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collection, it is the truth and sincerity of my ardent devotion to its lasting preservation. But we should be false in our allegiance to it, if we did not discriminate between the imaginary and real dangers by which it may be assailed. Abolition should no longer be regarded as an imaginary danger. The Abolitionists, let me suppose, succeed in their present aim of uniting the inhabitants of the free States as one man against the inhabitants of the slave States. Union on the one side will beget union on the other; and this process of reciprocal consolidation will be attended with all the violent prejudices, embittered passions, and implacable animosities which ever degraded or deformed human nature. A virtual dissolution of the Union will have taken place, whilst the forms of its existence remain. The most valuable elements of union, mutual kindness, the feelings of sympathy, the fraternal bonds, which now happily unite us, will have been extinguished forever. One Section will stand in menacing and hostile array against the other. The collision of opinion will be quickly followed by the clash of arms. I will not attempt to describe scenes which now happily lie concealed from our view. Abolitionists themselves would shrink back in dismay and horror at the contemplation of desolated fields, conflagrated cities, murdered inhabitants, and the overthrow of the fairest fabric of human government that ever rose to animate the hopes of civilized man. Nor should these Abolitionists flatter themselves that, if they can succeed in their object of uniting the people of the free States, they will enter the contest with a numerical superiority that must insure victory. All history and experience proves the hazard and uncertainty of war. And we are admonished by holy writ that the "race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong." But if they were to conquer, whom would they conquer? A foreign foe—one who had insulted our flag, invaded our shores, and laid our country waste? No, sir; no, sir. It would be a conquest without laurels, without glory—a self, a suicidal conquest—a conquest of brothers over brothers, achieved by one over another portion of the descendants of common ancestors, who nobly pledging their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, had fought and bled, side by side, in many a hard battle on land and ocean, severed our country from the British Crown, and established our national independence.
The inhabitants of the slaves States are sometimes accused by their Northern brethren with displaying too much rashness and sensibility to the operations and proceedings of Abolitionists. But, before they can be rightly judged, there should be a reversal of conditions. Let me suppose that the people of the slave States were to form societies, subsidize presses, make large pecuniary contributions, send forth numerous missionaries throughout all their own borders, and enter into machinations to burn the beautiful capitals, destroy the productive manufactories, and sink in the ocean the gallant ships of the Northern States. Would these incendary proceedings be regarded as neighborly and friendly, and consistent with the fraternal sentiments which should ever be cherished by one portion of the Union towards another? Would they excite no emotion? occasion no manifestations of dissatisfaction, nor lead to any acts of retaliatory violence? But the supposed case falls far short of the actual one in a most essential circumstance. In no contingency could these capitals, manufactories, and ships, rise in rebellion and massacre inhabitants of the Northern States.
I am, Mr. President, no friend of slavery. The Searcher of all Hearts knows that every pulsation of mine beats high and strong in the cause of civil liberty. Wherever it is safe and practicable, I desire to see every portion of the human family in the enjoyment of it. But I prefer the liberty of my own country to that of any other people, and the liberty of my own race to that of any other race. The liberty of the descendants of Africa in the United States is Incompatible with the safety and liberty of the European descendants. There slavery forms an exception—an exception resulting from a stern and inexorable necessity—to the general liberty in the Uuited States. We did not originate, nor are we responsible for, this necessity. Their liberty, if it were possible, could only be established by violating the incontestable powers of the States, and subverting the Union ; and beneath the ruins of the Union would be buried, sooner or later, the liberty of both races.
But if one dark spot exists on our political horizon, is it not obscured by the bright and effulgent and cheering light that beams all around us? Was ever a people before so blessed as we are, if true to ourselves? Did ever any other nation contain within its bosom so many elements of prosperity, of greatness, and of glory? Our only real danger lies ahead, conspicuous, elevated, and visible. It was clearly discerned at the commencement, and distinctly seen throughout our whole career. Shall we wantonly run upon it, and destroy all the glorious anticipations of the high destiny that awaits us? I beseech the Abolitionists themselves solemnly to pause in their mad and fatal course. Amidst the infinite variety of objects of humanity and benevolence which invite the employment of their energies, let them select some one more harmless, that does not threaten to deluge our country in blood. I call upon that small portion of the clergy which has lent itself to these wild and ruinous schemes, not to forget the holy nature of the divine mission of the founder of our religion, and to profit by his peaceful examples. I intreat that portion of my countrywomen who have given their countenance to abolition, to remember that they are ever most loved and honored when moving in their own appropriate and delightful sphere, and to reflect that the ink which they shed in subscribing with their fair hands Abolition petitions, may prove but the prelnde to the shedding of the blood of theif brethren. I adjure all the inhabitants of the free States to rebuke and discountenance, by their opinion and their example, measures which must inevitably lead to the most calamitous consequences. And let us all, as countrymen,' as friends, and as brothers, cherish in unfading memory the motto which bore our ancestors triumphantly through all the trials of the Revolution, as, if adhered to, it will conduct their posterity through all that may, in the dispensations of Providence, be reserved for them.
THE AGITATION IN 1847 AND 1850.
In 1847, Mr. Calhoun introduced the following Resolution in the Senate:
"Resolved, That it is a fundamental principle in our political creed that a people, in framing a Constitution, have the unconditional right to form and adopt the government which they may think best calculated to secure their liberty, prosperity, and happiness; and that, in conformity thereto, uo other condition is imposed by the federal Constitution on a State, in order to be admitted into this Union, except that its Constitution shall be republican; and that the imposition of any other by Congress would not only be in violation of the Constitution, but in direct conflict with the principle on which our political system rests."
Upon this resolution Mr. Calhoun offered some highly striking remarks,
"Mr. President: Not only is that proposition grossly inconsistent with the Constitution, but the other, which undertakes to say that no State shall be admitted into this Union which shall not prohibit by its Constitution the existence of slaves, is equally a great outrage against the Constitution of the United States. Sir, I hold it to be a fundamental principle of our political system that the people have a right to establish what government they may think proper for themselves; that every State about to become a member of this Union has a right to form its own government as it pleases; and that, in order to be admitted, there is bnt one qualification, and that is, that the government shall be re