CLEMENT L. VALLANDIGHAM,
OF OHIO. (BORN 1820, DIED 1871.)
On the war and its conduct;
House of representatives, January 14, 1863.
Sir, I am one of that number who have opposed abolitionism, or the political development of the antislavery sentiment of the North and West, from the beginning. In school, at college, at the bar, in public assemblies, in the Legislature, in Congress, boy and man, in time of peace and in time of war, at all times and at every sacrifice, I have fought against it. It cost me ten years’ exclusion from office and honor at that period of life when honors are sweetest. No matter; I learned early to do right and to wait. Sir, it is but the development of the spirit of intermeddling, whose children are strife and murder. Cain troubled himself about the sacrifices of Abel, and slew his brother. Most of the wars, contentions, litigation, and bloodshed, from the beginning of time, have been its fruits. The spirit of non-intervention is the very spirit of peace and concord. * * *
The spirit of intervention assumed the form of abolitionism because slavery was odious in name and by association to the Northern mind, and because it was that which most obviously marks the different civilizations of the two sections. The South herself, in her early and later efforts to rid herself of it, had exposed the weak and offensive parts of slavery to the world. Abolition intermeddling taught her at last to search for and defend the assumed social, economic, and political merit and values of the institution. But there never was an hour from the beginning when it did not seem to me as clear as the sun at broad noon that the agitation in any form in the North and West of the slavery question must sooner or later end in disunion and civil war. This was the opinion and prediction for years of Whig and Democratic statesmen alike; and, after the unfortunate dissolution of the Whig party in 1854, and the organization of the present Republican party upon the exclusive antislavery and sectional basis, the event was inevitable, because, in the then existing temper of the public mind, and after the education through the press and the pulpit, the lecture and the political canvass, for twenty