Secession: Considered as a Right in the States Composing
the Late American Union of States, and as to the Grounds of Justification of the Southern
States in Exercising the Right.

Gentleman of Mississippi

To the patriot, who maintains the justice of the separation of the
Confederate States from the United States, it is of vital importance
to feel assured that the right of a State to secede from the Union
with the United States, whenever she thought fit to exercise it,
was perfect and absolute, beyond the power of denial or molestation
from any source.

Upon this, mainly depends the questions, what political relations
subsist between the seceded States and the remaining United States;
and whether the citizens of such States, in defending themselves
by arms against the invasion of the United States, set on foot
to enforce the laws of the United States over such States, after
secession, are to be regarded as traitors and rebels, on the one
hand, or as absolved from all political connection with the United
States, and acting in the defense of their legitimate rights,
on the other.

If the secession be without right, the position of the people
of a State resisting the authority of the United States, is that
of rebellion against legitimate power, and the armed resistants
are traitors and felons; but if it be rightful and in the exercise
of the legitimate powers of the State, then, the attempt at coercion
by invasion and making war against the State, is a usurpation
and an outrage which the State is bound to repel, as an attempt
to destroy her rights and liberties by mere brute force. It is,
therefore, a question which must most seriously impress every
true patriot and every elevated mind in the South–had the State
the right to secede in her sovereign capacity, for reasons which
she judged sufficient to demand and justify her secession?

If this enquiry be resolved in the affirmative, it becomes important
to consider, whether the circumstances, under which the State
thought fit to exercise the right, are such as to justify her,
in the estimation of mankind, in the exercise of it.

These two questions will, therefore, form the subject for consideration
in these remarks; first, whether one of the States constituting
the United States, had the right to secede from the Union; and,
secondly, whether the circumstances under which the right
was exercised by the Southern States, justify its exercise and
acquit those Southern States of any bad faith to the obligations
of the Union.


This right is claimed as resulting, from the rights and powers
which the several States had when they formed the Constitution;
and from the nature and purposes of the Union created by the Constitution,
as shown by its face and by the history of its formation and adoption.

1. In the first place, each State was, at the time of the adoption
of the Constitution, a sovereign and independent State, and acted
as such in adopting the Constitution. This is manifest–from the
Declaration of Independence, which proclaims the several States
to be "free and independent States"–from the second
of the Articles of Confederation of 1778, which declares that
"each State retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence,
and every power, jurisdiction and right, which is not thereby
expressly delegated to the United States"–from the treaty
of peace with Great Britain, after the close of the war of the
revolution, recognising each State by name as a "free, sovereign
and independent State"–and finally, by the sanction of the
Supreme Court of the United States, in the early history of the
Union, in the case of Ware vs. Hylton, 3d Dallas’ Rep., 199, in
which it is held by Judge Chase, that the effect of the Declaration
of Independence was "not that the united colonies jointly,
in a collective capacity, were independent States, but that each
State of them was a sovereign and independent State"–a doctrine
recognised by numerous subsequent decisions of that Court.

It is also incontrovertibly true, that each State for herself,
in her sovereign political capacity, by her Legislature, and not
by immediate election of the people, appointed delegates to the
Convention which formed the Constitution–that the votes given
in the Convention, in its formation, were given by States and
not per capita; each State being entitled to but one vote upon
every question, regardless of the relative number of delegates–and
finally, each State, for herself, and in her sovereign capacity,
accepted, ratified and acceded to the Constitution; and it was
of no force or effect upon her, until so ratified and acceded
to by her, she remaining, meanwhile, a separate sovereign State,
to all intents and purposes.

Notwithstanding these conclusive facts, incontestibly establishing
that each State was a separate sovereign State, before the adoption
of the Constitution, President Lincoln, in his message of July,
1861, boldly declares that "no one of them was ever a State
out of the Union," that "the word sovereignty is not
in the national Constitution, nor, as is believed, in any of the
State Constitutions"–that "the Union is older than
any of the States, and, in
fact, it created them as States." This last is said with
reference to the Union under the Articles of Confederation; which
he considers in some way, blended with the Union under the present
Constitution. But the Union, under the Articles of Confederation,
was entirely abrogated upon the adoption of the Constitution by
the States; each State acceded to the Constitution in her sovereign
political capacity, as is above shown, and thereby established
a new and distinct union; the States refusing to adopt it, remaining
free and independent States, absolved from the old union and totally
disconnected with that formed under the present Constitution,
until they acceded to the latter. Of course, the rights and powers
of the States, as members of the Union, can only be affected by
the Union created by the present Constitution.

Reckless and unfounded as are these asseverations, the position
assumed by them will be found, after a careful examination of
the subject, to be the only theory upon which the right of the
States to interpose their sovereign power against the usurpations
of the Federal Government, can be successfully denied; and it
must be considered, from the imposing authority and the solemn
circumstances under which it is put forth, as having been taken
advisedly, as the ground on which the government of the United
States rests its right to wage a war of subjugation and extermination
against the people of the Confederate States, for attempting to
resume their original status of separate, sovereign States, in
all respects. Yet, it is so utterly unfounded in truth and in
history, that no further answer to it is required than the reference
to the historical facts above stated.

Each State, then, being sovereign when she ratified the Constitution,
must have continued such after her ratification, except so far
as she restricted herself of her sovereign powers by the Constitution;
unless she absolutely surrendered her sovereignty. And here the
vital question arises, did the States, in ratifying the Constitution,
part with the sovereign right of judging, each for herself, whether
the powers conferred on the Government by the Constitution, or
the rights and powers retained by the States had been violated;
and did the States bind themselves to an indissoluble Union?

2. If we consider the purpose for which the Constitution was
formed, we find nothing that binds the States to a Union, irrevocable
under any circumstances.

These purposes are stated in the letter of the Convention–signed
by Gen. Washington, accompanying the Constitution, and which was
submitted to the Convention of the several States with the Constitution–to
be, "that the power of making war, peace and treaties; that
of levying money and regulating commerce, and the correspondent
executive and judicial authorities shall be fully and
effectually vested in the General Government of the Union."
The object was merely to supply the defects existing under the
Articles of Confederation, in these respects; to entrust the necessary
powers, in these particulars, to a general head; because from
their nature they could not be exercised either by the States
separately, nor by the Union under the Articles of Confederation.
This was done in the Constitution, by creating a government to
execute these powers, delegating them fully to it, prohibiting
to the States all counteracting powers, and clothing the Government
with all the power, legislative, executive and judicial, necessary
to the complete exercise of the powers entrusted to it.

But these powers are all "delegated," in express terms;
which shows that the Federal Government was intended to be but
the agent and representative of the States; and as stated by Mr.
Madison, in Federalist, No. 45, "the powers delegated to
the Federal Government are few and defined. Those which are to
remain to the State Governments are numerous and indefinite. The
former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war,
peace, negotiation and foreign commerce, with which last the power
of taxation will, for the most part, be connected. The powers
reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects,
which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberty
and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement
and prosperity of the State." It was admitted freely by the
advocates of the Constitution, that the great elements of strength
and power remained in the States; insomuch that they feared that
the States would prove to be too strong for the effective operation
of the Federal Government, rather than that the latter would interfere
with the powers of the States.–See Federalist, Nos. 27, 31, 45;
whilst the most wise and sagacious of its friends, considered
that its true theory and glory were, strong States and a weak
Federal head, whose strength consisted in its members and not
of itself, and was only such as was necessary to execute the few
powers plainly delegated to it.

3. In its nature and character, the Constitution was a compact
between the States, and the Union formed under it, was Federal.
This is clear, from the following considerations:

1. It was formed by the States acting in their political capacities,
and not by the aggregate mass of the people of all the States;
and it was ratified and acceded to in the same manner by each
State for herself; those not acceding to it being wholly free
from its operation and remaining independent sovereign States.
2. It declares, in the 7th article, that the ratifications of
the Conventions of nine States should be sufficient to establish
it "between the States" so ratifying it–which clearly
shows that the States as such were the parties to it, and that
it was a compact between them as such. 3. Amendments to it are
to be acted on by each State in her political
capacity, by her Legislature, or by a convention appointed by
her and under her own laws, each acting separately. 4. The powers
not delegated are reserved to the States or to the people, by
the 10th amendment–that is, to the States, so far as their exercise
may be matter of political power; and to the people of each State,
so far as the same may be matter of individual right, under the
Constitution and laws of the State. 5. It was denominated a Federal
Constitution by its advocates in recommending its ratification–(see
Federalist passim)–the Union formed by it was called a Confederate
Republic–(Federalist, No. 9)–and it was characterized, in the
more essential and controlling points of the foundation and the
extent of its powers, as Federal; while in the minor matter of
the execution of its granted powers only, it was said to be national.–Federalist,
No. 39. It was received in popular acceptation and called a Federal
Constitution–an idea so universally received and so popular that
it was assumed as the name of the great party which came into
power upon the organization of the government, and held it until
that party proved to entertain principles and views subversive
of the true spirit of the Constitution, and in the meantime laid
the foundation of doctrines which have led to its prostration.
6. It was received and adopted by the States as a compact between
each other. While this is manifest from the history of the ratifications
of all the States in their conventions, it is expressly stated
in the ratifications of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and was,
in a few years thereafter, also expressly declared by Virginia,
Kentucky, and several other States, in the memorable contest which
arose upon the alien and sedition laws in 1798.

It was a compact between sovereign States for a union between
them, for certain specified purposes, to promote the common defense
and general welfare of its members. Its basis was that great principle
of American institutions–the consent of the parties to it; and
when that is withdrawn, and the parties refuse to comply with
the terms necessary to continue its operation, its existence must
cease, since there is no provision–and from the nature of the
Union there could not be–for its continuance by coercion; but
of this hereafter.

The doctrine is well established, that "several sovereign
and independent States may unite themselves together by a perpetual
confederacy, without each, in particular, ceasing to be an independent
State. They will form together a Federal Republic: the deliberations
in common will offer no violence to the sovereignty of each member,
though they may, in certain respects, put some constraint on the
exercise of it, in virtue of voluntary engagements." Vattel,
Law of Nations, book 1, chap. 1, sec. 10. And this is clearly
the nature of the Union of the States, under the Constitution
of the United States, whether it be called a Government,
a confederacy, or a compact. "The proposed Constitution,"
says Mr. Hamilton, "so far from implying an abolition of
the State Governments, makes them constituent parts of the national
sovereignty."–Fed., No. 9. "The State Governments may
be regarded," says Mr. Madison, "as constituent and
essential parts of the Federal Government.–Ibid, No. 45.

It is perfectly manifest that the Constitution did not merge
the States in this Federal Union, and annihilate their political
existence and powers. Unlike the articles of Union of the United
Kingdom of Great Britain, the Union was Federate in its character,
the States retaining their sovereign character and most essential
powers; whereas, in that of England and Scotland, in the language
of the learned commentator on the laws of England, "the two
contracting States are totally annihilated, without any power
of revival, and a third arises from the conjunction, in which
all the rights of sovereignty, and particularly that of legislation,
must reside." This author states the difference between the
character of the former and the latter kind of Government–that
in a union of the latter description, an infringement of its conditions
would not justify a dissolution; while in the case of a union
of the former character, an infringement would certainly rescind
the compact.–1 Blackstone’s Comm., 98, in note.

In such a case, the sovereign character is preserved; and it
must, of necessity, be capable of vindicating its rights, by a
resumption of the delegated powers; for otherwise, its sovereignty
would be nugatory–indeed it would be virtually annihilated; and
it is perfectly evident, from the entire history of the formation
and ratifications of the Constitution, that it was the especial
care of the States to preserve their sovereignty.

There is, therefore, nothing in the purposes for which the Constitution
was formed, nor in its nature and character, to bind the States
to a perpetual union under it, under all circumstances; or to
debar each of them of the high sovereign power of vindicating
her rights, by resuming her original powers entirely, whenever
she considered that the fundamental conditions of the Union had
been broken by the government, or were about to be perverted,
to her oppression.

It was this right which justified the States in abrogating the
Union made by the Articles of Confederatiou, in disregard of a
positive stipulation that it should be perpetual; and in establishing
the present Constitution of the United States, in a different
mode from that prescribed in the Articles, and therein positively
declared to be the only mode in which they should be altered.
This course could only be justified on the principle of the right
of secession; and it was so justified. When it was objected by
some of the States that the Constitution was adopted in violation
of these solemn stipulations and prohibitions, against the consent
of several of the States, the course was defended by its advocates
on the ground of "the great principle of self-preservation,"
and of "the transcendant law of nature and of nature’s God,
which declares that the safety and happiness of society are the
objects at which all political institutions aim, and to which
all such institutions must be sacrificed."–Federalist, No.
43. There was no question as to the right of the majority to take
this step, and it could not be justified on that ground; because
the rights of the minority were positively placed beyond the control
or power of the majority, by the prohibitions of the Articles
of Confederation. The power to abolish that form of government
was placed solely on the great right of American liberty, to alter
or abolish any form of government whenever the safety and happiness
of society required it–a right never parted with and incapable
of alienation–a principle as fully applicable to the Constitution
of the United States, as to the Union under the Articles of Confederation;
and even more so–since in the former, the mode of alteration
is merely authorized; whereas in the latter, it is prescribed
and all other modes of alteration are positively prohibited: a
principle which as fully justifies secession as practised by the
Confederate States, as it did the abrogation of the Articles of
Confederation in violation of the solemnly plighted faith of the
States made in the adoption of that form of Union, and against
the consent of several of them. The right then exercised was secession–the
resumption by the States of their inherent sovereign powers, in
their own discretion and for their happiness.

4. But this right does not stand alone upon the nature and character
of the Union, nor upon the general reservation of rights and powers
in the Constitution–clear and unquestionable as it is on these
grounds. It was matter of express and positive reservation by
several of the States in the ratifications of the Constitution,
and was plainly intended to be reserved by all.

New York, in her resolutions of ratification, declared–

"That the powers of government may be resumed by the people,
whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness: that
every power, jurisdiction and right, which is not, by said Constitution,
clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States, or the
departments of the government thereof, remains to the people of
the several States, or to their respective State Governments."–1
Elliott’s Debates, 361.

Rhode Island, in her ratification, declares–

"That the powers of government may be resumed by the people
whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness."–Ibid,

Virginia declares, in her ratification–

"That the powers granted under the Constitution, being
derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by
them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury and

That the language, "may be resumed by the people."
was intended to mean the people of the States, as States, is most

In the first place, the powers were delegated by the States
as such, and could not be said to be "resumed" except
by the same political body which granted them. They never resided
in the people of the United States; and hence, upon the failure
of the Union, the people of the United States could not be said
to "resume" them; but resumption imports retaking by
the authority which originally possessed them–that is, the States
in their political capacity. In the second place, the ratifications
of several other of the States, in stating the reservation of
powers not delegated to the United States, reserve them to the
States, omitting the addition, "or to the people"–which
shows that these latter words contained in the Tenth Amendment,
and the equivalent words, "resumed by the people," meant
the people of the States severally; and that the true intent of
this amendment and of the reservations in the ratifications of
the States, was to retain the undelegated powers to the people
of the several States, as sovereign communities, to be exercised
by them under their Constitutions and laws; that is to say, in
their sovereign capacities. This clearly appears from the ratifications
of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania and South

Massachusetts–"That it be explicitly declared that all
powers not expressly delegated by the aforesaid Constitution,
are reserved to the several States, to be by them exercised."

New Hampshire–"That it be explicitly declared that all
powers not expressly and particularly delegated by the aforesaid
Constitution, are reserved to the several States, to be by them

Pennsylvania–"All the rights of sovereignty, which are
not by the said Constitution expressly and plainly vested in the
Congress, shall be deemed to remain with, and shall be exercised
by, the several States in the Union, according to their respective

New York has been quoted above.

South Carolina–"That no section or paragraph of the said
Constitution warrants a construction that the States do not retain
every power not expressly relinquished by them, and vested in
the General Government of the Union."

It was these declarations which caused the engrafting of the
ninth and tenth amendments into the Constitution; and furnish
the true and proper exposition to the words, "the people,"
in these amendments; showing them to mean the people of the States
respectively in their sovereign capacity. And this is equally
true of the same words used contemporaneously in the ratifications
above mentioned.

And now,–when challenged to adduce positive authority for the
right of secession, and for the doctrine that the States did not
intend to bind themselves by the Constitution, to an indissoluble
union, under all circumstances,–we point to these solemn declarations
of the States in their ratifications of the Constitution, and
to the ninth and tenth amendments which were produced by these
declarations, as clear and positive proof that the Union was established
upon the express condition that the States respectively had the
right to resume their powers of sovereignty delegated by the Constitution,
whensoever they considered that their happiness and safety demanded

The right of judging of this matter must necessarily reside
in each State; because the reservation of power is to the States
respectively; and from its very nature, each State must decide
for herself. It could not apply to the States in the aggregate,
or to a majority of them; both because of its nature, and because
it is not so reserved. Hence the right, to be of any value, and
especially to be consistent with the principles on which the Union
was founded, must appertain to each State respectively.

It is not necessary that this right should be specified in the
Constitution. It was not the office of that instrument to enumerate
the reserved rights of the States, and no Government makes provision
for its own dissolution. It is sufficient if the right existed
when the constitution was acceded to by the States, and was not
clearly parted with in that instrument. And how does the question
thus stand?

When the Union was formed, the principle set forth in the Declaration
of Independence, was recognised as a fundamental doctrine, in
all its force and extent, by all the States, and cherished as
the palladium of our liberty–"that whenever any form of
government becomes destructive of the ends for which it was established,
A NEW GOVERNMENT, laying its foundations on such principles, and
organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall be most likely
to effect their safety and happiness." It was upon this high
principle, that the States were declared "free and independent
States," and came into being as sovereign States. And the
basis principle on which all republican governments
rest, and especially those of these States, is, "that governments
derive their just powers from the consent of the governed."
Assuredly this inestimable right was never intended to be impaired
in the formation and adoption of the Constitution of the United
States. Nay, it is positively shown that it was upon this very
principle, that the formation and adoption of this Constitution–which
were in palpable violation of the Articles of Confederation–were
justified by its advocates, as is above shown.

It was regarded as a high and sacred right, appertaining to
the people of the States, when the Constitution was formed; and
not only was not parted with, in that instrument, but it was positively

The ninth amendment declares, that "the enumeration in
the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to
deny or disparage others retained by the people." This is
a positive reservation of all individual rights appertaining to
the people of the States, under their respective State Governments,
whether enumerated or not; and it was introduced from abundant
caution, to exclude the possibility of the legal implication,
that other rights, not enumerated were denied to the citizen or
delegated to the Government.

Of the same character is the tenth amendment, "that the
powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution,
nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States
respectively or to the people;" that is to say, to the States,
or to the people of the States, respectively, in their sovereign
political capacity as States, to be exercised and enjoyed according
to the Constitution and laws of each State; because it was in
that capacity alone that the several States acted in forming and
adopting the Constitution, and became parties to the compact.
And it is manifest from the history of these amendments, that
their scope and object were, to place beyond question and beyond
the possibility of interference by the Federal Government, the
rights and powers of the people of the States, held and enjoyed
under their respective State governments, and not delegated nor
prohibited in the Constitution.

Thus all the rights and powers of each State and of her people
under their respective State Governments, not enumerated and not
delegated nor prohibited, are expressly retained. The purpose
of the Constitution was not to specify the rights retained, but
to enumerate those delegated to the United States. Hence, if a
right existed in a State at the formation of the Constitution,
and be not enumerated among the "delegated powers,"
or "prohibited rights," in the Constitution, it remains
to the States. It is thus that all the numerous rights and powers
of civil administration
in the several States, and the individual rights of the citizen
under their respective State Governments, not reserved by enumeration,
nor prohibited in the Constitution, are retained by the respective

Now it is incumbent on those who claim that this high power,
this invaluable right, this distinguishing principle of American
liberty, was given up by the sovereign States in the Constitution,
to show clearly where and how, that was done. It will not do to
rest its surrender upon plausible refinements and doubtful theories;
for it must be presumed, that if this right, which was considered
so sacred by the framers of the Constitution, and so inestimable
by the States, had been intended to be parted with or impaired,
it would have been done in language not to be mistaken. And, therefore,
if the question be merely left in doubt, whether the right is
surrendered, it is the part of wisdom and safety to resolve it
in favor of the retention of the right; since in cases of doubt,
it is always safest, according to principles of American government,
to entrust high powers, with the people, the source of political

And this brings us to consider the grounds on which it is contended
that the Constitution establishes an indissoluble Union between
the States.

1. It is said that the Constitution creates direct relations
between the Government established by it and the individuals composing
the United States–giving to the Government power, to punish individuals
for crimes committed against it; to impose taxes upon them and
to collect the same; to require military service of them; and
creating many other direct relations of duty and responsibility
between the Government and the masses of the people, involving
protection by the Government, and obedience and allegiance to
its authority, on the part of individuals; and that the Constitution
was made and established, not as a compact between the States,
but by the people of the United States as one people. It is hence
contended that the Constitution created a Government, to which
all the people composing the States are parties, as an aggregate
mass, irrespective of the States; and that as to the authority
and power of the Government, the people of all the States became
one people, and the character of the States, as sovereign States,
became extinguished or merged in the Union formed by the Constitution,
which thereby became indissoluble by the acts of the several States.

Let us consider the arguments relied on to support these views.

In the first place, as to the parties which established the
Constitution. Great reliance is placed upon the words of the preamble:
"We, the people of the United States," &c., as showing
that it was the act of the people of the United States, as one
people. But to this,
there are several conclusive answers. Ist. The language is ambiguous,
and, upon its face, may as well mean the people of the United
States, acting in their capacity as States, as the people of the
United States as an aggregate mass; for the language leaves it
perfectly uncertain in what capacity "the people" were
acting. It is evident that the words of themselves do not clearly
sustain the argument founded on them; and at best they present
a case of latent ambiguity. In such a case, we must resort to
the history of the proceeding to ascertain the character in which
"the people" acted, and the true import of the language
used. And we learn from the entire history of the event–from
the appointment of delegates to the General Convention–from the
votes and proceedings of that Convention–from the proceedings
of the several State Conventions of ratification–that every act
in the formation and ratification of the Constitution, was done
by the States severally and in their political capacity.

It is sufficient, on this point, to refer to the declarations
of Mr. Madison, in the Federalist, No. 39. Speaking of the ratifications
by the States, he says: "This assent and ratification is
to be given by the people, not as individuals composing an entire
nation, but as composing the distinct and independent States to
which they respectively belong. * * * Each State, in ratifying
the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent
of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act."

2d. The words of the preamble must be taken to refer to the
condition of the States or people, before, and at the time of,
the ratification, so far as they tend to designate the character
of the parties to it; and it is admitted that the States were
then sovereign States, united by a compact, and not one people
called the United States. See Mr. Webster’s speech on Mr. Calhoun’s
resolutions in February, 1833. So that there were then no people
of the United States, in the sense of an aggregate mass or nation.

When the Constitution was submitted for ratification, there
were no people of the United States, under that Constitution.
The words under consideration cannot refer to the condition of
the States or people, after the ratification; for upon no principle
of construction, can general words–relating to the character
in which parties to an instrument act–be referred to the status
which they occupy under the operation ef the instrument, but must
be taken to designate the character in which they act at the time,
and in the matter, of the execution of the instrument. 3d. General
words in a preamble cannot control an instrument so as to give
it an operation contrary to its positive provisions, in opposition
to the context and to all the facts attending its execution, showing
the intention of the parties; and it is impossible to give to
these words the effect contended for, without ignoring the plain
intention of the framers of
the Constitution and of the States in ratifying it, as shown by
the entire history of these events.

We must, therefore resolve these doubtful words, so as to make
them consistent with truth, and expound them by the well known
history of the events which gave rise to them; and so viewed,
it appears to be impossible to escape the conclusion, that they
mean: We, the people of the United States, ACTING IN THE CAPACITY

The provisions of the Constitution are irreconcilable with the
views insisted upon. They speak of "citizens of the different
States."–Art. 3. Sec. 2.–"the citizens of each State."–Art.
4. Sec 2; but no where of citizens of the United States, as would
have been the case, if the Constitution had been designed to establish
a government of one entire people. No citizen of one State has
the right to go into another State and there vote for any office,
even for President of the United States, without becoming a citizen
of that State, according to her Constitution and laws.

In the next place, it is said that the Constitution establishes
a Government, operating on all the individual citizens, and binding
them to its authority, with ample powers to carry it into effect;
and that this creates a Government, to which the people of the
United States are parties, and a Union, which the States have
no right to dissolve.

It is undoubtedly true that the Constitution empowers the Federal
Government to exercise its legitimate jurisdiction directly over
individuals; creating certain duties and obligations to be performed
by them to the Government, and corresponding duties, on the part
of the Government, to them. But it by no means follows that this
power was derived from the act of the people of the United States,
acting as independent individuals and irrespective of their condition
as the people of the several States of which they were citizens.
For it is above shown that all the acts in relation to the formation
and ratification of the Constitution, were done by the people
of the States severally, in their sovereign capacity, as political
bodies. And the position here stated is but a repetition of that
radical error which lies at the bottom of all the views in opposition
to the true rights and powers of the States and the Federal Government,
and in favor of the transcendant powers of the Government of the
United States.

Nor does it follow from the fact that, in certain respects,
the Federal Government has power to act upon individuals, that
the States are thereby deprived of their sovereign powers. For,
1st, the great mass of their powers are expressly retained; and,
as to all such, there could be no pretense that their powers of
sovereignty were impaired by the delegation of the few powers
in the Constitution. 2d, It is perfectly competent for a sovereign,
by compact
to grant to another, or to delegate to an agent, power to act
directly upon his subject or citizen, in certain specified cases,
without surrendering his sovereign rights and powers in other,
and the most essential, attributes of sovereignty. And this may
especially be done, where there is a Confederate Union between
two or more sovereigns, such as is referred to by Vattel in the
citation above made; and of this character was the Federal Union
under the Constitution of the United States. In such cases, the
granted powers do not affect those not granted; the latter remaining
as though the compact had never been made; and the determination
of all questions in relation to the fact whether any particular
power claimed, is granted or reserved, rests upon principles of
public law applicable to the rights of sovereigns, where there
is no common arbiter to judge between them; and each must judge
for himself.

2. It is said that the Constitution, and the laws and treaties,
made in pursuance of it, are expressly ordained by the Constitution
to be the supreme law of the land; and that this deprives the
States of all right and power to resume the powers of government
delegated, under any circumstances, or to redress grievances under
the action of the Government of the United States, except in the
mode prescribed in the Constitution.

This position appears to be founded in a great misapprehension
of the scope and purpose of the clause of the Constitution relied
on to support it.

The Constitution and the laws and treaties made in pursuance
of it, are, beyond doubt, the supreme law of the land; that is
to say, they are paramount to the Constitution and laws of the
several States, in all matters within the scope and limits of
the powers delegated in the Constitution. But the object of the
provision obviously was, to prevent conflicts between the Constitution
and laws of the Federal Government and those of the States, in
the ordinary administration of the delegated powers of the Government.
It established a rule of judicial and administrative action in
such cases, without which the Government might have been powerless
to execute its clearly delegated powers. But it has no reference
whatever to questions of power between the States and Federal
Government, arising by reason of the reserved rights of the States;
and was never intended to have any application to those rights;
for the manifest reason, that all such rights and powers were
expressly retained, and were entirely beyond the sphere of action
of the Federal Government, as it was understood when the Constitution
was adopted. Hence the provision can have no reference to the
reserved rights and powers of the States.

That this is the true scope of this clause of the Constitution
is plain from the observations of Mr. Madison, in relation to
it in the
44th number of the Federalist. And Mr. Hamilton, says in No. 29,
"that the laws of the Confederacy, as to the enumerated and
legitimate objects of its jurisdiction, will become the supreme
law of the land."

But the construction attempted to be given to it would make
the Constitution the supreme law in reference to matters not within
its scope, and destroy rights and powers expressly reserved to
the States by its provisions; or it begs the question, by assuming
that the particular power in controversy, is granted in the Constitution.
It is, therefore, clear that it is not the supreme law in relation
to the undelegated rights and powers of the States.

And here the important question arises–who is to determine
controversies as to whether the acts of the Government are "in
pursuance of" the Constitution–that is, whether they are
in derogation of the reserved rights of the States?

It is insisted that the Supreme Court of the United States is
the tribunal appointed by the Constitution to settle such questions;
and to its decisions, that the States are bound to submit in all
cases, since the Constitution confers upon that Court jurisdiction
in "all cases, in law and equity, arising under the Constitution,
laws of the United States, and treaties made under the authority

This, it is insisted, is the arbiter fixed for determining all
questions of political power between the States and the Federal
Government, except matters which cannot be resolved into the form
of a suit; and in these, that the action of the Legislative department
is conclusive as to its power to pass the acts.

If this view of the subject be well founded, it is clear that
the Constitution makes a Government with very different powers
from what was intended to be conferred. And does it not appear
to be passing strange, that the States should so positively reserve
their rights and powers not delegated, and yet leave to the Federal
Government the right of determining whether such and such rights
were reserved or not–thereby making the Federal Government at
once the judge, not only of its own powers, but of the rights
and powers of the sovereign States composing the Union; in fact,
placing all their rights and powers under the power and discretion
of the Government, created for special and limited purposes? Jealous
as were the States of their sovereign rights, and of the retention
of them beyond the power of the Government formed by the Constitution–which
is abundantly shown, both in the history of the proceedings of
the Convention which formed it, and of the State Conventions in
ratifying it–it is impossible to believe that they could have
intended to confer on the Government, through one of its departments,
a power which would enable it to enlarge its powers at discretion,
to the virtual destruction of their essential rights and powers
as sovereign States. And it may be safely
asserted, upon the history referred to, that if any such power
had been claimed for Congress, or if any such construction had
been put upon the clause in relation to the Judicial Department,
as is contended for, the Constitution would have been promptly
rejected or the misconception prevented by amendment. The statesmen
of that day knew too well the history of judicial usurpations
in England, and everywhere else, to entrust the cherished rights
of the States, to a tribunal so prone to enlarge the just sphere
of governmental powers.

It may be remarked, with reference to the position, that Congress
is the judge of its own powers, that it would have been useless
to give to the judiciary the power to determine such questions,
if that position be sound. And if the power be given to the judiciary,
that is sufficient to show that it was not intended to be given
to Congress. The argument in favor of the former, refutes that
in favor of the latter. It is also clear, that this doctrine would
make the discretion of Congress, and not the limitations of the
Constitution, the boundary of its power, and would virtually transform
the government into one of unlimited powers.

But the authority claimed for the Supreme Court is more relied
on, and is entitled to more consideration.

The reasons for the jurisdiction given to the judiciary by this
provision are stated to be–

1st. To supply the defect in the Articles of Confederation,
and provide a tribunal to give uniformity of construction to the
laws passed by Congress and treaties made in relation to matters
clearly within the jurisdiction of the Government; and to prevent
the confusion that would arise from divers constructions, in such
cases, by the several State Courts. See Federalist, No. 22, page
102 and No. 80, page 365.

2d. To restrain the States from the exercise of powers prohibited
to them by the Constitution.–Ibid, No. 80, page 365-367.

These are stated by the advocates of the Constitution–who were
participants in its formation and intimately acquainted with the
intention with which its provisions were framed–to be the scope
and object of the clause. Mr. Hamilton said–"It seems scarcely
to admit of controversy, that the judiciary authority of the Union
ought to extend to these several descriptions of cases–1st, To
all those which arise out of the laws of the United States, passed
in pursuance of their just and Constitutional powers of legislation.
2d. To all those which concern the extension of the provisions
expressly contained in the Articles of Union. 3d. To all those
in which the United States are a party. 4th. To all those which
involve the power of the Confederacy, whether they relate to the
intercourse between the United States and foreign nations, or
to that between the States themselves. 5th. To all
those which originate on the high seas and are of admiralty, or
maritime jurisdiction; and, lastly, to all those in which the
State tribunals cannot be supposed to be impartial and unbiassed."–Ibid,
No. 80.

The first class, he says, has reference to restrictions placed
by the Constitution on the powers of the States, in matters prohibited
to them, and is justified on the ground of providing "a Constitutional
method of giving efficiency to Constitutional provisions,"
and of exercising powers clearly granted to the Government. The
second class is justified on the ground of necessity in giving
uniformity to the laws of the Government passed in pursuance of
their legitimate powers. The third has reference to controversies
between the nation and its members or citizens–the fourth, to
the determination of causes between two States, between one State
and the citizens of another, and between the citizens of different
States–the fifth, to the special cases mentioned–and the sixth,
to causes of a civil nature between different States and their
citizens in which the State Courts may be supposed to be biased.

