He Means Coercion
Louisville Daily Courier, February 13, 1861
A few days ago, Mr. LINCOLN told Mr. HUTCHINSON, of Boyle county, in this State, that if Kentucky intends to stand by the resolutions adopted by an almost unanimous vote in the House of Representatives at Frankfort, she "should prepare for war." Speaking of the resolutions, he said:
If Kentucky means to say that if the Federal Government undertook to recapture the Southern forts and collect the revenue and war ensue, she will unite with the South, LET HER PREPARE FOR WAR.
On Monday he made a speech at Indianapolis, in which he asserted in terms scarcely ambiguous his intention when inaugurated to retake the forts which the seceding States have taken possession of, to collect the revenue in the ports of such States, and to enforce the laws of the United States therein, notwithstanding they are to-day, according to that great American lawyer, Chancellor KENT, himself a Northern man, entitled to a position among the free and independent nations of the earth!
This according to his reasoning is neither war nor coercion; but practically it is the one and an attempt at the other, and will be met as such—it is a war proposition couched in language intended to conceal the enormity of the crime beneath pretexts too absurd to require exposure and fallacies too flimsy to deceive the most stupid. When this policy is carried into the administration of the Federal Government, it is war—war without a declaration of war, waged under false pretenses, and justifiable only to that fanaticism of which Mr. LINCOLN is at once the embodiment and representative.
In the same speech he swept away, as far as his bold and reckless assertions could sweep away, everything like State rights, State sovereignty, or State independence, and advanced the novel and dangerous doctrine that what the counties are to a State, the States are to the Federal Government—no more and no less!
The States created the Federal Government; the counties are created by the States of which they form a part; but Mr. LINCOLN, while subordinating the creature in one instance to the creator, and properly, in the other makes the creator the subject of the creature!
The inference is, that as a State is bound to enforce the laws in a refractory county, so the Federal Government, only the agent of the States, must enforce the laws in the seceding States!
An absolute, consolidated government, in which the States are powerless and dependent, follows the success of this doctrine; and this is what Mr. LINCOLN and his friends intend shall render his Administration memorable. A more vigorous head will be needed then; and a King, or a Dictator, will necessarily follow.
Enough is already known to leave no doubt as to Mr. LINCOLN's intentions; and Heaven alone can avert war, immediately after the 4th of March.
The seven States now out will then constitute a Government themselves. The independence of this Government will be recognized by the nations of the earth.—Upon it Mr. LINCOLN will wage war. He will call on Kentucky for men and arms. How many of her sons will march under the command of New England officers to shoot down their fellow-countrymen of Alabama and Georgia and Mississippi? How many Kentuckians will draw their swords against men fighting on their own soil and around their own homes for liberty and independence?
And if war follow the inauguration of this fatal and unjustifiable policy, whether Kentucky furnish men or not, she must, if she remain with the North, pay a large share of the expense of keeping a hundred thousand men in the field for the destruction of those fighting for rights common to her citizens and to themselves. Where will the money be obtained to enable Mr. LINCOLN to retake the forts in Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina, and to execute the laws of the United States in the Southern Confederated States? It will require at least $100,000,000 a year, for God only knows how long! This amount must be raised by taxation direct or indirect; and the people of Kentucky will be required to pay at least one-eighteenth of it—more than five millions a year to help ABRAHAM LINCOLN and his Black Republicans to subjugate the Southern States!
Mr. LINCOLN's purposes are known. War may be expected soon after March 4th.—Kentucky will be compelled, in that event to fight for the North and to help the North pay the expenses of the war, or to take sides with her Southern sisters, and by presenting a bold and united front, compel an early recognition of independence.
If she should do the first, she will come out of the conflict bankrupt, ruined, powerless and dependent, to remain the tail end of a Northern Confederacy, in which she will be despised, insulted, and wronged to a greater extent than even our past experience enables us to conceive of: if she should prefer the last, the struggle will be less protracted, less expensive, less disastrous in its immediate effects, and in her future relations she will be respected, powerful, and secure.
We should do all we can to prevent war; but if madness rule the councils of the next President, as it now seems certain will be the case, Kentucky must take a stand with the South, or bid farewell to all her greatness and all her pride, and be an outcast among her sisters.