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dangerously ill. So long as the Union, instead of being regarded as a protector, is regarded in the opposite character, by not much less than a majority of the States, it
will be in vain to attempt to conciliate them by pronoun5 cing eulogies on it.
Besides, this cry of Union comes commonly from those whom we cannot believe to be sincere. It usually comes from our assailants. But we cannot believe them to be
sincere ; for, if they loved the Union, they would neces10 sarily be devoted to the Constitution. It made the
Union, — and to destroy the Constitution would be to destroy the Union. But the only reliable and certain evidence of devotion to the Constitution is to abstain,
on the one hand, from violating it, and to repel, on the 15 other, all attempts to violate it. It is only by faithfully
performing these high duties that the Constitution can be preserved, and with it the Union.
But how stands the profession of devotion to the Union by our assailants, when brought to this test? 20 Have they abstained from violating the Constitution ?
Let the many acts passed by the Northern States to set aside and annul the clause of the Constitution providing for the delivery up of fugitive slaves answer. I cite
this, not that it is the only instance (for there are many 25 others), but because the violation in this particular is too
notorious and palpable to be denied. Again: Have they stood forth faithfully to repel violations of the Constitution ? Let their course in reference to the agitation
of the slavery question, which was commenced and has 30 been carried on for fifteen years, avowedly for the pur
pose of abolishing slavery in the States — an object all acknowledged to be unconstitutional — answer. Let them show a single instance, during this long period,
in which they have denounced the agitators or their 35 attempts to effect what is admitted to be unconstitutional, or a single measure which they have brought forward for that purpose. How can we, with all these facts before us, believe that they are sincere in their profession of devotion to the Union, or avoid believing their profession is but intended to increase the vigor of 5 their assaults and to weaken the force of our resistance ?
Nor can we regard the profession of devotion to the Union, on the part of those who are not our assailants, as sincere, when they pronounce eulogies upon the Union, evidently with the intent of charging us with 10 disunion, without uttering one word of denunciation against our assailants. If friends of the Union, their course should be to unite with us in repelling these assaults, and denouncing the authors as enemies of the Union. Why they avoid this, and pursue the course 15 they do, it is for them to explain.
Nor can the Union be saved by invoking the name of the illustrious Southerner whose mortal remains repose on the western bank of the Potomac. He was one of us
a slave-holder and a planter. We have studied his 20 history, and find nothing in it to justify submission to wrong. On the contrary, his great fame rests on the solid foundation that, while he was careful to avoid doing wrong to others, he was prompt and decided in repelling wrong. I trust that, in this respect, we profited 25 by his example.
Nor can we find anything in his history to deter us from seceding from the Union, should it fail to fulfil the objects for which it was instituted, by being permanently and hopelessly converted into the means of oppressing 30 instead of protecting us. On the contrary, we find much in his example to encourage us, should we be forced to the extremity of deciding between submission and disunion. There existed then, as well as now, a union
between the parent country and her then Colonies. It was a union that had much to endear it to the people of the Colonies. Under its protecting and superintending care, the Colonies were planted and grew up and pros5 pered through a long course of years, until they became
populous and wealthy. Its benefits were not limited to them. Their extensive agricultural and other productions gave birth to a flourishing commerce, which richly
rewarded the parent country for the trouble and expense 10 of establishing and protecting them. Washington was
born and grew up to manhood under that union. He acquired his early distinction in its service, and there is every reason to believe that he was devotedly attached to it. But his devotion was a rational one.
He 15 attached to it, not as an end, but as a means to an end.
When it failed to fulfil its end, and, instead of affording protection, was converted into the means of oppressing the Colonies, he did not hesitate to draw his sword, and
head the great movement by which that union was for20 ever severed, and the independence of these States estab
lished. This was the great and crowning glory of his life, which has spread his fame over the whole globe, and will transmit it to the latest posterity.
Nor can the plan proposed by the distinguished sen25 ator from Kentucky, nor that of the administration, save
the Union. I shall pass by, without remark, the plan proposed by the senator, and proceed directly to the consideration of that of the administration. I, however,
assure the distinguished and able senator, that, in taking 30 this course, no disrespect whatever is intended to him
or his plan. I have adopted it because so many senators of distinguished abilities, who were present when he delivered his speech and explained his plan, and who were
fully capable to do justice to the side they support, have 35 replied to him.
The plan of the administration cannot save the Union, because it can have no effect whatever towards satisfying the States composing the Southern section of the Union, that they can, consistently with safety and honor, remain in the Union. It is, in fact, but a modification of the 5 Wilmot Proviso. It proposes to effect the same object, - to exclude the South from all the territory acquired by the Mexican treaty. It is well known that the South is united against the Wilmot Proviso, and has committed itself by solemn resolutions to resist, should it be adopted. 10 Its opposition is not to the name, but that which it proposes to effect. That, the Southern States hold to be unconstitutional, unjust, inconsistent with their equality as members of the common Union, and calculated to destroy irretrievably the equilibrium between the two 15 sections. These objections equally apply to what, for brevity, I will call the Executive Proviso. There is no difference between it and the Wilmot, except in the mode of effecting the object; and in that respect, I must say that the latter is much the least objectionable. It 20 goes to its object openly, boldly, and distinctly. It claims for Congress unlimited power over the territories, and proposes to assert it over the territories acquired from Mexico, by a positive prohibition of slavery. Not so the Executive Proviso. It takes an indirect course, and 25 in order to elude the Wilmot Proviso, and thereby avoid encountering the united and determined resistance of the South, it denies, by implication, the authority of Congress to legislate for the territories, and claims the right as belonging exclusively to the inhabitants of the territories. 30 But to effect the object of excluding the South, it takes care, in the meantime, to let in emigrants freely from the Northern States and all other quarters except from the South, which it takes special care to exclude by holding up to them the danger of having their slaves liberated 35 under the Mexican laws. The necessary consequence is to exclude the South from the territory just as effectually as would the Wilmot Proviso. The only difference
in this respect is, that what one proposes to effect directly 5 and openly, the other proposes to effect indirectly and covertly.
But the Executive Proviso is more objectionable than the Wilmot in another and more important partic
ular. . . . In claiming the right for the inhabitants, 10 instead of Congress, to legislate for the territories, the
Executive Proviso assumes that the sovereignty over the territories is vested in the former; or, to express it in the language used in a resolution offered by one of the
Senators from Texas (General Houston, now absent), 15 they have “ the same inherent right of self-government
as the people in the States." The assumption is utterly unfounded, unconstitutional, without example, and contrary to the entire practice of the government, from its commencement to the present time.
20 [As a striking example of what such doctrine as this will lead
to, Mr. Calhoun takes up the case of California, then seeking admission as a State. The organization of a State government there, and the appointment of senators and representatives by the
inhabitants of that region, without having first been clothed by 25 Congress with authority for these acts, he characterizes as
lutionary and rebellious in its character, anarchical in its tendency, and calculated to lead to the most dangerous consequences.” And for it he blames most of all the Executive branch of the
government, which openly advocates the doctrine in question, 30 and has openly abetted these proceedings.]
Having now shown what cannot save the Union, I return to the question with which I commenced, - How can the Union be saved ? There is but one way by which
it can with any certainty; and that is, by a full and 35 final settlement, on the principle of justice, of all the