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Oil on the Waters. 

"The North and the South, Thou hast created them." 

The Bible% 




Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year i866, by 

J. E. TILTON & CO., 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts. 



Stereotyped by C. J. Peters & Son, 
13 Washington St., Boston. 

Geo. C. Rand & Aveky, Cornhill Press. 


! O 

^ To THE Memory of Him, 
















This Volume 



It would hardly be necessary to prefix these few lines, 
were it not, that, in the undoubted quiet which will imme- 
diately succeed the result and decision of the late great 
annual elections, the title for the present volume ( " Oil 
on the Waters'') might be considered a misnomer, a 
gratuitous and superfluous effort to allay the party-s^ri/e 
which no longer exists. 

But this title was selected, the work prepared (raain- 
ly), and the publication designed, during the highest 
political excitement of the season ; and it has only been 
by circumstances beyond the control of the author that 
the latter has been delayed. This is not regretted, how- 
ever, as it has aiforded an opportunity to follow up the 
discussions instituted to their latest and most important 
features ; and with its original purpose, as a work of 
conciliation as far as might be, it will still, no doubt, 
come gratefully to the great political minority, and others 
of the country who may seem to have been politically 
defeated in the results of the late contest. 



To the Republican party this vohime is offered, as 
being in itself historical evidence of the original position 
of that party during the war, — the first half having 
been then written, — and contains, it is believed, but a re- 
flection of the true state and opinions of the loyal sections 
at that time. The remainder of the work but follows 
logically from that commencement ; and it is trusted that 
this exposition will clear up, to many minds, much that 
was misapprehended or but dimly seen. Thus to the 
whole country — to every section and to all parties — it 
is designed to appeal. 

The "Introduction" also should, properly, have been 
remodelled, or might have been dispensed with, in the 
more recent circumstances : but, as the volume was al- 
ready in type, it would have been difficult to alter the 
arrangement ; and it has, therefore, been allowed to 
remain as originally written. 

That this work may assist in developing and bringing 

to light the true principles and theory of our Government, 

especially in this now critical period, and that it may 

help to warm, sustain, and encourage the hearts and 

minds of many who have been laboring, as they believed, 

for the true welfare and interests of their country, is the 

highest hope and ambition of 

The Author. 
November, 1866. 





A General View of the Causes and Principles of the War against 
Secession 15 



First Argument. — Examination of the Declaration of Independ- 
ence and the Constitution of the United States 63 

Secoxu Argument. — Powers reserved to the People 79 

Third Argument. — WIio are the " People " ? 82 

Fourth Argument. — Italy and the Italians 89 

Fifth Argument. — Diiference between Revolution and Secession. 

The American Revolution, or Separation from Great Britain 95 

Sixth Argument. — Question of " Conquest " and Military Force. . 104 

Seventh Argument. — The Right, and not the Right 107 

Eighth Argument. — Civil and Religious Liberty. Our Fathers. 

The Work of To-day 122 


Mr. Davis's Theory 135 


Re-organization. The Present Congress 155 

Arbitrary Arrests 174 




Martial Law 181 

Emancipation 188 

Re-admission of the States 195 

Treason and its Penalty 207 

Reconstruction 213 


The Great Issues of the Country 231 

Platform of Congress 233 

Radical Republicanism 251 

The Three Rebellions 265 

The Good resulting 271 

Conservatism and Progress 277 

A Vision of the Future 280 


The Present Aspect of Political Parties. The Radical Convention... 285 

Points of Agreement between the President and Congress 291 

The Difiference between the Executive and Congressional Party 298 

The Massacre at New Orleans 311 

Northern and Southern Radicalism 313 

The Constitutional Amendment 318 

Impartial Suffrage 325 

The Civil-rights and Freedmen's-bureau Bills 337 

In or Out of the Union 341 

Origin of the Congressional Party ; 354 

The Will of the People 379 

The Issue before the People 384 

" Peace " Proposals 389 

Pow^ers of the Government 399 

Our Republican Faith and Principles 406 

The Perils of the Hour 412 

The Citizen-President 431 


The great throb and thrill, of national as well as 
individual life frequently goes on so vigorously 
and energetically, that one is apt, in youth at 
least, to feel that such life is in itself a guaran- 
ty of its own existence and perpetuity ; forget- 
ting, oftentimes, that the outward prosperity is not 
the real power and impulse, but that these lie 
embedded in the elements and principles of life 
within ; and, what is more, that we must continue 
to recognize the principles underlying, maintain 
them sound and healthy at their core, and then re- 
gard them as the chart and compass by which we 
must be guided. 

An individual without principle is like the drift- 
wood brought down in our large mountain-streams, 
and cast hither and thither, becoming finally strand- 
ed wherever by chance it may have been carried. 


So with a nation : without a strong and permanent 
constitution, it must be drifted wherever events, 
or the shocks and wear of time, may carry it, to 
be left at last to ruin and decay. On the contrary, 
with such constitution, its principle — if high, 
steady, earnest — it has a perennial growth, and may 
look, in a healthy old age, still to send forth new 
and vigorous shoots of life. 

In order that such may be our destiny, we cer- 
tainly ought to tread carefully through this period 
of transition, — our passage from youth to early 
but fast-ripening manhood. 

We had grown hitherto with the principles in- 
stilled into our childhood, which were taken in by 
instinct, as it were, with our earliest breath, with- 
out — youth-like — discriminating, or investigating 
very closely, what these were ; our knowledge of 
them, rather, being general and indefinite. But, 
buoyant, healthful, and elastic, we felt no further 
need. In the mean time, as is natural with all 
rapid development and prosperity, there came to 
be latitude on all sides, and venturesome daring 
more or less, until we have found by experience 
the necessity of recurring to the real foundation 
elements of our existence ; and henceforth, in our 


maturer age, these should, undoubtedly, be more 
thoroughly understood and applied. 

It is with a view to this necessity that the fol- 
lowing pages are offered to the public, behoving 
that their simple treatment of these subjects will 
come home to all classes of readers. 

The work had its origin in the " Letters " of the 
first section, which were actually written at the 
commencement of our civil war to a young friend 
who was deeply interested in the course of events ; 
and these, or extracts from them, are here intro- 
duced as comprising a general view of the state of 
affairs at that time, and as recalling to us the sim- 
ple, precise platform on which we then stood. The 
writing was then further continued for the au- 
thor's own more perfect information on these great 
topics, believing, also, that the intehigence thus 
ehcited might be useful to others ; and it will be 
so at this time especially, it is trusted, when a mul- 
tiplicity of ideas has obscured, in some respects, 
the simple points at issue. 

Being exempt, by position, from party bias, the 
author has written with no view to party feeling 
or party purposes; being impelled by a simple love 
and duty to our country, — our whole country, as 


such, — and by the sense that every citizen should 
do what in him lies for its true welfare and pros- 
perity. Now is the time, it is believed, when many 
of the former bonds seem loose and broken, that 
we ought to endeavor to establish and make perma- 
nent in this our favored country that happy period 
of republics, as it was in ancient Rome, — 

" Then none was for a party- 
Then all were for the State," — 

by forming one great party of the nation, that 
would rally around its true and simple principles ; 
regarding these, in our birth and history, as the 
providentially-given guides to our peculiar place 
among the nations of the earth. 

The writer does not presume to imply, by the 
title chosen for this work, that there is to be found 
in it a panacea for all the evils to which our coun- 
try has been and still is subject: on the contrary, 
it being one of argument mainly, there will be 
those, undoubtedly, who might produce opposing 
arguments. The name is designed simply to ex- 
press the calm, fraternal, and impartial mode and 
feeling in which it has been the aim to treat 
these important subjects ; believing that the work 


will thus commend itself to all sections of our 
country, notwithstanding that there has been no 
" compromise " offered on any of the great ques- 
tions of the day, any further than would seem to 
be warranted by strict propriety ; and no hesita- 
tion in using strong and decided expressions wher- 
ever they seemed called for. Only such treatment 
would be manly and honorable, and acceptable to 
manly and honorable readers, — those who desire 
sincerely to seek and to know the truth. 

On this ground, too, th6 author has not hesitated 
to speak of the wrong wherever it has appeared to 
exist, and to acknowledge the right wherever it 
has seemed to be manifested. So only, it is be- 
lieved, can we become reconciled and harmonious 
one with another ; readily acknowledging errors, 
even if they are our own, and willingly recogniz- 
ing the truth wherever it may be found. 




. . . Naturally, you are warmly attached to the 
land of your birth, and will ever, perhaps, experi- 
ence a sentiment in regard to it that you may not 
possess for any other portion of our country. We have 
dear relatives living there ; and so have innumerable 
Northern families friends or relations in the Southern 
States. For myself, I have no other personal feeling 
than that of tender affection and interest for every part 
of the South equally with the North; and I think I 
may speak for the thousands who are thus situated, 
certainly for those Avitli whom I am here acquainted. 



I cannot call up in myself a single feeling of partiality 
for one State over another, as a State, — not even 
in favor of that of my birth; which, also, is to me 
now but one of the great whole, since my greatest 
privileges and interests have been elsewhere. The only 
exception in regard to peculiar attachment is that in 
which I now live as 7ny home,, not as a State. But 
naturally, where one's home and personal interests are, 
one's affections must be closely centred. You yourself 

undoubtedly prefer , because there is your home, 

and your particular interests are there ; and, wherever 
this is the case, — yours, mine, or any one's, in one State 
or another, — there must be an individual, private feeling, 
predominating over that for any other place. 

But in regard to the country as a country, our 
whole country, I can truly say that I know no dif- 
ference or any partiality for one portion of it more than 
another. My heart never throbs for one particular sec- 
tion. North or South. I never think of looking upon 
these with sectional interest. It never occurred to me, 
until these late differences brought it so palpably to 
light, that there was a division. I had thought of the 
United States but as our one, united country ; and it 


seemed to me a noble thing, our embracing under 
one government so vast a diversity of climate, soil, and 
resources. I have ever looked with pride upon the South, 
as the blooming, luxuriant garden of our land, never feel- 
ing for a moment that I, or any one, had not a claim and 
interest there as well as the Southerners themselves ; 
and I was disappointed that the English prince,* durino- 
his visit here, should not have seen that rich and glori- 
ous portion of our country, — glo'rious in the exuber- 
ance of its soil, and so rich in its natural productions. 
I have often, myself, looked forward to the time when I 
should enjoy this favored sunny clime ; not as sl foreigner^ 
but as a citizen ; not as a privilege, but as my birthright, 
— the birthright of any citizen of the United States. 

It is this habit of looking upon our country as an 
inseparable whole, not being able to divest one part 
of it of the character and responsibilities of another 
portion, that has made so sensitive much of the 
Northern mind on the subject of slavery. And owing 
to this, too, it w^as, that to myself and to other travellers 
when abroad (being enabled by distance to view our 

* The visit of the Prince of Wales occurred in the autumn pre- 


native land more distinctly as a unit, and as a unit 
only) the fact of slavery loomed up like a dark blot 
on our virgin territory, which should lie so fresh and 
fair in this New Western World, separated from all that 
had ever stained the history of the past in the Old. 

It is common to say that Northerners do not under- 
stand the " institution of the South ; " but if the South, 
from nearness to it, see it only on the more favorable 
side, the North, by being able to view it from a dis- 
tance, is more qualified to behold the dark side of it. 
To say there was no dark side, would be simply igno- 
rance ; or, worse, falsity. The dark side is not only in 
regard to the Africans, but in the demoralizing effect 
that slavery must inevitably have upon the whites. It 
would be in vain to assert, in defiance of our knowledge 
of human nature, that the whites would not oftentimes 
be wrought up to the highest state of irritation by the 
provocations of dull and inefficient slaves, — as thou- 
sands of them must be, — even if this were the worst. 
I do not mean, nor does any one mean, to say that there 
have not been kind and excellent masters, and good and 
well-conducted slaves : there have been, no doubt, 
thousands of the one and the other. But, with all the 


good that, might be brought forward, the counter-bal- 
ancing evils are so many and so great, that it seems 
remarkable that any person could be found, removed 
from its immediate influences, and able to judge im- 
partially, who should for a moment uphold slavery. 
Not that I consider the people of the South themselves 
so highly responsible in this great evil. It had de- 
scended to them, and it is not to be wondered at that 
they should not have found any means of ridding them- 
selves of it. It is a difficult thing, often, to abandon 
even an old worn garment that we have become accus- 
tomed to ; and we had rather a thousand times, for ease 
and comfort's sake, wear it, than put on a new one. It 
is a natural feeling of attachment which we acquire : 
how much more, then, must the people at the South 
dread to let go that with which they, and even their 
ancestors, have had all their lifetime living associa- 
tions and a daily interest ! I do not, thus, in the least 
wonder at the persistency with which they have clung 
to slavery, appalling as it must be in many of its fea- 
tures to some of the most reflective among them. 

That we should not blame those who are thus born to 
evils that they know not how to avoid, or who, by cus- 


torn, are so familiar with them, that they do not seem to 
them such, is natural ; and every exculpation should be 
allowed as far as possible. But that those, as I have 
already said, who do not occupy the same standpoint 
by custom or necessity, and who must know all the 
political as well as moral evils and wrongs of slavery, 
should yet defend and advocate it in these States, or 
anywhere else, is, to say the least, a very different 

Nevertheless, this subject has been to our country, in 
every way, a great and perplexing question. Being so 
great, and affecting in its measure and in its influences 
the country as a whole, the North could not but be in- 
terested in it as well as the South, and sensitive with 
regard to it ; although but very few, comparatively, 
would have made efforts to agitate the subject, feeling 
that it was one for the particular States themselves to 
deal with. And because it was so perplexing a ques- 
tion — as to what should be done with, or what would 
become of, the negroes, &c. — was one reason, no doubt, 
why the South was reluctant to do any thing about it. 
To my mind, no effectual movement with regard to 
slavery could have been made but by the Southern 


States themselves, unless some genius or other, elsewhere, 
had been able to make some proposition that should 
have been to them feasible and acceptable ; for the Con- 
stitution guaranteed to the South non-interference v^ith 
the system, as with all other State institutions. Be- 
sides, it is in the order of things that they who possess 
any thing may renounce it or not, as they please, or as 
they honestly think proper. No one could compel them 
where the holding or the renouncing did not infringe 
upon that other's rights.* Therefore, undoubtedly, the 
Government, standing between the North and South, 
would still protect the latter in her own political rights 
a hundred years hence, as it had always done, unless^ in 
the mean time, the Constitution were altered on that 
point ; for we could have no eitecutive magistracy, that, 
in the short space of four years, could violate that Con- 
stitution with impunity. The enlightened sense and the 
sensitiveness of the whole community on such a point 
would be too great : a revolution is in the hands of the 
people every four years to remove such a one from 
office, and put another in his stead. Therefore, as far 

* Of course, allusion is here made simply to civil and political 


as the National Administration is concerned, the Con- 
stitution must and would be carried out ; and it would 
be left to the States forever to manage their own system 
of slavery, unless^ as was said before, the Constitution 
should be amended on that point. No change in 
slavery could have been effected, therefore, from that 
quarter (excepting always in the event of such change 
or "amendment" of the Constitution): and as the 
South never had made any movement towards that end ; 
and as the difficulties in the way were continually be- 
coming greater ; and as, from the immense sacrifice of 
property it would involve, it was hardly to be looked for 
that the Southern States should take any steps towards 
emancipation ; and as, in fact, their purpose seemed 
evident to try to invigorate the system rather than to 
diminish it,* — there appeared to be no prospect of any 
voluntary or peaceable discontinuance of it. Yet, at the 
same time, the sentiment of all civilization was but 

becoming stronger and stronger against it. Its inju- 

* It was not only the effort of the South to extend slavery into 
the Territories, but also so to amend the Constitution as to allow 
of its passing into and establishing itself in any of the States. — 
See Debates in Congress of 1860, 1861. 


rious effects, both moral and political, were constantly 
becoming more obvious ; and any solution of the diffi- 
culty could only become, apparently, more and more 

At this juncture, while men's hands were tied, as it 
were, on every side, voluntarily or involuntarily, a new , 
force suddenly came in, and that from the very South 
itself, to give a new phase to affairs, namely, that of 
absolute resistance to the National Government, and 
from this very cause, — slavery ; which it (the Govern- 
ment) had ever protected to the very limits of the Con- 
stitution, because that Constitution gave to the States 
the right to be so protected. This state of affairs was 
wholly unexpected. No man dreamed of the present 
condition of the country, and certainly no one ever 
planned the events that have so dramatically succeeded 
one another. 

This new current, new influence, brought in, must, un- 
doubtedly, change the whole complexion of affairs ; since 
they could hardly be supposed to remain the same after 
this upheaval as before. And, if a settlement in the 
Union be the end, some new legislation in regard to | 
slavery must take place in order to put the subject at 


rest in one way or another ; for, most assuredly, we 
could nevermore look for peace in respect of it on the 
same footing as formerly, since the i^sue that has now 
been made, not on the part of the Government, — which 
constitutionally had ever protected slavery, or, at least, 
had given to it its rights, — but on the part of the South- 
ern States themselves, who chose to make this issue. 

We cannot but believe that Providence is thus working 
out, unexpectedly to us, what no man or men have ever 
been able to do ; and that, eventually, the whole South, 
as well as the North, will be thankful if they shall he 
disburdened in any practicable way of their " peculiar" 
institution ; its -peculiarity making it so difficult to har- 
monize the different portions of the nation, — such a 
difference of habits and institutions preventing assimi- 

I should indeed feel for the people of the South in 
their being stripped of what is to them property. Person- 
ally, I have attached no particle of blame to them for 
keeping their slaves, if they did not see it their duty to 
let them go ; but when they attempted to extend their 
system over places as yet untainted, and over which they 
had no peculiar right, I did feel that every individual in 


the country, who, unswayed by custom, by attachment or 
interest, could see all that political and moral evil, 
should stand up in his utmost right and might to defend 
such Territories from that tamt until they should have 
the power (in becoming States) to say whether or not 
they would adopt the system. And this was exactly the 
state of things ; this was the one question at issue. And 
the same moral right — right of freedom of opinion — 
that the South had to advocate the extension of slavery, 
carrying it into the free Territories, the North had to 
resist such extension ; and, if it felt that this was mor- 
ally and politically wrong, it could only rise with, every 
fibre of its being against the equal exertions of the South 
in its favor. This was but just, and the only justice, — 
that those innocent Territories might he left to their own 
choice when they should he admitted to he States., and not 
be fettered beforehand with a system under which they 
might groan ever after. For this the North had a right ; 
not to " dictate," — that she could never do ; she had no 
right to do so ; and the instinctive sense of the commu- 
nity would be aroused against any portion of the country 
" dictating " to another portion, — but to contend by 
speech, by discussion, by any lawful means in her power. 


She had a right also, on other grounds, to maintain, 
with all the energy possible and needful, that the South 
should not carry into the public Territories a peculiarity 
which the North had nOtliing to balance with ; for free 
labor in this country has not been on a political level 
with slave labor. Slaves are both labor-machinery and 
votes in one: Avhereas the free man is a vote ; but the 
machinery with which he works is separate. His me- 
chanical labor is not represented as the slaveholder's is ; 
and there could be no justice in the Southern emigrants 
or residents having their labor represented by a vote in 
Congress, and the Northerners not. This " right," how- 
ever, the North had not much insisted upon, although 
it is certainly a very prominent one. Her view was 
more particularly to the future welfare of the Territories 
when they should become States ; and in this we think 
the whole outside world would, in general, take part with 

This was a question (whether slavery should be car- 
ried into the Territories) for the people at large to 
decide ; and when put to the vote, as it Avas, in effect, by 
the Chicago Platform which nominated Mr. Lincoln, an 
overwhelming majority, in tlie election of that presi- 


dent, decided for the position taken by the Northern 
and Western States. In such a case, under our system, 
or under any representative government, there would be 
nothing left for the party which had failed in its choice 
but to acquiesce until another election should give it an 
opportunity, if possible, of reversing the decision. Was 
such the course of the Southern vStates? Did they 
calmly and dispassionately yield to the acknowledged 
principle of our institutions, of our National Govern- 
ment, to which the South was as much pledged as 
the North, — the principle that the majority must de- 
cide? On the contrary, did they not, even before the 
election took place, begin to repudiate that fundamental 
principle on which the very Government was formed, 
and declare, that, if such should be the vote of the major- 
ity, they would not submit? — which rebellion, if suc- 
cessful, must necessarily overturn the whole constitution 
of things. 

The want of a "popular majority" in the election of 
Mr. Lincoln is spoken of. The majority by electoral 
votes, which alone is required by the Constitution, was 
overwhelming. The popular vote for his predecessor, 
Mr. Buchanan, was very much less than that for Mr. 


Lincoln ; and, in that contest, the opposing candidate 
(Gen. F'remont) was undoubtedly the choice of the 
Northern people. But did they dream of seceding 
because a Southeru president was elected ? or admit the 
thought that his administration was not binding upon 
them after he w^as constitutionally elected, because such 
election was not pleasing to them ? They waited pa- 
tiently until the presidential term was over ; and then 
it was not unnatural that they should be pleased to have 
their turn in the national councils, which had remained 
in the hands of the South for so many years. They are 
not able now, however, it seems, to pass this term in 
peace, but are compelled to spend it in maintaining the 
very existence of our institutions. 

Is there, then, no sacredness in governments? Should 
any government in the world, regularly organized by the 
will of the people, be thus lightly regarded, broken up, 
and destroyed, against the will of a constitutionally 
established majority, by any portion of the people, on 
such grounds, — that the minority could not carry their 
point? What the defeated party had resolved upon 
before the election they carried into effect immediately 
after, without pausing to see what course was to be 


pursued by the new administration. What should they 
have done but discuss the matter in full congress of the 
people? and, with the strong feeling at the South, who 
knows but that, possibly, a majority might have been 
obtained for a peaceable separation? But, in their 
precipitation, no opportunity was given for any such 
consideration of the subject ; and thus, by force^ was 
violated the sacred compact of government. It is well 
known that the Federal Government had in every way 
refrained from violence ; that it was the seceding States 
that fired upon an unarmed vessel,* employed by the 
Government ; Avhich shot was not returned by the Gov- 
ernment. It was the seceding States also, that, with 
seven thousand troops, assailed an almost uugarrisoned 
fortress-l It is well known, too, that the National Ad- 
ministration disavowed any intention of retaliation for 
this assault upon its property, but placed itself in an 
attitude of defence, and of legal, constitutional authority. 
The South maintains that it was provoked or incited to 
this by the Government persisting in retaining property 
situated within its borders. | Most truly : for in no pos- 

* Star of the West. t Fort Sumter. 

X The Constitution provides for the national property — forts, &c. 
— being dispersed among the several States. 


sible way, on any principle of the Federal Government, 
could it give up, on demand of any State whatever, the 
national property, which belonged to the whole people ; 
not even to sell it, unless that people by its united vote 
relinquished its claim to it. The opportunity to do this 
(by peaceful deliberation) had never been given ; and 
there was nothing, therefore, for the President to do, 
but to remain firm to the Constitution, which he had 
sworn not to break or alter, but to support. . . . 

That the Southerners themselves, many of them, 
believe that they are engaged in a "holy" war, there 
cannot be the least doubt : for, unquestionably, there is 
the same proportion of earnestness and sincerity among 
them as elsewhere ; though we believe that attachment 
to their "peculiar institution" has often blinded them 
to many things. A war, then, for " freedom of opin- 
ion," or for " rights," on their side, as far as it was 
honestly believed in, would not be deemed by them 
" vile." Nor would the same war carried on by those 
at the North for equal rights and freedom of opinion 
be deemed " vile," it is to be trusted, by any soul 
within its borders : on the contrary, war, when it 
comes inevitably, and is waged to maintain law, order, 


and the rights of humanity, is not only not vile^ it is 
^' glorious^" as every contest for the right is glorious, 
whenever needful. It certainly is to be deprecated, if it 
can be avoided ; but, if forced upon a people, there is 
nought to do but for every individual to rise to the 

Nor are we to suppose that this war would be deemed 
" vile " by any portion of the enlightened world abroad. 
We are not to imagine that England would declare her- 
self on the side of slavery. Her foot has been broadly 
placed on the ground of freedom in her own history, 
never, we believe, to be taken back. Would it be 
possible for France, after what she has done for Italy in 
the face of the world, to retract by declaring for the prin- 
ciples now manifested by the South in their declaration? 
Even were not slavery concerned, France would not so 
readily acknowledge the right of subversion of an organ- 
ized government by the forcible will of a minority of 
the people. And could we suppose that Russia, after 
her struo-nrle to free her own serfs at an immense sacri- 
fice of wealth, would now fraternize with a confederacy 
whose avowed strongest principle was African slavery? 
If the United States should eventually acknowledge such 


a confederacy, undoubtedly every one of those powers 
would do the same ; but, should such an event necessa- 
rily take place, I fully believe it would be to the regret 
and disappointment of all the better part of Europe, 
which, although monarchical, is looking with interest and 
hope to see our Government prosperously carried out.* 
. . . We have been accustomed freely to use the ex- 
pressions, "North" and "South," as if the question 
were simply between these tAvo sections ; but assuredly 
this is an error, and conceals the true issues of the war. 
It is necessary to make a distinction of the National 
Government per se ; for the question is between a jpart of 
the country and it. The other part happens to be for that 
Government ; but it might have been the reverse. It 
might have been, from some cause, — as when, a few 
years ago, the spirit of disunion was so rife among a cer- 
tain class at the North, — it might have been the North- 
ern States that had rebelled. The South now secedes for 

* Notwithstanding the seemingly opposite course taken, to a great 
extent, in Europe, during tlie American struggle, the author has no 
disposition to recall the above remarks, believing that they express 
but the real and better self of Europe in its truly great and good 
minds, who, for the benefit and improvement of the world and human- 
ity, regarded with tender solicitude and hope the " experiment " 
which was being carried out upon these shores. 


the sake of slavery, to have power over its own institu- 
tion ; but, had "disunion" prevailed, the North would 
have seceded to become rid of slavery. But the principles 
with regard to the Government remain the same in either 
case : the contest would have been against it. We 
should know, therefore, no "North" or " South." Such 
distinction in the conflict could only arise from their nat- 
ural situation. There are secessionists, no doubt, in the 
Northern section, though loyal men predominate ; and 
there are loyal men at the South, where secessionists 
predominate. The Administration, which is the repre- 
sentative of the Constitution, must act against these 
latter wherever they may be found ; and the former, in 
whatever part of the country they may happen to be, 
will go for the National Administration. In such a con- 
test, therefore, one should side with the " North" or 
the "South" but from principle. If, with a clear con- 
science, and an honest intelligence of all that has hap- 
pened, and a just idea of the real question, he sides 
with secession, then only can he be justified in going for 
it, and not because he is a native Southerner. And so 
with the Northerner : he is not justified in going with the 
Administration merely because he lives at the North, 



where a majority of the people support it ; because, as 
has been akeady said, the war is not one, rightly, of 
rival sections^ but between a portion of the nation and 
the lawful and organized government of the land. To 
say that the South, or any other portion of the country, 
has an intrinsic right to secede, appears to me simply 
irrational ; for such must be the very principle of disin- 
tegration of all government whatever. Either the idea 
itself of a fixed government must be given up, or, when 
regularly organized, it must be binding (else it is a sol- 
emn farce) , unless by the general consent it be dissolved. 
No people, in deliberately forming a constitution, does so 
with other than a serious and an earnest intention, and 
with the design that it should be permanent unless speci- 
fied to the contrary. The State of New York brought 
up this very point, wishing to join the Union with the 
privilege of leaving it if she desired ; but this was not 
assented to, and she was obliged, like all the others, to 
come in unconditionally. In our very Constitution and 
original Union, therefore, is a distinct individuality and 
independence above any single State or States ; and this 
individuality and innate independence (marked in many 
other relations also) constitute our "National Govern- 
ment," or the essential principle of it at least. 


There can, therefore, be no independent right of seces- 
sion ; and, if Southern politicians and statesmen assume a 
" right," it can only be, consequently, a right of revolu- 
tion, which, of course, any people, or part of a people, 
must possess with justifiable cause. Our form of govern- 
ment puts that peaceably and legally into the hands of 
the people every four years, as far as an administration 
is concerned (and there is ample provision for the amend- 
ment or re-forming of the Constitution itself when the 
nation may deem it necessary) ; so that an obno?:ious 
administration may be removed, if the people so choose : 
and, unless such legal course were obstructed, it would 
seem that there could be no cause among us for so seri- 
ous a resort as to arms. 

This is why a civil war here, like the present, has a 
very different aspect from any that has taken place in 
any other country. The civil wars of Rome were not, 
in the time of the republic, between the government and 
its constituents the people, but between rival factions, 
of which one, in general, had just the same right to the 
supreme power as another.* The very element of the 

* It is true, that, in the war between Pompey and Julius Cgesar, 
the cause of the former was ostensibly that of the government; but, 


jonsular power — two equal heads — laid them open 
,0 this danger ; and the authority, at the best, was never 
so defined but that any man might overstep it : conse- 
quently, there Avould be frequent struggle and re-action, 
^nd, when the government became consolidated by 
Augustus CaBsar, it could not remain permanently so, 
ilthough it continued for a long time, because it was 
30wer assumed, and not delegated by the nation, and was 
jeyond bounds, and which, in the succeeding rulers, 
inally led to a dissolution of the empire. 

In England and France, the revolutions have been oc- 
casioned by the degeneracy, or want of integrity or of 
enlightenment, of the successive kings themselves at the 
bead of those nations. These, in the long habit of reign- 
ing, forgot the rights of the people, and were faithless to 
them, while over-grasping for their own. The people 
succeeded in obtaining the mastery for a time in both 
cases : but, in each of those countries, events proved, and 

unquestionably, personal rivalry had much to do with his efforts to 
obtain the ascendency. In that, too, between Mark Antony and 
Octavius on one side, and Brutus and Cassius on the other, — this 
being but a continuation of the struggle of Pompey and Csesar, — 
Brutus and Cassius were on the side of the countrj-, but were able 
to do scarcely more than defend themselves against the personal 
rivalry of their opponents. 


the verdict of the nation was, that that also was a usur- 
pation ; and the original government was at length re- 
stored. At this day, no people in the world is more 
loyal than that of England to that same kingly govern- 
ment, with the succession even on the same old plan. 
The difficulty was, that neither the prerogatives of the 
monarch nor of the people were accurately defined, and 
the one was always encroaching upon the other. In the 
course of time and experience, they have found more and 
more, on either side, the necessity of precise limitations, 
and have gradually formed them ; so that they now know 
better where they stand, both rulers and ruled : and there 
could not, probably, be a rebellion^* — the common sense 
of the people being against it, — unless there were really 
oppression and injustice, or an actual belief that there 

In France, it has been the same. The people, after 

* The case of Ireland may seem exceptional. Although by natural 
situation a sister island, which might be supposed destined to form with 
England but one kingdom, its population being of a different race, and 
having an essentially different system of religion, it may long remain 
antagonistic. And, whatever the truth of the case may be, it undoubt- 
edly believes itself oppressed, and therefore endeavors to become inde- 
pendent ; and, from having been originally a conquered pi-ovince, it no 
doubt must have this right of revolution. 


repeated trials of kings, &c., formed a constitution, and 
chose a president ; but that people, by vote (although led, 
perhaps, by the powerful influence of the man), raised 
that president, at length, to the old sovereign power. 
But the Emperor Napoleon well knows, that, at this day, 
it would not be submitted to that the whole of sovereign 
power should be in the hands of the governor, or mon- 
arch. The same spirit that broke out in the revolution 
of '93 would again burst forth ; and therefore gradually, 
step by step, he defines and makes obvious the preroga- 
tives of the people also. 

It is not that the principle of government, in either of 
those cases, was destroyed. It remained through all the 
successive changes, even through anarchy and confusion, 
and always, in the end, prominently triumphed ; and in 
both of those instances it has come hack to its original 
monarchical form, but with this improvement, — that the 
rights of the people are more known and acknowledged. 
Therefore those governments may probably be considered 
to-day stronger than they ever were, simply because that 
necessary counterpart of government, the people, is more 
recognized : that is, the power is more equalized, more 


fairly divided ; the rights of both the governor and the 
governed being more understood and conceded. 

In this country, our original position was different. 
All was made precise and definite at the beginning, on 
both sides ; so that there can be no real encroachments 
that may not be readily and peaceably rectified ; and 
where all are politicians, and alive to their rights, any 
usurpation must be quickly perceived. Hence we can 
have no tyrants here, nor any mal-administration, for any 
length of time, guarded and restricted as we are. Our 
revolution is at the polls, and may be had every four 
years if necessary. It is but a short time to wait, even 
should the whole country desire a change ; thus making 
a necessary resort to arms impossible : for, whatever was 
really and essentially right, the general sense of the com- 
munity would sooner or later guarantee to any portion of 
it, without the need of fighting for it. 

A civil strife here, therefore, by force of arms, ought 
not to have been a sine qua non, an experience which Ave 
" must necessarily have" as well as others. There is no 
doubt, however, that it will be of essential benefit, show- 
ing just what the National Government is, and where it 
needs amending, if at all ; and putting to the test the gen- 


iiine character of the people, whether we are one disci- 
plined with law and loyalty in our breasts, or are swayed 
by impulse and capriciousness. It will try many men's 
souls ; for in our almost complete freedom from all out- 
ward restraint heretofore, as far as government is con- 
cerned, because it has not often been obliged to enforce 
political law, the sentiment has no doubt gained ground 
with very many, that we were, practically, not to be 
"subjected" to any "government," as such; that "our 
government" is, as it were, no government. Not only 
"Young America," but a vast proportion of our people, 
has undoubtedly had the habit of making very practical 
use of the doctrine " free and equal ; " overlooking in our 
highest officer, under the simple title of " President," any 
thing but the simply " equal" and private man. But we 
are to remember, that even our head of government is 
not merely "Mr. So-and-so," or " The President," acting 
in his individual, private responsibility, thereby making 
it lawful for us to give deference or not to what " he sees 
fit" according as tue may see fit. He, as President, is but 
the representative of the authorized power of the land ; 
and deference to him, in his official capacity, is but def- 
erence to that power ; and insubordination to him — to 


what he, in his legal authority, sees fit — is insubordina- 
tion to the organized law and order of the country. 

This habit is very much to be deprecated, as encour- 
aging lawlessness, and destroying all respect for authority 
or government, which is not only humanly, but divinely 
ordained in the natural constitution of things, and must 
be made as strong in this country, although simplified, as 
in any other. 

It has, no doubt, blinded many minds to the truth of 
the actual weight and necessity of an authoritative 
power, and has brought them, practically, to indulge the 
false sentiment already alluded to, — that our Republican 
Government is, as it were, " no government," in the usual 
sense of the word. 

This " independence" of spirit has been fostered from 
our very cradle * by all our habits and associations ; and 

* We were not a little astonished, we might say shocked, lately, in 
coming across a passage in a book of nursery tales, with these political 
allusions : — 

" Mrs. Greenhorn's twins, poor afflicted toads ! . . . James Boocan- 
non Greenhorn, the eldest, . . . face turned the wrong way, and 
unfortunately no eyes in the back of his head to see what people 
were doing. And his other brother, . . . you'll cry harder when you 
hear about Stephen Doublus Greenhorn, — that's the other one, . . . 
has got what 1= called the . . . prcsidentum complaint. . . . 


it is, no doubt, as erroneous a spirit as any that can be 
cherished. The instinct of the need of government is as 
obviously implanted in the original, unbiassed constitu- 
tion of man, as any other of his instincts. All history, 
and the very existence of society, with its multifarious 
wants and passions, declare the need of a central, order- 
arranging power ; and such cannot be disregarded with 
impunity. ... 

It is this power, then, in the legal right and capacity 
which are inherent in its very nature as the Central and 
Federal Government, to which alone we must look for 
moving constitutionally and responsibly in these public 
affairs. The people, individually, have no authority to 
move hand or foot : they are as much bound by systema- 

" ' How are you going to cure him? ' " 

" ' Oh ! cut his head off! It's the only way.' " 

Is this the temper with which we are to imbue not only our now 
innocent children, but our future politicians and statesmen? May we 
not attribute much of the personal invective and abuse which so often 
disfigures even our national councils to this not only crude and irrev- 
erent, but harsh, disdainful, and unfeeling spirit which is thus taken 
in with our infant breath, and grows with all that fosters it in our 
maturer years? What parent would not shrink from instillmg such 
germs of evil, such a spirit of sarcasm, and incitements to crime, 
even, in the infant hearts of his offspring? Verily, our juvenile lit- 
erature needs reforming. 


tized order and by law as if they were verily chained 
and fettered. Nevertheless, private and individual feel- 
ing will constantly break forth, manifesting itself so and 
so. It is human nature thus to follow its own quick im- 
pulses, instead of what is simply right and lawful ; and 
in thousands of instances, undoubtedly, both at the North 
and the South, narrow-mindedness or ignorance will 
regard this as a personal conflict of animosity and hos- 
tility of one section against another. Were this the 
truth, it would be but a civil war of force, without prin- 
ciple on either side ; and the one must conquer who can. 
One would have the same right as the other. But, 
amidst all this personal excitement, we must not forget 
the great fact underlying, — that it is a contest between 
the people, or a portion of the people, and the Govern- 
ment. This was the issue taken by the Southern States, 
— withdrawing from the Government^ peaceably if they 
could, forcibly if necessary. 

I have before admitted a lawful right of revolution 
with sufficient cause. Granted to the Southern States, 
therefore, the right of resorting to arms, had they in this 
case justifiable cause? This was not misgovcrnment 
(which would seem to be the only thing to justify a 


nation, or part of a nation, in going to war) ; for they did 
not wait to ascertain what course the new administration 
would pursue, the movement commencing at the moment 
it was known that there would be a new administration, 
having been planned as soon as such administration had 
begun to be talked of. It was not, therefore, from any 
actual cause of tyranny or oppression, which would, un- 
doubtedly, have dignified such movement with the name 
of " revolution," but without aggression on the part of 
the Government ; and, being voluntarily engaged in, it 
could only be insurrection or rebellion. In such case, of 
course, the National Government, in its innate power 
over and above any portion of the country whatever, 
stands upon its dignity, its responsibility. It has its 
rights and functions to maintain ; and these it must main- 
tain, unless it allow the balance of power to be destroyed, 
and the inorganic populace to obtain more than its due ; 
whence disorder and anarchy must necessarily prevail. 
And this would be the case if such rebellion were success- 
ful (the principle of authority of government being 
broken) ; and then the National Government must 
succumb. But as the principle of right must eventu- 
ally, even in human affairs, be recognized, we cannot 


suppose that the usurpation of the " people," or populace, 
would remain permanent, any more than the usurpation 
of a tyrant, but that, sooner or later, a counter-revolution 
would take place to right things again; and then we 
mi"-ht look to be broudit back, as was the case both in 
England and France, to the very same form or system 
we had formerly had ; namely, with the equal rights of 
both ruler and ruled : as all experience and philosophy 
make it more and more evident that such is the juste 
milieu^ the only true and wise relation between the 
governed and the governing, the people and the admin- 
istrative power ; .rights, not the same, not identical, but 
equalized. . . . 

That the true issue was this, — between a portion of 
the people as such and the Government, — and not as 
a "revolution of States," is obvious: otherwise, av hat 
would become of the Unionists at the South ? Are they 
to be merged as " rebels " and " revolutionists " ? This 
is very marked in the cases of Kentucky, Missouri, 
Maryland, and Tennessee,* where the Unionists are, in 
number, on a par, at least, with the Secessionists. Are 
tlieij^ although multitudes of their citizens are in arms, 

* Tennessee had not then joined the Confederated States. 


to be put down by conquest^ as rebellious or revolutionary 
States?* (for, where it is a simple case of revolution 
and subjugation, of course the stronger and victorious 
power treats the#other as conquered property.) 

What is true in regard to those States must be true 
in regard to every State. We are all precisely in the 
same natural relation to the Federal Union ; the only 
diflference in the actual status of those border States and 
the other Southern States being, that, in the latter, the 
spirit of secession was more universal, and obtained 
more dominant sway for the time. . . , 

As to the question of '•' subjugation'^ of the States, I 
maintain, that, with our present system of government, 
this is impossible. Were there the right of this, of 
course there would be an equal right, on the part of the 
State, to resist ; for neither in nature or philosophy 

* We, in our more undisturbed regions of the North and East, 
could scarcely imagine tlie death-throes with which some of these 
border States — as Kentucky and Missouri — were threatened ; or the 
ardor with which they threw themselves into the contest, striving 
hand to hand and inch by inch for their own lawful self-possession. 
Theirs was the brunt of the battle. They were fighting literally for 
their firesides and their homes; their very political existence even. 
The conflict in these States shows the true nature of the insurrec- 
tion, — that it was by a faction of the people. 


is the right to suhjugate granted, without the counter- 
balancinii: riii-ht ou the other side to resist. The tri- 
umph in such a case could only be from the greater 
power of the one or the other, which is the principle of 
a foreign war, — that between two independent States, 
— the one holds who can. With what propriety could 
one be called a " rebel," if he had the right to resist, 
and defend himself? 

As it is, the Government does not claim to go against 
the States, as such, to interfere with any private individ- 
ual State right : Mr. Lincoln has always disclaimed any 
such intention. There is simply the right of putting down 
the rebellion in those States, leaving the structure of the 
States as before. 

In this way, and in this way only, could it be that 
Mr. Davis and the other senators who withdrew from 
Congress, not by resigning their seats, and becoming 
discharged, as public functionaries, from the oath to 
support the National Constitution, which they took on 
entering, but to carry out their purpose of secession, 
with the oath still upon them, — in this way only could 
they be considered " traitors," and not simply revolu- 
tionists, with all the rights of such. 


The South resents the idea of being conquered, sub- 
jugated : but it appears to me there are only these two 
alternatives, — either this is a rebellion of a portion of 
the country, and requires to be treated as such ; or it 
is a revolution of States^ and must therefore submit to 
the chances of war, to be " conquered," or not, as may 
happen. In the latter case, they could, of course, retain 
no " private, individual right " as States, but must be 
treated as the conquerors may see fit. Neither, in that 
case, could their sons be regarded as "rebels" or 
" traitors," having exercised simply the right of revolu- 
tion ; which, of course, as was said before, States must 
have with justifiable cause. 

It is the same with regard to political parties. As to 

confounding the or any other party as such with 

the sentiments and course of the Administration, 
guarded and guided as this must or should be by the 
definite Constitution of the country and the deliberate 
legislation of the people, we ought as soon to think of 
any other impossible thing. We ought not, then, to 
apprehend, or have ground to suspect, any " dark, politi- 
cal plot " underlying any of its movements, or that it is 
governed by a " party," any more than it is governed 


by a " section." Both the Executive and Congress, in 
their integrity, stand for the whole, and not for a part, 
of the country. ... 

Thus far, the Federal Government has conducted 
itself in a Christian and an honorable manner. It has 
shown itself, on every point, calm, conciliating, and for- 
bearing. Witness the proclamations after the taking 
possession of Baltimore and Alexandria : nothing could 
be more protective and re-assuring to peaceful inhabit- 
ants. Were the Government weak, and destitute of 
means for carrying on its own proper measures, very 
probably so many States congregated would be success- 
ful in accomplishing whatever they designed ; and then, 
indeed, we might be broken into two separate communi- 
ties (or as many more as we should choose to make of 
ourselves). But notwithstanding that strength of num- 
bers might, for a time, give them success, the principle 
would remain the same as if one State alone had at- 
tempted to rebel or "nullify." We know that nullifica- 
tion has been tried heretofore, and has always been 
denounced as unconstitutional. 

The great fact to prove the strength of our National 
Government, and which we cannot but expect will 



bring it iu the end to perfect success, is the manner in 
which it has been rallied to as the popular force ; and 
in this strength, if it sees it necessary, in order to main- 
tain its authorities and responsibilities, it will not hesi- 
tate to go east, west, north, or south, into any and every 
corner of the Union, by its own inherent right, not for 
the purpose of "interfering" with the rights of any 
State, but in the right and necessity which belong to it 
from its very nature as the Central or Federal Gov- 
ernment, and which right cannot be violently wrested 
from it by any one State or by several States. A 
majority alone could by right of force break up this 
central or federal authority ; and that would be revo- 
lution, to which, of course, the people have a right, 
with any justifiable cause. But in this case, although 
the States were numerous, the attitude was not one of 
right revolution, since there could be shown no justifia- 
ble cause ; and the ordinances of secession were not in 
general submitted to the people, even of the seceding 
States themselves. It was, therefore, an attitude of 
rebellion, which justifies the National Administration 
not only in acting on the defensive, and resisting the 
encroachments of the new force, but also in attacking and 
invading wherever and whenever it may be necessary. 


In this same manner, too, standing in the midst in its 
own dignity, truth, and uprightness, it will, no doubt, 
put down whatever is " ultra" (in an opprobrious sense) 
that may appear on any side. 

This war has brought out a very remarkable feature, 
(one nation as we have always been) ; namely, the 
emphatically placing an individual State above the 
whole country, — the lesser before the greater ; re- 
quiring that the State, and not the nation, should 
demand our preference. This appears to me on the 
same parallel with the being loyal to one's town or city 
in preference to the State. 

True, there are certain rights belonging to the States ; 
but these do not conflict with those of the National Gov- 
ernment ; and the latter are to be equally regarded with 
the former, unless there were really injustice and oppres- 
sion exercised by that government. The South, indeed, 
claims, theoretically, that there has been wrong and in- 
justice ; but she has not been able to point to it in 
reference to the Federal Government.* . . . 

* An examination of the wrongs alleged, upon which the actual 
movement of secession took place, is contained in another volume of 
this work. 


Our foundation of a glorious freedom, and the capa- 
bility of one self-governing republic, though as large as, 
or larger than, any monarchy in the Old World, is yet to 
rest, it is to be trusted, on a hrm and enduring basis. 
There will be much suffering, no doubt : but, in the end, 
we shall come out stronger and more prosperous than 
ever ; for all will have been thoroughly tested and 
proved. And this is what was needed. Nations as 
well as individuals have to go through the furnace of 
affliction, difficulty, and trial, to know of " what stuff, 
they are." 

I do not in the least look upon the Union as broken. 
There are loyal citizens in all those States ; and, when 
the insurrection is quelled, — " conquered," if one 
pleases, — the States will still remain as they were, 
part and parcel of one noble Government and Consti- 



The attempt of the secessionists to withdraw from 
the Union has been considered in general, by non- 
secessionists, as treason to the National Government : 
but it is well known that the great mass of Southerners 
have not so regarded it ; on the contrary, they have 
made it a matter of conscience and duty to fight for their 
" State Rights," as they call them, in opposition to the 
Federal Government. It is known, too, that the moral 
and religious element has been as strong and active 
among them as elsewhere, and that personal bravery, 
valor, and self-sacrifice, have been displayed equally 
with those qualities in any part of the country, even 
if they have not surpassed, them ; which, were it so, 
would not be surprising, inasmuch as they believed 
themselves fighting almost for their very existence. It 
is said that Gen. Stonewall Jackson spent a whole night 



in prayer before he came to a decision upon the subject ; 
and is it to be presumed that such a man, and many 
others in the same position, decided otherwise than con- 
scientiously when they went with the rest of their people 
in secession? Thus what is called treason by one part 
of the nation was considered patriotic duty by another. 

Such facts manifest a great diversity of thought and 
feeling, which, on either side, has amounted to convic- 
tion ; and, while such discrepancy of views exists, there 
can be no true union between the different sections. 

The physical powder of the Government, indeed, has 
been able to repress and regulate outward movements ; 
and increasing communication between the different 
parts, and growing business and prosperity, will tend to 
produce external peace and harmony. But to conciliate 
the minds of our people, and bring them again into the 
fraternal bonds of mutual kindliness and respect, we 
need to know precisely what and where is the actual 

We need this discovery, too, for a further purpose. 
"We believe that our great danger as a people is not yet 
over ; that it may occur again and again ; and that it ^ 
lies in the want of a perfect apprehension of the true 


elements of our republican system. Other nations have 
had to grope their way through great and frequent con- 
vulsions, because their outward limitations were not 
well defined. We may, in a similar manner, be liable 
to continued shocks and convulsions, because the inward 
elements of our national existence are not closely appre- 
hended or understood. These perils can only be avoided 
by a just apprehension of the great questions of the day. 
This of secession or non-secession comes first in the 
list, and thoroughly to sift and unravel it will be a step 
towards making clear all others. 

This principle in the abstract has been a development 
not only of one portion of our country, but of all parts 
of it; arising, we believe, from that innate spirit of 
independence and freedom which is the very character- 
istic of the American .people, — the rapid, luxuriant 
growth, as it were, of the American soil. 

In the cooler North, this spirit reached its climax a 
few years since, with but a show of flower and fruit, in 
the threatening and exciting cry of disunion among a 
certain class ; slavery, the withdrawing from slavery, 
being the impelling cause. It was then the part of 
the Southern States strongly to remonstrate, and to 


deprecate this voluntary severing of our national 

It would, undoubtedly, have been difficult to induce 
the mass of the Northern people, with their more calm, 
reflective temperament, to yield to this demand of a 
small but vehement party ; and probably that point 
(disunion) never would have been reached, the fructify- 
ing stimulant, slavery, not heing in the soil itself, but 
merely in the atmosphere. 

The efforts of that small party, however, were very 
great, and bore their fruit, undoubtedly, in another way, 
— in accustoming the mind of the people to the idea of 
separation, and tending to excite it, in the South, to 
that practical issue. There, in that almost tropical re- 
gion, and with the nourishing stimulus, slavery, on the 
very ground itself, the spirit of secession (only another 
form of disunion) came to its full and outbursting 
growth. The seeds were the same in one and the other 
section ; the warmer climate and greater fertility of the 
soil bringing them to fuller perfection in the one case 
than in the other. 

So true is this, that, at the commencement of the 
secession movement, great numbers of the Northern 


people scarcely knew whether the Southerners might not 
be right in the ' abstract : their thought and expression 
on the subject were undecided. All that numerous class 
in the free States who have advocated specific rights 
of all kinds, — "Human Rights," " Woman's Rights," 
"Rights of Man," &c., — would, most likely, have 
merged themselves, in theory., on that side.* It is only 
the actual attempt to put this theory into execution that 
has revealed its difficulties, and allayed its advocacy, for 
the time. For the time, we say ; as we cannot believe 
that a root of such magnitude is made extinct by out- 
ward repression or circumstances merely, but that it 
will be ready to spring up in some modified form, on 
any new occasion, at the North as well as at the South. 
On this account it is, that an examination of this whole 

* " The New- York Tribune," in the first days of secession, gave 
utterance to the following: — 

" We fear that Southern madness may precipitate a bloody col- 
lision that all must deplore. But if even seven or eight States send 
agents to Washington to say, ' We want to get out of the Union,' we 
shall feel constrained by our devotion to human liberty, to say, ^Let 
them go!^ And we do not see how we could take the other side, 
without coming in direct conflict with those rights of man, which 
we hold paramount to all political arrangements, however convenient 
and advantageous."^ 


question is so necessary, that the real truth may be laid 

plain before us. 

For this, it is not necessary to search for arguments 

among the Southerners themselves, although they have 

produced them sufficiently for their own purposes ; the 

Hon. John C. Calhoun of South Carolina being, it is 
well known, their first great apostle. We believe it 
is all-sufficient to examine some which have been 
brought forward at the North ; and we prefer so to do, 
as they are undoubtedly the most favorable towards se- 
cession that may be found, being the arguments of a 
(religious) party which claims for itself the most lib- 
eral and advanced thouojht of the a";e.* 

But, before we come to this discussion, we will revert 
to the exciting moment when this topic (in its Northern 
phase) was' first introduced into the national councils, 
and will obtain from history some outlines of the 

* Notwithstanding these arguments for secession, it i%. but just to 
say, that, practically, thei-e was no party, as such, more patriotic, and 
more loyal to the Government during the war, than this; and that 
probably but few of its members may have indorsed this theory, 
although the pamphlet which we are going to disciiss was written 
by one of its leaders, reported to be a prominent Unitarian clergy- 


In the year 1842, some citizens of Haverhill, Mass., 
signed a petition, which they forwarded to the Hon. 
John Quincy Adams to present, praying Congress to 
" immediately take measm'es peaceably to dissolve the 
Union of these States." Mr. Adams, in his seat in the 
House of Representatives, presented the petition, and, 
at the same time, made a motion that it might be 
referred to a committee with instructions to report an 
answer, saying why it should not he granted. Never- 
theless, the excitement was intense ; and the Southern 
and Western members immediately took steps not only 
to denounce the petition, but to reprimand the repre- 
sentative for offering it. Resolutions were drawn up, 
and the next day they Avere presented by the member 
from Kentucky (Mr. Thomas F. Marshall). The pre- 
amble was in these words : — 

" Wliereas^ The Federal Constitution is a permanent 
form of government, and of perpetual obligation, until 
altered or modified in the mode pointed out in that instru- 
ment ; and the members of this House, deriving their 
political character and powers from the same, are sworn 
to support it ; and the dissolution of the Union necessarily 
implies the destruction of that instrument, the overthrow 


of the American republic, and the extinction of our na- 
tional existence : a proposition, therefore, to the repre- 
sentatives of the people, to dissolve the organic laws 
framed by their constituents, and to support which they 
are commanded by those constituents to be sworn, before 
they can enter into the execution of the political powers 
created by it and intrusted to them, is a high breach of 
privilege, a contempt offered to this House, a direct 
proposition to the Legislature, and each member of it, to 
commit perjury, and involving necessarily, in its execu- 
tion and its consequences, the destruction of our country, 
and the crime of high treason." 

They then " Resolved therefore^ That the mem- 
ber from Massachusetts, in presenting a petition 

praying for the dissolution of the Union, has offered 
the deepest indignity to the House of which he is a 
member ; an insult to the people of the United States, of 
which that House is the legislative organ ; and will, if 
this outrage be permitted to pass unrebuked and unpun- 
ished, have disgraced his country, through their repre- 
sentatives, in the eyes of the whole world. " And 

" Resolved further^ That , for this insult (the 

first of the kind ever offered to the Government), and for 


the wound which he has permitted to be aimed, through 
his instrumentality, at the Constitution and existence of 
his country, the peace, the security, and liberty of the 
people of these States, might well be held to merit ex- 
pulsion from the national councils," &c. . . . 

