all it is necessary to say of him. To alter and interpolate, without the consent of a nation, its title deed to its rights and liberties, to alter which is the same as to forge the contract which establishes the obligations of a people to its confederates, is undoubtedly a sin of a deep dye. Has not Massachusetts
done both recently in the late contest?
For proof we offer Lunt
and the incomparable book which we are now reviewing.
says the South
undoubtedly supposed that slavery was guaranteed to it by the Constitution
, and would not have entered into the Union
but for the supposition.
was anxious for the Union
on account of the threats of Shay
The Union was formed, Massachusetts
was secured, and if the South
was not guaranteed, it was inveigled into that belief.
When the non-slaveholding States had grown and become strong, was it honorable or clever in them to trample out of existence the institutions which they had guaranteed, and, above all, with what face could they threaten the punishment of treason and confiscation to those who endeavored to defend their chartered rights, of which it was sought to despoil them, even if that were done by force?
If any man wishes to see how false, nay, how puerile, was such a pretence on the part of the winning side, let him study this book and see how universally the old fathers of the Republic
acknowledged this Union to be one of sovereign States, and referred to secession as a remedy for intolerable breaches of the contract.
In opposition to all these, what are the voices even of Webster
and Story and Curtis
In themselves not impotent and puny, we by no means thus characterize them, except in contrast with the mighty array of those wise men whose words are brought in contrast with the teachings of these lesser lights.
Indeed, we might rely on the changed opinion of Webster
himself, the greatest, by far, of the three in opposition, to these not very well digested theories.
In relation to this very Constitution, he said towards the close of his life, that ‘a bargain broken on one side was broken on all sides.’
And yet, to an array of nations acting upon this principle, generally acknowledged by the men who wrote the Constitution
and formed the Union
, as proved by this book, the punishments of treason were denounced by those who had so plainly committed the first and most palpable sin. Are the non-slaveholding States, and especially is New England
, which benefitted so largely by the Union
, in its escape from the penalties of Shay
's rebellion and in the profits of the slave trade, ready and willing to meet the impeachment, when dragged before the bar of nations to answer for these manifold crimes and impertinencies?