The Great Conspiracy

1908194038-500x500THE GREAT CONSPIRACY

Its Origin and History




In the preparation of this work it has been the writer’s aim to present
in it, with historical accuracy, authentic facts; to be fair and
impartial in grouping them; and to be true and just in the conclusions
necessarily drawn from them. While thus striving to be accurate, fair,
and just, he has not thought it his duty to mince words, nor to refrain
from “calling things by their right names;” neither has he sought to
curry favor, in any quarter, by fulsome adulation on the one side, nor
undue denunciation on the other, either of the living, or of the dead.
But, while tracing the history of the Great Conspiracy, from its obscure
birth in the brooding brains of a few ambitious men of the earliest days
of our Republic, through the subsequent years of its devolution, down to
the evil days of Nullification, and to the bitter and bloody period of
armed Rebellion, or contemplating it in its still more recent and,
perhaps, more sinister development, of to-day, he has conscientiously
dealt with it, throughout, in the clear and penetrating light of the
voluminous records so readily accessible at the seat of our National
Government. So far as was practicable, he has endeavored to allow the
chief characters in that Conspiracy-as well as the Union leaders, who,
whether in Executive, Legislative, or Military service, devoted their
best abilities and energies to its suppression–to speak for themselves,
and thus while securing their own proper places in history, by a process
of self-adjustment as it were, themselves to write down that history in
their own language. If then there be found within these covers aught
which may seem harsh to those directly or indirectly, nearly or
remotely, connected with that Conspiracy, he may not unfairly exclaim:
“Thou canst not say I did it.” If he knows his own heart, the writer
can truly declare, with his hand upon it, that it bears neither hatred,
malice, nor uncharitableness, to those who, misled by the cunning
secrecy of the Conspirators, and without an inkling or even a suspicion
of their fell purposes, went manfully into the field, with a courage
worthy of a better cause, and for four years of bloody conflict,
believing that their cause was just, fought the armies of the Union, in
a mad effort to destroy the best government yet devised by man upon this
planet. And, perhaps, none can better understand than he, how hard, how
very hard, it must be for men of strong nature and intense feeling,
after taking a mistaken stand, and especially after carrying their
conviction to the cannon’s mouth, to acknowledge their error before the
world. Hence, while he has endeavored truly to depict–or to let those
who made history at the time help him to depict–the enormity of the
offence of the armed Rebellion and of the heresies and plottings of
certain Southern leaders precipitating it, yet not one word will be
found, herein, condemnatory of those who, with manly candor, soldierly
courage, and true patriotism, acknowledged that error when the ultimate
arbitrament of the sword had decided against them. On the contrary, to
all such as accept, in good faith, the results of the war of the
Rebellion, the writer heartily holds out the hand of forgiveness for the
past, and good fellowship for the future.


April 15, 1886.


[For detailed Table of Contents see below]


I. A Preliminary Retrospect,

II. Protection, and Free Trade,

III. Growth of the Slavery Question,

IV. Popular Sovereignty,

V. Presidential Contest of 1860,

VI. The Great Conspiracy Maturing,

VII. “Secession” Arming,

VIII. The Rejected Olive Branch,

IX. Slavery’s Setting Sun,

X. The War Drum–“On to Washington,”

XI. Causes of Secession

XII. Copperheadism vs. Union-Democracy,

XIII. The Storm of Battle,

XIV. The Colored Contraband,

XV. Freedom’s Early Dawn,

XVI. Compensated, Gradual, Emancipation,

XVII. Border-State Opposition,

XVIII. Freedom Proclaimed to All,

XIX. Historical Review,

XX. Lincoln’s Troubles and Temptations,

XXI. The Armed Negro

XXII. Freedom’s Sun still Rising,

XXIII. Thirteenth Amendment Passes the Senate

XXIV. Treason in the Northern Camp,

XXV. The “Fire in the Rear,”

XXVI. Thirteenth Amendment Defeated in House,

XXVII. Slavery Doomed at the Polls,

XXVIII. Freedom at last Assured,

XXIX. Lincoln’s Second Inauguration,

XXX. Collapse of Armed Conspiracy,

XXXI. Assassination!

XXXII. Turning Back the Hands,

XXXIII. What Next?









































To properly understand the condition of things preceding the great war
of the Rebellion, and the causes underlying that condition and the war
itself, we must glance backward through the history of the Country to,
and even beyond, that memorable 30th of November, 1782, when the
Independence of the United States of America was at last conceded by
Great Britain. At that time the population of the United States was
about 2,500,000 free whites and some 500,000 black slaves. We had
gained our Independence of the Mother Country, but she had left fastened
upon us the curse of Slavery. Indeed African Slavery had already in
1620 been implanted on the soil of Virginia before Plymouth Rock was
pressed by the feet of the Pilgrim Fathers, and had spread, prior to the
Revolution, with greater or less rapidity, according to the surrounding
adaptations of soil, production and climate, to every one of the
thirteen Colonies.

But while it had thus spread more or less throughout all the original
Colonies, and was, as it were, recognized and acquiesced in by all, as
an existing and established institution, yet there were many, both in
the South and North, who looked upon it as an evil–an inherited evil–
and were anxious to prevent the increase of that evil. Hence it was
that even as far back as 1699, a controversy sprang up between the
Colonies and the Home Government, upon the African Slavery question–a
controversy continuing with more or less vehemence down to the
Declaration of Independence itself.

It was this conviction that it was not alone an evil but a dangerous
evil, that induced Jefferson to embody in his original draft of that
Declaration a clause strongly condemnatory of the African Slave Trade–a
clause afterward omitted from it solely, he tells us, “in complaisance
to South Carolina and Georgia, who had never* attempted to restrain the
importation of slaves, and who, on the contrary, still wished to
continue it,” as well as in deference to the sensitiveness of Northern
people, who, though having few slaves themselves, “had been pretty
considerable carriers of them to others” a clause of the great
indictment of King George III., which, since it was not omitted for any
other reason than that just given, shows pretty conclusively that where
the fathers in that Declaration affirmed that “all men are created
equal,” they included in the term “men,” black as well as white, bond as
well as free; for the clause ran thus: “Determined to keep open a market
where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for
suppressing every Legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this
execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no
fact of distinguished dye, he is now exciting those very people to rise
in arms among us, and purchase that liberty of which he has deprived
them, by murdering the people on whom he also obtruded them; thus paying
of former crimes committed against the LIBERTIES of our people with
crimes which he urges them to commit against the LIVES of another.”

[Prior to 1752, when Georgia surrendered her charter and became a
Royal Colony, the holding of slaves within its limits was expressly
prohibited by law; and the Darien (Ga.) resolutions of 1775
declared not only a “disapprobation and abhorrence of the unnatural
practice of Slavery in America” as “a practice founded in injustice
and cruelty, and highly dangerous to our Liberties (as well as
lives) but a determination to use our utmost efforts for the
manumission of our slaves in this colony upon the most safe and
equitable footing for the masters and themselves.”] During the war of the Revolution following the Declaration of
Independence, the half a million of slaves, nearly all of them in the
Southern States, were found to be not only a source of weakness, but,
through the incitements of British emissaries, a standing menace of
peril to the Slaveholders. Thus it was that the South was overrun by
hostile British armies, while in the North-comparatively free of this
element of weakness–disaster after disaster met them. At last,
however, in 1782, came the recognition of our Independence, and peace,
followed by the evacuation of New York at the close of 1783.

The lessons of the war, touching Slavery, had not been lost upon our
statesmen. Early in 1784 Virginia ceded to the United States her claims
of jurisdiction and otherwise over the vast territory north-west of the
Ohio; and upon its acceptance, Jefferson, as chairman of a Select
Committee appointed at his instance to consider a plan of government
therefor, reported to the ninth Continental Congress an Ordinance to
govern the territory ceded already, or to be ceded, by individual States
to the United States, extending from the 31st to the 47th degree of
north latitude, which provided as “fundamental conditions between the
thirteen original States and those newly described” as embryo States
thereafter–to be carved out of such territory ceded or to be ceded to
the United States, not only that “they shall forever remain a part of
the United States of America,” but also that “after the year 1800 of the
Christian era, there shall be neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude
in any of the said States”–and that those fundamental conditions were
“unalterable but by the joint consent of the United States in Congress
assembled, and of the particular State within which such alteration
is proposed to be made.”

But now a signal misfortune befell. Upon a motion to strike out the
clause prohibiting Slavery, six States: New Hampshire, Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania, voted to retain
the prohibitive clause, while three States, Maryland, Virginia and South
Carolina, voted not to retain it. The vote of North Carolina was
equally divided; and while one of the Delegates from New Jersey voted to
retain it, yet as there was no other delegate present from that State,
and the Articles of Confederation required the presence of “two or more”
delegates to cast the vote of a State, the vote of New Jersey was lost;
and, as the same Articles required an affirmative vote of a majority of
all the States–and not simply of those present–the retention of the
clause prohibiting Slavery was also lost. Thus was lost the great
opportunity of restricting Slavery to the then existing Slave States,
and of settling the question peaceably for all time. Three years
afterward a similar Ordinance, since become famous as “the Ordinance of
’87,” for the government of the North-west Territory (from which the
Free States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin have
since been carved and admitted to the Union) was adopted in Congress by
the unanimous vote of all the eight States present. And the sixth
article of this Ordinance, or “Articles of Compact,” which it was
stipulated should “forever remain unalterable, unless by common
consent,” was in these words:

“Art. 6. There shall be neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude in
the said Territory, otherwise than in punishment of crimes, whereof the
party shall have been duly convicted; provided always that any person
escaping into the same from whom labor or service is lawfully claimed in
any one of the original States, such fugitive may be lawfully reclaimed,
and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor, or service, as

But this Ordinance of ’87, adopted almost simultaneously with the
framing of our present Federal Constitution, was essentially different
from the Ordinance of three years previous, in this: that while the
latter included the territory south of the Ohio River as well as that
north-west of it, this did not; and as a direct consequence of this
failure to include in it the territory south of that river, the States
of Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi, which were taken out of it, were
subsequently admitted to the Union as Slave States, and thus greatly
augmented their political power. And at a later period it was this
increased political power that secured the admission of still other
Slave States–as Florida, Louisiana and Texas–which enabled the Slave
States to hold the balance of such power as against the original States
that had become Free, and the new Free States of the North-west.

Hence, while in a measure quieting the great question of Slavery for the
time being, the Ordinance of ’87 in reality laid the ground-work for the
long series of irritations and agitations touching its restrictions and
extension, which eventually culminated in the clash of arms that shook
the Union from its centre to its circumference. Meanwhile, as we have
seen–while the Ordinance of 1787 was being enacted in the last Congress
of the old Confederation at New York–the Convention to frame the
present Constitution was sitting at Philadelphia under the Presidency of
George Washington himself. The old Confederation had proved itself to
be “a rope of sand.” A new and stronger form of government had become a
necessity for National existence.

To create it out of the discordant elements whose harmony was essential
to success, was an herculean task, requiring the utmost forbearance,
unselfishness, and wisdom. And of all the great questions, dividing the
framers of that Constitution, perhaps none of them required a higher
degree of self abnegation and patriotism than those touching human

The situation was one of extreme delicacy. The necessity for a closer
and stronger Union of all the States was apparently absolute, yet this
very necessity seemed to place a whip in the hands of a few States, with
which to coerce the greater number of States to do their bidding. It
seemed that the majority must yield to a small minority on even vital
questions, or lose everything.

Thus it was, that instead of an immediate interdiction of the African
Slave Trade, Congress was empowered to prohibit it after the lapse of
twenty years; that instead of the basis of Congressional Representation
being the total population of each State, and that of direct taxation
the total property of each State, a middle ground was conceded, which
regarded the Slaves as both persons and property, and the basis both of
Representation and of Direct Taxation was fixed as being the total Free
population “plus three-fifths of all other persons” in each State; and
that there was inserted in the Constitution a similar clause to that
which we have seen was almost simultaneously incorporated in the
Ordinance of ’87, touching the reclamation and return to their owners of
Fugitive Slaves from the Free States into which they may have escaped.

The fact of the matter is, that the Convention that framed our
Constitution lacked the courage of its convictions, and was “bulldozed”
by the few extreme Southern Slave-holding States–South Carolina and
Georgia especially. It actually paltered with those convictions and
with the truth itself. Its convictions–those at least of a great
majority of its delegates–were against not only the spread, but the
very existence of Slavery; yet we have seen what they unwillingly agreed
to in spite of those convictions; and they were guilty moreover of the
subterfuge of using the terms “persons” and “service or labor” when they
really meant “Slaves” and “Slavery.” “They did this latter,” Mr.
Madison says, “because they did not choose to admit the right of
property in man,” and yet in fixing the basis of Direct Taxation as well
as Congressional Representation at the total Free population of each
State with “three-fifths of all other persons,” they did admit the right
of property in man! As was stated by Mr. Iredell to the North Carolina
Ratification Convention, when explaining the Fugitive Slave clause:
“Though the word ‘Slave’ is not mentioned, this is the meaning of it.”
And he added: “The Northern delegates, owing to their peculiar scruples
on the subject of Slavery, did not choose the word ‘Slave’ to be

In March, 1789, the first Federal Congress met at New York. It at once
enacted a law in accordance with the terms of the Ordinance of ’87–
adapting it to the changed order of things under the new Federal
Constitution–prohibiting Slavery in the Territories of the North-west;
and the succeeding Congress enacted a Fugitive-Slave law.

In the same year (1789) North Carolina ceded her western territory (now
Tennessee) south of the Ohio, to the United States, providing as one of
the conditions of that cession, “that no regulation made, or to be made,
by Congress, shall tend to emancipate Slaves.” Georgia, also, in 1802,
ceded her superfluous territorial domain (south of the Ohio, and now
known as Alabama and Mississippi), making as a condition of its
acceptance that the Ordinance of ’87 “shall, in all its parts, extend to
the territory contained in the present act of cession, the article only
excepted which forbids Slavery.”

Thus while the road was open and had been taken advantage of, at the
earliest moment, by the Federal Congress to prohibit Slavery in all the
territory north-west of the Ohio River by Congressional enactment,
Congress considered itself barred by the very conditions of cession from
inhibiting Slavery in the territory lying south of that river. Hence it
was that while the spread of Slavery was prevented in the one Section of
our outlying territories by Congressional legislation, it was stimulated
in the other Section by the enforced absence of such legislation. As a
necessary sequence, out of the Territories of the one Section grew more
Free States and out of the other more Slave States, and this condition
of things had a tendency to array the Free and the Slave States in
opposition to each other and to Sectionalize the flames of that Slavery
agitation which were thus continually fed.

Upon the admission of Ohio to Statehood in 1803, the remainder of the
North-west territory became the Territory of Indiana. The inhabitants
of this Territory (now known as the States of Indiana, Illinois,
Michigan and Wisconsin), consisting largely of settlers from the Slave
States, but chiefly from Virginia and Kentucky, very persistently (in
1803, 1806 and 1807) petitioned Congress for permission to employ Slave
Labor, but–although their petitions were favorably reported in most
cases by the Committees to which they were referred–without avail,
Congress evidently being of opinion that a temporary suspension in this
respect of the sixth article of the Ordinance of ’87 was “not
expedient.” These frequent rebuffs by Congress, together with the
constantly increasing emigration from the Free States, prevented the
taking of any further steps to implant Slavery on the soil of that

Meanwhile the vast territory included within the Valley of the
Mississippi and known at that day as the “Colony of Louisiana,” was, in
1803, acquired to the United States by purchase from the French–to whom
it had but lately been retroceded by Spain. Both under Spanish and
French rule, Slavery had existed throughout this vast yet sparsely
populated region. When we acquired it by purchase, it was already
there, as an established “institution;” and the Treaty of acquisition
not only provided that it should be “incorporated into the Union of the
United States, and admitted as soon as possible, according to the
principles of the Federal Constitution,” but that its inhabitants in the
meantime “should be maintained and protected in the free enjoyment of
their liberty, property, and the religion which they professed”–and,
as “the right of property in man” had really been admitted in practice,
if not in theory, by the framers of that Constitution itself–that
institution was allowed to remain there. Indeed the sparseness of its
population at the time of purchase and the amazing fertility of its soil
and adaptability of its climate to Slave Labor, together with the then
recent invention by Eli Whitney, of Massachusetts, of that wonderful
improvement in the separation of cotton-fibre from its seed, known as
the “cotton-gin”–which with the almost simultaneous inventions of
Hargreaves, and Arkwright’s cotton-spinning machines, and Watt’s
application of his steam engine, etc., to them, marvelously increased
both the cotton supply and demand and completely revolutionized the
cotton industry–contributed to rapidly and thickly populate the whole
region with white Slave-holders and black Slaves, and to greatly enrich
and increase the power of the former.

When Jefferson succeeded in negotiating the cession of that vast and
rich domain to the United States, it is not to be supposed that either
the allurements of territorial aggrandizement on the one hand, or the
impending danger to the continued ascendency of the political party
which had elevated him to the Presidency, threatening it from all the
irritations with republican France likely to grow out of such near
proximity to her Colony, on the other, could have blinded his eyes to
the fact that its acquisition must inevitably tend to the spread of that
very evil, the contemplation of which, at a later day, wrung from his
lips the prophetic words, “I tremble for my Country when I reflect that
God is just.” It is more reasonable to suppose that, as he believed the
ascendency of the Republican party of that day essential to the
perpetuity of the Republic itself, and revolted against being driven
into an armed alliance with Monarchical England against what he termed
“our natural friend,” Republican France, he reached the conclusion that
the preservation of his Republican principles was of more immediate
moment than the question of the perpetuation and increase of human
Slavery. Be that as it may, it none the less remains a curious fact
that it was to Jefferson, the far-seeing statesman and hater of African
Slavery and the author of the Ordinance of 1784–which sought to exclude
Slavery from all the Territories of the United States south of, as well
as north-west of the Ohio River–that we also owe the acquisition of the
vast territory of the Mississippi Valley burdened with Slavery in such
shape that only a War, which nearly wrecked our Republic, could get rid

Out of that vast and fertile, but Slave-ridden old French Colony of
“Louisiana” were developed in due time the rich and flourishing Slave
States of Louisiana, Missouri and Arkansas.

It will have been observed that this acquisition of the Colony of
Louisiana and the contemporaneous inventions of the cotton-gin, improved
cotton-spinning machinery, and the application to it of steam power, had
already completely neutralized the wisdom of the Fathers in securing, as
they thought, the gradual but certain extinction of Slavery in the
United States, by that provision in the Constitution which enabled
Congress, after an interval of twenty years, to prohibit the African
Slave Trade; and which led the Congress, on March 22, 1794, to pass an
Act prohibiting it; to supplement it in 1800 with another Act in the
same direction; and on March 2, 1807, to pass another supplemental Act–
to take effect January 1, 1808–still more stringent, and covering any
such illicit traffic, whether to the United States or with other
countries. Never was the adage that, “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’
men gang aft agley,” more painfully apparent. Slaves increased and
multiplied within the land, and enriched their white owners to such a
degree that, as the years rolled by, instead of compunctions of
conscience on the subject of African Slavery in America, the Southern
leaders ultimately persuaded themselves to the belief that it was not
only moral, and sanctioned by Divine Law, but that to perpetuate it was
a philanthropic duty, beneficial to both races! In fact one of them
declared it to be “the highest type of civilization.”

In 1812, the State of Louisiana, organized from the purchased Colony of
the same name, was admitted to the Union, and the balance of the
Louisiana purchase was thereafter known as the Territory of Missouri.

In 1818 commenced the heated and protracted struggle in Congress over
the admission of the State of Missouri–created from the Territory of
that name–as a Slave State, which finally culminated in 1820 in the
settlement known thereafter as the “Missouri Compromise.”

Briefly stated, that struggle may be said to have consisted in the
efforts of the House on the one side, to restrict Slavery in the State
of Missouri, and the efforts of the Senate on the other, to give it free
rein. The House insisted on a clause in the Act of admission providing,
“That the introduction of Slavery or involuntary servitude be
prohibited, except for the punishment of crimes whereof the party has
been duly convicted; and that all children born within the said State,
after the admission thereof into the Union, shall be declared Free at
the age of twenty-five years.” The Senate resisted it–and the Bill
fell. In the meantime, however, a Bill passed both Houses forming the
Territory of Arkansas out of that portion of the Territory of Missouri
not included in the proposed State of Missouri, without any such
restriction upon Slavery. Subsequently, the House having passed a Bill
to admit the State of Maine to the Union, the Senate amended it by
tacking on a provision authorizing the people of Missouri to organize a
State Government, without restriction as to Slavery. The House
decidedly refused to accede to the Senate proposition, and the result of
the disagreement was a Committee of Conference between the two Houses,
and the celebrated “Missouri Compromise,” which, in the language of
another–[Hon. John Holmes of Massachusetts, of said Committee on
Conference, March 2, 1820.]–, was: “that the Senate should give up its
combination of Missouri with Maine; that the House should abandon its
attempt to restrict Slavery in Missouri; and that both Houses should
concur in passing the Bill to admit Missouri as a State, with” a
“restriction or proviso, excluding Slavery from all territory north and
west of the new State”–that “restriction or proviso” being in these
words: “That in all that territory ceded by France to the United States
under the name of Louisiana, which lies north of thirty-six degrees,
thirty minutes north latitude, excepting only such part thereof as is
included within the limits of the State contemplated by this act,
Slavery and involuntary servitude, otherwise than in the punishment of
crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall be and is
hereby forever prohibited; Provided always, that any person escaping
into the same, from whom labor and service is lawfully claimed in any
State or Territory of the United States, such Fugitive may be lawfully
reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her labor or
service, as aforesaid.” At a subsequent session of Congress, at which
Missouri asked admission as a State with a Constitution prohibiting her
Legislature from passing emancipation laws, or such as would prevent the
immigration of Slaves, while requiring it to enact such as would
absolutely prevent the immigration of Free Negroes or Mulattoes, a
further Compromise was agreed to by Congress under the inspiration of
Mr. Clay, by which it was laid down as a condition precedent to her
admission as a State–a condition subsequently complied with–that
Missouri must pledge herself that her Legislature should pass no act “by
which any of the citizens of either of the States should be excluded
from the enjoyment of the privileges and immunities to which they are
entitled under the Constitution of the United States.”

