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worse in both cases after the separation of the sections than before. The foreign slave-trade, now imperfectly suppressed, would be ultimately revived without restrictions in one section; while fugitive slaves, now only partially surrendered, would not be surrendered at all by the other. Physically speaking, we cannot separate. We cannot remove our respective sections from each other, nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced, and go out of the presence and beyond the reach of each other; but the different parts of our country cannot do this. They cannot but remain face to face; and intercourse, either amicable or hostile, must continue between them. It is impossible, then, to make that intercourse more advantageous, or more satisfactory, after separation than before. Can aliens make treaties easier than friends can make laws? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between aliens than laws can among friends? The chief magistrate derives all his authority from the people, and they have conferred none upon him to fix terms for the
THE INAUGURAL CONTINUED:
separation of the States.
His duty is
to administer the present government as it came to his hands, and to transmit it, unimpaired by him, to his successor. Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world? In our present differences is either party without faith of being in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of nations, with His eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the South, that truth and that justice will surely prevail, by the judgment of this great tribunal of the American people. By the frame of the government under which we live, the same people have wisely given their public servants but little power for mischief, and have with equal wisdom provided for the return of that little to their own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain their virtue and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme of wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the Government in the short space of four years. My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject.
WE MUST NOT BE ENEMIES."
Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time. If there be an object to hurry any of you in hot haste to a step which you would never take deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking time; but no good object can be frustrated by it. In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government; while I have the most solemn one to 'preserve, protect, and defend it.' I am loth to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic cords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearth-stone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."
To the President's appeals in favour of con
cord, or at least calm deliberation, the South replied (April 12) by the bombardment of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbour, which was evacuated on the 14th (others say the 15th). The President now issued (April 15) a proclamation, by which, after stating that "the laws of United States" had been for some time past and were then "opposed and the execution thereof obstructed in the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Texas, by combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in the marshals by law," in virtue of the power vested in him by the Constitution and the laws, he called forth "the militia of the several States of the Union, to the aggregate number of 75,000, in order to suppress said combinations, and to cause the laws to be duly executed." Appealing "to all loyal citizens to favour, facilitate, and aid this effort to maintain the honour, the integrity, and existence of our national Union, and the perpetuity of popular government, and to
THE MILITIA CALLED OUT.
redress wrongs already long enough endured," that the first service assigned to the forces hereby called forth, will probably be to repossess the forts, places, and property which have been seized from the Union; and in every event the utmost care will be observed, consistently with the objects aforesaid, to avoid any devastation, any destruction of or interference with property, or any disturbance of peaceful citizens of any part of the country;" commanded the persons composing the combinations aforesaid to disperse and retire peaceably to their respective abodes within twenty days; and, finally, convened both Houses of Congress for the 4th of July.
Not a day, it will be seen, had been lost. No lengthened deliberations had been required. Abraham Lincoln had fulfilled the pledge that he had repeatedly given on his journey to Washington, that, when the time did come, he would take the ground which he thought was right. He had taken it at once, now that the time was come. And that ground was-law,