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[417] resist local sectional feelings, to resist the progress of a mad, desolating revolution!

Disunion, under certain contingencies, may be justified; it may become an imperative necessity, but it should be the last resort; like the rite of extreme unction, it should be reserved for the last, and administered only in the dying hour of the only remaining hope within the Union. Disunion must be fatal!--fatal to the peace, safety, and happiness of both divisions of the country — fatal to the progress of liberty and civilization — fatal to the pride and glory of the American name.

Every enlightened statesman may see, even through the mist of prejudice, that there is not room between the lakes of Canada and the Gulf of Mexico for two great nations of the same race and lineage, the same language and religion, the same pride, ambition, energy, and high courage, to live in peace and good fellow-ship together. Every one may see, from the map of our country, that there is no desert waste, no mountain bar, dividing the Northern from the Southern States. Every one may see the great rivers, with their outstretched arms, rising in the Northern States, flowing down the rich valleys through the Southern States, to the Gulf of Mexico, proclaiming the unity of a great empire, and indicating the design of the Creator, that this beautiful land should be forever one country, for one great, united, prosperous people. And why should this unity be destroyed? Why should this beautiful land be divided? Why should this one kindred people become two hostile nations, to exhaust in ruinous wars and battles between themselves, those vast resources, those great energies here-tofore so successfully united for the unequalled progress of one country, one great and happy people?

There is one disturbing, one dangerous cause,--the angry controversy arising on the institution of African slavery, and unless this controversy can be amicably adjusted there must be a perpetual end of the Union, an everlasting separation of the North from the South.

The institution of slavery, then, demands the earnest attention and the unprejudiced consideration of every American citizen. It should be viewed as it is, and not as we might wish that it should be. Not as an abstract question of right or wrong, not as a blessing or a curse, but as an existing reality, for good or evil, thrown upon us by inheritance from a past generation and another Government, and for which no man of the present day is in any manner the least responsible. It should be considered as it is, an institution interwoven and inseparably connected with our social and political system, as a domestic institution of the States, and a national institution, created by the American people and protected by the Constitution of the United States. It should be considered as an institution which cannot be disturbed in its present political relation to some of the States of the Confederacy, without great detriment to all, and without, perhaps, destruction to some one of the parties to this relation. It should be considered as an iustitution which could not now be abolished, even with the consent of all, without fatal consequences to some of the parties holding relations to it.

The history of African slavery in this country proves all the relations I claim for it, and it is as wonderful as any other portion of our wonderful history. The discovery of America, with its boundless resources, started all the maritime nations of Europe on the great enterprises of conquest and dominion in the New World. To dig the golden treasure from the mountains, to open the springs of vegetable life on the plains and in the valleys, to quarry the rocks, to fell and clear the forest, and make America the home of civilization, human labor was indispensably necessary. The climate within the tropics, where the experiment was first made, proved unfriendly to the success of European labor, and fatal to European laborers. Recourse was first had, as a substitute, to the labor of the natives. Many of them were subdued by conquest, and became slaves to the conquerers. But the brave warrior spurned the fetters of the slave, and when his bow and arrow could not defend his liberty, his proud heart broke, and he died under the degradation, and in the humility of bondage. Whole tribes became extinct,--perished and disappeared. And it was in the fatal progress of this destruction of human life, and the ill success of slavery among the native tribes, that Portugal, in 1503, sent from her possessions on the coast of Africa — the first African slaves to America. The experiment of African labor proved eminently successful. H-ere was an animal, in the form of man, possessing the greatest physical power, and the greatest capacity for labor and endurance, without one principle of his nature, one faculty of mind or feeling of heart, without spirit or pride of character, to enable him to regard slavery as a degradation. A wild barbarian, to be tamed and civilized by the discipline of slavery. Here was the discovery of an animal power almost as essential as the discovery of the new continent, to bring forth the vegetable, animal, and mineral productions of America, to supply the wants and relieve the necessities of Europe. And without this discovery, and the application of this great element of laboring power, the discovery of America, with all its boundless, uncultivated resources of wealth, would have been of little value to the civilized world. This fact, so far as it relates to the South, is fully illustrated in the great prosperity of the Spanish, French, and English provinces, during the whole time of the existence of slavery in them, and the sudden and continuous decline of every agricultural and other interest in each and every one of those provinces, from the day on which African slavery was abolished. Every colonial nation availed itself of this great element of laboring power. Spain,


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