This, in a nut-shell, was the memorable Missouri Struggle, and the
“Compromise” or Compromises which settled and ended it. But during that
struggle–as during the formation of the Federal Constitution and at
various times in the interval when exciting questions had arisen–the
bands of National Union were more than once rudely strained, and this
time to such a degree as even to shake the faith of some of the firmest
believers in the perpetuity of that Union. It was during this bitter
struggle that John Adams wrote to Jefferson: “I am sometimes Cassandra
enough to dream that another Hamilton, another Burr, may rend this
mighty fabric in twain, or perhaps into a leash, and a few more choice
spirits of the same stamp might produce as many Nations in North America
as there are in Europe.”

It is true that we had “sown the wind,” but we had not yet “reaped the


We have seen that the first Federal Congress met at New York in March,
1789. It organized April 6th. None knew better than its members that
the war of the Americana Revolution chiefly grew out of the efforts of
Great Britain to cripple and destroy our Colonial industries to the
benefit of the British trader, and that the Independence conquered, was
an Industrial as well as Political Independence; and none knew better
than they, that the failure of the subsequent political Confederation of
States was due mainly to its failure to encourage and protect the
budding domestic manufactures of those States. Hence they hastened,
under the leadership of James Madison, to pass “An Act laying a duty on
goods, wares and merchandize imported into the United States,” with a
preamble, declaring it to be “necessary” for the “discharge of the debt
of the United States and the encouragement and protection of
manufactures.” It was approved by President Washington July 4, 1789–a
date not without its significance–and levied imports both specific and
ad valorem. It was not only our first Tariff Act, but, next to that
prescribing the oath used in organizing the Government, the first Act of
the first Federal Congress; and was passed in pursuance of the
declaration of President Washington in his first Message, that “The
safety and interest of the People” required it. Under the inspiration
of Alexander Hamilton the Tariff of 1790 was enacted at the second
session of the same Congress, confirming the previous Act and increasing
some of the protective duties thereby imposed.

An analysis of the vote in the House of Representatives on this Tariff
Bill discloses the fact that of the 39 votes for it, 21 were from
Southern States, 13 from the Middle States, and 5 from New England
States; while of the 13 votes against it, 9 were from New England
States, 3 from Southern States, and 1 from Middle States. In other
words, while the Southern States were for the Bill in the proportion of
21 to 3, and the Middle States by 13 to 1, New England was against it by
9 to 5; or again, while 10 of the 13 votes against it were from the New
England and Middle States, 21 (or more than half) of the 39 votes for it
were from Southern States.

It will thus be seen-singularly enough in view of subsequent events–
that we not only mainly owe our first steps in Protective Tariff
legislation to the almost solid Southern vote, but that it was thus
secured for us despite the opposition of New England. Nor did our
indebtedness to Southern statesmen and Southern votes for the
institution of the now fully established American System of Protection
cease here, as we shall presently see.

That Jefferson, as well as Washington and Madison, agreed with the views
of Alexander Hamilton on Protection to our domestic manufactures as
against those of foreign Nations, is evident in his Annual Message of
December 14, 1806, wherein-discussing an anticipated surplus of Federal
revenue above the expenditures, and enumerating the purposes of
education and internal improvement to which he thinks the “whole surplus
of impost” should during times of peace be applied; by which application
of such surplus he prognosticates that “new channels of communication
will be opened between the States; the lines of separation will
disappear; their interests will be identified, and their Union cemented
by new and indissoluble ties”–he says: “Shall we suppress the impost
and give that advantage to foreign over domestic manufactures. On a few
articles of more general and necessary use, the suppression in due
season, will doubtless be right; but the great mass of the articles on
which impost is paid is foreign luxuries, purchased by those only who
are rich enough to afford themselves the use of them.” But his embargo
and other retaliatory measures, put in force in 1807 and 1808, and the
War of 1812-15 with Great Britain, which closely followed, furnished
Protection in another manner, by shutting the door to foreign imports
and throwing our people upon their own resources, and contributed
greatly to the encouragement and increase of our home manufactures–
especially those of wool, cotton, and hemp.

At the close of that War the traders of Great Britain determined, even
at a temporary loss to themselves, to glut our market with their goods
and thus break down forever, as they hoped, our infant manufactures.
Their purpose and object were boldly announced in the House of Commons
by Mr. Brougham, when he said: “Is it worth while to incur a loss upon
the first importation, in order by the glut to stifle in the cradle
those rising manufactures in the United States which the War had forced
into existence contrary to the natural course of things.” Against this
threatened ruin, our manufacturers all over the United States–the sugar
planters of Louisiana among them–clamored for Protection, and Congress
at once responded with the Tariff Act of 1816.

This law greatly extended and increased specific duties on, and
diminished the application of the ad valorem principle to, foreign
imports; and it has been well described as “the practical foundation of
the American policy of encouragement of home manufactures–the practical
establishment of the great industrial system upon which rests our
present National wealth, and the power and the prosperity and happiness
of our whole people.” While Henry Clay of Kentucky, William Loundes of
South Carolina, and Henry St. George Tucker of Virginia supported the
Bill most effectively, no man labored harder and did more effective
service in securing its passage than John C. Calhoun of South Carolina.
The contention on their part was not for a mere “incidental protection”
–much less a “Tariff for revenue only”–but for “Protection” in its
broadest sense, and especially the protection of their cotton
manufactures. Indeed Calhoun’s defense of Protection, from the assaults
of those from New England and elsewhere who assailed it on the narrow
ground that it was inimical to commerce and navigation, was a notable
one. He declared that:

“It (the encouragement of manufactures) produced a system strictly
American, as much so as agriculture, in which it had the decided
advantage of commerce and navigation. The country will from this derive
much advantage. Again it is calculated to bind together more closely
our wide-spread Republic. It will greatly increase our mutual
dependence and intercourse, and will, as a necessary consequence, excite
an increased attention to internal improvements–a subject every way so
intimately connected with the ultimate attainment of national strength
and the perfection of our political institutions.”

He regarded the fact that it would make the parts adhere more closely;
that it would form a new and most powerful cement far outweighing any
political objections that might be urged against the system. In his
opinion “the liberty and the union of the country were inseparably
united; that as the destruction of the latter would most certainly
involve the former, so its maintenance will with equal certainty
preserve it;” and he closed with an impressive warning to the Nation of
a “new and terrible danger” which threatened it, to wit: “disunion.”
Nobly as he stood up then–during the last term of his service in the
House of Representatives–for the great principles of, the American
System of Protection to manufactures, for the perpetuity of the Union,
and for the increase of “National strength,” it seems like the very
irony of fate that a few years later should find him battling against
Protection as “unconstitutional,” upholding Nullification as a “reserved
right” of his State, and championing at the risk of his neck that very
“danger” to the “liberties” and life of his Country against which his
prophetic words had already given solemn warning.

Strange was it also, in view of the subsequent attitudes of the South
and New England, that this essentially Protective Tariff Act of 1816
should have been vigorously protested and voted against by New England,
while it was ably advocated and voted for by the South–the 25 votes of
the latter which secured its passage being more than sufficient to have
secured its defeat had they been so inclined.

The Tariff Acts of 1824 and 1828 followed the great American principle
of Protection laid down and supported by the South in the Act of 1816,
while widening, increasing, and strengthening it. Under their
operation-especially under that of 1828, with its high duties on wool,
hemp, iron, lead, and other staples–great prosperity smiled upon the
land, and particularly upon the Free States.

In the cotton-growing belt of the South, however, where the prosperity
was relatively less, owing to the blight of Slavery, the very contrast
bred discontent; and, instead of attributing it to the real cause, the
advocates of Free Trade within that region insisted that the Protective
Tariff was responsible for the condition of things existing there.

A few restless and discontented spirits in the South had indeed agitated
the subject of Free Trade as against Protected manufactures as early as
1797, and, hand in hand with it, the doctrine of States Rights. And
Jefferson himself, although, as we have already seen, attached to the
American System of Protection and believing in its Constitutionality,
unwittingly played into the hands of these Free Traders by drawing up
the famous Kentucky Resolutions of ’98 touching States Rights, which
were closely followed by the Virginia Resolutions of 1799 in the same
vein by Madison, also an out-and-out Protectionist. It was mainly in
condemnation of the Alien and Sedition Laws, then so unpopular
everywhere, that these resolutions were professedly fulminated, but they
gave to the agitating Free Traders a States-Rights-Secession-weapon of
which they quickly availed themselves.

Their drift may be gathered from the first of the Kentucky Resolutions
of ’98, which was in these words: “Resolved, That the several States
composing the United States of America are not united on the principle
of unlimited submission to their General Government, but that, by a
compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United
States, and of amendments thereto, they constituted a General Government
for special purposes–delegated to that Government certain definite
powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to
their own self-government; and that whensoever the General Government
assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of
no force; that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and as an
integral party, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party;
that the Government created by this compact was not made the exclusive
or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since
that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the
measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among
powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge
for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of

The Resolutions, after enumerating the Alien and Sedition and certain
other laws as in point, conclude by calling upon the other States to
join Kentucky in her opposition to such Federal usurpations of power as
thus embodied, and express confidence: “That they will concur with this
Commonwealth in considering the said Acts as so palpably against the
Constitution as to amount to an undisguised declaration that that
compact is not meant to be the measure of the powers of the General
Government, but that it will proceed in the exercise over these States,
of all powers whatsoever; that they will view this as seizing the rights
of the States, and consolidating them in the hands of the General
Government, with the power assumed to bind the States (not merely as to
the cases made federal (casus foederis) but) in all cases whatsoever, by
laws made, not with their consent, but by others against their consent;
that this would be to surrender the form of government we have chosen,
and live under one deriving its powers from its own will, and not from
our authority; and that the co-States, returning to their natural rights
in cases not made federal, will concur in declaring these Acts void and
of no force, and will each take measures of its own in providing that
neither these Acts, nor any others of the General Government, not
plainly and intentionally authorized by the Constitution, shall be
exercised within their respective territories.”

The doctrine of States Rights as formulated in these Resolutions,
including the assumed right of a State to nullify laws of the General
Government, naturally led up, as we shall see, not only to threats of
disunion, but ultimately to a dreadful sectional War waged in the effort
to secure it. That Jefferson, when he penned them, foresaw the terrible
results to flow from these specious and pernicious doctrines, is not to
be supposed for an instant; but that his conscience troubled him may be
fairly inferred from the fact that he withheld from the World for twenty
years afterward the knowledge that he was their author. It is probable
that in this case, as in others, he was a victim of that casuistry which
teaches that “the end justifies the means;” that he hoped and believed
that the assertion of these baleful doctrines would act solely as a
check upon any tendency to further centralization of power in the
General Government and insure that strict construction of the

Though afterward violated by himself at the same time that he for the
moment threw aside his scruples touching African slavery, when he added
to our domain the great French Slave Colony of Louisiana–was none the
less the great aim of his commanding intellect; and that he fortuitously
believed in the “saving common sense” of his race and country as capable
of correcting an existing evil when it shall have developed into ill

[Mr. Jefferson takes this very ground, in almost the same words, in
his letter, 1803, to Wilson C. Nichols in the Louisiana Colony
purchase case, when, after proving by his own strict construction
of the Constitution that there was no power in that instrument to
make such purchase, and confessing the importance in that very case
of setting “an example against broad construction,” he concludes:
“If, however, our friends shall think differently, certainly I
shall acquiesce with satisfaction; confiding that the good sense of
the country will correct the evil of construction when it shall
produce ill ejects.”]

Be that as it may, however, the fact remains that the seeds thus sown by
the hands of Jefferson on the “sacred soil” of Virginia and Kentucky,
were dragon’s teeth, destined in after years to spring up as legions of
armed men battling for the subversion of that Constitution and the
destruction of that Union which he so reverenced, and which he was so
largely instrumental in founding–and which even came back in his own
life to plague him and Madison during his embargo, and Madison’s war of
1812-15, in the utterances and attitude of some of the New England

The few Free Traders of the South–the Giles’s and John Taylor’s and men
of that ilk–made up for their paucity in numbers by their unscrupulous
ingenuity and active zeal. They put forth the idea that the American
Protective Policy was a policy of fostering combinations by Federal
laws, the effect of which was to transfer a considerable portion of the
profits of slave labor from the Slave States to other parts of the Union
where it was massed in the hands of a few individuals, and thus created
a moneyed interest which avariciously influenced the General Government
to the detriment of the entire community of people, who, made restive by
the exactions of this power working through the Federal Government, were
as a consequence driven to consider a possible dissolution of the Union,
and make “estimates of resources and means of defense.” As a means also
of inflaming both the poor whites and Southern slave-holders by arousing
the apprehensions of the latter concerning the “peculiar institution” of
Slavery, they craftily declared that “If the maxim advanced by the
advocates of the protecting duty system will justify Congress in
assuming, or rather in empowering a few capitalists to assume, the
direction of manufacturing labor, it also invests that body with a power
of legislating for the direction of every other species of labor and
assigning all occupations whatsoever to the care of the intelligence of
mercenary combinations”–and hence untold misery to labor.

They charged as a further means of firing the Southern heart, that this
moneyed power, born of Protection, “works upon the passion of the States
it has been able to delude by computations of their physical strength
and their naval superiority; and by boasting of an ability to use the
weakening circumstance of negro slavery to coerce the defrauded and
discontented States into submission.” And they declared as fundamental
truths upon which they rested that “The Federal is not a National
Government; it is a league between nations. By this league, a limited
power only over persons and property was given to the representatives of
the united nations. This power cannot be further extended, under the
pretext of national good, because the league does not create a national

It was the passage of the Tariff of 1824 that gave these crafty Free
Traders their first great success in spreading their doctrine of Free
Trade by coupling it with questions of slave labor, States Rights, and
nullification, as laid down in the Kentucky and Virginia resolutions.
These arguments created great excitement throughout the South–
especially in South Carolina and Georgia–which was still further
increased by the passage of the Tariff of 1828, since declared by
eminent authority to have been “the highest and most protective ever
adopted in this country.”

[Mr. Greeley, in his “History of the American Conflict,” 1864.]

Prior to the passage of this Tariff Act, excited assemblages met in some
of the Southern States, and protested against it as an outrage upon
their rights–arraying the South in seditious and treasonable attitude
against not only the North but the Union, with threats of Secession. At
one of these meetings in South Carolina, in 1827, one of their leaders–
[Dr. Thomas Cooper, President of South Carolina College.]–declared that
“a drilled and managed majority” in the House of Representatives had
determined “at all hazards to support the claims of the Northern
manufacturers, and to offer up the planting interest on the altar of
monopoly.” He denounced the American system of Protection exemplified
in that Tariff measure as “a system by which the earnings of the South
are to be transferred to the North–by which the many are to be
sacrificed to the few–under which powers are usurped that were never
conceded–by which inequality of rights, inequality of burthens,
inequality of protection, unequal laws, and unequal taxes are to be
enacted and rendered permanent–that the planter and the farmer under
this system are to be considered as inferior beings to the spinner, the
bleacher, and the dyer–that we of the South hold our plantations under
this system, as the serfs and operatives of the North, subject to the
orders and laboring for the benefit of the master-minds of
Massachusetts, the lords of the spinning jenny and peers of the power-
loom, who have a right to tax our earnings for their emolument, and to
burthen our poverty and to swell their riches;” and after characterizing
Protection as “a system of fraud, robbery and usurpation,” he continued
“I have said that we shall ere long be compelled to calculate the value
of our Union; and to enquire of what use to us is this most unequal
alliance, by which the South has always been the loser and the North
always the gainer. Is it worth our while to continue this union of
States, where the North demands to be our masters and we are required to
be their tributaries? who with the most insulting mockery call the yoke
they put upon our necks the ‘American system!’ The question, however,
is fast approaching the alternative of submission or separation.”

Only a few days after this inflammatory speech at Columbus, S. C.,
inciting South Carolinians to resist the pending Protective Tariff even
to the lengths of Secession, during a grand banquet at Richmond, Va.,
William B. Giles–another Free Trade leader–proposed, and those present
drank a toast to the “Tariff Schemer” in which was embodied a
declaration that “The Southerners will not long pay tribute.” Despite
these turbulent and treasonable mutterings, however, the “Jacksonian
Congress” passed the Act–a majority of members from the Cotton and New
England States voting against, while the vote of the Middle and Western
Free States was almost solidly for, it.

At a meeting held soon after the enactment of the Tariff of 1828, at
Walterborough Court House, S. C., an address was adopted and issued
which, after reciting the steps that had been taken by South Carolina
during the previous year to oppose it, by memorials and otherwise, and
stating that, despite their “remonstrances and implorations,” a Tariff
Bill had passed, not indeed, such as they apprehended, but “ten-fold
worse in all its oppressive features,” proceeded thus:

“From the rapid step of usurpation, whether we now act or not, the day
of open opposition to the pretended powers of the Constitution cannot be
far off, and it is that it may not go down in blood that we now call
upon you to resist. We feel ourselves standing underneath its mighty
protection, and declaring forth its free and recorded spirit, when we
say we must resist. By all the great principles of liberty–by the
glorious achievements of our fathers in defending them–by their noble
blood poured forth like water in maintaining them–by their lives in
suffering, and their death in honor and in glory;–our countrymen! we
must resist. Not secretly, as timid thieves or skulking smugglers–not
in companies and associations, like money chafferers or stock jobbers–
not separately and individually, as if this was ours and not our
country’s cause–but openly, fairly, fearlessly, and unitedly, as
becomes a free, sovereign and independent people. Does timidity ask
WHEN? We answer NOW!”

These inflammatory utterances, in South Carolina especially, stirred the
Southern heart more or less throughout the whole cotton belt; and the
pernicious principles which they embodied found ardent advocates even in
the Halls of Congress. In the Senate, Mr. Hayne, of South Carolina, was
their chief and most vehement spokesman, and in 1830 occurred that
memorable debate between him and Daniel Webster, which forever put an
end to all reasonable justification of the doctrine of Nullification,
and which furnished the ground upon which President Jackson afterward
stood in denouncing and crushing it out with the strong arm of the

In that great debate Mr. Hayne’s propositions were that the Constitution
is a “compact between the States,” that “in case of a plain, palpable
violation of the Constitution by the General Government, a State may
interpose; and that this interposition is constitutional”–a proposition
with which Mr. Webster took direct issue, in these words: “I say, the
right of a State to annul a law of Congress cannot be maintained, but on
the ground of the inalienable right of man to resist oppression; that is
to say, upon the ground of revolution. I admit that there is an
ultimate violent remedy, above the Constitution and in defiance of the
Constitution, which may be resorted to when a revolution is to be
justified. But I do not admit that, under the Constitution, and in
conformity with it, there is any mode in which a State Government, as a
member of the Union, can interfere and stop the progress of the general
movement by force of her own laws under any circumstances whatever.”
Mr. Webster insisted that “one of two things is true: either the laws of
the Union are beyond the discretion and beyond the control of the
States, or else we have no Constitution of General Government, and are
thrust back again to the days of the Confederation;” and, in concluding
his powerful argument, he declared that “even supposing the Constitution
to be a compact between the States,” Mr. Hayne’s doctrine was “not
maintainable, because, first, the General Government is not a party to
the compact, but a Government established by it, and vested by it with
the powers of trying and deciding doubtful questions; and secondly,
because, if the Constitution be regarded as a compact, not one State
only, but all the States are parties to that compact, and one can have
no right to fix upon it her own peculiar construction.”

While the comparatively miserable condition of the cotton-growing States
of the South was attributed by most of the Southern Free Traders solely
to the Protective Tariff of 1828, yet there were some Southerners
willing to concede–as did Mr. Hayne, in the Senate (1832)–that there
were “other causes besides the Tariff” underlying that condition, and to
admit that “Slaves are too improvident, too incapable of that minute,
constant, delicate attention, and that persevering industry which are
essential to manufacturing establishments,” the existence of which would
have made those States prosperous. But such admissions were unwilling
ones, and the Cotton-lords held only with the more tenacity to the view
that the Tariff was the chief cause of their condition.

The Tariff Act of 1832, essentially modifying that of 1828, was passed
with a view, in part, to quiet Southern clamor. But the Southern Cotton
States refused to be mollified. On the contrary, the Free Traders of
South Carolina proceeded to extreme measures, putting in action that
which they had before but threatened. On November 19, 1832, the leading
men of South Carolina met in Convention, and a few days thereafter–
[November 24,1882]–unanimously passed an Ordinance of Nullification
which declared the Tariff Acts of 1828 and 1832 “Unauthorized by the
Constitution,” and “null, void, and no law, nor binding on this State,
its officers, or citizens.” The people of the State were forbidden by
it to pay, after the ensuing February 1st, the import-duties therein
imposed. Under the provisions of the Ordinance, the State Legislature
was to pass an act nullifying these Tariff laws, and any appeal to the
United States Supreme Court against the validity of such nullifying act
was prohibited. Furthermore, in the event of the Federal Government
attempting to enforce these Tariff laws, the people of South Carolina
would thenceforth consider themselves out of the Union, and will
“forthwith proceed to organize a separate Government, and do all other
acts and things which sovereign and independent States may of right do.”