It is to the first two classes above enumerated, that the clauses
of the Constitution, in relation to cases in law and equity arising
under the Constitution and the laws of the United States, is applicable,
as Mr. Hamilton distinctly states. He asks what is meant by "cases
arising under the Constitution;" and answers, that it refers
to restrictions upon the authority of the State Legislatures,
and to their exercise of powers prohibited to them by the Constitution.
Strong advocate as he was, in his individual opinions, of a Government
of large powers, he gives no countenance to the idea–in stating
the principles and objects of the Constitution–that the clause
under consideration had any reference to questions of political
power arising between the States and the Federal Government. Neither
the words of the clause–"cases in law or equity arising
under the Constitution"–nor the contemporaneous exposition
given to it by its advocates–justify the construction attempted
to be given to them. And it is perfectly clear from the history
of the Constitution, and from the well known jealousy of the States
in regard to the danger of an undue extension of the powers of
the Government in its course and progress, that it was never contemplated
to confer upon the Government created by them, the power to determine
and circumscribe their reserved rights and powers, and through
one of its departments to enlarge its own powers according to
judicial discretion. That history affords the most ample evidence
that the States could never have intended to make the Federal
Government the judge of their reserved rights and powers; and
that the Constitution would never have been ratified if it had
contained any such doctrine, in regard to the powers of the Government
and the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, as that sanctioned
by that Court in
the case of McCulloch vs. the State of Maryland. No such power
was claimed for it until long after it had been in operation,
nor until its genius and spirit had been seriously perverted by
ingenious constructions and false theories which have finally
ended in its subversion.

It is, therefore, evident that the power is not granted to the
Federal Government to determine questions of this nature, and
thereby to preclude the rights of the States.

But suppose the Federal Government usurps powers in a form which
cannot be brought before the judiciary; or suppose the judgment
of the Supreme Court, in favor of the rights of a State. be disregarded
by the Executive and Legislative departments of the Government,
which persist in the unconstitutional acts, to the oppression
of the people of the States. Is there no remedy? Every man must
answer that there is; or the sacred rights of self-protection
and of self-government are vain and illusory, and the Constitution
of the United States erects a despotism under the guise of a Federal
Republic. What, then, is the nature of the remedy? Is it a matter
of right, or does it depend upon the mere ability of the State
to maintain it to a successful issue if resisted by force?

It must be matter of right; because, by the violation of the
compact of Union, to her oppression, she had the right to consider
the compact as at an end, and was remitted to her original sovereign
rights, if she thought fit to resume them; and this right necessarily
arose from the nature of the compact, which was a Federal Union
for specific purposes to a limited extent between the States as
sovereign parties to it. And this is the right of secession–a
right; and therefore beyond the rightful molestation [or] interference
of any earthly power.

If this be not true, her rights are violated and the compact
of Union subverted, to her oppression, and yet she has no other
remedy than to resist the usurpation by force–the remedy of revolution,
which is only rightful, in the estimation of the world, when it
becomes successful; and, if unsuccessful, is rebellion and treason.
Under this view, she has no right to avoid or resist the usurpation
and oppression; but her right depends upon whether she can successfully
maintain herself against the oppressor–and that is no right at
all–so that the strange case is presented of a clear wrong and
usurpation, by one party, to the oppression of the other, without
any absolute and adequate right of redress to the latter, except
that of brute force. Then she either has no right at all in such
a case, or she has the right to treat the compact as ended by
the violation of its provisions, and to be restored to her position
of an absolutely sovereign State, which she enjoyed before the
Union was formed–which is the right of secession.

To illustrate further–suppose an act of the Federal Government,
in gross and palpable violation of the positive guaranties, or
powers prohibited to the Government in the Constitution–operating
to the oppression of a single State; and suppose none of the other
States would co-operate with her in resisting it–it is plain
that if the Federal Government thought fit to persist in enforcing
it, the State would be without remedy, unless she had the right
to absolve herself from the Union. The remedy of revolution would
only lead to her destruction by overwhelming forces. Has she then
no higher right than that of mere force to resist the oppression?
Unquestionably, from the nature of the compact between her and
her associate States in the Union, she has the right to withdraw
from the confederacy, and peaceably to resume her position as
a sovereign and independent State, because this was a right appertaining
to her as a sovereign State, and which she had never surrendered
in the Constitution.

The distinction between secession and revolution is not merely
in terms. It is wide and essential. The former is founded in right,
and does not depend on force for its complete enjoyment. Being
rightful, no power on earth has a right to gainsay it, or to interfere
with its exercise; for there canuot be conflicting rights upon
one and the same subject. Because the State entered into the Union
as a sovereignty, and retained all her sovereign powers which
she did not delegate to the Government, upon the violation of
the fundamental conditions of the compact, she was absolved from
its obligations, and restored all her to sovereign powers.

But revolution, as a means of redress, is a mere forcible resistance
to wrong and oppression under a constituted government, from which
it assumes there is no legal right to be absolved–to be met by
opposing force. It is not predicable of the right to resume the
former position of a sovereign State. If successful, the State
is delivered from the oppression, but does not thereby necessarily
become restored to her status as a sovereign State. If her resistance
is unsuccessful, it is treason and rebellion. But secession–being
the act of the State in her sovereign capacity as a party to the
compact–is founded on her reserved right of sovereignty, and
results from the dissolution of the compact; and whether successful
or not, it is, in law but the exercise of a political right. Her
people, in defending her position, are guilty of no offence, but
are in the performance of the highest duty of patriotism; and
those who assail her by violence, in the exercise of her right,
are guilty of wrong before the nations of the earth, unless her
legal right be exercised in bad faith and unjustifiably, to the
injury of her associates in the Union.

Another objection to the right of secession is, that the remedy
for abuses and violations of the Constitution is prescribed in
the provision for amendments.

But that does not impair the right to "alter or abolish"
a Government, and "to institute a new Government," set
forth in the Declaration of Independence. It has reference to
such amendments as might be found necessary by time and experience,
and which might be agreed on, in the regular action of the Government.
But it imports no obligation never to abolish or abandon it, and
never to form a new Government. The 13th Article of Confederation,
expressly declared that the Union thereby created should be perpetual,
and prohibited any alteration of the Articles except in a prescribed
mode. That is stronger in its terms than the Article relative
to Amendments in the Constitution of the United States, which
simply provides a mode of making Amendments; whereas the former
emphatically prohibited any alteration except in the mode prescribed.
Yet this was disregarded and the Constitution of the United States
formed, establishing a totally different Government, abolishing
the old one; and all this, in a mode entirely different from that
required in the Articles of Confederation, against the consent
of several of the States. This was justified at the time, on the
ground of the high and sacred right of the States to alter or
abolish their Government, as we have above shown.

So the State Constitutions contain provisions prescribing the
mode of amending them; but this has never been held to debar the
exercise of the sovereign right of the people of the State, to
form a new Constitution in a different mode from that prescribed;
and many of the State Constitutions now existing, were formed
in that manner.

But it may be impracticable to amend the Constitution in the
mode prescribed, by reason of the circumstances, and the growth
of usurpations; or it may have become perverted, to the destruction
of the rights intended to be secured when it was made, beyond
remedy by amendment in the mode prescribed–so that the remedy
by amendment would be impracticable or inadequate in such cases.
And that is the condition in which the Southern States were placed,
when they were compelled to secede.

It is a matter of history, that all efforts to obtain protection
for their clear Constitutional rights, were spurned and rejected
by an unscrupulous majority of Congress, with insult and menaces
that they would consummate the outrages which were sought to be
prevented by proposed amendments.

There was, therefore, no alternative left them, but to give
up their most sacred rights, or take their protection into their
own hands by withdrawing from a Union which was to be made the
instrument of their oppression and ruin.

Having thus considered the arguments mainly relied on in opposition
to the right of secession, let us bring the theory which denies
the right, to a practial test, by the cardinal principles of the

If a State have not the right to withdraw from the Union under
any circumstances, she must be bound to submit to its power and
the United States must have the right to coerce her to submission;
and if the United States have not that right, it must be because
the State has the right to withdraw; for wherever there is a right
there is a remedy. If the withdrawal be without right, the remedy
would be to reduce her to submission by force. If she persisted,
it would produce war, and she could only be kept in the Union
by conquest, and only held in submission to the authority of the
United States by military force. She is then reduced to the condition
of a subjugated State, and ceases to be a member of the Union
composed of equal States.

Now the Union formed by the Constitution–and the only Union
that can subsist under it–was one of equal sovereign States.
It was established "in order to form a more perfect Union,
establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility," between
its members. All the provisions of the Constitution show that
equality of rights and of political condition is indispensable
to its existence. But this fundamental condition is utterly subverted
by the necessary effect of military coercion; for instead of a
co-equal member of the Union, the State becomes a subjugated and
degraded province; and, instead of her people having a government
of their own choice and resting upon their own consent, they are
held under the forcible dominion of the Government of the United

This is the plain result of the denial of the right of secession,
and of the assertion of the right to hold a State in the Union
against her will. It dissolves the Union so far as the subjugated
State is concerned as effectually as secession, and in a manner
that would utterly prostrate every principle of American liberty,
and with consequences shocking to every feeling of patriotism
and even of humanity.

It deposes the legitimate governmental authorities of the State,
and erects, in their place, a Government of force, deriving its
authority not from the people of the State, the only proper source
of political power, but from the arms of the conqueror. The State
Government is subverted, and the people are held in subjection
to a military despotism, as Mr. Hamilton said would be the result
of such a policy. The State ceases to be one of the free and sovereign
States, and as such to form a constituent part of the American
Union; and the Union is dissolved by the destruction of her proper
political condition as perfectly as it could have been by secession,
and in a mode and by means as much more abhorrent to justice and
to American principles, as a Government established and sustained
by force is worse than one established by the people themselves;
which–though unwise, it may be, in its organization–yet rests
on the solid foundation of the consent of those for whose
happinesss it is instituted and by whose consent alone it can

But if there could be a reasonable doubt on this point, it is
removed by the history of the Constitution, and the declarations
of its advocates when it was submitted for ratification.

It was a material defect in the Articles of Confederation, that
there was no authority to enforce the acts of Congress against
the States. It was fully admitted, by the fathers of the Constitution,
that it would be an anomaly in a Government composed of sovereign
States, to attempt to compel obedience to the laws by force employed
against the States in their political capacity; because it would
necessarily result in war against the power of the State, which
would dissolve the Union. Mr. Hamilton said–"the first war
of this kind would probably terminate in the dissolution of the
Union"–and further–"such a scheme, if practicable
at all, would instantly degenerate into a military despotism;
but it will be found in every light impracticable."–Federalist,
No. 16, page 72, 73.

