In the midst of the agitating events and warm discussions of the times, there are many side issues and impracticable propositions presented tending to distract the public mind and divide the public counsels. The great point to be obtained in the South is harmony of feeling and unity of action. By this only can we avert war; by this only can we preserve or reconstruct the present Union of the States. In order to promote harmony, it is well to recur to the causes of our difficulties occasionally. It is only by keeping their true nature in view that we can hope to apply the proper means to redress our grievances.
The preamble to the resolutions adopted by the recent meeting of citizens of Richmond, very briefly and nervously summed up the evils which have produced the present condition of things, thus:
"We recognize as the chief source of our evils, the anti-slavery sentiment of the North, which denies to the Southern States their rights in the Territories; nullifies, by legislative enactment, the Fugitive Slave Law; poisons the schools the pulpit, the press, the literature, and, to some extent, the administration of justice in the Northern States; paralyzes the action of Congress for all useful purposes, and has at length, under the form of a Presidential election, seized the Federal Executive, with the avowed intention of so administering the Government as to circumscribe slavery, and to place it where the Northern mind shall rest satisfied that it is in the course of ultimate extinction."
Let us see what are the real principles of the party who have, "under the forms of a Presidential election, seized the Federal Executive," to carry out purposes at war with the Constitution and the rights of the South. The following are the resolutions known as the Chicago, or Black Republican platform, adopted by the Republican party in May last, when it nominated Abraham Lincoln for President of the United States:
Resolved. That we, the delegated representatives of the Republican electors of the United States, in Convention assembled, in discharge of the duty we owe to our constituents and our country, unite in the following declarations:
That the history of the nation during the last four years has fully established the propriety and necessity of the organization and perpetuation of the Republican party, and that the causes which called it into existence are permanent in their nature, and now, more than ever before, demand its peaceful and constitutional triumph.
That the maintenance of the principles promulgated in the Declaration of Independence and embodied in the Federal Constitution,"That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed," is essential to the preservation of our Republican institutions; and that the Federal Constitution, the rights of the States, and the Union of the States, must and shall be preserved.
That the present Democratic administration has far exceeded our worst apprehensions in its measureless subserviency to the exactions of a sectional interest, as especially evinced in its desperate exertions to force the infamous Lecompton Constitution upon the protesting people of Kansas; in construing the personal relation between master and servant, to involve an unqualified property in persons; in its attempted enforcement everywhere, on land and sea, through the intervention of Congress and of the Federal Courts, of the extreme pretensions of a purely local interest, and in its general and unvarying abuse of the power entrusted to it by a confiding people.
"That the new dogma that the Constitution, of its own force, carries slavery into 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.
"That the normal 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 of law,' it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such legislation is necessary, to maintain 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."
Now, we doubt whether one in twenty of our readers ever read this very remarkable party paper, this declaration of the Republican party, which is nothing more nor less than a declaration of war upon the Southern States. "These resolutions, " as fairly stated by a Northern journal, "assert the equality of the black with the white man, by a misapplication of the language of the Declaration of Independence, which was never intended to apply to negro slaves; that slaves are not property, and that the master is not entitled to protection under the Federal Government by land and sea; and that to affirm that the constitution protects slavery in the Territories "is revolutionary and subversive of the peace and harmony of the country;" and on the ground that "no person should be deprived of life liberty or property, without due process of law, " the resolutions further maintain that "the normal condition of all the territory of the United States is that of freedom," and that it becomes the duty of all Republicans by legislation to maintain that principle, and to "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." Lastly, that on these principles, which are in direct violation of the Constitution, "the Union of the States must and shall be preserved," which of course implies force of arms; and to that end there is a necessity for a perpetuation of the party, "as the causes which called it into existence are permanent."