At the close, Mr. Adams rose with calm dignity ; and, 
when replying to the charge of high treason, he said, 
" I call for the reading of the first paragraph of the 
Declaration of Independence. Read it ! read it ! and 
see what that says of the right of a people to reform, to 
change, and to dissolve their government." 

The paragraph was read, and the excitement turned.* 
No precise interpretation of those words of the Dec- 
laration were given, however, at that time ; nor were 
they called for. It was simply a recognition of the idea, 
that a people, having the need, may remodel or change 
their government ; and, in such a case as ours, the peace- 
able, legal way, undoubtedly, would be by that very form 
which was then introduced, — by petition, or by conven- 
tions, and so forth. But, to make this effective, there 
must be a majority of the people, of course, in such 

* See Memoir of John Quincy Adams. 


petitioning, or in meeting in convention. Mr. Adams, 
an ardent lover of his country, undoubtedly did not think 
it necessary or well to introduce this topic, and therefore, 
in presenting the petition, desired that the committee 
should be instructed to report unfavorably to it. 

From this history, we see with what repugnance 
the idea of breaking up the Union was originally received 
by the South, and their strong expressions of its treason- 
able nature. The balance has swayed round, and the 
North has had its turn in makinsr use of the same ex- 
pressions against the Southern attempt. We may thus 
believe that the first instinct of the people in general has 
been for a permanent Union. Any plausible theory 
being once broached, however, the mind will continue to 
dwell upon it, and, if possible, work it out to a logical 
result. Such has been the case with this theory of the 
dissolution of the Union. We were long familiar with 
the growing arguments of the Southern States for it, and 
we will now (as we have said) proceed to examine some 
which culminated at the North in its favor.* 

* Some of the following pages of these " arguments " were published 
in a few numbers of a weekly paper, — the only part of this work which 
has ever been in print. 




From the pamphlet* referred to on a previous page 
we quote : — 

Page 13. — " To us, it seems clear, that, according 
to the fundamental principles of our government, the 
secessionists are right in their main principle. If a 
State considers itself oppressed in the Union, it has a 
right to leave the Union peaceably. This is only affirm- 
ing the principles of self-government, which are asserted 
in the Declaration of Independence, and in almost every 
State Constitution. The Declaration of Independence 
asserts in terms, that, whenever any form of government 
becomes destructive of the ends of government, ' it is the 
right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute 
a new government ; laying its foundation on such princi- 
ples, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them 
shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.' 

" So too," continues the writer, " declares the Consti- 
tution of Massachusetts ; saying, that, ' when the objects 
of government are not obtained, the people have a right 
to alter the government.' 

" The Constitution of Maine says, . . . 'AH power 
is inherent in the people ; all free governments are 
founded in their authority, and instituted for their bene- 

* "Secession, Concession, or Self-possession: which? Boston: 1860." 


fit : they have, therefore, an inalienable and indefeasi- 
ble right to institute government, and to alter, reform, 
or totally change the same when their safety and happi- 
ness require it.' " 

The writer then specifies the Constitutions of most of 
the States, all of which declare the same thing. 

The correctness of this principle, — the power of the 
people to revise and remodel, or even wholly to alter or 
change, their government, with sufficient cause, — no one 
in a republican country will deny. But it is necessary 
in this argument to bear in mind, that although thus 
asserting, as they believed it, a general and universal 
principle, founded in natural rights of mankind, they 
were applying it (the Declaration) at that moment to 
the "people" of the United States; and the States, to 
their own particular selves as States. All of these, 
singly and in the mass, having been dependent colonies, 
but now feeling justified in holding themselves a free 
"people" and free "States," took to themselves the 
right of remodelling or creating anew their 'particular 
Constitutions^ and also a federative or central form of 
government ; each of the States, as colonies, having had 
a distinct and separate one before, and all of them to- 
gether a general one, under one monarch. 


But this general principle, although expressly applied 
to their peculiar condition at the time, as then stated, 
we cannot doubt would, thus recognized, become a pro- 
vision (whether so designed at that moment or not) in 
the States for them to alter or modify their Constitutions 
in future if they should deem it requisite, and, in the 
United States, for it also to re-form or modify its gov- 
ernment. Such an inherent "right" must, no doubt, 
be acknowledged in any rightly founded system. We 
cannot suppose, however, that any one of those new 
Constitutions meant to indicate in that principle, or in 
those " terms " laid down, that the inhabitants of any 
single town or any county in the State should thus 
revise and remodel, or alter and change, that Constitu- 
tion, according to its own especial ideas or purposes ; or 
that they were giving the right to any such town or 
county to abolish or throw oif that government (of the 
State), independently of the rest of the State. Had 
such an idea been theirs, it would undoubtedly have 
manifested itself in more explicit terms. On the con- 
trary, the State, in forming such Constitution, was in 
its people a unit, and its own author. It must undoubt- 
edly, therefore, be itself, the same unit, the same wliole 



people, — or a majority at least, — to re-form or re- 
model it. 

So, also, the Declaration of Independence, in the 
United Congress of the States, had reference only to the 
united people of those States ; that is, to the nation at 
large. We could not suppose, any more than in the case 
of the State Constitutions, that the authors of the Dec- 
laration of Independence, and of the Constitution suc- 
ceeding (for they are but the complement, one of the 
other, — what the one omits the other embraces, both 
together forming our political " system " ), — we could 
not suppose that they had in their minds — as far as 
those " terms," those " assertions," were designed for a 
future provision as occasion might demand — any idea 
of the citizens of any single State, independently, on 
their own account, abolishing or overthrowing that 
which belonged to, and had been declared for, all the 
States in general. Without doubt, they meant to imply 
that the power to revise, remodel, or " institute a new 
government," belonged to that very people, and to that 
only and intrinsically, which had possessed the old or 
former one ; and that was the united people. The Dec- 
laration and the Constitution belonged, not to one portion 


more than another, but to each and every part of the 
country equally. If, then, there were an implied princi- 
ple that any one of the States (whose population forms 
but a pari of the people in general) should undertake to 
do that of itself independently of the others, it would be 
giving it, to say the least, a tremendous power of detri- 
ment to the general well-being ; endangering the stability 
of that central, undivided government to every other 
portion of the people, no matter how happy, satisfied, 
or prosperous they might be under it. We cannot con- 
ceive of such an element of discord and confusion — 
injustice even, any one State having the power thus to 
disturb the whole nation — having been intentionally in- 
troduced into the very formation of our system, and as 
a fundamental principle. It has been suggested that a 
State might "withdraw" peaceably^ and so leave the 
others just as they were. The " withdrawing " is and 
can be only a rejection of the old government, and a form- 
ing of a new one, which is the very principle in ques- 
tion ; and, whenever that once occurs as a precedent, any 
other of the States must be entitled to the same over- 
throw or rejection whenever its citizens shall deem 
there is " cause " for it : and henceforth ihe General 


Constitution, or Government, would be only a thing to be 
cast off, shaken as a tottering pillar, by any who might 
choose to do it.* 

Rejecting then, as impossible, the introduction of such 
a fundamental principle on the part of the framers of 
our system, who were men of intelligence and devoted 
patriotism, and were undeniably endeavoring to secure 
the good of the whole country, or of the country as a 
whole, to our apprehension the only simple and reasona- 
ble construction of those " terms," " assertions," or prin- 
ciples, laid down (if they were not limited to that partic- 
ular occasion, but were to be carried over to the use of 
future times, — which, of course, they being a general 
principle, we must naturally infer), would be, that, as the 
people of the "United States" in general (in Congress 
assembled) had the right to form, originally, their own 
system of government, that sa^ne people, that is, the peo- 
ple of the " United States " in general^ in a similar man- 

* Experience has already shown how, fx'omthe very first suggestions 
of, to the filial attempt at, "withdrawal," or "seceding," — "peace- 
ably " or otherwise, — the whole nation was agitated to its foundations; 
which agitation and alarm, pervading every quarter of the country, was, 
no doubt, but a warning of the injury and danger that would accrue 
from the actual fact itself, and which, moreover, shows how intimately 
all are united in one general sympathy and interest. 



ner (in Congress assembled), — not any single or partial 
portion of it, or in a subversive and inimical manner, — 
must continue to have the same right to form a new sys- 
tem Or mode of government if they see fit. 

This appears to us the natural, and only natural, deduc- 
tion from the principle laid down in the Declaration of 
Independence ; and they themselves — the actors at that 
time — initiated or made emphatic this simple deduc- 
tion, by proceeding, ten years or so afterwards, to form 
a new Constitution, not finding from experience the old 
one to be sufficient ; and they have given an example to 
the nation in general for similar future action, whenever 
it may be necessary. But, in the mean time, we are to 
remember the one fundamental principle of any consti- 
tution whatever, — that, as long as it exists unrepealed, 
its articles are of binding force and obligation (unless, 
by tacit or general consent, they become obsolete). If 
any statute be oppressive to even a considerable portion 
of the people, it must no doubt wait, in an orderly way, 
until a majority shall be obtained to effect the remod- 
elling of that statute ; for which, provision is made in 
the very Constitution itself. There is, therefore (as has 
been said in the "Letters" of the First Section), no 


opportunity or occasion under our system of govern- 
ment for a revolution of force, an appeal to arms, for 
the people to obtain the redress which they require, 
unless the minority really and obviously possessed the 
more legitimate cause, and a majority could not be 
found sufficiently disposed to do them justice. In no 
other way, it appears to us, could there be a justifiable 
revolution by arms in this country ; and any thing less 
than a justifiable cause must assuredly class a resort to 
arms with " insurrection " or " rebellion." 

Unless, then, our people became greatly demoralized, 
we had no reason to anticipate a revolution of force 
such as have characterized other countries, and which, 
indeed, was the beginning of our own national ex- 

But we have wandered from our subject, and must 
return to the proposition of our author, — that any State 
has " a right to leave the Union peaceably," — that is, 
independently, — in accordance, as he infers, with that 
principle (the power of re-forming or re-modelling a 
government) laid down by the authors of the Declara- 
tion of Independence ; or, as he afterwards says, that 
their " right to go is asserted by the Declaration of 


ladependeDce, and in nearly every State Constitu- 

We maintain, as has been seen, the improbability, or 
we might say impossibility, of any such broad construc- 
tion of that principle, as simply stated, either in the 
State Constitutions or in the Declaration ; and that the 
framers of the latter were not thinking, at the moment, 
of applying it to any single State in distinction from the 
Union, is abundantly shown by the whole tenor of that 

The thirteen original colonies were all under one 
ruler, — the crowned head of England. They were in 
one and the same condition, each being aware of and 
recognizing it ; and, after long-repeated acts of oppres- 
sion from the mother-country, these thirteen colonies, as 
one, rose to resist that oppression. ^ No one can read the 
" declaration " signed by every one of those colonies, in 
which each had the same vital interest, and which was 
the spoken word for all, without perceiving that they 
were acting as one confederation, one band. 

Feeling themselves entitled, from their condition and 
the oppressive power exercised over them, to inde- 
pendence, and a separation from the former govern- 


ment of England, they style themselves at once, — no 
longer colonies, but States. They had all been one 
assemblage, under one and the same authority ; it was 
their normal condition : and now no change whatever 
was designed in their relations one with another, but 
the assumption of the name of " States" had reference 
only to their relations with England, as no longer 
" colonies." If there was any change in their natural 
condition and relation to each other as a family of sister 
colonies, or now States, it was only to strengthen and 
confirm their union. And this was indeed done in the 
establishing of the Continental Congress ; showing 
thereby, not a design of relinquishing all centralizing 
government, but merely of taking it from the parent 
country into their own hands, — the hands of this family 
of sister States. 

They allude to themselves, in the commencement of 
the Declaration of Independence, as " one people," to 
whom it had become necessary to " dissolve the political 
bands which had connected them with another, and to 
assume among the powers of the earth the separate and 
equal station" (using the word in the singular^ as of 
"one people") "to which the laws of Nature and 
of Nature's Grod entitle them." 


They then proceed, for " decency's sake," to justify 
themselves before the Avorld ; to enumerate the causes of 
complaint ; and speak of the refusal of laws for the 
" public good ; " invasions on the rights of " the people ; " 
the endeavor to prevent the " population of these 
States" (again in the singular, as " one people") ; send- 
ing swarms of officers to " harass our people ; " keeping 
" among us " standing armies ; subjecting " ws to a 
jurisdiction foreign to our constitutions, and unacknowl- 
edged by our laws ; " plundering " our seas ; " ravaging 
" our coasts ; " burning " our towns ; " constraining " our 
fellow-citizens ... to bear arms against their coun- 
try " (again in the singular, as of one). "A prince 
whose character is thus marked ... is unfit to be the 
ruler of a free people " (again as one). 

They go on to say, not " the representatives of South 
Carolina, of Georgia, of Massachusetts, of New York, 
of New Jersey," and so on, as separated States, but 
"we, therefore, the representatives of the United 
States of America, ... in the name and by the 
authority of the good people of these colonies " (still in 
the singular, as of one aim, one object, one people), 
" solemnly publish and declare that these United Colo- 


nies are, and of right ought to be, free and inde- 
pendent States ; " not free and independent of each 
other ^ — they are saying nothing about that, — but " that 
they are absolved from all allegiance to the British 
Crown, and that all political connection between them 
and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, 
totally dissolved ; and that, as free and independent 
States " (in contradistinction from being dependent on 
England), "they have full power to levy war, conclude 
peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do 
all other acts and things which independent States may 
of right do." * 

Throughout the Declaration, there is not a single allu- 
sion to any individual State as such ; which coincident 
testimony of itself must condemn the assertion of our 
author, that the " right " of any one "to go " (or secede) 
is asserted by the Declaration of Independence. 

* It might be objected, that the continued use of the terra 
" States " disproves the idea of a centralizing government. It merely 
shows, in our opinion, the fine instinct of republican institutions which 
existed in the very birth of our Government. As colonies, they had 
been independent in their domestic functions, one of another; and 
they were not thinking of altering those relations, but simply of form- 
ing a central authority to take the place of that which they had 
thrown off. 


Neither in the Constitution, afterwards formed, is there 
the least allusion to any such secession principle, or inde- 
pendent State's right, — the liberty to go or not, at 
pleasure : on the contrary, we will take from it some 
passages that completely militate against the idea, even, 
of such principles being implied. 

It commences speaking in the name of all, as did the 
Declaration : " We the people of the United States^ in 
order to form a more perfect union " (for the express pur- 
pose of making themselves perfectly one people), . . . 
" do ordain and establish this Constitution " (one and 
singular, as for one people) " for the United States 
of America. 

"The Congress" (one and general) "shall have 
power . . . to . . . provide for the common defence and 
general welfare of the United States ; ... to regulate 
commerce . . . among the several States ; ... to exer- 
cise exclusive legislation., in all cases whatsoever, . . . 
over all places purchased by the consent of the legisla- 
ture of the State in which the same shall be, for the 
erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, &c. 

" No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or con- 


federation ; grant letters of marque and reprisal ; coin 
money, &c. 

" No State shall, without the consent of Congress^ . . . 
keep troops, or ships of war, in time of peace, enter 
into any agreement or compact with another State, . . . 
nor any State be formed by the junction of two or more 
States, or parts of States, without the consent of the 
legislatures of the States concerned, as ivell as of the 
Congress. ... 

" The United States shall guarantee to every State in 
this Union a republican form of government, and shall 
protect each of them against invasion, and, on applica- 
tion of the legislature, . . . against domestic violence. 

" This Constitution, and the laws of the United States 
which shall be made in pursuance thereof, . . . shall 
be the supreme law of the land " (in general ; and in the 
singular, as one land) ; and the judges in every State 
shall be bound thereby, any thing in the Constitution or 
laws of any State to the contrary notivithstancling. . . . 

" The powers not delegated to the United States hy 
the Constitution^ nor prohibited hy it to the States, are 
reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." 


All the above, as well as the whole tenor of the Con- 
stitution, shows emphatically the paramount authority of 
the Constitution, of Congress, of the United States, over 
and above any independence of the individual States 
Had such government been arbitrarily imposed upon 
them, they would, no doubt, have the intrinsic right to 
rebel against it, and throw it off if they pleased, ac- 
cording to that fundamental principle of the Declaration 
of Independence which we have been examining. But 
that Constitution, and paramount authority, or Central 
Government, was voted for and confirmed by each one of 
those thirteen original States,* who were therefore a 
party to it, placing to it their hand and seal as their vol- 
untary work. Thus consenting and pledged, they no 
longer have the right to reject it, unless law is no law, 
and government no government, of no force and stabil- 
ity, and word and promise have no vital and honorable 
significance. The only way in which they could become 
rid of this constituted authority would be by the right 

* Every new State coming in, of course, gives the same allegiance; 
voting for and confirming the Constitution, and thereby becoming a 
party to it. 


of revolution ; and that, as we have seen, can only truly 
exist with a justifiable cause.* 

"We maintain therefore, after this review, that no ar- 
gument for secession, or that any State " has a right to 
go," — as is asserted by the author of our pamphlet, — 
can be drawn from the " terms " or principles laid down 
in either of the documents of our constituted government, 
but that, on the contrary, the whole weight of evidence 
is directly the other way. 

* That our system of government is a " national " one, and not a 
"confederation," or a compact between States, — besides being amply 
testified to, as we have seen, in the whole spirit and tenor, as well as 
precise expressions, of the Declaration and the Constitution, — is cor- 
roborated by the very pertinent paragraph (with which we were all 
made familiar by its going the rounds of the newspapers during the 
war) from a speech of Patrick Henry, showing the view taken of it 
by a contemporary statesman. He says, — 

" Have they said, ' We the States ' ? Have they made a proposal of 
a compact between States f If they had, this would be a confederation : 
it is, otherwise, most clearly a consolidated government. The whole 
question turns, sir, upon that poor little thing, the expression, ' We the 
people,^ instead of ' the States ' of America." 

Again: on another occasion, he asked " whether the county of Char- 
lotte would have any authority to dispute an obedience to the laws of 
Virginia; and he pronounced Virginia to be to the Union what the 
county of Charlotte was to her." 

Such emphatic explanation during that period, the period of its or- 
ganization, is sufficient to show the original meaning and intention of 
"the Union," 




We come now to another point taken up by our author, 

and which is involved in the last passage which we quoted 

from the Constitution ; namely, — 

" The powers not delegated to the United States by 


the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are 
reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." 

On this our author remarks, " Now, one of the pow- 
ers which the States and the people possessed before 
accepting the Constitution, was the power of deciding 
whether to be in the Union, or out of it ; for, otherwise, 
they could not have come in. Now, this power is no- 
where delegated to the United States, nor prohibited to 
the States : therefore it is still retained by them. This 
seems to me conclusive as regards the constitutional 
right of secession." 

What power is " still retained " ? Evidently the writer 
means the power of deciding whether to be in the Union, 
or out of it. 

Assuredly, this power of decision had been their own ; 
" otherwise," as the writer says, " they could not have 
come in." " They could not, certainly, on any republican 


principle ; for, if the Constitution had delegated to the 
United States the power of deciding for any State, or 
had prohibited it to the States themselves, these would 
truly have had the right of rebelling at any time, it not 
being their voluntarily chosen form of government. 
But this was not the position assumed by Congress : 
the States belonged to themselves, and owed no allegi- 
ance at that time but what they spontaneously gave. 
They had been a confederated Union indeed ; but this 
was instinctive, as it were, for their common defence : 
no compact or permanent pledged Union had been 
formed and ratified. But, in the new organization, no 
one was compelled or bound one way or the other : 
each was its own master, — had the acknowledged right 
of making its own decision. But from the very mo- 
ment that decision was made, and the pledge was given 
to join the Union, that power of deciding no longer ex- 
isted. The deed was done ; the "power" was employed 
to unite themselves ; and, from that moment, there could 
be no further use of it one way or the other. The 
opportunity was improved as they thought best ; and, in 
the fact of an affirmative decision, the " power " was, 


as it were, exhausted. There was no further call or 
occasion for the exercise of it : in short, it was finished, 
— swallowed up in the very act of deciding. In that 
state of union itself, there was nothing whatsoever of it 
left or remaining.* This, therefore, could not be one 
of the powers " reserved to the States respectively or to 
the people ; " nor can it be '' still retained by them," after 
such positive use and exhaustion of it. It was a power 
of deciding in reference to that single point, — of being 
in the Union, or out of it ; and, that settled, it died, or 
vanished absolutely. 

This cannot be " conclusive," therefore, for the "con- 
stitutional right of secession," as our author seems to 
think : but, on the contrary, it is, to our mind, conclu- 
sive precisely in the opposite direction ; namely, for 
NON-SECESSION, — for the impossibility of " seceding," — 
unless yes means no, and the affirmatory pledge and 
decision were of no weight or significance whatever. 

* So long as they hesitated, — were undecided, — the power, of 
course, remained ; but it appears to us a solecism to say, that, after 
the actual decision was made and sealed, they still possessed the 
power to decide. 





We extract again (page 17): — 

" Great stress has been laid by Judge Story, Mr. 
"Webster, and others, on the fact, that the preamble to the 
Constitution commences with the words, ' We the peo- 
ple of the United States,' and not, ' We the States.' 
This, no doubt, shows that the people Avere then act- 
ing in their sovereign capacity ; and this, I think, 
requires that they shall act in the same capacity if 
they secede. It must be the people who go out, as it 
was the people who came in. Secession cannot be 
accomplished by the act of a legislature, but must be ac- 
complished by a convention of the Avhole people in any 
State. This, I think, we have not only a right to de- 
maud, but are bound to insist upon by the article of 
the Constitution (art. iv. sect. 4) which declares, *• The 
United States shall guarantee to every State in this 
Union a republican form of government.' Judge Story, 
commenting on this, says, ' The people of each State 
have a right to protection against the tyranny of a 
domestic faction.' For these two reasons, therefore, 
no State should be allowed to secede until a majority 
of the .people of the State have distinctly voted for 

In this argument, there appears to us a remarkable 
oversight in the want of distinction between the " people 


of the United States " and that " of the States " individ- 
ually. A recognition of the former is apparent (or, at 
least, it is not denied) in this sentence: "This, no 
doubt, shows that the people were then acting in their 
sovereign capacity ; and this, I think, requires that they 
shall act in the same capacity if they secede. It must 
be the loeople who go out, as it was the people who 
came in." 

What people? The people of the United States, cer- 
tainly : it was they who were acting in their " sover- 
eign capacity." And the " people of the United States," 
undoubtedly, have the right of " seceding," if you 
choose, although we consider it a false term in this 
case, — in a body, that is, the whole people, — from their 
constituted government. Althougli it be the best and 
most harmanizing of all political relations, yet the 
"people," having made it, have the right, according to 
the fundamental principle of our Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, to reject it, and form another. But, in the 
very next sentence, the pamphlet unwarrantably and 
illogically substitutes for this people at large the people 
in general, the " people of the United States," those of 
a single State only. " Secession cannot be accom- 


plished by the act of a legislature, but must be ac-; 
complished by a convention of the whole people in any 
State" Again : " No State should be allowed to secede 
until a majority of the people of the State " have voted 
for it. 

This confusion of two separate and distinct things is 
assuredly as unjustifiable as it would be to substitute the 
votes of even all the inhabitants of a town or village 
for that of the whole State. 

There is also a singular oversight and inconsistency 
in the following out of this point in the next sentence of 
the paragraph : — 

"This (a convention of the whole people in any 
State), I think, we have not only a right to demand, 
but are bound to insist upon by the article of the Con- 
stitution . . . which declares, ' The United States shall 
guarantee to every State in this Union a republican 
form of government.' " 

Why, then, are we not " bound to insist " that it shall 
not secede, since it is impossible to guarantee such form 
of government to a seceded State? What possible 
authority or right could the United States have to 
" guarantee " any form of government at all to a State 


that had the " right " to secede, and was separate? If 
that State were " independent," and had an inherent 
right to be " out of the Union," not even the faintest 
shadow of authority could the United States have over 
her to require any kind of government whatever. This 
single article of the Constitution, therefore, that the 
United States shall guarantee to every State . . . a . . . 
form of government, nullifies even the possibility of se- 

So, too, " the people of each State have a right to 
protection against the tyranny of a domestic faction." * 

In some of the States where the secession movement 
took place, — as in Virginia, Missouri, Kentucky, and 
Tennessee (and, were the truth known, it would proba- 
bly have been found so in all the States), — there was, 
originally, a strong party for the Union. In these, 
therefore, secession could only be called a " domestic 
faction," — the "tyranny" of one portion of the people 
over another, sometimes even to compelling that other 

* The whole article iu the Constitution is this: "The United 
States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a republican form 
of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion, and, 
on application of the legislature or of the executive (when the 
legislature cannot be convened), against domestic violence." 


by force of arms. Such a condition of affairs required, 
in accordance with the statutes, that the National Gov- 
ernment should interfere with, put down, that " domes- 
tic violence." It was its bounden duty so to do, and 
a neglect of this would be unfaithfulness to the laws. 
If any party or majority in such State, however, had a 
"right "to proceed on the principle of secession, the 
National and State rights would inevitably and plainly 
thus be brought into collision. But so guarded were 
the framers of the Constitution against the rights of one 
conflicting with those of the other, that it is impossible 
to suppose, that, either designedly or carelessly, they 
would leave any such palpable point as this, where it 
would be impossible to avoid the conflict if each carried 
out its appropriate rights and powers ; and this in itself 
is an argument against secession. But, moreover, be- 
ing required to proceed against any cause of domestic 
violence (for, as no one in particular is specified, there 
can be no exception), the National Government is given 
a right over the secession or any other principle (of 
domestic faction) to put it down ; which again, of 
course, nullifies the power of secession. But, if this 
were an inherent and constitutional privilege in the 


State, the Federal G-overnment, in the required necessity 
of such proceeding, would have been invested with an 
arbitrary rule, unjustifiable, anti-republican, and incon- 
sistent with every other principle of our Constitution. 

" For these two reasons, therefore," — the necessity of 
guaranteeing to every State a republican form of govern- 
ment, and of protecting a State agaiust domestic vio- 
lence, — we argue, in opposition to our pamphlet, that 
no State should be allowed, or can be allowed, to secede, 
wlietlier or not a " majority of the people" (its people) 
have '*• distinctly voted for secession." 

This confounding of two things — the people of the 
United States in general, and those of a single State as 
such — has vitiated many an argument on this topic. The 
abolitionist orator, Mr. Phillips, plunged into the same 
illogical error in a speech made at the commencement of 
the war. He said, — 

" How did South Carolina and Massachusetts come 
into the Union? They came into it by a convention 
representing the people. South Carolina all(iges that 
she has gone out by convention. So far, right. She 
says, that, when the people take the States rightly out 
of the Union, the right to forts and national property 
goes with it. Granted. . . . Yes, the South has a 


right to secede ; the South has a right to model her 
government ; and, the moment she shows us four mil- 
lions of black voters even against it, I will acknowl- 
edge the Declaration of Independence is complied with ; 
that the People south of Mason and Dixon's Line 
have remodelled their government to suit themselves, 
and our function is only to recognize it." 

Mr. Phillips brings forward a similar opinion of John 
Quincy Adams, in the following passage. He says, 
" Recognizing the right of the people of a State, . . . 
Mr. Adams says, ' The people of each State in the 
Union have a right to secede from the Confederate 
Union itself.' " 

All this, to our mind, is but trifling with the simple 
facts, and is as inconsistent and mischievous an error as 
can be maintained. We have already acknowledged a 
revolutionary right, where there is no other mode of 
redress ; but this is wholly distinct from the political 
doctrine of secession, as we shall hereafter see. 

To say that a single State, on the ground of its people 
alone voting, can defeat, and thus break up, the National 
Government, is, to our mind, no more plausible than to 
aver the same of any single town in regard to its State 
government. In its own municipal affairs, it is perfe^^'' 



independent, and can remodel them ; but, when it comes 
to State legislation, it cannot, of itself, lay one finger 
upon it. 



We cite again from the pamphlet : — 

" Acting on this principle, which is the foundation of 
all republics, that sovereign power resides in the people, 
and that they have a right to change, abolish, or renew 
their form of government at pleasure, we have seen 
this very year several States in Europe vote themselves 
out of one union, and into another." 

Here we must query what was the principle on which 
those provinces of Italy voted themselves " out of one 
union into another." For foundation, it will be neces- 
sary to knoAv what had been the actual state of Italy. 

It was a country, which in geographical position, in 
unity of climate, productions, &c. (or with little diver- 
sity), is naturally one, and also from the characteristics 
and language of its inhabitants : but still more was it 
intrinsically one by sentiment, and the spark, the fire of 
u7iion, which for centuries had been smouldering in the 


veins, in every part — in the north, south, east, and west 
— of that beautiful but unhappy land ; unhappy, be- 
cause in every position, from the remotest times, it had 
been torn in pieces, the victim and the prey of whoever 
should be successful enough to seize upon the spoils. 
But, notwithstanding such repressing and covering up of 
the native instinct of the people, — of unity and of pa- 
triotism, — that instinct, that sentiment, that fire, was only 
smothered, never extinguished, but ever ready to burst 
out the more vividly whenever there was the least open- 
ing, the least lifting-up of that bondage from a people 
who had the same inalienable right to be free and pros- 
perous as we in our more fortunate condition. 

This burning, imperishable desire for unity of nation 
and purpose, had, from time immemorial, caused the 
ever-struggling attempt of the Italian people. It was 
but claiming the right to that, which, from the undue 
dominion or interference of others, they never had pos- 
sessed. In such a case, they, and every other nation 
on the face of the earth (we ourselves were once of 
that number), had the right of revolution until they 
could right themselves ; until they could obtain the place 
to which they had a natural right by every law, human 


and divine, — the right of self-jpossession ; to be them- 
selves, their own masters ; an independent people, free of 
a,ny foreign power, — power outside of their own penin- 
sula, their own domain. On this right of revolution, — 
the right to right themselves, — the Italian States separated 
themselves from one condition (because it did not meet 
their rightful needs and desires), and joined themselves to 
others. It was revolution (there being a justifiable 
cause), although effected by quiet vote. Who shall 
say that it was not lawfully " revolution," although 
peaceably done? 

In no way that we can see, could they, a subjected 
and an oppressed people, groping instinctively, with a 
God-given right to he themselves, to possess themselves, to 
have the privileges of nations, — in no manner, it appears 
to us, could their condition be regarded as on a level with 
that of our Southern States. The former were emphati- 
cally justified on the principle w^hich we as republicans 
profess, in endeavoring to attain the position which they 
never yet had reached, — that of being "free," and 
" equal " with any other nation. Our Southern States, 
on the contrary, were already free, and equal a\ itli every 
other State in the Union, and, in that Union, with every 


other nation on the globe ; and in their course they were 
violating the natural principles of fraternity and unity, 
which the Italian States, in their endeavor, were seeking 
but to strengthen and to cherish. 

Further : " The people of Savoy and Nice have 
voted to secede from Sardinia, and join themselves to 
France. True, this movement was not initiated by the 
people, but originated with their government ; yet, when 
the governments called upon them to vote on the ques- 
tion, they distinctly recognized this right in the people. 
We have also seen Parma, Modena, Tuscany, Naples, 
and Sicily, and most of the provinces of the Pontifical 
States, annex themselves by a popular vote to the king- 
dom of Sardinia. Europe recognizes, at least by acqui- 
escence, their right to do so." 

What possible parallel has this secession, or, more 
properly, cession to France of the provinces of Savoy 
and Nice, instituted by the government, — the people 
being simply called upon to vote, to express whether 
they preferred to go or remain, — what parallel has this 
with or what likeness to the armed designs initiated by 
our people, in the name of " secession," against tlieir 
own organized government, to which they were legally 
bound? The recognition of those European "govern- 
ments" of that "right in the people," was simply, in 


our opinion, that the latter should have a voice in a mat- 
ter which concerned so closely their attachments or their 
interests ; and that the governments would not take upon 
themselves the responsibility of an arbitrary transfer, 
but one according to the voluntarily-expressed wish of 
the people ; and was not, by any means, acknowledging 
an " independent right " in the people to leave, whether 
or no. On the contrary, we cannot but be aware, from 
all history and experience, that every nation in Europe 
would rouse to arms on the mere annunciation of such a 
principle in any part of their dominions ; and that they 
have never dreamed of recognizing such, even by " ac- 

The voluntary annexation of the other States to Sar- 
dinia was but the exercise, although by peaceable vote, 
as was before said, of their lawful right of revolution, 
inasmuch as they had not hitherto attained to tlie condi- 
tion to which they were entitled by Nature and by God, 
— that of choosing their own government ; and now, as 
they had the opportunity, were but justly using this 

Again : — 

" The most striking case, however, is that of . . . 


(those) . . . which have seceded from the Pontifical 
States, and annexed themselves to a foreign power. The 
Papal Court complains, and endeavors to retain them by 
force ; but even the Catholic powers of Europe refuse to 
aid it. Thus even the despotic powers of Europe ac- 
quiesce in the exercise of this right of secession. We 
also approve of it when it is exercised by an Italian 
State. Shall we deny the right only to the people of our 
own States ? " 

Who does not know that here comes in another prin- 
ciple, — that of separating the spiritual and temporal 
powers? What State of Europe, under its political or 
State leaders, although Papal in religion, would not 
rejoice and be thankful that the people of the Pontifical 
States themselves had taken this point, which had been 
so much desired, into their own hands? and they 
would not — long hoping and desiring this just separa- 
tion — raise one finger to obstruct or hinder it. Thus, 
indeed, even the despotic governments of Europe, as well 
as all republican governments, would and do gladly 
"acquiesce" in the exercise of this right of secession, 
— the separation of the temporal from the spiritual au- 
thority : yes, we also approve it, be the right exercised 
in an Italian or any other State. Every Protestant na- 
tion knows by instinct that it is a proper, lawful, and 



needful separation. But is such what the " people of 
our States" were seeking? Were they, in declaring 
the principle of secession from the Union, struggling for 
their existence, — for an equal, just, and honorable exist- 
ence ? "Were they endeavoring to free themselves from a 
difficult and baleful politico-religious combination? 

When the premises are the same, we will not indeed 
deny to the " people of our own States " the rights which 
we " approve " when exercised by an "Italian State." 



We quote again (page 18) : — 

" What is the difference between revolution and seces- 
sion, but this, — that revolution is secession accomplished 
forcibly, secession is revolution accomplished peaceably? 
If the British Government had agreed to our independ- 
ence, our Revolution would have been peaceable seces- 
sion. Who was to blame for its not being so? The 
power which refused to let us go peaceably ; for, if we 
had a right to go. Great Britain had no right to prevent 
us from going. - If, therefore, you grant the right of 



revolution, you grant with it thq right of secession. The 
greater inckides the less. If a State has a right to obtain 
its independence by force, it certainly has a right to ob- 
tain its independence peaceably. I do not see how those 
who grant the right of revolution can deny the right of 

Here, as it appears to us, is revealed the grand error 
underlying almost all arguments in favor of secession, — 
the confounding of two things essentially distinct. Revo- 
lution (as has been several times repeated) is a natural 
and God-given right, and will ever be continued and 
lawfully exercised so long as peoples, nations, states, or 
provinces, are not in a just position, and have force 
enough to try to obtain such for themselves. There can 
be, therefore, no limit to revolutions, as regards the 
^principle : there may and probably will be modifications ; 
and, as civilization or enlightenment advances, they will 
become, it is presumed, more and more peaceable, — 
less violent, — as has been so eminently shown in the late 
Italian revolutions being effected, in some places, by the 

This principle of revolution has existed ever since the 
world began, and will probably last as long as it shall 


The principle of secession, on the contrary, is a politi- 
cal assumption, and has come into existence (the es- 
pecial form of it with which we have contended) now, in 
this era, for the first time. It is sui generis ; a principle 
raised for the special occasion. Never before in the 
history of the world has there been one announced with 
such premise ; namely, abandoning, violating, breaking 
up, a national government, which had led hitherto to 
greatness and unexampled prosperity ; all whose ma- 
chinery had worked in a marvellously and unprecedent- 
edly happy manner ; in the midst of such favorable 
public conditions, assuming the right to throw to the 
winds all this national, governmental machinery, in so 
full and successful operation, to experiment in making 
some othei". Did ever, in the whole experience of man- 
kind, the magistrates, the representatives, the senators, 
of a people, thus recklessly trample on the peaceful hap- 
piness of tliat people, flinging suddenly away all their 
usual privileges and facilities, depriving them of their 
accustomed course, and substituting for this a made-up 
system of their own, to which neither Providence nor 
necessity had impelled them ; a new government, requir- 
ing limitless means to put it in operation, thereby bur- 


dening and impoverishing the populations by new and 
extraordinary taxes laid upon them ; in one word, check- 
ing, stopping, all their habitual modes and channels, and 
requiring them to turn into new ones? A revolution in 
the wrong way, we should say, was this. Revolution is 
to improve, make better : this was revolutionizing from 
prosperous to adverse fortune, from plenty and peace 
to restriction and instability (for we cannot presume that 
a new government of so sudden, superficial a forma- 
tion, and driven to by no inevitable, providentially-guided 
circumstances, could ever have proved a firm and solid 
one) ; all this in the name of a principle newly, and only 
politically (not naturally), developed, — manufactured^ 
we might say, witli pains and labor. 

There is no resemblance in this assumed idea of poli- 
ticians, — the leaders of the people ; for we will ven- 
ture to pronounce it an impossibility that such could ever 
have originated with the masses of a population pursu- 
ing their quiet avocations unoppressed and uninjured. 
There is no resemblance, we say, in such " political 
a"ssumption," to the inalienable privilege of " revolu- 
tion," — seeking to improve one's condition, — and 
which is given by Nature and by God to even the poorest 


and humblest of mankind ; and, indeed, is most often 
put in motion by them. 

Right revokition, then, is the using a lawful power of 
change, either by force or by vote, as need may be, as 
was done in the Italian States. " Secession " is a po- 
litical theory carried out for political purposes and ends. 
True revolution originates, perhaps always, with the 
masses. Secession was a movement of the rulers, or 
office-holders. It is no argument against this, that a 
large or even immense proportion of the people of the 
Southern States went at first with their rulers. Men 
of any capacity or talent can always succeed in carrying 
the people with them, for a time at least, until the 
good sense or intelligence of that people may discover 
a want of base to their plausible representations. Then, 
if that time should come, the people would of themselves 
initiate a counter-movement to repel that false one 
of their leaders ; which, thus originating, and thus well 
founded, would be true, right " revolution." This is 
but an illustration of the simple republican principle 
of our institutions, — that it is the people who move 
and plan : the officers are but the index, the exponent, 



of their will. It was the people who framed the Con- 
stitution : the magistrates but carry it out. 

And this, again, puts secession on the wrong ground ; 
as, in general, it was not submitted to the people of even 
those States themselves. The officers were acting their 
own will, not the will expressed of the people. In 
other words, the head v/as trying to do the work which 
did not belong to it, — the work of the body ; and we 
must believe that it would necessarily and inevitably, in 
the end, therefore, fall through. 

It must be j^lainly seen, then, that our separation from 
Great Britain can by no means be classed with the 
attempt of the Southern States at secession. The 
former Avas instinct in the community : it was the 
"body" emphatically moving, instead of the "head." 
The magistrates or rulers, the highest officers * at least, 
distinctly opposed it. It was the reverse of the 
Southern movement ; and with all its grounds, its 
" Bill of Rights," and of defence, we can but consider 
it, — and all society has hitherto considered it, — rightly, 
truly, lawfully, revolution, in the broadest, grandest, 
and most vital sense of the word. It might, indeed, 

* The king and the royal governors. 


have been a " peaceable " separation, could Great Brit- 
ain have been wise and far-seeing enough (which was 
hardly to be expected of those times) to let her grown 
and matured colonies go peacefully from under her 
bosom with her blessing, as a daughter or a son from 
their father's and mother's house. With three thousand 
miles of ocean between, with a new home already 
formed, distinct in its w»ants and purposes, it was not 
possible for the far-absent parent to oversee and care 
for it as it required. A branch, laden and weighed 
down with its own growth, breaks off of itself, or inevi- 
tably tends to ; and it is in vain to endeavor, by prop- 
ping it up, to render it vital again on its native stem. 
Better to lop it off, and set it out, a shoot by itself, to 
send forth its own branches and roots, : — a separate 
tree. Similar is the natural growth of prosperous 
nations, or like a spreading family, — each member 
becoming the parent of a new one. It was scarcely 
singular, perhaps, that the natural and inevitable 
necessity of such a separation should have come un- 
gratefully to Great Britain : it was but the pain which 
every mother feels in her child's rending itself from 
her, never more to be under her especial sway ; which, 


however, gives place at length to cheerful acquiescence 
in one case and the other.* 

Such necessities, such separations, naay occur again. 
England, in her far-distant province of India, has 
another growing daughter, which now, we may be- 
lieve, needs her fostering care to train, to educate, and 
prepare for an equal and just position in the world ; 
to which, perhaps, she may* come in time. That 
daughter, impatient of those restrictions, sought, in 
her wildness, to break away; but the "crushing" 
of that " rebellion " in India we can only believe to 
have been providential, for her own good. She had 
not the capability of going alone in any enlightened 
way. But, when that period shall come, — as by 
analogy we -presume it one day may, though perhaps 
not for centuries, — will England be wise enough to 
let her depart if she so desire, with her natural and 
inalienable right of being free? And shall Ave, should 
our distant States and Territories, — separated from 

* A liappy illustration of this is the frank, courteous way in which 
the first minister from the United States, Mr. John Adnms, was re- 
ceived at the court of St. James " I was the last," said the king, " to 
acknowledge their independence, but will be the first to welcome tneir 


US by that great natural barrier, the Rocky Moun- 
tains, — should they one day have the desire to go free, 
shall we have the wisdom to let them depart in peace ? 
It may not be so : they may never wish to leave us. 
Our form of government may prove itself of such 
perfection, and all facilities overcoming natural dif- 
ficulties may bind us so closely, that Ave may still 
continue an extended nation. But should they desire 
it otherwise, feeling it necessary in their growth and 
progress, and should the principle of natural separation 
not be well understood or allowed, there might be, 
some time hence, a revolution of force initiated by 
them, similar to ours with England, for the purpose 
of setting up an independence of their own. In such 
a case, where there is every natural (geographical) 
and reasonable necessity for such separation, a State 
has a " right " to obtain its independence " peaceably," 
otherwise by force. 

But the present case forms no parallel with either 
of these until it can be shown that there were plausible 
and just foundations for a revolution by force in our 
Southern States. When this is proved, we can no 
longer call their course " secession," but " revolu- 



tion," and we must allow them the full privilege of 
that "right;" in the mean time, however, "denying" 
the right of secession on the grounds they claim, as a 
distinct principle from the other, and opposite to it. 
Secession, in its movements, was subversive : the 
essential idea of revolution, on the contrary, is jpro- 



"It is idle to hope to keep States in the Union 
against their will. . . . Suppose that, by using the 
whole military and naval power of the United States, 
we should conquer South Carolina : what should we 
do with it after it was conquered? How hold it as a 
conquered State? How guarantee to it republican 
institutions, when we are occupying it with a military 
force? Such questions show how impossible it is to 
attempt to prevent secession by exercising the force of 
the Government." 

Here, again, we blame the little penetration, or the 
" oversight," when such great questions as these are at 
stake. Who ever dreamed of "conquering" "South 
Carolina," or any other State ? * Who expected to 

* The "arguments" of this section, as well as the first and third 
sections, were written during the war, before the theory of " conquest 
of States," as such, was broached. 


hold it when peace should be settled, occupying it with 
a "military force"? The object, the call of the war on 
the part of the Government, w^as to quell, subdue, put 
down "rebellion," not a "State." Had it (the Gov- 
ernment) set about so anti-constitutional a thing as the 
conquering a State, would it have carried out all its 
measures so " constitutionally"? Would it not at once, 
and as the very first necessity, have gone to work and 
thrown overboard the Constitution, and every restriction 
pertaining to it ? But more than this : who does not 
know that this Rebellion, although it professed to be a 
State movement indeed, was not, in its commencement, 
universal in those States themselves, but w^as initiated 
by partisan leaders ? (as was alluded to in the last para- 
graph.) The legislative officers alone do not form the 
State : it must be the people who originate vital changes ; 
the people, personated "by the legislative body, who act 
according to its expressed will. But the ordinances of 
secession were not, in general, submitted to the people ; 
and it is well known that in several States, in the be- 
ginning of the movement, there was a large minority at 
least, and in some States there were actual majorities, 
against those ordinances. Were those loyal citizens to 


be confounded with the disloyal? and, in "conquering 
the State," were they to be conquered also as "rebels"? 
Were the faithful men in Kentucky, Missouri, Eastern 
Tennessee, Western Virginia, and wherever else they 
might be scattered, — were they to be stigmatized and 
subjugated and conquered as traitors and insurgents? 
(for "the State" includes all its members, right or 
wrong, of loyal or disloyal mood.) Heaven forbid ! 
On the contrary, the Federal Government, proceeding 
in its simple right against the Rebellion as such, would 
affect only those concerned in it : the remainder of the 
inhabitants would be eventually free to carry on their 
State affairs as before. Its republican institutions were 
untouched, and were still guaranteed to it by the very 
fact of a force putting down that Rebellion, in order that 
things might go on in their usual republican channels ; 
and just as long, indeed, as there- should be a symptom 
of rebellion (in arms) remaining, so long, for guaranty 
and safety, there must and should be even a " military 
force " sustained, not for holding it as a conquered 
province, but for the express purpose of preserving and 
" guaranteeing to it its republican institutions," that 
they might not be violated or broken by any rebellion 



or insurrection whatever. All of which is but in conso- 
nance with the requisitions of the Constitution in that 
respect; and also with that other provision, that any 
State shall be protected against the "tyranny" of a 
" domestic faction," and from " invasion " by any other 

This was eminently the condition of some of the 
States, as Ketitucky, &c. ; thus demanding a constitu- 
tional interference of the National Government by its 
military and naval force. We need not fear, therefore, 
that even " military " force, when thus necessarily em- 
ployed, is unconstitutional or anti-republican. 

" Such questions," then, do not, to our mind, show 
"how impossible it is to attempt to prevent secession by 
exercising the force of the Government," but simply 
show, that, wheji secession employs force, it must he met by 



(Pages 21, 45, 46): "The result, therefore, of our 
argument, is this : States have a right to secede ; but se- 
cession must be the work of the whole people. The 


people must vote distinctly on that issue ; and the sepa- 
ration must be accomplished regularly and deliberately, 
not by violence, but by an orderly method. 

" South Carolina has put herself iu the wrong by her 
rebellious acts and her revolutionary measures. She 
has seemed to choose armed revolution rather than 
peaceable secession. While we believe a State has a 
right to secede, we also believe that it must be done 
peaceably, and by agreement with the other States. 
This she must try first ; and, failing this, sha may resort 
to revolution. But South Carolina has not tried this. 
Instead of asking leave to secede, and treating on the 
terms of secession, she has rent herself away by vio- 
lence, and seized the property of the Union. This 
ought not to be allowed. She must be compelled to 
keep the peace, first ; and then we may proceed to treat 
with her. . . . We cannot coerce a State to remain in 
the Union against its will : we must not attempt to do 
this. But we will not allow any State to go out in a 
violent and revolutionary way. The laws must be 
obeyed by all parts of the country till any part is 
formally released from that obedience by the common 
consent. The public property seized by South Carolina 
must be restored : then we can treat with her about 
seceding. ... 

"When peace is restored, when the laws are enforced, 
when the country is quiet, then, if the Southern States, 
or any of them, desire to leave the Union, in my opin- 
ion they should be allowed to do so." 

Contrary to the conclusion of our author, as the result 



of his argument, that the "■ States have a right to se- 
cede," we believe it has been shown conclusively, that 
the arguments made use of are null and void, and must 
lead to the acknowledgment of no such right whatever, 
but to exactly the reverse, — that they have no right 
to secede. 

Throughout these last quotations, there is an almost 
inextricable confusion of ideas ; which ideas, if true, 
would show the same inextricable confusion in our 
system of government. We will attempt to unravel 
or examine them, in a measure. 

If, in the first paragraph, is meant by the luhole people 
the people of the " United States," we entirely agree 
with the writer, that it must be they to vote upon the 
issue, as it was by the Avhole people, in such a sense, 
that the Government was formed : and, as we have said 
before, the United States, in a hodi/, assuredly have a 
right to secede (if one chooses to employ that term ; 
although, as was formerly said, we consider it an erro- 
neous and inappropriate one in this case) from their 
constituted government, and to form another ; that is, 
they have the right to remodel it, as is implied in the 
foundation principle of our Declaration. But, in order 


to be consistent with or to be interpreted by a former 
paragrapli of the pamphlet (which was extracted under 
the Third Argument), the expression, the "whole peo- 
ple," was undoubtedly intended by the writer, in lliis 
instance, to be limited to the whole people of a Stale; as 
he said, " Secession . . . must be accomplished by a 
convention of the whole people in any State. . . . No 
State should be allowed to secede until a majority of the 
people of the State have distinctly voted for secession." 

If, then, a State is given distinctly the right of itself 
to secede, and we " cannot coerce it against its will to 
remain in the Union," what have we, what h;is any 
one, a right to say about its mode of doing it? 

There might be some civility, some etiquette, in 
*' standing upon the order of its going ; " but there 
could be nothing essential in the manner of it, one 
way or another. What have we to say, if she " rends 
herself away by violence," instead of politely asking 
"leave" to secede? What are we, that we are "not 
to allow" her, if she has the right, her own course? 
How can we "compel her to keep the peace iirst"? 
how demand that she shall be only " formally " released? 
If she has a right, it must undoubtedly be emphatically 


a " right ; " otherwise it is of no value or avail 

But that the " people " of the United States should 
be made to mean the " people of a State," singly, we 
have already discovered (in tlie Third Argument) to 
be a wholly unwarranted and illogical construction ; 
and our pamphlet itself, practically, although not for- 
mally, recedes from that position (as we perceive in these 
last extracts), and adopts the other, as follows, — 
that if the individual States do act " regularly and 
deliberately " by their own vote, yet this must be 
also combined with tlie vote or voice of all the States ; 
or, in the author's words, " it must be done . . . ])y 
agreement with the other States, . . . treating on tlio 
terms of secession. . . . The laws must be obeyed by 
all parts of the country till any part is formally re- 
leased from that obedience by the common consent. . . . 
When the laws are enforced, . . . then, if . . . any of 
them desire to leave the Union, . . . they should be 
allowed to do so." 

If, then, the " allowance," consent, agreement, of 
the whole is required, where is the right, the " inde- 
pendent " right, of secession? (and, if it is not "in- 


dependent," it is no available right whatever.) If it is 
courtesy only which requires the whole to be con- 
sulted, and our dignity only which claims it, we surely 
might waive it in a case, a point, which the secessionists 
had taken so seriously to heart, especially where an 
intrinsic "right" was concerned; and, if they choose 
to omit such courtesy or ceremony^ not even saying, 
" By your leave," we cannot be justified in enforcing 
it at the point of the bayonet, any more than they aan 
be in going out in a " violent and revolutionary " way. 
It would be much more to our " dignity," on the con- 
trary, silently to let them proceed as they pleased. 
We must remember also, in this case, that that violent 
and revolutionary way, on their part, was in conse- 
quence of the attitude of resistance on ours ; which 
would give us the double responsibility of their wrong 
and our own, in a want of dignified propriety. 

We perceive then, by this " unravelling," an incon- 
sistency of ideas from the beginning to the end. If a 
State has a right to secede by its own vote, and we 
must "not attempt" to "coerce" it to remain in the 
Union, how can there be the requisition of a consulta- 
tion and an agreement, or any propriety in our insist- 


ing that it shall and must keep the laws of the Union, 
from which it is, per se, at liberty to recede ? The two 
appear to us simply incompatible, and a confused med- 
ley, without harmony or basis ; and,' were our organic 
Constitution of the same incompatible mixture, it could 
only be to us '' confusion worse confounded." The 
inconsistency of these two propositions, deeming them 
both essential, as the pamphlet argues, — granting the 
right, and yet not the right, — to our mind, therefore, 
knocks the argument of secession in the very head. 

*' But the Union," continues the pamphlet, " will 
remain the same glorious Union without them (the 
seceding States*) as with them. The disturbing ele- 
ments eliminated, it will rise to a greater height of 
prosperity and power. . . . 

" To admit the right of secession will not tend to 
break up the Union, or make it unstable, because the 
majority of the States are contented and prosperous in 
the Union. As long as they find the Union a benefit 
and blessing, and for a good Avhile longer, they will 
continue in it : when they cease to find it so, they cannot 
be retained." 

By " the Union," it is presumed, is to be understood 
our country, as it always has been since it came into 
national existence by solemn league and compact, 


pledge and promise ; in other words, that it is but a 
synonyme with our " country." To say, therefore, that 
it can be divided, separated, destroyed, and broken, by 
taking back this league, compact, pledge, and promise, 
— leaving each constituent part to go free, — and yet 
remain one country as before, is simple contradiction, 
and an impossibility. That the Northern or any other 
congregation of States, in a separated condition, — if 
faithful to right ideas, — might still possess a " glori- 
ous " government, is not to be denied ; but this is an 
entirely different question, and one with which we 
have now nothing to do. We are simply to look at 
our country — our Union — as it always has been, and 
to the one general Constitution of the Northern, South- 
ern, Eastern, and Western States. To our mind, ad- 
mitting into- this country — this positive, hitherto 
undivided Union, this one and general Constitution — 
the right of secession, is but introducing, not " elimi- 
nating," " disturbing elements ; " and should the united 
voice of our people, legitimately, in Congress assembled, 
take the issue of granting this right to any individual 
State, or to aggregated States, " allowing," " treating 
on," or " agreeing "to, " terms of secession," it is no 


longer a " glorious Union,'* — our "glorious" country, — 
but is dissolved, and vanishing. It can no more 
" guarantee " to any State republican institutions, nor 
even that we — thus separated — should have any 
national republican existence ; since any other "^con- 
federated States," north or south, east or west, one after 
another, might leave on any day, or at any hour, on 
the same " admitted right," — by their own choice, 
on their own showing. And our National Government 
or Constitution will then have proved itself but a 
dream, a reed shaken by the wind, a feather wafted 
away by whoever might breathe upon it. " Unstable 
as water," it ' could not " excel," nor even remain : 
in short, there would he nothing to remain^ — each or 
any part departing, one after another. It would but 
have shown itself, and passed away, the " baseless 
fabric of a vision." 

