Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/40

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speech delivered April 30, 1839, on the occasion of the celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of our government under the Constitution, he said:

But the indissoluble union between the several States of this confederated nation is, after all, not in the right but in the heart. If the day should ever come (may Heaven avert it) when the affections of the people of these States shall be alienated from each other; when the fraternal spirit shall give way to cold indifference, or collision of interest shall fester into hatred, the bands of political asseveration will not long hold together parties no longer attracted by the magnetism of conciliated interests and kindly sympathies; and far better will it be for the people of the disunited States to part in friendship from each other than to be held together by constraint. Then will be the time for reverting to the precedents which occurred at the formation and adoption of the Constitution to form again a more perfect Union by dissolving that which could no longer bind, and to leave the separated parts to be reunited by the law of political gravitation to the center.

It is a remarkable fact that in 1848 the distinguished son of this illustrious gentleman received 291,267 votes as candidate of the Free Soil party for the vice-presidency.

This principle of the right of secession had been always sanctioned by the people of Massachusetts. When it was proposed to annex Louisiana to the Federal Union, the legislature passed the following resolution: "That the annexation of Louisiana to the Union transcends the constitutional power of the government of the United States. It formed a new confederacy, to which the States united by the former compact are not bound to adhere." In the year 1844 it was resolved by that legislature: ". . . That the project of the annexation of Texas, unless arrested on the threshold, may drive these States into a dissolution of the Union."

The opinion of the conservative element in the North, that this agitation was an invasion of the constitutional