Is Abraham Lincoln capable of making fire and powder lie down together in peace? If he can, let him send his army to Fort Sumter, and occupy it. But understand me: I believe in the Union, exactly as you do, in the future. This is my proposition: “ Go out, gentlemen; you are welcome to your empire; take it.” Let them try the experiment of cheating with one hand, and idleness with the other. I know that God has written bankruptcy over such an experiment. If you cannonade South Carolina, you cannonade her into the sympathy of the world. I do not know now but what a majority there is on my side; but I know this, that, if the telegraph speaks true to-night, that the guns are echoing around Fort Sumter, that a majority is against us; for it will convert every man into a secessionist. Besides, there is another fearful element in the problem; there is another terrible consideration: we can then no longer extend to the black race, at the South, our best sympathy and our best aid. We stand to-night at the beginning of an epoch, which may have the peace or the ruin of a generation in its bosom. Inaugurate war, we know not where it will end; we are in no condition to fight. The South is poor, and we are rich. The poor man can do twice the injury to the rich man, that the rich man can do the poor. Your wealth rides safely on the bosom of the ocean, and New England has its millions afloat. The North whitens every sea with its wealth. The South has no commerce, but she can buy the privateers of every race to prey on yours. It is a dangerous strife when wealth quarrels with poverty. Driven to despair, the Southern States may be poor and bankrupt, but the poorest man can be a pirate; and, as long as New England's tonnage is a third of that of the civilized world, the South can punish New England more than New England can punish her. We provoke a strife in which we are defenceless. If, on the contrary, we hold ourselves to the strife of ideas, if we manifest that strength which despises insult and bides its hour, we are sure to conquer in the end. I distrust these guns at Fort Sumter. I do not believe that Abraham Lincoln means war. I do not believe in the madness of the Cabinet. Nothing but madness can provoke war with the Gulf States. My suspicion is this : that the Administration dares not compromise. It trembles before the five hundred thousand readers of the New-York Tribune. But there is a safe way to compromise. It is this: seem to provoke war. Cannonade the forts. What will be the first result? New-York commerce is pale with bankruptcy. The affrighted seaboard sees grass growing in its streets. It will start up every man whose
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