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No. 47. haustion of provisions in the latter-named fort. In precaution against such Vereinigte a conjuncture, the government had, a few days before, commenced prepar. 1. Juli ing an expedition, as well adapted as might be, to relieve Fort Sumter, 1861. which exedition was intended to be ultimately used, or not, according to
circumstances. The strongest anticipated case for using it was now presented ; and it was resolved to send it forward. As had been intended, in this contingency, it was also resolved to notify the governor of South Carolina, that he might expect an attempt would be made to provision the fort; and that, if the attempt should not be resisted, there would be no effort to throw in men, arms, or ammunition, without further notice, or in case of an attack upon the fort. This notice was accordingly given; whereupon the fort was attacked, and bombarded to its fall, without even awaiting the arrival of the provisioning expedition. It is thus seen that the assault upon, and reduction of, Fort Sumter, was, in no sense, a matter of self defence on the part of the assailants. They well knew that the garrison in the fort could, by no possibility, commit agression upon them. They knew—they were expressly notified that the giving of bread to the few brave and hungry men of the garrison, was all which would on that occasion be attempted, unless themselves, by resisting so much, should provoke more.
They knew that this government desired to keep the garrison in the fort, ' not to assail them, but merely to maintain visible possession, and thus to
preserve the Union from actual and immediate dissolution--trusting, as herein before stated, to time, discussion, and the ballot-box, for final adjust. ment; and they assailed, and reduced the fort, for precisely the reverse object - to drive out the visible authority of the federal Union, and thus force it to immediate dissolution. That this was their object, the Executive well understood; and having said to them, in the inaugural address, “You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors," he took pains, not only to keep this declaration good, but also to keep the case 80 free from the power of ingenious sophistry, as that the world should not be able to misunderstand it. By the affair at Fort Sumter, with its surrounding circumstances, that point was reached. Then, and thereby, the assailants of the government, began the conflict of arms, without a gun in sight, or in expectancy to return their fire, save only the few in the fort, sent to that harbor, years before, for their own protection, and still ready to give that protection in whatever was lawful. In this act, discarding all else, they have forced upon the country, the distinct issue: “Immediate dissolution or blood.” | And this issue embraces more than the fate of these United States. It presents to the whole family of man the question, whether a constitutional republic, or democracy--a government of the people, by the same people, can, or cannot, maintain its territorial integrity against its own domestic foes. It presents the question, whether discontented individuals, too few in numbers to control administration, according to organic law, in any case, can always, upon the pretences made in this case, or on any other pretences, or arbitrarily, without any pretence, break up their government, and thus practically put an end to free government upon the
earth. It forces us to ask: "Is there, in all republics, this inherent and No. 47. fatal weakness?” “Must a government, of necessity, be too strong for the Vereinigte liberties of its own people, or too weak to maintain its own existence?” 4. Juli | So viewing the issue, no choice was left but to call out the war power 1861. of the government; and so to resist force, employed for its destruction, by force, for its preservation. The call was made, and the response of the country was most gratifying, surpassing in unanimity, and spirit, the most sanguine expectation. Yet, none of the States commonly called slave States, except Delaware, gave a regiment through regular States organization. A few regiments have been organized within some others of those States by individual enterprise, and received into the government service. Of course, the seceded States, so called, (and to which Texas had been joined about the time of the inauguration,) gave no troops to the cause of the Union. The border States, so called, were not uniform in their action; some of them beeing almost for the Union, while in others — as Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas- the Union sentiment was nearly repressed, and silenced. The course taken in Virginia was the most remarkable - perhaps the most important. A convention, elected by the people of that State to consider this very question of disrupting the Federal Union, was in session at the capital of Virginia when Fort Sumter fell. To this body the people had chosen a large majority of professed Union men. Almost immediately after the fall of Sumter, many members of that majority went over to the original disunion minority, and, with them, adopted an ordinance for withdrawing the State from the Union. Whether this change was wrought by their great approval of the assault upon Sumter, or their great resentment at the government's resistance to that assault, is not de. finitely known. Although they submitted the ordinance, for ratification, to a vote of the people, to be taken on a day then somewhat more than a month distant, the convention, and the legislature, (which was also in session at the same time and place,) with leading men of the State, not members of either, immediately commenced acting as if the State was already out of the Union. They pushed military preparations vigorously forward all over the State. They seized the United States armoury at Harper's Ferry, and the navyyard at Gosport, near Norfolk. They received-perhaps invitedinto their State large bodies of troops, with their warlike appointinents, from the so-called seceded States. They formally entered into a treaty of temporary alliance and co-operation with the so-called “Confederate States”, and sent members to their Congress at Montgomery. And finally, they permitted the insurrectionary government to be transferred to their capital at Richmond. | The people of Virginia have thus allowed this giant insurrection to make its nest within her borders; and this government has no choice left but to deal with it where it finds it. And it has the less regret, as the loyal citizens have, in due form, claimed its protection. Those loyal citizens this government is bound to recognize, and protect, as being Virginia. In the border States, so called-in fact, the middle States—there are those who favor a policy which they call “armed neutrality": that is, an arming of those
No. 47. States to prevent the Union forces passing one way, or the disunion the
