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TESTIMONY OF ALEX. H. STEPHENS. | and all the material resources of national Even so late as the autumn of 1860, and power and greatness, as the Southern States after the presidential election that announced have under the General Government, notthe defeat of the slave-power which had so withstanding all its defects ?” long ruled the country, the leading men of Mr. Stephens then, with philosophic skill, the South who had not been in the plot bat- showed that the institutions of a people contled manfully against it. On the 14th of stitute the matrix from which spring all their November last, Mr. Stephens, of Georgia, characteristics of development and greatness. now the Vice-President of the rebel Confed- “Look,” he said, “at Greece. There is the eracy, delivered a long and able speech in same fertile soil, the same blue sky, the same the Georgia House of Representatives, in inlets and harbors, the same Ægean, the same which, in answer to the question whether Olympus; there is the same land where Hothe Southern States should secede in conse- mer sang, where Pericles spoke; it is the quence of Mr. Lincoln's election, he said :- same old Greece but it is living Greece no
“My countrymen, I tell you frankly, can- more.” He pictured its ruin of art and civdidly, and earnestly, that I do not think that ilization, and traced that ruin to the downthey ought."
fall of their institutions. He drew the same Reminding them of the sacred obligation lesson from Italy and Rome, once mistress resting on them to be true to their national of the world, and solemnly warned them engagements, he exclaimed,
that where liberty is once destroyed, it may “If the Republic is to go down, let us be never return again. found to the last moment standing on the Coming back to the State of Georgia, he deck, with the Constitution of the United referred to the anxiety of many there in 1850 States waving over our heads.” And this to secede from the Union--and showed that sentiment was greeted with applause. since 1850 the material wealth of Georgia,
He expressed his belief that Mr. Lincoln as a member of the Union, had nearly, if not would do nothing to jeopard their safety or quite doubled. security, and showed them the wisdom of our He spoke of the prosperity in agriculture, system with its checks and guards. He re-commerce, art, science, and every departminded them that the President was power- ment of education, physical and mental, and less unless backed by Congress that the warned them against listening to the like House of Representatives was largely against temptation as that offered to our progenitors him, and that there would be a majority of in the Garden of Eden-when they were led four against him in the Senate, and referring to believe that they would become as gods, to a remark that no Georgian, who was true and yielding in an evil hour saw only their to his state, could consistently hold office own nakedness. under Mr. Lincoln, reminded them that such " I look," he said, " upon this country, with office could be honorably held, for it would its institutions, as the Eden of the world, the be conferred by the approval of a Democratic paradise of the universe. It may be that Senateand this exposition was received out of it we may become greater and more with “prolonged applause."
prosperous; but I am candid and sincere in Mr. Stephens frankly avowed that he would telling you, that I fear if we rashly evince never submit to any Republican aggression passion and without sufficient cause shall take on their constitutional rights to preserve the that step, that instead of becoming greater Union, but insisted that all their rights could or more peaceful, prosperous, and happybe secured in the Union, and emphatically instead of becoming gods, we will become declared, “That this Government of our demons, and at no distant day commence cutfathers, with all its defects, comes nearer ting one another's throats.” the objects of all good Governments than There, my countrymen, we have the testiany other on the face of the earth, is my set- mony of the Vice-President of the rebel tled conviction.”..." Have we not at the Confederacy, and the fact that Mr. Stephens, South, as well as at the North, grown great, like our progenitors of whom he spoke, prosperous, and happy under its operation : yielded to temptation and became a chief Has any part of the wêrld ever shown such abettor of the scheme of ruin which he so rapid progress in the development of wealth, strongly deprecated, detracts nothing from the value of this remarkable speech. His garded the fugitive-slave law as unconstitutreachery proves only his own weakness; it tional, and that Mr. Webster and Mr. Keitt impeaches neither the truth of his facts, the had expressed the same opinion. aptness of his illustrations, nor the conclu- You have seen, too, from Mr. Stephens, sions to which he was led by bis historic ex- that all the constitutional rights of the South perience and irresistible logic.
