Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S INAUGURAL.

425

masters, having to that extent practically | in the instrument itself; and I should, under resigned their government into the hands existing circumstances, favor, rather than of that eminent tribunal.

oppose, a fair opportunity being afforded the Nor is there in this view any assault upon people to act upon it. the court or the judges. It is a duty from I will venture to add, that to me the Conwhich they may not shrink, to decide cases | vention mode seems preferable, in that it properly brought before them; and it is no allows amendments to originate with the fault of theirs if others seek to turn their people themselves, instead of only permitdecisions to political purposes. One section | ting them to take or reject propositions of our country believes Slavery is right and originated by others not especially chosen ought to be extended, while the other be- for the purpose, and which might not be lieves it is wrong and ought not to be ex- | precisely such as they would wish either to tended; and this is the only substantial dis- accept or refuse. I understand that a propute; and the fugitive slave clause of the posed amendinent to the Constitution (which constitution, and the law for the suppression amendment, however, I have not seen) has of the foreign slave-trade, are each as well passed Congress, to the effect that the Fedenforced, perhaps, as any law can ever bein | eral Government shall never interfere with a community where the moral sense of the the domestic institutions of States, including people imperfectly supports the law itself. | that of persons held to service. To avoid The great body of the people abide by the misconstruction of what I have said, I dedry legal obligation in both cases, and a few | part from my purpose not to speak of parbreak over in each. This, I think, cannot ticular amendments, so far as to say that, be perfectly cured, and it would be worse in holding such a provision to now be implied both cases after the separation of the sec constitutional law, I have no objection to its tions than before. The foreign slave-trade, being made express and irrevocable. now imperfectly suppressed, would be ulti- | The chief magistrate derives all his authormately revived, without restriction, in one | ity from the people, and they liave consection ; while fugitive slaves, now only | ferred none upon him to fix the terms for partially surrendered, would not be surren- | the separation of the States. The people dered at all, by the other.

themselves, also, can do this if they choose; · Physically speaking, we cannot separate | but the Executive, as such, has nothing to -We cannot remove our respective sections do with it. His duty is to administer the from each other, nor build an impassable present government as it came to his hands, wall between them. A husband and wife and to transmit it unimpaired by him to his may be divorced, and go out of the presence successor. Why should there not be a and beyond the reach of each other; but the patient confidence in the ultimate justice of different parts of our country cannot do | the people? Is there any better or equal this. They cannot but remain face to face ; hope in the world? In our present differand intercourse, either amicable or hostile, ences, is either party without faith of being must continue between them. Is it possi in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of ble, then, to make that intercourse more | nations, with His eternal truth and justice, advantageous or more satisfactory after be on your side of the North, or on yours of separation than before? Can aliens make the South, that truth and that justice will treaties easier than friends can make laws? | surely prevail by the judgment of this great Can treaties be more faithfully enforced tribunal, the American people. By the between aliens than laws can among friends? frame of the Government under which we Suppose you go to war, you cannot fight | live, this same people have wisely given always; and when, after much loss on both their public servants but little power for sides and no gain on either, you cease fight- mischief, and have with equal wisdom proing, the identical questions as to terms of vided for the return of that little to their intercourse are again upon you.

own hands at very short intervals. While This country, with its institutions, belongs the people retain their virtue and vigilance, to the people who inhabit it. Whenever no administration, by any extreme wickedthey shall grow weary of the existing gov ness or folly, can very seriously injure the ernment, they can exercise their constitu Government in the short space of four tional right of amending, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it. My countrymen, one and all, think calmly I cannot be ignorant of the fact that many and well upon this whole subject. Nothing worthy and patriotic citizens are desirous of valuable can be lost by taking time. having the national Constitution amended. If there be an object to hurry any of you, While I make no recommendation of amend- in hot haste, to a step which you would ment, I fully recognize the full authority of never take deliberately, that object will be the people over the whole subject, to be frustrated by taking time; but no good exercised in either of the modes prescribed ) object can be frustrated by it.

