previous next
[507] been made destructive of them, by the action of the non-slaveholding States. Those States have assumed the right of deciding1 upon the propriety of our domestic institutions, and have denied the rights of property established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the Constitution. They have denounced as sinful the institution of slavery; they have permitted the open establishment2 among them of societies whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to eloign the property of the citizens of other States; they have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves to leave their homes, and those who remain have been incited by emissaries, books, and3 pictures to servile insurrection. For twenty-five years this agitation has been steadily increasing, until it has now secured to4 forms of the Constitution, a sectional party has found within that article establishing the executive department the means of subverting the Constitution itself. A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery. He is to be entrusted with the administration of the common Government because he has declared that that “government cannot endure permanently half slave, half5 free,” and that the public mind must rest in the belief that slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction. This sectional combination for the subversion of the Constitution has been aided in some of the States by elevating to citizenship persons who, by the supreme law of the land, are incapable of becoming citizens; and their votes have been used to inaugurate a new policy hostile to the South, and destructive of its peace and safety. On the 4th of March next, this party will take possession of the Government. It has announced that the South shall be excluded from the common territory; that the judicial tribunals shall be made sectional; and that a war must be waged against slavery until it shall cease throughout the United States.

The lines we have italicized indicated the Southern ultimatum of compromise, if compromise could avert the impending catastrophe: the abolitionists must be suppressed—the American conscience on the subject of slavery must be extirpated. Already the respectable mob in Boston and other great cities had manifested6

1 Ante, 1.484; 3.462.

2 Ante, 1.486.

3 Ante, 1.232, 241, 242, 309, 310, 485, 486.

4 Ante, 2.59; 3.275.

5 Ante, 2.338; 3.420.

6 Ante, pp. 505, 506.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March 4th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: