the case for the abstract right of secession might be rested, and we could go on to the next stage of the discussion.
I am unwilling, however, so to do. The issue involved is still one of interest, and I am not disposed to leave it on the mere dictum of two authorities, however eminent.
In the first place I do altogether concur in their statements; in the next place, this discussion is a mere threshing of straw unless we get at the true inwardness of the situation.
When it comes to subjects, political or moral, in which human beings are involved, metaphysics are scarcely less to be avoided than cant; alleged historical facts are apt to prove deceptive; and I confess to grave suspicions of logic.
Old time theology, for instance, with its pitiless reasoning, led the world into very strange places and much bad company.
In reaching a conclusion, therefore, in which a verdict is entered on the motives and actions of men, acting either individually or in masses, the moral, the sentimental and the practical, must be quite as much taken into account as the legal, the logical and the material.
This, in the present case, I prop,) se presently to do; but, as I have said, on the facts even I am unable wholly to concur with Professor Smith
and Mr. Lodge
, for instance, cites Washington
But it so chances Washington
put himself on record upon the point at issue, and his testimony is directly at variance with the views attributed to him by Mr. Webster
What are known in history as the Kentucky
resolutions, drawn up by Thomas Jefferson
, then Vice-President
, were passed by the legislature of the State whose name they bear in November, 1798.
In those resolutions the view of the framers of the Constitution
as to the original scope of that instrument accepted by Professor Smith
and Mr. Lodge
was first set forth.
The principles acted upon by South Carolina
on the 20th of December, 1860, were enunciated by Kentucky
November 16, 1798.
The dragon's teeth were then sown.
was at that time living in retirement at Mt. Vernon
When, a few weeks later, the character of those resolutions became known to him, he was deeply concerned, and wrote to Lafayette,—‘The Constitution, according to their interpretation of it, would be a mere cipher;’ and again a few days later, he expressed himself still more strongly in a letter to Patrick Henry
,—‘Measures are systematically and pertinaciously pursued which must eventually dissolve the Union
, or produce coercion.’
XI, pp. 378, 389.) Coercion Washington
thus looked to as the remedy to which recourse could properly be had in case of any overt attempt at secession.