[ocr errors]

Such of you as are now dissatisfied still | a close study and thorough comprehave the old Constitution unimpaired, and, on the sensitive point, the laws of your own

hension of our recent political hisframing under it; while the new adminis- | tory. tration will have no immediate power, if it Mr. Lincoln's suggestion that the would, to change either. - If it were admitted that you who are dis

dictum of the Supreme Court, though satisfied hold the right side in the dispute, law to the suitor whom it bore hard there is still no single reason for precipitate

upon, does not bind the people not to action. Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has entertain and vote in conformity to never yet forsaken this favored land, are

an adverse conviction, though in full still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulties.

accordance with the action of the In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow South' in regard to the Alien and countrymen, and not in mine, is the momen

Sedition laws, the Creek and Cherotous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you.

kee treaties, etc., and, in fact, to the You can have no conflict without being | action of all parties when overruled yourselves the aggressors. You can have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the

by that Court, was not calculated to Government; while I shall have the most please and conciliate the South.' solemn one to "preserve, protect, and de Yet no adversary of a United States fend” it. . I am loath to close. We are not enemies,

Bank ever felt himself restrained but friends. We must not be enemies. from opposing and voting against Though passion may have strained, it must

such a Bank as unconstitutional by not break, our bonds of affection.

The mystic chords of memory, stretching the fact that the Court had adjudged from every battle-field and patriot grave to it otherwise. No one imagines that every living heart and hearthstone all over

a decision by that Court that Slavery this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely had no right to enter the territories they will be, by the better angels of our would have been regarded and treatnature.

ed by the South' as the end of conThe habitual tone of this remarka troversy on that point.20 But, having ble paper is deprecatory, not to say obtained, in the Dred Scott case, an apologetic. Mr. Lincoln evidently opinion that slaveholders might take composed it under the fixed impres-their human chattels to any territory, sion that the South' needed but to and there hold them, claiming ample be disabused of her impressions and protection from the Government in apprehensions of Northern hostility so doing, they were fully resolved to to restore her to loyalty and the make the most of it, and not at all diswhole land to peace. If she can be posed to acquiesce in the suggestion made to feel that the new rule does that, on questions essentially politnot desire to meddle with Slavery in ical, the American People are a the States which cherish it, but will higher authority than even their Suhunt and return fugitive slaves to the preme Court. extent of its ability, then Secession The weakest portion of this docuwill be given up, and the country re- ment is its inconsiderate talk about stored to peace and harmony! That, an “invasion” of the States by the certainly, is an amiable view of the Federal Government, and its quasi situation; but it was not justified by pledge not to appoint Federal offi

19 See pages 105-6.
20 See Mr. John Van Buren on this point, page

213. For Mr. Jefferson's views, see pages 83-4; for Gen. Jackson's, see pages 104-6.

THE UNION NOT A MERE LEAGUE.

427

cers for communities unanimously try-made so by God and His Prohostile to the authority of the Union. vidence, revealed through the whole A surgeon who should volunteer a of its recorded history; its more perpledge not to disturb or meddle with fect Union' is but a step in its deveany proud flesh he might find in his lopment—not the cause of its existpatient's wounds, would hardly expect ence. Hence, Secession is not "the to augment thereby that patient's con dissolution of a league," as Mr. Jeffidence in his skill; nor could a priest ferson Davis asserts, but a treasonwho should stipulate never to assail able, though futile, effort to disorganany other than unpopular and repudi- ize and destroy a nation. ated sins, expect to win a high regard Mr. Lincoln's rejection of Disunion. either for his authority or his sanc- asphysically impossible—as forbidden tity. The fact that the sovereignty by the geography and topography of of the Union is coëxtensive, and, at our country—is a statesmanlike conleast, coördinate with that of the ception that had not before been so States, is here clearly lost sight of. clearly apprehended or so forcibly set To say, in effect, to rebels against the forth. And, in truth, not one-tenth National authority, “You may expel of the then active Secessionists ever that authority wholly from your vicin- meditated or intended Disunion as age by killing a few of its leading up permanent. They proposed to deholders, and thus terrifying the resi- stroy the Union in order to reconstidue into mute servility to your will," tute it according to their own ideas, is not the way to suppress a rebellion. with Slayery as its corner-stone. To

