Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/82

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

In some States peonage exists, and but for the fear of the Federal judiciary, slavery might be re-established by unscrupulous individuals. For many crimes it is only when arraigned before a Federal judge that conviction is possible. In this tribunal "the unwritten law" is an unknown factor in its jurisprudence, and has no place in its instructions and decisions. A conviction is gaining ground that human life is more secure under law than license or laws laxly administered.

The generation now growing up, unschooled in the old doctrine of States rights, are inclined to look upon the government as conceived by our forefathers as an exploded idea of Utopian transcendentalism. They know nothing of old conditions and care still less. They are living in a materialistic age; commercialism is the ruling spirit, and when those who fought in the Confederate and Federal armies shall have passed away, not only will all animosity between the sections be eliminated, but the nation will be bound together, with no bone of contention such as existed before the late Civil War, but will be cemented into a perpetual Union. Whether these are mere vagaries of the mind, figments of the fancy or draughts of deep philosophy, the results of sound reasoning and logical deductions, time alone can determine.

If the question had been asked thirty years ago, aye, even within a less period, would it have been best for the Confederacy to have succeeded? Would it have been better for two governments to have been established on this continent? It would have been regarded as disloyal to the memories of the past, an insult to the dead, sacrilegious.

The question of secession was one on which statesmen North and South differed. The history of the country shows there has been a continuous struggle between two opposing factions of political thought and schools of construction, one faction contending that in adopting the Constitution we became a nation, one sovereignty, and the indissolubility of the Union; the other that it was a confederation of sovereign States, bound together by a Constitution, from which each State could secede or withdraw at its own will.

By the Democratic party Mr. Jefferson is considered the father of the doctrine of States rights, and yet in his first inaugural ad-