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The Great Conspiracy, Part 2. by John Alexander Logan

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Its Origin and History

Part 2





THE 6th of November, 1860, came and passed; on the 7th, the prevailing
conviction that Lincoln would be elected had become a certainty, and
before the close of that day, the fact had been heralded throughout the
length and breadth of the Republic. The excitement of the People was
unparalleled. The Republicans of the North rejoiced that at last the
great wrong of Slavery was to be placed "where the People could rest in
the belief that it was in the course of ultimate extinction!" The
Douglas Democracy, naturally chagrined at the defeat of their great
leader, were filled with gloomy forebodings touching the future of their
Country; and the Southern Democracy, or at least a large portion of it,
openly exulted that at last the long-wished-for opportunity for a revolt
of the Slave Power, and a separation of the Slave from the Free States,
was at hand. Especially in South Carolina were the "Fire-eating"
Southrons jubilant over the event.

["South Carolina rejoiced over the election of Lincoln, with
bonfires and processions." p. 172, Arnold's "Life of Abraham

"There was great joy in Charleston, and wherever 'Fire Eaters' most
did congregate, on the morning of November 7th. Men rushed to
shake hands and congratulate each other on the glad tidings of
Lincoln's election. * * * Men thronged the streets, talking,
laughing, cheering, like mariners long becalmed on a hateful,
treacherous sea, whom a sudden breeze had swiftly wafted within
sight of their longed-for haven." p. 332, vol. i., Greeley's
American Conflict.]

Meanwhile any number of joint resolutions looking to the calling of a
Secession Convention, were introduced in the South Carolina Legislature,
sitting at Columbia, having in view Secession contingent upon the
"cooperation" of the other Slave States, or looking to immediate and
"unconditional" Secession.

On the evening of November 7th, Edmund Ruffin of Virginia--a Secession
fanatic who had come from thence in hot haste--in response to a
serenade, declared to the people of Columbia that: "The defense of the
South, he verily believed, was only to be secured through the lead of
South Carolina;" that, "old as he was, he had come here to join them in
that lead;" and that "every day delayed, was a day lost to the Cause."
He acknowledged that Virginia was "not as ready as South Carolina;" but
declared that "The first drop of blood spilled on the soil of South
Carolina would bring Virginia, and every Southern State, with them." He
thought "it was perhaps better that Virginia, and all other border
States, remain quiescent for a time, to serve as a guard against the
North. * * * By remaining in the Union for a time, she would not only
prevent coercive legislation in Congress, but any attempt for our

That same evening came news that, at Charleston, the Grand Jury of the
United States District Court had refused to make any presentments,
because of the Presidential vote just cast, which, they said, had "swept
away the last hope for the permanence, for the stability, of the Federal
Government of these Sovereign States;" and that United States District
Judge Magrath had resigned his office, saying to the Grand Jury, as he
did so: "In the political history of the United States, an event has
happened of ominous import to fifteen Slave-holding States. The State
of which we are citizens has been always understood to have deliberately
fixed its purpose whenever that event should happen. Feeling an
assurance of what will be the action of the State, I consider it my
duty, without delay, to prepare to obey its wishes. That preparation is
made by the resignation of the office I have held."

The news of the resignations of the Federal Collector and District
Attorney at Charleston, followed, with an intimation that that of the
Sub-Treasurer would soon be forthcoming. On November 9th, a joint
resolution calling an unconditional Secession Convention to meet at
Columbia December 17th, was passed by the Senate, and on the 12th of
November went through the House; and both of the United States Senators
from South Carolina had now resigned their seats in the United States

Besides all these and many other incitements to Secession was the fact
that at Milledgeville, Georgia, Governor Brown had, November 12th,
addressed a Georgian Military Convention, affirming "the right of
Secession, and the duty of other Southern States to sustain South
Carolina in the step she was then taking," and declaring that he "would
like to see Federal troops dare attempt the coercion of a seceding
Southern State! For every Georgian who fell in a conflict thus incited,
the lives of two Federal Soldiers should expiate the outrage on State
Sovereignty"--and that the Convention aforesaid had most decisively
given its voice for Secession.

It was about this time, however, that Alexander H. Stephens vainly
sought to stem the tide of Secession in his own State, in a speech
(November 14) before the Georgia Legislature, in which he declared that
Mr. Lincoln "can do nothing unless he is backed by power in Congress.
The House of Representatives is largely in the majority against him. In
the Senate he will also be powerless. There will be a majority of four
against him." He also cogently said: "Many of us have sworn to support
it (the Constitution). Can we, therefore, for the mere election of a
man to the Presidency--and that too, in accordance with the prescribed
forms of the Constitution--make a point of resistance to the Government,
and, without becoming the breakers of that sacred instrument ourselves,
withdraw ourselves from it? Would we not be in the wrong?"

But the occasional words of wisdom that fell from the lips of the few
far-seeing statesmen of the South, were as chaff before the storm of
Disunion raised by the turbulent Fire-eaters, and were blown far from
the South, where they might have done some good for the Union cause,
away up to the North, where they contributed to aid the success of the
contemplated Treason and Rebellion, by lulling many of the people there,
into a false sense of security. Unfortunately, also, even the ablest of
the Southern Union men were so tainted with the heretical doctrine of
States-Rights, which taught the "paramount allegiance" of the citizen to
the State, that their otherwise powerful appeals for the preservation of
the Union were almost invariably handicapped by the added protestation
that in any event--and however they might deplore the necessity--they
would, if need be, go with their State, against their own convictions of
duty to the National Union.

Hence in this same speech we find that Mr. Stephens destroyed the whole
effect of his weighty and logical appeal against Secession from the
Union, by adding to it, that, "Should Georgia determine to go out of the
Union I shall bow to the will of her people. Their cause is my cause,
and their destiny is my destiny; and I trust this will be the ultimate
course of all."--and by further advising the calling of a Convention of
the people to decide the matter; thus, in advance, as it were, binding
himself hand and foot, despite his previous Union utterances, to do the
fell bidding of the most rampant Disunionists. And thus, in due time,
it befell, as we shall see, that this "saving clause" in his "Union
speech," brought him at the end, not to that posture of patriotic
heroism to which he aspired when he adjured his Georgian auditors to
"let us be found to the last moment standing on the deck (of the
Republic), with the Constitution of the United States waving over our
heads," but to that of an imprisoned traitor and defeated rebel against
the very Republic and Constitution which he had sworn to uphold and

The action of the South Carolina Legislature in calling an Unconditional
Secession Convention, acted among the Southern States like a spark in a
train of gunpowder. Long accustomed to incendiary resolutions of
Pro-Slavery political platforms, as embodying the creed of Southern men;
committed by those declarations to the most extreme action when, in
their judgment, the necessity should arise; and worked up during the
Presidential campaign by swarming Federal officials inspired by the
fanatical Secession leaders; the entire South only needed the spark from
the treasonable torch of South Carolina, to find itself ablaze, almost
from one end to the other, with the flames of revolt.

Governor after Governor, in State after State, issued proclamation after
proclamation, calling together their respective Legislatures, to
consider the situation and whether their respective States should join
South Carolina in seceding from the Union. Kentucky alone, of them all,
seemed for a time to keep cool, and look calmly and reasonably through
the Southern ferment to the horrors beyond. In an address issued by
Governor Magoffin of that State, to the people, he said:

"To South Carolina and such other States as may wish to secede from the
Union, I would say: The geography of this Country will not admit of a
division; the mouth and sources of the Mississippi River cannot be
separated without the horrors of Civil War. We cannot sustain you in
this movement merely on account of the election of Mr. Lincoln. Do not
precipitate by premature action into a revolution or Civil War, the
consequences of which will be most frightful to all of us. It may yet
be avoided. There is still hope, faint though it be. Kentucky is a
Border State, and has suffered more than all of you. * * * She has a
right to claim that her voice, and the voice of reason, and moderation
and patriotism shall be heard and heeded by you. If you secede, your
representatives will go out of Congress and leave us at the mercy of a
Black Republican Government. Mr. Lincoln will have no check. He can
appoint his Cabinet, and have it confirmed. The Congress will then be
Republican, and he will be able to pass such laws as he may suggest.
The Supreme Court will be powerless to protect us. We implore you to
stand by us, and by our friends in the Free States; and let us all, the
bold, the true, and just men in the Free and Slave States, with a united
front, stand by each other, by our principles, by our rights, our
equality, our honor, and by the Union under the Constitution. I believe
this is the only way to save it; and we can do it."

But this "still small voice" of conscience and of reason, heard like a
whisper from the mouths of Stephens in Georgia, and Magoffin in
Kentucky, was drowned in the clamor and tumult of impassioned harangues
and addresses, and the drumming and tramp of the "minute men" of South
Carolina, and other military organizations, as they excitedly prepared
throughout the South for the dread conflict at arms which they
recklessly invited, and savagely welcomed.

We have seen how President Andrew Jackson some thirty years before, had
stamped out Nullification and Disunion in South Carolina, with an iron

But a weak and feeble old man--still suffering from the effects of the
mysterious National Hotel poisoning--was now in the Executive Chair at
the White House. Well-meaning, doubtless, and a Union man at heart, his
enfeebled intellect was unable to see, and hold firm to, the only true
course. He lacked clearness of perception, decision of character, and
nerve. He knew Secession was wrong, but allowed himself to be persuaded
that he had no Constitutional power to prevent it. He had surrounded
himself in the Cabinet with such unbending adherents and tools of the
Slave-Power, as Howell Cobb of Georgia, his Secretary of the Treasury,
John B. Floyd of Virginia, as Secretary of War, Jacob Thompson of
Mississippi, as Secretary of the Interior, and Isaac Toucy of
Connecticut, as Secretary of the Navy, before whose malign influence the
councils of Lewis Cass of Michigan, the Secretary of State, and other
Union men, in and out of the Cabinet, were quite powerless.

When, therefore, the Congress met (December 3, 1860) and he transmitted
to it his last Annual Message, it was found that, instead of treating
Secession from the Jacksonian standpoint, President Buchanan feebly
wailed over the threatened destruction of the Union, weakly apologized
for the contemplated Treason, garrulously scolded the North as being to
blame for it, and, while praying to God to "preserve the Constitution
and the Union throughout all generations," wrung his nerveless hands in
despair over his own powerlessness--as he construed the Constitution--to
prevent Secession! Before writing his pitifully imbecile Message,
President Buchanan had secured from his Attorney-General (Jeremiah S.
Black of Pennsylvania) an opinion, in which the latter, after touching
upon certain cases in which he believed the President would be justified
in using force to sustain the Federal Laws, supposed the case of a State
where all the Federal Officers had resigned and where there were neither
Federal Courts to issue, nor officers to execute judicial process, and
continued: "In that event, troops would certainly be out of place, and
their use wholly illegal. If they are sent to aid the Courts and
Marshals there must be Courts and Marshals to be aided. Without the
exercise of these functions, which belong exclusively to the civil
service, the laws cannot be executed in any event, no matter what may be
the physical strength which the Government has at its command. Under
such circumstances, to send a military force into any State, with orders
to act against the people, would be simply making War upon them."

