I do not wish, sir, to say a word that shall increase any irritation; that shall add any feeling of bitterness to the state of things which really exists in the country, and I would bear and forbear before I would say any thing which would add to this bitterness. But I tell you, sir, the plain, true way is to look this thing in the face—see where we are. And I avow here—I do not know whether or not I shall be sustained by those who usually act with me—if the issue which is presented is that the constitutional will of the public opinion of this country, expressed through the forms of the Constitution, will not be submitted to, and war is the alternative, let it come in any form or in any shape. The Union is dissolved and it cannot be held together as a Union, if that is the alternative upon which we go into an election. If it is pre-announced and determined that the voice of the majority, expressed through the regular and constituted forms of the Constitution, will not be submitted to, then, sir, this is not a Union of equals; it is a Union of a dictatorial oligarchy on one side, and a herd of slaves and cowards on the other. That is it, sir; nothing more, nothing less. * * *
OF GEORGIA. (BORN 1798, DIED 1874.)
ON SECESSION; SECESSIONIST OPINION;
IN THE UNITED STATES SENATE, DECEMBER 5, 1860
I do not rise, Mr. President, for the purpose of entering,at any length into this discussion, or to defend the President’s message, which has been attacked by the Senator from New Hampshire.* I am not the mouth-piece of the President. While I do not agree with some portions of the message, and some of the positions that have been taken by the President, I do not perceive all the inconsistencies in that document which the Senator from New Hampshire has thought proper to present.
It is true, that the President denies the constitutional right of a State to secede from the Union; while, at the same time, he also states that this Federal Government has no constitutional right to enforce or to coerce a State back into the Union which may take upon itself the responsibility of secession. I do not see any inconsistency in that. The President may be right when he asserts the fact that no State