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we are asked to compromise and conciliate. Never, as God lives, will I vote for a particle of compromise until that insult is atoned, apologized for, and avenged; never." Speaking of the Saviour, who "nestled beside the lowest form of the most degraded, and whispered, in accents of divine love, My brother," he said: "We might as well mock at the bloody agony of Christ as to jeer at the miseries of the poor slave." "Sir," he said, in closing," it is a crime to make shipwreck of this government. Let the American people who made it preserve it consecrated to freedom." Mr. Washburn, who had signed one of the minority reports, defended its principles, closing with the declaration that, if the Union must be broken and a new one should be formed, it would be a consolation to those who survived, that they were what they never had been before, "inhabitants of a free country."
In a similar strain spoke Edward McPherson of Pennsylvania. Giving the history and purpose of secession, and subjecting the alleged reasons therefor to a most rigorous examination, he declared that they were "complaints without foundation, grievances without actuality, suffering without wounds, oppression without burdens, and apprehensions without reason." Charles B. Sedgwick of New York contended that the only settlement of the difficulty lay in the path of a vigorous and manly defence of principle. He was opposed to all compromises because, he believed, "the day of compromise has past." "Besides," he added, "I regard the alleged complaints groundless and the proposed remedies puerile." He alluded to slavery as "a perpetual weakness, a disgrace, a calamity," not a disease to be cured by gentle remedies, but "a case for surgery." "This hour," said Charles H. Van Wyck of the same State, "witnesses the fulfilment of all we have predicted as to the encroachments and demands of slavery. From coercing the labor of one race, it places its hand on our throat, and in the language of the highwayman, demands our money or our life, our government or our principles. I think I can see the finger of the Almighty moving on the troubled waters. Men and nations will do but little in warring against his decrees."
All these Southern complaints, said Thaddeus Stevens, " are mere pretences. The restless spirits of the South desire to have a slave empire, and they use things as excuses. Some of them desire a more brilliant and stronger government than a republic. Their domestic institutions, and the social inequality of their free people, naturally prepare them for a monarchy surrounded by a lordly nobility,- for a throne founded on the neck of labor." Orris S. Ferry of Connecticut, after speaking of and tracing the "thirty years' growth" of the disunion movement, declared the object of its leaders to be the overthrow of democratic and the establishment of aristocratic and monarchical institutions, behind whom "stands the mob, just beginning to be conscious of its strength and ready for any desperate enterprise." Deprecating the ascendency of such principles, he drew, in grateful contrast, a picture of New England influences. "Wherever," he said, " along your pathway, you find mingled, in justest proportions, reverence for law and love for civil liberty; wherever you find the highest social order resting securely upon the broadest democracy; wherever industry is most prevalent, and reaps the most ample rewards; wherever villages cluster thickest, and churches most abound, and schoolhouses are most frequent; wherever Christianity assumes her purest form, and education is most widely disseminated,—there, sir, everywhere then you behold the footprints of New England." He spoke of the Rebellion as more wicked than any "since the angels revolted"; of the report of the committee as a compromise of principle that should not be made at any time, but especially under duress. "I am afraid to compromise," he added, "lest I demoralize the government.” In a similar strain were the eloquent remarks of James Humphrey of New York, in response to the charge, made by Mr. Winslow of Kentucky, of insensibility, on the part of the Republicans, in view of the thickening dangers which were menacing the nation. After saying it was no "cold, icy stoicism" that governed their conduct, he added: "If we are motionless amid this convulsion, it is not from insensibility; but because, standing now upon the Constitution of our fathers, we can find no other solid ground on which to
plant an advancing footstep. Believe me, this is no sullen silence' that reigns on this side of the chamber when you appeal to us to offer concession to save the Union. It is a solemn fear that such concessions may prove its speedy and complete dismemberment."
James Wilson of Indiana spoke earnestly and effectively against the proposed compromises. After exposing the triviality of the Southern reasons for secession, he characterized the President's plan of conciliation as subversive of every principle of civil liberty. Of the Crittenden plan, he said: "It bristles all over with devilish enginery to guard every outpost and protect every advance of slavery." Of the committee's propositions he said that there was "not a single thing new that is important; not a single thing old that is not made worse. . . . . It is a sham; and I believe, with Carlyle, that whenever you meet a sham, smite it, and smite it,-in God's name, smite it, until it dies, or you die."
