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they got up the "Hartford Convention." I hope you don't consider that personal. Well, they say that somebody in Massachusetts, I don't know who, tried it. All that I know is, that for the first twenty years of my political life, somehow or other, I was held responsible for the Hartford Convention.

I have made this singular discovery, that whereas, when Massachusetts, or any New England state, threatens to go out of the Union, the democratic party all insist that it is high treason, and ought to be punished by coercion, while, when one of the southern states gets hold of the same idea, the same party think it excusable, and that it is very doubtful whether they ought not to be helped out of the Union, and be given a good dowry besides. Now, I believe, among all the truths, that, whether it is Massachusetts or South Carolina or whether it is New York or Louisiana, it will turn out exactly the same way in every case-that there is no such thing in the bookno such thing in reason-no such thing in philosophy-no such thing in nature, as any state existing on the continent of North America, long out of the United States of America. Don't believe a word of it-I don't believe it for many reasons—some I have named, and for one, I don't see any other good reason given for it. The best reason I hear is, that the people of some of the southern states hate us of the free states very badly, and they say that we hate them, and that all love is lost between us. I don't believe a word of that.

On the other hand, I do know for myself, and for you, that bating some differences of opinion about advantage, and about proscription, and about freedom and slavery, and all that, they are merely family differences, concerning which we do not take any outsiders in any part of the world into our counsel on either side. There is not a state outside of the American Union that I like half so well as I do the state of South Carolina-neither England, nor Ireland, nor Scotland, nor France, nor even Turkey, although from Turkey, they have sent me some Arabian horses, while from South Carolina they send me nothing but curses, still I like South Carolina better than any of them. I do not know but I have a presumption about it. I do believe if there was any body to overhear the state of South Carolina when she is talking to herself, that she would confess she likes us tolerably well; and I am very sure that if anybody was to make a descent upon New York to-morrow-whether Louis Napoleon, or the prince

or his mother, or the emperor of Russia or Austria-if either of them were to make a descent upon the city of New York to-mor row, I believe all the hills of South Carolina would pour forth their population to the rescue of New York. God knows how this may be, or when the present excitement may end. I do not pretend to know, I only conjecture; but this I do know, that if any one of these powers were to make a descent upon Charleston and South Carolina, I know who would go to their rescue. We would all go. We all know that; everybody knows that: therefore they do not bumbug me with their secession. I do not think they will humbug you, and I do not believe that if they do not humbug you or me, that they will succeed very long in humbugging themselves.

Now, this is the ultimate result of all this business. These states were always intended to remain together. They always shall. Talk of taking one star out of this glorious constellation! It is something which cannot be done. I do not see any fewer stars now than I did last winter; on the contrary, I expect to see more. The question then is, when at this time people are struggling under a delusion that they are getting out of the Union, and going to set up for themselves, what are we to do in order to hold them in? I do not know any better rule than the rule which every good New England man, I suppose, though I have not much acquaintance with New England -every father of a family in New York, who is a sensible man-I suppose New England fathers do the same thing-the rule which they practise. It is this-if a good man wishes to keep his family together it is the easiest thing in the world. When one gets discontented, begins to quarrel, to complain, does his father quarrel with him, tease him, threaten him, coerce him? No; that is just the way to get rid of a family.

But, on the other hand, if you wish to keep them together, you have only one thing to do-to be patient, kind, forbearing, and wait until they come to reflect for themselves. The south is to us what the wife is to the husband. I do not know a man in the world who cannot get rid of his wife if he tries to do so. I can put him in the way to do it at once. He has only two things to do-one is to be unfaithful to her, the other is to be out of temper with her, and she will be glad to leave him. That is the most simple way. I do not know a man on earth-I do not think but that even Socrates could have got rid of his wife if he desired to do so, in this way; but if

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he wished to keep his wife, he must keep his virtue and his temper


In all this business, I propose that we should keep our own virtue, which in politics consists in remembering that men must differ-that brethren, even of the same family, must differ, and that if we keep entirely cool, and entirely calm, and entirely kind, a debate will ensue, which will be kind of itself, and it will prove to us very soon that either we are wrong, and should make concessions to our offended brothers, or else that we are right, and they will acquiesce, and come back into fraternal relations with us.

