Unveiling of the Howitzer Monument. 285
TO OVERTHROW EVERY SOUTHERN COMMONWEALTH.
That union of the purse and the sword which was the theme of such impassioned declamation at the North, when the object was to divide the South against Andrew Jackson, was welcomed with avidity, when the object was not the protection of a bank, but only the overthrow of every Commonwealth of the South. It was else- where than in Virginia that the value of the Union had heretofore been computed.
It was with the secession of New England that Hamilton threatened Jefferson, unless the debts of the States were assumed by the general government. The purchase and admission of Louisiana were held to justify the secession of New England, and for the very reason that the admission of any new State into the Union altered the Fede- ral compact to which the Commonwealths of New England had acceded, by altering their relative weight therein. The embargo, the non-intercourse act, and the hostilities with Great Britain were deemed justifiable grounds for a dissolution of the Union; and the " Hartford Nation," which assembled in Congress to draw the neces- sary papers, was only restrained by that glory of New Orleans, which was a victory over New England quite as much as over Old England. The annexation of Texas was considered a ground for separation of the States, and for reasons which were once more based on the fede- rative character of the Union, and the alteration of the relative importance of its members. On the ist of February, 1850, Mr. Hale offered in the Senate a petition and resolutions asking that body to devise " without delay some plan for the immediate, peaceful dis- solution of the American Union." And Chase and Seward voted for its reception. It was New England who taught us the memora- ble words, " amicably if we can. violently if we must."*
- " There is a great rule of human conduct which he who honestly observes
cannot err widely from the path of his sought duty. It is to be very scrupu- lous concerning the principles you select as the test of your rights and obli- gations ; to be very faithful in noticing the result of their application ; to be very fearless in tracing and exposing their immediate effects and distant consequences. Under the sanction of this rule of conduct I am compelled to declare it as my deliberate opinion that if this bill passes, the bonds of this Union are virtually dissolved ; that the States which compose it are free from their moral obligations, and that as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some to prepare definitely for a separation amicably if they