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to depart in peace. Do you mean to say that that is not to be allowed us, that we shall neither have peace in the Union, nor be allowed the poor boon of seeking it out of the Union? If that be your attitude, war in inevitable. We feel as every American citizen not blinded by passion and by prejudice must feel, that in this transaction we have been deeply aggrieved; that the accumulating wrongs of years have finally culminated in your triumph-not the triumph of Abraham Lincoln, not your individual triumph—but in the triumph of principles, to submit to which would be the deepest degradation that a free people ever submitted to. We cannot. Calmly, quietly, with all the dignity which I can summon, I say to you, we will not submit to it. We invite no war; we expect none, and hope for none. We say the language which I once used to the Senator from New York not now in his seat [Mr. Seward), “Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen, for we be brethren. If thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.” All we ask is to be allowed to depart in peace. Submit we will not; and if, because we will not submit to your domination, you choose to make war upon us, let God defend the right.

ALFRED IVERSON [Ga.).—While I do not agree with some portions of the message, and some of the positions which have been taken by the President, I do not perceive all the inconsistencies in that document which the Senator from New Hampshire has thought proper to present.

It is true that the President denies the constitutional right of a State to secede from the Union; while, at the same time, he also states that this Federal Government has no constitutional right to enforce or to coerce a State back into the Union which may take upon itself the responsibility of secession. I do not see any inconsistency in that.

I agree with the President that the secession of a State is an act of revolution. It withdraws from the federal compact, disclaims any further allegiance to it, and sets itself up as a separate government, an independent State. The State does it at its peril, of course, because it may or may not be cause of war by the remaining States composing the Federal Government. If they think proper to consider it such an act of disobedience, or if they consider that the policy of the Federal Government be such that it cannot submit to this dismemberment, why then they may or may not make war if they choose upon the seceding States. It will be a question of course for the Federal Gov

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ernment or the remaining States to decide for themselves, whether they will permit a State to go out of the Union, and remain as a separate and independent State, or whether they will attempt to force her back at the point of the bayonet. That is a question, I presume, of policy and of expediency, which will be considered by the remaining States composing the Federal Government, through their organ, the Federal Government, whenever the contingency arises.

But, sir, while no State may have the constitutional right to secede from the Union, the President may not be wrong when he says the Federal Government has no power under the Constitution to compel the State to come back into the Union. It may be a casus omissus in the Constitution; but I should like to know where the power exists in the Constitution of the United States to authorize the Federal Government to coerce a sovereign State. It does not exist in terms, at any rate, in the Constitution. I do not think there is any inconsistency, therefore, between the two positions of the President in the message upon these particular points.

The only fault I have to find with the message is the inconsistency of another portion. The President declares that all the laws of the Federal Government are to operate directly upon each individual of the States, if not upon the States themselves, and must be enforced; and yet, at the same time, he says that the State which secedes is not to be coerced. Of course the State is composed of individuals within its limits, and if you enforce the laws and obligations of the Federal Government against each and every individual of the State, you enforce them against a State. That the Federal Government is to en. force its laws over the seceding State, and yet not coerce her into obedience, is to me incomprehensible.

You talk about concessions. You talk about repealing the personal liberty bills as a concession to the South. Repeal them all to-morrow, sir, and it would not stop the progress of this revolution. It is not your personal liberty bills that we dread. Those personal liberty bills are obnoxious to us not on account of their practical operation, not because they prevent us from reclaiming our fugitive slaves, but as an evidence of that deepseated, widespread hostility to our institutions, which must sooner or later end in this Union in their extinction. Sir, if all the liberty bills were repealed to-day, the South would no more gain her fugitive slaves than if they were in existence. It is not the personal liberty laws; it is mob laws that we fear. It is the existence and action of the public sentiment of the North


ern States that are opposed to this institution of slavery, and are determined to break it down—to use all the power of the Federal Government, as well as every other power in their hands, to bring about its ultimate and speedy extinction. That is what we apprehend, and what in part moves us to look for security and protection in secession and a Southern confederacy.

Nor do we suppose that there will be any overt acts upon the part of Mr. Lincoln. For one, I do not dread these overt acts. I do not propose to wait for them. Why, sir, the power of this Federal Government could be so exercised against the institution of slavery in the Southern States as that, without an overt act, the institution would not last ten years. We know that, sir; and seeing the storm which is approaching, although it may be seemingly in the distance, we are determined to seek our own safety and security before it shall burst upon us and overwhelm us with its fury, when we are not in a situation to defend ourselves.

We intend, Mr. President, to go out peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must; but I do not believe, with the Senator from New Hampshire, that there is going to be any war. If five or eight States go out, they will necessarily draw all the other Southern States after them. That is a consequence that nothing can prevent. If five or eight States go out of this Union, I should like to see the man that would propose a declaration of war against them, or attempt to force them into obedience to the Federal Government at the point of the bayonet or the sword.

