Contemporary Northern opinions of secession.
Recall the contemporary opinions of Northern publicists and leading journals.
The New York Herald
considered coercion out of the question.
On the 9th of November, 1860, the New York Tribune
, Horace Greeley
being the editor, said:
If the cotton States shall decide that they can do better out of the Union than in it, we insist on letting them go in peace.
The right to secede may be a revolutionary one, but it exists nevertheless, and we do not see how one party can have the right to do what another party has a right to prevent.
We must ever resist the asserted right of any State to remain in the Union and nullify or defy the laws thereof; to withdraw from the Union is quite another matter.
This was precisely the creed of Jefferson Davis
Again, on the 17th day of December, after the secession of South Carolina
, that journal said:
If the Declaration of Independence justified the secession from the British empire of three millions of colonists in 1776, we do not see why it would not justify the secession of five millions of Southerners from the Federal Union in 1861.
If we are mistaken on the point, why does not some one attempt to show wherein and why?
And yet again, on the 23d of February, after Mr. Davis
had been inaugurated as President
, it said:
We have repeatedly said, and we once more insist, that the great principle embodied by Jefferson in the Declaration of American Independence, that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, is sound and just, and that if the slave States, the cotton States, or the Gulf States only choose to form an independent nation they have a clear moral right to do so.