were protected within the Union—and that Already in South Carolina, first and chief- the South was indebted to the Union for her est of the seceding states, have men profess- safety, prosperity, and happiness. ing to be respectable, men whose names What then is the real ground on which the connect them, in past generations, with Eng- breach of faith committed by the seceding lishmen of gentle blood and Huguenots of states is to be justified, if it can be justified at heroic fame, men who for years have borne all? on what ground is it recommended to in foreign climes the proud title of American the prejudices of the South and to the imcitizens, and who know the simple dignity of partial judgment of the world? the American republic among the nations of After secession was an accomplished fact the earth,-already are these men, since they so far as their conventions could manage it discarded the protection of the Federal Gov- by usurped authority and fictitious majorities, ernment, so lost to self-respect that they are and Mr. Stephens had become not only a not only ready to submit to a foreign yoke, member but a prominent leader of the conbut, according to their eulogist, Mr. Russell, spiracy, he said at Atlanta :in a paragraph I will presently quote, they “ The foundations of our new Government actually whimper like children for the priv-are laid, its corner-stone rests upon the great ilege of becoming the vassals of a European truth that the negro is not equal to the white princelet.
man; that slavery, subordination to the su
perior race, is his natural and moral condition. THE CORNER-STONE OF THE SOUTHERN This our new Government is the first in the CONFEDERACY.
history of the world based upon this great We have glanced at the secret history of physical, philosophical, and moral truth.” the conspiracy. Now, let me ask, on what Mr. Stephens enlarged upon this distinground does this usurping Confederacy ask to guishing characteristic of the Government, be recognized as independent, and admitted to establish which the Union was to be disto the family of nations ?
solved, sneered at the principle that all men In the convention of South Carolina, in are equal, enunciated by our fathers in the reply to an objection that the declaration re- Declaration of Independence, ported by the committee dwelt too much on tilent heresy of fancy politicians ”–declared the fugitive-slave law and personal-liberty that “ African inequality and the equality of bills, as giving it the appearance of special white men were the chief corner-stone of the pleading, Mr. Memminger said: “Allow me Southern Republic,” and claimed that with a to say to the honorable gentleman, that when government so founded “the world would you take the position that you have a right recognize in theirs the model nation of to break your faith, to destroy an agreement history." that you have made, to tear off your seal Here we have their only apology for this from the document to which it is affixed, you rebellion, stripped of all shams and disguises, are bound to justify yourself fully to all the and thus at length in the latter half of the nations of the world, for there is nothing that nineteenth century, stand face to face in casts such a stain upon the escutcheon of a deadly conflict the antagonist systems of the nation as a breach faith.”
New World. In this Mr. Memminger was clearly right, “ All men," said the founders of the Amerand the alleged breach of faith by the North, ican republic, are created free and equal, touching the execution of the fugitive-slave and endowed with certain inalienable rights, law, was resorted to as affording a plausible among which are life, liberty, and the purpretext for seceding from the Union. But suit of happiness,” “ Let it ever be rememthe debates show that this pretext was a sham, bered," said the Continental Congress,“ that and Mr. Rhett frankly declared that he re- the rights for which we have contended were
as the pesthe rights of human nature," and on that i William Pinckney, the great orator of Maryfoundation arose the fair fabric of our lib- land, which occurs in a speech made in the erties.
Maryland House of Delegates, in 1789; and The dark shadow arises of another confed- remember as you listen to it the proof I have eracy which Davis and Keitt and Floyd already given you that the so-called Southand Toombs are striving to establish on the ern Confederacy is a military despotism, exruins of the republic erected by Washington temporized, and precipitated on the people and Franklin and Hamilton and Jefferson, of the South, who have never been allowed and the one great plea with which this new to express their will in regard to the subpower seeks to recommend itself to the stitution of the Montgomery Constitution for Christian world, is the assumption that the the ancient Constitution and Government white man was born to be the master, and which the confederates are striving to desthe black man was created to be his slave. troy.
Said Mr. Pinckney :THE REBELS OF '76 AND THOSE OF '61. “ That the dangerous consequences of the
The attempt of the slavery insurrection- system of bondage have not as yet been felt, ists to bring into contempt the great princi- does not prove that they never will be. . . ple of the Declaration of Independence, and To me, sir, nothing for which I have not the their characterizing the men who uttered it evidence of my senses is more clear than and the men who believe in it as “ fancy that it will one day destroy that reverence politicians,” shows how absolutely antag- for liberty which is the vital principle of a onist in their principles were those who re- Republic. belled in '76 against unconstitutional acts of “ While a majority of your citizens are acParliament, and those who in '61 are rebell- customed to rule with the authority of desing against the Constitution of the United pots within particular limits, while your youth States. Even in the august year which we are reared in the habit of thinking that the are met to celebrate, the principles and great rights of human nature are not so sareasonings of our fathers commanded the ad- cred but they may with innocence be trammiration of Europe, and called forth in the pledon, can it be expected that the public mind House of Lords that magnificent eulogy of should glow with that generous ardor in the Chatham, when he said that for himself he cause of freedom which can alone save a govmust declare that he had studied and ad- ernment like ours from the lurking demon of mired the free states of antiquity, the mas- usurpation! Do you not dread contaminater states of the world; but that for solidity tion of principle ? Have you ro alarms for of reasoning, force of sagacity, and wisdom the continuance of that spirit, which once of conclusion, no body of men could stand in conducted us to victory and independence preference to the Congress of Philadelphia. when the talons of power were unclasped for
Whatever may be the future of America, our destruction ? Have you no apprehenthe past is safe.
