War of the Rebellion: Serial 115 Page 1208 PRISONERS OF WAR, ETC.

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which we have withdraw was founded upon the express stipulations of a written instrument which established a government whose powers were to be exercised for certain declared purposes and restricted within well defined limits. When a sectional and dominant majority persistently violated the covenants and conditions of that compact those States whose safety and well-being depended upon the performance of these covenants were justly absolved from all moral obligation to remain in such a Union. And when the Government of that Union instead of affording protection to their social system itself threatened not merely to disturb the peace and security of its people but also to destroy their social system the States thus meanced owed it to themselves and their posterity to withdraw immediately from a Union whose very bonds prevented them from defending themselves against such dangers.

Such were the causes which led the Confederate States to form a new Union to be composed of more homogenous materials and interests. Experience has demonstrated to them that a Union of two different and hostile social systems under a Government in which one of them wielded nearly all the power was not only ill assorted but dangerous in the extreme to the weaker section whose scheme of society was thus unprotected.

Prompted by these teachings eleven sovereign States bound together by the tie of a common social system and by the sympathies of identical interests have instituted a new Confederacy and a new Government which they justly hope will be more harmonizing in its operations and more permanent in its existence. In forming this Government they seek to preserve their old institutions and to pursue through their new organic law the very ends and purposes for which as they believe the first was formed. It was because a revolution was sought to be made in the spirit and ends of the organic law of their first union by a dominant and sectional majority, operating through the machinery of a Government which was in their hands and placed there for different purposes, that the Confederate States withdrew themselves from the jurisdiction of such a Government and established another for themselves.

Their example therefore furnishes no precedent for the overthrow of the lawful authority of a regular Government by revolutionary violence; nor does it encourage a resot to factious tumult anrresponsible bodies of men. On the contrary their union has been formed through the regular action of the sovereign States composing the Confederacy, and it has established a Government competent to the discharge of all its civil functions and entirely responsible both in war and peace for all its actions.

Nor has that Government shown itself unmindful of the obligation which its people incurred whilst their States were members of the former Union. On the contrary one of their first acts was to send commissioners to the Government at Washington to adjust amicably all subjects of difference and to provide for a peaceable separation and a fair satisfaction of the mutual claims of the two Confederacies. These commissioners were not received and all offers of a peaceful accommodation were contemptuously rejected. The authority of our Government itself was denied, its people denounced as rebels and a war was waged against them which if carried on in the spirit it was proclaimed must be the most sanguinary and barbarous which has been known for centuries among civilized people.

The Confederate States have thus been forced to take up arms in defense of their right to self-government, and in the name of that