Sir, there has been a good deal of vaporing on this subject. A great many threats have been thrown out. I have heard them on this floor, and upon the floor of the other House of Congress; but I have also perceived this: they come from those who would be the very last men to attempt to put their threats into execution. Men talk sometimes about their eighteen million who are to whip us; and yet we have heard of cases in which just such men had suffered themselves to be switched in the face, and trembled like sheep-stealing dogs, expecting to be shot every minute.

But, sir, there is to be no war. The Northern States are controlled by sagacious men, like the distinguished Senator from New York (William H. Seward). Where public opinion and action are thus controlled by men of common sense, who know well that they cannot succeed in a war against the Southern States, no such attempt at coercion will be made. If one State alone was to go out, unsustained by her surrounding sister States, possibly war might ensue, and there might be an attempt made to coerce her, and that would give rise to civil war; but, sir, South Carolina is not to go out alone. In my opinion, she will be sustained by all her Southern sisters. They may not all go out immediately; but they will, in the end, join South Carolina in this important movement; and we shall, in the next twelve months, have a confederacy of the Southern States, and a

а government inaugurated, and in successful operation, which, in my opinion, will be a government of the greatest prosperity and power that the world has ever seen.

The fifteen slave States, or even the five of them now moving, banded together in one government, and united as they are soon to be, would defy the world in arms, much less the Northern States of this confederacy. Fighting on our own soil, in defence of our own sacred rights and honor, we could not be conquered even by the combined forces of all the other States; and sagacious, sensible men in the Northern States would understand that too well to make the effort.

Besides, what would they gain if they conquered us? Would it be a Union worth preserving which is maintained by force? No, sir. I do not apprehend any war. But if the Northern States, or the Federal Government controlled by the counsels of the Northern States, shall attempt to coerce us, then war will come; and, like the Senator from New Hampshire, if he wants war, I say here to-day we are ready for it. We do not believe that war will ensue, but a wise man will always prepare for any danger or contingency that may arise; and we are preparing for war.

We will fight for our liberties, our rights, and our honor. United, as we shall be, in interest and in all that we hold dear, we do not dread war, except so far as the terrible consequences which always follow armed collisions.

But, sir, I think that when we go out and form our confederacy-as I hope we shall do very shortly--the Northern States, or the Federal Government, will see the true policy to be to let us go in peace and make treaties of commerce and amity with us, from which they will derive more advantages than from any attempt to coerce us. They cannot succeed in coercing us. If they allow us to form our government without difficulty, we shall be very willing to look upon them as a favored nation and give them all the advantages of commercial and amicable treaties. I have no doubt but that both of uscertainly the Southern States--would live better, more happily, more prosperously, and with greater friendship than we live now in this Union.

Sir, disguise the fact as you will, there is an enmity between the Northern and Southern people that is deep and enduring, and you never can eradicate it-never! Look at the spectacle exhibited on this floor. How is it? There are the Republican Northern Senators upon that side. Here are the Southern Senators on this side. How much social intercourse is there between us! You sit upon your side, silent and gloomy; we sit upon ours with knit brows and portentous scowls. Yesterday I observed that there was not a solitary man on that side of the Chamber came over here to extend the civilities and courtesies of life; nor did any of us go over there. Here are two hostile bodies on this floor; and it is but a type of the feeling that exists between the two sections. We are enemies as much as if we were hostile states. I believe that the Northern people hate the South worse than ever the English people hated France; and I can tell my brethren over there that there is no love lost upon the part of the South.

In this state of feeling, divided as we are by interest, by a geographical feeling, by everything that makes two people separate and distinct, I ask why we should remain in the same Union together? We have not lived in peace; we are not now living in peace. It is not expected or hoped that we shall ever live in peace. My doctrine is that, whenever even man and wife find that they must quarrel and cannot live in peace, they ought to separate; and these two sections—the North and South -manifest, as they have done and do now, and probably ever will manifest, feelings of hostility, separated as they are in interests and objects, my own opinion is they can never live in peace; and the sooner they separate the better.

Sir, I do not believe there will be any war; but, if war is to come, let it come. We will meet the Senator from New Hampshire and all the myrmidons of Abolitionism and Black Republicanism everywhere, upon our own soil; and in the language of a distinguished member from Ohio [Thomas Corwin) in relation to the Mexican war, we will “welcome you with bloody hands to hospitable graves.” 1

Louis T. WIGFALL [Tex.].-The Senator from Georgia and I do not understand the Constitution in the same way; and he and I do not look at the great issues that are now pending, and which are soon to be precipitated upon the country, from the same standpoint. If I believed that the act of secession was one of revolution, that it was one in direct conflict with the Constitution of the United States that I am sworn to obey, I

See Volume II, page 367.

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