We have not sought this conflict; we have sought too long to avoid it; our forbearance has been construed into weakness, our magnanimity into fear, until the vindication of our manhood, as well as the defence of our rights, is required at our hands.
We can today open wide the history of their administrations and point with pride to every act, and challenge the world to point out a single act stained with injustice to the North, or with partiality to their own section.
Peace and commerce with foreign nations could be more effectually and cheaply cultivated by a common agent; therefore they gave the Federal Government the sole management of our relations with foreign governments.
With these vast advantages, ordinary and extraordinary, one would have supposed the North would have been content, and would have at least respected the security and tranquility of such obedient and profitable brethren; but such is not human nature.
The basis, the corner-stone of this Government, was the perfect equality of the free, sovereign, and independent States which made it.
There were thousands of abolitionists who were free traders.
The door of conciliation and compromise is finally closed by our adversaries, and it remains only to us to meet the conflict with the dignity and firmness of men worthy of freedom.
The North understand it better - they have told us for twenty years that their object was to pen up slavery within its present limits - surround it with a border of free States, and like the scorpion surrounded with fire, they will make it sting itself to death.
I very much regret, in appearing before you at your request, to address you on the present state of the country, and the prospect before us, that I can bring you no good tidings.
Those who tell you that the territorial question is an abstraction, that you can never colonize another territory without the African slavetrade, are both deaf and blind to the history of the last sixty years.
Give us equality of enjoyment, equal right to expansion - it is as necessary to our prosperity as yours.
Besides, we had a large debt, contracted at home and abroad in our War of Independence; therefore the great power of taxation was conferred upon this Government.
Conflicting commercial regulations of the different States shackled and diminished both foreign and domestic trade; hence the power to regulate commerce was conferred.
When we acquired California and New- Mexico this party, scorning all compromises and all concessions, demanded that slavery should be forever excluded from them, and all other acquisitions of the Republic, either by purchase or conquest, forever.
In 1790 we had less than eight hundred thousand slaves. Under our mild and humane administration of the system they have increased above four millions.
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