Mr. Madison says–"As it is a solecism in theory, so in
practice, it is subversion of the order and end of civil polity,
by substituting violence in the place of law, or the destructive
coercion of the sword in place of the mild and salutary coercion
of the magistracy."–Ibid, No. 20, page 92.

It being wholly inadmissible to coerce the States by force of
arms, the plan proposed by the Constitution was to operate upon
the individual citizens of the State "through the medium
of the courts, by giving the Federal Government the same advantage
for securing obedience to its authority, which is enjoyed by the
Government of each State."–Ibid, Nos. 15 and 27. And this
in the whole extent of the power of coercion proposed to be given
to the Government–the power to compel obedience from individuals
by process of law.

So long as the resistance to the acts of the Federal Government
was confined to mere individuals, the authority of the United
States might extend to them, to compel them to obedience, in the
modes reeognized by law. But when a State withdraws from the Union
and resumes her position as an independent sovereign State, she
is in the same condition, at least, as that she occupied before
the Constitution was ratified. Her citizens are bound to support
her government, under penalties for disloyalty to be enforced
by the authority of the State; which places them in the position
of refusing obedience to the authority of the United States, not
as individuals, but under the command and sanction of the State,
in whom the original and inherent sovereignty resides, the State
in her sovereign character, in virtue of her reserved
right, has asserted her paramount authority over them, and their
action is in obedience to that authority. There arises then, a
conflict between the State in her sovereign capacity, and the
United States; and to proceed against an individual acting under
such sactions, would be a manifest violation of the spirit of
the Constitution. But the controversy is between the State in
her political capacity and the Government of the United States.
This is clear; because, if the United States attempt to enforce
her authority over the individual, it is met by the protection
of the State, and a conflict of forces must be the result. It
is not, therefore, within the reason which conferred the power
upon the United States.

Mr. Hamilton pointedly refers to this contingency in No. 16,
Federalist, as follows–

"If opposition to the national government should arise
from the disorderly conduct of refractory or seditious individuals,
it could be overcome by the same means which are employed against
the same evil under the State Government." * * *"As
to those partial commotions and insurections, which sometimes
disquiet society, from the intrigues of an inconsiderable faction,
or from sudden or occassional ill-humors, that do not infect the
great body of the community, the General Government could command
more extensive resources, for the suppression of disturbances
of that kind, than would be in the power of a single member. And
as to these mortal feuds which, in certain conjunctures, spread
a conflagration through the whole nation, or through a very large
proportion of it, proceeding either from weighty causes of discontent,
given by the Government, or from the contagion of some violent
popular paroxysm, they do not fall within any ordinary rules of
calculation. When they happen, they commonly amount to revolutions
and dismemberments of empire."

It is abundantly clear that the right of coercion against one
of the States, was never asserted by the framers of the Constitution,
nor contemplated in its ratification by the States; but was expressly
disavowed by both. It is utterly repugnant to the genius and spirit
of the Constitution. Indeed the total inadmissibility of employing
force against States–the very essence of whose Union was peace
and concord, unity of feeling and of interest–was one of the
reasons most strongly urged for the adoption of a system to act
upon individuals, as we have above seen; and the same reason applies,
in all its force, to the Union under the Constitution.

Mr. Hamilton, in the Convention of ratification of New York–speaking
of the proposition to coerce the States to comply with the requisitions
for revenue, under the Articles of Confederation–
expressed his objections to it in the following language, which
is applicable, with equal force, to the coercion of States under
the present Constitution:

"It has been observed, to coerce the States is one of the
maddest projects that was ever devised. A failure of compliance
will never be confined to a single State. This being the case,
can we suppose it wise to hazard a civil war? Suppose Massachusetts
or any large State should refuse, and Congress should attempt
to compel them; would they not have influence to procure assistance,
especially from those States who are in the same situation as
themselves? What picture does this idea present to our view? A
complying State at war with a non-complying State: Congress marching
the troops of one State into the bosom of another: this State
collecting auxiliaries and forming perhaps a majority against
its federal head. Here is a nation at war with itself. Can any
reasonable man be well disposed toward a government which makes
war and carnage the only means of snpporting itself? Every such
war must involve the innocent with the guilty. This single consideration
should be sufficient to dispose every peaceable citizen against
such a government."–2. Elliott’s Debates, 232.

In the Convention which formed the Constitution, he said–upon
the proposition of Mr. Randolph to give the power to the Federal
Government to use force against a State–that "it would produce
a dissolution of the Union."–2. Madison papers, 881.

And these are the declarations of the great master spirt of
the advocates of latitudinous powers in the Federal Government.

Mr. Madison said upon the same proposition–"that the more
he reflected on the use of force, the more he doubted the practicability,
the justice and the efficiency of it, when applied to the people
collectively, and not individually. A Union of the States, containing
such an ingredient, seemed to provide for its own destruction.
The use of force against a State would look more like a declaration
of war, than an infliction of punishment, and would probably be
considered by THE PARTY ATTACKED as a dissolution of all previous
compacts by which it might be bound." And, on his motion,
the proposition was unanimously postponed–2. Madison papers,
761. And it was not afterwards revived.

It is, therefore, impossible to maintain the right of coercion
against a State without turning a deaf ear to the history of the
Constitution, and destroying the very foundation on which the
Union rests. And it must follow, that if there is no right to
compel a State to remain in the Union, there can be no right to
demand her continuance in it against her will; and, hence, that
in point of political power, she has the right to secede from

Upon these considerations, it is confidently submitted to the
dispassionate judgment of mankind, that the right of secession,
as exercised by the several Southern States of the late American
Union, was a clear and unquestionable sovereign right appertaining
to those States.

We come now to examine the grounds of justification for the
secession of the Southern States.

In order to a just understanding of this question it is necessary
to take a cursory view of the state of political parties, as they
affected the condition of this country at the time of the dissolution
of the Union.

It was not long after the Government of the United States went
into operation under the Constitution, before a strong party sprang
up, claiming for it, powers wholly inconsistent with its true
spirit and intent, and especially with the reserved rights of
the States. This party numbered many men of eminent talents, who
had borne a prominent part in the war of the Revolution, whose
influence gave to their doctrines great force among the people,
and enabled them to impress their views upon the character of
the Government by various legislative acts of doubtful constitutionality.

From natural causes, and under the operation of these measures
from time to time enacted, it became apparent, that the chief
interests and pursuits of the States were different, and, for
the most part, sectional; the one section being commercial and
manufacturing, and the other agricultural; the former being composed
of the Eastern and Northern States, and latter of the Southern
and Western States.

These measures and the doctrines on which some of them were
founded, gave rise to the party above referred to, known as the
Federal party, which had its opponent in what was called the Democratic
or Republican party; the former claiming large and extensive powers
for the Federal Government, and the latter seeking to confine
it within the strict limits of the terms of the Constitution.
The strength of the Federal party lay mainly in the Eastern and
Northern section, while that of the other lay mostly in the Southern
and Western section.

In the progress of the Government, the latter became the dominant
party; and finally, and especially after the war of 1812 with
Great Britain, the Federal party became so unpopular, that its
prospects of attaining the ascendant again were almost hopeless.
But the debt of that war gave rise to measures of finance and
revenue which, in a manner, gave countenance to their political
doctrines, while they contributed greatly to their pecuniary benefit
in promoting their commerce and manufactures, to the detriment
of the other section. This revived the hopes of the
Federal party. Their politicians were encouraged in their hopes
to attain to the honors and power of the Government, and their
people rejoiced in the prospect of profit and emolument, by the
action of the Government, giving advantages to their interests
and pursuits which could not be enjoyed by the other section,
by reason of the nature of their pursuits. Having the strong motives
of the lust of power, and the lust of gain to stimulate them,
they entered upon deep-laid schemes to recover from their fall,
and to secure both these ends.

But the advantage which they derived from the unequal action
of these measures in their favor, was not sufficient to assure
the success of their purposes. The South and the West were strongly
opposed to their political principles, and to the policy of the
measures which operated so unjustly to their own pecuniary advantage.
It would be with difficulty that they could obtain success for
their party, even in the States then composing the Union; but
this success was utterly hopeless, if new States were added to
the Union composed of the territories and public domain then belonging
to the United States. It was from that quarter alone, with the
exception of Maine, that new States could be added to the Union;
and it was perfectly evident that such States–having the same
interests and entertaining the same political principles as their
neighboring States, and all being agricultural and injuriously
affected by the policy which operated to the benefit of the Eastern
and Northern section–would, in all human probability, be opposed
to the politicians and policy of the Federal party.

They, therefore, conceived the design to prevent the admission
of any new States into the Union from that quarter. The same motive
had caused their opposition to the purchase of Louisiana, and
subsequently caused the fierce war which they waged against the
annexation of Texas. But it would never do to avow such a purpose
openly, since the admission of new States was expressly contemplated
in the Constitution; and this Western and Southern territory was
the section from which they were to come. It was, therefore, necessary
to disguise their design under some plausible pretext; and, with
characteristic jesuitism, they seized upon philanthrophy for the

African slavery was then a part of the domestic policy of the
these South-Western and Southern States; and it would, at that
time, have been absolutely ruinous to new States to be made of
the territory adjacent to them, to be deprived of slave labor
in their agricultural pursuits, and to be admitted only on condition
that it was excluded within their limits. Hence to require such
a condition was in fact to exclude the State from the Union; and
that was the real design. It was believed, by the contrivers of
this plot, that such was the prejudice then existing in the sentiment
of most of the civilized nations of the earth, and even in this
country, against negro slavery, that their odious motive would
be concealed under the cloak of benevolence and philanthrophy,
whilst they secured the power and honors of the Government, and
employed them for their emolument.

The first State which applied for admission after these purposes
were conceived, was the State of Missouri; and this furnished
the first opportunity to the party, to put into practice the scheme
which they had planned. All their strength was accordingly put
forth to prevent the admission of the State, except upon the condition
of exclusion of slavery within her limits–a condition desstructive
to the rights of a large number of her people, ruinous to her
settled policy and interests, and of course wholly impracticable
to be accepted; and a flagrant violation of the Constitution,
as has since been adjudged by the Supreme Court of the United
States. Yet they urged it with all their power and with unyielding
obstinacy; and the memorable struggle ensued which brought the
Union to the verge of destruction. They persisted in their demand
until the destruction of the Union or the rejection of the condition,
was the inevitable alternative; and, even under these awful circumstances,
they only agreed to recede from their position in the particular
case, by obtaining another condition, declaring as the settled
policy of the Government, in effect, that slavery should never
exist in any of the Western States to be created out of the territory
in that section–a principle which they believed would exclude
from the Union a large number of agricultural States to be made
out of the Western territory, whose interests and political principles
would be opposed to their own. But for this unconscientious advantage,
it is plain that these wicked men would then have dissolved the

They, therefore, agreed to admit Missouri, under the belief,
that the condition, which they had succeeded in obtaining, would
accomplish their object of excluding all other Western agricultural
territories, which, in the course of a few years, would apply
for admission as States, and which would be, for the most part,
in the situation of Missouri in regard to slavery, and so deeply
interested in slave labor that they would not accept admission
with its exclusion; and hence that they would not be admitted.

