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guaranties, and that they are necessary to the preservation of this Union; and then, when they are refused deliberately and calmly, if we cannot do better, let the South go together, and let the North go together, and let us have a division of this Government without the shedding of blood, if such a thing be possible; let us have a division of the property; let us have a division of the Navy; let us have a division of the Army, and of the public lands. Let it be done in peace, and in a spirit that should characterize and distinguish this people. I believe we can obtain all our guaranties. I believe there is too much good sense, too much intelligence, too much patriotism, too much capability, too much virtue, in the great mass of people to permit this Government to be overthrown.
I have an abiding faith, I have an unshaken confidence in man's capability to govern himself. I will not give up this Government that is now called an experiment, which some are prepared to abandon for a constitutional monarchy. No; I intend to stand by it, and I entreat every man throughout the nation, who is a patriot, and who has seen, and is compelled to admit, the success of this great experiment, to come forward, not in heat, not in fanaticism, not in haste, not in precipitancy, but in deliberation, in full view of all that is before us, in the spirit of brotherly love and fraternal affection, and rally around the altar of our common country, and lay the Constitution upon it as our last libation, and
swear by our God and all that is sacred and holy, that the Constitution shall be saved, and the Union preserved. Yes, in the language of the departed Jackson, let us exclaim that the Union, "the Federal Union, it must be preserved."
Are we likely, when we get to ourselves, North and South, to sink into brotherly love? Are we likely to be so harmonious in that condition as some suppose? I am sometimes impressed with the force of Mr. Jefferson's remark, that we may as well keep the North to quarrel with, for if we have no North to quarrel with, we shall quarrel among ourselves. We are a sort of quarrelsome, pugnacious people; and if we cannot get a quarrel from one quarter, we shall have it from another; and I would rather quarrel a little now with the North than be quarrelling with ourselves. What did a Senator say here in the American Senate, only a few days ago, because the Governor of a Southern State was refusing to convene the Legislature to hasten this movement that was going on throughout the South, and because he objected to that course of conduct? The question was asked if there was not some Texan Brutus that would rise up and rid the country of the hoary-headed traitor! This is the language that a Senator used. This is the way we begin to speak of Southern Governors. Yes; to remove an obstacle in our way, we must have a modern Brutus who will go to the capital of a State and assassinate a Governor to accelerate the move
ment. If we are so unscrupulous in reference to ourselves, and in reference to the means we are willing to employ to consummate this dissolution, then it does not look very much like harmony among ourselves after we get out of it.
Mr. President, I have said much more than I anticipated when I commenced; and I have spoken more at length than a regard for my own health and strength would have allowed; but if there is any effort of mine that would preserve this Government till there is time to think, till there is time to consider, even if it cannot be preserved any longer; if that end could be secured by making a sacrifice of my existence and offering up my blood, I would be willing to consent to it. Let us pause in this mad career; let us hesitate. Let us consider well
what we are doing before we make a movement. I believe that, to a certain extent, dissolution is going to take place. I say to the North, you ought to come up in the spirit which should characterize and control the North on this question; and you ought to give those indications of good
faith that will approach what the South demands. It will be no sacrifice on your part. It is no suppliancy on ours, but simply a demand of right. concession is there in doing right? Then, come forward. We have it in our power yes, this Congress here to-day has it in its power to save this Union, even after South Carolina has gone out. Will they not do it? You can do it. Who is willing
to take the dreadful alternative without making an honorable effort to save this Government? This Congress has it in its power to-day to arrest this thing, at least for a season, until there is time to consider about it, until we can act discreetly and prudently, and I believe arrest it altogether.
Shall we give all this up to the Vandals and the Goths? Shall we shrink from our duty, and desert the Government as a sinking ship, or shall we stand by it? I, for one, will stand here until the high behest of my constituents demands of me to desert my post; and instead of laying hold of the columns of this fabric and pulling it down, though I may not be much of a prop, I will stand with my shoulder supporting the edifice as long as human effort can do it.
In saying what I have said on this occasion, Mr. President, I have had in view the duty that I owe to my constituents, to my children, to myself. Without regard to consequences, I have taken my position; and when the tug comes, when Greek shall meet Greek, and our rights are refused after all honorable means have been exhausted, then it is that I will perish in the last breach; yes, in the language of the patriot Emmet, "I will dispute every inch of ground; I will burn every blade of grass; and the last intrenchment of Freedom shall be my grave." Then, let us stand by the Constitution; and in preserving the Constitution we shall save the Union; and in saving the Union we save this the greatest Government on earth.
I thank the Senate for their kind attention.
SPEECH ON THE STATE OF THE UNION.
DELIVERED IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, FEBRUARY 5TH AND 6TH, 1861.
The Senate having under consideration the message of the President communicating resolutions of the Legislature of Virginia,
Mr. JOHNSON remarked:- Mr. President, on the 19th of December I made a speech in the Senate, with reference to the present crisis, which I believed my duty to my State and to myself required. In making that speech, my intention and I think I succeeded in it was to establish myself upon the principles of the Constitution and the doctrines inculcated by Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and Jackson. Having examined the positions of those distinguished fathers of the Republic, and compared them with the Constitution, I came to the conclusion that they were right; and upon them I planted myself, and made the speech to which I have referred, in vindication of the Union and the Constitution, and against the doctrine of nullification or secession, which I look upon as a great political heresy. As far back as 1833, when I was a young man, before I made