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[456] or they do not. Henry Wilson, when he says, “I am for perpetuating the Union,” means by it what the South means, or he does not. All these parties mean the same thing, or they do not. If they do, then I stain them all with the blood of four millions of slaves, who lie crushed and bleeding beneath the Union. If they do not, then I say, there is treachery somewhere; because they are using the same word, representing the old idea of the Union as understood and carried out by our fathers. Who is it that is playing falsely?

My reasons for leaving the Union are, first, because of the nature of the bond. I would not stand here a moment, were it not that this is with me a question of absolute morality—of obedience to the “ higher law.” By all that is just and holy, it is not optional whether you or I shall occupy the ground of Disunion. It is not a matter of political expediency or policy, or even of incongruity of interests between the North and the South. It strikes deeper, it rises higher, than that. This is the question: Are we of the North not bound in a Union with slaveholders, whereby they are enabled to hold four millions of our countrymen in bondage, with all safety and impunity? Is not Massachusetts in alliance with South Carolina, Rhode Island with Georgia, Maine with Alabama, Vermont with Mississippi, giving the strength of this nation to the side of the dealer in human flesh? My difficulty, therefore, is a moral one. The Union was formed at the expense of the slave population of the land. I cannot swear to uphold it. As I understand it, they who ask me to do so, ask me to do an immoral act—to stain my conscience—to sin against God. How can I do this? I care not what consequences may be predicted. It is a sin to “strike hands with thieves, and consent with adulterers.” I aver that the compact made by our fathers, in relation to its slaveholding guarantees, is a compact more wicked than was ever made since the world began. . . .

Again, I am for the speedy overthrow of the Union because, while it exists, I see no end to the extension of slavery. I see everything in the hands of the Slave Power now. I see the national Government for four years to come—all the resources of the country—every dollar in the treasury—the army, the navy, the judiciary, everything—in its grasp; and I know that, with all these means and facilities, and the disposition to use them, nothing can successfully contend against it.

I am sure of another thing—that when the North shall withdraw from the Union, there will be an end to Southern

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