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stands most in need of, next to a God and a ! the catastrophe he displays his highest tragic party-an issue, a something to attach ad- mood. herents, to inflame zeal, to turn the breath "What,” he inquires, “ if this doubtful of patriotic enthusiasm full into the sail of and dilatory course should prove abortive?” the fortunate craft that has been lucky A world of despair for the experiment of free enough to trim for a breeze from the right government and for the shrewdness and quarter. The time was, when personal sobriety of the popular judgment is implied superiority attracted the admiration and in those portentous words doubtful and determined the choice of the millions ; when dilatory. When this crisis arrives, we are heroic fortitude and self-devotion were ideal- assured that the quick instinct of self-presized and worshipped. In those days heroes ervation will grasp at disunion as the only were magnified to demi-gods, and men were alternative left. So Mr. Dallas can look but slaves; but now-a-days ideas are the through the present and calmly contemplate heroes, and those who ride them in the race disunion as a possible, nay, a probable resolufor glory are their squires and lackeys. The tion of impending difficulties. Much allowtime may yet come when a joint consulship ance ought at all times to be made for difof ideas and ideal men will control the des- ferences of judgment and feeling; but it is tiny of mankind. That will be a happy safe to say of any citizen of the United day for the world, but a sad one for such | States, with the opportunities that Mr. Dalpoliticians as Mr. Dallas.
las has wasted to understand the purest Will not our calm and conservative peo- system of political freedom the world has ple seize upon this real and tangible propo- yet produced, and to become imbued with a sition, for lack of something better to contend generous attachment to its principles, and and wrangle about ? Shall not mass meet- who yet can calmly louk disunion in the ings be assembled, and sharp quills be dipped face, and calculate its present and future adin gall for such an occasion? We think not; vantages that the air he breathes and the though the voice that has spoken from food he consumes were better bestowed upon Schooley's Mountain should be uttered from the humblest drudge that has a warm and every peak of the Alleghanies, though Mr. honest heart. Fratricide may, under posDallas should prove a false prophet and a sible circumstances, be justified by the quick worse politician.
instinct of self-preservation; but the man who But we are told that we ought not to suffers his mind to become familiar with such falter in our reliance on the shrewd and a thought, under any degree of provocation sober judgment of our fellow-citizens, and however great, is guilty of the crime withwe are assured that they will rally in out the justification. To such a mind the their might to prop up the tottering frag- principle of union is expediency, and that ments of the Union. A more cunning which to other minds is sacred and reverend demagogue would have professed to trust is valued by it from the dollar-and-cent that sober judgment to work a happy issue standard. out of that impending crisis, without the aid It is time that we should all, North and of paper barriers to keep apart the warlike South, East and West, come to an underspirits of the States. It would be a notable standing about this much talked-of disunion. example of forbearance, worthy of beginning And we might as well know it first as last, a new chapter in the history of human that the thing is impossible. Union is indeliactions, should an infuriated people, rushing bly stamped upon the geographic features of headlong to the accomplishnient of a result our continent; it is a part of our political and dictated by passion, stop in their career to social being; it is determined for us, whether erect bulwarks strong enough to resist their we will or no, by our physical and moral impetuosity. In that day madmen will constitutions; and, to express the whole in a erect cells and forge chains to curb their own phrase vastly popular at this day with those fury.
of Mr. Dallas's way of thinking, it is our But Mr. Dallas is not much out of his manifest destiny. reckoning, for all this inconsistency. His The indissoluble character of the marriage dramatic talent has been overtasked in bond is by all civilized societies acknowledged sketching the characters of his dramatis to be the strongest means of repressing dopersone, and in contriving his plot; but in mestic discords and dissensions; and if we
would be good citizens, we must train our pression, and he who resorts to it is execrated minds to regard the Union as equally indis- as a traitor or revered as a hero, according soluble, and our charities to fit us to live to the justice and necessity of resistance, and harmoniously together under it. So long the moderation with which it is conducted. as threats of disunion are tolerated, and dis- A proper regard for the consequences union is regarded as an alternative for any, which must ensue from a determined denial even the worst of conditions, there will be no of the rights of any member of the confedeend to the haughty demands fostered by racy cannot fail to inspire due respect for local and sectional interests and peculiarities, the guaranties of the Constitution; and wbile whether at the North or South, East or on the one hand it will deter aggressors, on Wes“, and backed by threats of secession the other it teaches those who take fire at which must inevitably spring from the mis- any fancied interference with their rights the conducted warmth of an active, enthusiastic folly and imprudence of their reiterated and ambitious people.