Resting upon that opinion of Attorney-General Black, President Buchanan,
in his Message, after referring to the solemn oath taken by the
Executive "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed," and
stating that there were now no longer any Federal Officers in South
Carolina, through whose agency he could keep that oath, took up the laws
of February 28, 1795, and March 3, 1807, as "the only Acts of Congress
on the Statute-book bearing upon the subject," which "authorize the
President, after he shall have ascertained that the Marshal, with his
posse comitatus, is unable to execute civil or criminal process in any
particular case, to call out the Militia and employ the Army and Navy to
aid him in performing this service, having first, by Proclamation,
commanded the insurgents to 'disperse and retire peaceably to their
respective abodes, within a limited time'"--and thereupon held that
"This duty cannot, by possibility, be performed in a State where no
judicial authority exists to issue process, and where there is no
Marshal to execute it; and where even if there were such an officer, the
entire population would constitute one solid combination to resist him."
And, not satisfied with attempting to show as clearly as he seemed to
know how, his own inability under the laws to stamp out Treason, he
proceeded to consider what he thought Congress also could not do under
the Constitution. Said he: "The question fairly stated, is: Has the
Constitution delegated to Congress the power to coerce into submission a
State which is attempting to withdraw, or has actually withdrawn, from
the Confederacy? If answered in the affirmative, it must be on the
principle that the power has been conferred upon Congress to declare and
make War against a State. After much serious reflection, I have arrived
at the conclusion that no such power has been delegated to Congress or
to any other department of the Federal Government." And further:
"Congress possesses many means of preserving it (the Union) by
conciliation; but the sword was not placed in their hands to preserve it
by force."

Thus, in President Buchanan's judgment, while, in another part of his
Message, he had declared that no State had any right, Constitutional or
otherwise, to Secede from that Union, which was designed for all time
--yet, if any State concluded thus wrongfully to Secede, there existed no
power in the Union, by the exercise of force, to preserve itself from
instant dissolution! How imbecile the reasoning, how impotent the
conclusion, compared with that of President Jackson, thirty years
before, in his Proclamation against Nullification and Secession, wherein
that sturdy patriot declared to the South Carolinians. that "compared
to Disunion, all other evils are light, because that brings with it an
accumulation of all;" that "Disunion by armed force, is Treason;" and
that he was determined "to execute the Laws," and "to preserve the

President Buchanan's extraordinary Message--or so much of it as related
to the perilous condition of the Union--was referred, in the House of
Representatives, to a Select Committee of Thirty-three, comprising one
member from each State, in which there was a very large preponderance of
such as favored Conciliation without dishonor. But the debates in both
Houses, in which the most violent language was indulged by the Southern
Fire-eaters, as well as other events, soon proved that there was a
settled purpose on the part of the Slave-Power and its adherents to
resist and spit upon all attempts at placation.

In the Senate also (December 5), a Select Committee of Thirteen was
appointed, to consider the impending dangers to the Union, comprising
Senators Powell of Kentucky, Hunter of Virginia, Crittenden of Kentucky,
Seward of New York, Toombs of Georgia, Douglas of Illinois, Collamer of
Vermont, Davis of Mississippi, Wade of Ohio, Bigler of Pennsylvania,
Rice of Minnesota, Doolittle of Wisconsin, and Grimes of Iowa. Their
labors were alike without practical result, owing to the irreconcilable
attitude of the Southrons, who would accept nothing less than a total
repudiation by the Republicans of the very principles upon which the
recent Presidential contest had by them been fought and won. Nor would
they even accept such a repudiation unless carried by vote of the
majority of the Republicans. The dose that they insisted upon the
Republican Party swallowing must not only be as noxious as possible, but
must absolutely be mixed by that Party itself, and in addition, that
Party must also go down on its knees, and beg the privilege of so mixing
and swallowing the dose! That was the impossible attitude into which,
by their bullying and threats, the Slave Power hoped to force the
Republican Party--either that or "War."

Project after project in both Houses of Congress looking to Conciliation
was introduced, referred, reported, discussed, and voted on or not, as
the case might be, in vain. And in the meantime, in New York, in
Philadelphia, and elsewhere in the North, the timidity of Capital showed
itself in great Conciliation meetings, where speeches were applauded and
resolutions adopted of the most abject character, in behalf of "Peace,
at any price," regardless of the sacrifice of honor and principles and
even decency. In fact the Commercial North, with supplicating hands and
beseeching face, sank on its knees in a vain attempt to propitiate its
furious creditor, the South, by asking it not only to pull its nose, but
to spit in its face, both of which it humbly and even anxiously offered
for the purpose!*

[Thus, in Philadelphia, December 13, 1860, at a great meeting held
at the call of the Mayor, in Independence Square, Mayor Henry led
off the speaking--which was nearly all in the same line-by saying:
"I tell you that if in any portion of our Confederacy, sentiments
have been entertained and cherished which are inimical to the civil
rights and social institutions of any other portion, those
sentiments should be relinquished." Another speaker, Judge George
W. Woodward, sneeringly asked: "Whence came these excessive
sensibilities that cannot bear a few slaves in a remote Territory
until the white people establish a Constitution?" Another, Mr.
Charles E. Lex (a Republican), speaking of the Southern People,
said: "What, then, can we say to them? what more than we have
expressed in the resolutions we have offered? If they are really
aggrieved by any laws upon our Statute-books opposed to their
rights--if upon examination any such are found to be in conflict
with the Constitution of these United States--nay, further, if they
but serve to irritate our brethren of the South, whether
Constitutional or not, I, for one, have no objection that they
should instantly be repealed." Another said, "Let us repeal our
obnoxious Personal Liberty bills * * *; let us receive our brother
of the South, if he will come among us for a little time, attended
by his servant, and permit him thus to come." And the resolutions
adopted were even still more abject in tone than the speeches.]

But the South at present was too busy in perfecting its long-cherished
plans for the disruption of the Union, to more than grimly smile at this
evidence of what it chose to consider "a divided sentiment" in the
North. While it weakened the North, it strengthened the South, and
instead of mollifying the Conspirators against the Union, it inspired
them with fresh energy in their fell purpose to destroy it.

The tone of the Republican press, too, while more dignified, was
thoroughly conciliatory. The Albany Evening Journal,--[November 30,
1860]--the organ of Governor Seward, recognizing that the South, blinded
by passion, was in dead earnest, but also recognizing the existence of
"a Union sentiment there, worth cherishing," suggested "a Convention of
the People, consisting of delegates appointed by the States, in which it
would not be found unprofitable for the North and South, bringing their
respective griefs, claims, and proposed reforms, to a common
arbitrament, to meet, discuss, and determine upon a future"--before a
final appeal to arms. So, too, Horace Greeley, in the New York
Tribune,--[November 9, 1860.]--after weakly conceding, on his own part,
the right of peaceable Secession, said: "But while we thus uphold the
practical liberty, if not the abstract right, of Secession, we must
insist that the step be taken, if it ever shall be, with the
deliberation and gravity befitting so momentous an issue. Let ample
time be given for reflection; let the subject be fully canvassed before
the People; and let a popular vote be taken in every case, before
Secession is decreed." Other leading papers of the Northern press, took
similar ground for free discussion and conciliatory action.

In the Senate, as well as the House of Representatives--as also was
shown by the appointment, heretofore mentioned, of Select Committees to
consider the gravity of the situation, and suggest a remedy--the same
spirit of Conciliation and Concession, and desire for free and frank
discussion, was apparent among most of the Northern and Border-State
members of those Bodies. But these were only met by sneers and threats
on the part of the Fire-eating Secession members of the South. In the
Senate, Senator Clingman of North Carolina, sneeringly said: "They want
to get up a free debate, as the Senator (Mr. Seward) from New York
expressed it, in one of his speeches. But a Senator from Texas told me
the other day that a great many of these free debaters were hanging from
the trees of that country;" and Senator Iverson, of Georgia, said:
"Gentlemen speak of Concession, of the repeal of the Personal Liberty
bills. Repeal them all to-morrow, and you cannot stop this revolution."
After declaring his belief that "Before the 4th of March, five States
will have declared their independence" and that "three other States will
follow as soon as the action of the people can be had;" he proceeded to
allude to the refusal of Governor Houston of Texas to call together the
Texas Legislature for action in accord with the Secession sentiment, and
declared that "if he will not yield to that public sentiment, some Texan
Brutus will arise to rid his country of this hoary-headed incubus that
stands between the people and their sovereign will!" Then, sneering at
the presumed cowardice of the North, he continued: "Men talk about their
eighteen millions (of Northern population); but we hear a few days
afterwards of these same men being switched in the face, and they
tremble like sheep-stealing dogs! There will be no War. The North,
governed by such far-seeing Statesmen as the Senator (Mr. Seward) from
New York, will see the futility of this. In less than twelve months, a
Southern Confederacy will be formed; and it will be the most successful
Government on Earth. The Southern States, thus banded together, will be
able to resist any force in the World. We do not expect War; but we
will be prepared for it--and we are not a feeble race of Mexicans

On the other hand, there were Republicans in that Body who sturdily met
the bluster of the Southern Fire-eaters with frank and courageous words
expressing their full convictions on the situation and their belief that
Concessions could not be made and that Compromises were mere waste
paper. Thus, Senator Ben Wade of Ohio, among the bravest and manliest
of them all, in a speech in the Senate, December 17, the very day on
which the South Carolina Secession Convention was to assemble, said to
the Fire-eaters: "I tell you frankly that we did lay down the principle
in our platform, that we would prohibit, if we had the power, Slavery
from invading another inch of the Free Soil of this Government. I stand
to that principle to-day. I have argued it to half a million of people,
and they stand by it; they have commissioned me to stand by it; and, so
help me God, I will! * * * On the other hand, our platform repudiates
the idea that we have any right, or harbor any ultimate intention to
invade or interfere with your institutions in your own States. * * *
It is not, by your own confessions, that Mr. Lincoln is expected to
commit any overt act by which you may be injured. You will not even
wait for any, you say; but, by anticipating that the Government may do
you an injury, you will put an end to it--which means, simply and
squarely, that you intend to rule or ruin this Government. * * * As to
Compromises, I supposed that we had agreed that the Day of Compromises
was at an end. The most solemn we have made have been violated, and are
no more. * * * We beat you on the plainest and most palpable issue
ever presented to the American people, and one which every man
understood; and now, when we come to the Capital, we tell you that our
candidates must and shall be inaugurated--must and shall administer this
Government precisely as the Constitution prescribes. * * * I tell you
that, with that verdict of the people in my pocket, and standing on the
platform on which these candidates were elected, I would suffer anything
before I would Compromise in any way."

In the House of Representatives, on December 10, 1860, a number of
propositions looking to a peaceful settlement of the threatened danger,
were offered and referred to the Select Committee of Thirty-three. On
the following Monday, December 17, by 154 yeas to 14 nays, the House
adopted a resolution, offered by Mr. Adrian of New Jersey, in these

"Resolved, That we deprecate the spirit of disobedience to the
Constitution, wherever manifested; and that we earnestly recommend the
repeal of all Statutes by the State Legislatures in conflict with, and
in violation of, that sacred instrument, and the laws of Congress passed
in pursuance thereof."

On the same day, the House adopted, by 135 yeas to no nays, a resolution
offered by Mr. Lovejoy of Illinois, in these words:

"Whereas, The Constitution of the United States is the Supreme law of
the Land, and ready and faithful obedience to it a duty of all good and
law-abiding citizens; Therefore:

"Resolved, That we deprecate the spirit of disobedience to the
Constitution, wherever manifested; and that we earnestly recommend the
repeal of all Nullification laws; and that it is the duty of the
President of the United States to protect and defend the property of the
United States."

[This resolution, before adoption, was modified by declaring it to
be the duty of all citizens, whether "good and law abiding" or not,
to yield obedience to the Constitution, as will be seen by
referring to the proceedings in the Globe of that date, where the
following appears:

"Mr. LOGAN. I hope there will be no objection on this side of the
House to the introduction of the [Lovejoy] resolution. I can see
no difference myself, between this resolution and the one
[Adrian's] just passed, except in regard to verbiage. I can find
but one objection to the resolution, and that is in the use of the
words declaring that all' law abiding' citizens should obey the
Constitution. I think that all men should do so.

"Mr. LOVEJOY. I accept the amendment suggested by my Colleague.

"Mr. LOGAN. It certainly should include members of Congress; but
if it is allowed to remain all 'good and law abiding' citizens, I
do not think it will include them. [Laughter.]

"The resolution was modified by the omission of those words."]

It also adopted, by 115 yeas to 44 nays, a resolution offered by Mr.
Morris of Illinois, as follows:

"Resolved by the House of Representatives: That we properly estimate the
immense value of our National Union to our collective and individual
happiness; that we cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment
to it; that we will speak of it as the palladium of our political safety
and prosperity; that we will watch its preservation with jealous
anxiety; that we will discountenance whatever may suggest even a
suspicion that it can, in any event, be abandoned, and indignantly frown
upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our
Country from the rest, or enfeeble the sacred ties which now link
together the various parts; that we regard it as a main pillar in the
edifice of our real independence, the support of tranquillity at home,
our peace abroad, our safety, our prosperity, and that very liberty
which we so highly prize; that we have seen nothing in the past, nor do
we see anything in the present, either in the election of Abraham
Lincoln to the Presidency of the United States, or from any other
existing cause, to justify its dissolution; that we regard its
perpetuity as of more value than the temporary triumph of any Party or
any man; that whatever evils or abuses exist under it ought to be
corrected within the Union, in a peaceful and Constitutional way; that
we believe it has sufficient power to redress every wrong and enforce
every right growing out of its organization, or pertaining to its proper
functions; and that it is a patriotic duty to stand by it as our hope in
Peace and our defense in War."



While Congress was encouraging devotion to the Union, and its Committees
striving for some mode by which the impending perils might be averted
without a wholesale surrender of all just principles, the South Carolina
Convention met (December 17, 1860) at Columbia, and after listening to
inflammatory addresses by commissioners from the States of Alabama and
Mississippi, urging immediate and unconditional Secession, unanimously
and with "tremendous cheering" adopted a resolution: "That it is the
opinion of the Convention that the State of South Carolina should
forthwith Secede from the Federal Union, known as the United States of
America,"--and then adjourned to meet at Charleston, South Carolina.

The next day, and following days, it met there, at "Secession Hall,"
listening to stimulating addresses, while a committee of seven worked
upon the Ordinance of Secession. Among the statements made by orators,
were several clear admissions that the rebellious Conspiracy had existed
for very many years, and that Mr. Lincoln's election was simply the
long-sought-for pretext for Rebellion. Mr. Parker said: "It is no
spasmodic effort that has come suddenly upon us; it has been gradually
culminating for a long period of thirty years. At last it has come to
that point where we may say, the matter is entirely right." Mr. Inglis
said: "Most of us have had this matter under consideration for the last
twenty years; and I presume that we have by this time arrived at a
decision upon the subject." Mr. Keitt said: "I have been engaged in
this movement ever since I entered political life; * * * we have
carried the body of this Union to its last resting place, and now we
will drop the flag over its grave." Mr. Barnwell Rhett said: "The
Secession of South Carolina is not an event of a day. It is not
anything produced by Mr. Lincoln's election, or by the non-execution of
the Fugitive Slave Law. It has been a matter which has been gathering
head for thirty years." Mr. Gregg said: "If we undertake to set forth
all the causes, do we not dishonor the memory of all the statesmen of
South Carolina, now departed, who commenced forty years ago a war
against the tariff and against internal improvement, saying nothing of
the United States Bank, and other measures which may now be regarded as

On the 20th of December, 1860--the fourth day of the sittings--the
Ordinance of Secession was reported by the Committee, and was at once
unanimously passed, as also was a resolution that "the passage of the
Ordinance be proclaimed by the firing of artillery and ringing of the
bells of the city, and such other demonstrations as the people may deem
appropriate on the passage of the great Act of Deliverance and Liberty;"
after which the Convention jubilantly adjourned to meet, and ratify,
that evening. At the evening session of this memorable Convention, the
Governor and Legislature attending, the famous Ordinance was read as
engrossed, signed by all the delegates, and, after announcement by the
President that "the State of South Carolina is now and henceforth a Free
and Independent Commonwealth;" amid tremendous cheering, the Convention
adjourned. This, the first Ordinance of Secession passed by any of the
Revolting States, was in these words:

"An Ordinance to dissolve the Union between the State of South Carolina
and other States united with her, under the compact entitled the
'Constitution of the United States of America.'

"We the people of the State of South Carolina in Convention assembled,
do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, that the
Ordinance adopted by us in Convention on the 23rd day of May, in the
year of our Lord 1788, whereby the Constitution of the United States of
America was ratified, and also all Acts and parts of Acts of the General
Assembly of this State ratifying the amendments of the said
Constitution, are hereby repealed; and that the Union now subsisting
between South Carolina and other States, under the name of the United
States of America, is hereby dissolved."

Thus, and in these words, was joyously adopted and ratified, that solemn
Act of Separation which was doomed to draw in its fateful train so many
other Southern States, in the end only to be blotted out with the blood
of hundreds of thousands of their own brave sons, and their equally
courageous Northern brothers.

State after State followed South Carolina in the mad course of Secession
from the Union. Mississippi passed a Secession Ordinance, January 9,
1861. Florida followed, January 10th; Alabama, January 11th; Georgia,
January 18th; Louisiana, January 26th; and Texas, February 1st;
Arkansas, North Carolina, and Virginia held back until a later period;
while Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, Maryland, and Delaware, abstained
altogether from taking the fatal step, despite all attempts to bring
them to it.

In the meantime, however, South Carolina had put on all the dignity of
a Sovereign and Independent State. Her Governor had a "cabinet"
comprising Secretaries of State, War, Treasury, the Interior, and a
Postmaster General. She had appointed Commissioners, to proceed to the
other Slave-holding States, through whom a Southern Congress was
proposed, to meet at Montgomery, Alabama; and had appointed seven
delegates to meet the delegates from such other States in that proposed
Southern Congress. On the 21st of December, 1860, three Commissioners
(Messrs. Barnwell, Adams, and Orr) were also appointed to proceed to
Washington, and treat for the cession by the United States to South
Carolina, of all Federal property within the limits of the latter. On
the 24th, Governor Pickens issued a Proclamation announcing the adoption
of the Ordinance of Secession, declaring "that the State of South
Carolina is, as she has a right to be, a separate sovereign, free and
independent State, and as such, has a right to levy war, conclude peace,
negotiate treaties, leagues or covenants, and to do all acts whatsoever
that rightfully appertain to a free and independent State;" the which
proclamation was announced as "Done in the eighty-fifth year of the
Sovereignty and Independence of South Carolina." On the same day (the
Senators from that State in the United States Senate having long since,
as we have seen, withdrawn from that body) the Representatives of South
Carolina in the United States House of Representatives withdrew.

Serious dissensions in the Cabinet of President Buchanan, were now
rapidly disintegrating the "official family" of the President. Lewis
Cass, the Secretary of State, disgusted with the President's cowardice
and weakness, and declining to be held responsible for Mr. Buchanan's
promise not to reinforce the garrisons of the National Forts, under
Major Anderson, in Charleston harbor, retired from the Cabinet December
12th--Howell Cobb having already, "because his duty to Georgia required
it," resigned the Secretaryship of the Treasury, and left it bankrupt
and the credit of the Nation almost utterly destroyed.

On the 26th of December, Major Anderson evacuated Fort Moultrie,
removing all his troops and munitions of war to Fort Sumter--whereupon a
cry went up from Charleston that this was in violation of the
President's promise to take no step looking to hostilities, provided the
Secessionists committed no overt act of Rebellion, up to the close of
his fast expiring Administration. On the 29th, John B. Floyd, Secretary
of War, having failed to secure the consent of the Administration to an
entire withdrawal of the Federal garrison from the harbor of Charleston,
also resigned, and the next day--he having in the meantime escaped in
safety to Virginia--was indicted by the Grand Jury at Washington, for
malfeasance and conspiracy to defraud the Government in the theft of
$870,000 of Indian Trust Bonds from the Interior Department, and the
substitution therefor of Floyd's acceptances of worthless
army-transportation drafts on the Treasury Department.

Jacob Thompson, Secretary of the Interior, also resigned, January 8th,
1861, on the pretext that "additional troops, he had heard, have been
ordered to Charleston" in the "Star of the West."--[McPherson's History
of the Rebellion, p. 28.]

Several changes were thus necessitated in Mr. Buchanan's cabinet, by
these and other resignations, so that by the 18th of January, 1861,
Jeremiah S. Black was Secretary of State; General John A. Dix, Secretary
of the Treasury; Joseph Holt, Secretary of War; Edwin M. Stanton,
Attorney General; and Horatio King, Postmaster General. But before
leaving the Cabinet, the conspiring Southern members of it, and their
friends, had managed to hamstring the National Government, by scattering
the Navy in other quarters of the World; by sending the few troops of
the United States to remote points; by robbing the arsenals in the
Northern States of arms and munitions of war, so as to abundantly supply
the Southern States at the critical moment; by bankrupting the Treasury
and shattering the public credit of the Nation; and by other means no
less nefarious. Thus swindled, betrayed, and ruined, by its degenerate
and perfidious sons, the imbecile Administration stood with dejected
mien and folded hands helplessly awaiting the coming catastrophe.

