Regard All the Consequences
New Orleans Daily True Delta, December 9, 1860
It is surprising to every one how the secession presses and orators should continue to harp upon the declaration, that no violence, no protracted disruption of trade, no inconvenience of civil war need be apprehended from the dissolution of the Union which they contemplate, have seemingly so much at heart, and are with so much activity, zeal and profusion of exhortation preparing the hearts of the people to expect. They tell us that the states which remain in the confederacy have no right to obstruct the withdrawal of those which have determined or are inclined to secede, and that consequently no danger of a hostile collision need be feared when the event they affect to desire is actually consummated. So far as this administration is concerned we believe the orators and presses of the disunionists are strictly correct in this assertion. We do not for an instant doubt that the movement to destroy the Union was determined on long since, anterior by months to the disruption of the democratic party at Charleston, which was a part of the programme, and that Buchanan, the president, and the members of his cabinet, actively or passively approved of the scheme and pledged their official cooperation to its success. Admitting all this, however, as we are constrained to do, does it therefore follow that after South Carolina and other states have actually separated themselves from the Union, have placed themselves beyond its pale by acts incompatible with its organic laws, and have done so by the connivance of Buchanan and his advisers, that no ground, no cause, no impelling motive for a recourse to arms will exist, or indeed is evitable? We think not, we are sure not. We hold that it is utterly impossible to have a peaceable dismemberment of the confederation. We do not stop to argue the question whether a state has the undoubted right to separate herself from her sister states or not; we will not raise a doubt or challenge controversy in relation to such matter; we will on the contrary concede it, still, is it not obvious that after her separation, she must either relinquish all pretension, all claim, all right to participate equally in the national property, public domain, improvements of all kinds, army, navy and appurtenances, etc., or prepare herself to vindicate her demands for her share by a resort to force? Will the free states abandon the supremacy they now claim over the territorial property of the Union? and can they be made to do so otherwise than by force successfully involved? No one, we think, will contend they will; therefore is it not certain that to extort from them that which we all unite in considering our own just due, a recourse to force must be had, and a civil war thus' inaugurated with all the uncertainties, doubts, difficulties, horror and destruction of life and property inseparable from appeals from reason to the arbitrament of the sword? We do not for a moment doubt the willingness of the mass of the people to test the question of right with the north by the invocation of the sword; nor shall we doubt their perfect ability, albeit greatly inferior, numerically, to the foe they will be obliged to encounter, to conquer a successful peace. All this we shall accept as the more warlike among our population would have us; but as the bayonet is certain, in the event of a separation, to be called into action, to reconcile differences, we wish the important fact to be borne in mind, so that no one shall be allowed at any future time to plead ignorance when called upon as to his share of any responsibility that may devolve upon him in such contingency. A peaceful destruction of this government never can take place, in our opinion; therefore it is that we censure the parties that are fanning into a flame the passions of the people, who are preparing their hearts for revolution, who are sharpening sword-blades, yet are delusively shouting peace, peace, where there is no peace. It is not any alarm South Carolina, in or out of the Union, can inspire, that distracts the nation at this moment, that sends our working men into the streets, that shuts up our workshops, that shakes public confidence, that involves in one mass of common ruin the monetary, commercial and trading classes of the republic. The orators of disunion may tell you, as they do, that the terror is only imaginary, the perturbation an illusion; but reflecting men will see in it what it really conveys, the universal consciousness that the country is on the eve of a fearful convulsion, and that it is only by a special interposition of Providence that it can escape these perturbations which have, in all ages, destroyed the liberties of men and drenched the earth with the blood of brethren. We do not for a moment suppose that even consequences so deplorable will restrain men so ardent in the cause of revolution as many of the public men of the south proclaim themselves; for, making allowances for much of the theatrical in the character of politicians by profession, can we doubt the sincerity of the Rhetts, the Toombses, the Yanceys and the Jeff. Davises, when they welcome, in exultant tones, the prospect of war with their countrymen for opponents; what we deprecate is the perpetual assurance given by them that no civil war can originate in their revolutionary schemes, and that all questions in dispute between disjointed fragments of this, at present, powerful republic, will be amicably, justly and satisfactorily adjusted, when they well know no such expectation is really entertained by them, or can ever be realized by the public. If they succeed in their plotting against the integrity of the Union, they have no idea upon earth that even the sea-board cotton states could be induced to form a confederacy together. They know well that Texas has never ceased to regret the merging of her national existence in that of this republic; and that no thought prevails so universally in that state as that which pictures to its people a separation from it; so that if their machinations should succeed, one state,. at least, that they have encouraged to share their plans, will disconnect herself from them the instant the Union is dismembered and it feels itself free to adopt some new course and enter upon a new career. If all these things can be accomplished without war, we shall rejoice.—Meantime, our readers will do well to prepare themselves for whatever may happen.