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[25] guarantee should be given that the Constitution of the country should be regarded.


Zzzchief-justice Chase in the peace Convention.

Chief-Justice Chase told our southern people, in his great speech of February 6, 1861, that neither he nor any of the leaders of the Republican party, could guarantee to the South that the party coming into power would obey the clause of the Constitution which pledged protection to the property of the people of the South.

Mr. Chase said:

The result of the national canvass which recently terminated in the election of Mr. Lincoln has been spoken of by some as the effect of a sudden impulse or of some irregular excitement of the popular mind; and it has been somewhat confidently asserted that, upon reflection and consideration, the hastily-formed opinions which brought about the election will be changed.

I cannot take this view of the result of the presidential election. I believe, and the belief amounts to absolute conviction, that the election must be regarded as a triumph of principles cherished in the hearts of the people of the free States.

We have elected him (Mr. Lincoln). After many years of earnest advocacy and of severe trial we have achieved the triumph of that principle. By a fair and unquestioned majority we have secured that triumph. Do you think we, who represent this majority, will throw it away? Do you think the people will sustain us if we undertake to throw it away? I must speak to you plainly, gentlemen of the South. It is not in my heart to deceive you. I, therefore, tell you explicitly that if we of the North and West would consent to throw away all that has been gained in the recent triumph of our principles, the people would not sustain us, and so the consent would avail you nothing.

Mr. Chase, in that speech, with great force, gave the South to understand that the Northern States would not, and ought not, to comply with the obligations of the Federal Constitution.

He said if the leaders attempted an enforcement of that part of the Constitution which the South demanded, the people of the North could not sustain them, and they would be powerless.

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