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The Great Conspiracy, Complete by John Alexander Logan

Part 4 out of 13

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representing the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware,
Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio,
Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin and Kansas--remained in session until
February 27, 1861--and then submitted the result of its labors to
Congress, with the request that Congress "will submit it to Conventions
in the States, as Article Thirteen of the Amendments to the Constitution
of the United States, in the following shape:

"Section 1. In all the present territory of the United States, north of
the parallel of 36 30' of north latitude, Involuntary Servitude, except
in punishment of crime, is prohibited. In all the present territory
south of that line, the status of Persons held to Involuntary Service or
Labor, as it now exists, shall not be changed; nor shall any law be
passed by Congress or the Territorial Legislature to hinder or prevent
the taking of such Persons from any of the States of this Union to said
Territory, nor to impair the Rights arising from said relation; but the
same shall be subject to judicial cognizance in the Federal Courts,
according to the course of the common law. When any Territory north or
south of said line, within such boundary as Congress may prescribe,
shall contain a population equal to that required for a member of
Congress, it shall, if its form of government be republican, be admitted
into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, with or
without Involuntary Servitude, as the Constitution of such State may

"Section 2. No territory shall be acquired by the United States, except
by discovery and for naval and commercial stations, depots, and transit
routes, without the concurrence of a majority of all the Senators from
States which allow Involuntary Servitude, and a majority of all the
Senators from States which prohibit that relation; nor shall Territory
be acquired by treaty, unless the votes of a majority of the Senators
from each class of States hereinbefore mentioned be cast as a part of
the two-thirds majority necessary to the ratification of such treaty.

"Section 3. Neither the Constitution, nor any amendment thereof, shall
be construed to give Congress power to regulate, abolish, or control,
within any State, the relation established or recognized by the laws
thereof touching Persons held to Labor or Involuntary Service therein,
nor to interfere with or abolish Involuntary Service in the District of
Columbia without the consent of Maryland, and without the consent of the
owners, or making the owners who do not consent just compensation; nor
the power to interfere with or prohibit Representatives and others from
bringing with them to the District of Columbia, retaining, and taking
away, Persons so held to Labor or Service; nor the power to interfere
with or abolish Involuntary Service in places under the exclusive
jurisdiction of the United States within those States and Territories
where the same is established or recognized; nor the power to prohibit
the removal or transportation of Persons held to Labor or Involuntary
Service in any State or Territory of the United States to any other
State or Territory thereof where it is established or recognized by law
or usage; and the right during transportation, by sea or river, of
touching at ports, shores, and landings, and of landing in case of
distress, shall exist; but not the right of transit in or through any
State or Territory, or of sale or traffic, against the laws thereof.
Nor shall Congress have power to authorize any higher rate of taxation
on Persons held to Labor or Service than on land. The bringing into the
District of Columbia of Persons held to Labor or Service, for sale, or
placing them in depots to be afterwards transferred to other places for
sale as merchandize, is prohibited.

"Section 4. The third paragraph of the second section of the fourth
article of the Constitution shall not be construed to prevent any of the
States, by appropriate legislation, and through the action of their
judicial and ministerial officers, from enforcing the delivery of
Fugitives from Labor to the person to whom such Service or Labor is due.

"Section 5. The Foreign Slave Trade is hereby forever prohibited; and
it shall be the duty of Congress to pass laws to prevent the importation
of Slaves, Coolies, or Persons held to Service or Labor, into the United
States and the Territories from places beyond the limits thereof.

"Section 6. The first, third, and fifth sections, together with this
section of these amendments, and the third paragraph of the second
section of the first article of the Constitution, and the third
paragraph of the second section of the fourth article thereof, shall not
be amended or abolished without the consent of all the States.

"Section 7. Congress shall provide by law that the United States shall
pay to the owner the full value of the Fugitive from Labor, in all cases
where the Marshal, or other officer, whose duty it was to arrest such
Fugitive, was prevented from so doing by violence or intimidation from
mobs or riotous assemblages, or when, after arrest, such Fugitive was
rescued by like violence or intimidation, and the owner thereby deprived
of the same; and the acceptance of such payment shall preclude the owner
from further claim to such Fugitive. Congress shall provide by law for
securing to the citizens of each State the privileges and immunities of
citizens in the several States."

To spurn such propositions as these--with all the concessions to the
Slave Power therein contained--was equivalent to spurning any and all
propositions that could possibly be made; and by doing this, the
Seceding States placed themselves--as they perhaps desired--in an
utterly irreconcilable attitude, and hence, to a certain extent, which
had not entered into their calculations, weakened their "Cause" in the
eyes of many of their friends in the North, in the Border States, and in
the World. They had become Implacables. Practically considered, this
was their great mistake. The Crittenden Compromise Resolutions covered
and yielded to the Slaveholders of the South all and even more than they
had ever dared seriously to ask or hope for, and had they been open to
Conciliation, they could have undoubtedly carried that measure through
both Houses of Congress and three-fourths of the States.

["Its advocates, with good reason, claimed a large majority of the
People in its favor, and clamored for its submission to a direct
popular vote. Had such a submission been accorded, it is very
likely that the greater number of those who voted at all would have
voted to ratify it. * * * The 'Conservatives,' so called, were
still able to establish this Crittenden Compromise by their own
proper strength, had they been disposed so to do. The President
was theirs; the Senate strongly theirs; in the House, they had a
small majority, as was evidenced in their defeat of John Sherman
for Speaker. Had they now come forward and said, with authority:
'Enable us to pass the Crittenden Compromise, and all shall be
peace and harmony,' they would have succeeded without difficulty.
It was only through the withdrawal of pro-slavery members that the
Republicans had achieved an unexpected majority in either House.
Had those members chosen to return to the seats still awaiting
them, and to support Mr. Crittenden's proposition, they could have
carried it without difficulty."--Vol. 360, Greeley's Am. Conflict.]

But no, they wilfully withdrew their Congressional membership, State by
State, as each Seceded, and refused all terms save those which involved
an absolute surrender to them on all points, including the impossible
claim of the "Right of Secession."

Let us now briefly trace the history of the Compromise measures in the
two Houses of Congress.

The Crittenden-Compromise Joint-Resolution had been introduced in the
Senate at the opening of its session and referred to a Select Committee
of Thirteen, and subsequently, January 16th, 1861, having been reported
back, came up in that body for action. On that day it was amended by
inserting the words "now held or hereafter to be acquired" after the
words "In all the territory of the United States," in the first line of
Article I., so that it would read as given above. This amendment--by
which not only in all territory then belonging to the United States, but
also by implication in all that might thereafter be acquired, Slavery
South of 36 30' was to be recognized--was agreed to by 29 yeas to 21
nays, as follows:

YEAS.--Messrs. Baker, Bayard, Benjamin, Bigler, Bragg, Bright,
Clingman, Crittenden, Douglas, Fitch, Green, Gwin, Hemphill, Hunter,
Iverson, Johnson of Tennessee, Kennedy, Lane, Mason, Nicholson, Pearce,
Polk, Powell, Pugh, Rice, Saulsbury, Sebastian, Slidell and Wigfall--29.

NAYS.--Messrs. Anthony, Bingham, Cameron, Chandler, Clark, Collamer,
Dixon, Doolittle, Durkee, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Grimes, Hale, Harlan,
King, Latham, Seward, Simmons, Sumner, Ten Eyck, Trumbull, Wade and

The question now recurred upon an amendment, in the nature of a
substitute, offered by Mr. Clark, to strike out the preamble of the
Crittenden proposition and all of the resolutions after the word
"resolved," and insert:

"That the provisions of the Constitution are ample for the preservation
of the Union, and the protection of all the material interests of the
Country; that it needs to be obeyed rather than amended; and that an
extrication from our present dangers is to be looked for in strenuous
efforts to preserve the peace, protect the public property, and enforce
the laws, rather than in new Guarantees for particular interests,
Compromises for particular difficulties, or Concessions to unreasonable

"Resolved, That all attempts to dissolve the present Union, or overthrow
or abandon the present Constitution, with the hope or expectation of
constructing a new one, are dangerous, illusory, and destructive; that
in the opinion of the Senate of the United States no such Reconstruction
is practicable; and, therefore, to the maintenance of the existing Union
and Constitution should be directed all the energies of all the
departments of the Government, and the efforts of all good citizens."

Before reaching a vote on this amendment, Mr. Anthony, (January 16th)
made a most conciliatory speech, pointing out such practical objections
to the Crittenden proposition as occurred to his mind, and then,
continuing, said: "I believe, Mr. President, that if the danger which
menaces us is to be avoided at all, it must be by Legislation; which is
more ready, more certain, and more likely to be satisfactory, than
Constitutional Amendment. The main difficulty is the Territorial
question. The demand of the Senators on the other side of the Chamber,
and of those whom they represent, is that the territory south of the
line of the Missouri Compromise shall be open to their peculiar
Property. All this territory, except the Indian Reservation, is within
the limits of New Mexico; which, for a part of its northern boundary,
runs up two degrees above that line. This is now a Slave Territory;
made so by Territorial Legislation; and Slavery exists there, recognized
and protected. Now, I am willing, as soon as Kansas can be admitted, to
vote for the admission of New Mexico as a State, with such Constitution
as the People may adopt. This disposes of all the territory that is
adapted to Slave Labor or that is claimed by the South. It ought to
settle the whole question. Surely if we can dispose of all the
territory that we have, we ought not to quarrel over that which we have
not, and which we have no very honest way of acquiring. Let us settle
the difficulties that threaten us now, and not anticipate those which
may never come. Let the public mind have time to cool * * *. In
offering to settle this question by the admission of New Mexico, we of
the North who assent to it propose a great Sacrifice, and offer a large

"* * * But we make the offer in a spirit of Compromise and good
feeling, which we hope will be reciprocated. * * * I appeal to
Senators on the other side, when we thus offer to bridge over full
seven-eighths of the frightful chasm that separates us, will you not
build the other eighth? When, with outstretched arms, we approach you
so near that, by reaching out your hands you can clasp ours in the
fraternal grasp from which they should never be separated, will you,
with folded arms and closed eyes, stand upon extreme demands which you
know we cannot accept, and for which, if we did, we could not carry our
constituents? * * * Together our Fathers achieved the Independence of
their Country; together they laid the foundations of its greatness and
its glory; together they constructed this beautiful system under which
it is our privilege to live, which it is our duty to preserve and to
transmit. Together we enjoy that privilege; together we must perform
that duty. I will not believe that, in the madness of popular folly and
delusion, the most benignant Government that ever blessed humanity is to
be broken up. I will not believe that this great Power which is
marching with giant steps toward the first place among the Nations of
the Earth, is to be turned 'backward on its mighty track.' There are no
grievances, fancied or real, that cannot be redressed within the Union
and under the Constitution. There are no differences between us that
may not be settled if we will take them up in the spirit of those to
whose places we have succeeded, and the fruits of whose labors we have

And to this more than fair proposition to the Southerners--to this
touching appeal in behalf of Peace--what was the response? Not a word!
It seemed but to harden their hearts.