At the subsequent meeting of the Legislature, Mr. Hayne, who had been a
member of the Convention, having resigned his seat in the United States
Senate, was elected Governor of the State. He declared in his message
that he recognized “No allegiance as paramount to that which the
citizens of South Carolina owe to the State of their birth or their
adoption”–that doctrine of “paramount allegiance to the State” which in
after-years gave so much trouble to the Union and to Union-loving
Southerners–and declared that he held himself “bound by the highest of
all obligations to carry into effect, not only the Ordinance of the
Convention, but every act of the Legislature, and every judgment of our
own Courts, the enforcement of which may devolve upon the Executive,”
and “if,” continued he, “the sacred soil of Carolina should be polluted
by the footsteps of an invader, or be stained with the blood of her
citizens, shed in her defense, I trust in Almighty God * * * even should
she stand alone in this great struggle for constitutional liberty,
encompassed by her enemies, that there will not be found, in the wide
limits of the State, one recreant son who will not fly to the rescue,
and be ready to lay down his life in her defense.” In support of the
contemplated treason, he even went to the length of calling for an
enrolling of volunteer forces and of holding them ready for service.

But while South Carolina stood in this treasonable and defiant attitude,
arming for war against the Union, there happened to be in the
Presidential chair one of her own sons–General Jackson. Foreseeing
what was coming, he had, prior to the meeting of the Convention that
framed the Nullification Ordinance, ordered General Scott to Charleston
to look after “the safety of the ports of the United States”
thereabouts, and had sent to the Collector of that port precise
instructions as to his duty to resist in all ways any and all attempts
made under such Ordinance to defeat the operation of the Tariff laws
aforesaid. Having thus quietly prepared the arm of the General
Government for the exercise of its power, he issued in December a
Proclamation declaring his unalterable resolution to treat Nullification
as Treason–and to crush it.

In that famous document President Jackson said of Nullification: “If
this doctrine had been established at an earlier day, the Union would
have been dissolved in its infancy. The Excise law in Pennsylvania, the
Embargo and Non-intercourse law in the Eastern States, the Carriage-tax
in Virginia, were all deemed unconstitutional, and were more unequal in
their operation than any of the laws now complained of; but fortunately,
none of those States discovered that they had the right now claimed by
South Carolina. * * * The discovery of this important feature in our
Constitution was reserved for the present day. To the statesmen of
South Carolina belongs the invention, and upon the citizens of that
State will unfortunately fall the evils of reducing it to practice. * *
* I consider, then, the power to annul a law of the United States,
assumed by one State, incompatible with the existence of the Union,
contradicted expressly by the letter of the Constitution, unauthorized
by its spirit, inconsistent with every principle on which it was founded
and destructive of the great object for which it was formed. * * * To
say that any State may at pleasure secede from the Union, is to say that
the United States are not a Nation, because it would be a solecism to
contend that any part of a Nation might dissolve its connection with the
other parts, to their injury or ruin, without committing any, offense.”

Farther on, in his moving appeal to the South Carolinians, he bids them
beware of their leaders: “Their object is disunion; be not deceived by
names. Disunion, by armed force, is Treason.” And then, reminding them
of the deeds of their fathers in the Revolution, he proceeds: “I adjure
you, as you honor their memory, as you love the cause of freedom to
which they dedicated their lives, as you prize the peace of your
country, the lives of its best citizens, and your own fair fame, to
retrace your steps. Snatch from the archives of your State the
disorganizing edict of its Convention–bid its members to reassemble and
promulgate the decided expression of your will to remain in the path
which alone can conduct you to safety, prosperity, and honor–tell them
that, compared to disunion, all other evils are light, because that
brings with it an accumulation of all–declare that you will never take
the field unless the Star-spangled banner of your country shall float
over you–that you will not be stigmatized when dead, and dishonored and
scorned while you live, as the authors of the first attack on the
Constitution of your country! Its destroyers you cannot be.”

After asserting his firm “determination to execute the laws-to preserve
the Union by all constitutional means”–he concludes with the prayer,
“May the great Ruler of Nations grant, that the signal blessings with
which He has favored, ours may not, by the madness of party, or personal
ambition be disregarded and lost; and may His wise providence bring
those who have produced this crisis to see the folly before they feel
the misery, of civil strife; and inspire a returning veneration for that
Union, which, if we may dare to penetrate His designs, He has chosen as
the only means of attaining the high destinies to which we may
reasonably aspire.”

The firm attitude of General Jackson, together with the wise
precautionary measures he had already taken, and the practical unanimity
with which his declaration to crush out the Treason was hailed in most
of the Southern as well as the Northern States, almost at once broke the
back of Nullification.
[In this connection the following letter, written at that time by
the great Chief Justice Marshall, to a cousin of his, on the
subject of State Sovereignty, is of interest, as showing how
clearly his penetrating intellect perceived the dangers to the
Union hidden in the plausible doctrine of State Rights:

RICHMOND, May 7, 1833.


“I am much indebted to you for your pamphlet on Federal Relations,
which I have read with much satisfaction. No subject, as it seems
to me, is more misunderstood or more perverted. You have brought
into view numerous important historical facts which, in my
judgment, remove the foundation on which the Nullifiers and
Seceders have erected that superstructure which overshadows our
Union. You have, I think, shown satisfactorily that we never have
been perfectly distinct, independent societies, sovereign in the
sense in which the Nullifiers use the term. When colonies we
certainly were not. We were parts of the British empire, and
although not directly connected with each other so far as respected
government, we were connected in many respects, and were united to
the same stock. The steps we took to effect separation were, as
you have fully shown, not only revolutionary in their nature, but
they were taken conjointly. Then, as now, we acted in many
respects as one people. The representatives of each colony acted
for all. Their resolutions proceeded from a common source, and
operated on the whole mass. The army was a continental army
commanded by a continental general, and supported from a
continental treasury. The Declaration of Independence was made by
a common government, and was made for all the States.

“Everything has been mixed. Treaties made by Congress have been
considered as binding all the States. Some powers have been
exercised by Congress, some by the States separately. The lines
were not strictly drawn. The inability of Congress to carry its
legitimate powers into execution has gradually annulled those
powers practically, but they always existed in theory.
Independence was declared `in the name and by the authority of the
good people of these colonies.’ In fact we have always been united
in some respects, separate in others. We have acted as one people
for some purposes, as distinct societies for others. I think you
have shown this clearly, and in so doing have demonstrated the
fallacy of the principle on which either nullification or the right
of peaceful, constitutional secession is asserted.

“The time is arrived when these truths must be more generally
spoken, or our Union is at an end. The idea of complete
sovereignty of the State converts our government into a league,
and, if carried into practice, dissolves the Union.

“I am, dear sir,

“Yours affectionately,



“FRANKFORT, KY.”] The Nullifiers hailed with pretended satisfaction the report from the
House Committee on Ways and Means of a Bill making great reductions and
equalizations of Tariff duties, as a measure complying with their
demands, and postponed the execution of the Ordinance of Nullification
until the adjournment of Congress; and almost immediately afterward Mr.
Clay’s Compromise Tariff Act of 1833 “whereby one tenth of the excess
over twenty per cent. of each and every existing impost was to be taken
off at the close of that year; another tenth two years thereafter; so
proceeding until the 30th of June, 1842, when all duties should be
reduced to a maximum of twenty per cent.”–[Says Mr. Greeley, in his
History aforesaid.]–agreed to by Calhoun and other Nullifiers, was
passed, became a law without the signature of President Jackson, and
South Carolina once more became to all appearances a contented, law-
abiding State of the Union.

But after-events proved conclusively that the enactment of this
Compromise Tariff was a terrible blunder, if not a crime. Jackson had
fully intended to hang Calhoun and his nullifying coadjutors if they
persisted in their Treason. He knew that they had only seized upon the
Tariff laws as a pretext with which to justify Disunion, and prophesied
that “the next will be the Slavery or Negro question.” Jackson’s
forecast was correct. Free Trade, Slavery and Secession were from that
time forward sworn allies; and the ruin wrought to our industries by the
disasters of 1840, plainly traceable to that Compromise Tariff measure
of 1833, was only to be supplemented by much greater ruin and disasters
caused by the Free Trade Tariff of 1846–and to be followed by the armed
Rebellion of the Free Trade and Pro-Slavery States of the South in 1861,
in a mad attempt to destroy the Union.

It will be remembered that during the period of the Missouri Struggle,
1818-1820, the Territory of Arkansas was formed by an Act of Congress
out of that part of the Missouri Territory not included in the proposed
State of Missouri, and that the Act so creating the Territory of
Arkansas contained no provision restricting Slavery. Early in 1836, the
people of Arkansas Territory met in Convention and formed a Constitution
under which, “and by virtue of the treaty of cession by France to the
United States, of the Province of Louisiana,” they asked admission to
the Union as a State. Among other provisions of that Constitution was a
section rendering the State Legislature powerless to pass laws for the
emancipation of slaves without the consent of the owners, or to prevent
emigrants to that State from bringing with them slaves. On June 15th of
the same year, Arkansas was, under that Constitution, admitted to the
Union as a Slave State, with the sole reservation, that nothing in the
Act of admission should be” construed as an assent by Congress to all or
any of the propositions contained” in the said Constitution.

Long ere this, all the Northern and Middle States had made provision for
the emancipation of such slaves as remained within their borders, and
only a few years previous (in 1829 and 1831-32) Virginia had made strong
but insufficient efforts toward the same end. The failure to free
Virginia of Slavery–the effort to accomplish which had been made by
some of the greatest of her statesmen–only served to rivet the chains
of human bondage more securely throughout all the Slave States, and from
that time on, no serious agitation occurred in any one of them, looking
toward even the most gradual emancipation. On the other hand, the
advocates of the extension of the Slave-Power by the expansion of Slave-
territory, were ever on the alert, they considered it of the last
importance to maintain the balance of power between the Slave States and
the Free States. Hence, while they had secured in 1819 the cession from
Spain to the United States of the Slave-holding Floridas, and the
organization of the Slave Territory of Florida in 1822–which
subsequently came in as a Slave State under the same Act (1845) that
admitted the Free State of Iowa–their greedy eyes were now cast upon
the adjoining rich territories of Mexico.

Efforts had (in 1827-1829) been made to purchase from Mexico the domain
which was known as Texas. They had failed. But already a part of Texas
had been settled by adventurous Americans under Mexican grants and
otherwise; and General Sam Houston, an adherent of the Slave Power,
having become a leading spirit among them, fomented a revolution. In
March, 1836, Texas, under his guidance, proclaimed herself a Republic
independent of Mexico.

The War that ensued between Texas and Mexico ended in the flight of the
Mexican Army and the capture of Santa Anna at San Jacinto, and a treaty
recognizing Texan independence. In October, 1836, General Houston was
inaugurated President of the Republic of Texas. Close upon this
followed (in August, 1837) a proposition to our Government from the
Texan envoy for the annexation of Texas to the United States. President
Van Buren declined the offer. The Northern friends of Freedom were as
much opposed to this annexation project as the advocates of Slavery were
anxious for it. Even such conservative Northern Statesmen as Daniel
Webster strongly opposed the project. In a speech delivered in New York
[1837], after showing that the chief aim of our Government in the
acquisition of the Territory of Louisiana was to gain command of the
mouths of the great rivers to the sea, and that in the acquisition of
the Floridas our policy was based on similar considerations, Mr. Webster
declared that “no such necessity, no such policy, requires the
annexation of Texas,” and that we ought “for numerous and powerful
reasons to be content with our present boundaries. He recognized that
Slavery already existed under the guarantees of the Constitution and
those guarantees must be fulfilled; that “Slavery, as it exists in the
States, is beyond the power of Congress. It is a concern of the States
themselves,” but “when we come to speak of admitting new States, the
subject assumes an entirely different aspect. Our rights and our duties
are then both different. The Free States, and all the States, are then
at liberty to accept or to reject;” and he added, “In my opinion the
people of the United States will not consent to bring into the Union a
new, vastly extensive and Slaveholding country, large enough for a half
a dozen or a dozen States. In my opinion, they ought not to consent to

Farther on, in the same speech–after alluding to the strong feeling in
the Northern States against the extension of Slavery, not only as a
question of politics, but of conscience and religious conviction as
well-he deems him a rash man indeed “who supposes that a feeling of this
kind is to be trifled with or despised.” Said he: “It will assuredly
cause itself to be respected. It may be reasoned with; it may be made
willing–I believe it is entirely willing–to fulfill all existing
engagements and all existing duties–to uphold and defend the
Constitution as it is established, with whatever regrets about some
provisions which it does actually contain. But to coerce it into
silence, to endeavor to restrain its free expression, to seek to
compress and confine it, warm as it is, and more heated as such
endeavors would inevitably render it,–should this be attempted, I know
nothing, even in the Constitution or in the Union itself, which would
not be endangered by the explosion which might follow.”

In 1840, General Harrison, the Whig candidate, was elected to the
Presidency, but died within a few weeks after his inauguration in 1841,
and was succeeded by John Tyler. The latter favored the Slave Power;
and on April 12th, 1844, John C. Calhoun, his Secretary of State,
concluded with Texas a treaty of annexation–which was, however,
rejected by the Senate. Meanwhile the public mind was greatly agitated
over the annexation and other, questions.

[In the London Index, a journal established there by Jefferson
Davis’s agents to support the cause of the rebellious States, a
communication appeared during the early part of the war, Dec. 4,
1861, supposed to have been written by Mr. Mason, of Virginia, in
which he said: “To tell the Norths, the Butes, the Wedderburns of
the present day, that previous to the year 1839 the sovereign
States of the South had unalterably resolved on the specific ground
of the violation of the Federal Constitution by the tariff of
spoliation which the New England States had imposed upon them–to
secede from the Union; to tell them that in that year the leader of
the South, Calhoun, urged an English gentleman, to whom he had
fully explained the position of the South, and the intolerable
tyranny which the North inflicted upon it, to be the bearer of
credentials from the chief persons of the South, in order to invite
the attention of the British Government to the coming event; that
on his death-bed (Washington, March 31, 1850), he called around him
his political friends–one of whom is now in England–warned them
that in no event could the Union survive the Presidential election
of 1860, though it might possibly break up before that urged them
to be prepared; leaving with his dying words the sacred cause of
Southern secession a solemn legacy in their hands–to have told
this to the Norths and Dartmouths of the present day, with more and
even stronger evidence of the coming events of November, 1860,
would have been like speaking to the stones of the street. In
November, 1860, they were thoroughly ignorant of all the momentous
antecedents of secession–of their nature, their character, their
bearing, import, and consequences.”

In the same correspondence the distinguished Rebel emissary
substantially let out the fact that Calhoun was indirectly, through
himself (Mason), in secret communication with the British
Government as far back as 1841, with a view to securing its
powerful aid in his aforesaid unalterable resolve to Secede from
the Union; and then Mr. Mason pleads–but pleads in vain–for the
armed intervention of England at this later day. Said he:

“In the year 1841 the late Sir William Napier sent in two plans for
subduing the Union, to the War Office, in the first of which the
South was to be treated as an enemy, in the second as a friend and
ally. I was much consulted by him as to the second plan and was
referred to by name in it, as he showed by the acknowledgment of
this in Lord Fitzroy Somerset’s letter of reply. This plan fully
provided for the contingency of an invasion of Canada, and its
application would, in eighteen or twenty months, have reduced the
North to a much more impotent condition than it exhibits at
present. At this very moment the most difficult portion of that
plan has been perfectly accomplished by the South itself; and the
North, in accordance with Sir William Napier’s expectations, now
lies helpless before England, and at our absolute mercy. Nor is
there any doubt of this, and if Lord Palmerston is not aware of it
Mr. Seward certainly is. We have nothing remaining to do but to
stretch out our arm in the way Sir William Napier proposed, and the
Northern power–power as we ignorantly call it–must come to an
end. Sir William knew and well estimated the elements of which
that quasi power consisted; and he knew how to apply the
substantive power of England to dissolve it. In the best interest
of humanity, I venture to say that it is the duty of England to
apply this power without further delay–its duty to itself, to its
starving operatives, to France, to Europe, and to humanity. And in
the discharge of this great duty to the world at large there will
not even be the dignity of sacrifice or danger.”]

Threats and counter-threats of Disunion were made on either hand by the
opponents and advocates of Slavery-extension through annexation; nor was
it less agitated on the subject of a Protective Tariff.

The Compromise Tariff of 1833, together with President Jackson’s
upheaval of our financial system, produced, as has already been hinted,
terrible commercial disasters. “In 1840,” says competent authority, “all
prices had ruinously fallen; production had greatly diminished, and in
many departments of industry had practically ceased; thousands of
working men were idle, with no hope of employment, and their families
suffering from want. Our farmers were without markets, their products
rotted in their barns, and their lands, teeming with rich harvests, were
sold by the sheriff for debts and taxes. The Tariff, which robbed our
industries of Protection failed to supply Government with its necessary
revenues. The National Treasury in consequence was bankrupt, and the
credit of the Nation had sunk very low.”

Mr. Clay himself stated “the average depression in the value of property
under that state of things which existed before the Tariff of 1842 came
to the rescue of the country, at fifty per cent.” And hence it was that
Protection was made the chief issue of the Presidential campaign of
1840, which eventuated in the election of Harrison and Tyler, and in the
Tariff Act of August 30, 1842, which revived our trade and industries,
and brought back to the land a full measure of prosperity. With those
disasters fresh in the minds of the people, Protection continued to be a
leading issue in the succeeding Presidential campaign of 1844–but
coupled with the Texas-annexation issue. In that campaign Henry Clay
was the candidate of the Whig party and James K. Polk of the Democratic
party. Polk was an ardent believer in the annexation policy and stood
upon a platform declaring for the “re-occupation of Oregon and the re-
annexation of Texas at the earliest practicable moment”–as if the
prefix “re” legitimatized the claim in either case; Clay, on the other
hand, held that we had “fairly alienated our title to Texas by solemn
National compacts, to the fulfilment of which we stand bound by good
faith and National honor;” that “Annexation and War with Mexico are
identical,” and that he was “not willing to involve this country in a
foreign War for the object of acquiring Texas.”

[In his letter of April 17, 1844, published in the National

As to the Tariff issue also, Clay was the acknowledged champion of the
American system of Protection, while Polk was opposed to it, and was
supported by the entire Free-trade sentiment, whether North or South.

As the campaign progressed, it became evident that Clay would be
elected. Then occurred some of those fatalities which have more than
once, in the history of Presidential campaigns, overturned the most
reasonable expectations and defeated the popular will. Mr. Clay
committed a blunder and Mr. Polk an equivocation–to use the mildest
possible term. Mr. Clay was induced by Southern friends to write a
letter–[Published in the North Alabamian, Aug. 16, 1844.]–in which,
after stating that “far from having any personal objection to the
annexation of Texas, I should be glad to see it–without dishonor,
without War, with the common consent of the Union, and upon just and
fair terms,” he added: “I do not think that the subject of Slavery ought
to affect the question, one way or the other.” Mr. Polk, on the other
hand, wrote a letter in which he declared it to be “the duty of the
Government to extend, as far as it may be practicable to do so, by its
revenue laws and all other means within its power, fair and just
Protection to all the great interests of the whole Union, embracing
Agriculture, Manufactures, the Mechanic Arts, Commerce and Navigation.”
This was supplemented by a letter (August 8, 1844) from Judge Wilson
McCandless of Pennsylvania, strongly upholding the Protective principle,
claiming that Clay in his Compromise Tariff Bill had abandoned it, and
that Polk and Dallas had “at heart the true interests of Pennsylvania.”
Clay, thus betrayed by the treachery of Southern friends, was greatly
weakened, while Polk, by his beguiling letter, backed by the false
interpretation put upon it by powerful friends in the North, made the
North believe him a better Protectionist than Clay.

Polk was elected, and rewarded the misplaced confidence by making Robert
J. Walker his Secretary of the Treasury, and, largely through that
great Free Trader’s exertions, secured a repeal by Congress of the
Protective Tariff of 1842 and the enactment of the ruinous Free Trade
Tariff of 1846. Had Clay carried New York, his election was secure. As
it happened, Polk had a plurality in New York of but 5,106 in an immense
vote, and that slim plurality was given to him by the Abolitionists
throwing away some 15,000 on Birney. And thus also it curiously
happened that it was the Abolition vote which secured the election of
the candidate who favored immediate annexation and the extension of the
Slave Power!

Emboldened and apparently sustained by the result of the election, the
Slave Power could not await the inauguration of Mr. Polk, but proceeded
at once, under whip and spur, to drive the Texas annexation scheme
through Congress; and two days before the 4th of March, 1845, an Act
consenting to the admission of the Republic of Texas as a State of the
Union was approved by President Tyler.

In that Act it was provided that “New States of convenient size, not
exceeding four in number, in addition to the said State of Texas, and
having sufficient population, may hereafter, by the consent of said
State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be entitled
to admission under the provisions of the Federal Constitution; and such
States as may be formed out of that portion of said territory lying
south of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north latitude, commonly
known as the Missouri Compromise line, shall be admitted into the Union
with or without Slavery, as the people of each State asking admission
may desire. And in such State or States as shall be formed out of said
territory north of said Missouri Compromise line, Slavery or involuntary
servitude (except for crime) shall be prohibited.” As has been lucidly
stated by another,–[Greeley’s History]–“while seeming to curtail and
circumscribe Slavery north of the above parallel (that of 36 30′ north
latitude), this measure really extended it northward to that parallel,
which it had not yet approached, under the flag of Texas, within
hundreds of miles. But the chief end of this sham Compromise was the
involving of Congress in an indirect indorsement of the claim of Texas
to the entire left bank of the Rio Grande, from its mouth to its source;
and this was effected.”

Texas quickly consented to the Act of annexation, and in December, 1845,
a Joint Resolution formally admitting her as a State of the Union,
reported by Stephen A. Douglas, was duly passed.

In May, 1846, the American forces under General Taylor, which had been
dispatched to protect Texas from threatened assault, were attacked by
the Mexican army, which at Palo Alto was badly defeated and at Resaca de
la Palma driven back across the Rio Grande.

