, nor can any party venture to become the endorser of all the sentiments of its individual members.
As we would be judged, let us judge others.
A more extraordinary charge is, that the Republican party announce “that a war must be waged against Slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States
The allegation is not, that fanatical Abolitionists in the party proclaim this war, but that the party
do so. But when I seek for the naked truth, not to uphold or apologize for that party, but to test the justification advanced for treason, I discover no act or word which sustains the charge; but, on the contrary, I find in the Chicago Platform
a resolution of directly opposite character, in these words:
“ That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of powers on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depends; and we denounce all lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes
Justice and frankness demand that the Republican party shall have all the benefit of this explicit declaration.
The cause of truth and right gains nothing by resorting to unfairness in dealing with an adversary.
And when a party, after attaining power, acts out
the principles it previously professed, its claim to be regarded as sincere in professing them must be considered as established.
The above declaration was made in May, 1860.
During the ensuing session of Congress, the Republicans, by the withdrawal of the Senators
and Representatives of seven seceded States, were in a majority in both Houses; and they brought forward, and passed in both Houses, by a two-thirds vote, the following amendment to the Constitution
no amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.
No just man can read this amendment, and know that it was adopted by a Congress in which there was a majority of Republicans, and not see in it a fair vindication of the sincerity of the party in adopting the above-quoted resolution in regard to slavery in the States.
As for myself, I am bound in candor to say — I cannot honorably refuse to say — that to my mind the evidence on that point is conclusive.
The Republican party not only did not announce “that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States
,” but they expressly declared against any interference by Congress with slavery in the States; and, to guard against any such interference in the future, this amendment of the Constitution
is offered to the country, which, if adopted, would, without doubt, endure as long as the Constitution
But the great count in the indictment is the election of a President by the votes of one section of the Union
; and this is true.
But how came he to be elected
? This question instantly forces itself upon the mind.
For thirty years the Anti-Slavery agitation had been in progress, without getting control of the Government
; and only four years before, the Republican party had been defeated in a tremendous struggle: how did it secure a triumph in 1860?
It is as certain to be recorded in history, as that the history of that year shall ever be written, that the action of the South
itself was one of the immediate and prominent causes — if not the great cause — of that triumph.
No fact is more undeniable, than that the Democratic party was the only one to which the country could look