[Immediately after Mr. Anthony's appeal to the Southern Senators, a
motion was made by Mr. Collamer to postpone the Crittenden
Resolutions and take up the Kansas Admission Bill. Here was the
chance at once offered to them to respond to that appeal--to make a
first step, as it were. They would not make it. The motion was
defeated by 25 yeas to 30 nays--Messrs. Benjamin and Slidell of
Louisiana, Hemphill and Wigfall of Texas, Iverson of Georgia, and
Johnson of Arkansas, voting "nay." The question at once recurred
on the amendment of Mr. Clark--being a substitute for the
Crittenden Resolutions, declaring in effect all Compromise
unnecessary. To let that substitute be adopted, was to insure the
failure of the Crittenden proposition. Yet these same six Southern
Senators though present, refused to vote, and permitted the
substitute to be adopted by 25 yeas to 23 nays. The vote of Mr.
Douglas, who had been "called out for an instant into the ante-
room, and deprived of the opportunity of voting "--as he afterwards
stated when vainly asking unanimous consent to have his vote
recorded among the nays-would have made it 25 yeas to 24 nays, had
he been present and voting, while the votes of the six Southern
Senators aforesaid, had they voted, would have defeated the
substitute by 25 yeas to 30 nays. Then upon a direct vote on the
Crittenden Compromise there would not only have been the 30 in its
favor, but the vote of at least one Republican (Baker) in addition,
to carry it, and, although that would not have given the necessary
two-thirds, yet it would have been a majority handsome enough to
have ultimately turned the scales, in both Houses, for a peaceful
adjustment of the trouble, and have avoided all the sad
consequences which so speedily befell the Nation. But this would
not have suited the Treasonable purposes of the Conspirators. Ten
days before this they had probably arranged the Programme in this,
as well as other matters. Very certain it is that no time was lost
by them and their friends in making the best use for their Cause of
this vote, in the doubtful States of Missouri and North Carolina
especially. In the St. Louis journals a Washington dispatch,
purporting (untruly however) to come from Senators Polk and Green,
was published to this effect.

"The Crittenden Resolutions were lost by a vote of 25 to 23. A
motion of Mr. Cameron to reconsider was lost; and thus ends all
hope of reconciliation. Civil War is now considered inevitable,
and late accounts declare that Fort Sumter will be attacked without
delay. The Missouri delegation recommend immediate Secession."

This is but a sample of other similar dispatches sent elsewhere.
And the following dispatch, signed by Mr. Crittenden, and published
in the Raleigh, N. C., Register, to quiet the excitement raised by
the telegrams of the Conspirators, serves also to indicate that the
friends of Compromise were not disheartened by their defeat:

"WASHINGTON, Jan. 17th, 9 P. M.

"In reply the vote against my resolutions will be reconsidered.
Their failure was the result of the refusal of six Southern
Senators to vote. There is yet good hope of success.


There is instruction also to be drawn from the speeches of Senators
Saulsbury, and Johnson of Tennessee, made fully a year afterward
(Jan. 29-31, 1862) in the Senate, touching the defeat of the
Crittenden Compromise by the Clark substitute at this time.
Speaking of the second session of the Thirty-sixth Congress, Mr.
Saulsbury said:

"At that session, while vainly striving with others for the
adoption of those measures, I remarked in my place in the Senate

"'If any Gibbon should hereafter write the Decline and Fall of the
American Republic, he would date its fall from the rejection by the
Senate of the propositions submitted by the Senator from Kentucky.'

"I believed so then, and I believe so now. I never shall forget,
Mr. President, how my heart bounded for joy when I thought I saw a
ray of hope for their adoption in the fact that a Republican
Senator now on this floor came to me and requested that I should
inquire of Mr. Toombs, who was on the eve of his departure for
Georgia to take a seat in the Convention of that State which was to
determine the momentous question whether she should continue a
member of the Union or withdraw from it, whether, if the Crittenden
propositions were adopted, Georgia would remain in the Union.

"Said Mr. Toombs:

"'Tell him frankly for me that if those resolutions are adopted by
the vote of any respectable number of Republican Senators,
evidencing their good faith to advocate their ratification by their
people, Georgia will not Secede. This is the position I assumed
before the people of Georgia. I told them that if the party in
power gave evidence of an intention to preserve our rights in the
Union, we were bound to wait until their people could act.'

"I communicated the answer. The Substitute of the Senator from New
Hampshire [Mr. Clark] was subsequently adopted, and from that day
to this the darkness and the tempest and the storm have thickened,
until thousands like myself, as good and as true Union men as you,
Sir, though you may question our motives, have not only despaired
but are without hope in the future."

To this speech, Mr. Johnson of Tennessee subsequently replied as
follows in the United States Senate (Jan. 31, 1862)

"Sir, it has been said by the distinguished Senator from Delaware
[Mr. Saulsbury] that the questions of controversy might all have
been settled by Compromise. He dealt rather extensively in the
Party aspect of the case, and seemingly desired to throw the onus
of the present condition of affairs entirely on one side. He told
us that, if so and so had been done, these questions could have
been settled, and that now there would have been no War. He
referred particularly to the resolution offered during the last
Congress by the Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. Clark], and upon
the vote on that he based his argument. * * * The Senator told us
that the adoption of the Clark amendment to the Crittenden
Resolutions defeated the settlement of the questions of
controversy; and that, but for that vote, all could have been peace
and prosperity now. We were told that the Clark amendment defeated
the Crittenden Compromise, and prevented a settlement of the
controversy. On this point I will read a portion of the speech of
my worthy and talented friend from California [Mr. Latham]; and
when I speak of him thus, I do it in no unmeaning sense I intend
that he, not I, shall answer the Senator from Delaware. * * * As
I have said, the Senator from Delaware told us that the Clark
amendment was the turning point in the whole matter; that from it
had flowed Rebellion, Revolution, War, the shooting and
imprisonment of people in different States--perhaps he meant to
include my own. This was the Pandora's box that has been opened,
out of which all the evils that now afflict the Land have flown. *
* * My worthy friend from California [Mr. Latham], during the last
session of Congress, made one of the best speeches he ever made. *
* * In the course of that speech, upon this very point he made use
of these remarks:

"'Mr. President, being last winter a careful eye-witness of all
that occurred, I soon became satisfied that it was a deliberate,
wilful design, on the part of some representatives of Southern
States, to seize upon the election of Mr. Lincoln merely as an
excuse to precipitate this revolution upon the Country. One
evidence, to my mind, is the fact that South Carolina never sent
her Senators here.'

"Then they certainly were not influenced by the Clark amendment.

"'An additional evidence is, that when gentlemen on this floor, by
their votes, could have controlled legislation, they refused to
cast them for fear that the very Propositions submitted to this
body might have an influence in changing the opinions of their
constituencies. Why, Sir, when the resolutions submitted by the
Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. Clark], were offered as an
amendment to the Crittenden Propositions, for the manifest purpose
of embarrassing the latter, and the vote taken on the 16th of
January, 1861, I ask, what did we see? There were fifty-five
Senators at that time upon this floor, in person. The Globe of the
second Session, Thirty-Sixth Congress, Part I., page 409, shows
that upon the call of the yeas and nays immediately preceding the
vote on the substituting of Mr. Clark's amendment, there were
fifty-five votes cast. I will read the vote from the Globe:

"'YEAS--Messrs. Anthony, Baker, Bingham, Cameron, Chandler, Clark,
Collamer, Dixon, Doolittle, Durkee, Fessenden, Foot, Foster,
Grimes, Hale, Harlan, King, Seward, Simmons, Sumner, Ten Eyck,
Trumbull, Wade, Wilkinson, and Wilson--25.

"NAYS--Messrs. Bayard, Benjamin, Bigler, Bragg, Bright, Clingman,
Crittenden, Douglas, Fitch, Green, Gwin, Hemphill, Hunter, Iverson,
Johnson of Arkansas, Johnson of Tennessee, Kennedy, Lane, Latham,
Mason, Nicholson, Pearce, Polk, Powell, Pugh, Rice, Saulsbury,
Sebastian, Slidell and Wigfall--30.

"The vote being taken immediately after, on the Clark Proposition,
was as follows:

"YEAS--Messrs. Anthony, Baker, Bingham, Cameron, Chandler, Clark,
Collamer, Dixon, Doolittle, Durkee, Fessenden, Foot, Foster,
Grimes, Hale, Harlan, King, Seward, Simmons, Sumner, Ten Eyck,
Trumbull, Wade, Wilkinson and Wilson--25.

"NAYS-Messrs. Bayard, Bigler, Bragg, Bright, Clingman, Crittenden,
Fitch, Green, Gwin, Hunter, Johnson of Tennessee, Kennefly, Lane,
Latham, Mason, Nicholson, Pearce, Polk, Powell, Pugh, Rice,
Saulsbury and Sebastian-23.

"'Six senators retained their seats and refused to vote, thus
themselves allowing the Clark Proposition to supplant the
Crittenden Resolution by a vote of twenty-five to twenty-three.
Mr. Benjamin of Louisiana, Mr. Hemphill and Mr. Wigfall of Texas,
Mr. Iverson of Georgia, Mr. Johnson of Arkansas, and Mr. Slidell of
Louisiana, were in their seats, but refused to cast their votes.'

"I sat right behind Mr. Benjamin, and I am not sure that my worthy
friend was not close by, when he refused to vote, and I said to
him, 'Mr. Benjamin, why do you not vote? Why not save this
Proposition, and see if we cannot bring the Country to it?' He
gave me rather an abrupt answer, and said he would control his own
action without consulting me or anybody else. Said I: 'Vote, and
show yourself an honest man.' As soon as the vote was taken, he
and others telegraphed South, 'We cannot get any Compromise.' Here
were six Southern men refusing to vote, when the amendment would
have been rejected by four majority if they had voted. Who, then,
has brought these evils on the Country? Was it Mr. Clark? He was
acting out his own policy; but with the help we had from the other
side of the chamber, if all those on this side had been true to the
Constitution and faithful to their constituents, and had acted with
fidelity to the Country, the amendment of the Senator from New
Hampshire could have been voted down, the defeat of which the
Senator from Delaware says would have saved the Country. Whose
fault was it? Who is responsible for it? * * * Who did it?
SOUTHERN TRAITORS, as was said in the speech of the Senator from
California. They did it. They wanted no Compromise. They
accomplished their object by withholding their votes; and hence the
Country has been involved in the present difficulty. Let me read
another extract from this speech of the Senator from California

"'I recollect full well the joy that pervaded the faces of some of
those gentlemen at the result, and the sorrow manifested by the
venerable Senator from Kentucky [Mr. Crittenden]. The record shows
that Mr. Pugh, from Ohio, despairing of any Compromise between the
extremes of ultra Republicanism and Disunionists, working
manifestly for the same end, moved, immediately after the vote was
announced, to lay the whole subject on the table. If you will turn
to page 443, same volume, you will find, when, at a late period,
Mr. Cameron, from Pennsylvania, moved to reconsider the vote,
appeals having been made to sustain those who were struggling to
preserve the Peace of the Country, that the vote was reconsidered;
and when, at last, the Crittenden Propositions were submitted on
the 2d day of March, these Southern States having 'nearly all
Seceded, they were then lost but by one vote. Here is the vote:

"YEAS-Messrs. Bayard, Bigler, Bright, Crittenden, Douglas, Gwin,
Hunter, Johnson of Tennessee, Kennedy, Lane, Latham, Mason,
Nicholson, Polk, Pugh, Rice, Sebastian, Thomson and Wigfall--19.