The very act of secession, therefore, is a breaking- 
up of the Union ; and it would but be laying a " flatter- 
ing unction to our souls," to argue, on the ground of 
contentment and prosperity, that the majority of the 
States Avould still continue in stability. If the cor- 
rectness of the principle be admitted, and they have the 


right, no contentment or prosperity whatsoever would 
be any guaranty. No enduring government in this 
age, certainly, could be built on such a basis simply, — 
with rights and i^rinciples ignored. Individuals and 
nations are incessantly and intuitively working to 
fathom their rights and privileges, — to know the 
principles, the foundations, on which they stand ; and 
never are they at rest until these are understood 
and acted upon. Among any intelligent people, the 
mind must be informed and enlightened, as well as 
the body possessed in peace and comfort ; and it would 
bCj therefore, but vain and delusive to hope to keep in 
the background so forcible a^ principle underlying ; or 
to expect that any of our nervous, mentally restless 
populations, always '•'• seeking some new thing," would 
remain stable and conservative in the " Union," instead 
of living up to the " rights and privileges" which the 
rest of the nation had attained to, and going off, one 
division here, another there, in so many independent 
communities, and on any foundation they might 

Our author himself admits this uncertainty and 
instability when lie says, '' As long as they find the 


Union a benefit and a blessing, . . . they will continue 
in it : when they cease to find it so, they cannot be 

If, then, we would perpetuate a " glorious Union," — 
as the pamphlet elsewhere says, — cherishing " faith 
in justice, humanity, and freedom," believing in the 
" principles of democracy and true republicanism," 
embodying those principles in " suitable institutions," 
let us not violate the great system of States, which now 
makes our Union, our Country, our Constitution, the 
vehicle and instrument for carrying out, in its progress, 
eventually, it is to be hoped, all of these. Let us not 
break this link or chain of our formed and pledged 
nationalitij., and in its place introduce that fabulous 
chimera (disunion or secession), which has no likeness 
in heaven or on earth ; that hydra-headed monster, 
wliich would form of this one nation — so able, capable, 
and efficient a force amoug the powers of the earth — 
a hundred, perhaps a thousand, petty domains, irrespon- 
sible, except for their own private fantasies, and 
which might be pledged to any erroneous principle. 
Of this we have already had confirmation in the at- 


tempt of the confederated States to base a new govern 
ment on the foundation of slavery. 

Here we cannot forbear pausing to touch upon the 
argument of those who have formerly favored a disrup 
tiou of the Union in order that iwe, the citizens of the 
free States, might be exempt from responsibility of 
the great wrongs of slavery ; they not appearing to 
perceive that thereby those wrongs, unrestricted by 
the constitutional limits Avhich had surrounded them,* 
would have been henceforth cast loose upon the world, to 
thrive and flourish in their own independent, unrestrained 
position. Surely, if to save a soul from death is to 
shine as the stars in the firmament of heaven, the con- 
verse must be equally true, that voluntarily to cast one 
out into the way of destruction would be but to fasten 
on our own souls the chains of the fathomless abyss ; 

* Mr. John Stuart Mill, in his "Contest in America," in reference 
to such an event, makes use of the following expressive language : — 

" Suppose that the . . . Confederation . • . takes its place as an ad- 
mitted member of the community of nations. . . . Are we (the English) 
to see with indifference its victorious army let loose to propagate their 
xiational faith at the rifle's mouth through Mexico and Central Amer- 
ica? Shall we submit to see fire and sword carried over Cuba and 
Porto Rico, and Hayti and Liberia conquered, and brought back to 
slavery? " 


we being verily guilty of that additional thriving, 
flourishing, sin, and wrong-doing. Thus casting it 
away from its confines, we should but have put oil on 
t!ie burning waves, have added so much fuel to the 

Is it patient, forbearing, long-suffering. Christian^ in 
short, to leave one to go on his own way, regardless 
of the consequences, because, forsooth, we wish to clear 
our skirts of his error? We may, and we must, in- 
deed, clear ourselves of the error ; we must not take of 
the accursed thing ; no inducement whatever should 
bring us personally under the same. " Touch not, taste 
not, handle not ; " and as we Avould cling to, and guard 
or watch, and entreat, a member of a family ; so might 
we and should we, whenever opportunity offered, have 
endeavored faithfully to persuade and influence our 
sister States. But is it brave, manly, generous, up- 
right, to cast one off on account of what we deem one's 
sin, and to say, " We will have nothing to do with 

* How far this sentiment, which, it must be acknowledged, for- 
merly prevailed to a considerable extent at the North, — though never, 
we believe, to the extent that the Southerners supposed, — how far 
this sentiment had a practical effect in alienating and exasperating 


Not so would a parent turn from a child, not so 
should brother separate himself from brother. One 
might be wilful and persisting, and by main force 
depart from us ; but then we should no longer be 
responsible : and, if our Southern States had succeeded 
in thus wilfully leaving the Union, the wrong would 
have been upon their own head : we were free. In 
this way only, morally^ we cannot control, we cannot 
" coerce them against their will." As memhers of a 
family^ we, individually, as sister States, are not given 
authority one over another ; nor, if we were, should 
we have the power to produce moral assent and ohedi- 

the South, we shall probably never know. That influence is partially 
shown, however, in a late statement of Alexander H. Stephens, who, 
during the war, was Vice-President of the Confederate States. It occurs 
in a letter (July 23, 1866) in regard to the Philadelphia Convention. 
It is as follows: " I did, in 1860, exert my efibrts to their utmost extent 
to avert the late most lamentable war, and to save the Union, on con- 
stitutional principles, without a conflict of arms. This I did, too, while 
many of those now so clamorous for what they call ' the Union cause ' 
were giving encouragement, at least, to the extreme men at the South, 
by clearly and decidedly intimating, if not fully expressing, a perfect 
willingness on their part that ' the Union might slide ' if the people 
of the South so willed it. 

" I was even taunted with endeavoring to hold our people on to a 
Union that was no longer cared for by leading men of the dominant 
party at the North. I withstood these taunts, even Avhen I knew," &c. 


ence. It is only where governmental power is con- 
cerned that there can be control ; and this can only 
be external, political. The parent, the G-overnment, 
indeed, possesses authority to put down violence, in- 
surrectionary insubordination ; but it cannot enforce 
7)ioral conviction. 

This conflict, however, beside the external insurrec- 
tionary violence which the Government had to subdue 
(with the States as aid)^ was one of a principle or idea 
on one side ; and, on the other, a resistance to it, in 
which we all have a part (the people or States, as well 
as the Government), — a resistance to the theory of 
secession ; and also in maintaining the eternal truths 
that law is law, order is order, governments are 
governments, and constitutions, constitutions ; and that 
none of these are to be violated with impunity. If 
then, after all our efforts, the South had by main 
strength broken away, we should be guiltless. We had 
^one what we could; we had denied the anomalous, 
<elf-destroying doctrine of secession or disunion, and 
should no longer be responsible for her doings, or what 
might flow from them. In such case, and in such 
only, — maintaining the principle, although overcome 


by force, — could we be lawfully separated ; and we 
might hope to go on, although in a separated community, 
in integrity and strength. Indeed, we know that we 
should then, morally, flourisli ; not for having cast off 
our Southern brethren for their sin (as we considered 
it), but in ourselves maintaining uprightness, although 
they had wilfully or voluntarily separated themselves 
from us. Thus would it have been also with the South, 
had disunion prevailed with us, and had Ave thus vol- 
untarily separated ourselves : they, according to what- 
ever political integrity they might have retained, would 
still have thriven and flourished. 



We make one more citation : — 

" Suppose the Union is dissolved. It is a great evil, 
no doubt ; but is it irreparable ? Is it impossible to do in 
1860 that which was done in 1787? Were the people 
so much better and wiser in those days than they are 
now ? or did the framers of the Constitution enjoy some 
special divine inspiration which we have not ? Have we 


no longer trust in a Divine Providence which will guide 
us to-day as it guided our fathers then? ... 

" Men talk about tlie Union and our present Constitu- 
tion as though they were arrived at by some happy 
accdent, or some secular conjunction of the planet/ 
which could happen only once in a thousand years." " 

It is not men, simply, who make governments, manu- 
facturing them as they would a piece of cloth, according 
to some ingenious pattern or invention ; it is, rather" 
events whicli form, circurastances which modify, Providence 
which guides. The events and circumstances which led 
to the formation of our Constitution, and which were 
but the forerunners and the foundation of it, — it not 
being itself an independent circumstance, but the sequel, 
tbe result, of those which were the basis underneath, J 
those events and circumstances, grand, marked, and 
peculiar, are as yet alone in the world's experience, 
and probably will ever remain different from all others! 
The founders of New England, at least, migrated hither 
for religion's sake ; and a large proportion of the immi- 
•gration to most of the thirteen States (or colonies then) 
was on account of religion, - for the sake of possessing 
their souls and consciences in religious freedom. Eeli! 
gious liberty was the first emphatic element in the per- 


manent settlement of these shores. The principle was 
here developed and put in practice as it never before had 
been ; and although at times tried, put to the test, and 
found wanting, as a principle it sank deep, ever gaining 
new strength, until at length, down to our day, it has 
come out triumphant. But, with our ancestors, religious 
freedom did not signify freedom from religion ; liberty 
of conscience was not interpreted as liberty to be irre- 
ligious ; it had not degenerated into scepticism or un- 
belief: it was merely expressive of the principle that 
religious faith must be voluntary, and not constrained by 
outward authority. And so religion still held its place, 
— was but confirmed and strengthened ; and, with its 
balances and checks, it brought forth its fruits in a manly, 
substantial, God-fearing and God-respecting people. 

Hand in hand with this, as a direct and necessary 
accompaniment (for religious principle enlarges and 
rectifies the whole mind), went the breathings, the aspi- 
rations, of civil liberty, faint indeed at first ; for such 
ideas, in their full extent, were new in society. Those 
who had come from the Old World had not been accus- 
tomed to such : it was an experiment ; new circum- 
stances ; a new state of things. Far away, thrown 


much upon their own resources, they were learning how 
to govern themselves, and were becoming more capable 
of this, and were feeling the right and need of it, not 
from any disrespect to lawful and appropriate author- 
ity, — the spirit of their religion preserved them from 
this, — but because Providence, in thus placing them, 
was bringing into prominent view and action the long- 
hidden rights and capabilities of a people to govern 
themselves, or to regulate their government. 

These two elements — civil and religious liberty — 
formed a race of a manly simplicity and an intelligent 
integrity ; free, and yet reverential ; strong, and yet sub- 
missive to legitimate law and order ; trained in substan- 
tial and practical wisdom by the discipline of the time 
and their critical circumstances. Such a race, long 
experiencing political or civil privations and wrongs, 
and feeling their needs, and glowing at the same time 
with the healthful and vigorous and truthful ideas which 
had expanded in this remote "wilderness," — such a 
race, when, in God's good providence, the moment came 
to embody this fresh and genuine life in new institutions 
that might continue to cherish and foster it, — such a 
race, at such a moment, after severest trials, and with 


the one need and necessity before them, and with their 
all at stake, were capable of, and providentially prepared 
for, fornaing that Union and that Constitution that thus 
immediately sprang from those pre-existing causes. They 
were the very offspring of them, necessarily and directly, 
and were not simply the result of man's effort and under- 
standing, as certain philosophers had attempted to form 
a constitution for some of the States (or colonies as they 
then were). 

The men of that time were driven, impelled, yea, com- 
pelled, thus to act. There was no escape for them. 
After a peace with Great Britain had been conquered, 
they found themselves drifting like sand upon the sea- 
shore, or like a vessel without rudder or mast. Self- 
preservation taught them the need ; and may we not say 
that Providence, in and because of that need, gave them" 
especially enlightenment? — enlightenment born out of 
that mistiness and darkness itself; the precursors of 
the needful life which is surely vouchsafed, when sought, 
wherever there is the need. Yes : we .will say that in the 
pressing necessities of that period, with minds earnestly 
directed to what was necessary to be done, and to the 
best way of doing it, — we will say (for we believe it) that 


they had a special capacity, a knowledge, a wisdom, 
grown out of their long experiences, and from their in- 
nate character ; a political " inspiration, " in fact, which 
entirely and providentially fitted them for that special 
work, — God's own plan and designs for benefiting men 
and improving human affairs, now that the time was 
ripening for this improvement. 

There may be men among us as pious, as religiously 
devoted, as the Pilgrim Fathers, who first, for religion's 
sake, came to occupy this soil ; for such characteristics 
are not limited to time or place. There may be states- 
men as wise for our day and generation as those who 
organized our Government. But, differently from our 
fathers, we, as a people, have been nursed in the lap of 
peace, prosperity, and luxury. The machinery of our 
Government has rolled on with smoothest wheels. We 
have neither been educated nor trained, nor constrained 
by necessity, to change it, or even to desire to substitute 
another. No providences have wrought upon us, by 
imperative circumstances, to attempt, or to exert our- 
selves towards, any such end ; thereby creating witliin 
us the insight as to what and how to do. If we, then. 


with no outward or inward call,* throw away that 
which was thus providentially instituted, and instituted, 
we may believe, as the world has believed, for the bene- 
fit of humanity, or the nations at large ; that which was 
arranged Avith such anxious and deliberate care and 
forethought, and Avas established on so wise, equable, 
and harmonious a basis, that it has moved with scarcely 
perceptible friction for more than three-quarters of a 
century, — if we throw away this, so wisely, and thus far 
so firmly, established by God in his superintendence of 
the world and of our country, have we any right to pos- 
sess one iota of confidence that we, a generation so dif- 
ferently circumstanced, should be able to form a 
"better" one? that "Divine Providence," or God, 
whose work and plans we had thus cast aside, would 
do that for us, without preparation or call on our part, 
which he granted to our fathers only after paramount 
experience, pains, and labor? Shall we, a people bred 
on the easy lap of fortune, and accustomed (for pastime, 
perhaps) to the indulgence of all speculative and fanciful 
theories with which this nineteenth century is so rife, 

* Even the secessionists made no charge against the Constitution, 
and took it as the model for their own. 


particularly in our own quarter of the world (here all 
that is novel and specious has been greeted with an 
admiring welcome ; aught of human philosophy that 
has been put forth with any edat^ or brilliancy of intel- 
lect, has often been eagerly sought and accepted in the 
place of God's simple realities and truth ; with all this, 
it is not, perhaps, too much to say that we were verging, 
at least, upon a meretricious and superficial phase of 
character), — shall we, a generation thus conditioned 
and characterized, imagine ourselves to possess the pro- 
found, safe, and practical wisdom so essential for the 
forming of a theory or constitution of government ; a 
wisdom which ca7i come only from stern trial and expe- 
rience, or which is the growth of these only, as we have 
seen it was in our fathers, — shall we, I say, for eighty 
years unaccustomed to any such labor, even to pre- 
paring ourselves for it by study (for it must be ac- 
knowledged that whatever intelligence there may be 
among the masses regarding local politics, or periodical 
elections, and whatever interest in them, yet, as a 
people, we have been profoundly ignorant of the deep 
principles and scientific bearings of the subject in gen- 
eral), — shall we, thus situated, flatter ourselves, that, 


without call, we could do that now as well in 1860 (or 
'QQ) which they were called upon to do in 1787? 

On the contrary, we believe that "there is a tide in 
the aiFairs of men " and of nations ; a period for a cer- 
tain work, which is best done only in that period : and 
such time, or period, for our national organization, we 
believe to have been that of 1787 ; that Providence 
seized upon that time, that tide, to launch us upon the 
world of nations (for his own wise purposes) ; and that 
we can no more undo that work, or check or change 
that onward flow {so guided), but by a suicidal policy, 
which, by unriveting the planks, would leave our vessel 
to drift upon the stream, a wreck and a ruin. 

If this our Constitution was not made perfect in the 
beginning (and that it should have been so would be 
expecting too much of any human work, however provi- 
dentially guided ; although we must say, that, in this 
case, imperfections have been rarely or scarcely de- 
tected), — if this was not made perfect in the beginning, 
we have the power and the privilege to " amend " it. 
If there be in it that which may not suit the present or 
the future condition of our people, we can thus modify 
it, step by step ; each plank, as it requires it, being re- 


paired, renewed, to keep pace with the changes and 
wear of time ; and all this in a quiet, natural, provided- 
for manner, with no shattering, and no sudden shock to 
the structure. Thus in the end, and all the way along, 
though with a fixed Constitution, and a Government in- 
violable, we should come to that "improvement" and 
'' progression " of things that many have so ardently 
desired, but who have seemed to think that these could 
only be attained by a " dissolution" of the Union, and a 
" new " Constitution. 

In such a way, and such only, we believe, have we 
aught to do, in the way of altering or re-forming them, 
with that Union and that Constitution which have been 
given us ; letting Providence only, and the requisitions 
of time, guide its changes and necessary modifications. 
If any of the States wilfully struggle, and separate them- 
selves, that does not affect the principle of the Union, or 
the actual Constitution, to those who uphold them : it is 
only the granting the riglit to part, to one or many, 
which would pierce a hole in the very hull of our Ship 
of State, springing a leak that never could be stopped ; 
and, from that moment, it could only founder, and fall 
to pieces. 


Otherwise, those who will, by keeping fast their in- 
tegrity, and believing in God, and in his designs for the 
government of the world, may indeed, on every occasion, 
have wisdom given them to guide their acts. And, in an 
emergency, we believe there will still be statesmen and 
a people endued with " inspiration " equal to that which 
guided our fathers ; and, in such a case, we can and 
may trust as firmly in the Divine Providence of " to- 
day" as in that of any previous time. The work given 
us is not what theirs was, — to make anew, excepting 
gradually, as was said above, but to preserve, our 
Government ; and the zeal and energy for this, this cri- 
sis (of the civil war) has proved us to be capable of. 

Underneath all the individual tendencies so greatly 
fostered by our free institutions, of which we had taken 
such unworthy advantage as to throw off almost all 
restraint, feeling that there could be actually no " author- 
ity " over us, and that ours is, or should be, no " govern- 
ment " in the real sense of the word, — all which sentiment 
came at length to such bold issue in the movement of 
secession, — underneath all this, at the call, the touch, 
sprang up in the great majority of our nation an ardor 
and a fire of patriotism, that was ready to lay itself and 


all it possessed on the altar of our country, even to its 
last life-blood. This patriotic ardor, which was formerly 
the inheritance of our whole country, and in which the 
Southern States themselves were not surpassed, will 
hereafter, we believe, glow as fervently on that soil as 
elsewhere, according to the noble utterances of one * 
who was lately on the side of secession. He says, — 

" Individually, my whole soul is enlisted in the cause 
of a speedy, full, and perfect restoration of the Govern- 
ment under the Constitution as it now stands. There is 
nothing within my power that I am not willing cheerfully 
to do to effect and accomplish that end. ... I would be 
willing to offer up my life itself, if by so doing this great 
result could be attained, and peace and harmony, pros- 
perity, happiness, and constitutional liberty, be thus 
secured to the millions now living, and the untold millions 
hereafter to live, on this continent." 

This, then, was the call, the work, that was given 
to us of to-day ; not to argue for the dissolution of the 
Union, supposing that thereby we might obtain a " bet- 
ter ; " but, when this is threatened, to lay aside our 

* Hon. A. H. Stephens. The extract is from the letter alluded to in 
the note on page 120. 


ephemeral character and our speculative fancies, and to 
awaken and inure ourselves to the stern demands of 
DUTY, — to the realities of the time, and the dangers 
of our position. The work of rescuing the Constitution 
from being trampled upon, and of ^preserving our nation- 
ality, have required, and will still require, as profound 
wisdom (though in another direction) as was demanded 
for the original forming of them. Although these are 
but the " means to an end," let us not think more lightly 
of them on that account, but hold them as sacred as the 
end, inasmuch as the one is as essential as the other : 
for, without the ship, the cargo is not carried ; without 


We have now seen, in these arguments, the views of a 
calm, dispassionate observer at the North, who claims to 
be of the most advanced and liberal party in the country ; 
therefore none more plausible, it is to be presumed, will 
ever be produced : and these appear to us sufficiently 
exhaustive of the subject of secession. The South, 
however, adopted still further ideas upon the topic of 
State rights, which we discuss in another section. 



Mr. Davis's Theory. 

Secession, in the South, was but the natural successor 
of the previous doctrines of Nullification and State 
Rights ; a new form of the theory of an inherent and 
absolute independence of each State in the national 

That such inherent and absolute independence has 
no foundation in reality, has been sufficiently shown, it 
appears to us, even in the incidental examinations made of 
this theory in the preceding section ; and thus whatever 
reasoning or philosophy may have been used in accordance 
with such theory, can only be, we apprehend, on a false 
basis. It seems to us that this is fully illustrated in Mr. 
Davis's first message * to the Confederate Congress, from 

* Delivered at Montgomery, Ala., April 29, 1861. The Italics, 
wherever occurring, are in the original. 



which we copy the following passages. (The numbers 
prefixed to the paragraphs are our own, for after-refer- 

" The occasion . . . justifies me in a brief review of 
the relations heretofore existing between us and the 
States which now unite in warfare against us. . . . 

(1.) "During the war waged against Great Britain 
by her colonies on this continent, a common danger 
impelled them to a close alliance, and to the formation 
of a confederation, by the terms of which, the Colonies, 
styling themselves States, entered ' severally into a firm 
league of friendship with each other for their common 
defence, the security of their liberties, and their mutual 
and general welfare ; binding themselves to assist each 
other against all force ofi^ered to or attaok made upon 
them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, 
trade, or any other pretence whatever.' 

(2.) " In order to guard against any misconstruction 
of their compact, the several States made explicit decla- 
ration, in distinct articles, that each State retains its 
sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, 
jurisdiction, and right which is not by this confederation 
expressly delegated to the United States in Congress 

(3.) " Under this contract of alliance, the war of the 
Ke volution was successfully waged, and resulted in the 
treaty of peace with Great Britain in 1783, by the terms 
of which the several States were, each by name, recog- 
nized to be independent. 


(4.) " The articles of confederation contained a clause 
whereby all alterations were prohibited, unless confirmed 
by the legislatures of every State, after being agreed to 
by the Congress ; and in obedience to this provision, 
under the resolution of CouGrress of the 21st of Febru- 
ary, 1787, the several States appointed delegates, who 
attended a convention ' for the sole and express purpose 
of revising the articles of confederation, and reporting 
to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations 
and provisions therein as shall, when agreed to in Con- 
gress and confirmed hy the States, render the Federal 
Constitution, adequate to the exigencies of government 
and the preservation of the Union.' 

(5.) " It was by the delegates chosen by the several 
States, under the resolution just quoted, that the Consti- 
tution of the United States was framed in 1787, and 
submitted to the several States for ratification, as shown 
by the seventh article, which is in these words : — 

" ' The ratification of the convention of 7iine States shall 
be sufficient for the establishment of this Constitution 
between the States so ratifying the same.' 

(6.) "I have Italicized certain words in the quotations 
just made, for the purpose of attracting attention to the 
singular and marked caution with which the States 
endeavored, in every possible form, to exclude the idea 
that the separate and independent sovereignty of each 
State was merged into one common government and 
nation, and the earnest desire they evinced to impress 
on the Constitution its true character, — that of a com- 
pact between independent States. 

(7.) " The Constitution of 1787 having, however, 


omitted the clause, already recited, from the articles of 
confederation, which provided, in explicit terms, that 
each State retained its sovereignty and independence, 
some alarm was felt in the States, when invited to ratify 
the Constitution, lest this omission should be construed 
into an abandonment of their cherished principle ; and 
they refused to be satisfied until amendments were added 
to the Constitution, placing beyond any pretence of doubt 
the reservation by the States of all theu' sovereign rights 
and powers not expressly delegated to the United States 
by the Constitution. 

(8.) " Strange, indeed, must it appear to the impartial 
observer, but it is none the less true, that all these care- 
fully-worded clauses proved unavailing to prevent the 
rise and growth in the Northern States of a political 
school which has persistently claimed that the Govern- 
ment thus formed was not a compact between States, 
but was, in effect, a National Government, set up above 
and over the States." 

If the reader will reperuse the several paragi'aphs as 
the corresponding numbers are given, the remarks made 
on the above-quoted passages will be readily applied. 

(1.) "The league of friendship" for "common" de- 
fence and security, was, as there was occasion to observe in 
the former review, an instinctively-formed one, as it were, 
as of members of one family, having one and the same 
cause. It was the reco^jnized consciousness of this natural 


relationship : for, however separate were the clifFerent 
" charters," they were all settled under similar conditions, 
as colonies of a single empire, and may therefore be 
regarded, ostensibly, but as one great colony ; so that, 
whatever " force " was " offered to or attack made upon 
them, or any of them," was vitally felt and resisted by 
the others. This increasingly warm feeling of attachment 
and mutual interest, pervading them at the outset of the 
Revolution, was the beginning — the birth, we might 
say — of their consciousness and individuality as an in- 
dependent people, — a people separated from the mother- 
country. And it is a question, whether thus horn together^ 
as it were, by one and the same conscious impulse, — "a 
nation born in a day," — there would be likely to be 
thereafter, intentionally or otherwise, so absolute a dis- 
ruption of that natural and providential tie as would 
make of them as many distinct nations as they had been 
colonies ; or whether the more natural inference would 
not be, that in the full flush of their one and united 
success, and in the mutual growth of attachment arising 
from their former earliest interests, the balance would 
not have been greatly in favor of their remaining united 
as when that success was av^oh. The presumption in our 


mind is strong, that the instinct of union (which was 
originally vital among them, they being all in the same 
condition, as colonies of one and the same power) , now 
greatly confirmed through experiences of difficulty and 
danger, would have overruled or warded off the proba- 
bilities of any after, deliberate, permanent thought to the 

(2.) Being conscious, however, from all their previous 
history as colonies, of an individuality and innate inde- 
pendence one of another (excepting that statural relation- 
ship, and what they had voluntarily merged for mutual 
aid and protection), they had an instinct here, too, born 
also, necessarily, of their previous situation, of 7'eserved 
rights, of a certain * sovereignty, of a power to act for 
themselves, as being free and independent in their own 
internal relations ; and all such as were not " expressly 
delegated to the United States in Congress assembled " 
they had a right jealously to keep and guard. 

In this clause of the Constitution, there are two dis- 
tinct principles, or poAvers, recognized : namely, their 
own special reserved rights, and those luhich had been 

* We say " certain " sovereignty, because this was not tlien per- 
fectly defined. 


delegated to the Congress of all the States ; in other words, 
State Governments and a Central Government. 

(3.) From the very beginning, then, — from their birth, 
we may say, since it was the same from their very first 
origin as colonies, — having their separate charters, yet 
all amenable to one sovereign government, — from the 
very beginning, then, those two principles went side by 
side. State Constitutions and a General Constitution. 

The treaty of peace with Great Britain was simplj 
recognizing their "independence" in reference to that 
power ; it had nothing to do with their relations to each 
other as States : and it was essential in this, that each 
State should be separately designated ; that not one, by 
any flaw of procedure, should be left a " colony," or 
thereafter claimed as such. 

(4.) All alterations of the " articles of confedera- 
tion " being prohibited, unless confirmed by the legis- 
latures of the States, after being agreed to by Congress, 
shows the complete union of the States ; that all should 
have a part in the Government, and that no one should 
make any change that luas not agreed to by all ; and the 
action of the States in appointing delegates " for the sole 
and express purpose " of making alterations and pro- 


visions, which, being " agreed to in Congress," and con- 
firmed " hy the States'' themselves, should "render the 
Federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of 
government and the preservation of the Union," mani- 
fests, certainly, not that they were independent of the 
Union and Federal Government, but that they were, on 
the contrary, taking all possible measures to strengthen 
and make valid that Union and Government. 

(5.) And those very delegates from the several States, 
coming to the conclusion to frame a general and revised 
Constitution on those very principles above stated, agreed, 
that, if but nine States (out of the thirteen) confirmed 
the same, it should be adopFed, and pass for law among 
those agreeing States : so satisfied and decided were they 
that this centralizing Government was desirable ; one to 
be ratified ; that is, fulfilled, completed, carried out by 
the States themselves as parties to it. Any other State 
wishing to come in afterwards would necessarily accede 
to whatever had been there laid down : which was the 
case, among the original thirteen, of New York, which 
came in the year after ; and of North Carolina and 
Rhode Island. They, as well as the others, accepted, 
and thus became parties to the new Constitution. 


(6.) The expressions Italicized by Mr. Davis, — "by 
the States," " the conventions of nine States," " the States," 
— standing in the connection they do, cannot certainly, 
it appears to us, afford legitimate or even indirect proof 
of any attempt to set forth their separate and independent 
sovereignty. They obviously, more properly, go to show, 
in the first instance, that the tvhole peojjle, that is, all 
the States (signifying, consequently, a very confirmed 
union), were to be united with the action of Congress: 
and in the other two instances it is implied that they had 
the liberty, certainly, to refuse to be in the Union ; but, 
if they did ratify that Constitution, it should be estahlished 
between them ; of course, with all its restrictions and 
qualifications, thereby necessarily modifying whatever of 
State sovereignty there may previously have been ; and 
this is distinctly recognized in the clause claiming the 
rights which are not " expressly delegated to the United 
States in Congress assembled," 

(7.) In the finally settled and permanent Constitution 
(of 1787), the clause mentioned in paragraph two of the 
former articles of confederation, naming explicitly State 
sovereignty and independence, truly has no place (as 
Mr. Davis states), nor was any similar one inserted in 


its stead ; so that our actually established Constitution 
makes no such reference whatever. Of what was such 
omission significant? Certainly not of an acknowledged 
" separate and independent sovereignty," when not the 
smallest allusion, direct or indirect, is made to that prin- 
ciple. On the contrary, we see in the Constitution the 
powers of the Central or Federal Government branching 
into and pervading every State. 

It was not until 1791 that amendments to the Consti- 
tution were ratified, in which alone direct allusion is 
made to " reserved rights ; " but this was a happy, ju- 
dicious, fortunate addition, because of placing things 
on an exact and equal basis, distinctly recognizing the 
powers of both the people, or States, and the Constitu- 
tion, and precisely limiting each. The two articles 
(ninth and tenth) are in these simple words : — 

" The enumeration, in the Constitution, of certain 
rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others 
retained by the people. 

" The powers not delegated to the United States by 
the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are 
reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." 

These are the only references to " reserved rights" in 


all the Constitution. How, then, is it possible to con- 
ceive, with the qualifications in these very articles, and 
after the absolute and positive restrictions that had gone 
before, — as that "no State shall enter into any treaty, 
alliance, or confederation ; grant letters of marque and 
reprisal ; coin money ; ... no State shall, without 
the consent of the Congress, lay any imposts or duties 
on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely 
necessary for executing its inspectioji-laws, . . . and 
all such laws shall be subject to the revision and control 
of the Congress ; no State shall, without the consent of 
the Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops, or 
ships of war, in time of peace, enter into any agreement 
or compact with another State or with a foreign power, 
or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such 
imminent danger as will not admit of delay," — how is 
it possible, we say, in the face of such restrictions, to 
conceive of those "reserved" powers as amounting to 
a separate and independent sovereignty? 

The two conditions are absolutely incompatible : and 

it must be mere fallacy, the selecting of such a principle 

on so slight, or, as it appears to us, on no grounds, as 

the mainspring of our Constitution, or its fundamental 



element, and discarding the other ; namely, that that 
separate, original sovereignty was merged in a national 
one, which is so clearly exhibited in every article of 
the Constitution. 

Of the latter principle, although Mr. Davis has given 
the words, " not expressly delegated to the United 
States by the Constitution " (which words could not 
have been withheld by him without palpable misrepre- 
sentation), he makes no account, and takes no other no- 
tice of it whatever. But who can read our Constitution, 
and not perceive that its power, or this other lorindple^ 
penetrates into the remotest section, charging itself with 
the weightiest burdens and necessities of each State 
and with its numberless ramifications, combining or 
weaving them all into one body politic, whose " su- 
preme law" * shall be that same Constitution, "any 
thing in the constitution or laws of any State to the 
contrary notwithstanding " ? 

These characteristics, indicating a designedly strong 
and powerful Central Government, are patent in the Con- 
stitution, even to the unlearned ; but it appears to us 
that one must search deep, and still search in vain, to 

* Constitution, art. vi. [2]. 


find there the " separate and independent sovereignty," 
protected by " singular and marked caution," that one, 
reasoning, not from actual facts, but on an assumed 
basis, might attempt to draw from it. 

(It must not be forgotten that the clause first quoted 
in Mr. Davis's message, containing the words " sover- 
eignty, freedom, and independence," belonged only to 
the original articles of confederation, and have nothing 
to do with our established Constitution.) 

But this strong and powerful Central Government is 
not all that is portrayed in our Constitution : this is but 
one part, one-half, of the system. Besides, it has truly 
left to each State a "freedom" and "independence," 
one of another, almost as if they were foreign States. 
" Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to 
the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings, of 
every other State." And yet " the citizens of each 
State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immu- 
nities of citizens in the several States ; " thus o^rantins: 
them all a freedom, as of one great nation, one people. 
It does grant tliem also a " sovereignty," in tlie rights 
reserved to the States respectively ; namely, in their 
internal, domestic affairs : there, each State, in fdl its 


essential and private wants and liberties, is of itself, as 
it were, a little independent, " sovepreign " nation ; that is, 
with all the privileges of one (and with more than the 
privileges and blessings of other nations, the greatest 
burdens and responsibilities being borne by the central 
power) . 

Just here, it appears to us, is the glory of our institu- 
tions, the even balance held. In the words of the Con- 
stitution, " Nothing in this Constitution shall be so con- 
strued as to prejudice any claims of the United States, 
or of any particular State ; " which, though applied to 
another point (the public territory), we may expand 
to every point, and paraphrase thus : No principle or 
right is to be wrested, perverted, or made use of, to the 
prejudice of another : the claims of the National Gov- 
ernment are to be fairly and justly interpreted, and so 
are those of the States. 

Had this simple, rightful rule been followed, and other 
words been emphasized as well as those that were, 
namely, these, " Each State retains . . . every power 
and right which is not hij this confederation expressly 
delegated to the United States in Congress assemhled" — 
which occur in the original articles from which he 


quoted, — and these (in his seventh paragraph), "the 
reservation by the States of all their sovereign rights 
and powers not expressly delegated to the United States 
hy the Constitution," — had Mr. Davis Italicized these 
also, he would have " attracted attention " to the true 
and exact nature, it seems to us, the secret, the genius, 
of our republican system ; the two nicely-adjusted and 
balanced " sovereignties," so harmoniously and per- 
fectly combined, that, without detriment to or conflict- 
ing with each other, they have stood the test of nearly 
a century, avoiding both despotism on the one hand, and 
the rivalries of petty nations on the other. 

(8.) It would not then have appeared strange to 
him, or to any one else, that any " political school 
should persistently claim . . . that this Avas, in effect, 
a National Government, set up above and over the 
States ; " in fact, that we are one great republic, with a 
single chief head and authority. 

It is manifest that no interpretation or theory of the 
Government can be correct which is not grounded upon 
the actual facts, and which should overlook either one 
or the other of these elements. In such overlooking in 
regard to the Federal power, Mr. Davis and his co- 


adjutors reasoned upon a thus " false basis ; " and, in 
setting up this doctrine of independent State rights, they 
came to the principle of — secession: as he further says 
in his message, " They (the Southern States) conse- 
quently passed ordinances resuming all their rights as 
sovereign and independent States, and dissolved their 
connection with the other States of the Union : " which 
conclusion could never, by logical reasoning, have been 
arrived at, had they regarded the other actual i'act and 
element ; namely, the powers "■' prohibited " to the States, 
or given up and renounced by them in their solemn ratifi- 
cation, without a single condition of future resumption. 

That ratification was the seal and completion of our 
national form and existence. It is in vain for us to look 
back to what had been held before (as in the clause 
quoted from the " Articles of Confederation " ) for 
present authority or precedent, all outside of our ratified 
Constitution being now as foreign to us as would be the 
articles of another nation, excepting as showing the 
steps of our history, and the materials out of which our 
Government has been matured ; and in this instance they 
point most markedly to our present actual state as the 
antetype of it, recognizing distinctly the same two 


elements which have been actually incorporated in the 
Constitution ; so that, if such a precedent were of any 
avail, it would be entirely in favor of the " National 
Government," and not of secession, or separate and 
independent sovereignty, for which Mr. Davis has claimed 


But, as we have said, it is impossible to go outside of 
the Constitution, which alone forms our national exist- 
ence, which has been the existence of these States for 
the last eighty years. We can argue of our rights and 
propri^ies only from that, as a man can argue of the 
, powers and capacities of his body only from its actual 
formation. The true way could only be in taking it ex- 
actly as it is, with its varied powers. If we set out to 
exalt one portion of it as vital only, and independent of 
all the rest, we immediately falsify its true character, 
in which all the parts are vitally intermingled. To say 
that one man is, in his constitution or corporeal form, 
independent of other men, is perfectly true ; and that 
one nation or government should be independent and free 
of any other, is certainly a true, correct, and the only 
available principle. But that a constituent, component 
part of any one nation or people (as we have seen, by 


all the details of our Constitution, this Union must be 
held to be, in its fundamental principles) should set 
itself up as independent of the rest of the .nation, ij a 
wholly different thing, and as incongruous and suicidal as 
it would be for one limb of our body to be torn from the 
whole body on the ground that it was inherently or in- 
trinsically independent. 

A human body, with a limb thus violently wrested, 
might not indeed, in consequence, expire (though we 
should conceive that its duration might be shortened by 
such a calamity) ; and our Government, even after so 
violent a shock as the tearing-away or forcible seceding, 
of some of its members, might still go on with a degree 
of healthfulness and vigor, if that action were without 
its own connivance, its moral assent ; was but accidental, 
as it were. We will make no further comparisons ; for 
a human limb thus abruptly torn and separated, although 
for a time it might quiver and palpitate with the red life 
that had always been coursing through its veins, must 
in a little while, having only physical life, wither and die : 
whereas members thus disrupted from the nation, al- 
though they, too, quiver and palpitate from the shock, 
having a moral and mental existence, cannot be absolutely 


extinguished, but must live on ; what kind of a life, thus 
falsely and unnaturally instituted, we have no disposition 
to portray. We only know, that, proceeding from 
elements of dissolution and decay, we could expect them 
to go on only to Mssolution and decay. 

The design, intent, of such separation, was, however, 
the conceived idea of the Southern States, arising from 
the doctrine of State rights, which took palpable form, 
and reached its climax, in the movement of secession ; 
which was truly but the initiation of the long civil war 
through which we have passed on account of that very 


This was a war in which our country bled at every 
pore,— laying, scattering its dead on every battle-field. 
It was particularly destructive to the Southern States, 
where it originated; and we believe they have paid the 
full penalty in the devastation of their once-beautiful 
country, - towns, fields, families, in ruin. But it touched 
not them alone. Their best blood and treasure was ex- 
pended, and so was that of the North, as this agony of 
war passed through, and made to shake, tremble, and 
almost to totter, every part of our vast country. 

The agitation which the war produced is thus an actual 


illustration of the principles that we have endeavored to 
lay down, — that we are a nation not to be divided ; that, 
if one member is attempted to be torn away, all must 

We have no design to note here the varying phases of 
that four-years' strife. It is enough that it has settled 
for the people, outwardly, the fact of our unity, — that we 
are one and inseparable. It wants now only that the 
mind be firmly convinced of the truth of this theory, and 
that it is the only truth, and our country will probably be 
put at rest on this point forever. To assist towards this 
conviction, and to help to make clear the whole theory of 
our federal system of States, has been the design of the 
preceding pages. We go on to elucidate in the succeed- 
ing sections what appears to us to be the present state of 



In the cities and towns, and along our borders, the 
din and tramp of war have now long ceased.* The 
recruiting-drum is no more heard, and the trumpet no 
longer shouts its call to battle. Peace, almost as sud- 
denly and surprisingly as a vision from heaven, came 
nestling, with its infolding wings, over all. It is true, 
that, in one short week after the cessation of arms, a 
piercing, startling wail of sorrow went up over the land, 
— that our Chief Executive, who, under God, had led 
the country to its final issue, had been strickeu down in 
the height of his triumph and hard-won success, and Avas 
no longer with us to rejoice in the happy labor and re- 
ward of his hands. This, for a time, caused renewed con- 
sternation. The bitter feelings of resentment awakened 

* It was eighteen months fi*om the time of tlie surrender of the 
Southern army to the publication of this vohime. 



against so foul a deed, and burning sentiments caused 
by the injury and outrage, seemed about to open afresh 
the wounds of hostility and civil strife. 

The disastrous and aggravated death of Abraham 
Lincoln — honoring him with the meed of a martyr's 
crown, and enshrining his honest, noble heart and life 
within the living hearts of the world, as no man before 
ever was enshrined — was the last flaring-up of the 
misguided flame, which, unchecked, would have over- 
whelmed our nation in destruction. But, we believe, 
this very spirit, in thus 

" Vaulting . . . o'erleaping itself," 

and causing all to start in horror, made that mourn- 
ful death but tend to facilitate and quicken the return- 
ing throb of national feeling ; to bring us again into 
brotherly embrace as one people, with but " one Lord 
and one God : " for the " cliivalroits" Southerner, though 
he had been engaged in the treasonable warfare, yet with 
" conscientious " honor, and still honest and high-toned 
at heart, no doubt, as instinctively recoiled at that san- 
guinary and uncalled-for deed, and as utterly denounced 
it in his heart, as any man of the loyal States ; and thus 


a re-action would take place in favor of that one against 
whom and whose cause he had so persistently held him- 
self, and sectional feeling would thus tend to merge into 
the national. 

That such would be partially the effect of Mr. Lin- 
coln's tragic death we might presume from our knowl- 
edge of human nature, which forgets or lays aside 
enmity whenever the grave has buried its object. Thus, 
what seemed at the first blow, and at the first moment, 
to rouse anew all the feelings of animosity and strife, 
tended perchance, under the good providence of God, to 
cement the more strongly the lately-conquered peace ; 
conquered as much, perhaps, by the generosity and 
magnanimity, which, commencing with the then Chief 
Magistrate, seemed to pervade all grades of the military 
officers who received the surrender of the Southern 
arms, as by the triumph of the Federal army itself. On 
one side and the other, all was accomplished in a noble 
and praiseworthy manner. Victory was victory, — 
decided, but used with clemency. Surrender was sur- 
render, — entire, unconditional, honorable. 

What more was wanting, now that peace had come 
and warfare had ceased, but to get things which had 


been so long under the regulations of war upon a peace 
footing, — into their natural order as soon as might be, — 
and let the nation resume its quiet force, its energy and 
strength? It would take some little time, it is true, for 
the pulse and fever of high excitement, which had been 
so long predominant, to become subdued to the calmness 
of common routine, every-day life ; but we could not but 
expect that so auspicious a beginning would, gradually 
but surely, lead to the accustomed healthy and vigorous 
tone of the body politic. Or, if any part were less dis- 
posed than another to return to this natural state, it was 
easy still to retain there the restrictions, checks, and 
balances so long as might be necessary. As, with the 
cause of disease removed, the human system quickly 
renews its vitality ; so, with the great cause of the war 
(slavery) overthrown from the midst of our institutions, 
it seemed but natural to look for our former happy and 
prosperous life to begin immediately to renew itself. 
Has it not done so? External peace had stamped its 
seal over our whole broad country ; the war-drum was 
heard no more ; armies were withdrawn as fast and as 
far as possible ; magistrates were appointed ; and elec- 
tions in the Southern States began to resume their 


course, filling the long-vacated offices. What more was 
wanted ? Were we not re-constructed, — exactly in the 
same relations that we had been ? — Avith the Rebellion put 
down. States resunaing their functions, not one escaped, 
lost, gone out, on the nation's flag, but each remaining 
there, distinct in its integrity, according to the very prin- 
ciple for which we had fought, — that the States should 
not, could not, go out ; that they were but parts and par- 
cels of one great whole ; that our Union must and 
should, if the power of the Government could effect it, 
be preserved unbroken ; that our Constitution was invio- 
lable ; and that no State should ever sever itself, or be 
severed, from the Union. This was the principle of 
Mr. Lincoln's administration ; and it was the principle 
on which the war was conducted, on the part of the Gov- 
ernment, throughout. That this was the true principle, 
we think that a little reviewing will plainly show. 

Had the Southern States, as States in the Union., pro- 
ceeded to set up laws, regulations, institutions, in overt 
violation of the Federal Constitution, and persisted, in 
opposition to the Government, in carrying these into 
effect, with no thought of withdrawing themselves, but 
with the sole design of revolutionizing the Government, 


seizing upon it, and converting it to its own purposes, 
this would have been insurrectionary and revolutionary 
in the usual meaning of the words. And, in such case, 
the Government would undoubtedly have proceeded to 
" conquer " them, and hold them as " conquered prov- 
inces," as far as might be necessary, though this would 
undoubtedly be a painful infliction on our principles of 
fraternal union ; and, had such in reality occurred, it 
would have been truly a revolutionizing, and must have 
produced a change in our whole system of government. 
But this was not what the seceding States did ; this was 
not their ostensible purpose ; or if it had ever been 
attempted, as indeed it was formerly, in an incipient 
degree in nullification, it was promptly put down. In 
the present instance, the constituted authorities of the 
States did not come in conflict with the Government as 
such. Up to the time of withdrawal, or attempted with- 
drawal, from the Union, there was no infraction of the 
United-States laws on their statutes. The States, as 
States, did not rebel against the Constitution as such. 
They simply separated, or designed to separate, on an 
assumed right to be independent — to be outside — of the 
Union. As this was an interpretation of the Constitu- 


tion, an opinion, a political heresy, not possible to be 
allowed by the Federal Government, they therefore, on 
its refusal, proceeded by force to accomplish their wishes. 
This assumption, so falsely grounded (as we think has 
been made apparent in the preceding sections of this 
work), and the forcible action in order to carry it out, 
constituted the Rebellion in this case ; and the Govern- 
ment, in order to arrest it, necessarily proceeded also to 
force ; wdiich state of things became war, or contest, 
on that one issue. The Government continued to have 
the same right — and no other — that it had in the be- 
ginning ; and that was to re-claim those States, as States 
of the Union, by virtue of its own proper authority and 
supremacy ; and the rebellious States had the same 
wrong — and no other * — in their persistency in that 
assumed right to depart or secede : the contest being 
prolonged made no difference. Therefore, when the con- 
flict should cease (if with the triumph of the Federal 
power), each would return to the same relations as before, 
— the Federal Government to be the Federal Govern- 

* We mean here merely to express that the prime issue remained 

the same as at first; although, even in this species of rebellion, Ave' 

believe that all nsual and common kinds of rebellion were necessarily 




meat, and the States to be States, as formerly, — with 
the exception of provisional governments so long as it 
might be necessary ; and that would be until the States 
were able to get into order, and to resume their own 
functions. With the Rebellion crushed, the States remain, 
then. States, precisely as before. This was the very 
object for which the Government went to war : it was 
the one issue at stake. 

That this is the true principle, notwithstanding what 
is said to the contrary, at present, by the prevailing party 
in the country, we have but to look at the converse. 
Let us suppose the Federal power, by its triumph, to 
have obtained complete control over the once-rebellious 
but now-subdued States, and that it could change, mod- 
ify, reconstruct, their position in any manner to suit its 
views or desires. No provision having been made in 
the Constitution for this, it would be necessary to adopt 
some new mode, introduce some element not before a 
part of our Constitution ; for we never before had had 
this power. This new element would, of course, be 
adopted and managed by that portion of the Union 
States that was still in the exercise of its functions, 
and by that only ; for the other States, not having yet 


resumed their places, could have no voice or part in the 
matter. Here, then, would be a fundamental change in 
our system. Instead of its being an organization of 
equal States, coming voluntarily into the association, 
having the reserved power to decide whether they would 
come into it or not (which power was originally granted 
to all the States), it would be an organization in which a 
'part decided for the others ; those others being compelled 
to adopt a form of constitution which was not their own 
choice. Here, then, would be our Government changed 
at once from a republican to an anti-republican system ; 
for republicanism consists in the people's freedom of 
choice in its form of government. With this power 
of choice taken away, there would be introduced, conse- 
quently, the element of revolution ; for it is the estab- 
lished axiom of our Government, — and it is the vital 
principle of all republics, — that, when a people is not 
satisfied with its form of government, it has the right to 

Thus, from a republic with a Constitution granting 
the same and equal rights to all the States, we should 
become an oligarchy, an aristocracy, a, or 
whatever it might be called, where only a part had 


control ; and, moreover, would be directly inserted the 
element, the seed, of revolution. 

That such was not the form of our Constitution, 
that it contained no such principle of inequality, or 
seed of revolution, from such a source, our very in- 
stinct and understanding tell us ; and it has also been 
proved by. the very test of the four-years' war itself, 
which, on the part of the Government, was conducted 
on and for that very principle, — that the Union of 
these States is indissoluble ; that they had come volun- 
tarily into the Union, and that there they must and 
should remain ; that no States had any independent 
rights over and above the others ; that all were on 
precisely the same ground, one and indivisible. That 
is, they were not allowed to bring forward a new doc- 
trine, — contrary to the received interpretation of the 
Constitution, — giving to single States, or to a number 
of States united, the power to act of themselves, without 
regard to the national system of organization. 

This doctrine of State rights, which was the prime 
issue of the war, and which we have been accustomed 
to think belonged peculiarly to the secessionists, has 



not been wholly confined to the Southern States, but 
has insinuated itself very insidiously on various occa- 
sions elsewhere ; for instance, on that of the " arbi- 
trary" or military arrests made during the war. A 
governor of the Northern States said of these, in refer- 
ence and in opposition to the national power, " It is a 
hiiih crime to abduct a citizen of this State.* . . . "With- 
out consultation with its chief magistrate, a subordinate 
department at Washington insulted our people and in- 
vaded our rights. Against these wrongs and outrages,'' 

We might presume, indeed, that the National Execu- 
tive (for the " subordinate departments " at the capital 
act, of course, but under the supervision of the Execu- 
tive) would, in all cases, find it convenient and suitable, 
for greater facility and aid, to make known its deter- 
minations to the State officials, unless it goes upon the 
ground established by the Supreme Court (in connection 
with the Fugitive-slave Law of 1850, in the case of 
Briggs vs. Pennsylvania), that the United States must 
carry out its own laws by its owm and not by the State 

* Message of the Governor of New York to the Legislature of that 
State, Jan. 6, 1863. 


officers ; and most probably this was the ground in all 
those eases of " arbitrary arrests." But that it should 
be responsible or amenable to the State where a national 
affair was concerned, was immediately to place the 
State authority above the national, and was so far setting 
up the doctrine of State rights. That those arrests 
were made on account of crime against the nation, open 
or suspected, was known to all : they were made only 
for known or supposed treason against the National and 
not the State Government. That the people are thus 
directly amenable to the national authorities, is plain 
from the first words of the Constitution, " We the 
people of the United States." It was they, at large, 
and not as people of the States, who formed it ; and 
it is they, singly and individually, in whatever State or 
part of the country they may be, with whom the Gov- 
ernment has to deal when a national question arises. 

The jealous dignity of a State being thus easily 
touched, on these minor points,* shows how easily 
the doctrine insinuates itself, of the independent rights 
of States. (We allude further, elsewhere, to this sub- 
ject of arbitrary arrests.) 

* Other instances of this are noted in another vohime of this work. 



That a species or variety of this same doctrine uow 
exists in a large number of the States, appears to us 
very clear in the views adopted by their delegates in 
the present Congress ; namely, that a 'portion of the 
States may adopt acts and measures independently of 
the whole number of States. That is, we are entitled 
to consider those States as holding such views, through 
their delegates or representatives ; though it is true that 
another election might reverse such representation. 
But we speak of this further. 

We stand, then, on the simple ground, not of inde- 
pendent rights of one State over another, but on that 
of constitutional rights ; of those which are inherent 
in our very form of Government, and which cannot 
be changed without essentially modifying that form. 
And these rights are undoubtedly the same for every 
State in the Union. All are on precisely equal ground, 
which is the very perfection and glory and strength of 
our republic, as it appears to us, in guaranteeing us 
against the hostility and ambition of rival States ; in 
giving to each one freedom to develop itself in all in- 
ternal resources and character, and in being thus gen- 


erous and liberal in all that is desirable, so saving us 
from revolutionary aims and attempts ; and in preserving 
us from disintegration by the impossibility of any State 
or States leaving independently of the others ; which 
impossiJbility has now been tested and proved on that 
very issue by the civil war in which we have been en- 

Such a Union, so glorious in its fraternal character, 
— enabling all these little nations^ as it were (so exten- 
sive are they in territory and resources, and so independ- 
ent in their domestic relations), to live in friendly and 
combined efforts for great and honorable purposes, — is 
glorious also in the prestige it confers on each one of 
these States ; it being, in union with the others, of equal 
rank and power with any other nation on the globe. 

