I do not believe a word of it; and I do not believe it, for a good many reasons.
Some I have already hinted at; and one is, because I do not see any good reason given for it. The best reason I see given for it is, that the people of some of the southern states hate us of the free states very badly, and they say that we hate them, and that all love is lost between us. Well, I do not believe a word of that.
On the other hand, I do know for myself and for you, that, bating some little differences of opinion about advantages, and about proscription, and about office, and about freedom, and about slavery and all those which are family difficulties, for which we do not take any outsiders in any part of the world into our councils on either side, there is not a state on the earth, outside of the American Union, which I like half so well as I do the state of South Carolina
, nor Ireland
, nor Scotland
, nor France
, nor Turkey
; although .from Turkey
they sent me Arab horses, and from South Carolina
they send me nothing but curses.
Still, I like South Carolina
better than I like any of them ; and I have the presumption and vanity to believe that if there were nobody to overhear the state of South Carolina
when she is talking, she would confess that she liked us tolerably well.
I am very sure that if anybody were to make a descent on New York to-morrow — whether Louis Napoleon
, or the Prince
, or his mother [laughter], or the Emperor
, or the Emperor
, all the hills of South Carolina
would pour forth their population for the rescue of New York.
[Cries of “Good,” and applause.] God knows how this may be. I do not pretend to know, I only conjecture.
But this I do know, that if any of those powers were to make a descent on South Carolina
, I know who would go to her rescue.
[A voice--“We'd all go.” ] We would all go — everybody. [ “That's so,” and great applause.] Therefore they do not humbug me with their secession.
[Laughter.] And I do not think they will humbug you; and I do not believe that, if they do not humbug you and me, they will much longer succeed in humbugging themselves.
[Laughter.] Now, fellow-citizens, this is the ultimate result of all this business.
These states are always to be together — always shall.
Talk of striking down a star from that constellation.
It is a thing which cannot be done.
[Applause.] I do not see any less stars to-day than I did a week ago, and I expect to see more all the while.
[Laughter.] The question then is, what in these times — when people are laboring under the delusion that they are going out of the Union
and going to set up for themselves — ought we to do in order to hold them in. I do not know any better rule than the rule which every good father of a family observes.
It is this.
If a man wishes not to keep his family together, it is the easiest thing in the world to place them apart.
He will do so at once if he only gets discontented with his son, quarrels with him, complains of him, torments him, threatens him, coerces him. This is the way to get rid of the family, and to get them all out of doors.
On the other hand, if you wish to keep them, you have got only one way to do it. That is, be patient, kind, paternal, forbearing, and wait until they come to reflect for themselves.
The South is to us what the wife is to her husband.
I do not know any man in the world who cannot get rid of his wife if he tries.
I can put him in the way to do it at once.
[He has only got two things to do. One is to be unfaithful to her. The other is to be out of temper with her. I do not know a man on earth who — even though his wife was as troublesome as the wife of Socrates
— cannot keep his wife if he wants to do so; all that he needs is, to keep his own virtue and his own temper.
[Applause.] Now, in all this business I propose that we shall keep our own virtue, which, in politics, is loyalty, and our own temper, which, in politics, consists in remembering that men may differ, that brethren may differ.
If we keep entirely cool and entirely calm, and entirely kind, a debate will ensue which will be kindly in itself, and it will prove very soon either that we are wrong — and we shall concede to our offended brethren — or else that we are right, and they will acquiesce and come back into fraternal relations with us. I do not wish to anticipate any question.
We have a great many statesmen who demand at once to know what the North
propose to do — what the Government
proposes to do — whether we propose to coerce our southern brethren back into their allegiance.
They ask us, as of course they may rightfully ask, what will be the value of fraternity which is compelled?
All I have to say on that subject is, that so long ago as the time of Sir Thomas More, he discovered, and set down the discovery in his writing, that there were a great many schoolmasters, and that while there were a very few who knew how to instruct children, there were a great many who knew how to whip them.
[Laughter.] I propose to have no question on. that subject, but to hear complaints, to redress them if they ought to be redressed, and if we have the power to redress them; and I expect them to be withdrawn if they are unreasonable, because I know that the necessities which made this Union exist, for these states, are stronger to-day than they were when the Union
was made, and that, those necessities are enduring, while the passions of men are short lived and ephemeral.
I believe that secession was stronger on the night of the 6th of November last, when a President and Vice-president who were unacceptable to the Slave States
were elected, than it is now. That is now some fifty days since, and I believe that every day's sun which set since that time, has set on mollified passions and prejudices, and that if you will only give it time, sixty days more suns will give you a much brighter and more cheerful atmosphere.
[Loud and long continued applause.]