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[212] for numerical strength to avert that result; except that other fact, known to you all, that the Cotton States broke up that party, and thereby rendered the defeat of Mr. Lincoln impossible. At the very moment when the Anti-Slavery agitation seemed to be approaching victory, and when it was the stern duty of every man in the opposing ranks to forget all minor differences, and stand like a rock against its further progress, those States deliberately abandoned their former position, proclaimed principles which they had previously denied with emphasis, seceded from the party, and themselves opened the way for the result upon which they intended to base their subsequent secession from the Union. Secession was the great object they had aimed at for nearly a third of a century. The evidence of a deep-laid and long-cherished conspiracy among them to destroy the Union, is abundant and conclusive. The “proper moment” to “precipitate the Cotton States into a revolution,” of which Mr. Yancey wrote, in 1858--the proper moment to “pull a temple down that has been built three-quarters of a century, and clear the rubbish away and reconstruct another,” as was proclaimed by a member of the South Carolina Convention--the proper moment to let slip the dogs of war among children of the same fathers and people of the same nation — the proper moment, in a word, to consummate the treason which had been festering and growing for thirty years--was seen to have arrived; and the plotters were not slow to seize it. They had already proclaimed that the election of a President by the Republican party would be a sufficient cause for the dissolution of the Union, and they set themselves to the work of making that election certain, by their own disruption of the only party that had the numbers to prevent it. And they succeeded, to a miracle. Never was game of duplicity and treachery better played. They betrayed their previously professed principles, their party, and their country, all at once; and at the moment of consummating the crowning act of their sacrilege, they turn to the world, with an air of injured innocence, and appeal to mankind to justify a rebellion based on the success of their own most devilish machinations! Has history a parallel to this?

But were it otherwise — had they done all that men could do, to prevent the election of a sectional President, and such had, nevertheless, been elected, on the principles alleged by South Carolina in her Declaration, or even on worse — it was still an ascertained and indisputable fact, before her secession, that in both Houses of the present Congress there would be a majority against him, if all the States should stand firm, and retain their representation there. In that case, Mr. Lincoln would have been this day, and certainly for two years to come, the possessor of a barren power, except as to official patronage, and utterly impotent to impress a single principle of his party on the Government, or to touch in a single point the institution of slavery. But what was this to the schemers of treason? Their work was to destroy the Union, not to defend slavery. If they stopped to do the latter, the former would be left undone; if they used their constitutional power to protect slavery, or to obtain guarantees, the Constitution would be preserved: so they trampled upon the Constitution, abjured their allegiance, snapped the bond of brotherhood, and seized the sword to redress a grievance, which they themselves designedly aided to produce! I need not ask if history has a parallel to this. It stands out, in hideous deformity, the monster iniquity of all the ages, whose dark, deep stain ages cannot wash away.

Were any thing wanting to give completeness to the ignominy of this act, it is at hand, furnished by the leaders in it, at the moment of its perpetration. While they were putting forth to the world their “Declaration,” they were engaged, in their debates, in denying its most solemn allegations. They appealed to mankind to justify their treason, because the President had been elected by a sectional vote; and at the same time declared, among themselves, that they had for a quarter of a century been plotting to accomplish the work of disruption then attained, and that that result had not been produced by that election! Listen to some of the many expressions made in the South Carolina Convention by its master-spirits.

Mr. Parker. “It appears to me, with great deference to the opinions that have been expressed, that the public mind is fully made up to the great occasion that now awaits us. It is no spasmodic effort that has come suddenly upon us, but it has been gradually culminating for a long series of years, until at last it has come to that point when we may say the matter is entirely right.”

Mr. Inglis. “If there is any gentleman present who wishes to debate this matter, of course this body will hear him; but as to delay for the purpose of discussion, I, for one am opposed to it. As my friend (Mr. Parker) has said, most of us have had this matter under consideration for the last twenty years, and I presume we have by this time arrived at a decision on the subject.”

Mr. Keitt. “We are performing a great act, which involves not only the stirring present, but embraces the whole great future of ages to come. I have been engaged in this movement ever since I entered political life. I am content with what has been done to-day, and content with what will take place to-morrow. We have carried the body of this Union to its last resting place, and now we will drop the flag over its grave.”

Mr. Rhett. “The secession of South Carolina is not an event of a day. It is not any thing produced by Mr. Lincoln's election, or by the non-execution of the fugitive slave law. It has been a matter which has been gathering head for thirty years; and in the production of this great result the great men who have passed before us, whose great ”

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