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partially surrendered, would not be surrendered at all by the other. .
Physically speaking, we cannot separate. We cannot remove our respective sections from each other, nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced, and go out of the presence and beyond the reach of each other; but the different parts of our country cannot do this. They cannot but
remain face to face; and intercourse, either amicable or 10 hostile, must continue between them. It is impossible
then to make that intercourse more advantageous or more satisfactory after separation than before. Can aliens make treaties easier than friends can make laws ?
Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between aliens 15 than laws can among friends? Suppose you go to war,
you cannot fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides, and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions, as to terms of intercourse, are
again upon you. 20 This country, with its institutions, belongs to the
people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary
right to dismember or overthrow it. I cannot be ignor25 ant of the fact that many worthy and patriotic citizens
are desirous of having the National Constitution amended. While I make no recommendation of amendment, I fully recognize the rightful authority of the
people over the whole subject, to be exercised in either 30 of the modes prescribed in the instrument itself, and I
should, under existing circumstances, favor, rather than oppose, a fair opportunity being afforded the people to act upon it. I will venture to add, that to me the convention mode seems preferable, in that it allows amendments to originate with the people themselves, instead of only permitting them to take or reject propositions originated by others, not especially chosen for the purpose, and which might not be precisely such as they would wish to either accept or refuse. I understand a 5 proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen-has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the states, including that of persons held to service. To avoid mis- 10 construction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments, so far as to say that, holding such a provision now to be implied constitutional law, I have no objections to its being made express and irrevocable.
15 The chief magistrate derives all his authority from the people, and they have conferred none upon him to fix terms for the separation of the states. The people themselves can do this also if they choose; but the executive, as such, has nothing to do with it. His duty is to 20 administer the represent government as it came to his hands, and to transmit it, unimpaired by him, to his successor.
Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or 25 equal hope in the world? In our present differences, is either party without faith of being in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of Nations, with his eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the South, that truth and that justice will surely 30 prevail, by the judgment of this great tribunal of the American people,
By the frame of the government under which we live, the same people have wisely given their public servants
but little power for mischief and have with equal wisdom, provided for the return of that little to their own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain
their virtue and vigilance, no administration, by any 5 extreme of wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government in the short space of four years.
My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost
by taking time. If there be an object to hurry any of 10 you in hot haste to a step which you would never take
deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking time; but no good object can be frustrated by it. Such of you as are now dissatisfied, still have the old Consti
tution unimpaired, and, on the sensitive point, the laws 15 of your own framing under it; while the new adminis
tration will have no immediate power, if it would, to change either. If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied hold the right side in the dispute, there still
is no single good reason for precipitate action. In20 telligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance
on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty.
In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, 25 and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you.
You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to
destroy the government while I shall have the most sol30 emn one to "preserve, protect, and defend” it.
I am loth to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.
The mystic chord of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
LETTER TO HORACE GREELEY.
Washington, August 22, 1862. Hon. Horace Greeley:
DEAR SIR:—I have just read yours of the 19th, addressed to myself through the New York Tribune. If
there be in it any statements or assumptions of fact 5 which I may know to be erroneous, I do not, now and
here, controvert them.' If there be in it any inferences which I may believe to be falsely drawn, I do not, now and here, argue against them. If there be perceptible
in it an impatient and dictatorial tone, I waive it in 10 deference to an old friend whose heart I have always supposed to be right.
As to the policy I “seem to be pursuing," as you say, I have not meant to leave anyone in doubt.
I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest 15 way under the constitution. The sooner the national
authority can be restored, the nearer the Union will be the “Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time
save slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be 20 those who would not save the Union unless they could
at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and it is not either to save or destroy slavery.
If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I 25 would do it; and if I could do it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing