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[42] magnitude; theirs by a sixty years undisputed title; theirs by occupation and settlement; theirs by the Law of Nature and of God. Louisiana, a fragment of this Colonial empire, detached from its main portion and first organized as a State, undertakes to secede from the Union, and thinks by so doing that she will be allowed by the Government and People of the United States to revoke this imperial transfer, to disregard this possession and occupation of sixty years, to repeal this law of nature and of God; and she fondly believes that ten millions of the Free People of the Union will allow her and her seceding brethren to open and shut the portals of this mighty region at their pleasure. They may do so, and the swarming millions which throng the course of these noble streams and their tributaries may consent to exchange the charter which they hold from the God of Heaven, for a bit of parchment signed at Montgomery or Richmond; but if I may repeat the words which I have lately used on another occasion, it will be when the Alleghanies and the Rocky Mountains, which form the eastern and western walls of the imperial valley, shall sink to the level of the sea, and the Mississippi and the Missouri shall flow back to their fountains.

Such, Fellow-citizens, as I contemplate them, are the great issues before the country, nothing less, in a word, than whether the work of our noble Fathers of the Revolutionary and Constitutional age shall perish or endure; whether this great experiment in National polity, which binds a family of free Republics in one United Government — the most hopeful plan for combining the homebred blessings of a small State with the stability and power of great empire — shall be treacher-ously and shamefully stricken down, in the moment of its most successful operation, or whether it shall be bravely, patriotically, triumphantly maintained. We wage no war of conquest and subjugation; we aim at nothing but to protect our loyal fellow-citizens, who, against fearful odds, are fighting the battles of the Union in the disaffected States, and to reestablish, not for ourselves alone, but for our deluded fellow-citizens, the mild sway of the Constitution and the Laws. The result cannot be doubted. Twenty millions of freemen, forgetting their divisions, are rallying as one man in support of the righteous cause — their willing hearts and their strong hands, their fortunes and their lives, are laid upon the altar of the country. We contend for the great inheritance of constitutional freedom transmitted from our revolutionary fathers. We engage in the struggle forced upon us, with sorrow, as against our misguided brethren, but with high heart and faith, as we war for that Union which our sainted Washington commended to our dearest affections. The sympathy of the civilized world is on our side, and will join us in prayers to Heaven for the success of our arms.

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