the Union? And yet men prate of a first allegiance due to their State! But to what power does the man of foreign birth assume allegiance when he becomes a citizen? and what is the character of his citizenship? Does he by his naturalization become a citizen of any particular State? No; he attains the dignity of American citizenship. Does he swear allegiance to any State? No; he swears to support the Constitution of the United States. He is not by that step identified with a part, but with the whole, of the Nation, and binds himself to the Government which represents the Nation. And yet that man is told that he owes primary and paramount allegiance to the State he lives in, the Constitution of which he never promised to support, and the obligation of which upon him ceases the moment he steps outside her border! In sober verity, there is in this whole dogma of State allegiance an absurdity so glaring, a perversion of the true principles of constitutional law so flagrant, a delusion so pitiful and yet so monstrous, that it is a world's wonder that men of sense could anywhere be found to inculcate or even countenance a doctrine, that any school-boy might refute, and which a jurist or a statesman would regard as worthy only of ridicule and contempt.
Allegiance to King cotton.But, my friends, the truth is, that this dogma is but a cloak for another kind of allegiance, which has usurped the place of that due to the Constitutional Government of the Union. The people of the insurgent States have, in great part, renounced allegiance to that Government, and transferred it to their cotton bales and the system of labor that produces them. With them cotton is King, and they bow down to their king with a reverence denied to their country! A dream of the dominion of cotton over three mighty nations — the American, the French, and the British--has filled their imaginations, until it assumes to them the form of a reality. But for this delusion, never was there a more loyal people than they; with it, never was there a people more miserable than they are destined to be, persisting in their unnatural rebellion. No instance can be found, of great nations being permanently held tributary to any one spot of this earth, for a production of the soil indispensable to their comfort and civilization, when only labor was needed to produce it in unlimited quantities in other lands, unmindful of this, that people plunge into rebellion to clutch the sceptre of commercial power, and, as they clutch, it eludes their grasp, and passes away forever, The dominion they might have wielded, as a part of the United States, for many years to come, was broken in the hour they attempted to separate themselves from their country. They have disturbed the commercial equilibrium of great nations; and to avoid a recurrence of such disturbance hereafter, those nations are already searching the earth for new regions where cotton may be grown, and for the labor to cultivate it. Both will be found; and when found, the overthrow of the kingdom of cotton in this republic, and of the system of labor upon which that kingdom rests, is but a question of time; and with that overthrow, if not before, reason will resume its sway, patriotism its power, and allegiance to the Constitution its supremacy.
Right of Revolution.If it be asked, may not a people throw off their allegiance, and make for themselves a new government? the answer is, of course, they may. The right of revolution is inherent in every people; but it is ultima ratio--the last resort, and is not a remedy which any people may, without awful crime, needlessly appeal to. But so perverted are the judgments of many in the present crisis, and so deeply have their minds, insensibly to themselves, become imbued with destructive error, that thousands wildly claim the right of any portion of a nation to throw off and overturn their Government at their mere pleasure, for any cause or no cause, regardless of consequences, and in defiance of every principle which justifies or upholds any form of human authority. It were needless to say that such a doctrine tears up by the roots all social order, and prostrates like a whirlwind every institution of government. To see its legitimate and inevitable fruits, you have only to look at Mexico, where forty years of revolutions have wrought desolations, which another forty years of peace and order might not repair. If the American people are not to take a place alongside of that poor victim of periodical revolt, let them understand the principles upon which alone any people may make themselves the executioners of their own Government. If it be not in vain to hold up the words and example of our Revolutionary fathers, let us learn from them when to take the sword; lest, taking it rashly and without cause, we perish by the sword. Read their Declaration of Independence, and ponder these words:
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience has shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having, in direct object, the establishment