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FIRST MESSAGE.

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diate dissolution.

In this act, discarding

all else, they have forced upon the country the distinct issue, immediate dissolution or blood.'

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Rising now at once to the highest political considerations, Mr. Lincoln proceeds:—

"And this issue embraces more than the fate of these United States. It presents to the whole family of man the question, whether a constitutional republic or democracy—a government of the people by the same people—can or cannot maintain its territorial integrity against its own domestic foes. It presents the question, whether discontented individuals, too few in number to control administration, according to organic law, in any case, can always, upon the pretences made in this case, or on any other pretences, or arbitrarily, without any pretence, break up their Government. . . It forces us to ask,

...

Is there, in all republics, this inherent and fatal weakness? Must a Government, of necessity, be too strong for the liberties of its people, or too weak to maintain its own existence ?'

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So viewing the issue, no choice was left but to call out the war-power of the Government, and so to resist force employed for its destruction, by force for its preservation."

THE FIRST MESSAGE:

He then proceeded to review the course of events since the fall of Sumter; dwelt for a while on one of his acts which had been most sharply canvassed, the suspension of the writ of Habeas Corpus; and, after explaining his own views as to the right interpretation of the Constitution on the matter, deferred it entirely to the better judgment of Congress (which, it may be added at once, fully endorsed the course taken by him, and eventually passed a law authorising the President to suspend the writ "at such times and in such places, and with regard to such persons as in his judgment the public safety" might require); and closed with a somewhat lengthened discussion of the alleged "right of secession."

"It might seem, at first thought, to be of little difference whether the present movement at the South be called 'secession' or 'rebellion.'

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The movers, however, well understand the difference. At the beginning, they knew they could never raise their treason to any respectable magnitude by any name which implies violation of law. . . . They invented an ingenious sophism, which, if conceded, was followed by perfectly logical steps, through all the incidents, to the complete destruction of the Union. The sophism itself is, that any State of the Union may, consistently with the national Constitution, and therefore lawfully and peaceably, withdraw from the Union, without the consent of the Union, or of any other State. The little disguise, that the supposed right is to be exercised only for just cause, themselves to be the sole judges of its justice, is too thin to merit any notice. With rebellion thus sugarcoated,'* they have been drugging the public

THE ALLEGED RIGHT TO SECEDE.

* Mr. J. B. Carpenter, in his interesting "Anecdotes and Reminiscences of President Lincoln," appended to Mr. Raymond's work, tells us that Mr. Defrees, the Government printer, found fault with this expression, whilst the Message was passing through the press, and

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mind of their section for more than thirty years, and until at length they have brought many good men to a willingness to take up arms against the Government, the day after some assemblage of men have enacted the farcical pretence of taking their State out of the Union, who could have been brought to no such thing the day before. . . . It is not contended that there is any express law for it; and nothing should ever be implied as law which leads to unjust or absurd consequences. The nation purchased

THE FIRST MESSAGE:

with money the countries out of which several
of these States were formed; is it just that they
shall go off without leave and without refund-
ing?
If one State may secede, so may
another; and when all shall have seceded, none
is left to pay the debts. Is this quite just to

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being on intimate terms with Mr. Lincoln, remon-
strated with him on the use of it as being "undignified."
"Defrees," said Mr. Lincoln,
"that word expresses pre-
cisely my idea, and I am not going to change it. The
time will never come in this country when the people
won't know exactly what sugar-coated means!"

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THE WAR A PEOPLE'S CONTEST.

creditors? Did we notify them of this sage view of ours when we borrowed their money? If we now recognize this doctrine by allowing the seceders to go in peace, it is difficult to see what we can do, if others choose to go, or to extort terms upon which they will promise to remain."

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After asking what better Government the country were likely to get than the present one, and declaring that this was essentially a people's contest-a struggle for maintaining in the world that form and substance of Government whose leading object is to elevate the condition of men, to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of laudable pursuits for all, to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life," he continued:

"Our popular Government has often been called an experiment. Two points in it our people have already settled-the successful establishing and the successful administering of it. One still remains,-its successful maintenance

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