tolerate than to disturb, and would have been impotent in affecting the tranquility of the country. The mass of the people of the non-slave holding States have always been in favor of the compromises of the Constitution in their integrity, and too much credit cannot be given to those public men who at all hazards of personal influence have nobly exerted themselves in sustaining them, and in staying the plague which threatened their destruction. If the guaranties of the Constitution are not to be carried out, if its conservative power is to be withdrawn from, any portion of the Union, what remains for the protection of its citizens? The most absolute despotism is comparative freedom to their condition. If there is a higher power than the Constitution, and this power is the conscience of a class of persons whom the accident of an election may elevate to authority, we have merely the substitution of fanatic and unbridled license in place of the fundamental law. Fanaticism has been the curse of our race. Its history fortunately has been written. When once admitted into the governing power of a system like ours, it can produce little else than tyranny and brutal violence, and must necessarily destroy it. To resist the invasion of our institutions on their outward edge by this element of danger, is a matter of self preservation.
Those who are so ready at all times to impugn the motives of the advocates of State rights, ought to bear in mind that they are liable to misunderstand them. An extreme sensitiveness on the subject of the rights of the States has its date in the origin of our Government. In the States whose social condition offers no vulnerable point to be, affected by the action of the General Government, little is to be apprehended from its interference, and less from its adverse action. But in the States where the condition of a large class is sought to be disturbed, social order itself is liable to be upturned and society itself disorganized by a departure from the conservative principles of the Constitution: an active and self protecting vigilance on their part ought therefore to excite neither surprise nor distrust among just and right minded men. That the people of States so situated should be feelingly alive to every danger of this sort, and use every precaution to maintain their peace and security by preserving their political power, would seem to be the natural consequences of their position.
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