or savage, ever existed without a Government for their guidance and regulation.
Beasts of the field and forest, birds of the air, fishes of the sea, and insects which inhabit all, form their colonies and associations, and arrange themselves in obedience to some recognized rule; and even inanimate objects obey with unerring certainty the hand that guides them.
Nor do the lights of his-tory, the lessons of experience, or the flickering shadows of tradition tell of a Government which voluntarily and by design planted the seeds of its own decay in its bosom, or provided for its own destruction and overthrow, by committing its life and destiny to other hands.
The Constitution forming the Union
and erecting its Government, was the emanation of t
he people of the United States
. It was adopted, as declared in its preamble, “to form a more perfect Union, to establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, to promote the general welfare, and to secure the blessings of liberty to the people who ordained it to their posterity.”
But if the instrument, which formed the more perfect Union with becoming solemnity contemplated its dismemberment and overthrow, by the withdrawal of all or any of the States therefrom at the pleasure of their capricious politicians, it remained a most imperfect and pitiable Union still.
If the justice it established was but temporary, if the domestic tranquillity it insured was for the time being, if the common defence it provided for was until some of the States should withdraw from the Union
and make war upon it, and if the blessings of liberty it secured to posterity were upon condition that those who secured them should not wish to subvert the liberty thus secured by armed force, then our boasted Constitution, which has been hailed throughout the earth as one of the wisest emanations of man, and enjoys a world-wide fame for its humane provisions and lofty conceptions of statesmanship, should be scouted as a fraud, a delusions and an imposture, possessing much more sound than substance, and carrying by design in its own bosom the seeds of its dissolution.
But no sentence, or word, or syllable can be found in the Federal Constitution
sustaining an idea at once so puerile and monstrous.
It provides for the admission to the Union
of new States, but not the withdrawal therefrom of those already members.
To gain such admission the State
must apply to Congress, with a constitution Republican in form; and upon an act of Congress authorizing such admission, duly approved and signed by the President
of the United States
, such State becomes a member of the confederacy.
If one State, being thus admitted, can withdraw at pleasure, by passing an act or ordinance of Secession, and cancel a solemn covenant by one party alone, which it required two to make, and in which both remain interested, any or all may do the same, and the rich harvest of liberty and its attending blessings, which our forefathers professed to secure to posterity, may prove a barren and a blasted field, when those for whom it was designed prepare to reap their inheritance.
It is a familiar principle of law that a repealing statute, itself repealed, revives and puts in force the former law. So long, then, as Congress permits its several acts for the admission of the revolted States to the Union
to stand, according to Secession law and logic, these States can go out and in at pleasure, and if they may withdraw by an ordinance of their own, by the same rule Congress may expel them by repealing its act of admission.
To go out of the Union
as they insist, they have only to pass an act or ordinance of Secession without the knowledge, privity, or consent of the Government
of the Union
To return, they would have only to repeal it. They can then go out when it suits principle, and return when it favors interest; or they can alternate like migratory birds with the seasons, hatching Disunion in the Confederacy
and rearing it without, and as thus far its managers have, in most instances, generously relieved the people of participation in the matter, the destruction of old governments and the erection of new ones would occasion little inconvenience.
, according to mythology, and that is an authority not easily refuted, leaped fully armed from the brain of Jupiter
; but stranger still, the founders of the Government
of the Southern Confederacy leaped fully armed with high-sounding titles of official station from their own, and brought their government with them; an emanation neither suggested nor approved by the popular voice, but the creation of those who, like the renowned Peter Brush, “wanted something to have rather than something to do,” and almost universally repudiated wherever opportunity has been afforded.
A Government purporting to be of the people without permitting them to have a voice in constructing it; without a “local habitation,” of departments in the abstract, and offices with more titles than duties; a President without an election, a Treasury without money, or sources of revenue, a Navy without ships, a Post-Office without mails, a Minister of foreign relations, whose relations abroad decline to acknowledge the connection, a department of the Interior representing a nature-abhorred vacuum, an Attorney-General
without law, and a Patent-Office which, in the absence of other business, should issue letters securing the exclusive right of this new-fledged confederacy to those who invented it, for its extraordinary novelty rather than its acknowledged utility; that it may be preserved to after-times in the world's curiosityshop, with Law
's scheme of banking, the moonhoax of Locke
, the messages of the President
over the submarine telegraph, and Redheiffer's perpetual motion.
The advocates of the right of Secession in claiming that a State, after its solemn admission and while enjoying the protection and participating in the fruits of the Union
, may at its