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slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. [Applause.] This, our new Government, is the first in the history of the world based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It is so, even among us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many, so late as twenty years ago. Those at the North who still cling to these errors with a zeal above knowledge we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind; from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-slavery fanatics: their conclusions are right if their premises are. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just; but, their premises being wrong, their whole argument fails.
"In the conflict thus far, success has been on our side complete, throughout the length and breadth of the Confederate States. It is upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted; and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate sucess of a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world.
"Ours is the first Government ever instituted upon principles in strict conformity with nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of enslaving certain classes; but the classes thus enslaved were of the same race, and their enslavement in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature's laws. The negro, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material-the granite-then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the material fitted by nature for it; and by experience we know that it is the best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one
race to differ from another, as He has made 'one star to differ from another in glory.'
"The great objects of humanity are best attained when conformed to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our Confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This stone, which was rejected by the first builders, 'is become the chief stone of the corner' in our new edifice. [Applause.]
"I have been asked, What of the future? It has been apprehended by some that we would have arrayed against us the civilized world. I care not who or how many they may be; when we stand upon the eternal principles of truth, we are obliged to and must triumph." [Immense applause.]
With regard to future accessions to the Confederacy, Mr. Stephens said:
"Our growth by accessions from other States will depend greatly upon whether we present to the world, as I trust we shall, a better government than that to which they belong. If we do this, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas cannot hesitate long; neither can Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. They will necessarily gravitate to us by an imperious law. We made ample provision in our Constitution for the admission of other States. It is more guarded-and wisely so, I think-that the old Constitution on the same subject; but not too guarded to receive them so fast as it may be proper. Looking to the distant future and perhaps not very distant either-it is not beyond the range of possibility, and even probability, that all the great States of the Northwest shall gravitate this way, as well as Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, etc. Should they do so, our doors are wide enough to receive them; but not until they are ready to assimilate with us in principle.
"The process of disintegration in the old Union may be expected to go on with almost absolute certainty. We are now the nucleus of a growing power, which, if we are true to ourselves, our destiny, and our high mission, will become the controlling power on this continent. To what extent accessions will go on, in the process of time, or where they will end, the future will determine. So far as it concerns States of the old Union, they will be upon no such principle of reconstruction as is now spoken of, but upon reorganization and new assimilation.” [Loud applause.]
COERCION OF SECEDED STATES: CONSTITUTIONAL OR UNCONSTITUTIONAL?
The President Secures a Legal Opinion on the Crisis from Attorney-General Jeremiah S. Black-Black Reports That "Coercion Is Unconstitutional'' -Last Annual Message of President Buchanan: "Secession Is Revolution'-Debate in the Senate on the Threatened Secession of South Carolina: Thomas L. Clingman [N. C.], John J. Crittenden [Ky.], Joseph Lane [Ore.], John P. Hale [N. H.], Albert G. Brown [Miss.], Alfred Iverson [Ga.], Louis T. Wigfall [Tex.], Willard Saulsbury [Del.]— London Times on the President's Message Speech of Senator Stephen A. Douglas [Ill.] on "Federal Property Interest in the Seceded States.''
N November 17, 1860, President Buchanan, who was preparing his last annual message to Congress, asked his Attorney-General, Jeremiah S. Black, for an opinion upon the legal status of the situation. Mr. Black returned the following report:
OPINION ON SECESSION BY ATTORNEY-GENERAL BLACK
Mr. Black gave it as his opinion that, where owing to resignations there were no Federal judges in a State to issue judicial process, nor officers to execute it, the use of Federal troops would be illegal, since these were intended to aid the courts and marshals, not to replace them. He, therefore, concluded:
"If it be true that war cannot be declared, nor a system of general hostilities carried on, by the central Government against a State, then it seems to follow that an attempt to do so would be ipso facto an expulsion of such State from the Union. Being treated as an alien and an enemy, she would be compelled to act accordingly. And, if Congress shall break up the present Union by unconstitutionally putting strife, and enmity, and armed
hostility between different sections of the country, instead of the "domestic tranquillity" which the Constitution was meant to insure, will not all the States be absolved from their Federal obligations? Is any portion of the people bound to contribute their money or their blood to carry on a contest like that?
"The right of the general Government to preserve itself in its whole constitutional vigor, by repelling a direct and positive aggression upon its property or its officers, cannot be denied. But this is a totally different thing from an offensive war to punish the people for the political misdeeds of State governments, or to prevent a threatened violation of the Constitution, or to enforce an acknowledgment that the Government of the United States is supreme. The States are colleagues of one another; and, if some of them should conquer the rest and hold them as subjugated provinces, it would totally destroy the whole theory upon which they are now connected.
"If this view of the subject be as correct as I think it is, then the Union must utterly perish at the moment when Congress shall arm one part of the people against another, for any purpose beyond that of merely protecting the general Government in the exercise of its proper constitutional functions."
The President also sought the advice of Senator Jefferson Davis [Miss.] in preparing his message. According to Davis' testimony (in his "Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government"-Vol. I, p. 59) Buchanan read to him the rough draft of the document, and accepted all the modifications which he suggested. "The message," continues Davis, "was, however, somewhat changed, and, with great deference to the wisdom and statesmanship of the author, I must say that, in my judgment, the last alterations were unfortunate."
Congress assembled on December 3, 1860, the Senators from South Carolina being absent. The last annual message of President Buchanan began with a discussion of the great crisis before the country, which followed the argument of the Attorney-General.
SECESSION IS REVOLUTION
LAST ANNUAL MESSAGE OF PRESIDENT BUCHANAN
Throughout the year since our last meeting, the country has been eminently prosperous in all its material interests. The