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The impartial voice of history will declare that the Southern States in asserting the Constitutional right of secession, did not enter upon "rebellion," or create a new doctrine, but followed the logic of the history of the Constitution, and interpretations of that instrument by some of the most illustrious of the fathers, maintained, regardless of section, at different times, by many of the foremost statesmen of the republic.

All know that the revolution wrung from the mother country the solemn recognition of the "thirteen United States of America," and "each of them," as "free and independent States." They and "each of them" then became possessed of absolute sovereignty. As "free and independent States," each acting for its sovereign self, they formed the Confederation, and then, by virtue of the same sovereignty as States, formed the Union.

We need not detail subsequent history, and the numerous debates which have exhausted argument, except to say that the public mind vibrated like a pendulum between two opinions at different eras of the republic, as to the power and rights of the States.

If we may judge by the action of the people of the United States, for a considerable period after Washington's death, a majority of them believed the Constitution "a compact to which the States were parties, and that, as in all other cases of compact between parties having common judges, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of the infraction as the mode and measure of redress." The Virginia and Kentucky resolutions which proclaimed this doctrine were written respectively by Madison and Jefferson; and the latter, though not avowing his authorship, was known to concur fully in them. These resolutions were immediately denounced by some of the States as "inflammatory and pernicious." Yet Jefferson, in a bitter struggle between the opposing ideas, two years afterwards, was elected President of the United States, and then re-elected in 1804; and his successor was Madison, upon whose motion a proposed clause in the Constitution "authorizing the exertion of the force of the whole against delinquent States," was unanimously postponed. Madison, who scouted any idea of any government for the United States, "framed on the supposed practicability of using force against unconstitutional proceedings of a State." Even Hamilton had said, "to coerce a dest projects that was ever devised. * *

State was one of the mad-
But can we believe


that a State will ever suffer itself to be used as an instrument of coercion? The thing is a dream. It is impossible."

Massachusetts, not South Carolina, first stood sponsor for the right of secession. Nearly half a century before the convention at Charleston, another convention at Hartford had proclaimed secession as a rightful and desirable remedy against Federal grievances.

The impartial observer in 1861, however deep his opposition to the views of Madison and Jefferson, must declare, as did John Quincy Adams, a New England President, when combatting them: "Holding the converse with a conviction as firm as an article of religious faith, I see too clearly to admit denial, that minds of the highest order of intellect and hearts of the purest integrity of purpose have been brought to different conclusions."


The sectional dissensions, which finally took on the shape of disputes over slavery, turned not at all on the rightfulness or morality of the institution; but were of a purely political significance. From the beginning, the Southern colonies had been foremost in resisting the establishment of slavery. Maryland, North Carolina and Virginia had often protested against it. Virginia, prior to 1751, had passed more than twenty-five acts discouraging and preventing it. The Georgia colony at the outset had declared opposition to the institution. Slavery was established and continued in the Southern colonies against their wishes by the avarice of the Crown.

At the time of the Revolution, the institution was upheld in all the colonies, and though nearly one-sixth of their population were slaves, neither slavery nor its morality even remotely entered into the principles or causes which produced the separation from the mother country, or the change from the articles of confederation to the new Union. When the Constitution was formed, the only dif ferences regarding slaves were as to the manner of their representation, and whether an immediate stop should be put to their importation. The Constitution protected the institution, and gave it its sanction.

As the different sections grew in population, commerce and industry, and their interests conflicted, each struggled to control the government which affected those interests. The clause in the Constitution, allowing three-fifths representation for the slaves naturally caused the South to seek to save the balance of power in the formation of new slave States, and the North, on the other hand, to prevent it, just as in our times, with slavery out of the way, the

admission of a new State is sought or opposed, mainly with reference to its effect upon party or sectional ascendancy. Thus the institution, regardless of its morality or justice, after a while became the plaything of fanatics and the foot ball of politics.

It is significant, as showing the estimate of the institution in the North as a moral question, when disconnected from political ends, that for over a quarter of a century after the acquisition of Louisiana, the mere discussion of abolition caused outbreaks against those who agitated it, in New York, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Connecticut. A Northern historian says: "The riots, of which the foregoing were specimens, were too numerous and widespread to be even glanced at separately." The same writer, himself an early abolitionist, speaking of the responsibility for the existence of the institution, declares: "It were absurd to claim for any colony or section a moral superiority in this regard over any other."

