Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 16.djvu/331
The Southern Cause Vindicated. :;_'."
a dead letter. * * * You, thinking slavery right, claim the ful- fillment of the stipulation ; we, thinking slavery wrong, cannot ful- fill the stipulation without consciousness of participation in wrong."
This leaves no room to question the policy marked out by Mr. Lincoln. The speech of Mr. Chase, his chief adviser, distinctly an- nounced that, in two essentials, the Constitution should not be ob- served and executed. He avows that the Constitution shall not be the law of the land, but that the will of the party coining into power shall be that law, a declaration in words that the Constitution is a dead letter. The course to be pursued was the usurpation of the powers of government and their absorption in centralization It is admitted that that party understood the Constitution as we did, but that for years it had been its settled and fixed determination not to execute it. That while it would solemnly swear to execute it, it would not do so. That it had triumphed on its purpose and princi- ple of disobedience, and it would avail itself of that triumph and sub- vert and overthrow the principles of the government and obliterate the Constitution it must swear to maintain, and bv virtue of which only it could take control and management. Try the questions by the rules laid down by Mr. Chase for his party, and who are the rebels, the traitors, the conspirators against the government ? The assertion that the Southern States are is the cap, the climax of delibe- rate and criminal impudence or inexcusable ignorance. The entire speech of Mr. Chase is interesting as part of the history of its time and the spirit of the party about to take control of the government. All Southerners, especially those of Confederate blood and extraction, should read it. They will find in it much to defend us against the charges of treason, conspiracy and rebellion, and much to shift these charges to the shoulders of others. It proves, as was said by Hon. C. J. Ingersoll, of Pennsylvania, in the House of Representatives on the 9th of June, 1841, that " The abolition agitation is" (was) "a conspiracy in the true definition of that offense. It is the combina- tion of many to break law, which is the definition of conspiracy ; none the better that the conspirators are, many of them, persons of fair character and perhaps pious designs."
The South was left without protection of constitutional guaranties and without hope in the decisions of the court of last resort, it must therefore resort to its only remedy, secession. It was outlawed. The Constitution denounced as " a dead letter." The evils likely and almost certain to flow from the teaching of Judge Chase's "origi- nally small party" were seen and dreaded by the best and most