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Title: Address of James Graham McNab, March 1857: Electronic Edition.
Author: McNab, James Graham
Funding from the University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill supported the electronic publication of this title.
Text transcribed by Bari Helms
Images scanned by Bari Helms
Text encoded by Risa Mulligan
First Edition, 2005
Size of electronic edition: ca. 15K
Publisher: The University Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
The electronic edition is a part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill digital library, Documenting the American South.
Languages used in the text: English
Revision history:
2005-11-11, Risa Mulligan finished TEI/XML encoding.
Title of collection: Records of the Dialectic Society (#40152), University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title of document: Address of James Graham McNab, March 1857
Author: James G. McNab
Description: 8 pages, 8 page images
Note: Call number 40152 (University Archives, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
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Address of James Graham McNab, March 1857
McNab, James Graham

Page 1
Our Union, Will it be preserved?

Mr. President & fellow members,

A succession of ages have witnessed the struggle of man for liberty in every age, & every clime. The star of liberty has been seen proudly to rise untill times thought to have reached the median of its glory. Then again to still from human gaze guarded only by an Almighty protector. Thanks be to God that star has again risen in the name of America. Yes Sir She, the palladium of the liberties of mankind has arisen. And the question now is must she too, fall? The present condition and future destiny of our country afford abundant food for deep, and serious reflection. Originating from a colony of obscure adventurers driven from their native shores by the bigotry, & mistaken zeal of the rulers of the old world. And cast on a land which served only as the abode of the beasts of the forest, and if

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possible a race of beings still more savage! Our country has in the lapse of a few years arisen to a lofty, & commanding station among the nations of the world. Only a few short years ago a star was seen to rise and shine, dimly though it was on the shores of the new world. And now though scarce a century has elapsed, its rays have penetrated, & are fast dissipating the horrid gloom of European despotism. The down trodden sons of humanity of every nation with anxious hearts watch its progress, and hail its success as a harbinger of liberty for them. Such being the case, we may, or should look forward to a destiny still more glorious and exalted. But while these patriotic feelings swell our bosoms, while the hope that our Union may be ever one, is still strong: we cannot be blind to the dark, and portentous clouds which hover around us, we cannot shut our eyes to the fact when we contemplate the future, that it is indeed gloomy. That it presents a more fearful aspect than ever before. The mad torrent of fanaticism,

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and intolerance bearing on its bosom thousands of the Hell hounds of abolitionism engaged in their unholy crusade against their countrymen, the constitution, and their God which has just swept over the northern States, may well cause every true patriot to shudder for our future. Such a course on the part of one portion of our Union is rapidly sapping the very foundations of our government. Casting aside all considerations of honor, of justice, or even expediency trampling upon the remonstrances of a large portion of their fellow citizens, and disregarding the plainest dictates of reason, and the evident meaning of the constitution, we behold them pursuing a course of conduct which if persisted in, must, and will terminate in the destruction of the fairest, and mightiest structure ever reared by mortal hands. The boast in high wrought terms of the blessings of liberty which we enjoy in such rich profusion. We claim to be the only free people of the earth. But even now while our government inspires the

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souls, and moves the arms of revolutionary patriots, we (the South) are groaning under the most odious oppression, and smarting from long continued, and repeated aggressions. Taxed for what we do not enjoy, our funds go in Millions to strengthen the already too strong arm of our most deadly enemy— Sir it is evident we do not enjoy the position in the confederacy that we should, or even that we once did. It is idle to seek for the cause of our present condition in circumstances of a more local nature! in the defects of our banking system, in an unimproved state of internal improvements. These have some influence, but the true cause comes from a higher source, is more extended and consequently more deadly in its operations. And yet when we remonstrate we are sneered at, and insulted as disunionists, aiming at the destruction of government. Can any one suppose but that such treatment superadded to injuries already inflicted must sooner or later drive the South into measures, which she herself even in cooler moments would be

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be the first to condemn? Cut off as she is from all sympathy, her motives called in question, goaded to desperation by the dishonorable conduct of her adversaries— Comment is useless, yet it is apparent that so long as the usurpations of government are persisted in we must be in imminent danger of a dissolution, and all the horrors of anarchy which would follow in its traice. If these acts of injustice can in any manner be checked, and peace & harmony once again restored we may then look forward to the future with some degree of confidence that the progress of succeeding ages will only be coeval with that of our country in wealth and prosperity. Next we may consider the dangers to be apprehended from the violence of political parties. The American when he turns the page of history which records the power, magnificence, vast extent of territory, parties, divisions, contentions, and finally the destruction of Ancient and modern republics, and compares with these the virulence, and animosity of parties in his own land, entering the abodes of private families, prostrating in their every

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sentiment of honor and justice may justly be alarmed. What a spectacle does Rome exhibit in the days of her Manics, and her Sylla, her Julius and Pompey? What is the history of this wonderful empire from a village on the banks of the Tiber untill it comprehended the then almost known world but a series of tumultuous conflicts, and civil dissensions. Torn by factions, her streets drenched in the blood of her noblest citizens untill she finally relapsed into the more calm slough of despotism. Party spirit like the baneful " " poisoned her vitals, and Rome was free no more. Turn to Venice, to Genoa, to Switzerland, sad relics of their former glory, great beacons standing to warn succeeding ages of the rock upon which their hopes, their fortunes, and their power were wrecked. But why multiply examples? If the canker of party has already eaten into the vitals of our commonwealth, well may we also despair. But let us hope 'tis yet not so. There is a redeeming spirit in the constitution, and the teachings of our patriot ancestors which we may well expect to bear us through the storm. If our government

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again stand the recent shock of shocks, then may we hope that it will be permanent and eternal: that steadily pursuing a course which has been marked by the most signal advantages both to herself and mankind, she will continue to be an honor to herself & the neuclus of liberty. But should our fond anticipations be nipped in the bud, should the worst draw near, what Sir, is the duty of Southerners in that event. Sir around us are assembled the youth of our own sunny South. And to you fellow members the priceless boon of human liberty has been confided. I charge you defend it. And should the tocsin of disunion resound throughout the land, and the dread torch of civil war cast its lurid glare around our sacred homes, and over the graves of our ancestors: I adjure you by all you hold sacred and holy, I adjure you as you value the liberty of your posterity, as you value your own peace and happiness to ever persevere afresh in your hearts the bloody scenes of Charleston, of Savannah, of Camden, and Kings Mountain, remember the sufferings

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of our fathers and in the midst of the struggle if come it must, let the motto of each, and every one be Independence in life if possible, if not independence in death.
James G. McNab
Chapel Hill, March 1857