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as is invariably the case on the other side of the Atlantic. Civil war is fearful as well as slavery. But civil war, like other manslaughter, varies, according to circumstances, from murder to justifiable homicide; and I hardly think we in England are quite competent to decide on the question of slavery, as it exists in the Southern States, upon the evidence before us. At all events, no fair opportunity has yet been afforded them, either of explanation or of modification, of the recognised evil, in the face of the coercion and abolition which has been the policy of the ruling portion of the Northern statesmen for the last twenty years. Errare humanum est. I may be wrong, but the very difficulty I have ex
I perienced in sifting and understanding the reasons adduced by either side for their action in this crisis has been the moving cause of my humbly endeavouring to afford others an opportunity of at least knowing the arguments and facts to be found authenticated in these pages, and which appear to the writer to warrant the conclusions advanced.
5, PUMP COURT, TEMPLE,
Aug. 20, 1861.
THE CONSTITUTIONAL QUESTION.
THERE is, of course, to any European mind, a great difficulty in recognising the bearings of a constitutional question in a government so differently constituted from any body politic on this side of the Atlantic as the United States are, more especially in the absence of any recognised work by which a standard of its form and constitution can be apprehended; but the very framework of the whole, in the original Declaration of Independence in 1776, the very name by which the nation chose to be designated, the facts which are abundant of the jealousy with which not only the whole nation, but also every individual State, and even every individual American, have guarded “consent as being
essential in some form or other to the free action of the Supreme Power,—all these prove incontestably that a right exists somewhere and somehow to control, and if necessary to controvert, the position of absolute authority. Now, as far as the exertion, and in many cases the success of resistance by separate States assuming, in so many words, to be sovereign against the action of government without the previous formal and legal “consent ” of such
- ” State, can enable us to argue on this point of the question, this right of resistance resides in the legislative action of the States whether in each separately, or in the whole combined in Senate and Congress. And until the proposition that the Northern States are the government, and the Southern have no right to withdraw from it, is affirmed by both the one and the other, it appears conclusive that the legal and constitutional authority to act by armed force is deficient. Nor is it any answer to say that the President, being duly elected according to law, became ipso facto Governor of the country. He did not until he was accepted by the legislature both of the separate States and the whole combined, which we know has never been the case — and the deliberate action of Virginia by a vote of 150,000 majority of North Carolina and Tennessee unanimously-all