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insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances.
I therefore consider that, in view of the Constitution and the laws, the Union is unbroken; and to the extent of my ability I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States. Doing this I deem to be only a simple duty on my part; and I shall perform it so far as practicable, unless my rightful masters, the American people, shall withhold the requisite means, or in some authoritative manner direct the contrary.
I trust this will not be regarded as a men. ace, but only as the declared purpose of the Union that it will constitutionally defend and maintain itself.
In doing this there needs to
be no bloodshed or violence; and there shall be none, unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, "occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere. Where hostility to the United States, in any interior locality, shall be so great and universal as to prevent competent resident citizens from holding the Federal offices, there will be no attempt to force obnoxious strangers among the people for that object.
While the strict legal right may exist in the government to enforce the exercise of these offices, the attempt to
do so would be so irritating, and so nearly impracticable withal, that I deem it better to forego for the time the uses of such offices.
The mails, unless repelled, will continue to be furnished in all parts of the Union. So far as possible, the people everywhere shall have that sense of perfect security which is most favorable to calm thought and reflection. The course here indicated will be followed unless current events and experience shall show a modification or change to be proper, and in every case and exigency, my best discretion will be exercised according to circumstances actually existing, and with a view and a hope of a peaceful solution of the national troubles and the restoration of fraternal sympathies and affertions.
That there are persons in one section or another who seek to destroy the Union at all events, and are glad of any pretext to do it, I will neither affirm nor deny; but if there be such, I need address no word to them. To those, however, who really love the Union may I not speak?
Before entering upon so grave a matter as the destruction of our national fabric, with all its benefits, its memories, and its hopes, would it not be wise to ascertain precisely why we do it? Will
hazard so desperate a step while there is any possibility that any portion of the ills you fly from have no real existence? Will
you, while the certain ills you fly to are greater than all the real ones you fly from — will you risk the commission of so fearful a mistake?
All profess to be content in the Union if all constitutional rights can be maintained. Is it true, then, that any right, plainly written in the Constitution, has been denied? I think not. Happily the human mind is so constituted that no party can reach to the audacity of doing this. Think, if you can, of a single instance in which a plainly written provision of the Constitution has ever been denied. If by the mere force of numbers a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution-certainly would if such a right were a vital one. But such is not our case. All the vital rights of minorities and of individuals plainly assured to them by affirmations and negations,