On December 28th, 1860, the three Commissioners of South Carolina having
reached Washington, addressed to the President a communication, in
which--after reciting their powers and duties, under the Ordinance of
Secession, and stating that they had hoped to have been ready to proceed
to negotiate amicably and without "hostile collision," but that "the
events--[The removal, to Fort Sumter, of Major Anderson's command, and
what followed.]--of the last twenty-four hours render such an assurance
impossible"--they declared that the troops must be withdrawn from
Charleston harbor, as "they are a standing menace which render
negotiation impossible," threatening speedily to bring the questions
involved, to "a bloody issue."

To this communication Mr. Buchanan replied at considerable length,
December 30th, in an apologetic, self-defensive strain, declaring that
the removal by Major Anderson of the Federal troops under his command,
from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter was done "upon his own responsibility,
and without authority," and that he (the President) "had intended to
command him to return to his former position," but that events had so
rapidly transpired as to preclude the giving of any such command;

[The seizure by the Secessionists, under the Palmetto Flag, of
Castle Pinckney and Fort Moultrie; the simultaneous raising of that
flag over the Federal Custom House and Post Office at Charleston;
the resignation of the Federal Collector, Naval Officer and
Surveyor of that Port--all of which occurred December 27th; and the
seizure "by force of arms," December 30th, of the United States
Arsenal at that point.]

and concluding, with a very slight stiffening of backbone, by saying:
"After this information, I have only to add that, whilst it is my duty
to defend Fort Sumter as a portion of the public property of the United
States against hostile attacks, from whatever quarter they may come, by
such means as I may possess for this purpose, I do not perceive how such
a defense can be construed into a menace against the city of
Charleston." To this reply of the President, the Commissioners made
rejoinder on the 1st of January, 1861; but the President "declined to
receive" the communication.

From this time on, until the end of President Buchanan's term of office,
and the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln as President, March 4th, 1861,
events crowded each other so hurriedly, that the flames of Rebellion in
the South were continually fanned, while the public mind in the North
was staggered and bewildered, by them.

On January 2nd, prior to the Secession of Georgia, Forts Pulaski and
Jackson, commanding Savannah, and the Federal Arsenal at Augusta,
Georgia, with two 12 pound howitzers, two cannon, 22,000 muskets and
rifles, and ammunition in quantity, were seized by Rebel militia. About
the same date, although North Carolina had not seceded, her Governor
(Ellis) seized the Federal Arsenal at Fayetteville, Fort Macon, and
other fortifications in that State, "to preserve them" from mob-seizure.

January 4th, anticipating Secession, Alabama State troops seized Fort
Morgan, with 5,000 shot and shell, and Mount Vernon Arsenal at Mobile,
with 2,000 stand of arms, 150, 000 pounds of powder, some pieces of
cannon, and a large quantity of other munitions of war. The United
States Revenue cutter, "Lewis Cass," was also surrendered to Alabama.

On the 5th, the Federal steamer "Star of the West," with reinforcements
and supplies for Fort Sumter, left New York in the night--and Secretary
Jacob Thompson notified the South Carolina Rebels of the fact.

On the 9th, the "Star of the West" appeared off Charleston bar, and
while steaming toward Fort Sumter, was fired upon by Rebel batteries at
Fort Moultrie and Morris Island, and struck by a shot, whereupon she
returned to New York without accomplishing her mission. That day the
State of Mississippi seceded from the Union.

On the 10th, the Federal storeship "Texas," with Federal guns and
stores, was seized by Texans. On the same day Florida seceded.

On the 11th, Forts Jackson and St. Philip, commanding the mouth of the
Mississippi River, and Fort Pike, dominating Lake Pontchartrain, were
seized by Louisiana troops; also the Federal Arsenal at Baton Rouge,
with 50,000 small arms, 4 howitzers, 20 heavy pieces of ordnance, 2
batteries, 300 barrels of powder, and other stores. The State of
Alabama also seceded the same day.

On the 12th--Fort Marion, the coast surveying schooner "Dana," the
Arsenal at St. Augustine, and that on the Chattahoochee, with 500,000
musket cartridges, 300,000 rifle cartridges and 50,000 pounds of powder,
having previously been seized--Forts Barrancas and McRae, and the Navy
Yard at Pensacola, were taken by Rebel troops of Florida, Alabama and
Mississippi. On the same day, Colonel Hayne, of South Carolina, arrived
at Washington as Agent or Commissioner to the National Government from
Governor Pickens of that State.

On the 14th, the South Carolina Legislature resolved "that any attempt
by the Federal Government to reinforce Fort Sumter will be regarded as
an act of open hostility, and a Declaration of War."

On the 16th, Colonel Hayne, of South Carolina, developed his mission,
which was to demand of the President the surrender of Fort Sumter to the
South Carolina authorities--a demand that had already been made upon,
and refused by, Major Anderson.

The correspondence concerning this demand, between Colonel Hayne and ten
Southern United States Senators;--[Senators Wigfall, Hemphill, Yulee,
Mallory, Jeff. Davis, C. C. Clay, Fitzgerald, Iverson, Slidell, and
Benjamin.]--the reply of the President, by Secretary Holt, to those
Senators; Governor Pickens's review of the same; and the final demand;
consumed the balance of the month of January; and ended, February 6th,
in a further reply, through the Secretary of War, from the President,
asserting the title of the United States to that Fort, and declining the
demand, as "he has no Constitutional power to cede or surrender it."
Secretary Holt's letter concluded by saying: "If, with all the
multiplied proofs which exist of the President's anxiety for Peace, and
of the earnestness with which he has pursued it, the authorities of that
State shall assault Fort Sumter, and peril the lives of the handful of
brave and loyal men shut up within its walls, and thus plunge our Common
Country into the horrors of Civil War, then upon them and those they
represent, must rest the responsibility."

But to return from this momentary diversion: On the 18th of January,
Georgia seceded; and on the 20th, the Federal Fort at Ship Island,
Mississippi, and the United States Hospital on the Mississippi River
were seized by Mississippi troops.

On the 26th, Louisiana seceded. On the 28th, Louisiana troops seized
all the quartermaster's and commissary stores held by Federal officials;
and the United States Revenue cutter "McClelland" surrendered to the

On February 1st, the Louisiana Rebels seized the National Mint and
Custom House at New Orleans, with $599,303 in gold and silver. On the
same day the State of Texas seceded.

On February 8th, the National Arsenal at Little Rock, Arkansas, with
9,000 small arms, 40 cannon, and quantities of ammunition, was seized;
and the same day the Governor of Georgia ordered the National Collector
of the Port of Savannah to retain all collections and make no further
payments to the United States Government.*

[It was during this eventful month that, certain United States
troops having assembled at the National Capital, and the House of
Representatives having asked the reason therefor, reply was made by
the Secretary of War as follows:

"WAR DEPARTMENT, February 18, 1861.
[Congressional Globe, August 8, 1861, pp. 457,458]
"SIR: On the 11th February, the House of Representatives adopted a
resolution requesting the President, if not incompatible with the
public interests, to communicate 'the reasons that had induced him
to assemble so large a number of troops in this city, and why they
are kept here; and whether he has any information of a Conspiracy
upon the part of any portion of the citizens of this Country to
seize upon the Capital and prevent the Inauguration of the
President elect.'

"This resolution having been submitted to this Department for
consideration and report, I have the honor to state, that the body
of troops temporarily transferred to this city is not as large as
is assumed by the resolution, though it is a well-appointed corps
and admirably adapted for the preservation of the public peace.
The reasons which led to their being assembled here will now be
briefly stated.

"I shall make no comment upon the origin of the Revolution which,
for the last three months, has been in progress in several of the
Southern States, nor shall I enumerate the causes which have
hastened its advancement or exasperated its temper. The scope of
the questions submitted by the House will be sufficiently met by
dealing with the facts as they exist, irrespective of the cause
from which they have proceeded. That Revolution has been
distinguished by a boldness and completeness of success rarely
equaled in the history of Civil Commotions. Its overthrow of the
Federal authority has not only been sudden and wide-spread, but has
been marked by excesses which have alarmed all and been sources of
profound humiliation to a large portion of the American People.
Its history is a history of surprises and treacheries and ruthless
spoliations. The Forts of the United States have been captured and
garrisoned, and hostile flags unfurled upon their ramparts. Its
arsenals have been seized, and the vast amount of public arms they
contained appropriated to the use of the captors; while more than
half a million dollars, found in the Mint at New Orleans, has been
unscrupulously applied to replenish the coffers of Louisiana.
Officers in command of revenue cutters of the United States have
been prevailed on to violate their trusts and surrender the
property in their charge; and instead of being branded for their
crimes, they, and the vessels they betrayed, have been cordially
received into the service of the Seceded States. These movements
were attended by yet more discouraging indications of immorality.
It was generally believed that this Revolution was guided and urged
on by men occupying the highest positions in the public service,
and who, with the responsibilities of an oath to support the
Constitution still resting upon their consciences, did not hesitate
secretly to plan and openly to labor for, the dismemberment of the
Republic whose honors they enjoyed and upon whose Treasury they
were living. As examples of evil are always more potent than those
of good, this spectacle of demoralization on the part of States and
statesmen could not fail to produce the most deplorable
consequences. The discontented and the disloyal everywhere took
courage. In other States, adjacent to and supposed to sympathize
in sense of political wrong with those referred to, Revolutionary
schemes were set on foot, and Forts and arms of the United States
seized. The unchecked prevalence of the Revolution, and the
intoxication which its triumphs inspired, naturally suggested
wilder and yet more desperate enterprises than the conquest of
ungarrisoned Forts, or the plunder of an unguarded Mint. At what
time the armed occupation of Washington City became a part of the
Revolutionary Programme, is not certainly known. More than six
weeks ago, the impression had already extensively obtained that a
Conspiracy for the accomplishment of this guilty purpose was in
process of formation, if not fully matured. The earnest endeavors
made by men known to be devoted to the Revolution, to hurry
Virginia and Maryland out of the Union, were regarded as
preparatory steps for the subjugation of Washington. This plan was
in entire harmony with the aim and spirit of those seeking the
subversion of the Government, since no more fatal blow at its
existence could be struck than the permanent and hostile possession
of the seat of its power. It was in harmony, too, with the avowed
designs of the Revolutionists, which looked to the formation of a
Confederacy of all the Slave States, and necessarily to the
Conquest of the Capital within their limits. It seemed not very
indistinctly prefigured in a Proclamation made upon the floor of
the Senate, without qualification, if not exultingly, that the
Union was already dissolved--a Proclamation which, however
intended, was certainly calculated to invite, on the part of men of
desperate fortunes or of Revolutionary States, a raid upon the
Capital. In view of the violence and turbulent disorders already
exhibited in the South, the public mind could not reject such a
scheme as at all improbable. That a belief in its existence was
entertained by multitudes, there can be no doubt, and this belief I
fully shared. My conviction rested not only on the facts already
alluded to, but upon information, some of which was of a most
conclusive character, that reached the Government from many parts
of the Country, not merely expressing the prevalence of the opinion
that such an organization had been formed, but also often
furnishing the plausible grounds on which the opinion was based.
Superadded to these proofs, were the oft-repeated declarations of
men in high political positions here, and who were known to have
intimate affiliations with the Revolution--if indeed they did not
hold its reins in their hands--to the effect that Mr. Lincoln would
not, or should not be inaugurated at Washington. Such
declarations, from such men, could not be treated as empty bluster.
They were the solemn utterances of those who well understood the
import of their words, and who, in the exultation of the temporary
victories gained over their Country's flag in the South, felt
assured that events would soon give them the power to verify their
predictions. Simultaneously with these prophetic warnings, a
Southern journal of large circulation and influence, and which is
published near the city of Washington, advocated its seizure as a
possible political necessity.

"The nature and power of the testimony thus accumulated may be best
estimated by the effect produced upon the popular mind.
Apprehensions for the safety of the Capital were communicated from
points near and remote, by men unquestionably reliable and loyal.
The resident population became disquieted, and the repose of many
families in the city was known to be disturbed by painful
anxieties. Members of Congress, too-men of calm and comprehensive
views, and of undoubted fidelity to their Country--frankly
expressed their solicitude to the President and to this Department,
and formally insisted that the defenses of the Capital should be
strengthened. With such warnings, it could not be forgotten that,
had the late Secretary of War heeded the anonymous letter which he
received, the tragedy at Harper's Ferry would have been avoided;
nor could I fail to remember that, had the early admonitions which
reached here in regard to the designs of lawless men upon the Forts
of Charleston Harbor been acted on by sending forward adequate
reinforcements before the Revolution began, the disastrous
political complications that ensued might not have occurred.

"Impressed by these circumstances and considerations, I earnestly
besought you to allow the concentration, at this city, of a
sufficient military force to preserve the public peace from all the
dangers that seemed to threaten it. An open manifestation, on the
part of the Administration, of a determination, as well as of the
ability, to maintain the laws, would, I was convinced, prove the
surest, as also the most pacific, means of baffling and dissolving
any Conspiracy that might have been organized. It was believed too
that the highest and most solemn responsibility resting upon a
President withdrawing from the Government, was to secure to his
successor a peaceful Inauguration. So deeply, in my judgment, did
this duty concern the whole Country and the fair fame of our
Institutions, that, to guarantee its faithful discharge, I was
persuaded no preparation could be too determined or too complete.
The presence of the troops alluded to in the resolution is the
result of the conclusion arrived at by yourself and Cabinet, on the
proposition submitted to you by this Department. Already this
display of life and loyalty on the part of your Administration, has
produced the happiest effects. Public confidence has been
restored, and the feverish apprehension which it was so mortifying
to contemplate has been banished. Whatever may have been the
machinations of deluded, lawless men, the execution of their
purpose has been suspended, if not altogether abandoned in view of
preparations which announce more impressively than words that this
Administration is alike able and resolved to transfer in peace, to
the President elect, the authority that, under the Constitution,
belongs to him. To those, if such there be, who desire the
destruction of the Republic, the presence of these troops is
necessarily offensive; but those who sincerely love our
Institutions cannot fail to rejoice that, by this timely precaution
they have possibly escaped the deep dishonor which they must have
suffered had the Capital, like the Forts and Arsenals of the South,
fallen into the hands of the Revolutionists, who have found this
great Government weak only because, in the exhaustless beneficence
of its spirit, it has refused to strike, even in its own defense,
lest it should wound the aggressor.

"I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

"Secretary of War,


On February 20th, Forts Chadbourne and Belknap were seized by the Texan
Rebels; and on the 22nd, the Federal General Twiggs basely surrendered
to them all the fortifications under his control, his little Army, and
all the Government stores in his possession--comprising $55,000 in
specie, 35,000 stand of arms, 26 pieces of mounted artillery, 44
dismounted guns, and ammunition, horses, wagons, forage, etc., valued at
nearly $2,000,000.

On the 2nd of March, the Texan Rebels seized the United States Revenue
cutter "Dodge" at Galveston; and on the 6th, Fort Brown was surrendered
to them.

Thus, with surrender after surrender, and seizure after
seizure, of its revenue vessels and fortifications and troops and arms
and munitions of war in the Southern States--with Fort Sumter invested
and at the mercy of any attack, and Fortress Monroe alone of all the
National strongholds yet safe--with State after State seceding--what
wonder that, while these events gave all encouragement to the Southern
Rebels, the Patriots of the North stood aghast at the appalling
spectacle of a crumbling and dissolving Union!

During this period of National peril, the debates in both branches of
Congress upon propositions for adjustment of the unfortunate differences
between the Southern Seceders and the Union, as has been already hinted,
contributed still further to agitate the public mind. Speech after
speech by the ablest and most brilliant Americans in public life, for or
against such propositions, and discussing the rightfulness or
wrongfulness of Secession, were made in Congress day after day, and, by
means of the telegraph and the press, alternately swayed the Northern
heart with feelings of hope, chagrin, elation or despair.

The Great Debate was opened in the Senate on almost the very first day
of its session (December 4th, 1860), by Mr. Clingman, of North Carolina,
who, referring to South Carolina, declared that "Instead of being
precipitate, she and the whole South have been wonderfully patient." A
portion of that speech is interesting even at this time, as showing how
certain phases of the Tariff and Internal Improvement questions entered
into the consideration of some of the Southern Secession leaders. Said
he, "I know there are intimations that suffering will fall upon us of
the South, if we secede. My people are not terrified by any such
considerations. * * * They have no fears of the future if driven to
rely on themselves. The Southern States have more territory than all
the Colonies had when they Seceded from Great Britain, and a better
territory. Taking its position, climate, and fertility into
consideration, there is not upon Earth a body of territory superior to
it. * * * The Southern States have, too, at this day, four times the
population the Colonies had when they Seceded from Great Britain. Their
exports to the North and to Foreign Countries were, last year, more than
$300,000,000; and a duty of ten per cent. upon the same amount of
imports would give $30,000,000 of revenue--twice as much as General
Jackson's administration spent in its first year. Everybody can see,
too, how the bringing in of $300,000,000 of imports into Southern ports
would enliven business in our seaboard towns. I have seen with some
satisfaction, also, Mr. President, that the war made upon us has
benefitted certain branches of industry in my State. There are
manufacturing establishments in North Carolina, the proprietors of which
tell me that they are making fifty per cent. annually on their whole
capital, and yet cannot supply one tenth of the demand for their
production. The result of only ten per cent. duties in excluding
products from abroad, would give life and impetus to mechanical and
manufacturing industry, throughout the entire South. Our people
understand these things, and they are not afraid of results, if forced
to declare Independence. Indeed I do not see why Northern Republicans
should wish to continue a connection with us upon any terms. * * *
They want High Tariff likewise. They may put on five hundred per cent.
if they choose, upon their own imports, and nobody on our side will
complain. They may spend all the money they raise on railroads, or
opening harbors, or anything on earth they desire, without interference
from us; and it does seem to me that if they are sincere in their views
they ought to welcome a separation."

From the very commencement of this long three-months debate, it was the
policy of the Southern leaders to make it appear that the Southern
States were in an attitude of injured innocence and defensiveness
against Northern aggression. Hence, it was that, as early as December
5th, on the floor of the Senate, through Mr. Brown, of Mississippi, they
declared: "All we ask is to be allowed to depart in Peace. Submit we
will not; and if, because we will not submit to your domination, you
choose to make War upon us, let God defend the Right!"

At the same time it was esteemed necessary to try and frighten the North
into acquiescence with this demand to be "let alone." Hence such
utterances as those of Clingman and Iverson, to which reference has
already been made, and the especially defiant close of the latter's
speech, when--replying to the temperate but firm Union utterances of Mr.
Hale--the Georgia Senator said: "Sir, I do not believe there will be any
War; but if War is to come, let it come; we will meet the Senator from
New Hampshire and all the myrmidons of Abolitionism and Black
Republicanism everywhere upon our own soil; and, in the language of a
distinguished member from Ohio in relation to the Mexican War, we will
'welcome you with bloody hands to hospitable graves.'"

On the other hand, in order to encourage the revolting States to the
speedy commission of overt acts of Rebellion and violence, that would
precipitate War without a peradventure, utterances fell from Southern
lips, in the National Senate Chamber, like those of Mr. Wigfall, when he
said, during this first day of the debate: "Frederick the Great, on one
occasion, when he had trumped up an old title to some of the adjacent
territory, quietly put himself in possession and then offered to treat.
Were I a South Carolinian, as I am a Texan, and I knew that my State was
going out of the Union, and that this Government would attempt to use
force, I would, at the first moment that that fact became manifest,
seize upon the Forts and the arms and the munitions of war, and raise
the cry 'To your tents, O Israel, and to the God of battles be this

And, as we have already seen, the Rebels of the South were not slow in
following the baleful advice to the letter. But it was not many days
after this utterance when the Conspirators against the Union evidently
began to fear that the ground for Rebellion, upon which they had planted
themselves, would be taken from under their feet by the impulse of
Compromise and Concession which stirred so strongly the fraternal spirit
of the North. That peaceful impulse must be checked and exasperated by
sneers and impossible demands. Hence, on December 12th we find one of
the most active and favorite mouthpieces of Treason, Mr. Wigfall,
putting forth such demands, in his most offensive manner.

Said he: "If the two Senators from New York (Seward and King), the
Senator from Ohio (Wade), the two Senators from Illinois (Douglas and
Trumbull), the Senator from New Hampshire (Hale), the Senator from
Maine, and others who are regarded as representative men, who have
denied that by the Constitution of the United States, Slaves are
recognized as Property; who have urged and advocated those acts which we
regard as aggressive on the part of the People--if they will rise here,
and say in their places, that they desire to propose amendments to the
Constitution, and beg that we will vote for them; that they will, in
good faith, go to their respective constituencies and urge the
ratification; that they believe, if these Gulf States will suspend their
action, that those amendments will be ratified and carried out in good
faith; that they will cease preaching this 'irrepressible conflict'; and
if, in those amendments, it is declared that Slaves are Property, that
they shall be delivered up upon demand; and that they will assure us
that Abolition societies shall be abolished; that Abolition speeches
shall no longer be made; that we shall have peace and quiet; that we
shall not be called cut-throats and pirates and murderers; that our
women shall not be slandered--these things being said in good faith, the
Senators begging that we will stay our hand until an honest effort can
be made, I believe that there is a prospect of giving them a fair

Small wonder is it, that this labored and ridiculous piece of
impertinence was received with ironical laughter on the Republican side
of the Senate Chamber. And it was in reference to these threats, and
these preposterous demands--including the suppression of the right of
Free Discussion and Liberty of the Press--that, in the same chamber
(January 7, 1861) the gallant and eloquent Baker said:

"Your Fathers had fought for that right, and more than that, they had
declared that the violation of that right was one of the great causes
which impelled them to the Separation. * * * Sir, the Liberty of the
Press is the highest safeguard to all Free Government. Ours could not
exist without it. It is with us, nay, with all men, like a great
exulting and abounding river, It is fed by the dews of Heaven, which
distil their sweetest drops to form it. It gushes from the rill, as it
breaks from the deep caverns of the Earth. It is fed by a thousand
affluents, that dash from the mountaintop to separate again into a
thousand bounteous and irrigating rills around. On its broad bosom it
bears a thousand barks. There, Genius spreads its purpling sail.
There, Poetry dips its silver oar. There, Art, Invention, Discovery,
Science, Morality, Religion, may safely and securely float. It wanders
through every land. It is a genial, cordial source of thought and
inspiration, wherever it touches, whatever it surrounds. Sir, upon its
borders, there grows every flower of Grace and every fruit of Truth. I
am not here to deny that that Stream sometimes becomes a dangerous
Torrent, and destroys towns and cities upon its bank; but I am here to
say that without it, Civilization, Humanity, Government, all that makes
Society itself, would disappear, and the World would return to its
ancient Barbarism.