sion that when the votaries of freedom sacThe confederates of the slave republic, rifice also at the gloomy altars of slavery, unrivalled as may be their skill in robbing they will at length become apostates from us of material wealth and power, cannot rob the former? For my own part, I have no the founders of our Union of their glory- hope that the stream of general liberty will cannot filch from us the treasures we possess flow forever unpolluted through the foul mire in their great principles, connot lessen by of partial bondage, or that they who have the tithe of a hair the truth of and force of been habituated to lord it over others, will their example.
not in time be base enough to let others lord On the contrary, the formation of the it over them. If they resist, it will be the Southern Confederacy adds new proof to struggle of pride and selfishness, not of printheir far-sighted and prophetic sagacity. ciple." Look at the rebel states, plunged into an- The hour so philosophically predicted serarchy and war by Jefferson Davis, with a enty-two years ago has come. The usurping fettered press, free speech silenced, forced hand is lifted against the most benignant loans, and an army enlarged by conscription Government the world has ever seen. The and then listen to a single passage from usurpation is unresisted, the country is precipitated into war, and popular government, tion that there is some danger of an early overthrown, and a military rule established, act of rashness preliminary to secession; viz., the people, it would seem, have cast to the the seizure of some or all of the following world the historic memories we this day meet posts : Forts Jackson and Philip in the Misto celebrate. Mr. Russell, the correspondent sissippi, below New Orleans, both without of the London Times, now travelling at the garrisons; Fort Morgan, below Mobile, withSouth, treated with every attention, charmed out a garrison ; Forts Pickens and McRae, with their courtesy, and evidently inclined Pensacola harbor, with an insufficient garto regard their rebel movement with a favor- rison for one; Fort Pulaski, below Savanable
eye, writes from South Carolina on the nah, without a garrison; Forts Moultrie and 30th April, and makes this sad disclosure : Sumter, Charleston harbor, the former with “From all quarters have come to my ears an insufficient garrison, and the latter withthe echoes of the same voice; it may be out any; and Fort Monroe, Hampton Roads, feigned, but there is no discord in the note, without a sufficient garrison. In my opinion and it sounds in wonderful strength and all these works should immediately be so monotony all over the country. Shades of garrisoned as to make any attempt to take George III., of North, of Johnson, of all who any one of them, by surprise or coup de main, contended against the great rebellion which ridiculous. tore these colonies from England, can you “ With an army faithful to its allegiance hear the chorus which rings through the state and the navy probably equally so, and with of Marion, Sumpter, and Pinckney, and not a Federal executive for the next twelve clash your ghostly hands in triumph ? That months of firmness and moderation, which voice says, 'If we could only get one of the the country has a right to expect-moderaroyal race of England to rule over us, we tion being an element of power not less than should be content.'”
firmness--there is good reason to hope that
the danger of secession may be made to pass HOW THE REBELS ACQUIRED THEIR
away without one conflict of arms, one exe
cution, or one arrest for treason.” Let me say next a word of the means by Gentlemen, Lieut.-General Scott knew which a conspiracy so contemptible in its well, we all know, that what he recommended origin, so destitute of moral weight and of Mr. Buchanan to do, an honest Executive popular support, has attained to its present might have done. Again and again in the dimensions, ousting the Federal Government history of our country have attempts been of its jurisdiction in more than half of our made to resist the execution of the laws, and national territory to the east of the Rocky again and again has the Federal Government Mountains, and obtaining possession of ar- triumphantly vindicated its supremacy. senals and navy-yards and fortresses, seven- The first armed rebellion was that headed teen in number, which had cost the Ameri- by Shay in Massachusetts, in the winter of can people more than seven millions of 1787. The rebels attempted to seize the ardollars.
