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of the citizens of the United States or of their government, I see not how demands for immediate redress can be avoided. If any interruptions should be attempted of the regular channels of trade on the great watercourses or on the ocean, they cannot long be permitted. And if any considerable minorities of citizens should be persecuted or proscribed on account of their attachment to the Union and should call for protection, I cannot deny the obligation of this government to afford it. There are persons in many of the States whose patriotic declarations and honorable pledges of support of the Union may bring down upon them more than the ill will of their infatuated fellow citizens.
It would be impossible for the people of the United States to look upon any proscription of them with indifference. These are times which should bring together all men by whatever party name they may have been heretofore distinguished upon common ground. When I heard the gentlemen from Virginia the other day so bravely and so forcibly urging their manly arguments in support of the Union, the constitution, and the enforcement of the laws, my heart involuntarily bounded towards them as brethren sacredly engaged in a common cause. Let them, said I to myself, accept the offered settlement of the differences that remain between us on some fair basis like that proposed by the committee, and then what is to prevent us all who yet believe that the Union must be preserved from joining heart and hand our common forces to effect it?
When the cry goes out that the ship is in danger of sinking the first duty of every man on board, no matter what his particular vocation, is to lend all the strength he has to the work of keeping her afloat. What! shall it be said that we waver in the view of those who begin by trying to expunge
the sacred memory of the Fourth of July? Shall we help them to obliterate the associations that cluster around the glorious struggle for independence or stultify the labors of the patriots who erected this magnificent political edifice upon the adamantine base of human liberty? Shall we surrender the fame of Washington and Laurens, of Gadsden and the Lees, of Jefferson and Madison, and of the myriads of heroes whose names are imperishably connected with the memory of a united people? Never, never.
For myself I can only interpose against what seems to me like the madness of the moon, the barrier of a single feeble remonstrance. But in any event it shall never be said of my share in the action of this hour of danger, that it has been guided by vindictive passions or narrow considerations of personal or party advantage. I well know what I hazard among many whose good opinion has ever been part of the sunlight of my existence, in following what I hold to be a higher duty. Whilst at any and at all times I shall labor to uphold the great principles of liberty, without which this grand system of our fathers would seem to be a mockery and a show, I shall equally strive to give no just ground to enemies and traitors to expand the circle of mischief they may do.
Although not very frequently indulging in the profession of a devotion to the Union which has heretofore been too often associated with a public policy I deemed most dangerous to its safety, I will venture to add that no man over the boundless extent of our dominion has more reasons for inextinguishable attachment to it than myself. It is inwoven in my affections with the faithful labors in its support of two generations of my race. It is blended with a not inconsiderable personal stake in its continuity. It is mingled with my earnest prayers for the welfare of those who are treading
And more than all these, it colors all my visions of the beneficent spread of Republican institutions as well in America as over the rest of the civilized world.
If, then, so great a calamity as a division be about to be fall us it shall be hastened by no act of mine. It shall come from the wilful passions of infatuated men, who demand it of us to destroy the great principles for which our fathers struggle in life and in death to stain our standard with the symbol of human oppression and to degrade us in the very hour of our victory, before our countrymen, before all the nations of the civilized world, and before God. Rather than this let the heavens fall. My duty is performed.
JEFFERSON DAVIS was born in Christian County, Kentucky, in 1808.
He received a classical education at Translyvania University, graduated at West Point in 1828, and served as Lieutenant of Infantry and of Dragoons until 1835, wben he engaged in cotton planting in Mississippi. He was a Presi. dential elector on the Polk and Dallas ticket in 1844; served in Congress from December, 1845, to June, 1846, when he resigned to command à regiment in the Mexican Wai, wherein he distinguished himself at Monterey and Buena Vista. He declined the appointment of Brigadier-General in the regular army in May, 1847, was sent in the same year from Mississippi to the United States Sonate, and kept his seat there until 1851. In the year last named he was defeated for Governor of Mississippi, but two years later became Secretary of War under President Pierce. In 1857 he was again chosen United States Senator, and served until January 21, 1861. He was inaugurated President of the Confederate States on February 18 of the year just named, and remained at the bead of the Confederacy until the close of the Rebellion. Captured by Federal troops in Georgia, in May, 1865, he was imprisoned for two years at Fortress Monroe, and then released on $100,000 bail. Though indicted for treason in May, 1866, he was never brought to trial. The last years of his life were spent on a plantation at Beauvoir, Mississippi, and he died in New Orleans in 1889.
RISE, Mr. President, for the purpose of announcing to the Senate that I have satisfactory evidence that the
State of Mississippi, by a solemn ordinance of her peo. ple in convention assembled, has declared her separation from the United States. Under these circumstances, of course my functions are terminated here. It has seemed
to me proper, however, that I should appear in the Senato to announce that fact to my associates, and I will say but very little more. The occasion does not invite me to go into argument, and my physical condition would not permit me to do so if it were otherwise; and yet it seems to become me to say something on the part of the State 1 here repre. sent, on an occasion so solemn as this.
It is known to Senators who have served with me here, that I have for many years advocated, as an essential attri. bute of State sovereignty, the right of a State to secede from the Union. Therefore, if I had not believed there was justi. fiable cause; if I had thought that Mississippi was acting without sufficient provocation, or without an existing necessity, I should still, under my theory of the government, because of my allegiance to the State of which I am a citizen, have been bound by her action. I, however, may be per. mitted to say that I do think that she has justifiable cause, and I approve of her act. I conferred with her people before that act was taken, counselled them then that if the state of things which they apprehended should exist when the convention met, they should take the action which they have now adopted.
I hope none who hear me will confound this expression of mine with the advocacy of the right of a State to remain in the Union, and to disregard its constitutional obligations by the nullification of the law. Such is not my theory. Nullification and secession, so often confounded, are indeed antagonistic principles. Nullification is a remedy which it is sought to apply within the Union, and against the agent of the States. It is only to be justified when the agent has violated his constitutional obligation, and a State, assuming to judge for itself, denies the right of the agent thus to act,