Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/42

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Constitution; they pledge their sacred honor to commit treason against the laws of their country.

Mr. Webster, in his speech at Capon Springs, also said:

The leading sentiment in the toast from the chair is the Union of the States. What mind can comprehend the consequences of that Union, past, present, and to come. The Union of these States is the all-absorbing topic of the day; on it all men write, speak think, and dilate, from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof. And yet, gentlemen, I fear its importance has been but insufficiently appreciated.

[Again Mr. Webster says:] How absurd it is to suppose that when different parties enter into a compact for certain purposes, either can disregard any one provision, 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 support in all its parts and all its provisions. It is written in the Constitution, "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."

This 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.

I have not hesitated to say, and I repeat, that if the Northern States refuse willfully and deliberately to carry into effect that part of the Constitution which respects the restoration of fugitive slaves, and Congress provide 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