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The Majority Report.
that 'Secession is revolution; it may be justifiable revolution, but it is nevertheless revolu
tion.' In the language of President Jackson, It is incompatible with the existence of the Union, contradicted by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized by the spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded, and destructive of the great objects for which it was formed. '
"Since Secession is thus hostile to the existence of the Government, and self-preservation is the highest duty of every Government, it follows, in the present emergency, that
"The duties of the Government become the measure of its powers; and whenever it fails to exercise the power ne
manner prescribed by the Constitution of the United States.'
66 But, however baseless seces
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sion may be in a legal or constitutional aspect - however destructive of the great principles upon which all government rests—it is, nevertheless, an existing fact as a revolutionary movement of vast proportions, involving the interests of our own people, the existence of the Govern ment, and the hopes of mankind. It is multiply. ing its acts of hostility daily; it is enlarging its claims of sovereignty; it has declared seven of the States independent nations; it has organized six of them into a separate Confederacy within our own bounds, and, by claiming exclusive jurisdiction,
cessary and proper to the discharge of the duty prescribed by it denies the authority and contemns the laws and
the Constitution, it violates the public trust not less than it would in transcending its proper limits. To refrain, therefore, from the high and solemn duties, [imposed by the pres ent condition of the country,] however painful the performance may be, and thereby tacitly permit the rightful authority of the Government to be contemned, and its laws obstructed by a single State, would neither comport with its own safety, nor the rights of the great body of the American people.'
"But when the Secessionists are driven to admit that it has no legal basis, the ever-ready reply is, that we have no power to coerce a State. This only creates a false issue, and diverts attention from the true one. This was so clearly stated in a recent debate by a distinguished Senator, that the Committee adopt his language as their own. His statement may be deemed the more important from his supposed connection with the incoming Adminis
"The President says that no State has a right to secede, but we have no constitutional power to make war against a State. The dilemma results from an assumption that those who, in such a case, act against the Federal Government, act lawfully as a State, although manifestly they have perverted the power of the State to an unconstitutional purpose. A class of politicians in New England set up this theory, and attempted to practice upon it in our war with Great Britain. Mr. Jefferson did not hesitate to say that States must be kept within their constitutional sphere by impulsion, if they could not be held there by attraction. Secession was then held to be inadmissible in the face of a public enemy. But if
it is untenable in one case, it is necessarily so in all others. I fully admit the originality, the sovereignty, and the inde. pendence of the several States within their sphere. But I hold the Federal Government to be equally original, sovereign, and independent within its sphere. And the Govern ment of the State can no more absolve the people residing
within its limits from allegiance to the Union, than the Gov.
ernment of the Union can absolve them from allegiance to the State. The Constitution of the United States, and the laws made in pursuance thereof, are the supreme law of the land, paramount to all legislation of the States, whether made under the Constitution, or by even their organic conventions. The Union can be dissolved, not by secession, with or without armed force, but only by the voluntary consert cl the people of the United States, collected in such
treaties of the United States.
"What, then, is the duty of the Government in the, existing emergency? To what extent does it possess the powers to meet it? These questions force themselves upon our attention at every step. Perhaps the first duty is to ascertain the causes of the disaffection and revolutionary movement, so that if it be possible the causes of discontent may be removed, and the integrity of the Union and the peace of the country restored. These States claim that their rights have been infringed, and their peace and equality threatened-not because of anything that the Government has done, or proposed to do---for it has been substantially under their control-but because of certain legislation upon the statute-books of other States, and a spirit of hostility towards the institutions of the South alleged to exist in the Northern States.
"It is conceded that the right of revolution is a sacred right of the people. But in our system of government it is not a right that pertains to a State. The powers of the State government are clear and distinct from those of the General Government, each designed to move in its own sphere; and it is impossible to suppose that one has the right of revolution against the other. It might as well be alleged that the State of South Carolina had the right of revolution against the Government of Great Britain as against the Government of the United States, acting within its prescribed limits. But if, for the sake of the argument, the right of revolution, as pertaining to a State, is conceded to any one of the thirty-four States, this necessarily implies the right on the part of the thirty-three remaining States to canvass the propriety of its exercise, and to resist it by their combined power, inasmuch as it involves interests common to all."
"In this view, it is a right dependent upon the power to enforce it. Such a right, though it may be admitted to pre-exist, and cannot be wholly surrendered, is necessarily subjected to limitations in all
CAUSE AND ITS CURE.