Congress immediately declared that by this invasion a state of War
existed between Mexico and the United States. Thus commenced the War
with Mexico–destined to end in the triumph of the American Army, and
the acquisition of large areas of territory to the United States. In
anticipation of such triumph, President Polk lost little time in asking
an appropriation of over two million dollars by Congress to facilitate
negotiations for peace with, and territorial cession from, Mexico. And
a Bill making such appropriation was quickly passed by the House of
Representatives–but with the following significant proviso attached,
which had been offered by Mr. Wilmot: “Provided. That as an express and
fundamental condition to the acquisition of any territory from the
Republic of Mexico by the United States, by virtue of any treaty that
may be negotiated between them, and to the use by the Executive of the
moneys herein appropriated, neither Slavery nor involuntary servitude
shall ever exist in any part of said territory, except for crime,
whereof the party shall first be duly convicted.”

The debate in the Senate upon the Wilmot proviso, which immediately
ensued, was cut short by the expiration of the Session of Congress–and
the Bill accordingly failed of passage.

In February, 1848, the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was made between
Mexico and the United States, and Peace reigned once more. About the
same time a Bill was passed by the Senate providing Territorial
Governments for Oregon, California and New Mexico, which provided for
the reference of all questions touching Slavery in such Territories to
the United States Supreme Court, for arbitration. The Bill, however,
failed in the House. The ensuing Presidential campaign resulted in the
election of General Taylor, the Whig candidate, who was succeeded upon
his death, July 10, 1850, by Fillmore. Meanwhile, on the Oregon
Territory Bill, in 1848, a strong effort had been made by Mr. Douglas
and others to incorporate a provision extending to the Pacific Ocean the
Missouri Compromise line of 36 30′ of north latitude and extending to
all future organizations of Territories of the United States the
principles of said Compromise. This provision was adopted by the
Senate, but the House struck it from the Bill; the Senate receded, and
Oregon was admitted as a Free Territory. But the conflict in Congress
between those who would extend and those who would restrict Slavery
still continued, and indeed gathered vehemence with time. In 1850,
California was clamoring for admission as a Free State to the Union, and
New Mexico and Utah sought to be organized under Territorial

In the heated discussions upon questions growing out of bills for these
purposes, and to rectify the boundaries of Texas, it was no easy matter
to reach an agreement of any sort. Finally, however, the Compromise of
1850, offered by Mr. Clay, was practically agreed to and carried out,
and under it: California was admitted as a Free State; New Mexico and
Utah were admitted to Territorial organization without a word pro or con
on the subject of Slavery; the State of Texas was awarded a pecuniary
compensation for the rectification of her boundaries; the Slave Trade in
the District of Columbia was abolished; and a more effectual Fugitive
Slave Act passed.

By both North and South, this Compromise of 1850, and the measures
growing out of it, were very generally acquiesced in, and for a while it
seemed as though a permanent settlement of the Slavery question had been
reached. But in the Fugitive Slave law, thus hastily enacted, lay
embedded the seed for further differences and excitements, speedily to
germinate. In its operation it proved not only unnecessarily cruel and
harsh, in the manner of the return to bondage of escaped slaves, but
also afforded a shield and support to the kidnapping of Free Negroes
from Northern States. The frequency of arrests in the Northern States,
and the accompanying circumstances of cruelty and brutality in the
execution of the law, soon made it especially odious throughout the
North, and created an active feeling of commiseration for the unhappy
victims of the Slave Power, which greatly intensified and increased the
growing Anti-Slavery sentiment in the Free States.

In 1852-53, an attempt was made in Congress to organize into the
Territory of Nebraska, the region of country lying west of Iowa and
Missouri. Owing to the opposition of the South the Bill was defeated.
In 1853-4 a similar Bill was reported to the Senate by Mr. Douglas, but
afterward at his own instance recommitted to the Committee on
Territories, and reported back by him again in such shape as to create,
instead of one, two Territories, that portion directly west of Missouri
to be called Kansas, and the balance to be known as Nebraska–one of the
sections of the Bill enacting:

“That in order to avoid all misconstruction it is hereby declared to be
the true intent and meaning of this Act, so far as the question of
Slavery is concerned, to carry into practical operation the following
propositions and principles, established by the Compromise measures of
1850, to wit:

“First, That all questions pertaining to Slavery in the Territories, and
the new States to be formed therefrom, are to be left to the decision of
the people residing therein through their appropriate representatives.

“Second, That ‘all cases involving title to slaves,’ and ‘questions of
personal freedom,’ are referred to the adjudication of the local
tribunals with the right of appeal to the Supreme Court of the United

“Third, That the provisions of the Constitution and laws of the United
States, in respect to fugitives from service, are to be carried into
faithful execution in all the `organized Territories,’ the same as in
the States.”

The sections authorizing Kansas and Nebraska to elect and send delegates
to Congress also prescribed:

“That the Constitution, and all laws of the United States which are not
locally inapplicable, shall have the same force and effect within the
said Territory, as elsewhere in the United States, except the section of
the Act preparatory to the admission of Missouri into the Union,
approved March 6th, 1820, which was superseded by the principles of the
Legislation of 1850, commonly called the Compromise Measures, and is
declared inoperative.”

And when “explaining this Kansas-Nebraska Bill” Mr. Douglas announced
that, in reporting it, “The object of the Committee was neither to
legislate Slavery in or out of the Territories; neither to introduce nor
exclude it; but to remove whatever obstacle Congress had put there, and
apply the doctrine of Congressional Non-intervention in accordance with
the principles of the Compromise Measures of 1850, and allow the people
to do as they pleased upon this as well as all other matters affecting
their interests.”

A vigorous and able debate ensued. A motion by Mr. Chase to strike out
the words “which was superseded by the principles of the legislation of
1850, commonly called the Compromise Measures,” was defeated decisively.
Subsequently Mr. Douglas moved to strike out the same words and insert
in place of them, these: “which being inconsistent with the principles
of Non-intervention by Congress with Slavery in the States and
Territories, as recognized by the legislation of 1850 (commonly called
the Compromise Measures), is hereby declared inoperative and void; it
being the true intent and meaning of this Act not to legislate Slavery
into any Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, but to leave
the people thereof perfectly free to form and regulate their domestic
institutions in their own way, subject only to the Constitution of the
United States”–and the motion was agreed to by a vote of 35 yeas to 10
nays. Mr. Chase immediately moved to add to the amendment just adopted
these words: “Under which, the people of the Territory, through their
appropriate representatives, may, if they see fit, prohibit the
existence of Slavery therein;” but this motion was voted down by 36 nays
to 10 yeas. This developed the rat in the meal-tub. The people were to
be “perfectly free” to act either way on the subject of Slavery, so long
as they did not prohibit Slavery! In this shape the Bill passed the

Public sentiment in the North was greatly stirred by this direct attempt
to repeal the Missouri Compromise. But by the superior parliamentary
tactics of Southern Representatives in the House, whereby the radical
friends of Freedom were shut out from the opportunity of amendment, a
House Bill essentially the same as the Senate Bill was subsequently
passed by the House, under the previous question, and afterward rapidly
passed the Senate, and was approved by the President. At once commenced
that long and terrible struggle between the friends of Free-Soil and the
friends of Slavery, for the possession of Kansas, which convulsed the
whole Country for years, and moistened the soil of that Territory with
streams of blood, shed in numerous “border-ruffian” conflicts.

The Territorial Government of Kansas was organized late in 1854, and an
“election” for Delegate held, at which the Pro-Slavery candidate
(Whitfield) was fraudulently elected. On March 30, 1855, a Territorial
Legislature was similarly chosen by Pro-Slavery voters “colonized” from
Missouri. That Legislature, upon its meeting, proceeded at once to
enact most outrageous Pro-Slavery laws, which being vetoed by the Free-
Soil Governor (Reeder), were passed over the veto, and the Free-Soil
Governor had to give place to one who favored Slavery in Kansas. But
the Free-Soil settlers of Kansas, in Mass Convention at Big Springs,
utterly repudiated the bogus Legislature and all its acts, to which they
refused submission.

In consequence of these radical differences, two separate elections for
Delegate in Congress were held by the opposing factions, at one of which
was elected the Pro-Slavery Whitfield, and at the other the Free-Soiler
Reeder. Furthermore, under a call issued by the Big Springs Convention,
a Free-State Constitutional Convention was held in October, 1855, at
Topeka, which framed a Free-State Constitution, and asked admission
under it to the Union.

In 1856, the House of Representatives–which, after a protracted
struggle, had elected N. P. Banks Speaker–passed a Bill, by a bare
majority, admitting Kansas under her Topeka Constitution; but the Senate
defeated it. July 4, 1856, by order of President Pierce, the Free-State
Legislature, chosen under the Topeka Constitution to meet at Topeka, was
dispersed by United States Troops. Yet, despite all oppositions,
discouragements, and outrages, the Free-State population of
Kansas continued to increase from immigration.

In 1857, the Pro-Slavery Legislature elected by the Pro-Slavery voters
at their own special election–the Free-State voters declining to
participate–called a Constitutional Convention at Lecompton, which
formed a Pro-Slavery Constitution. This was submitted to the people in
such dexterous manner that they could only vote “For the Constitution
with Slavery” or “For the Constitution without Slavery”–and, as the
Constitution prescribed that “the rights of property in Slaves now in
the Territory, shall in no manner be interfered with,” to vote “for the
Constitution Without Slavery” was an absurdity only paralleled by the
course of the United States Senate in refusing to permit the people of
Kansas “to prohibit Slavery” while at the same time declaring them
“perfectly free to act” as they chose in the matter.

The Constitution, with Slavery, was thus adopted by a vote of over
6,000. But in the meanwhile, at another general election held for the
purpose, and despite all the frauds perpetrated by the Pro-Slavery men,
a Free-State Legislature, and Free-State Delegate to Congress had been
elected; and this Legislature submitted the Lecompton Pro-Slavery
Constitution to the people, January 4, 1858, so that they could vote:
“For the Lecompton Constitution with Slavery,” “For the Lecompton
Constitution without Slavery,” or “Against the Lecompton Constitution.”
The consequence was that the Lecompton Constitution was defeated by a
majority of over 10,000 votes–the Missouri Pro-Slavery colonists
declining to recognize the validity of any further election on the

Meanwhile, in part upon the issues growing out of this Kansas conflict,
the political parties of the Nation had passed through another
Presidential campaign (1856), in which the Democratic candidate Buchanan
had been elected over Fremont the “Republican,” and Fillmore the
“American,” candidates. Both Houses of Congress being now Democratic,
Mr. Buchanan recommended them to accept and ratify the Lecompton Pro-
Slavery Constitution.

In March, 1858, the Senate passed a Bill–against the efforts of Stephen
A. Douglas–accepting it. In the House, however, a substitute offered
by Mr. Montgomery (Douglas Democrat) known as the Crittenden-Montgomery
Compromise, was adopted. The Senate refused to concur, and the report
of a Committee of Conference–providing for submitting to the Kansas
people a proposition placing limitations upon certain public land
advantages stipulated for in the Lecompton Constitution, and in case
they rejected the proposition that another Constitutional Convention
should be held–was adopted by both Houses; and the proposition being
rejected by the people of Kansas, the Pro-Slavery Lecompton Constitution
fell with it.

In 1859 a Convention, called by the Territorial Legislature for the
purpose, met at Wyandot, and framed a Free State Constitution which was
adopted by the people in October of that year, and at the ensuing State
election in December the State went Republican. In April, 1860, the
House of Representatives passed a Bill admitting Kansas as a State under
that Constitution, but the Democratic Senate adjourned without action on
the Bill; and it was not until early in 1861 that Kansas was at last

In the meantime, the Free Trade Tariff of 1846 had produced the train of
business and financial disasters that its opponents predicted. Instead
of prosperity everywhere in the land, there was misery and ruin. Even
the discovery and working of the rich placer mines of California and the
consequent flow, in enormous volume, of her golden treasure into the
Eastern States, could not stay-the wide-spread flood of disaster.
President Fillmore, who had succeeded General Taylor on the latter’s
death, frequently called the attention of Congress to the evils produced
by this Free Trade, and to the necessity of protecting our manufactures
“from ruinous competition from abroad.” So also with his successor,
President Buchanan, who, in his Message of 1857, declared that “In the
midst of unsurpassed plenty in all the productions and in all the
elements of national wealth, we find our manufactures suspended, our
public works retarded, our private enterprises of different kinds
abandoned, and thousands of useful laborers thrown out of employment and
reduced to want.” Further than this, the financial credit of the Nation
was at zero. It was financially bankrupt before the close of Buchanan’s
Presidential term.


But now occurred the great Presidential struggle of 1860 –which
involved not alone the principles of Protection, but those of human
Freedom, and the preservation of the Union itself-between Abraham
Lincoln of Illinois, the candidate of the Republican party, as against
Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois, the National or Douglas-Democratic
candidate, John C. Breckinridge of Kentucky, the Administration or
Breckinridge-Democratic candidate, and John Bell of Tennessee, the
candidate of the Bell-Union party. The great preliminary struggle which
largely influenced the determination of the Presidential political
conflict of 1860, had, however, taken place in the State of Illinois,
two years previously. To that preliminary political contest of 1858,
therefore, we will now turn our eyes–and, in order to fully understand
it, it may be well to glance back over a few years. In 1851 the
Legislature of Illinois had adopted–[The vote in the House being 65
yeas to 4 nays.]–the following resolution: “Resolved, That our Liberty
and Independence are based upon the right of the people to form for
themselves such a government as they may choose; that this great
principle, the birthright of freemen, the gift of Heaven, secured to us
by the blood of our ancestors, ought to be secured to future
generations, and no limitation ought to be applied to this power in the
organization of any Territory of the United States, of either
Territorial Government or State Constitution, provided the government so
established shall be Republican and in conformity with the Constitution
of the United States.” This resolution was a practical endorsement of
the course of Stephen A. Douglas in supporting the Compromise measures
of 1850, which he had defended as being “all founded upon the great
principle that every people ought to possess the right to form and
regulate their own domestic institutions in their own way,” and that
“the same principle” should be “extended to all of the Territories of
the United States.”

In accordance with his views and the resolution aforesaid, Mr. Douglas
in 1854, as we have already seen, incorporated in the Kansas-Nebraska
Bill a clause declaring it to be “the true intent and meaning of the Act
not to legislate Slavery into any State or Territory, or to exclude it
therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form and
regulate their domestic institutions in their own way, subject only to
the Constitution of the United States.”

His position, as stated by himself, was, substantially that the
Lecompton Pro-Slavery Constitution was a fraud upon the people of
Kansas, in that it did not embody the will of that people; and he denied
the right of Congress to force a Constitution upon an unwilling people–
without regard, on his part, to whether that Constitution allowed or
prohibited Slavery or any other thing, whether good or bad. He held
that the people themselves were the sole judges of whether it is good or
bad, and whether desirable or not.

The Supreme Court of the United States had in the meantime made a
decision in a case afterward known as the “Dred Scott case,” which was
held back until after the Presidential election of 1856 had taken place,
and added fuel to the political fire already raging. Dred Scott was a
Negro Slave. His owner voluntarily took him first into a Free State,
and afterward into a Territory which came within the Congressional
prohibitive legislation aforesaid. That decision in brief was
substantially that no Negro Slave imported from Africa, nor his
descendant, can be a citizen of any State within the meaning of the
Constitution; that neither the Congress nor any Territorial Legislature
has under the Constitution of the United States, the power to exclude
Slavery from any Territory of the United States; and that it is for the
State Courts of the Slave State, into which the negro has been conveyed
by his master, and not for the United States Courts, to decide whether
that Negro, having been held to actual Slavery in a Free State, has, by
virtue of residence in such State, himself become Free.

Now it was, that the meaning of the words, “subject only to the
Constitution,” as used in the Kansas-Nebraska Act, began to be
discerned. For if the people of a Territory were to be “perfectly
free,” to deal with Slavery as they chose, “subject only to the
Constitution” they were by this Judicial interpretation of that
instrument “perfectly free” to deal with Slavery in any way so long as
they did not attempt “to exclude” it! The thing was all one-sided. Mr.
Douglas’s attitude in inventing the peculiar phraseology in the Kansas-
Nebraska Act–which to some seemed as if expressly “made to order” for
the Dred Scott decision–was criticized with asperity; the popularity,
however, of his courageous stand against President Buchanan on the
Lecompton fraud, seemed to make it certain that, his term in the United
States Senate being about to expire, he would be overwhelmingly re-
elected to that body.

But at this juncture occurred something, which for a long time held the
result in doubt, and drew the excited attention of the whole Nation to
Illinois as the great battle-ground. In 1858 a Republican State
Convention was held at Springfield, Ill., which nominated Abraham
Lincoln as the Republican candidate for United States Senator to succeed
Senator Douglas in the National Legislature. On June 16th–after such
nomination–Mr. Lincoln made to the Convention a speech–in which, with
great and incisive power, he assailed Mr. Douglas’s position as well as
that of the whole Democratic Pro-Slavery Party, and announced in compact
and cogent phrase, from his own point of view, the attitude, upon the
Slavery question, of the Republican Party.

In that remarkable speech–which at once attracted the attention of the
Country–Mr. Lincoln said: “We are now far into the fifth year, since a
policy was initiated with the avowed object, and confident promise, of
putting an end to Slavery agitation. Under the operation of that
policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly
augmented. In my opinion it will not cease, until a crisis shall have
been reached and passed. ‘A House divided against itself cannot stand.’
I believe this Government cannot endure permanently half Slave and half
Free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved–I do not expect the
House to fall–but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will
become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of Slavery
will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind
shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate
extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become
alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as

[Governor Seward’s announcement of an “irrepressible conflict” was
made four months later.]

He then proceeded to lay bare and closely analyze the history of all
that had been done, during the four years preceding, to produce the
prevailing condition of things touching human Slavery; describing it as
resulting from that, “now almost complete legal combination-piece of
machinery, so to speak–compounded of the Nebraska doctrine and the Dred
Scott decision.” After stating the several points of that decision, and
that the doctrine of the “Sacred right of self-government” had been
perverted by the Nebraska “Squatter Sovereignty,” argument to mean that,
“if any one man chose to enslave another, no third man shall be allowed
to object,” he proceeded to show the grounds upon which he charged “pre-
concert” among the builders of that machinery. Said he: “The people
were to be left perfectly free, ‘subject only to the Constitution.’
What the Constitution had to do with it, outsiders could not see.
Plainly enough now, it was an exactly fitted niche for the Dred Scott
decision to afterward come in and declare the perfect freedom of the
people to be just no freedom at all. Why was the amendment, expressly
declaring the right of the people, voted down? Plainly enough now, the
adoption of it would have spoiled the niche for the Dred Scott decision.
Why was the Court decision held up? Why even a Senator’s individual
opinion withheld, till after the Presidential election? Plainly enough
now: the speaking out then would have damaged the ‘perfectly free’
argument upon which the election was to be carried. Why the outgoing
President’s felicitation on the indorsement? Why the delay of a re-
argument? Why the incoming President’s advance exhortation in favor of
the decision? These things look like the cautious patting and petting
of a spirited horse, preparatory to mounting him, when it is dreaded
that he may give the rider a fall. And why the hasty after-indorsement
of the decision, by the President and others? We cannot absolutely know
that all these exact adaptations are the result of pre-concert. But
when we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know
have been gotten out at different times and places and by different
workmen–Stephen, Franklin, Roger, and James–[Douglas, Pierce, Taney
and Buchanan.]–for instance–and when we see these timbers joined
together, and see they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all
the tenons and mortices exactly fitting, and all the lengths and
proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective
places, and not a piece too many or too few–not omitting even the
scaffolding, or, if a single piece be lacking, we see the place in the
frame exactly fitted and prepared yet to bring such piece in–in such a
case, we find it impossible not to believe that Stephen and Franklin and
Roger and James all understood one another from the beginning, and all
worked upon a common plan or draft drawn up before the first blow was

He drew attention also to the fact that by the Nebraska Bill the people
of a State, as well as a Territory, were to be left “perfectly free,”
“subject only to the Constitution,” and that the object of lugging a
“State” into this merely Territorial law was to enable the United States
Supreme Court in some subsequent decision to declare, when the public
mind had been sufficiently imbued with Judge Douglas’s notion of not
caring “whether Slavery be voted up or voted down,” that “the
Constitution of the United States does not permit a State to exclude
Slavery from its limits”–which would make Slavery “alike lawful in all
the States.” That, he declared to be Judge Douglas’s present mission:–
“His avowed mission is impressing the ‘public heart’ to care nothing
about it.” Hence Mr. Lincoln urged Republicans to stand by their cause,
which must be placed in the hands of its friends, “Whose hands are free,
whose hearts are in the work–who do care for the result;” for he held
that “a living dog is better than a dead lion.”

On the evening of July 9, 1858, at Chicago, Mr. Douglas (Mr. Lincoln
being present) spoke to an enthusiastic assemblage, which he fitly
described as a “vast sea of human faces,” and, after stating that he
regarded “the Lecompton battle as having been fought and the victory
won, because the arrogant demand for the admission of Kansas under the
Lecompton Constitution unconditionally, whether her people wanted it or
not, has been abandoned, and the principle which recognizes the right of
the people to decide for themselves has been submitted in its place,” he
proceeded to vindicate his position throughout; declared that he opposed
“the Lecompton monstrosity solely on the ground than it was a violation
of the fundamental principles of free government; on the ground that it
was not the act and deed of the people of Kansas; that it did not embody
their will; that they were averse to it;” and hence he “denied the right
of Congress to force it upon them, either as a Free State or a Slave

Said he: “I deny the right of Congress to force a Slaveholding State
upon an unwilling people. I deny their right to force a Free State upon
an unwilling people. I deny their right to force a good thing upon a
people who are unwilling to receive it. The great principle is the
right of every community to judge and decide for itself, whether a thing
is right or wrong, whether it would be good or evil for them to adopt
it; and the right of free action, the right of free thought, the right
of free judgment upon the question is dearer to every true American than
any other under a free Government. * * * It is no answer to this
argument to say that Slavery is an evil, and hence should not be
tolerated. You must allow the people to decide for themselves whether
it is good or evil.” He then adverted to the arraignment of himself by
Mr. Lincoln, and took direct issue with that gentleman on his
proposition that, as to Freedom and Slavery, “the Union will become all
one thing or all the other;” and maintained on the contrary, that “it is
neither desirable nor possible that there should be uniformity in the
local institutions and domestic regulations of the different States of
this Union.”

