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in the Union, and an insult to their honor, which, in my opinion, alike demand their reprobation and resistance.
The people of the Southern States, as coequals in the Union, and as joint and equal owners of the public territory, have the right to emigrate to these Territories with their slave property, and to the protection and the enjoyment of that property by law during the existence of the territorial government; laws passed by Congress as the trustee and common head of the joint property-head of all the States and all the people of the States in the public territory; laws recognizing the equal right of every citizen to go in and possess and enjoy the common inheritance; laws, not to deprive men of property, but to regulate and secure its enjoyment; laws to put every man in the United States upon an equal footing in the exercise of a great constitutional right. This, sir, is what we of the South are entitled to at the hands of a common Government; and we ought not to be content with less or submit to a denial of it. I am free to declare here that, if I had the control of the Southern people, I would demand this of Congress at the organization of every territorial government as the terms upon which the South should remain in the Union. I would hold our “right” in one hand and "separation" in the other, and leave the North to choose between them. If you would do us justice, I would live with you in peace; if you denied us justice, I would not live with you another day.
Sir, abolition is advancing with rapid strides to the accomplishment of its great end, the universal emancipation of slavery in the United States. The distinguished Senator from New York [Mr. Seward], when he uttered his anathemas and ushered forth his declaration of war against Southern slavery at Rochester, understood well the feeling which sways, and is likely to sway, the masses in the Northern States upon this important and exciting subject. The North intends to put down slavery at the South, "peaceably if they can, forcibly if they must." It is true the Senator from New York, the great embodiment of this abolition sentiment and will, has very kindly and condescendingly told the world that this great end and object are to be accomplished by "constitutional means!" What fool does. not understand that? A majority party, controlling all the branches of the Government, and bent upon an object, would have no difficulty in finding a grant of power in the Constitution for the accomplishment of any object. What better authority would they want than the power given to Congress to "provide for the general welfare" of the United States? Slav
ery, they say, is a great curse, a political, moral, and social evil; a dark and damning stain upon the national escutcheon; a blight upon its prosperity; a great and growing injury even to individuals and States who tolerate it. The national welfare demands its extinguishment, and Congress may and must do it. Here is the grant and here the necessity and occasion of its exercise. What is to deter or hinder? The union of the Southern people in presidential elections? That is the almighty panacea of some gentlemen. Such an idea is not folly onlyit is treason against the South. The constitutional power will soon be found; there are more clauses than one which would justify such a proceeding upon the part of a bold and reckless majority. I have heard that John Quincy Adams once said, in a speech delivered in the House of Representatives, that there were so many clauses in the Constitution open to construction that he could drive a four-horse wagon and team through forty places in it, and find authority in each to abolish slavery in the Southern States; and so, sir, when the Republican party obtains the possession and control of the Government-President, Congress, Supreme Court-and shall feel secure of its power and confident of success, there will not only be no constitutional barrier to stay its hand, but abundant authority will be found in the Constitution, as it is, to justify any measure its wisdom or its folly may prompt it to adopt.
Sir, there is but one path of safety for the institution of slavery in the South, when this mighty Northern avalanche of fanaticism and folly shall press upon us, and that path lies through separation and to a Southern confederacy. This is the great ultimate security for the rights, honor, and prosperity of the South. Sir, there are even now thousands of her sons who believe that the slave States, formed into a separate confederacy and united under such a government as experience and wisdom would dictate, would combine elements of more political power, national prosperity, social security, and individual happiness than any nation of ancient or modern times; and, sir, I am among the number. This is not the time or place to enter upon the discussion of this proposition; if it were, the demonstration of its truth would be easy and irresistible. But whether this be so or not-whether the Southern States would be better off in a separate confederacy or in the present Union, one thing is certain, and that is that no Union or no slavery will sooner or later be forced upon the choice of the Southern people. I do not say, sir, how or when the South will decide the question, but I will say that there is a large and growing
party in many, if not in all, of the Southern States in favor of separation now for causes already existing, as an object both of necessity and political expediency. Ten years ago and scarcely a voice could be heard in all the South calculating the value of the Union. Now their name is legion. As, at each recurring and returning crisis of agitation, the strength of the Abolition party increases at the North, so does the spirit of disunion increase at the South, and its advocates become more confident and defiant.
