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[114] the secession of the cotton States would be inevitable. Apart from the factitious importance with which party spirit had invested the question, it was little more in point of fact than a mere abstraction. The recognition of the decision of the Supreme Court on the part of Congress, would not have added a single slave or a single slave State to the number already existing. The natural and irreversible laws of climate would prove an insurmountable barrier against the admission of any of our Territories as a slave State into the Union.

The President, therefore, in his annual message of 3d December, 1860, appealed to Congress to institute an amendment to the Constitution recognizing the rights of the Southern States in regard to slavery in the Territories. But before we proceed to give the history and the fate of this recommendation, it is necessary to revert to previous portions of the message, in which he endeavored to hold the balance fairly between the North and the South.

And first in respect to the wrongs which the South had suffered, he says:

The long-continued and intemperate interference of the Northern people with the question of slavery in the Southern States, has at length produced its natural effects. The different sections of the Union are now arrayed against each other, and the time has arrived, so much dreaded by the Father of his Country, when hostile geographical parties have been formed.

I have long foreseen, and often forewarned my countrymen of the now impending danger. This does not proceed solely from the claim on the part of Congress or the Territorial Legislatures to exclude slavery from the Territories, nor from the efforts of different States to defeat the execution of the fugitive slave law.

All or any of these evils might have been endured by the South, without danger to the Union (as others have been), in the hope that time and reflection might apply the remedy. The immediate peril arises, not so much from these causes, as from the fact that the incessant and violent agitation of the slavery question throughout the North, for the last quarter of a century, has at length produced its malign influence on the slaves, and inspired

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December 3rd, 1860 AD (1)
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