"'NAYS-Messrs. Anthony, Bingham, Chandler, Clark, Dixon,
Doolittle, Durkee, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Grimes, Harlan, King,
Morrill, Sumner, Ten Eyck, Trumbull, Wade, Wilkinson and Wilson--

"'If these Seceding Southern senators had remained, there would
have passed, by a large vote (as it did without them), an
amendment, by a two-third vote, forbidding Congress ever
interfering with Slavery in the States. The Crittenden Proposition
would have been indorsed by a majority vote, the subject finally
going before the People, who have never yet, after consideration,
refused Justice, for any length of time, to any portion of the

"'I believe more, Mr. President, that these gentlemen were acting
in pursuance of a settled and fixed plan to break up and destroy
this Government.'

"When we had it in our power to vote down the amendment of the
Senator from New Hampshire, and adopt the Crittenden Resolutions,
certain Southern Senators prevented it; and yet, even at a late day
of the session, after they had Seceded, the Crittenden Proposition
was only lost by one vote. If Rebellion and bloodshed and murder
have followed, to whose skirts does the responsibility attach?

"What else was done at the very same session? The House of
Representatives passed, and sent to this body, a Proposition to
amend the Constitution of the United States, so as to prohibit
Congress from ever hereafter interfering with the Institution of
Slavery in the States, making that restriction a part of the
Organic law of the Land. That Constitutional Amendment came here
after the Senators from seven States had Seceded; and yet it was
passed by a two-third vote in the Senate. Have you ever heard of
any one of the States which had then Seceded, or which has since
Seceded, taking up that Amendment to the Constitution, and saying
they would ratify it, and make it a part of that instrument? No.
Does not the whole history of this Rebellion tell you that it was
Revolution that the Leaders wanted, that they started for, that
they intended to have? The facts to which I have referred show how
the Crittenden Proposition might have been carried; and when the
Senators from the Slave States were reduced to one-fourth of the
members of this body, the two Houses passed a Proposition to Amend
the Constitution, so as to guarantee to the States perfect security
in regard to the Institution of Slavery in all future time, and
prohibiting Congress from legislating on the subject.

"But what more was done? After Southern Senators had treacherously
abandoned the Constitution and deserted their posts here, Congress
passed Bills for the Organization of three new Territories: Dakota,
Nevada, and Colorado; and in the sixth section of each of those
Bills, after conferring, affirmatively, power on the Territorial
Legislature, it went on to exclude certain powers by using a
negative form of expression; and it provided, among other things,
that the Legislature should have no power to legislate so as to
impair the right to private property; that it should lay no tax
discriminating against one description of Property in favor of
another; leaving the power on all these questions, not in the
Territorial Legislature, but in the People when they should come to
form a State Constitution.

"Now, I ask, taking the Amendment to the Constitution, and taking
the three Territorial Bills, embracing every square inch of
territory in the possession of the United States, how much of the
Slavery question was left? What better Compromise could have been
made? Still we are told that matters might have been Compromised,
and that if we had agreed to Compromise, bloody Rebellion would not
now be abroad in the Land. Sir, Southern Senators are responsible
for it. They stood here with power to accomplish the result, and
yet treacherously, and, I may say, tauntingly they left this
chamber, and announced that they had dissolved their connection
with the Government. Then, when we were left in the hands of those
whom we had been taught to believe would encroach upon our Rights,
they gave us, in the Constitutional Amendment and in the three
Territorial Bills, all that had ever been asked; and yet gentlemen
talked Compromise!

"Why was not this taken and accepted? No; it was not Compromise
that the Leaders wanted; they wanted Power; they wanted to Destroy
this Government, so that they might have place and emolument for
themselves. They had lost confidence in the intelligence and
virtue and integrity of the People, and their capacity to govern
themselves; and they intended to separate and form a government,
the chief corner-stone of which should be Slavery, disfranchising
the great mass of the People, of which we have seen constant
evidence, and merging the Powers of Government in the hands of the
Few. I know what I say. I know their feelings and their
sentiments. I served in the Senate here with them. I know they
were a Close Corporation, that had no more confidence in or respect
for the People than has the Dey of Algiers. I fought that Close
Corporation here. I knew that they were no friends of the People.
I knew that Slidell and Mason and Benjamin and Iverson and Toombs
were the enemies of Free Government, and I know so now. I
commenced the war upon them before a State Seceded; and I intend to
keep on fighting this great battle before the Country, for the
perpetuity of Free Government. They seek to overthrow it, and to
establish a Despotism in its place. That is the great battle which
is upon our hands. * * * Now, the Senator from Delaware tells us
that if that (Crittenden) Compromise had been made, all these
consequences would have been avoided. It is a mere pretense; it is
false. Their object was to overturn the Government. If they could
not get the Control of this Government, they were willing to divide
the Country and govern part of it."]

The Clark substitute was then agreed to, by 25 (Republican) yeas to 23
Democratic and Conservative (Bell-Everett) nays--6 Pro-Slavery Senators
not voting, although present; and then, without division, the Crittenden
Resolutions were tabled--Mr. Cameron, however, entering a motion to
reconsider. Subsequently the action of the Senate, both on the
Resolutions and Substitute, was reconsidered, and March 2d the matter
came up again, as will hereafter appear.

Two days prior to this action in the Senate, Mr. Corwin, Chairman of the
Select Committee of Thirty-three, reported to the House (January 14th),
from a majority of that Committee, the following Joint Resolution:

"Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, That all attempts on the parts
of the Legislatures of any of the States to obstruct or hinder the
recovery and surrender of Fugitives from Service or Labor, are in
derogation of the Constitution of the United States, inconsistent with
the comity and good neighborhood that should prevail among the several
States, and dangerous to the Peace of the Union.

"Resolved, That the several States be respectfully requested to cause
their Statutes to be revised, with a view to ascertain if any of them
are in conflict with or tend to embarrass or hinder the execution of the
Laws of the United States, made in pursuance of the second section of
the Fourth Article of the Constitution of the United States for the
delivery up of Persons held to Labor by the laws of any State and
escaping therefrom; and the Senate and House of Representatives
earnestly request that all enactments having such tendency be forthwith
repealed, as required by a just sense of Constitutional obligations, and
by a due regard for the Peace of the Republic; and the President of the
United States is requested to communicate these resolutions to the
Governors of the several States, with a request that they will lay the
same before the Legislatures thereof respectively.

"Resolved, That we recognize Slavery as now existing in fifteen of the
United States by the usages and laws of those States; and we recognize
no authority, legally or otherwise, outside of a State where it so
exists, to interfere with Slaves or Slavery in such States, in disregard
of the Rights of their owners or the Peace of society.

"Resolved, That we recognize the justice and propriety of a faithful
execution of the Constitution, and laws made in pursuance thereof, on
the subject of Fugitive Slaves, or Fugitives from Service or Labor, and
discountenance all mobs or hindrances to the execution of such laws, and
that citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and
immunities of citizens in the several States.

"Resolved, That we recognize no such conflicting elements in its
composition, or sufficient cause from any source, for a dissolution of
this Government; that we were not sent here to destroy, but to sustain
and harmonize the Institutions of the Country, and to see that equal
justice is done to all parts of the same; and finally, to perpetuate its
existence on terms of equality and justice to all the States.

"Resolved, That a faithful observance, on the part of all the States, of
all their Constitutional obligations to each other and to the Federal
Government, is essential to the Peace of the Country.

"Resolved, That it is the duty of the Federal Government to enforce the
Federal Laws, protect the Federal property, and preserve the Union of
these States.

"Resolved, That each State be requested to revise its Statutes, and, if
necessary, so to amend the same as to secure, without Legislation by
Congress, to citizens of other States traveling therein, the same
protection as citizens of such States enjoy; and also to protect the
citizens of other States traveling or sojourning therein against popular
violence or illegal summary punishment, without trial in due form of
law, for imputed crimes.

"Resolved, That each State be also respectfully requested to enact such
laws as will prevent and punish any attempt whatever in such State to
recognize or set on foot the lawless invasion of any other State or

"Resolved, That the President be requested to transmit copies of the
foregoing resolutions to the Governors of the several States, with a
request that they be communicated to their respective Legislatures."

This Joint Resolution, with amendments proposed to the same, came up in
the House for action, on the 27th of February, 1861--the same day upon
which the Peace Congress or Conference concluded its labors at

The Proposition of Mr. Burch, of California, was the first acted upon.
It was to amend the Select Committee's resolutions, as above given, by
adding to them another resolution at the end thereof, as follows:

"Resolved, etc., That it be, and is hereby, recommended to the several
States of the Union that they, through their respective Legislatures,
request the Congress of the United States to call a Convention of all
the States, in accordance with Article Fifth of the Constitution, for
the purpose of amending said Constitution in such manner and with regard
to such subjects as will more adequately respond to the wants, and
afford more sufficient Guarantees to the diversified and growing
Interests of the Government and of the People composing the same."

This (Burch) amendment, however, was defeated by 14 yeas to 109 nays.

A Proposition of Mr. Kellogg, of Illinois, came up next for action. It
was a motion to strike out all after the first word "That" in the
Crittenden Proposition--which had been offered by Mr. Clemens as a
substitute for the Committee Resolutions--and insert the following:

"The following articles be, and are hereby, proposed and submitted as
Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be
valid, to all intents and purposes as part of said Constitution, when
ratified by Conventions of three-fourths of the several States.

"Article XIII. That in all the territory now held by the United States
situate north of latitude 36 30' Involuntary Servitude, except in the
punishment for crime, is prohibited while such territory shall remain
under a Territorial government; that in all the territory now held south
of said line, neither Congress nor any Territorial Legislature shall
hinder or prevent the emigration to said territory of Persons; held to
Service from any State of this Union, when that relation exists by
virtue of any law or usage of such State, while it shall remain in a
Territorial condition; and when any Territory north or south of said
line, within such boundaries as Congress may prescribe, shall contain
the population requisite for a member of Congress, according to the then
Federal ratio of representation of the People of the United States, it
may, if its form of government be Republican, be admitted into the Union
on an equal footing with the original States, with or without the
relation of Persons held to Service and Labor, as the Constitution of
such new State may provide.

"Article XIV. That nothing in the Constitution of the United States, or
any amendment thereto, shall be so construed as to authorize any
Department of the Government to in any manner interfere with the
relation of Persons held to Service in any State where that relation
exists, nor in any manner to establish or sustain that relation in any
State where it is prohibited by the Laws or Constitution of such State.
And that this Article shall not be altered or amended without the
consent of every State in the Union.

"Article XV. The third paragraph of the second section of the Fourth
Article of the Constitution shall be taken and construed to authorize
and empower Congress to pass laws necessary to secure the return of
Persons held to Service or Labor under the laws of any State, who may
have escaped therefrom, to the party to whom such Service or Labor may
be due.

"Article XVI. The migration or importation of Persons held to Service
or Involuntary Servitude, into any State, Territory, or place within the
United States, from any place or country beyond the limits of the United
States or Territories thereof, is forever prohibited.

"Article XVII. No territory beyond the present limits of the United
States and the Territories thereof, shall be annexed to or be acquired
by the United States, unless by treaty, which treaty shall be ratified
by a vote of two-thirds of the Senate."