I venture the opinion that in my own State, so well convinced are the great mass of the people of all parties that the anti-slavery agitation is not to cease until the institution is destroyed, if the question was now put whether the Southern States in a body should separate and form a Southern confederacy, a majority would vote for the proposition. I do not say, sir, that Georgia would secede alone, or together with a few of the other States, or with any number less than the whole; but I verily believe that, if the separation of all of them in a body depended upon the voice of Georgia, that voice would boldly and promptly speak out-separation! I do not say, sir, that this sentiment would be unanimous; I know there are many who are conscientiously of opinion that the Union is the greatest political good; many for whom the Union has irresistible charms; many who would oppose separation from a dread of consequences; and some, from interested motives, would cling to the powers that be and the things that are; they would say, let us trust still longer to the conservative feeling of the North; let us appeal to their patriotism or to their interests; let us give them a Pacific railroad; let us give them high protective tariffs; let us vote millions of the public money to clean out their rivers and improve their harbors; let us feed them and fatten them and gorge them out of the public crib, until, like young vultures, they vomit in our faces; let us smother their fanaticism with masses of gold and silver; and then, perhaps, they will let us keep our niggers! But, sir, these are not my sentiments, nor do I believe they are the sentiments or the arguments of the great body of the people of my State. The majority already believe that Northern aggression has gone far enough and ought not to be allowed to go further; they believe that Southern rights and honor out of the Union are better than dishonor within it; they believe that slavery without the Union is better than the Union without slavery; and they are prepared, at the very next act of aggression from the North, to resist, even to the "disruption of all the ties which bind
them to the Union." Nor do I believe, sir, that the people of Georgia or of the South will be disposed to wait for an overt act of aggression upon the rights, honor, or interests of the Southern States.
The election of a Northern President, upon a sectional and anti-slavery issue, will be considered cause enough to justify secession. Let the Senator from New York [Mr. Seward], or any other man avowing the sentiments and policy enunciated by him in his Rochester speech, be elected President of the United States, and, in my opinion, there are more than one of the Southern States that would take immediate steps toward separation. And, sir, I am free to declare here, in the Senate, that whenever such an event shall occur, for one, I shall be for disunion, and shall, if alive, exert all the powers I may have in urging upon the people of my State the necessity and propriety of an immediate separation.
Whenever any one of the Southern States shall secede in vindication of her rights and honor, to protect her peculiar institution from the ruthless assaults of an anti-slavery majority in Congress, and an attempt be made to force her back into the Union, or enforce the decrees of an arbitrary and unfriendly Government, her surrounding sister States, sympathizing with her in her bold and manly struggle for liberty and the right, would not hesitate for a moment to come to her relief and join her in the assertion of an honorable independence and the formation of another and better Union. Such a movement would necessarily result either in the formation of a confederacy of all the slave States or to amendments of the present Constitution, placing their rights and equality upon a firmer and better basis than at present, as the condition upon which the seceding State or States would reunite with her former sisters. To attempt to force a seceding State back into the Union, with the surrounding States sympathizing with the feelings and causes which impelled her to secede, and interested in all that concerned her honor, her rights, and her independence, would be the veriest act of folly and madness which ever influenced or controlled a weak or wicked government. No, sir; the ties of this Union once broken and there would be but one basis on which they could ever be reformed-concession from the North; security for the South.
JOHN BROWN'S ATTACK ON HARPER'S FERRY
John Brown Brings Fugitive Slaves to Canada and There Organizes a Band to Make War on Slaveholders and Their Sympathizers-The Band Seizes the Federal Armory at Harper's Ferry, Va.-It Is Captured by Virginia Militia-John Brown Is Sentenced to Death-His Defence of His Act-His Letter to His Wife-His Execution-Meetings of Sympathy in the North-"Union Meetings" in the North Denunciatory of Him and His Act-Speech of Charles O'Conor in New York: "Slavery Is Right!"'-James M. Mason [Va.] Introduces in the Senate a Resolution to Investigate the Attack on Harper's Ferry-Lyman Trumbull [Ill.] Moves as an Amendment to Investigate Also the Robbery in 1855 of the Federal Arsenal in Liberty, Mo., by Pro-Slavery Men-Debate on the Motion and Amendment: Democratic Speakers, Senator Mason, Robert M. T. Hunter [Va.], Jefferson Davis [Miss.], John J. Crittenden [Ky.], Albert G. Brown [Miss.], Alfred Iverson [Ga.]; Republican Speakers, Senator Trumbull, John P. Hale [N. H.], Henry Wilson [Mass.], William P. Fessenden [Me.], Zachariah Chandler [Mich.]Amendment Is Defeated and Resolution Carried-President Buchanan's Annual Message-It Treats of Harper's Ferry, the Dred Scott Decision, and the Slave Trade.
OHN BROWN, the leader of the militant Free State men in the Kansas troubles, had fled the Territory when a reward for his arrest was offered by Governor of Missouri and President Buchanan. Taking with him seven companions, three of whom were slaves he had taken from their owners in Missouri, with their wives and children, he departed from Lawrence for the East early in January, 1859. Pursued by 42 mounted pro-slavery men, he turned upon them and put them to flight, capturing four of them, whom he released after five days, during which he had compelled them to pray night and morning. Brown was joined shortly after this "Battle of the Spurs," as the encounter was called, by his lieutenant, J. H. Kagi, with forty mounted men, seventeen of whom escorted him to Nebraska City.