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[262] us renew our covenant, and swear upon the holy altars of our faith, to maintain and defend it and its glorious emblem, the Stars and Stripes, so replete with pleasing memories, and if there are any who distrust their own firmness, and fear they may be seduced or may fall out by the wayside, or be frightened from their purpose, let them, like Fernando Cortez, burn the means of retreat behind them, that they may remain faithful to the end.

When the sunlight of the last autumn was supplanted by the premonitions of winter, by drifting clouds, and eddying leaves, and the flight of birds to a milder clime, our land was emphatically blessed. We were at peace with all the powers of the earth, and enjoying undisturbed domestic repose. A beneficent Providence had smiled upon the labors of the husbandman, and our granaries groaned under the burden of their golden treasures. Industry found labor and compensation, and the poor man's latch was never raised except in the sacred name of friendship, or by the authority of law. No taxation consumed, no destitution appalled, no sickness wasted, but health and joy beamed from every face. The fruits of toil, from the North and the South, the East and the West, were bringing to our feet contributions of the earth, and trade, which for a time had fallen back to recover breath from previous over-exertion, had resumed her place “where merchants most do congregate.” The land was replete with gladness, and vocal with thanksgivings, of its sons and daughters, upon the vast prairies of the West, up its sunny hill-slopes, and through its smiling valleys, along its majestic rivers and down its meandering streamlets, and its institutions of religion and learning and charity echoed back the sound:

But bringing up the rear of this bright host,
A spirit of a different-aspect waved
His wings, like thunder-clouds above some coast,
Whose barren beach with frequent wrecks is paved.
His brow was like the deep when tempest-tost;
Fierce and unfathomable thoughts engraved
Eternal wrath on his immortal face,
And where he gazed, a gloom pervaded space.

Yes, in the moment of our country's triumph, in the plenitude of its pride, in the hey-day of its hope, and in the fulness of its beauty, the serpent which crawled into Eden, and whispered his glozing story of delusion to the unsuspecting victim of his guile, unable to rise from the original curse which rests upon him, sought to coil his snaky folds around it and sting it to the heart. From the arts and the enjoyments of peace we have been plunged deep in the horrors of civil war. Our once happy land resounds with the clangor of rebellious arms, and is polluted with the dead bodies of its children, some seeking to destroy, some struggling to maintain the common beneficent Government of all, as established by our fathers. This effort to divide the Union, and subvert the Government, whatever may be the pretence, is, in fact, a daring and dangerous crusade against free institutions. It should be opposed by the whole power of a patriotic people, and crushed beyond the prospect of a resurrection; and, to attain that end, the Government should be sustained in every just and reasonable effort to maintain the authority and integrity of the nation; to uphold and vindicate the supremacy of the Constitution and the majesty of the laws by all lawful means; not grudgingly sustained, with one hesitating, shuffling, unwilling step forward to save appearances, and two stealthy ones backward to secure a seasonable retreat; nor with the shallow craft of a mercenary politician, calculating chances and balancing between expedients, but with the generous alacrity and energy which have a meaning, and prove a loyal, a patriotic, and a willing heart. It is not a question of administration, but of a Government — not of politics, but of patriotism — not of policy, but of principles which uphold us all — a question too great for party-between the Constitution and the laws on one hand, and misrule and anarchy on the other-between existence and destruction.

The Union was formed under the Constitution, by an association of equals; like the temple of Diana, every pillar which upholds its arches, was the gift of a sovereign; not a sovereign created by man's usurpation and serving upon gala days to exhibit to plundered subjects the diadems, and diamonds, and gorgeous trappings of royalty, but of a sovereign people, created in the image of their Maker, and bearing in their bosoms the crown jewels of immortality. In the administration of its government, and in the relations of its members with each other, each and every one is entitled to complete equality; the right to enjoy unmolested all the privileges of the compact, in their full length and breadth, in letter and in spirit.

Whenever and wherever there has been a departure from this plain and just stipulation, in theory or in practice, in either section, or where either has employed means or agencies calculated to disturb or irritate, or annoy the other; there have been error and cause of grievance which demanded redress and restitution; and when rebellion has sheathed its sword, and lowered its front, and the obligations of the Constitution are again recognized by all who owe it obedience, may every true friend of the Constitution and Union unite in a common purpose and an earnest effort, in seeing that there remains no just cause of complaint unredressed in any portion of the confederacy. But there has been no grievance alleged, which, if true, could justify armed rebellion and disunion. The Constitution, with defects and imperfections from which human creations are inseparable, bears upon its bosom remedies for every abuse which is practised in its name, and the power to punish every violation of its salutary provisions; and those who are unable to “bear the ills they have,” should invoke its spirit, rather than “fly to others which they know not of.” And the Government, though it has by no means been exempt from maladministration

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