a question of Southern rights — which have never been violated — nor of the security of Southern institutions, which we know perfectly well have never been interfered with by the General Government
, but it is purely with us a question of national existence.
In meeting this terrible issue which rebellion has made up with the loyal men of the country, we stand upon ground infinitely above all party lines and party platforms — ground as sublime as that on which our fathers stood when they fought the battles of the Revolution.
I am for throwing into the contest thus forced upon us all the material and moral resources and energies of the nation, in order that the struggle may be brief and as little sanguinary as possible.
It is hoped that we shall soon see in the field half a million of patriotic volunteers, marching in columns which will be perfectly irresistible, and, borne in their hands — for no purpose of conquest or subjugation, but of protection only — we may expect within nine months to see the Stars and Stripes floating in every Southern breeze, and hear going up, wild as the storm, the exultant shout of that emancipated people over their deliverance from the revolutionary terror and despotism by which they are now tormented and oppressed.
The war, conducted on such a scale, will not cost exceeding four or five hundred millions of dollars; and none need be startled at the vastness of this expenditure.
The debt thus created will press but slightly upon us; it will be paid and gladly paid by posterity, who will make the best bargain which has been made since the world began, if they can secure to themselves, in its integrity and blessings, such a Government as this, at such a cost.
But, if in this anticipation we are doomed to disappointment; if the people of the United States
have already become so degenerate — may I not say so craven — in the presence of their foes as to surrender up this Republic to be dismembered and subverted by the traitors who have reared the standard of revolt against it, then, I trust, the volume of American history will be closed and sealed up forever, and that those who shall survive this national humiliation will take unto themselves some other name,--some name having no relation to the past, no relation to our great ancestors, no relation to those monuments and battle-fields which commemorate alike their heroism, their loyalty, and their glory.
But with the curled lip of scorn we are told by the disunionists that, in thus supporting a Republican Administration in its endeavors to uphold the Constitution
and the laws, we are “submissionists,” and when they have pronounced this word, they suppose they have imputed to us the sum of all human abasement.
Well, let it be confessed, we are “submissionists,” and weak and spiritless as it may be deemed by some, we glory in the position we occupy.
For example, the law says, “Thou shalt not steal;” we would submit to this law, and would not for the world's worth rob our neighbor of his forts, his arsenals, his arms, his munitions of war, his hospital stores, or any thing that is his. Indeed, so impressed are we with the obligations of this law, that we would no more think of plundering from our neighbor half a million of dollars because found in his unprotected mints, than we would think of filching a purse from his pocket in a crowded thoroughfare.
Write us down, therefore, “submissionists.”
Again, the law says, “Thou shalt not swear falsely;” we submit to this law, and while in the civil or military service of the country, with an oath to support the Constitution of the United States
resting upon our consciences, we would not for any earthly consideration engage in the formation or execution of a conspiracy to subvert that very Constitution and with it the Government
to which it has given birth.
Write us down, therefore, again, “submissionists.”
Yet again, when a President has been elected in strict accordance with the form and spirit of the Constitution
, and has been regularly installed into office, and is honestly striving to discharge his duty by snatching the republic from the jaws of a gigantic treason which threatens to crush it, we care not what his name may or may not be, or what the designation of his political party, or what the platform on which he stood during the presidential canvass; we believe we fulfil in the sight of earth and heaven our highest obligations to our country, in giving to him an earnest and loyal support in the struggle in which he is engaged.
Nor are we at all disturbed by the flippant taunt that, in thus submitting to the authority of our Government, we are necessarily cowards.
We know whence this taunt comes, and we estimate it at its true value.
We hold that there is a higher courage in the performance of duty than in the commission of crime.
The tiger of the jungle and the cannibal of the South Sea
Islands have that courage in which the revolutionists of the day make their especial boast; the angels of God and the spirits of just men made perfect have had, and have that courage which submits to the law. Lucifer
was a non-submissionist, and the first secessionist of whom history has given us any account, and the chains which he wears fitly express the fate due to all who openly defy the laws of their Creator and of their country.
He rebelled because the Almighty would not yield to him the throne of heaven.
The principle of the Southern
rebellion is the same.
Indeed, in this submission to the laws is found the chief distinction between good men and devils.
A good man obeys the laws of truth, of honesty, of morality, and all those laws which have been enacted by competent authority for the government and protection of the country in which he lives; a devil obeys only his own ferocious and profligate passions.
The principle on which this rebellion proceeds, that laws have in themselves no sanctions, no binding force upon the conscience, and that every man,