Where is the responsibility.
In his late admirable speech in the House of Representatives, Mr. Vallandigham
reminds the President
that, in his summary of the causes which have led to the present Revolution, he omits to tell the country that Secession and Disunion had a New England
origin, and began in Massachusetts
in 1804, at the time of the Louisiana
purchase; were revived by the Hartford Convention in 1814, and culminated, during the war with Great Britain
, in sending Commissioners to Washington
to settle the terms for a peaceful separation of New England
from the other States of the Union
He forgets to remind the country that the present Revolution began forty years ago in the vehement, persistent, offensive, most irritating and unprovoked agitation of the slavery question in the North and West, from the time of the Missouri
controversy, with some short intervals, down to the present hour.
But, sir, the President
ignores totally the violent and long-continued denunciation of slavery and slaveholders, and especially since 1835--I appeal to Jackson
's message for the date and proof — until at last a political anti-slavery organization was formed in the North and West, which continued to gain strength year after year, till at length it had obtained control of every free State in the Union
, and exacted himself, through free State votes alone, to the Presidency of the United States
He chooses to pass over the fact that the party to which he thus owes his place and his present power of mischief, is wholly and totally a sectional organization; and as such, condemned by Washington
, by Jefferson
, by Jackson
, and by all the founders and preservers of the Republic
, and utterly inconsistent with the principles or the peace, the stability or the existence even, of our Federal system.
Sir, there never was an hour, from the organization of this sectional party, when it was not predicted by the wisest men and truest patriots, and when it ought not to have been known by every intelligent man in the country, that it must sooner or later precipitate a revolution and the dissolution of the Union
The President forgets already that, on the 4th of March, he declared that the platform of that party was "a law unto him," by which he meant to be governed in his Administration; yet that platform announced that whereas there were two separate and distinct kinds of labor and forms of civilization in two different sections of the Union
, yet that the entire national domain, belonging in common to all the States, should be taken, possessed and held by one section alone, consecrated to that kind of labor and form of civilization alone which prevailed in that section which, by mere numerical superiority, had chosen the President
, and now has, and for some years past has had, a majority in the Senate, as from the beginning of the Government
it had also in the House
He omits to tell the country and the world — for he speaks and we all speak now, to the world and to posterity — that he himself and his Prime Minister, the Secretary of State
, declared three years ago, and have maintained ever since, that there was an "irrepressible conflict" between the two sections of this Union; that the Union
could not endure part slave and part free; and that the whole power and influence of the Federal Government
must henceforth be put forth to circumscribe and hem in slavery within its existing limits.
And now, sir, how comes it that the President
has forgotten to remind us, also, that when the party thus committed to the principle of deadly hate and hostility to the slave institutions of the South
, and the men who had proclaimed the doctrine of the irrepressible conflict, and who, in the dilemma or alternative of this conflict, were resolved that "the cotton and rice fields of South Carolina
, and the sugar plantations of Louisiana
, should ultimately be tilled by free labor," had obtained power and place in the common Government of the States, the South
, except one State, chose first to demand solemn constitutional guarantees for prosecution against the abuse of the tremendous power and patronage and influence of the Federal Government
for the purpose of securing the great end of the sectional conflict, before resorting to secession or revolution at all?
Did he not know — how could he be ignorant — that, at the last session of Congress, every substantive proposition for adjustment and compromise, except that offered by the gentleman from Illinois
, (Mr. Kellong
,) --and we all know how that was received — came from the South
Stop a moment, and let us see.
The Committee of Thirty-three was moved for in this House
by a gentleman from Virginia
, the second day of the session, and received the vote of every Southern Representative present, except only the members from South Carolina
, who declined to vote.
In the Senate, the Committee
of Thirteen was moved for by a Senator from Kentucky
, (Mr. Powell
,) and received the silent acquiescence of every Southern Senator
propositions, too, were moved also by another Senator
The Border State propositions also were projected by a gentleman from Maryland
, not now a member of this House, and presented by a gentleman from Tennessee
And yet all these propositions, coming thus from the South
, were severally and repeatedly rejected by the almost united vote of the Republican party in the Senate and the House
propositions, for which Mr. Davis
of the Confederate States
, and Mr Toombs
, his Secretary of State
, both declared in the Senate that they would be satisfied, and for which every Southern Senator
and Representative voted, never, on any one occasion, received one solitary vote from the Republican party in either House
amendment, so-called, reported from the Committee
of Thirty-three, and the substantive amendment proposed from the Republican
side, was but a bare promise that Congress should never be authorized to do what no sane man ever believed Congress would undertake to do — abolish slavery in the States where it exists; and yet even this proposition, moderate as it was, and for which every Southern member present voted, except one, was carried through this House
by but one majority, after long and tedious delay, and with the utmost difficulty--sixty-five Republican members having voted against it and fought against it to the very last.
And not this only, but, as a part of the history of the last session, let me remind you that bills were introduced into this House
proposing to abolish and close up certain Southern ports of entry; to authorize the President
to blockade the Southern
coast; and to call out the militia and accept the services of volunteers, not for three months merely, but without any limit as to either numbers or time for the very purpose of enforcing the laws, collecting the revenue and protecting the public property; and were pressed vehemently and earnestly in this House prior to the arrival of the President in this city,
and were then, though seven States had seceded and set up a Government of their own, voted down, postponed, thrust aside, or in some other way disposed of, sometimes by large majorities in the House
, till at last Congress adjourned without any action at all.
No man can read this calm, dispassionate statement of the gallant and high-souled representative of a free State, without seeing at a glance and with the clearness of noon-day upon whose heads rests the responsibility of this war and all its misery and blood.
If any sense of a God or of a Judgment to come is left in the bosoms of the wicked usurpers at Washington
, well may they tremble at the doom of righteous justice which, sooner or later, must descend upon their heads.
As for the South
, her hands are clean; her robe is spotless; she has drawn the sword only in defence of all that makes life worth having, and to the severest scrutiny of eternal justice can cheerfully consign her conduct and her cause.