The Kellogg Proposition was defeated by 33 yeas to 158

The Clemens Substitute was next voted on. This embraced the whole of
the Crittenden Compromise Proposition, as amended in the Senate by
inserting the provision as to all territory "hereafter acquired," with
the addition of another proposed Article of Amendment to the
Constitution, as follows:

"Article VII. Section I. The elective franchise and the Right to hold
office, whether Federal, State, Territorial, or Municipal, shall not be
exercised by Persons who are, in whole or in part, of the African Race.

"Section II. The United States shall have power to acquire from time to
time districts of country in Africa and South America, for the
colonization, at expense of the Federal Treasury, of such Free Negroes
and Mulattoes as the several States may wish to have removed from their
limits, and from the District of Columbia, and such other places as may
be under the jurisdiction of Congress."

The Clemens Substitute (or Crittenden Measure, with the addition of said
proposed Article VII.), was defeated by 80 yeas to 113 nays, and then
the Joint Resolution of the Select Committee as heretofore given--after
a vain attempt to table it--was passed by 136 yeas to 53 nays.

Immediately after this action, a Joint Resolution to amend the
Constitution of the United States, which had also been previously
reported by the Select Committee of Thirty-three, came before the House,
as follows:

"Be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, (two-thirds of both Houses
concurring), That the following Article be proposed to the Legislatures
of the several States as an Amendment to the Constitution of the United
States, which, when ratified by three-fourths of said Legislatures,
shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as a part of the said
Constitution, namely:

"Article XII. No amendment of this Constitution having for its object
any interference within the States with the relation between their
citizens and those described in Section II. of the First Article of the
Constitution as 'all other persons,' shall originate with any State that
does not recognize that relation within its own limits, or shall be
valid without the assent of every one of the States composing the

Mr. Corwin submitted an Amendment striking out all the words after
"namely;" and inserting the following:

"Article XII. No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will
authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within
any State, with the Domestic Institutions thereof, including that of
Persons held to Labor or Service by the laws of said State."

Amid scenes of great disorder, the Corwin Amendment was adopted by 120
yeas to 61 nays, and then the Joint Resolution as amended, was defeated
(two-thirds not voting in the affirmative) by 123 yeas to 71 nays. On
the following day (February 28th), amid still greater confusion and
disorder, which the Speaker, despite frequent efforts, was unable to
quell, that vote was reconsidered, and the Joint Resolution passed by
133 yeas to 65 nays--a result which, when announced was received with
"loud and prolonged applause, both on the floor, and in the galleries."

On the 2d of March, the House Joint Resolution just given, proposing an
Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting Congress from touching
Slavery within any State where it exists, came up in the Senate for

Mr. Pugh moved to substitute for it the Crittenden Proposition.

Mr. Doolittle moved to amend the proposed substitute (the Crittenden
Proposition), by the insertion of the following, as an additional

"Under this Constitution, as originally adopted, and as it now exists,
no State has power to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the United
States; but this Constitution, and all laws passed in pursuance of its
delegated powers, are the Supreme Law of the Land, anything contained in
any Constitution, Ordinance, or Act of any State, to the contrary

Mr. Doolittle's amendment was lost by 18 yeas to 28 nays.

Mr. Pugh's substitute (the Crittenden Proposition), was lost by 14 yeas
to 25 nays.

Mr. Bingham moved to amend the House Joint Resolution, by striking out
all after the word "resolved," and inserting the words of the Clark
Proposition as heretofore given, but the amendment was rejected by 13
yeas to 25 nays.

Mr. Grimes moved to strike out all after the word "whereas" in the
preamble of the House Joint Resolution, and insert the following:

"The Legislatures of the States of Kentucky, New Jersey, and Illinois
have applied to Congress to call a Convention for proposing Amendments
to the Constitution of the United States: Therefore,

"Be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled, That the Legislatures of the
other States be invited to take the subject of such a Convention into
consideration, and to express their will on that subject to Congress, in
pursuance of the Fifth Article of the Constitution."

This amendment was also rejected, by 14 yeas to 25 nays.

Mr. Johnson, of Arkansas, offered, as an amendment to the House Joint
Resolution, the propositions submitted by the Peace Congress or
Conference, but the amendment was disagreed to by 3 yeas to 34 nays.

The House Joint Resolution was then adopted by 24 yeas to 12 nays.

Subsequently the Crittenden Proposition came up again as a separate
order, with the Clark substitute to it (once carried, but reconsidered),
pending. The Clark substitute was then rejected by 14 yeas to 22 nays.

Mr. Crittenden then offered the Propositions of the Peace
Congress, as a substitute for his own-and they were rejected by 7 yeas
to 28 nays.

The Crittenden Proposition itself was then rejected, by
19 yeas to 20 nays.



On that long last night of the 36th Congress--and of the Democratic
Administration--to the proceedings of which reference was made in the
preceding Chapter, several notable speeches were made, but there was
substantially nothing done, in the line of Compromise. The only thing
that had been accomplished was the passage, as we have seen, by two-
thirds majority in both Houses, of the Joint Resolution proposing a
Constitutional Amendment prohibiting Congress from meddling with Slavery
in Slave States. There was no Concession nor Compromise in this,
because Republicans, as well as Democrats, had always held that Congress
had no such power. It is true that the Pro-slavery men had charged the
Republicans with ultimate designs, through Congress, upon Slavery in the
Slave States; and Mr. Crittenden pleaded for its passage as exhibiting a
spirit, on their part, of reconciliation; that was all.

In his speech that night--that memorable and anxious night preceding the
Inauguration of President Lincoln--the venerable Mr. Crittenden,
speaking before the Resolution was agreed to, well sketched the
situation when he said in the Senate: "It is an admitted fact that our
Union, to some extent, has already been dismembered; and that further
dismemberment is impending and threatened. It is a fact that the
Country is in danger. This is admitted on all hands. It is our duty,
if we can, to provide a remedy for this. We are, under the Constitution
and by the election of the People, the great guardians, as well as the
administrators of this Government. To our wisdom they have trusted this
great chart. Remedies have been proposed; resolutions have been
offered, proposing for adoption measures which it was thought would
satisfy the Country, and preserve as much of the Union as remained to us
at least, if they were not enough at once to recall the Seceding States
to the Union. We have passed none of these measures. The differences
of opinion among Senators have been such that we have not been able to
concur in any of the measures which have been proposed, even by bare
majorities, much less by that two-thirds majority which is necessary to
carry into effect some of the pacific measures which have been proposed.
We are about to adjourn. We have done nothing. Even the Senate of the
United States, beholding this great ruin around them, beholding
Dismemberment and Revolution going on, and Civil War threatened as the
result, have been able to do nothing; we have absolutely done nothing.
Sir, is not this a remarkable spectacle? * * * How does it happen that
not even a bare majority here, when the Country trusted to our hands is
going to ruin, have been competent to devise any measure of public
safety? How does it happen that we have not had unanimity enough to
agree on any measure of that kind? Can we account for it to ourselves,
gentlemen? We see the danger; we acknowledge our duty, and yet, with
all this before us, we are acknowledging before the world that we can do
nothing; acknowledging before the world, or appearing to all the world,
as men who do nothing! Sir, this will make a strange record in the
history of Governments and in the history of the world. Some are for
Coercion; yet no army has been raised, no navy has been equipped. Some
are for pacification; yet they have been able to do nothing; the dissent
of their colleagues prevents them; and here we are in the midst of a
falling Country, in the midst of a falling State, presenting to the eyes
of the World the saddest spectacle it has ever seen. Cato is
represented by Addison as a worthy spectacle, 'a great man falling with
a falling State,' but he fell struggling. We fall with the ignominy on
our heads of doing nothing, like the man who stands by and sees his
house in flames, and says to himself, 'perhaps the fire will stop before
it consumes all.'"

One of the strong pleas made in the Senate that night, was by Mr.
Douglas, when he said: "The great issue with the South has been that
they would not submit to the Wilmot proviso. The Republican Party
affirmed the doctrine that Congress must and could prohibit Slavery in
the Territories. The issue for ten years was between Non-intervention
on the part of Congress, and prohibition by Congress. Up to two years
ago, neither the Senator (Mason) from Virginia, nor any other Southern
Senator, desired affirmative legislation to protect Slavery. Even up to
this day, not one of them has proposed affirmative legislation to
protect it. Whenever the question has come up, they have decided that
affirmative legislation to protect it was unnecessary; and hence, all
that the South required on the Territorial question was 'hands off;
Slavery shall not be prohibited by Act of Congress.' Now, what do we
find? This very session, in view of the perils which surround the
Country, the Republican Party, in both Houses of Congress, by a
unanimous vote, have backed down from their platform and abandoned the
doctrine of Congressional prohibition. This very week three Territorial
Bills have been passed through both Houses of Congress without the
Wilmot proviso, and no man proposed to enact it; not even one man on the
other side of the Chamber would rise and propose the Wilmot proviso."

"In organizing three Territories," continued he, "two of them South of
the very line where they imposed the Wilmot proviso twelve years ago, no
one on the other side of the Chamber proposed it. They have abandoned
the doctrine of the President-elect upon that point. He said, and it is
on record, that he had voted for the Wilmot proviso forty-two times, and
would do it forty-two times more if he ever had a chance. Not one of
his followers this year voted for it once. The Senator from New York
(Mr. Seward) the embodiment of the Party, sat quietly and did not
propose it. What more? Last year we were told that the Slave Code of
New Mexico was to be repealed. I denounced the attempted interference.
The House of Representatives passed the Bill, but the Bill remains on
your table; no one Republican member has proposed to take it up and pass
it. Practically, therefore, the Chicago platform is abandoned; the
Philadelphia platform is abandoned; the whole doctrine for which the
Republican Party contended, as to the Territories, is abandoned,
surrendered, given up. Non-intervention is substituted in its place.
Then, when we find that, on the Territorial question, the Republican
Party, by a unanimous vote, have surrendered to the South all they ask,
the Territorial question ought to be considered pretty well settled.
The only question left was that of the States; and after having
abandoned their aggressive policy as to the Territories, a portion of
them are willing to unite with us, and deprive themselves of the power
to do it in the States."

"I submit," said he, "that these two great facts--these startling,
tremendous facts--that they have abandoned their aggressive policy in
the Territories, and are willing to give guarantees in the States, ought
to be accepted as an evidence of a salutary change in Public Opinion at
the North. All I would ask now of the Republican Party is, that they
would insert in the Constitution the same principle that they have
carried out practically in the Territorial Bills for Colorado, Dakota,
and Nevada, by depriving Congress of the power hereafter to do what
there cannot be a man of them found willing to do this year; but we
cannot ask them to back down too much. I think they have done quite as
much within one year, within three months after they have elected a
President, as could be expected."

That Douglas and his followers were also patriotically willing to
sacrifice a favorite theory in the face of a National peril, was brought
out, at the same time, by Mr. Baker, when he said to Mr. Douglas: "I
desire to suggest (and being a little of a Popular Sovereignty man, it
comes gracefully from me) that others of us have backed down too, from
the idea that Congress has not the power to prohibit Slavery in the
Territories; and we are proposing some of us in the Crittenden
proposition, and some in the Amendment now before the Senate--to
prohibit Slavery by the Constitution itself, in the Territories;"--and
by Mr. Douglas, when he replied: "I think as circumstances change, the
action of public men ought to change in a corresponding degree. * * * I
am willing to depart from my cherished theory, by an Amendment to the
Constitution by which we shall settle this question on the principles
prescribed in the Resolutions of the Senator from Kentucky."

