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Seward's Union


spect. As representatives of
the interest of commerce,
the memorialists are wor-

thy of the Senate's consideration.


Seward's Union

to the Union. These-
whether you call them Se-
cession or Revolution on the
one side, or coercion or defiance on the other-
are all to subside and pass away before Union,
which is to become the grand absorbing ob-
ject of interest, affection, and duty upon the
part of the citizens of the United States. A
great many partisan interests are to be re-

partisan interests expressed by the Charleston Platform, the Baltimore Platform, the Chicago Platform, by the Popular Sovereignty Platform, if, indeed, the Union is in danger, and is to be saved. With these interests and with these platforms, everybody standing upon them or connected with them is to pass away, if the Union is in danger and is to be saved. He added: "But it will require a very short time, if this Union is in danger and does require to be saved, for all these interests, all these platforms, and all these men to disappear. You, everybody who shall oppose, resist, or stand in the way of the preservation of this Union, will appear as moths on a sum

Mr. Seward had waited anxiously for propositions which the Seceding States might offer as terms to the adhering States; or, to state the proposition in its other form, he had seen nothing which would justify him in believing that any of the propositions sub-pressed and suppressed to give peace to the mitted by the adhering States would be accepted by the Seceding States. He had held himself open and ready for the best adjustment which could be practically made. He approved the spirit of conciliation, of fraternal kindness, of affection, adopted by so large a portion of the people of his State towards the various sections of the country, and, in return for acting as their spokesman, in presenting their memorial to the Senate, he should advise them to continue to manifest the same spirit, to show forth their devotion to the Union by voting for it; and, if it should be demanded, by lending or even giving their money to it; by fighting for it in it, if it must come as a last resort for its main-mer's eve, when the whirlwind of popular intenance, taking care that speaking always goes before voting, voting goes before the giving of money, and all go before a resort to arms, which, at best, was hazardous and painful, and therefore should be the last measure to be resorted to for the salvation of the Union. This was the spirit in which he had determined to come up to the great question, which he thought would yet be peacefully settled. He had not expected the great controversy to be settled in the sixty days of Congressional action already had; nor did he expect the allotted ninety days of the session would see the differences adjusted, peace restored, and the Union firmly reestablished. It was not time enough for the people to appreciate the danger and to agree upon the remedy. A great many and various interests and elements are brought into conflict in this sudden crisis, a great many personal ambitions, and a great many sectional interests, and it would be strange if they would all be accommodated, arranged, and harmonized so as to admit and give full effect to the one profoundest and most enduring sentiment or passion of the United States-that of devotion

dignation arises that shall be excited at the full discovery that this Union is endangered through faction, and even impracticability, on the one part. I have hope and confidence that this is to come around just as I have said; and quite soon enough, because I perceive, although we may shut our eyes to it, that the country and mankind cannot shut their eyes to the true nature of this crisis."

He then adverted to the issue actually presented. The vital question of antagonism between the North and South was sprung upon the country twelve years ago, but was strongest in its development in 1850, when all the Pacific coast, and all the Territory intervening between it and the Louisiana purchase, was thrown suddenly upon our hands, for the purpose of our organizing in them free and independent Republican Governments as a basis of future States. It had been an earnest-nay, an angry controversy, but it was closed, on the previous day, by the admission of Kansas as a State. The vital issues were closed-though there remained the passions which the long contest had engendered. He said:

