batteries which the Government
of the United States
, in its extreme desire for peace, permitted you to erect for that purpose, under the guns of the same fortification, a proceeding unheard of before, and never to be repeated hereafter,--bombarded it too, because the flag of the Union
which your fathers and yourselves had fought under with us the battles of the Constitution
,--a flag which a few days previously you had hailed with pride-because the Stars and Stripes, the joy of every American heart, full of glowing histories and lofty recollections,--floating over it according to the custom of every nation and people under Heaven, were hateful in your sight!
were tired of hearing their great leader called the Just, and consigned him to banishment.
You were annoyed at the sight of the noblest national emblem which floats under the sun, when unfurled where, by your consent, and for a consideration, too, the Government
of the United States
held exclusive jurisdiction, and where it properly belonged; and for this you commenced a war promising to be more ferocious and exterminating throughout the Republic
, than was the atrocious decree of Herod
in a single village.
was not erected for the exclusive defence of the harbor of Charleston
, but for the purpose of preventing a foreign enemy from making a lodgment there, and from that point levying successful maritime war upon New York, Boston
, New Orleans, and other towns and cities.
And the unfriendly relations which sprung up between the Southern States
and the Government
of the Union
, made its retention and occupation more necessary than before.
You will not consent that the General Government
, the Government
of the whole people, should march forces over the “sacred soil of a State” of the confederacy, to maintain its own dignity and authority, to check rebellion, and save the Capital
from conflagration, and its archives from destruction; but you should stand admonished that there is no soil sufficiently sacred under the broad aegis of the Constitution
, to shelter armed rebellion or secret treason, and that the Government
of the United States
has not only full right and lawful authority to march its forces over every inch of territory between the St. Lawrence
and the Pacific
, to stop the progress of enemies, foreign or domestic; to put down rebellion, or to arrest those who despoil its property or resist the execution of its laws; but that it is its first and most solemn duty to do so. Should the General Government
enter a State for the purpose of interference with its domestic policy, it would be usurpation and an unwarrantable invasion — a neglect to employ its power to enforce its constitutional prerogative would be a culpable disregard of official obligation.
You propose to defend your home-hearths, your firesides, your porches, your altars, your wives, and your children, your household gods, and these resolves sound well indeed, even in the abstract; but practically the defence will be in time when they are assailed, or at least threatened.
And you may rest with the assurance that when either of these sacred and cherished interests shall be desecrated or placed in danger or in jeopardy from any vandal spirit upon the globe, you shall not defend them alone; for an army from the Free States
mightier than that which rose up to crush your rebellion, “aye a great multitude, which no man can number,” will defend them for you. But the issue must not be changed nor frittered away.
was not your home-hearth, Pickens
your fireside, Harper's Ferry
your porch, the navy-yards your altars, the custom-houses and post-offices and revenue cutters your wives and children, nor the mints your household gods.
The Government has no right to desecrate your homes, nor have you the right to seize upon and appropriate to yourselves under any name, however specious, what is not your own, but the property of the whole people of the United States
; not of those in array against it as enemies, defying its laws, but those who acknowledge and defer to its authority.
You desire peace!
Then lay down your arms and you will have it. It was peace when you took them up, it will be peace when you lay them down.
It will be peace when you abandon war and return to your accustomed pursuits.
Honorable, enduring, pacific relations will be found in complete obedience to the provisions of the Constitution
, and not in its violation or destruction.
The Government is sustained by the people, not for the purpose of coercing States in their domestic policy, not for the purpose of crushing members of the Confederacy
because they fail to conform to a Federal standard, not for the purpose of despoiling their people, and least of all, not for the purpose of disturbing, or in any degree interfering with the system of Southern servitude; but for the sole and only purpose of putting down an unholy armed rebellion, which has defied the authority of the Government
, and seeks its destruction, and in this their determination is taken with a resolution, compared with which the edicts of the Medes and Persians were yielding and temporary.
When the Government
of our fathers shall be again recognized, when the Constitution
and the laws to which every citizen owes allegiance shall be observed and obeyed; then will the armies of the Constitution
and the Union
disband, by a common impulse, in obedience to a unanimous popular will.
And should the present or any succeeding Administration attempt to employ the authorities of the Government
and people to coerce States, or mould their internal affairs in derogation of the Constitution
, the same array of armed forces would again take the field, but it would be to arrest Federal assumption and usurpation and protect the domestic rights of States.
War is emphatically, and more especially