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[129] said “Amen,” when the Government offered to let nothing but the bunting cover Fort Sumter. They said “Amen,” when Lincoln stood alone, without arms, in a defenceless Capital, and trusted himself to the loyalty and forbearance of thirty-four States.

The South, if the truth be told, cannot wait. Like all usurpers, they dare not give time for the people to criticize their title to power. War and tumult must conceal the irregularity of their civil course, and smother discontent and criticism at the same time. Besides, bankruptcy at home can live out its short term of possible existence only by conquest on land and piracy at sea. And, further, only by war, by appeal to popular frenzy, can they hope to delude the Border States to join them. War is the breath of their life.

To-day, therefore, the question is, by the voice of the South, “Shall Washington or Montgomery own the continent?” And the North says, “From the Gulf to the Pole, the Stars and Stripes shall atone to four millions of negroes whom we have forgotten for seventy years; and before you break the Union, we will see that justice is done to the slave.” (Enthusiastic and long continued cheers.)

There is only one thing that those cannon shot in the harbor of Charleston settled, and that is, that there never can be a compromise. (Loud applause.) We Abolitionists have doubted whether this Union really meant Justice and Liberty. We have doubted the honest intention of nineteen millions of people. They have said, in answer to our criticism,--“We believe that the Fathers meant to establish justice. We believe that there are hidden in the armory of the Constitution weapons strong enough to secure it. We are willing yet to try the experiment, ‘Grant us time.’ ” We have doubted, derided the pretence, as we supposed. During these long and weary weeks, we have waited to hear the Northern conscience assert its purpose. It comes at last. (An impressive pause.) Massachusetts blood has consecrated the pavements of Baltimore, and those stones are now too sacred to be trodden by slaves. (Loud cheers.)

You and I owe it to those young martyrs, you and I owe it, that their blood shall be the seed of no mere empty triumph, but that the negro shall teach his children to bless them for centuries to come. (Applause.) When Massachusetts goes down to that Carolina fort to put the Stars and Stripes again over its blackened walls, (enthusiasm,) she will sweep from its neighborhood every institution that hazards their ever bowing again to the Palmetto. (Loud cheers.) All of you may not mean it now. Our fathers did not think in 1775 of the Declaration of Independence. The Long Parliament never thought of the scaffold of Charles the First, when they entered on the struggle; but having begun, they made thorough work. (Cheers.) It is an attribute of the Yankee blood — Slow to fight, and fight once. (Renewed cheers.) It was a holy war, that for Independence: this is a holier and the last — that for Liberty. (Loud applause.)

I hear a great deal about Constitutional Liberty. The mouths of the Concord and Lexington guns have room for only one word, and that is liberty. You might as well ask Niagara to chant the Chicago Platform, as to ask how far war shall go. War and Niagara thunder to a music of their own. God alone can launch the lightning, that they may go and say, Here we are. The thunder-bolts of His throne abase the proud, lift up the lowly, and execute justice between man and man.

Now, let we turn one moment to another consideration. What should the Government do? I said “thorough” should be its maxim. When we fight, we are fighting for Justice and an Idea. A short war and a rigid one, is the maxim. Ten thousand men in Washington! it is only a bloody fight. Five hundred thousand men in Washington, and none dare come there but from the North. (Loud cheers.) Occupy St. Louis, with the millions of the West, and say to Missouri, “You cannot go out!” (Applause.) Cover Maryland with a million of the friends of the Administration, and say, “We must have our Capital within reach. (Cheers.) If you need compensation for slaves taken from you in the convulsion of battle, here it is. (Cheers.) Government is engaged in the fearful struggle to show that ‘89 meant Justice, and there is something better than life in such an hour as this.” And, again, we must remember another thing — the complication of such a struggle as this. Bear with me a moment. We put five hundred thousand men on the banks of the Potomac. Virginia is held by two races, white and black. Suppose those black men flare in our faces the Declaration of Independence. What are we to say? Are we to send Northern bayonets to keep slaves under the feet of Jefferson Davis? (Many voices--“No,” “never.” ) In 1842, Gov. Wise, of Virginia, the symbol of the South, entered into argument with Quincy Adams, who carried Plymouth Rock to Washington. (Applause.) It was when Joshua Giddings offered his resolution stating his Constitutional doctrine that Congress had no right to interfere, in any event, in any way, with the Slavery of the Southern States. Plymouth Rock refused to vote for it. Mr, Adams said (substantially,) “If foreign war comes, if civil war comes, if insurrection comes, is this beleaguered capital, is this besieged Government to see millions of its subjects in arms, and have no right to break the fetters which they are forging into swords? No; the war power of the Government can sweep this institution into the Gulf.” (Cheers.) Ever since 1842, that statesmanlike claim and warning of the North has been on record, spoken by the lips of her most moderate, wisest, coolest, most patriotic son. (Applause.)

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