The True Remedies
New Orleans Daily True Delta, February 1, 1860
The return of Senator Douglas to his place in the United States Senate after his protracted and severe illness, has been at once signalised by one of those patriotic constitutional movements with the inauguration of which his great name has been so often associated. He had scarcely taken his exalted place among his peers and rebuked the Iversons, the minor Clays and the Davises, of the body of which he is himself the ornament and the pride, than he promptly proposed a bill which there is every reasonable expectation will become a law, and which will effectually for all future time provide means, efficient and reliable, for the apprehension and conviction of the abolition hordes upon the frontiers of the slaveholding states, who may in future attempt a renewal of depredations upon the property, slave or other, of their citizens, as has been systematically the case for years past. Mr. Douglas will not allow the South to be at the mercy of free state mobs, nor will he leave their stolen property to be recovered through the clumsy and deceitful operation of an unexecuted or partially enforced fugitive slave law; but nobly takes the crime and the criminals by the throat, and provides the means at the general charge and with perfect certainty of success of extirpating both. Douglas, ever true to the great principles of his life, in this his last movement to secure the safety and rights of the South, but not by truculent threats against or frothy denunciations of the Union, the great Western statesman has exhibited that practical statesmanship for which the truly great men of this republic have, on all great emergencies, been so distinguished, and a knowledge of which, in every civilized country, has led the inhabitants of all such to regard our political dissensions and disagreements, however serious in appearance, as of the most evanescent and paltry consequence in reality. It would be a gross miscalculation of the purpose of Stephen A. Douglas to suppose that with the success of the bill now proposed by him in the Federal Senate, for the greater security of the persons and property of citizens of the slave States from the designs, covert or overt, of conspirators in the free states, he will be contented—far from it; he is too national in his views and character for that, and we believe it will not be long before he will, with equal promptitude and sagacity, devise a legal and constitutional mode to make the individual states respect the laws and the constitution, as he is now endeavoring to compel individual traitors to do. We are sure the intrepid senator of ever-faithful and loyal Illinois takes the view that the conductors of this journal have ever maintained, namely, that a failure upon the part of any state or states faithfully to respect and maintain the laws of Congress and the obligations of the federal Constitution, is a crime, not against another individual state or against several states, but a wanton, flagrant and treasonable defiance of all; and if such state or states cannot by means of their own inhabitants—that is, by the application of the legitimate power of the people therein—be compelled to conform their practices to the requirements of the constitutional pact, then we unhesitatingly declare our conviction that the great Western statesman will be found ready and willing to shape and sustain such national action as will compel the guilty to perform every duty and respect every obligation they have voluntarily bound themselves to do.
We are of those who believe the people of a state possess the unquestionable right to secede from this Union, whenever the compact of union to which she is a party is violated or the rights of its own people or of the people of any other state or states in the confederacy are infringed, invaded or overthrown; but while we can scarcely imagine and will not believe in the possibility of such an occurrence, we repudiate and repel the action of mere delegates of this or any other state representing very different matters and interests, to pledge the people or the country to any such dangerous and impracticable result. We also unhesitatingly protest against the assumption, that the failure of Massachusetts, New York, or Pennsylvania to carry out the requirements of a law of Congress, or fulfil a constitutional obligation affecting the pecuniary interests of the slave-holding states, is a cause for the secession of Virginia or South Carolina from the Union, any more than for New Jersey and Illinois, neither of which states are prepared to sanction a criminal and traitorous disregard of their most solemn and binding obligations upon the part of the commonwealths we have named, or any other members of the federal pact, whether such violation be directed against one description of property or another, or the particular institutions of any state or section of the Union. That the South has been deeply aggrieved and most atrociously wronged, by the action of many of the free states, in their legislative, executive, judicial departments, cannot be disputed if it can be forgiven or forgotten; but while the whole South has experienced the loss and suffered the specific injury, the crime itself is equally against the free states who do not sanction or approve but honorably denounce it; in a word, the grievance is local, the crime national, and the redress also should be national. If oaths will not bind the people of some states; if no obligation, however sacred, can command the respect and the fidelity of the people of particular states or sections; the mode of applying the corrective, whether it be by force or otherwise, is not by the abandonment of its rights and interests, not by a sacrifice of its place in the Union by any one state, or by several states, but by the united efforts of all loyal, faithful and compact-observing states against those which have proclaimed their hostility to their brethren by the blackest perjury and the most unpardonable crimes. The South, like every other important section of the confederacy, will fight in the Union, not out of it; the people of Illinois, represented by their greatest men, will not sever the fraternal ligaments which indissolubly bind them to Louisiana, because perjured traitors in other states violate the constitution and infract laws, but they tender, on the contrary, the whole power they possess as a sovereign and independent commonwealth, and as a member of this powerful confederacy, to compel, if need be, the enemies of the equality of each and all to abandon their course or suffer the pains and penalties their damnable treason and injustice provoke. Let traitors to the Union leave it; let the states of the North, which have wallowed in their infamous disregard of their sacred duties, preach disunion and secession; but the loyal and true should come more closely together, make common cause against the renegades and traitors, and compel them to act faithfully, honestly and justly, or be expelled from the Union they have disgraced and betrayed.
The South cannot abandon a Union which her industry, her enterprise and her fidelity have contributed so largely to make what it is, merely that some demagogue or other may be a president who dispairs of such distinction in the Union as its; or for the gratification of those short-sighted few who foolishly imagine enormous wealth would flow to them especially from a calamity so dreadful. Let the violators of the laws of Congress and those who aim at the destruction of the constitution abandon the Union; not those who in all times have submitted to every privation to maintain its honor and perpetuate its power and integrity. Neither should we forget, as we have already said, that a crime against the Union is not one to be resented by any one state or a few states, because although one or more may be the sufferers the whole is wronged; and whether the wrong consists in an actual theft, as the stealing a negro, or it be inflicted as Buchanan and his cabinet did it, by giving aid and comfort to the Abolitionists of Illinois against the constitutional party of that chivalrous state, it must be dealt with and punished by the whole Union as it exists under the constitution, and we regard it as quite equal to the undertaking.
Should Douglas be elected President of this Republic in November next, as we confidently believe, he will satisfy the friends and foes of equal and just government and of this democratic Union that under our constitution remedies exist for all exigencies and for the maintenance of the sovereign rights of every state, however situated, which belongs to this grand confederation.