Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 13.djvu/457

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456 Southern Historical Society Papers.

have been formed originally. But the dominant majority, which at last proved to be sectional in its character, not only used the machinery of a government which they wielded to plunder the minority, through unequal legislation in the shape of protective tariffs and appropria- tions made for their own benefit, but proceeding from step to step they waged through the forms of law a war upon the social system of the slaveholding States and threatened, when fully armed with politi- cal power, to use the Government itself to disturb the domestic peace of those States. Finding that the covenants and conditions upon which the Union was formed were not only persistently violated, but that the common government itself, then entirely in the hands of a sectional majority, was to be used for the purposes of warring upon the domestic institutions which it was bound by express stipulations to protect, eleven of the slaveholding States felt it to be due to them- selves to withdraw from a Union, when the conditions upon which it was formed either had been or were certainly about to be violated. They were thus compelled to withdraw from a government which not only abdicated its duty to protect the domestic institutions of fifteen States, but on the one hand threatened those institutions with war, and on the other withheld from the people interested in them the means of self-defence. The eleven Confederate States were thus forced, in self defence, to abandon a Union whose ends were thus perverted, not from any passion for jnovelty, or from any change of purpose, but to attain, under a new Confederacy of more homo- geneous materials and interests, the very ends and objects for which the first \\asformed. It was amongst the first of these objects to ob- tain a government whose authority should rest upon the assent of the governed, and whose action should represent also their will. It was for the sacred right of self-government that they have been forced to take up arms, and not to escape the just obligations incurred under the compact upon which the first Union was formed. On the con- trary, one of the first acts of the Government of the Confederate States was to send commissioners to the President of the United States, to adjust amicably and fairly all questions of property and responsibility which had been jointly acquired or incurred by all the States when embraced in the same Union. The Government of the United States refused to receive these commissioners, the authority of their Government was denied, their people were denounced as Rebels, and threatened with coercion at the point of the sword. On the part of the Confederate States, the war in its inception was one of self defence, and it has been waged since by them with no other