« AnteriorContinuar »
Men and Money.
to supply omissions or to communicate new facts considered important for you to know.
" It is now recommended that you give the legal means for making this contest a short and decisive one; that you place at the control of the Government for the work, at least .400,000 men and $400,000,000; that number of men is about one-tenth of those of proper ages within the regions where apparently all are willing to engage, and the sum is less than a twenty-third part of the money value owned by the men who seem ready to devote the whole. A debt of $600,000,000 now is a less sum per bead than was the debt of our Revolution when we came out of that struggle, and the money value in the country bears even a greater proportion to what it was then than does the population. Surely each man has as strong a motive now to preserve our liberties, as each had then to establish them.
"A right result at this time will be worth more to the world than ten times the men and ten times the money. The evidence reaching us from the country, leaves no doubt that the material for the work is abundant, and that it needs only the hand of legislation to give it legal sanction, and the hand of the Executive to give it practical shape and efficiency. One of the greatest perplexities of the Government is to avoid receiving troops faster than it can provide for them; in a word, the people will save their Government if the Government will do its part only indifferently well. It might seem at first thought to be of little difference whether the present movement at the South be called secession or rebellion. The movers, however, well understand the difference. At the beginning they knew that they could never raise their treason to any respectable magnitude by any name which implies violation of law; they knew their people possessed as much of moral sense, as much of devotion to law and order, and as much pride in its reverence for the history and government of their common country, as any other civilized
and patriotic people. They knew they could make no advancement directly in the teeth of these strong and noble sentiments. Accordingly they commenced by an insidious debauching of the public mind; they invented an ingenious sophism, wbich, if conceded, was followed by perfectly logical steps through all the incidents of the complete destruction of the Union. The sophism itself is that any State of the Union may, consistently with the nation's Constitution, and therefore lawfully and peacefully, withdraw from the Union without the consent of the Union or of any other State.
“The little disguise that the supposed right, is to be exercised only for just cause, themselves to be the sole judge of its justice, is too thin to merit any notice with rebellion. Thus sugar-coated, they have been drugging the public mind of their section for more than thirty years, and until at length they have brought many good men to a willingness to take up arms against the Government the day after some · assemblage of men have enacted the farcical pretence of taking their State out of the Union, who could have been brought to no such thing the day before. This sophism derives much, perhaps the whole of its currency, from the assumption that there is some omnipotent and sacred supremacy pertaining to a State, to each State of our Federal Union. Our States have neither more nor less power than that reserved to them in the Union by the Constitution, no one of them ever having been a State out of the Union. The original ones passed into the Union before they cast off their British Colonial dependence, and the new ones came into the Union directly from a condition of dependence, excepting Texas, and even Texas, in its temporary independence, was never designated as a State. The new ones only took the designation of States on coming into the Union, while that name was first adopted for the old ones in and by the Declaration of Independence. Therein the United Colonies were declared to be free and independent States. But
What is Sovereignty? Union older than the States.
even then the object plainly was not to declare their independence of one another of the Union, but directly the contrary, as their mutual pledge and their mutual action before, at the time, and afterward, abundantly show. The express plight of faith by each and all of the original thirteen States in the Articles of Confederation two years later that the Union shall be perpetual, is most conclusive. Having never been States either in substance or in name outside of the Union, whence this magical omnipotence of State rights, asserting a claim of power to lawfully destroy the Union itself? Much is said about the sovereignty of the States, but the word even is not in the National Constitution, nor, as is believed, in any of the State constitutions. What is sovereignty in the political sense of the word ? Would it be far wrong to define it a political community without a political superior ? Tested by this, no one of our States, except Texas, was a sovereignty, and even Texas gave up the character on coming into the Union, by which act sie acknowledged the Constitution of the United States; and the laws and treaties of the United States, made in pursuance of States, have their status in the Union, made in pursuance of the Constitution, to be for her the supreme law. The States have their status in the Union, and they have no other legal status. If they break from this, they can only do so against law and by revolution. The Union and not themselves, separately procured their independence and their liberty by conquest or purchase. The Union gave each of them whatever of independence and liberty it has. The Union is older than any of the States, and, in fact, it created them as States. Originally, some dependent Colonies made the Union, and in turn the Union threw off their old dependence for them, and made them States, such as they are. Not one of them ever had a State constitution independent of the Union. Of course it is not forgotten that all the new States formed their constitutions before they entered the Union ; nevertheless,
Florida and Texal
dependent upon, and preparatory to coming into the Union. Unquestionably the States have the powers and rights re.. served to them in and by the National Constitution.
“But among these surely are not included all conceivable powers, however mischievous or destructive, but at most such only as were known in the world at the time as governmental powers, and certainly a power to destroy the Government itself had never been known as a governmental, as a merely administrative power. This relative matter of National power and State rights as a principle, is no other than the principle of generality and locality. Whatever concerns the whole should be conferred on the whole General Government, while whatever concerns only the State should be left exclusively to the State. This is all there is of original principle about it. Whether the National Constitution, in defining boundaries between the two, has applied the principle with exact accuracy, is not to be questioned. We are all bound by that defining without question. What is now combatted is the position that secession is consistent with the Constitution, is lawful and peaceful. It is not contended that there is any express law for it, and nothing should ever be implied' as law which leads to unjust or absurd consequences. The nation purchased with money the countries out of which several of these States were formed. Is it just that they shall go off without leave and without refunding ? The nation paid very large sums in the aggregate, I believe nearly a hundred millions, to relieve Florida of the aboriginal tribes. Is it just that she shall now be off without consent, or without any return ? The nation is now in debt for money applied to the benefit of these so-called seceding States, in common with the rest. Is it just, either that creditors shall go unpaid, or the remaining States pay the whole ? A part of the present National debt was contracted to pay the old debt of Texas. Is it just that she shall leave and pay no part of this herself? Again, if one State may secede, so may
Rights of Minorities
another, and when all shall have seceded none is left to pay the debts. Is this quite just to creditors ? Did we notify them of this sage view of ours when we borrowed their money? If we now recognize this doctrine by allowing the seceders to go in peace, it is difficult to see what we can do if others choose to go, or to extort terms upon wbich they will promise to remain. The seceders insist that our Constitution admits of secession. They have assumed to make & National Constitution of their own, in which, of necessity, they bave either discarded or retained the right of secession, as they insist exists in ours. If they have discarded it, they thereby admit that on principle it ought not to exist in ours; if they have retained it, by their own construction of ours that shows that to be consistent, they must secede from one another whenever they shall find it the easiest way of settling their debts, or effecting any other selfish or unjust object. The principle itself is one of disintegration, and upon which no Government can possibly endure. If all the States save one should assert the power to drive that one out of the Union, it is presumed the whole class of seceder politicians would at once deny the power, and denounce the act as the greatest outrage upon State rights. But suppose that precisely the same act, instead of being called driving the one out, should be called the seceding of the others from that one, it would be exactly what the seceders claim to do, unless, indeed, they made the point that the one, because it is a minority, may rightfully do what the others, because they are a majority, may not rightfully do. These politicians are subtle, and profound in the rights of minorities. They are pot partial to that power which made the Constitution, and speaks from the preamble, calling itself, We, the people.' It may be well questioned whether there is to-day a majority of the legally qualified voters of any State, except, perbaps, South Carolina, in favor of disunion. There is much reason to believe that the Union men are the majority in many, if not