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[81] so called, not by an attempt to recover by arms their constitutional rights in the Union, but simply to escape by withdrawal from the confederation, and the resumption of their original character of independent States.

But again it was urged by the apologists of Mr. Lincoln's election that such escape of the South from its results was unfair, in view of the fact that during most of the preceding period of the Union, the South had held in its hands the administration at Washington, and had but little reason now to complain that it had passed to those of the rival section.

This view was not without plausibility, and yet as fallacious as that which appealed to the prescriptive rule of majorities in America. The South had held political power at Washington for a long time; but that power threatened nothing in the North, sought nothing from it, desired to disturb nothing in it. It had no aggressive intent: it stood constantly on the defensive. It had no sectional history: it was associated with a general prosperity of the country. “Do not forget,” said Senator Hammond of South Carolina, when Mr. Seward boasted in the United States Senate that the North was about to take control at Washington,--“it can never be forgotten — it is written on the brightest page of human history — that we, the slaveholders of the South, took our country in her infancy, and, after ruling her for sixty out of seventy years of her existence, we shall surrender her to you without a stain upon her honour, boundless in prosperity, incalculable in her strength, the wonder and the admiration of the world. Time will show what you will make of her; but no time can ever diminish our glory or your responsibility.”

When the South held power, it was only to the North a certain absence from office, a certain exclusion from patronage. But when the North was to obtain it, acting not as a party, but a people united on a geographical idea, it was something more than a negative evil or disappointment to the South; it was the enthronement at Washington of a sectional despotism that threatened the institutions, the property, and the lives of the people of the Southern States. Power in the hands of the South affected the patronage of a political party in the North. Power in the hands of the North affected the safety and happiness of every individual in the South.-It was simply determined by the South to withdraw from a game where the stakes were so unequal, and where her loss would have been ruin.

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