What means the Pittsburgh mob? What this alacrity to save Forts Moultrie and Pinckney? What means the boast of the Southern men of being the best-armed people in the world, not counting the two hundred thousand stand of United States arms stored in Southern arsenals? Already Georgia has her arsenals, with eighty thousand muskets. What mean these lavish grants of money by Southern Legislatures to buy more arms? What mean these rumors of arms and force on the Mississippi? These few facts have already verified the prophecy of Madison as to a disunited Republic.
Mr. Speaker, he alone is just to his country, he alone has a mind unwarped by section, and a memory unparalyzed by fear, who warns against precipitancy. He who could hurry this nation to the rash wager of battle is not fit to hold the seat of legislation. What can justify the breaking up of our institutions into belligerent fractions? Better this marble Capitol were levelled to the dust; better were this Congress struck dead in its deliberations; better an immolation of every ambition and passion which here have met to shake the foundations of society than the hazard of these consequences! * * * I appeal to Southern men,who contemplate a step so fraught with hazard and strife, to pause. Clouds are about us! There is lightning in their frown! Cannot we direct it harmlessly to the earth? The morning and evening prayer of the people I speak for in such weakness rises in strength to that Supreme Ruler who, in noticing the fall of a sparrow, cannot disregard the fall of a nation, that our States may continue to be as they have been—one; one in the unreserve of a mingled national being; one as the thought of God is one!
OF MISSISSIPPI. (BORN 1808, DIED 1889.)
ON WITHDRAWAL FROM THE UNION; SECESSIONIST OPINION;
UNITED STATES SENATE, JANUARY 21, 1861.
I 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 people 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 Senate 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 I here represent, on an occasion so solemn as this.