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‘ [223] disrupted I shall return to my native State and share the miseries of my people, and, save in defense, will draw my sword no more.’

This letter was written with reference to the secession of some of the cotton States on account of the election of Mr. Lincoln, and it expresses the views of the great majority of the people of Virginia at that time on that subject—views which were concurred in by large majorities in all the border slave States, and, as we shall see, by large minorities in the cotton States themselves. The opinion expressed in the letter, that secession should only be resorted to as a revolutionary measure, after every pacific and constitutional means of composing the difficulties that beset the country had been exhausted, and the feeling of attachment to the Union itself as preferable to any other government that could be established, provided the government of the Union itself should be placed upon the foundation of justice and equity, expressed the almost unanimous sentiment of the people of the border slave States and of a very large minority of those of the cotton States.

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Abraham Lincoln (1)
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