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who has just now taken his seat (Mr. Dixon] a different state of things might be produced in the next twenty days; but we know that is not the spirit of Republican Senators; it is not the spirit of Republican Representatives; it is not the spirit of the dominant party. They have forced the matter to the present crisis, and they mean to stand by their arms. We have registered our oaths in high Heaven that we will not submit. Submission, to us, is the deepest dishonor that ever fell upon a free people. I will not, while things are progressing as they now are in my State, intimate to the people there that I have any hope of a different course. On the contrary, to-day, speaking in this presence, under all the solemnities of this occasion, with all the responsibilities which surround me, I say to them, there is no hope that this matter is to be remedied.
We read your newspapers. We have noted the fact that the great leading journal of New York, next to the Tribune—I speak of the Albany Evening Journal-proposed something which looked to a reconciliation; and the electoral college of that great State assembled a day or two after, and rebuked them for it. If any thirty-five men in the State of New York understand the public sentiment of that great State, the members of the electoral college are the men. They understand it better, perhaps, than the two Senators and thirty-three Representatives. They rebuked that journal for holding out the olive branch for an instant.
Are these evidences that there is any disposition on the part of the Republicans to abandon any part of their program! No, sir; what was said only yesterday by a Republican member of the House is true: “We never mean to ground our arms until we have emancipated the last slave in America." That is their purpose, disguise it as they may; and we never mean to sink down to that position. Better, ten thousand times better, that we separate in peace; but if that cannot be done, then we must separate in war. To be under your domination we cannot and will not. Calmly, deliberately, dispassionately, the Southern people have made up their minds to that.
Gentlemen talk about making appeals. I make no appeals, because I will not appeal where I know my appeal is to be rejected. I will not make appeals that my own friends will read as a hope that this difficulty may be reconciled. I prefer to present to them the plain stubborn facts as they are; to tell them that Republicanism has shown no disposition to recede, and we stand face to face, and all that is left to us is either a peaceable or a violent separation.
If it be true that the Northern people have been taught in the schools and in the churches following the advice delivered to them by the Senator from New York (Mr. Seward) more than twelve years ago, when he told them: “slavery must be abolished and you and I must do it," and that the mode to do it was to begin in the schools and in the churches; if this kind of teaching has so seized on the minds of the Northern people that the rising generation, and even the young and active generation, have learned to hate the Southern people with all the bitterness with which you have taught them to hate us, is it not nonsense to bring forward resolutions like these with the hope of remedying the evil! It has taken you twenty-five years to teach your people thus intently to hate us. If I could believe that you would go to work in earnest and unteach them in twenty-five years to come, I would wait for it; but I see no evidence of this. Your teaching is going on; it is going on now in your newspapers, in your churches, and in your schools; and even your gray-headed Senators go home and inculcate it. We have been driven to a position where it is absolutely necessary for us to take care of ourselves. I will hold up no false lights to the State which I represent. I will tell them the plain and stubborn truth, and let them act, as I think they ought to act, for themselves. I hope they will act like men and freemen; and, whatever their action may be, I shall stand by them for good or for evil. If Senators on the other side have propositions to submit which look to reconciliation, I will consider them; but they must be propositions which, in my judgment, strike at the root of this evil, not mere propositions for delay, such as that introduced by my friend from Kentucky. I can understand why a lawyer in court who has been driven to the wall may file an affidavit for delay, or put in a plea for delay; but I cannot understand why a Southern Senator in the present condition of affairs puts in a plea, or an affidavit, or makes any application for delay. We are better prepared to defend ourselves now than we shall be next year. The people are ripe for it. Let them go on.
Hold out no delusive hopes. Let them meet the issue as it is, and I undertake to give my judgment that they will meet it successfully.
GEORGE E. Pugh (0.).—Mr. President, I did not intend to utter one word in regard to this resolution, except to vote for it; but I cannot permit the speech of the Senator from Mississippi (Mr. Brown] to pass without some particular observation. Granting the premises of his argument, which I do not entirely grant, he has failed to justify the conclusion announced. After more than seventy years of liberty and happiness and prosperity as a confederation of States must we now acknowledge that our constituents, some thirty million in all, with every advantage that men could desire for self-government, are unable to decide their differences in a satisfactory manner? Why, sir, what hope is left for mankind anywhere? Will you pretend that the Southern people are capable of free government hereafter if they cannot now commune with their Northern brethren upon fair and honorable terms of adjustment? Or shall we, on our side, indulge a pretension equally vain ? We stultify ourselves, all of us, in saying that we cannot hear, cannot discuss, and cannot compromise the controversy with which we are threatened. That is to say, in so many words, that our experiment of the Union is a failure; and, more than that, your Southern Confederacy will be a failure, and all other confederacies to the end of time. Mr. President, I have not attained any such conclusion; I am not of opinion, as yet, that a majority, or any considerable number of the people, South or North, desire the bonds of this confederacy to be torn asunder. There has been crimination upon both sides, there have been outrages on both sides; there have been things which ought to be redressed, some by the arm of the law, some by a more faithful administration of our Federal and State governments; but there has been nothing which cannot be redressed promptly, fairly, and in the most efficacious manner. I believe, before God and my country, that ninety-nine hundredths of the people in every State, North and South, are anxious this day to redress all outrages and all causes of reasonable complaint.
