would have done in 1833--use the army, and the navy, and the militia, to execute the laws, and defend the Government
If he does not, he will be a perjured man. Besides, you cannot bring the people of the South
to a perfect union for secession.
There are those — and “their name is legion” --whom no intimidation can drive into the disunion ranks.
They love the old Union which their fathers transmitted to them, and under which their country has become great, and under which they and their children have been free and happy.
Circumstances may repress their sentiments for a while, but in their hearts they love the Union
; and the first hour they shall be free to speak and to act, they will gather under and send up their joyous shouts for the Stars and Stripes.
They will not fight with you against the flag; so that there must be a double war — a Federal war and a war among ourselves.
And it may be that whole States may refuse to join in the secession movement, (which is most probable,) and then we shall witness the revolting spectacle of one Southern State warring against and in deadly conflict with another; and then, alas!
will be over our unhappy country a reign of terror none the less terrific than that which deluged with blood and strewed with carnage revolutionary France
Supposing, then, the State
to have seceded, and war to have opened, what trophies do you look for?--what are you to gain?
Will you win greater security for the institution of slavery in the States?
You do not want it. None except demented abolitionists assail it. The Supreme Court has raised an impregnable bulwark for its defence.
And even the Republican party (as already remarked) has voluntarily tendered you an amendment of the Constitution
forever guaranteeing slavery in the States against even the touch of Federal legislation.
is their emphatic warning to the abolitionists.
Will you strengthen your claim to the common Territories-advance your privilege of carrying your slaves thither?
Here, too, the Supreme Court by the Dred Scott
decision, has settled your rights; and the Administration party in Congress have abandoned the Wilmot Proviso
— passed territorial laws without any slavery restriction whatever — thus leaving every slaveholder in the South
free to enter the Territories
with his slaves, and even throwing the aegis of judicial protection over that species of property when there.
Moreover, what care you for this Territorial right?
It is of not the least practical concern.
go wherever it is profitable, just as sure as water finds its level.
No human legislation can prevent it, because the instincts of the human constitution and the laws of soil and climate are stronger than any law-giving of finite man. Just as sure will slavery never go where soil and climate forbid.
Now, in none of the Territories
do the laws of soil and climate allow slaves to abide.
Thus, in New Mexico, which is five times as large as the State of New York
, and where slavery exists by law, being recognized and protected by a slave-code, there are, according to the late census, but twenty-six slaves
, and they are the body servants of officers of the civil Government and of the army!
Why, then, should the North
care to exclude slavery from Territories from which God and nature have ordained its exclusion; and what should the South
care for the right to carry slaves where Almighty God has decreed they shall never go?
Of what practical value to the South
is a privilege which, admitted, has carried to an area five times the territorial extent of New York only twenty-six slaves
? Now, I ask, if for so worthless a boon we shall give up this great and glorious Union, whose benefits are pre-eminently practical, and as genial and numerous as they are practical?
And shall we aggravate our folly by stickling for this right to the point of disunion, when the right, if worth any thing, is fortified and secured by the decision of the highest judicial tribunal of the land, and controverted by none?
Shall we go to war, and to civil war, for a bauble so empty and worthless?
But it is often insisted that we may hereafter
acquire territory adapted to slavery, and that then we may be denied our rights.
Well, “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
When those things happen, and the evil is upon us, or obviously approaching, it will be quite time enough to get ready for resistance and defence.
But, in God's name, let us not take disunion “by the forelock.”
Let us not, in mere anticipation of evils that may never reach, and of wrongs that may be never done us, destroy the best government that man was ever blessed with, and under whose happy auspices we, the people of the United States
, have attained a growth, and grandeur, and power, and freedom, and prosperity, and happiness, unparalleled, for so brief a period, in the history of the nations of the earth.
Nor shall we lose by waiting.
We are not prepared now for war. We have few of the materials of war. We have no arms, no ships, no forts, little or no commerce, no manufactures — all of which are indispensables of war. Suddenly going to war, we should be at a great disadvantage in every respect, except in the unflinching bravery and indomitable spirit of our people.
Waiting for some actual and dangerous aggression, and in the mean time preparing for the worst, if the signs indicate the necessity, we shall be in a condition to meet our foes whenever and wherever they come.
Shall we, by secession and war, lose fewer slaves by obtaining a better execution of the fugitive slave law?
Why, by secession you annul the fugitive slave law, and forfeit all its benefits.
Moreover, you bring Canada
, the great asylum for fugitive slaves, to the Virginia
line; so that, to get his freedom, a slave has but to cross a narrow stream or an imaginary line: and, by avoiding all obligation to return fugitives,