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free governments, and in compacts of ail kinds freely and voluntarily entered into, and in which the interests and welfare of the individual become identified with those of the community of which he is a member. In compacts between individuals, however deeply they may affect their relations, those principles are acknowledged to create a sacred obligation. And in compacts of civil governments, involving the liberty and happiness of millions of mankind, the obligation cannot be less.
"If these States had no real grievance, they could have no right of revolution. If causes of grievance exist, they must necessarily exhaust all peaceful and constitutional remedies before they could ask the adhering States to allow the exercise of a revolutionary right on their part.
"What are the alleged causes of grievance? Mainly the legislation of other States, and the alleged hostility of their people against the institutions of a portion of the States. While the legislation of some of the States, called 'Personal Liberty bills,' has been treated as a serious grievance, it is a singular fact that no effort has been made to bring any one of those laws to the judicial test provided by the Constitution; nor, so far as your Committee are aware, has any one case ever arisen in which the enforcement of their rights has been obstructed by any of these laws. How, then, do they furnish cause of revolution?
"Nor are your Committee able to persuade themselves that the hostility to the institutions of the South, on the part of the people of the North, is greater now than it was twenty-five years ago, or that they demand any legislation on the part of Congress in regard to Slavery that was not common to, and the recognized policy of, each of the first twelve Administrations under the Constitution. But even if we concede all that is claimed, still the fact forces itself upon our attention, that no attempt has been made on the part of the disaffected States, or those who sympathize with them, to change the Constitution, or to meet the people of the adhering States in a National Convention to secure a peaceful separation.
"So far from all possible means of redress short of revolution having been resorted to and exhausted, not one of the steps that must necessarily precede the rightful exercise of revolution has been taken. While conservative and loyal citizens have earnestly sought conciliation and compromise, the Secessionists have been loudest in their denunciations of all attempts at reconciliation. They declare the Government is dissolved, and scout the efforts of their sympathizers and natural allies for reconstruction.
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"One of the great sources of trouble would seem to be the proper disposition of the Territories of the United States. And yet all the Territories which they claim for the use and occupation of their system of labor are already under organic laws, adopted as compromises, but ten years since, and mainly at their own dictation.
"The true explanation of all this difficulty was disclosed in the debates in the South Carolina Convention, immediately after the adoption of the Ordinance of Secession on the 20th of December, 1860. One member arose in his place and declared: 'We have this day consummated the work of forty years.' To which another member responded: 'We have pulled down the temple of one Government, and we must now construct another.' Our Government has existed in its present form for seventy-two years. And if treason has been festering for more than forty years of that time, it will hardly do to attribute the present difficulties to the state of public sentiment in the other portion of the Confederacy. While it is true that many patriotic and loyal citizens in those States have been excited to madness and phrensy, and have voted for secession under a total misapprehension produced by the grossest misrepresentations, your Committee are forced to believe that hostility to this Government has long existed, and has become wide-spread throughout those States. Perhaps one-third of those who voted for secession did so under the belief that it was the intention of the incoming Administration to seek to overthrow Slavery within the bounds of the States by the power of the General Government as it is, or to force such amendments of the Constitution as would accomplish it.
"It is nevertheless true, that not one intelligent man who voted for Mr. Lincoln can be found who ever dreamed or desired such a thing, or would tolerate it, if possible. Indeed, the freedom of the Free States rests upon the exercise of the sovereignty of their States; the slavery of the Slave States rests equally upon the exercise of the sovereignty of their States. To permit the abolition of Slavery in any one of the Slave States by the power of the General Government, would be to admit its right to establish it in all the Free States. Against this the
whole body of the Northern people are unalterably opposed; and so far from seeking the exercise of any such power in the Slave States, it would meet from
them the sternest resistance.
"The execution of the Fugitive Slave law has been a source of contention. But the President informs us in his Message that the law has been executed in every case during his administration. At all events, if the amendment should be adopted
which has been reported by the The Majority Report. Committee of Thirty-three, and which is now before the House, the law would be rendered more effective to secure the rights of the South, while it would be far less odious to the people of the North. Be this as it may, it has been demonstrated that the per centage of loss on runaway slaves is less than that on horses or any other property. Viewed with reference to the aggregate value of that species of property, the loss is indeed very small.
