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to justify the use of armed force by the Government. The secession, therefore, of the Southern States by the deliberate act of their legal authority cannot be called a rebellion; because, firstly, it is the exercise of a power reserved by the original compact of the Union ; and, secondly, because the Government against which they are presumed to rebel has not the constitutional right of controlling their action. In fact, the opposition against the Federal Government has been, up to 1860, all on the side of the Northern States, when their rights were boldly and ably argued, and the question conceded, viz. that they had a right to separate if they wished it, and legally exercised that right-witness the public burning of the United States Constitution on the 4th of July in Massachusetts, &c., by Garrison, who was never indicted for treason. This being the position, that, the right of secession existing and having been acted upon legally, war between the Government and the seceding States is not a war of rebellion, as recognised by European history, but is more like the civil wars of the Italian republics in the fifteenth century, and solely depends on the lex fortioris for its justification. For the Federal Government have made no charge against the seceding States ; they have issued no declaration, and published no manifesto, but simply an
irregular and as it were tumultuous intention to coerce; whereas the Southern states have declared in the face of the world the grounds of their secession, the rights under which they act, and their mode of exercising them. What, then, should be the action of the governments of Europe? We have only to recognise powers that be. The sovereignty of the seceding States exists; they are in absolute possession of their own land and their own Government, and this under an indefeasible constitutional right. What pretence, therefore, can any European government have for not recognising them as an independent sovereign power?
Such an antagonism, if ever carried into practical effect, must naturally induce coercion of the weaker section by the stronger, and if persisted in, must inevitably lead to disruption of the Union. This view was taken by every leading statesman without exception for the last thirty years, as we have seen in a former chapter. The usual consequences have been foreseen. In a leading London paper, the correspondent writes :
“I have said that the great danger to the liberties of this country, and to the stability of its Government, is not from the rebels, but from the army. I shall be most happy, in the year 1862, if I can say
that my prediction in regard to the army was false : but I am afraid it will not be. The army is the Congress of the United States. If General Scott should decide to be emperor after he has wiped out Jef. Davis, he might take the title of Emperor of Manhattan.”
And is this to be the result of all the aspirations which guided the fathers of the American Commonwealth?
The same amount of error which has apparently pervaded our contemporaries on this exciting question from the commencement of the difficulties in America, seems destined to overhang the public mind with its dark shadow until the natural and inevitable course of things dispels it. Up to the period of the taking of Fort Sumpter, an occurrence which might have been foreseen with certainty, it was insisted in this country that the quarrel would subside; that our transatlantic cousins were too sensible to fight, and that the whole affair would find its termination in a “caucus” and a compromise. We are told that we must accept as unmistakeable the patriotic enthusiasm of the North, and recognise as genuine the great display of military strength of which it makes a boast. We are given to understand that the whole of the Northern States are of one single mind, and are directing their full energies to the suppression of an unnatural “rebellion,” alike insulting to the majesty of the Union, and despicable for its want of strength. We are desired to believe that the submission of the South is certain, and probably nigh at hand, and that the discouragement which prevails there is only to be equalled by the glad anticipations of a victorious career in which the Northern States indulge. The liberality of the loans — the great gathering of the citizens - the vigour of the Government — the ardour of the troops — are each and all pointed out to us as conclusive signs of the approaching quelling of an unhealthy and unjustifiable revolt. If we thought the North entirely in the right, and the South entirely in the wrong, we should be glad enough to recognise the correctness of this picture; but as it is our opinion that the controversy can be fairly argued on both sides, we do not affect to feel the interest we are called upon to take in the seeming blazing patriotism of the North. In the first place, then, there is nothing more absurd than the idea of one self-governed people trying to coerce another selfruled people into submission to its dictates. There is no political or social constitution in existence, or which could ever be set on foot, that could establish on a firm foundation an anomaly like that. How much of truth may lie in the statements that have appeared as from respectable authority, that the “ whole people of the United States are Sovereign," and that the “ States” are mere subordinations, we will not undertake to say; but push the doctrine to its proper limits, and you dispose at once of the socalled independence of the States, in every possible respect. There would, under this theory, exist no more authority in their separate governments to enact State laws, than to settle principles for the intercourse of the Union even with foreign nations; and they would, in fact, be no more in the great Republic than the counties and parishes are in England. Granted, that at the time of the formation of the Union, the several States which joined it did so with no animus revertendi, that does not prevent their retaining the just right of seceding from the Union, if they find that their State interests are sacrificed.