Seward's Union

Seward's Union

"Kansas is in the Union, | ence, and subject to dissolution California and Oregon are in by their action. But that assent the Union, and now the same is to be always taken by virtue contest divides and distracts this Union for Freedom of the original assent, and held until, in the form pre and Slavery in the Territories of the United States just scribed by the Constitution itself, and in the time, and as before. What is the extent of the Territories which in the manner, and with all the conditions which the remain, after the admission of Minnesota, Oregon, and Constitution prescribes; and those who constitute the of Kansas? One million, sixty-three thousand, five Union shall declare that it shall be no longer that hundred square miles-an area twenty-four times thirty days, and sixty days, and ninety days, given that of the State of New York, the largest of the old us by the disunionists; it may not be enough for and fully developed States. Twenty-four such their policy and their purposes. I hope and wish States as this of New York are yet to be fully or- that it may be time enough for the policy and purganized within the remaining Territories of the poses of the Union. God grant that it may be so; United States. Now, under what is accepted by the but if thirteen shall turn out not to be enough, then Administration and the Government as a judicial de- I see how and when all these great controversies cree, upheld by it, and put in practical operation by will be settled, just as our forefathers saw when they it, every inch of that Territory is Slave Territory. framed the Constitution. They provided, seventy I speak of that decision not as I accept it, but as it years ago, this present controversy. This whole is accepted and enforced by the existing Adminis- controversy shall be submitted to the people of the tration. Every foot of it is Slave Territory as much United States, in a Convention called according to as South Carolina. Over a considerable portion of the forms of the Constitution, and acting in the manit a Slave Code, made by a Government created by ner prescribed by it. Then, sir, this country will the Congress of the United States, is enforced; so find sudden relief in the prompt and unanimous that, according to the claims of those who insist adoption of measures necessary for its salvation, upon their rights in the Territory of the United and the world will see how well and how wisely a States for Slavery, the whole of this 1,063,000 square great, enlightened, educated, Christian people, conmiles is Slave Territory. How many slaves are there sisting of thirty-four sovereign States, can adjust in it? How many have been brought into it during difficulties which had seemed, even to themselves, these twelve years in which it has been not only re- as well as to mankind, to be insurmountable." linquished to Slavery, but in which the Supreme Court, the Legislature, and the Administration have maintained, protected, and guaranteed Slavery there? Twenty-four African slaves! One slave for every forty-four thousand square miles. One slave for every one of the twenty-four States which, supposing them each to be of the dimensions of New York, or Pennsylvania, or Indiana, cover that portion of the area of our Republic. Sir, I have followed this thing in good faith, and with zeal and energy, but I confess that I have no fears of Slavery anywhere. In the peculiar condition of things which has existed, Slavery has succeeded in planting only one slave upon every 44,000 square miles of Territory.

"This, then, has ceased to be a practical question. In lieu of it comes up a great, and vital, and fearful question-the question of union, or of dissolution of the Union--the question of country or of no country-the question of hope-the question of greatness, or the question of sinking forever under the contempt of mankind. Why, then, should I despair that a great nation of thirty millions will be able to meet this crisis? I have no fear. This is a Confederacy. It is not an imperial government, or the government of a single State. It is a Confederacy, and it is, as it ought to be, dependent upon the continued assent of all the members of the Confederacy to its exist

He said:

Mason's Declarat ry

Mason, of Virginia, followed. "When the Government is in progress of disintegration ; when there are six States that have separated from the others, and are now arming themselves upon a large scale; when my own State appropriated, twelve months ago, in anticipation of what now seems to be occurring, the very large sum, for a single State, of half a million of dollars to purchase arms; and when, within a few days, another appropriation was made of $1,000,000 for the same purpose; when we find that other States have done the same thing; when we find that the people themselves are arming; when counties and towns are exercising their municipal authority, and are raising money for this same purpose-while these things are going on, and while the public mind is engaged in the Slave States that are not yet separated in devising some mode by which the Amer ican mind can again be united in a common usion, what do we hear from the Senator from New York, (Mr. Seward?) What do we hear from that Senator who now occupies the position before the country which he now does, acknowledged to be the head of the political combination which is to bring into power the incoming Administration, said by the newspapeť press to be the probable right hand of that Admin