Upon these principles, we are informed by this nefarious party, "the Union must and shall be preserved." Thus is the measure of outrage, of indignity and insult towards the South filled to overflowing, at the close of forty years of infringement upon its rights. —To submit longer would be to cover ourselves with ignominy and disgrace, and prove to the world that we are degenerate sons of a noble ancestry, and incapable of defending our liberties and preserving our national honor. Four years ago the Black Republican party made its first attempt to destroy the Constitution and provincialize the South by the election of a President of the United States and seizing the reins of Government. The Hon. Millard Fillmore, then himself a nominee for the Presidency, entered the arena of debate to warn his people against the dangers that threatened his country if the sectional Black Republican party should triumph. In a speech delivered by him at Albany, he made the following striking declarations:
"We see a political party presenting candidates for the Presidency and Vice Presidency selected, for the first time, from the free States alone, with the avowed purpose of electing these candidates by suffrages of one part of the Union only, to rule over the whole United States. Can it be possible that those who are engaged in such a measure can have seriously reflected upon the consequences which must inevitably follow in case of success? Can they have the madness or the folly to believe that our Southern brethren would submit to be governed by such a Chief Magistrate? Suppose that the South, having a majority of the electoral votes, should declare that they would have only slaveholders for President and Vice President, and should elect such by their exclusive suffrage to rule over us at the North, do you think you would submit to it? NO, NOT FOR A MOMENT. And do you believe that your Southern brethren are less sensitive on this subject than you are, or less jealous of their rights? If you do let me tell you that you are mistaken; and therefore you must see that if this sectional party succeeds, it leads INEVITABLY TO THE DESTRUCTION OF THIS BEAUTIFUL FABRIC, reared by our forefathers, &c. I tell you that we are treading upon the brink of a volcano, that is liable at any moment to burst forth and OVERWHELM THE NATION."
Mr. Fillmore was certainly right in his estimate of the spirit of the Northern people.—They would not submit to such a tyranny from the South as that he described. And can we for a moment suppose, as he himself said, that the Southern people "are less sensitive on this subject," "or less jealous of their rights," than the people of the North? Will any Southern man make so disgraceful an admission?
Washington predicted the breaking up of the Union Under circumstances precisely such as now exist. His prediction was based upon the spirit of independence and honor which he knew to abide in the hearts of the people of his country. If we submit we shall have fallen below the standard he thought we would live up to, and will merit the contempt of the world. We will have done more to convince the world of the "barbarism of slavery" than Sumner's sophistries spun out for years.
The South will be true to herself—to the estimate of her spirit entertained by the Father of his Country—to her past history—and to her present independence and honor. She will resist the outrages of the North. She will dissolve all connection with the North, or have an acknowledgment and a practical respect of her rights from those who have denied and outraged them. She will not longer submit to be told that she shall have no equality in Territories, and that her right of property in slaves shall be nowhere recognized—and to be told that by the descendants of the importers of slaves, and of those who owned slaves and got rid of slavery by selling out to our ancestors—descendants of persons who got rid of slavery by having a commercial outlet for it, and whose posterity now say to us that we shall have no outlet; but that we shall be hemmed in by lines within which slavery will ultimately be extinguished, according to Mr. Lincoln. To submit would bring national disgrace upon us, and put our own race in a course of "ultimate extinction."
The natural effect of these causes has begun. One State has withdrawn from the Union—several others are going. It is folly to denounce them. It is self-stultification in any Southern man to do so. There is no difference about the nature of our outrages and their degree. If some States choose to dissolve their connection with their assailants, we ought not to denounce them. We may regret that they had not shaped their measures and the time of their action differently; but we cannot deny nor depreciate the gravity of the PROVOCATION.
They cannot be called back without the most complete acknowledgment of their rights in the Union. If this acknowledgment does not take place before Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated, then it is not likely that it will ever be made. There is an irrepressible aversion in the South to remaining under the Administration of Lincoln. Nothing but the most thorough righting of wrongs and redressing of aggrievances can induce Southern people to submit to it. Without them, Lincoln will never be President of the United States.
War and all its attendant horrors must ensue without a UNITED SOUTH. With union they may be prevented. Division and discord here will but fix the party in power at the North more firmly in its determination to yield not an inch of its usurpations—will but stimulate Black Republican bands and "Wide Awakes" in their measures for coercion and invasion of the South. Union and concord amongst us, if it does not promptly extort justice to the South, will at least stop the uplifted arm and end the preparation for coercion. The People are ahead of the Politicians and the Press, and the Women (God bless them!) are ahead of the Men. They must suffer most from war and its concomitants; but they are most eager for resistance—for the maintenance of the rights and honor of their country. For these the proud and noble daughters of the South are ready to endure any sacrifice. If the public men but elevate themselves to the level of popular feeling, the South will be united in a month from to-day. A UNITED SOUTH MAY ENSURE A RECONSTRUCTION OF THE Union. It WILL CERTAINLY VINDICATE THE HONOR AND THE INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF THE SOUTHERN STATES.