The strong point of this Inaugural kick out the New England States, is its frank and plump denial of the rural New York, and that “fanatical fundamental Secession dogma that section of the West that is drained our Union is a league,21 formed in by the Great Lakes and the St. Law1787. “The Union is much older rence—such was the constant inculthan the Constitution,” says Mr. Lin- cation of pro-Slavery journalists and coln, truly and pertinently. Had the politicians throughout that eventful Constitution been rejected by the Winter and Spring. Free States States, the Union would nevertheless were to be admitted into the Conhave subsisted. Ours is 'one coun- federacy, on condition of their fully

21 The New York Herald of November 9th, “The Southerner, on the other hand, genecontained an instructive letter dated Charleston, | rally (and the South Carolinian always) repudiNovember 5th, 1860, from which the following

ates this theory of consolidation. He feels that

| he owes allegiance to his own State, and to her is an extract:

alone; he is jealous of her rights and honor, and "It must be understood that there is a radi- | will never admit that any step taken in obedical difference in the patriotism of a Northernerence to her mandate can involve the idea of treaand a Southerner. The Northerner invariably | son. The Federal Government is, in his eyes, considers himself as a citizen of the Union; he | but the embodiment of certain powers delegated regards the Federal army and navy as his coun- by the States from motives of policy. Let those try's army and navy, and looks upon the Gov- motives be once removed or counterbalanced, ernment at Washington as a great consolidated and he holds that the State has no longer ar organization, of which he forms an integral part, i reason for maintaining a connection which it and to which whatever love of country he may was her right, at any time, to have dissolved. possess is directed. Beyond paying the State These being the views of the people of South taxes, voting for State officers, and seeking re- Carolina, the threats of Douglas and the Black dress primarily in the State courts, he has very Republicans have only served to confirm the little idea of any special fealty being due to his wavering and knit together the citizens of the own particular State.

various sections of the State."

1

abjuring all manner of anti-Slavery | the olive-branch to the South'; the sentiment and inculcation evermore, conspirators everywhere interpreted and becoming Slave States. A few it as a challenge to war.22 And when Southern fanatics, who deemed no- the former had taken the oath, solthing needed but the reöpening of emnly administered to him by Chief the African Slave-Trade to render Justice Taney, the two Presidents

the South' the mistress of the world, wended their way back, duly eswished to be rid of all “Yankee' as | corted, to the White House, at whose sociation and contamination ever- door Mr. Buchanan bade Mr. Linmore; but the great mass, even in coln a cordial good-by, retiring to the Cotton States, regarded Secession the residence of his friend and benefibut as a device for bringing the North ciary, Robert Ould, whom he had to its knees, and binding it over to made U. S. District Attorney, and future docility to every exaction of who, though from Maryland, soon the Slave Power.

after fled to Richmond, and entered Mr. Lincoln fondly regarded his at once the military service of the Inaugural as a resistless proffering of Confederacy.

XXVII.

OMINOUS PAUSE.

· PRESIDENT LINCOLN, on the day after press warrant in the Constitution, his his inauguration, submitted to the official counselors. They were new Senate the names of those whom WILLIAM H. SEWARD, of New York, Secry of State;

SALMON P. CHASE, of Ohio, Secretary of the Treysury; he had chosen to preside over the SIMON CAMERON, of Pennsylvania, Secretary of War;

GIDEON WELLES, of Connecticut, Secry of the Navy; several Departments, and who thus CALEB B. SMITH, of Indiana, Secretary of the Interior;

EDWARD BATES, of Missouri, Attorney-General; became, by a usage which has no ex- |

MONTGOMERY BLAIR, of Maryland, Postmaster-General.