Mason's Declaratory


istration what do we hear from that Senator? Any suggestion from a quarter of such weight as to what he would recommend to a majority of the States, in order to meet the demands, just or unjust, of the Slave States? None. Any remark approving

or disapproving the propositions before the country,

to amend the Constitution in this regard? None. We know what his opinions are in regard to the proposition offered by the venerable Senator from Kentucky, (Mr. Crittenden,) by declaration and by votes, uniform and continued. We know what his views are in the negative, and what are his views in the affirmative. His affirmative vote was given in this chamber to substitute the resolutions of the Senator from New Hampshire, (Mr. Clark.) What are they? Propositions declaring, in substance, that the Constitution needed no amendment; that the demands of the Southern States are unreason


The Mason's Declaratory


six per cent. stocks com-
manded a premium.
petitioners on the memorial
were those who held the treasure of the city in
their keeping. "He therefore recommended to
them publicly, as he had done privately, that
they should advance to the Union money on
loans and on Treasury notes, as they now
actually are furnishing, in that way the money
by which the President, Congress, the Depart-
ments, yourself and myself, and, in short,
every department of the Government, is sus-
tained; I have recommended to them at this
crisis that they should sustain the Govern-
ment of their country, and maintain the credit
to which it is entitled."

Mason presumed that that was the use in-
He did
tended to be made of the money.
not, in his own mind, do the Senator the in-
justice to believe that with this money he
proposed to subsidize or demoralize the
Southern States. He took it for granted that
it was to sustain the army which was to con-
duct the fight, which he recommends.

This ungenerous contradiction again called up Mr. Seward. He replied:

"I am sure the honorable Senator does not intend to misrepresent me. I contemplated, after the ex

able, and that the only remedy for this condition of things in the country was to enforce the Constitution and the laws. That is the affirmative view of the honorable Senator from New York. Now, what is it he has elaborated? Why, the honorable Senator, in the midst of a maze of generalities which marked his speech—and it was a maze, and a misty one-in that general maze he marched to the line and told us what his policy was, and I assume it is the policy of those he is to bring into power.-And what was it he told us? What his recommendation to these gentlemen who have sent here this enormous petition? Not adopting their views, not look-piration of all compromise, a Convention of the peoing to any amendment of the Constitution whatever, his recommendation is given to us in four distinct propositions of what is to be the policy of those whom he intends to lead-if history does not misinform us, after the 4th of March next. He recommends that these gentlemen, when they go home, should employ themselves in the great work of restoring the breaches made in the Union. How? Why, he said, speak first, next vote for the Union, next give money for the Union; and the last, fight for the Union. These are the four measures proposed by the Senator to heal the gaping breach in the Union. I can understand what he means when he recommends his constituents to speak for the Union. I can understand when he recommends them to vote for the Union. But I would like to

ple of the United States, called in the constitutional form; and after that Convention shall be held, or refused to be held-when is impossible anything can be done but that, by force of arms, this Union is to stand or fall, I have advised my people to do as I shall be ready to do myself to stand by the Union; to stand or perish with it."

This sentiment brought loud applause from the galleries, then crowded densely by one of the most eminent audiences which that new chamber yet had seen gathered within its walls.

Mason then resumed:

"I wanted to bring the honorable Senator, who is the exponent of the new Administration, to the pol

know what he means when he recommends them to icy by which it is to be directed. I understand from give money for the Union?"

Mr. Seward explained. Government had been humiliated so far, by its financial management, as to see its stocks-which, two years before, commanded a premium-fallen so low as to be sold at a discount of thirty per cent. The credit of New York on her

him now, that all remedies failing, through the Constitution or a Convention of the States, his recommendation is battle bloodshed to preserve the Union. His recommendation to the people is, that they shall contribute money, which shall march an army upon the South-for what? To preserve the Union. It is gone. It is broken. There is no union now in this country. Sir, those States were out;

and if the battle is to be fought, it is to be fought against them for the purpose of reducing them to subjection and dependence. That honorable Senator is too wise in the experiences of States, and

knows too well the construction and theory of this

Government, to believe for one moment you could

ever subjugate the people of the States to restore

the Union. I want to speak to them. I want to let my people, the people of Virginia, who have offered themselves as mediators to restore this Union, know that this is the remedy we are to expect from the counsels of those for whom the Senator acts." Seward here interrupted, to qualify Mason's inferences, and said:

