Antebellum quotes rejecting a right to secession

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The context of the Cohens v Virginia case makes it overwhelmingly clear that what Marshall was referencing had nothing whatsoever to do with any attempt to secede or claim to have a right to secede. That means we still haven't seen any quotes from a single person from before the 1830's clearly rejecting the right of a state to peacefully secede.
 

GwilymT

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The context of the Cohens v Virginia case makes it overwhelmingly clear that what Marshall was referencing had nothing whatsoever to do with any attempt to secede or claim to have a right to secede. That means we still haven't seen any quotes from a single person from before the 1830's clearly rejecting the right of a state to peacefully secede.
Certainly the particular context isn’t secession per se but we often have court cases used for a pelethera of issues far beyond their original scope (for right or wrong). In this case it’s clear that Marshall believes that no subset (state)of the whole people (United States) can alter or change the Constitution without the consent of the whole people. Unilateral secession is the very definition of that. You had mentioned in the Bassett Hypothetical thread that to honestly hold a position one must must be able to apply it across several situations. In this case, Marshall’s position is that no subset of the people can make a change affecting all of the people.

More quotes please!
 

trice

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Senator William H. Seward, "Freedom in the New Territories" speech in the Senate, March 11, 1850:

What if there be less of moderation in the legislatures of the South? It only indicates on which side the balance is inclining, and that the decision of the momentous question is near at hand. I agree with those who say that there can be no peaceful dissolution -- no dissolution of the Union by the secession of states; but that disunion -- dissolution -- happen when it may, will, and must be revolution. I discover no omens of revolution - the predictions of the political astrologers do not agree as to the time or manner in which it is to occur. According to the authority of the honorable and distinguished senator from Alabama [Mr. CLEMENS], the event has already happened; and the Union to now in ruins; according to the honorable and distinguished senator from South Carolina [Mr. CALHOUN], it is not to be immediate, but to be developed by time.
 
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trice

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Senator William H. Seward, also from the "Freedom in the New Territories" speech in the Senate, March 11, 1850:

I have heard somewhat here -- and almost for the first time in my life -- of divided allegiance -- of allegiance to the South and to the Union -- of allegiance to states severally and to the Union. Sir, if sympathies with state emulation and pride of achievement could be allowed to raise up another sovereign to divide the allegiance of a citizen of the United States, I might recognize the claims of the state to which, by birth and gratitude, I belong-to the state of Hamilton and Jay, of Schuyler, of the Clintons, and of Fulton -- the state which, with less than two hundred miles of natural navigation connected with the ocean, has, by her own enterprise, secured to herself the commerce of the continent, and is steadily advancing to the command of the commerce of the world. But for all this, I know only one country and one sovereign -- the United States of America and the American people. And such as my allegiance is, is the loyalty of every other citizen of the United States. As I speak, he will speak when his time arrives. He knows no other country, and no other sovereign. He has life, liberty, property, and precious affections, and hopes for himself and for his posterity, treasured up in the ark of the Union. He knows as well and feels as strongly as I do, that this government is his own government; that he is a part of it; that it was established for him, and that it is maintained by him; that it is the only truly. wise, just, free, and equal government, that has ever existed; that no other government could be so wise, just, free, and equal; and that it is safer and more beneficent than any which time or change could bring into its place. You may tell me, sir, that although all this may be true, yet the trial of faction has not yet been made.
Sir, if the trial of faction has not been made, it has not been because faction has not always existed, and has not always menaced a trial, but because faction could find no fulcrum on which to place the lever to subvert the Union, as it can find no fulcrum now; and in this is my confidence. I would not rashly provoke the trial, but I will not suffer a fear which I have not, to make me compromise one sentiment-one principle of truth or justice-to avert a danger that all experience teaches me is purely chimerical. Let, then, those who distrust the Union, make compromises to save it. I shall not impeach their wisdom, as I certainly cannot their patriotism; but, indulging no such apprehensions myself, I shall vote for the admission of California directly, without conditions, without qualifications, and without compromise.
For the vindication of that vote, I look not to the verdict of the passing hour, disturbed as the public mind now is by conflicting interests and passions, but to that period, happily not far distant, when the vast regions over which we are now legislating shall have received their destined inhabitants.
While looking forward to that day, its countless generations seem to me to be rising up, and passing in dim and shadowy review before us; and a voice comes forth from their serried ranks, saying, "Waste your treasures and your armies, if you will; raze your fortifications to the ground; sink your navies into the sea; transmit to us even a dishonored name, if you must; but the soil you hold in trust for us, give it to us free. You found it free, and conquered it to extend a better and surer freedom over it. Whatever choice you have made for yourselves, let us have no partial freedom; let us all be free; let the reversion of your broad domain descend to us unincumbered, and free from the calamities and from the sorrows of human bondage."
 