I do not desire to anticipate any questions. We have a great many statesmen who assume to know at once what the south proposes to do; what the government proposes to do; whether they intend to coerce our southern brethren back into their allegiance. Then they ask us, of course, as they may rightly do, what will be the value of a fraternity which is compulsory? All I have to say on that subject is, that it was so long time ago as in the days of Mr. Thomas More, when he made the discovery, and so announced it in his writings, "that there are a great many school-masters, but very few who know how to instruct children, and a great many who know how to whip them."

I propose to have no questions on that subject-to hear their complaints-redress them if we can, and expect them to be withdrawn if they are unreasonable. I know that the necessities which created this Union are stronger to-day than they were when the Union was cemented, and that those necessities are as enduring as the passions of man are short-lived and evanescent.

NOTE. See speech in state senate January 10, 1834, Vol. I., p. 16; do United States senate March 11, 1850, Vol. I., pp. 81-89; address at Auburn July 4, 1825, Vol. III., p. 193; speech October, 1844, Vol. III., pp. 245 and 267; letter May, 1845, Vol. III., p. 440, &c., &c.


CONGRESS adjourned last summer amid auspices of national abundance, contentment, tranquillity and happiness. It has reassembled. this winter in the presence of derangement of business and disturbance of public as well as private credit, and in the face of seditious combinations to overthrow the Union. The alarm is appalling; for Union is not more the body than Liberty is the soul of the nation. The American citizen has been accustomed to believe the republic immortal. He shrinks from the sight of convulsions indicative of its sudden death. The report of our condition has gone over the seas, and we who have so long and with much complacency studied the endless agitations of society in the Old World, believing ourselves exempt from such disturbances, now, in our turn, seem to be falling into a momentous and disastrous revolution.

I know how difficult it is to decide, amid so many and so various counsels, what ought to be and even what can be done. Certainly, however, it is time for every senator to declare himself. I, therefore, following the example of the noble senator from Tennessee [Mr. JOHNSON], avow my adherence to the Union in its integrity and with all its parts, with my friends, with my party, with my state, with my country, or without either, as they may determine; in every event, whether of peace or of war; with every consequence of honor or dishonor, of life or death. Although I lament the occasion, I hail with cheerfulness the duty of lifting up my voice among distracted debates, for my whole country and its inestimable Union.

Hitherto the exhibitions of spirit and resolution here, as elsewhere, have been chiefly made on the side of disunion. I do not regret this. Disunion is so unnatural that it must plainly reveal itself before its presence can be realized. I like best, also, the courage that rises. slowly under the pressure of severe provocation. If it be a Christian duty to forgive to the stranger even seventy times seven offenses, it

1 Speech in the Senate of the United States, January 12, 1861.

is the highest patriotism to endure without complaint the passionate waywardness of political brethren so long as there is hope that they may come to a better mind.

I think it is easy to pronounce what measures or conduct will not save the Union. I agree with the honorable senator from North Carolina [Mr. CLINGMAN], that mere eulogiums will not save it. Yet I think that as prayer brings us nearer to God, though it cannot move Him toward us, so there is healing and saving virtue in every word of devotion to the Union that is spoken, and in every sigh that its danger draws forth. I know, at least, that, like truth, it drives strength from every irreverent act that is committed, and every blasphemous phrase that is uttered against it.

The Union cannot be saved by mutual criminations concerning our respective shares of responsibility for the present evils. He whose conscience acquits him will naturally be slow to accuse others whose coöperation he needs. History only can adjust that great account.

A continuance of the debate on the constitutional power of congress over the subject of slavery in the territories, will not save the Union. The opinions of parties and sections on that question, have become dogmatical, and it is this circumstance that has produced the existing alienation. A truce, at least during the debate on the Union, is essential to reconciliation.

The Union cannot be saved by proving that secession is illegal or unconstitutional. Persons bent on that fearful step will not stand long enough on forms of law to be dislodged; and loyal men do not need such narrow ground to stand upon.

I fear that little more will be gained from discussing the right of the federal government to coerce seceding states into obedience. If disunion is to go on, this question will give place to the more practical one, whether many seceding states have a right to coerce the remaining members to acquiesce in a dissolution.

I dread, as in my innermost soul I ablor, civil war. I do not know what the Union would be worth if saved by the use of the sword. Yet for all this, I do not agree with those who, with a desire to avert that great calamity, advise a conventional or unopposed separation, with a view to what they call a reconstruction. It is enough for me, first, that in this plan, destruction goes before reconstruction; and secondly, that the strength of the vase in which the hopes of the 7nation are held, consists chiefly in its remaining unbroken.

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