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the fact that it is procured by the humiliation of qur brother. If we have read the history of our civil wars, we ought to be able to comprehend what they are suffering now, and extend to them our most prayerful sympathy in this, their first baptism of blood.
Secondly. I would awaken your prayerful sympathy for a people contending for an established Government. Civil government is a divine institution, and when it is founded on right principles, and carried out with due regard for the liberty and security of the subject, consistent with the maintenance of its authority, is one of the best blessings conferred upon a people. Good government is so inestimable a benefaction to a free people, that to guard it against menace or overthrow is one of their simplest obligations. To submit to all and every attack made upon its principles and authority without repudiation and resistance-armed resistance if necessary-is cowardice, and shows it is either a good above their appreciation, or too bad to arouse them in its defence. Such a government, if bad, deserves to be swept away, for a government exists for the good of a people, and not a people for the good of a government; and if so good, the people who are too degraded to appreciate it, deserve to be threatened with the overthrow of it, to arouse them to due concern. When a government ceases to be rooted in the affections of a people-when it ceases to guard and consolidate their liberties-when it has lost the power, morally and physically, to maintain its legiti
mate authority-then its removal is a good; but to aim at the overthrow of a government not chargeable with any of these failures, can scarcely, in any instance, be other than the greatest national crime, for it plans the overthrow of the greatest national good.
To understand the attempt now making in America to overthrow national government, a few facts not commonly acknowledged in this country need to be recalled to mind. It is commonly alleged that secession is an inherent right of every State composing the Union. This is based on the fallacy of the assumption, that the Union is simply a confederacy of sovereign States-States which retain their sovereignty, though in the Union-States which entered that confederacy at their pleasure, and can go out at their pleasure, and commit no more wrong in the one case than the other. This is not the fact; States are sovereign only in their own territorial jurisdiction, but not sovereign at all in regard to matters of national legislation. Nor is the Union a Union simply of States, but of the whole American people. The Union rose at the voice of the national will, and can be modified or destroyed only by the concurrence of that national will, or, which is the same thing, by the free consent of three-fourths of the whole manhood of the country. Its Constitution is drawn up in the name of the people, not of the States, and begins, "We, the people, &c., not “We, the States."
The greatest minds of that country hold secession
to be morally and legally wrong. Permit a few quotations. President Jackson said, "To say that a State can separate at will from the Union, is to say that the United States is not a nation." Henry Clay said, "The submission which I owe the Union is absolute, that which I owe my native State is relative." Washington, in his Farewell Address, said to his fellow-citizens, "Be, before all, children of the same confederation, American citizens, rather than the citizens of such or such a State, Let the Federal Constitution be your ark of safety." Daniel Webster said, "I maintain that the Constitution of the United States is not a league, a confederation, a contract between the people of different States acting in their sovereign character, but a Government, properly so called, based on the adoption of the people. No State has the power to dissolve these relations.'
One would think this might have been sufficiently well known in England to have kept many from falling into such a mistake, who have lent their influence to propagate it. We may understand the plea thus put forward by looking nearer home. What would be thought of the opinion that any county of England had a right to secede from its submission to national authority and government, because it had some fault, real or fancied, to allege against that government? Just suppose that when the corn laws were abolished, the agricultural districts of England, fancying themselves aggrieved, that national legislation, so long in their supposed
favor, was turning against them, and in favor of the manufacturing interests of the country, had risen and proclaimed themselves separated from the nation, and no longer subject to the authority of the constitution and sovereign. Who would maintain their right to do that? What would be thought if Scotland, or Ireland, or Wales, were to proclaim their independence of England? Would these preachers of the right of secession preach it at home? When the Sepoy mutiny rose, and disputed our authority in India, who in England justified their right to secession? And yet they had become a conquered race, and their country had become the property of strangers by force of arms, not done by peaceful and voluntary union. The case of America in the present struggle is as nearly as possible parallel to these illustrations. The Government of that country has been for many years in succession in the hands of the Slaveocracy; they have had everything in their own way; they have during these years raised slavery from the position of a tolerated, apologized thing, to be the dominant idea in legislation, and in all the relations of the Government to the people, and to other nations; from that party has come all the gross insults to England; instigated by hatred of our conduct to the slaves within our dominions, containing, as it did, so keen a reproof to them, madly bent upon forging new legislative fetters for the same race in their country; from that party came the "Fugitive Slave Law," and the repeal of the "Missouri Compromise."
President Lincoln was elected by a party whose guiding principle was the non-extension of slavery into any of the Territories of the country not yet become States of the Union. That party, while acting on this constitutional principle, held all existing laws of the Union sacred, and asserted its determination to stand by the Constitution. At once the South-the long dominant South, the long petted South-like a spoiled child, peevishly turned round and said, "I won't stay in the Union," "I'll go away," "I'll set up on my own account." "If I am beaten, though fairly beaten, I won't submit." And without submitting its grievance (if it had any) to the whole country, and without attempting to show that it had been wronged, or that the Constition had been violated, either by the party electing or the man elected, or the principles avowed in the election, away it went, like a wilful but resolute child, that could no longer have its own way, and proclaimed a Confederacy after its own heart, a Confederacy whose corner-stone is perpetual slavery of the negro race, the renewal of the African slave trade, and the extension of slavery into as many of the Territories as it could command, thus destroying all hope of freedom to the colored race, and blotting the fair Union out of existence. If that be a just cause for secession, then any minority in a state, or country, or province, or parish, or church, or society, has an equal right of secession, when it cannot rule the majority, and bend every thing to its own will.