Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 40.djvu/38

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
Southern Historical Society Papers.

tablished should not be changed for light and transient causes; and, accordingly, all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed."

After the triumph of our first War of Secession more than three-quarters of a century passed, during which this right of secession, as now reinforced by constitutional provisions, was often asserted, before it was actually resorted to. There is no reason to think that a second successful application of this drastic remedy, and under a like strong provocation, would have cut us adrift from our previous caution and long-suffering.

Again, it is argued that there would have been constant causes for friction and even bloodshed arising between the Confederate States of America and their neighbors to the north, the United States of America. Well, would that sort of bloodshed have been any bloodier than the four years of it that was suffered in imposing the union's yoke upon the Southern States? But, after all, are we so sure that those two powers, once they had started together in the pathway of peace, would have been unable to continue side by side in amity? Despite strong provocation at times we manage, nearly all of the time, to preserve the peace even with storm-rocked Mexico. And we are about to celebrate a century of peace with those ancient enemies of ours, now our British and Canadian friends, although during the whole of that period they have formed our entire northern land boundary, and although "another Mississippi" (the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence) flows from our territory through theirs to the sea.

Another objection, or theory: That, after all, it is better for the South that the War should have ended as it did. No, a thousand times no: first and foremost, because evil should never be done that good may come of it and because Appomattox put back a half-century or more the hand of progress on the dial plate of civilization; second and secondarily, because the history of the fifty years succeeding the War is a record of legislation hostile to the material interests of the Southern portion of what is called a reunited country. Under the first of these two heads