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[135] but had preserved its better portion, with some modifications, suggested by the experience of the past; and it had been adopted by the Confederate States, who would stand by it. The old Constitution had been made an engine of power to crush out liberty; that of the Confederate States to preserve it. The old Constitution was improved in our hands, and those living under it had, like the phoenix, risen from their ashes.

The revolution lately begun did not affect alone property, but liberty. He alluded to Lincoln's call for 75,000 volunteers, and said he could find no authority in the old Constitution for such a flagrant abuse of power. His second proclamation had stigmatized as pirates all who sailed in letters of marque; this was also in violation of the Constitution, which alone gave Congress that power.

What had the friends of liberty to hope for? Beginning in usurpation, where would he end? You are, however, said he, no longer under the rule of this tyrant. With strong arms and stout hearts you have now resolved to stand in defence of liberty. The Confederate States have but asserted their rights. They believed that their rulers derived their just powers from the consent of the governed. No one had the right to deny the existence of the sovereign right of secession. Our people did not want to meddle with the Northern States--only wanted the latter to leave them alone. When did Virginia ever ask the assistance of the General Government?

If there is sin in our institutions, we bear the blame, and will stand acquitted by natural law, and the higher law of the Creator. We stand upon the law of God and Nature. The Southern States did not wish a resort to arms after secession. Mr. Stephens alluded to the negotiations between Major Anderson and the authorities of the Confederate States, to demonstrate the proposition. History, he said, if rightly written, will acquit us of a desire to shed our brother's blood.

The law of necessity and of right compelled us to act as we did. He had reason to believe that the Creator smiled on it. The Federal flag was taken down without the loss of a single life. He believed that Providence would be with us and bless us to the end. We had appealed to the God of Battles for the justness of our cause. Madness and folly ruled at Washington. Had it not have been so, several of the States would have been in the old Union for a year to come. Maryland would join us, and may be, ere long, the principles that Washington fought for might be again administered in the city that bore his name.

Every son of the South, from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, should rally to the support of Maryland. If Lincoln quits Washington as ignominously as he entered it, God's will will have, been accomplished. The argument was now. exhausted. Be prepared; stand to your arms — defend your wives and firesides. He alluded to the momentous consequences of the issue involved. Rather than be conquered, let every second man rally to drive back the invader. The conflict maybe terrible, but the victory will be ours. Virginians, said he, you fight for the preservation of your sacred rights — the land of Patrick Henry — to keep from desecration the tomb of Washington, the graves of Madison, Jefferson, and all you hold most dear.--Richmond Dispatch, April 23.

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