threats of disunion. Were these conseWe repeat what under other words we quences less terrible, a necessary check upon have already said, there is no peaceful and passion would be lost, and there would relegal means by which this Union can be dis- main less hope for the experiment of free solved. Revolution may overwhelm it, an- government than the history of our country archy may paralyze it, but no method exists has bitherto justified. by which it can be torn asunder short of Reflecting minds in every section of the violence. No tribunal exists, or can exist, Union are deeply weighing those considerapossessing authority adequate to pronounce tions vividly presented by the recent agitaa decree of divorce that shall remit the States tions. A generous and enduring attachto a condition of absolute independence. ment for the Union is every where gaining That which destroys the Constitution must strength, and the clamor of demagogues be superior to it. Where shall such tran- finds fewer listeners at the present day than scendent authority be found ? Not in Con- at any previous time. gress, for that is the creature of the Consti- There are a few turbulent spirits left who tution; the national legislature derives its with Mr. Dallas fan the flame of discord for authority from no inherent right in the their personal advantage, and who, under the people's representatives to govern, nor from pretense of an ardent desire to preserve the any gift of power independent of the Consti- State sovereignties, hope to ingratiate themtution, but from the Constitution itself. The selves with the discontented; who raise the right to impair or annul the guaranties of cry against consolidation as a mere steppingthe Constitution has not been conferred upon stone to an ambition that would erect itself Congress, and therefore cannot be exercised over the fragments of the Union rather than by it. The framers of the Constitution wisely submit to occupy the position for which provided a means of future amendment; but nature, in the unequal distribution of her like Cortez, when once they were united gifts, designed them. But Mr. Dallas is as under a common standard upon the firm soil yet the only public man who has ventured, of a new world, they destroyed the ships while asserting that there are elements of in which they had been tossed upon a tem- agitation at work threatening social convulpestuous sea, and trusted their all to a com- sion and the forcible dissolution of the namon destiny While any number of the tion, to propose a course which, if adopted States remain loyal to the Union, there is under such circumstances, would blow the but one power that can adjudge its over- embers into a flame of resistless fury. throw, and those who deem themselves equal In striking contrast to the extravagances to the undertaking must, with arms in their of Mr. Dallas, let us turn to the masterly hands, appeal to the God of war.
discriminations of these subjects secesWe are not among those who believe in sion, nullification and revolution-presented passive submission under all circumstances in a recent letter from the Hon. Henry to constituted authority. The right of Clay. This most gifted of living statesrevolution-a right absolutely inalienable men, who has carried an intellect of unamong mankind-sets the limit of obedience surpassed comprehensiveness, a judgment to constituted authority ; but that right remarkable not less for its solidity and sobriis the last and most solemn appeal from op-lety than for its rich stores of well-considered experience, and a 'sway over the minds and I ment, free or despotic, known to mankind, and hearts of his countrymen seldom possessed interrupting the intercourse and violating or menby more than one man in a century, far acing the execution of the laws of the dismembered
confederacy. It contends for this right as well for beyond the period when grosser natures Louisiana as for South Carolina, although the prosuccumb to the conflict of their own discor- vince of Louisiana cost us so much money, and was dant elements, still thinks and feels in uni- nigh involving us in a foreign war; for Texas, son with the brightest intellects and the although it occasioned us a war with Mexico, the warmest hearts that enrich our country and boundaries and to acquire it, many were willing
payment of ten millions of dollars to arrange its our age. The letter to which we have to risk a war with England; and for distant Calialluded is one of the noblest emanations of fornia, although that was acquired by the double his pen, and should be seriously considered title of conquest and the payment of an ample for its intrinsic merit and wise teachings. pecuniary consideration.