"Sir, if that were to be possible, or so thought for a moment, the fine
conception of the great Poet would be realized. If that were to be
possible, though but for a moment, Civilization itself would roll the
wheels of its car backward for two thousand years. Sir, if that were
so, it would be true that:

'As one by one in dread Medea's train,
Star after Star fades off th' ethereal plain,
Thus at her fell approach and secret might,
Art after art goes out, and all is night.
Philosophy, that leaned on Heaven before,
Sinks to her second cause, and is no more.
Religion, blushing, veils her sacred fires,
And, unawares, Morality expires.'

"Sir, we will not risk these consequences, even for Slavery; we will not
risk these consequences even for Union; we will not risk these
consequences to avoid that Civil War with which you threaten us; that
War which, you announce so deadly, and which you declare to be
inevitable. * * * I will never yield to the idea that the great
Government of this Country shall protect Slavery in any Territory now
ours, or hereafter to be acquired. It is, in my opinion, a great
principle of Free Government, not, to be surrendered.

"It is in my judgment, the object of the great battle which we have
fought, and which we have won. It is, in my poor opinion, the point
upon which there is concord and agreement between the great masses of
the North, who may agree in no other political opinion whatever. Be he
Republican, or Democrat, or Douglas man, or Lincoln man; be he from the
North, or the West, from Oregon, or from Maine, in my judgment
nine-tenths of the entire population of the North and West are devoted,
in the very depths of their hearts, to the great Constitutional idea
that Freedom is the rule, that Slavery is the exception, that it ought
not to be extended by virtue of the powers of the Government of the
United States; and, come weal, come woe, it never shall be.

"But, sir, I add one other thing. When you talk to me about Compromise
or Concession, I am not sure that I always understand you. Do you mean
that I am to give up my convictions of right? Armies cannot compel that
in the breast of a Free People. Do you mean that I am to concede the
benefits of the political struggle through which we have passed,
considered politically, only? You are too just and too generous to ask
that. Do you mean that we are to deny the great principle upon which
our political action has been based? You know we cannot. But if you
mean by Compromise and Concession to ask us to see whether we have not
been hasty, angry, passionate, excited, and in many respects violated
your feelings, your character, your right of property, we will look;
and, as I said yesterday, if we have, we will undo it. Allow me to say
again, if there be any lawyer or any Court that will advise us that our
laws are unconstitutional, we will repeal them.

"Now as to territory. I will not yield one inch to Secession; but there
are things that I will yield, and there are things to which I will
yield. It is somewhere told that when Harold of England received a
messenger from a brother with whom he was at variance, to inquire on
what terms reconciliation and peace could be effected between brothers,
he replied in a gallant and generous spirit in a few words, 'the, terms
I offer are the affection of a brother; and the Earldom of
Northumberland.' And, said the Envoy, as he marched up the Hall amid
the warriors that graced the state of the King, 'if Tosti, thy brother,
agree to this, what terms will you allow to his ally and friend,
Hadrada, the giant.' 'We will allow,' said Harold, 'to Hadrada, the
giant, seven feet of English ground, and if he be, as they say, a giant,
some few inches more!' and, as he spake, the Hall rang with acclamation.

"Sir, in that spirit I speak. I follow, at a humble distance, the ideas
and the words of Clay, illustrious, to be venerated, and honored, and
remembered, forever. * * * He said--I say: that I will yield no inch,
no word, to the threat of Secession, unconstitutional, revolutionary,
dangerous, unwise, at variance with the heart and the hope of all
mankind save themselves. To that I yield nothing; but if States loyal
to the Constitution, if people magnanimous and just, desiring a return
of fraternal feeling, shall come to us and ask for Peace, for permanent,
enduring peace and affection, and say, 'What will you grant? I say to
them, 'Ask all that a gentleman ought to propose, and I will yield all
that a gentleman ought to offer.' Nay, more: if you are galled because
we claim the right to prohibit Slavery in territory now Free, or in any
Territory which acknowledges our jurisdiction, we will evade--I speak
but for myself--I will aid in evading that question; I will agree to
make it all States, and let the People decide at once. I will agree to
place them in that condition where the prohibition of Slavery will never
be necessary to justify ourselves to our consciences or to our
constituents. I will agree to anything which is not to force upon me
the necessity of protecting Slavery in the name of Freedom. To that I
never can and never will yield."

The speeches of Seward, of Douglas, of Crittenden, of Andrew Johnson, of
Baker, and others, in behalf of the Union, and those of Benjamin, Davis,
Wigfall, Lane, and others, in behalf of Secession, did much toward
fixing the responsibility for the approaching bloody conflict where it
belonged. The speeches of Andrew Johnson of Tennessee--who, if he at a
subsequent period of the Nation's history, proved himself not the
worthiest son of the Republic, at this critical time, at all events, did
grand service in the National Senate--especially had great and good
effect on the public mind in the Northern and Border States. They were,
therefore, gall and wormwood to the Secession leaders, who hoped to drag
the Border States into the great Southern Confederacy of States already
in process of formation.

Their irritation was shown in threats of personal violence to Mr.
Johnson, as when Wigfall--replying February 7th, 1861, to the latter's
speech, said, "Now if the Senator wishes to denounce Secession and
Nullification eo nomine, let him go back and denounce Jefferson; let him
denounce Jackson, if he dare, and go back and look that Tennessee
Democracy in the face, and see whether they will content themselves with
riddling his effigy!"

It would seem also, from another part of Wigfall's reply, that the
speeches of Union Senators had been so effective that a necessity was
felt on the part of the Southern Conspirators to still further attempt
to justify Secession by shifting the blame to Northern shoulders, for,
while referring to the Presidential canvass of 1860--and the attitude of
the Southern Secession leaders during that exciting period--he said:
"We (Breckinridge-Democrats) gave notice, both North and South, that if
Abraham Lincoln was elected, this Union was dissolved. I never made a
speech during the canvass without asserting that fact. * * * Then, I
say, that our purpose was not to dissolve the Union; but the dire
necessity has been put upon us. The question is, whether we shall live
longer in a Union in which a Party, hostile to us in every respect, has
the power in Congress, in the Executive department, and in the Electoral
Colleges--a Party who will have the power even in the Judiciary. We
think it is not safe. We say that each State has the clear indisputable
right to withdraw if she sees fit; and six of the States have already
withdrawn, and one other State is upon the eve of withdrawing, if she
has not already done so. How far this will spread no man can tell!"

As tending to show the peculiar mixture of brag, cajolery, and threats,
involved in the attitude of the South, as expressed by the same favorite
Southern mouthpiece, toward the Border-States on the one hand, and the
Middle and New England States on the other, a further extract from this
(February 7th) speech of the Texan Senator may be of interest. Said he:

"With exports to the amount of hundreds of millions of dollars, our
imports must be the same. With a lighter Tariff than any people ever
undertook to live under, we could have larger revenue. We would be able
to stand Direct Taxation to a greater extent than any people ever could
before, since the creation of the World. We feel perfectly competent to
meet all issues that may be presented, either by hostility from abroad
or treason at home. So far as the Border-States are concerned, it is a
matter that concerns them alone. Should they confederate with us,
beyond all doubt New England machinery will be worked with the water
power of Tennessee, of Kentucky, of Virginia and of Maryland; the Tariff
laws that now give New England the monopoly in the thirty-three States,
will give to these Border States a monopoly in the Slave-holding States.
Should the non-Slave-holding States choose to side against us in
organizing their Governments, and cling to their New England brethren,
the only result will be, that the meat, the horses, the hemp, and the
grain, which we now buy in Pennsylvania, in Ohio, in Indiana and
Illinois, will be purchased in Kentucky and in Western Virginia and in
Missouri. Should Pennsylvania stand out, the only result will be, that
the iron which is now dug in Pennsylvania, will be dug in the mountains
of Tennessee and of Virginia and of Kentucky and of North Carolina.
These things we know.

"We feel no anxiety at all, so far as money or men are concerned. We
desire War with nobody; we intend to make no War; but we intend to live
under just such a Government as we see fit. Six States have left this
Union, and others are going to leave it simply because they choose to do
it; that is all. We do not ask your consent; we do not wish it. We
have revoked our ratification of the Treaty commonly known as the
Constitution of the United States; a treaty for common defense and
general welfare; and we shall be perfectly willing to enter into another
Treaty with you, of peace and amity. Reject the olive branch and offer
us the sword, and we accept it; we have not the slightest objection.
Upon that subject we feel as the great William Lowndes felt upon another
important subject, the Presidency, which he said was neither to be
sought nor declined. When you invade our soil, look to your own
borders. You say that you have too many people, too many towns, too
dense a population, for us to invade you. I say to you Senators, that
there is nothing that ever stops the march of an invading force, except
a desert. The more populous a country, the more easy it is to subsist
an army."

