throughout its eventful history, has been less arraigned for injustice than any Government on earth.
And time and patience and a sense of popular justice, the ebbs and flows and currents of opinion would have proved a corrective of all serious causes of disturbance.
But efforts to divide the Union
and destroy the Government
, besides being intrinsically atrocious, instead of correcting the alleged grievances, are calculated to aggravate them more than a hundred-fold, and, if successful, to close a day of humanities, hope and promise, in this refuge of liberty, in blood and darkness.
No one denies to an oppressed people the right of revolution as the last dreadful resort of man seeking emancipation, when all other efforts have proved unavailing-never to be entered upon except as a terrible necessity.
But Secession is a bold and bald and wicked imposture, with its authors; a chimera, an illusion, and cheat with those who are betrayed into its support, and it exhibits the worst features of the basest despotism in enforcing obedience to its reign of terror.
It is but a synonym for disunion by violence, under the pretence of rights reserved to States; and must have sprung, like the voluptuous goddess, from froth, so little of right, or reason, or justice, or remedy, or good sense, is there in it, or around it, or about it; though, like the contents of the mystic girdle, it promised to its votaries a surfeit of hidden pleasures.
The attempt to liken this wicked and corrupt rebellion to the American Revolution
, requires an. assurance of brass sufficient to reconstruct the Colossus of Rhodes
While the colonies were petitioning for a redress of grievances, war was precipitated upon them by the British Crown
, to compel their submission and silence.
While Congress was canvassing the alleged grievances of a portion of the States of the Confederacy
, and while its legislation upon the subject of the Territories
was proceeding in harmony with their professed wishes, members representing such aggrieved States withdrew and precipitated disunion in hot haste, before the result of proposed conciliatory efforts could be ascertained, as though they feared, if they awaited the development of events in progress, they might be more seriously aggrieved by a redress of grievances!
The Colonies had neither support, nor sympathy, nor representation in any department of the British Government
, but they persevered in their efforts to obtain justice and recognition so long as a single ray of hope gave promise, and until they were silenced by the presence of British troops, and were compelled to submit to slavery and degradation, or appeal to the last refuge of an oppressed people — the arbitrament of the battle-field.
They claimed no false or fabricated reading of the British Constitution, which enabled them to sever their connection with the Crown and avoid the responsibility of revolution, but they manfully took their stand upon the ultima ratio
They received a world's sympathy, because their revolt was an imperious necessity, and Heaven smiled upon their efforts for deliverance and in-dependence.
But if they had connived at the accession of the selfish, perverse, and bigoted George to the Crown, that they might be able to complain of the reigning monarch, and, above all, if they had controlled the Ministry, and held a majority in Parliament, and had then vacated their seats, and yielded up the power to their opponents, and had cried out oppression to cover schemes of political ambition, they would have both deserved, and received, instead of sympathy, or confidence, or countenance, the scorn and contempt of Christendom.
The Declaration of American Independence, the modern Magna Charta
of human rights, evolved the idea, so cheering to the cause of freedom and yet so startling to monarchy, that Governments derived their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that although Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes, yet when they become subversive of the ends for which they were established, and “when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinced the design to reduce them under absolute despotism
, it was their right, their duty to throw off such Government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”
But it nowhere declares that a knot of conspiring politicians, foiled in their schemes of ambition and plunder, and chafing under disappointment like a tiger cheated in his foray, may without the popular support or sympathy, but in defiance of both, assert that the election of a political opponent whose success they might have prevented, is a sufficient cause of rebellion; or that a party or an interest, which has the majority in both branches of the Representative Government
, and is protected by the opinions of the judiciary of the nation, can withdraw, so as to give its opponents the power, and then set on foot a rebellion, and seek to destroy an edifice which stands as the last best hopes of man, because they fear they may be visited with political oppression!
Those who practise such shallow devices before the world, in the latter part of the nineteenth century, should remember that they but copy the stupid instincts of the bird which buries its head in the sand, and then indulges the conceit that its ungainly body is concealed also.
Whatever causes of disturbance and disaffection existed between the North and South, the public judgment has rendered its verdict upon abundant evidence, and with extraordinary unanimity, deciding that such formed a remote and feeble element in inducing disunion, but that it was a foregone conclusion with those who urged it forward, darkly designed and deliberately determined, for the purpose of securing personal eclat
and self-aggrandizement, rather than of securing rights and privileges to an oppressed section of people.
Order is Heaven's first law,
--it is coeval with being.
No people, civilized