Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/416

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

410 Southern Historical Society Papers.

the first of which Davis made on the occasion of his defence of the new railroad line, Mississippi-still Ocean, and in which he with glow- ing patriotism praised the strength of the bond which held together States of the Union; and the other of which was made by a man who, as a genuine radical, had opposed the war against Mexico as unnecessary and unconstitutional.

This other speaker said in a certain way eloquently giving a mo- tive for the secession of the Southern States : Every people who have the will and power for it possess also the right to rise, shake off their government and establish a new one which suits them better.* This is an invaluable, sacred right which will at some time free the world. But this right is not limited only to cases in which a whole people is united in rising in arms ; but even minorities have the right to revolt and establish their independence, etc., etc.

And who, asks Daniel, was this man who in a certain manner pressed into the hands of the Southern States, the right of throwing off a hated government? It was Abraham Lincoln, who made this speech on the i2th of February, 1858, in the House of Representa- tives. The one who praised and invoked the concord of the Union was, by his contemporaries, stigmatized as traitor. The other is es- teemed and venerated to-day by many, as the defender and preserver of the Union!

Even the opponents of Davis adjnired the warmth of heart and irreproachable nobility of mind which governed his life. Even his greatest political opponent, Clay, always called him his friend. This is not the place to set forth the motive for the ever growing rupture between the States, f

Only as a curious fact for the superficial critics of the whole con- flict, it may here be stated that at the beginning of the settlement of the country, the Southern States had a greater aversion to slavery than the Northern States. From 1720 to 1760, South Carolina unceas- ingly protested against the introduction of negro labor. Georgia forbade it by law. Virginia decidedly opposed it and levied a tax of ten dollars on each negro. They were originally forced to adopt this system through the avarice of the English merchants, and the despot- ism of the English ministers which had later, certainly for the South, its demoralizing features.

^Similar words are found in the Declaration of Independence. fThe writer of this article has contributed to this subject in the pages of the Kreuz Zeitung.