trice

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Waitman T. Willey, speech to the Virginia State Secession Convention,March 4, 1861:

Allow me, sir, to remark in the outset that I admit the evils in all the extent and magnitude in which they have been presented. I am not here, sir, to apologize for them. I am here to acknowledge, I am here to denounce, I am here to repudiate these errors ; but I am not here to consent to break up this Government. I am here for the purpose of endeavoring to correct those grievances, and to vindicate the honor of Virginia, not by abandoning her position in this great Confederacy, but by bringing her oppressors to acknowledge those errors and to redress her grievances.
And allow me to enquire just here, Mr. President -- granting that those evils exist, acknowledging them in all their extent and magnitude -- what fault has there been on the part of the General Government of the United States? Why break up this Union? Will any gentleman be so kind as to particularize a single instance worthy of debate, in which the Federal Government has been derelict in the discharge of its duty, or has failed to accomplish the purposes of its organization? If individual States of this Confederacy shall have been guilty of malfeasance, as I acknowledge they have been, what reason, logically considered, is there, in consequence of that fact, why we should break up the Federal Government, which must be acknowledged by all, to have accomplished the design of those who constructed it...?
But, Mr. President, let us look at a few more consequences. If the doctrine of the right of a State to secede at her own good will and pleasure be true, then, sir, we may engage in a war, the enemy may be pressing us hard, and yet, in the very hour of our trial, in the very crisis of the country's extremity, a State may retire from the Union, and out of danger; and if she be indeed independent and sovereign when she goes, may form a treaty of alliance with the enemies of the Government, and turn her guns against her former associates. Or she may wait until the war is concluded -- a war in which the blood of her confederates may have been shed in defending her soil -- and when the enemy is repelled, when the debt incurred by the war is resting on the country, politely make her bow, retire from the Union, and leave the remaining States to pay the debt incurred in defending her soil, and in vindicating her honor? Can it be possible that Washington, and Madison, and Franklin, and the other sages of the Revolution, have organized a Government upon such an absurd basis as this?
 

trice

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Waitman T. Willey, speech to the Virginia State Secession Convention,March 4, 1861:

But, sir, when did this doctrine first find a lodgement in the public mind? I think, sir, it is rather a modern invention. If I have read aright the debates in the Virginia Convention for the ratification of the Federal Constitution, the idea of the right of a State to secede was absolutely spurned from the councils of that great body. I know sir, where, it is said, we are to find this. We are told we may find it in the celebrated resolutions and proceedings of the Virginia and Kentucky Legislatures in 1798-'99. What, sir, is the correct interpretation of the doctrine contained in these resolutions and proceedings? To whom shall we apply for the correct exposition of it? We would go, sir, to the artificer for a correct explanation of his machine; we would go to a law-giver for a correct exposition of his law, and although, these resolutions have been quoted as authority, yet Mr. Madison, their author, frequently stated in his letters to Mr. Everett, Mr. Trist, Mr. Cabell and Mr. Stephenson, that no such construction can properly be placed upon these resolutions and proceedings. No, sir, it was a new idea. It was an idea repudiated by Mr. Madison, at the very time of the adoption of our Federal Constitution. I will read a very short extract from a letter written by Mr. Madison to Alexander Hamilton, in 1788, while the question of ratifying the Federal Constitution was yet pending in the State of New York. Here, sir, is the language which he used in the letter to which I have referred, and which was written at that early day :
"The Constitution requires an adoption in toto and forever. It has been so adopted by the other States. An adoption for a limited time would be as defective as an adoption of some of the articles only. In short, any condition whatever must vitiate the ratification. What the new Congress, by virtue of the power to admit new States, may be able and disposed to do in such case, I do not enquire, as I suppose that is not the material point at present. I have not a moment to add more than my fervent wishes for your success and happiness. The idea [and these are the words to which I wish particularly to refer] of reserving the right to withdraw was started at Richmond, and considered as a conditional ratification, which was itself abandoned as worse than rejection."
There, sir, is the opinion of Mr. Madison himself, the author, and, I might almost say, the finisher of that great instrument the Constitution of these United States.
It is true, sir, we had, a little sprinkling of secession in the early history of this Government, but not much. The first that we had appeared, I believe, in the Hartford Convention. It was there, I think, that the doctrine was first enunciated. Very little of it, however, appeared until afterwards, about the year 1830. It then made its reappearance, but the iron logic of General Jackson, and the inexorable decree of the great Democratic party put their heel on it at that day, and it never recovered from the defeat it then received until very recently. General Jackson said :
"To say that any State may at pleasure secede from the Union, is to say that the United States are not a nation; because it would be a solecism to contend that any part of a nation might dissolve its connexion with the other parts to their injury or ruin without committing any offence...."
 
