Abolition Amendments to the Constitution.
Almost every abolition member of the present congress — senate as well as house of representatives, has introduced one or more "amendments to the constitution." This is another instance of our progress. At the outset of the war, when the democratic members proposed to amend the constitution so that all parties to the federal compact might be secure in possession of all their just rights, the radicals, who thought "the Union would not be worth a curse without a little blood letting" would not listen to it. "The constitution," they said, "was good enough for them, and it ought to be good enough for the southerners." It is now beyond contradiction that the Crittenden compromise would have been accepted by the southern people, and by its adoption the war could have been avoided on terms favorable to the north, and no more than just to the south. But pacific measures would not do for the brave and patriotic Sumner, the elegant Chandler, and the cultivated Wilson. Amendments to the constitution they would none of, and so we went to war, ostensibly to enforce the constitution, as it stood, upon the states in rebellion.
But now these sticklers for the constitution as it was, demand a change. Eleven states are practically out of the Union, or the only portions of them that could be allowed the form of an election are controlled by Federal bayonets, and the occasion is a favorable one, they think, for ingrafting New England notions upon that instrument. Abolitionists no longer pretend to desire the return of the erring states under the old government, but seek to create a government altogether new, and then make war upon these people to subject them to its authority. An amendment to the constitution, passed by even an unanimous vote of the northern states, would be wholly void as applied to those states now temporarily beyond our control. A war to enforce the authority of such a constitution would be nothing less than murder. We have a right to reduce people who have thrown off the restraints of the national constitution once more to obedience to its authority; but not the shadow of right to make a new constitution, or amend the old one, and then fight the rebels because they will not obey this creation of our own. As well attempt to coerce the republicans of Central or South America into allegiance to the constitution and laws of the United States, as to make war upon the people of the southern states, because they will not submit to the authority of a constitution they had no hand or voice in making.
We have enough on our hands now, one would suppose, in suppressing the rebellion by constitutional and lawful means, without embarrassing the question with unnecessary and irremediable complications. But this is nothing to the radicals. It was to be but an after breakfast job to whip the rebels armies, hang Jeff. Davis and his associates in secession, and frighten the poor cowardly people of the south into submission, on their knees, to the mandates of Mr. Lincoln and the abolition congress. And they seem to be realizing, in their action, the truth of the pagan saying, "Whom the gods intend to destroy, they first make mad." For if crazier schemes ever entered into the imagination of man than have been proposed in congress by the abolition members during these national troubles, history nowhere records them. To listen to these bloodless, but bloodthirsty Bobadils, one would suppose it the most trifling matter in the world for the northern states not only to grapple with and subdue this rebellion, but to give France, England, and any other European power that chose to "pitch in" a handsome dressing down at the same time. And if words were bullets, and talk warfare, Massachusetts would long since have put the finishing touch to her own "war for the Union." As it is, she will propose amendments to the constitution with better grace, when she has furnished that trifling deficiency of over 20,000 men she owes to this war she has done so much to provoke.
But the mere fact that we have no color of right or pretext of justice to make a new government and compel these states to submit to it is not sufficient to influence the apostles of abolitionism to abandon their schemes. Like Phaeton, when he grasped the reins of the chariot of the Sun, the radicals, intoxicated with this unaccustomed power, intend making the most of their short-lived reign, though, like Phaeton, they drive chariot and all to one grand crush in the mad frenzy of their headlong career. The people must hurl these charioteers from place, if they would not be whelmed in one common destruction.