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abundantly show. The express plighting of faith by each and all of the original thirteen in the Articles of Confederation, two years later, that the Union shall be perpetual, is most conclusive. Having never been states, either in substance or in name, outside of the Union, whence this magical oinnipotence of state rights," asserting a claim of power to lawfully destroy the Union itself? Much is said about the sovereignty" of the states; but the word even is not in the national Constitution; nor, as is believed, in any of the state constitutions. What is “sovereignty” in the political sense of the term ? Would it be far wrong to define it “ a political community without a political superior?" Tested by this, no one of our states except Texas, ever was a sovereignty. And even Texas gave up the character on coming into the Union; by which act she acknowledged the Constitution of the United States and the laws and treaties of the United States made in pursuance of the Constitution, to be for her the supreme law of the land. The states have their status in the Union, and they have no other legal stalus. If they break from this, they can only do so against law and by revolution. The Union, and not themselves, separately, procured their independence and their liberty. By conquest or purchase the Union gave each of them whatever of independence or liberty it has. The Union is older than any of the states, and, in fact, it created them as states. Originally some dependent colonies made the Union, and, in turn, the Union threw off their old dependence for them, and made them states, such as they are. Not one of them ever had a state constitution independent of the Union. Of course, it is not forgotten that all the new states framed their constitutions before they entered the Union; nevertheless dependent upon, and preparatory to, coming into the Union.
“Unquestionably the states have the powers and rights reserved to them in and by the national Constitution: but among these, surely, are not included all conceivable powers, however mischievous or destructive; but, at most, such only as were known in the world, at the time, as governmental powers; and, certainly, a power to destroy the Government itself had never been known as a governmental—as a merely administrative power.
This relative matter of national power and state rights, as a principle, is no other than the principle of generality and locality. Whatever concerns the whole should be confided to the whole-to the general government, while whatever concerns only the state should be left exclusively to the state. This is all there is of original principle about it. Whether the national Constitution in defining boundaries between the two has applied the principle with exact accuracy, is not to be questioned. We are all bound by that defining, without question.
" What is now combated, is the position that secession is consistent with the Constitution-is lawful and peaceful. 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 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 refunding? The nation paid very large sums (in the aggregate, I believe, nearly a hundred millions) to relieve Florida of the aboriginal tribes; is it just that she shall now be off without consent, or without making any return? The nation is now in debt for money applied to the benefit of these so-called seceding states in common with the rest; is it just either that creditors shall go unpaid, or the remaining states pay the whole? A part of the present national debt was contracted to pay the old debts of Texas; is it just that she shall leave and pay no part of this herself?
“ Again, 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 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.
“ The seceders insist that our Constitution admits of secession. They have assumed to make a national constitution of their own, in which, of necessity, they have either discarded or retained the right of secession, as they insist it exists in ours. If they have discarded it, they thereby admit that on principle it ought not to exist in ours; if they have retained it, by their own construction of ours they show that, to be consistent, they must secede from one another whenever they shall find it the easiest way of settling their debts, or effecting any other selfish or unjust object. The principle itself is one of disintegration, and upon which no government can possibly endure.
“ If all the states save one should assert the power to drive that one out of the Union, it is presumed the whole class of seceder politicians would at once deny the power, and denounce the act as the greatest outrage upon state rights. But suppose that precisely the same act, instead of being called • driving the one out,' should be called the seceding of the others from that one,' it would be exactly what the seceders claim to do, unless, indeed, they make the point that the one, because it is a minority, may rightfully do what the others, because they are a majority, may not rightfully do. These politicians are subtle, and profound on the rights of minorities. They are not partial to that power which made the Constitution, and speaks from the preamble, calling itself“We, the people.'”
