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[17] opposed at the time by a powerful minority in Ireland, and Mr. O'Connell succeeded, thirty years later, by ardent appeals to the sensibilities of the people, in producing an almost unanimous desire for its dissolution. He professed, however, although he had wrought his countrymen to the verge of rebellion, to aim at nothing but a constitutional repeal of the articles of union by the parliament of Great Britain. It never occurred even to his fervid imagination, that, because Ireland was an independent government when she entered into the union, it was competent for her at her discretion to secede from it. What would our English friends, who have learned from our Secessionists the “inherent right” of a disaffected State to secede from our Union, have thought, had Mr. O'Connell, in the paroxysms of his agitation, claimed the right on the part of Ireland, by her own act, to sever her union with England?

Again, in 1706, Scotland and England formed a Constitutional Union. They also, though subject to the same monarch, were in other respects Sovereign and independent Kingdoms. They had each its separate parliament, courts of justice, laws, and established national church. Articles of union were established between them; but all the laws and statutes of either kingdom not contrary to these articles, remained in force.1 A powerful minority in Scotland disapproved of the Union at the time. Nine years afterward an insurrection broke out in Scotland under a prince, who claimed to be the lawful, as he certainly was the lineal, heir to the throne. The rebellion was crushed, but the disaffection in which it had its origin was not wholly appeased. In thirty years more a second Scottish insurrection took place, and, as before, under the lead of the lineal heir to the crown. On neither occasion that I ever heard of, did it enter into the imagination of rebel or loyalist, that Scotland was acting under a reserved right as a sovereign kingdom, to secede from the Union, or that the movement was any thing less than an insurrection; revolution if it succeeded; treason and rebellion if it failed. Neither do I recollect that, in less than a month after either insurrection broke out, any one of the friendly and neutral powers made haste, in anticipation even of the arrival of the ministers of the reigning sovereign, to announce that the rebels “would be recognized as belligerents.”


Virginia Vainly attempts to establish a reserved right.

In fact, it is so plain, in the nature of things, that there can be no constitutional right to break up a government unless it is expressly provided for, that the politicians of the secession school are driven back, at every turn, to a reserved right. I have already shown that there is no such express reservation, and I have dwelt on the absurdity of getting by implication a reserved right to violate every express provision of a constitution. In this strait, Virginia, proverbially skilled in logical subtilties, has attempted to find an express reservation, not, of course, in the Constitution itself, where it does not exist, but in her original act of adhesion, or rather in the declaration of the “impressions” under which that act was adopted. The ratification itself of Virginia, was positive and unconditional. “We, the said delegates, in the name and behalf of the People of Virginia, do, by these presents, assent and ratify the Constitution recommended on the 17th day of September, 1787, by the Federal Convention, for the government of the United States, hereby announcing ”

1 Rapin's History of England, vol. IV., p. 741-6.

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