Seward's Explana


"I looked to no such contingency as Seceded States and a dissevered Union. I looked to no such condition of things. The honorable Senator and I differ equally in regard to the future and in regard to the present. He, with the earnestness of an ardent imagination, sees this country hereafter rent and dissevered, and then recombined in separate Confederacies. I see no such thing in the future. But I do see a returning of reason and judgment to the American people; a return of harmony, and a consolidation of the Union firmer than ever before. The honorable Senator may very well see that we may differ in our anticipations of the future, because we differ so much in regard to the actual living present. Sir, I am in the Union of the United States-this same blessed, glorious, nobly-inherited, God-given Union. I am in the Senate Chamber of the United States, pleading for it-maintaining it-defending it. The honorable Senator says it is gone-that there is no Union; yet he is here, on this same floor with me, and where is he? In the Union or out of it? He is actually present here, and I hold him to be in the Union. I will not refer to those associates of his and mine who are not here now. * * * But the Senate Chamber is here. The seats are there, the States are here; the Union is here, here are all these, and I expect that there will be, in the returning of reason, a further choice from those States, and these places will be filled. If I contemplated that, in any case, it would be necessary to fight for this Union, it is because I know that treason and sedition maynot alone in the States of the South, but in the States of the North, anywhere and everywhere-be excited and armed so as to assail the Union. And whenever it shall come to that, whether in my State or any other State of the Union, then I expect whatever can be done shall be done which reason cun do; then I expect what is right to be done shall be done in the way in which treason, in the last resort, is necessarily, as well as painfully, met."

Mason rejoined, that he gave the Senator

serve.' 999

Mason's Speech.

the full advantage of this commentary upon his preceding declarations, and desired to place before the American people the fact that he proposes but one remedy-either to preserve this Union or to restore it, and that is the ultima ratio regum. Seward interpolated. "I did not say 'restore,' I said 'preMason then resumed, speaking earnestly and with some excitement: "Well, let the Senator choose his language. He has presented the argument of the tyrantforce, compulsion, and power-as the only resort. He says he is to punish treason and sedition, whether he finds it North or South, and that is the only rem edy he proposes in the existing state of facts. He takes no notice of the other fact, that organized political communities, claiming to have resumed all the sovereign power which they once delegated to this Confederation, are now out of the Union-actually and completely outside. There is not a Federal officer in their limits-not one-with all Federal authority denied with laws punishing as sedition and treason obedience to any authority abroad. And yet the Senator still says we know nothing of all thatnothing of the purposes of Government. I understand him to ignore all that, as though it did not exist.

And be it one man in a local Convention who is resisting the laws, or be it 3, or 5, or 10,000,000, still it would be treason and sedition, and he knows but one remedy-force, sir; I want to bring him to that point. I want that, of others, the people of my honored State should know, and that the scales should fall from their eyes. I am aware that there is a puny, pusillanimous trick to hoodwink the eyes of that people by crying' peace, peace,' when there is no peace. I point them now to the remedies proposed by those most potent in the councils of the new Government. I point them to the four great remedies proposed by the Senator. If I were to use a light expression on so grave an occasion, I should say the Union is past praying for. Speaking will not do; voting will not do; because those men who are to be parties to the voting are outside the Union, and will not vote. And money-how is money to do it? Why, the honorable Senator has disclosed how. Not by demoralizing or subsidizing by bribery, but by using it as the sinews of war. The next thing in the four acts of the drama to be enacted is, battle! battle! Now, sir, let my people understand it; and if any man among them is so puny as to be deluded by these idle efforts, by circulating papers among them, saying there are propositions for amendment of the Constitution which will be car ried—propositions that will secure their rights—“ b☛

Mason's Speech.


dren,' if there be among the manhood of the whole South any puny enough to be deceived by such contrivances, I point them to the words of the honorable Senator from New York. It is money and war which are looked to to reduce us.


