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Governors of the several States, with a request that they will lay the same before the Legislatures thereof respectively.
Resolved, That we recognize slavery as now existing in fifteen of the United States by the usages and laws of those States; and we recognize no authority, legally or otherwise, outside of a State where it so exists, to interfere with slaves or slavery in such States, in disregard of the rights of their owners or the peace of society.
Resolved, That we recognize the justice and propriety of a faithful execution of the Constitution, and laws made in pursuance thereof, on the subject of fugitive slaves, or fugitives from service or labor, and discountenance all mobs or hinderances to the execution of such laws, and that citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States.
Resolved, That we recognize no such conflicting elements in its composition, or sufficient cause from any source, for a dissolution of this Government; that we were not sent here to destroy, but to sustain and harmonize the institutions of the country, and to see that equal justice is done to all parts of the same; and finally, to perpetuate its existence on terms of equality and justice to all the States.
Resolved, That a faithful observance, on the part of all the States, of all their constitutional obligations to each other and to the Federal Government, is essential to the peace of the country.
Resolved, That it is the duty of the Federal Government to enforce the Federal laws, protect the Federal property, and preserve the Union of these States.
Resolved, That each State be requested to revise its statutes, and, if necessary, so to amend the same as to secure, without legislation by Congress, to citizens of other States travelling therein, the same protection as citizens of such State enjoy; and also to protect the citizens of other States travelling or sojourning therein against popular violence or illegal summary punishment, without trial in due form of law, for imputed crimes.
Resolved, That each State be also respectfully requested to enact such laws as will prevent and punish any attempt whatever in such State to recognize or set on foot the lawless invasion of any other State or Territory.
Resolved, That the President be requested to transmit copies of the foregoing resolutions to the Governors of the several States, with a request that they be communicated to their respective Legislatures.
Administration might waive its purpose of coercion; and they deemed it wise not to do any thing which should rashly forfeit the favor and support of " that very large portion of the North whose moral sense was on their side." Nevertheless, they entered upon prompt and active preparations for war. Contracts were made in various parts of the South for the manufacture of powder, shell, cannon balls, and other munitions of war. Recruiting was set on foot in several of the States. A plan was adopted for the organization of a regular army of the Confederacy, and on the 6th of March Congress passed an act authorizing a military force of 100,000 men.
Thus was opened a new chapter in the history of America. Thus were taken the first steps towards overthrowing the Government and Constitution of the United States, and establishing a new nation, with a new Constitution, resting upon new principles, and aiming at new results. The Constitution. of the United States was ordained "in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity." We have the clear and explicit testimony of A. H. Stephens, the Vice-President of the rebel Confederacy, echoing and reaffirming that of the whole civilized world, to the fact, that these high and noble objects—the noblest and the grandest at which human institutions can aim-have been more nearly attained in the practical working of the Government of the United States than anywhere else on the face of the earth. "I look upon this country, with our institutions," said Mr. Stephens before the Legislature of Georgia, on the 14th of November, 1860, after the result of the Presidential election was known, "as the Eden of the world, the paradise of the universe. It may be that out of it we may become greater and more prosperous, but I am candid and sincere in. telling you that I fear if we rashly evince passion, and without
sufficient cause shall take that step, that instead of becoming greater, or more peaceful, prosperous, and happy-instead of becoming gods we will become demons, and at no distant day commence cutting each other's throats." Mr. Stephens on that occasion went on, in a strain of high patriotism and common sense, to speak of the proposed secession of the State of Georgia, in language which will forever stand as a judicial condemnation of the action of the rebel States. "The first question that presents itself," said Mr. Stephens, "is, shall the people of the South secede from the Union in consequence of the election of Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency of the United States? My countrymen, I tell you candidly, frankly, and earnestly that I do not think that they ought. In my judgment the election of no man, constitutionally chosen to that high office, is sufficient cause for any State to separate from the Union. It ought to stand by and aid still in maintaining the Constitution of the country. To make a point of resistance to the Government, to withdraw from it because a man has been constitutionally elected, puts us in the wrong. We went into the election with this people. The result was different from what we wished; but the election has been constitutionally held. Were we to make a point of resistance to the Government, and go out of the Union on this account, the record would be made up hereafter against us."
After the new Confederacy had been organized, and Mr. Stephens had been elected its Vice-President, he made an elaborate speech to the citizens of Savannah, in which he endeavored to vindicate this attempt to establish a new government in place of the government of the United States, and to set forth the new principles upon which it was to rest, and which were to justify the movement in the eyes of the world and of impartial posterity. That exposition is too important to be omitted here. It is the most authoritative and explicit
statement of the character and objects of the new government which has ever been made. Mr. Stephens said:
"The new constitution has put at rest forever all agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions-African slavery as it exists among us-the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson, in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the 'rock upon which the old Union would split.' He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution were, that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with; but the general opinion of the men of that day was, that, somehow or other, in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the Constitution, was the prevailing idea at the time. The Constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly used against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the idea of a government built upon it was wrong—when the 'storm came and the wind blew, it fell.'
"Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition. 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 even so amongst 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 as 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. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the Northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with im posing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of slavery; that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics. That the principle would ultimately prevail. That we, in maintaining slavery as it exists with us, were warring against a principle—a principle founded in nature, the principle of the equality of man. The reply I made to him was, that upon his own grounds we should succeed, and that he and his associates in their crusade against our institutions would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as well as in physics and mechanics, I admitted, but told him that it was he and those acting with him who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.
"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 success of a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world."
We have thus traced the course of events in the Southern States during the three months that succeeded the election of President Lincoln. Let us now see what took place in Washington during the same time. Congress met on the 3d of December and the Message of President Buchanan was at once sent in. That document ascribed the discontent of the Southern States to the alleged fact that the violent agitation in the North against slavery had created disaffection among the slaves, and created apprehensions of servile insurrection. The President