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[287] action of Congress or of the State Legislatures. Had the Southern members continued in their seats, a satisfactory compromise would, no doubt, have been arranged and passed before the adjournment of Congress. As it was, after their retirement, and after Congress had become Republican, an amendment to the Constitution was adopted by a two-thirds vote, declaring that Congress should never interfere with slavery in the States, and declaring, further, that this amendment should be irrevocable. Thus was falsified the clamor so long and so insidiously rung in the ears of the Southern people, that the abolition of slavery in the States was the ultimate aim of the Republican party. But even this amendment, and all others which may be needed to furnish the guarantees demanded, are now defeated by the secession of eleven States, which, claiming to be out of the Union, will refuse to vote upon, and in effect will vote against, any proposal to modify the Federal Constitution. There are now thirty-four States in the Confederacy, three-fourths of which, being twenty-six, must concur in the adoption of any amendment before it can become a part of the Constitution; but the secession of eleven States leaves but twenty-three whose vote can possibly be secured, which is less than the constitutional number.

Thus we have the extraordinary and discreditable spectacle of a revolution made by certain States professedly on the ground that guarantees for the safety of their institutions are denied them; and, at the same time, instead of cooperating with their sister States in obtaining these guarantees, they designedly assume a hostile attitude, and thereby render it constitutionally impossible to secure them. This profound dissimulation shows that it was not the safety of the South, but its severance from the Confederacy, which was sought from the beginning. Contemporary with, and in some instances preceding these acts of secession, the greatest outrages were committed upon the Government of the United States by the States engaged in them. Its forts, arsenals, arms, barracks, custom-houses, post-offices, moneys, and, indeed, every species of property within the limits of these States, were seized and appropriated, down to the very hospital stores for the sick soldiers. More than half a million of dollars was plundered from the mint at New Orleans. United States vessels were received from the defiled hands of their officers in command; and, as if in the hope of consecrating official treachery as one of the public virtues of the age, the surrender of an entire military department by a General, to the keeping of whose honor it had been confided, was deemed worthy of the commendation and thanks of the conventions of several States. All these lawless proceedings were well understood to have been prompted and directed by men occupying seats in the Capitol, some of whom were frank enough to declare that they could not and would not, though in a minority, live under a Government which they could not control. In this declaration is found the key which unlocks the whole of the complicated machinery of this revolution. The profligate ambition of public men, in all ages and lands, has been the rock on which republics have been split. Such men have arisen in our midst — men who, because unable permanently to grasp the helm of the ship, are willing to destroy it in the hope to command some one of the rafts that may float away from the wreck. The effect is to degrade us to a level with the military bandits of Mexico and South America, who, when beaten at an election, fly to arms, and seek to master by the sword what they have been unable to control by the ballot-box.

The atrocious acts enumerated were acts of war, and might all have been treated as such by the late Administration; but the President patriotically cultivated peace, how anxiously, and how patiently, the country well knows. While, however, the revolutionary leaders greeted him with all hails to his face, they did not the less diligently continue to whet their swords behind his back. Immense military preparations were made, so that when the moment for striking at the Government of the United States arrived, the revolutionary States leaped into the contest clad in full armor.

As if nothing should be wanting to darken this page of history, the seceded States have already entered upon the work of confiscating the debts due from their citizens to the North and North-west. The millions thus gained will doubtless prove a pleasant substitute for those guarantees now so scornfully rejected. To these confiscations will probably succeed soon those of lands and negroes owned by the citizens of loyal States; and, indeed, the apprehension of this step is already sadly disturbing the fidelity of non-resident proprietors. Fortunately, however, infirmity of faith springing from such a cause, is not likely to be contagious. The war begun is being prosecuted by the Confederate States in a temper as fierce and unsparing as that which characterizes conflicts between the most hostile nations. Letters of marque and reprisal are being granted to all who seek them, so that our coasts will soon swarm with these piratical cruisers, as the President has properly denounced them. Every buccaneer who desires to rob American commerce upon the ocean, can, for the asking, obtain a warrant to do so, in the name of the new republic. To crown all, large bodies of Indians have been mustered into the service of the revolutionary States, and are now conspicuous in the ranks of the Southern army. A leading North Carolina journal, noting their stalwart frames and unerring marksmanship, observes, with an exultation positively fiendish, that they are armed, not only with the rifle, but also with scalping knife and tomahawk.

Is Kentucky willing to link her name in history with the excesses and crimes which have sullied this revolution at every step of its progress?

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