"Some difficulty in regard to the rendition of fugitives from justice, growing out of local statutes, has arisen. But it would seem to be of easy adjustment, and it is almost the only remaining grievance. When we consider that no effort has been made to secure a peaceful separation of the States under this Government, by the assent of the people in their sovereign capacity, but instead there have been acts of revolution, hostility to the Government, the seizure of its forts, the robbery of its treasure, the exclusion of its jurisdiction, and preparation for war, we are forced to the conclusion that the difficulties growing out of the existence of Slavery, however viewed by the common people, are, so far as the leaders of this revolutionary movement are concerned, but a mere pretence; their real object being to overthrow the Government, that a separate Northern Confederacy of a military character might arise upon theirs.
"What, then, is the duty of the Government under these circumstances? As the Constitution is the paramount law of the land, so it must be the sole guide of every department of the Government in meeting the present emergency. Studiously avoiding the exercise of all new or doubtful powers in legislation, all approaches to forced judicial constructions or of Executive usurpation, the Government must proceed to discharge its constitutional obligations with moderation, with prudence, with wisdom, but with unswerving steadiness and firm ness. To this course every officer of the Government is impelled, by the sanction of his oath, by the sacred memories of our fathers, by the past glories of the model Republic of all past time, by the hopes and interests of the teeming millions of our present population, and of all that are to come after us.
"The great feature of our system is, that the people make the laws, and that they obey the laws which they themselves have made. Hence, the Government will appeal to that political sense which exhorts obedience to the laws of the country as the highest duty of the citizen. It will appeal to the moral power in the community. If that appeal be in vain, it will appeal to the judiciary. If the mild arm of the judiciary be not sufficient to execute the
laws, it will call out the civil force to sustain the laws. If The Majority Report that be insufficient, God save and protect us from the last resort!' If the evil then comes, the responsibility will not be upon the Government.
446 The Executive must take care that the laws be faithfully executed.' The Congress must provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrection, and repel invasion;' 'to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution all the powers vested by the Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or office thereof.' The Constitution makes no provision for releasing any of its officers or agents from the obligation of the oath it requires them to take. However painful the duty thereby imposed upon them may be, it cannot be omitted without involving the destruction of the Government and incurring the guilt of perjury.'
"Nor can there be any heed given to any one of the false or deceitful issues attempted to be raised, such as coercing a State-making war upon a State. All these pleas are fallacious, deceitful, and false, if not traitorous. The Government will act only in the strict line of duty in the discharge of its constitutional functions and obligations, and whatever force it may attempt or use will be strictly on the defensive. Woe to those individuals, or combinations of individuals, who shall persistently violate their Constitutional obligations, and expect protection from a State where no State can rightfully act in the premises!
"The sovereign people of this country have seen fit to embrace all the powers of government into two organic forms-a National Union for national pur. poses, with limited and well-defined powers and duties, and State Governments for local purposes. In theory, at least, they cannot conflict with each other, for the reason that the powers of the Federal Gov. ernment are clearly defined by a written Constitu tion, which is made supreme in its own sphere, the highest manifestation of State sovereignty to the contrary notwithstanding. So long as the General Government confines itself to its constitutional functions, it is absurd, if not treasonable, to characterize the execution of its laws as the coercion of a State. Nay, more: if any State, forgetful of its just rights and duties, go outside of its own proper sphere to obstruct the due execution of the laws of the Union, by that very act it attempts to coerce the General Government from the exercise of its constitutional powers in the discharge of duties rendered imperative by the Constitution. Should collision ensue, the Government will be acting clearly on the defensive.
A WEEK OF
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and orgies of secession, dis-
"It will neither coerce a The Majority Report. State, nor make war upon it. But, if it fail to execute its own laws to the extent of the power conferred, it will be recreant to the highest trust ever conferred by any people, disappoint the hopes of a world, and destroy its own existence. The course of the Government cannot be doubtful, nor the result uncertain. Should the claims of the Secessionists be admitted, and the deceitful dogmas of coercion obtain the endorsement of the people, the revolutionists and their apologists and allies would, in the language of the Constitution's greatest defender, prove themselves 'the most skillful architects of ruin, the most effect-fice for the great body of the American people to ual extinguishers of high-raised expectation, the greatest blasters of human hopes, which any age has produced. They would stand up to proclaim, in tones which would pierce the ears of half the human race, that the last great experiment of representative government had failed.'
"Millions of eyes, of those who now feed their inherent love of Liberty on the success of the American example, would turn away from beholding our dismemberment, and find no place on earth whereon to rest their gratifled sight. Amid the incantations
forget their Revolutionary sires, the rich inheritance bequeathed by them, the glorious flag of the Union, or even the slumbering dust of their Washington. The people will sustain their own Government, and hold it to the strict line of its constitutional duty.
