Doc. 16.--extract from Gov. Hicks' address.
I firmly believe that a division of this Government would inevitably produce civil war. The secession leaders in South Carolina, and the fanatical demagogues of the North, have alike proclaimed that such would be the result, and no man of sense, in my opinion, can question it. What could the Legislature do in this crisis, if convened, to remove the present troubles which beset the Union? We are told by the leading spirits of the South Carolina Convention that neither the election of Mr. Lincoln nor the non-execution of the Fugitive Slave law, nor both combined, constitute their grievances. They declare that the real cause of  their discontent dates as far back as 1883. Maryland and every other State in the Union, with a united voice, then declared the cause insufficient to justify the course of South Carolina. Can it be that this people, who then unanimously supported the cause of Gen. Jackson, will now yield their opinions at the bidding of modern secessionists? I have been told that the position of Maryland should be defined so that both sections can understand it. Do any really understand her position? Who that wishes to understand it can fail to do so? If the action of the Legislature would be simply to declare that Maryland is with the South in sympathy and feeling; that she demands from the North the repeal of offensive, unconstitutional statutes, and appeals to it for new guarantees; that she will wait a reasonable time for the North to purge her statute-books, as to do justice to her Southern brethren, and, if her appeals are vain, will make her common cause with her sister border States in resistance to tyranny if need be, it would only be saying what the whole country well knows, and what may be said much more effectually by her people themselves, in their meetings, than by the Legislature, chosen eighteen months since, when none of these questions were raised before them. That Maryland is a conservative Southern State all know who know any thing of her people or her history. The business and agricultural classes, planters, merchants, mechanics, and laboring men; those who have a real stake in the community, who would be forced to pay the taxes and do the fighting, are the persons who should be heard in preference to excited politicians, many of whom, having nothing to lose from the destruction of the Government, may hope to derive some gain from the ruin of the State. Such men will naturally urge you to pull down the pillars of this “accursed Union,” which their allies at the North have denominated a “covenant with hell.” The people of Maryland, if left to themselves, would decide, with scarcely an exception, that there is nothing in the present causes of complaint to justify immediate secession; and yet, against our judgments and solemn convictions of duty, we are to be precipitated into this revolution, because South Carolina thinks differently. Are we not equals? Or shall her opinions control our actions? After we have solemnly declared for ourselves, as every man must do, are we to be forced to yield our opinions to those of another State, and thus in effect obey her mandates? She refuses to wait for our counsels. Are we bound to obey her commands? The men who have embarked in this scheme to convene the Legislature, will spare no pains to carry their point. The whole plan of operations, in the event of the assembling of the Legislature, is, as I have been informed, already marked out, the list of ambassadors who are to visit the other States is agreed on, and the resolutions which they hope will be passed by the Legislature, fully committing this State to secession, are said to be already prepared. In the course of nature, I cannot have long to live, and I fervently trust to be allowed to end my days a citizen of this glorious Union. But should I be compelled to witness the downfall of that Government inherited from our fathers, established, as it were, by the special favor of God, I will at least have the consolation, at my dying hour, that I neither by word nor deed assisted in hastening its disruption. (Signed)