An argument in support of secession by President James Buchanan’s attorney general, Judge Jeremiah Black, is found in a book entitled A DEFENSE OF THE SOUTH. Here is that argument:
Judge Black on secession and the Constitution
The leading men of the South were so devoted to the Union and so reluctant to withdraw from it that, even after the triumph of the distinctly sectional party at the polls and the election of a President avowedly hostile to Southern institutions and interests, they would not have seceded if they could have obtained any satisfactory assurance that the Constitution would continue to be recognized as the law of the land and that the government would continue to be administered in accordance with its plain provisions. This assurance they vainly tried to get. The testimony of Judge Black, of Pennsylvania, given in an open letter to the Hon. Charles Francis Adams, which was published in the Galaxy for January 1874, not only confirms this statement, but throws a flood of light on the whole situation.
After stating the general belief at Washington that Mr. Seward would be “the Wolsey” of the new administration, with ‘Law in his voice and honor in his hand,’ while others would be subordinate and the President himself little more than a figurehead," Judge Black said: "When the troubles were at their worst, certain Southern gentlemen, through Judge Campbell, of the Supreme Court, requested me to meet Mr. Seward and see if he would not give them some ground on which they could stand with safety inside of the Union. I consented, and we met at the State Department. . . . Many propositions were discussed and rejected as being either impracticable or likely to prove useless before I told him what I felt perfectly sure would stop all controversy at once and forever. I proposed that he should simply pledge himself and the incoming administration to govern according to the Constitution, and upon every disputed point of constitutional law to accept that exposition of it which had been or might be given by the judicial authorities. He started at this, became excited, and violently declared he would do no such thing. ‘That,’ said he, ‘is treason; that would make me agree to the Dred Scott case.’
In vain I told him that he was not required to admit the correctness of any particular case, but merely to submit to it
Thus the recognized leader of the Republican party, who was expected to dictate the policy of the incoming administration, emphatically refused to give the Southern leaders that assurance of safety within the Union which would have settled all the trouble, and declared that it would be treason to pledge himself and his party to govern according to the Constitution as it had been or might be expounded by the highest judicial tribunal in the country.
When the reins of government were placed in the hands of men who thus emphatically refused to pledge themselves to govern according to the Constitution as construed by the judiciary; when the administration of the country’s affairs was given to a party that was organized on a distinctly sectional basis and, in the words of a Northern historian, "Constitution and Union and all public and personal rights and privileges dependent upon them, in the North as well as in the South, stood in immediate and imminent danger of utter overthrow," Southern statesmen felt that, if they would preserve the government inherited from their fathers and hand it down as a heritage to their children, they must withdraw from the Union and establish a Confederacy of their own.
I want to use this selection in a pamphlet I am publishing but need more information about the book. And so i will appreciate it if anyone can give me the name of the author (or editor) and the publisher.