Upon the further proposition of Mr. Lincoln, which Mr. Douglas described
as “a crusade against the Supreme Court of the United States on account
of the Dred Scott decision,” and as “an appeal from the decision” of
that Court “upon this high Constitutional question to a Republican
caucus sitting in the country,” he also took “direct and distinct issue
with him.” To “the reason assigned by Mr. Lincoln for resisting the
decision of the Supreme Court in the Dred Scott case * * * because it
deprives the Negro of the privileges, immunities and rights of
citizenship which pertain, according to that decision, only to the White
man,” Mr. Douglas also took exception thus: “I am free to say to you
that in my opinion this Government of ours is founded on the White
basis. It was made by the White man for the benefit of the White man,
to be administered by White men, in such manner as they should
determine. It is also true that a Negro, an Indian, or any other man of
inferior race to a White man, should be permitted to enjoy, and humanity
requires that he should have, all the rights, privileges, and immunities
which he is capable of exercising consistent with the safety of society.
* * * But you may ask me what are these rights and these privileges?
My answer is, that each State must decide for itself the nature and
extent of these rights. * * * Without indorsing the wisdom of that
decision, I assert that Virginia has the same power by virtue of her
sovereignty to protect Slavery within her limits, as Illinois has to
banish it forever from our own borders. I assert the right of each
State to decide for itself on all these questions, and I do not
subscribe to the doctrine of my friend, Mr. Lincoln, that uniformity is
either desirable or possible. I do not acknowledge that the States must
all be Free or must all be Slave. I do not acknowledge that the Negro
must have civil and political rights everywhere or nowhere. * * * I do
not acknowledge any of these doctrines of uniformity in the local and
domestic regulations in the different States. * * * Mr. Lincoln goes
for a warfare upon the Supreme Court of the United States because of
their judicial decision in the Dred Scott case. I yield obedience to
the decisions in that Court–to the final determination of the highest
judicial tribunal known to our Constitution. He objects to the Dred
Scott decision because it does not put the Negro in the possession of
the rights of citizenship on an equality with the White man. I am
opposed to Negro equality. * * * I would extend to the Negro, and the
Indian, and to all dependent races every right, every privilege, and
every immunity consistent with the safety and welfare of the White
races; but equality they never should have, either political or social,
or in any other respect whatever. * * * My friends, you see that the
issues are distinctly drawn.”

On the following evening (July 10th) at Chicago, Mr. Lincoln addressed
another enthusiastic assemblage, in reply to Mr. Douglas; and, after
protesting against a charge that had been made the previous night by the
latter, of an “unnatural and unholy” alliance between Administration
Democrats and Republicans to defeat him, as being beyond his own
knowledge and belief, proceeded: “Popular Sovereignty! Everlasting
Popular Sovereignty! Let us for a moment inquire into this vast matter
of Popular Sovereignty. What is Popular Sovereignty? We recollect at
an early period in the history of this struggle there was another name
for the same thing–Squatter Sovereignty. It was not exactly Popular
Sovereignty, but Squatter Sovereignty. What do those terms mean? What
do those terms mean when used now? And vast credit is taken by our
friend, the Judge, in regard to his support of it, when he declares the
last years of his life have been, and all the future years of his life
shall be, devoted to this matter of Popular Sovereignty. What is it?
Why it is the Sovereignty of the People! What was Squatter Sovereignty?
I suppose if it had any significance at all, it was the right of the
people to govern themselves, to be sovereign in their own affairs while
they were squatted down in a country not their own–while they had
squatted on a territory that did not belong to them in the sense that a
State belongs to the people who inhabit it–when it belonged to the
Nation–such right to govern themselves was called ‘Squatter

“Now I wish you to mark. What has become of that Squatter Sovereignty?
What has become of it? Can you get anybody to tell you now that the
people of a Territory have any authority to govern themselves, in regard
to this mooted question of Slavery, before they form a State
Constitution? No such thing at all, although there is a general running
fire and although there has been a hurrah made in every speech on that
side, assuming that that policy had given the people of a Territory the
right to govern themselves upon this question; yet the point is dodged.
To-day it has been decided–no more than a year ago it was decided by
the Supreme Court of the United States, and is insisted upon to-day,
that the people of a Territory have no right to exclude Slavery from a
Territory, that if any one man chooses to take Slaves into a Territory,
all the rest of the people have no right to keep them out. This being
so, and this decision being made one of the points that the Judge
(Douglas) approved, * * * he says he is in favor of it, and sticks to
it, and expects to win his battle on that decision, which says there is
no such thing as Squatter Sovereignty; but that any man may take Slaves
into a Territory and all the other men in the Territory may be opposed
to it, and yet by reason of the Constitution they cannot prohibit it;
when that is so, how much is left of this vast matter of Squatter
Sovereignty, I should like to know? Again, when we get to the question
of the right of the people to form a State Constitution as they please,
to form it with Slavery or without Slavery–if that is anything new, I
confess I don’t know it * * *.

“We do not remember that, in that old Declaration of Independence, it is
said that ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are
created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted
among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.’
There, is the origin of Popular Sovereignty. Who, then, shall come in
at this day and claim that he invented it? The Lecompton Constitution
connects itself with this question, for it is in this matter of the
Lecompton Constitution that our friend, Judge Douglas, claims such vast
credit. I agree that in opposing the Lecompton Constitution, so far as
I can perceive, he was right. * * * All the Republicans in the Nation
opposed it, and they would have opposed it just as much without Judge
Douglas’s aid as with it. They had all taken ground against it long
before he did. Why, the reason that he urges against that Constitution,
I urged against him a year before. I have the printed speech in my hand
now. The argument that he makes, why that Constitution should not be
adopted, that the people were not fairly represented nor allowed to
vote, I pointed out in a speech a year ago which I hold in my hand now,
that no fair chance was to be given to the people. * * * The Lecompton
Constitution, as the Judge tells us, was defeated. The defeat of it was
a good thing or it was not. He thinks the defeat of it was a good
thing, and so do I, and we agree in that. Who defeated it? [A voice–
‘Judge Douglas.’] Yes, he furnished himself, and if you suppose he
controlled the other Democrats that went with him, he furnished three
votes, while the Republicans furnished twenty. That is what he did to
defeat it. In the House of Representatives he and his friends furnished
some twenty votes, and the Republicans furnished ninety odd. Now, who
was it that did the work? * * * Ground was taken against it by the
Republicans long before Douglas did it. The proportion of opposition to
that measure is about five to one.”

Mr. Lincoln then proceeded to take up the issues which Mr. Douglas had
joined with him the previous evening. He denied that he had said, or
that it could be fairly inferred from what he had said, in his
Springfield speech, that he was in favor of making War by the North upon
the South for the extinction of Slavery, “or, in favor of inviting the
South to a War upon the North, for the purpose of nationalizing
Slavery.” Said he: “I did not even say that I desired that Slavery
should be put in course of ultimate extinction. I do say so now,
however; so there need be no longer any difficulty about that. * * * I
am tolerably well acquainted with the history of the Country and I know
that it has endured eighty-two years half Slave and half Free. I
believe–and that is what I meant to allude to there–I believe it has
endured, because during all that time, until the introduction of the
Nebraska Bill, the public mind did rest all the, time in the belief that
Slavery was in course of ultimate extinction. That was what gave us the
rest that we had through that period of eighty-two years; at least, so I

“I have always hated Slavery, I think, as much as any Abolitionist–I
have been an Old Line Whig–I have always hated it, but I have always
been quiet about it until this new era of the introduction of the
Nebraska Bill began. I always believed that everybody was against it,
and that it was in course of ultimate extinction. * * * The great mass
of the Nation have rested in the belief that Slavery was in course of
ultimate extinction. They had reason so to believe. The adoption of
the Constitution and its attendant history led the People to believe so,
and that such was the belief of the framers of the Constitution itself.
Why did those old men about the time of the adoption of the Constitution
decree that Slavery should not go into the new territory, where it had
not already gone? Why declare that within twenty years the African
Slave Trade, by which Slaves are supplied, might be cut off by Congress?
Why were all these acts? I might enumerate more of these acts–but
enough. What were they but a clear indication that the framers of the
Constitution intended and expected the ultimate extinction of that

“And now, when I say, as I said in my speech that Judge Douglas has
quoted from, when I say that I think the opponents of Slavery will
resist the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind
shall rest with the belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction,
I only mean to say, that they will place it where the founders of this
Government originally placed it. I have said a hundred times, and I
have now no inclination to take it back, that I believe there is no
right, and ought to be no inclination in the people of the Free States,
to enter into the Slave States, and interfere with the question of
Slavery at all. I have said that always; Judge Douglas has heard me say
it–if not quite a hundred times, at least as good as a hundred times;
and when it is said that I am in favor of interfering with Slavery where
it exists, I know that it is unwarranted by anything I have ever
intended, and as I believe, by anything I have ever said. If, by any
means, I have ever used language which could fairly be so construe (as,
however, I believe I never have) I now correct it. So much, then, for
the inference that Judge Douglas draws, that I am in favor of setting
the Sections at War with one another.

“Now in relation to his inference that I am in favor of a general
consolidation of all the local institutions of the various States * * *
I have said, very many times in Judge Douglas’s hearing, that no man
believed more than I in the principle of self-government from beginning
to end. I have denied that his use of that term applies properly. But
for the thing itself, I deny that any man has ever gone ahead of me in
his devotion to the principle, whatever he may have done in efficiency
in advocating it. I think that I have said it in your hearing–that I
believe each individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with
himself and the fruit of his labor, so far as it in no wise interferes
with any other man’s rights–that each community, as a State, has a
right to do exactly as it pleases with all the concerns within that
State that interfere with the rights of no other State, and that the
General Government, upon principle, has no right to interfere with
anything other than that general class of things that does concern the
whole. I have said that at all times.

“I have said, as illustrations, that I do not believe in the right of
Illinois to interfere with the cranberry laws of Indiana, the oyster
laws of Virginia, or the liquor laws of Maine. I have said these things
over and over again, and I repeat them here as my sentiments. * * *
What can authorize him to draw any such inference? I suppose there
might be one thing that at least enabled him to draw such an inference
that would not be true with me or many others, that is, because he looks
upon all this matter of Slavery as an exceedingly little thing–this
matter of keeping one-sixth of the population of the whole Nation in a
state of oppression and tyranny unequaled in the World.

“He looks upon it as being an exceedingly little thing only equal to the
cranberry laws of Indiana–as something having no moral question in it–
as something on a par with the question of whether a man shall pasture
his land with cattle, or plant it with tobacco–so little and so small a
thing, that he concludes, if I could desire that anything should be done
to bring about the ultimate extinction of that little thing, I must be
in favor of bringing about an amalgamation of all the other little
things in the Union.

“Now it so happens–and there, I presume, is the foundation of this
mistake–that the Judge thinks thus; and it so happens that there is a
vast portion of the American People that do not look upon that matter as
being this very little thing. They look upon it as a vast moral evil;
they can prove it as such by the writings of those who gave us the
blessings of Liberty which we enjoy, and that they so looked upon it,
and not as an evil merely confining itself to the States where it is
situated; while we agree that, by the Constitution we assented to, in
the States where it exists we have no right to interfere with it,
because it is in the Constitution; and we are by both duty and
inclination to stick by that Constitution in all its letter and spirit,
from beginning to end. * * * The Judge can have no issue with me on a
question of establishing uniformity in the domestic regulations of the
States. * * *

“Another of the issues he says that is to be made with me, is upon his
devotion to the Dred Scott decision, and my opposition to it. I have
expressed heretofore, and I now repeat, my opposition to the Dred Scott
decision; but I should be allowed to state the nature of that
opposition. * * * What is fairly implied by the term Judge Douglas has
used, ‘resistance to the decision?’ I do not resist it. If I wanted to
take Dred Scott from his master, I would be interfering with property
and that terrible difficulty that Judge Douglas speaks of, of
interfering with property, would arise. But I am doing no such thing as
that, but all that I am doing is refusing to obey it, as a political
rule. If I were in Congress, and a vote should come up on a question
whether Slavery should be prohibited in a new Territory, in spite of the
Dred Scott decision, I would vote that it should. That is what I would

“Judge Douglas said last night, that before the decision he might
advance his opinion, and it might be contrary to the decision when it
was made; but after it was made, he would abide by it until it was
reversed. Just so! We let this property abide by the decision, but we
will try to reverse that decision. We will try to put it where Judge
Douglas would not object, for he says he will obey it until it is
reversed. Somebody has to reverse that decision, since it is made, and
we mean to reverse it, and we mean to do it peaceably.

“What are the uses of decisions of Courts? They have two uses. As
rules of property they have two uses. First, they decide upon the
question before the Court. They decide in this case that Dred Scott is
a Slave. Nobody resists that. Not only that, but they say to everybody
else, that persons standing just as Dred Scott stands, are as he is.
That is, they say that when a question comes up upon another person, it
will be so decided again, unless the Court decides in another way–
unless the Court overrules its decision.–Well, we mean to do what we
can to have the Court decide the other way. That is one thing we mean
to try to do.

“The sacredness that Judge Douglas throws around this decision is a
degree of sacredness that has never before been thrown around any other
decision. I have never heard of such a thing. Why, decisions
apparently contrary to that decision, or that good lawyers thought were
contrary to that decision, have been made by that very Court before. It
is the first of its kind; it is an astonisher in legal history. It is a
new wonder of the world. It is based upon falsehood in the main as to
the facts–allegations of facts upon which it stands are not facts at
all in many instances; and no decision made on any question–the first
instance of a decision made under so many unfavorable circumstances–
thus placed, has ever been held by the profession as law, and it has
always needed confirmation before the lawyers regarded it as settled
law. But Judge Douglas will have it that all hands must take this
extraordinary decision, made under these extraordinary circumstances,
and give their vote in Congress in accordance with it, yield to it and
obey it in every possible sense.

“Circumstances alter cases. Do not gentlemen remember the case of that
same Supreme Court, some twenty-five or thirty years ago, deciding that
a National Bank was Constitutional? * * * The Bank charter ran out,
and a recharter was granted by Congress. That re-charter was laid
before General Jackson. It was urged upon him, when he denied the
Constitutionality of the Bank, that the Supreme Court had decided that
it was Constitutional; and General Jackson then said that the Supreme
Court had no right to lay down a rule to govern a co-ordinate branch of
the Government, the members of which had sworn to support the
Constitution–that each member had sworn to support that Constitution as
he understood it. I will venture here to say, that I have heard Judge
Douglas say that he approved of General Jackson for that act. What has
now become of all his tirade about ‘resistance to the Supreme Court?'”

After adverting to Judge Douglas’s warfare on “the leaders” of the
Republican party, and his desire to have “it understood that the mass of
the Republican party are really his friends,” Mr. Lincoln said: “If you
indorse him, you tell him you do not care whether Slavery be voted up or
down, and he will close, or try to close, your mouths with his
declaration repeated by the day, the week, the month, and the year. Is
that what you mean? * * * Now I could ask the Republican party, after
all the hard names that Judge Douglas has called them by, all his
repeated charges of their inclination to marry with and hug negroes–all
his declarations of Black Republicanism–by the way, we are improving,
the black has got rubbed off–but with all that, if he be indorsed by
Republican votes, where do you stand? Plainly, you stand ready saddled,
bridled, and harnessed, and waiting to be driven over to the Slavery-
extension camp of the Nation–just ready to be driven over, tied
together in a lot–to be driven over, every man with a rope around his
neck, that halter being held by Judge Douglas. That is the question.
If Republican men have been in earnest in what they have done, I think
that they has better not do it. * * *

“We were often–more than once at least–in the course of Judge
Douglas’s speech last night, reminded that this Government was made for
White men–that he believed it was made for White men. Well, that is
putting it in a shape in which no one wants to deny it; but the Judge
then goes into his passion for drawing inferences that are not
warranted. I protest, now and forever, against that counterfeit logic
which presumes that because I do not want a Negro woman for a Slave I do
necessarily want her for a wife. My understanding is that I need not
have her for either; but, as God has made us separate, we can leave one
another alone, and do one another much good thereby. There are White
men enough to marry all the White women, and enough Black men to marry
all the Black women, and in God’s name let them be so married. The
Judge regales us with the terrible enormities that take place by the
mixture of races; that the inferior race bears the superior down. Why,
Judge, if we do not let them get together in the Territories, they won’t
mix there.

” * * * Those arguments that are made, that the inferior race are to be
treated with as much allowance as they are capable of enjoying; that as
much is to be done for them as their condition will allow–what are
these arguments? They are the arguments that Kings have made for
enslaving the People in all ages of the World. You will find that all
the arguments in favor of king-craft were of this class; they always
bestrode the necks of the People, not that they wanted to do it, but
because the People were better off for being ridden! That is their
argument, and this argument of the Judge is the same old Serpent that
says: you work, and I eat; you toil, and I will enjoy the fruits of it.

“Turn it whatever way you will–whether it come from the mouth of a
King, an excuse for enslaving the People of his Country, or from the
mouth of men of one race as a reason for enslaving the men of another
race, it is all the same old Serpent; and I hold, if that course of
argumentation that is made for the purpose of convincing the public mind
that we should not care about this, should be granted, it does not stop
with the Negro.

“I should like to know, taking this old Declaration of Independence,
which declares that all men are equal upon principle, and making
exceptions to it, where will it stop? If one man says it does not mean
a Negro, why not say it does not mean some other man? If that
Declaration is not the truth, let us get the Statute Book, in which we
find it, and tear it out! Who is so bold as to do it? If it is not
true, let us tear it out!” [Cries of “No, no.”] “Let us stick to it
then; let us stand firmly by it, then. * * *

” * * * The Saviour, I suppose, did not expect that any human creature
could be perfect as the Father in Heaven; but He said, ‘As your Father
in Heaven is perfect, be ye also perfect.’ He set that up as a
standard, and he who did most toward reaching that standard, attained
the highest degree of moral perfection. So I say, in relation to the
principle that all men are created equal–let it be as nearly reached as
we can. If we cannot give Freedom to every creature, let us do nothing
that will impose Slavery upon any other creature. Let us then turn this
Government back into the channel in which the framers of the
Constitution originally placed it. Let us stand firmly by each other.
* * * Let us discard all this quibbling * * * and unite as one People
throughout this Land, until we shall once more stand up declaring that
all men are created equal.”

At Bloomington, July 16th (Mr. Lincoln being present), Judge Douglas
made another great speech of vindication and attack. After sketching
the history of the Kansas-Nebraska struggle, from the introduction by
himself of the Nebraska Bill in the United States Senate, in 1854, down
to the passage of the “English” Bill–which prescribed substantially
that if the people of Kansas would come in as a Slave-holding State,
they should be admitted with but 35,000 inhabitants; but if they would
come in as a Free State, they must have 93,420 inhabitants; which unfair
restriction was opposed by Judge Douglas, but to which after it became
law he “bowed in deference,” because whatever decision the people of
Kansas might make on the coming third of August would be “final and
conclusive of the whole question”–he proceeded to compliment the
Republicans in Congress, for supporting the Crittenden-Montgomery Bill–
for coming “to the Douglas platform, abandoning their own, believing (in
the language of the New York Tribune), that under the peculiar
circumstances they would in that mode best subserve the interests of the
Country;” and then again attacked Mr. Lincoln for his “unholy and
unnatural alliance” with the Lecompton-Democrats to defeat him, because
of which, said he: “You will find he does not say a word against the
Lecompton Constitution or its supporters. He is as silent as the grave
upon that subject. Behold Mr. Lincoln courting Lecompton votes, in
order that he may go to the Senate as the representative of Republican
principles! You know that the alliance exists. I think you will find
that it will ooze out before the contest is over.” Then with many
handsome compliments to the personal character of Mr. Lincoln, and
declaring that the question for decision was “whether his principles are
more in accordance with the genius of our free institutions, the peace
and harmony of the Republic” than those advocated by himself, Judge
Douglas proceeded to discuss what he described as “the two points at
issue between Mr. Lincoln and myself.”

Said he: “Although the Republic has existed from 1789 to this day,
divided into Free States and Slave States, yet we are told that in the
future it cannot endure unless they shall become all Free or all Slave.
* * * He wishes to go to the Senate of the United States in order to
carry out that line of public policy which will compel all the States in
the South to become Free. How is he going to do it? Has Congress any
power over the subject of Slavery in Kentucky or Virginia or any other
State of this Union? How, then, is Mr. Lincoln going to carry out that
principle which he says is essential to the existence of this Union, to
wit: That Slavery must be abolished in all the States of the Union or
must be established in them all? You convince the South that they must
either establish Slavery in Illinois and in every other Free State, or
submit to its abolition in every Southern State and you invite them to
make a warfare upon the Northern States in order to establish Slavery
for the sake of perpetuating it at home. Thus, Mr. Lincoln invites, by
his proposition, a War of Sections, a War between Illinois and Kentucky,
a War between the Free States and the Slave States, a War between the
North and South, for the purpose of either exterminating Slavery in
every Southern State or planting it in every Northern State. He tells
you that the safety of the Republic, that the existence of this Union,
depends upon that warfare being carried on until one Section or the
other shall be entirely subdued. The States must all be Free or Slave,
for a house divided against itself cannot stand. That is Mr. Lincoln’s
argument upon that question. My friends, is it possible to preserve
Peace between the North and the South if such a doctrine shall prevail
in either Section of the Union?