"Even holding the olive-branch of peace and conciliation before the emblems of its power, it will meet its stern responsibilities with firm purpose and steady hand-it will rise above all difficulties, and fulfill earth's highest mission."
CONDITION OF AFFAIRS DURING THE LAST WEEK OF MR. BUCHANAN'S TERM. MR. LINCOLN'S CABINET.
CONVENTION. JOHN TYLER WITH HIS MASK OFF.
THE week preceding tone of its Convention, conspired to excite a renewed interest in its proceedings.
A Week of Excite- March 4th was one of ex
treme solicitude and in
terest. In Washington the important action of Congress on the Corwin report—the reception of the Peace proposition-the selection of Mr. Lincoln's Cabinet-the preparations for the inauguration-contributed to render every day pregnant with concern to the people; while the drift, towards the vortex of secession, of Virginia, by the revolutionary
The adoption, by the House, of the scheme of compromise reported by the majority of the Committee of Thirty-three, has been announced. The rejection of the Peace Convention report resulted from the unwillingness to act upon a second scheme, while the first covered the ground in the more official shape of a regular Congressional committee recommendation.
The choice of the cabi- | total repudiation! The following dispatch net of Mr. Lincoln scarcely conveyed its own moral: served to indicate his policy. The final decision of its constituency was not made until Saturday evening, March 2d, when it became understood that it would be ordered as follows:
Secretary of State: William H. Seward, of New York.
Treasury: Salmon P. Chase, of Ohio.
War: Simon Cameron, of Pennsylvania. Navy: Gideon Welles, of Connecticut. Interior: Caleb B. Smith, of Indiana. Postmaster-General: Montgomery Blair, of Maryland. Attorney-General: Edward Bates, of Missouri."
The strongest influences had been brought to bear upon the President-elect to bestow a place in his council upon John Bell, of Tennessee, or W. A. Graham, of North Carolina, or upon Mr. Crittenden, of Kentucky; but, the incompatibility of such elements with the counsels which must prevail rendered the choice of either of those eminent men simply impracticable. The composition, as it was, did not give promise of harmony, since both the radical and conservative elements were prominent enough to threaten disagreements on vital points of national and internal policy. The selection, however, was conceded to have been made with extreme sagacity— each man being named to the place for which he was especially well fitted. Probably no administration in twenty-four years had embodied more practical executive talent. Throughout the entire period of his probation, the President had shown a will and a way of his own which no influence brought to bear could override. This persistance gave the country hope that his rule would prove as vigorous as all felt it would be honest. "Honest Old Abe" he was named, even by his political opponents.
RICHMOND, Thursday, February 28th, 1861. "Messrs. Tyler and Seddon were serenaded tonight. Both made speeches, and denounced the Peace Conference as a worthless affair. They declared that the South had nothing to hope from the Republican party.
"Mr. Seddon said that the proposition adopted by the Conference was a delusion and a sham, as well as an insult and an offense to the South. "Lieutenant-Governor Montague is now making a secession speech.
"The secession sentiment is increasing among the people, and if any measure of coercion is adopted, the North may rest assured that Virginia will secede.
The Missouri State
North Carolina took a vote of the people for and against a Convention, February 28th. The final result showed a majority over six hundred against holding a State Convention. The Missouri State Convention met February 28th at Jefferson City, and adjourned March 1st, to meet at St. Louis March 4th. It was understood to be comprised of a large majority of Unionists; but, the known disloyalty of Governor Claiborne Jackson, and of ex-Governor Sterling Price, rendered the results of its deliberations a matter of doubt. The Secession movement, thus far, had been so entirely ordered by a few men, that it was thought not only possible, but probable, the State of Missouri might be "precipitated" at the proper moment.
John Tyler left Washington, for Richmond, immediately after the adjournment of the Peace Convention, and, as Duplicity and Treason already intimated, lent his influence to "precipitate" Virginia from the Union. One hundred guns The sessions of the Virginia Convention were fired at Washington, February 28th, in were attended, as we have said, with much honor of the Peace compromise. At the same excitement. The Northern and Western secmoment the President and leaders of the tions of the State were represented by UnionConvention called by Virginia herself, was ists of ability and courage. The Central and denouncing the result and demanding its | Southern portions of "Eastern Virginia"