In the House, Mr. Logan, had, on the 5th of February, 1861, said:

"Men, Sir, North and South, who love themselves far better than
their Country, have brought us to this unhappy condition. * * *
Let me say to gentlemen, that I will go as far as any man in the
performance of a Constitutional duty to put down Rebellion, to
suppress Insurrection, and to enforce the laws; but when we
undertake the performance of these duties, let us act in such a
manner as will be best calculated to preserve and not destroy the
Government, and keep ourselves within the bounds of the
Constitution. * * * Sir, I have always denied, and do yet deny,
the Right of Secession. There is no warrant for it in the
Constitution. It is wrong, it is unlawful, unconstitutional, and
should be called by the right name, Revolution. No good, Sir, can
result from it, but much mischief may. It is no remedy for any

"I hold that all grievances can be much easier redressed inside the
Union than out of it. * * * If a collision must ensue between
this Government and any of our own people, let it come when every
other means of settlement has been tried and exhausted; and not
then, except when the Government shall be compelled to repel
assaults for the protection of its property, flag, and the honor of
the Country. * * *

"I have been taught to believe that the preservation of this
glorious Union, with its broad flag waving over us, as the shield
for our protection on land and on sea, is paramount to all the
Parties and platforms that ever have existed, or ever can exist. I
would, to-day, if I had the power, sink my own Party, and every
other one, with all their platforms, into the vortex of ruin,
without heaving a sigh or shedding a tear, to save the Union, or
even stop the Revolution where it is."

After enumerating the various propositions for adjustment, then
pending in the House, to wit: that of Senator Crittenden; that of
Senator Douglas; that of the Committee of Thirty-three; that of the
Border States; and those of Representatives McClernand, Kellogg,
and Morris, of Illinois, Mr. Logan took occasion to declare that
"in a crisis like this" he was "willing to give his support to any
of them," but his preference was for that of Mr. Morris.

Said he: "He (Morris) proposes that neither Congress nor a
Territorial Legislature shall interfere with Slavery in the
Territories at all; but leaves the people, when they come to form
their State Constitution, to determine the question for themselves.
I think this is the best proposition, because it is a fair
concession on all sides. The Republicans give up their
Congressional intervention; those who are styled 'Squatter
Sovereigns' give up their Territorial legislative policy; and the
Southern (Slave) protectionists give up their protection-
intervention policy; thus every Party yields something. With this
proposition as an Article in the Constitution, it would satisfy
every conservative man in this Union, both North and South, I do
seriously and honestly believe.

"Having indicated my preference of these propositions, and my
reasons for that preference, I have said all I desire to say on the
point, except to repeat again, that I will willingly vote for any
of them, or make any other sacrifice necessary to save the Union.
It makes no kind of difference to me what the sacrifice; if it will
save my Country, I am ready to make it." * * *

"There are some in this Hall," said he, "that are almost ready to
strike the Party fetters from their limbs, and assist in measures
of Peace. Halt not; take the step; be independent and free at
once! Let us overcome Party passion and error; allow virtue and
good sense in this fateful hour to be triumphant; let us invoke
Deity to interpose and prepare the way for our Country's escape
from the perils by which we are now surrounded; and in view of our
present greatness and future prospects, our magnificent and growing
cities, our many institutions of learning, our once happy and
prosperous People, our fruitful fields and golden forests, our
enjoyment of all civil and religious blessings--let Parties die
that these be preserved. Such noble acts of patriotism and
concession, on your part, would cause posterity to render them
illustrious, and pause to contemplate the magnitude of the events
with which they were connected. * * * In the name of the patriotic
sires who breasted the storms and vicissitudes of the Revolution;
by all the kindred ties of this Country; in the name of the many
battles fought for your Freedom; in behalf of the young and the
old; in behalf of the Arts and Sciences, Civilization, Peace,
Order, Christianity, and Humanity, I appeal to you to strike from
your limbs the chains that bind them! Come forth from that
loathsome prison, Party Caucus; and in this hour--the most gloomy
and disheartening to the lovers of Free Institutions that has ever
existed during our Country's history--arouse the drooping spirits
of our countrymen, by putting forth your good strong arms to assist
in steadying the rocking pillars of the mightiest Republic that has
ever had an existence."

"Mr. Speaker," continued he, "a word or two more, and I am done.
Revolution stalks over the Land. States have rebelled against the
constituted authorities of the Union, and now stand, sword in hand,
prepared to vindicate their new nationality. Others are preparing
to take a similar position. Rapidly transpiring events are
crowding on us with fearful velocity. Soon, circumstances may
force us into an unnatural strife, in which the hand of brother
shall be uplifted against brother, and father against son. My God,
what a spectacle! If all the evils and calamities that have ever
happened since the World began, could be gathered in one great
Catastrophe, its horrors could not eclipse, in their frightful
proportions, the Drama that impends over us. Whether this black
cloud that drapes in mourning the whole political heavens, shall
break forth in all the frightful intensity of War, and make
Christendom weep at the terrible atrocities that will be enacted--
or, whether it will disappear, and the sky resume its wonted
serenity, and the whole Earth be irradiated by the genial sunshine
of Peace once more--are the alternatives which this Congress, in my
judgment, has the power to select between."

In this same broad spirit, Mr. Seward, in his great speech of January
12th, had said: "Republicanism is subordinate to Union, as everything
else is and ought to be--Republicanism, Democracy, every other political
name and thing; all are subordinate-and they ought to disappear in the
presence of the great question of Union." In another part of it, he had
even more emphatically said: "I therefore * * * avow my adherence to the
Union in its integrity and with all its parts, with my friends, with my
Party, with my State, with my Country, or without either, as they may
determine, in every event, whether of Peace or War, with every
consequence of honor or dishonor, of life or death. Although I lament
the occasion, I hail with cheerfulness the duty of lifting up my voice
among distracted debates, for my whole Country and its inestimable
Union." And as showing still more clearly the kindly and conciliatory
attitude of the great Republican leader, when speaking of those others
who seemed to be about to invoke revolutionary action to oppose--and
overthrow the Government--he said: "In such a case I can afford to meet
prejudice with Conciliation, exaction with Concession which surrenders
no principle, and violence with the right hand of Peace."

In the House of Representatives, too, the voice of patriotism was often
heard through the loud clamor and disorder of that most disorderly and
Treason-uttering session--was heard from the lips of statesmen, who rose
high above Party, in their devotion to the Union. The calm,
dispassionate recital by Henry Winter Davis (of Maryland), of the
successive steps by which the Southern leaders had themselves created
that very "North" of whose antagonism they complained, was one of the
best of these, in some respects. He was one of the great Select
Committee of Thirty-three, and it was (February 5th) after the
Resolutions, heretofore quoted, had been reported by it, that he
condensed the history of the situation into a nutshell, as follows:

"We are at the end of the insane revel of partisan license which, for
thirty years, has, in the United States, worn the mask of Government.
We are about to close the masquerade by the dance of death. The Nations
of the World look anxiously to see if the People, ere they tread that
measure, will come to themselves.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Southern politicians have created a North. Let us trace the process
and draw the moral.

"The laws of 1850 calmed and closed the Slavery agitation; and President
Pierce, elected by the almost unanimous voice of the States, did not
mention Slavery in his first two Messages. In 1854, the repeal of the
Missouri Compromise, at the instance of the South, reopened the

"Northern men, deserted by Southern Whigs, were left to unite for self-

"The invasion of Kansas, in 1855 and 1856, from Missouri; the making a
Legislature and laws for that Territory, by the invaders; still further
united the Northern people. The election of 1856 measured its extent.

"The election of Mr. Buchanan and his opening policy in Kansas, soothed
the irritation, and was rapidly demoralizing the new Party, when the
Pro-Slavery Party in Kansas perpetrated, and the President and the South
accepted, the Lecompton fraud, and again united the North more
resolutely in resistance to that invasion of the rights of self-

"The South for the first time failed to dictate terms; and the People
vindicated by their votes the refusal of the Constitution.

"Ere this result was attained, the opinions of certain Judges of the
Supreme Court scattered doubts over the law of Slavery in the
Territories; the South, while repudiating other decisions, instantly
made these opinions the criterion of faithfulness to the Constitution;
while the North was agitated by this new sanction of the extremest
pretensions of their opponents.

"The South did not rest satisfied with their Judicial triumph.

"Immediately the claim was pressed for protection by Congress to
Slavery, declared by the Supreme Court, they said, to exist in all the

"This completed the union of the Free States in one great defensive
league; and the result was registered in November. That result is now
itself become the starting point of new agitation--the demand of new
rights and new guarantees. The claim to access to the Territories was
followed by the claim to Congressional protection, and that is now
followed by the hitherto unheard of claim to a Constitutional Amendment
establishing Slavery, not merely in territory now held, but in all
hereafter held from the line of 36 30' to Cape Horn, while the debate
foreshadows in the distance the claim of the right of transit and the
placing of property in Slaves in all respects on the footing of other
property--the topics of future agitation. How long the prohibition of
the importation of Slaves will be exempted from the doctrine of
equality, it needs no prophet to tell.

"In the face of this recital, let the imputation of autocratic and
tyrannical aspirations cease to be cast on the people of the Free
States; let the Southern people dismiss their fears, return to their
friendly confidence in their fellow-citizens of the North, and accept,
as pledges of returning Peace, the salutary amendments of the law and
the Constitution offered as the first fruits of Reconciliation."

But calmness, kindness, and courtesy were alike thrown away in both
Houses upon the implacable Southern leaders. As the last day of that
memorable session, which closed in the failure of all peaceful measures
to restore the Union, slowly dawned--with but a few hours lacking of the
time when Mr. Lincoln would be inaugurated President of the United
States--Mr. Wigfall thought proper, in the United States Senate, to
sneer at him as "an ex-rail-splitter, an ex-grocery keeper, an ex-
flatboat captain, and an ex-Abolition lecturer"--and proceeded to scold
and rant at the North with furious volubility.

"Then, briefly," said he, "a Party has come into power that represents
the antagonism to my own Section of the Country. It represents two
million men who hate us, and who, by their votes for such a man as they
have elected, have committed an overt act of hostility. That they have

"You have won the Presidency," said he, to the Republicans, "and you are
now in the situation of the man who had won the elephant at a raffle.
You do not know what to do with the beast now that you have it; and one-
half of you to-day would give your right arms if you had been defeated.
But you succeeded, and you have to deal with facts. Our objection to
living in this Union, and therefore the difficulty of reconstructing it,
is not your Personal Liberty bills, not the Territorial question, but
that you utterly and wholly misapprehend the Form of Government."

"You deny," continued he, "the Sovereignty of the States; you deny the
right of self-government in the People; you insist upon Negro Equality;
your people interfere impertinently with our Institutions and attempt to
subvert them; you publish newspapers; you deliver lectures; you print
pamphlets, and you send them among us, first, to excite our Slaves to
insurrection against their masters, and next, to array one class of
citizens against the other; and I say to you, that we cannot live in
peace, either in the Union or out of it, until you have abolished your
Abolition societies; not, as I have been misquoted, abolish or destroy
your school-houses; but until you have ceased in your schoolhouses
teaching your children to hate us; until you have ceased to convert your
pulpits into hustings; until you content yourselves with preaching
Christ, and Him crucified, and not delivering political harangues on the
Sabbath; until you have ceased inciting your own citizens to make raids
and commit robberies; until you have done these things we cannot live in
the same Union with you. Until you do these things, we cannot live out
of the Union at Peace."