Mason's Speech.

patient and wait like good chil- | that the counsels of the leaders
would be-force-force. We
have it now avowed openly. I
trust the scales will fal. from their eyes, and I trust, in
the Free States, there is a body of good sense, an en-
lightened basis of patriotism, sufficiently free from the
shackles of party obligations, to see the folly of such
counsels! What! war to restore this Union or pre-
serve it? And that men of sense shall be deluded
into war, under the pretence of only enforcing the

"I know it is my infirmity to appear to exhibit something like anger, but I do not feel it. I have none of it. Men who are upon the eve of measuring swords conduct themselves as gentlemen, and use no language of menace and threat. I trust we may avoid the ultima ratio of the Senator from New York. If it be in the providence of God that these Slave States are to confederate and form an independent Government, with a nationality, a flag, an army and navy, and a credit-if that be reserved in the unspoken speedy future, I trust that the good sense, the humanity, the civilization, the regard for unborn. posterity, will lead the people of both North and South to repudiate the counsels of the Senator from New York. I shall look to that humanity, that good sense, that civilization to interpose the broad ægis of the popular will, to avoid the only resort which the Senator from New York looks to-that of force and subjugation.

"Sir, I have told gentlemen that I have met here from other States honored men, who have come here as volunteers, really upon a mission of peace; I have told them that it was manifest that there was great and imminent danger of a collision between the States, and, if they desired to preserve the Union, in my judgment, they should make it their great work to avoid that collision, and to avoid the civil war that must ensue when men's minds are really heated to madness, and passion usurps their reason. These have been my counsels. What have been those of the Senator from New York? Here, amid hostile fleets, and armies pitted against each other, in two Southern States-here, where we are in momentary expectation of hearing of a collision between them, what are the counsels of the Senator from New York? Speak for the Union, vote for the Union, give money for the Union; and last of all, fight for the Union.' I repeat it, I trust the good sense, the wisdom, the civilization, the humanity of the age will rescue this country from the effect of any such counsels.

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"I appeal to the Free States to repudiate the counsels of the Senator from New York, and disown them; and if, in the providence of God, it is to result that we are to separate into two Confederacies, then let the counsels of peace prevail, and not the counsels of the Senator from New York. Let the counsels of peace prevail, as the only counsels which can avert that greatest of all calamitieswar between brother and brother-war between races, which could conquer peace only through oceans of blood and countless millions of treasure. And, when peace came, would you find a free people, capable of constructing a Government? No. You would find a people subjugated and crouching under the tread of a despot, and you would find the warrior clad in arms with money contributed under the counsels of the Senator from New York! That would be the result of war, and the only result. I earnestly trust, in despite of these counsels, these reports which are now making, through the mediation of my honored State, may restore harmony to the Government, and that there is an enlightened patriotism in this country that will meet and separate in peace."

Seward's Reply.

Mr. Seward again replied: "I have been surprised at the delusion which the honorable gentleman from Virginia has been able to practice upon himself, and to make out of a speech, pacific, fraternal, and cordial, such as I have made, a declaration of war. I cannot account for it, how it is that, while his sense of honor remains so clear and bright, he avoids all those personalities which might vitiate, yet his judgment is somehow so under his passion, that he cannot see anything but war, in a speech which proposes simply this-that, since this Union is in danger, every other question must be subordinate, and yield to the consideration of the removal of that danger, by the pacific, Constitutional action of the American people, by speaking first, by voting, by consultation, by defending the Union, where it stands, by sup plying and maintaining the credit of the Government; and last, in the last alternative, after everything is exhausted, all the existing modes of settlement, and

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