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ABSTRACT OF MR. DAVIS'S MESSAGE.
briefly reviewed the relations between the contending parties.
and describes the
He stated that, during the war between the colonies and England, the former entered into a conorigin of state sov- federation with each other for their common ereignty. defense; and, that there might be no misconstruction of their compact, they, in a distinct article, made an explicit declaration that each state retained its sovereignty, and every power and right not expressly del egated to the United States by this contract.
He added that in the treaty of peace in 1783, the several states were by name recognized to be independent.
He then drew attention strongly to the marked caution with which the states endeavored, in every possible manner, to exclude the idea that the separate and independent sovereignty of each was merged in one common gov ernment or nation. The states, when invited to ratify the Constitution, refused to be satisfied until amendments were added to it placing beyond doubt their reservation of their sovereign rights not expressly delegated to the United States in that instrument.
In spite of all this care, a political school had arisen in the North claiming that the government is ideas of the North. above the states, exalting the creature above its creator, and making the principals subordinate to the agent appointed by themselves.
The people of the Southern States, devoted to agricul ture, early perceived a tendency in the Northern States to render a common government subservient to their purposes by imposing burdens on commerce as protection to their manufacturing and shipping interests. Controver sies grew out of those attempts to benefit one section at the expense of the other, and the dangers of disruption were enhanced by the fact that the population of the North was increasing more rapidly than that of the
ABSTRACT OF MR. DAVIS'S MESSAGE.
The fallacy of gov
South. By degrees, as the Northern States gained preponderance in Congress, self-interest taught their people to assert their right as a majority to govern ernment by major- the minority. President Lincoln had declared, at length, that the theory of the Constitution requires that in all cases the majority shall gov ern. He likens the relations between states and the United States to those between a county and the state in which it is situated. On this lamentable error rests the policy which has culminated in his declaration of war against the Confederate States.
Mr. Davis pointed out that, in addition to the deepThe obnoxions char-seated resentment felt by the South at the acter of tariff laws. enriching of the North through the tariff laws, there was another subject of discord, involving interests of such transcendent magnitude as to create an apprehension that the permanence of the Union was impossible.
He then gave a brief history of American negro slavThe story of Amer- ery, affirming that originally it existed in twelve out of fifteen of the states; the right of property in slaves was protected by law, recognized in the Constitution, and provision made against loss by the escape of the slave; that, to secure a due slave supply, Congress was forbidden to prohibit the African slavetrade before a certain date, and no power was given to it to legislate disadvantageously against that species of property.
The climate of the Northern States being unpropitious to slave labor, they sold their slaves duct of the North. to the South, and then prohibited slavery in their own limits. The South purchased this property willingly, not suspecting that quiet possession of it was to be disturbed by those who not only were in want of constitutional authority, but prevented by good faith ast
ABSTRACT OF MR. DAVIS'S MESSAGE. [SECT. VIII.
vendors from disquieting a title emanating from themselves.
This done, as soon as the Northern States had gained a control in Congress, they commenced an organized system of hostile measures against the institution. They de vised plans for making slave property insecure; they supplied fanatical organizations with money to excite the slaves to discontent and revolt; they enticed them to abscond; they neutralized and denounced the fugitive slave law; they mobbed and murdered slave-owners in pursuit of their fugitive slaves; they passed laws punishing by fine and imprisonment Southern citizens seeking the recovery of their property; they sent senators and representatives to Congress whose chief title to that distinction was their ultra-fanaticism, and whose business was to awaken the bitterest hatred against the South by violent denunciations of its institutions.
A great party was then organized for obtaining the Organization of the administration of the government, its object Anti-slavery party. being to exclude the Slave States from the public domain, to surround them by states in which slavery should be prohibited, and thereby annihilate slave property worth thousands of millions of dollars. This party succeeded, in November last, in the election of its candidate for the presidency of the United States.
Mr. Davis then proceeded to show that, on the other hand, under the genial climate of the Southern States, and owing to the care for their well-being, which had been dictated alike by interest and humanity, the slaves had augmented from six hundred thousand at the adoption of the Constitution to upward of four millions; that, by careful religious instruction, they had been elevated from brutal savages into docile, intelligent, civilized laborers, whose toil had been directed to the conversion of a vast wilderness into culti
Development of slavery in the South.
CHAP. XLII.] ABSTRACT OF MR. DAVIS'S MESSAGE.
vated lands covered with a prosperous people. During the same period the white slaveholding population had increased from one million and a quarter to more than eight millions and a half; and the productions of the South, to which slave labor was and is indispensable, formed three fourths of the exports of the whole United States, and had become absolutely necessary to the wants of civilized man.
With interests of such overwhelming magnitude imPeril arising to the periled, the South had been driven to protect itself. Conventions had been held to determine how best it might meet such an alarming crisis in its history.
Ever since 1798 there had existed a party, almost uninterruptedly in the majority, based upon the creed that each state is in the last re
The Slave States determine to secede.
sort the sole judge, as well of its wrongs as of the mode and measures of redress. The Democratic party of the United States had again and again affirmed its adhesion to those principles. In the exercise of that right, the people of the Confederate States, in their Conventions, determined that it was necessary for them to revoke their delegation of powers to the federal government. They therefore passed ordinances resuming their sovereign rights, and dissolving their connection with the Union. They then entered into a new compact, by new articles of confederation with each other, and organized a new government, complete in all its parts.
Mr. Davis continued-that one of his first desires and acts had been to endeavor to obtain a just and equitable settlement between the Confederacy and the United States, and that he had therefore selected three distinguished citizens, who repaired to Washington. He affirmed that the crooked paths of diplomacy can scarcely furnish an example so
They attempt a peaceable compromise.
ABSTRACT OF MR. DAVIS'S MESSAGE.
wanting in courtesy, in candor, and directness as was the course of the United States government toward these commissioners. While they were assured, through an intermediary of high position, of the peaceful intentions of that government, it was in secrecy preparing an expedition for hostile operations against South Carolina; that at length they were informed that the President of the United States had determined to hold no interview with them whatever-to refuse even to listen to any proposals they had to make. Mr. Davis then related the circumstances under which Fort Sumter had been reduced, describing in tures Fort Sumter, detail the treacherous manoeuvre of which he declared the United States government had been guilty. He paid a tribute of respect to that noble state -South Carolina-the eminent soldierly qualities of whose people had been conspicuously displayed. He showed how that, for months, they had refrained from capturing the fortress, and how they had evinced a chivalrous regard for the brave but unfortunate officer who had been compelled by them to lower his flag.
South Carolina cap
Scarcely had the President of the United States learned and war is declared of the failure of his schemes in relation to against them. Fort Sumter, when he issued a declaration of war against the Confederacy. This it was which had prompted Mr. Davis to convoke the Congress. Not without a sentiment of contempt he proceeded to analyze that "extraordinary production," that "singular document," selecting from it such expressions as were likely to wound the pride of the South, and particularly drawing atten tion to the fact that Lincoln had called "for an army of 75,000 men, whose first service was to capture our forts;" that, though this was a usurpation of a power exclusive
granted to the Congress of that country by its Constitution, it was not for the executive of the Confederacy
It is perfidiously repelled.