we come to the capitol, I tell you that our President
and our Vice-President must be inaugurated and
administer the government as all their predecessors
have done. Sir, it would be humiliating and
dishonorable to us if we were to listen to a compromise
[only] by which he who has the verdict of the
people in his pocket should make his way to the
Presidential chair. When it comes to that you
have no government.... If a State secedes,
although we will not make war upon her, we cannot
recognize her right to be out of the Union, and
she is not out until she gains the consent of the Union
itself; and the chief magistrate of the nation,
be he who he may, will find under the Constitution
of the United States that it is his sworn duty
to execute the law in every part and parcel of this
Government; that he cannot be released from that
obligation.... Therefore, it will be incumbent
on the chief magistrate to proceed to collect
the revenue of ships entering their ports precisely
in the same way and to the same extent that he
does now in every other State of the Union.
We cannot release him from that obligation.
The Constitution in thunder tones demands that he
shall do it alike in the ports of every State.
What follows? Why, sir, if he shuts up the
ports of entry so that a ship cannot discharge
her cargo there, or get papers for another voyage,
then ships will cease to trade; or, if he undertakes
to blockade her, and thus collect it, she has
not gained her independence by secession.
What must she do? If she is contented to live
in this equivocal state, all would be well perhaps;
but she could not live there. No people in
the world could live in that condition. What
will they do? They must take the initiative
and declare war upon the United States; and the
moment that they levy war, force must be met by
force; and they must, therefore, hew out their independence
by violence and war. There is no other way under
the Constitution, that I know of, whereby a chief
magistrate of any politics could be released from
this duty. If this State, though seceding,
should declare war against the United States, I do
not suppose there is a lawyer in this body but
what would say that the act of levying war is
treason against the United States. That is where
it results. We might just as well look the matter
right in the face....
[Sidenote] “Globe,” Dec. 17,
1860, pp. 100-104.
I say, sir, I stand by the Union of
these States. Washington and his compatriots
fought for that good old flag. It shall never
be hauled down, but shall be the glory of the
Government to which I belong, as long as my life
shall continue.... It is my inheritance.
It was my protector in infancy, and the pride and
glory of my riper years; and although it may be
assailed by traitors on every side, by the grace
of God, under its shadow I will die.
[Sidenote] Ibid., Dec. 20, 1860, p. 158.
The Senate Committee of Thirteen was duly appointed
on December 20 as follows: Lazarus W. Powell
and John J. Crittenden, of Kentucky; R.M.T. Hunter,
of Virginia; Wm. H. Seward, of New York; Robert Toombs,
of Georgia; Stephen A. Douglas, of Illinois; Jacob
Collamer, of Vermont; Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi;
Benjamin F. Wade, of Ohio; William Bigler, of Pennsylvania;
Henry M. Rice, of Minnesota; James E. Doolittle, of
Wisconsin, and James W. Grimes, of Iowa.