Such were the words--the spiteful, bitter words--with which this chosen
spokesman of the South saluted the cold and cloudy dawn of that day
which was to see the sceptre depart from the hands of the Slave Power

A few hours later, under the shadow of the main Pastern Portico of the
Capitol at Washington--with the retiring President and Cabinet, the
Supreme Court Justices, the Foreign Diplomatic Corps, and hundreds of
Senators, Representatives and other distinguished persons filling the
great platform on either side and behind them--Abraham Lincoln stood
bareheaded before full thirty thousand people, upon whose uplifted faces
the unveiled glory of the mild Spring sun now shone--stood reverently
before that far greater and mightier Presence termed by himself, "My
rightful masters, the American People"--and pleaded in a manly, earnest,
and affectionate strain with "such as were dissatisfied," to listen to
the "better angels" of their nature.

Temperate, reasonable, kindly, persuasive--it seems strange that Mr.
Lincoln's Inaugural Address did not disarm at least the personal
resentment of the South toward him, and sufficiently strengthen the
Union-loving people there, against the red-hot Secessionists, to put the
"brakes" down on Rebellion. Said he:

"Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States,
that by the accession of a Republican Administration, their Property and
their Peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never
been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample
evidence to the contrary has all the while existed, and been open to
their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of
him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches,
when I declare that 'I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to
interfere with the Institution of Slavery in the States where it
exists.' I believe I have no lawful right to do so; and I have no
inclination to do so. Those who nominated and elected me, did so with
the full knowledge that I had made this, and many similar declarations,
and had never recanted them. * * *

"I now reiterate these sentiments; and in doing so, I only press upon
the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is
susceptible, that the Property, Peace, and Security of no Section are to
be in any wise endangered by the now incoming Administration. I add,
too, that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution
and the laws, can be given, will be cheerfully given to all the States,
when lawfully demanded, for whatever cause--as cheerfully to one Section
as to another.

"I take the official oath to-day with no mental reservations, and with
no purpose to construe the Constitution or laws by any hypercritical
rules. * * *

"A disruption of the Federal Union, heretofore only menaced, is now
formidably attempted. I hold that, in contemplation of Universal Law,
and of the Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual.
Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all
National Governments. It is safe to assert that no Government proper
ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination.
Continue to execute all the express provisions of our National
Constitution, and the Union will endure forever--it being impossible to
destroy it, except by some action not provided for in the instrument

"Again, if the United States be not a Government proper, but an
Association of States in the nature of a contract merely, can it, as a
contract, be peaceably unmade by less than all the parties who made it?
One party to a contract may violate it--break it, so to speak; but does
it not require all, to lawfully rescind it?

"Descending from these general principles, we find the proposition that,
in legal contemplation, the Union is perpetual, confirmed by the history
of the Union itself. The Union is much older than the Constitution. It
was formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was
matured and continued in the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It
was further matured, and the faith of all the then thirteen States
expressly plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the
Articles of Confederation, in 1778; and, finally, in 1787, one of the
declared objects, for ordaining and establishing the Constitution, was
'to form a more perfect Union.' But, if destruction of the Union by
one, or by a part only, of the States, be lawfully possible, the Union
is less perfect than before, the Constitution having lost the vital
element of perpetuity.

"It follows, from these views, that no State, upon its own mere motion,
can lawfully get out of the Union; that Resolves and Ordinances to that
effect, are legally void; and that acts of violence within any State or
States against the authority of the United States, are insurrectionary
or revolutionary, according to circumstances.

"I therefore consider that, in view of the Constitution and the laws,
the Union is unbroken, and, to the extent of my ability, I shall take
care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the
laws of the Union shall be faithfully executed in all the States. * * *

"I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the declared
purpose of the Union, that it will Constitutionally defend and maintain

"In doing this, there need be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall
be none, unless it is forced upon the National Authority.

"The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the
property and places belonging to the Government, and to collect the
duties and imposts; but, beyond what may be necessary for these objects,
there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the People

"The mails, unless repelled, will continue to be furnished in all parts
of the Union.

* * * * * * *

"Is there such perfect identity of interests among the States to compose
a new Union, as to produce harmony only, and prevent renewed Secession?
Plainly, the central idea of Secession is the essence of anarchy. A
majority, held in restraint by Constitutional checks and limitations and
always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and
sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a Free People. Whoever
rejects it, does, of necessity, fly to anarchy, or to despotism.
Unanimity is impossible; the rule of a minority, as a permanent
arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority
principle, anarchy or despotism in some form is all that is left.

* * * * * * *

"Physically speaking, we cannot separate. We cannot remove our
respective Sections from each other, nor build an impassable wall
between them. A husband and wife may be divorced, and go out of the
presence and beyond the reach of each other; but the different parts of
our Country cannot do this. They cannot but remain face to face; and
intercourse, either amicable or hostile, must continue between them. Is
it possible, then, to make that intercourse more advantageous or more
satisfactory after separation than before? Can aliens make treaties,
easier than friends can make laws? Can treaties be more faithfully
enforced between aliens, than laws can among friends? Suppose you go to
War, you cannot fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides,
and no gain on either you cease fighting, the identical old questions,
as to terms of intercourse, are again upon you.

"This Country, with its Institutions, belongs to the People who inhabit
it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing Government, they can
exercise their Constitutional right of amending it, or their
Revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it. I cannot be ignorant
of the fact that many worthy and patriotic citizens are desirous of
having the National Constitution amended. While I make no
recommendations of Amendments, I fully recognize the rightful authority
of the People over the whole subject, to be exercised in either of the
modes prescribed in the instrument itself; and I should, under existing
circumstances, favor, rather than oppose, a fair opportunity being
afforded the People to act upon it. * * *

"The Chief Magistrate derives all his authority from the People, and
they have conferred none upon him to fix terms for the separation of the
States. The People themselves can do this also, if they choose; but the
Executive, as such, has nothing to do with it. His duty is to
administer the present Government, as it came to his hands, and to
transmit it, unimpaired by him, to his successor.

* * * * * * *

" * * * While the People retain their virtue and vigilance, no
Administration, by any extreme of weakness or folly, can very seriously
injure the Government in the short space of four years.

"My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole
subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time. If there be an
object to hurry any of you, in hot haste, to a step which you would
never take deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking time;
but no good object can be frustrated by it. Such of you as are now
dissatisfied, still have the old Constitution unimpaired, and, on the
sensitive point, the laws of your own framing under it; while the new
Administration will have no immediate power, if it would, to change
either. If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied, hold the
right side in the dispute, there still is no single good reason for
precipitate action. Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm
reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored Land, are still
competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty.

"In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is
the momentous issue of Civil War. The Government will not assault you.
You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You
have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the Government, while I
shall have the most solemn one to 'preserve, protect, and defend it'.

"I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be
enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds
of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every
battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone,
all over this broad Land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when
again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our

Strange, indeed, must have been the thoughts that crowded through the
brain and oppressed the heart of Abraham Lincoln that night--his first
at the White House!

The city of Washington swarmed with Rebels and Rebel sympathizers, and
all the departments of Government were honey-combed with Treason and
shadowed with treachery and espionage. Every step proposed or
contemplated by the Government would be known to the so-called
Government of the Confederate States almost as soon as thought of. All
means, to thwart and delay the carrying out of the Government's
purposes, that the excuses of routine and red-tape admitted of, would be
used by the Traitors within the camp, to aid the Traitors without.

No one knew all this, better than Mr. Lincoln. With no Army, no Navy,
not even a Revenue cutter left--with forts and arsenals, ammunition and
arms in possession of the Rebels, with no money in the National
Treasury, and the National credit blasted--the position must, even to
his hopeful nature, have seemed at this time desperate. To be sure,
despite threats, neither few nor secret, which had been made, that he
should not live to be inaugurated, he had passed the first critical
point--had taken the inaugural oath--and was now duly installed in the
White House. That was something, of course, to be profoundly thankful
for. But the matter regarded by him of larger moment--the safety of the
Union--how about that?

How that great, and just, and kindly brain, in the dim shadows of that
awful first night at the White House, must have searched up and down and
along the labyrinths of history and "corridors of time," everywhere in
the Past, for any analogy or excuse for the madness of this Secession
movement--and searched in vain!

With his grand and abounding faith in God, how Abraham Lincoln must have
stormed the very gates of Heaven that night with prayer that he might be
the means of securing Peace and Union to his beloved but distracted
Country! How his great heart must have been racked with the
alternations of hope and foreboding--of trustfulness and doubt!
Anxiously he must have looked for the light of the morrow, that he might
gather from the Press, the manner in which his Inaugural had been
received. Not that he feared the North--but the South; how would the
wayward, wilful, passionate South, receive his proffered olive-branch?

Surely, surely,--thus ran his thoughts--when the brave, and gallant, and
generous people of that Section came to read his message of Peace and
Good-will, they must see the suicidal folly of their course! Surely
their hearts must be touched and the mists of prejudice dissolved, so
that reason would resume her sway, and Reconciliation follow! A little
more time for reflection would yet make all things right. The young men
of the South, fired by the Southern leaders' false appeals, must soon
return to reason. The prairie fire is terrible while it sweeps along,
but it soon burns out. When the young men face the emblem of their
Nation's glory--the flag of the land of their birth--then will come the
reaction and their false leaders will be hurled from place and power,
and all will again be right. Yea, when it comes to firing on the old,
old flag, they will not, cannot, do it! Between the Compromise within
their reach, and such Sacrilege as this, they cannot waver long.

So, doubtless, all the long night, whether waking or sleeping, the mind
of this true-hearted son of the West, throbbed with the mighty weight of
the problem entrusted to him for solution, and the vast responsibilities
which he had just assumed toward his fellow-men, his Nation, and his

And when, at last, the long lean frame was thrown upon the couch, and
"tired Nature's sweet restorer" held him briefly in her arms, the smile
of hopefulness on the wan cheek told that, despite all the terrible
difficulties of the situation, the sleeper was sustained by a strong and
cheerful belief in the Providence of God, the Patriotism of the People,
and the efficacy of his Inaugural Peace-offering to the South. But alas,
and alas, for the fallibility of human judgment and human hopes!
Instead of a message of Peace, the South chose to regard it as a message
of Menace;* and it was not received in a much better spirit by some of
the Northern papers, which could see no good in it--"no Union spirit in
it"--but declared that it breathed the spirit of Sectionalism and
mischief, and "is the knell and requiem of the Union, and the death of

["Mr. Lincoln fondly regarded his Inaugural as a resistless
proffering of the olive branch to the South; the Conspirators
everywhere interpreted it as a challenge to War."--Greeley's Am.
Conflict, vol. i., p. 428.]

Bitter indeed must have been President Lincoln's disappointment and
sorrow at the reception of his Inaugural. With the heartiest
forgiveness, in the noblest spirit of paternal kindness, he had
generously held out his arms, as far as they could reach, to clasp to
his heart--to the great heart of the Union--the rash children of the
South, if they would but let him. It was more with sorrow, than in
anger, that he looked upon their contemptuous repulsion of his advances;
and his soul still reproachfully yearned toward these his Southern
brethren, as did that of a higher than he toward His misguided brethren,
when He cried: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets,
and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have
gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens
under her wings, and ye would not!"