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trice

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Alexander H. Stephens, future Vice President of the Confederacy, speaking at the Georgia Secession Convention, December 1860:

This step, (Secession), once taken, can never be recalled; and all the baleful consequences that must follow, will rest on the convention for all coming time. When we and our posterity shall see our lovely South desolated by the demon of war, which this act of yours will inevitably invite and call forth; when our green fields of waving harvests shall be trodden down by the murderous soldiery and fiery car of war sweeping over our land, our temples of justice laid in ashes, all the horrors and desolations of war upon us, who but this convention will be held responsible for it, and who but he that shall give his vote for this unwise and ill-timed measure, shall be held to strict account for this suicidal act by the present generation, and probably cursed and execrated by posterity in all coming time, for the wide and desolating ruin that will inevitably follow this act you now propose to perpetrate?
...​
Pause now while you can, and contemplate carefully and candidly these important items. Leaving out of view for the present the countless millions of dollars you must expend in war with the North, with tens of thousands of your sons and brothers slain in battle, and offered up as sacrifices upon the altar of your ambition—and for what? Is it for the overthrow of the American government, established by our common ancestry, cemented and built up by their sweat and blood, and founded on the broad principles of right, justice and humanity? And as such, I must declare here, as I have often done before, and which has been repeated by the greatest and wisest of statesmen and patriots in this and other lands, that it is the best and freest government, the most equal in its rights, the most just in its decisions, the most lenient in its measures, and the most inspiring in its principles to elevate the race of men, that the sun of heaven ever shone upon. Now, for you to attempt to overthrow such a government as this unassailed, is the height of madness, folly and wickedness.
 

Dead Parrott

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Waitman T. Willey, speech to the Virginia State Secession Convention,March 4, 1861:

Allow me, sir, to remark in the outset that I admit the evils in all the extent and magnitude in which they have been presented. I am not here, sir, to apologize for them. I am here to acknowledge, I am here to denounce, I am here to repudiate these errors ; but I am not here to consent to break up this Government. I am here for the purpose of endeavoring to correct those grievances, and to vindicate the honor of Virginia, not by abandoning her position in this great Confederacy, but by bringing her oppressors to acknowledge those errors and to redress her grievances.
And allow me to enquire just here, Mr. President -- granting that those evils exist, acknowledging them in all their extent and magnitude -- what fault has there been on the part of the General Government of the United States? Why break up this Union? Will any gentleman be so kind as to particularize a single instance worthy of debate, in which the Federal Government has been derelict in the discharge of its duty, or has failed to accomplish the purposes of its organization? If individual States of this Confederacy shall have been guilty of malfeasance, as I acknowledge they have been, what reason, logically considered, is there, in consequence of that fact, why we should break up the Federal Government, which must be acknowledged by all, to have accomplished the design of those who constructed it...?
But, Mr. President, let us look at a few more consequences. If the doctrine of the right of a State to secede at her own good will and pleasure be true, then, sir, we may engage in a war, the enemy may be pressing us hard, and yet, in the very hour of our trial, in the very crisis of the country's extremity, a State may retire from the Union, and out of danger; and if she be indeed independent and sovereign when she goes, may form a treaty of alliance with the enemies of the Government, and turn her guns against her former associates. Or she may wait until the war is concluded -- a war in which the blood of her confederates may have been shed in defending her soil -- and when the enemy is repelled, when the debt incurred by the war is resting on the country, politely make her bow, retire from the Union, and leave the remaining States to pay the debt incurred in defending her soil, and in vindicating her honor? Can it be possible that Washington, and Madison, and Franklin, and the other sages of the Revolution, have organized a Government upon such an absurd basis as this?
Making the great point that such a Confederacy could (and maybe inevitably would) simply continue to balkanize.
 

Horrido67

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Making the great point that such a Confederacy could (and maybe inevitably would) simply continue to balkanize.
On more quote regarding to this point

"I think the remedy for the South, dissolution (of the Union) is not good enough, and a Southern Confederacy not enough. The latter would not stop the process by which some states, Virginia for examples, are becoming free, viz. by ridding themselves of their slaves and therefore we should be in time with a Confederacy again have a North and a South. The only thing that will do when tried every way is a consolidated Republic formed of Southern States. That will put slavery under the control of those most interested in it."

A letter from Henry L. Benning to Howell Combs in Columbus, GA
01/07/1849

Some Secessionists and Fire-eaters like Benning were prepared to divide a Confederacy that did not even exist at the time to protect slavery.
 
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