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ed as a right, there must be some limit, not very sharply defined, perhaps, beyond which the right does not extend. The right of revolution does not exist in all cases where the power of revolution is found. We may remark, before proceeding to our main purpose, that if the right of revolution may be exercised because portions of the community maintain the opinion, that the clause of the Declaration of Independence which asserts that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, embraces all human beings of whatever color or race, and denounce in round terms the dogmas of those who maintain that human slavery is a suitable foundation upon which to erect a republican government, some of them even contending manfully that slaveholding is a sin; or because strenuous efforts have been made by individuals to prevent the extension of slavery into the Territories, where it has no right to enter; or because a President has been elected who is not a slaveholder, nor the tool of those who sustain that patriarchal relation;– then the time may have arrived when the existing republic of the United States ought to be subverted by those at the South who are thereby aggrieved. — If a small minority of the whole people in a government, being the active agitators in a certain section, may lawfully exercise the right of revolution, through the instrumentality of misrepresentation and terrorism combined, then the active leaders of the attempted secession may come within the denomination of “the people,” in whom the right is admitted to exist. —If the right may lawfully be exercised for the purpose of taking from the great body of the people who possess it the power of regulating their own affairs, and of placing that power in the hands of a few, to be held by them for the purposes of their own ambition, then the attempted disruption of the Union may have a legitimate political purpose. — And if, through revolution, a government may with propriety be founded, having human slavery for its corner-stone, then the intelligent and impartial judgment of the civilized world may sanction the proceedings which have resulted in the formation of this Confederation of the Southern States; — not otherwise. But Mr. Jefferson Davis and his compeers of the Confederate Congress do not base their action upon this right of revolution, which asserts itself in antagonism to the existing government, and seeks its overthrow, or its subversion to the extent covered by the antagonism, against the will and the right of the government to oppose it. If they did, they would stand at present, upon their own admission, as rebels against the government of the United States; for it must be borne in mind, that this right of revolution is such an imperfect right that its very character of revolution depends upon the ultimate success of those who attempt to exercise it. It is strictly a personal right, “the right of the people to alter or abolish the government.” It does not eacist as the right of a State, or of any political organization, although such organization may be used for the more effectual exercise of it. In the inception of any effort to exert this right, all the action taken under it is insurrection and treason; — so known to the law; and so treated in fact, at the pleasure of the government assailed, until the insurrection has established itself, by the assertion of the right and the manifestation of a sufficient power to sustain it. The Confederates do not set up, or attempt, a justification which would place them in the position of traitors on their own admission. On the contrary, they claim, under shelter of State authority, to withdraw from the Union by a State action, not having the character of an antagonism which the government may rightfully oppose and subdue, but the character of a peaceful withdrawal, which, on their political theOry, the government ought to allow, because it is a political right, and it would seem, according to their notions, a persect right. The right of secession is asserted as a State right, consistent with the Constitution, and founded upon it, or upon the history preceding it, and the circumstances attending its formation and adoption; — a right to be exercised only through State action, and to be made effectual by a peaceful declaration of the fact of secession, which of itself accomplishes the separation of the State from the Union; any forcible opposition to it on the part of the United States being usurpation and oppression. Its theory, as stated in the document before us, and more at large in the speeches and writings of its paternal ancestor, is, that the Constitution of the United States is a compact, or agreement, entered into by the several States, as sovereign communities, by which the States created a government with certain limited powers, all powers not delegated to it, nor prohibited to the States, being reserved to the States respectively, or to the people; — that, the States being parties to the compact, each may judge for itself whether its obligations have been fulfilled, and the means and measure of redress required for any infraction of it, because there is no common arbiter or judge to settle disputes between the parties to it on such subjects; — and that if, in the judgment of any State the proper remedy for a violation of the compact is secession from the Union, such State may rightfully sever the connection by a declaratory act for that purpose, and that thereby the fact of secession is accomplished without revolution. Acting upon this assumption, the mode adopted for severing the connection, by the conventions in the several States which have attempted to secede, has been a formal repeal of the acts ratifying the Constitution of 1788, and of acts by which the State became a member of the Union, and by declaring the union subsisting between the seceding State and the United States dissolved. We propose at this time to discuss the soundness of these positions. In determining whether such a right exists, we naturally turn in the first instance to the Constitution itself. But it is clear that this instrument contains no provision to that effect, in terms, nor any one which suggests such a result by any direct implication. It purports to be an organic and supreme law, limited as to its objects, and of course in its powers; and it appears to be framed on the model of the State constitutions, following their general principles so far as the objects to be attained and the limited powers granted will permit. The government organized under it is formed through the instrumentality of the Constitution itself, as a fundamental law enacted by “We, the people of the United States”; and not one formed by the States, or one which when formed represents the States; although from the previous existence of the States, as sovereign communities, except so far as they were bound by the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution could not be adopted without the assent and sanction of the several States; — for which reason, and because the States were still to exist, the ratifications were by “the people” of each State. In no instance was it supposed that the existing State government could make the necessary ratification as a State act. It provides for the organization of Legislative, Executive, and Judicial departments, and the powers of these departments are to be exercised like similar powers under the State constitutions, and in a manner to control all State action within their proper sphere. The powers of the government organized under it usually act directly upon the people of the whole country, as the powers of the State government act upon all the people of the State; sometimes with reference to geographical or State lines, as the powers of the State government act with regard to county, town, or city limits. In general, none of these departments are in debted to State authority in their organization. They do not derive their powers from the States, nor represent States, nor act through any State agency, or as trustees of any powers for State purposes, or of powers dependent for their existence upon any State organization. The excepted cases — if the election of Senators by State Legislatures, requisitions upon

States for their quota of militia to suppress insurrection, and the rendition of fugitives from justice, by the action of the State executive, may be supposed to be exceptions—are not founded upon any idea that State authority is a controlling force in the government of the United States, but exist for special reasons applicable to the particular instances; — that of the election of Senators being designed to guard against too great a preponderance of the larger States in the national councils; that in relation to the militia being a matter of convenience, because the militia is officered, and mainly organized, through the action of the several States; and that of the rendition of fugitives from justice arising from the fact that it is a matter between the State demanding and that rendering, rather than one which concerns the general-welfare. State lines furnish convenient divisions for the purposes of the government; and in many instances, doubtless, State pride and State interests have had a controlling influence, shaping the provisions of the Constitution and laws so that State prosperity would be subserved; but this is merely incidental, through the action of individuals. It is none the less true, that the States have no control over any of the departments of the general government. They do not direct their action, in the first instance, nor is there, by the Constitution, any appeal to State judgment, or State sanction, through which errors are corrected, or the action of the departments is affirmed or reversed. In the matter of the election of Senators, before adverted to, reliance is placed upon State action, and if no such action was had, for a sufficient length of time, a Senate could not be organized. But so it would be in a State, if no State senators were elected. That there is nothing peculiar in the government of the United States, in this regard, is evident from the fact, that if one or a dozen of the States should refuse or neglect to elect Senators, the Senate would be organized legally, notwithstanding the omission. At the same time that there is nothing to show that the

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