“Will you ever submit to a warfare waged by the Southern States to
establish Slavery in Illinois? What man in Illinois would not lose the
last drop of his heart’s blood before lie would submit to the
institution of Slavery being forced upon us by the other States against
our will? And if that be true of us, what Southern man would not shed
the last drop of his heart’s blood to prevent Illinois, or any other
Northern State, from interfering to abolish Slavery in his State? Each
of these States is sovereign under the Constitution; and if we wish to
preserve our liberties, the reserved rights and sovereignty of each and
every State must be maintained. * * * The difference between Mr.
Lincoln and myself upon this point is, that he goes for a combination of
the Northern States, or the organization of a sectional political party
in the Free States, to make War on the domestic institutions of the
Southern States, and to prosecute that War until they all shall be
subdued, and made to conform to such rules as the North shall dictate to

“I am aware that Mr. Lincoln, on Saturday night last, made a speech at
Chicago for the purpose, as he said, of explaining his position on this
question. * * * His answer to this point which I have been arguing,
is, that he never did mean, and that I ought to know that he never
intended to convey the idea, that he wished the people of
the Free States to enter into the Southern States and interfere with
Slavery. Well, I never did suppose that he ever dreamed of entering
into Kentucky, to make War upon her institutions, nor will any
Abolitionist ever enter into Kentucky to wage such War. Their mode of
making War is not to enter into those States where Slavery exists, and
there interfere, and render themselves responsible for the consequences.
Oh, no! They stand on this side of the Ohio River and shoot across.
They stand in Bloomington and shake their fists at the people of
Lexington; they threaten South Carolina from Chicago. And they call
that bravery! But they are very particular, as Mr. Lincoln says, not to
enter into those States for the purpose of interfering with the
institution of Slavery there. I am not only opposed to entering into
the Slave States, for the purpose of interfering with their
institutions, but I am opposed to a sectional agitation to control the
institutions of other States. I am opposed to organizing a sectional
party, which appeals to Northern pride, and Northern passion and
prejudice, against Southern institutions, thus stirring up ill feeling
and hot blood between brethren of the same Republic. I am opposed to
that whole system of sectional agitation, which can produce nothing but
strife, but discord, but hostility, and finally disunion. * * *

“I ask Mr. Lincoln how it is that he purposes ultimately to bring about
this uniformity in each and all the States of the Union? There is but
one possible mode which I can see, and perhaps Mr. Lincoln intends to
pursue it; that is, to introduce a proposition into the Senate to change
the Constitution of the United States in order that all the State
Legislatures may be abolished, State Sovereignty blotted out, and the
power conferred upon Congress to make local laws and establish the
domestic institutions and police regulations uniformly throughout the
United States.

“Are you prepared for such a change in the institutions of your country?
Whenever you shall have blotted out the State Sovereignties, abolished
the State Legislatures, and consolidated all the power in the Federal
Government, you will have established a Consolidated Empire as
destructive to the Liberties of the People and the Rights of the Citizen
as that of Austria, or Russia, or any other despotism that rests upon
the neck of the People. * * * There is but one possible way in which
Slavery can be abolished, and that is by leaving a State, according to
the principle of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, perfectly free to form and
regulate its institutions in its own way. That was the principle upon
which this Republic was founded, and it is under the operation of that
principle that we have been able to preserve the Union thus far under
its operation. Slavery disappeared from New Hampshire, from Rhode
Island, from Connecticut, from New York, from New Jersey, from
Pennsylvania, from six of the twelve original Slave-holding States; and
this gradual system of emancipation went on quietly, peacefully, and
steadily, so long as we in the Free States minded our own business, and
left our neighbors alone.

“But the moment the Abolition Societies were organized throughout the
North, preaching a violent crusade against Slavery in the Southern
States, this combination necessarily caused a counter-combination in the
South, and a sectional line was drawn which was a barrier to any further
emancipation. Bear in mind that emancipation has not taken place in any
one State since the Free Soil Party was organized as a political party
in this country. Emancipation went on gradually, in State after State,
so long as the Free States were content with managing their own affairs
and leaving the South perfectly free to do as they pleased; but the
moment the North said we are powerful enough to control you of the
South, the moment the North proclaimed itself the determined master of
the South, that moment the South combined to resist the attack, and thus
sectional parties were formed and gradual emancipation ceased in all the
Slave-holding States.

“And yet Mr. Lincoln, in view of these historical facts, proposes to
keep up this sectional agitation, band all the Northern States together
in one political Party, elect a President by Northern votes alone, and
then, of course, make a Cabinet composed of Northern men, and administer
the Government by Northern men only, denying all the Southern States of
this Union any participation in the administration of affairs
whatsoever. I submit to you, my fellow-citizens, whether such a line of
policy is consistent with the peace and harmony of the Country? Can the
Union endure under such a system of policy? He has taken his position
in favor of sectional agitation and sectional warfare. I have taken
mine in favor of securing peace, harmony, and good-will among all the
States, by permitting each to mind its own business, and
discountenancing any attempt at interference on the part of one State
with the domestic concerns of the others. * * *

“Mr. Lincoln tells you that he is opposed to the decision of the Supreme
Court in the Dred Scott case. Well, suppose he is; what is he going to
do about it? * * * Why, he says he is going to appeal to Congress. Let
us see how he will appeal to Congress. He tells us that on the 8th of
March, 1820, Congress passed a law called the Missouri Compromise,
prohibiting Slavery forever in all the territory west of the Mississippi
and north of the Missouri line of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes;
that Dred Scott, a slave in Missouri, was taken by his master to Fort
Snelling, in the present State of Minnesota, situated on the west branch
of the Mississippi River, and consequently in the Territory where
Slavery was prohibited by the Act of 1820; and that when Dred Scott
appealed for his Freedom in consequence of having been taken into that
Territory, the Supreme Court of the United States decided that Dred
Scott did not become Free by being taken into that Territory, but that
having been carried back to Missouri, was yet a Slave.

“Mr. Lincoln is going to appeal from that decision and reverse it. He
does not intend to reverse it as to Dred Scott. Oh, no! But he will
reverse it so that it shall not stand as a rule in the future. How will
he do it? He says that if he is elected to the Senate he will introduce
and pass a law just like the Missouri Compromise, prohibiting Slavery
again in all the Territories. Suppose he does re-enact the same law
which the Court has pronounced unconstitutional, will that make it
Constitutional? * * * Will it be any more valid? Will he be able to
convince the Court that the second Act is valid, when the first is
invalid and void? What good does it do to pass a second Act? Why, it
will have the effect to arraign the Supreme Court before the People, and
to bring them into all the political discussions of the Country. Will
that do any good? * * *

“The functions of Congress are to enact the Statutes, the province of
the Court is to pronounce upon their validity, and the duty of the
Executive is to carry the decision into effect when rendered by the
Court. And yet, notwithstanding the Constitution makes the decision of
the Court final in regard to the validity of an Act of Congress, Mr.
Lincoln is going to reverse that decision by passing another Act of
Congress. When he has become convinced of the Folly of the proposition,
perhaps he will resort to the same subterfuge that I have found others
of his Party resort to, which is to agitate and agitate until he can
change the Supreme Court and put other men in the places of the present

After ridiculing this proposition at some length, he proceeded:

“Mr. Lincoln is alarmed for fear that, under the Dred Scott decision,
Slavery will go into all the Territories of the United States. All I
have to say is that, with or without this decision, Slavery will go just
where the People want it, and not an inch further. * * * Hence, if the
People of a Territory want Slavery, they will encourage it by passing
affirmatory laws, and the necessary police regulations, patrol laws and
Slave Code; if they do not want it, they will withhold that legislation,
and, by withholding it, Slavery is as dead as if it was prohibited by a
Constitutional prohibition, especially if, in addition, their
legislation is unfriendly, as it would be if they were opposed to it.”

Then, taking up what he said was “Mr. Lincoln’s main objection to the
Dred Scott decision,” to wit: “that that decision deprives the Negro of
the benefits of that clause of the Constitution of the United States
which entitles the citizens of each State to all the privileges and
immunities of citizens of the several States,” and admitting that such
would be its effect, Mr. Douglas contended at some length that this
Government was “founded on the White basis” for the benefit of the
Whites and their posterity. He did “not believe that it was the design
or intention of the signers of the Declaration of Independence or the
frames of the Constitution to include Negroes, Indians, or other
inferior races, with White men as citizens;” nor that the former “had
any reference to Negroes, when they used the expression that all men
were created equal,” nor to “any other inferior race.” He held that,
“They were speaking only of the White race, and never dreamed that their
language would be construed to apply to the Negro;” and after ridiculing
the contrary view, insisted that, “The history of the Country shows that
neither the signers of the Declaration, nor the Framers of the
Constitution, ever supposed it possible that their language would be
used in an attempt to make this Nation a mixed Nation of Indians,
Negroes, Whites, and Mongrels.”

The “Fathers proceeded on the White basis, making the White people the
governing race, but conceding to the Indian and Negro, and all inferior
races, all the rights and all the privileges they could enjoy consistent
with the safety of the society in which they lived. That,” said he, “is
my opinion now. I told you that humanity, philanthropy, justice, and
sound policy required that we should give the Negro every right, every
privilege, every immunity consistent with the safety and welfare of the
State. The question, then, naturally arises, what are those rights and
privileges, and what is the nature and extent of them? My answer is,
that that is a question which each State and each Territory must decide
for itself. * * * I am content with that position. My friend Lincoln
is not. * * * He thinks that the Almighty made the Negro his equal and
his brother. For my part I do not consider the Negro any kin to me, nor
to any other White man; but I would still carry my humanity and my
philanthropy to the extent of giving him every privilege and every
immunity that he could enjoy, consistent with our own good.”

After again referring to the principles connected with non-interference
in the domestic institutions of the States and Territories, and to the
devotion of all his energies to them “since 1850, when,” said he, “I
acted side by side with the immortal Clay and the god-like Webster, in
that memorable struggle in which Whigs and Democrats united upon a
common platform of patriotism and the Constitution, throwing aside
partisan feelings in order to restore peace and harmony to a distracted
Country”–he alluded to the death-bed of Clay, and the pledges made by
himself to both Clay and Webster to devote his own life to the
vindication of the principles of that Compromise of 1850 as a means of
preserving the Union; and concluded with this appeal: “This Union can
only be preserved by maintaining the fraternal feeling between the North
and the South, the East and the West. If that good feeling can be
preserved, the Union will be as perpetual as the fame of its great
founders. It can be maintained by preserving the sovereignty of the
States, the right of each State and each Territory to settle its
domestic concerns for itself, and the duty of each to refrain from
interfering with the other in any of its local or domestic institutions.
Let that be done, and the Union will be perpetual; let that be done, and
this Republic, which began with thirteen States and which now numbers
thirty-two, which when it began, only extended from the Atlantic to the
Mississippi, but now reaches to the Pacific, may yet expand, North and
South, until it covers the whole Continent, and becomes one vast ocean-
bound Confederacy. Then, my friends, the path of duty, of honor, of
patriotism, is plain. There are a few simple principles to be
preserved. Bear in mind the dividing line between State rights and
Federal authority; let us maintain the great principles of Popular
Sovereignty, of State rights and of the Federal Union as the
Constitution has made it, and this Republic will endure forever.”

On the next evening, July 17th, at Springfield, both Douglas and Lincoln
addressed separate meetings.

After covering much the same ground with regard to the history of the
Kansas-Nebraska struggle and his own attitude upon it, as he did in his
previous speech, Mr. Douglas declined to comment upon Mr. Lincoln’s
intimation of a Conspiracy between Douglas, Pierce, Buchanan, and Taney
for the passage of the Nebraska Bill, the rendition of the Dred Scott
decision, and the extension of Slavery, but proceeded to dilate on the
“uniformity” issue between himself and Mr. Lincoln, in much the same
strain as before, tersely summing up with the statement that “there is a
distinct issue of principles–principles irreconcilable–between Mr.
Lincoln and myself. He goes for consolidation and uniformity in our
Government. I go for maintaining the Confederation of the Sovereign
States under the Constitution, as our fathers made it, leaving each
State at liberty to manage its own affairs and own internal

He then ridiculed, at considerable length, Mr. Lincoln’s proposed
methods of securing a reversal by the United States Supreme Court of the
Dred Scott decision–especially that of an “appeal to the People to
elect a President who will appoint judges who will reverse the Dred
Scott decision,” which he characterized as “a proposition to make that
Court the corrupt, unscrupulous tool of a political party,” and asked,
“when we refuse to abide by Judicial decisions, what protection is there
left for life and property? To whom shall you appeal? To mob law, to
partisan caucuses, to town meetings, to revolution? Where is the remedy
when you refuse obedience to the constituted authorities?” In other
respects the speech was largely a repetition of his Bloomington speech.

Mr. Lincoln in his speech, the same night, at Springfield, opened by
contrasting the disadvantages under which, by reason of an unfair
apportionment of State Legislative representation and otherwise, the
Republicans of Illinois labored in this fight. Among other
disadvantages–whereby he said the Republicans were forced “to fight
this battle upon principle and upon principle alone”–were those which
he said arose “out of the relative positions of the two persons who
stand before the State as candidates for the Senate.”

Said he: “Senator Douglas is of world-wide renown. All the anxious
politicians of his Party, or who have been of his Party for years past,
have been looking upon him as certainly, at no distant day, to be the
President of the United States. They have seen in his round, jolly,
fruitful face, Post-offices, Land-offices, Marshalships, and Cabinet
appointments, Chargeships and Foreign Missions, bursting and sprouting
out in wonderful exuberance, ready to be laid hold of by their greedy
hands. And as they have been gazing upon this attractive picture so
long, they cannot, in the little distraction that has taken place in the
party, bring themselves to give up the charming hope; but with greedier
anxiety they rush about him, sustain him, and give him marches,
triumphal entries, and receptions, beyond what even in the days of his
highest prosperity they could have brought about in his favor. On the
contrary, nobody has ever expected me to be President. In my poor,
lean, lank face, nobody has ever seen that any cabbages were sprouting

Then he described the main points of Senator Douglas’s plan of campaign
as being not very numerous. “The first,” he said, “is Popular
Sovereignty. The second and third are attacks upon my speech made on
the 16th of June. Out of these three points-drawing within the range of
Popular Sovereignty the question of the Lecompton Constitution–he makes
his principal assault. Upon these his successive speeches are
substantially one and the same.” Touching the first point, “Popular
Sovereignty”–“the great staple” of Mr. Douglas’s campaign–Mr. Lincoln
affirmed that it was “the most arrant Quixotism that was ever enacted
before a community.”

He said that everybody understood that “we have not been in a
controversy about the right of a People to govern themselves in the
ordinary matters of domestic concern in the States and Territories;”
that, “in this controversy, whatever has been said has had reference to
the question of Negro Slavery;” and “hence,” said he, “when hereafter I
speak of Popular Sovereignty, I wish to be understood as applying what I
say to the question of Slavery only; not to other minor domestic matters
of a Territory or a State.”

Having cleared away the cobwebs, Mr. Lincoln proceeded:

“Does Judge Douglas, when he says that several of the past years of his
life have been devoted to the question of ‘Popular Sovereignty’ * * *
mean to say that he has been devoting his life to securing the People of
the Territories the right to exclude Slavery from the Territories? If
he means so to say, he means to deceive; because he and every one knows
that the decision of the Supreme Court, which he approves, and makes
special ground of attack upon me for disapproving, forbids the People of
a Territory to exclude Slavery.

“This covers the whole ground from the settlement of a Territory till it
reaches the degree of maturity entitling it to form a State
Constitution. * * * This being so, the period of time from the first
settlement of a Territory till it reaches the point of forming a State
Constitution, is not the thing that the Judge has fought for, or is
fighting for; but, on the contrary, he has fought for, and is fighting
for, the thing that annihilates and crushes out that same Popular
Sovereignty. Well, so much being disposed of, what is left? Why, he is
contending for the right of the People, when they come to make a State
Constitution, to make it for themselves, and precisely as best suits
themselves. I say again, that is Quixotic. I defy contradiction when I
declare that the Judge can find no one to oppose him on that
proposition. I repeat, there is nobody opposing that proposition on
principle. * * * Nobody is opposing, or has opposed, the right of the
People when they form a State Constitution, to form it for themselves.
Mr. Buchanan and his friends have not done it; they, too, as well as the
Republicans and the Anti-Lecompton Democrats, have not done it; but on
the contrary, they together have insisted on the right of the People to
form a Constitution for themselves. The difference between the Buchanan
men, on the one hand, and the Douglas men and the Republicans, on the
other, has not been on a question of principle, but on a question of
fact * * * whether the Lecompton Constitution had been fairly formed by
the People or not. * * * As to the principle, all were agreed.

“Judge Douglas voted with the Republicans upon that matter of fact. He
and they, by their voices and votes, denied that it was a fair emanation
of the People. The Administration affirmed that it was. * * * This
being so, what is Judge Douglas going to spend his life for? Is he
going to spend his life in maintaining a principle that no body on earth
opposes? Does he expect to stand up in majestic dignity and go through
his apotheosis and become a god, in the maintaining of a principle which
neither man nor mouse in all God’s creation is opposing?”

After ridiculing the assumption that Judge Douglas was entitled to all
the credit for the defeat of the Lecompton Constitution in the House of
Representatives–when the defeating vote numbered 120, of which 6 were
Americans, 20 Douglas (or Anti-Lecompton) Democrats, and 94 Republicans
–and hinting that perhaps he placed “his superior claim to credit, on
the ground that he performed a good act which was never expected of
him,” or “upon the ground of the parable of the lost sheep,” of which it
had been said, “that there was more rejoicing over the one sheep that
was lost and had been found, than over the ninety and nine in the fold–
” he added: “The application is made by the Saviour in this parable,
thus: ‘Verily, I say unto you, there is more rejoicing in Heaven over
one sinner that repenteth, than over ninety and nine just persons that
need no repentance.’ And now if the Judge claims the benefit of this
parable, let him repent. Let him not come up here and say: ‘I am the
only just person; and you are the ninety-nine sinners!’ Repentance
before forgiveness is a provision of the Christian system, and on that
condition alone will the Republicans grant his forgiveness.”

After complaining that Judge Douglas misrepresented his attitude as
indicated in his 16th of June speech at Springfield, in charging that he
invited “a War of Sections;”–that he proposed that “all the local
institutions of the different States shall become consolidated and
uniform,” Mr. Lincoln denied that that speech could fairly bear such

In that speech he (Mr. L.) had simply expressed an expectation that
“either the opponents of Slavery will arrest the further spread of it,
and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is
in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it
forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well
as new, North as well as South.” Since then, at Chicago, he had also
expressed a “wish to see the spread of Slavery arrested, and to see it
placed where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the
course of ultimate extinction”–and, said he: “I said that, because I
supposed, when the public mind shall rest in that belief, we shall have
Peace on the Slavery question. I have believed–and now believe–the
public mind did rest on that belief up to the introduction of the
Nebraska Bill. Although I have ever been opposed to Slavery, so far I
rested in the hope and belief that it was in the course of ultimate
extinction. For that reason, it had been a minor question with me. I
might have been mistaken; but I had believed, and now believe, that the
whole public mind, that is, the mind of the great majority, had rested
in that belief up to the Repeal of the Missouri Compromise. But upon
that event, I became convinced that either I had been resting in a
delusion, or the institution was being placed on a new basis–a basis
for making it Perpetual, National, and Universal. Subsequent events
have greatly confirmed me in that belief.

“I believe that Bill to be the beginning of a Conspiracy for that
purpose. So believing, I have since then considered that question a
paramount one. So believing, I thought the public mind would never rest
till the power of Congress to restrict the spread of it shall again be
acknowledged and exercised on the one hand, or, on the other, all
resistance be entirely crushed out. I have expressed that opinion and I
entertain it to-night.”

Having given some pieces of evidence in proof of the “tendency,” he had
discovered, to the Nationalization of Slavery in these States, Mr.
Lincoln continued: “And now, as to the Judge’s inference, that because I
wish to see Slavery placed in the course of ultimate extinction–placed
where our fathers originally placed it–I wish to annihilate the State
Legislatures–to force cotton to grow upon the tops of the Green
Mountains–to freeze ice in Florida–to cut lumber on the broad Illinois
prairies–that I am in favor of all these ridiculous and impossible
things! It seems to me it is a complete answer to all this, to ask if,
when Congress did have the fashion of restricting Slavery from Free
Territory; when Courts did have the fashion of deciding that taking a
Slave into a Free, Country made him Free–I say it is a sufficient
answer to ask, if any of this ridiculous nonsense, about consolidation
and uniformity, did actually follow? Who heard of any such thing,
because of the Ordinance of ’87? because of the Missouri Restriction
because of the numerous Court decisions of that character?

“Now, as to the Dred Scott decision; for upon that he makes his last
point at me. He boldly takes ground in favor of that decision. This is
one-half the onslaught and one-third of the entire plan of the campaign.
I am opposed to that decision in a certain sense, but not in the sense
which he puts on it. I say that in so far as it decided in favor of
Dred Scott’s master, and against Dred Scott and his family, I do not
propose to disturb or resist the decision. I never have proposed to do
any such thing. I think, that in respect for judicial authority, my
humble history would not suffer in comparison with that of Judge
Douglas. He would have the citizen conform his vote to that decision;
the member of Congress, his; the President, his use of the veto power.
He would make it a rule of political action for the People and all the
departments of the Government. I would not. By resisting it as a
political rule, I disturb no right of property, create no disorder,
excite no mobs.”

