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[424] not pretend that African slavery is without its evils and its objections. It has many, very many. But it has not so many, nor are they so great, as the evils which must inevitably fall on both races from the liberation of the slaves by the process of confinement to present limits. By turning loose an inferior race — amounting to one out of three in a whole population — a nation of near 4,000,000 of people — without a country, without homes, to wander as vagabonds, without social position in the land of their masters, without the care of these to make them labor for their daily bread and necessities, and without restraint of their vices, can any one imagine a greater calamity to befall master and slave? And in what way have either master or man deserved such a visitation of calamity at the hands of Northern men, who brought the African to our common country, and who sold their slaves to the South as soon as they could procure white labor cheaper than that of the black man? Every State has a right to exclude slavery, or abolish slavery, within the limits of its own jurisdiction. But no State has a right to disregard its nationality; no State has a right to secede from the moral and legal national obligations to sustain the institution of African slavery where it is, or where it may be lawfully established. I have opposed secession persistently, vehemently. I have thrown myself in the breach to oppose it. In resisting it I have stood almost alone, while, others gave way to its angry surges which dashed around. I dared to oppose it, because I thought secession, whether in the majority or the minority, whether supported by one man, or by millions of men, wrong, eminently wrong, and that the approval of multitudes can never make it right. If it has a principle in the philosophy of human government, it is a principle of destruction. The secession of a Southern State from the Union is not more disloyal to the government, not more revolutionary than the treachery, insubordination, and hostile resistance, of a Northern State to the obligations of the Constitution. They are both violations of the public law — both defiant of the public authority — with this difference in favor of the Southern State, that she is not the aggressor, that she has not stricken the first blow. She is resenting an insult, avenging a wrong. True, not where resentment is merited, not where revenge is due. She strikes not the offender, but in her madness she strikes her country, and wounds herself. At a single dash she breaks the bonds of the Union, she braves all dangers, defies all power, denies herself all advantages, and proudly disdains all protection from the Union. A proud spirit, wounded by wrongs, excited by passion, led by bold, ambitious leaders, and hurried on with the pittiful taunt of “submissionist,” indiscriminately thrown upon all who have the courage and firmness to resist the mad impulse of secession, however determined they may be to resist every aggression.

The offending Northern States act with no passionate precipitation. She deliberately meditates and coolly consummates a violation of the Constitution. While she withdraws her allegiance to the government, by denying the authority of its judicial and legislative power in special cases, while she withholds her allegiance to some of the bonds of the Constitution, she sings anthems of praise and glory to the Union she has violated, and claims all the blessings and advantages of the government to which she renders only a partial fealty, a selfish allegiance. It is thus that the two extremities are madly rending the vitals of our once great and glorious country. It is thus the American Union, once the pride of every American heart, once the admiration and wonder of the whole civilized world, has been disrupted and destroyed. It is thus the public peace has been broken, and we stand on the verge of calamitous, desolating, ruinous, civil war. But may we not hope, sir, that some propitiating power may interpose to save us, and avert this dire and fearful calamity? May we not hope that the doomsday of the great American Union has not yet dawned? I cannot believe that our nation is yet so mad as to spurn, and impiously reject, the blessings which a beneficent Providence has sown broadcast over a whole land, and given indiscriminately to a whole people. I have ever regarded our Constitutional Union as the greatest structure of human government, and I have cherished for it and for our whole country the deepest devotion. I have considered the union of the North and the South indispensable to the peace and happiness of both sections — almost as essential to each other as hands and feet to the human body. While I have shed bitter tears over the present ruin, I have been cheered with the hope that the North, reanimated with love and duty to our whole country, would return with renewed allegiance to the Constitution, that she would award cheerfully every legitimate right and privilege to the South, and that our once glorious Union might be reconstructed more permanently, and more happily, than before. But we are now approaching the culminating point in our national fortunes. The “Ides of March” is at hand; then, for the first time, a sectional party will take possession of our government. The fate of the nation may be decided by the policy that party may inaugurate. The application of any coercive measure to drive back a seceded State, will be fatal to the last remaining hope of the Union. Although I deny the right of secession, I acknowledge the right of revolution, and hold to the principles enunciated in our Declaration of Independence. And if it be the will of the majority of the people of the seceded States to form an independent government, they have the right, and it can be only a question of power. No coercive measures can reunite them with the North. It is forbidden by the genius of our free institutions, and any attempt at coercion must unite every Southern

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