Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 22.djvu/41
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ion, and expect, nevertheless, the other to observe the rest! I intend, for one, to regard and maintain and carry out to the fullest extent the Constitution of the United States, which I have sworn to sup- port in all its parts and all its provisions. It is written in the Con- stitution
" No person held to service or labor in one State under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due."
That is as much a part of the Constitution as any other, and as equally binding and obligatory as any other on all men, public or private. And who denies this? None but the Abolitionists of the North. And, pray, what is it they will not deny ? They have but the one idea; and it would seem that these fanatics at the North and the Secessionists at the South are putting their heads together to devise means to defeat the good designs of honest, patriotic men. They act to the same end and the same object, and the Constitution has to take the fire from both sides.
Mr. Webster then told his hearers that if the Northern States per- sisted in their refusal to comply with the Constitution the South would no longer be bound to observe the constitutional compact He said:
I have not hesitated to say, and I repeat, that if the Northern States refuse, wilfully and deliberately, to carry into effect that part of the Constitution which respects the restoration of fugitive slaves, and Congress provides no remedy, the South would no longer be bound to observe the compact. A bargain cannot be broken on one side and still bind the other side. I say to you, gentlemen in Vir- ginia, as I said on the shores of Lake Erie and in the city of Boston, as I may say again in that city or elsewhere in the North, that you of the South, have as much right to recover your fugitive slaves as the North has to any of its rights and privileges of navigation and commerce.
Mr. Webster also said :
I am as ready to fight and to fall for the constitutional rights of Virginia as I am for those of Massachusetts.
Then followed the election of Abraham Lincoln upon a platform which clearly informed the southern people that the guaranties of the Constitution, which they revered, and the doctrines of State rights