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of the several bills of indictment which the seceding States deemed themselves authorized to prefer against the United States; and a reference to these specifications is sufficient, therefore, to show the character of the rebellion in its inception, as set forth by its own leaders. The allegations against the Northern States and the people of those States seem to resolve themselves into five particulars :
1. The rise and growth in the Northern States of a political school which has persistently claimed that the government formed by the Constitution was not a compact between States, to secure the blessings of liberty and independence against foreign aggression, but was in effect a national government set up above and over the States.
2. The imposition of burdens on commerce, as a protection to the manufacturing and shipping interests of the North.
3. The assertion at the North, as an undeniable axiom, that the theory of the Constitution requires that in all cases the majority shall govern.
4. A persistent and organized system of hostile measures against the rights of the owners of slaves in the Southern States.
5. The organization of a great party for the purpose of obtaining the administration of the government, with the avowed object of using its power for the total exclusion of the Slave States from all participation in the benefits of the public domain, and of surrounding them entirely by States in which slavery should be prohibited; and the success of the party, thus organized, in the election of its candidate for the Presi
It is to be remarked, that much of the matter of grievance consists of speeches, of dogmas, and of laws relating to persons claimed as fugitive slaves which were never executed, and that little of actual injury is set forth, unless it be found in the election of President Lincoln, who was not the Southern
candidate. This recital of Southern grievances and wrongs, in the official Message to the Confederate Congress, cuts a very sorry figure by the side of “the glittering generalities of the Declaration of Independence.” The first and third of these charges may be disposed of in a few sentences. How far the organization of the government had other objects than that of securing the people against foreign aggression, may readily be seen by referring to those parts of the Constitution which grant powers to Congress, and prohibit action by the States in certain cases. These parts show very conclusively that the attempt of Mr. Davis to represent the government of the United States as one created solely, or mainly, “to secure the blessings of liberty and independence against foreign aggression,” is a gross misrepresentation. To this it may be added, that the notion of a national government, which is charged upon a political school of the Northern States, has been equally the notion of many learned, wise, and popular men in the Southern States. Edmund Randolph, one of the deputies of Virginia, laid before the Convention which framed the Constitution sundry propositions “concerning the American Confederation and the establishment of a national government,” May 29th, 1787, in the form of resolutions. These resolutions provide for the establishment of a “national legislature,” “a national executive,” and “a national judiciary.” The principles of these resolutions entered very largely into the construction of the Constitution as subsequently adopted. We are not aware that the democratic dogma, that the majority of the people must govern in a republic, was more universally accepted at the North than at the South, until it appeared from the increase of population that the North would soon not only have such majority, but perhaps would be disposed to apply the principle. From the time it became probable that the South would lose the ascendency which had
long been enjoyed, — partly by means of the representation based upon their slaves, and partly by the co-operation of the Democratic party at the North, — the dogma that the majority of the people had the right to rule became very distasteful to the leading Southern politicians; but we must admit our surprise to see this gravely put forth as one of the grievances which in a republican government requires revolution or secession.
The second, fourth, and fifth specifications of grievance in Mr. Davis's Message — to wit, the protection to manufactures and the opposition to slavery — require a more extended notice. Whoever attempts to judge respecting the merits or demerits of the rebellion, must not commence his investigation at the election of Mr. Lincoln; nor at the
tariff law, even as far back as that of 1824; nor at the agitation of Garrison and his compeers, Foster, Pillsbury, the Abbys Kelly and Folsom, and Wendell Phillips, respecting slavery; nor at the passage of Personal-Liberty Laws in several of the States; nor at the recent opposition to the extension of slavery into the Territories; nor even at the struggle against the admission of new States without a prohibition of slavery therein, as in the case of Missouri, in 1819 and 1820. The foundation of the present controversy between the Southern and the Northern people dates farther back than all these.
How the imposition of burdens on commerce would protect any shipping interest, the writer of the Message does not explain ; but we let that pass. The gravamen of the whole charge respecting protective duties is founded on the most gross misrepresentation. The protective policy had its origin with the South, and the Northern people adopted it only when their industry had been driven into channels which required it. That they have since been in favor of it furnishes no just ground of complaint against them. For a long period after the Revolution, the people of the North were mostly agricul
turists, except upon the seaboard, where there were shipping interests of great magnitude. There were extensive household manufactures of cotton and wool, mainly for home consumption. The first protective duty was a specific duty of three cents a pound on cotton, to encourage the production of that article in South Carolina and Georgia, and this burden was borne by the manufacturers and consumers of the North. The embargo, which struck almost a death-blow to the shipping interest of New England, was a Southern rather than a Northern measure. The protective tariff of 1816 was Mr. Calhoun’s tariff, passed by Southern votes, – justified, we admit, to some extent, in order to preserve large manufacturing interests which had grown up during the war. When it was found that the Northern people, accommodating their industry to the state of things which had been forced upon them, were deriving a greater benefit from manufactures than the South, slave labor being ill adapted to that branch of industry, a change came over the spirit of the Southern dream, and a protective tariff was found to be a Northern invention, and a great political grievance. It is not wonderful that the North, which had been obliged to change the course of its industry by reason of non-intercourse, embargo, and war, should not have been ready to change back again, to the destruction of the interests which had been brought into existence and fostered by those measureS. The amount of the losses of slaves occasioned by all the Personal-Liberty Laws of the States, and all the efforts of “Liberators” and “ Heralds of Freedom,” and of Abolitionists in Congress and elsewhere, up to the time of this present warfare, will not begin to compare with the pecuniary losses of the Northern States, at different times, in their navigation and their manufacturing interests, occasioned by Southern measures and Southern votes.
The alleged inequality of the tariff is not admitted. The South has, as we believe, had as great a measure of protection for all products which by reason of foreign competition required it, as the North. Supposing, however, that an inequality - has existed, by reason of which the South has paid a greater share of duties than the North, there has been no injustice, because the revenue of the country is derived mainly from the duties imposed on importations, instead of direct taxation, from which source it was originally expected that the revenue would be derived, and of which the Slave States were by agreement to pay an unequal proportion, on account of their unequal representation in Congress. No tariff can operate with perfect equality. Taxation in any form never does so. If the relative proportion paid by the Slave States in the shape of duties, and of increase of price in consequence of duties, is not greater than the relative proportion of those States would be if the revenue were raised by direct taxation, under an apportionment of that taxation which should embrace three fifths of their slaves, according to the provision of the Constitution, — and the revenue raised by the duties is graduated by the wants of the government for its annual expenditure, as has been the design that it should be for many years past, — then we say that those States have no just cause of complaint on that score. We shall see this more clearly as we proceed. It certainly cannot be shown, that, of all the duties, the Slave States have borne as large a share as they must have paid of direct taxes had the revenue been raised in that manner. It must be borne in mind, that the duties assessed on importations are often borne by the producer, and not by the consumer. A memorable instance of this may be found in the duty on molasses, imposed by the tariff of 1828, which was inserted in the bill by Southern votes, because it was supposed it would make the bill so distasteful to the North as to defeat it. The North took it, “drugged as it was,” and the price