Treason, Rebellion, Civil War, are all harsh sounding words; and so is Murder. But do we, speaking of the Man-slayer, shrink from calling him a murderer and seek to find a milder title for him? Do we hesitate to call him who steals, a Thief? Certainly not. Why then, should we try to find for those who have plotted Treason, and are now in open rebellion against the Government of the country, any other than the true and significant appellations of Traitors and Rebels? Why deny, or seek to conceal the fact patent to the whole world, that South Carolina is in open rebellion; and having made war upon, and captured the forts and arsenal of the General Government, the country is at this very moment in a state of Civil War? True, the war does not rage very furiously at present; because the Executive Government of the country, shrinks from the performance of its duty, and has been in collusion with Rebels to destroy the Union of the States. But we are not the less in a state, of civil war, which cannot fail to increase, and which is certain to extend and bring with it painful consequences, whenever an honest Executive discharges his whole duty to the country, and in compliance with his oath of office, enforces the Laws, and vindicates the Constitution and maintains the supremacy and integrity of the Union. Let us then look the danger full in the face; and recognize the fact, that civil war actually exists, that a portion of the country is in actual insurrection, and that other portions are on the eve of revolt; and finally, that this insurrection is to be suppressed and the Traitors and Rebels to be punished by the strong arm of the General Government.

We are well aware, that this is not a pleasant aspect of the subject. The truth frequently, is any thing but pleasant to look upon; but it is the part of wisdom not only to call things by their right names, but to recognize the full extent of an evil as the most judicious mode of working its cure. “The horrors of civil war,” are made familiar to every student of history; and most assuredly it is the greatest curse that can befall any people, save only the anarchy which civil war is designed to prevent. Governments are necessary for mankind, and the consequences of civilization. As man [e]merges from a savage to a civilized state, society becomes organized and the character of governments change[s], so as to meet the requirements and necessities of a more advanced civilization. And finally, after six thousand years of experiment and experience, the Governments of to-day, are deemed to be the legitimate fruits of past experience, and so constituted as to adapt themselves to the progress of the age. During the past century, the progress of the world in the science of government, has been immeasurably greater than at any previous period; but the seeds of such progress, are to be found in the mysterious workings of that Providence which is ever shaping the destinies of man, and gradually preparing him for a higher development than he has yet attained. The discovery of the New World and the Reformation, apparently had no connection; and yet, when as the consequence of that reformation, our fathers sought asylums from religious persecution, God in His Providence, had provided for them a home on this side of the Atlantic. Here, Protestantism planted itself in the wilds and solitudes of a savage wilderness; and fleeing as it did, from Religious persecutions in the Old World, the natural fruits of that planting, were Civil and Religious liberty. It is only necessary to look at the history of those who settled in this, then unbroken wilderness and in the midst of a savage foe, to recognize the hand of God in their preservation from destruction and in their subsequent growth; and none but an Infidel can fail to discover in our subsequent history, the all wise purposes of that great Being, without whose permission not even a sparrow falls to the earth, and in whose hands are the destinies of all mankind. Under His care and protection, our fathers grew, to be a happy and prosperous people; and compelled by the necessities of their position, to take care of, and protect themselves, self-government became a part and parcel of their natures. Hence at the period of our separation from the mother country, and to this day, we are, in regard to self-government, a different people from all the rest of God’s creation. In this there is no boast. It is not our work. But God planted our fathers in a wilderness to grow up different from the people of the Old World; and that they might do so, submitted them to trials and privations such as had never before been prepared for man. He at the same time however, gave them the necessary energy and perseverance to meet and triumph over these trials and privations; and thus prepared them for their exalted destiny. They were from the beginning, but instruments in His hand, to accomplish His work; and that was, the gradual emancipation of mankind from the evils of government in the Old World and the elevation of the masses everywhere, by implanting in their bosoms a desire for civil and religious liberty, and by giving them an example of how it was to be achieved and maintained.

And hence our great revolutionary struggle, its success, and the lesson it inculcated. That the triumph of our fathers, was GOD’S work, no Christian man will deny; and being His work, we need not be told, that He might have secured us our freedom in one year as readily as after a seven years’ struggle. But what then? Does any body suppose that if our independence had been secured after a year’s struggle, our people would have devised, much less have been prepared for, our present Government? On the contrary, do we not know, that if GEORGE the Third had conceded to us our independence at any period during the first two years of our struggle, a majority of our people, would have been content with separation only, and the establishment of a limited monarchy like that of England, with a scion of her Royal Family for our king? But such was not God’s purpose. He subjected our fathers to the sacrifices, the hardships and the privations of a seven years’ struggle with the mightiest nation of the earth; and in the school of adversity and suffering, He prepared them for His work. And that was, no other than the establishment of our present Government— the Union of these States—intended to secure to our fathers, to us, and to our descendants forever, the blessings of Civil and Religious Liberty, and to become, not only an asylum, but a beacon light to the oppressed of the Old World, teaching by our example, the ability of man for self-government and the necessity of his preparing himself for the task, by gradual emancipation and the blessings of education. And thanks to Him who guided our fathers in safety through their almost unheard of sufferings, in a civil war of seven years’ duration, we have become the asylum of millions of the oppressed and downtrodden of other lands; and as His designs cannot be thwarted by men, our example has worked out and is now working out, the great purpose for which it was intended. Our triumph in 1783, was the cause of the French Revolution [of] 1787 and all the great events which followed; and it would be idle to point out the influence upon the present state of the European world. Look at France and compare her with what was the condition of her people in 1787; look at England—free, Constitutional England—the land of our fathers and of civil and Religious freedom—and compare her position now with what it was at the commencement of Lord NORTH’s Administration! Wisely, under GOD’s overruling Providence, has she read the lesson inculcated through us; and right glorious have been the fruits of her wisdom. Look too, at all Germany, Switzerland, the North of Europe, and even benighted Russia, and note the march of improvement and the gradual emancipation of man from the chains of despotism,—the fruits of our example. And finally, look at Italy—ignorant, benighted, down-trodden and Priest-ridden Italy that was; now free, disenthralled, and ready to participate in that great progress of the age which has for its object the establishment of the Civil and Religious liberties of mankind, and the moral and social elevation of the whole human race. This—all this, is the legitimate fruit of our Revolution and of the adoption of our Constitution establishing the present Government of the United States of America; and yet the work has but commenced. God’s great purposes in planting our fathers in this western wilderness, fostering and protecting them, educating them for His work, and successfully guiding them through the privations and sufferings of a seven years’ Civil War, until their hour of triumph resulted in the establishment of the Government of the United States—has but just begun to be developed: when behold a band of Traitors in the State of South Carolina, rise in Rebellion against Him and the work of His hands, and impiously declare their intention to destroy that which He has established! And that too, because our example, under His guidance, has not only ameliorated the condition of the oppressed nationalities of Europe, but has also, awakened the Christian and civilized world, to the infamous character of the African Slave trade, and the religious obligation of man not to encourage the extension of Human Slavery.

And thus it is that civil war has been brought upon our country. A civil war, in which without cause, Traitors and Rebels raise their hands against the great work of our fathers—which was most emphatically, God’s own work. And for what purpose? To extend the Institution of Human Slavery, and to open and legalize the African Slave-trade;—a trade so revolting in its character, that the whole civilized world, proclaiming it contrary to God’s law, have united in declaring it Piracy and all concerned in it, Pirates, meriting a Felon’s death. Recognizing as we do, the horrors of any civil war, and above all others, of a civil war in which four millions of a servile race are sure to rise upon their helpless masters and increase ten-fold the horrors of the struggle, we still insist that even on the score of humanity, it is better to meet the consequences at once, and put down rebellion and compel obedience to the law, than to submit to a peaceable dissolution of this Union. Grant such peaceable dissolution today, and within a quarter of a century, the loss of human life from servile insurrections, wars between States, and contests between sections in putting down Slavery and the Slave trade, would be quadruple what it will be in the approaching struggle. It is one fearful to contemplate; and woe unto them who have brought it upon the nation. But we repeat, in the cause of humanity itself, let the matter be settled now, cost what it may, because it will in the end, save the effusion of blood and greatly lessen the misery inevitable from such a contest.

But there are higher considerations than even these. Even were it otherwise; if instead of humanity demanding at our hands the instant crushing out of rebellion and civil war, at whatever cost, it were certain to cost more blood and treasure to preserve the Union than to permit it to be broken up—we should still insist that it is our duty, due alike to God and man, to preserve the integrity of the Union, and to maintain and transmit to our posterity, unimpaired, the inheritance won by the blood and consecrated by the wisdom of our fathers. We owe this alike to ourselves, to our posterity, to the oppressed millions of the Old World, and to our God. It is folly and hypocrisy, to talk as we all do, of God’s having guided our fathers through their seven years’ Revolutionary struggle, and then to act as if He had no purpose in so doing; and consequently, that we may without sin, abandon His work to destruction! Do we not recognize His interposition in that clause of the Constitution, which, after twenty years, prohibited forever the African slave trade? And did not that provision lead to its being ultimately proclaimed Piracy by the Christian world? Was it not that provision and its consequences, that roused the Christian world to the great sin of African Slavery, and to the necessity of preventing its extension in Free Territory, even while the duty of leaving it to be dealt with as may best suit the convenience and necessities of those upon whom it has been entailed, is fully and freely recognized? Do we not recognize His purpose in giving victory to our fathers, as we are so fond of proclaiming that He did, in the example which we have presented to Europe of Man’s ability to govern himself, and in the influence of that example upon the oppressed races of the Old World? And if this be so—if we feel and proclaim that the success of our Revolution and the establishment of this Government—of this Union of the States—was God’s work, how dare we hesitate in doing our utmost to preserve it? And if to make the experiment for less than four millions of souls, was worth the seven years of civil war in which our fathers embarked, and all the blood and treasure, and sacrifices it entailed, most assuredly, now that the result of that experiment has been to give to upwards of thirty millions of people the very best Government ever bestowed upon man, we should not hesitate to maintain and preserve the great boon of our fathers, even if it were certain to involve us in a civil war of twice the duration of that, which we are so constantly told, was under the guidance of God himself, and which was rendered successful for his own special purposes.

As certain as Governments are necessary for the welfare, good order, and happiness of mankind, so certain is it, that they cannot exist without periods of trial. Man is not perfect; and until he is, no Government can be devised which will be faultless. Ours unquestionably has its faults, and it would not be difficult to point them out; and yet, take it all in all—judge it by its fruits—and it is beyond all peradventure, the very best Government on the face of God’s earth. It has given us peace within and without our borders; it has given protection and security to life and property; it has insured justice and equity between man and man; it has secured a measure of individual and national prosperity such as the world has never before witnessed; it promised, and has secured to each and all of its citizens, civil and religious liberty; it has proved itself powerful alike to suppress insurrection at home and to contend single-handed, with the most powerful nations of the world; in short, it has made us one of the great powers of the earth, caused our flag to be recognized in every clime and on every ocean and sea and islet throughout the habitable globe, as the emblem of Liberty and Justice, and made it the boast of our people, as with the Roman of old, “I too, am an American Citizen.” And it is this Government with all its traditions clustering around it, and all its benefits and blessings palpable to the dullest intellect, that we are called upon to surrender at the demand of traitors and Rebels, bound together in the cause of Human Slavery,—or to preserve, and transmit unimpaired to posterity, even at the cost of civil war the duration of which no man can calculate. Can any sane man hesitate? Can any Patriot—any Christian doubt, what is his duty under the circumstances? We may deplore the necessity for enforcing the laws against Traitors and Rebels, and they our brethren; it may cause us to weep tears of blood over the necessity of such a procedure; we may pray to God that as a Nation, this cup may pass us by; but notwithstanding all this, there stands the Constitution and the Law, and there stands the President elect, sworn to maintain the one and to enforce the other; and as certainly as his name is ABRAHAM LINCOLN, just so certain is it, that fearlessly and with vigor, he will discharge his whole duty to the Constitution and to the Union. And we thank God that He has blessed us with a Government worth even the strife of civil war; and most earnestly do we pray, that now, as in the time of our fathers, He will stand by the right; and for His own great purposes and in the cause of Religion, good morals, and the freedom of the human race, give us a speedy victory. Civil war, has its horrors—its unmixed evils. But it is nevertheless, a thousand times preferable to disunion; and the South may as well know from the beginning, that cost what it may, this Union, shall and will be preserved.