senal, and were met with cannon, that killed On the 29th October, 1860, before the three and wounded another of their number, presidential election, Lieut.-General Scott and the state militia, under the command of wrote a letter to President Buchanan in General Lincoln, routed their forces, taking which he referred to the secession excite- many prisoners, and peace was restored, not ment which the leaders of the conspiracy by any compromise, but by the enforcement were actively fanning at the South, and re- of the laws. marked, that if this glorious Union were As a Lincoln suppressed the first insurbroken by whatever line political madness rection, so will a Lincoln suppress the last. might contrive, there would be no hope of You will readily call to mind other simire-uniting the fragments, except by the lace- lar occasions where the Federal Government, ration and despotism of the sword; pointing by prompt action, maintained its supremacy out the danger, he proceeded to point out unimpaired. the prevention :
First came the whiskey rebellion in Penn“From a knowledge of our Southern pop- sylvania during the administration of Washulation,” he said, “it is my solemn convic- ington, to suppress which the President
called out fifteen thousand men from three leaders, skilful as they may have been, who different states, led by their governors and had neither arms nor armies to overpower General Morgan, whom Washington at first the Government, but they were due to the proposed himself to accompany across the Federal Executive and his advisers of the Alleghanies.
Cabinet. This fact is so interesting as a Next President Jefferson crushed in the matter of history, it is so important to a bud the opening conspiracy of Aaron Burr. right understanding of the whole subject,
President Madison, during the war of 1816, and bears so clearly upon the question, what when doubts were entertained of the loyalty is our duty as citizens, and what the policy of the Hartford conventionists, who were of our Government, as regards the tolerance falsely reported to be in correspondence with or suppression of this rebellion ? that you the enemy, stationed Major Jessup of Ken- will allow me to quote one authority upon tucky at Hartford, with a regiment to sup- the point from among the rebels themselves. press any sudden outbreak. Gen. Jackson, The Baltimore Examiner, in an elaborate about the same time in New Orleans, pro- eulogy of Floyd, who in the extent and inclaimed martial law in consequence of at- famy of his treachery certainly excelled his tempts by the civil authorities to embarrass fellow-traitors in the Cabinet, makes this the necessary measures of defence. plain avowal: “All who have attended to
President Jackson, in 1832, repressed by the developments of the last three months the arm of General Scott, and amid the and knew aught of the movements of the hearty applause of the nation, the defiant Buchanan administration up to the time of nullification of South Carolina ; and Presi- Floyd's resignation, will justify the asserdent Tyler, in 1843, with the approval of his tion that the Southern Confederacy would Secretary, Mr. John C. Calhoun, sent United not and could not be in existence at this States troops to Rhode Island to suppress the hour, but for the action of the late Secretary state revolution organized by a majority of of War. the people of the state, but in violation of “ The plan invented by General Scott to the existing state constitution, under the stop secession was like all campaigns deleadership of Governor Thomas W. Dorr. vised by him, very able in its details and
When, in 1860, General Scott, in advance nearly certain of general success. The of any outbreak, recommended President Southern States are full of arsenals and Buchanan to reinforce the forts instead of forts, commanding their rivers and strategic recommending active measures of interfer- points: General Scott desired to transfer ence such as his predecessors whom I have the army of the United States to these forts named did not hesitate to take, he simply as speedily and as quietly as possible. The asked of the President to do what any intel- Southern States could not cut off communiligent schoolboy could see was absolutely cation between the Government and the forproper and essential--and what he could ac- tresses without a great fleet, which they cancomplish by a single word. Mr. Buchanan, not build for years; or take them by land guided by his Secretary of War, the traitor without one hundred thousand men, many and thief, John B. Floyd, refused to order hundred millions of dollars, several camthe reinforcement of the fortresses; all the paigns, and many a bloody siege. Had forts named by General Scott, excepting Scott been able to have got these forts in Fort Pickens, were seized by the Confeder- the condition he desired them to be, the ates ; and on the fact of their quiet posses- Southern Confederacy would not now exsion, and the aid and comfort thus given to ist.” the rebels by the Federal Cabinet, was based the secession of the traitorous states and the formation of the new Confederacy.
Such is the truth fairly stated by the The fact thus becomes clear as day, that Baltimore Examiner, in the interest of the not simply all the strength the rebel Confed- rebels. The Union has been severed, not eracy originally possessed, but its very or- by violence from without, but by treachery ganization and existence, were due not to within. It has been convulsed from its the people of the South, on whom without centre to its circumference, not from any thoir sanction it was precipitated, nor to the internal weakness in our Federal system,
THE TRAITORS WHO HAVE BETRAYED US.