“The alleged right of secession is, I apprehend, Mr. Clay presents in the following paragraphs sometimes confounded with a right of revolution ; a vivid idea of the identity of secession and but its partisans mean a totally different thing: nullification in reference to the false principle They contend that it is a peaceful
, lawful, and, if from which they have their origin :
not constitutional remedy, that it is not forbidden
by the Constitution. They insist that it is a State “Nullification and secession have sprung from right, to be recognized and respected; and that, the same metaphysical school; and the latter is whenever exercised by a State, far from being centhe ally, if not the offspring of the former. They tled to the co-operation of other States. The pru
sured or condemned, the State, if necessary, is entiboth agree that a single State is invested with power to nullify the laws of all the other States, dent valor of these partisans, in imitation of the passed by Congress; but nullification claims a
previous example of the friends of nullification, right to accomplish that object, and to remain at
disclaims the purpose of using themselves, and the same time in the Union; whilst secession protests against the application to them of any phy
sical force. asserts a right to attain it by withdrawing from the Union, and absolving the State from all obli
" The right of revolution is that right which an gation to the Constitution and laws of the United unjustly, oppressed people, threatened with, or States. They both maintain that a resort to either borne down by, intolerable and insupportable process is peaceful and legitimate. Nullification tyranny and injustice, have, of resorting to forcible derived an ambiguous but contested support from which they are menaced, or under which they are
resistance to prevent or redress the wrongs with the memorable resolutions of the States of Virginia suffering. It may aim simply at a removal of and Kentucky, adopted in 1798-9; but these resolutions afford no color or countenance to the pre-existing government, or to establish within its
grievances, or it may seek totally to change the tensions of secession. “The doctrine of secession assumes, that any one
limits a new government. It is a right not conof the thirty-one States composing the Union, fined by the boundaries of States, (although, being wherever or however situated, wbether in the inte organized political bodies, they may be capable of rior or on the frontier, has a right, upon its own
giving greater effect to revolutionary efforts, but separate will, and according to the dictates of its condition. In all revolutions, however, there are
it belongs to oppressed man, whatever may be his exclusive judgment, to withdraw from the Uuion whenever it pleases; that this act of secession is two parties—those who revolt, and the government peaceful, and not to be controverted or obstructed which they forcibly resist. There are generally by the rest of the States, or by the application of two opposite opinions, also, entertained of the any force, within the limits of the seceding State, cause of resistance--that of those who rise in to execute the laws of the United States; and that that of the existing government
, which denies hav
rebellion, believing themselves to be wronged, and thereupon, the State and its citizens are absolved from all obligations and duties to the United States, ing inflicted any oppression or injustice. It is inand become a power as independent and sovereign
cumbent upon wise and considerate men, before as any of the nations of the earth. The doctrine they hastily engage in a revolution, deliberately to maintains that this right of secession may be exer
consider the motives and causes of revolt, and carecised whenever the State deems it has sufficient fully to calculate the probable consequences of forcause; at all times in a state of profound peace they will be guilty of treason, and incur the penalty
cible resistance. If unsuccessful, they know that and prosperity, or in the midst of a furious war
inflicted raging in all our borders; and that, in the latter
upon traitors." case, transforming itself into a distinct and independent nation, it may escape the calamities of
It is proper that those who profess docwar, make a separate treaty of peace with the trines which, in any country where the freecommon enemy, become neutral, or even ally itself dom of speech is less absolute than in our with that enemy, and take up arms against the own, would be deemed to have a tincture of United States. "It asserts this right, although it treasonable license in them, should undermay lead, in process of time, to the promiscuous dotting over, upon the surface of the territory of stand distinctly what it is they profess; so the United States, of petty independent nations, that those who have been misled, through establishing for themselves any form of govern- I want of reflection, may return to allegiance to the Constitution; and that those who without fretting after dreams of utopian bliss. persist in propagating destructive heresies, A want of this philosophic temper lies at may be marked for such distinctions as the bottom of much of the discontent that sometimes confer notoriety with very little furnishes occasion for such letters as that of honor.
Mr. Dallas, and presents to the monarchies It is gratifying to reflect that the hearts of Europe a spectacle encouraging to the of the people are essentially true to the Con- longings of absolutism. stitution ; that while a few discordant spirits, Some consider the Union in danger of like restless breakers, tumble to their own nothing so much as gasconade. They destruction upon the firm bulwarks that gird have accordingly combined in an effort for the domain of an overwhelming power, the its repression, and, with more heroism than great heart of the nation heaves placidly prudence, have attempted to seat themselves beneath a propitious sky, fulfilling the grand upon the safety-valve, thinking that by repurpose of its existence.
pressing the blustering element they effectSo long as the hearts of the people are ually extinguish it. Fortunately, there are not right, there is little to fear from their tongues. enough of them to close all the orifices by There never was, and probably there never which their volatile enemy finds way into the will be, an age free from a certain degree of atmosphere, and we may hope that, nottendency to gasconade. It is vain to attempt withstanding their well-intended labors, we its annihilation. There is too much sensitive shall not all come to be by the ears from an ness now-a-days in regard to it. We have it explosion. Such volcanic agencies had betamong us under various titles, in considerable ter be left alone. We have just experiquantities. Here it flourishes under the eu- enced a slight “trembler," and must not be phonious title of fillibustering, there as quat- alarmed if the Ætnas are somewhat active. tlebumming, and under many other names These worthy gentlemen would do well to and types ; but withal it is no very terrible experiment with the King of Naples upon matter. But though innocent enough when the possibility of extinguishing Vesuvius, belet free into the atmosphere, it may, like most fore they venture to subject our happy naother gases, become a formidable power if tion to such convulsions as they may not unduly confined. Those who unwisely suf- dream of. fer themselves to become irritated by bluster There is a view of this subject fraught and braggadocio, should reflect upon the in- with the most serious considerations, which nocence of the thing if left to itself
, as well may well be approached with an earnest, as to the effects of forcible repression applied thoughtful spirit. Motives for such refleceven to so vapory a substance.
