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been paramount." Nearly all the presidents have been Southern men; Statesmen fanatically attached to slavery,—which, whether regarded economically or morally, is only an accumulative curse, have presided at her councils and directed her policy. The North, absorbed in commerce, and hitherto exhausting their love for the Union in vapid words, have been the passive instruments of Southern slaveholders. But when the celebrated Ostend manifesto foreshadowing the seizure of Cuba, the fillibusterings of Walker in Central America, so openly espoused by the South, the attempt to seize upon Kansas, and, finally, the "DredScott" decision, had at last fairly awakened Northern Freemen from their culpable indifference, it was seen that the greed of slavery was insatiable, and, if the Constitution was to retain any vestige of the free spirit which animated its framers, the hour for action had struck. Hence the election of Mr. Lincoln as the representative of a party not desiring to interfere with slavery in the States, but to prevent its further extension. And herein lies the immediate cause of secession. In 1812 Mr.

Calhoun had declared, that whenever the South ceased to control the nation, they would resort to a dissolution of the Union. That time had now arrived.

The second plea for secession, viz., the protective policy, will be more appropriately discussed hereafter. Suffice it here to remark,

that pernicious as it always has been to the true interests of both North and South, it has never been objected to on principle by any section whatever. Protection was inaugurated at the very birth of the Union. The preamble of the first revenue law ever passed by Congress thus ran: "Whereas, it is necessary for the support of Government, for the discharge of the debts of the United States, and the encouragement and protection of manufactures, that duties be laid on goods, wares, and merchandise imported." The great apostle of protection was Mr. Clay of Kentucky; and Southern Legislatures have always advocated a moderate adoption of this policy. The only pleas, then, recorded as justifying revolution are not causes, but pretexts, and serve only to betray a foregone conclusion.

But Mr. Spence goes far beyond this. He claims for seceding States a right of revolution, as founded upon the Constitution, and by an appeal to authorities which, when faithfully examined, appear to us totally opposed to him, he would persuade his readers, that "secession is a just and clear constitutional right of the States, and no violation of any enactment of the Federal compact."

Dissenting entirely from Mr. Spence on this subject, we propose briefly to analyze the Constitution, in order to ascertain how far he is justified in his conclusions. We cannot agree with those who say that the time for this Controversy has gone by; that the right of secession has been practically assumed by the Southern States; that the only problems to be solved now are, which is the stronger party, and what will be the consequences of the struggle to ourselves? On the contrary, we think that both private judgment and national action should depend upon the right solution of the question, "Is secession a constitutional right?"

If the Southern States are only resuming

powers which they never entirely abandoned, but only leased for an indefinite period to the Federal Government, it is clear that, whether their reasons for resumption be good or bad, they are at any rate Constitutional; and the war now waged against them is purely aggressive, and deserving the reprobation of every honest man, and every constitutional government, as one of the most fearful outrages upon human rights recorded in the history of civilization.

But if, on the contrary, secession is nothing more nor less than rebellion not justified by previous oppression of any kind whatever, or by the slightest violation of any clause in the Constitution, then we say that a President, a Senate, and Representatives, who have solemnly sworn faithfully to preserve, protect, and defend" that Constitution, would be utterly unworthy the name of a government if they did not do their utmost to uphold it.

66

The advantages that would result from a distribution of the States into two or more confederacies have been much discussed in this country. In no case should we despair of the results of their free government or their republican

institutions without the institution of slavery. Nations, we know, soon settle down after the most violent commotions, and make the best of their new circumstances. But this is a question for the Americans themselves to decide, and one in which we are not likely to intermeddle with any advantage either to them or to ourselves. It is clear that its settlement involves considerations of no ordinary magnitude, such as the navigation of the western rivers, the possession of the territories, the partition of the national debt, and the surrender of National property in the several States. Beyond all these, too, loom greater difficulties to be overcome, and more serious risks to be incurred. 66 First," says Lord Bacon, "let nations that pretend to greatness have this, that they be sensible of wrongs, either upon borderers, merchants, or politic ministers; and that they sit not too long upon a provocation. Secondly, let them be prest and ready to give aid and succour to their confederates, as it ever was with the Romans." In Europe, density of population, and the humanizing influences of art and commerce, are fast con

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