It was a stab to the Union
in its vital part.
The blow was partially parried, but it may be doubted whether the wound has ever healed.
Tariffs, the protective system, free trade,--although the merits of these questions must be considered as settled by sound thinkers in all civilized lands, must nevertheless still remain in some countries the subjects of honest argument and legitimate controversy.
When all parts of a country are represented — and especially in the case of the United States
, where the Southern
portion has three-fifths of a certain kind of “property” represented, while the North
has no property represented — reason should contend with error for victory, trusting to its innate strength.
And until after the secession of the Gulf
States the moderate tariff of 1857 was in operation, with no probability of its repeal.
Moreover, the advocates of the enlightened system of free trade should reflect that should the fourteen Slave States become permanently united in a separate confederacy, the state of their internal affairs will soon show a remarkable revolution.
The absence of the Fugitive law will necessarily drive all the slaves from what are called the border States; and he must be a shallow politician who dreams here in England
that free trade with all the world, and direct taxation for revenue, will be the policy of the new and expensive military empire which will arise.
Manufactures of cotton and woollen will spring up on every river and mountain stream in the Northern Slave States
, the vast mineral wealth of their territories will require development, and the cry for protection to native industry in one quarter will be as surely heeded as will be that other cry from the Gulf of Mexico
, now partially suppressed for obvious reasons, for the African slave trade.
To establish a great Gulf
empire, including Mexico
, Central America
, and other islands, with unlimited cotton fields and unlimited negroes, this is the golden vision in pursuit of which the great Republic has been sacrificed, the beneficent Constitution subverted.
And already the vision has fled, but the work of destruction remains.
The mischief caused by a tariff, however selfish or however absurd, may be temporary.
In the last nineteen years there have been four separate tariffs passed by the American Congress, and nothing is more probable than that the suicidal Morrill
tariff will receive essential modifications even in the special session of July; but the woes caused by secession and civil war are infinite; and whatever be the result of the contest, this generation is not likely to forget the injuries already inflicted.
The great Secession, therefore, of 1860-61, is a rebellion, like any other insurrection, against established authority, and has been followed by civil war, as its immediate and inevitable consequence.
If successful, it is revolution; and whether successful or not, it will be judged before the tribunal of mankind and posterity according to the eternal laws of reason and justice.
Time and history will decide whether it was a good and sagacious deed to destroy a fabric of so long duration, because of the election of Mr. Lincoln
; whether it were wise and noble to substitute over a large portion of the American
soil a Confederacy of which slavery, in the words of its Vice-President
, is the corner-stone, for the old Republic, of which Washington
, with his own hand, laid the corner-stone.
It is conceded by the North
that it has received from the Union
But it would seem that the Union
has also conferred benefit on the South
It has carried its mails at a large expense.
It has recaptured its fugitive slaves.
It has purchased vast tracts of foreign territory, out of which a whole tier of slave States has been constructed.
It has annexed Texas
It has made war with Mexico
It has made an offer — not likely to be repeated, however — to purchase Cuba
, with its multitude of slaves, at a price according to report as large as the sum paid by England
for the emancipation of her slaves.
Individuals in the free States have expressed themselves freely on slavery, as upon every topic of human thought, and this must ever be the case where there is freedom of the press and of speech.
The number of professed abolitionists has hitherto been very small, while the great body of the two principal political parties in the free States have been strongly opposed to them.
The Republican party was determined to set bounds to the extension of slavery while the Democratic party favored that system, but neither had designs secret or avowed against slavery within the States.
They knew that the question could only be legally and rationally dealt with by the States themselves.
But both the parties, as present events are so signally demonstrating, were imbued with a passionate attachment to the Constitution
— to the established authority of Government by which alone our laws and our liberty are secured.
All parties in the free States are now united as one man inspired by a noble and generous emotion to vindicate the sullied honor of their flag, and to save their country from the abyss of perdition into which it seemed descending.
Of the ultimate result we have no intention of speaking.
Only the presumptuous will venture to lift the veil and affect to read with accuracy coming events, the most momentous perhaps of our times.
One result is, however, secured.
The Montgomery Constitution with slavery for its corner-stone, is not likely to be accepted, as but lately seemed possible, not only by all the slave States, but even by the border free States; nor to be proclaimed from Washington
as the new national law, in the name of the United States
Compromises will no longer be offered by peace conventions, in which slavery is to be made national, negroes declared property over all the land, and slavery extended over all Territories now possessed or