After quoting from a letter of Mr. Jefferson (vol. vii., p. 177, of his
Correspondence,) in which he held that “to consider the judges as the
ultimate arbiters of all Constitutional questions,” is “a very dangerous
doctrine indeed; and one which would place us under the despotism of an
Oligarchy,” Mr. Lincoln continued: “Let us go a little further. You
remember we once had a National Bank. Some one owed the Bank a debt; he
was sued, and sought to avoid payment on the ground that the Bank was
unconstitutional. The case went to the Supreme Court, and therein it
was decided that the Bank was Constitutional. The whole Democratic
party revolted against that decision. General Jackson himself asserted
that he, as President, would not be bound to hold a National Bank to be
Constitutional, even though the Court had decided it to be so. He fell
in, precisely, with the view of Mr. Jefferson, and acted upon it under
his official oath, in vetoing a charter for a National Bank.

“The declaration that Congress does not possess this Constitutional
power to charter a Bank, has gone into the Democratic platform, at their
National Conventions, and was brought forward and reaffirmed in their
last Convention at Cincinnati. They have contended for that
declaration, in the very teeth of the Supreme Court, for more than a
quarter of a century. In fact, they have reduced the decision to an
absolute nullity. That decision, I repeat, is repudiated in the
Cincinnati platform; and still, as if to show that effrontery can go no
further, Judge Douglas vaunts in the very speeches in which he denounces
me for opposing the Dred Scott decision, that he stands on the
Cincinnati platform.

“Now, I wish to know what the Judge can charge upon me, with respect to
decisions of the Supreme Court, which does not lie in all its length,
breadth, and proportions, at his own door? The plain truth is simply
this: Judge Douglas is for Supreme Court decisions when he likes, and
against them when he does not like them. He is for the Dred Scott
decision because it tends to Nationalize Slavery–because it is a part
of the original combination for that object. It so happens, singularly
enough, that I never stood opposed to a decision of the Supreme Court
till this. On the contrary, I have no recollection that he was ever
particularly in favor of one till this. He never was in favor of any,
nor (I) opposed to any, till the present one, which helps to Nationalize
Slavery. Free men of Sangamon–Free men of Illinois, Free men
everywhere–judge ye between him and me, upon this issue!

“He says this Dred Scott case is a very small matter at
most–that it has no practical effect; that at best, or rather I suppose
at worst, it is but an abstraction. * * * How has the planting of
Slavery in new countries always been effected? It has now been decided
that Slavery cannot be kept out of our new Territories by any legal
means. In what do our new Territories now differ in this respect from
the old Colonies when Slavery was first planted within them?

“It was planted, as Mr. Clay once declared, and as history proves true,
by individual men in spite of the wishes of the people; the Mother-
Government refusing to prohibit it, and withholding from the People of
the Colonies the authority to prohibit it for themselves. Mr. Clay says
this was one of the great and just causes of complaint against Great
Britain by the Colonies, and the best apology we can now make for having
the institution amongst us. In that precise condition our Nebraska
politicians have at last succeeded in placing our own new Territories;
the Government will not prohibit Slavery within them, nor allow the
People to prohibit it.”

Alluding to that part of Mr. Douglas’s speech the previous night
touching the death-bed scene of Mr. Clay, with Mr. Douglas’s promise to
devote the remainder of his life to “Popular Sovereignty”–and to his
relations with Mr. Webster–Mr. Lincoln said: “It would be amusing, if
it were not disgusting, to see how quick these Compromise breakers
administer on the political effects of their dead adversaries. If I
should be found dead to-morrow morning, nothing but my insignificance
could prevent a speech being made on my authority, before the end of
next week. It so happens that in that ‘Popular Sovereignty’ with which
Mr. Clay was identified, the Missouri Compromise was expressly reserved;
and it was a little singular if Mr. Clay cast his mantle upon Judge
Douglas on purpose to have that Compromise repealed. Again, the Judge
did not keep faith with Mr. Clay when he first brought in the Nebraska
Bill. He left the Missouri Compromise unrepealed, and in his report
accompanying the Bill, he told the World he did it on purpose. The
manes of Mr. Clay must have been in great agony, till thirty days later,
when ‘Popular Sovereignty’ stood forth in all its glory.”

Touching Mr. Douglas’s allegations of Mr. Lincoln’s disposition to make
Negroes equal with the Whites, socially and politically, the latter
said: “My declarations upon this subject of Negro Slavery may be
misrepresented, but cannot be misunderstood. I have said that I do not
understand the Declaration (of Independence) to mean that all men were
created equal in all respects. They are not equal in color; but I
suppose that it does mean to declare that all men are equal in some
respects; they are equal in their right to ‘Life, Liberty, and the
pursuit of Happiness.’ Certainly the Negro is not our equal in color–
perhaps not in many other respects; still, in the right to put into his
mouth the bread that his own hands have earned, he is the equal of every
other man, White or Black. In pointing out that more has been given
you, you cannot be justified in taking away the little which has been
given him. All I ask for the Negro is that if you do not like him, let
him alone. If God gave him but little, that little let him enjoy.

“The framers of the Constitution,” continued Mr. Lincoln, “found the
institution of Slavery amongst their other institutions at the time.
They found that by an effort to eradicate it, they might lose much of
what they had already gained. They were obliged to bow to the
necessity. They gave Congress power to abolish the Slave Trade at the
end of twenty years. They also prohibited it in the Territories where
it did not exist. They did what they could, and yielded to the
necessity for the rest. I also yield to all which follows from that
necessity. What I would most desire would be the separation of the
White and Black races.”

Mr. Lincoln closed his speech by referring to the “New Departure” of
the Democracy–to the charge he had made, in his 16th of June speech,
touching “the existence of a Conspiracy to Perpetuate and Nationalize
Slavery”–which Mr. Douglas had not contradicted–and, said he, “on his
own tacit admission I renew that charge. I charge him with having been
a party to that Conspiracy, and to that deception, for the sole purpose
of Nationalizing Slavery.”

This closed the series of preliminary speeches in the canvass. But they
only served to whet the moral and intellectual and political appetite of
the public for more. It was generally conceded that, at last, in the
person of Mr. Lincoln, the “Little Giant” had met his match.

On July 24, Mr. Lincoln opened a correspondence with Mr. Douglas, which
eventuated in an agreement between them, July 31st, for joint-
discussions, to take place at Ottawa, Freeport, Jonesboro, Charleston,
Galesburgh, Quincy, and Alton, on fixed dates in August, September and
October–at Ottawa, Mr. Douglas to open and speak one hour, Mr. Lincoln
to have an hour and a half in reply, and Mr. Douglas to close in a half
hour’s speech; at Freeport, Mr. Lincoln to open and speak for one hour,
Mr. Douglas to take the next hour and a half in reply, and Mr. Lincoln
to have the next half hour to close; and so on, alternating at each
successive place, making twenty-one hours of joint political debate.

To these absorbingly interesting discussions, vast assemblages listened
with breathless attention; and to the credit of all parties be it said,
with unparalleled decorum. The People evidently felt that the greatest
of all political principles–that of Human Liberty–was hanging on the
issue of this great political contest between intellectual giants, thus
openly waged before the World–and they accordingly rose to the dignity
and solemnity of the occasion, vindicating by their very example the
sacredness with which the Right of Free Speech should be regarded at all
times and everywhere.


The immediate outcome of the remarkable joint-debate between the two
intellectual giants of Illinois was, that while the popular vote stood
124,698 for Lincoln, to 121,130 for Douglas–showing a victory for
Lincoln among the People–yet, enough Douglas-Democrats were elected to
the Legislature, when added to those of his friends in the Illinois
Senate, who had been elected two years before, and “held over,” to give
him, in all, 54 members of both branches of the Legislature on joint
ballot, against 46 for Mr. Lincoln. Lincoln had carried the people, but
Douglas had secured the Senatorial prize for which they had striven–and
by that Legislative vote was elected to succeed himself in the United
States Senate. This result was trumpeted throughout the Union as a
great Douglas victory.

During the canvass of Illinois, Douglas’s friends had seen to it that
nothing on their part should be wanting to secure success. What with
special car trains, and weighty deputations, and imposing processions,
and flag raisings, the inspiration of music, the booming of cannon, and
the eager shouts of an enthusiastic populace, his political journey
through Illinois had been more like a Royal Progress than anything the
Country had yet seen; and now that his reelection was accomplished, they
proposed to make the most of it–to extend, as it were, the sphere of
his triumph, or vindication, so that it would include not the State
alone, but the Nation–and thus so accentuate and enhance his
availability as a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination
of 1860, as to make his nomination and election to the Presidency of the
United States an almost foregone conclusion.

The programme was to raise so great a popular tidal-wave in his
interest, as would bear him irresistibly upon its crest to the White
House. Accordingly, as the idol of the Democratic popular heart,
Douglas, upon his return to the National Capital, was triumphantly
received by the chief cities of the Mississippi and the Atlantic sea-
board. Hailed as victor in the great political contest in Illinois-upon
the extended newspaper reports of which, the absorbed eyes of the entire
nation, for months, had greedily fed–Douglas was received with much
ostentation and immense enthusiasm at St. Louis, Memphis, New Orleans,
New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington. Like the “Triumphs”
decreed by Rome, in her grandest days, to the greatest of her victorious
heroes, Douglas’s return was a series of magnificent popular ovations,

In a speech made two years before this period, Mr. Lincoln, while
contrasting his own political career with that of Douglas, and modestly
describing his own as “a flat failure” had said: “With him it has been
one of splendid success. His name fills the Nation, and is not unknown
even in foreign lands. I affect no contempt for the high eminence he
has reached. So reached, that the oppressed of my species might have
shared with me in the elevation, I would rather stand on that eminence
than wear the richest crown that ever pressed a monarch’s brow.” And
now the star of Douglas had reached a higher altitude, nearing its
meridian splendor. He had become the popular idol of the day.

But Douglas’s partial victory–if such it was–so far from settling the
public mind and public conscience, had the contrary effect. It added to
the ferment which the Pro-Slavery Oligarchists of the South–and
especially those of South Carolina–were intent upon increasing, until
so grave and serious a crisis should arrive as would, in their opinion,
furnish a justifiable pretext in the eyes of the World for the
contemplated Secession of the Slave States from the Union.

Under the inspiration of the Slave Power, and in the direct line of the
Dred Scott decision, and of the “victorious” doctrine of Senator
Douglas, which he held not inconsistent therewith, that the people of
any Territory of the United States could do as they pleased as to the
institution of Slavery within their own limits, and if they desired the
institution, they had the right by local legislation to “protect and
encourage it,” the Legislature of the Territory of New Mexico at once
(1859) proceeded to enact a law “for the protection of property in
Slaves,” and other measures similar to the prevailing Slave Codes in the
Southern States.

The aggressive attitude of the South–as thus evidenced anew–naturally
stirred, to their very core, the Abolition elements of the North; on the
other hand, the publication of Hinton Rowan Helper’s “Impending Crisis,”
which handled the Slavery question without gloves, and supported its
views with statistics which startled the Northern mind, together with
its alleged indorsement by the leading Republicans of the North,
exasperated the fiery Southrons to an intense degree. Nor was the
capture, in October, 1859, of Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, by John Brown
and his handful of Northern Abolitionist followers, and his subsequent
execution in Virginia, calculated to allay the rapidly intensifying
feeling between the Freedom-loving North and the Slaveholding South.
When, therefore, the Congress met, in December, 1859, the sectional
wrath of the Country was reflected in the proceedings of both branches
of that body, and these again reacted upon the People of both the
Northern and Southern States, until the fires of Slavery Agitation were
stirred to a white heat.

The bitterness of feeling in the House at this time, was shown, in part,
by the fact that not until the 1st of February, 1860, was it able, upon
a forty-fourth ballot, to organize by the election of a Speaker, and
that from the day of its meeting on the 5th of December, 1859, up to
such organization, it was involved in an incessant and stormy wrangle
upon the Slavery question.

So also in the Democratic Senate, the split in the Democratic Party,
between the Lecompton and Anti-Lecompton Democracy, was widened, at the
same time that the Republicans of the North were further irritated, by
the significantly decisive passage of a series of resolutions proposed
by Jefferson Davis, which, on the one hand, purposely and deliberately
knifed Douglas’s “Popular Sovereignty” doctrine and read out of the
Party all who believed in it, by declaring “That neither Congress nor a
Territorial Legislature, whether by direct legislation, or legislation
of an indirect and unfriendly character, possesses power to annul or
impair the Constitutional right of any citizen of the United States to
take his Slave-property into the common Territories, and there hold and
enjoy the same while the Territorial condition remains,” and, on the
other, purposely and deliberately slapped in the face the Republicans of
the North, by declaring-among other things “That in the adoption of the
Federal Constitution, the States adopting the same, acted severally as
Free and Independent sovereignties, delegating a portion of their powers
to be exercised by the Federal Government for the increased security of
each against dangers, domestic as well as foreign; and that any
intermeddling by any one or more States or by a combination of their
citizens, with the domestic institutions of the others, on any pretext
whatever, political, moral, or religious, with a view to their
disturbance or subversion, is in violation of the Constitution,
insulting to the States so interfered with, endangers their domestic
peace and tranquillity–objects for which the Constitution was formed–
and, by necessary consequence, tends to weaken and destroy the Union

Another of these resolutions declared Negro Slavery to be recognized in
the Constitution, and that all “open or covert attacks thereon with a
view to its overthrow,” made either by the Non-Slave-holding States or
their citizens, violated the pledges of the Constitution, “are a
manifest breach of faith, and a violation of the most solemn

This last was intended as a blow at the Freedom of Speech and of the
Press in the North; and only served, as was doubtless intended, to still
more inflame Northern public feeling, while at the same time endeavoring
to place the arrogant and aggressive Slave Power in an attitude of
injured innocence. In short, the time of both Houses of Congress was
almost entirely consumed during the Session of 1859-60 in the heated,
and sometimes even furious, discussion of the Slavery question; and
everywhere, North and South, the public mind was not alone deeply
agitated, but apprehensive that the Union was founded not upon a rock,
but upon the crater of a volcano, whose long-smouldering energies might
at any moment burst their confines, and reduce it to ruin and

On the 23rd of April, 1860, the Democratic National Convention met at
Charleston, South Carolina. It was several days after the permanent
organization of the Convention before the Committee on Resolutions
reported to the main body, and not until the 30th of April did it reach
a vote upon the various reports, which had in the meantime been
modified. The propositions voted upon were three:

First, The Majority Report of the Committee, which reaffirmed the
Cincinnati platform of 1856–with certain “explanatory” resolutions
added, which boldly proclaimed: That the Government of a Territory
organized by an Act of Congress, is provisional and temporary; and,
during its existence, all citizens of the United States have an equal
right to settle with their property in the Territory, without their
rights, either of person or property, being destroyed or impaired by
Congressional or Territorial Legislation;” that “it is the duty of the
Federal Government, in all its departments, to protect, when necessary,
the rights of persons and property in the Territories, and wherever else
its Constitutional authority extends;” that “when the settlers in a
Territory, having an adequate population, form a State Constitution, the
right of Sovereignty commences, and, being consummated by admission into
the Union, they stand on an equal footing with the people of other
States, and the State thus organized ought to be admitted into the
Federal Union, whether its Constitution prohibits or recognizes the
institution of Slavery;” and that “the enactments of State Legislatures
to defeat the faithful execution of the Fugitive Slave Law, are hostile
in character, subversive of the Constitution, and revolutionary in
effect.” The resolutions also included a declaration in favor of the
acquisition of Cuba, and other comparatively minor matters.

Second, The Minority Report of the Committee, which, after re-affirming
the Cincinnati platform, declared that “Inasmuch as differences of
opinion exist in the Democratic party as to the nature and extent of the
powers of a Territorial Legislature, and as to the powers and duties of
Congress, under the Constitution of the United States, over the
institution of Slavery within the Territories * * * the Democratic Party
will abide by the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States on
the questions of Constitutional law.”

Third, The recommendation of Benjamin F. Butler, that the platform
should consist simply of a re-affirmation of the Cincinnati platform,
and not another word.

The last proposition was first voted on, and lost, by 105 yeas to 198
nays. The Minority platform was then adopted by 165 yeas to 138 nays.

The aggressive Slave-holders (Majority) platform, and the Butler
Compromise do-nothing proposition, being both defeated, and the Douglas
(Minority) platform adopted, the Alabama delegation, under instructions
from their State Convention to withdraw in case the National Convention
refused to adopt radical Territorial Pro-Slavery resolutions, at once
presented a written protest and withdrew from the Convention, and were
followed, in rapid succession, by; the delegates from Mississippi,
Louisiana (all but two), South Carolina, Florida, Texas, Arkansas (in
part), Delaware (mostly), and Georgia (mostly)–the seceding delegates
afterwards organizing in another Hall, adopting the above Majority
platform, and after a four days’ sitting, adjourning to meet at
Richmond, Virginia, on the 11th of June.

Meanwhile, the Regular Democratic National Convention had proceeded to
ballot for President–after adopting the two-thirds rule. Thirty-seven
ballots having been cast, that for Stephen A. Douglas being, on the
thirty-seventh, 151, the Convention, on the 3d of May, adjourned to meet
again at Baltimore, June 18th.

After re-assembling, and settling contested election cases, the
delegates (in whole or in part) from Virginia, North Carolina,
Tennessee, California, Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland and Massachusetts,
withdrew from the Convention, the latter upon the ground mainly that
there had been “a withdrawal, in part, of a majority of the States,”
while Butler, who had voted steadily for Jefferson Davis throughout all
the balloting at Charleston, gave as an additional ground personal to
himself, that “I will not sit in a convention where the African Slave
Trade–which is piracy by the laws of my Country–is approvingly
advocated”–referring thereby to a speech, that had been much applauded
by the Convention at Charleston, made by a Georgia delegate (Gaulden),
in which that delegate had said: “I would ask my friends of the South to
come up in a proper spirit; ask our Northern friends to give us all our
rights, and take off the ruthless restrictions which cut off the supply
of Slaves from foreign lands. * * * I tell you, fellow Democrats, that
the African Slave Trader is the true Union man (cheers and laughter). I
tell you that the Slave Trading of Virginia is more immoral, more
unchristian in every possible point of view, than that African Slave
Trade which goes to Africa and brings a heathen and worthless man here,
makes him a useful man, Christianizes him, and sends him and his
posterity down the stream of Time, to enjoy the blessings of
civilization. (Cheers and laughter.) * * * I come from the first
Congressional District of Georgia. I represent the African Slave Trade
interest of that Section. (Applause.) I am proud of the position I
occupy in that respect. I believe that the African Slave Trader is a
true missionary, and a true Christian. (Applause.) * * * Are you
prepared to go back to first principles, and take off your
unconstitutional restrictions, and leave this question to be settled by
each State? Now, do this, fellow citizens, and you will have Peace in
the Country. * * * I advocate the repeal of the laws prohibiting the
African Slave Trade, because I believe it to be the true Union movement.
* * * I believe that by re-opening this Trade and giving us Negroes to
populate the Territories, the equilibrium of the two Sections will be

After the withdrawal of the bolting delegates at Baltimore, the
Convention proceeded to ballot for President, and at the end of the
second ballot, Mr. Douglas having received “two-thirds of all votes
given in the Convention” (183) was declared the “regular nominee of the
Democratic Party, for the office of President of the United States.”

An additional resolution was subsequently adopted as a part of the
platform, declaring that “it is in accordance with the true
interpretation of the Cincinnati platform, that, during the existence of
the Territorial Governments, the measure of restriction, whatever it may
be, imposed by the Federal Constitution on the power of the Territorial
Legislatures over the subject of the domestic relations, as the same has
been, or shall hereafter be, finally determined by the Supreme Court of
the United States, should be respected by all good citizens, and
enforced with promptness and fidelity by every branch of the General

On the 11th of June, pursuant to adjournment, the Democratic Bolters’
Convention met at Richmond, and, after adjourning to meet at Baltimore,
finally met there on the 28th of that month–twenty-one States being, in
whole or in part, represented. This Convention unanimously readopted
the Southern-wing platform it had previously adopted at Charleston, and,
upon the first ballot, chose, without dissent, John C. Breckinridge of
Kentucky, as its candidate for the Presidential office.

In the meantime, however, the National Conventions of other Parties had
been held, viz.: that of the Republican Party at Chicago, which, with a
session of three days, May 16-18, had nominated Abraham Lincoln of
Illinois and Hannibal Hamlin of Maine, for President and Vice-President
respectively; and that of the “Constitutional Union” (or Native
American) Party which had severally nominated (May 19) for such
positions, John Bell of Tennessee, and Edward Everett of Massachusetts.

The material portion of the Republican National platform, adopted with
entire unanimity by their Convention, was, so far as the Slavery and
Disunion questions were concerned, comprised in these declarations:

First, That the history of the nation, during the last four years, has
fully established the propriety and necessity of the organization and
perpetuation of the Republican Party; and that the causes which called
it into existence are permanent in their nature, and now, more than ever
before, demand its peaceful and Constitutional triumph.

Second, That the maintenance of the principle, promulgated in the
Declaration of Independence, and embodied in the Federal Constitution,
“that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain inalienable rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and
the pursuit of Happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are
instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the
governed,” is essential to the preservation of our Republican
institutions; and that the Federal Constitution, the Rights of the
States, and the Union of the States must and shall be preserved.

Third, That to the Union of the States, this Nation owes its
unprecedented increase in population, its surprising development of
material resources, its rapid augmentation of wealth, its happiness at
home, and its honor abroad; and we hold in abhorrence all schemes for
Disunion, come from whatever source they may: And we congratulate the
Country that no Republican member of Congress has uttered or
countenanced the threats of Disunion, so often made by Democratic
members, without rebuke, and with applause, from their political
associates; and we denounce those threats of Disunion, in case of a
popular overthrow of their ascendancy, as denying the vital principles
of a free Government, and as an avowal of contemplated Treason, which it
is the imperative duty of an indignant People, sternly to rebuke and
forever silence.

Fourth, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and
especially the right of each State, to order and control its own
domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is
essential to that balance of powers on which the perfection and
endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless
invasion, by armed force, of any State or Territory, no matter under
what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.

