Let us not be Deceived.
Let Us not be Deceived.
Nothing could be more fatal than for Virginia
to rely upon promises from Washington
for an adjustment of the sectional issue — especially upon promises which are disseminated about the time of the important election so near at hand.
Adjustment is not a thing that can be effected in a day, a week, or a year, by three men, or thirty, or three thousand.
The disease of the country is sectionalism.
It rages among the masses.
It is a canker in the hearts of the people.
It is past the remedy of politicians.
It defies the nostrums of Washington
The Union is not a political contrivance, but a condition of American society, the growth of many years, and it cannot be saved by more expedients.
How mistaken are those who consider the Federal Government
as the foundation of the Union
! It is but an emblem and result — a convenience and instrument in the hands of Union to effect her purposes.--The Union of these States is the natural condition of society on this continent, which existed before, and independently of, the Federal Government
When it ceases, the Federal Government falls
; but the government may crumble to pieces a thousand times and yet the Union
They are two things, and it is the Union
which is diseased and not the government.
The author of The Crisis,
the trumpet of the war of independence, wrote wisely when thus distinguishing between society and government:
"Some have so confounded society with government as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas, they are not only different, but have different objects.
Society is produced by our wants, and governments by our wickedness — the one encourages intercourse; the other creates distinctions.
Society, in every state, is a blessing; but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil — in its worst state, an intolerable one.
Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of Kings
are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise."
The Union began with the wars of the colonists with the savage, and had its origin in the necessity for common measures of defence.
There was association without common government.
It was continued during the struggle with the mother country, when all united for self- preservation.
It went on after the achievement of independence, the whole gaining more respect in the eyes of the world than each divided into fragments.
Thus a common history produced similar institutions, and from both together resulted common interests, kindred feelings, and natural association.
Afterwards, free emigration to and fro, and interchange of citizenship; free trade, with its millions of business transactions and mutual interests; countless intermarriages, with their silken ties; and the innumerable ligaments which grow out of intimate, social, and geographical relations, conspired to make union the natural, normal, and cherished condition of American society.
It was union into a community independently of government; it was a social condition, and not a political contrivance.
If sectionalism has entered the minds and hearts of the people, if sentiments of antagonism actuate the masses, and a barrier of ice and alienation divides what was one people into two, then Union has ceased as a condition of society, and must, per necessity, cease also as a contrivance of government.
To attempt to restore union by tinkering at the government, is like physicking a dog to cure the disease of its master.
To look to Washington
for peace offerings, which can only come from millions of people overspreading half the continent, is to become Millerites in politics, and expect a millennium from the preaching of deluded self-constituted prophets.
The two great Churches of the Baptists and Methodists, which represent the masses of the two sections, have divided apart, and proved the utter alienation of the two wings of their flocks.
If the sundered segments of these Christian associations should come together by mutual attraction, and be cemented into a whole by reciprocal affection, this would be such glad tidings of great joy as the telegraph might flash with ecstasy over the land; as newspapers might herald with exhilarating flourishes of type; as patriots might hall with unalloyed gladness, and sleep upon with repose unrelieved by anxiety.
But it is only evidences of a character like these which can insure the return of friendship between the sections and convalescence to the Union
But when it is announced that Mr. Seward
, Mr. Douglas
and Mr. Crittenden
have put their heads together and devised a scheme of compromise, we recognize only a piece of head- work, without heart work; we turn from their scheme as the mere contrivance of an ingenious and interested few; the truce of politicians, the ruse of an enemy, and not the spontaneous offering of the multitude, returning to a sense of justice and patriotism.