On the day following his Inauguration, President Lincoln sent to the
United States Senate the names of those whom he had chosen to constitute
his Cabinet, as follows: William H. Seward, of New York, Secretary of
State; Salmon P. Chase, of Ohio, Secretary of the Treasury; Simon
Cameron, of Pennsylvania, Secretary of War; Gideon Welles, of
Connecticut, Secretary of the Navy; Caleb B. Smith, of Indiana,
Secretary of the Interior; Edward Bates, of Missouri, Attorney General;
and Montgomery Blair, of Maryland, Postmaster General.

On the other hand, the President of the rebellious Confederacy,
Jefferson Davis, had partly constituted his Cabinet already, as follows:
Robert Toombs, of Georgia, Secretary of State; Charles G. Memminger, of
South Carolina, Secretary of the Treasury; Leroy Pope Walker, of
Alabama, Secretary of War; to whom he afterwards added: Stephen R.
Mallory, of Florida, Secretary of the Navy; and John H. Reagan, of
Texas, Postmaster-General.



Scarcely one week had elapsed after the Administration of Mr. Lincoln
began, when (March 11th) certain "Commissioners of the Southern
Confederacy" (John Forsyth, of Alabama, and Martin J. Crawford, of
Georgia), appeared at Washington and served a written request upon
the State Department to appoint an early day when they might present to
the President of the United States their credentials "from the
Government of the Confederate States of America" to the Government of
the United States, and open "the objects of the mission with which they
are charged."

Secretary Seward, with the President's sanction, declined official
intercourse with Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford, in a "Memorandum" (March
15th) reciting their request, etc., in which, after referring to
President Lincoln's Inaugural Address--forwarded to them with the
"Memorandum" he says: "A simple reference will be sufficient to satisfy
those gentlemen that the Secretary of State, guided by the principles
therein announced, is prevented altogether from admitting or assuming
that the States referred to by them have, in law or in fact, withdrawn
from the Federal Union, or that they could do so in the manner described
by Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford, or in any other manner than with the
consent and concert of the People of the United States, to be given
through a National Convention, to be assembled in conformity with the
provisions of the Constitution of the United States. Of course, the
Secretary of State cannot act upon the assumption, or in any way admit,
that the so-called Confederate States constitute a Foreign Power, with
whom diplomatic relations ought to be established."

On the 9th of April, Messrs. Forsyth, Crawford and Roman--as
"Commissioners of the Southern Confederacy"--addressed to Secretary
Seward a reply to the "Memorandum" aforesaid, in which the following
passage occurs:

"The undersigned, like the Secretary of State, have no purpose to
'invite or engage in discussion' of the subject on which their two
Governments are so irreconcilably at variance. It is this variance that
has broken up the old Union, the disintegration of which has only begun.

"It is proper, however, to advise you that it were well to dismiss the
hopes you seem to entertain that, by any of the modes indicated, the
people of the Confederate States will ever be brought to submit to the
authority of the Government of the United States. You are dealing with
delusions, too, when you seek to separate our people from our
Government, and to characterize the deliberate, Sovereign act of that
people as a 'perversion of a temporary and partisan excitement.' If you
cherish these dreams, you will be awakened from them, and find them as
unreal and unsubstantial as others in which you have recently indulged.

"The undersigned would omit the performance of an obvious duty were they
to fail to make known to the Government of the United States that the
people of the Confederate States have declared their independence with a
full knowledge of all the responsibilities of that act, and with as firm
a determination to maintain it by all the means with which nature has
endowed them as that which sustained their fathers when they threw off
the authority of the British Crown.

"The undersigned clearly understand that you have declined to appoint a
day to enable them to lay the objects of the mission with which they are
charged, before the President of the United States, because so to do
would be to recognize the independence and separate nationality of the
Confederate States. This is the vein of thought that pervades the
memorandum before us.

"The truth of history requires that it should distinctly appear upon the
record, that the undersigned did not ask the Government of the United
States to recognize the independence of the Confederate States. They
only asked audience to adjust, in a spirit of amity and peace, the new
relations springing from a manifest and accomplished revolution in the
Government of the late Federal Union.

"Your refusal to entertain these overtures for a peaceful solution, the
active naval and military preparation of this Government, and a formal
notice to the Commanding General of the Confederate forces in the harbor
of Charleston that the President intends to provision Fort Sumter by
forcible means, if necessary, are viewed by the undersigned, and can
only be received by the World, as a Declaration of War against the
Confederate States; for the President of the United States knows that
Fort Sumter cannot be provisioned without the effusion of blood.

"The undersigned, in behalf of their Government and people, accept the
gage of battle thus thrown down to them, and, appealing to God and the
judgment of mankind for the righteousness of their Cause, the people of
the Confederate States will defend their liberties to the last, against
this flagrant and open attempt at their subjugation to Sectional power."

Let us now, for a moment, glance at the condition of Fort Sumter, and of
the Government with regard to it:

On the 5th of March, the day after President Lincoln had taken his oath
of office, there was placed in his hands a letter of Major Anderson,
commanding at Fort Sumter, in which that officer, under date of the 28th
of February, expressed the opinion that "reinforcements could not be
thrown into that fort within the time for his relief rendered necessary
by the limited supply of provisions, and with a view of holding
possession of the same, with a force of less than twenty thousand good
and well-disciplined men."

[President Lincoln's first Message, July 4, 1861.]

Lieutenant-General Winfield Scott concurred in that opinion, and as the
provisions in the Fort would be exhausted before any such force could be
raised and brought to the ground, evacuation and safe withdrawal of the
Federal garrison from the Fort became a Military necessity, and was so
regarded by the Administration.

"It was believed, however"--in the language of Mr. Lincoln himself, in
his first Message to Congress--"that to so abandon that position, under
the circumstances, would be utterly ruinous: that the necessity under
which it was to be done would not be fully understood; that by many it
would be construed as a part of a voluntary policy; that at home it
would discourage the friends of the Union, embolden its adversaries, and
go far to insure to the latter a recognition abroad; that in fact it
would be our National destruction consummated. This could not be
allowed. Starvation was not yet upon the garrison; and ere it would be
reached, Fort Pickens might be reinforced. This last would be a clear
indication of policy, and would better enable the country to accept the
evacuation of Fort Sumter as a Military necessity."

Owing to misconception or otherwise, an order to reinforce Fort Pickens
was not carried out, and an expedition to relieve Fort Sumter was then
ordered to be dispatched. On the 8th of April President Lincoln, by
messenger, notified Governor Pickens of South Carolina, "that he might
expect an attempt would be made to provision the fort; and that if the
attempt should not be resisted there would be no effort to throw in men,
arms, or ammunition, without further notice, or in case of an attack
upon the fort."

A crisis was evidently approaching, and public feeling all over the
Country was wrought up to the highest degree of tension and stood tip-
toe with intense expectancy. The test of the doctrine of Secession was
about to be made there, in the harbor of Charleston, upon which the eyes
of Patriot and Rebel were alike feverishly bent.

There, in Charleston harbor, grimly erect, stood the octagon-shaped Fort
Sumter, mid-way of the harbor entrance, the Stars and Stripes proudly
waving from its lofty central flagstaff, its guns bristling on every
side through the casemates and embrasures, as if with a knowledge of
their defensive power.

About equidistant from Fort Sumter on either side of the harbor-
entrance, were the Rebel works at Fort Moultrie and Battery Bee on
Sullivan's Island, on the one side, and Cummings Point Battery, on
Morris Island, on the other-besides a number of other batteries facing
seaward along the sea-coast line of Morris Island. Further in, on the
same side of the harbor, and but little further off from Fort Sumter,
stood Fort Johnson on James Island, while Castle Pinckney and a Floating
Battery were between the beleagured Fort and the city of Charleston.

Thus, the Federal Fort was threatened with the concentrated fire of
these well-manned Rebel fortifications on all sides, and in its then
condition was plainly doomed; for, while the swarming Rebels, unmolested
by Fort Sumter, had been permitted to surround that Fort with frowning
batteries, whose guns outnumbered those of the Fort, as ten to one, and
whose caliber was also superior, its own condition was anything but that
of readiness for the inevitable coming encounter.

That the officers' quarters, barracks, and other frame-work wooden
buildings should have been permitted to remain as a standing invitation
to conflagration from bombardment, can only be accounted for on the
supposition that the gallant officer in command, himself a Southerner,
would not believe it possible that the thousands of armed Americans by
whom he was threatened and encircled, could fire upon the flag of their
own native Country. He and his garrison of seventy men, were soon to
learn the bitter truth, amid a tempest of bursting shot and shell, the
furnace-heat of crackling walls, and suffocating volumes of dense smoke
produced by an uncontrollable conflagration.

The Rebel leaders at Washington had prevented an attack in January upon
the forts in the harbor of Charleston, and at Pensacola.--[McPherson's
History of the Rebellion, p. 112.]--In consequence of which failure to
proceed to the last extremity at once, the energies of the Rebellion had
perceptibly diminished.

Said the Mobile Mercury: "The country is sinking into a fatal apathy,
and the spirit and even the patriotism of the people is oozing out,
under this do-nothing policy. If something is not done pretty soon,
decisive, either evacuation or expulsion, the whole country will become
so disgusted with the sham of Southern independence that the first
chance the people get at a popular election they will turn the whole
movement topsy-turvy so bad that it never on Earth can be righted

After the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, however, the Rebel authorities at
Montgomery lost no time, but strained every nerve to precipitate War.
They felt that there was danger to the cause of Secession in delay; that
there were wavering States outside the Confederacy, like Virginia, that
might be dragged into the Confederacy by prompt and bloody work; and
wavering States within, like Alabama, that must be kept in by similar
means. Their emissaries were busy everywhere in the South, early in
April, preaching an instant crusade against the old flag--inciting the
people to demand instant hostilities against Fort Sumter--and to cross a
Rubicon of blood, over which there could be no return.

Many of the Rebel leaders seemed to be haunted by the fear (no doubt
well founded) that unless blood was shed--unless an impassable barrier,
crimsoned with human gore, was raised between the new Confederacy and
the old Union--there would surely be an ever-present danger of that
Confederacy falling to pieces. Hence they were now active in working
the people up to the required point of frenzy.

As a specimen of their speeches, may be quoted that of Roger A. Pryor,
of Virginia, who, at Charleston, April 10, 1861, replying to a serenade,
said:--[Charleston Mercury's report.]

'Gentlemen, I thank you, especially that you have at last annihilated
this accursed Union [Applause] reeking with corruption, and insolent
with excess of tyranny. Thank God, it is at last blasted and riven by
the lightning wrath of an outraged and indignant people. [Loud
applause.] Not only is it gone, but gone forever. [Cries of, 'You're
right,' and applause.] In the expressive language of Scripture, it is
water spilt upon the ground, which cannot be gathered up. [Applause.]
Like Lucifer, son of the morning, it has fallen, never to rise again.
[Continued applause.]