This was the effect which they thought would most probably be
produced by the arrangement. But if this failed, they expected
to obtain the end desired by them, by indirection and by the operation
of this policy; which was, that the Legislative declaration excluding
slavery, under the so called Missouri Compromise, from these Western
territories, would prevent the immigration there of
people of the slave-holding States, with their slaves, and that
the public domain would be open to the people of the Eastern and
Northern States for settlement–thereby enabling them to monopolise
the rich lands of that region to their pecuniary emolument, and
to people them with a population of their own political opinions,
who would coalesce with them and enable them to hold the political
power, and to control the policy, of the country, in favor of
their own doctrines and schemes.

Having gained these important advantages over the constitutional
rights of the South, they were willing to await their development,
confident of ultimately reaping the fruits of such well laid plans.

John Q. Adams, a leading man of their section, was then Secretary
of State; and, being thus "in the line of safe precedents,"
was expected to become President of the United States, in a few
years; by which time all their schemes of power and emolument
would be ripe, and under whose administration they would receive
their full fruition. Meanwhile a political calm pervaded the country,
which terminated in the election of Mr. Adams in 1825. True to
his section and to his party instincts, he did not disappoint
their expectation; and during his administration, measures were
passed, giving benefits and advantages to the interests and pursuits
of that section, to the utmost of their demands, and operating
most unjustly and oppressively to the interests and pursuits of
the South and West. These measures aroused a deep feeling of opposition
in the latter section; and this, in connection with the fraudulent
combination by which it was believed Mr. Adams was chosen President,
by the House of Representatives, and the strong-government doctrines
which characterized his administration, rendered him so odious,
that he was overwhelmingly defeated in 1828. He and his party
were driven from power, and appeared to be prostrated, to rise
no more.

During this period of their realization of the power and emoluments
of the Government, there was no necessity to agitate questions
to produce discord and confusion. But this was quickly changed
when they were expelled from the power and patronage of the Government.
With a perseverance known only to a thirst for political power,
stimulated by the lust of gain, this party aroused itself from
its prostration, and armed itself for a new and terrific conflict,
a death struggle, to rule or ruin the country; and the weapon
chosen for this warfare was the same slavery question, which had
been so valuable to them in their previous efforts. It had lain
dormant while they were in power reaping the emoluments of a Government
perverted to their profit; but now in their fallen and degraded
state–employing it always as a means to power and gain, and never
as an end–it became necessary to brandish it again
in all its horrors, in order to rise again. Mr. Adams was sent
to Congress, the chosen man of the party; and, reckless of decency
and of the dignity which his recent position would have suggested
to a man of juster sensibilities, he quickly began the agitation
of the slavery question, with all the violence which disappointed
personal ambition and thirst for power, the prostration of his
sectional party and the defeat of their schemes for ill gotten
gain, could give to a man of untiring energy, of great abilities
and of the deepest malignity. His effort was to stab, in its vitals,
that section which had directed against him the blow that had
felled and degraded him, and was about to deprive his section
of its unconscientious gains; and he scrupled at nothing which
he could use as a means of wreaking his revenge. Incessantly did
he exert himself, by appeals to false sympathy and to hypocritical
philanthrophy, and by ingenious sophistries, to arouse the spirit
of fanaticism in behalf of the happy and contented slaves of the
South. At first his efforts met with no favor. This but incited
him to greater exertions. He found coadjutors in Congress. His
spirit was communicated to leading men throughout his section,
and to many in the West who had emigrated from that section or
who had been corrupted by his jesuitism. It was then found that
the Missouri Compromise had worked its office, and would add to
the Northern and Eastern faction, the new States to be made of
Western territory, by preventing the immigration of Southern men
with their slaves there, and that those States would ultimately
be added to their party; and hence it was no longer necessary
to oppose the admission of new States from that region. The party
increased in numbers from year to year, until all the Eastern
and North-Eastern States, and a large majority of the Western
States–which were peopled for the most part by men of Eastern
and Northern birth and by foreigners–were enlisted under its
banner. They avowed themselves prepared to trample under foot
the principles of the Constitution; their Legislatures passed
acts deliberately annulling a positive provision of the Constitution
for the rendition of fugitive slaves, and setting at nought the
act of Congress passed in furtherance of that provision; and these
outrageous acts they persisted in carrying out even by force;
and in the Presidential election of 1860, the votes of those States,
constituting a large majority of the States of the Union, were
cast for Abraham Lincoln, who was openly pledged to use all the
powers of the Government to put an end to slave property in the
States, and to prevent its existence in the Territories–rights
clearly recognised in the Constitution; adjudged by the Supreme
Court to be guarantied by the Constitution; considdred vital to
the welfare and happiness of fifteen States of the Union–rights,
without the recognition of which in the Constitution the Union
could never have been formed.

Throughout all the stages of these efforts, the Southern States
solemnly warned their authors, of their inevitable result, if
pressed by them; and by all that was dear in private right, all
that was sacred under the solemn sanctions of the Constitution–by
all that was beloved and venerated in the glorious institutions
which were established by our ancestors and committed to us as
a precious boon to be kept in its virtue and purity, and transmitted
to posterity–in all the forms af reasoning, of entreaty and of
expostulation, these men were implored to desist from their efforts,
and not to force the South to the dread necessity of dissolving
that Union which was their pride and their glory. These solemn
warnings were only met by insult and defiance; and steadily the
enemies of the Constitution and of the liberties of the South,
advanced to the consummation of their purposes, until in the language
of Mr. Seward, their chief leader, on the eve of Mr. Lincoln’s
election, they were "in the last stage of the conflict, before
the GREAT TRIUMPHAL INAUGURATION of this policy into the Government
of the United Statee."

In order to estimate the danger threatened to these States by
the accession of Abraham Lincoln to the power of the Federal Government,
and by their remaining under his dominion, it is proper to set
forth the principles and designs upon which he and his party were
to come into power, and the especial object of their elevation.
This is written in characters that it would have been madness
to disregard.

In the authorized publication of Mr. Lincoln’s speeches, circulated
during his presidential canvass, the speeches from which the the
following extracts are made, will be found.

"I believe this Government cannot endure permanently half
slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved.
I do not expect the house to fall. I do expect it will cease to
be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either
the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it,
and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that
it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will
push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States."

Commenting on this, he afterwards said–"I only said what
I expected would take place. I did not even say that I desired
that slavery shall be put in the course of ultimate extinction.
I DO NOW, HOWEVER; so there need be no longer any difficulty about

"If I were in Congress and a vote should come up on a question
whether slavery should be prohibited in a new Territory, in spite
of the Dred Scott decison, I would vote that it should."

"What I do say is, that no man is good enough to govern
another man without the other man’s consent. I say this is the
leading principle, the sheet anchor of American Republicanism."

After quoting a passage from the Declaration of Independence,
he says–"I have quoted so much at this time merely to show,
that according to our ancient faith, the powers of government
are derived from the consent of the governed. Now, the relation
of master and slave is, pro tanto, a violation of this principle.
The master not only governs the slave, without his consent, but
he governs him by a set of rules altogether different from those
which he precribes himself. Allow all the governed an equal voice
in the government; and that, and that only, is self-government."

Mr. Seward declared the principles and purposes of the party,
as follows–speaking of the antagonism between free labor and
slave labor, he said–

"IT IS AN IRREPRESSIBLE CONFLICT. between the opposing
and enduring forces, and it means that the United States must
and will, sooner or later, become entirely a slave-holding nation,
or entirely a free-labor nation. Either the cotton and rice fields
of South Carolina and the sugar plantations of Louisiana will
ultimately be tilled by free labor, and Charleston and New Orleans
become marts for legitimate merchandise alone, or else the rye-fields
and wheat fields of Massachusetts and New York must again be surrendered
by their farmers to slave culture, and to the production of slaves,
and Boston and New York become once more a market for trade in
the bodies and souls of men."

Again, he says–"What a commentary upon the history of
man is the fact, that eighteen years after the death of John Quincy
Adams, the people have for their standard-bearer, Abraham Lincoln,
confessing the obligations of THE HIGHER LAW, which the sage of
Quincy proclaimed, and contending for weal or woe, for life or
death, in the irrepressible conflict between freedom and slavery.
I desire only to say that WE ARE IN THE LAST STAGE OF THE CONFLICT,

Speaking of the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of
Dred Scott, he says–

"The people of the United States never can, and they never
will, accept principles so unconstitutional and so abhorrent.
Never–never. Let the Court recede. Whether it recedes or not,
we shall reorganize the Court, and thus reform its political sentiments
and practices."

"It is written in the Constitution of the United States,
in violation of the divine law, that we shall surrender the fugitive
slave. You blush not at these things because they are familiar
as household words."

Mr. Chase, a leading man of the party, and now Secretary of
the Treasury, proclaimed the same views–he said:

"We feel, therefore, that all legal distinction between
individuals of the same community, founded on any such circumstances
as color, origin and the like, are hostile to the genius of our
institutions, and incompatible with the true theory of American
liberty. SLAVERY and oppression must cease or American liberty
must perish."

"I embrace, with pleasure, this opportunity of declaring
my disapprobation of that clause of the Constitution which denies
to a portion of the colored people the right of suffrage."

"For myself, I am ready to renew my pledge, and I will
venture to speak in behalf of my co-workers, that we will go straight
on, without faltering or wavering, until every vestige of oppression
shall be erased from the statute-books–until the sun, in all
its journey from the utmost Eastern horizon though the mid-heaven,
till he sinks behind the Western bed, SHALL NOT BEHOLD THE FOOT

The seventh resolution of the Chicago Convention, which nominated
Mr. Lincoln, sets forth the doctrines of the party in these words–

"7. That the new dogma, that the Constitution of its own
force, carries slavery into the territories of the United States,
is a dangerous political heresy, at variance with the explicit
provisions of that instrument itself, with contemporaneous exposition,
and with legislative and judicial precedent; is revolutionary
in its tendency, and subversive of the peace and harmony of the

And this is said with reference to a solemn decision of the
Supreme Court of the United States, which is treated as a mere
dogma, and denounced as a political heresy entitled to no force
with the authorities about to take upon themselves the administration
of the Government of the United States! And what makes it still
more flagrant is, that it comes from the leaders of a party which
had always so strenuously asserted the binding force of the decisions
of the Supreme Court upon questions relating to the powers of
the Government!

The advocates and party press throughout the country, which
supported Mr. Lincoln, proclaimed the same principles and purposes,
as the ground on which he was supported; and after his election,
they, with one accord, rejoiced that the voice of the people had
crowned their efforts with success, and invested them with the
high duty of prostrating the guaranties of the Constitution.

