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[97] United States among them. Whatever the constitution has secured to the South, that there has been an abiding wish throughout the North to confirm; and although there have been and are differences of opinion as to the extent of Southern constitutional rights, yet I have never understood the disciples of any Northern political school to advocate those that were not affirmed by its party platform to be strictly of a constitutional character. But strenuous as were these efforts to disembarrass by coercion, even for the execution of the laws, the friendly intervention of the border slave States in behalf of a disrupted confederacy, their authors have been baffled, and their dearest hopes extinguished, by the active hostility of South Carolina. Her attack upon Fort Sumter was simply an act of war. The right of property and the jurisdiction thereof, continued ill the United States, and its flag denoted a sovereignty perfect and unimpaired. (Applause.) The cannon ball which first visited these battlements in hostile career violated that sovereignty and insulted that flag. It was the coercion which, at the North, had been deprecated for the sake of the Union and suspended, that was thus commended by the South to the North. The ensigns of government, and the emblems of national honor, were systematically assailed; and the adhering States were reduced to the attitude and compelled to the humiliation of an outraged nationality. Nor was this all. Menaces, so authentic as to merit the attention accorded to facts, marked the national capital for attack. Hostilities, with this object, were concerted against the government, and received the open approbation of the revolutionary leaders. In truth, the scene of war against the States represented by the government at Washington, which opened with the bombardment of Fort Sumter, has gradually developed into the fearful proportions of an organized invasion of their integral sovereignty. Such has been the gradual, nay, the almost imperceptible progress from initiatory violence to federal rights to the levying war upon the federal government. And now, fellow-citizens, it seems to me that no profound reflection is necessary to perceive that the posture of affairs which united so many of the Union loving men of the North against the policy of a coercion, supposed to be fraught with the danger of permanent dissolution, is not the same with that which represents the seceded States in open war to the constitution and the government. The considerations which deprecated the coercion of the South, address themselves with equal force against the coercion of the North. That which was opposed because of its anticipated injury to efforts at adjustment, becomes far more objectionable in its positive initiation of hostilities against the constitution and laws. The tramp of war is heard in our streets. The fearful note of preparation rises above the din of daily life, and mingles with our busy thoughts the solemnities of approaching conflict. Let us not deceive ourselves. It is no gala occasion — that which receives our attention. Confident as we are, many are the sad experiences which war reserves for those subjected to its stern necessities; and ere the strife ceases, terminate as it may, we must expect the reverses which have generally characterized the experience of all belligerents. But through all the coming scenes there will expand the pervading sense of the rectitude of those who strive for the rights of government and of country — the comforting reflection, that in a war which afflicts so many of our dearest affections, we at least were not the aggressors. Nor should a success productive of subjugation of any portion of our fellow-citizens be contemplated among the possibilities of the future. The contest so unhappily inaugurated, is directed to the establishment of the authority of the government and the vindication of its flag. It is to be hoped that, as for the attainment of such an object men of all parties have disregarded political divisions, so that men without exception will accept the first opportunity to welcome returning peace upon the basis of one constitution and one country. Still if that national reconstruction, which unfortunately has hitherto baffled every patriotic and peaceful effort, shall neither be attainable by any other method, our resistance to aggression, now conducted to the issue of arms, will at least have asserted our national dignity and have prevented the inexpressible humiliation of national dismemberment and desolation accomplished at the expense of the degradation of the North. Should final separation prove inevitable notwithstanding every effort for a return to the peaceful repose of an undivided republic, we shall at least have entitled ourselves to the invaluable self-respect founded in the consciousness of laws maintained, and honor vindicated. (Cheers.) The summons which the chief executive has proclaimed for military aid has appealed to the patriotism of the entire North. As at a single bound, thousands have responded, and other thousands await the call which shall require them also to arm in the common cause. (Cheers.) I cannot find that the magistrate's power is to be circumscribed now by constitutional scruples, or restrained by the doubts of constitutional power. The action which threatens the subversion of the government is confessedly revolutionary, and avows its justification in the imprescriptable right of self-preservation. Now, I think that it cannot be questioned that an effort to overthrow a government, by a portion of its citizens, on the plea of self-preservation, conclusively remits the government assailed to resistance upon the same rights; and that all means are justifiable for the suppression of revolution which it is conceded may be employed in its behalf. Many of the Southern States, disregarding the fundamental law which united them under the government of the Union, have armed themselves against its constitution, and wage unprovoked war against its citizens. They propose thus, by an appeal to the transcendent law of nature — the law that human happiness and the safety of society are the objects to which all institutions and all governments must be sacrificed — to justify their efforts at revolution, and to disrupt the confederation, I do not perceive that the resistance of such an effort is to be criticized in the spirit of strict constitutional construction; but that the same law which guides the revolution, should and must also apply to all efforts to oppose it, viz. :--the law which commands the employment of any force and in the best manner calculated to repress the movement which menaces the happiness, and is believed to be destructive of the safety of the people. I cannot doubt that in case of an emergency, proportionately formidable, the whole body of the community threatened, might upon the plea of self-preservation, arise in immediate resistance of the danger without reference to the provisions of constitutional law. Such an act would doubtless be referable to the magnitude of the danger, and be justifiable by a law above and beyond all compacts whatever. But it is needless, fellow-citizens, to pursue this theme further. The hour bears its events, and is fraught with its lessons.

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