Such is our Constitution ; and it seems to us that its 
excellence has been supremely manifested by the tre- 
mendous ordeal through which it has passed, showing 
itself strong above ten millions of our people who were 
arrayed against it, or rather who attempted to interpo- 
late a new element by giving it a new construction, 
which would have made it a wholly different code, in its 
influences and results, from what had been manifested in 


the previous eighty years of its existence. In short, it 
appears to us as perfect a political code, perhaps, as 
human means will ever be able to devise ; granting all 
rightful and healthful freedom, with the just limitations 
of law and order ; allowing all these numerous, sepa- 
rate, and, in a manner, independent States, to possess 
all the strength of a great, undivided one ; each State, 
in private matters, being enabled to have its own idio- 
syncrasies, its individual tastes and characteristics, yet 
great questions, of interest to the whole world, perhaps, 
pronounced upon and secured by the united wisdom 
of all. 

Happy the country with such noble privileges and 
opportunities ! Shall we preserve it for ourselves and 
our posterity, with all its unmeasured blessings and ad- 
vantages, unknown, in their full extent, to the whole 
world beside? Shall we retain the Constitution which 
our fathers left to us? so equal, so just, so unexception- 
able, so harmonious in all its bearings, so perfectly ad- 
justed in all its parts, that when put to the trial, even 
on points not before experienced, it has ever shown it- 
self equal to the emergency, as has been well illustrated 
by the decease of a President in office : without conflict, 


without jar, without excitement, or a day's delay, his 
successor is ah-eady iu his place, — the wheels of gov- 
ernnient undisturbed for a single moment. As in the 
case, also, of the late Rebellion : already foreign nations 
have been struck with admiration by our facilities for 
carrying out all our plans so constitutionally and pros- 

Shall we keep this, we repeat, our Constitution, with 
all its checks and balances, its privileges, its just and 
equal rights and influences? which is the question of 
the present moment. It has stood us in good stead ; it 
has not been wanting in the hour of trial ajid difficulty ; 
it has borne us even through a period of national woe 
and anguish ; in short, it has proved an ark of safety in 
many a time of anxiety and danger. Shall we retain it 
as it was formed, and as it has hitherto proved itself, 
worthy and efficient? or shall we change it for some 
new mode, and, in so changing, again break up or mod- 
ify our whole system of government ? 

This one question is, to our mind, of vast and essen- 
tial moment, not only to the present well-being, but to 
the future welfare, of these States, and of the world at 


That which is done or conceived in each generation is 
but precedent and history for that which follows ; as has 
been so painfully evident in the insidious doctrine on 
which we have so much commented, — State rights ; 
introduced only a generation since, but which, in our 
day, had culminated, almost to the destruction of our 
country. Opiniori is the commencement, the seed, of 
action : thinking is but the origin of doing. Therefore 
it essentially behooves the people, in whose hands to a 
great extent, in this country, is the power of revolution- 
izing., to guard with the utmost care and caution politi- 
cal opinions and theories ; to be sure that they have a 
true and sound basis, and that all our ideas are founded 
only upon just and accurate grounds ; remembering that 
we in our day, in all that we do and think, are but 
planting, step by step, that which must assuredly come 
to growth, be it true or false, of good or of evil. 

With such cautious, truthful proceeding, our revolve 
lions, be they in the way of opinion or amendment, or 
change of constitution or of government, will then be 
but safe, and probably those which were needed. 

lu reference to our present condition, it has been and 


is still said that things were out of joint in consequence 
of the Rebellion ; that we must be made over, recon- 
structed, before we could go on again in peace and 
safety. This was true in a measure. The war inevita- 
bly produced changes ; and reconstruction, to some ex- 
tent, was necessary. Our only care was to do this con- 
stitutionally : as the war had been carried on, through 
all its phases, constitutionally, so we should continue to 
finish and square off all matters connected with that and 
the Rebellion constitutionally ; that is, according to the 
Constitution, as the Constitution may demand ; in that, 
and in no other way. But what has the " Constitution " 
to do with this? one might say. Or we may be liable to 
be rebutted at the very outset by some such paragraph 
as the following : — 

" I am at once met by a vast array of objections. ' It 
would be unconstitutional ! ' say some scrupulous pa- 
triots. Is it not a little surprising that the Constitution 
should be quoted most frequently and persistently in 
favor of those who threw that very Constitution over- 
board?" (Cheers.)* 

* From the report of a speech at an emancipation-meeting at tlie 
Cooper Institute, New Yorlc, March 6, 1 862. The author of this is 
now a prominent " radical Republican." 


As if, forsooth, because the seceding States had vio- 
lated their obligations, — and this was the very crime 
for which the Government proceeded against them, — 
we were to exempt ourselves from ours ! 

By what possible right or propriety was the war car- 
ried on, on our part, if we were no longer bound consti- 
tutionally ? Then, indeed, would it have been " con- 
quest," literally ; we fighting, like them, to carry out 
simply our own wishes and desires ; being in precisely 
the same category with them. 

By all that is sacred and upright ; by all that is hon- 
est, just, and true ; by all our hopes of humanity, and 
desires for its redemption, — even of every slave from 
bondage, — let no man, woman, or child, in America, 
but repudiate forever such unholy sentiment ! Let no 
sneer ever approach to violate the sacredness of these 
obligations ! Morality and truth in politics, or affairs of 
State, are as essential a morality and truth as any other ; 
and, as in religion, he that is here unfaithful in little 
will be unfaithful also in much. He who is sophistical 
and without conscience on these points will be likely to 
be so on all other points. 

On the contrary, it is within the limits of the Consti- 


tution only that we can act : it is that alone which endues 
us with power to do aught. Without it we have no 
existence, either as States or as a nation, — are but a vast, 
agitated sea of irresponsible individual actors. What- 
ever, then, is done affecting the institutions and constitu- 
tion of any of our States, can only be done " constitu- 

" But," we may again be replied to, " this is a new 
state of things, such as has never occurred before ; and 
we must now proceed to procure guaranties that it never 
occur again." 

Here we leave this subject for the present, and return 
to that of " arbitrary arrests," wishing to expatiate a 
little further upon that topic, as it caused some excite- 
ment at the time, and as our discussion of it will lead to 
a view of the actual state of affairs and of the country 
during the Rebellion. 


With reference to " arbitrary " or " military " arrests, 
— which were arrests made during the war by the Fed- * ■ 
eral Government, under the suspension of the habeas 


corpus^ — we quote from the same document as before : 
" I deny that this Rebellion can suspend a single right of 
the citizens of loyal States. I denounce the doctrine, 

I that civil war in the South takes away from the loyal 

North the benefits of one principle of civil liberty. . . . 
The abduction of citizens from this State for oifences 

r charged to have been done here, and carrying them many 

hundred miles to distant prisons in other States and 
Territories, is an outrage . . . upon every principle of 
right and justice. . . . This loyal State, whose laws, 
whose courts, and whose offices, have thus been treated 
with marked and public contempt, and whose social 
order and sacred rights have been violated, was at that 
very time sending forth great armies to protect the 
national capital, and to save the national officials from 
flight or capture." 

It might now, perhaps, excite a smile of impatience 
or incredulity, that, in the height of the war, the occa- 
sional arrest of some suspected person, in whatever 
State, and his transportation to some one of the national 
fortresses used as prisons for State offences, should have, 
created so much sensation as it did at the time in some 
places. But Ave admit that this was a grave charge, and 


that civil war, or secession, in the South, should not have 
taken away from any loyal citizen of the North " the 
benefits of one principle of civil liberty," excepting what 
were inevitably bound up in that state of civil war : for 
undoubtedly there were various ways in which the state 
of civil war, or secession in the South, did actually de- 
prive every loyal State of certain benefits and privileges 
of the principles of civil liberty : namely, the restric- 
tions of commercial intercourse, which the blockade of 
the Southern ports entailed ; and also those of free speech 
or of the press, in the necessary prohibition to publish 
facts in regard to the army movements, et ccetera. These 
things were unavoidable, and what the. simple sense of 
each individual would plainly tell him that he must yield 
to. But more than this did not seem clear. Military or 
summary arrests by the Federal Government, in the 
midst of these otherwise peaceful communities, were 
startling, and seemed to be despoiling us of the very 
blessings and privileges of the civil liberty we had 
inherited, and had hitherto long enjoyed. The unusual 
nature of the occurrence we apprehend to have been a 
great cause of the excitement. But, to discover the true 
grounds and bearings of this proceeding, it appears to us 


only necessary to take a cursory view of the whole state 
of the country during that period, by which we shall 
perceive how even the loyal States must have been affect- 
ed in their dearest rights by the civil war, or secession in 
the South. 

Before secession took place, the doctrine, or principle, 
appeared so plausible to some minds, that it found advo- 
cates or apologists among even our (so-called) most 
intelligent communities at the North. We have seen 
how it was theoretically indorsed by a leading member 
of the party of the most " advanced thought;" and a 
large proportion of the minds of the nation, as we all 
remember (and as Avas noticed in the second section of 
this work), really wavered, or were uncertain and doubt- 
ful whether the secessionists might not be, in the abstract, 
right. It was even thought that they might be allowed to 
go — on experiment; but, when the war actually com- 
menced, the question soon settled itself for the majority 
of these. However doubtful they may have been as far 
as the theory went, they had no idea in actual fact of 
seeing their country broken into fragments. This feeling 
was not, however, universal. Some, perhaps many, at 
heart, continued to believe the secessionists to be right 


in theory ; and, as the war went on, these became more 
open and sympathizing in speech and act. Of course, 
this was rebellion, of the same nature as and identical 
with that in the South. The being surrounded by the 
great masses of a loyal community could not exonerate 
these individuals from personal guilt in the matter. It 
was the more dangerous, if possible, this having the 
power to act as a corrosive poison, or a contagious 
disease, on those around. The question, then, must turn 
upon whether it were necessary for the Government to 
take notice of those instances of rebellion, and not upon 
the lawfulness or rigJit of such notice, as, of course, this 
rebellion was no more justifiable or constitutional — al- 
though existing in individual cases only — in the other- 
wise loyal States than elsewhere ; and if this crime 
against the nation should break out anywhere in a loyal 
Northern State, as in a Southern rebellious one, it was by 
the same duty and right that the national authorities 
would proceed to repress it in the former as in the latter 
case. This was the only impartial ground. We should 
have no right to proceed against the Southerners, and 
exonerate or screen any Northern secessionist. The 
Government proceeded against these in all places as its 


own people, its own constituents. They were citizens at 
large of the United States. Our whole form of govern- 
ment depends on this, — its general relation to all the 
populations of the States as its body politic ; each in- 
dividual having a general citizenship, and a direct amena- 
bility and responsibility to the General Government as 
well as to the States themselves. The document quoted 
from above admits that the General Government has 
power, through its courts established in all the States, to 
enforce authority ; "to appoint officers to arrest, and 
commissioners to hear complaints, and to imprison upon 
reasonable grounds of suspicion." All this power it has 
in ordinary times ; and in those times of general peace 
and order, when seditious cases would be of limited ex- 
tent, there is no probability of the Government ever 
seeing any necessity, or having any temptation, to act 
otherwise than through those organized forms. But in a 
rebellion out of the usual order of things, and, to an ex- 
treme extent, absorbing nearly half of the country, with 
its sympathizers ramified throughout every section, it 
would seem that wherever detected, by open testimony, 
or on strong and "reasonable" grounds of suspicion, 
it must necessarily be treated also otit of a usual way 


of proceeding ; and there can certainly be no doubt that the 
Constitution gives, in these plain words, a summary mode 
of procedure in such cases (sect. 9 [2] ) : " The privi- 
lege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, 
unless^ when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public 
safety may require it; " the exception making, in this case, 
the rule. 

Thus it appears to us that the National Government 
was on the strict ground of propriety in those arrests, 
and that it could not have done otherwise without par- 
tiality. It could not overlook secession in the Northern 
States, even if occurring only in individual instances, and 
at the same time, with the " iron heel of war," be putting 
it down in the Southern States. That the whole country, 
in parts, was affected and sore by the great upheaving, 
is not surprising ; and, from all analogy, it could not be 
otherwise. A deep disease in the human body, although 
local, must infect more or less the whole system, appear- 
ing in spots here and there, and obstructing or checking 
the usual healthy circulations throughout. Instances 
of false imprisonment may have occurred among these 
arrests ; but those were liabilities which the abnormal 
state of war must be expected to bring, — the accidents, 
and not the design. 



The above remarks need to be but a little extended, it 
appears to us, to embrace the whole topic of " martial 
law." The same document before quoted says, " Amidst 
all the horrors that have been enacted under martial law 
in the history of the world, and amidst all the justifica- 
tions attempted of its usages, it was never before held 
that it could be extended over peaceful States. It was 
never before claimed that the powder of a military com- 
mander was superior to the powers of government. . . . 
Eight of the twelve States which originally made up 
our Union explicitly declared that the military power 
should, in all cases and at all times, be held in exact 
subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by 
it : this was expressed in each constitution, in terms 
almost identical. It is incredible that a people who held 
these views, and who were jealous of their liberties, and 
who thus restrained State authorities under their imme- 
diate control, would give to the commander of the army 
of the United States this despotic power." 

These remarks are admirably adapted to, and per- 
fectly descriptive of, our normal state, — our natural 


state, as we may call it, — a state of order and peace; 
and, in that state, we believe that no one in this country 
ever presumed to elevate the military above the civil 
power. It never was a question : our regular army 
was always limited, and had always been subordinated 
to the civil government. Also the measure of power, 
both State and National, is "fixed by the Constitution ;" 
and these powers are, in general, so clearly adjusted, 
that it would seem that neither one nor the other of 
them could, in a period of (^uiet and prosperity, go 
astray with impunity. If the General Government 
should exceed its bounds, the States would immediately 
utter their protest ; and, if the States surpassed their 
limits, the General Government would as quickly check 
their encroachments. It would seem that it should so be; 
and, verily, for a long period it was so, — no other 
possibility being dreamed of: but the fact did not so 
remain. A tremendous rebellion showed an aggression 
of States upon the National Law and Constitution. We 
may say that this did not affect the loyal States ; that 
they, peaceful, should go on the same as ever. But 
the truth is, it did affect them ; and they could not go 
on the same as ever. This was not only a negation 


of the law of the Constitution in the rebellious States, 
but it was also the introduction of another positive 
condition of things in the "peaceful" States. Their 
trade, their commerce, in multifarious and essential 
ways, was upheaved ; they were called upon to supply 
armies for the field ; a constant draft upon their men 
and treasures was requisite ; and the mourning, the 
loss of life and homes, desolated them as well as the 
most rebellious States. Truly, all was " out of joint." 
Thus rebellion is not simply a denial of a certain 
organized condition : it is the reign of a positive disorder, 
as palpable to the sense as (ah ! in this instance, how 
much more palpable than !) any other condition. This 
condition is owing, indeed, to the withdrawal of or from 
law ; but, while it lasts, it is as actual as any other state 
of things. It is, therefore, a great 'power of evil ; and 
in this instance it shook our country to its extremest 
ends, thus showing the magnitude and the peril of the 

That the usual civil and constitutional quiet routine 
could go on the same where the Rebellion had sway, it 
would be vain to assert. In no country in the world 
could the usual routine be carried out in such a condition 


of affairs. This great power of the Rebellion, going 
forth in aggression, rising " above the law," attempting 
an exactly opposite course to that which had been sanc- 
tioned and sworn to as the common law and order of the 
country, could not be competed with by that common law 
and order : that was established for its state of things. 
Rebellion can be met only by something commensurate 
with itself. If it rages wdth physical or military force, 
physical or military force alone can be adequate to 
contend with it. Therefore, in this country, as in every 
other, another order of things must be established to 
meet such emergency ; and our fathers, recognizing the 
possible need, provided for this. They inserted ~ in 
the Constitution — not as an accidental thing, but as 
belonging to it — the power to raise and support armies 
and a navy, poiver to suppress insurrections. This power 
must, of course, include whatever will he necessary, or it 
is no power at all ; and it is power separate and different 
from the common course, — f7'om the usual, quiet routine, — 
that formed for its own regular, ordinary state of affairs, 
being inadequate, and not expected to cope with an irreg- 
ular, extraordinary state or condition. .This authority, 
however, is not above the civil authorities : it is still held 


in the civil hands (the Executive himself is commander- 
in-chief, though not in the field) ; it is empowered by the 
Constitution, and is, therefore, equally constitutional 
with the other ; it is, for the time being, but a substi- 
tute for the other, not for a permanency, but for the 

This unusual, extraordinary exercise of power during 
war time, is martial law ; and this law, out of the usual 
exercise of power, is doubtless called for wherever the 
unusual state, insurrection, or rebellion, exists ; because 
it is precisely to meet such that it was created : and, 
whenever such arises, this also arises as the necessary 
consequence ; that is, effect strictly following cause. It 
is just as unavoidable, therefore, for martial law to 
exist if the unusual state of things exists, and just as 
legal, because provided for in the form of government, 
as any other law or laws. 

To our mind, then, it is plain that martial law does 
and must in force actually exist for the true integrity 
and security of the government and nation in times of 
extraordinary rebellion, extending even to " peaceful " 
States, in whatever form may be necessary. It exists 
there in its requisitions for men and means to carry on 


the war ; and it appears to us that this authority might 
as well be disputed as any other branch of strictly martial 
law. No State, in a time of great excitement and up- 
heaving, could answer for numbers of its own popula- 
tion not becoming infected with the same treasonable 
purposes ; and therefore the ultimate security of each 
demanded that that extraordinary but not extra-con stitu- 
tional power should be possessed by the Central Authori- 
ty, and that it should hold that efficient hand — that 
martial law — ready for use, not only over the rebellious 
States, but, in that time of disorder, over the whole vast 
country, excited and sympathetic by natural ties in every 
part, liable to an occasional outbreak here and there, 
even in the most generally loyal portions. And, in deny- 
ing that power, we should be cutting off from ourselves a 
necessary arm of protection, as might have been exem- 
plified in the divided secession States, as Tennessee, 
Kentucky, Missouri, &c. Precisely with the same kind 
of authority — martial law, created expressly for that 
emergency — with which it put down rebellion in those 
semi-loyal States, we conceive that it should put it down 
in but a single individual, if it so be, in an otherwise 
wholly loyal State ; and, if it had not the right to subdue 


precisely the same crime in the latter place by proceed- 
ings of martial or national law (formed expressly for 
that unusual state of things), we know not how it could 
possess the right in the former places ; the two cases 
being precisely identical in nature, only unequal in extent. 
No: there must be requisite the same firm, impartial 
hand over every part, as need may be ; and it appears 
to us, that, if this power were denied to the Government 
in the one case, it must be abandoned in the other ; and 
that then we should have no Central or National Govern- 
ment, but would be resolved into wholly independent 


We have only further to add, that this power may have 
been occasionally abused in all the subordinate offices of 
Government ; that this would not be at all improbable in 
those new and untried circumstances ; and that, therefore, 
the States themselves were not exempt from a vigilant 
care and protection of their own citizens, as far as would 
be warranted on their part ; but that this did not super- 
sede the necessity and the existence of the principle and 
the fact of martial law — the military power of the Gov- 
ernment — being exercised in its proportionate measure, 
even, if needful, in the loyal portions of the country. 



The address we have quoted from goes on to say, 
" There is little to fear in periods of peace and prosperi- 
ty. If we are not protected when there are popular 
excitements and convulsions, our Government is a 

This remark was made in connection with the Procla- 
mation of Emancipation of President Lincoln, and these 
sentences followed : — 

" If presidential proclamations are above the decisions 
of the courts and the restraints of the Constitution, then 
that Constitution is a mockery. If it has not the authori- 
ty to keep the Executive within its restraints, then it 
cannot retain States within the Union. Those who hold 
that there is no sanctity in the Constitution must equally 
hold that there is no guilt iu the Rebellion." 

What would have been an accorded rii^ht in the nor- 
mal, regular, established routine, was no longer, for the 
<me, a right : it actually did not then exist. That right 
(of slavery) was granted for a certain, recognized condi- 
tion : it was abrogated, in itself, by the Rebellion having 
overturned and upheaved all things in the seceding 


States. The whole relation of affairs, for the time be- 
ing, was changed : usual laws were not in force ; they 
could not have play. Those States declared themselves 
an enemy, in opposition to the Government ; and thereby 
was created, or was required and brought into use, the 
new order of law, which was designed and marked out 
for exactly such emergencies ; namely, military rule, the 
regular effect following cause. The very order (im- 
plied) to suppress insurrections must include power in 
the Government to avail itself of efficient means to 
break down such insurrection ; and it would appear to 
the plainest sense a great dereliction of duty, and a 
want of earnestness on the part of the Government, 
should it leave untouched any thing that might check or 
stagger such overwhelming rebellion. Militar}^ law cer- 
tainly gives the power of aught (within the pale of civi- 
lization) that would worst the enemy. It was never 
heard of in any region or army of the world, that an 
advantage would not be ol)tained over an opposing army 
by any (military) means available. It would be a farce 
and a cruel mockery for those employed to be attacking 
it, nnd yet to leave untouched its supply-trains by whicli J 
it was fed and sustained day by day, if it were in their 


power to get possession of them. If the slaves were of 
essential aid and comfort to the insurgents by supplying 
the provisions at home, thus enabling the whole able- 
bodied force of white men to enter the army of Rebellion, 
thereby doubling its effective force, surely the military 
rule, the martial law, which alone can be executed in 
the case of insurrection, might be employed to weaken, 
paralyze, dispose of, that " aid and comfort," as well as 
any other, so far as it was able. The order of emanci- 
pation, therefore, from the Executive (being commander- 
in-chief), as a military measure, was not a mere "paper 
proclamation ; " and although it might not have taken 
much effect, perhaps, any further than as the Federal 
armies advanced, wherever that was effected, little by 
little, the military advantage of the measure immediately 
accrued ; for the negroes, diverted from aiding the Re- 
bellion, were exactly in that proportion a gain to the 

The proclamation was issued on the ground of mili- 
tary necessity, and was the due mode of meeting the 
secessionists on their own grounds. They had by force 
defied the General Government, and with the " strength" 
of their institution. How was it possible, then, that 


they, by their persistency (Mr. Lincoln having previ- 
ously offered them privileges in regard to it), should not 
forfeit it, and that the Government should not demolish 
that strength in the same manner that it would seek to 
demolish any other available force of the enemy, — by 
the use of the appropriate rule, martial law, which was 
co-extensive Avith the Rebellion itself, — the very poAver 
and rule Avhich had been ordained for the suppressing 
of insurrections? 

In the edict of emancipation, the letter of the Con- 
stitution Avas not touched. The statutes affecting 
slavery Avould remain the same, unless amended by 
Congress. No poAver less than that — the power of 
the people in their legislati\^e capacity — could change 
the Constitution and laws of the country. The imme- 
diate status of slavery only Avas affected by the procla- 
mation ; and to that, according to the preceding views 
deduced, the secessionists exposed themselves in the 
same manner as they exposed their territory to become 
desolated, in having resorted to armed warfare, or by 
the fortunes of Avar. 

This did not affect the vitality of the Constitution ; 
the subject of slavery being an accessory, as it Avere, to 


be observed as rightfully and in as true integrity as 
any other of its provisions, while things were in their 
normal condition ; but still liable to the incidents of 
war, as we have seen, in the same manner as were 
commerce, trade, postal arrangements, — on all which, 
in the Southern States, an embargo was necessarily laid, 
in consequence of hostilities. The organic relations, 
only, of the State and Federal Governments to each 
other, are the essentially vital ones, which, even in time 
of war, — such war, — are inviolable, so that we could 
not proceed to alter those relations. We could not pro- 
ceed to change a State into any other form of relation- 
ship ; into that of a colony, for instance, or a mere 
dependency, as such. Nor could we alter any function 
whatever of the Federal Government : the States were 
to remain States as they had been, and the Federal 
Government was to remain what it had been. This 
was the one issue of the war. 

Thus the Constitution, through all those changes, 
remained intact. Any modifications from the usual 
state of the country — the state of peace — were for 
the time being only, and were those which are allowed 
by the very Constitution itself; as we have seen in 


respect of the habeas corpus^ and of the use of the mili- 
tary power iu putting down insurrections. This latter, 
of course, must include military rule or governorship of 
the rebelling States until the insurrection should he effectu- 
ally suhduecl; until the States should be restored, — 
bi'ought back in good faith to their former condition, 
simply and entirely as States of the Union. When this 
should be accomplished, the Union would be as it ivas, 
in every essential and vital feature unchanged, — the 
organic relations remaining the same as they had pre- 
viously been. 

The demolition of the former status of slavery may 
have been temporarily injurious or inconvenient, like 
the other desolations and incidents of the war ; but, as 
we have seen, this in itself did not touch any vital 
feature of the Federal Union. The Constitution being un- 
touched, and the protective clause with regard to slavery 
still remaining, we should still be amenable to it, if sla- 
very should continue anywhere, until that clause should 
be expunged ; and this could be only by general consent 
in " full congress " of the people. Had the Executive 
attempted to do this of itself, that indeed would have 
been laying violent hands upon the Constitution, which 



would have aroused the country to an indignant burst 
of remonstrance. Mr. Lincoln, in fact, did no such 
thing ; nor can we dream that any man hereafter would 
dare thus to touch the sacred ark of our liberties, the 
charter of our rights. Any change or amendment there 
could be conducted only by the united voice of the na- 
tion through its constitutionally organized channels 

Thus, in employing the military power, it was not a 
question of subjugating and destroying the South as an 
insurrectionary section, but only of subjugating and 
destroying the rehelUon within it ; so to bring the 
States back to their allegiance, into the same Union 
we had before, — the same relations of Federal and 
State governments, each with its own local laws and 
policy. The institution of slavery alone was inciden- 
tally changed ; and war would probably have so shaken 
it, that it would never have been able to recover itself: 
but the Constitution on that point remained the same 
until legally modified by regular Congressional action. 

These constitutional principles, then, are our political 
rock, and ark of safety ; and, so long as the virtue and 
intelligence of our people continue, it will thus be an 
impossibility to " convert our Government into a mili- 


tary despotism." We need fear no such evil ; and, with 
just faith in those principles, no such anomalous and 
"mischievous doctrine" could prevail, as that it would 
be necessary to " subjugate and destroy" any portion of 
the country in order to save the Union. It would be 
a solecism thus to conduct ; and it would be no " Union," 
not our true and genuine Union, unless the whole of it, 
every section and State, were preserved, and redeemed 
to its original integrity and position. 


We have seen how admirably the Constitution car- 
ried us through all the perils of the Rebellion, as it 
had formerly carried us through our happy prosper- 
ity. No jar, no let, no hinderance, had ever occurred 
in all our experience : it had shown itself fully equal to 
every emergency ; it had failed us on no point during 
the war, up to the very moment when the vision of 
white-winged Peace came hovering over us in the full 
and final surrender of the secession forces. That — 
the breaking-up of the Rebellion — had been the object 
of the whole war ; and every mode and procedure in re- 


gard to it we had been able to carry out constitutionally^ 
according to the right and power invested in the Consti- 
tution. Might we not, then, expect that the white-robed 
angel which approached at the laying-down of the rebel 
arms, and in consequence of this, and which was the 
very purpose for which the war had been conducted on 
the Federal side, would also be received, settled, and 
established again among us constitutionally? "Would it 
be possible that the Constitution should allow us to go 
thus far, and not be equal to this emergency ? (Such, we 
think, it might be named, as it seems to have proved a 
difficult thing to know what to do with this peace when 
it came !) How, when, where, should we receive or in- 
augurate it? How? We answer, To our mind, it should 
have been received with acclamations from one end of 
the country to the other ; that we were no longer a 
disrupted nation ; that the States had been recovered, 
their arms laid down, and that we were now an indivisi- 
ble Union as we had been. When ? We answer, From 
the moment that military power was no longer needed, 
and when trade, commerce, intercourse, could spring up 
mutually as before. Where ? In every State that had 


been distracted by war, and which was now in good 
faith fulfilling its new-sworn allegiance. 

Was not this the mode which the Constitution would 
devise for the settling of peace? Would not this be 
the natural, constitutional result of the previous consti- 
tutional measures,— the measures to bring about and 
produce this very result, — the state of peace, having 
warred upon those who would have destroyed it? There 
was no other object in the war than to re-claim the 
States about to depart, so to procure an abiding and 
everlasting peace. It was the usual eifect following 
cause : this had been labored for, and it had come. We 
slipped into it naturally, so to say, by very force of fact. 
We could not have helped ourselves had we so wished ; 
it had come ; we were in it : just as much as we had 
been in a state of war, we were now in a state of peace. 
It was the constitutional result of the constitutional 
methods used. What other mode was needed? The 
Constitution had not permitted us to be parted ; and now, 
that being settled, what more was there to be done? 
Had we not come back to precisely the same position as 
before? There was but one issue of the war ; and, that 
settled in favor of the Constitution, why should we not 


go right on with the Constitution the same as formerly? 
The Constitution, in giving power to put down the Re- 
bellion, implied that peace would be restored, and noth-" 
ing else : it says nothing about any further change. 
When peace was restored, then, were we not exactly in 
the position the Constitution would have us? Thus, 
I think, we can discover by this logical reasoning 
what the Constitution meant by " peace," and what was 
the "constitutional" mode of proceeding after peace 
was first signed, sealed, and secured by the quelling of 
the insurrection. It was, in the first place, to get 
things in train as speedily as possible for the States 
to resume their long-obstructed or laid-aside functions. 
This was still the work of the Executive, as com- 
mander-in-chief, — not of the armies in the field : these 
had done their part ; and now it was for the Chief 
Magistrate to continue his executive labors until all ex- 
ternal things, at least, — civil and political relations, — 
should be completely restored. And here, en passant, 
we might say that this is all that the Government can 
do : it has no power to effect change of opinion or feel- 
ing, any further than external measures may have a 
natural influence. The Government may and must put 


down rebelliou, insurrection, or any civil disturbance 
outwardly ; but it cannot compel conviction^ or change the 
sentiments. These can be effected only by just, wise, 
and true measures, which in time have their effect. 

The President, then, had only to go on *iu a just and 
true constitutional way, retaining supervision of the 
(internally) dislocated and out-of-joint States until they 
were able to go on of themselves. How effectually the 
provisional governorships were carried out, and with 
what prompt action, enabling each State, one after an- 
other, to get its affairs in train, may well be presumed 
from the known energetic character of our present Chief 
Magistrate. Neither was there undue haste, as may be 
seen from the long period which elapsed (sixteen 
months) after the military surrender of the States, be- 
fore the last provisional government (that of Texas) 
was removed, and the State was re-instated in its own 
organic functions. 

Such simple, natural proceeding was but in conso- 
nance with the general character of our constitutional 
provisions ; all which, as we have seen, have been so 
admirably adjusted, so equal to the occasion, that 
'' emergencies^^' with us, have scarcely proved *' emergen- 


cies : " and so this emergency, so to say, of peace, settled 
itself, as it were (or would have done so), as readily as 
all other events have done. All can see how consistent 
this was with the general character of our republican 
institutions, — that war did not change us into a mili- 
tary government ; that we became nothing else, in 
fact, but our previous system of free and equal States, 
with each on the same ground that it was before. 
And have not the blessings of peace followed this con- 
dition of external peace, into which we so easily slid 
after our four years of the disturbance of war? Have 
not trade, commerce, intercourse, postal arrangements, 
all begun to revive again, and to become as healthful 
and vigorous as before? and, although it may take a 
long period to recover the devastated States to their 
former pitch of prosperity, under our muniticent govern- 
ment this will come in time. 

In the mean time, the legislative branch had had its 
work to do. Congress had not been all this time lying 
idle : it had, of course, gone on in its appropriate 
sphere. The whole country could not pause in its legis- 
lative functions because certain States had attempted 
to withdraw from the rest. No : those that were left 



xnust still continue in their legitimate work. The ma- 
chinery of government was not to cease because some 
of the States had chosen to leave it. Congress must 
go on ; the people, the country, must be taken care of, 
and legislated for the same as ever. Demands were 
made which must be supplied. Questions were con- 

I •„!, .v,n<:t Vip met One of these was 
stantly rismg which must be mei. 

in regard to that slave-clause of the Constitution : what 
should be done with it? Slavery had been 
from its pedestal by the upheaving of war, and the 
edict of emancipation had completely abolished it ; at 
least, as a matter of present fact. Should it ever be 
revived? This was the question. Should Congress leave 
this so that it might be re-instated at any time in the 
States? or should it say that now it was done with, 
finished, settled forever ; that that subject should never 
again bring the nation into peril? Was not this the 
time that the fathers had looked forward to, when fu- 
ture venerations should do that in regard to slavery 
which\%were not able to do, -to banish it forever 
and decisively from the Constitution? Was not th.s 
tl>e very moment to seize upon -now that it was al- 
„>ostin its death-gasp -to give the final stroke which 


should settle the matter for us and for all posterity? 
Certainly : there were no two ways about it. Slavery 
had almost caused the overthrow of the nation : now it, 
in its turn, at this critical juncture, must receive its 
overthrow. Through the instrumentality of its own 
States, it had become loosened, broken up, despoiled 
of its prestige ; it had attempted to make all these vast 
States its victim : now itself must become a prey and 
a victim. Therefore, " in full congress of the people," 
the slavery-clause was expunged from the Constitution ; 
or an amendment of the Constitution was enacted, which 
forever prohibited slavery in the United States. 

We say, " in full congress of the people ; " for so it 
was, as far as the circumstances of the case would ad- 
mit. It was the legal assemblage of the people, which 
had gone on uninterruptedly, as a matter of necessity, 
in its regular sessions. The Southern representatives 
were not present, because those States were not in a 
condition to be represented. They had voluntarily 
v^^ithdrawn from their seats in Congress, and they were 
still in a state of warfare a2:ainst the Union.* It was 
by their own act that they were absent : they had not 

♦ This ameudment passed during the war. 


been sent away or excluded ; and therefore the Congress 
was the same legal Congress without them as with them. 
It was all that the country could have ; and its acts, 
consequently, were as valid as at any former period of 
its history ; and they became, as much as any former 
acts, the '"^supreme law" of the land. Thus Congress 
and the country, as we have before said, not being able 
to wait, — the " emergency " being upon them, — the 
opportune moment in the course of Providence having 
arrived, the Constitution was amended on this point. 

When the formerly slave States were in a condi- 
tion to be re-instated, this amendment was submitted 
to them for their adherence as a necessary preparation 
for or condition of their re-instatement ; for, of course, 
the Constitution, as then legally amended, was to be the 
Constitution to which they must now give their alle- 
giance. It had been through their own fault that their 
seats were vacant in Congress, and therefore they must 
receive whatever modifications had been pronounced in 
the mean time by the voice of the country beside. 

Possibly some might say, " Why have been in such 
haste? Why not have waited until the States had been 
re-admitted into Congress, and so let all act upon amend- 


ing the Constitution, instead of making assent to the 
amendment a condition of their re-instatement?" 

In any other circumstances than those which existed, 
this would, undoubtedly, have been correct, since the 
whole country is to be united on any topic of change 
or reform ; but, as we have said, the whole legislation 
of the country could not be waiting while those States 
should choose to be absent from their places. In the 
mean time, the 'providential moment had come for giving 
the decisive blow which would settle this troublesome 
matter for the future. All had been prepared and 
made easy by the providential course of the war, first 
loosing and freeing the slaves by thousands, and then 
by the constitutional (as necessary for putting down the 
Rebellion) and equally providential measure, we might 
say (because Providence itself presides over the issues 
of governments and events), the edict of emancipation. 
There was but one thing more to be done, — the amend- 
ment of the Constitution, or confirming this edict by 
legislation ; and then that subject which had agitated us 
from generation to generation, and had been near de- 
stroying us as a people, would be finally laid at rest, 
being eliminated from our system. As far as slavery 


had been a " right," it was now truly forfeited by the 
course to which it had impelled the seceding States, and 
the peril to which it had brought the whole nation. It 
would have been but pusillanimity to have dallied with it 
longer, and the height of foolishness to presume that 
it must longer be " protected." 

When this amendment was presented to each of the 
late secession States, under its provisional government, 
before it had resumed its State functions, one and all 
gave to it a full adherence and allegiance ; so that this 
statute is now of the same force as any other part of the 
Constitution. Here, again, all was constitutional : every 
State, in giving its adherence and allegiance, had become 
a party to it, the same as to the original instrument. 

With this subject, the cause of the war, thus acted 
upon and settled constitutionally ; the secession ordi- 
nances of the States made null and void by their own 
action ; the war-debt of the nation assumed by them 
(for, of course, being again in their usual functions in the 
nation, they must share its burdens as well as its privi- 
leges, especially burdens which had been brought about 
by their own course of action), — what more was wanting 
to restore them to their full and normal position of States 


in the Union, — which was the one object and issue of 
the four-years' war by the Government, and of its after 
necessary proceedings, — but that all the State ma- 
chinery should be got into operation, the governor and 
officials chosen by the people, the senators and represen- 
tatives to Congress elected? And then the peace, the re- 
freshing peace, internal peace, that was to follow ! 

" Good heavens ! " we might hear some one here ex- 
claim, " are these people coming right in again to have 
all their rights and privileges in the Government, with- 
out any penalty, without any punishment, for their sins 
and misdeeds?" 

We might answer in return, " Good heavens ! have 
they not had punishment, deep and dire, in the almost 
total wreck of property and business ; in the complete 
devastation of homes and firesides ; in the desolation 
which the ravages of war have produced, far and near, 
in all their towns and borders ; in the famine and desti- 
tution which have stared them in the face ? " We see 
nothing of all this in our prosperous Northern towns 
and cities as the result of the war, and therefore we 
cannot realize that they have met with loss and destruc- 
tion on every hand ; and so, perchance, we still cry out 


for vengeance. " Vengeance is mine, I will repay, 
saith the Lord ; " and we believe this has been amply 
repaid in the overthrow of all their expectations ; in the 
disastrous effects and influences of the war, from which 
it may take a century to recover. A few words on this 


On this subject, much might be said ; although, for 
the responsible political and military leaders in the 
movement, the country has not seemed to know what to 
say. We should presume that the words " treason" and 
" traitors," if they applied anywhere, would apply most 
appropriately to those members of Congress who had not 
resigned their seats, but left them avowedly to carry out 
their purpose of secession. If treason, in the premedi- 
tated act^ occurred anywhere, assuredly it must have 
been then and there. Would not any other country 
have declared such cases "treason"? But, here, what 
was said? what was done? It was looked upon as a 
political movement. There was no outburst of alarm or 
indignation. Here, where freedom of opinion on all 
points has been extreme, the country did not really know 


how to regard this ; considered it, perhaps, but as on a 
footing with other " freedom." It was only when the 
horrors of war actually came upon us that there was so 
deep objurgation of the movement, denouncing it as 
"treason." How difficult it has been to treat these 
cases, how unaccustomed our people are to the idea of 
treason, and how plainly it was 

" Not to the manor bom," 

is evident from the foreign, uncouth, old-time mode iu 
which it has been endeavored to bring up these cases 
in the indictments of Mr. Davis and others. They are 
not of the nature or genius of our institutions, do not sit 
upon us with a native air. If we are to have treason 
among us (although it would seem to be a most rash, 
unnatural attempt deliberately to lift one's hand against 
the most beneficent government in the world), it would 
seem that we should have some mode for indicting it 
which would be appropriate to the crime and to our age 
and country. As it is, those cases appear likely to fall 
through from the simple uncertainty as to how and 
where to treat them. The Constitution makes treason 
with us to consist in levying war against the United 



States. These would seem, therefore, to be plainly 
cases of treason; but still, that they are peculiar, and 
different in many respects from such simple definition 
of treason, must be acknowledged. 

The ostensible purpose was, not an assault upon their 
government, but to withdraw themselves from it, peacea- 
bly if they could, forcibly if they must. It was a politi- 
cal sin and error, rather than a moral guilt ; a want of 
true insight, arising from the pernicious and obscuring 
doctrine of Stat^ rights, which, however, had been intro- 
duced into and infused throughout the atmosphere of 
the South for a whole generation, with all the plausi- 
bihty possible to one of the greatest intellects of our 
land.* How, then, might it not be expected that his 
particular countrymen or fellow-citizens should follow 
with pride and belief so specious and distinguished a 

leader ? 

Such treason appears to us to have been of the nature 
of a disease, rather than of a conspiracy. It was not an 
effort to destroy the Government for those who chose to 
remain under it; but 'presuming upon the freedom of 
opinion and action which had been uniformly cherished 
* Hon. John C Calhoun. . 



and fostered with pride among our wliole people, and in 
a spirit of independence, as the inheritance of our coun- 
try and the product of- its institutions, they wrought 
out a theory of unlimited freedom, in those respects, for 
each State, and thereupon acted. This appears to us 
a profuse, wild, but not unnatural growth of our free 
soil. Not unnatural under the circumstances, until, by 
experience, it had been tested and proved that this was 
a rank, deleterious growth, that must be checked ; and 
that our tree of freedom, like aught else, must be pruned 
and guarded in order to keep it of due size and shape. 
This (secession) seems to have been a disease, an ex- 
crescence, which sprung from our very state of freedom 
itself, — the wild oats of our youth and inexperience. 
Whether this species of treason was to be treated as 
treason elsewhere has been treated, or whether, being 
indigenous and peculiar to the soil, it should have some 
other peculiar treatment, might be an open question. 
In the mean time, it appears to us, that, inasmuch as 
penalty is for prevention of future evil, the questions 
might arise whether the repressfon of this disease itself 
of the body politic may not be its cure ; whether our 
States, in any likelihood, will ever assert such a princi- 


pie again as independence over and above the National 
Government ; or whether it may be expedient, now, to 
^ive an example that may last for all time to come. 

All this we leave to the legal opinion and arraignment 
of the country, and tm?n to consider rather the millions 
in the Southern States who were engaged in the samu 
treasonable warfare. The doctrine of State rights, 
which was the head and front of their offending (politi- 
-^ally), had, with all the plausibility of eloquence, ora- 
tory, and intellect, been ingrafted and embedded in the 
popular mind for a long period, — a whole generation, 
in fact. Now, were the great masses of those who toil 
for their daily bread, and the multitude of those unused 
to thought and investigation, and who are always the 
majority in any community, — were these to be able to 
resist those seductive influences, and to withstand the 
gradually penetrating, insidious, and almost unconscious 
working of years ? In short, were they not to be affected 
by the very air which they breathed? It would be a 
miracle were human nature to escape such iniuences. 
It is impossible that the masses should be, politically, 
otherwise than what the public atmosphere, ilie public 
sentiment, makes them ; or that we should expect those 


thus situated to think of stemming the current, backed 
by all the specious force that was setting in. The body 
of the people can only be what the head, the leaders, 
make it. Its very integrity requires it to yield, to be 
obedient, to the supposed superior intelligence.* They, 
in truth, it appears to us, have much the irresponsibility 
of a family, where the parents give guide and direction 
to all. That they, the children, the people, of the South- 
ern States, clung with heart and soul to that guidance 
and direction, and believed it to be the true and right 
(however false it may have been seen to be by others), 
can, therefore, be no argument against them. And as 
the law, in criminal cases, should look always to the 
position and condition of the offender, in order to under- 

* This sentiment may appear to be in contradiction to the idea 
generally advanced, and which is also contained in the second section 
of this work, — of the rulers being the servants of the people; that it 
is the masses, the body, and not the head, which is to inaugurate new 
or revolutionary movements, as in our revolutionary war with Great 

Both are true in a sense. The heads, the leaders, of the people, 
are, in their acquired intelligence, the natural and appointed guide 
to direct, when the j^eople have undertaken or desired; but no wise 
ruler, it is to be presumed, would attempt to initiate political changes 
among the masses, when these had not of themselves some emotions 
of discontent or uneasiness. 


stand his real degree of guilt ; so ought we, in this case, 
to understand the whole condition of the masses in the 
seceding States. They were, in their measure, irrespon- 
sible ; and thus the same penalties — confiscation, expa- 
triation, or whatever — awarded to them as would be 
awarded to the authors and directors, the real movers, 
would be but indiscriminate and unjust. 

The only remedy could be to place over them a gen- 
erous and genial government, alluring them back to 
their allegiance, and, under these different influences, 
givins: to them a truer "guidance and direction. Thus, 
with a more healthful atmosphere, they would eventu- 
ally return to a more sound and healthful condition. 
But time and patience are needed for this. 


We left, a few pages back, the late seceding States 
(with the preliminaries all gone through) standing at the 
door of the Union, waiting for the last ceremony that 
should again fully re-instate them and us in our happy 
normal condition of " free and equal" States, — the ad- 
mission of the Southern members to their seats in Con- 


gress. This happy normal condition of our country is 
the " consummation most devoutly to be wished," which 
had cost us four years of the labor and struggles of war 
to attain, which was the very end for which the war 
had been waged by the Federal Government. 

Where, then, are those States now, and their represen- 
tatives? By the last advices, they were still waiting, 
with the exception of one (Tennessee), which, after 
standing, with its credentials in its hand, for eight long 
months, was at length admitted. And the peace so 
long looked for? It has not yet come. 

A respectable journal of the Northern States * lately 
exclaimed, in allusion to this, " If Mr. Johnson could 
only have been content to let matters take their own 
course for a time, and subside into something like their 
old quiet ! " 

It appears to us, as has been seen, that the President 
did his part very quietly and properly, and Congress 
did their part the same, up to the time when the States, 
one after another, were ready, by their representatives 
and senators duly elected, to be re-admitted. What, 
then, is the matter? Where is the obstruction? A 

* Of July 26, 1866. 


vague idea, which seems to have seized upon the minds 
of our people, that something more is necessary ; that 
some " reconstruction " or other must take place before 
we can again be one. They have been afraid, as it 
were, to let things take their natural quiet course, — 
liow quiet, in the simple constitutional mode, we have 
seen, — so admirably would the Constitution have met 
this emergency, as it had met every other. 

The success of the war itself was reconstruction. 
Had secession triumphed, it must have been sauve qui 
peut ; and we must all have got along as w^ell as we 
could, subject to disunion, division, the rivalry and 
opposition of all separable sections. Then would strife 
of all kinds have been let loose ; then would ambition, 
discord, anarchy, have place, where else might have 
been a peaceful sway, and the paths again of quiet pros- 
perity and strength. But the war did not so succeed. 
The Constitution triumphed, and with it lias come its 
mild, beneficent reign, putting an end to all discord, 
confusion, and strife. Or, rather, it ought so to have 
come, and would, we believe, have hushed all disturb- 
ances ; but we have not allowed it so to do. We have 
wished to interpose or interpolate something else, — some- 


thing that is not in the Constitution. We (that is, the 
Congress of the States which have been in their legis- 
lative functions through all the period of the war) are 
now acting according to our own views and opinions, 
instead of the letter and intent of the Constitution ; and 
these views have not, as yet, been sufficiently wide and 
far-reaching to harmonize all things, and bring in the 
munificent reign of peace. In other words, we are 
acting outside of the Constitution, and therefore bring 
only confusion and disorder ; for the tie of the Consti- 
tution is that alone which can unite all our people, and 
in that only it is that we have any political life or in- 

We believe it must have been seen, from all the pre- 
ceding views of this work, — which have been very 
fairly deduced, we think, from our whole previous his- 
tory, and from the documentary charters of our Govern- 
ment, — that there can be no such thing as " reconstruc- 
tion," in the comprehensive sense now politically given 
to that word. When peace should be fully established 
by the re-organization of all the States, — or as fast as 
they were ready to be re-organized, — the deliberative, 
constitutional assemblies could proceed to "amend" the 


Constitution wherever it might be found to be needful 
and proper. We say, " as fast as the States were 
ready ; " for the general legislation of the country could 
not stop, as we have seen, because some of the States, 
through their oivn faulty were not in their places. What- 
ever was so done, as was the case in the amendment of 
the slave-clause, is as valid as if it had been enacted by 
the whole Union. It is only when the States are con- 
stitutionally willing and ready, — that is, have fulfilled 
their constitutional conditions, but are excluded from 
participation, — that the proceedings of amendment, and 
so forth, would be illegal ; for the Constitution distinctly 
says (Art. 5) " that no State, without its consent, shall 
be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate." 

Our remarks have applied simply, of course, to 
the ordinary cases of " amendment." If any organic 
relation were to be touched, or if there were to be any 
general revision of the Constitution, affecting the State 
and Federal relations, most assuredly we must wait 
until every State should be able to have its proper vote. 
It must be tlie united voice of our people to revise or 
remodel our government, as it was by their united voice 
that it was originally formed. A prirt only of the 


States could no more use this form of State rights than 
the secessionists could theirs. 

We find in the Constitution no other doctrine what- 
ever of reconstruction, any more than one of secession, 
excepting in this limited sense of "amendment;" and 
that reconstruction, as we have seen, had already 
taken place. The Constitution was amended, and sub- 
mitted to the then absent States for their adherence 
when they should again become re-instated. All the 
other conditions, also, were fulfilled. Their secession 
ordinances had been denied, their share of the national 
war-debt was assumed, and whatever other qualifications 
were required — the test-oath, and so forth — were acqui- 
esced in ; and, in good faith, they proceeded to make 
their election of officers,' both in the State and Federal 
relations. This was re-construction, re-organization, 
the getting things in operation in their usual mode. 
There was wanting but one thing to complete it, — the 
re-admission of the Congressional members to their 
seats, and thereby the States into the Union. They are 
not, of course, in the Union as ^vqq and equal States, 
until such admission, by their members, into Congress. 
Congress alone is the judge of these elections, and of 



the qualifications of its members, whether they are 
duly qualified and elected : their credentials must there- 
fore be submitted to Congress to be properly pro- 
nounced upon. Has the present Congress performed 
this part, this duty of theirs, in regard to those re-con- 
structed, re-organized States? It has not, excepting in 
the case of Tennessee, — and that not until eight 
months after it had applied for admission. What was 
Congress doing in the mean time ? Was it proceeding 
to legislate for the country, with States all ready and 
desirous to come in, — to be in their seats, — but not 
admitted? Was it still making " amendments " to the 
Constitution, with States outside unable to participate, 
because it, the proper authority, had refused or delayed 
to examine their credentials? Of what force would be 
such amendments when made with members thus ex- 
cluded from their seats, not voluntarily withdrawn? 
and what authority has it for legislating at all, with 
members not necessarily or willingly absent, but pro- 
hibited by its action from taking a part? In such case, 
it is not a " full congress " of the people, but a partial 
one ; the members assuming to legislate by themselves 
alone, while other members were not only " ready" and 


" willing " to participate, but had presented theniselves 
for that purpose, and were only deprived of so d»ing 
because the former members had not been willing to 
receive or admit them. It evidently is no true congress 
of the country, which assumes to act by a part of its 
members, only, when the others might be present, and 
are absent, not from their own fault, but by the fault 
of that very part. In such a case, its acts can no longer 
be valid as they were during the Rebellion ; some of 
the States then having voluntarily withdrawn. This 
makes the entire diiference ; and our present Congress 
appears to have forgotten that those States are no 
longer in rebellion, incapable of performing their 
functions, but have elected their Congressional mem- 
bers, who are only w^aiting at the door of Congress 
until their credentials shall be examined and approved, 
and waiting for this only. Tliey are not waiting for 
Congress to make any further " amendments," or for 
"reconstruction;" since for this there is no constitu-- 
tional mode or authority whatever, that which was 
necessary having already been done. 

We have now come round to where we abruptly left 
off in the first article of this section, and recur to the 


proposition, which is, in substance, that of a large party 
in the country, and is partly the ground, doubtless, on 
which the present Congress justifies itself for its delay 
in admitting the re-organized States: namely, that 
"this is a new state of things, such as has never 
occurred before ; and that we must now proceed to 
procure guaranties that it may never occur again." 

This might be very well and right if we had the 
constitutional ability to do this ; if, perchance, we were 
some other form of government than we are. But, as 
it is, the Constitution is our sole political charter ; and 
in time of peace, as well as in war, we can be 
guided only by that. Any thing but faithfulness to that 
must be our real crime of " treason " in idea ; the 
betrayal of our country, the guilt of treason peculiarly 
ours, as other countries have their guilt of treason 
in disloyalty to their king, &c. And, as has been stated 
above, the Constitution has made no provision what- 
ever for any further reconstruction by a j^ar^, and not 
by the whole, congress of the people. 
. Whatever may be done, therefore, in this particular 
Congress, while other States might and would he repre- 
sented, hut are not alloived to he, can have no true validity. 


and can only be open to repeal if a succeeding " full " 
Congress should be disposed to repeal it. No " guar- 
anty " can be obtained in this manner, because " the 
law," so called, would not be "law "in such a case, 
being of no constitutional force. It is authority outside 
of the Constitution, and can have, therefore, no inherent 

To present this in another way. The " amend- 
ments " which Congress has been enacting since the 
cessation of the Rebellion are presented to the re-or- 
ganized States for acceptance, as the condition of their 
elected members of Congress being admitted to their 
seats. Congress has been so persevering in this, that 
it has, perforce, made this acceptance the very condition 
of the States resuming their places, not in the Union 
(if a State can be said to be in its place in the Union 
that is not represented), for they had already given in, 
in good faith, their allegiance in all the requisite pre- 
liminaries, but their Congressional position, which, of 
course, each one of those "free and equal" States has 
a right to, if it is in its loyal functions at all in the Union. 
Thus the other States, in so doing, by their delegates in 
Congress, are assuming a superiority and a right of 


dictation over those States for which there is no ground 
or authority whatever in our National Constitution ; 
and although the States may, for the sake of being 
admitted, yield to this persistency on the part of the ex 
part^'K)ongress, that condition, those " amendments," 
can in reality have no binding force upon tliem, because 
not by authority of the Constitution. Thus, again, we 
see that no real " guaranty " can be obtained in such 

To present it in still another form. Those States had 
been wholly, constitutionally re-organized, — only want- 
ing the Congressional members to take their seats. If, 
then, in this position, they are given certain conditions 
perforce, they are brought under a form of government 
which is not voluntarily their own, and are thus directly 
endued with the right of revolution; and may use it, 
the first moment they are able, to throw off this invol- 
untary government or these statutes of the Govern- 
ment. Here, again, we see that no permanent guaranties 
can ])e thus obtained. 

Is it possible, then, we may hear it asked, that we 
can liave no security, no certainty whatever, against 
such terrible upheaving and disorder of the country 


as we have just been through? Must we be forever li- 
able to the same occurrences, again and again ? Reader, 
we beg here to pause, and look a little on our natural 
situation and relations. 