No purpose of emancipation was announced until the war had long been flagrant, and then the matter was handled as a mine in the heart of the Confederacy, to be exploded or not, as might prove most advantageous in the conflict of arms. General Hunter, early in the war, proclaimed emancipation in certain States, and Lincoln, in his own words, "repudiated the proclamation." In his special message in 1862, asking Congress to pass a resolution that the United States ought to give pecuniary aid to the States "which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery." Lincoln urged it "as one of the most efficient means of self-preservation," upon the ground, that if by means of such action, some of the border States should adopt it, it would deprive the Southern States of all hope of retaining them in the Confederacy. "To deprive them of this hope," he says, "substantially ends the rebellion."

In another State paper, about the same time, he said: "If I could save the Union without freeing any of the slaves, I would do it. If I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. My paramount object is to save the Union, and not either to save or destroy slavery."

The first proclamation was an announcement of emancipation to be enforced against persons who thereafter continued in arms against the United States. The avowal that a return to the Union would prevent the emancipation of the slave, sapped its motive of any just claim to benevolence. The purpose of the proclamation was to conquer, not to free. It was a trumpet blast warning of sterner strife, in whose shrill tones were not blown the sweeter notes of philan

thropy. When proclaimed, it was justified as a thrust at an armed enemy, and declared "to be warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity." It did not include Maryland, Kentucky or Missouri, and expressly excluded portions of Louisiana and a third part of the State of Virginia.

The institution, though in the beginning the North as little as the South, had designed it, was shot down in the angry strife between the sections, like the sturdy oak, between the lines, by bullets sped at other marks, in the "bloody angle" at Spotsylvania.

It is just as absurd to say that the war was fought over the justice or morality of slavery, as it would be to declare that the conflict with the mother country, was a dispute about tea thrown overboard in Boston harbor.


The Southerner was as much concerned with the moral aspects of slavery as any of his countrymen. As late as 1831, Virginia, by the narrow margin of one vote, failed to disestablish the institution—a result due more to assault without, than to support of the institution within the ancient commonwealth. Even under the unfavorable conditions existing in 1861, the number of manumissions in proportion to slaves, was largely on the increase in the Southern States. The ultimate fate of the institution, if it had been left to the South in the earlier half of the century-uninfluenced by assault from withoutcan only be told by that Providence which left the Southerner no alternative but to maintain the institution against any sudden change, or else confront in his own home, the gravest problem known to government and civilization.

Violent or quick disruption of the relation between the races, would involve both in long misery. If the freedman left the country who was to take his place? If he remained what was to be the outcome? How would the civilization of the white man pulsate with the intermingled aspirations and voice of the black man? Lincoln thought of this, and the remedy for it "in room in South America for colonization?" The Southerner knew it would be impossible to induce or force the migration of millions of people, not living together in tribal relations in a separate territory of their own, but interwoven with the whole social and economic fabric and scattered over a vast country, under the same government with the white population. This was the momentous problem, involving his hearthstone, his honor, and his posterity, in comparison with which slavery

was not to be considered, which alarmed the Southerner for the future of his children and his happiness and peace in the union. The sections had grown more and more to mistrust each other. Finally a President had been elected by a sectional majority in the electoral college, who had declared that the country "could not exist half slave and half free." Then it was, not undervaluing union, but despairing of hope of longer living in peace and honor under the union of his fathers, the Southerner, in obedience to the instincts of selfpreservation and the teachings of a lofty courage, declared that he would" depart in peace," and that denied him, would stake all upon his sword. That was denied him, and then came the gun at Sumter,

and then the Confederate soldier.


The hostile sections had a common border of a thousand miles, stretching from the Atlantic ocean to the western limits of Missouri, everywhere easily crossed by armies. The South had over three thousand miles of sea-coast, without a ship to guard it; while the North had a navy which could attack this coast at pleasure, and often co-operate on rivers with invading armies in grand inland operations.

The Confederate soldier was fighting for his home, which gave him a decided moral advantage. He operated generally in his own country, which gave him a great military advantage, all the fruits of which he could not reap; since he fought men of the same race, speaking the same language, who often had "men to the manner born" in their ranks. He also had the advantage of moving on interior lines, which was largely neutralized by wretched transportation facilities, in his sparsely settled territory, and his opponent's command of the sea, and some of our great rivers. In all things else, the Confederate was at a fearful disadvantage.

His government was new, without credit, and confronting an old, established power. In men, ships and all that enters into the equipment, comfort and supply of armies, the odds against him were appalling. The official records show that the North enlisted throughout the four years of the war, two million, seven hundred and seventyeight thousand men-while the South according to the best estimate, could not muster quite eight hundred thousand men. Of the three million, five hundred thousand combatants engaged in the struggle, nearly two million more fought on the one side or the other.

Dependent wholly on agriculture, the South went with naked valor

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