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the execution of the laws, can have no proper reference to
vive? It is here, I confess, that I see the danger of military despotism, and not where the imagination of the senator from South Carolina (Mr. Calhoun) has found it. Is not the actual condition of South Carolina in this respect an impressive admonition to us on the subject-the whole state converted into a camp, the executive and other authorities armed with dictatorial powers, the rights of conscience set at naught, and an unsparing proscription ready to disfranchise one half of her population? Sir, this is but a prefiguration of the evils and calamities to which every portion of this country would be destined if the Union should be dissolved. Let us, then, rally around that sacred Union, fixing it anew, and establishing it forever on the immutable basis of equal justice, of mutual amity and kindness, and an administration at once firm and paternal. Let us do this, and we shall carry back peace to our distracted country, happiness to the affrighted fireside, restore stability to our threatened institutions, and give hope and confidence once more to the friends of liberty throughout the world. Let us do this, and we shall be, in short, what a bountiful Providence has heretofore made us, and designed us ever to remain, the freest and happiest people under the sun."
Such were the opinions, and such the principles of the honorable and distinguished gentleman (Mr. Rives) in 1833, as the representative of Virginia democracy, in the Senate. of the United States, when enforcing the proclamation of General Jackson and the passage of the "Force Bill," which placed the whole military and naval power of the United States at the disposal of the President for the suppression of the rebellion in South Carolina, and for enforcing the laws of the United States on the citizens of that state, who were by an ordinance of convention resisting their execution. Such were also the principles then indorsed and sus
tained by the Democracy of this state. Such were the principles that I too then sustained, in common with the Democracy (which were the only measures of General Jackson's whole administration, as far as I recollect, that I did support, but from which I could not withhold my judgment or my assent). Such were the principles by which I have lived, and by which I expect to die; and if I do not stand vindicated and justified for the part I have taken during the progress of this rebellion by the recognized congressional champion of secession, and author of the Confederate "Manifesto," designed as a justification of the rebellion before the foreign powers of the globe, then should I stand rebuked, "though Moses and the prophets were to rise from the dead" for my vindication.
But again, Mr. Rives, in his congressional "Manifesto," uses this most extraordinary language:
"The war made upon the Confederate States was, therefore, wholly one of aggression. On our side it has been strictly defensive. . . . . We had no option but to stand in defense of our invaded firesides, of our devastated altars, of our violated liberties and birthright, and of the prescriptive institutions which guard and protect them."
When Mr. Rives penned and made himself responsible to the world for this extraordinary statement, had he forgotten that he was one of five commissioners appointed by the state to represent her in the Peace Congress that met in Washington, and that that Congress of the nation offered to the South terms of compromise and conciliation, with which he himself was satisfied, and recommended for adop tion to the Convention then in session, but which every Democrat in that body refused to accept? Had he forgotten the bombardment of Fort Sumter, and its seizure, together with all the arms, ammunition, and other property
of the United States that had been forcibly taken possession of by the Confederate government, before the authorities of the United States had raised a hand in its own defense? or does Mr. Rives regard these acts of aggression and war as "strictly defensive" on the part of the South, and as unjustifiably aggressive and hostile on the part of the United States?
But it is not my purpose here to give you a treatise on this fruitful theme, but to point out the manner by and purpose for which the country has been rashly, inconsiderately, and wickedly plunged into this horrible civil war, by the short-sighted, blundering, and stupid action of the demons. of Democracy, who have miscalculated in this the operations and effects of their own work, as they have in all else they have undertaken.
The Force Bill was passed in the House of Representatives by a vote of 149 to 48; and in the Senate by 32 to 1 only.
CALHOUN BARELY ESCAPES HANGING.
General Jackson was in earnest, and honest in his threat at that day to have Mr. Calhoun, who was then a senator of the United States, immediately arrested, and "hung in chains" for treason; and he would, no doubt, through the intervention of the law, have seen this most anxious and patriotic desire of his executed, but that Mr. Clay, who, although a violent opponent of Jackson's administration, yet a patriotic supporter of his measures in this momentous question of secession even on the very day that Mr. Calhoun had been notified by Mr. Benton that he was to be arrested-in an unfortunate moment of generosity and magnanimity, and in a rather too earnest desire for pacification, staved off a resort to steps of violence by bringing forward
'his celebrated measures of compromise, called and ever since known as "the Compromise of 1832," which served as a pretext for Calhoun and his state to back down from the difficulties in which they had entangled themselves and outraged the country; and thus the question was for the time settled.
I say it was an unfortunate moment at which Mr. Clay interposed, for, but for this compromise, an example would at that day have been made by General Jackson which would have crushed secession, with all its advocates, into the earth; and all the consequences of this rebellion, the end of which is not yet, nor its calamities in the future yet appreciated, would have been spared not only to the present generation, but it could never again have raised its horrid head on this continent, no matter who had been constitutionally chosen by the people to preside over their destinies.
But South Carolina, from that day to the present, has never ceased to feel her degradation, and never ceased to be a discontented, querulous disturber of the public peace. She has been at all times ready for a revolt whenever she felt that the time had arrived when any portion of the South would step in to fight her battles, shield her from danger, and protect her against the enforcement of the law by the general government; and from that time the politicians of that state, as a general thing, have differed only in degree, the larger portion, led on by Mr. Calhoun, being in favor of immediate dissolution, the rest waiting only for "co-operation" by other Southern States, and they were, therefore, themselves divided and classed as "secessionists" and "co-operationists."