"For my part, gentlemen," he continued, as soon as he could be heard,
"if Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin to-morrow were to abdicate their
offices and were to give me a blank sheet of paper to write the
condition of re-annexation to the defunct Union, I would scornfully
spurn the overture. * * * I invoke you, and I make it in some sort a
personal appeal--personal so far as it tends to our assistance in
Virginia--I do invoke you, in your demonstrations of popular opinion, in
your exhibitions of official intent, to give no countenance to this idea
of reconstruction. [Many voices, emphatically, 'never,' and applause.]

"In Virginia," resumed he, "they all say, if reduced to the dread
dilemma of this memorable alternative, they will espouse the cause of
the South as against the interest of the Northern Confederacy, but they
whisper of reconstruction, and they say Virginia must abide in the
Union, with the idea of reconstructing the Union which you have
annihilated. I pray you, gentlemen, rob them of that idea. Proclaim to
the World that upon no condition, and under no circumstances, will South
Carolina ever again enter into political association with the
Abolitionists of New England. [Cries of 'never,' and applause.]

"Do not distrust Virginia," he continued; "as sure as tomorrow's sun
will rise upon us, just so sure will Virginia be a member of this
Southern Confederation. [Applause.] And I will tell you, gentlemen,
what will put her in the Southern Confederacy in less than an hour by
Shrewsbury clock--STRIKE A BLOW! [Tremendous applause.] The very
moment that blood is shed, old Virginia will make common cause with her
sisters of the South. [Applause.] It is impossible she should do

The question of the necessity of "Striking a Blow"--of the immediate
"shedding of blood"--was not only discussed before the Southern people
for the purpose of inflaming their rebellious zeal, but was also the
subject of excited agitation in the Confederate Cabinet at this time.

In a speech made by ex-United States Senator Clemens of Alabama, at
Huntsville, Alabama, at the close of the Rebellion, he told the
Alabamians how their State, which, as we have seen, was becoming
decidedly shaky in its allegiance to the "Sham of Southern
Independence," was kept in the Confederacy.

Said he: "In 1861, shortly after the Confederate Government was put in
operation, I was in the city of Montgomery. One day (April 11, 1861) I
stepped into the office of the Secretary of War, General Walker, and
found there, engaged in a very excited discussion, Mr. Jefferson Davis
(the President), Mr. Memminger (Secretary of the Treasury), Mr. Benjamin
(Attorney-General), Mr. Gilchrist, a member of our Legislature from
Loundes county, and a number of other prominent gentlemen. They were
discussing the propriety of immediately opening fire on Fort Sumter, to
which General Walker, the Secretary of War, appeared to be opposed. Mr.
Gilchrist said to him, 'Sir, unless you sprinkle blood in the face of
the people of Alabama, they will be back in the old Union in less than

On the 8th of April, G. T. Beauregard, "Brigadier General Commanding"
the "Provisional Army C. S. A." at Charleston, S. C., notified the
Confederate Secretary of War (Walker) at Montgomery, Ala., that "An
authorized messenger from President Lincoln has just informed Gov.
Pickens and myself that provisions will be sent to Fort Sumter
peaceably, or otherwise by force."

On the 10th, Confederate Secretary Walker telegraphed to Beauregard: "If
you have no doubt of the authorized character of the agent who
communicated to, you the intention of the Washington Government to
supply Fort Sumter by force, you will at once demand its evacuation,
and, if this is refused, proceed, in such manner as you may determine,
to reduce it." To this Beauregard at once replied: "The demand will be
made to-morrow at 12 o'clock." Thereupon the Confederate Secretary
telegraphed again: "Unless there are special reasons connected with your
own condition, it is considered proper that you should make the demand
at an earlier hour." And Beauregard answered: "The reasons are special
for 12 o'clock."

On the 11th General Beauregard notified Secretary Walker: "The demand
was sent at 2 P. M., and until 6 was allowed for the answer." The
Secretary desiring to have the reply of Major Anderson, General
Beauregard telegraphed: "Major Anderson replies: 'I have the honor to
acknowledge the receipt of your communication demanding the evacuation
of this Fort, and to say in reply thereto that it is a demand with which
I regret that my sense of honor and of my obligation to my Government
prevent my compliance.' He adds, verbally, 'I will await the first
shot, and, if you do not batter us to pieces, we will be starved out in
a few days.'"

To this, the Confederate Secretary at once responded with: "Do not
desire needlessly to bombard Fort Sumter. If Major Anderson will state
the time at which, as indicated by himself, he will evacuate, and agree
that, in the mean time, he will not use his guns against us unless ours
should be employed against Fort Sumter, you are authorized thus to avoid
the effusion of blood. If this or its equivalent be refused, reduce the
Fort, as your judgment decides to be the most practicable."

At 11 o'clock that night (April 11) General Beauregard sent to Major
Anderson, by the hands of his aides-de-camp, Messrs. Chesnut and Lee, a
further communication, in which, after alluding to the Major's verbal
observation, the General said: "If you will state the time at which you
will evacuate Fort Sumter, and agree that in the mean time you will not
use your guns against us unless ours shall be employed against Fort
Sumter, we shall abstain from opening fire upon you. Col. Chesnut and
Capt. Lee are authorized by me to enter into such an agreement with you.
You are therefore requested to communicate to them an open answer."

To this, Major Robert Anderson, at 2.30 A.M. of the 12th, replied "that,
cordially uniting with you in the desire to avoid the useless effusion
of blood, I will, if provided with the necessary means of
transportation, evacuate Fort Sumter by noon on the 15th inst., should I
not receive prior to that time, controlling instructions from my
Government, or additional supplies, and that I will not in the mean time
open my fire upon your forces unless compelled to do so by some hostile
act against this Fort or the flag of my Government, by the forces under
your command, or by some portion of them, or by the perpetration of some
act showing a hostile intention on your part against this Fort or the
flag it bears." Thereupon General Beauregard telegraphed Secretary
Walker: "He would not consent. I write to-day."

At 3.20 A.M., Major Anderson received from Messrs. Chesnut and Lee a
notification to this effect: "By authority of Brigadier General
Beauregard, commanding the Provisional Forces of the Confederate States,
we have the honor to notify you that he will open the fire of his
batteries on Fort Sumter in one hour from this time." And a later
dispatch from General Beauregard to Secretary Walker, April 12,
laconically stated: "WE OPENED FIRE AT 4.30."

At last the hour and the minute had come, for which the Slave Power of
the South had for thirty years so impatiently longed. At last the
moment had come, when all the long-treasured vengeance of the South--
outgrown from questions of Tariff, of Slavery, and of Secession--was to
be poured out in blood and battle; when the panoplied powers and forces
of rebellious confederated States, standing face to face with the
resolute patriotism of an outraged Union, would belch forth flame and
fury and hurtling missiles upon the Federal Fort and the old flag
floating o'er it.

And whose the sacrilegious hand that dared be first raised against his
Country and his Country's flag? Stevens's mortar battery at Sullivan's
Island is ready to open, when a lean, long-haired old man, with eyes
blazing in their deep fanatical sockets, totters hastily forward and
ravenously seizing in his bony hands a lanyard, pulls the string, and,
with a flash and roar, away speeds the shrieking shell on its mission of
destruction; and, while shell after shell, and shot after shot, from
battery after battery, screams a savage accompaniment to the boom and
flash and bellow of the guns, that lean old man works his clutched
fingers in an ecstasy of fiendish pleasure, and chuckles: "Aye, I told
them at Columbia that night, that the defense of the South is only to be
secured through the lead of South Carolina; and, old as I am, I had come
here to join them in that lead--and I have done it."

[Edmund Ruffin, see p. 100. This theory of the necessity of South
Carolina leading, had long been held, as in the following, first
published in the New York Tribune, July 3, 1862, which, among other
letters, was found in the house of William H. Trescot, on
Barnwell's Island, South Carolina, when re-occupied by United
States troops:


"My DEAR, SIR:--You misunderstood my last letter, if you supposed
that I intended to visit South Carolina this Spring. I am
exceedingly obliged to you for your kind invitations, and it would
afford me the highest pleasure to interchange in person, sentiments
with a friend whose manner of thinking so closely agrees with my
own. But my engagements here closely confine me to this city, and
deny me such a gratification.

"I would be especially glad to be in Charleston next week, and
witness the proceedings of your Convention of Delegates from the
Southern Rights Associations. The condition of things in your
State deeply interests me. Her wise foresight and manly
independence have placed her, as the head of the South, to whom
alone true-hearted men can look with any hope or pleasure.

"Momentous are the consequences which depend upon your action.
Which party will prevail? The immediate Secessionists, or those
who are opposed to separate State action at this time? For my part
I forbear to form a wish. Were I a Carolinian, it would be very
different; but when I consider the serious effects the decision may
have on your future weal or woe, I feel that a citizen of a State
which has acted as Virginia, has no right to interfere, even by a

"If the General Government allows you peaceably and freely to
Secede, neither Virginia, nor any other Southern State, would, in
my opinion, follow you at present. But what would be the effect
upon South Carolina? Some of our best friends have supposed that
it would cut off Charleston from the great Western trade, which she
is now striking for, and would retard very greatly the progress of
your State. I confess that I think differently. I believe
thoroughly in our own theories, and that, even if Charleston did
not grow quite as fast in her trade with other States, yet the
relief from Federal taxation would vastly stimulate your
prosperity. If so, the prestige of the Union would be destroyed,
and you would be the nucleus for a Southern Confederation at no
distant day.

"But I do not doubt, from all I have been able toe to learn that the
Federal Government would use force, beginning with the form most
embarrassing to you, and least calculated to excite sympathy. I
mean a naval blockade. In that event, could you stand the reaction
feeling which the suffering commerce of Charleston would probably
manifest? Would you not lose that in which your strength consists,
the union of your people? I do not mean to imply an opinion, I
only ask the question.

"If you could force this blockade, and bring the Government to
direct force, the feeling in Virginia would be very great. I trust
in God it would bring her to your aid. But it would be wrong in me
to deceive you by speaking certainly. I cannot express the deep
mortification I have felt at her course this Winter. But I do not
believe that the course of the Legislature is a fair expression of
popular feeling. In the East, at least, the great majority
believes in the right of Secession, and feels the deepest sympathy
with Carolina in her opposition to measures which they regard as
she does. But the West--Western Virginia--there is the rub! Only
60,000 slaves to 494,000 whites! When I consider this fact, and
the kind of argument which has been heard in this body, I cannot
but regard with the greatest fear the question whether Virginia
would assist Carolina in such an issue.

"I must acknowledge, my dear sir, that I look to the future with
almost as much apprehension as hope. You well object to the term
Democrat. Democracy, in its original philosophical sense, is
indeed incompatible with Slavery and the whole system of Southern
society. Yet, if you look back, what change will you find made in
any of your State Constitutions, or in our legislation--that is, in
its general course--for the last fifty years, which was not in the
direction of this Democracy? Do not its principles and theories
become daily more fixed in our practice? (I had almost said in the
opinions of our people, did I not remember with pleasure the great
improvement of opinion in regard to the abstract question of
Slavery). And if such is the case, what are we to hope in the
future? I do not hesitate to say that if the question is raised
between Carolina and the Federal Government, and the latter
prevails, the last hope of republican government, and, I fear, of
Southern civilization, is gone. Russia will then be a better
government than ours.

"I fear that the confusion and interruptions amid which I write
have made this rather a rambling letter. Do you visit the North in
the Summer? I would be very happy to welcome you to the Old

"I am much obliged to you for the offer to send me Hammond's Eulogy

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