Why, then, do we hear such defiances exchanged! I heard them on Wednesday last when I came hither and resumed my seat. I heard the Senator from Georgia [Mr. Iverson] declare that the people of the North hated the people of the South, and the people of the South reciprocated that sentiment. I believe the Senator has pronounced a calumny on his constituents as well as on mine. I do not mean to speak disrespectfully of him; I speak of his accusation, and not of himself. I understood the Senator from New Hampshire (John P. Hale] to proclaim, in like manner, not the gospel of peace between brethren, but a circumspect waiting to ascertain whether Mr. Buchanan would or would not send a Federal army to coerce the State of South Carolina. I trust, sir, if Mr. Buchanan should commit so highhanded and fatal an act of violence as that, his term is not too brief as President of the United States for him to be arraigned at our bar by an impeachment. What would South Carolina be worth to herself or to us if she were dragged captive in chains? I wish no State of this Union to be subjugated by her sisters. If she cannot be retained by the bonds of affection, or, if estranged, cannot be brought back to us by the arts of kindness, why, then, in God's name horrible as I esteem such an alternativelet her depart in sorrowful silence.
The difficulty is, that we men of the North do not rightly understand the Southern people, and that they do not rightly understand us. I fear that no remedy is within the reach of Congress, and, therefore, I deprecate any discussion of particular questions. I hope the committee now to be appointed, in virtue of this resolution, will look beyond and above all present controversies; and, if it can do nothing else, as I think it cannot, will advise us to declare to our constituents, in some solemn form, that no methods of legislation-no method of constitutional amendment to be inaugurated here can be of the slightest efficacy or use. We must tell the people, in every State, to follow the example of their fathers—to choose delegates for conventions of all the States separately, and afterwards for a convention of the States together. The entire field of controversy should be reviewed and patiently considered, in order, if possible, to lay more deeply, more broadly, and, I trust, more wisely the foundations of our common liberty and security and happiness.
I hope the Senator from Mississippi (Mr. Brown] will reconsider his determination. I do not believe that his noble constituency would think worse of him because in response to an appeal of amity and friendship, he planted himself in the very door of reconciliation and kept it open as long as any one would speak a single kind word.
SENATOR BROWN.—The Senator will allow me a moment. I never intimated that we would not listen to appeals; I never said that this case could not be adjusted; but I said there was no disposition on the Republican side to do it. My friend from Ohio and I have not the power to do it. He is not speaking for the Republicans. They are the power in the Government, and, so far as we have had any intimations from them, they have no propositions to make, and none to accept. My friend from Ohio and I might talk to the end of the next century and agree or disagree as much as we pleased
JUDAH P. BENJAMIN (La.].-You and he could agree in five minutes.
SENATOR BROWN.--He and I would have no difficulty at all. If the Republicans will trust their cause to him (laughter) and the Democrats to me, we will settle the question before the sun goes down, without the least trouble in the world. Then I cannot have any difficulty with him. It is the power behind him I am talking about.
SENATOR PUGH.—My honorable friend from Mississippi has no “Republicans” to conquer at home. That duty remains to me and to more than a million Northern Democrats like me. I now tell the Republicans frankly, that, unless they approach this controversy in a spirit of honorable conciliation, they have won their last victory in the non-slaveholding States, and, assuredly, in the States northwest of the Ohio River. They did not win the presidential contest on any such propositions as some of them have announced on this floor and they know it.
Let us have done with mere altercations. Is it not an utter disgrace that the first men of the Republic should come hither, at the seat of Federal Government, representing the sovereignty of their proud States at home, when the fabric of our common liberty is tottering to destruction, and, instead of stretching forth their arms to stay such ruin, should fold them inanely, helplessly, and hopelessly, as did the Roman Senators at a time of barbaric invasion.
SENATOR HALE.—Mr. President, I rise to correct a misapprehension of the Senator from Ohio, in a statement which he has made of some remarks that I made here a few days ago. I do not know that I ever spoke in my life when I was so persistently and so obstinately misrepresented. I do not refer now to the Senator from Ohio, because I do not think a Senator here would do it; but I speak of a few craven, cowardly, infamous wretches, that, in the providence of God, have found themselves editors of some of our Northern papers and seem to think it is incumbent on them to utter an apology, about once a week, that God ever sent such miserable wretches into the world. It is from their hands that this persistent misrepresentation comes. I understood the honorable Senator from Ohio to say that I had declared that I wanted to wait to see if Mr. Buchanan would not send a Federal army down to coerce South Carolina.
SENATOR PUGH.-I say to the Senator frankly that I did so understand his remarks—not that he used those words, but that was the amount of what he said, as I thought. I shall be very happy if the Senator did not mean that.
SENATOR HALE. Well, sir, if so intelligent a man as the Senator from Ohio misunderstood me in that respect, I ought to abate a little of those adjectives that I have heaped on those editorial wretches. (Laughter.]