“The Union” (from Student and Schoolmate, February 1861; p. 75)
None of our young readers can be indifferent to the great events which are transpiring in our country at the present time; and we hope they are allpatriotic enough to work and pray for the Union, whether they live at the North or the South. Our country has grown to be a great and powerful nation by being united; and we should all be sorry to see the chief element of its greatness and of its usefulness in the family of nations, in the slightest degree impaired.
Our fathers who gave us the Union, and with it the institutions under which we have been a free and prosperous people, fought the battles of the revolution for a principle. They loved the Mother Country, and never thought of such a thing as independence till the struggle for freedom had actually begun. There was never a time when, by concession and compromise, they could not have settled their difficulties with England: but the British Cabinet would not yield the principle for which they contended. OUr fathers were resolute; they were not satisfied even to have a merely nominal tax imposed upon them. It was the principle of taxation which they resisted, rather than the payment of a small sum of money.
In like manner it is a principle upon which the North and the South are divided. The subject of slavery which has agitated the country for the past twenty years, is the rock which threatens to divide the Union. The South, claiming that slavery is not only a useful and profitable, but a civilizing and Christian institution, demand that it shall be regarded as a national institution; that property in slaves shall be recognized in the territories, and even in the States where it is not locally legalized.
The North, believing that slavery is an inhuman and barbarous institution, refuses to regard the slave as property anywhere except in the State where the laws establish and protect it. The State of South Carolina declares that the Union deprives her people of their rights; that it oppresses and degrades them. She has by the act of her convention seceded; though she has not yet established her independence. Other States threaten to follow her, and this question whether a State has the right to “secede” now engages the attention of people in both sections of the country. The prospect is dark and threatening, and it is even possible that civil war may soon deluge our country with blood; but whatever comes, may “God speed the right!”