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Union, however fraught with blessing and benefits in all other respects, can long continue, if the necessary consequerce be to render the homes and the firesides of nearly half the parties to it habitually and hopelessly insecure. Sooner or later the bonds of such a Union must be severed. It is my conviction that this fatal period has not yet arrived ; and my prayer to God that He would preserve the Constitution and the Union thronghout all generations.
But let us take warning in time and remove the cause of danger. It cannot be denied that, for five and twenty years, the agitation at the North against slavery in the South has been incessant.
This agitation has been continued by the public press, by the proceedings of State and county Conventions, and by abolition sermons and lectures The time of Congress has been occupied in violent speeches on this neverending subject; and appeals, in pamphlets and other forms, endorsed by distinguished names, have been sent forth from this central point and spread broadcast over the Union.
How easy would it be for the American people to settle the slavery question for ever and to restore peace and harmony to this distracted country!
They, and they alone, can do it. All that is necessary to accomplish the object, and all for which the Slave States have contended, is to be let alone, and permitted to manage their domestic institutions in their own way. As sovereign States, they, and they alone, are responsible before God and the world for the slavery existing among them. For this the people of the North are not more responsible, and have no more right to interfere than with similar institutions in Russia or in Brazil. Upon their good sense and patriotic forbearance I confess I greatly rely.
Without their aid it is beyond the power of any President, no matter what may be his own political proclivities, to restore peace and barmony among the States. Wisely limited and restrained as is his power, under our Constitution and laws, he alone can accomplish but little, for good or for eyil, on such a momentous question.
And this brings me to observe that the election of any one of our fellow-citizens to the office of President* does not of itself afford just cause for dissolving the Union.
It is alleged as one cause for immediate secession that the Southern States are denied equal rights with the other States in the common Territories. But by what authority are these denied ? Not by Congress, which has never passed, and I believe never will pass, any Act to exclude slavery from the Territories, and certainly not by the Supreme Court, which has solemnly decided that slaves are property, and like all other property, their owners have a right to take them into the common Territories, and hold them there under the protection of the Constitution.
* Those who have appealed from the judgment of our highest constitutional tribunal to popular assemblies would, if they could, invest a Territorial
* Referring to Mr. Lincoln's election.
Legislature with power to annul the sacred rights of property. This power Congress is expressly forbidden by the Federal coostitution to exercise
EXTRACT FROM THE REPUBLICAN PLATFORM
The Platform on which Mr. Lincoln was elected President. Adopted at
Chicago, 1860. 7th Clause.—That the new dogma, that the Constitution, of its own force, carries slavery in any or all of the Territories of the United States, is a dangerous political heresy, at variance with the explicit provisions of that instrument itself, with contemporaneous exposition, and with legislative and judicial precedent; is revolutionary in its tendency, and subversive of the peace and harmony of the country.
8th.—That the nominal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of freedom : that as our Republican fathers, when they had abolished slavery in all our national territory, ordained that "no person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process law,” it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to main. tain this provision of the Constitution against all attempts to violate it: and we deny the authority of Congress, of a territorial legislature, or of any individuals, to give legal existence to slavery in any Territory of the United States.
* Referring to 'Mr. Douglas's doctrine of "popular sovereignty" in the terri. ories.
Constitution of the Confederate States. .
PREAMBLE. WE, the People of the Confederate States, each state acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a Permanent Federal Government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, invoking the favour and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this CONSTITUTION for the Confederate States of America.
The Constitution contains seven articles.
Article 1st. Relates to the Legislative Power and to Personal Rights.
Article 2nd. To the Executive Power and to the mode of electing the President and Vice-President.
Article 3rd. To the Judicial Power.
Article 4th. To the validity of Public Acts and Records—the rights of Citizenship—the admission of new States and the forms of State Governments.
Article 5th. Relates to the mode of amending the Constitution.
Article 6th. To the national faith and the binding force of the Constitution.
Article 7th. To the mode of its ratification.
SECTION I. All legislative powers herein delegated shall be vested in a Congress of the Confederate States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
SECTION II. 1. The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several States, and the electors in each State shall be citizens of the Confederate States, and have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legislature. But no person of foreign birth, and not a citizen of the Confederate States, shall be allowed to vote for any officer, civil or political, State or Federal.
2. No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained the age of twenty-five years, and be a citizen of the Confederate States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.
3. Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Confederacy, according to their respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons—including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed-three-fifths of all slaves. The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the Confederate States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every fifty thousand, but each State shall have at least one representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of South Carolina shall be entitled to choose six, the state of Georgia ten, the state of Alabama nine, the state of Florida two, the state of Mississippi seven, the state of Louisiana six, and the state of Texas six.
4. When vacancies happen in the representation from
any State, the Executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.
5. The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other officers; and shall have the sole power of Impeachment, except that any judicial or other Federal officer resident or acting solely within the limits of any
be impeached by a vote of two-thirds of both branches of the Legislature thereof.
1. The Senate of the Confederate States shall be com posed of two Senators from each State, chosen for six years by the Legislature thereof at the regular session next immediately preceding the commencement of the term of service; and each Senator shall have one vote.
2. Immediately after they shall be assembled in consequence of the first election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three classes. The seats of the senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year, of the second class at the expiration of the fourth year, and of the third class at the expiration of the sixth year, so that one third may be chosen every second year; and if vacancies happen by resignation, or otherwise, during the recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary appointments until the next meeting of the Legislature, wbich shall then fill such vacancies. 3. No person
shall be a Senator who shall not have attained the age of thirty years, and be a citizen of the Confederate States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of the State for which he shall be chosen.
4. The Vice-President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote unless they be equally divided.
5. The Senate shall choose their other officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the VicePresident, or when he shall exercise the office of President of the Confederate States.