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mental principles, and the fact of the unanimity to the extent mentioned may be admitted for the purpose of the argument. But who are “the people’’ who, upon the general principles thus stated, are entitled to govern themselves? It is not a few individuals in a community who possess this right of selfgovernment. This is shown by the other principle, that the majority possess the right of determination. The dissent of a minority may be entitled to respectful attention, but it cannot furnish the rule of government. Then, again, who compose this majority of the people which is entitled to determine the form of government? Certainly not the majority of the people of any town, county, or borough ; and as clearly not the majority of the people of any of the States, or of any number of States, in all the particulars for which government is instituted. To a certain extent, the majority of the people of a State may fashion the institutions of that State. So far as a change will not affect the Union, or violate the Constitution, directly or incidentally, they may act, because to that extent they are an independent community. But neither the majority of the people of a State, nor the whole people of it, can adopt any other than a republican form of government, because the United States guarantee such a form of government to all the States, and are bound to the whole to fulfil that guaranty by not permitting any one to deviate from the established form. Neither the majority nor the whole people of a State can change its institutions so as to coin money, levy duties on imports, enter into treaties with foreign governments, or do anything expressly or impliedly forbidden by the Constitution. So that upon the point in issue the question comes to this, – Is secession permitted by the Constitution ? And we have heretofore shown that it is not, in reviewing Mr. Davis's Message. The majority recognized in the republican principle is the majority of the community to be governed, or under government. In this instance, the whole people of the United States, so far as the purposes for which the United States government was instituted, have alone the lawful right to change or alter. that government, except as it may be altered in the manner prescribed by the Constitution, which has provided specific modes in which amendments may be made. That the Constitution was originally adopted by majorities of the people in the several States, does not affect the application of this general principle; for by that adoption they became one people for the purposes of the government thereby instituted, although they were not so before. We admit, that, if there is oppression too great to be borne, there may be rebellion, which may ripen into revolution; but this is altogether different from the “right of secession,” as we have heretofore shown; the right of revolution in resistance of oppression being a personal right, and the so-called right of secession being set up as a State right. Again: It has been urged that the course of the Southern States has been in accordance with, and in fact justified by, the course of the Colonies in their separation from Great Britain, and that, on the principles then maintained, the United States are wrong in resisting the attempted disruption of the Union. This seems a favorite position of some of our Transatlantic cousins, to say nothing of certain sympathizers on this side of the water. But, in truth, so far from the cases being ad idem, there is scarcely a similitude between them. A very brief reference to the contrast is all which our space allows us. We need not avail ourselves of the impassioned language of Colonel Barre, that the oppression of England planted the Colonies in America; — it is sufficient that they were not planted by her care. When, by their indomitable industry, they had become worth her attention, the fostering care of the mother country was extended to them by the appointment of rulers over them, — in many instances, not from among themselves, but from
her own population ; — rulers who cared more for amassing fortunes through official corruption, than for the welfare of the people whom they governed. She was prompt to take the benefit of their military services against her ancient foe, the French. She loaded their trade with onerous imposts, and restrictions of which she bore no share. And when the wealth and industry of the Colonies became sufficient, she insisted upon raising a revenue from internal taxes, at the same time that she allowed them no representation whatever in Parliament, where these duties, restrictions, and taxes were imposed. These impositions at length became intolerable, and the Colonists determined upon resistance. She made the first warlike attack at Lexington, and again at Concord. They fought the war through in fair fields, and the separation was accomplished with no further effect upon the interests of Great Britain than the loss of so much of her colonial possessions. She was not rendered subservient to them, in their new state of independence, either by treaty or by geographical situation.
Now for the contrast. Part of the seceding States were originally Colonies, and united with the others in achieving their independence, or rather had it achieved for them. Most of the others are formed from territory purchased by the United States, and all have voluntarily come into the Union, under the Constitution, participating in all the rights derived under it, and assuming all the obligations which it imposes; being received upon an equality with the older States. The statute-book is full of provisions for their advantage. The Indians have been removed from some of their borders at great expense, to say nothing of a violation of public faith, because they desired it and insisted upon it. If we recollect aright, the Florida war, undertaken to remove Billy Bowlegs from the Everglades, cost the United States some fifty millions of dollars. We have not the presumption to say that the present war is not sent by the God of justice in part as punish
ment for the outrages committed in that war, and in the removal of the Cherokees from Georgia. The seceding States have had a representation in the national councils, not merely in equal proportions, but beyond that of the Free States, through the basis of their “peculiar institution.” Their influence has directed the policy of the country in a greater degree than that of the Northern States. The Mexican war was waged mainly at their bidding. When they chose a protective tariff, the policy was protection. When they said that the tariff must be for revenue alone, it was made a revenue tariff, with only incidental protection to some interests, partly to secure certain votes. They have had more than a fair share of military and naval appointments. It has been the privilege of the North to furnish the sailors and a large proportion of the bone and muscle of the army. They objected to the distribution of “incendiary matter’” — publications against slavery — through the mails, and the Post-Office Department prohibited it. They demanded mobs to put down abolition harangues, and the mobs were forthcoming; but the remote consequences were not favorable to them. They said that a more stringent Fugitive Slave Law was necessary, and one was enacted too stringent to subserve its own purpose, because it excited hostility from its injustice. When they wanted that Kansas should be a Slave State, the Missouri Compromise was repealed, and it was moreover found by grave judges that it was unconstitutional. The Democratic party of the North had so far acted in the interests of the South, as to lead the conspirators to rely upon that as an element of success in their secession. Commodore Stockton's declaration in the Peace Convention, that for every regiment raised at the North for the purpose of coercion, two would be raised to arrest its march, was only an expression of the sympathy upon which the conspirators had relied to carry them through without any very serious struggle on their part.
If they did not increase in population and wealth like their Northern neighbors, it was not by reason of any inequality of tariffs, or any other oppression, but by reason of the slavery which they cherished, and the unthrift attending their modes of living.
Notwithstanding the comparatively small increase of population in the South, there was for a long time no lack of increase in the number of Slave States. In fact, at one time there was an attempt to prevent the admission of a Free State, unless a Slave State were admitted to balance it; and this was long before Personal-Liberty Bills were thought of. Maine and Missouri were admitted within a few days of each other in 1820, the admission of the former having been delayed by the controversy in relation to the latter; Michigan and Arkansas were admitted on the same day in 1836; and Iowa and Florida were tied together in the same act, in 1845, although Texas had been admitted by herself three days before.
Up to 1852, out of eleven Presidents of the United States, seven were of the Slave States, five of them for two terms each. There had then been four Presidents from the Free States, three of whom held for a single term each. President Harrison died shortly after the commencement of his term, John Tyler being the Southern Vice-President; and General Taylor, one of the Southern Presidents, died in the earlier part of his term, leaving the administration to Millard Fillmore, a Northern Vice-President. The two Presidents who occupied the chair from 1853 to 1861 were “Northern men with Southern principles,” having in their Cabinets Jefferson Davis, Cobb, Floyd, and Thompson. Finding that the sceptre was about to depart, the Southern leaders prepared for a rebellion. It would probably have come in 1856, if Fremont had been elected, although the Northern people could not believe that there was danger of it. The breach in the Democratic Charleston Convention, in 1860, and the nomina