After declaring that--"Not only are our non-Slaveholders loyal, but even
our Negroes are. We have no apprehensions whatever of insurrection--not
the slightest. We can arm our negroes, and leave them at home, when we
are temporarily absent"--Mr. Wigfall proceeded to say: "We may as well
talk plainly about this matter. This is probably the last time I shall
have an opportunity of addressing you. There is another thing that an
invading army cannot do. It cannot burn up plantations. You can pull
down fences, but the Negroes will put them up the next morning. The
worst fuel that ever a man undertook to make fire with, is dirt; it will
not burn. Now I have told you what an invading army cannot do. Suppose
I reverse the picture and tell you what it can do. An invading army in
an enemy's country, where there is a dense population, can subsist
itself at a very little cost; it does not always pay for what it gets.
An invading army can burn down towns; an invading army can burn down
manufactories; and it can starve operatives. It can do all these
things. But an Invading army, and an army to defend a Country, both
require a military chest. You may bankrupt every man south of North
Carolina, so that his credit is reduced to such a point that he could
not discount a note for thirty dollars, at thirty days; but the next
autumn those Cotton States will have just as much money and as much
credit as they had before. They pick money off the cotton plant. Every
time that a Negro touches a cotton-pod with his hand, he pulls a piece
of silver out of it, and he drops it into the basket in which it is
carried to the gin-house. It is carried to the packing screw. A bale
of cotton rolls out-in other words, five ten-dollar pieces roll out
--covered with canvas. We shall never again make less than five million
bales of cotton. * * * We can produce five million bales of cotton,
every bale worth fifty dollars, which is the lowest market price it has
been for years past. We shall import a bale of something else, for
every bale of cotton that we export, and that bale will be worth fifty
dollars. We shall find no difficulty under a War-Tariff in raising an
abundance of money. We have been at Peace for a very long time, We are
very prosperous. Our planters use their cotton, not to buy the
necessaries of life, but for the superfluities, which they can do
without. The States themselves have a mine of wealth in the loyalty and
the wealth of their citizens. Georgia, Mississippi, any one of those
States can issue its six per cent. bonds tomorrow, and receive cotton in
payment to the extent almost of the entire crop. They can first borrow
from their own citizens; they can tax them to an almost unlimited
extent; and they can raise revenue from a Tariff to an almost unlimited

"How will it be with New England? where will their revenue come from?
From your Custom-houses? what do you export? You have been telling us
here for the last quarter of a century, that you cannot manufacture,
even for the home market, under the Tariffs which we have given you.
When this Tariff ceases to operate in your favor, and you have to pay
for coming into our markets, what will you export? When your machinery
ceases to move, and your operatives are turned out, will you tax your
broken capitalist or your starving operative? When the navigation laws
cease to operate, what will become of your shipping interest? You are
going to blockade our ports, you say. That is a very innocent game; and
you suppose we shall sit quietly down and submit to a blockade. I speak
not of foreign interference, for we look not for it. We are just as
competent to take Queen Victoria and Louis Napoleon under our
protection, as they are to take us; and they are a great deal more
interested to-day in receiving cotton from our ports than we are in
shipping it. You may lock up every bale of cotton within the limits of
the eight Cotton States, and not allow us to export one for three years,
and we shall not feel it further than our military resources are
concerned. Exhaust the supply of cotton in Europe for one week, and all
Europe is in revolution.

"These are facts. You will blockade us! Do you suppose we shall do
nothing, even upon the sea? How many letters of marque and reprisal
would it take to put the whole of your ships up at your wharves to rot?
Will any merchant at Havre, or Liverpool, or any other portion of the
habitable globe, ship a cargo upon a New England, or New York, or
Philadelphia clipper, or other ship, when he knows that the seas are
swarming with letters of marque and reprisal? Why the mere apprehension
of such a thing will cut you out of the Carrying Trade of the civilized
World. * * * I speak not of the absurdity of the position that you can
blockade our ports, admitting at the same time that we are in the Union.
Blockade is a remedy, as all writers on International law say, against a
Foreign Power with whom you are at War. You cannot use a blockade
against your own people. An embargo even, you cannot use. That is a
remedy against a Foreign Nation with whom you expect to be at War. You
must treat us as in the Union, or out of it. We have gone out. We are
willing to live at peace with you; but, as sure as fate, whenever any
flag comes into one of our ports, that has thirty-three stars upon it,
that flag will be fired at. Displaying a flag with stars which we have
plucked from that bright galaxy, is an insult to the State within whose
waters that flag is displayed. You cannot enforce the laws without
Coercion, and you cannot Coerce without War.

"These matters, then, can be settled. How? By withdrawing your troops;
admitting our right to Self-government clearly, unqualifiedly. Do this,
and there is no difficulty about it. You say that you will not do it.
Very well; we have no objection--none whatever. That is Coercion. When
you have attempted it, you will find that you have made War. These,
Senators, are facts. I come here to plead for Peace; but I have seen so
much and felt so much, that I am becoming at last, to tell the plain
truth of the matter, rather indifferent as to which way the thing turns.
If you want War, you can have it. If you want Peace, you can get it;
but I plead not for Peace."

Meanwhile the Seceding States of the South were strengthening their
attitude by Confederation. On February 4, 1861, the Convention of
Seceding States, called by the South Carolina Convention at the time of
her Secession, met, in pursuance of that call, at Montgomery, Alabama,
and on the 9th adopted a Provisional Constitution and organized a
Provisional Government by the election of Jefferson Davis of
Mississippi, as President, and Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia, as
Vice-President; to serve until a Presidential election could be held by
the people of the Confederacy.

[At a later day, March 11, 1861, a permanent Constitution for the
"Confederate States" was adopted, and, in the Fall of the same
year, Messrs. Davis and Stephens were elected by popular vote, for
the term of six years ensuing, as President and Vice-President,
respectively, of the Confederacy.]

Mr. Davis almost at once left Jackson, Mississippi, for Montgomery,
where he arrived and delivered his Inaugural, February 17, having
received on his road thither a succession of ovations from the
enthusiastic Rebels, to which he had responded with no less than
twenty-five speeches, very similar in tone to those made in the United
States Senate by Mr. Wigfall and others of that ilk--breathing at once
defiance and hopefulness, while admitting the difficulties in the way
of the new Confederacy.

"It may be," said he, at Jackson, "that we will be confronted by War;
that the attempt will be made to blockade our ports, to starve us out;
but they (the Union men of the North) know little of the Southern heart,
of Southern endurance. No amount of privation could force us to remain
in a Union on unequal terms. England and France would not allow our
great staple to be dammed up within our present limits; the starving
thousands in their midst would not allow it. We have nothing to
apprehend from Blockade. But if they attempt invasion by land, we must
take the War out of our territory. If War must come, it must be upon
Northern, and not upon Southern soil. In the meantime, if they were
prepared to grant us Peace, to recognize our equality, all is well."

And, in his speech at Stevenson, Alabama, said he "Your Border States
will gladly come into the Southern Confederacy within sixty days, as we
will be their only friends. England will recognize us, and a glorious
future is before us. The grass will grow in the Northern cities, where
the pavements have been worn off by the tread of Commerce. We will
carry War where it is easy to advance--where food for the sword and
torch await our Armies in the densely populated cities; and though they
may come and spoil our crops, we can raise them as before; while they
cannot rear the cities which took years of industry and millions of
money to build."

Very different in tone to these, were the kindly and sensible utterances
of Mr. Lincoln on his journey from Springfield to Washington, about the
same time, for Inauguration as President of the United States. Leaving
Springfield, Illinois, February 11th, he had pathetically said:

"My friends: No one, not in my position, can realize the sadness I feel
at this parting. To this people I owe all that I am. Here I have lived
more than a quarter of a century. Here my children were born, and here
one of them lies buried. I know not how soon I shall see you again. I
go to assume a task more difficult than that which has devolved upon any
other man since the days of Washington. He never would have succeeded
except for the aid of Divine Providence, upon which he at all times
relied. I feel that I cannot succeed without the same Divine blessing
which sustained him; and on the same Almighty Being I place my reliance
for support. And I hope you, my friends, will all pray that I may
receive that Divine assistance, without which I cannot succeed, but with
which success is certain. Again I bid you an affectionate farewell."

At Indianapolis, that evening, the eve of his birthday anniversary,
after thanking the assembled thousands for their "magnificent welcome,"
and defining the words "Coercion" and "Invasion"--at that time so
loosely used--he continued: "But if the United States should merely hold
and retake her own Forts and other property, and collect the duties on
foreign importation, or even withhold the mails from places where they
were habitually violated, would any or all of these things be 'Invasion'
or 'Coercion'? Do our professed lovers of the Union, who spitefully
resolve that they will resist Coercion and Invasion, understand that
such things as these on the part of the United States would be
'Coercion' or 'Invasion' of a State? If so, their idea of means to
preserve the object of their great affection would seem to be
exceedingly thin and airy."

At Columbus, Ohio, he spoke in a like calm, conservative, reasoning way
--with the evident purpose of throwing oil on the troubled waters--when
he said: "I have not maintained silence from any want of real anxiety.
It is a good thing that there is no more than anxiety; for there is
nothing going wrong. It is a consoling circumstance that, when we look
out, there is nothing that really hurts anybody. We entertain different
views upon political questions; but nobody is suffering anything. This
is a consoling circumstance; and from it we may conclude that all we
want is time, patience, and a reliance on that God who has never
forsaken this People."

So, too, at Pittsburg, Pa., February 15th, he said, of "our friends," as
he termed them, the Secessionists: "Take even their own views of the
questions involved, and there is nothing to justify the course they are
pursuing. I repeat, then, there is no crisis, except such an one as may
be gotten up at any time by turbulent men, aided by designing
politicians. My advice to them, under the circumstances, is to keep
cool. If the great American People only keep their temper both sides of
the line, the trouble will come to an end, and the question which now
distracts the Country be settled, just as surely as all other
difficulties, of a like character, which have been originated in this
Government, have been adjusted. Let the people on both sides keep their
self-possession, and, just as other clouds have cleared away in due
time, so will this great Nation continue to prosper as heretofore."

And toward the end of that journey, on the 22nd of February
--Washington's Birthday--in the Independence Hall at Philadelphia, after
eloquently affirming his belief that "the great principle or idea that
kept this Confederacy so long together was * * * that sentiment in the
Declaration of Independence which gave Liberty not alone to the People
of this Country, but" he hoped "to the World, for all future time * * *
which gave promise that, in due time, the weight would be lifted from
the shoulders of all men"--he added, in the same firm, yet temperate and
reassuring vein: "Now, my friends, can this Country be saved on that
basis? If it can, I will consider myself one of the happiest men in the
world, if I can help to save it. If it cannot be saved on that basis,
it will be truly awful. But, if this Country cannot be saved without
giving up that principle, I was about to say I would rather be
assassinated on this spot than surrender it. Now in my view of the
present aspect of affairs, there need be no bloodshed or War. There is
no necessity for it. I am not in favor of such a course; and I may say,
in advance, that there will be no bloodshed, unless it be forced upon
the Government, and then it will be compelled to act in self-defense. *
* * I have said nothing but what I am willing to live by, and, if it be
the pleasure of Almighty God, to die by."

Thus, as he progressed on that memorable journey from his home in
Illinois, through Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, Pittsburgh,
Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, Albany, New York, Trenton, Newark,
Philadelphia, and Harrisburg-amid the prayers and blessings and
acclamations of an enthusiastic and patriotic people--he uttered words
of wise conciliation and firm moderation such as beseemed the high
functions and tremendous responsibilities to which the voice of that
liberty--and-union-loving people had called him, and this too, with a
full knowledge, when he made the Philadelphia speech, that the enemies
of the Republic had already planned to assassinate him before he could
reach Washington.

The prudence of his immediate friends, fortunately defeated the
murderous purpose--and by the simple device of taking the regular night
express from Philadelphia instead of a special train next day--to
Washington, he reached the National Capital without molestation early on
the morning of the 23rd of February.

