After Lincoln’s election, and as the anticipated unjust policies of the heavy-handed tyrant were beginning to be enforced, a number of states exercised their God-given and Constitutional right to secede from the Union, being themselves a part of a nation established on this same principle, succinctly expressed in the opening phrase of the Declaration of Independence:
When in the Course of Human Events it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the Separation.
Extremely fascinating and inspiring are the responses to Lincoln’s call for troops from the governors of those Southern states which had not yet seceded from the Union. Rather than paraphrase Lincoln’s unconstitutional demand for troops to invade the South, I have pasted it here:
By the President,
To William H. Seward, Secretary of State,
The following call on the respective state governors for troops was simultaneously issued through the War Department:
Sir, under the act of Congress, for calling out the militia to execute the laws of the Union, to suppress insurrection, to repel invasion, etc., approved February 28, 1795, I have the honor to request your excellency to cause to be immediately detailed from the militia of your state the quota designated in the table below, to serve as infantry or riflemen for a period of three months unless sooner discharged. Your excellency will please communicate to me the time and about which your quota will be expected at its rendezvous, as it will be met as soon as practicable by an officer or officers to muster it into service and pay of the United States. At the same time the oath of fidelity to the United States will be administered to every officer and man. The mustering officers will be instructed to receive no man under the rank of commissioned officer who is in years apparently over forty-five, or under eighteen, or who is not in physical strength and vigor. . . . It is ordered that each regiment shall consist, on an aggregate of officers and men, of 780. The total thus to be called out is 73,391. The remainder to constitute the 75,000 men under the President’s proclamation will be composed of troops in the District of Columbia.
Having now seen the exact words from Lincoln’s call to arms, read the bold and righteous responses of the various Southern Governors:
I have only to say, that the militia of Virginia will not be furnished to the powers at Washington for any such use or purpose as they have in view. Your object is to subjugate the Southern states, and a requisition made upon me for such an object—an object, in my judgment, not within the pure view of the Constitution or the Act of 1795—will not be complied with. You have chosen to inaugurate civil war, and having done so, we will meet you in a spirit as determined as your administration has exhibited toward the South. —Governor Letcher of Virginia
Your dispatch is received; and, if genuine, which its extraordinary character leads me to doubt, I have to say in reply, that I regard the levy of troops made by the administration for the purpose of subjugating the states of the South as in violation of the Constitution, and a usurpation of power. I can be no party to this wicked violation of the laws of the country, and to this war upon the liberties of a free people. You can get no troops from North Carolina. —Governor Ellis of N. Carolina
Your dispatch is received. I say emphatically that Kentucky will furnish no troops for the wicked purpose of subduing her sister Southern states. —Governor Magoffin of Kentucky
In answer to your requisition for troops from Arkansas, to subjugate the Southern states, I have to say that none will be furnished. The demand is only adding insult to injury. The people of this commonwealth are freemen, not slaves, and will defend to the last extremity their honor, lives, and property against Northern mendacity and usurpation. —Governor Rector of Arkansas
Tennessee will not furnish a single man for coercion, but fifty thousand, if necessary, for the defense of our rights, or those of our Southern brethren. —Governor Harris of Tennessee
There can be, I apprehend, no doubt that these men are intended to make war upon the seceded states. Your requisition, in my judgment, is illegal, unconstitutional, and revolutionary in its objects, inhuman and diabolical, and cannot be complied with. Not one man will the state of Missouri furnish to carry on such an unholy crusade. —Governor Jackson of Missouri