Here we are, a great nation, composed of numerous 
States all on the same footing, affording no cause of 
rivalry or strife between them. (There was such cause, 
producing strife and rivalry, which threatened our over- 
throw. We were not on the same footing ; but that cause, 
the institution of slavery, is now eliminated forever from 
our system, leaving us all on one and the same equal 
ground.) We have a Constitution large and free, as 
beneficent as the sun itself in its blessings ; and which 
of itself, if we do not prove to be the most rebellious 
and ungrateful people in the world, must s-ol'ten us into 
mildness, kindliness, good temper, and fraternal feeling. 
We have resources, the richest in the world, to occupy 
and interest all our people as soon as political strife 
may be a little allayed ; and we have leisure to improve 
and employ ourselves in these resources. We have, it 
is trusted, good sense, natural intelligence, and a grow- 
ing savoir de /aire on occasions of sudden excitement or 
emergency. Moreover, we have now had experience, — 


that true teacher of nations as well as of individuals, — 
and know what is to be avoided^ and in what we are to 
control ourselves, civilly and politically. Above all, 
our national system, with its laws, has been tried, 
tested, and not found " wanting." Can we not trust 
it for the future, as it has not failed us in the past? 
Seeing that it has come forth so gloriously, without 
spot or stain, through as great a trial as any form of 
government ever experienced, can we not adopt it with 
safety, and without distrust, as our stronghold for the 
present,' our provision for the future? All within it 
must and will have its influence : it forms the very 
atmosphere which we breathe. All nations are mould- 
ed by their institutions. We, fed and nourished for- 
merly by our untried, unlimited, as we believed, lib- 
erty, have been impelled to daring deeds in one form 
or another : but we are learning that there are limita- 
tions even in freedom ; that liberty must not become 
license ; that the true form of any government in the 
world is in appropriate law and order 

In these, then, let us trust. Let us leave it to the Con- 
stitution itself to right us. What that requires of us, let 
us maintain firmly ; what it does not permit, let us de- 



part from utterly. In this only is there a guaranty. 
Such course only is safe and sure, because it is the only 
just course. All else brings disorder, and the strife of 
parties. We may not be lorecked by these ; we may 
come out from them as we have throuoh other emergen- 
cies, because, we believe, the right must ultimately 
triumph and prevail : but, in the mean time, we are 
subjected to much needless suffering, — to anxiety and 
alarm, which must continue as long as we are not in the 
plain, straight road of constitutional freedom. Peace — 
that blessed peace we have looked for — camiot fully 
come until our car of victory is on its own smooth wheels, 
— the simple, easy, natural ones of the Constitution. 
Any others interposed to assist can but obstruct (for they 
are not of the character of our institutions) , especially that 
machinery, or mode, of a part or a number of the States 
legislating for others without their consent, or with their 
forced consent, as has been adopted by the present Con- 
gress ; for it must be remembered that the re-organized 
States were wholly re-organized, and were only waiting 
for the ceremony of admission to resume their lawful 

This anomaly in our country of an ex parte Congress is 


but one of those political phenomena Avhieh have occurred 
from time to time. A similar one took place during the 
war. A party which had lifted up its voice most strenu- 
ously on this very ground of faithfulness to the Constitu- 
tion against the supposed inroads upon it of the then ex- 
isting administration (Mr. Lincoln's), proceeded shortly, 
on the strength of individual States (as Ohio, Indiana, 
Illinois), to pronounce and declare upon other sections 
(New England, &c.), that they should be forced out, — 
excluded from the Union. Thus they themselves, in 
another form, were laying violent hands upon that sacred 
ark, the slightest scratch upon which they had so indi"-- 
nantly protested against ! Such a position, of course, is 
as untenable as was that of the Southern States ; and the 
attempt to cast out any section or State — North, South, 
East, or West — would be as false and suicidal as was 
that of secession itself. 

The truth is self-evident, that in faithfulness to the 
charter in which, as we have seen through the whole in- 
vestigation of this work, is our sole political life and 
integrity, and which is all that gives us that life, we can no 
more shove, push, cast off, or exclude any portion of our 
country, than any portion can take itself off; and that, in 


assuming to do this^ we are but putting ourselves on the 
identical ground of any other form of secession or inde- 
pendent State rights ; namely, that of our own will and 

How, we might exclaim, are we to save ourselves from 
these anomalies, recurring again and again in some new 
form? Only, we believe, by our vast populations — men, 
women, and children — learning what our Constitution 
really is, what are its limits and restrictions ; and by 
making the principles of government, and of our own in 
particular, a study in our schools and academies, that 
seed-truths may thus be sown in all our popular learning. 
A free people needs this well-disseminated knowledge 
for its own guidance, protection, and stability. 

In the mean time (in the recently-uttered words of the 
new governor of one of the re-organized States*), "a 
suffering people are to be relieved, a great nation is to 
be saved. It will require the loftiest patriotism, and the 
purest devotion to principle. An enlarged and liberal 
charity should be exercised toward those who may differ 
from us in opinion. Great ends are to be accomplished, 

* That of Texas. 


not by vituperation and abuse of opponents, but by digni- 
fied appeals to reason and the nobler impulses of the 
heart." AVith these catholic sentiments, and being bound 
together, as we are, in an inviolable, and, we will add, 
providential bond (for so only could it have come about), 
let us, instead of any State, or any number of States, assert- 
ing or attempting this or that on the strength of its or their 
own wish and assumption of authority or responsibility, 
— thereby causing rivalry and the excitements of party 
spirit, and making us to be wounded and bleeding at every 
pore, — let us turn from these self-inflicted tortures and 
lacerations, and in strong and- unwavering faith, dropping 
all minor aims and purposes, stand firmly and steadily at 
the HELM OF THE Union, fixing our eyes upon that 
beacon-light, the Constitution, which alone, under God, 
can bring us to a quiet peace and rest, and, through that 
peace and rest, to the opening again of a happy and hope- 
ful future ; not in the weakness of dismemberment, nor 
even of inequality, with all the parts out of joint, but in 
the powerful strength and vigor of a whole united body, 
each member receiving power, grace, comeliness, and 
vitality from its union with the others, just as Providence 


itself has tempered them together. Then may we look 
for the angel that but appeared and vanished, to come 
and make its abiding presence with us, diffusing the bless- 
ings of a true and lasting peace throughout all our 



The purposes of the war just passed through have 
been almost fulfilled in the former seceding States hav- 
ing been recovered and re-organized, but not quite, in- 
asmuch as they are not yet fully re-admitted to their 
position in the Union. The first issue now is, on the 
part of the Government, to accomplish this final step. 
Until this is done, the country is not wholly restored, 
"We are not yet a Union — our former Union — of " free 
and equal" States. We are not therefore, as yet, a 
valid body for proceeding to any other purpose. We 
should be a valid body if those States were not yet 
ready; but inasmuch as they are (or some of them), 
and are willing to perform, and are even desirous of 
performing, their functions, and are not doing so, from 
no fault of their own, but because they are refused par- 
ticipation, all acts pursued without them must be nuga- 



tory and void. We have been so long accustomed 
(during the war) to legislate independently of those 
States, that our people, we believe, have in this manner 
forgotten or overlooked the grand, original principle of 
our Government, — a Federal Union of equal States ; 
and that v^^e can no longer go on, now that they are 
ready and able to be re-united, but in that Union ; that 
the government or control of one section of the country 
by another was never the design or intent of our Con- 
stitution. This, then, must be the first issue of the re- 
newed state of affairs ; because we can proceed to do 
nothing else whatever, with any validity, until this is 
rightly settled : for if Congress be in a false position, 
and not on constitutional grounds, its every act must be 
invalid, as we have before said. Rather, we might say, 
this is the last issue of the war just waged, although the 
parties are somewhat changed. Instead of its being the 
Government against the seceding States, it is the same 
Government, or the Executive portion of it, against that 
party, or a portion of that party, of the people, which 
fought more than any other to recover those very States 
to the Union, but which now, instead of going on to the 
full consummation of that " devoutly to be wished " for 


event, holds back, and refuses this last step. What is its 
issue or platform ; the ground upon which it thus re- 
cedes from the conflict ; or delays, in homely parlance, 
to " clinch the nail," to " tie the knot," which Avould 
make of us again a completely restored nation? 

The war, or point of issue, between the party in Con- 
gress and the Executive, which is at present agitating 
the country, though not with the same material weapons 
of powder and shot, is but a continuation of that previ- 
ous one in its issues, on the part of the Executive : the 
Government not having yet secured the end pursued in 
those former long-drawn battles ; namely, the complete 
restoration of tlie Southern States. In other words, it 
is a war, or a struggle, on the part of the Administration, 
for the identical principles then pursued, — the principles 
that the Union cannot be dissolved, and that the Consti- 
tution must not be broken. The issues of the opposing 
party will appear in the following examination of the 


This must be allowed to be stated in the words of the 
party itself, and which we take from a document ad- 


dressed to the " Union Republican Voters of Vermont " 
by the '• Union Republican Committee" of that State,* 
— the first to enter the campaign in the coming elections, 
■which will turn on those very issues now before the pub- 
lic. In the words of the addi*ess, '' Nineteen States hold 
their annual election in the next seventy days. Vermont 
heads the column ; and, on the -ith of September, the Re- 
publicans of these eighteen sister States Avill look anx- 
iously to see how gallantly, with what proud and reso- 
lute step, with how full ranks, she leads the line." 

The issues this address takes up are these : '' True to 
the principles of equal civil and political rights for all 
men, th^ Republicans of this State present an unbroken 
front. . . . The issue is now made up. ... It declares 
it to be neither just nor safe to surrender all power in 
the insurgent States into the hands of unrepentant 
traitors ; and it points to the atrocious butchery of 
Union men in New Orleans as but the faint foreshad- 
owing of the results of this . . . policy of reconstruc- 
tion. It is opposed to the unconditional admission of 
representatives of the rebel fraction of the Southern 

* This address is signed " ,* Chairman of Union Re- 
publican Committee." 

* See note, p. 253. 


communities, to equal power in the Government with 
those who have never deserted the flag. It appeals from 
an Executive, who has turned his back upon all there is 
in his record of which a true lover of republican govern- 
ment can be proud, to Andrew Johnson, hated of rebels 
in Tennessee, and with him holds that traitors should 
take back seats in the restored Union. It does not ask 
for confiscation or blood : it cares little for indemnity 
lor the past ; but it demands security for the future. 
On this rock it plants its standard ; on this line it pro- 
poses to fight the battle through. . . . Republican voters 
of Vermont, it is for you ... to emphasize at the polls 
your expression of antagonism to the policy which would 
at the ballot-box surrender the Government to the trea- 
son you have defeated on the battle-field ; to declare 
again your unconquerable purpose to stand by your faith 
in equal rights, from whatever quarter assailed." 

It is often one of the most hopeless aspects, in endea- 
voring to elucidate principles, to observe how little the 
arguments confronted have to do with real principles 
or facts ; how often they are but fanciful shadows, the 
creation of one's own mind, opposing other fanciful 
shadows or " windmills," yet with the same ardor and 


vehemence as if they were veritable " giants." To give 
the full drift of the above issues presented, we must 
present also, from the same address, its version of the 
position of the opposite party, — that of the Administra- 
tion. It says, "They demand the instant, unconditional 
surrender of all power in the insurgent States into the 
hands of those, who, for five years, hesitated at no atrocity 
in their war upon the Government. They demand the 
immediate, unconditional admission of representatives 
of unrepentant traitors to seats in Congress, and to 
power in the National Government." 

If we rightly understand the position of the Adminis- 
tration, or the Executive, it is simply, that those States, 
having had a provisional government a sufficiently long 
time to assist and enable them to renew their former 
State governments, and having elected their representa 
tives and senators to Congress by due form of law, are 
now entitled (as the final step) to have the credentials 
of their members examined by the proper authority, 
which is that of Congress ; and, if these are found to 
be correct, that they (the members) shall be admitted 
to their seats. 



Undoubtedly, there must be a period when this 
come to pass, or we never again shall be a restored 
Union, unless the opposing party means to say that 
we are already restored, " reconstructed ; " the power 
to control having passed entirely, by the events of the 
war, into the hands of one section of the country. But 
was such the result for which the American people 
toiled through four years of w^ar, — a war of untold 
fierceness, — that one section might have control of 
another? or was it that the integrity of the Union 
might be preserved? — a glorious and unbroken Union 
of just and equal States. It is unnecessary to say that 
this latter object was the one instinct which fired the 
American heart, or that of the great majority of the 
Northern people who went into the war, and was that 
which nerved them on the battle-field to the spilling 
of the last dro}) of their life's blood, and until the full 
aud complete surrender of the antagonistic forces. 
This restoration, then, is the object. It was the prime 
issue of the war ; and it is natural that those who most 
ardently sought for it through that long and anxious 
period should not rest until they see this end completed ; \ 
should not feel that their work is done until the last 


finishing touch be given, the clinching nail placed, the 
indissoluble knot tied. The precise point at variance, 
we apprehend, between the Executive and Congress, is, 
lohen this shall be done (for we cannot presume that 
Congress means never to do it). The President had 
performed his part to the last minutiae, informing 
Congress of the delivery of the case into their hands ; 
that the credentials of the members to be admitted were 
ready for their examination. Neither his Excellency 
nor the re-organized States could go one step farther 
than this (indeed, this was the finishing of their duty) 
until the legislative branch had performed its function- 
of examining these credentials, and, if all were right, to 
admit the States again, through their members elect, as 
integral portions of the community ; this being the very 
end pursued through the long expenditures of blood and 
treasure, and through every preliminary since, up to this 
last crowning act, which was to make the Rebellion but 
a thing of the past, and to fairly launch us again upon 
a great national career, and one more splendid, we 
might hope, than ever before. Tlien should we be en- 
abled to go on obtaining whatever else might be neces- 
sary, or Avhatever we might be capable of; then might 


we exert ourselves for the equal civil and political 
rights of every citizen ; then^ in our renewed state of a 
noble, wholly free republic, might there open to us 
broad vistas of an illimitable and hitherto unexampled 
wealth and prosperity, — all of which we have been 
obliged, since the cessation of arms, to forego, be- 
cause Ave are not yet fully equipped, and launched 
upon the world, as a single, undivided nation. Or if 
opponents answer, "We are already one nation," — it 
is one, we reply, on very different terms from those 
which had brought us to our former pitch of prosperity. 
It is not one in which the States are all on equal terms, 
all together pressing forward on great national topics, 
but one where a part of the States assume control over 
the others, thus exciting political strife and wrangling ; 
producing, on the one side, discontented and rebellious 
feeling, and, on the other, the assumption of power and 
authority. So we are still diverted from what ought to 
be the great objects of our national life, being all un- 
strung, and unable to pursue them. 

When, then, is that final act to be performed by which 
we may be able to go on in harmony and peace, and 
in a laborious industry for the best and highest ends? 
Congress deliberates. Three, six, eight months, or 


more, pass; and, in the mean time, those States — or, 
at least, the masses of their population, uncertain as to 
what is their condition ; being now neither rebels (their 
arms laid down), nor yet an integral part of the commu- 
nity ; being neither in nor out of the Union (an anoma- 
lous condition) — become restive, anxious, excited ; have 
time to dream over their lost " independence " (which 
they fancied they were to have), and become more con- 
firmed than ever in the doctrines which impelled them to 
rebel ; for what have they had to enlighten them upon 
the subject, but the /orce, which was brought against, to 
subdue them? The mind may yield to force, but is not 
convinced by it : its convictions will still remain firm as 
ever. It is only enlightenment, persuasion, and attrac- 
tion that can convert and affect the intellect and the 
heart. These masses, then, to be converted from the 
" error of their ways,'"' must be brought into the paths 
of peace : by clemency, generosity, magnanimity, they 
must be allured to the right. These are the only teach- 
ers. No man yet, in the depths of his soul, was ever 
driven to be sincere and upright, much less to form 
correct political or any other opinions. 

Which of these expedients or influences have that 
impoverished people, wrecked by a long and devastating 


war in all their fortunes and expectations, even almost to 
the abandoning of their faith in Divine Providence, 
(for who does not know how religiously many of them 
entered into that struggle, and w^th what confidence in 
an Almighty Ruler they looked forward to the success 
of their cause ?) — which of these influences, during these 
many mouths of waiting, have these mistaken people 
had extended o-ver them? One to calm, conciliate, 
soften, and pacify, and to encourage them again in the 
paths of loyalty and patriotism? or one to drive, alien- 
ate, exasperate, and excite them still more? Verily, 
we believe that in this restless, anxious, uncertain state, 
— not knowing what their fate was to be, — had it not 
been for the clemency and personal influence of the Chief 
Magistrate in whatever ways it could be brought to bear, 
we need not have been astonished to hear of other ex- 
citements and outbreaks like the recent terrible one at 
New Orleans. Many months * of such uncertainty 
must tend lo demoralize any people, at the best; how 
much more certainly, then, one in so precarious, critical 
a condition, denationalized as it were, beinsr neither 
part nor parcel, in a genuine sense, of the body politic ! 

* As Congress adjourned without admitting these States (except 

one of them), some must remain a long period in this condition. 


We seem almost disposed to look for these millions, 
with no nation or government, as it were (for, until the 
national bonds are extended to them, they can hardly be 
said to be in national relations), to be as meek and sub- 
. dued as children might be supposed to be on receiving a 
severe penalty from a parent. As far as the ^parental 
relation of our Government is concerned, we certainly do 
not see but that their attitude is quiet and submissive, in 
good faith accepting the rule meted out to them. But our 
relation to each other ^ as States, is but a fraternal one ; 
and we are not to anticipate that they will lay aside, in 
regard to us, any of that distinctive pride which belongs 
to each one of us naturally, as an equal member of the 
family of States ; and, if they ever come to their places 
in the Union, we may not expect them to have necessarily 
the " back seats " any more than ourselves.* The position 
of one State is identical with that of another. We take 
issue, therefore, with the address before us, on that point 
(and with the President himself, if that were his opinion), 
and also, on the same ground, with the following phrase 

* This term cannot apply to Slates ; as of course, as such, we are 
all on equal ground. It could only apply to individual " rebels; " but 
no one of any party proposes to admit rebels, as such, into Congress. 


opposing the admission of the Southern representatives, 
namely, " to equal power in the Government with those 
who have never deserted the flag." We believe it was not 
with any such spirit as this that the noble defenders and 
supporters of our flag rallied around the standard, dream- 
ing, when all should be over, — the country rescued and 
the Union restored, — that the nation would be perpetually 
divided, like sheep and goats, — one on the right hand, 
and the other on the left; or that one portion of it 
should be situated head and shoulders above the other. 
If it were to be so, we had better have been parted, never- 
more to be one. No : rather, in th« spirit of the father 
who went out to meet the prodigal son, let us exclaim, 
^' They were dead, and are alive again ; they were lost, 
and are found ! " 

But to come a little closer to the issues of the party 
now presiding in Congress. The address we have quoted 
avers that it is neither just nor safe to deliver power in 
the insurgent States into the hands of unrepentant traitors. 
" Good heavens ! " we might hear some impatient spirit 
here exclaim, " is there a soul in all these States, who has 
given heart and hand for the last four years for the putting- 
down of treason wherever it might be' found, that would 


now place an unrepentant traitor at the very head and 
front of the Government ? " 

Such, we believe, is by no means the question. Our 
people are not so little penetrating and discriminating, as, 
after the sanguinary sacrifices and cruel experiences of 
the long war, to put those very persons against whom 
they so perseveringly fought, unrepentant, into the seats of 

But what would we have? Are we going to make 
over people in a day ? — those who have been tossed on 
and buffeted by every wave of fortune ; now beset by 
one government, now by another ; now claimed by this 
party, now by that ; if loyal to one rule, rejected by 
another ; if faithful to this power, considered faithless to 
that ; divided between the State and the confederate State 
rule ; subject to the power of the United States and to 
the seceding States, all this at one and the same moment, 
and in the midst of the turmoils of war ; * if loyal to one 
party, disloyal to the other ; if obedient to one, called 
rebels and traitors by the other. If all this were not 

* This was eminently the case with Tennessee and some other 
States. At one and the same time, four different governments, or os- 
tensibly such, wei-e claiming authority and allegiance. 


enough to trouble and confuse the mind, it would be diffi- 
cult to say what would be. We could hardly expect that 
the masses (who, in their very virtue and integrity, must, 
in general, be obedient to their leaders or rulers) would 
perfectly preserve their identity under the circumstances, 
or be sure that one thing was right, and the other wrong. 
These are the men — the millions — from- whom the 
candidates for office are to be selected in the restored 
States. That they surrendered, laid down their arms in 
good faith, and with good faith take up the old line of 
march, and endeavor to fall again into the ranks of the 
Union, is all, it seems to us, that can be required or ex- 
pected. They must have time to recover their balance, 
to be hereafter as devoted patriots as they have been 
" rebels " and " traitors." 

That these representatives, however, are coming into 
the " seats of power," into Congi-ess, " unrepentant," is 
one of those " shadows" which it is futile to fight against, 
inasmuch as that depends entirely upon Congress itself. 
Not one of those members elect can enter those seats 
until their credentials are examined ; and if there be any 
suspicion of unworthiness, disloyalty, or aught else. Con- 
gress has the power ^ and it is its duty^ — on investigation^ 


with the suspicion proved true, — to remand those mem- 
bers back to their constituents. The decision as to their 
merit is invested in Congress alone ; so that no party or 
power in the country can admit an " unrepentant traitor" 
into its halls of legislation without its consent. 

If, then, these representatives, as we have said, should 
be found not constitutionally qualified, or not in good faith 
loyal, they must submit to rejection ; and this process 
might be repeated for any length of time, — for years, if 
necessary. (Here, again, is exhibited the excellence of 
our Constitution in this provision of it, — the power 
of Congress to reject disqualified members ; so that if the 
virtue of our people, in their representatives, remains 
proof, the Government is fortified against unworthy par- 
ticipants ; and we may presume, that, had the constitu- 
tional forms been applied in due time in this case, we 
should have found ourselves carried as smoothly over this 
" emergency " of re-admission as we have been through 
all others.) 

This, therefore, as it appears to us, is a wholly unne- 
cessary issue to take up ; and, as was said above, we 
may class it among the shadows, " windmills," winch 
are being idly fought against. 


It might be asked, " What is Congress dreaming 
about by this delay, the constitutional points of which 
they must understand as well as others ? " Doubtless, 
they have ulterior views — indeed, they are avowed — 
of making " amendments " to the Constitution, of im- 
posing further " conditions " upon those returning States ; 
but which, as we have formerly seen, not being by con- 
stitutional authority, have no real validity, and are there- 
fore nugatory and valueless. All this, it is plainly seeu, 
is an assumption of power on their own " will and 
responsibility ; " and it becomes apparent, that as the 
Southern States, in a time of strong temptation, had 
not wisdom and virtue enough to remain faithful to their 
constitutional obligations, so the Northern States, in 
their time of temptation, fail of the same wisdom and 
virtue to conduct themselves constitutionally ; and it is 
not to be presumed that the attempt of this latter party 
will eventually succeed, any more than did that of the 
former. The former was an external war, readily dis- 
cernible and appreciable by all : the latter is an internal 
one, so to say, and therefore the more insidious, and 
more dangerous for the populace, because not so dis- 
tinctly perceived in its issues by them. But we believe 


that the country will emerge from this contest as it has 
emerged from the other. It may be a struggle of longer 
or shorter duration, of triumphs and defeats on either 
side ; but the grand principle will finally be made visible 
and conspicuous, — that we are a system of harmonious, 
equal States ; each a little nation or republic of itself, 
almost, in its own pursuits and interests, yet, in matters 
beyond, having all the unity of purpose, and grandeur, 
of a noble whole. 

We return to the platform of Congress. Another 
issue of the address we have taken up is, that the Gov- 
ernment, or Administration, demands the " instant, un- 
conditional surrender of all power in the insurgent 
States into the hands of those, who, for five years, hesi- 
tated at no atrocity in their war upon the Govern- 

We have seen who and what the people are on whom 
must fall the State offices, how they were wrought upon, 
how worked up ; but these are they, with their new 
oaths of office or allegiance, who must be employed, 
unless the party means to imply that they should still be 
kept in a state of tutelage. And how long should this 
tutelage exist ? and when might we expect they would be 


able to be put upon their own care and responsibility ? 
for this is not like the case of pupil and master, except- 
ing where the Federal Government is concerned (and 
that maintained provisional governments so long as it 
was thought necessary to do so ; the Chief Magistrate 
having the supervision and discretion in this respect). 
Otherwise they are States having the same experience 
and ability as ourselves, and are as capable of conduct- 
ing their own State affairs. The sooner they could be 
turned over to themselves, no doubt, would be the more 
agreeable on all sides ; saving expense, annoyances, 
mistrusts. This was certainly the object for which the 
war was pursued, — that they might he States again ; and 
an energetic Administration might be presumed to en- 
deavor to effect that object in the shortest time possible. 
This power is not going, however, into the hands of 
^^ insurgent States" as the States are no longer insur- 
gent, having surrendered both from necessity and in 
"good faith." 

This point of the issue, therefore, is but of" shadowy" 
.import. Another point is, that the " instant, uncondi- 
tional surrender," and the " immediate, unconditional ad- 
mission of representatives," is demanded by the Execu- 
4iive party. 


This, too, is a misrepresentation, since conditions were, 
at the very beginning, actually imposed and exacted, — 
namely, the declaring null and void all secession ordi- 
nances ; the repudiation of the rebel debt ; the assump- 
tion of the national war-debt ; the ratification of the 
amendment of tlie Constitution, prohibiting slavery for- 
ever ; a new oath of allegiance to the Constitution and 
Government. What further conditions were necessary? 
Were not these to be presumed to be heavy enough for 
those who had asserted and acted upon, even to a bloody 
war, the doctrine of " independent" State rights? And 
these were accepted in full faith and credit (as far as 
human relations, civil and political, can effect this), 
with such honor as always occurs in affairs of State. 
This issue, therefore, is void, and consequently but a 
" shadow." 

The last issue is, "It demands security for the fu- 

What greater and further promises could be obtained 
than were included in the above conditions, or are em- 
braced in an oath, we do not conceive. As to any other 
guaranties being secured by acts of Congress in amend- 
ments, &c., in its present situation, we saw, in the pre- 


ceding section, that they could but be invalid, therefore 
of no obligation. This issue then, also, is of no avail, 
and may be fitly classed with those which have gone be- 
fore. Thus, we believe, it has been plainly demon- " 
strated that the positions of the Government against 
which the party in power (the party of Congress) take 
issue are no veritable giants, but are the fanciful crea- 
tions of a mind diseased. 

Diseased politically, in being inharmonious with or 
oblivious of the simple, actual realities of the time and 
the occasion. 

(The positiou of "equal rights," which the party 
claims to advocate, is alluded to farther on.) 


That it is time that the country should be truly en- 
lightened as to the great questions and issues now before 
it, is quite evident, when we read in a daily journal of 
wide circulation (one which, during the war, was 
among the loyal in one of the most loyal and patriotic 
States and cities of the Union ; and which paper still 
says, at the present date, " The voice of the people will 


declare, in tones not to be mistaken, that all the States 
of this Union shall be loyal States"), — when we read 
such words as the following.* In alluding to the re- 
stored States, it says " that they had to submit to our 
will once ; that they do submit to it now ; and that 
they will be crushed into the earth if they dare to rebel 
again." How does it comport with the relationship in 
which we stand with each other for one or any of these 
United States to hold such language with regard to any 
other State or States? Who or what has given them 
the power and authority thus to set themselves up one 
over another? And do we not know, that, if our or 
any section of these States should so set itself above any 
other section, it would be " crushed" by the power of 
the Federal Government, which holds its authority 
equally over all the States ? the States themselves be- 
ing but in a fraternal relation with each other. The 
loyalty demanded is right ; but the mode and spirit with 
which it would be secured, wholly wrong. 

That a true information and understanding of these 
great issues is wanting on all sides, is evident also from 
the extracts of a letter which we discover in the same 
* Of Sept. 1, 1866. 


paper, written by an honorable and a learned jurist * in 
one of the highest institutions of our country. It says 
in regard to our Chief Magistrate, " I believe that he sin- 
cerely desires the preservation of the Union ; but it is 
only on condition that it shall contain those elements of 
hostility and violence and injustice which brought the 
country to the verge of ruin, and contain them not only 
unfettered, but possessing far more than their share of 
political power, and exasperated by a new hatred born of 
defeat. The atrocities of Memphis and New Orleans . . . 
what motives stronger than those presented by his oath, 
his office, and every thought and feeling of humanity, 
could command any human being to prevent, suppress, 
and punish those outbreaks of brutality ? But it is chari- 
table to say only, that nothing of this hind has he done ; 
while the manner in which these murders are spoken of 
. . . at the South shows only too plainly whither 
that (his) policy tends, and what it will produce if it be 
sanctioned by the people." 

* As the object of this work is not to continue, but to allay, party- 
strife, the writer does not consider it necessary to communicate names 
of individuals quoted ; but, if the authors of the citations we have made 
in any part of this work shall read these pages, they will themselves 
recognize their own words. 


It is not at all the object of this work to take up party 
politics any further than is necessary for a clear under- 
standing of the great issues of the present time ; but we 
cannot resist pausing, to ask here, what may Ave not ex- 
pect from, and what may we not fear for, our people, 
when one of the most (otherwise) enlarged and liberal 
minds among them, and occupying one of the highest 
positions, can thus (unintentionally, no doubt) miscon- 
ceive and misrepresent the real state of the present ques- 
tions? The writer is no partisan politician, and may, 
therefore, make bold to ask, Can any one believe that the 
President, with all his past splendid and glorious record, 
is now seeking for the preservation of the Union only on 
condition^ or with the desire, that it should contain " ele- 
ments of hostility, violence, and injustice"? And does 
not every one know that the Chief Magistrate of the nation 
is not able to act in a private capacity in public matters, 
but is bound on every side impartially, by the require- 
ments of his office ? And can we not all see, if we have 
any breadth of view, that those disastrous results in the 
South, as well as arising from the clemency of the Presi- 
dent (if that were indeed so), must arise also from the 
*' policy " of Congress, — tending, by so long leaving their 


fate undecided, to excite and exasperate still more the 
already sufficiently aggrieved and excited States ? 

The true policy in a wise ruler or rulers, it appears to us, 
would have been, as speedily as possible, to have got them 
settled and pre-occupied in their re-organized position. 

This misconception, and want of largeness of view, on 
one side, and the spirit of arrogance manifested on 
another (as in the first quotation), are partly indications 
of a peculiar change which has come over a great portion 
of the loyal States since the cessation of the war ; no 
doubt because the true issues were not then distinctly seen 
by some parties to be carried out to their logical results, 
and also because the pride of success is having, probably, 
but its usual effect of " lifting up the heart." 

A singular anomaly, similar to that which occurred 
during the war (to which allusion was made in Sect. IV.), 
has again undoubtedly taken place, — that of a strong 
and popular party assuming altogether an aspect " new 
and strange," which accounts for and explains their pres- 
ent attitude and position. On that former occasion 
alluded to, the most conservative party in the Union sud- 
denly burst its bounds, and swept like a flood over the 
countiy, threatening to ingulf all in destruction. That 


party, — the Democratic, — so intensely conservative that 
it could scarcely allow the rules of war to be observed, 
rushed into the extreme of party fanaticism, which men- 
aced the dissolution of the Union, and so resulted in — 
copperheadism. Now the great Republican party, then 
progressive, but loyal, has joined hands with ultraists ; 
and the result is — radicalism. 

There are senses in which radicalism may be a correct 
principle : but, in this of party politics, it is so radical, 
that it has become oligarchy and consolidation ; that is, 
it is so radical, that it must have its peculiar views 
carried out, at all events, at the expense of all beside. 
To see what this radicalism is, we have but to look at 
certain points on which it stands, as the advocacy of 
individual, civil, and political rights and equality, — for 
instance, that of universal suffrage, — and the following 
article of the " Amendment," which has been constructed 
as the condition of the re-admission of the Southern 
States; namely, "Equal civil rights shall be guaran- 
teed to all " (in the popular version). 

The adoption of these points by this party in Congi'ess 
has from thence spread itself throughout the former Re- 
publican party ; but the maintaining of the power of 


Congress to enforce these results is the denial of the 
" civil rights " of the States, embracing their millions of 
population. It may be said that the securing political 
and civil rights to each individual obviates the danger 
there would be in taking them from the States, since 
every individual then would possess them. But we an- 
swer, that the States, in their own aiFairs, among their 
own people, wish to have their own way of doing things 
according as it pleases them, and not to be obligated to 
do any thing on comipulsion. This was the very princi- 
ple on which they separated from the mother-country. 
It is the liberty which they have always enjoyed, the 
very liberty which they exercised in coming into the 
Union ; and they, as States, have just the same right 
to this as individuals have to their personal and private 
liberty. To take from them this liberty of conducting 
in their domestic affairs as they think proper is taking 
from them the first inalienable privilege of men and of 
States, — that of our Declaration of Independence, — 
the privilege of choosing their own government. Thus 
radicalism, in endeavoring to secure in this form the 
right of the individual, would deny the very right on 
which our Government was founded and exists. 


The principles, therefore, of " universal suffrage," 
and of individual " civil rights," other than simple citi- 
zenship (for we are all citizens of the United States as 
vrell as of the individual States, by the very virtue of 
our position), it appears to us, can never be rightly 
adopted by Congress but by the unanimous consent of 
the States ; as it would be changing our organic law 
itself, the State and Federal connection in which we 
have hitherto existed ; transferring our internal State 
regulations to the central authority, which would, by 
this, be transformed into a consolidated Government. 

(It is well, perhaps, here to state the meaning which 
we apply to the terms " central" and '• centralizing," of 
which frequent use has been made. "We do not design 
them in any manner as synonymous with " consolida- 
tion," with which they appear often to be confounded. 
Centralization is merely for simple, natural organization, 
making a centre to hold all things together ; but consoli- 
daiion is the concentration of authority, the power to 
regulate, at one point.) 

" Equal protection," however, to every individual 
right of person and property^ is clearly a legitimate sub- 
ject of even the Federal or National legislation, as every 


human being has by nature a right to this ; and we can 
now add, in our country, " equal" protection of his 
right of freedom^ since this is now our national law, 
happily and fully coincident with the first charter of our 
rights, — the Declaration of Independence. Further 
civil and political relations are, in general, affairs of 
State regulation entirely, and not those of nature (since 
it is not essential that all people should live under pre- 
cisely the same kind of government) ; and every one of 
these United States, miniature republics, or little repub- 
lics in themselves, should and must have, for any free- 
dom worthy of the name, that of forming its own inter- 
nal regulations. Which of our States, for instance, 
would wish to have the thousands of the foreign popula- 
tion, who yearly land upon our shores, to be able, the 
hour, the day, or the month, after their arrival, to cast 
their vote in any of their State elections? Who would 
not recoil at the danger to our institutions, and the un- 
certainty of any fixedness of them, if thus subjected to 
the vote of an uninformed, inexperienced foreign ele- 
ment? What one State, in order to preserve the integ- 
rity and purity, ay, the very existence, of its institu- 
tions, would not submit to, we are not to force upon any 


State in any other connection, — that of its former slave 
population, for example. Let them have time to regulate 
that matter for themselves. There is no clanger but that 
whatever is suitable will come in time ; since every State 
must and will, by force of circumstances, look out for 
its own best interests, and every citizen is privileged in 
his own State to struggle for whatever he may obtain of 
that kind. 

It is this freedom and capacity of managing their own 
affairs that belongs to the States, that can alone pre- 
serve us as a republic. Otherwise, with all civil and 
political regulations transferred from them to the Central 
Government, we should, as was said, be but a consoli- 
dated empire. History teaches us that a consolidated 
government, of so extensive a territory, is never a dura- 
ble one : not having the freedom of political action 
within itself, factions will arise to change and to destroy. 

On the other hand, our system of free States, allowing 
to each all healthful liberty and active freedom in which 
to exert itself, is its own preserver ; and in this alone, 
as has been seen, can be the preservation of our country 
according to the original principles of freedom which 
have been handed down to us. Without this, our very 


spirit of freedom would expire, from having nothing 
wherewith to occupy itself. But, with those rights re- 
served to the States (as they always heretofore have 
been), they will be occupied with their own people agi- 
tating such topics as -may be demanded by their own 
special interests ; and thus they will possess, each of 
them, the free, progressive, inspiring character of a 
whole nation in itself, as it were, instead of that of a 
mere province of a nation, as it would be were these 
powers all combined in the Federal Government. 

Another article of the conditionary Amendment is 
the disfranchisement, until relieved by Congress, of 
those who, bound by an oath, had held office under the 
United States or in the States^ but had joined the Re- 
bellion. Or, in the popular language and understanding 
of the public press, "no man who broke his civil oath 
to become a traitor shall hold office, or vote for Presi- 
dent, till relieved by Congress." 

At first glance, it might seem that this was but exer- 
cising the authority granted to Congress by the Constitu- 
tion for declaring the punishment of treason ; and, so far 
as United-States or Federal officers are connected, this', 
appears in itself perfectly justifiable. The treason to be 


convicted is that agaiust the National Government ; and 
we should say, as was said in another place, that the 
'premeditated act must have been in the United- States 
senators leaving their seats in Congress for the purpose 
of carrying- out secession. Whether, then, we are to go 
into the States, and impeach also those who Avere em- 
ployed only in their own State governments and State 
affairs, appears to us to have a different bearing. The 
people of the States, it is true, were all engaged in the 
Rebellion, in " levying war against the United States ;" 
and, in that sense, might have been held as traitors. 
Nevertheless, being, as it were, irresponsible (the " re- 
sponsibility " having fallen upon the leaders, the highest 
Federal officers, the senators, who were directly, by their 
oath, amenable to the Government), and these masses 
having by their entire unconditional surrender, in " good 
faith," obtained, as it were, general amnesty, they are 
no longer " traitors," and cannot be proceeded against 
as such by the very circumstances of the case. Whether, 
then, the common State officials, having no especial rela- 
tion to the Federal Government, should not be included 
in this general amnesty, being only servants, public 
officers, of those. States as such, and whether Congress, 


in thus disfranchising these also, is not encroaching upon 
the " civil rights " themselves of those States (being 
now^ States restored), appear to us the questions. Or, 
if it is considered that these States are not " restored" 
until their representatives are admitted into Congress, is 
not this body still, towards these subordinates, declaring 
punishment after amnesty has been, virtually at least, 
rendered ? 

As to the representatives elect not being admitted into 
Congress on this very Act, Congress thus prejudging 
them as traitors (or ci-devant traitors), it appears to us 
to be penalty awarded before offence has been convicted ; 
since their credentials were not received to be examined, 
and have been refused to be so on this very ground, — 
that Congress has power thus to disfranchise for the 
crime of treason. These men may or may not have 
" broken their civil oath to become traitors." Individ- 
ual members may be aware, from their own personal 
knowledge, that such or such has been the case ; but 
Congress, in its public character and official capacity, 
cannot " know " these cases until they have been tested 
by the proper tribunal. It has thus pronounced upon 
them without trial ; an instance, we presume, which has 


never before occurred in our civil relations, since the 
law of our country allows to every man the right of 
trial before conviction. Thus radicalism, in opposition 
to its professed liberality, and its love for the rights of 
humanity, has shown itself practically not only as as- 
suming authority, but as despotic. It might have been 
looked for, from the philanthropic character or repu- 
tation of the former limited " Radical " party in this 
country, that, on its comiug to the " seats of power," 
that "philanthropy" would have gone forth expan- 
sively, endeavoring to recall these erring brethren by 
the kindly, protective influence of " moral suasion." 
But what do we find to be its record,* on arriving at that 
post of great influence for good or for evil, but that of 
the denial of freedom in its greatest and grandest fea- 
ture, — that of civil liberty of the States ; a warfare 
against an erring and unfortunate people, who are en- 
deavoring to return to tlie paths of right and loyalty ; 
and last, but not least, in our Government of, formerly, 
so generous influence, a species of tyranny and usurpa- 
tion, it having no warrant from the Constitution? 

The original Radical party but shows itself, possibly, 
in its true light in this opportunity of development, 


since pure radicalism, or any other extreme party, can- 
not be compreJiensive in its principles or measures ; and 
therefore, when brought to the test, it is found wanting. 
But what shall we think of the great Republican party 
that so ably assisted in carrying the country through the 
perils of the war, in having allowed itself also to be- 
come merged in and subsidized by a party thus narrow 
in its platform, unequal to the great questions of the 
hour? As the party, in general, has manifestly rushed 
into this extreme, \\q can only regard it as a similar 
phenomenon to that of the Democracy rushing into and 
becoming subsidized by copperheadism. 



Thus, every section, or great party of our country, has 
evidently passed, or is passing, through a phase of " re- 
bellion " peculiar to itself ; providentially, perhaps, for 
the sake of the final good that may ensue from it. The 
great Southern section or party led the van in seces- 
sion, which, if carried out, w^ould, as an element of dis- 
integration or separation, have destroyed the Union. 
Next followed the Democracy of the North and West, 


rebelling against " coercive " measures, as it was pleased 
to denominate the acts of the Administration ; not per- 
ceiving that war, or military rule, in its place, is as es- 
sential and as rightful as aught else. This wing of 
" rebellion " would have destroyed the country by the 
simple force of dissolution ; not allowing it power enough 
to stand even in its own self-defence. It would have 
dropped to pieces from mere inertness and inefficiency. 

The " wing " of rebellion at present bringing up the 
rear (and may it be the last of these ghostly spectres !) 
is that of the North and East, which seized upon the 
reins of government, and is employed in turning them 
to its own uses. This alt)ne has attained to the " seat 
of power ; " and, if it continue to triumph, will also have 
destroyed our republic by converting it into an oli- 
garchy or a despotism, in which nothing but material 
interests will be left to the regulation of the States, — 
the great questions and interests, the very life-breath and 
vitality of civil freedom, being deposited in one vast, 
concentrated government, out of reach, as it were, of 
all practical, self-developing use and influence ! 

Which of these forms of rebellion might be considered 
preferable? — since all are equally destructive, equally 


treasonable in their nature. Secession, coming visibly 
to sight in military force, roused at once the whole 
energy of the country against it : it was something to be 
perceived, handled as it were, managed. A long strug- 
gle was required to subdue it, for it resisted manfully ; 
but it ended in full and complete surrender, never, we 
believe, to be revived. 

Copperheadism was too violent, and " overshot the 
mark." It was too insignificant to prolong its life with 
any vigor, and almost died of self-suffocation. 

Radicalism is now in the height of its power, to be 
enjoyed, possibly, for a " brief season ; " but, like the 
others, it must sooner or later descend into the shades 
below. For are we to conceive for one moment that 
the American people, who spent its blood and treasure 
without stint in resisting secession, that our republic 
might not be broken up and destroyed by division, and 
who rejected and spurned from it the embraces of Cop- 
perheadism, that it might not die of inanition, is now 
going to fraternize with Radicalism, that it may be con- 
verted into a system of arbitrary rule? Where, then, 
were the history and the glorious record of our past ; in 
the brave deeds of Lexington and Bunker Hill ; in the 


bleeding feet and thinly-clad limbs of our army in the 
suffering winter at Valley Forge ; in the electric thrill 
of triumph, after long depression, at the success of the 
battles of the Brandywine, Delaware, and Trenton ; in 
the rejoicing hearts and uplifted voices of the whole peo- 
ple at the establishment of our independence by the sur- 
render at Yorktown ; and the sacrifices, the patience, the 
endurance, of those seven long years of the Revolution ; 
and, above all, the noble names of Washington and 
our fathers, whose words and influence were, never to 
disrupt the ties of this Union and the bonds of our Con- 
stitution? No: the American people has sense, intelli- 
gence, and patriotism. During all these phases of re- 
bellion, amidst all these mists and clouds, there have 
been those who still stood at the helm, looking with 
clear eyes and earnest hearts ; who have kept the Ship 
of State straight on in its course ; and, although it may 
have been rocked from side to side by the billows which 
have heaved against it, it has never yet, thank God ! 
struck sail, but has ploughed the rough waves, — near 
rocks and reefs it may be, and seeming, just now, upon 
the sands ; stranded, it is true ; but it is not yet wrecked, 
neither do we believe it will be. We believe and trust 


in a holy Providence who has protected and helped us 
on thus far ; and we believe that he will still do so, 
that he. has his own high purposes to fulfil, and that he 
is leading us by " a way we knew not." 

What good, we might say, can come out of a way like 
this? What need of this anxiety, this agitation, this 
strife ? Why not let us go on in a calm and peaceful 
way, having contentment and satisfaction as we go along ? 

A hot-house plant, reared in warmth and security, 
withers on the least exposure to chills and frosts ; but 
an oak in the forest becomes strong and sturdy the more 
that storms and tempests beat around it. 

Contentment and satisfaction we soon may have, if we 
but improve the providences that are over us : for in- 
stance, Secession acknowledges its error, and is now 
"rejoicing in defeat," so says report.* Copperhead- 
ism has learned the " error of its ways," it is to be pre- 
sumed, and seems now ready to come back to its duties 
in the Union. And Radicalism? — we believe that that, 
too, will, ere long, lay down its false assumptions, and 
take up the " ouAvard march," and be no longer an ob- 
struction to the wheels of progress. 

* On the authority of Gen. Grant, as is asserted. 


From each of these experiences, we may learn a 
lesson. First, that our country is not to be separated 
into parts ; secondly, that it is to be preserved by all the 
efficient strength that it can lay hold of, — constitution- 
ally^ — for such only is permanent strength ; and, thirdly, 
that no one portion of it is to be elevated above another 
by any superiority of power or position. 

Thus we all stand on equal ground ; each section or 
party having had its period of destructive antagonism, 
and each species of antagonism being in itself as de- 
structive as another. In short, the whole body has 
been in pain, the whole heart sick, the whole head faint. 
To carry out the parallel a little further, we might say 
that Secession, with its physical force, represents the 
human body scarred and bruised ; Copperheadism, with 
its shrinking and nervous excitement at the " horrors of 
war," might aptly picture the timid, trembling heart ; 
and Radicalism, with its high-handed measures and 
lofty assumptions, is but the head carried away with 
ambition and success. 

"... ambition; 
By that sin fell the angels : how can man then, 
The image of his Maker, hope to win by't? " 


So we come back to the old refrain, " All is out of 
joint," and is still in anxiety and misery. But the 
body with its wounds and sores has begun to heal ; 
the heart is recoverino; to wonted vin-or and strenfjfth ; 
and may we not expect that the brain, the " head," 
will soon also show itself sane and sound? 

Such are the great issues of the country, as they 
have appeared to our mind : how they will eventuate, 
time only can determine. 


■ It will probably be found that all the agitating move- 
ments of society, even if they are of adverse influence, 
contain in them some element, some ground-work, of 
truth. Shall we find such in these apparently destructive 
forces which have swept, and are, in fact, still sweeping, 
over our country, as a deluge, threatening only to de- 
stroy? We think we shall. What was it then, in seces- 
sion, that could possibly give promise of good to come ? 
We answer, it was the under ground-swell in that por- 
tion of our people, the instinct, for their due ricjlits. 
They felt that they did not possess them in the Union, 


and they preferred to part rather than to lose that pos- 
session. This is an inalienable instinct in every 
American breast. We have been born, brought up, fed, 
and nourished with it. It has grown with our growth, 
and strengthened with our strength. We dwell with it 
at home, and carry it with us abroad. An American is 
known, even among foreigners, by his "independent" 
bearing. It is the one principle, probably, that a true- 
born American never will give up. He received it from 
the sturdy pioneers on this his native soil, aud they in- 
herited it from their far ancestral race in Englan^. It 
is thus in his " bone and sinew," and may never be 
eradicated. Against this, then, we may not struggle 
with any hope of success. It is the one thing -svhich all 
our States and all our people will ever, probably, main- 
tain. The secessionists were right so far ; but they 
were not right in their idea of an independent State 
right over and above the nation, as experience and 
reflection, and the fiat of the war and of Government, 
have proved and decided. Pass that. But we may 
demand every constitutional right that has been granted 
to us as States, as this is our inalienable privilege. 
Take that away, and place over us a government with 


civil and political conditions not of our choice, and 
there is instantly given us the right to rebel., to revo- 
lutionize. We may submit, if we feel that we have 
not force to resist ; but the rebellion of heart and mind 
is there, and that under ground-swell will continue 
heavier and heavier until it again breaks forth in some 
disruptive flood. This natural and constitutional right 
(of choice of government) is ours by birth and educa- 
tion ; and it must have full room to expand within our 
domestic limits, since we are all bound together in an 
indivisible band, and cannot separate to expand and en- 
large elsewhere. Therefore, whatever we can do our- 
selves, whatever is appropriately, naturally, and constitu- 
tionally in our own power, — the power of the States, — 
that, for the peace, happiness, prosperity, and content- 
ment of the nation, we may not be dispossessed of. 
The violent attempt of the Southern States to secede 
has brought visibly and prominently to light the exist- 
ence of this right, the instinct of it in the people ; 
and shows its great need and importance. 

What seed of truth was there in the Copperhead out- 
burst, that we can possibly bring to light ? The whole 
history of the Copperhead movement shows an underly- 


ing attraction between the North and the South ; the 
same sympathies, and likes and dislikes, in one section 
and the other ; in short, a fraternal feeling which would 
not listen to separation. This, if exalted and ennobled by 
right and true action in one party and the other, is but 
the very element which should cement us in an indisso- 
luble bond as one people, — the element of peace and 

And the Radicalism that now threatens to ingulf us, — 
is there any thing in that that we may lay hold of for 
improvement and progress in the future ? — we do not 
say for strength, although it is apparently now a, party 
of consolidation. But that is not the kind of strength 
we are to look for, — one section holding control over 
another, which tends, naturally, to absolutism, tyranny, 
and spoliation. Our consolidation must be that which 
is formed by the Constitution ; all parts — our State and 
Federal relations — harmoniously woven and interlaced 
one with another. This consolidation is the firmness 
and strength which comes from unity ; but still leaving 
each integral part, each of the equal States, to develop 
itself in all healthful freedom. 

The end of Radicalism is not yet come; but being 


composed, as it were, of foreign elements, — foreign to 
our Constitution, — we do not apprehend that it can 
long maintain its present position. Either it will volun- 
tarily lay itself down, — for the party contains many 
men of manly and honorable reputation, and who have 
been, Ave believe, unwarily caught in its folds, not 
seeing the true issues of the position, — or it will be 
forced, by the weight of public opinion, to surrender. 
And then what may we be able to gather up? what 
grains from it to plant anew in our "reconstructed" 
or re-organized state? what good springing out of evil? 
The very good that the party has sought, ostensibly, to 
gain, but fell wrongly upon the method, and so could 
not but fail, — namely, the good of the individual ; but 
now a double good, in that, also, of the States. Indeed, 
it is only by securing the good, or the rights, of the 
States, that we can secure more entirely the rights of 
individuals ; because, with the freedom of their State, 
the individuals can exert themselves in every honorable 
way for their own freedom; and this very exertion 
gives them true life and strength, and the capacity for 
enjoying those rights thus attained. Then only does 
liberty become a priceless boon, and not a common 


gift. In truth, each State is but an epitome of our na- 
tion : on a smaller scale, its people, with their aspira- 
tions and energies, are but the miniature, the exact copy 
and pattern, of the united whole. 

Thus we do not quarrel with the desire of the Radical 
party to secure the rights of individuals, but only with 
the mode in which, in this case, it was proposed to be 
effected ; believing that the only true and philosophical 
way — the way in which those rights would be a blessing, 
and not valueless — is through the Constitutions of their 
own States, which will leave to each citizen the free- 
dom and opportunity of attempting to attain what he 

To recapitulate : By these adversities, the equal and 
inviolable rights of the States will have been established, 
in which alone can be preserved our freedom and our 
Union. Peace and brotherly love, mutual kindliness and 
respect, — no one being able to place himself above 
another, — will diffuse themselves through all our bor- 
ders ; and the chance of individual, civil, and political 
rights will have free play. For, as before said, left to 
the States, they, in their own growth, must seek the 
real good of their populations. Now that slavery is 


eliminated, never more to be as a burning brand be- 
tween us, the section once occupied by that will begin 
to develop more naturally, and will assume altogether 
another character of good. Years may elapse, perhaps, 
before it arrives to its best estate : but we can afford 
to wait ; for then its growth will be but of firm character, 
fixed in the soil itself. 

Thus we believe fully that every one of those mis- 
haps, troubles, perplexities, and difficulties by the way, 
will at length, in the end, bring us round to the very 
results we have most desired ; and we may then, per- 
chance, be able to lift up our hearts in grateful reverence, 
and say, " It was well for us that we were afflicted ! " 


In the mean time, out of the great parties of the coun- 
try, which will be likely to succeed? for Democracy, 
recovering from its overthrow into the hands of Copper- 
headism, will come back to its original place, doubtless, 
as the party of preservation, — the conservative party 
of the Union ; and the Republicans, throwing ojff their 
disguise of radicalism, will become again, most likely, 
the party of progress. 


These two elements we may look for in our republi- 
can government : such has been the history of all re- 
publics. But both of these parties, going to extremes in 
the past, have been found " wanting." Democracy, 
being so intensely conservative, re-acted upon itself, 
burst its bounds, and became the very element of de- 
struction. So with Republicanism : going to extremes, 
it has but lost ground in all high influence ; and, instead 
of being now the party of progress, — true progression, — 
it is falling backward to the elements of strife, oppres- 
sion, discord. Evidently both, by the same process, 
have become distorted in delivering themselves over 
to ultraism. No ultraism of itself can be safe or just, 
because its peculiar character is to fix itself upon some 
one particular aim ; and, in making every thing bend 
to that as the alone important, it either destroys all else, 
or takes it out of its appropriate sphere. It can never 
exist, we presume, without exciting heart-burnings, 
violence, virulence, and animosity ; because its very 
essence is that of warfare. But, in the ways of Provi- 
dence, it may have its use. 