That morning, after Mr. Lincoln's arrival, in company with Mr. Lovejoy,
the writer visited him at Willard's Hotel. During the interview both
urged him to "Go right along, protect the property of the Country, and
put down the Rebellion, no matter at what cost in men and money." He
listened with grave attention, and said little, but very clearly
indicated his approval of all the sentiments thus expressed--and then,
with the same firm and manly and cheerful faith in the outcome, he
added: "As the Country has placed me at the helm of the Ship, I'll try
to steer her through."

The spirit in which he proposed to accomplish this superhuman task, was
shown when he told the Southern people through the Civic authorities of
Washington on the 27th of February--When the latter called upon him
--that he had no desire or intention to interfere with any of their
Constitutional rights--that they should have all their rights under the
Constitution, "not grudgingly, but fully and fairly." And what was the
response of the South to this generous and conciliatory message?
Personal sneers--imputations of Northern cowardice--boasts of Southern
prowess--scornful rejection of all compromise--and an insolent challenge
to the bloody issue of arms!

Said Mr. Wigfall, in the United States Senate, on March 2d, alluding to
Mr. Lincoln, "I do not think that a man who disguises himself in a
soldier's cloak and a Scotch cap (a more thorough disguise could not be
assumed by such a man) and makes his entry between day and day, into the
Capital of the Country that he is to govern--I hardly think that he is
going to look War sternly in the face.

[Had Mr. Wigfall been able at this time to look four years into the
future and behold the downfall of the Southern Rebellion, the
flight of its Chieftains, and the capture of Jefferson Davis while
endeavoring to escape, with his body enclosed in a wrapper and a
woman's shawl over his head, as stated by Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart
of Jefferson Davis's Staff, p. 756, vol. ii., Greeley's American
Conflict--he would hardly have retailed this slander.]

"I look for nothing else than that the Commissioners from the
Confederated States will be received here and recognized by Abraham
Lincoln. I will now predict that this Republican Party that is going to
enforce the Laws, preserve the Union, and collect Revenue, will never
attempt anything so silly; and that instead of taking Forts, the troops
will be withdrawn from those which we now have. See if this does not
turn out to be so, in less than a week or ten days."

In the same insulting diatribe, he said: "It is very easy for men to
bluster who know there is going to be no danger. Four or five million
people living in a territory that extends from North Carolina down to
the Rio Grande, who have exports to above three hundred million dollars,
whose ports cannot be blockaded, but who can issue letters of marque and
reprisal, and sweep your commerce from the seas, and who will do it, are
not going to be trifled with by that sensible Yankee nation. Mark my
words. I did think, at one time, there was going to be War; I do not
think so now. * * * The Star of the West swaggered into Charleston
harbor, received a blow planted full in the face, and staggered out.
Your flag has been insulted; redress it if you dare! You have submitted
to it for two months, and you will submit to it for ever. * * * We
have dissolved the Union; mend it if you can; cement it with blood; try
the experiment! we do not desire War; we wish to avoid it. * * * This
we say; and if you choose to settle this question by the Sword, we feel,
we know, that we have the Right. We interfere with you in no way. We
ask simply that you will not interfere with us. * * * You tell us you
will keep us in the Union. Try the experiment!"

And then, with brutal frankness, he continued: "Now, whether what are
called The Crittenden Resolutions will produce satisfaction in some of
these Border States, or not, I am unaware; but I feel perfectly sure
they would not be entertained upon the Gulf. As to the Resolutions
which the Peace Congress has offered us, we might as well make a clean
breast of it. If those Resolutions were adopted, and ratified by three
fourths of the States of this Union, and no other cause ever existed, I
make the assertion that the seven States now out of the Union, would go
out upon that."



While instructive, it will also not be devoid of interest, to pause
here, and examine the nature of the Crittenden Resolutions, and also the
Resolutions of the Peace Congress, which, we have seen, were spurned by
the Secession leaders, through their chief mouthpiece in the United
States Senate.

The Crittenden Compromise Resolutions * were in these words:

"A Joint Resolution proposing certain Amendments to the Constitution of
the United States:

"Whereas, serious and alarming dissensions have arisen between the
Northern and the Southern States, concerning the Rights and security of
the Rights of the Slaveholding States, and especially their Rights in
the common territory of the United States; and whereas, it is eminently
desirable and proper that these dissensions, which now threaten the very
existence of this Union, should be permanently quieted and settled by
Constitutional provisions which shall do equal justice to all Sections,
and thereby restore to the People that peace and good-will which ought
to prevail between all the citizens of the United States; Therefore:

"Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America, in Congress assembled, (two thirds of both Houses
concurring), 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 I. In all the territory of the United States now held, or
hereafter to be acquired, situate north of latitude 36 30', Slavery or
involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, is prohibited,
while such territory shall remain under Territorial government. In all
the territory south of said line of latitude, Slavery of the African
race is hereby recognized as existing, and shall not be interfered with
by Congress, but shall be protected as Property by all the departments
of the Territorial government during its continuance. 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 shall, if its own
form of government be republican, be admitted into the Union, on an
equal footing with the original States; with or without Slavery, as the
Constitution of such new State may provide.

"Article II. Congress shall have no power to abolish Slavery in places
under its exclusive jurisdiction, and situate within the limits of
States that permit the holding of Slaves.

"Article III. Congress shall have no power to abolish Slavery within
the District of Columbia; so long as it exists in the adjoining States
of Virginia and Maryland, or either, nor without the consent of the
inhabitants, nor without just compensation first made to such owners of
Slaves as do not consent to such abolishment. Nor shall Congress, at
any time, prohibit officers of the Federal government, or members of
Congress whose duties require them to be in said District, from bringing
with them their Slaves, and holding them as such during the time their
duties may require them to remain there, and afterward taking them from
the District.

"Article IV. Congress shall have no power to prohibit or hinder the
Transportation of Slaves from one State to another, or to a Territory in
which Slaves are, by law, permitted to be held, whether that
transportation be by land, navigable rivers, or by the sea.

"Article V. That in addition to the provisions of the third paragraph
of the second section of the fourth article of the Constitution of the
United States, Congress shall have power to provide by law, and it shall
be its duty to provide, that the United States shall pay to the owner
who shall apply for it, the full value of his Fugitive Slaves in all
cases where the Marshal, or other officer whose duty it was to arrest
said Fugitive, was prevented from so doing by violence or intimidation,
or where, after arrest, said Fugitive was rescued by force, and the
owner thereby prevented and obstructed in the pursuit of his remedy for
the recovery of his Fugitive Slave under the said clause of the
Constitution and the laws made in pursuance thereof.

["No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws
thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any Law or
Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but
shall be delivered up on claim of the Party to whom such Service or
Labour may be due."--Art. IV., Sec. 2, P 3, U. S. Constitution.]

"And in all such cases, when the United States shall pay for such
Fugitive, they shall have the Right, in their own name, to sue the
county in which said violence, intimidation, or rescue, was committed,
and recover from it, with interest and damages, the amount paid by them
for said Fugitive Slave. And the said county, after it has paid said
amount to the United States, may, for its indemnity, sue and recover
from the wrong-doers or rescuers by whom the owner was prevented from
the recovery of his Fugitive Slave, in like manner as the owner himself
might have sued and recovered.

"Article VI. No future amendment of the Constitution shall affect the
five preceding articles; nor the third paragraph of the second section
of the first article of the Constitution, nor the third paragraph of
the second section of the fourth article of said Constitution; and no
amendment shall be made to the Constitution which shall authorize or
give to Congress any power to abolish or interfere with Slavery in any
of the States by whose laws it is or may be, allowed or permitted.

["Representatives and Direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the
several States which may be included within this Union, according
to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to
the whole Number of Free Persons, including those bound to Service
for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not Taxed, three-fifths
of all Other Persons," etc.--Art. 1., Sec. 2, P 3, U. S.

"And whereas, also, besides those causes of dissension embraced in the
foregoing amendments proposed to the Constitution of the United States,
there are others which come within the jurisdiction of Congress, and may
be remedied by its legislative power; And whereas it is the desire of
Congress, as far as its power will extend, to remove all just cause for
the popular discontent and agitation which now disturb the peace of the
Country and threaten the stability of its Institutions; Therefore:

"1. Resolved by the Senate and house of Representatives in Congress
assembled, that the laws now in force for the recovery of Fugitive
Slaves are in strict pursuance of the plain and mandatory provisions of
the Constitution, and have been sanctioned as valid and Constitutional
by the judgment of the Supreme Court of the United States; that the
Slaveholding States are entitled to the faithful observance and
execution of those laws; and that they ought not to be repealed, or so
modified or changed as to impair their efficiency; and that laws ought
to be made for the punishment of those who attempt, by rescue of the
Slave, or other illegal means, to hinder or defeat the due execution of
said laws.

"2. That all State laws which conflict with the Fugitive Slave Acts of
Congress, or any other Constitutional Acts of Congress, or which, in
their operation, impede, hinder, or delay, the free course and due
execution of any of said Acts, are null and void by the plain provisions
of the Constitution of the United States; yet those State laws, void as
they are, have given color to practices, and led to consequences, which
have obstructed the due administration and execution of Acts of
Congress, and especially the Acts for the delivery of Fugitive Slaves;
and have thereby contributed much to the discord and commotion now
prevailing. Congress, therefore, in the present perilous juncture, does
not deem it improper, respectfully and earnestly, to recommend the
repeal of those laws to the several States which have enacted them, or
such legislative corrections or explanations of them as may prevent
their being used or perverted to such mischievous purposes.

"3. That the Act of the 18th of September, 1850, commonly called the
Fugitive Slave Law, ought to be so amended as to make the fee of the
Commissioner, mentioned in the eighth section of the Act, equal in
amount in the cases decided by him, whether his decision be in favor of,
or against the claimant. And, to avoid misconstruction, the last clause
of the fifth section of said Act, which authorizes the person holding a
warrant for the arrest or detention of a Fugitive Slave to summon to his
aid the posse comitatus, and which declares it to be the duty of all
good citizens to assist him in its execution, ought to be so amended as
to expressly limit the authority and duty to cases in which there shall
be resistance, or danger of resistance or rescue.

"4. That the laws for the suppression of the African Slave Trade, and
especially those prohibiting the importation of Slaves into the United
States, ought to be more effectual, and ought to be thoroughly executed;
and all further enactments necessary to those ends ought to be promptly

The Peace Conference, or "Congress," it may here be mentioned, was
called, by action of the Legislature of Virginia, to meet at Washington,
February 4, 1861. The invitation was extended to all of such "States of
this Confederacy * * * whether Slaveholding or Non-Slaveholding, as are
willing to unite with Virginia in an earnest effort to adjust the
present unhappy controversies in the spirit in which the Constitution
was originally formed, and consistently with its principles, so as to
afford to the people of the Slaveholding States adequate guarantees for
the security of their rights"--such States to be represented by
Commissioners "to consider, and, if practicable, agree upon some
suitable adjustment."

The Conference, or "Congress," duly convened, at that place and time,
and organized by electing ex-President John Tyler, of Virginia, its
President. This Peace Congress--which comprised 133 Commissioners,
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

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