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[38]

The next day, December 4th, the New York Times publishes another article, in which it says:

Mr. Weed has stated his opinion of the crisis thus:

1. There is imminent danger of a dissolution of the Union.

2. The danger originated in the ambition and cupidity of men who desire a southern despotism, and in the fanatic zeal of the northern Abolitionists, who seek the emancipation of slaves regardless of consequences.

3. The danger can only be averted by such moderation and forbearance as will draw out, strengthen and combine the Union sentiment of the whole country.

Each of these statements will command general assent.

The only question likely to arise relates to the practical measures by which the ‘moderation and forbearance’ can be displayed.

And while the South Carolina Convention was in session, and before any State had seceded, and when it was doubted by many whether such action would be taken, Mr. Greeley said:

If it (the Declaration of Independence) justifies the secession from the British Empire of three million colonists in 1776, we do not see why it would not justify the secession of five millions of southrons from the Federal Union in 1861. If we are mistaken on this point, why does not some one attempt to show wherein and why? For our own part, while we deny the right of slave-holders to hold slaves against the will of the latter, we cannot see how twenty millions of people can rightfully hold ten, or even five, in a detested union with them by military force.

In the same issue of Mr. Greeley's paper we read the following:

If seven or eight contiguous States shall present themselves authentically at Washington, saying: ‘We hate the Federal Union; we have withdrawn from it; we will give you the choice between acquiescing in our secession and arranging amicably all incidental questions on the one hand, and attempting to subdue us on the other,’ we could not stand up for coercion, for subjugation, for we do not think it would be just. We hold the right of self-government even when invoked in behalf of those who deny it to others. So much for the question of principle.

This conservative view of the question which Mr. Greeley gave to the world with such emphasis, and in which he expressed his opinion of the principle involved, was reiterated for days, weeks and months, with the characteristic persistence of that able leader.

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