Though the report of the committee was thus severely criticised by the friends of freedom as yielding too much and as admitting principles and recommendations at war with the genius of free institutions, many with antislavery convictions and antecedents felt constrained by the pressure of the hour to speak and vote for it. Among them was Charles Francis Adams of Massachusetts, who had been long identified with the antislavery reform, and who was candidate for the VicePresidency on the Free Soil ticket of 1848. Speaking of the Union as "inwoven in his affections with the labors in its support of two generations, . . . . mingled with earnest prayers for the welfare of those who are treading after me," he pleaded for its "continuity," in the interests of "republican institutions, as well in America as over the rest of the civilized world." Admitting that the Southern "discontent" and threatened purpose were without good reason, he still counselled moderation and every reasonable effort to stem and turn the rising current of secession. The grounds of complaint he characterized as personal-liberty bills which never freed a slave, exclusion from territory which slaveholders will never desire to enter, apprehension of an event which will never
take place. He spoke of the inexpressible folly of the slaveholders breaking up a government which gave them their only reasonable hope of maintaining power over the bondmen, and of entering upon an experiment that must "ignominiously fail." Still, he would conciliate even those whose course and cause he characterized as so inexcusable and wicked, " on some fair basis like that proposed by the committee."
Among the Southern advocates of union and the report of the committee, were Horace Maynard of Tennessee and Henry Winter Davis of Maryland. Occupying middle ground, between the antislavery men of the North and the secessionists of the South, and sympathizing with neither, they mingled their pleas for the Union with bitter denunciations upon the heads of both. Mr. Maynard, alluding to the "ineradicable difference of opinion and antagonistic feeling" between the sections, and to the allegations of Mr. Lincoln that the nation could not endure "half slave and half free," of Mr. Seward that there was an "irrepressible conflict" between them, he asked and answered the question, "Can these States remain in the same confederacy part free and part slave?" by saying that he saw "no good reason why they should not continue thus." Admitting that there were "difficulties in the way," in the purpose of many to break the Union, in the unfriendly attitude of some foreign governments, and in "the imbecility of the President"; deprecating coercion and distrusting any mere "administrative expedients," he deemed the Crittenden resolutions as worthy of consideration, and proposed this impracticable solution of the momentous problem: "Listen to their grievances; remove the causes of their discontent. Whole peoples are never consciously wrong, and must not be proceeded against as criminals. They are never corrupt, and cannot be purchased with bribes."
Mr. Davis was a gentleman of culture and irreproachable character, an accomplished scholar, and an orator with few to contest his palm of superiority. Few men ever addressed either house with more commanding and thrilling eloquence. His ability and position, and the circumstances of the hour, could not but command his utmost strength, and make this
effort peerless even among his own most elaborate and eloquent productions. Belonging to the new American organization, he was prevented by no party affiliation from pronouncing the severest judgment upon both extremes. "We are at an end," he said, "of partisan license, which for thirty years has, in the United States, worn the mask of government. We are about to close the masquerade by the dance of death." Sketching with a free hand, and denouncing, in language no less bitter and biting because it was polished and parliamentary, the political profligacy and demoralization of the hour, he said the belligerent States had reached a point where they were fighting their own quarrels "without regard to the Federal government," "as if the Constitution were silent and dead," while "unconstitutional commissioners flit from State to State, or assemble at the national capital, to counsel peace or instigate war." He spoke of the President as "paralyzed and stupefied"; as "standing amid the crash of the falling Republic, still muttering, Not in my time; not in my time. After me the deluge," while we are called upon "to deal with the consequences of his incapacity." Detailing, with great force, the consequences of disruption, among which were "to sever the territory we have labored for three generations to establish; pull down the flag of the United States and take a lower station among the nations of the earth; abandon the high prerogative of leading the march of freedom, the hope of struggling nationalities, and the terror of frowning tyrants," he said that "the Constitution and laws must be sustained, and they who stand across the path of that enforcement must either destroy the power of the United States or it will destroy them." Having asserted that Maryland was still loyal to the flag, in answer to a protest of one of his colleagues against his claim to speak for the State, he declared that if she sought to "go out by convention or otherwise, their authority will be resisted and defied in arms on the soil of Maryland, in the name and by the authority of the Constitution of the United States."
During the debate there was another voice raised for the Union, equally earnest, if not equally eloquent, from the same section, though its extremest portion. A. J. Hamilton of