connection with a dissevered Union. God and nature seem to
have determined, in the configuration of our country, that we
must remain one in union and one in destiny. There has
been no contingency suggested which presents such a perpet¬
ual store-house of evils as a divided empire. Our people will
not consent to be thrust back as an interior nation, cut off
from the free outlet to the ocean through our large bays and
rivers, or our being restricted to a limited or doubtful control
over them. They will tolerate no hostile nation on our shores
jn alliance, offensive and defensive, with foreign despotisms.
We have passed that contingency, I trust, if it ever existed,
and stand firmly on the old Jackson ground—the Union, it
must and shall be preserved !
Any question of peace which I shall consider will be peace
where it alone is admissible—PEACE WITHIN THE
And I lay down here this proposition, that it is the duty
of the government to make peace whenever it can do so with
a reasonable assurance that peace will be permanent.
PEACE INCONSISTENT WITH THE CONTINUANCE OF SLAVERY.
In the second place, I lay down the further proposition that
there can be no reasonable assurance of a permanent peace
while slavery exists.
The reasons for this opinion I will endeavor to give. The
history of the past shows that slavery has been a constantly
disturbing element in our government. On the first establish¬
ment of the Constitution our western boundary was on the
Mississippi river. Our whole country at that time was, for
the most part, substantially settled, saving the Northwestern
territory, which, under the impulse of those days in favor of
liberty, was early set apart for a free population. Since that
time our territory has been so enlarged that the Mississippi
river now nearly disects us into two equal regions of country.
Our flag floats alike on the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific
oceans. In the words of an early New Hampshire poet—
" No pent-up XJtica contracts our powers,
For the whole boundless continent is ours."