Government and Rebellion eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 28 pages of information about Government and Rebellion.
to break open any citizen’s store or dwelling, to search for, and seize foreign merchandise; sheriffs also were compelled to assist in the work.  The sanctions of private life might, by this act be invaded at any time by hirelings; and bad as it was in itself, it was liable to more monstrous abuse.  Then came the “sugar bill,” imposing enormous duties on various articles of merchandise from the West Indies, and greatly crippling Colonial commerce:  then the infamous Stamp Act, by which every legal instrument, in order to validity, must have the seal of the British Government—­deeds, diplomas, &c., costing from thirty-six cents to ten dollars apiece:  then the duty on tea; and, finally, the quartering of soldiers on our citizens in time of peace, for the express purpose of subjugating our industry and energy to the selfish purposes of the crown.

It is enough to say, that the rebels against our Government have suffered no oppression.  They do not set forth any legal ground of Secession.  The government has done nothing to call out their indignation, or to inflict on them a wrong.  They have had more than their share of public office; they have had a larger representation, in proportion to their free citizens, than we have; they have been protected in their claims, even against the convictions of the North; we yielding, as a political demand, what we do not wholly admit as a Christian duty.  We have assisted them by enactments, by money, and by arms, in the preservation of a system at war with our conscience, and with our liberties.  We have paid for lands which they occupy; and after all their indignities and taunts, and attacks on our citizens, their plunders, and their warlike demonstrations, we have been patient; and are even now imposing on ourselves restraint from the execution of that chastisement, which many of their sober and awed citizens acknowledge to be just, and which, if the call were made by the Executive, would at once be hurled on the rebels by an indignant people, like the rush of destiny.

Now, I grant, for I do not wish to make the matter worse than it is against them, that in the North, individuals have demanded more than the South were able, at once, to give.  Some have pushed reform faster than it would bear, faster than the laws of Providence would allow; but it was honestly and conscientiously done.  We have sometimes in our warmth, uttered irritating words; but all this has been returned by blows, and by savage vindictiveness.  We have shown a willingness, of late, to yield some things; to abide by the sense of the whole people; but these States are, by their rulers, declared out of the Union, without appeal to the people; they have commenced the war, and now they are regarded by the whole world as in a state of rebellion, not of justifiable revolution.  They would submit to no method of adjustment that we could honorably allow.  They desired war, as they have been for years preparing for it, at the expense of the Government, and in its service and trust, drawing their life from the bosom which they now sting; and because freedom will no longer bow, as it has done for a whole generation, to their will, they rebel, proclaim a system of piracy, and threaten the subjugation of the whole American people.  It is a deep, and long determined treason, running into the whole national life, and is become to ourselves a question of personal liberty.

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Government and Rebellion from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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