separation-and yet, not quite an impassable one; for, under the guise of
presented. It was not believed that any law was violated. The provision of the No. 47. Constitution that the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be Vereinigte
Staaten, suspended unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety 4. Juli may require it, is equivalent to a provision --- is a provision — that such privi- 186 lege may be suspended when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety does require it. It was decided that we have a case of rebellion, and that the public safety does require the qualified suspension of the privilege of the writ which was authorized to be made. Now it is insisted that Congress, and not the Executive, is vested with this power. But the Constitution itself is silent as to which, or who, is to exercise the power; and as the provision was plainly made for a dangerous emergency, it cannot be believed the framers of the instrument intended that, in every case, the danger should run its course, until Congress could be called together; the very assembling of which might be prevented, as was intended in this case, by the rebellion. [ No more extended argument is now offered, as an opinion, at some length, will probably be presented by the Attorney General. Whether there shall be any legislation upon the subject, and if any, what, is submitted entirely to the better judgment of Congress. The forbearance of this government had been so extraordinary, and so long continued, as to lead some foreign nations to sharpe their action as if they supposed the early destruction of our National Union was probable. While this, on discovery, gave the Executive some concern, he is now happy to say that the sovereignty and rights of the United States are now everywhere practically respected by foreign powers; and a general sympathy with the country is manifested throughout the world. | The reports of the Secretaries of the Treasury, War, and the Navy, will give the information in detail deemed necessary, and convenient for your deliberation, and action; while the Executive, and all the departments, will stand ready to supply omissions, or to communicate new facts, considered important for you to know. | It is now recommended that you give the legal means for making this contest a short and a decisive one; that you place at the control of the government, for the work, at least four hundred thousand men, and four hundred millions of dollars. That number of men is about onetenth of those of proper ages within the regions where, appraently, all are willing so engage; and the sum is less than a twentythird part of the money value owned by the men who seem ready to devote the whole. A debt of six hundred millions of dollars now, is a less sum per head, than was the debt of our revolution when we came out of that struggle; and the money value in the country now, bears even a greater proportion to what it was then, than does the population. Surely each man has as strong a motive now, to preserve our liberties, as each had then, to establish them. T A right result, at this time, will be worth more to the world than ten times the men, and ten times the money. The evidence reaching us from the country, leaves no doubt, that the material for the work is abundant; and that it needs only the hand of legislation to give it legal sanction, and the hand of the Executive to give it practical shape and efficiency. One of the greatest perplexities of the government is to
No. 47. avoid receiving troops faster than it can provide for them. In a word, Vereinigte the people will save their government, if the government itself, will do its 4. Juli part, only indifferently well. It might seem, at first thought, to be of
little difference whether the present movement at the South be called “secession“ or “rebellion. The movers, however, well understand the difference. At the beginning, they knew they could never raise their treason to any respectable magnitude by any name which implies violation of law. They knew their people possessed as much of moral sense, as much of devotion to law and order, and as much pride in, and reverence for, the history and government of their common country, as any other civilized and patriotic people. They knew they could make no advancement directly in the teeth of these strong and noble sentiments. Accordingly they commenced by an insidious debauching of the public mind. They invented an ingenious sophism, which, if conceded, was followed by perfectly logical steps, through all the incidents, to the complete destruction of the Union. The sophism itself is, that any State of the Union may, consistently with the national Constitution, and therefore lawfully, and peacefully, withdraw from the Union, without the consent of the Union, or of any other State. The little disguise that the supposed right is to be exercised only for just cause, themselves to be the sole judge of its justice, is too thin to merit any notice.
With rebellion thus sugar-coated, they have been drugging the public mind of their section for more than thirty years; and until at length they have brought many good men to a willingness to take up arms against the government the day after some assemblage of men have enacted the farcical pretence of taking their State out of the Union, who could have been brought to no such thing the day before. This sophism derives much, perhaps the whole, of its currency from the assumption that there is some omnipotent and sacred supremacy pertaining to a State - to each State of our Federal Union. Our States have neither more, nor less power, than that reserved to them, in the Union, by the Constitution - no one of them ever having been a State out of the Union. The original ones passed into the Union even before they cast off their British colonial dependence; and the new ones each came into the Union directly from a condition of dependence, excepting Texas. And even Texas, in its temporary indepen. dence, was never designated a State. The new ones only took the designation of States, on coming into the Union, while that name was first adopted for the old ones, in and by the Declaration of Independence. Therein the “United Colonies were declared to be “free and independent States;" but, even then, the object plainly was not to declare their independence of one another, or of the Union, but directly the contrary, as their mutual pledge, and their mutual action, before, at the time, and afterwards, abund. antly show. The express plighting of faith, by each and all of the original thirteen, in the Articles of Confederation, two years later, that the Union shall be perpetual, is most conclusive. Having never been States, either in substance or in name, outside of the Union, whence this magical omnipotence of “State rights,“ asserting a claim of power to lawfully destroy