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 duty to protect the Constitution, is to them a demon of darkness; “Jeff. Davis,” striking deadly blows at that Constitution, which he has time and again sworn to support, is an angel of light. They profess immaculate loyalty with their tongues, but they are in their hearts as traitorous as Benedict Arnold. They denounce in unmeasured terms the military preparations of the Government to meet this rebellion, and exalt the insurgents as patriots, armed to defend their families and their firesides; when not a soldier would have been added to the regular army, or a regiment marched southward, but for a revolt aiming at the entire demolition of the Constitution, and the seizure of the Government by armed usurpation. All these are but the artful shifts of treason, to sustain its desperate cause. I despise and reject the whole brood of them. I stand by the Constitution of the United States; and when it is threatened with destruction, I no more stop to inquire who is President, than, if the police of my city were engaged in quelling a riot, I would higgle about who is Chief of Police. The question is: Where is the constitutional authority? To that I am bound to render obedience and support, without constituting myself the judge as to whether, in a dire extremity, it restrains itself precisely within legally defined limits, when to do so might leave it at the mercy of foes armed for its subjugation. He who arms himself to subvert that authority, is, by the law of God and man, a rebel and a traitor, no matter who holds office; and if any man can find any other way to deal with him than with the weapons he himself has chosen, let him point it out;--I know of none. Before God, I take no pleasure in the necessity which demands such a resort. All my instincts and principles are against bloodshed; but no rebellion ever was put down without it; and this can hardly expect to be an exception. Upon its instigators must rest all the awful consequences of their appeal to arms. They have challenged the combat, and it lies not in their mouths, or in those of their aiders and abettors here, to complain that the Government defends itself, by extraordinary, or even unconstitutional means. Had such an attack been made upon it by a foreign foe without being repelled, the Nation would have stood disgraced before the world forever: if this rebellious assault be not resisted by all the power of the loyal portion of the Nation, shall we meet any other fate? It is, then, no spirit of malice or vindictiveness which justifies the Government in self-protection by arms. The simple alternative is, government or anarchy. The latter would destroy our freedom, perhaps forever, and blight us with a perpetual curse. We are lost, if our Constitution is overthrown. Thenceforward we may bid farewell to liberty. Never were truer or greater words uttered by an American statesman, than when Daniel Webster closed his great speech in defence of the Constitution, nearly thirty years ago, with that sublime declaration--“liberty and Union, one and inseparable, now and forever!” Union gave us liberty, disunion will take it away. He who strikes at the Union, strikes at the heart of the Nation. Shall not the Nation defend its life? And when the children of the Union come to its rescue, shall they be denounced? And if denounced, will they quail before the mere breath of the Union's foes? For one, I shrink not from any words of man, save those which would justly impute to me disloyalty to the Union and the Constitution. My country is all to me; but it is no country without the Constitution which has exalted and glorified it. For the preservation of that Constitution I shall not cease to struggle, and my life-long prayer will be, God save the American Union!
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