While these principles and designs were proclaimed in the presidential
contest, the Southern States again solemnly warned the advocates
of them, that they could never submit to a Government administered
with such purposes, and that a dissolution of the Union would
be the necessary result of the accession of Mr. Lincoln,
unless adequate guaranties were given for the protection of their
rights. Many of them thought the prospect of obtaining such guaranties,
hopeless; and that the election of Mr. Lincoln, upon the declaration
of principles and purposes on which he was elected, was the proclamation
of a revolution in the Government; and that it was their duty
to act promptly for their own protection, and withdraw in their
sovereign capacities, from the Union. Others were reluctant to
take that step until every effort to obtain security had been
exhausted, or until the administration of Mr. Lincoln should show,
by some overt act, that the avowed designs of his party were to
be carried into execution.

Acting on the latter view, the resolutions of Mr. Crittenden
were introduced into the Senate in December, 1860. These resolutions
demanded nothing but the clear and unquestionable rights of the
Southern States under the Constitution, and conceded much of principle
and settled right on their part, which nothing but a deep reverence
for the Union and a fervent desire to prevent its dissolution–if
that could be done consistently with their indispensable rights–could
have reconciled them to yield. Among these concessions, was the
constitutional right–which had been adjudged by the Supreme Court
and was therefore settled–of taking their slaves to the Territories
of the United States, north of 36 deg. 30 min.; which was proposed
to be surrendered without the surrender of any settled right or
constitutional privilege on the part of the Northern States, and
without any equivalent to the South. These resolutions–which,
all just minds must admit, evince, in a high degree, the spirit
of concession and self-sacrifice which animated the Southern States,
in order to save the Union–were referred to a committee of thirteen,
composed of members representing the three parties in the country,
Republicans, Conservatives and Secessionists. The two last–among
whom was the President of the Confederate States–expressed their
willingness to accept the settlement proposed, if the first would
accede to it; for without the support of them and of their party,
it would be useless, since it was obvious that the adjustment
would be nugatory, without the sanction of the party which they
represented. But on the 22d December, 1860, they declared that
"these questions had been settled by the people at the late
Presidential election, and that they had no concessions to make
or offer."

This declaration, made under the most solemn circumstances,
showed conclusively that the designs of the party of Mr. Lincoln,
as declared in the Presidential canvass, were to be carried out,
and that the rights of the Southern States, under the positive
provisions of the Constitution, were to be trampled under foot,
and that that was considered as settled at the ballot box.

This was soon followed by the vote on the resolutions in the
Senate–when every Senator of Mr. Lincoln’s party voted against
them–and by the action of the Peace Conference, assembled at
the instance of the State of Virginia, with a view, if possible,
to render the constitutional rights of the South safe, and to
restore harmony to the country.

All these efforts, on the part of the Southern States, signally
failed to obtain from the party of Mr. Lincoln any assurances
or guaranties whatever that the power of the Government would
not be employed to consummate the schemes of violation of the
rights of the Southern States, proclaimed by his party during
the Presidential canvass.

Indeed, the tone and conduct of the entire party clearly maniested
that they considered that the fiat had gone forth from the fallot
box at the recent election, and that the edict only remained to
be executed. They announced throughout the land "the great
triumphal inauguration of this policy" of trampling under
foot the clear and unquestioned rights of the people of the slaveholding
States, solemnly guarantied in the Constitution–recognised by
the whole action of the Legislative and Executive departments
of the Government from its organization; and sanctioned by repeated
decisions of the Supreme Court–rights of person and of property,
indispensable to their welfare and happiness.

It is perfectly plain that the attempt to carry out this policy
would have been a revolution of the Government, by the prostration
of the Constitution; and since all efforts on the part of the
Southern States to prevent this course, were spurned and positively
rejected, it was too clear to admit of doubt, that the policy
was to be pressed to its most oppressive and degrading consummation.

It was, therefore, just and proper that the Southern States
should act upon the belief that Mr. Lincoln and his party would
carry out the threats and pledges which brought them into power,
and which, when called upon, they had solemnly refused to disavow;
and it was wise that they should withdraw from the Union, before
he came into office, if they thought fit to do so.

How well founded these anticipations were, was not long left
in doubt, after his installation.

Determined to employ all the power of the Government to coerce
the seceded States into submission to his authority, but yet dreading
to take the initiative in that crusade, the policy was conceived
of throwing the responsibility of striking the first blow in the
war, upon the South. This was to be done, by keeping possession
of certain forts held by the United States, within the limits
of the seceded States, so as to compel those States
either to acquiesce in their occupation and thereby acknowledge
the authority of the United States, or to take them by arms, and
incur the responsibility of commencing hostilities. Well knowing
that the latter alternative would arise in case they continued
to claim and hold these forts, they resorted to this trick as
a color for saying, that the war had been forced upon them by
the arms of the seceded States, and to escape the odium of waging
war upon the States–a transparent subterfuge, the fit sequel
to the perfidy which constrained the South to resort to force;
since the armed occupation of the territory of a seceded State
was itself an act of war. It was after the old precedent of the
wolf complaining of the lamb, who was drinking at the brook below
him, for disturbing the water which the wolf was drinking in the
stream above. But it answered the purpose of Mr. Lincoln’s Government,
and served as a pretext for clamor to enable him to inflame the
public feeling and to summon his troops to the field to commence
the work of invasion and subjugation against what he believed
to be a weak and powerless people.

In violation of solemn and repeated pledges that Fort Sumter
should be evacuated, he refused to comply with the pledge, and
compelled the Confederate Government to take it by force. Under
the pretext of this provocation, he issued his proclamation calling
for seventy-five thousand men, to invade the seceded States–a
palpable usurpation of power, without color of authority under
the Constitution or laws of the United States, which aroused Virginia,
North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas from their lethargy, and
compelled them, for the protection of their rights and honor,
to follow the course of the seven preceding States, and to secede.

This first act of the Government of Mr. Lincoln has been rapidly
followed up by the most startling usurpations of power. It is
not the purpose of these remarks to enumerate these outrages,
or to dwell upon their enormity. Only the most solemn and deliberately
perpetrated of them will be referred to, as showing that the fulfilment
has far exceeded the wildest apprehensions of the friends of American
institutions, and that the renowned American Union has been transformed
into a despotism, the most abject and degraded.

1. The right of personal liberty, guarantied by the Constitution,
and placed by it beyond the touch of any or all of the departments
of the Government, is struck down–a private citizen of the State
of Maryland, without process and without notice of the the charge
against him, is seized by military authority, for an alleged civil
offense, and hurried to confinement in a fortress of the United
States, in violation of the 5th and 6th amended Articles of the
Constitution. This case of Merryman has been followed by numberless
others of
the same character, where citizens of States not seceded, have
been immured in fortresses of the United States for more than
a year, deprived of the comforts of life, and to the great peril
of their health and even their lives, from disease and confinement–without
warrant–without legal notice of the charges against them–and
all this time denied their constitutional right to be proceeded
against by indictment or presentment, to be confronted with the
witnesses against them, and to have a speedy trial–rights given
to them by amended Articles five and six of the Constitution.

2. Upon the writ of Habeas Corpus granted by the Chief Justice
of the United States, in the case of Merryman, the party imprisoned
was refused to be brought before that Judge, under orders from
Mr. Lincoln’s Government, claiming and exercising the right to
suspend the writ of Habeas Corpus; thereby usurping the power
given to Congress alone by the Constitution. And this usurpation
was persisted in and practiced after the decision of the Chief
Justice, that the power assumed by the Government was illegal
and a violation of the Constitution. It may safely be said that
no King of England could have dared to commit these acts, under
any circumstances, without the loss of his head.

3. He struck down the right of freedom of speech and of personal
liberty at one blow, in seizing and committing to his Bastiles
numerous private citizens of the State of Maryland, and of other
States, still members of the Union; whose only offense was the
exercise of the right of an American citizen–never questioned
since the date of the unconstitutional sedition law of 1798–to
declare their opposition to the unconstitutional acts of Mr. Lincoln,
and in peaceably discussing them. He has suppressed many newspaper
presses in various parts of the States, still continuing in the
Union, and committed their editors to prison in distant forts–and
all this in flagrant violation of the prohibitions of the first
Amendment to the Constitution, denying such powers even to Congress.

4. By armed soldiery, he prevented the assemblage of the Legislature
of Maryland according to her Constitution and laws–seized a large
number of its members and committed them to close and uncomfortable
imprisonment in distant forts, and dispersed the residue by force–thereby
suppressing the regular Legislative authority of the State, then
fully in the Union; because he feared that the Legislature would
declare their opposition to his usurpations and take steps to
protect the rights of the people of the State against his oppressions;
an outrage upon free government, without a parallel in the history
of governments claiming to be free.

5. By his armed soldiers, he seized at the hour of midnight
and dragged from their beds and families, without process and
notice of any offense, the Mayor, Marshal and Commissioners of
Police of the city of Baltimore, quiet, unoffending citizens of
high character, upon no other ground than that they would not
yield obedience to his edicts in derogation of their rightful
authority under the Constitution and laws of the State, and because
they were suspected of being opposed to his unconstitutional acts–thus
deposing the regular municipal authority of the city. And these
officers have been imprisoned in a distant fortress, for about
eighteen months; without legal notice of the nature and cause
of accusation against them; without indictment or presentment;
denied of their right to have a speedy trial by a jury of the
State where the offense is pretended to have been committed–sacred
rights, positively guarantied by the 5th and 6th Amendments to
the Constitution. These outrages find their parallel only in the
vilest acts of the Jacobins of 1793.

6. "The State Governments are constituent and essential
parts of the Federal Government," says Mr. Madison in Federalist,
No. 45.

But the armed forces of Mr. Lincoln, under his authority, have
driven the duly constituted State officers from the seats of Government
of several of the Southern States, thereby deposing the regular
State Governments elected by the people. which, in legal effect,
is an abdication of the authority of the United States, since
it necessarily excludes such States from the Union. And not content
with this act of suicide to the Union, as to those States, he
has appointed Governors for them, and surrounded them with armed
forces to suppress the laws of the State, and to execute over
the people laws of his own dictation, at the will of his military
commanders, in utter violation of the rights of person and of
property of the citizens under the Constitution and laws of the
State, recognised and guarantied by the Constitution of the United

He has committed the same outrage upon all justice and right,
in deposing the municipal authorities of cities overrun by his
forces, setting aside the laws governing them, and superseding
them by officers elected under military duress by his own subjects,
in violation of the Constitution and of their charters.

7. He has violated the liberty of conscience and desecrated
the sanctuaries of God, by disturbing worshipping assemblies in
churches, seizing clergymen in the performance of their sacred
functions, imprisoning them in jails, penitentiaries and distant
forts, because they would not offer prayers to the Almighty for
the success and prosperity of the Government engaged in the work
of invading and plundering the Southern States, and murdering
their people–thus violating the first and fifth Amendments to
the Constitution.

