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[47] I against Scotland, to disclaim in words ‘any purpose of conquest or subjugation, or the overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of those (the seceding) States,’ and to declare by solemn resolution its object to be simply the preservation of the Union, ‘with all the dignity, equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired.’ This is in the very spirit of the scriptural son, who ‘answered and said, I go, sir; and went not.’

It would be hard to find language more exactly and comprehensively descriptive of all that the policy actually pursued was not. Every statement of this declaration was contradicted, every pledge broken, while, in the words of an English writer (Professor Goldwin Smith), whose systematic Northern bias, unphilosophical and misleading as it is, could not wholly blind him to the patent facts of the case, ‘the stronger’ of the ‘two separate nations’ ‘proceeded to attack, conquer and re-annex the weaker.’ It is matter of history, the whole world knows, how the ‘established institutions’ and ‘all the dignity, equality and rights’ of the latter fared in this process. Congress might, indeed, as well have passed a resolution that the war should be waged without inflicting the slightest injury upon person or property. The one would have been as practically effective, as much regarded, as the other.

In truth there were but two practicable and consistent courses open for adoption—either to adhere to the Constitution and abandon coercion, or to abandon the Constitution and adhere to coercion. Between these, and these alone, lay the choice.

And so, at length, the theory of Mr. Stevens, while not, as in his case, candidly avowed, became the one generally accepted and acted on, though expressed, it is true, in somewhat more euphemistic language, as, for example, in that which fell from Mr. Noell, of Missouri, during the debate on this bill. ‘* * * * we cannot afford, while the nation is trembling upon the brink of destruction, to split hairs on technical constitutional points. If I had power I would save the nation's life by the exercise of all powers necessary to the result.’ Or in the passage from Mr. Blaine's ‘Twenty Years of Congress,’ in which he sums up as follows: ‘The organic law would not have been strained, legal fictions would not have been invented, contradictory theories would not have been indulged, if a great national interest had not required the creation of West Virginia.’

Translated into plain English, this will be found to differ in no way substantially from Mr. Stevens' doctrine. The whole transaction, indeed, is a forcible and even startling illustration of the persistent

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