On January 3, 1861, Senator Stephen A. Douglas spoke in the Senate Chamber regarding the inability of the Committee of Thirteen to find compromise to end the sectional crisis. He saw the Republican party’s ultimate goal of surrounding the South with abolition States and confining the institution in such narrow limits as leading toward race war or colonization of the Negro – and appealed to the people of Illinois to help find a more human and Christian solution to the evil of slavery.
Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"
Waging War to Destroy, Not Preserve, the Union:
“Are we prepared for war? I do not mean that kind of preparation which consists of armies and navies, and supplies, and munitions of war; but are we prepared IN OUR HEARTS for war with our own brethren and kindred? I confess I am not.
While I affirm that the Constitution is, and was intended to be, a bond of perpetual Union; while I can do no act and utter no word that will countenance the right of secession….I will not mediate war, nor tolerate the idea, until every effort at peaceful adjustment shall have been exhausted, and the last ray of hope shall have deserted the patriot’s heart. In my opinion, war is disunion, certain, inevitable, irrevocable. I am for peace to save the Union.
[The] proposition to subvert the de facto government of South Carolina, and reduce the people of that State to subjection to our Federal authority, no longer involves the question of enforcing the laws in a country within our possession; but it does involve the question of whether we will make war upon a State which has withdrawn her allegiance and expelled our authorities….We are bound, by the usages of nations, by the laws of civilization, by the uniform practice of our own Government, to acknowledge the existence of a Government de facto, so long as it maintains its undivided authority.
[I] desire to know of my Union-loving friends on the other side of the Chamber how they intend to enforce the laws in the seceding States, except by making war, conquering them first, and administering the law in them afterwards.
In my opinion, we have reached a point where disunion is inevitable, unless some compromise, founded on mutual concession, can be made. I prefer compromise to war. I prefer concession to dissolution of the Union…[and] simply say that I will meet every one half way who is willing to preserve the peace of the country, and save the Union from disruption upon principles of compromise and concession.
The preservation of this Union, the integrity of this Republic, is of more importance than party platforms or individual records. Why cannot you Republicans accede to the re-establishment and extension of the Missouri compromise line? Why not allow the people to pass on these questions? The political party which shall refuse to allow the people to determine for themselves at the ballot box the issue between revolution and war on the one side, and obstinate adherence to a party platform on the other, will assume a fearful responsibility.
A war upon a political issue, waged by the people of eighteen States against the people and domestic institutions of fifteen sister States, is a fearful and revolting thought. The South will be a unit, and desperate, under the belief that your object in waging war is their destruction, and not the preservation of the Union; that you mediate servile insurrection, and the abolition of slavery in the Southern States, by fire and sword, in the name and under the pretext of enforcing the laws and vindicating the authority of the Government. You know that such is the prevailing, and, I may say, unanimous opinion at the South; and that ten million people are preparing for the terrible conflict under that conviction.
The history of the world does not offer furnish an instance, where war has raged for a series of years between two classes of States, divided by a geographical line under the same national Government, which has ended in reconciliation and reunion. Extermination, subjugation or separation, one of these three must be the result of the war between the northern and southern States.”
(The Politics of Dissolution, Marshall L. DeRosa, editor, Transaction Publishers, 1998, pp. 190, 196, 201-202)