previous next
[278] it — a feature without which, I am told, in the language of Judge Story, the Constitution would never have been made. I mean that obligation the North entered into to return fugitive slaves from our country. Seven States arrayed themselves — perhaps more--seven at least, arrayed themselves in open, palpable, violation of this known portion of the compact. We appealed to them — we believed it was best for all the States, as Washington presided over the Convention that made the Constitution, that all the States should remain in the Union, faithfully performing, each for itself, the obligations of this Constitution.

This was the Southern idea. We made our appeals for years to them to come up and fulfil their obligations. From the beginning of the Government, the man cannot rise up and charge the South with ever violating in the slightest degree, their obligations. We never asked Congress to do any thing against the interests of the Northern States; we never complained of their institutions; we never wished to interfere with them at all. We rested upon the great principle that each State should govern itself; that they should govern themselves as they pleased, and let us govern ourselves as we pleased. This was the position of the South, and we made the same appeal to them for years; and only when this party came to maturity, and when so many States openly disregarded the Constitution, when they got the Government in their hands, it was then the South thought it necessary to look out new safeguards for security. It was then she resumed her sovereign powers. It was then she became satisfied that the people of the North would not fulfil their portion of the obligation, and even then we believed it would be better for them and us to live on together, each and all doing their duty, but they would not discharge their duty. We said we would even try it, and even then sent Commissioners to them with the olive branch of peace. Our overtures were disregarded and hence this war.

But the point I present to you is that we stand now where our revolutionary fathers stood. All we ask is to be permitted to govern ourselves as we please; and for one I declare to you to-day, you may think of it as you please, the people of the South may decide it as they please, but as for one, I would never surrender this principle, though every valley from here to the Potomac should run with Southern blood, and every hill top be bleached with Southern bones. (Tremendous applause.) Home, firesides, life, friends, and luxuries are dear, but there is something dearer to a true man than life, and home, and all. It is honor and independence. (Applause.) Let the enemy, therefore, make his calculation as wide and broad as he pleases. I say every true Southern heart is impressed with the magnitude of the responsibility that now rests upon us; and let every man be nerved to meet that responsibility at any and every cost. Our fathers pledged life, honor, and fortune for this principle, and I know we are not the degenerate sons, nor are we the degenerate daughters of the noble matrons of that day, that would sacrifice, lose, or surrender these principles at a less cost.

The men are ample; the means to support them is the subject upon which I am to address you, and how is the. money to be raised? War I tell you costs treasure as well as blood. Have we the means? Can we cope with the North?--that is the question. We have not less than four thousand millions of taxable property within the Confederate States, upon the last minimum estimate. At last year's rates, we therefore could raise from one hundred millions to two hundred millions, for years to come and yet survive. The wealth of nations, the ability of nations to sustain war, depends not so much upon its taxable property as its productive capital. It is to the latter we must look for the means and ability to sustain war, for in times of war generally all business is interrupted. In this particular of productive capital, perhaps there is no people in the world more favored under heaven, and for which we ought to be grateful, not boastful, and it is one of those blessings for which we should return thanks. No nation in the world with the same population, has such a continuous annual productive capital.

I have not stated the wealth of the North, but it is not my purpose to detract from it. They were a people of wealth. Most of it, however, came from their connection and trade with us. They were an ingenious and manufacturing people. We are an agricultural people. Their interests and ours were all blended together. Our prosperity enabled them to become prosperous, and their States grew up by our trade and commerce. Most of their wealth, when you come to estimate it and look at it, was nothing but profits derived from our trade. Cut off that trade. Most of the wealth of the State of New York--and that State alone is estimated to be worth four hundred millions of dollars (that is the taxable property of the State of New York)--and in what does it consist? Close up the harbor; cut off manufactures. What does it consist in? Bricks and mortar, nothing else. And if the war last as long as the siege of Troy, in what will their wealth consist? It will disappear, for the bricks and mortar will be worth no more, unless there are tenants and the profits derived from labor, than the bricks and mortar in the arid plains of Babylon.

Sixty-one millions of New England capital consist alone in cotton manufactures and cotton spindles. These factories look to us for our raw materials. This capital is now literally paralyzed; it is dead capital, and will be as long as this war lasts. Of their nominal products I do not now speak. Woolens, hats, shoes or silk, of every variety of dress I see before me, from the crowns of the heads of the fair ladies to the soles of their feet, all, nearly

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
New York State (New York, United States) (2)
Washington (United States) (1)
United States (United States) (1)
New England (United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Story (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: