Disunion the Necessary Antecedent of Abolition
Louisville Daily Journal, January 26, 1861
The appalling success of the vilest conspiracy ever formed against the freedom and happiness of a people in "PRECIPITATING the Cotton States into Revolution," so fills the mind with dismay as to hide from distinct view some of the worst consequences of this crime. A like disturbance of the intellectual and moral powers, by wonder, amazement, and submissiveness to unmatchable audacity, has unquestionably paralyzed the thinking people of the seceding States, and made them meekly quiescent under the destruction of their country, their fortunes, and their hopes.
We have already shown how the separation of these States, if that separation is made on the slave line, must inevitably lead to the rapid extinction of slavery. Mr. Boyce, of South Carolina, now carried away with the prevailing insanity of his people, took the very same ground ten years ago. His reasons were unanswerable then; they are just as true and as unquestionable now.
The Constitution of the United States recognizes and protects slavery. The Southern States enjoy a large share of political power in this strong and vigorous Government, on the basis of slavery. The civilization which the Southern States are working out in connection with slavery is, by the growing power and strength of this great movement, placed in an attitude to command the respect and consideration of the world. The anti-slavery propagandists of Europe dare not assail us, except by insult and vituperation, which we can afford to despise. The large majority of, the Northern people are, and ever have been, faithful to the Constitutional compact in regard to slavery, so far as its large and general provisions are concerned. That Northern majority, pleading the sacred obligation of the Constitution, has restrained and kept down the Abolition fanaticism. Hence, for years, the Abolitionists have hated and cursed the Constitution of the United States, because that alone stood in the way of their fiendish purposes. They were the first and the most venomous Disunionists. Under the Constitution the entire slave border is covered and protected by those Border Free States, who respect slavery, because they love and venerate and cherish the Constitution which makes us one people. The election of Abraham Lincoln would never have been brought about but by the complicity of Southern Disunionists in so arranging the political chess-board as to secure that result.
Neither that election nor anything else but Disunion can get the Constitution out of the way of Abolition practices. All the power and force of these fanatics has been directed to that coveted result. Take slavery out of the Constitution of the United States, and then the whole free State border could be abolitionized—turned from friends into enemies of slavery. And no possible police or military force can watch a land line two thousand miles long, so as to prevent men and women from walking across it. Then too the entire Southern coast would be open to the piratical incursions of the Abolitionists of Europe as well as of America.
Checked by the moral power of the Constitution of the United States, the Abolitionists of America are an inconsiderable fraction of the population. However formidable in spirit and in zeal, in numbers they are contemptible. But the Abolitionists of Europe are the entire population of the Western nations of that Continent. The gross ignorance and the deep venom of European fanaticism on the subject of American slavery are almost inconceivable to our countrymen. The whole literature, the whole population, the governing and the subject classes, are equally charged with this ignorance and with this venom. Nothing has prevented the outbreak of this feeling in the most offensive and dangerous forms of interference with American slavery but the strong arm and the formidable power of the United States. Dissolve this Union on the slave line, let all the Northern States become a united anti-slavery power, aiding and abetting instead of restraining and overawing the abolitionism of Europe, and where would American slavery be?
Knowing the intense desire of the Abolitionists for Disunion, and the anxiety with which they have looked to that event as the only means of gratifying their cherished passion, every one must see that it is in keeping with the cunning and treachery of such a dire fanaticism to obtain the control of a Disunion organ in the South. The Editor of the Charleston Mercury has done more than any other man in the South to create the bitter sectional animosity and the senseless Disunion fanaticism now so prevalent there, under the pretence of advocating the cause of slavery.
The Jesuits, long since, taught the world that the most effectual way to injure any cause is to become its most violent and unscrupulous propagandist, and so lead on its votaries to destruction. Can it be that the Editor of the Charleston Mercury is the colleague and sworn brother of Garrison and Wendell Phillips? They have worked together faithfully for the same object by the same means. Disunion is the common object. Violence, insult, denunciation, and brazen falsehood, have been the common means. The Charleston Mercury has reprinted the Abolition journals for circulation in the South. If the Editor of the Charleston Mercury is not the loved and trusted brother of the Abolitionists, he has been the most effective and influential agent of that malign association. By his valuable aid they have accomplished their first cherished design—Disunion. The extinction of slavery in blood, and the ruin of the South, will be the next move, to which this first one has opened the way.
But the Abolitionists have not yet quite succeeded in their whole scheme of Disunion. The separation has not yet been made on the slave line. The victory therefore is partial. If the Border Slave States remain in the Union, slavery will still be a part of the Constitution of the United States, and under its protection. This barrier therefore will still be in the way of these firebrands. The conservative masses of the North, fighting under the aegis of the Constitution, will continue to resist their mad fanaticism. The amazing stupidity of some of the Southern States, in running away from the Union, may, indeed, weaken the conservative force in the North, but it will unquestionably be sufficient to maintain and vindicate the Constitutional rights of the remaining Slave States, with the hearty and intelligent co-operation of those States.
To infect the Border Slave States with the contagious madness of the people who are firing cannon and ringing bells and rejoicing with horrid festivity over the destruction of the only government that could successfully maintain their rights, liberties, and happiness, is now the favorite enterprise of Northern Disunionists. Unhappily their Southern allies are doing the most of the work. Lust of place and power has induced vast numbers of aspiring politicians to give themselves to the base purpose of deluding and cheating the people into Disunion. The same lust has blinded their own minds, so that they cannot see the abyss into which they are trying to plunge their country.
The people of Kentucky have looked on in amazement at the progress of this distemper. The young, the ardent, the impulsive, are first seized and practised upon. These secured, the weak are easily drawn in; and, then, the timid, conservative majority is overawed by violence and clamor into passive acquiescence. Again we say to our people that they must rouse up now to all the manliness and keen intelligence of the Kentucky character, or we, too, will be made the victim of this nefarious plot. The machinery is in full operation at Frankfort, and all over the State. PRECIPITATION is the word! All the wisdom of the past, all the safeguards of the Constitution, all the consecrated principles of our free institutions, are to be put aside and crushed beneath the car of this Juggernaut of Disunion.
We call upon every precinct in the Commonwealth to form at once its Union club, to raise the Union Banner, to carry on actively the enrollment of Union champions, and to send strong resolves, not only, but strong men to Frankfort. Your representatives now there need every assistance to enable them to resist the blandishments and the intimidation and other worse means of influence with which they are incessantly plied. Let men of stern integrity and of clear intelligence go up from every part of the State to stand by the members of the Legislature, to encourage, sustain and strengthen them in standing by the Constitution and the country. And let every man who values freedom and independence, and has sense enough to know that these can be secured only by the preservation of this Union, bestir himself and make it his chief business, as long as we are in this hazard, to teach the young the principles of statesmanship learned in the school of Washington and Madison, and Clay and Crittenden, and to strengthen and encourage young and old together to abide by those principles, and to resolve that the heritage bestowed upon us by our fathers shall be handed down to our children.