8. He has seized and attempted to confiscate the property of
private citizens in the Southern States, not bearing arms, nor
indicted or convicted of any crime against the United States,
in violation of the Constitution. Claiming that these States are
still members of the Union, he has yet waged a war of rapine and
destruction against the property of their people indiscriminately,
whether belonging to those chargeable with acts of resistance
to his Government, or not. He has seduced slaves from their masters
and placed arms in their hands, enabling them to commit murder
and plunder, and has enlisted many of them as soldiers in his
armies. With fire and sword, he has laid waste whole sections
of country, regardless of age, sex or condition, in violation
alike of the feelings of humanity, and of the laws of civilized
war; and now claims whenever he has the power, to strip our people
of all their substance, and to deprive them of all their rights
under the Constitution–thus rendering it impossible to restore
to the Union those States, except their people are disfranchised,
degraded and stripped of all property; the necessary effect of
which would be either to desolate these States, or to fill them
with an imported people, their proper citizens being degraded,
stripped of every right of person and of property, and under the
ban of imported masters or perhaps of their own slaves. His Government
stands forth the enemy alike of the Union, and of the human race.

9. His Government has admitted into the Senate of the United
States persons appointed as Senators by a usurped Government of
a part of the State of Virginia, formed in palpable violation
of the Constitution and laws of that State, against the right
of the regularly elected and constituted Governmental departments
of that State, then in office and confessedly the legitimate authorities
of the State, under her Constitution and laws–thereby not only
sanctioning a flagrant rebellion and usurpation, but virtually
"forming a new State within the jurisdiction of another State,
without the consent of the Legislature" of that State–in
violation of the prohibition of the third section of the fourth
Article of the Constitution of the United States.

10. He has usurped the power to declare martial law, by his
proclamation of September, 1862. In violation of the positive
prohibitions of the fifth Amended Article of the Constitution–"that
no person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous
crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury,
except in cases arising in the land and naval forces, or in the
militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger"–he
has ordained, that all persons discouraging volunteer enlistments,
resisting militia drafts, or guilty of any disloyal practice,
affording aid and comfort to the rebels against the authority
of the United States, shall be subject to martial law, and liable
to trial and punishment by Court martial or military commission.

Now the Constitution expressly prohibits any person not belonging
to "the land or naval forces or the militia," &c.,
to be held to answer for any crime unless on a presentment or
indictment of a grand jury. All the combined departments of the
Federal Government, had no power to subject such persons to trial
in any other mode. And yet this sacred and venerated right is
struck down by the edict of Abraham Lincoln; and the private citizen
is subjected to the extraordinary proceeding of a court martial
or "military commission," to be appointed by the powers
which send forth this edict–deprived of the right of trial by
jury–in the State where the alleged offense was committed–of
being confronted by the witnesses against him–of process to compel
the attendance of witnesses in his behalf–(rights also positively
secured to him by the 6th Amendment of the Constitution)–deprived
of the process of appeal or writ of error to the Court provided
by the Constitution to determine his rights and to settle whether
the edict under which he is impaled, is valid and constitutional.
The annals of usurpation and tyranny in modern times may be searched
in vain for the parallel of this reckless and wicked outrage upon
a sacred and firmly guarantied right of the citizen, and upon
the prohibitions of the Constitution which he had sworn to support.
Nothing could exceed it but the tortures of the Inquisition.

11. The last act that will be here referred to, is the Proclamation
declaring that after the first of January, 1863, all slaves, within
any State whose people shall be in rebellion against the United
States, shall be forever free; and that the Executive Government
of the United States, naval and military, will maintain their
freedom, and will do no act to repress them in any efforts they
may make for their freedom.

This edict, if effectual for the object intended, would at once
annihilate a large part of the property of the people composing
the Southern States, the right to which is expressly recognised
by the Constitution. It would annihilate with it the main business,
pursuits, property, wealth and social institutions dependant on
that species of property in those States and reduce their people
to ruin and their country to desolation. It would raise a servile
war of extermination either of the white, or of the slave, population,
producing scenes, which no mind, but that of a fiend in human
form, can contemplate without the deepest horror. Yet this vile
and flagitious manifesto regards these scenes with encouragement,
and promises to "maintain the freedom of such slaves,"
by the whole power of the Government, and to "do no act to
repress them in any efforts they may make for freedom." After
them to these horrors, their authors are to do no act to repress
them in their efforts for freedom, however revolting to humanity!
Well may this atrocious act call forth, as it has done, the execrations
of the civilized world against the monster who has proclaimed

But its gross usurpation and base purpose are not more striking
than its shameless violation of the declarations that Mr. Lincoln
has made from the date of his inauguration to the time of his
proclamation, in relation to interfering with slavery in the States.

In his inaugural address, he says–"I have no purpose directly

"or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery
in the
"States. I believe I have no right to do so, and I have no
"to do so."

In the interview held by him with certain border State members
of Congress, on the 10th March, 1862, relative to his proposition
to emancipate the slaves on their receiving compensation from
the Federal Government, he says–

"That emancipation was a subject exclusively under the
"of the States, and must be adopted or rejected by each for

"itself–that he did not claim, nor had this Government any
"to coerce them for that purpose."–Mr. Menzies, of
Kentucky, enquired
"if the President thought there was any power, except in

"the States themselves, to carry out this scheme of emancipation.

"The President replied he thought there could not be."

In an interview with an embassy of clergymen from Chicago, shortly
before the date of this proclamation, he declared that the emancipation
of slaves in the States, was impracticable, wild and inexpedient,
and expressed his determination not to attempt it.

In his veto to the Confiscation and Emancipation bill in July
1862, he says. "It is startling to say that Congress can
free a slave within a State." If the Legislative department
of the Government could not do the act, how much more startling
is it, that the Executive should usurp so tremendous a power?
Yet, notwithstanding all this, this act is but the fulfilment
of the pledges and principles which caused his election.

Thus it appears that the Constitution of the United States has
been completely set at naught, and the most despotic powers usurped
by those holding the Government, not only without authority granted,
but in violation of positive prohibitions; and in most of these
acts, the usurpation stands confessed by its authors. If there
was virtue enough in Congress to impeach him for usurpation, he
could be convicted by his own recorded admissions, of wilful violations
of his oath to support the Constitution, in repeated instances.

And now what is the justification or palliation for these high
crimes? It is the old plea of tyrants–necessity–that the powers,
conferred upon the Government by the Constitution were insufficient
to suppress the alleged rebellion; consisting in the withdrawal
of eleven Sovereign States, in the most solemn form known to political
action, and with great and acknowledged unanimity, from a Union
which was to be perverted to the destruction of all their rights
under the Constitution, and in forming a new and independent government
of their own choice among themselves; not, in any wise, interfering
with the rights of the remaining States–and, therefore, that
it was necessary for the Government of the remaining United States,
to violate the Constitution and assume the powers of a dictatorship,
in order to preserve the Constitution and to restore the dismembered

If such a necessity could exist, it would seem to furnish the
most unanswerable reason why the Government could not make war
upon the seceded States, without converting itself into a despotism.
For it would be the height of absurdity and wickedness, to attempt
to restore the Union, by war against the seceded States, when
this plea of necessity confesses that, in order to make the effort
successful, it was necessary to destroy their State and municipal
governments; to rob the people of all their property; to deprive
them of all their rights under their State governments; in fact,
to annihiliate their political existence, as the people of the
States, and to render it impossible to restore the Union, with
the rights and privileges of the States preserved; and to do all
this by the prostration of the most solemn guaranties of the Constitution.

But it is preposterous to say that the Union, which rests solely
on the Constitution, can be preserved by violating the fundamental
principles of that Great Charter of the Union. The idea is stupidly
and insultingly absurd, that any necessity can justify the violation
of the law of its existence in order to maintain its existence.
As well might we talk of undermining a foundation, for the purpose
of preserving its superstructure; or of a man’s stabbing himself
to the heart, to preserve his constitution. The disguise is too
transparent to deceive any but those who wickedly shut their eyes
to the truth.

It is the will and not any proper necessity, that has produced
these acts. It is the death struggle for the consummation of the
long-foreshadowed and long-deferred hopes of power and plunder
to be visited upon the South, rendered desperate by the fear that
these sordid schemes were, at last, about to be disappointed and
blasted forever, when fruition seemed to be within their very
grasp; it is the necessity for the perpetration of the unholy
ends of avarice and abolitionism against the South, which were
thwarted by her withdrawal beyond the power of her oppressors:
these are the causes which have brought to light this profound
love for the Union, and this amazing devotion to the Constitution!

And now the astounding development stands forth from the grand
oriflamme of Abolitionism at Washington–that the Southern States
were not to be allowed to enjoy their solemnly guarantied rights
in the Union, nor suffered to enjoy them by withdrawing from the

That it was settled that property in slaves was to be abolished,
if the Southern States had remained in the Union; but since they
have been compelled to withdraw from the Union to protect their
rights, slavery is now to be abolished, because they seceded:
and thus the necessity which the wrong of the oppressors forced
upon them, is made the justification for the outrage intended
against them from the first, and now boldly proclaimed–

That the people of these States must either submit, in the Union,
to be robbed of all their most sacred rights secured by the Constitution,
or be visited, if they withdraw from the Union, with fire and
sword, with plunder and murder, their own slaves armed and incited
to the most horrid deeds of destruction and brutality against
all ages, sexes and conditions of the white race, because these
people were driven, for the necessary protection of their dearest
rights, to withdraw from the grasp of the usurper and tyrant–

That the people of these States are to be deprived of every
right, and despoiled of all their substance, reduced to penury
and degradation, with imported masters from the hordes of their
enemies to seize their property, with Vandal rapacity, under despotic
edicts, and to control the public acts and destinies of these
States; thereby at once annihilating all the rights of persons
and of property in these States, destroying the State Governments,
and reducing them to dependencies of the despotism, which grinds
them under its iron heel–and all this in the name of the Union,
and for the sake of the Constitution!

These designs, at first disguised, now stand out in all their
horrors, openly avowed under the pretext of necessity; and now
the contest waged by Abraham Lincoln against the Confederate States,
exhibits an open and undisguised struggle between Constitutional
government, civil and religious liberty, good faith and justice,
on the one side; and tyranny, fanaticism, robbery and Red Republicanism,
on the other. In such a contest, surely the South had no course
but resistance to the oppressions, by all the means which God
and nature have placed in her hands.

Nero set fire to the ancient edifices of Rome, as unsuited to
times and taste, destroying those monuments of her antiquity and
grandeur, together with the memorials of her victories, in a common
conflagration; and Abraham Lincoln has laid his impious hand upon
the Constitution, the bulwark of our liberties and the chief monument
of our national glory, as unsuited to his political ideas and
unfit for the purposes of his myrmidons. It must overwhelm the
heart of every true American patriot, with unutterable shame and
sorrow, that such should be the end of the once glorious Union
erected by the patriots and sages of the Revolution–reduced to
ruin by profligate men, incapable of good, yet potent for evil,
in tearing down the pillars which supported the noble structure;
and that all that now remains of it is, a miserable wreck–the
terror of its adherents, and the scorn of its enemies; the scourge
of this country, and the contempt of the civilized world.

OCTOBER, 1862.