When the two great parties shall have recovered 
themselves to be again on their feet, sound, and of " a 


right mind," we may expect that they will continue to 
have their natural action and re-action one upon the 
other: the "conservative" party watching jealously to 
preserve the purity of our chartered rights, and the 
"progressive" party boldly stepping forward in what- 
ever freedom may be allowed ; thus preserving the 
balance in our political contests. Or, better, may they 
not become modified, one by the other ? — Democracy 
perceiving that we must have progress, and Republican- 
ism understanding that we must remain true to the 
Constitution ; for are we not to be a progressive people ? 
In this age, when the world is all alive, and progress is 
opening on every side, shall we not, too, press on to all 
that is good? But nevertheless, ought we, shall we, so 
press by assuming liberty, which thus becomes license ; 
and by breaking law, which thus becomes lawlessness? 
Are we not to be guided by those broad and generous 
rules laid down for us in our constitutional charter, 
and by those alone? since, as we believe, there is 
no true and healthful freedom whatsoever that we are 
not enabled to obtain through those. We have seen 
what noble privileges that charter has granted us hith- 
erto : let us trust it in every case for the future. 


Then, when conservatism is able to become suffi- 
ciently progressive, and progress can keep itself suf- 
ficiently conservative, shall we not become one party of 
the people, all united in the general welfare or well- 
being of the country? 

May it be that we are already approaching that happy 
period when there shall be but one great national party 
(as for a short time there was during the war), all bent 
upon an honest and enlightened policy, and loyalty to the 
nation? In this time of emergency at least, as has been 
in others, the impulse seems to be quickening, and the 
rallying-cry to go forth. Whether it will prove a party 
divested of all aims but those of patriotism, remains to 
be seen. 


We are unwilling to leave these pages without endeav- 
oring to obtain some glimpse beyond the close obscurity 
and murkiness that now invests us. Is there not some 
prophecy of the future, some brightness gleaming forth, 
when we shall again be launched upon our path of na- 
tional glory, which may nerve us for the present, and 


inspire us with hope to lure us on ? Yea, verily : there is 
the vision of a land radiant with peace, smiling content, 
and prosperity. World-wide occupations employ its 
busy inhabitants ; riches and trade flow in on every side ; 
its white sails of commerce are upon every sea ; and a 
kindly influence goes out from its shores, inviting the 
poor laborer or hard-pressed toiler of other lands to come 
and partake of its wealth and abundance, thus renewing 
to the world energy and life. 

And our own people — will they not be trained in all 
the best pursuits of human life ? and here, where both 
nature and civil government have extended a lavish 
hand, shall we not become a generous, large-hearted, 
magnanimous people, forgetting the animosities of the 
past, burying in oblivion the troubles, which, neverthe- 
less, have made us great '? Yes: these very troubles — 
secession itself, the civil war, and the very issues of the 
present parties, rightly ended — will but have brought us, 
we may believe, to where we should be, the very place 
to which we were designed, — a whole and nobly free 
nation, a republic in every sense of the word. We can 
then work out all the problems of human destiny, human 
freedom, and progress. 


A great difficulty of our people in general — and this 
is especially true of the present party in power — has 
been to precipitate events. The radical-republicanism 
of to-day feels that it must at once secure every thing ; 
that all is to be hurried up now in these few months of 
existence, as if they were all that we were to possess ; 
that, if not obtained at this very moment, they were to 
pass from us forever. 

Who can so read a great nation, just beginning, as it 
were, its destiny ? True, it would be so, as feared, were 
the elements of strife, discord, and oppression, to con- 
tinue. But we cannot believe that an intelligent people 
are thus going to lose all the healthful influences of our 
regenerated state. No : let us have Peace ; let the white- 
robed, white-winged angel, so long looked for, but come, 
and we shall spring forward at once in a new and better 
career than ever before. Slavery has gone ; and with it, 
in time, will disappear many of the prejudices and dis- 
abilities that have kept us back. The good which the 
ra,dical party would have procured for the black man, — 
and here, we will acknowledge, we believe lies the secret 
motive of all their doings ; honest in purpose (as far as 
private ends went), but mistaken in mode, as it appears 


to us, — this good which they would thus procure could 
be, at the best, but a doubtful one ; for what man, black 
or white, ever appreciates that which he has not worked 
for ? No : let the black man earn his manhood ; let him 
fed that he is a man, with all the energies and aspira- 
tions of one. What would we ourselves or our fathers 
have been, had we not had to acquire our rights? Had 
Great Britain showered upon us even but the privile^-es 
that we entreated for, should we have been now the na- 
tion that we are, — strong, sturdy, understanding our 
rights because we labored for them, and loving them 
because so hardly won? 

So must the negro do. He had done well, ay, splen- 
didly, thus far, by admirable behavior at home during 
the Rebellion, and, in the national army, by military 
valor and prowess in the field ; and he earned his free- 
dom, — showed himself worthy of it. He is now a free 
man : let him use that freedom to secure himself other 
political rights, if he wishes to, as every white man has 
to secure his. This alone will make him a part of the 
nation, — when he feels that his honors and privileges 
are his by right, and not by gift merely. Let him work 
himself up to whatever he is fit for and capable of. The 


States themselves will soon know what they must 
do in this respect. If the race is capable of advance, 
and desirous of it, no power of theirs can stop it in its 
upward progress : the Almighty Ruler himself arranges 
all that. If the negro wishes the civil franchise, he will 
eventually obtain it : if not, it must be from his own 
inefficiency, forming, as he does, so large a part of the 
community. Therefore, it appears to us, we need not 
be anxious lest he should be deprived of any right that 
is dear to him ; and, if ever he stands in the assembly 
of the people, in either house of Congress, — as one day 
he may, — let him feel that he can tread its floors as free 
and proud in his own manhood as any white man that 
has ever graced its halls. 




We believed the present volume was about completed ; 
but, as the final issues and appeals have now been made 
on the radical as well as on the other side, we add 
another section in the way of conclusion, and to keep 
pace with the shifting events and ideas which are pass- 
ing across the scene. 

The first event we have to notice is that of the late 
Radical Convention ; * with which, however, as there was 
but little or no new discussion of principle, — it being 
mostly or greatly taken up in party personalities, — we 
have but little to do. There was one assertion, however, 
made, upon which we will dwell a little, and which, if 
true, appears to us a very remarkable revelation. That 
convention professed to represent, and spoke in the name 

* Philadelphia, Sept. 3, 1866. 



of, " eight millions " of loyal people in the Southern 
States. Nor was this accidental. It was repeatedly 
referred to, and was made especial notice of by one of 
the members in the following manner : — 

" The assumption is this, that we have eight millions 
out of twelve millions of the South who are loyal. I 
ask this convention to note that fact. I agree with it ; and 
I go farther, and assert, that, if you place the people of 
the South on the side of protection, there will be ten 
millions, if not eleven, out of twelve, who will be loyal to 
the nation, loyal to the Constitution of the United States, 
and loyal to the constitutional rights of the citizens of the 
United States." 

" Where, in the name of Heaven, of all that is good 
and true " (we cannot but exclaim), " were these people 
during the convulsion of the war ? " for deducting the 
four millions of loyal blacks, who, in their situation, might 
not have been counted upon, there would still be left a 
number equal, at least, to the remaining four millions of 
whites. And is not a Union loyal man at any time equal 
to a disunion, disloyal one, — man for man? We have 
been accustomed always to think that right produces 
might ; that, other things being equal, a true man is 


more than a match for a false or an untrue one. Where 
then, we repeat, were these people during all the excite- 
ments and agitations of that time ? and why, with their 
vast numbers, are they still demanding " protection " of 
the Government against their own fellow-citizens ? 

And why is it that Congress prefers to debar these 
eight or ten millions of true and loyal men from resuming 
their full position in the Union ? Is it possible it can 
fear the strength of the remaining two or four millions 
as "rebels" and f' traitors " still, over and above this 
vast majority of faithful, Union-loving men? Where, 
then, is the strength of our boasted freedom, if the twenty 
millions of the Union beside, with those loyal men at the 
South in addition as aid, shall not be able to hold ground 
against so insiguiiicant a minority of " unrepentant rebels 
and traitors," if they so continue ? 

We are strongly suspicious that this — although 


deliberate — assertion was but in harmony with the 
apparent exaggerated and travestied tone of the entire 
utterance and proceedings of the convention; and we 
must confess, that in reading the reports, for the first time 
during the whole continuation of our troubles the thought 
and feeling came over us, that, if such as was there 


exhibited be the true character and representation of the 
millions of the Southern States, why, let them go. 
Congi-ess has been right in keeping them out as long as 
possible. Once led away by secession, which we have 
been taught all along to believe both by friends and foes 
was all but universal, — and must therefore be the very 
element from which the present eight millions of the 
radical party are composed, — and now equally led astray 
by the similar distorting spirit of radicalism, they indeed 
bid fair, in accordance Avith their own representation, 
ever to continue to be, it appears to us (in the words of 
their '"loyal appeal" *), " but opaque bodies, paling their 
ineffectual fires beneath the gloom of darkness, of oligar- 
chical tyi'anny and oppression." 

Is there, then, among the free-born millions of our 
States, a vast body like this who cannot stand by the 
force of their own principle of right (if it so be) against 
a disloyal and unworthy faction in their own midst? 
But they want the encouragement and sympathy of the 
Government, it is said. *' God helps those who help 
themselves." When such a majority as that, in its proper 

* " Appeal of the loyal men of the South to their fellow-citizens of 
the United States." 


sphere, shall be seen standing up in its own right and 
might, it will, no doubt, find encouragement and 
sympathy sufficient. 

We would not be sorry, however, to see the South 
become " radical " on the subject of slavery. It would 
be a very hopeful sign if those millions of former seces- 
sionists, — for Ave cannot help presuming that, as all reports 
hitherto had uniformly declared that the Southern people 
almost universally were such, these now loyal men must 
be the very same transformed, — if they, having endeav- 
ored formerly to depart from the Union, in the very 
spirit of opposition to emancipation, are now on the 
opposite line for its radical extirpation, were it not that 
the exclusive devotion to that topic — either for or 
against slavery — has uniformly, in all our history, closed 
the mind to almost all else. But in our great, constitu- 
tionally organized Republic, there are many relations to 
be considered, as well as the duties of the country to the 
black man. There are our own personal relations and 
duties to this Republic to be preserved in their integrity ; 
and, if we encroach upon or over-pass our constitutional 
freedom, we sap, and must ultimately destroy, this free 



and splendid Government in its purity and virtue, not 
only for ourselves, but for the black man. 

If the whole half of the South is thus truly radical, 
however, for the freedom and well-being of the former 
slave, we would accept it as one of the most glorious 
aspects of the times, and would risk its becoming accu- 
rate on all other points in the future. 

But this, undoubtedly, was a great error of assertion 
of the convention ; otherwise the Thirty-ninth Congress 
would have been performing a most peculiar part in its 
resolute and very unnecessary action — as it would be — 
against those who should be its own friends. Such a 
body of loyal people, in defiance of all opposition at home 
and of every interference of Government, would indubi- 
tably, in time, be able to elect its own members, — if 
not in the first, or even second or third trial. And it 
would only be necessary that those who had already 
been elected should be tested and proved ; and if dis- 
loyal, as was confidently believed, they could only be 
dismissed to make way for others : for this is entirely 
in the power of Congress so to do ; and the sooner it 
were done, it appears to us, the better it would be for all 
parties. * But now, instead, there is the singular anomaly 


presented of those loyal millions, and not only they, but 
vast numbers of the millions of the Northern and other 
States conjoined, beseeching Congress to persevere in 
their part of keeping them out of the Union, in opposi- 
tion to the strong and vehement pleading of the Execu- 
tive, who is supposed to be against them, to have them 
brought in. Were ever the afiairs of an unfortunate, 
half-dislocated republic worse confused or confounded ? 

Each party is conscious of this wretched, anarchical 
state of uncertainty and indecision, — half-life and half- 
death, — and each party accuses the other of being the 
cause of it. 



"We do not think that either party designs to be the 
cause of it, but that, on the contrary, each is quite inno- 
cent of any such intention ; and each, in its more sober 
assertions, proclaims the views and desires of the most 
lofty patriotism. It is curious to observe the identical 
expressions, on either side, of the value and sacredness of 
our constitutional obligations, and the burst of indigna- 


tion at any supposed encroachment upon or violation 
of them by the other ; and one cannot surpass the other 
in its solemn determination to perserve to the death the 
precious legacy which has been bequeathed to us. What 
is it, then, that makes these two great parties, — for we 
may say that the country is now apparently resolving 
itself, whatever have been the efforts to form but one 
national party, into two distinct divisions, the one the 
party of the President, the other that of Congress, — 
what is it that causes these two to be so antagonistic, 
the antipodes, as it were, of each other, when formerly 
they were together? for there was a time when these 
two were agreed. 

We will pass on, and let a more moderate branch of 
the same radical party state the former points of agree- 
ment between the now divided people. We say, the 
same radical party, as the Southern Radical Convention 
was indorsed by the whole press, in general, of the late 
Republican party, and which now itself is not displeased 
to adopt the name of " radical." It reminds us of the 
time, when, in the erratic movement of the Democratic 
party, its members readily themselves adopted the name 
of " copperhead.'* 


The document to which we refer is styled the " Ad- 
dress of the National Union Committee to the Ameri- 
can People." It is calm and serious, and designed to be 
conciliatory in tone ; and in this it is far in advance of 
the speeches and reports lately made on the radical 
side, and thus is an indication, apparently, of a returning 
of the party to a more moderate spirit. As all the ante- 
cedents and surroundings, and the personal sympathies 
and principles, of the writer, had been ever of the Repub- 
lican party (as far as they were of a party nature at all) , 
and so continued during all the labors and efforts of the 
whole war, and still so remained up to the time of the 
separation of Congress and the Executive, the writer is 
but too happy to watch any appearance of resumption of 
that elevated and truthful spirit which has, in general, 
characterized that party division of the people, not to 
treat in the same conciliatory manner what has thus 
been offered in a conciliatory mood. And we will sin- 
cerely endeavor to discover what appears to them the 
cause of difference and difficulty between the President 
and the people, or the party of Congress. We first 
quote from the address their statement of the principles 
on which the two parties were agreed : — 


" The claim of the insurgents, that they either now 
re-acquired or had never fortified their Constitutional 
rights in the Union, including that of representation in 
Congress, stands in pointed antagonism alike to the re- 
quirements of Congress and to those of the acting Presi- 
dent. It was the Executive alone, who, after the Rebel- 
lion was no more, appointed provisional governors for 
.the non-submissive, unarmed Southern States, on the 
assumption that the Rebellion had been ' revolutionary,' 
and had deprived the people under its sway of all civil 
government ; and who required the assembling of ' a con- 
vention, composed of delegates to be chosen by that 
portion of the people of said State who are loyal to the 
United States, and no others'^ for the purpose of altering 
and amending the Constitution of said State.' It was 
President Johnson, who, so late as October last, — when 
all shadow of overt resistance to the Union had long 
since disappeared, — insisted that it was not enough that 
a State which had revolted must recognize her ordi- 
nance of secession as null and void from the beginning, 
and ratify the Constitutional amendment prohibiting 
slavery evermore, but she must also repudiate ' every 
dollar of indebtedness created to aid in carrying on the 
Rebellion.' It was he who ordered the dispersion by 
military force of any legislature chosen under the Rebel- 
lion, which should assume power to make laws after that 
Rebellion had fallen. It was he who referred to Con- 
gress all inquiries as to the probability of representatives 
from the States lately in revolt being admitted to seats 
in either house, and suggested that they should present 
their credentials, not at the organization of Congress, 



but afterward. And, finally, it was he, and not Con- 
gress, who suggested to his Gov. Sharkey of Mississippi, 
that ' if you could extend the elective franchise to all 
persons of color who can read the Constitution of the 
United States in English and write their names, and to 
all persons of color who own real estate valued at not 
less than two hundred and fifty dollars and pay taxes 
thereon, you would completely disarm the adversary, 
and set an example that other States will follow.' 

" If, then, there be any controversy as to the right of 
the loyal States to exact conditions and require guaran- 
ties of those which plunged madly into secession and 
rebellion, the supporters respectively of Andrew John- 
son and of Congress cannot be antagonist parties to that 
contest, since their record places them on the same side." 

Thus the distinct assertion of the Congressional party 
is, that they and the President were on the same ground 
all along, — in all the preparatory steps of the restoration. 
It is true, they speak of the President " alone " as doing 
so and so ; but that was merely in virtue of his office as 
presiding executive officer. Some one must continue 
this work until the States were fully recovered, —restored 
from the state of rebellion ; and who, under the Consti- 
tution, could do it but the " Commander-in-chief," who 
was the presiding executive officer during the whole 
war? The statement of the address docs not dissent 


from this, but implies approval, as being on the same 
ground with Congress. It is now the mode with the 
genuine radicals (and was repeatedly adopted in all the 
late conventions) to retort upon the President for these 
former steps in regard to the military and provisional 
governorships, as if they were inconsistent with his 
present ideas, and were merely an arbitrary and uncon- 
stitutional proceeding on his part ; as if those com- 
pletely overturned and despoiled States — despoiled of 
their original organization, and still full of revolutionary 
elements — were to be left alone to get themselves in 
order as true and loyal States in the Union ! Was it to 
be supposed that the most sudden and unexpected sur- 
render of arms brought no surprise and consternation, 
but, instead, a perfect and as sudden acquiescence in 
their defeated state? Whoever could not see the neces- 
sity still of the "strong arm" of the Government in 
the immediate military governorships, and then of aid 
and assistance in the further provisional governorships 
until chey should be able and reliable enough to carry 
on their own re-organization, is no true " republican," 
and merits only to be classed with those " copper- 
heads" who would have let the very nation die from 


mere inefficiency and inanition. Mr. Johnson only 
showed himself in those measures but in the plain, sim- 
ple path of a vigorous, worthy, and constitutional ruler ; 
and his requiring the delegates composing the conven- 
tions of the States to be chosen by those who were loyal 
to the United States, and by no others, shows his deter- 
mination that " relets " should have no part in the re- 
newed government. He has constantly reiterated the 
same assertion ever since,— that none but loyal represen- 
tatives should be received into Congress In all his 
messages to that body, and in numerous speeches else- 
where, he has put forward and maintained the same 
idea. '' If they were loyal," has been the constant ex- 
pression ; that is, if they had professedly, and in all 
apparent good faith, given in to the surrender of the 
Rebellion : for, as he properly said in a late speech, "We 
cannot go farther, behind the bosoms of men, and sit in 
judgment upon their secret thoughts." .Thus the Presi- 
dent, no more than Congress, designs to have " unre- 
pentant rebels" brought into the "seats of power:" 
and he appropriately referred, as the address says, all 
inquiries as to the admission of representatives to that 
body itself, as their peculiar province ; even suggesting 


that the presentment of the credentials should be de- 
layed, when all else was ready, until after Congress was 
organized ; undoubtedly that they might calmly and 
deliberately act upon them. This power of examining 
the credentials, and either receiving or rejecting the 
chosen representatives in consequence, as the case 
might be, the Executive has never attempted to usurp 
from that day to this ; Congress being the recognized 
constitutional actors upon that point. He has, indeed, 
reminded Congress of this part of their duty, when he 
thought they were unreasonably delaying, which is his 
especial province as the presiding officer of the nation ; 
the head, the supervisor, as it were, to see that all goes 
right. This is the very office of the President, — to see 
that the laws are executed, the Constitution enforced. 


With all these points of agreement of the two parties 
remaining up to this present moment, — for the Execu- 
tive, we believe, has never retracted a single one of 
them, and Congress certainly has not, — what room is 


there to consider the former as " traitorous " and " dis- 
loyal " to the nation, — any more than the latter? since 
they are both agreed on every one of those points, some 
of the most essential, certainly, which could he pro- 
duced, and are entirely inconsistent with any proposition 
or plan to betray the country. We do not believe that 
either party has any designs of betraying the country, 
but that the great difference and disagreement between 
them is more as to the mode of jyroceeding than as to 
the principles. 

Here one might be met by a cry of scorn and indig- 
nation, — that it should be presumed that all this terrible 
division and heart-burning, and fierceness of party strife 
and passion, menacing almost the very destruction of 
the Union, should arise merely from a difference of 
"mode" in regard to proceeding, and not from "prin- 
ciples " ! 

Nevertheless, to our mind, this is the great secret of 
the disagreement, in its outward phase ; as, in law and 
constitutions, " mode," or the method, is vital, as well as 
are principles themselves. The Congressional party 
itself gives this explanation : continuing, in the address, 
from our former quotation, it says, — 


" It being thus agreed that conditions of restoration, 
and guaranties against future rebellion, may be exacted 
of the States lately in revolt, the right of Congress to a 
voice in prescribing those conditions, and in shaping 
those guaranties, is plainly incontestable. Whether it 
take the shape of law, or of a Constitutional amendment, 
the action of Congress is vital. Even if they were to 
be settled by treaty, the ratification of the Senate by a 
two-thirds vote would be indispensable. There is noth- 
ing in the Federal Constitution, nor in the nature of the 
case, that countenances an executive monopoly of this 

" What, then, is the ground of complaint against Con- 
gress ? " 

Here it is plainly evident that the opinion of Con- 
gress was, that it should participate in the final re-organ- 
ization, and that it claimed this right ; and, in this 
respect, the whole country. will agree with it. Who can 
doubt that right ? Is not the Legislative an equal, co- 
ordinate branch with the Executive in all our Govern- 

But did not Congress haVe this share, this participa- 
tion, the same and equal hand with the President in 
those conditions presented for acceptance? Who was 
it that produced that immortal amendment by which 
slavery is prohibited forever from our statute-books, 


never to be re-established before our country itself shall 
be dissolved? Who was it but the loyal people, through 
their representatives assen^Jbled in the halls of legislation 
of Congress ? What greater share could they have than 
this, which is the greatest of all, — the work of sober, 
solemn, deliberate legislation ? No : not among all the 
conditions presented to the Southern States for their 
acceptance was there one so great, so extensive, so hon- 
orable and world-wide in its influence, and extendinor 
to all future generations to benefit and bless, as this of 
the Constitutional Amendment. Conorress misrht well 
rejoice and be satisfied in itself that it had had such 
honor, and had accomplished this great work, — intro- 
ducing this element of reconstruction ; thus re-organiz- 
ing, reconstructing the States on the firm and enduring 
basis of equal freedom, now that slavery, the great cause 
of inequality, was banished from our system. 

Yes : so far we must and should be " reconstructed ; " 
and the States who had borne the burden and heat 
of the day, by their representatives in lawful congress 
assembled, had a right to improve the providential op- 
portunity placed in their hands, and to insist, that, when 
the States should again come together in re-union, it 


should be on this plan ; and that they would not submit 
ever again to be subjected to the perils, controversies, and 
agitations arising from that_ cause, to which they had 
ever before been exposed. Those States that had re- 
mained true to the National Government, and had 
defended and supported it through the war, had the 
right, we say, to declare to those who, by the attempt 
at withdrawal, had forfeited the protection they had 
possessed on account of their system of slavery, — had 
the right to say to them, that they must yield to this 
condition, or not resume their places. It was the true 
and proper penalty, which they could not have expected 
to be released from. The President himself took this 
same view, coinciding with Congress ; and being the 
presiding, executive officer, he — it was his duty — saw 
that this amendment, which the latter had demanded and 
provided, was submitted to and accepted by those States 
befot-e they could begin their work of re-organization.* 

There was another point which depended solely upon 
the agency of Congress, — one of the most, if not the 

* No officer could have entered with more hearty and energetic de- 
termination to carry out the will of Congress in this condition of recon- 
struction than did President* Johnson, as has been the constant testi- 


very most, vital of all, since it would be the sign and 
seal of all, — the completion of the Avork by which those 
States would be re-admitted, after, in full faith, they had 
given in their promise and surrender to all the condi- 
tions assigned. The Executive had already done all 
that was incumbent upon him ; and, from that moment 
to this, he has done and could do no more, — exceptino-, 
as was said in occasional messages, to remind Congress, 
as it seemed to be delaying, that it had not yet com- 
pleted its part of the work of restoration. 

Congress, in the mean time, instead of doing this its 
peculiar work, was occupied in forming a j90s^-constitu- 
tional amendment, to be submitted as additional condi- 
tions. Here is the precise point of difficulty and dis- 
agreement. If any other conditions were to be exacted, 
ought they not to have been announced at that same time 
before the work of restoration was commenced, instead 
of after the fact ? But the States were allowed to go on 
re-establishing themselves on the strength of those re- 
quirements, in good faith, not anticipating any other. 
If Congress did not think of these in season, it appears 
to us, as in all similar private relations, they should be 
foregone. After a promise has been given or implied, 


it certainly is not customary or allowable, in common 
individual transactions, for either party to change the 
terms : how much less should this be the case where 
the honor of States or civil relations are concerned ! 

It seems to us that this mistake has arisen (for, if such 
were a mistake in private affairs, it must certainly be 
so in national and public ones ; and a distinguished 
member of Congress in a late speech * admits that Con- 
gress " may have erred"), — the mistake has arisen, it 
appears to us, in Congress overlooking the great part 
it had already performed in the work of reconstruction, 
but still feeling that it ought to do something. And this 
error, it is apparent, is the one which still prevails. 
Appeals are constantly made to the post-constitutional 
amendment, as to what can be the opposition to it. " Is 
it not lenient, clement, even magnanimous, considering 
the crime — the betrayal of our country — which was 
designed ? " are the questions asked. The document it- 
self, from which Ave have copied, says, — 

"Is it charged that the action of the two houses was 
tardy and hesitating? Consider how momentous were 
the questions involved, the issues depending ; consider 

* A member from Massachusetts, at a convention in Boston. 



how novel and extraordinary was the situation ; consider 
how utterly silent and blank is the Federal Constitution 
touching the treatment of insurgent States, whether dur- 
ing their flagrant hostility to the Union or after their dis- 
comfiture ; consider with how many embarrassments and 
difficulties the problem is beset, — and you will not wonder 
that months were required to devise, perfect, and pass, 
by a two-thirds vote in either house, a just and safe plan 
of reconstruction. 

" Yet that plan has been matured. . . . 
"Are the conditions thus prescribed intolerable, or 
even humiliating? Are they harsh or degrading? " &c. 

Thus, in perception of the real point or the main 
point at issue, how completely wide of the mark ! 

We believe it is a true maxim. When we know not 
what to do, do nothing. That very silence of the Con- 
stitution is an indication, we would say, that we have 
but little to do. One might aver that this would have 
applied as well to the war itself. Not so ; for the Consti- 
tution expressly gives full poiver to put down insurrec- 
tions : and, in all common reason, this power must 
continue until the former state of things is restored ; hut, 
after that, not one word is guaranteed for any further 



*' reconstruction." But we have commented sufficiently 
on this doctrine in another section, and will now return 
to our first proposition, — that the original point of dis- 
agreement between the Executive and the Congressional 
party was more as to the mode of proceeding,' in our 
opinion, than as to the principles (although some of the 
latter which that party adopted, we saw, in a former dis- 
cussion, cannot be held as truly constitutional). 

The President certainly has not denied that the Con- 
gress had a right to share in the work of reconstruction ; 
and with eager readiness, without dispute or discussion, 
he adopted the amendment which they had provided, 
which was in special reference to this very conjuncture. 
While the States were out of their places in the Union 
(by their own fault), this was enacted as the plan on 
which we, or they, should be reconstructed when they 
returned. Both parties, then, were united in that simple, 
straightforward work of reconstruction. It seemed 
satisfactory to all ; there was no demur at the time ; it 
appeared quite understood, and acquiesced in. Thus all 
promised an easy and quick settlement of our difficulties, 
after hostilities themselves were over. We have already 
seen that the States had had imposed ujJon them what 


might seem to them, probably, severe conditions, though 
certainly not more so than they could have expected. 
They were the denial of those "ordinances" on 
which they had so prided themselves, making them 
utterly null and void ; renouncing forever the payment 
of their — rebel — debt ; assuming the burden of that 
which had been acquired in fighting against them ; and, 
above all, prohibiting forever from their own States that 
loved and admired institution for which they had sacri- 
ficed almost all, — even life and honor. Must they not 
have felt these to their very hearts' core? Yet they 
accepted them : they felt, they knew, they must and 
ought. It was in good faith. They believed that the 
National Government was in good faith in submitting 
those conditions : and the implication was, that, when all 
this was done, it would be in effect restoration ; their 
National or Federal functions would be resumed, and 
they would again be loyal States in the Union, as be- 

All these preliminaries had been completed. The time 
had come, every thing being in readiness, to resume all 
their relations. Bat Congress then said, " There must be 
further conditions : you cannot come in without giving 


securities that you will never do this thing again. "We are 
making an amendment to the Constitution ; and it is im- 
possible to be admitted until you have submitted to this." 
Who would not be taken aback with such a greeting, 
after all that had preceded? 

Is it, then, that after an error and sin, though laid 
down and acknowledged, we are never again to be re- 
garded but with fear and mistrust? The true way, we 
believe, to prevent any occasion of mistrust, either in 
private or public life, is generously to confide, which dis- 
arms an adversary if he were disposed so to continue. 
But, however that may be, the Executive felt that the 
word of the nation had in effect been falsified ; that their 
part of the conditions — their acceptance of them — 
had been fulfilled, but our promise (implied) had not. 
That the head of the nation should be sensitive on this 
point is not surprising ; and ought not every truly fra- 
ternal mind to be the same? "There is honor even 
among," &c. : should there not be the same, then, be- 
tween our now restored people, — the people of a great 
undivided nation? 

Thus we conceive that this mode of a new post-re- 
construction adopted by Congress, when the natural, 


stipulated re-organization, shared in by both Congress 
and the Executive, had already taken place, was essen- 
tially erroneous. Not that conditions were not to be 
exacted, or that we had no power to exact them, but that 
they had already been so. These might, indeed, have 
been more fully elaborated, including portions of the new 
amendment, had they been thought of in season ; but, 
the time passed, it appears to us that any further modifi- 
cations, excepting what may hereafter occur in " full 
congress " of the people, are inadmissible. In social and 
private life, nothing is more detrimental and prejudicial 
to the hi<>;hest and best interests than a want of the 
purest and most upright integrity where word and honor 
are involved. And is not this same morality the very 
soul of all public and civil relations ? 

" Are we then," it may be exclaimed, " to be all our 
lives subject to misfortunes, and to be ruled by the rebel 
power, just for the oversight of a single moment, 
— because we have missed the exact time, the precise 
juncture of affiiirs?" We are all liable to mistakes; 
and we must take our chances, whatever they may be : 
if we fall into them, we must abide by them. But thej 
Holy Scripture somewhere pronounces a blessing upon 


this "abiding;" a promise to the man that sweareth, 
and changeth not, though it be to his own hurt. 

We do not apprehend in this case any cause of distrust, 
however, even though the spirit of many of the former 
rebels may be still unsubdued, and a " rebel" represen- 
tation from the Southern States may still occur . in 
Congress. If the assertion of the Radical Convention be 
true (and this convention has been indorsed by the 
almost universal Republican press of the country), such 
vast numbers of former secessionists becoming so 
rapidly and radically loyal (in a moral sense), we have 
a very hopeful future to look forward to, and need not 
require of them any further guaranties, more than from 
any other part of the community. Or, if those 
" millions " were original loyal Union men, such a 
number, if they act at all up to the spirit of true loyal- 
ty, must inevitably, sooner or later, leaven the whole 
remaining portion of the population of those States, as 
it is the quality of good to spread and diffuse itself in 
time. At all events, we are by no means fearful that 
the great preponderance of our other States and millions, 
after having defeated secessionism with rebellion in its 
strongest and most plausible phase, are now going to 


submit to it " on its own terms,'* or that they will fear 
to meet it, shorn and decapitated, even if it should " rise 
from its grave." Such a spectre might momentarily 
startle ; but to believe that it can actually come to life, 
conquer and subdue all these living, breathing, active 
forces of health, strength, and freedom, must be from a 
want of just confidence and faith in our people, or in the 
eternal principles which we profess. 


In this connection, we wish to animadvert upon the 
continued habit of referring to the Southern States as 
still insurgent and rebel. A foreigner might verily 
suppose from the expression of the public prints, and 
from our manner of speaking, that hostilities were 
actually yet existing. Even the address from which we 
have quoted, purporting to be a national document, uses 
the same terms in regard to those communities as if they 
were still, veritably, rebels confessed. " But," say some, 
" do not the massacres at Memphis and New Orleans 
proclaim this ? Do not those slaughters of Union men 
show that they are precisely on the same ground that 


they were before, — warring against the loyal men of 
the country?" 

That these people are yet at heart, perhaps the great 
majority of them, — notwithstanding the assertion of the 
radical party, of their loyal " eight millions," — wedded 
to their old ideas of secessionism, in our own mind we 
do not doubt. And who can expect but that they will 
remain so for a long period to come? Nevertheless, 
their external attitude, or that of their States, is one of 
surrender and submission ; and this is all with which 
Ave have to do in State or civil relations : we are to 
keep the peace there, and not permit any overt outbreak ; 
but we can go no further. We are not allowed to probe 
beneath the surface, and make inquisition upon the secrets 
of the heart, the views of the inner mind : for those they 
are responsible to their God alone. This is the doctrine 
which has been established by our American freedom ; 
and by this we must abide. 

In our private opinion, the massacre at New Orleans 
declares that the late secessionists are as determined now 
not to be governed by the " radicals," as they formerly 
were to go out of the Union ; therefore, seeing no other 
way, they resorted to force. That this was put down by 


the military, and that they should be required to keep 
within the bounds of law, is but just and right ; and this 
was done by the United-States troops. But that they 
have the right of contest within those bounds is'also just 
as true as that our forefathers had the ri^ht of breakino* 
away from their own government for the sake of estab- 
lishing here freedom of thought and speech ; and this 
is an inheritance for all parts of our land which we must 
ever retain. This is a local matter at the South, — a 
contest among themselves ; and which, it cannot be 
doubted, they must be allowed to carry out (always 
within the bounds of law). If the radicals are right, by 
their great strength (according to the late convention) 
they ought to be able to obtain the mastery ; if not 
immediately, they can only " bide their time." 


It is not for us to say what radicalism at the South 
may precisely mean ; but if it be identical with that 
which has prevailed more or less at the North, with all 
its antecedents, we would maintain that the South are jus- 
tified, no matter how lately they had themselves been on 


the wrong track, in not considering its partisans as safe 
political leaders in their reconstructed state. It is well 
known that the original radical (abolitionist) party of 
New England never stood upon any constitutional 
grounds whatever, but rather prided itself in going be- 
yond, " higher " than, the Constitution, Its champion 
and greatest orator, who was, as it were, against every 
man, and every man against him, declared in a speech 
at the commencement of the war, that it was the first 
time for twenty-five years that he had ever stood under 
the flag of his country. Where, then, did he stand? 
since that flag represents our true country, our whole 
country, and nothing but our country. Was he alone to 
be exempted from its constitutional obligations? and 
why is now the strong cry of that party against viola- 
tions, as they deem them, of this same Constitution? It 
did, we know, turn about, and go heart and hand for the 
war, not because it was a war for the Constitution, but 
because it would free the slave. And what but this 
party was it, that by its most distinguished speakers, 
male and female, uttered the most violent denunciations 
against the then President, the lamented Lincoln, and, 
by the continual " on-to-Richmond " cry, harassed his 
whole administration ? 


"Well, but this party had nothing to do with the pres- 
ent radical-republican party." 

It appears to us it has every thing to do with the pres- 
ent party, or the present party has to do with it, having 
merged itself into it, to all appearances, and is moving 
with it heart and hand. The motto only is transformed : 
*' abolition '' being no longer necessary, it is now that of 
" universal suffrage." Mr. Phillips, it is true, was not 
permitted to be present at the Southern Radical Conven- 
tion (nor was Mr. Vallandigham, the champion of cop- 
perheadism, at the " Philadelphia Convention ; " and 
both for the same reason, no doubt, — on account of public 
opinion : though we believe, in the latter case, the main 
body was firmly opposed to any connection with Mr. 
Vallandigham ; whilst this does not seem to have been 
the case with regard to Mr. Phillips, as was proved by 
an after-meeting). Nor would he be " permitted," it is 
presumed, to be placed on the radical ticket for Con- 
gress. Nevertheless, he is in the closest affiliation ; and 
in an enthusiastic popular meeting in his own city,* to 
welcome there those same Southern radicals, being called 
upon to speak, he confessed that he had no speech to 

* At Faneuil Hall, Sept. 13, 1866. 


make ; that his " radicalism" had been " out-radicaled." 
These individuals may be allowed to have their own idio- 
syncrasies ; and others, a large party, may yield to them, 
and combine with them, if they so please : we only say 
that they cannot be safe leaders of the people. 

No one will alRrm, we presume, that Mr. Phillips has 
made an advance, and come over to the Republican 
party : he still prefers, by his own showing, to be inde- 
pendent of any combination, and go his own way. The 
party, therefore, have met him on his ground ; and this 
has plainly been effected through those members of Con- 
gress who were a tie between the two former parties, — 
being in close sympathy with the apostle of radicalism, 
but belonging professedly to the Republican organiza- 
tion. Those members, being a connecting link, thus 
carried the main party with them. We would not quar- 
rel with this new attitude of the party, modified as it 
must be from the intense individualism of the original 
type, were it strictly reliable on true, simple, constitu- 
tional principles : for it has in it a progressive element 
which every nation needs ; and, when divested of the 
disguise which this new partisanship has thrown over it, 
it will come back, we doubt not, to its former high, trust- 
worthy position in public affairs. 


There is one other point of resemblance which we 
wish to notice in this (radical) party, not to the original 
type, but to its predecessors of the opposite party at the 
South, — that of seeking for " protection." The former 
constant cry was, " protection " for slavery : now the 
cry is still for " protection " in another way. Is there, 
then, nothing for these States to do of themselves? 
Must they continue to seek the central power for " pro- 
tection " in regard to their own State affairs ? It seems 
to us that it would now be well for the States to learn to 
rely on themselves where their own interests are con- 
cerned. Now that the great cause of trouble and discus- 
sion, slavery, is terminated by the result of the war, it 
seems to us that we should learn a lesson, — not to bring 
topics which excite intense moral feeling, and on which 
there may be proper and lawful difference of opinion, 
into our national legislation ; as, whichever way it 
might be decided, either for or against, where parties 
run high, the one party would always be aggrieved and 
dissatisfied (unless compromises were entered into ; and 
on moral questions, or Avhere deep feeling is concerned, 
these are always more or less deleterious and unrelia- 
ble), and thus the country would be in constant foment. 


That of universal suffrage is such a one, and has threat- 
ened to menace our peace now that slavery is over ; but, 
as each division of the party which principally maintains 
it seems to have agreed to lay it aside, the crisis for the 
present is past, and perhaps it may never again recur to 
threaten to rend us in twain. 

But, as was said in another section of this work, there 
is probably no great or excited movement of a people, 
without some underlying, impelling truth ; and we shall, 
therefore, revert to this topic again, under the head of 
" Impartial Suffrage." At present, we design to take up 
the "Amendment" of Congress, to see plainly what its 
provisions are, and to endeavor to make good our pre- 
vious proposition, — that the essential difference and 
misunderstanding, as we believe, between Congress and 
the Executive, is more, or quite as much, in regard to 
the method of proceeding, as in connection with the 
principles themselves. 


We have previously referred to this in a more general 
way, taking it in its commonly received understanding, 


and noting only points of disagreement. We will now 
define the points of agreement, commencing with the 
lesser articles, — the repudiation of the rebel debt, and 
the non-compensation for emancipated slaves. With 
these prohibitions we heartily concm- ; for what has the 
country to do, beside the enormous debt with which it 
became burdened in the effort to save itself from destruc- 
tion, in repaying a debt which was contracted in that 
very hostility against it? No: if any thing were for- 
feited, it appears to us it was the repayment of such a 
debt, created by their own voluntary action ; and the re- 
pudiation of this was persistently enforced by the Presi- 
dent himself, as one of the first steps before being al- 
lowed to re-organize. 

In regard to slaves lost by the fortunes of war (and 
the emancipation edict itself was one of those " fortunes 
of war"), why should they be paid for more than any 
other losses ? It is true, they were very great ; but (in a 
private sense) each individual has only his share to 
bear. Are all to be remunerated — on either side — for 
the loss of property, money expended, and for blood and 
life given up, the dearest affections of the heart and 
home sacrificed? These are losses; how much more 


great than those of fortune merely, let the thousands of 
the other States answer who have thus suffered as well 
as the South. No : this loss of the slave-property, it 
appears to us, is but the natural penalty, and must be en- 
dured like any other similar infliction of the conflict ; 
and we believe we are no more called upon in right to 
pay for this destruction of their institution than for any 
other accident or incident of the war. 

The late Attorney-General, in presiding at the Radical 
Convention, notwithstanding that he contended for this 
point of the amendment, made in his speech this re- 
mark : " Although, if they will assume the vast debt 
which has been incurred by the Grovernment of the 
United States because of their treason and rebellion, we 
will pay them for their slaves." We do not agree with 
him : it appears to us there is no " if" in the question ; 
that all of these — the repudiation of their own debt, the 
loss of the slave-property, and the assumption of the na- 
tional debt incurred in consequence of the very war 
initiated by them — are but the natural penalties, as we 
have said, the very ones to be looked for in the nature 
of things. The constantly-increasing sense of the people 
both at the North and the South must tell them that this 


was but to be expected, and we do not apprehend there 
will be any future difficulty in regard to this. But 
surely so great are these penalties, and interwoven as 
their institution was in all their society, we might be 
willing, we other States, it appears to us, to consider 
them sufficient ; to desire no greater burdens, no further 
" conditions " imposed, than to be thus obliged to begin 
anew all their State and social edifice ; broken, wasted, 
impoverished by the war ; having to lay again the very 
foundation-elements ; and it must needs demand long 
years, if ever, to recover their former prosperity and 
affluence. If "ever," did we say? Nay, we believe, 
for their encouragement, it will not take so long, on a 
free basis, to rise to a wealth and prosperity never known 
before ; and this in itself will be a rich and high com- 
pensation, the South will themselves find, for the eman- 
cipation or loss of their slaves. 

Section third (of the Amendment) relates to the dis- 
franchisement of those who had held office under oath, 
both of the United States and the States, until relieved 
of the disability by a two-thirds vote of Congress. In 
reference to officers in their Federal relations, who can 
doubt but that this comes within the power of Con- 


gress, — to " declare the penalty of treason ; " and that 
this was the least penalty that could be anticipated, — 
even clement, — not for life, but until Congress should 
remove the disability? 

This, however, would not have interdicted Congress 
from receiving the credentials of the members elect for 
examination, as it had full power to reject these if not 
qualified ; and in that case, had the States thus chosen 
ineligible members, this power (of awarding penalty) 
would at once have been put practically to the test, and 
we think the whole country would have supported Con- 
gress in the decision. Although it may have been fore- 
known, individually, that the members chosen were not 
such as should have been sent, yet Congress, in its otli- 
cial and simply legislative capacity, could have no right 
thus to prejudge a case, it appears to us, and therefore 
cannot stand on the strong and undoubted ground which 
the Constitution — the Constitutional mode — would have 
granted it. This " Constitutional mode," as we con- 
ceive it, Avas to admit these members, or their creden- 
tials, for examination, at the time they were presented, 
precisely as in any other case ; because their States, 
under the necessary and required restrictions, participat- 


ed in or approved of both by the Executive and Con- 
gress (for if the President had more of the absolute 
execution or enforcement of this than the legislative 
department, yet it too had, we have seen, its essential 
share, and the only share it could have under the cir- 
cumstances, — that of legislation), had gone to work, and 
become re-organized to all intents and purposes, pre- 
cisely in the same manner that they had been before, — 
to resume the same relations and functions in the Union ; 
this having been the one object for which the war had 
been waged. And the supposition was, that, the moment 
this could be accomplished, — all should be completed 
and jfinished, — they would be fully restored^ and, as such, 
must have the same constitutional rights and privileges 
as formerly (excepting those which the necessities of the 
war, and the change, the amendment, which the Con- 
stitution had undergone in their absence, had abrogated) : 
otherwise, were they not to return in this manner, the 
war would completely have changed the relations of our 
system of States, and we should have become another 
kind of government from that which we had hitherto 
been. In this restored state, then, being precisely in all 
our former relations, as a system of equal States, the 


Constitution must be in force as it ever had been before, 
and from that very moment that we were so restored ; 
which was when the States had elected their Congres- 
sional members, and they stood waiting to be admitted. 
The Congressional form, then, was to test these mem- 
bers as all others were tested (or to refer them to the 
" Judiciary Committee," if thought necessary). If they, 
so tested, should be discovered to be still '' unrepent- 
ant," and professedly rebels and traitors, undoubtedly the 
Congress had full power to reject them ; and, as we have 
said, we believe the whole country would have sustained 
them in this. We believe that such is the ground which 
the President takes. 

Another article of the Amendment is for the protection 
of " citizens of the United States ; " and that " no State 
shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the 
privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States ; 
nor shaU any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or 
property, without due process of law, nor deny to any 
person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the 
laws." This last clause is but the natural law, we might 
say, the protection to which one is by nature entitled, 
and to which we may now give full force in our wholly 


free and happy country. The previous clause, in itself, 
is also one which can be applied throughout our entire 
country, inasmuch as we are all citizens at large, as well 
as citizens of the States ; and this is but a just and 
rightful protection of a simple, general, natural citizen- 
ship, so to say. Whether that clause might mean more 
than this would depend upon the definition otherwise 
given to this " citizenship ; " whether it embraced other 
political and civil rights which have hitherto beea within 
the regulation of the individual States, and rightly, we 
think, as has elsewhere appeared. But m itself^ its 
wording and phraseology, this article, certainly, to our 
mind, is wholly unexceptionable. 

The remaining article, or section, of the Amendment, 
concerns the apportionment of representatives, or a change 
of the basis of representation. This we shall discuss 
under the head of 


The Constitution as it stands apportions the representa- 
tion of the States, that is, the Congressional representa- 
tives, to the number of free persons ; and, in the 


Southern States, adds three-fifths of the number of slaves. 
As the black population is now wholly free, the other 
two-fifths will be represented according to the constitu- 
tional apportionment ; but, inasmuch as_ they have not at 
present the ability of voting, the increased political influ- 
ence will proceed actually only from a part of the popula- 
tion, as before. The proposition of the new Amendment, 
in the version of the address from which' we have before 
copied, and which we give as more explicit and readily 
perceived than in the original article, is, that, — 

" While the States claim and exercise the right of 
denying the elective franchise to a part of their people, 
the weight of each State in the Union shall be measured 
by and based upon its enfranchised population. If any 
State shall choose, for no crime, to deny political rights 
to any race or caste, it must no longer count that race or 
caste as a basis of political power in the Union." 

The effort and object of this proposition to change the 
basis of representation, undoubtedly, is to procure negro 
suffrage ; that that portion of the Southern communities 
supposed to be loyal should have its rightful weight of 
political influence. 

Although the States have always adjudicated their own 


voting population, liave pronounced who shall vote and 
who shall not do so, yet, as the basis of national repre- 
sentation is a subject of national legislation, it must be 
presumed that Congress has ample power to apportion 
this in whatever manner it is thought proper ; and may- 
base it, if it so sees fit, upon the number of actual voters, 
instead of upon that of the free population. This being 
a national topic, the same rule must be applied, however, 
equally to all the States ; in those where the voting 
population has not been universal, as well as in the re- 
constructed States. Whether it is advisable to change 
the basis from the " free" to the " voting" population, 
would be the question, as, as it present exists, it leaves 
to each State the power to determine how its laws and 
institutions shall be guided and conducted ; whether by a 
discriminate class, as in Massachusetts, — by those able 
to read and write, — or whether these shall be given 
into the hands of all, — the ignorant, as well as the more 
informed. Probably in New England, and in some of 
the other States where education is quite universally 
diffused, an objection to this, or any risk to be run, 
would be considered of no weight whatever ; but in 
other States, where common intelligence is not so 


general, we can conceive that it would be of valid and 
of very important weight. We all are, or ought to be, 
naturally sensitive to having the purity of our republican 
principles and institutions despoiled by an unintelligent 
population. To this it may be replied, Let the States 
educate their own people in common learning : that they 
are not so educated is their own fault. It may have been 
their own fault in the past ; but the present fact is, that 
they have not been so trained. Therefore the question 
must arise, whether it is expedient or safe to deliver this 
power into their hands until they are better prepared for 
it. These remarks are applicable to any State where 
the suffrage has not been universal, and are also appli- 
cable to the Southern States in respect to their population 
of hitherto enslaved blacks. Where these blacks com- 
pose a great proportion of the population, as in South 
Carolina (more than half), we can imagine those States 
must shrink from throwing this immense political power 
immediately into their hands, — if they ever finally so do ; 
and we believe we have no right morally, much less 
politically, thus to force upon our States a condition so 
repugnant to their natural instinct of self-preservation, 
either iu their political or physical existence. It would 


be taking from them their civil right, as political commu- 
nities, to care for and protect themselves. 

The radical-abolitionist would here say, that the 
blacks have as much right to rule there as the whites ; 
and, if the control thus passes into their hands, that it 
is no more than perfectly comme il faut ; that they have 
been subjected sufficiently long, and that now it is but 
proper that they should have their turn in public affairs. 
In our opinion, if these people are capable, if there is 
that in them, which, on development, will prove them to 
be equal or superior to the white race (as this idea has 
been advanced by some), no power on earth within 
their own States, now that they have the freedom of 
American citizens, can prevent their attaining eventually 
that position. In the mean time, we think that the 
Anglo-Saxon race on this continent, or in any of these 
individual States, is not yet prepared to subject itself to 
the control of the African ; and that none of us, by any 
law human or divine, are empowered, in consequence 
of the misfortunes of the Southern States, — no matter 
how much they have been caused by their own fault, — 
to trample upon them in their misfortunes by enforcing 
this, without their own voluntary consent. When that 


voluntary consent shall be given, it will be no longer 
" enforcement ; " and therefore they may have the full 
privilege of being governed and controlled by the black 
population if they so choose. Meanwhile we believe 
that every human being, under favorable circumstances, 
and every race, black or white, is capable of improve- 
ment and advancement ; and, now that the negro born 
on the soil has the national franchise of an American 
citizen, we may expect, that, by improvement of his 
opportunities, he will elevate himself sufficiently to be 
able to aid and assist in the Government, in the same 
manner as any other common citizen. If he does not 
become the chief magistrate of thirty millions or more 
of white people, or the governor of any individual 
State, he may yet attain to the political privileges which 
ordinary individuals enjoy, and be with them part and 
parcel of the body politic. We believe that that time 
must and will come, if there is the moral power in the 
race equal to the occasion ; that on the American soil, 
surrounded by our generous institutions, if they ivish to 
attain such position, they will achieve it. But at pres- 
ent, altogether unused as the colored man is in the 
Southern States to a condition of even personal freedom, 


we would say, Let these things come gradually and natu- 
rally. Let the whole people, white and black, get settled 
in their new relations, and know what and where they 
are, and be able to discover what it is that they have, or 
ought to do. Then, in proper time, if the white popu- 
lation does not deal justly by them, the negroes them- 
selves, with their greatness of numbers, if they are 
worthy of the name of citizen, will agitate the subject as 
far as is necessary for their own welfare. The South- 
erners, we believe, need not be afraid that their ambi- 
tion will lead them beyond this. They have not the 
restless, mental ambition of the white race ; but on the 
contrary, apparently, have the good sense and tempera- 
ment to be satisfied with what is for their comfort and 
simple well-being. Their ignorance might lead them to 
excess, it might be said. It might, as ignorance knows 
no law ; and, for that reason, it appears plain to us 
that they should be trained by degrees to their condi- 
tion as citizens, and let each State keep in its own 
hands the power to regulate their political advancement. 
"That," says the radical, "is precisely what the South 
wishes, and what we do not think it is safe for them to 
have. They are determined to have things all their own 


way ; and, just as sure as the negro is left in their hands, 
they will bring him back into the depths of slavery as 
great as it was before. They are seeking for this, and 
they will never rest until they have attained it." 

Who made thee a pre-judger of thy brother-man? 
And, if it were so, what can we do about it, except in 
the way of external law and order ? which is the only 
manner in which free, political communities can act 
one upon another. What are we to do but to give faith 
and credit to solemn promises ? and how do we expect 
to secure other solemn promises if these are of no avail ? 
The South has already accepted the fiat of emancipation : 
it has given its solemn seal and pledge to the amendment 
of the Constitution prohibiting slavery forever in the 
States, — which amendment to the Constitution was a 
perfectly legal, valid, justifiable one (as we have before 
seen) ; and nothing more whatever can the Government 
do about that than to see that it is ostensibly fulfilled. 
It cannot create humanity in the hearts of the people 
(excepting by the influence of its own kindly example), 
and it cannot insure that the people shall have the most 
correct views as to their constitutional obligations, — 
even in the best ordered States ; since, in the most gen- 


erally enlightened communities, party-spirit will have 
its way", as is now so evident in our most prosperous 
and well-to-do other sections. 

To come back to the question of impartial suffrage, 
that is, without distinction of race or color. The effort 
of the Congressional Amendment is, undoubtedly, to pro- 
duce this ; and most likely the Southern States will be 
forced by their own circumstances to make this choice. 
But let it be the growth of time and patience ; and then 
will it be healthful and firm, and produce the fruits 
which are desired. When the Southerners get things 
into proper train after their terrible devastations and 
upheaving, let them grant the suffrage without distinc- 
tion of color ; and then may tliey limit it to whoever is 
prepared for such, as the free States themselves have 
limited their voting populations. 