tion may be found in what has been said of Exciting political discussions produce a the combined effects of the intense sensitivevast deal of this commodity, and with it ness of some and the imprudent zeal of what is often mistaken for it-an over-ar- others. We must not enter the sanctuary dent expression of honestly entertained of the heart, and dictate emotions to it; but opinions, feelings or prejudices. If repres- we may raise a warning cry against intersion of the former should be possible, there ference with such things as we have been is danger that it may act with more or less taught to call sacred, and leave it to the injustice upon the latter. Of this let us be- circumstances of each to suggest the moral. ware; for although no empire has ever been There is a method of not only preserving overthrown by the abuse of freedom of the Union, but of rendering it a beneficent speech, there have been notable instances of boon to oppressed humanity; if the knowdynasties crushed for the love man bears it. ledge of that concealed treasure is sought It is a cardinal article of our republican faith, for, let the earnest searcher apply his enerand we must hold to it under all circum- gies to establish the policy, internal and exstances, though at times we may be irritated ternal, which the Whig party has commitby its undue license.
ted itself to maintain ; and after the field has We must strive to cultivate a temper in- been well ploughed, the treasure will be found. capable of being disturbed by the sallies of As for such issues as the fecundity of poliintemperate zeal, and content ourselves with tical ingenuity yearly hatches for ends of enjoying so much of tranquillity as the ex- personal and party aggrandizement, they isting condition of human society permits, I are a mere delusion, more ephemeral than the reputation of their authors. Those who ful disguise which for a time served to conturn aside from the grand current of events ceal its hostility to popular liberty, by repreto undertake the salvation or the destruc- senting the design of European politics to be tion of the country by the propagation of the preservation of an equipoise of power, startling issues, will continue to be cast up, is now thrown off, and open and avowed war from time to time, high and dry upon the is waged upon all constitutional limitations beach, to learn at their leisure, that those of royal power. Poland is absorbed ; Hunwho would lead public opinion must be con- gary is stripped of its constitution ; Prussia tent to go with it until they are not only has the alternative of revolution or despotassured of the superior wisdom of their own ism; Germany is kept in a state of fermenforesight, but that they have force enough tation, as ignorant as the rest of the world to divert it into a new channel.
of what are her constitutional rights, and The surest method of promoting union is who are her real masters. Even Turkeyto fix the attention upon some prospective alas for Europe !—has too much humanity good, and to labor to reach it. It has been for the oppressed, for the security of the wisely said, that the principle of friendly co- European powers. Italy—softly Italy has operation lies in a common interest in the departed; resurrection, not revolution, is the pursuit of a common good. It is well only hope for her. What shall be said of enough to probe a wound to ascertain its France ? She presents the paradox of elecnature and extent, but the probing is no part tive absolutism arm in arm with rampant of the cure, and if unskilfully attempted, may democracy. Some dreary night, one or the serve to make the bad still worse.
other will be found strangled. When that We have as a nation a work to accom- day comes, the guillotine or the bayonet will plish, to which if we bend all our energies, have prevailed. there need be no fear of discord among us.
There remains one other European power, Unity of heart and mind is requisite to seated upon what must one day have been the accomplishment of the task, which is no the easternmost projection of the American less than the renovation of the condition of continent, but, by some hankering after the human society.
society of royalty, betrayed into bad comEurope is in a sad state. Absolutism is pany, which entertains manly ideas of popumore terrible to-day than ever before; while, | lar liberty. That great power has until just on the other hand, liberty is more indispen- now been altogether taken up with the exsable for man. The ambition of crowned hibition of a gigantic Punch, and with the heads is less carefully disguised by the vacant- practical philosophy of the Hong merchants. featured mask of diplomacy, and looks di- But there is hope that her mighty arm will rectly to its mark. A czar or an emperor be lifted over the lofty crests of the oppresmay well burn with ambitious desire to add sors, for her true-hearted people have received to his dominions such slaves as the men who with sympathy and fellowship a noble exile. wield the intellectual and moral power of That exile will soon be in our midst, and the age. The pride of a Corsican soldier will be received as an ambassador, not from took fire at such a thought, and well nigh the oppressed of Hungary alone, but of all accomplished its most ambitious aspirations. Europe. What may be the issue of the
It was vastly easier, centuries ago, to future is with Heaven alone to know ; but wrest power from the hands of kings, than at the aspects of the present forebode the advent the present day. Until royalty learned what of events that will demand of us perfect and a Cromwell could do, it treated popular tu- indissoluble unity, nerve and patriotism. mult with contempt, though with severity. For the rest, with the power and security But that notable example, followed by still which these will bring us, we may rest hopemore instructive lessons, has taught absolut- ful and assured of the triumph of right in ism that there is no sympathy between it whatever struggle gathers in the eventful and the ideas of popular liberty. The art- | future.