The popular government of the United States, Mr. Lincoln said, had been called an experiment. Two points of the ex
periment had already been settled; the government had been established, and it had been administered. One point remained to be established: its successful maintenance against a formidable internal attempt to overthrow it. It remained to be demonstrated to the world that those who could fairly carry an olection could also suppress a rebellion—“that ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors to bullets, and that when ballots have fairly and constitutionally decided, there can be no successful appeal back to bullets—that there can be no sucoesstill appeal, except to ballots themselves, at succeeding elections.” Another justification of the war in which he was engaged he found in that article of the Constitution which provides that "the l'nited States shall guarantee to every state in this l'nion a republican form of gorernment." If a state might lawfiilly go out of the Union, it might also, having gone out, discaril the republican form of government, “so that to prevent its going out is an indispensable means to the end of maintaining the guarantee mentioned; and when an end is lawtail and obligatory, the indispensable means to it are also lan til und obligatory;"
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digham of Ohio was afterwards sent into the rebel lines for treason, and it is undoubtedly true that Kennedy of Maryland, Bayard of Delaware, Bright of Indiana, and Ben Wood of New York had personal reason for feeling that he had been very harshly used. Yet it was best that these men should be where they were, to bicker and bite, and illustrate the spirit of that incorporate infamy-a slaveholders' rebellion. Such toleration illustrated alike the strength and moderation of the government. Some of these men were permitted to rise in the places they had justly forfeited, and, with perjured lips, to talk treason—to complain of arbitrary arrests when they were suffered to go and come, and scheme and brawl with perfect
, liberty, in the streets of the national capital.
There was plenty of treasonable talk in Congress, but no treasonable action. The party friends of the government were in a majority, and they were aided by numbers of loyal democrats. The schemes of finance recommended by Mr.
. Chase, the Secretary of the Treasury, were adopted essentially as recommen led, a moderate confiscation act was passed, and a resolution adopted by the House—introduced by Mr. Crittenden of Kentucky—that the war had been forced upon the country by the disunionists of the southern states, then in revolt against the constitutional government and in arms around the capital: that Congress, banishing all feeling of passion or resentment, would recollect only its duty to the whole country: that the war was not waged on the part of the government in the spirit of oppression, nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of the states; but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution, and to preserve the Union, with all the dignities, equality and rights of the several states unimpaired: and that as soon as those objects were accomplished, the war ought to cease. During the session, Mr. Trumbull of Illinois introduced a bill in the Senate to emancipate all the slaves in the rebel states. This was a prophecy and a threat of what would come as the reward of rebel contumacy.
The session closed on the sixth day of August, having lasted but little more than a month. The President found himself abundantly supported, and the means in his hands for carry. ing on the great contest.
The message of Mr. Lincoln to this extra session of Congress, taken with his inaugural, did much to overcome the unpleasant impressions produced by the speeches he made on his way to Washington. There is no question that those speeches seriously damaged him, and shook the confidence of the country in his ability. The inaugural and the message had the old ring in them, and betrayed something of those qualities which had originally attracted the country to him.
It is true, however, that he did not spend much time in writing his messages. His later efforts in this line did not bear always so many marks of painstaking as the first. He had a great aversion to what he called "machine writing," and always used the fewest words possible to express his meaning. Mr. Defrees, the public printer, an intimate personal friend of Mr. Lincoln, testifies that he made the fewest corrections in his proof of any man he ever knew. He knew nothing of the rules of punctuation, yet the manuscripts of very few of our public men are as well punctuated as his uniformly were, though his use of commas was excessive.
Mr. Defrees, being on easy terms with Mr. Lincoln, took it upon him to suggest with relation to his first message that he was not preparing a campaign document, or delivering a stump speech in Illinois, but constructing an important state paper, that would go down historically to all coming time; and that, therefore, he did not consider the phrase, “sugarcoated,” which he had introduced, as entirely a becoming and dignified one. “Well, Defrees,” said Mr. Lincoln, good naturedly, “if you think the time will ever come when the people will not understand what “sugar-coated” means, I'll alter it; otherwise, I think I'll let it go.” To make people
' understand exactly what he meant, was his grand aim. Beyond that, he had not the slightest ambition to go.
To close this chapter, it only remains to record the relief