We have seen in a previous section that the decree 
of "universal" suffrage by Congress would take from 
the individual States their highest and dearest right,— 
that of regulating their own internal economy ; and 
would transform us from a system of little republics 
into one vast, consolidated empire. It is not the same^ 
with " impartial" suffrage if applied simply to race and 


color, which would be merely granting that every man 
has the natural right or ability to vote if he be so sit- 
uated as to come under the regulation ; but leaves still 
to the States the privilege of limiting its voting popula- 
tion on whatever restrictions it may deem proper ; for 
instance, those of education or property. As far as 
there is a natural right, one man has the same as an- 
other ; as we are all born men, and are therefore by 
nature equal. But, in the civil community, this ability 
of suffrage may certainly be subject to regulation as 
well as aught else ; as it is by no means necessary that 
one government, even if it be a republic, shall be mod- 
elled on exactly the same pattern as another. Repub* 
licanism, as we have elsewhere said, appears to consist 
in having a government of the people according to their 
choice. If they choose to regulate it in one way rather 
than in another, they are certainly at liberty so to do, 
or they have only the name of a republic. 

It is inferred, therefore, that Congress has the power 
of declaring impartial suffrage, although not univer- 
sal suffrage (unless, in the latter, we wish to change 
our whole system of government). This would not be 
enforcing the Southern States to give the elective fran- 


chise to the black population : they would still have the 
control of that in their own power, and would have time 
before them to do whatever was proper, or suitable to 
the circumstances. If this question should be taken up 
by Congress, and were not connected with the requisition 
of universal suffrage, we do not feel that it ought to be 
feared, but, on the contrary, that it would be a step to 
facilitate our political settlement of affairs, and to aid 
in the welfare and elevation of humanity, which should 
be the wise mission of a great, generous republic. 

The above principles coincide with those of the 
" Constitutional Amendment," and we believe that they 
are those in which the Executive also concurs. Indeed, 
we know, from the honorable testimony contained in the 
very address (of the Congressional party) which we 
have had under consideration, that the President liimself 
initiated the movement of impartial suffrage in the States ; 
and we have still further testimony on this point, and on 
that of a change of the basis of representation (which 
appears to be almost identical with that of the Amend- 
ment), in a paper now before us, containing an extract 
from a reported conversation of the President (with 
Major Stearns), in which he says, — 


" The apportionment is now fixed until 1872 : before 
that time, we might change the basis of representation 
from population to qualified voters, North as well as 
South ; and, in due course of time, the States, without 
regard to color, might extend the elective franchise to all 
who possessed certain mental, moral, or such other 
qualifications as might be determined by an enlightened 
public judgment." 

And also at this very moment, since copying the 
above paragraph, we have still later evidence * that the 
President is not opposed to a change of the basis of 
representation, in a correspondence from Washington, 
purporting to contain a " revised copy " of a proposition 
for amendment to be submitted by him. It is as fol- 
lows : — 

" Representatives shall be apportioned among the sev- 
eral States which may be included within this Union 
according to the number of qualified male voters, as pre- 
scribed by each State." 

Indeed, who would not approve of some such propo- 
sition, now that the whole circumstance of the Southern 
population is changed ? There should manifestly here- 
after be some equality of apportionment throughout the 
States. The former basis in the South was a compro- 

* Date of Sept. 30, 1866. 


mise in respect to the institution of slavery ; and the 
inequality of the weight of political influence could not 
be expected to be allowed to remain after that should no 
longer exist. The anomaly of this, and the consequent 
unequal exercise of political power, was commented 
upon in the ''Letters" of the first section of this work. 
AVe believe, then, that it has been conclusively demon- 
strated that truths are contained in each of the proposi- 
tions of the post-Constitutional Amendment, which the 
Executive himself most firmly maintains, and which 
we believe, moreover, every true American, be he of the 
Presidential, Congressional, or any other party, must 
approve and uphold in his serious, deliberate mind. 


If, then, there is such a unison of principles, it will be 
demanded. Why does the President oppose this Constitu- 
tional Amendment? and why did he veto the Civil- 
rights Bill and that of*the Freedmen's-bureau, which 
were also the work of Congress? 

We reply, that it must already have been seen fromi 

the whole tenor of this work that we take the ground 


that these States are in themselves, individually, minia- 
ture republics ; that is, having full and perfect power in 
all their internal arrangements for their own regula- 
tions ; and that the Central Power, the Federal Govern- 
ment, is not for the purpose of divesting them of any of 
this ability, but is merely for general regulations, such 
as concern naturally and equally all the States, and for 
general defence, strength, and harmony. We believe 
that in this manner, and in this manner only (thus 
showing the marvellous wisdom of our predecessors who 
organized it, or that of an overruling Providence), can 
be secured the full and free development of civil 
governments, which should be the desire and glory of 
these States, and with it the highest, fullest, best, and 
most glorious development of the people, the popula- 
tions, the individuals, of these States, through those free 
and individual States themselves ; that, if we transfer 
any portion of this civil freedom (any thing but what is 
of general, natural right, and by the assent of all) to 
the Central Authority, we overburden that, and give to it 
a tendency to monopolize, and at length to become exact- 
ing (and the step is then short to oppression and ty- 
ranny) ; and by so much we lose the healthful energy, 


capacity, and activity of freedom, which, for our best 
good, should distinguish all these States. At present, 
where all have not attained to this highest condition, — 
and who can say that any one has ? — these qualities 
are the very ones for developing their own freedom, 
and this best good itself to be attained is a constant 
impulse and incentive ; whereas, if every thing is laid 
out for us by the Federal power, if our individualities 
have no room for exercise, our very powers of aspira- 
tion, which alone keep us up to a proper state, must 
wither and languish. We are of those who believe in 
the better and higher instincts of our people, and that 
they will never be contented with the mere prosperity 
of material interests, however great and ennobling that 
may become ; but that, having been always accustomed 
to every species of contest for freedom^ quickening both 
the mental and moral life, they will never be willing to 
give these up, — this freedom, and this higher life. 

We believe it was on the above grounds, if we rightly 
apprehend President Johnson's course, — and his words 
have always been explicit on these points, — that he 
disapproved the first or any approach to tliis transfer of 
the rights which the States had always had in their own 


keeping ; and consequently he gave his disapproval — 
his veto — to the Civil-rights Bill. 

On reading the Freedmen's-bureau Bill before the 
veto of the Executive was passed on it, at least before we 
were aware of that action, we must say that the first 
thought which occurred to our mind was, what vast 
military enginery is here established among our civil 
institutions for a time of peace ! And it seemed to us a 
precedent of evil import, an innovation upon our simple, 
quiet, republican system. Not that the original Freed- 
men's-bureau Bill was not very necessary : that was but a 
proper and probably essential aid in the commencement, 
when every thing was still " out of joint," — a half- 
military measure, to take the place of the full armies now 
to be withdrawn, — the gradual step, as it were, to full 
re-establishment. Its operations were to continue a 
length of time, which is not yet over, and will not be for 
six months to come,* when it might be supposed we 
would be in the full tide of renen^ed peace and prosperity. 
Therefore the second Bureau is not yet needed ; and it 
seemed, at least, quite unnecessary to anticipate future 
need of legislation by so long an interval. Similar 
reasons were given by Mr. Johnson for his veto of the 

* From the present date, — October, 1866. 


bill, and they appeared to our mind entirely satisfactory. 
What is his opposition to the Constitutional Amendment 
will be seen under the succeeding head. 


We now arrive at the final step which is to reveal to 
us the true and exact position, as we believe it, both of 
Congress and of the Executive, and the precise point of 
their differences. There was and is all that agreement 
of general and even exact principles, as we have seen, 
of both parties. Then why is it that the President 
should persist in opposing, or should oppose at all, those 
propositions which seem to contain so much that is per- 
fectly, properly, and strictly true ? Is not Congress thus 
on the right road in establishing such principles? and 
ought not every individual in the land to give his heart 
and hand until such should become the true elements, the 
just guides and pillars, of our country ? And what is it 
but usurpation t)n the part of Mr. Johnson so to perse- 
vere in his opposition to the declared will of the people 
through their representatives ? Is he not "setting up his 
own will against the will of the loyal masses ? " (Such 


is the popular expression.) Or, now that it seems 
probable (as we have lately seen) that he is going to 
propose an " amendment," is he not inconsistent with 
himself, since he has always reiterated the expression 
that the Constitution as it was was "good enough" for 

The amendment of the basis of representation sug- 
gested by Mr. Johnson (as is lately reported) is not one 
affecting at all our organic relations. It is simpl}' such 
a change as time and circumstances may inevitably 
require ; and to such amendments our Constitution is 
always open. Such a one was the late amendment 
prohibiting slavery. It is not to be supposed that the 
nation will still submit to a practical inequality in the 
national representation, which they had long since begun 
to feel, but, whilst slavery continued, could do nothing in 
reference to ; and especially that now, since that is done 
away, it has become more intolerable still by the in- 
creased weight of political influence acquired by the same 
amount of white or voting population a* before. This 
is precisely such a change of the Constitution, therefore, 
or such a measure (as the Constitution has it), as it is 
the province and duty of the President to submit. On 


the other side, we have maintained that any legislation 
which touches the rights which have always belonged to 
the States encroaches upon our organic law, — the very 
foundation-principle on which we exist, — and is therefore 
such a change as we have no right to attempt to make, 
except by the unanimous consent of the States. 

The amendment which we have examined does, 
indeed, contain all that we have allowed and seen that it 
does, when taken hy itself. But this is not all. We are 
forced to take it in connection with other legislation, that 
of the Civil-rights Bill for instance ; and the article of 
the amendment concerning citizenship (though the latter 
is here taken in its simple, general meaning) must be 
modified by whatever that other or any similar bill 
might signify. It is well known that Congi-ess had ulte- 
rior views (they were confessed), of wishing, through 
those, or some of those, provisions (of the amendment), 
to oblige the States, if they desired to resume their 
places, to alter their own internal regulations, — that, for 
example, of giving suffrage to the negroes. We have 
seen, we think, a few pages back, ample reasons why 
the Southerners, situated as they are, should not wish to 
be compelled to do this summarily ; but, by obliging 


them so to do, we should be infringing directly those 
rights of internal government which belong, and ought to 
belong, we have maintained, to the individual States. 
In this manner, then, this amendment could but be con- 
sidered "' unconstitutional," though right in single or 
independent principles (had they so been). 

But this is not all. This amendment Avas wrought 
out after the States had become re-organized and re- 
established in good faith, with the aid and encourage- 
ment of the Government, and were only waiting at the 
halls of Congress for admission to their accustomed 
places. This ivas not granted ; and this exclusion, when 
they were ready and only waiting for this, taken in con- 
nection with Congress occupying itself at tlie same time 
in forming an amendment, when the Constitution dis- 
tinctly says in reference to amendments '•'■ that no State, 
without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suf- 
frage in the Senate," in our opinion, falsifies and ren- 
ders nugatory the whole proceeding, no matter how 
right in themselfes may have been the principles laid 
down. Thus the mode, or method, in which the " Con- 
stitutional Amendment" was produced, was, according to 
these views, in every way exceptionable and uuconstitu- 


tional ; and we believe this is the precise ground which 
the Executive took, and on which he continues to 

Had the altogether-ready and waiting members been 
admitted, although they might have been refused to be 
accepted, — as this was in the power of Congress to do, — 
the constitutional mode, the mode in which it had always 
been customary to admit newly-elected members, would 
have been complied with as far as Congress could do it, 
or it was incumbent on them ; and then they might have 
gone right on, and continued their legislation, even were 
those States absent (by a necessary rejection of their 
representatives), and might have produced whatever 
was thought necessary, — perhaps this very amendment 

Thus, we think, it has been clearly seen that the dis- 
agreement of the President with Congress was more as to 
their " mode " of proceeding than as to the " principles " 
advanced ; as, with the former, there could be no accord 
(constitutionally), whereas, with the latter, there was 
some agreement. 

But why be so certam, say some, that the States had 


this right of admission ? Had they not been out of the 
Union? Were not things changed on account of the 
war? and have we not power, by having conquered 
them, to bring them back in whatever way we please, 
on whatever terms we may think best? Is this the doc- 
trine of the " radical " party ? If so, instead of mani- 
festing the tenderness and clemency, the expansive 
views, and the love of freedom in its highest and most 
distinguishing phase, that of States, or civil governments, 
which we might well expect from them, as being, in 
their prominent men, the leaders and " reformers " of 
the people, as they have generally claimed to be, and 
which principles the address we have made use of 
claims, in its closing sentence, for their proceedings, as 
being " based on the everlasting foundation of humanity, 
justice, and freedom," it appears to us that they are in 
practice denying all these. 

A writer in a popular periodical, in referring to the 
conditions of the " Constitutional Amendment," uses 
this language, — that they "are the mildest ever exacted 
of defeated enemies by a victorious nation." Such may 
be the manner in which European or other nations may 
have treated and subjected their foreign, revolted prov- 


inces; but we presume it does not often occur that their 
own home subjects in a body are thus denationalized. 
On the contrary, an emeute, or rebellion, among them, 
generally ends in an advance or elevation of the masses, 
— a concession of greater rights, — instead of being de- 
pressed or degraded as ''defeated enemies." We, in our 
theory of the natural reconstruction, as it might be 
called, of the States, do not propose, however, to bestow 
on ours any additional rights. They even come back 
shorn of those they had forfeited by making them the 
cause of rebellion, —how greatly shorn, their still agi- 
tated, upturned, devastated country loudly proclaims, — 
and we only restore them to those which both we and 
they can hold, and ever have held, in common ; and this, 
we maintain, is absolutely necessary in order to preserve 
and retain the true freedom, balance, and well-being of 
our republican system of States. 

If we have not made clear through all this work the 
ground which we have taken, of the utter denial of the 
right and theory of secession, of the impossibility of 
any doctrine of independent States right of one or of 
many, and that therefore no States can be " out of the 
Union," we fear we should hardly be able to do so in 


any thing further that we might say. We will, however, 
recapitulate a little. We have believed and maintained 
that our Government was designed and constructed to 
be a single, united republic, composed of free and equal 
individual States ; and that no State, nor a number of 
States, could of themselves, their own power or responsi- 
bility, in time of war or in time of peace, change this 
foundation ; that it was on account of this very idea and 
instinct, of the perpetuity and unchangeableness of the 
Union, of this system of States, that the war was 
waged, and was persevered in to the bitter end ; that 
we could not and would not allow that doctrine to pre- 
vail, and to maintain itself, even by force. It was on 
account of this doctrine — that the system of States could 
not, must not, be destroyed, although the people of some 
had risen en masse to endeavor to do this, to break them- 
selves away from the Union — that Mr. Lincoln pro- 
ceeded so carefully in regard to the slave question ; even 
offering them the opportunity as still States, in their origi- 
nal structure, to dispose of it themselves. Emancipation 
became necessary as a war-measure, and he proclaimed 
it ; but we have no reason to think that he ever changed 
his opinion in regard to the indissolubility of our State 


and Federal bonds and relations. On the contrary, we 
believe, that, where he stood first, he stood to the last ; 
and we cannot think that any one would believe but 
that he would maintain, were he still living, the same 
ground still. We believe, indeed we know, that it was 
on the same precise ground that Mr. Johnson, our pres- 
ent President, stood with him during all the war ; and 
we believe it was this idea which inspired him, when, 
bareheaded and barefooted (we remember to have read 
some such description of the scene), he fled, amid hunger 
and destitution, at the head of a band of refugees, — those 
bleeding patriots who were hunted and driven among the 
wilds of Tennessee by those who had declared them- 
selves " out of the Union : " and with the same firmness 
with which he maintained the contrary theory then, sac- 
rificing property, domestic life and happiness, in devotion 
to that idea, he now maintains it at the head of a great 
nation ; every word and act of his since but proclaiming 
this continued idea 

We believe that our honorable Secretary of State, who 
carried the country so nobly through all the foreign 
perils and struggles of the war, and who was intimately 
associated with Mr. Lincoln in all its plans and execu- 


tion, stood with him on the same identical ground, and 
almost fell, like him, a martyr to the cause, under the 
assassin's hand ; and that the very same doctrine which 
he maintained through all that trying period, — that the 
States could not and should not go out of the Union, — 
he never ceases to reiterate still. 

The honored General of our army is not a political 
man, and will not allow himself in any manner to be 
mingled with politics ; and we think he is right : but, 
at the same time, we cannot but believe, that he who so 
strenuously fought in actual arms for the same idea, 
offering his services at the commencement of the war, as 
against secession, — the doctrine of being " out of the 
Union," — and " fought it out on that line," will, if ever 
he thinks proper to take a political stand, or be so dis- 
posed, reveal himself as still on the same ground, and 
will continue to fight it out on that line, — our Union, 
our whole Union, and nothing but our Union ! In the 
mean time, as military General-in-chief, he ought to be 
above and beyond all party as such ; and is, therefore, 
justified in taking no public ground either on one side 
or the other : for woe be the day to our country when the 
military, as such, shall take rule on the stand of party 


politics ! It is different with the soldiers, who were 
raised only for the occasion^ and have been disbanded, 
retiring into private life : certainly they are as able to 
hold conventions or meetings for their own satisfaction 
as is any other associated body of citizens ; for instance, 
teachers or working-men or clergymen. They are 
but citizens on the same ground with these ; and their 
political opinion and influence are but of the same weight 
as those of any other citizens, no more or less. But the 
regular army, being a part of our institutions of govern- 
ment, should, of course, stand as firmly above all loarti- 
san spirit as should the executive, legislative, and ju- 
dicial branches themselves. However much any of 
these officers or magistrates may have been elected or 
appointed by the triumph of " party,'* arrived at those 
posts of honor and influence, they undoubtedly should 
have but one instinct and aim, — that of the good of their 
country, their whole country. And long may our 
country retain the services of one so admirably adapted 
to his duties and sphere as is Gen. Ulysses S. Grant ! 

But, whatever may be personal views and prefer- 
ences, these are the two platforms on which our country 
is now divided, — whether the States are still "in the 


Union," legitimate parts and portions of our common 
country ; or whether they are " out of the Union," on 
account of the event of the war. The party which main- 
tains the former idea is that of the President, and in this 
we have seen that it is the direct successor of the party 
of Mr. Lincoln's administration. The object of the lat- 
ter administration was to restore the States, as far as they 
attempted to "go out," in order that we might preserve 
our Union whole and unbroken. No one denies that 
they made the attempt to go out, — to break away ; and, 
as long as the Rebellion persisted, they were in that 
attempt. But as the Kebellion ceased, because they were 
not able to succeed in this attempt at going " out," of 
course they are still "in." Or to express it in another 
way : the opposers of this theory say that the States 
were " practically out," — were out to all " intents and 
purposes." We say that there could be but three condi- 
tions, — either in, or out^ or between " in " and " out ; " 
and that they were on this middle or half ground as long 
as the attempt lasted. They were neither " practically " 
in the Union, nor were they, to any " intent or purpose," 
out of it, as they never had been able to act for them- 
selves : their whole time had been occupied. in trying to 



get away, ^ to go - out." But as the balance turned the 
other way, and they could not succeed in going out, and 
as the Rebellion -the attempt - was completely over- 
come, so that they were no longer half-way, -on the 
middle ground, -they, of course, can be nowhere else 

but in. 

Notwithstanding this plain and logical deduction, which 
coincides with the whole course and effort of the Admin- 
istration (Mr. Lincoln's) and of the loyal States daring 
the war, the opposite party, that of Congress, maintains, 
that, as the States rebelled to go out of the Union, that 
very rebellion put them out of the Union ; and that, 
therefore, now they cannot be " in the Union," and may 
be treated to all intents and purposes as if they were 
a out." There are two ways to look at this view, which 
might defeat it, though we can scarcely stop so to do ; 
but we will state one or two propositions. // the States 
got out of the Union by the Rebellion, how is it that now 
we have any control over them? and if, to aU intents and 
purposes, they are still out, how is it that we have any 
right to have a control over them? since we never have 
conceived our country to be founded on any principle of 
foreign conquest. On the contrary, our republican faith 



and principles would not permit us so to conquer and 
take under arbitrary rule any foreign province or popu- 
lation, much less that of our own country, if it could 
so revolt as to succeed in getting away. But this is 
wasting time ; and we design now only to give a slight 
historical outline of the party which holds this theory, as 
we have given that of the Administration, which has held, 
and continues to hold, the former one. We shall do this 
under the following head : — 


The views of this party, which we have just stated, 
were broached in Congress, even during Mr. Lincoln's 
administration, in the various plans and theories of the 
" territorial " character of the " conquered States," and 
of the power and necessity of treating them as such, — 
that they were thus by the fortunes of war surrendered 
into our hands, as it were, ad libitum. These views 
were not carried at that time, the party being composed 
of but a few individuals, probably ; and Mr. Lincoln being, 
happily, through all the vicissitudes and experiences of 
the war, a centre^ as if were, for all parties, his influence 


undoubtedly modified and controlled in a measure all de- 
grees of opinion. The writer once heard in conversation 
a radical-abolitionist, who had returned highly pleased 
and satisfied from a visit to the President, say in refer- 
ence to a third party, " The trouble is, Mr. Lincoln 
makes everybody feel that he is with .them.''* Whether 
our lamented President would have been able to retain 
the same happy relations another four years, it would be 
vain, idle, and unnecessary for us to speculate upon. As 
it was, the hand of death struck him down just as new 
relations were to come upon the scene. Those personal 
influences were swept away ; and that small Congres- 
sional (radical) party, now alone, or independent, as it 
were, began to develop its former peculiar views, when 
the debate came up as to hoio the returning States should 
be treated or regarded. Mingling in all, bold and promi- 
nent, it began to take the lead. 

Congress, in general, no doubt, were endeavoring to do 
the best that occurred to them, feeling that it was neces- 
sary for them to do something in the way of reconstruc- 
tion, as is now the acknowledgment ; though overlooking, 
as it has appeared to us, the great share they had really 
already had in that work (as has before been recounted) : 


and now become increasingly radical by the influence of 
that originally small party, they were, no doubt, uncon- 
scious of any incipient dangers in the steps they might be 
taking ; for the radical element, it is fully known, had 
never been accustomed to regard the niceties of our con- 
stitutional relations, or, as that party would have it, per- 
haps, of " constitutional etiquette." * " Etiquette,'* 
however, belongs to social and private relations : public 
and civil affairs must have form and law, — they are the 
very and only elements in which their life and integrity 
consist. They therefore proceeded to produce — nearly 
a year and a half before it would be needed, when it 
might be supposed we should be in the full tide of peace 
— the Freedmen's-bureau Bill, which was a half-military 
measure, the Civil-rights Bill, and the post-Constitutional 
Amendment ; all of which the President opposed on 
grounds which have been clearly seen. This was felt as 
an opposition to Congress and the rights of Congress 
itself. Had not Congress the right to legislate? Was 
not this its own function ? We do not deny the right in 
itself: it is the mode principally in which this was done 
which is objected to in this case, as has been seen. But, 

* See note, p. 374. 


independently of that, we know not of what advantage 
is the Executive, if he is not to interpose his veto, — his 
disapproval, — which is an express power granted to him 
by the Constitution for this very purpose, luhen, in his 
mind, it is his duty so to do. We have seen what was 
President Johnson's view of the States being " in the 
Union," and which was the view of the whole Republi- 
can party during the war, and, we may say, of the 
Democratic party also, since they desired peace, and 
cessation of hostilities, on this very ground, — that they 
were our brethren, our own States. With this view, 
backed as he was by all the former experience of the 
country, we know not how the Executive could have 
done otherwise than to have placed himself in opposition 
to the measures which are consistent only with the oppo- 
site theory. 

That this theory is the one still held by the party in 
question, we have, at this very moment at which we 
write, the very latest evidence from its principal leader, 
in his own words. He says,* — 

" I can never cease to re^^ret that Conj^ress has hesi- 
tated, by proper legislation, to assume a temporary juris- 

* See address at the Music Hall, Boston, Oct. 2, 1866. 


diction over the whole rebel region. To my mind, the 
power was ample and unquestionable, whether in the 
exercise of belligerents, or in the exercise of rights de- 
rived directly from the Constitution itself. In this way, 
every thing needful might have been accomplished. In 
the exercise of this just jurisdiction, the rebel commu- 
nities might have been fashioned anew, and shaped to 
loyalty and virtue.* The President lost a great oppor- 

* The party of Congress resents the charge of "usurpation;" but 
besides the expression here made use of, " of fashioning and shaping the 
States to loyalty and virtue," we have the same idea given in a still 
later address, also from a " member of Congress." * He says, " I am for 
a change in the basis of political society in those States. In place of 
that aristocracy Avhich governs by force and violence and fraud, and 
which disregards public opinion, I want that there shall be planted a 
civilization not unlike that which exists in our own part of the country, 
which is democratic and republican in its nature." It is very true 
that every one may desire that the South should have the same repub- 
lican simplicity and freedom that we consider ourselves to possess 
(though assuredly there has been, even here, of late, as great an ostracism 
of public opinion as that which drove the just Aristides from Athens). 
But how can we assume control over great bodies of States or commu- 
nities to plant our way of thinking ? Is it not the gi-aud idea of Ameri- 
can freedom that all opinion and action (within the bounds of law) shall 
be free ? and how can we violate that principle by forcing any of our 
States to improve themselves in those respects, by taking away from 
them their government in order to put our own there? We believe it 
has never come within the category of a philosophical freedom, Avhich, 
we believe, intends to be the one of our civilization, to compel people, 
nolens volens, to become virtuous and upright. The only possible influ- 

* At Charlestown, Mass., Oct. 8, ia?6. 


tunity at the beginning : Congress has lost another. But 
it is not too late. If indisposed to assume this jurisdic- 
tion by an enabling act constituting provisional govern- 
ments, there are many things Congress may do, acting 
directly or indirectly.'* 

Thus it seems, that, at this day even, Congress, if it 
were so " disposed," could take these States, settled into 
peace, and turn them over into Territories, with provi- 
sional governments ! Was ever a doctrine more mon- 
strous instituted with regard to these States? Were 
such a one announced among the territories of Europe, 
would not the whole free and civilized world be roused 
in indio-nation ao^ainst it? 

One may say, " But provisional governments were 
established for a time in those States." Yes ; but as 
a remains and continuation of the necessary power to 
put down and finish off the Rebellion ; the step, the 

ence that we can see that can be used in this respect is that of example 
and of other prosperous freedom. 

It appears to us that the " reformers " and " liberal " party are giving 
very little credit to the new condition of "liberty" which they have 
so emphatically advocated, and to the natural influences that must in- 
evitably flow from it. For ourselves, we expect, before many years, to 
see the whole South entirely renewed and renovated just by this single 
influence of the all-ameliorating and elevating power of universal free- 
dom, — the abolition of slavery. 


necessary aid and assistance, to get the States in order 
to resume their own natural relations ; and not for the 
purpose of holding them as conquered property, after the 
full and honorable surrender of arms. That was done ; 
and trade, commerce, business, are revived. The peace- 
ful occupations of life have taken the place of the agita- 
tions of war. Flourishing communities are again building 
up. The negro, even, is becoming educated and learned 
in schools and — colleges, we were about to say : but 
there is an approach to these in establishing seminaries 
for training him to become an intelligent and qualified 
mini.-itor of the gospel ; and how many and fast others 
may follow, we need not say. Only the black man does 
not yet vote : he has not marched to the polls, and thrown 
his vote for members of Congress ; and therefore these 
free and independent (in internal affairs) States of the 
Union, with their millions of population (the eight loyal 
millions, negroes and all), must be turned over into ter- 
ritorial possessions, to be under the sway of Congress ! 

And how could Congress obtain this power from the 
Constitution? Did the Constitution create tliese States 
in the beginning? or did they not come voluntarily into 
the system, as free and independent, — with the choice 


to come, or not, as they pleased? We hold them to the 
pledge, in that they did come ; but that does not give 
us the power to do with them as we please. Not one 
hair of their head — of their populations — can we touch, 
except what is amenable to the Federal, and not to the 
State, authority. Not one article of their constitutions 
can we violate, excepting what may be made in contra- 
vention of that same Federal authority. And we are 
to create no Federal authority which shall bring the 
natural rights they have always possessed in contraven- 
tion with it. 

Again : the Southern communities are now querying 
whether, should they accept the " Constitutional Amend- 
ment," there would be any further ." conditions " im- 
posed. The general opinion of the country, undoubtedly, 
is, that these were to be final ; that, if accepted, the 
States would be at once admitted. A Northern journal, 
in reference to this,* and that no ^* pledge " had been 
made by Congress in this respect, says, " Southern poli- 
ticians . . . seem not to have considered the position 
in which this left affairs, in case the bitterness of re- 
newed agitation should incline the Northern people to more 

* These " more stringent demands " now occur in all the radical 


stringent demands ; " and the leader of the Congressional 
party, from whose late address we have just extracted, 
remarks, in connection with that extract, — 

" Of course, the Constitutional Amendment must be 
adopted. As far as it goes, it is well ; hut it does not go 
-far enough. More must be done. Impartial suffrage 
must be established. A homestead must be secured to 
every freedman ; if in no other way, through the pardon- 
ing power. If to these is added education, there will be 
a new order of things, with liberty of the press, liberty 
of speech, and liberty of travel, so that Wendell Phillips 
may speak freely in Charleston or Mobile. There is an 
old English play which goes under the name of the four 
' P's.' Our present desires may be symbolized by four 
' E's,' standing lor emancipation., enfranchisement., equal- 
ity, and education. Let these be secured, and all 
else will follow. . . . There are many things which 
Congress may do, acting indirectly or directly. Act- 
ing indirectly, it may insist that emancipation, enfran- 
chisement, equality, and education shall be established 
as a condition precedent to the recognition of any State 
whose institutions have been overthrown by rebellion. Act- 
ing directly, it may, by constitutional amendment, or 
by simple legislation, fix all these forever." 

Ambition, like love, " grows with what it feeds upon." 
We might exclaim in the words of the great drama- 
tist, — 

" Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed, 
That he is grown so great? " 


"We would answer, politically, On the " out-of-the- 
Union " theory. That it has produced such travesty 
and distortion as we have now seen, of itself shows that 
it is utterly hollow, false, and base. These extracts, and 
the whole address from which they have been taken, 
show also one other thing, — that instead of our having 
ti " One-]Man-Power " President (the title of the 
address from which we have extracted), — though we 
do not well see how the President could be but one man ; 
yet, as his theory was upheld and supported by the whole 
loyal country during the period of the war, with the 
President and all Congress at the head, and the other 
branches of the Government, with the army and navy 
beside, and has, too, many hundred thousands, at least, of 
present supporters, — one would luave to call him, accord- 
ing to this idea, a Many-Million -Men-Power. Instead of 
this, we have had, most evidently, a One-Man-Congress. 
Here are the direct proofs, from the words of the speak- 
er himself : — 

" And now, to-day, I protest against any admission of 
ex-rebels to the great partnership of this Republic ; and I 
renew the claim of irreversible guaranties, . . . insisting 
now, as I did a year ago, that it is our duty, while re- 
nouncing indemnity for the past, to obtain at least security 


for the future. . . , This can be only by provisions 
sure, fundamental, and irrepealable. . . . They must not 
be allowed to enter those halls which they treasonably 
deserted until we have every reasonable assurance 
of future good conduct. . . . But, while holding this 
ground, I desire to disclaim every sentiment of vengeance 
or punishment, and also every thought of delay or pro- 
crastination. . . . When, therefore, the President, in 
opprobrious terms, complains of Congress as interposing 
delay, I reply to him, ' No, sir : it is you. . . . Sir, 
you are the disunionist.' . . . You will ask how the 
President fell. . . . The part he is now playing will 
justify me in some details. . . . More than once, I ven- 
tured to press upon him the duty and the renown of carry- 
ing out the principles of the Declaration of Independence. 
... To this earnest appeal he replied, ... as I sat 
with him alone, in words which I can never forget, ' On 

this question, Mr. , there is no difference between us. 

You and I are alike.' Need I say that I was touched 
to the heart by this annunciation, which seemed to prom- 
ise a victory without a battle ? . . . After expressing to 
him my joy and gratitude, I remarked still further, that 
it was important that there should be no division in the 
great Union party. . . . On another occasion, . . . the 
case of Tennessee was discussed. I expressed the hope 
most earnestly, that the President would use his influence 
directly for the establishment of impartial suffrage in that 
State. . . . The President replied, that, if he were at 
Nashville, he would see that this was accomplished. I 
could not help rejoining promptly, that he need not be at 
Nashville. . . . Let me confess that his hesitation on 


this occasion disturbed me ; but I attributed it to an un- 
necessary caution rather than to any infidelity. He had 
been so positive with me, how could I suspect him? . . . 
As I was about to return home, I said that 1 desired, 
even at the risk of repetition, to make some parting sug- 
gestion on the reconstruction of the rebel States ; and that, 
with his permission, I would proceed point by point, as 
was the habit of the pulpit in former days. He smiled, 
and said pleasantly, ' Have I not always listened to 
you?' I replied, 'You have, and I am grateful.' 
After remarking that the rebel region was still in mili- 
tary occupation, and that it was the plain duty of the 
President to use his temporary power for the establish- 
ment of correct principles, I proceeded to say, — First, 
See to it that no newspaper is allowed which is not 
thoroughly loyal, and does not speak well of the National 
Government and of equal rights ; and here I reminded 
him of the saying of the Duke of Wellington, that, in a 
place under martial law, an unlicensed press was as im- 
possible as on the deck of a ship of war. Secondly, Let 
the officers that you send as military governors or other- 
wise be known for their devotion to equal rights, so 
that their names alone will be a proclamation, while their 
simple presence will help educate the people ; and here I 
mentioned Major-Gen. * ... as such a person. 

* Happily, the President seems to have had more insight and judg- 
ment in regard to this nomination; as this was the gentleman referred 
to in a previous section, in whose speech at the emancipation-meeting 
in New York the slur was cast upon our " constitutional obliga- 
tions." —See p. 172. 


Thirdly, Encourage the population to resume the profit- 
able labors of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, 
without delay, but, for the present, to avoid politics. 
Fourthly, Keep the whole rebel region under these 
good influences ; and, at the proper time, hand over the 
subject of reconstruction, with the great question of equal 
rights, to the judgment of Congress, where it belongs. 
All this the President received at the time with perfect 
kindness ; and I mention this with the more readiness, be- 
cause I remember to have seen in the papers a very differ- 
ent statement." (It is certainly well to have received 
from this authentic source a contradiction- of some unfa- 
vorable newspaper report, as it countenances the probabili- 
ty that many others might be contradicted, relating to the 
personal bearing and manners of our Chief Magistrate.) 

" Only a short time afterwards, there was a change ; . . . 
and then ensued a strange sight. Instead of faithful 
Unionists, recent rebels thronged the presidential ante- 
chambers. . . . Instead of telling the ex-rebels, ... as 
he should have done, that he was their friend ; that he 
wished them well from the bottom of his heart ; that he 
longed to see their fields yield an increase, and peace in 
all their borders ; and that, to this end, he counselled them 
to devote themselves to agriculture, commerce, and manu- 
factures, and, for the present, to say nothing about poli- 
tics, — instead of this, he sent them away talking and 
thinking of nothing but politics. . . . Instead of designat- 
ing ofiicers of the army as military governors, Avhich I had 
supposed he would do, he appointed ex-rebels. . . . This 
was last autumn. I was then in Boston. . . . Moved by 
a desire to arrest this fatal tendency, I appealed by letters 


to members of the cabinet, entreating them to stand firm 
against a ' policy ' which promised nothing but disaster. 
As soon as the elections were over, I appealed directly to 
the President himself, by a telegraphic despatch, as fol- 
lows : ■ . . . ' As a faithful friend and supporter of your 
administration, I most respectfully petition you to suspend, 
for the present, your policy towards the rebel States. I 
should not present this prayer if I were not painfully con- 
vinced, that, thus far, it has failed to obtain any reasonable 
guaranties for that security in the future which is essen- 
tial to peace and reconciliation ; ' &c. ... On reaching 
Washington, Saturday evening, ... I lost no time in 
seeing the President. I was with him that evening three 
hours. I found him changed in temper and purpose. 
How unlike that President who . . . had made me feel so 
happy in the assurance of agreement on the great ques- 
tion before the country ! He was no longer sympathetic, 
or even kindly, but harsh, petulant, and unreasonable." 
(All this, too, after that letter was received ! And this 
was a three-hours' visit, on Saturday evening, at the end 
of the weekly labors, and approaching, perhaps, to the 
Sunday morning, — talking of the one great question, as 
the honorable gentleman considered it ; while the Presi- 
dent, the head of a great people, must have had his mind 
and head and heart full of the hundred or more " great 
questions " of our broken and bruised nation !) 

" Plainly his heart was with the ex-rebels. For the 
Unionist, white or black, who had borne the burden of the 
day, he had little feeling. Perversely, he would not see 
the bad spirit of the rebel States ; and he insisted that the 
outrages there were insufficient to justify their exclusion 


from Congress. It was in this connection that the follow- 
ing dialogue ensued : The President. — ' Are there no 
murders in Massachusetts ? ' Mr. S. — ' Unhappily, 
yes ; sometimes.' The President. — ' Are there no as- 
saults in Boston? Do not men there sometimes "knock 
each other down, so that the police is obliged to inter- 
fere ? ' Mr. S. — ' Unhappily, yes.' The President. — 
' Would you consent that Massachusetts, on this account, 
should be excluded from Congress ? ' Mr. S. — ' No, 
Mr. President : I would not.' And here I stopped, with- 
out remarking on the entire irrelevancy of the inquiry." 
(Who but an " out-of-the-Union " man would not have 
seen the relevancy and pertinency of the inquiry ?) "I left 
the President that night with the painful conviction that 
his whole soul was set as flint against the good cause " 

(Mr. S 's cause), " and that, by the assassination of 

Abraham Lincoln, the Rebellion had vaulted into the 
presidential chair. Jefferson Davis was then in the case- 
mates of Fortress Monroe ; but Andrew Johnson was 
doing his work. . . . From this time forward, I was not 
in doubt as to his ' policy,' which asserted a condition 
of things in the rebel region inconsistent with the terrible 
truth." (What, personally, could the honorable senator 
know of the " terrible truth," since he had been in a far 
different region, and had but that moment returned?) 
" It was, therefore, natural that I should characterize one 
of his messages, covering over the enormities there, as 
' whitewashing.' . . . The whole rebel region is little 
else than a ' whited sepulchre.' . ^ . Meanwhile, the presi-^ 
dential madness has become more than ever manifest. It 
has shown itself in frantic efforts to defeat the Constitu- 


tional Amendment proposed by Congress for adoption by 
the people." 

An apology, perhaps, is needed for these lengthy cita- 
tions ; but it appears to us, if any thing will justify the 
Chief Magistrate of the nation before the American peo- 
ple (and we might say all the world) in his misunder- 
standing or " quarrel" with Congress, it must certainly 
be this " plain, unvarnished tale." We were but sketch- 
ing slightly the difficulty as it appeared to the public, 
and these secret confessions fell right into our hands ! 
Not " secret," however, as they were proclaimed to a 
large, public, and popular audience ; and therefore we, 
too, are entitled to make use of them. It appears to us 
there can be no longer a doubt or hesitation, after this 
plain exposition and synopsis of facts by the principal 
party himself (as is evident), as to what was the original 
difficulty, or how it occurred. It was that the One-Man- 
Congress had "vaulted" (to use his own expression) 
into the presidential chair ! 

Is it, then, that the President of the United States is 
compelled to receive unsought, outside of his own cabi- 
net and council, an adviser, a prime-minister, a preacher, 
on his own special prerogatives ? If the President had 



thus put himself upon Congress, — indeed, in any other 
than his official capacity, — might they not then truly 
have had reason to complain ? But it appears to us alto- 
gether that it was Congress (this " One-Man-Congress") 
that was putting itself upon the President, and not the 
President upon it. How plainly it is shown that it was 
this one ruler who carried all things before him, or de- 
sired and attempted to do the same, we certainly need 
not say. When his will, and " out-of-the-Union " the- 
ory, came in contact with the opposition of the Presi- 
dent on his " in-the-Union " theory, after but a single in- 
terview, though lengthy it may have been, he turned 
about from being " a faithful friend" and "supporter" 
to become the most avowed denouncer, and, though we 
might not say it, we believe — defamer. We have no 
personal knowledge whatever of President Johnson ; but 
this evidence itself, to our apprehension, goes to show, 
under the circumstances, a remarkable kindliness and 
courtesy of temper and demeanor. 

We have a little more to do with this address. It 
would be instructive and edifying to note the promises 
beld out, and the anticipations as to the future wel][are 
and glory to follow the inauguration of the " out-of-the- 


Uaion " theory, — though lolien the States are to be got 
" in," to enable these to be fulfilled, does not appear, 
since the conditions, it seems, may be indefinitely ex- 
tended ; and what that " One-Man-Congress," if it should 
continue, might propose to do after those still further 
conditions should be presented, cannot be foreseen, — and 
to compare these notes with the speeches which were 
made at the South, during the ascendency of secession, 
on this same " out-of-the-Union " theory. It would be 
only necessary, it will be seen, for those who remember 
those days, to alter but a few words here and there, to 
render the similarity of style and spirit complete. They 
are as follows : — 

" The question at issue is one of the vastest ever pre- 
sented, . . . involving the name and weal of this Repub- 
lic at home and abroad. ... It is a question of states- 
manship. We are to secure by counsel what was won 
by war. Failure now will make the war itself a failure ; 
surrender now will undo all our victories. Let the Presi- 
dent prevail, and straightway the plighted faith of the 
Republic will be broken ; " {query ^ what has become of 
it now, with Congress, in its additional " conditions," pre- 
vailing?*) . . . " the Rebellion itself will flaunt its insult- 
ing power ; the whole country, in length and breadth, will 
be disturbed ; and the rebel region will be handed over 


to misrule and aDarchy.* Let Congress prevail " (the 
" One-Man-Congress " it must be ; since lie was the ini- 
tiator, guide, and ruler of the " territorial," out-of-the- 
Union idea), " and all this will be reversed ; the plighted 
faith of the Republic will be preserved ; . . . the Rebellion 
itself will be trampled out forever ; (do we not read that 
even a worm, thus trodden upon, turns upon the foot that 
crushed, to sting it?) the whole country, in length and 
breadth, will be at peace ; and the rebel region, no longer 
harassed by controversy and injustice, will enjoy the rich 
fruits of security and reconciliation. To labor for this 
cause may well tempt the young, and rejoice the old." 

Happy days ! Are we not reminded of the halcyon pe- 
riod predicted by the South, without their ever taking 
into consideration the resolute determination and fiat of 
the whole vast country beside ? 

But must not such results with certainty happen, being 
instituted by a " House of Representatives eminent in 
both ability and character," and superior to the Many- 
Million-Men-Power President, since he is " inferior" to 
it " in both respects," and it being the " House of Rep- 
resentatives, . . . the best that has sat since the forma- 

* As this is the present state of things, according to Mr. Sum- 
ner's own avowal, and as the policy of Congress has been carried 
all this time, might we not infer that this condition is the natural 
consequence of that policy, the effect following cause ? 


tion of the Constitution " ? We must look a little at the 

« astonishing, irrational assumption," the " usurpation," 

the " tyranny," protested against : — 

" The evil that he has done already is on such a scale, 
that it is impossible to measure it, unless as you measure 
an arc of the globe. I doubt if in all history there is 
any ruler, who, in the same brief space of time, has 
done so much. There have been kings and emperors, 
proconsitls and satraps, who have exercised a tyrannical 
power; but the facilities of communication now lend 
swiftness and extension to all evil influences, so that the 
President has been able to do in a year what m other 
days would have taken a life. Nor is the evil that he 
has done confined to any narrow spot : it is co-extensive 
with the Republic. Next to Jefferson Davis stands An- 
drew Johnson as its worst enemy. The whole has snf- 
fered ; but it is the rebel region which has suffered most. 
He should have sent peace : instead, he sent a sword. 

And yet this man is accused of being " hand in glove " 
with the " rebels," and is the very head and front of his 
offending ! " Consistency, where art thou? " we might 
exclaim : " thou art a jewel ! " And it was a once " faith- 
ful friend " who has thus described a whilom bosom- 
friend, - apparently ; he visiting him "frequently" at 
his " private house " and at " his office ; " and his heart, 
overjoyed with the words of kindness which fell from his 


lips, swelled in " gratitude," and could " never forget" 
those words ! This one, too, was the friend of Abraham 
Lincoln, engaged in the same high and holy cause, — 
the preservation or salvation of our country : for this he 
had sacrificed home and friends and fortune, — all but 
life. But now he opposes the " policy " of " One Man," 
or it may be Two Men, in Congress ; and who, seeing it 
in its length and breadth, would not oppose it ? And he 
exceeds in tyranny the worst emperors of old: "in all 
history there was no such ruler " ! But this is not all. 
"Such a President dictating to such a Congress ! " he 
says. . . . "It is 'I'" (the Many-Million-Men-Power 
President) " i;s. the people of the United States in " (that 
identical " One-Man ") " Congress assembled." But 
enough of this. 

We only say, further, that this speech is not the only 
one of the kind which has been produced by the " out-of- 
the-Union " party ; and articles of similar import and 
gross exaggeration, crude and undigested in thought, 
disfigure, we might say disgrace, not only the pages of 
our journals, but those of the perhaps most popular, 
widely-read periodical * of the country, and are sent 

* The Atlantic Monthly for September, October, and November. 


abroad into the wide world as representations of the 
Chief Magistrate of the American Union ! tempores ! 
mores ! Who does not see in this misrepresentation, 
misimagination, misinterpretation, the very same spirit 
of evil which reigned so triumphant at the South during 
secession, and which proves true to the very letter our 
former assertion (in the preceding section), — that the 
state of things at present prevailing at the North is but 
a " rebellion" similar in spirit to that which reigned in 
the Southern States? and who can then wonder that 
the Chief Executive finds or feels it as necessary to 
oppose himself as firmly to this state of things as he did 
to the former? 

We will add but one more of these sad features. An 
eminent and popular minister of the gospel, with the kind- 
ly, genial nature which had always characterized him, 
and which, his life long, had been exerted for the slave 
and black man as well as for others, desirous of seeing 
our re-united country again in harmony and peace (truly 
the highest earthly aspiration he could possess), ap- 
proves the policy of the President, of having the recovered 
States re-established as speedily as possible, and makes 
bold so to speak. Immediately on all sides resounds a 


cry as if he had sunk into the fathomless pit, instead of 
being raised a little higher towards heaven, — as he cer- 
tainly was. And the journal, which, it is said, has the 
greatest number of readers in the country, but which, 
in the days at the beginning of secession, knew not but 
it ought to say to the South, " Sister States, go ! " * 
(another quondam " friend " too!) now puts the name 
of this reverend clergyman in connection with, and as in 
the praises of, " every blackleg, duellist, and negro- 
killer . . . from the St. John to the Rio Grande ; " 
and his people must forego this long-loved and honored 
pastor, because " they have trusted too confidingly, and 
loved unwisely"! All this because, forsooth, he must 
have forsaken the negro ! f Did ever so supreme ab- 
surdity reign triumphant over a supposed-to-be-enlight- 
ened community? 

Are our citizens forever to be infected, and increas- 
ingly so, with this vice of suspicion and mistrust ? — the 
same foul spirit of evil-surmising which blew its breatlj 

* See note, p. 57. 

t Mr. Beecher did not commit himself at all to party politics : he 
only desired the restoration of the States. 

Of what avail, then, are virtue and principle, if their life-long prac- 
tice cannot guarantee us against such dire assaults ? 




upon Robert Anderson at Fort Sumter, .vhen, like the 
hero of a " forlorn hope," as it were, he was bearing up 
our aag almost alone there with his God, and which 
quick suspicion -on release, and coming back to the 
open faces of his countrymen - pierced his manly heart 
to the quick. The same suspicious distrust, too, which 
assaUed Gen. Sherman after his almost -wilderness" 
march to theses: "A traitor I" - A traitor ' " was the 


And now such is resounding from almost every hiU- 
top and in every valley of our (enlightened?) States 
against the men who stood by and guided the country 
J its darkest .hours, and to whom, and such as whom, 
we believe it is not too much to say, that, under God, 
we owe it that we have a country. Those were tried 
years of statesmanship (in the case of 3Ir. Seward), 
which, in the annals of republicanism, has no superior, 
and which, to this day, has breathed no word but in the 
most entire consistency and harmony with the great 
platform of American freedom. Is it, then, that re- 
publics are destined ever to be "base and ungrateful;" 
that we also are to come under the rule of aU others ; 
that in advancing age, after a life-long service and 


experience of loyal virtue, such men are to be subjected 
to the partisan cry of defection, dereliction, treachery? 
Who, then, shall we be able to obtain for our highest 
officers of State, if this is the reward of unselfish and 
devoted patriotism ? — this crucible of public obloquy, 
caprice, and changeableness of the people, in which, 
if there were room for a spark of human feeling to 
remain, and if we had not now the noble confession * 
that " he had never permitted the sun to go down on his 
anger, or with feelings of retaliation in his breast," and 
but for the sustaining consciousness of duty performed, 
we must believe the heart not only of their honorable 
Secretary of State would have been riven with anguish, 
but in like manner, also, the breast of the Chief Magis- 
trate of the American people, — a President not " made 
by the hands of an assassin." The Almighty Ruler does 
not thus deliver his power into the hands of " assassins ; " 
and we believe he will yet, in his own good time, fur- 
ther waft away the clouds, and disclose high upon the 
rolls of fame the name of " Andrew Johnson " — the 
'providential President — side by side with those of '• An- 
drew Jackson" and "Abraham Lincoln," as the " con- 

* Speech of Secretary Seward at Franklin, Ind., Sept. 11, 1866. 


stitutional preservers " — we might say saviors — of 
their country ! 

It is a peculiar fact, that, whenever the one intense 
interest has been in relation to the black man, for him 
as well as against him, the same exact phenomena have 
taken place : all the most exciting passions, and the 
worst and most evil spirits of both body and mind, seem 
to have been aroused. But we may hope, it is to be 
trusted, now that the negro is free, that, when he shall 
have received his title to " suffrage," — as it is to be 
presumed we shall have no further peace until that 
be attained, — both he and we may be allowed to have 
a little of the quiet enjoyments and satisfactions of life, 
instead of its constant turmoils, anxieties, and alarms. 
But who knows ? Who can foresee what earthly para- 
dise may yet be opened, to which he must perforce be 
carried? Who can tell? 


Much is now said of the " will of the people." It is 
even become the mode, in some of our popular papers, 
to use the precise expression which was adopted at the 


South during the reign of secession (and which estab- 
lishes still further the resemblance we have instituted) ; 
namely, '•' bowing to the will of the people." 

It becomes necessary to see what and where is this 
" will," so deferentially referred to. In this case, the 
" people " are presumed to mean the party who have 
followed the lead of Congress in the " plan of recon- 
struction ; " Congress being considered as the exponent, 
the index, of their peculiar views. 

We aver, and are supported by the whole history of 
the times, that the present movement of radical-republi- 
canism did not originate with the masses, but was 
initiated by their representatives. That the " plan of 
reconstruction," which is their platform, had its origin 
entirely in Congress, is fully known ; and the theory on 
which it is based had its original source also in the 
" resolutions " declaring the seceding States " Territo- 
ries," which were introduced into Congress, during the 
war, by the honorable senator whose late speech we 
have just now so largely quoted from. Those " resolu- 
tions," or the spirit of them in some modified form, were 
renewed from time to time, whenever there was 
opportunity for a hearing. The idea embodied in those 


resolutions, and in that theory of the States, by war, 
becoming " territorial property," led, logically, to the 
plan of reconstruction adopted by the National Legisla- 
ture. It has been, therefore, its special work ; with 
how much labor, and effort at organization, sitting with 
closed doors, we all know. This is now adopted and 
indorsed, apparently, by the people of the whole North, 
who, during the war, were on the other side, the " in- 
the-Union " theory, and, in general, opposed the movement 
and " resolutions " of the honorable member, although 
a Northern man. A change, therefore, has undoubtedly 
come over " the spirit of their dream." 

But that they should thus follow on after their repre- 
sentatives we know not is more surprising than that the 
movement of secession was received and indorsed by the 
whole people of its States, when it was once initiated 
by their political leaders and representatives ; and we 
conceive, in the same manner, that this movement is no 
more expressive than was that of the original., unbiassed 
" will " of the people. In the present case, as in the 
former (it is human nature), the masses take a pride in 
following the supposed-to-be political wisdom of their 
leaders. It is not unnatural, therefore, and but to be 


expected, that the whole body of the Northern States — 
if they are not clearly aware of the issues — should 
follow on, with one general plunge, in the line which the 
" plan " and " policy " of Congress have marked out for 

(The facility with which such movements take place 
in a time of excitement may enable us to understand 
more readily the general impulse of the Southern people 
in their moment of excitement ; and may induce in us, 
perhaps, some sympathy, or some leniency at least, 
towards them, in their doing what they believe to be right.) 

But we object in toto to the expression of necessarily 
*' bowing to the will of the people " — right or wrong — 
in this or in any other case. It was the very rock on 
which the South split, and on which its highest and best 
citizens fell from a lofty pedestal of true patriotism ; that 
patriotism which embraces our true country, our whole 
country, and nothing but the whole and true country. 
To be sure, if the people in a mass choose to have things 
so and so, we can only submit until that phase be past, 
and another take its place which may be more in accord- 
ance with our own, or a truer one. But to say, that, 
because the universal impulse seems to be so and so, we 


must fall in and go with it, is an entirely different 
thing, and may open but an abyss, into which we all 
must sink, of woe, and not of weal ; of all which we 
have most surely had an ample practical illustration in 
this idea being carried out in the Southern States. Are 
we about to do the same thing at present because it is 
the "will of the people," in the popular phrase? Are 
we — the rest of the people — going to join in and 
take up that very plan of reconstruction, — the " Consti- 
tutional Amendment," — althouyh proposed by Congress ? 
which plan, it appears to us, has been clearly seen, 
throughout these discussions, to be not the true one. 
No : no one can be called upon to " bow to," that is, fall 
in with, and second, what, for the moment, seems to 
be the " will " of the people, unless he himself feels that 
it is a truly expressed one, and on the right course. 