22 It were idle to quote the Disunion press, There is no Union spirit in the address, it is even of the yet unseceded States, to prove this;

sectional and mischievous, and studiously withsince their strictures may well be imagined.

holds any sign of recognition of that equality

of the States upon which the Union can alone The following, from professedly loyal journals,

be maintained. If it means what it says, it is are worth recording:

the knell and requiem of the Union, and the "The Inaugural, as a whole, breathes the

death of hope."---Baltimore Sun. spirit of mischief. It has only a conditional "Mr. Lincoln stands to-day where he stood conservatism-that is, the lack of ability or on the 6th of November last, on the Chicago some inexpediency to do what it would. It as Platform. He has not receded a single hair's sumes despotic authority, and intimates the de breadth. He has appointed a Cabinet in which sign to exercise that authority to any extent of there is no slaveholder--a thing that has never war and bloodshed, qualified only by the with before happened since the formation of the Governholding of the requisite means to the end by the ment; and in which there are but two nominally American people. The argumentation of the Southern men, and both bitter Black Republicaddress is puerile. Indeed, it has no quality ans of the radical dye. Let the Border States entitled to the dignity of an argument. It is a ignominiously submit to the Abolition rule of this shaky specimen of special pleading, by way of Lincoln Administration, if they like; but don't justifying the unrighteous character and deeds let the miserable submissionists pretend to be deof the fanaticism which, lifted into power, may | ceived. Make any base or cowardly excuse but be guilty, as it is capable, of any atrocities. / this.”Philadelphia Pennsylvanian.

[merged small][ocr errors]

JOHN H, REAGAN, of Texas, Postmaster-General.

Mr. Jefferson Davis, ruling at Destiny' and the unparalleled rationMontgomery, had already constituted ality, wisdom, intelligence, and selfhis Cabinet, which consisted of control, of the peerless American ROBERT TOOMBS, of Georgia, Secretary of State ; People. CHARLES G. MEMMINGER, of South Carolina, Secretary of the Treasury;

Does this look like infatuation ? LEROY POPE WALKER, of Alabama, Secretary of War; to which were afterward added

If the wisdom that comes to-morrow STEPIIEN R. MALLORY, of Florida, Secry of the Navy; were the genuine article, every man

would be a Solomon. Remember Thus the two Governments stood that, for more than seventy years, no face to face, holding positions and man had seen an American hand maintaining assumptions so palpably, lifted against the symbol of our utterly incompatible as to necessitate Nationality. Neither Shays's Rean early collision; and that collision bellion, in Massachusetts, nor the must, in the nature of things, produce Whisky Rebellion, so called, in westa crash that would shake the conti- ern Pennsylvania, had really purposed nent. Still, there was great and wise aught beyond the removal or redress reluctance, at least on this side, to of temporary grievances which were precipitate or to initiate hostilities. deemed intolerable. Even old John In spite of appearances, President Brown-fanatic as he was; madman Lincoln,' and the advisers in whom as many held him-never dreamed he most trusted, seemed still incredu- of dividing the country which he lous as to the inevitability and immi- sought to purge of its most flagrant nence of a clash of arms. Gov. Sew- wrong; his Canada Constitution exard, the new Secretary of State, had pressly stipulated that the Union for months been apparently the most should be preserved, and its flag reresolute of optimists with regard to a tained and cherished by his adherents. happy issue from our internal com Since the close of our Revolutionary plications. At the New England struggle, no man had seen, in the Dinner in New York, he had confi Free States, any other banner floatdently predicted a settlement of all ing over a regiment of our people our troubles within the ensuing sixty than the Stars and Stripes; though days. That term had sped; yet his the waves of party spirit had often faith in a peaceful solution of our run mountain high, and we had differences appeared as buoyant as seemed just on the brink of disrupever, and seemed to be shared by the tion and civil war, yet the dreaded President, whose “Nobody hurt as collision had always been somehow yet” had become a watchword among averted, and the moment of fiercest the obstinate believers in ‘Manifest excitement, of widest alienation, had

1 The writer revisited Washington for a day 1 4In 1795.

5See pages 287–8. or two, some two weeks or more after Mr. Lin-1

6 During the War of 1812, it was common in coln's inauguration, and was surprised to see New England for the antagonist parties to take and hear on every hand what were, to him,

opposite sides of the 'broad aisle' of the 'meetingconvincing proofs that an early collision with

house' wherein their respective 'town meetings' the Confederates' was not seriously appre

were held, and so remain during the day, conhended in the highest quarters.

ferring and counseling among themselves, but 2 Anniversary of the Landing of the Pilgrims, rarely mingling with or speaking civilly to memDecember 22, 1860.

3 In 1786-7, | bers of the adverse party.

« AnteriorContinuar »