Do we not know, too, that if all the seceding Senators
had stood here as faithful sentinels, representing the interests of their States, they had it in their power to check any advance that might be made by the incoming Administration.
I showed these facts, and enumerated them at the last session.
They were shown here the other day. On the 4th of March, when President Lincoln
was inaugurated, we had a majority of six upon this floor in opposition to his Administration.
Where, then, is there even a pretext for breaking up the Government
upon the idea that he would have encroached upon our rights?
Does not the nation know that Mr. Lincoln
could not have made his Cabinet without the consent of the majority of the Senate?
Do we not know that he could not even have sent a minister abroad without the majority of the Senate confirming the nomination?
Do we not know that if any minister whom he sent abroad should make a treaty inimical to the institutions of the South
, that treaty could not have been ratified without a majority of two-thirds of the Senate?
With all these facts staring them in the face, where is the pretence for breaking up the Government
Is it not clear that there has been a fixed purpose, a settled design, to break up the Government
and change the nature and character and whole genius of the Government
Does it not prove conclusively, as there was no cause, that they simply selected it as an occasion that was favorable to excite the prejudices of the South
, and thereby enable them to break up this Government and establish a Southern Confederacy?
Then, when we get at it, what is the real cause?
If Mr. Breckinridge
, or Mr. Davis
, or some other favorite of those who are now engaged in breaking up the Government
, had been elected President
of the United States
, it would have been a very nice thing; they would have respected the judgment of the people, and no doubt their confidence in the capacity of the people for self-government would have been increased; but it so happened that the people thought proper to elect somebody else, according to law and the Constitution
Then, as all parties had done heretofore, it was the duty of the whole people to acquiesce; if he made a good President
, sustain him; if he became a bad one, condemn him; if he violated the law and the Constitution
, impeach him. We had our remedy under the Constitution
and in the Union
What is the real cause?
Disappointed ambition; an unhallowed ambition.
Certain men could not wait any longer, and they seized this occasion to do what they had been wanting to do for a long time — break up the Government
If they could not rule a large country, they thought they might rule a small one.
Hence one of the prime movers in the Senate ceased to be a Senator, and passed out to be President
of the Southern Confederacy.
Another, who was bold enough on this floor to proclaim himself a rebel, retired as a Senator, and became Secretary of State
All perfectly disinterested — no ambition about it!
, of Louisiana
--one who understands something about the idea of dividing garments; who belongs to the tribe that parted the garments of our Saviour, and upon his vesture cast lots — went out of this body and was made Attorney-General
, to show his patriotism and disinterestedness — nothing else!
, disinterested altogether, is to go as Minister to France
I might enumerate many such instances.
This is all patriotism, pure disinterestedness!
Do we not see where it all ends?
Disappointed, impatient, unhallowed ambition.
There has been no cause for breaking up this Government; there have been no rights denied, no privileges trampled upon under the Constitution and Union, that might not have been remedied more effectually in the Union
than outside of it. What rights are to be attained outside of the Union
The seceders have violated the Constitution
, trampled it under foot; and what is their condition now?
Upon the abstract idea that they had a right to secede, they have gone out; and what is the consequence?
Oppression, taxation, blood, and civil war. They have gone out of the Union
; and, I repeat again, they have got taxes, usurpations, blood, and civil war.
I said just now that I had advocated the election to the Presidency of the distinguished Senator
, on the ground that he was a good Union man. I wish we could now hear his eloquent voice in favor of the old Government of our fathers, and in vindication of the Stars and Stripes, that have been borne in triumph everywhere.
I hold in my hand a document which was our text-book in the campaign.
It is headed “Breckinridge
and Lane Campaign Document No. 16
Who are the disunionists?
the true Union candidates.”
It contains an extract which I will read from the Senator
's address on the removal of the Senate from the old to the new Chamber.
I would to God he was as good a Union man to-day as I think he was then:
Such is our country; ay, and more — far more than my mind could conceive or my tongue could utter.
Is there an American who regrets the past?
Is there one who will deride his country's laws, pervert her Constitution, or alienate her people?
If there be such a man, let his memory descend to posterity laden with the execrations of all mankind. * * * Let us devoutly trust that another Senate, in another age, shall bear to a new and larger Chamber this Constitution vigorous and inviolate, and that the last generation of posterity shall witness the deliberations of the Representatives of American States still united, prosperous, and free.
Now this was the text — an extract from a speech of the Senator
, after the nomination was made: