some forty years ago by the United States Government for several millions, and fortified and furnished with navy yards for national uses, at a national expense of many more millions, and numbering at this moment a population of only 80,000 white men, should be more entitled to resume its original sovereignty than the ancient kingdom of William the Lion
and Robert Bruce
The terms of the treaty between England
were perpetual, and so is the Constitution of the United States
The United Empire
may be destroyed by revolution and war, and so may the United States
; but a peaceful and legal dismemberment without the consent of a majority of the whole people, is an impossibility.
But it is sometimes said that the American Republic
originated in secession from the mother country, and that it is unreasonable of the Union
to resist the seceding movement on the part of the new confederacy.
But it so happens that the one case suggests the other only by the association of contrast.
The thirteen colonies did not intend to secede from the British
They were forced into secession by a course of policy on the part of the mother country such as no English administration at the present day can be imagined capable of adopting.
Those Englishmen in America
were loyal to the Crown; but they exercised the right which cis-Atlantic or transatlantic Englishmen have always exercised, of resistance to arbitrary government.
Taxed without being represented, and insulted by measures taken to enforce the odious, but not exorbitant imposts, they did not secede, nor declare their independence.
On the contrary they made every effort to avert such a conclusion.
In the words of the “forest-born Demosthenes
” --as Lord Byron called the great Virginian
, Patrick Henry
— the Americans
“petitioned, remonstrated, cast themselves at the foot of the throne, and implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the Ministers
But their petitions were slighted, their remonstrances procured only additional violence and insult, and they were spurned with contempt from the foot of the throne.”
massacre,” the Boston
portbill, the Boston tea-party, the battle of Lexington
, the battle of Bunker's Hill
, were events which long preceded the famous Declaration of Independence
It was not till the colonists felt that redress for grievances was impossible that they took the irrevocable step, and renounced their allegiance to the crown.
The revolution had come at last, they had been forced into it, but they knew that it was revolution, and that they were acting at the peril of their lives.
“We must be unanimous in this business,” said Hancock
; “we must all hang together.”
“Yes,” replied Franklin
, “or else we shall all hang separately.”
The-risk incurred by the colonists was enormous, but the injury to the mother country was comparatively slight.
They went out into darkness and danger themselves, but the British
empire was not thrown into anarchy and chaos by their secession.
Thus their course was the reverse of that adopted by the South
The prompt secession of seven States because of the constitutional election of a President over the cadidates voted for by their people, was the redress in advance of grievances which they may, reasonably or unreasonably, have expected, but which had not yet occurred.
There is the high authority of the Vice-President
of the Southern Confederacy, who declared a week after the election of Mr. Lincoln
that the election was not a cause for secession, and that there was no certainty that he would have either the power or the inclination to invade the constitutional rights of the South
In the Free States
it was held that the resolutions of the convention by which Mr. Lincoln
was nominated were scrupulously and conscientiously framed to protect all those constitutional rights.
The question of slavery in the Territories
, of the future extension of slavery, was one which had always been an open question and on which issue was now joined.
But it was no question at all that slavery within a State was sacred from all interference by the General Government
, or by the free States, or by individuals in those States; and the Chicago Convention strenuously asserted that doctrine.
The question of free trade, which is thrust before the English
public by many journals, had no immediate connection with the secession, although doubtless the desire of direct
trade with Europe
has long been a prominent motive at the South
States seceded under the moderate tariff of 1857, for which South Carolina
voted side by side with Massachusetts
The latter State, although for political not economical reasons, it thought itself obliged since the secession to sustain the Pennsylvania
interest by voting for the absurd Morrill Bill, is not in favor of protection.
On the contrary, the great manufactories on the Merrimac River
have long been independent of protection, and export many million dollars' worth of cotton and other fabrics to foreign countries, underselling or competing with all the world in open market.
It would be impossible for any European
nation to drive the American
manufacturer from the markets of the American
continent in the principal articles of cheap clothing
for the masses
, tariff or no tariff.
This is a statistical fact which cannot be impugned.
The secession of the colonies, after years of oppression and grievances for which redress had been sought in vain, left the British
empire, 3,000 miles off, in security, with constitution and laws unimpaired, even if its colonial territory were seriously diminished.
The secession of the southern States, in contempt of any other remedy for expected grievances, is followed