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[45] people educated in a twelvemonth up to being willing that their idolized Union should risk a battle, should risk dissolution, in order, at any risk, to put down this rebellion of slave States.

But I am sorry that a gun should be fired at Fort Sumter, or that a gun should be fired from it, for this reason: The Administration at Washington does not know its time. Here are a series of States girding the Gulf; who think that their peculiar institutions require that they should have a separate government. They have a right to decide that question, without appealing to you or me. A large body of people, sufficient to make a nation, have come to the conclusion, that they will have a government of a certain form. Who denies them the right? Standing with the principles of ‘76 behind us, who can deny them the right? What is a matter of a few millions of dollars, or a few forts? It is a mere drop in the bucket of the great national question. It is theirs, just as much as ours. I maintain, on the principles of ‘76, that Abraham Lincoln has no right to a soldier in Fort Sumter.

But the question comes, secondly, “Suppose we had a right to interfere, what is the good of it?” You may punish South Carolina for going out of the Union: that does not bring her in. You may subdue her by hundreds of thousands of armies, but that does not make her a State. There is no longer a Union: it is nothing but boy's play. Mr. Jefferson Davis is angry, and Mr. Abraham Lincoln is mad, and they agree to fight. One, two, or three years hence, if the news of the afternoon is correct, we shall have gone through a war, spent millions, required the death of a hundred thousand men, and be exactly then where we are now,—two nations, a little more angry, a little poorer, and a great deal wiser; and that will be the only difference: we may just as well settle it now as then.

You cannot go through Massachusetts, and recruit men to bombard Charleston or New Orleans. The Northern mind will not bear it; you can never make such a war popular. The first onset may be borne; the telegraph may bring us news, that Anderson has bombarded Charleston, and you may rejoice; but the sober second thought of Massachusetts will be, “wasteful, unchristian, guilty.” The North never will indorse such a war. Instead of conquering Charleston, you create a Charleston in New England; you stir up sympathy for the South. Therefore it seems to me that the inauguration of war is not a violation of principle, but it is a violation of expediency.

To be for disunion, in Boston, is to be an abolitionist: to be against disunion is to be an abolitionist to-day, in the streets of Charleston. Now, that very state of things shows, that the civilization of the two cities is utterly antagonistic. What is the use of trying to join them?

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