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 not inaugurated, prosecuted, or controlled by the Senators and Representatives in Congress, but by the governors, legislatures, and finally by the delegates of the people in conventions of the respective states. I believe I may fairly claim to have possessed a full share of the confidence of the people of the state which I in part represented; proof has already been furnished to show how little effect my own influence could have upon their action, even in the negative capacity of a brake upon the wheels, by means of which it was hurried on to consummation. As for the imputation of holding our seats as a vantage ground in plotting for the dismemberment of the Union—in connection with which the Count of Paris does me the honor to single out my name for special mention—it is a charge so dishonorable, if true, to its object—so disgraceful, if false, to its author—as to be outside of the proper limit of discussion. It is a charge which no accuser ever made in my presence, though I had in public debate more than once challenged its assertion and denounced its falsehood. It is enough to say that I always held, and repeatedly avowed, the principle that a Senator in Congress occupied the position of an ambassador from the state which he represented to the government of the United States, as well as in some sense a member of the government; that, in either capacity, it would be dishonorable to use his powers and privileges for the destruction or for the detriment of the government to which he was accredited. Acting on this principle, as long as I held a seat in the Senate, my best efforts were directed to the maintenance of the Constitution, the Union resulting from it, and to make the general government an effective agent of the states for its prescribed purpose. As soon as the paramount allegiance due to Mississippi forbade a continuance of these efforts, I withdrew from the position. To say that during this period I did nothing secretly, in conflict with what was done or professed openly, would be merely to assert my own integrity, which would be worthless to those who may doubt it, and superfluous to those who believe in it. What has been said on the subject for myself, I believe to be also true of my Southern associates in Congress. With regard to the forts, arsenals, etc., something more remains to be said. The authorities of the Southern states immediately after, and in some cases a few days before, their actual secession, took possession (in every instance without resistance or bloodshed) of forts, arsenals, customhouses, and other public property within their respective limits. I do not propose at this time to consider the question of their right to do so; that may be more properly done hereafter. But it may not be out of
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