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whether they will or not,-you conclude that by this means you may domineer, do with them as you please, treat them as subjects; whereas we intended, the Act of Confederation and the Constitution say, that they should be your equals.

It appears to us, that, in reading the clause you have just quoted, before arriving at its last expression, "and the Union shall be perpetual," and before applying them to the Slaveholding States, the Free States should stop to consider, and apply to themselves the preceding words, “And the articles of this confederation shall be observed by every State." Have they observed them?

But you seem to interpret those expressions in a strange manner. If you take them in an absolute sense, as if they said, "and the Union shall have no end," you make their authors say a great blunder: for, in this sense, nothing is perpetual in the world, not the world itself. As for governments, they are even less durable than many another thing, although they are instituted to last. History shows that, whatever their form, they had an end sooner or later. It was justly observed by an ancient historian, that every government includes from its very formation, and carries along within itself, the germ of its own destruction. So does sound wood contain and carry within what consumes it at last.

In governments, however, this is chiefly verified from the fact that its parts, though good, well assorted, consistent, and able to last, if allowed to work by themselves, are frequently misused by those who handle them,—they being men who have different views, and are animated by different passions. The several parts of the government being thus turned out of purpose, and even directed to ends contrary to what they were designed for, their effect is, of course, wholly or partially destroyed. Besides, this derangement and misapplication must finally cause them, not only to stop working, but cease to exist altogether. The natural consequence of which can be no other but the de

composition of the whole machine they were intended to give life to, and the government must be constructed


But if you take that phrase, as it must be taken, in a relative sense, you shall find the expression, "And the Union shall be perpetual," to mean, "The Union shall last until it is dissolved." In other words, the parties engaged in forming the Confederation did not limit its duration to any definite time, and therefore, with all propriety and truth, called it perpetual. By this, however, they neither did, nor could intend to exclude, or forbid its dissolution. They anticipated no time for its disruption, but wished, on the contrary, that such an hour should never come, or as late as possible. We now see it did come too soon, and, in our disappointment, must confess the shortness of our foresight. Yet still they were not ignorant that the Union could, and perhaps would, be dissolved. They could not have termed it perpetual, as if it should necessarily last forever, when they well knew that the same means which had brought it into existence might also have put an end to it.

Hence it appears that they made the duration of the confederacy depend on the consent of the confederate States, as their consent had formed it at first; for, the perpetuation of this consent would of course make the Union perpetual. But they knew at the same time that the perpetuation of their consent must have rested, as on its basis, upon the free will of the several States; and this continuation of will in each State to keep the Union standing, they believed would depend on the regard paid to her rights by the other States: for then she should ever feel it to be her interest to remain in the Union rather than be out of it.

They being all sovereign, independent States, it is not by subjection they could be made to stay in the Union. They created the Union; not the Union them. And here you see another reason why the Federal Government, or her Congress, cannot assume to regard and treat a settlement in the territory as their child or pupil, if it is entitled

to enter and be admitted into the Union "on the same footing with the original States.

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Nor is it by favor they might be expected to remain in a confederacy once contracted. What I said in my Farewell Address, that "it is folly in one nation to look for disinterested favors from another," applies also to States who are bound, like these, by the most intimate ties among themselves under one common government. And, perhaps, the same thing holds true even among individuals, however connected together, in private life.

Now, this feeling of self-interest in each State to abide in the Union because of its advantages, its founders regarded to be such as firmly to be relied upon,-founding their belief on that plain principle dictated by reason, and confirmed true by universal experience,-namely, that a State will ever prefer, even with some inconvenience, to continue in those relations she is in with other States, than disrupt them. Never will she do this, except when, seeing her rights denied or disregarded, and the terms of the compact broken by the other States, she finds it necessary, or less prejudicial, to withdraw and be alone, than remain in their company: so that, in conclusion, the bond which might have made the Union perpetual, in the intention and meaning of its founders, could be nothing else but justice.

Now, in this whole business of abolition of slavery in the States, or its exclusion from the territories, would you say upon oath that you have been, that you are, just to the Slaveholding States? And if you feel so as if you could not afford to say it, how can you complain that they have seceded? We repeat, we wonder they have not seceded sooner, but suffered themselves to wait in the Union till the last extremity.

Suppose those States, in the Act of Seceding, had published a second Declaration of Independence, using the very words of the first: "When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and

to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the law of nature and nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which compel them to the separation;" and after having literally, only mutatis mutandis, repeated the tenor of the following paragraph with its last clause: "To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world," they had appended to it the bill of their grievances against the North in detail,-would you have undertaken to prove them false, or lay them to the charge of private men, and not of your party, not of the States? It is not improbable that the world, though it is not very candid, would notwithstanding believe that the slaveholding States have had just cause for separation.

In his inaugural address, your present President insisted upon the perpetuity of the Union, especially, because the Constitution expressly declares in its preamble that one of its objects is, "to form a more perfect Union:" and, since the confederacy has not provided for the case of its own termination, he argued that no State can leave it on her own motion, but should have the consent of the other States. For this reason, he looked upon the secession of the slaveholding States to be insurrectionary or revolutionary; concluding that the Union might still regard itself as unbroken, and execute its laws against those States, even by using force, though he would forbear resorting to it. But, as the perpetuity of the Union should be understood in the sense before explained, so it appears that those words, used in the preamble of the Constitution, did not in the least alter its condition with regard to time. They properly mean that the Constitution has made the Union more close, firm, and compact, by adding new ties to the preceding ones, and by bringing its members into a more intimate connection with one another. This is most correctly expressed, to form a more perfect Union, but does not make it more lasting. Those words can have little or no reference to its duration;

and, in this respect, they leave it as it was before the Constitution.

Nor is there any wonder that the Confederacy did not contemplate the case of its termination, nor provide how it should be done. The mention of such a case would have been a palpable contradiction to the declaration, "The Union shall be perpetual." Even without mentioning perpetuity, it were a great error for a government to foresee and provide for the case of her own extinguishment in the very act of her organization. Perpetuity must be her wish while coming into existence, although she does not express it, although she is sure that there will be an end. Even in planting a tree, or building a house, one plants and builds with the view that it should last, if possible, to perpetuity; though it cannot.

However, the Confederacy having not provided for its own termination, what could those States do who have seceded? Ask leave of the North to retire? They were sure she would not give it; as they feel sure that she has given them reason to secede. Nevertheless, they may be said to have asked leave; the inaugural address, above alluded to, confessing that "a disruption of the Federal Union, heretofore only menaced, is now formidably attempted." Those menaces, or warnings, on the part of the slaveholding States, that they would secede from the Union if the North did not desist from her opposition to them, were, or may be construed into, as many leave askings. The North has not desisted; but, on the contrary, has confirmed them in the assurance that she would not allow them the use of their right in the common territory, and they have seceded.

But, since the case of secession has not been contemplated nor provided for, it is plain that, if you intend to proceed against those States for any purpose, you must not look to the Act of Confederation, nor to the Constitution, for finding the means and the way; for they say nothing of it. Much less can you resort to force; for they do not authorize it.

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