" But what is one going to do, then? We can't leave 
our party : would you have us rush over to the Demo- 
crats?" By no means ; not where " democracy " means 
copperheadism. The party which could not save the 
country during the war is not to be trusted with it in 
time of peace. " What then, if neither democracy 
nor republicanism is allowed?" We have not objected 


to " republicanism ; " it is only radicalism that we contend 
against : and we have refused " democracy" only where 
copperheadism was concerned. 


But we do feel that the old-time Democrat — the vig- 
orous, clear-minded, constitutional Democrat — and the 
genuine Republican — both of whom ably assisted to 
carry on the war for the Constitution to its honorable 
close — should each and all look about them, and see what 
is the real ground on which they do stand ; and then, 
unitedly or singly, plant themselves on that same side, as 
formerly, of the real issue which is now before the 
people, — the issue of those two theories which have been 
discussed. This is the present pivot on which all turns, 
— whether we shall adopt the theory that the States are 
now, by virtue of the decision of the war, " in the 
Union," and are therefore to be held and treated as such ; 
or whether they are " out of the Union," and may there- 
fore be regarded as subject to our disposal, and to our 
alteration of their own vital State constitutions. The for- 
mer theory, we have seen, is capable of a logical, and, 



it seems to us, of almost or even a quite mathematical 
demonstration. There are the two extremes, — the 
out and the i,i : the middle term, which represents the 
people, occupies the intervening space or time all along 
between. As long as they attempted to go out, — to go 
towards that direction, that extreme, — this middle 
term, the balance, the people, leaned, preponderated, 
more that way ; but it happened, by the events of the 
war, that it never actually reached that extreme, — the 
out : on the contrary, those events gradually more and 
more brought the middle term — the " between " state, so 
to say, of the people — over to the opposite extreme, the 
in, until that middle term, mid-way state, was completely 
by it cancelled, and there was nothing left but the in* It 

* To be put in a more purely mathematical form, it may be stated 
thus: Let the people, represented by 1, be equal to (out), and also to 
I (in), according to whichever should prevail; then we have — 

1 = 0, 

1 = 1. 
But as, during the war, they were neither one nor the other, but in a 
half-way state, this may be represented by ^; and y may represent the 
force of secession; and x, the force of the National Government; and 
as, if the former prevailed, they would be out, or, if the latter prevailed, 
they would be in, other equations may be stated thus : — 



appears to us, there wants no plainer illustration than 
this to show that they, with us, are all fairly in the 
Union, with no State left out ; and that, being thus m, 

Then, as "1" also was equal to or I, the further equations can be 
stated : — 

These two forms thus become equal to each other (both being equal to 

1); namely, — 

^4-2/ = ^+^'- 
Cancelling the ^, it would be 2/ = ^, — the two forces which were con- 
tending for the victory, and which, as long as the contest was unde- 
cided, might be considered equal, — of equal chance. Again: if?/ (the 
force of secession) prevailed, or if x (the Government force) prevailed, 
the equations would be 

l_f.a; = I. 

Changing the terms, they become 

1 = 0-2/, 
1 = I - a; ; 
that is, no more need, in the former equation (if that should prevail), 
of the y or secessioa force, because they have become completely 0, 
out : and, should the latter prevail, no further need of that of x, — the 
Government force, — since they (the " 1," — the people) have become 
completely /; that is, in. 

As the latter equation is the one which prevailed, we have only to 
substract x (the Government force, no longer necessary), and there is 
nothing left but the simple terms, 


As it is said that " figures do not lie," it appears to us that this 
matter might thus, by this simple but mathematical demonstration, be 
settled forever. 


we must be treated and treat each other as such, States 
in the Union, in the same precise manner as before, with 
the very same relations. The relations of our other 
States were not affected by the war : why, then, should 
theirs be, since the war was simply for bringing them 
back to the Union and to those very same relations? 
There was no change, excepting by the generally dis- 
turbing influence of the time ; and, with them, this was 
greater than with us. It agitated, shook down, their in- 
stitution of slavery ; and, so far, they come back not as 
before : but this only makes them more similar to the 
rest of us, with a broader foundation than before of 
equal rights. On the contrary, if we do not regard and 
treat each other in the former " equal" manner, with the 
same precise relations, but adopt some other mode or 
way, we are changing, as far as that goes, our system of 
government, and of our State and Federal relations, 
without the form or process of law, which thus becomes 
usurpation, — assuming, usurping, a mode which was not 
ours. This opens the way to other usurpation, — the 
flood-gate once opened, one never knows when it may be 
shut, — and, if persevered in, it must end in revolution. 
It is a change of government. 


If the people quietly submit and yield, it will be, for 
the time, a peaceable, unconscious so to say, revolution, 
the principles of the Government having been insidiously 
changed ; but if there be a large body of the people who 
do not assent to this course, and are determined to resist, 
it might become a true and proper revolution of force, 
as it is in such a way that true revolutions arise. We do 
not apprehend, however, that there will be any call or 
cause for such revolution in our case ; for, as was fre- 
quently said in former parts of this work, our revolutions 
are, or should be, by the polls, the ballot-box. It is but 
little time to wait from one administration, or from one 
term of office, to another ; and, in the mean time, people 
have time and opportunity to change their opinion and 
vote on public matters and questions. Our people, as we 
have seen in the last few years, do change from one 
policy to another ; and we need not think, because one 
" will" is expressed at one time, that it is to continue to 
remain so forever. Our populations have sense and in- 
telligence ; and we have no fear but, in the " long-run," 
they will come out right. Our minds may be obscured 
or deceived for a time, and we may make mistakes in 
regard to one " policy" or another ; but we heartily and 


sincerely believe that the masses of our loyal population 
— formerly loyal to the nation — are still so in all except- 
ing this one "plan" of Congress, which, if the ideas we 
have endeavored to elucidate in this volume are at all 
understood and are well founded, can but have been seen, 
it appears to us, in all its bearings, as no legitimate 
"republican" plan for our adoption, but, on the con- 
trary, an innovation, an interpolation of narrow and 
arbitrary usage, upon our broad system of free and equal 

"peace" proposals. 

But how can we desert our own representatives, — 
Congress, — the exponent of the people ? 

Congress is not hound by its plan, though so firmly 
adopted. It may reconsider it. Other policy and other 
tone of thought may come into play ; and as Congress 
should but give expression to the will of the people, and 
not be its original instigator or mover, it will, of course, 
readily and cheerfully adopt whatever the true and 
genuine will of the people may demand, — even to with- 
drawing its own policy of reconstruction. Here alone it 
is, in this sense, that one may and must "bow" to the 


will of the people. The officers, magistrates, are but the 
servants of the people, to do as it thinks best or may re- 
quire ; and, be it right or wrong, these servants or 
officers must obey, if they remain in office. They can 
withdraw, — resign, if they so choose, — if they wish not 
to carry out that will ; or, by some persuasive way, they 
may be able to lead the people to change its will. Thus 
it is that our present Chief Magistrate — although some 
people have seemed to believe, that, if the present state 
of affairs continued, he would attempt some coup d'etat 
— has not, to our mind, any possible opportunity for 
such a thing, unless a body of the people themselves 
initiate a revolution, placing him at the head ; but this 
would be false revolution, and there would be just the 
same rights in general, it appears to us, on one side as 
another, since we consider that such revolution can be 
never justifiable. 

For this same reason, neither could Congress persist in 
its platform, if the will of the people should be declared 
in opposition ; as such persistency would in itself be a 
cowp d'etat^ — taking a position anomalous in our organ- 
ization. We have no idea whatever that Congress means 
to place itself in any attitude of usurpation, or disloyalty 


to the nation ; and it appears to us that neither of those 
two portions of the Government — the Executive and the 
Legislative -— nor ourselves — the body of the people — 
need be anxious as to our parts, but may quietly wait 
for the determiriition of the people at large,, — that of all 
the States, or the constitutional majority. Whatever that 
decision be, though it may now be hasty and precipitate, 
we must peaceably yield for the time, and, if we think it 
erroneous, make every proper effort to have that decision 
reversed another time. In the course of this volume, we 
have made many appeals for our whole country, our true 
country, as we believe it to be. For this present decision 
that is now about to be made, we will present one more ; 
a surmnary, as it were, of those that have gone before. 

The line is now drawn more distinctly and decidedly 
than usual between two great divisions of the people. 
What does this line, this division of the people, indicate? 
or on what is it actually founded? Principally, as has 
appeared in the preceding pages, in a difference of opin- 
ion as to method of ^proceeding in regard to the Southern, 
late rebel States, and not so much as to the principles 
professed by either party. Both divisions undoubtedly 
desire and intend that the Union shall be finally one, 


whole and undivided. The Democratic party, which 
strongly supports the President, are, without question, on 
the very ground where they have always stood, — for the 
perpetuity of the Union ; and the Republican — even the 
radical portion of it, if they are true Americans at all, 
notwithstanding the severity of their language as to the 
forfeiture of all rights, in the Union, of the late rebel 
States — must undoubtedly, at heart, desire to see us 
again a glorious ^nation, unshorn of any portion or pres- 
tige of our noble number of undivided, equal States, or 
little republics as they are. Without this, that splendid 
career of a wholly great and free nation to which we had 
all so ardently looked forward for long years, as some 
time to be our privilege, would be defeated. We might be 
free from African slavery indeed ; but a portion 'of our 
own white population, our native-born free American citi- 
zens, nearly a third part of our country and States, would 
be despoiled of the priceless liberty which was bequeathed 
to us by the blood and sacrifices of our Revolutionary fore- 
fathers. We should become in time, in our relations to 
each other, a part of the nation set up on high, thB 
other trampled to the dust ; for whenever such epoch 
shall have once commenced, by changing our former na- 


tural and constitutional relations with one another, — or 
part controlling another in their vital relations, or fun< 
tions, no matter in how incipient a degree, — there ca 
be no political guaranty whatever, of avail, against thes 
two divergent extremes. It is the nature of prosperit 
and success to go on increasing and aggrandizing itseli 
and it is just as much the nature or tendency of a d< 
pressed or despoiled state to go on to a deeper and deepc 
state of depression and spoliation. It does not answc 
in public and political affairs to trust to the good feelii] 
or good sense of the populace, the masses. Only la 
is of abiding and effectual influence ; and only a perfec 
constitutional 'political equality of the States can preser\ 
for the long future the integrity of every portion of oi 
country, and secure our yet divided sections from fallin 
into these two unequal conditions. We may say als 
that this alone can preserve the many stars on our n£ 
tion's flag from becoming, any of them, more or less dii 
and obscured. No matter how some of them have bee 
extinguished, as it were, for a time : we would have thei 
all now happily restored, glowing forever hereafter i 
equal lustre ; a glorious picture, and example to tL 
world, of true "liberty, fraternity, equality." 


That any honest, honorable-minded man of any party 
would wish to have our country shorn of this, its noble 
prestige, we do not believe ; and the only question is, or 
should be, how to recover or regain this happy, primitive, 
natural state, — which of the two policies now before the 
country will most rightly and truly insure this. They 
have both here — that of the President and that of Con- 
gress — been fully, and we think fairly, discussed ; and 
this discussion, it is trusted, will afford some aid to our 
citizens in forming their decision for the present and 
future welfare of our country. 

It is true, party spirit has run high, and misconceptions 
and misunderstandings have arisen ; but we believe they 
must and will pass away. They ought so to do ; for can 
these States afford to lose the priceless blessings which 
an undisturbed harmonious government, in all its parts, 
would now secure to them ? — blessings of which we have 
Qever yet known the full value, because we have never 
jret possessed them in their fulness. Mistakes we un- 
doubtedly have made, and shall still make from time to 
time until the Avhole and true theory of our institutions 
shall be by experience developed ; but these can never be 
fatal, if, with an honorable and true candor and sincerity. 


they are rectified when perceived. We believe that all 
sections have been wrong, more or less ; and that all par- 
ties, at times, have been more or less under the influence 
of party passion and excitement. This we can, in a 
measure, but expect. When great matters and principles 
are to be wrought out, there will be earnestness, haste, 
and eagerness, on one side and another ; over-stepping in 
some places, coming short in othei'^. 

But we must have patience, — the meek-eyed, heaven- 
ly 'patience^ — which is the triumpher over every ill ; 
and, as far as possible, peace and quiet. In " quietness 
shall be your strength," says the Book of book's. 

^bove all, it should be remembered that the power of 
our Government, by the will of the people, does not 
exist in one branch of it more than in another. Every 
part belong*s to us, — the executive, the legislative, tlie ju- 
dicial, the forces of the army and navy ; and we are not 
to take the part of one of these, as especially belonging to 
us — the exponent of our will — more than another. The 
legislative is not more for us than the executive, and 
vice versa. Each is essential in its sphere, but only in 
its sphere : if one mingles and interferes with another in 
its functions, but confu(>ion and disorder are introduced. 


These are connected, and have their mutual relations ; but 
their organic functions are separate and distinct. Indeed, 
it seems to us that no system could be more admirably 
and perfectly arranged and adjusted in all its parts than 
is ours ; and the true question before the people to-day — 
above all party strife and excitement — is, Shall they 
change this system, or allow it to be changed, either vol- 
untarily, or by any accidental or informal means ? 

We suspect, if this were put thus distinctly and openly 
to our Northern people at this moment, the answer 
would be this : " We have no idea of changing our Gov- 
ernment. It is ' good enough * for us ; we never could 
have a ' better : ' in fact, it is the ' best in the world.' 
But we don't want to have ' rebels ' ruling over us." 
Some would add, " copperheads ; " and others, " radi- 

On the main question, we may take it, then, all are 
agreed. In regard to the " rebels," ci-devant rebels, we 
suspect, if they could get quietly into the Union, into their 
old places (for, notwithstanding all we have said about 
their being in the Union, we have meant that such was 
the true theory : they can no doubt be pushed, driven out, 
excluded, as well as they could have drawn themselves out, 


had there been no opposition to this ; and the knot is not yet 
tied, the clinching nail driven, as we have elsewhere said, 
until they be in their full, State and Federal, functions 
and relations), we should hear very little, we suspect, 
about " wishing to control" one part of the country or 
another, excepting what was their own natural province. 
They will surely have enough to do there, it would seem, 
to occupy them for some time to come. (On this very 
account, — for their own occupation, — it appears to us, it 
would be well for the radicals to leave the question of 
suffrage, &c., to themselves.) The cry that they are 
coming in, " dictating their own terms," is one of those 
Quixotic giants — windmills, as we have before spoken 
of — which always will appear when party spirit runs 
high. How are they dictating terms, if they come in 
precisely as they were, as we all are, — all equal, none 
more, none less ? — excepting, indeed, that they have been 
shorn of some ttwequal rights and privileges which they 
had ; and, if any of these are remaining, — that of increased 
political influence for example, — it should and ought to 
be one of the first duties of the restored state of affairs to 
equalize this. On the ground of" equal" rights of the 
States, there is now no political, and therefore just reason, 
that this should not be done. 


As to " copperheads," as long as they remain such, 
we trust they will never be received into the partnership 
of the Government. But we presume their day is past, or 
fast passing away ; as the object for which they became 
so, the re-union of tlie States, — being willing to sacrifice 
all else, even principle, for this, — is accomplished, or 
being accomplished, in the process of time. 

And the " radicals "? The great point of the radicals 
is that of negro-suffrage. If this is secured, we presume 
they would be ready to give in to all else ; they ought, at 
least, in all reason ; and then the purely radical element 
would be eliminated from among us, or perchance would 
turn itself to less universally agitating topics. We see no 
reason, as has been formerly said, why impartial suffrage 
— the ability of the negro to vote — should not be carried 
by Congress ; and then let the States have their own vol- 
untary restrictions and qualifications. It is known that 
the Executive himself is not opposed to the suffrage, in 
itself^ of the- black man. If such might be a peace propo- 
sition, it appears to us that all, on one side and another, 
could and should give in to it. Southerners as well as 
Northerners. Any thing so simply equable and justifi- 
able as this, it appears to us, might be a means of recon- 


ciling the whole country, and re-establishing harmony. 
The radicals might still say that such a decree would 
secure nothing ; that the colored man would still be left 
to the exclusion and injustice of the whites. We do not 
think so, but that the national franchise, so far, Avould 
remove the prejudice of color ; and, probably sooner 
than we think, an example practically would be set in 
actual suffrage, which would continue to be followed. 


We have expressed the impossibility, in our opinion, 
of a couj) d'etat taking place in either branch of our 
Government ; such being, as we conceive it, a sudden 
and extraordinary mode of action, or an assumption of 
power on one's own authority and responsibility. We 
have inferred, therefore, that such would be impossible 
in our case, unless all respect to our law and institutions 
were abandoned : whereas, in other governments whose 
restrictions and limits are not so specifically defined, 
such always have at times occurred, and still continue 
to occur, — though we may believe that they are much 
less frequent, as governments become more coustitu- 


tional ; that is, of a mode more clearly defined and es- 

It would be interesting, however, to discuss a little the 
real powers of our Federal Government, and discover 
distinctly what these may be, or whether they might be 
brought into any peculiar use ; as undoubtedly there has 
been occasionally some vague, undefined idea among the 
people, that something startling may possibly occur in the 
present situation of affairs. 

In regard to military force (and that is all which we 
intend here to designate), the law of the Constitution is, 
that Congress has power to raise and support armies (of 
course, in the service of the nation) ; to provide for call- 
ing forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, 
suppress insurrections, and repel invasions ; to provide for 
organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for 
governing such part of them as may be employed in the 
service of the United States (this " governing" can only 
mean a general ordering, as the President is made com- 
mander of the militia, as well as of other forces, in time 
of actual war) ; and that the President shall be command- 
er-in-chief of the army and navy, and of the militia of 
the several States when called into the actual service of 
the United States. / 


Thus we perceive that the control of the military force 
is equally divided between the two branches of the Gov- 
ernment, the legislative and the executive. And we 
know also, that, in the secession war, it was readily seen 
what was to be done. The States, by adopting force 
a.ainst the National Government, showed themselves 
plainly to be in a state of insurrection ; and for this 
there was a plain law laid down in the Constitution : the 
insurrection was to be quelled ; Congress was to provide 
the forces for this ; the Executive was to take the com- 
mand. Thus, by the two branches unitedly, the war was 
carried on to its proper and successful termination. But 
in the present case, where the contest would be between 
these two branches of the Government themselves (should 
such a one occur), how could one or the other make use 
of full military power, without assuming what has not 
been constitutionally granted to it? If Congress, for in- 
stance, should raise and equip armies, and appomt its 
0^ commander-in-chief, this would be direct usurpation 
of power, and would, of course, be treason against the 
Constitution and the United States ; and should the 
President attempt to employ military force, even though 
it were but the regular army and navy (which, of course, 



are supported by Congress), without the coincident aid 
of Congress in the " raising and supporting " them, this 
too, in the same manner, would be treason against the 
Constitution and the United States. 

Such action then, in either case, could but be resolved 
into a simple coujp d'etat^, which, we have just seen, is a 
power which could not be exercised by either party, 
without violating or destroying the principles, the laws, 
of our institutions. It would be simply revolution with- 
out justifiable cause, as was before said.* 

Were there, however, in either of these branches of 
the Government, openly and plainly, a case of defiant 
wrong and treason, then, undoubtedly, a common instinct 
and judgment would come to the rescue, and disclose at 
once what should be done : for example, should Congress 
attempt armed force, thus " levying war " in or against, 
as it were, our own country, undoubtedly the President, 
as commander-in-chief, might and should quell this dis- 
turbance, or insurrection, as well as any other. Or should 
the President thus institute action, "levying war," on his 
own account, it seems plain that he might be impeached. 

* The subjects of " revolution " and our " right " of it, if such may 
ever occur, are more fully treated in another volume of this work, — 
'' Light out of Darkness." 


But as neither of these is the case, and as no provi- 
sion has been made in the Constitution, applicable to the 
present contest, or opposition, of the two branches of 
the Government, any more than there was for the pecu- 
liar doctrine of secession in itself, or for that of recon- 
struction, — in any other than its simple, natural form, — 
we can but wait, it appears, for the simple unravelling of 
time ; either side, meanwhile, maintaining, if it think 
proper, its own principles and protest against the other. 
Congress on its part has submitted the case to the peo- 
ple ; and, according to present appearances, the people 
may decide in its favor. It is not necessary, however, 
that such decision, in this moment of high excitement, 
should be deemed as of itself correct or unrepealable ; 
and then we could but wait, it seems to us, for a still 
further " decision " or reconsideration of the subject. 
Manifestly, the Executive, supposing him to be on the 
true ground, could do nothing with a strong majority of 
the people against him, — excepting in the way of jpro- 
test, as was said above, against such decision, or as to 
the principles implied ; and, if he believed these erro- 
neous, he certainly ought to maintain that protest. Be- 
sides this, he would have nothing, it seems to us, to do. 
but to wait. 


There has been some talk from time to time, in the 
Congressional party, of impeachment of the President, on 
account of his opposition to their " plan ; " but we do not 
perceive how this could be instituted without more plain 
evidence of treason, or constitutional " misdemeanor." 
" Investigation," however, might be had, as is now sug- 
gested by a member of Congress,* in reference to the 
course of the President ; and as principles are deeply con- 
cerned, — the opposition of the President being grounded 
on a different view of our constitutional relations from 
that adopted by Congress, — it should be, as this mem- 
ber rightly says, not " in heat or in excitement, or from a 
feeling of disappointment, or from the influence of pas- 
sion or revenge." If, then, " nothing," as he elsewhere 
says, " shall be done for party-purposes, nothing with 
malice, but all in the spirit of justice," the whole country 
must agree with the honorable representative in these fol- 
lowing conclusions : "If upon a proper, and in its na- 
ture inquisitorial, but nevertheless in the spirit of a 
judicial proceeding, it shall be found that this public 
officer is guilty of any violation of his constitutional 
duties, then, for one, I should feel that I was false to my 

* At a radical meetina; at Faneuil Hall, Oct. 10, 1866. 


trust, to my constituents, to my country, if I hesitated to 
do what was in my power to cause him to be arraigned, 
tried, and, if found guilty, condemned. . . . Congress 
will find it. to be its duty to inquire into these proceed- 
ings. I interpret the voice of those four great States 
yesterday* as not only authority, but a command, to the 
representatives of the people, to inquire into all these 
things. Justice must be done in all these matters. * If 
the President has performed his duty as he should have 
performed it, then he is not only acquitted in his con- 
science, but he will be acquitted by the constituted au- 
thorities of the land." 

Such a proceeding, fairly and justly conducted, were 
it either in investigation^ of the course of the Executive, 
or of that of Congress (if such were possible), must 
essentially embrace a thorough discussion of and ex- 
amination into all the great underlying principles of 
our Government, and system of States, similar to that 
which we have patiently gone through with in these 
pages. So only, we believe, could the course of his 
Excellency, or that of Congress, be put to the test, and 
be rightly understood and embraced ; and then in the 
* The elections of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa, 


decision, whatever it might be, the whole country, it 
appears to us, should cordially and quietly assent. 


The following, from the same speech from which we 
have just quoted, expresses the last issue which we shall 
notice between the two great parties : — 

" The Republican party claim that those men, who, 
in the field and in the council, organized success, are the 
men who are to be clothed with the authority to restore 
the Union to its fair proportions ; and that the rebels of 
the South, and sympathizers with the rebels at the 
North, shall consent — or, if they will not consent, that 
they shall be forced — to be excluded from active par- 
ticipation in the Government until the questions at issue 
between the loyal people and the rebels have been finally 
adjudged and settled to the satisfaction of the loyal peo- 
ple of the country." 

The two prominent points here expressed are pre- 
cisely those on which the whole discussion and difference 
between the two great parties turns, — that of restoring 
our country to its "fair proportions" (whether there 
can be any " fair proportions " but those of our original 
relations, and which are still the relations of the other 


States) ; and the forcing consent ; in other words, adopt- 
ing arbitrary rule. 

Before proceeding further, we wish to clear away one 
small matter, apparently, but which pervades the above 
extract, as well as almost all discussions on this subject, — 
the use of the word " rebels." It is an acknowledged 
fact with one at all familiar with mental operations, that 
thought itself, and clearness of thought, are intimately 
associated with and dependent upon the expressions used ; 
so that, if we desire to be accurate in our own perceptions, 
or commonly correct, we must also be so, as far as possi- 
ble, in the words which express them. We object, there- 
fore, to the continued use of the term " rebels." Un- 
doubtedly almost our whole general population conceives, 
from the constant application of this term, that the entire 
Southern States are about in the same relation towards 
the Federal Government that they were during the war ; 
whereas, as a political fact, " rebels " no longer exist after 
their full and final surrender of hostilities : and in all hon- 
or, and common brotherhood, and common truth, the term 
should uovv be dropped in public and political discussion, 
as Avholly erroneous and misleading. There may be 
individual " rebels " in spirit still (undoubtedly there 


are large numbers of them) ; but, in politics and State 
affairs, we have only to do with great external questions 
and issues, and not with individual idiosyncrasies (for, 
if they retain that spirit after all the public action upon 
the question, it is certainly an idiosyncrasy^ and nothing 
else). There is no question of admitting " rebels" into 
partnership of the Government. No one, or no party, 
designs to do any such thing ; and if Congress does its 
duty in testing members elect in its simple, constitutional 
right, none ca7i be admitted there and to a share in 

The only question is, or should be, whether the States 
shall be re-admitted just as they were before the war, 
excepting the great and necessary changes which have 
already and naturally, so to say, taken place ; or whether 
they shall be still subjected to other changes imposed 
upon them by ourselves, and which implies necessarily 
a change from our simple, republican system of equal 
rights of the States ; since, if they are in the Union 
(and we think we have seen even by mathematical de- 
monstration that they are so), they must be on the 
same groimd that they and Ave all were before the war 
in all their organic relations, or else our system is 


changed. And we would now put the serious question 
to our people, whether they are prepared, calmly, coolly, 
and deliberately, to take this responsibility of change ; 
or whether they prefer to retain our system in its State 
and Federal relations, as it has been handed down to us 
from the wisdom and " inspiration " of our fathers, 
and in its strong (as it is now proved to be), just, 
equable, and liberal character, as we have heretofore 
experienced it. We believe, without hesitation, that, in 
their cooler and better judgment, they would pronounce 
unhesitatingly for the latter ; and that they are only 
inclined now to adopt the other mode from a fear that 
those, who, by their action, had once almost destroyed 
the Union, may yet obtain undue influence, and control 
us again, to our sorrow and detriment, if not destruc- 

It is true, we cannot be too cautious and guarded 
where principles are concerned. Secession has been 
defeated outwardly ; but it must also in theory be ban- 
ished from our midst. And we think that this will just 
as surely be effected in time as that any other errors 
become discarded through trial of their falsity. Instead 
of that, its opposite truth, of the close adherence and 


intimate union of the States, is advancing, and must 
advance with time, to its full and firm strength and 
ascendency. That is the doctrine, v^e believe, which 
Providence has destined for us ; and therefore it will be 
in vain for any party or section to endeavor to over- 
throw it. With the unanimous voice of two-thirds of 
the Union for this doctrine (unless, indeed, they may 
now be committed still to a secession, out-of-the-Union 
theory in another form), one need not fear, it appears 
to us, the waning strength, on their own point, of the 
other third. If they have not succeeded thus far in the 
actual attempt, they will never be able to succeed further, 
we believe, in establishing the idea of secession by dis- 
cussion or otherwise. 

As to other policy, now that slavery is out of the way, 
what could there be of detrimental that we need fear 
to meet fully, face to face? Have we not confidence 
enough in the principles we profess of a true liberty, 
fraternity, and equality, to feel their strength, and to 
know that these must prevail here with every favorable 
surrounding (if we do not ourselves obstruct them), 
over and above all efforts to the contrary? and cannot 
we deliver ourselves to frank, manly, open argument, 


without anxiety, let come what opposition there will? 
Truth of itself is power, and the only real power ; and 
if we have it, although it may have been pressed down 
and covered over for a time, it will ultimately rise, pre- 
vail, and shine forth. It would be but poor praise and 
commendation of the high and holy principles in which 
we have been fostered from our birth, if we now distrust 
their power to aid and strengthen in any battle for the 

For all such and similar reasons, we feel that we 
need not fear the immediate admission of the Southern 
States. They, too, have had their lesson in their time 
of trial and disturbance, — a lesson which will lead them, 
as it does all, to "better" things; and — shall we say 
it? — if they are able now, despoiled as they have been, 
to obtain the mastery and control over these vast States, 
it will and must either be from our own weakness of 
virtue and principle, or that they, in truth, have the 
right, and therefore ought to prevail. Shall we be 
afraid to meet them, then, on the open, simple ground 
of equal opportunity^ with the advantage on our part of 
a long training in the highest republican principles our 


country professes, whilst they, in some respects, have 
to begin at the beginning, as it were ? 

This timid anxiety and alarm are unworthy of us, 
but have proceeded, we believe, only from misapprehen- 
sion. Let us, then, be like men, demanding only our 
fair and' equal chance ; and, if there be any sectional 
rivalry or feeling hereafter, may it be in diffusing the 
broad, republican faith, that all are entitled, our States 
as well as individuals, to the same and equal share of 
open, free discussion ! 


Since writing the preceding, and before closing, we 
have the opportunity of noticing other significant ad- 
dresses,* the title of one of which we have made our 
present heading. These afford food for thought, and re- 
veal more distinctly still the real perils which actually 
surround at this moment every true lover of his coun- 
try, not only in the Northern States, but throughout the 
entire Union. We do not consider the author of this 
address as the exact representative of the party now pre- 
* Delivered in Boston Oct. 18 and Nov. 6, 1866. 


vailing in the Northern communities, as few members, we 
presume, are as yet bold enough to come up to the length 
of the measures here proposed. Nevertheless, as this 
distinguished prototype of that party has met with the 
gratifying success of finding himself in open and public 
league with the popular heart and sentiment of the 
radical organization, there can be no guaranty from his 
well-known influence and eloquence, but that the ideas 
now broached by him may become diffused to an indefi- 
nite and alarming extent. It is proper, therefore, to 
view them as sentiments of that portion of the people 
w^hich is now attempting to obtain full control of the 
Government and of the destinies of the nation, and see 
where they will lead, that they and we may know the 
true nature of the ground on which we stand. Or, where 
they are not fully indorsed by them, we must remember 
that it is but the first step which costs, — Je premier coup 
qui coute ; that a thought, once aroused and given utter- 
ance to, seldom ceases until it has wrought itself out in 
some marked, expressive, and effective manner. 

We have but the abstract of the speech, reported for 
the public press ; but the few idea« here compressed 
contain germs of danger sufficient to rouse every genuine 


republican to the true "perils of the hour," — not those 
which may lie in the imagined future, or may come from 
distant States, but those which are at this very moment 
in the midst of the Northern people, by their very doors, 
at their own homes and firesides, conceived in the 
thoughts and expressions of their own fellow-citizens. 
The speech (or abstract of it) says, — 

" He (the speaker) would say to ' The New- York 
Tribune,' the Natioual-Kepublican Committee, and Con- 
gress itself. Go back, and sit down in the House of Rep- 
resentatives, and govern the Republic ; and, for the first 
act in that government, impeach tiie President. He 
would have the House of Representatives impeach the 
President, place the President of the Senate in his office ; 
and then the people would run the machine. The great 
trouble of our Government was, that the pivotal man 
of the Republic can have his policy unchanged for four 

How long is it, we might ask in passing, since " The 
New- York Tribune," the National-Republican Committee, 
or Congress of itself^ — as all these are severally appealed 
to, — have been instituted as our " Government " ? 

We will go on, however, to the measure recommended 
to the — newly-instituted — government by this "one- 
man-power ; " as, undoubtedly in tlie same manner that 


we have had a " one-man-congress," we have in this 
instance, it appears to us, a one-man-peoi^/e, who himself 
desires to lay down the law for every one of these more 
than thirty millions of — formerly — independent freemen 
who compose our country, as to what they should do or 
think. The measure recommended, not to these thirty 
millions, but to " The New- York Tribune," the National- 
Republican Committee, and to Congress itself (as 
apparently an independent power), is to impeach the Ex- 
ecutive Head of these thirty millions. In the later address 
(which we do not yet take up), the speaker says, " There 
are to-day in the North a million and a half of people 
indorsing the effort of the South to regain power, against 
two millions opposing that effort." These "two mil- 
lions," then, represent the political voters of the now suc- 
cessful party in the Northern States. Are the rest of 
the twenty millions, leaving out the ten or twelve of the 
South, as they may be supposed to have no President, — 
the old men and young, the women and children, -r- to have 
their legally and constitutionally appointed Chief Magis- 
trate made thus, in the moment of party excitement, the 
buffet and sport — to be placed or displaced — of these 
two millions of politicians ; or, more properly, by the 


authority of Congress, — independently, — and of the Na- 
tional-Republican Committee, and of " The New- York 
Tribune " ? 

" Startling discoveries" (in party abuse) may indeed 
be invented to impose upon the public, which " out- 
Herod Herod ; " but it will be unfortunate if any one of 
these — to be — impeachers of the Executive shall ever 
so have forgotten the "dignity" of his character as to 
have conspired with such spirit of slander and low rib- 
aldry ; as in that case, probably, the great and best heart 
of those two millions of " politicians," and the remain- 
der of the twenty millions of the States besides, would 
consider him unworthy of the office of "judge" on the 
part of the nation, and he might, therefore, be deposed 
from that office of impeacher of its President. 

But to look at this proposition in a more reflective 
manner, as it seems now to be distinctly entertained, at 
least by the most radical members of the party. 

Common intelligence would inform us that there 
could be no just impeachment of a public officer without 
some overt act having been committed by him ; and, as 
Mr. Johnson has not yet committed that act, an im- 



peachment at present would be direct usurpation of 
power (since we must presume that the Constitution, 
in conferring that authority on Congress, never designed 
the power of arraignment to be employed but on the 
most plausible at least, if not direct, evidence of culpa- 
bility). In the present circumstances, therefore, to im- 
peach the President for what he might in future do 
would be following the precise course which the South- 
ern States pursued. Yov fear lest the then elected Presi- 
dent (Mr. Lincoln) should do something unconstitutional, 
they themselves committed one of the most unconstitu- 
tional acts possible. 

Thus to impeach this public functionary, without due 
warrant of actual crime on his part, would be ourselves 
committing the very act — treason to the Government — 
for which he, by anticipation, would be condemned. 

Or in another view : The Executive branch in our 
Government is equal to and co-ordinate with the Legis- 
lative ; and for the Legislative, without any further call 
(by some overt act) than at present exists, to denounce 
the Executive Head, would be usurping authority, and 
committing itself to a coup d'etat ; thus introducing one 

of those faJse revolutions (having no justifiable cause) 


which we have before alluded to. Yet the proposal of 
this coup d'etat is now deliberately and publicly made by 
the foremost man of the party which is at present seek- 
ing to control the sentiment of the Northern States. 

Again : " His theory, Mr. Phillips said, was that 
there is no President. He is a deserter. The legisla- 
tive power is the only power left. . . . He wanted Con- 
gress to commence its next session as a perpetual one. 
Every moment that it was not in session, the South was 
ruling the Government ; and he would have the next 
Congress enact that they should re-assemble in March, 
1867, and be themselves the Government." 

Here also is a plain, direct, open proposition, that 
Congress shall assume the reins of Government, depos- 
ing the President, and making itself the dictator of the 
nation, — this not for crime on the part of the Execu- 
tive, but because his theory and policy are different from 
ours ; and that we cannot wait for the natural, constitu- 
tional termination of his now short term, but must sum- 
marily end it by our own commission of crime ! And 
this — a greater violation, in idea, of our whole princi- 
ples and Constitution than ever before appeared in our 
history — was received from the speaker with applause ! 
Spirit of Republicanism ! dost thou not hang thy head 


for shame? or hast thou but thy shadow left in this our 
boasted Republic, or in that boasted party of " true 
freedom," "progress," and '•'■ equal rights" ? 

However much it may be Mr. Phillips's theory that 
the President has deserted the chair of state, we cer- 
tainly have constant and indubitable evidence that he is 
still the same active, living, official power that he has 
ever been. As a matter of fact, then, it is against him, 
in his organic functions, that this proposal is directed. 
Congress is to depose the Executive branch, and make 
itself perpetual ! If this be not treason, we know not what 
is, and treason far more perilous than that of secession : 
because that was but an attempt to withdraw /rom the 
Government, still leaving it for those who preferred ; 
but this would be an attempt, by usurpation, to revolu- 
tionize the very form of our Government itself. 

In the later address, the same speaker discloses still 
further the kind of government which he would have 
Congress institute for our hitherto broad-principled, free, 
generous Republic. He says, — 

" What do our senators and representatives go to 
Washington for? To do their duty; to make the gov- 
ernmental machine work." (Is our system a" machine,'* 


to be turned by the crank, as it were, of any political 
party ?). . . " One man made New Orleans safe to live in. 
Could not Congress make the South so ? You have but 
to extend New Orleans until it covers ten States, and the 
problem is solved. Cannot Congress take example from 
one of their successful agents ? There is no secret about 
the problem. ... If the white men at the South have 
their lives spared, then the Government must hold that 
territory by the iron arm of military despotism for some 
years to come. Just exactly as Butler governed New 
Orleans is the South to be governed in the next five or 
seven years. Hang a traitor as an example, and keep 
the rest in order by the example." 

And why should" we adopt this rule ? 

Because, as the speaker averred, " the nation was now 
endeavoring to establish a system at variance with the 
laws of God ; " that is, it has not given (yet, though, 
as soon as it can have a breathing moment for the pur- 
pose after its great perturbations, it may give) the 
negro the right to vote. We grant that the nation ought 
to care for the best good of the negro, as well as for 
that of the rest of its citizens ; but, for this, must we 
necessarily despoil and destroy that blessed, magnificent 
Constitution, which the same God, in his divine provi- 
dence, gave us ? and must we falsify the word of the na- 
tion, casting it away as it were an unholy thing, and 


forget, abolish, and abandon all those eternal principles 
of political fraternity, liberty, and equality^ with which 
we, as a people, were so gloriously born and brought 

We cannot believe that God requires us, in order to 
obtain one good, to destroy all others. Unison and har- 
mony with his " laws " cannot demand of us to violate 
any of those which are the very principles of his nature. 
On the contrary, we believe that this " iron rule of mili- 
tary despotism " has belonged only to those ages and his- 
tories of the world which have denied God in hi-s best 
attributes ; which knew not the loving-kindness of the 
All-Father, who is kind even to the unthankful and 
the evil, and who sendeth rain upon the just and on the 

It is a violent transition ; but we must refer to the 
gentleman alluded to, who carried out the same senti- 
ments in a recent speech, while addressing a crowd 
which was noisily, it must be said, — rudely, — opposing 
itself to him. " If there was any thing," said the speaker, 
" that could be argued in favor of a despotism, and 
against the rule of the minority by the majority, it was 
such a scene as that before him. It woultl take but a 



few demonstrations of a like character to make the 
Republican party become disgusted with the /ree elective 

So, because the mob (in this very free country) will at 
times, when it is not disposed to listen to an out-and-out 
radical citizen, burst all bounds of civil decorum and re- 
straint, the commonalty, that which makes the warp 
and woof, the strength and sinew, of a country, may ex- 
pect, after a few more such exhibitions of freedom, to 
be deprived of its " free, elective franchise." 

Upon whom the Radical^ we will not say " Republican 
party," may see fit to bestow it, does not yet appear ; 
though formerly the name " Radical " was supposed to be 
a synonyme with the greatest and most entire freedom of 
action as well as speech : why not, then, for the crowd 
to express their sentiments in their way, since they can- 
not stand upon a platform and make a polished speech? 
*' Poor fools ! " (to use the expression of the speaker,) 
they will stand but a small chance, we fear, in that iron 
rule of despotism which is to be established. " I have 
faced your superiors in Baltimore and New Orleans ! " 
continued he. "I have hung your betters ! If you do 
not behave yourselves, I shall have the pleasure of see- 


ing you hung ! " " What ! " we may hear it exclaimed, 
"is that rule to be established here — in New York — 
and our cities of the North, as well as at the South?" 
Of course : otherwise we shall not be a country of equal 
blessings, privileges, and rights. What is established iu 
one part of the country, whatever of Federal authority, 
must be so in all or every part, or we shall be incon- 
sistent with our fundamental doctrine of equality^ and 
for which we went to war, and fought almost to the very 

The first act of this change of government (to the 
rule of " despotism," as the radical speaker himself 
called it), or rather the second act, — since we conceive, 
as will have been seen by all that has gone before, that 
the post-Constitutional Amendment was the first, — the 
second act of this change is, undoubtedly, to be the im- 
posing and impressive scene of the impeachment of our 
highest functionary of State. As the gentleman re- 
ferred to, having (it is presumed) high legal abilities, 
has already a long list of articles, or counts, elabo- 
rately and minutely drawn up for that purpose (see pa- 
pers of the day *), he will, undoubtedly, be on the bench 

* The "indictment" which goes by his name appears to have 
been written out by another person, although taken down from the 
speeches, and submitted to the correction, of Gen. Butler himself. 


with his compeers in that proceeding. We rather regret 
this, however, for fear that exact justice may not be done. 
(But why should we look for "justice " in the reign of 
despotism f We cannot help feeling, however, that there 
may be a little show at least of justice left in our coun- 
try, even when that reign shall have become quite inau- 
gurated by this ceremony.) We have reason for fear, 
since this gentleman is known not always to have dis- 
criminated between what is due to a just freedom of 
opinion and to overt guilt ; as in the memorable in- 
stance of the clergyman who was sentenced to the 
galleys for maintaining the same ideas^ in their essential 
features (and with a heroism worthy of a truer faith, as 
we believe it, and, we must say, of a less ignoble pen- 
alty), that were maintained, as was seen in the first 
half of this work, by a clergyman of the party of the 
most "advanced thought" of the country, even in en- 
lightened New England itself.* 

* The proceeding referred to occurred early in 1864, during the 
military rule of the gentleman at Fortress Monroe. The whole ex- 
amination, the questions and answers of which were given in the 
papers at the time, show the entire "inquisitorial" nature of it, 
and that the condemnation was peculiarly on account of the belief 
in secession. This was the impression produced; but, the docu- 
ments not heing now accessible, if the statement is erroneous in any 
particular, the author would be most happy to see it corrected. 


In returning to the former speaker, we have but little 
more to say of him, and the subject, the "peril of the 
hour ; " but that little, we believe, is important. 

This orator is very fond of denouncing others as 
traitors; and not content with the old expression, "We 
have a traitor in the White House, who calls himself an 
humble individual," (it would be excellently well for 
our country, it appears to us, had we many " humble " 
individuals !) he now, in this address, adopts a new 
one, and takes up the present idol of the people, initiat- 
ing against him the same denunciatory cry ; * which is, 
no doubt (if Mr. Phillips should continue to prevail in 
the counsels of the people), but an opening to the same 
fiery crucible into which his contemporaries and fellow- 
patriots have already passed, — with no more reason, to 
our apprehension, in the one case than in the other. 
And this, we believe, will be the future verdict of the 
American people. 

" Ah ! but Mr. Phillips is peculiar ; he is an excep- 
tional person ; we must not mind what he says and 

* The expression in the report is, "If he [Gen. Grant] does not wan: 
to do his duty, then denounce him as a traitor." Is Mr. Wendell Phil- 
lips to be the umpire of what is the " duty " of all the different officers 
and departments of our Government ? 


does," say some : " his opinion and influence are of no 
weisrht whatever." 

On this plea, he has long passed scathless ; but, as he 
is now in open and public affiliation with the successful 
party of the country, it should be no longer of avail. 
And the true and most important question for our North- 
ern States to-day is. Are they going, in their sober sense, 
to submit to such leadership, such influence, such dic- 
tation ? l3o they consider it safe ? Or, with all the 
weight and responsibility upon them of a hitherto genu- 
ine Republic to preserve, not only for themselves and 
their children, but for the good of the world at large, 
will they now go w^eakly and basely, in such manner, 
to yield to its betrayal? 

Rather will they not rise in their majesty, and declare 
what is the "treason," and lohere is the "traitor," and 
awake, and see for themselves the true " peril of the 
hour," — that the real traitor and his uttered treason are 
now in their very midst? 


The great elections have taken place ; and the verdict 
of the Northern people, in the popular understanding, has 


been given, as was anticipated from the peculiar situa- 
tion of parties, for the " Constitutional Amendment." 
Whether this has been a correct verdict, or whether tlie 
true and exact issues have been embraced by the public 
mind, is another question, and which time will answer. 
In the mean time, what are those to do who do not be- 
lieve in the Constitutional Amendment ; that is, as a 
condition precedent to the admission of the Southern 
States? Of these, thousands, tens and hundreds of 
thousands, no doubt, of former genuine Republicans, have 
voted on the present popular Radical platform, because 
they knew not what else to do, or felt a necessity of 
going with their party (as was of late strongly argued by 
a popular speaker*), or because everi/Soc??/ else seemed 
to be going that way, and therefore they fell in with the 

Are they willing, however, to submit to the essential 
change which the final and permanent adoption of this 
platform must inevitably bring in all our institutions? 
We do not believe it. If they were ever simple, genuine, 
constitutional Republicans, we believe that, at heart, they 
are so still, and must deprecate any such change. The 

* On " The Issues of the Hour," Brooklyn, Oct. 15, 1S66. 


matter, for the present, as far as votes can go, has been 
constitutionally decided. They cannot go to war against 
this decision — as Ave have elsewhere upheld — for the 
maintenance of their theory of the Constitution, even 
with the most entire belief of its being the true one. But 
are they to sit down, and be able to do nothing to pre- 
serve their country from an informal and insidious altera- 
tion of its system of government? When that is to be 
done, it should be with the plain and direct issue placed 
before the public. The late balloting was not such in 
its open bearings. We believe there were far other and 
different issues embraced in the popular mind ; that, to 
the common apprehension, it was virtually an indorse- 
ment and a renewed expression of the sentiment which 
roused the whole Northern people at the commencement 
of the war, — that nothing but loyalty to the nation was 
to be tolerated. With this, every true patriot must agree ; 
and we believe that the Southerners themselves will now 
cordially fall in with the projjriety of such verdict. So 
far as it is such a decision, therefore, it is well. Hence- 
forth, on that issue, there should be but one party. North 
or South. 

But the more direct issue of the adoption of the Con- 



stitutional Amendment — which adoption, as appears 
from all the examination we have been able to make in 
these pages, would be but a yielding (undoubtedly to 
many, if not to most minds, an unconscious yielding ) to 
the insidious change we have spoken of— is yet to take 
place in the more calm, deliberate action, or what should 
so be, of the constitutional assemblies. There, even the 
minority can use all proper influence in respect to such 
decision ; or if they have no place, voice, or influence in 
legislation, they have the rigid of petition. 

This, and not a resort to arms, we believe, is the true 

power to be made use of in such cases, as was said in 

the earlier part of these pages. A minority may wait 

patiently for other opportunities, but, in the mean time, 

can be exerting itself in this constifutional manner. The 

right of petition is an acknowledged one, and is a power 

which may be wielded not only by politicians, but by the 

entire masses of a nation, -men, women, and youth (of 

discretionary age). Thus used, it may be a power more 

potent than the ballot itself. It was by this that Englanc 

■ secured the abolition of the slave-trade ; and the us< 

heretofore, however limited, of this right and power, ii 

our own history, has always stirred the public conscious 

ness to its depths. 


Whoever desires to enter his protest against the pass- 
ing of the amendment in the State Legislatm-es, or its 
final seal and ratification by Congress, has this method of 
appeal, — the right of petition ; and, even if ineffectual, 
it would stand permanently on the records of the country, 
for future use, if necessary. The Southerners themselves, 
although debarred from national legislation, have this 
power of petition, which is the right of even the guiltiest, 
if so be, and most unfortunate of individuals or of peoples. 
This is not derogatory. It has been employed in the high- 
est of causes, and is simply a constitutional right, because 
a natural one, and is alone consistent with our republican 

Members of all parties and sections, if they desire to 
meet this issue of the Constitutional Amendment, — that is, 
to protest against it for its unconstitutional form, which, 
it appears to us, has been plainly proved as a condition 
of the admission of the Southern States, — have thus, if 
they please, a simple platform on which to stand ; so 
forming a really national party (which seems hitherto 
in vain to have been attempted) ; and might make, it 
seems to us, the true voice of the country, upon this point, 
to be heard as powerfully as in the balloting which has 
just taken place. In this manner could the best heart of 


the nation Be brought into play, instead of its finer in- 
stincts and deep yearnings for renewed peace and union, 
happiness and prosperity, being smothered, and its des- 
tinies held principally at the sway and mercy of political 
leaders and rulers. 

May such — by petition, if in no other manner* — 
be the next great, overwhelming verdict of the popular 
voice, and of the generous national mind and heart ! 
Even conquerors can yield gracefully to prayer and en- 


We have but one more point on which to touch. 
There have been much public passion and obloquy dis- 
played. Perhaps the spirit of party never ran so high 
(unless in the days of secession) as now. But we have 
to remember how much most of this is due to mere 
party excitement and rancor ; and the very instance ex- 
plained by the senator from Massachusetts, in his late 
speech (which we copied), shows what is due to mis- 
print, misrepresentation. If we could fathom to the 
bottom all such instances, we should probably find a 

* We know not why petitions to Congress, by the thousands and 
millions of names, should not be poured in for the direct admission of 
the Southern States. 



very different state of things from what appears on the 
surface. Then, instead of being wounded, outraged, 
and indignant, we might often be called to change our 
feelings to those of comnaendation, sympathy, and 

The late presidential tour called forth in many quar- 
ters much animadversion and censure, not only for 
" indecorums," as they were considered, of the occasion, 
but from the fact itself, apparently, of the Chief Magis- 
trate of the nation continually addressing the people on 
public questions. A late speaker even went so far as 
to say that the American people were made " to bow 
their heads in shame and sorrow." We do not, cer- 
tainly, design to justify or excuse any personal dis- 
courtesy on one side or the other (though, unhesitatingly, 
much that was so pronounced upon was but the result 
of misconstruction and perversion) ; but there seems to 
us a misapprehension. 

We know not how it may appear to others, but to 
our mind there is no more beautiful or noble feature 
of our institutions than that of the citizen-President; 
that our highest officer can lay aside the " dignity " of 
his high office, and come face to face with the people, 


and be in the crowd with them, — a citizen. What 
crowned head in Europe has so noble opportunity of 
knowing those whom he governs ? of being able, by the 
quick electricity of voice and speech, and as man to 
man, to discover their thoughts, their opinions, their 
feelings? and of impressing also, in the same living 
manner, his own ideas of the aims and views to be 
brought about? This must be a privilege which we 
should suppose every true ruler in the world would wish 
to possess ; and must be especially prized by one in the 
position of chief ruler here, where topics of vital interest 
so often come upon the scene. 

No qualification was more general, and we might say 
essential, in the magistracy of the ancient Roman, the 
model republic, than that of eloquence, — the power of 
addressing the people ; and none was made more con- 
stant use of, as long as Rome continued to be free. 
With us it is not so essential, as intelligence is more 
commonly and readily diffused. But, in this crisis of 
our country's fate, — for it is a crisis, however calmly 
we may have treated it, — the most serious principles are 
to be decided, which may bear their fruit for all time 

to come. In such a crisis, it appears to us that our 


Chief Executive has shown himself but the example and 
precedent of what the genuine citizen-President should 
be, — a WORKING man ; that his office is no cynosure for 
his own pleasure, ease, and self-indulgence, but one for 
laboring in devotion to his country. And it appears to us 
that it should be but with pride and honor that we should 
behold him now not only as able so to do, but as throw- 
ing himself into the breach, as he considers it ; not in the 
cabinet alone, but in the forum, although it be but one 
of the wayside and stopping-places of a public journey ; 
and that there, with a noble simplicity (because ele- 
vated by the greatness of the cause) and with a generous 
self-forgetfulness, spending and being spent, in season 
and out of season, through good report and evil report, 
he has never been weary, or ceased to reiterate, though 
it were for the thousandth time, this true, or what 
should be the true, American sentiment : * — 

" Let the Constitution be our guide and platform. This 
is our league. It is not one of the leagues extending over 
the country for revolutionary purposes. It is unnecessary 
to form other leagues for the preservation of this Govern- 
ment. It is unnecessary to have any other or higher 

* Spoken at Indianapolis, Sept. 10. The sentences were frequently 
interrupted and broken by the cheering and applauses of the crowd. 


leaGTue than the Constitution of the United States. I want 
no hitjher constitutional leasrue than that was. The Con- 
stitution is my league : I belong to the constitutional league 
of my country. I had hoped the time had come when we 
all could rally round the Constitution, and lifl ourselves 
above party, to preserve our country one and united. 
Fellow-citizens, ... I do now proclaim that none of 
the States have a right to go out of the Union. Though 
they may revolt or rebel, they have no constitutional 
right to go out of the Union. Whether this doctrine 
is assailed South or North, I plant my feet firmly 
against it. I come here to-day with the flag of my 
country, containing thirty-six stars, with the Union of 
the States unbroken ; I come with the Constitution 
of the United States ; and I place them in your hands, 
i where, I believe, they will be protected and defended," 

Shall they so be? We believe they — eventually — 

It will have been seen throughout this book, that the 
author has taken no party stand, as such : the only de- 
sire has been to ascertain, as far as possible, what may 
be the real truth, and so to be a means to assist and 
facilitate the conciliation and harmony of all parties 
and sections of our vast country. With this purpose 
of pouring " oil upon the troubled waters " (though this 
may appear sometimes to have failed), what can be so 


suitable with which to conclude as these words of Holy- 

" "Wherefore, putting away lying, speak every man 
truth with his neighbor ; for we are members one of 
another. Be ye angry, and sin not : let not the sun go 
down upon your wrath. . . . Let all bitterness and 
wrath and anger and clamor and evil-speaking be put 
away from you, with all malice ; and be ye kind one 
to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even 
as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." 


From the Cornhill Press of Geo. C. Rand & Avery. 

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