The Duty of the President.
During the past few weeks we have endeavored to get exactly at the meaning of the term "COERCION OF STATES," as used by the Secessionists and their friends. When we first read the words in Southern papers we supposed that the people of South Carolina and other seceding States feared that the government was going to send armies upon them, to murder their people and lay waste their towns and cities. We could but laugh when such fear came upon them, for we knew how idle was such apprehension. "No Coercion" still rings out from Secession journals — "no coercion," cries Virginia — "no coercion," echoes every sympathizer with secession and treason, North and South. Now the question arises: What is Coercion? Judging from democratic and secession comments on Mr. LINCOLN'S Indianapolis speech, we have reached the conclusion that "Coercion," as understood by them, means a performance on the part of the President of the United States of his sworn Constitutional duties. If Mr. LINCOLN attempts to collect the revenues in Southern ports, and, being met with armed resistance, he uses force to repel force, this, according to Southern definition, will be Coercion, and all the South will fly to arms to aid treason! If he should reinforce Sumter — if the South Carolina traitors should regard the act as a declaration of war and open their batteries on Sumter, and if Major ANDERSON should open a fire upon the traitors and blow about a thousand or two of them to perdition, this, according to Southern definition would be "Coercion," and civil war would at once be inaugurated.
In a very few days Mr. LINCOLN will take the oath of his office and enter upon the discharge of his duties. In the performance of those duties, the cry of "coercion" and "no coercion" will have no effect whatever upon him. He is a stern, incorruptable, fearless and just man, and he will not be frightened nor cajoled into a violation of his official oath. After taking a solemn oath to support the Constitution of the United States he will support it, and he will use all the power at his command to enforce the laws made in pursuance of it. If a faithful discharge of his duties is to be construed into "coercion," and such "coercion" is to be made a pretext for civil war, then civil war must come, for ABRAHAM LINCOLN will never violate his oath of office at the bidding of traitors. Mr. LINCOLN desires peace, but he will not be likely to purchase it at the price of perjury.