Fifth, That the present Democratic Administration has far exceeded our
worst apprehensions, in its measureless subserviency to the exactions of
a Sectional interest, as especially evinced in its desperate exertions
to force the infamous Lecompton Constitution upon the protesting people
of Kansas; in construing the personal relation between master and
servant to involve an unqualified property in persons; in its attempted
enforcement, everywhere, on land and sea, through the intervention of
Congress and of the Federal Courts, of the extreme pretensions of a
purely local interest; and in its general and unvarying abuse of the
power intrusted to it by a confiding People.

* * * * * * *

Seventh, That the new dogma that the Constitution, of its own force,
carries Slavery into any or all of the Territories of the United States,
is a dangerous political heresy, at variance with the explicit
provisions of that instrument itself, with contemporaneous exposition,
and with legislation and judicial precedent; is revolutionary in its
tendency and subversive of the peace and harmony of the Country.

Eighth, That the normal condition of all the territory of the United
States is that of Freedom; that as our Republican fathers, when they had
abolished Slavery in all our National Territory, ordained that “No
person should be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due
process of law,” it becomes our duty, by legislation, whenever such
legislation is necessary, to maintain this provision of the Constitution
against all attempts to violate it; and we deny the authority of
Congress, of a Territorial Legislature, or of any individuals, to give
legal existence to Slavery in any Territory of the United States.

Ninth, That we brand the recent re-opening of the African Slave-trade
under the cover of our National flag, aided by perversions of judicial
power, as a crime against humanity and a burning shame to our Country
and Age; and we call upon Congress to take prompt and efficient measures
for the total and final suppression of that execrable traffic.

Tenth, That in the recent vetoes, by their Federal Governors, of the
acts of the Legislatures of Kansas and Nebraska, prohibiting Slavery in
those Territories, we find a practical illustration of the boasted
Democratic principle of Non-Intervention and Popular Sovereignty
embodied in the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, and a demonstration of the
deception and fraud involved therein.

Eleventh, That Kansas should, of right, be immediately admitted as a
State, under the Constitution recently formed and adopted by the House
of Representatives.

* * * * * * * * * *

The National platform of the “Constitutional Union” Party, was adopted,
unanimously, in these words:

“Whereas, experience has demonstrated that platforms adopted by the
partisan Conventions of the Country have had the effect to mislead and
deceive the People, and at the same time to widen the political
divisions of the Country, by the creation and encouragement of
geographical and Sectional parties; therefore,

“Resolved, That it is both the part of patriotism and of
duty to recognize no political principle other than the Constitution of
the Country, the Union of the States, and the Enforcement of the Laws,
and that, as representatives of the Constitutional Union men of the
Country, in National Convention assembled, we hereby pledge ourselves to
maintain, protect, and defend, separately and unitedly, these great
principles of public liberty and national safety, against all enemies,
at home and abroad; believing that thereby peace may once more be
restored to the Country, the rights of the people and of the States re-
established, and the Government again placed in that condition of
justice, fraternity, and equality which, under the example and
Constitution of our fathers, has solemnly bound every citizen of the
United States to maintain a more perfect Union, establish justice,
insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote
the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves
and our posterity.”

Thus, by the last of June, 1860, the four National Parties with their
platforms and candidates were all in the political field prepared for
the onset.

Briefly, the attitude of the standard-bearers representing the platform-
principles of their several Parties, was this:

Lincoln, representing the Republicans, held that Slavery is a wrong, to
be tolerated in the States where it exists, but which must be excluded
from the Territories, which are all normally Free and must be kept Free
by Congressional legislation, if necessary; and that neither Congress,
nor the Territorial Legislature, nor any individual, has power to give
to it legal existence in such Territories.

Breckinridge, representing the Pro-Slavery wing of the Democracy, held
that Slavery is a right, which, when transplanted from the Slave-States
into the Territories, neither Congressional nor Territorial legislation
can destroy or impair, but which, on the contrary, must, when necessary,
be protected everywhere by Congress and all other departments of the

Douglas, representing the Anti-Lecompton wing of Democracy, held that
whether Slavery be right or wrong, the white inhabitants of the
Territories have the sole right to determine whether it shall or shall
not exist within their respective limits, subject to the Constitution
and Supreme Court decisions thereon; and that neither Congress nor any
State, nor any outside persons, must interfere with that right.

Bell, representing the remaining political elements, held that it was
all wrong to have any principles at all, except “the Constitution of the
Country, the Union of the States, and the Enforcement of the Laws”–a
platform which Horace Greeley well described as “meaning anything in
general, and nothing in particular.”

The canvass that ensued was terribly exciting–Douglas alone, of all the
Presidential candidates, bravely taking the field, both North and South,
in person, in the hope that the magnetism of his personal presence and
powerful intellect might win what, from the start–owing to the adverse
machinations, in the Northern States, of the Administration or
Breckinridge-Democratic wing–seemed an almost hopeless fight. In the
South, the Democracy was almost a unit in opposition to Douglas,
holding, as they did, that “Douglas Free-Soilism” was “far more
dangerous to the South than the election of Lincoln; because it seeks to
create a Free-Soil Party there; while, if Lincoln triumphs, the result
cannot fail to be a South united in her own defense;” while the old Whig
element of the South was as unitedly for Bell. In the North, the
Democracy were split in twain, three-fourths of them upholding Douglas,
and the balance, powerful beyond their numbers in the possession of
Federal Offices, bitterly hostile to him, and anxious to beat him, even
at the expense of securing the election of Lincoln.

Douglas’s fight was that the candidacy and platform of Bell were
meaningless, those of both Lincoln and Breckinridge, Sectional, and that
he alone bore aloft the standard of the entire Union; while, on the
other hand, the supporters of Lincoln, his chief antagonist, claimed
that–as the burden of the song from the lips of Douglas men, Bell men,
and Breckinridge men alike, was the expression of a “fear that,” in the
language of Mr. Seward, “if the people elected Mr. Lincoln to the
Presidency, they would wake up and find that they had no Country for him
to preside over”–“therefore, all three of the parties opposing Mr.
Lincoln were in the same boat, and hence the only true Union party, was
the party which made no threats of Disunion, to wit, the Republican

The October elections of 1860 made it plain that Mr. Lincoln would be
elected. South Carolina began to “feel good” over the almost certainty
that the pretext for Secession for which her leaders had been hoping in
vain for thirty years, was at hand. On the 25th of October, at Augusta,
South Carolina, the Governor, the Congressional delegation, and other
leading South Carolinians, met, and decided that in the event of Mr.
Lincoln’s election, that State would secede. Similar meetings, to the
same end, were also held about the same time, in others of the Southern
States. On the 5th of November–the day before the Presidential
election–the Legislature of South Carolina met at the special call of
Governor Gist, and, having organized, received a Message from the
Governor, in which, after stating that he had convened that Body in
order that they might on the morrow “appoint the number of electors of
President and Vice-President to which this State is entitled,” he
proceeded to suggest “that the Legislature remain in session, and take
such action as will prepare the State for any emergency that may arise.”
He went on to “earnestly recommend that, in the event of Abraham
Lincoln’s election to the Presidency, a Convention of the people of this
State be immediately called, to consider and determine for themselves
the mode and measure of redress,” and, he continued: “I am constrained
to say that the only alternative left, in my judgment, is the Secession
of South Carolina from the Federal Union. The indications from many of
the Southern States justify the conclusion that the Secession of South
Carolina will be immediately followed, if not adopted simultaneously, by
them, and ultimately by the entire South. The long-desired cooperation
of the other States having similar institutions, for which so many of
our citizens have been waiting, seems to be near at hand; and, if we are
true to ourselves, will soon be realized. The State has, with great
unanimity declared that she has the right peaceably to Secede, and no
power on earth can rightfully prevent it.”

[Referring to the Ordinance of Nullification adopted by the people
of South Carolina, November 24, 1832, growing out of the Tariff Act
of 1832–wherein it was declared that, in the event of the Federal
Government uudertaking to enforce the provisions of that Act: “The
people of this State will thenceforth hold themselves absolved from
all further obligation to maintain or preserve their political
connection with the people of the other States, and will forthwith
proceed to organize a separate government, and do all other acts
and things which Sovereign and independent States may of right

He proceeded to say that “If, in the exercise of arbitrary power, and
forgetful of the lessons of history, the Government of the United States
should attempt coercion, it will become our solemn duty to meet force by
force”–and promised that the decision of the aforesaid Convention
“representing the Sovereignty of the State, and amenable to no earthly
tribunal,” should be, by him, “carried out to the letter.” He
recommended the thorough reorganization of the Militia; the arming of
every man in the State between the ages of eighteen and forty-five; and
the immediate enrollment of ten thousand volunteers officered by
themselves; and concluded with a confident “appeal to the Disposer of
all human events,” in whose keeping the “Cause” was to be entrusted.

That same evening (November 5), being the eve of the election, at
Augusta, South Carolina, in response to a serenade, United States
Senator Chestnut made a speech of like import, in which, after
predicting the election of Mr. Lincoln, he said: “Would the South submit
to a Black Republican President, and a Black Republican Congress, which
will claim the right to construe the Constitution of the Country, and
administer the Government in their own hands, not by the law of the
instrument itself, nor by that of the fathers of the Country, nor by the
practices of those who administered seventy years ago, but by rules
drawn from their own blind consciences and crazy brains? * * * The
People now must choose whether they would be governed by enemies, or
govern themselves.”

He declared that the Secession of South Carolina was an “undoubted
right,” a “duty,” and their “only safety” and as to himself, he would
“unfurl the Palmetto flag, fling it to the breeze, and, with the spirit
of a brave man, live and die as became” his “glorious ancestors, and
ring the clarion notes of defiance in the ears of an insolent foe!”

So also, in Columbia, South Carolina, Representative Boyce of that
State, and other prominent politicians, harangued an enthusiastic crowd
that night–Mr. Boyce declaring: “I think the only policy for us is to
arm, as soon as we receive authentic intelligence of the election of
Lincoln. It is for South Carolina, in the quickest manner, and by the
most direct means, to withdraw from the Union. Then we will not submit,
whether the other Southern States will act with us or with our enemies.
They cannot take sides with our enemies; they must take sides with us.
When an ancient philosopher wished to inaugurate a great revolution, his
motto was to dare! to dare!”


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,

“THE PRESIDENT.”] 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“WASHINGTON, Jan. 17th, 9 P. M.

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

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

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

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

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

“Said Mr. Toombs:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why was not this taken and accepted? No; it was not Compromise
that the Leaders wanted; they wanted Power; they wanted to Destroy
this Government, so that they might have place and emolument for
themselves. They had lost confidence in the intelligence and
virtue and integrity of the People, and their capacity to govern
themselves; and they intended to separate and form a government,
the chief corner-stone of which should be Slavery, disfranchising
the great mass of the People, of which we have seen constant
evidence, and merging the Powers of Government in the hands of the
Few. I know what I say. I know their feelings and their
sentiments. I served in the Senate here with them. I know they
were a Close Corporation, that had no more confidence in or respect
for the People than has the Dey of Algiers. I fought that Close
Corporation here. I knew that they were no friends of the People.
I knew that Slidell and Mason and Benjamin and Iverson and Toombs
were the enemies of Free Government, and I know so now. I
commenced the war upon them before a State Seceded; and I intend to
keep on fighting this great battle before the Country, for the
perpetuity of Free Government. They seek to overthrow it, and to
establish a Despotism in its place. That is the great battle which
is upon our hands. * * * Now, the Senator from Delaware tells us
that if that (Crittenden) Compromise had been made, all these
consequences would have been avoided. It is a mere pretense; it is
false. Their object was to overturn the Government. If they could
not get the Control of this Government, they were willing to divide
the Country and govern part of it.”] The Clark substitute was then agreed to, by 25 (Republican) yeas to 23
Democratic and Conservative (Bell-Everett) nays–6 Pro-Slavery Senators
not voting, although present; and then, without division, the Crittenden
Resolutions were tabled–Mr. Cameron, however, entering a motion to
reconsider. Subsequently the action of the Senate, both on the
Resolutions and Substitute, was reconsidered, and March 2d the matter
came up again, as will hereafter appear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Resolved, That the President be requested to transmit copies of the
foregoing resolutions to the Governors of the several States, with a
request that they be communicated to their respective Legislatures.”
This Joint Resolution, with amendments proposed to the same, came up in
the House for action, on the 27th of February, 1861–the same day upon
which the Peace Congress or Conference concluded its labors at

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Kellogg Proposition was defeated by 33 yeas to 158

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * * * *

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

* * * * * * *

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

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

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

* * * * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[“Mr. Lincoln fondly regarded his Inaugural as a resistless
proffering of the olive branch to the South; the Conspirators
everywhere interpreted it as a challenge to War.”–Greeley’s Am.
Conflict, vol. i., p. 428.] Bitter indeed must have been President Lincoln’s disappointment and
sorrow at the reception of his Inaugural. With the heartiest
forgiveness, in the noblest spirit of paternal kindness, he had
generously held out his arms, as far as they could reach, to clasp to
his heart–to the great heart of the Union–the rash children of the
South, if they would but let him. It was more with sorrow, than in
anger, that he looked upon their contemptuous repulsion of his advances;
and his soul still reproachfully yearned toward these his Southern
brethren, as did that of a higher than he toward His misguided brethren,
when He cried: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets,
and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have
gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens
under her wings, and ye would not!”

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The undersigned, in behalf of their Government and people, accept the
gage of battle thus thrown down to them, and, appealing to God and the
judgment of mankind for the righteousness of their Cause, the people of
the Confederate States will defend their liberties to the last, against
this flagrant and open attempt at their subjugation to Sectional power.”
Let us now, for a moment, glance at the condition of Fort Sumter, and of
the Government with regard to it:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I am much obliged to you for the offer to send me Hammond’s Eulogy
on Calhoun, but I am indebted to the author for a copy.

“With esteem and friendship, yours truly,


“WM. H. TRESCOT, ESQ.”] Next morning’s New York herald, in its Charleston dispatch of April 12,
announced to the World that “The first shot [fired at Fort Sumter] from
Stevens’s battery was fired by the venerable Edmund Ruffin, of
Virginia,” and added, “That ball will do more for the cause of
Secession, in Virginia, than volumes of stump speeches.”

“Soon,” says Greeley in his History, “the thunder of fifty heavy
breaching cannon, in one grand volley, followed by the crashing and
crumbling of brick, stone, and mortar around and above them, apprized
the little garrison that their stay must necessarily be short.”

Says an eye-witness of the bombardment: “Shells burst with the greatest
rapidity in every portion of the work, hurling the loose brick and stone
in all directions, breaking the windows and setting fire to whatever
woodwork they burst against. * * * The firing from the batteries on
Cumming’s Point was scattered over the whole of the gorge or rear of the
Fort, till it looked like a sieve. The explosion of shells, and the
quantity of deadly missiles that were hurled in every direction and at
every instant of time, made it almost certain death to go out of the
lower tier of casemates, and also made the working of the barbette or
upper (uncovered) guns, which contained all our heaviest metal, and by
which alone we could throw shells, quite impossible.

“During the first day there was hardly an instant of time that there was
a cessation of the whizzing of balls, which were sometimes coming half a
dozen at once. There was not a portion of the work which was not taken
in reverse from mortars. * * * During Friday, the officers’ barracks
were three times set on fire by the shells and three times put out under
the most galling and destructive cannonade.

“For the fourth time, the barracks were set on fire early on Saturday
morning, and attempts were made to extinguish the flames; but it was
soon discovered that red-hot shot were being thrown into the Fort with
fearful rapidity, and it became evident that it would be impossible to
put out the conflagration. The whole garrison was then set to work, or
as many as could be spared, to remove the powder from the magazines,
which was desperate work, rolling barrels of powder through the fire. *
* * After the barracks were well on fire, the batteries directed upon
Fort Sumter increased their cannonading to a rapidity greater than had
been attained before.”

“About this time, the shells and ammunition in the upper service-
magazines exploded, scattering the tower and upper portions of the
building in every direction. The crash of the beams, the roar of the
flames, and the shower of fragments of the Fort, with the blackness of
the smoke, made the scene indescribably terrific and grand. This
continued for several hours. * * * ”

=== Gutchecked to here

“There was not a portion of the Fort where a breath of air could be got
for hours, except through a wet cloth. The fire spread to the men’s
quarters on the right hand and on the left, and endangered the powder
which had been taken out of the magazines. The men went through the
fire, and covered the barrels with wet cloths, but the danger of the
Fort’s blowing up became so imminent that they were obliged to heave the
barrels out of the embrasures.”

Major Anderson’s official report tells the whole story briefly and well,
in these words:


“April 18, 1861, 10.30 A.M., VIA NEW YORK.

“Having defended Fort Sumter for thirty-four hours, until the quarters
were entirely burnt, the main gates destroyed by fire, the gorge walls
seriously injured, the magazine surrounded by flames, and its door
closed from the effects of heat; four barrels and three cartridges of
powder only being available, and no provisions remaining but pork, I
accepted terms of evacuation offered by General Beauregard–being the
same offered by him on the 11th inst., prior to the commencement of
hostilities–and marched out of the Fort on Sunday afternoon, the 14th
instant, with colors flying and drums beating, bringing away company and
private property, and saluting my flag with fifty guns.

“Major 1st Artillery, Commanding.

“Secretary of War, Washington.”
During all this thirty-four hours of bombardment, the South rejoiced
with exceeding great joy that the time had come for the vindication of
its peculiar ideas of State and other rights, even though it be with
flames and the sword. At Charleston, the people were crazy with
exultation and wine-feasting and drinking being the order of the day and
night. But for the surrender, Fort Sumter would have been stormed that
Sunday night. As it was, Sunday was turned into a day of general
jubilation, and while the people cheered and filled the streets, all the
Churches of Charleston celebrated, with more or less devotional fervor
and ceremony, the bloodless victory.

At Montgomery, the Chiefs of the Confederate Government were serenaded.
“Salvos of artillery were fired, and the whole population seemed to be
in an ecstasy of triumph.”–[McPherson’s History of the Rebellion, p.

The Confederate Secretary of War, flushed with the success, predicted
that the Confederate flag “will, before the first of May, float over the
dome of the old Capitol at Washington” and “will eventually float over
Faneuil Hall, in Boston.”

From Maryland to Mexico, the protests of Union men of the South were
unheard in the fierce clamor of “On to Washington!”

The Richmond Examiner said: “There never was half the unanimity among
the people before, nor a tithe of the zeal upon any subject, that is now
manifested to take Washington. From the mountain tops and valleys to
the shores of the sea, there is one wild shout of fierce resolve to
capture Washington City at all and every human hazard.”

So also, the Mobile Advertiser enthusiastically exclaimed:

“We are prepared to fight, and the enemy is not. Now is the time for
action, while he is yet unprepared. Let the fife sound ‘Gray Jackets
over the Border,’ and let a hundred thousand men, with such arms as they
can snatch, get over the border as quickly as they can. Let a division
enter every Northern border State, destroy railroad connection to
prevent concentration of the enemy, and the desperate strait of these
States, the body of Lincoln’s country, will compel him to a peace–or
compel his successor, should Virginia not suffer him to escape from his
doomed capital.”

It was on Friday morning, the 12th of April, as we have seen, that the
first Rebel shot was fired at Fort Sumter. It was on Saturday afternoon
and evening that the terms of surrender were agreed to, and on Sunday
afternoon that the Federal flag was saluted and hauled down, and the
surrender completed. On Monday morning, being the 15th of April, in all
the great Northern Journals of the day appeared the following:


“WHEREAS, the laws of the United States have been for some time past,
and now are, opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed, in the
States of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi,
Louisiana, and Texas, by Combinations too powerful to be suppressed by
the ordinary course of Judicial proceedings, or by the powers vested in
the Marshals by law; now, therefore I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the
United States, in virtue of the power in me vested by the Constitution
and the laws, have thought fit to call forth, and hereby do call forth,
the Militia of the several States of the Union to the aggregate number
of 75,000, in order to suppress said Combinations, and to cause the laws
to be duly executed.

“The details for this object will be immediately communicated to the
State authorities through the War Department. I appeal to all loyal
citizens to favor, facilitate, and aid this effort to maintain the
honor, the integrity, and existence of our National Union, and the
perpetuity of popular government, and to redress wrongs already long
enough endured. I deem it proper to say that the first service assigned
to the forces hereby called forth, will probably be to repossess the
forts, places, and property which have been seized from the Union; and
in every event the utmost care will be observed, consistently with the
objects aforesaid, to avoid any devastation, any destruction of, or
interference with, property, or any disturbance of peaceful citizens of
any part of the Country; and I hereby command the persons composing the
Combinations aforesaid, to disperse and retire peaceably to their
respective abodes, within twenty days from this date.

“Deeming that the present condition of public affairs presents an
extraordinary occasion, I do hereby, in virtue of the power in me vested
by the Constitution, convene both Houses of Congress. The Senators and
Representatives are, therefore, summoned to assemble at their respective
chambers at twelve o’clock, noon, on Thursday, the 4th day of July next,
then and there to consider and determine such measures as, in their
wisdom, the public safety and interest may seem to demand.

“In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of
the United States to be affixed.

“Done at the city of Washington, this fifteenth day of April, in the
year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, and of the
independence of the United States the eighty-fifth.

“By the President: ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

“WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.”
While in the North the official responses to this Call for troops were
prompt and patriotic, in the Border and Slave States, not yet in
Rebellion, they were anything but encouraging.

The reply of Governor Burton, of Delaware, was by the issue of a
proclamation “recommending the formation of volunteer companies for the
protection of the lives and property of the people of Delaware against
violence of any sort to which they may be exposed; the companies not
being subject to be ordered by the Executive into the United States
service–the law not vesting him with such authority–but having the
option of offering their services to the General Government for the
defense of its capital and the support of the Constitution and laws of
the Country.”

Governor Hicks, of Maryland, in like manner, issued a proclamation for
Maryland’s quota of the troops, but stated that her four regiments would
be detailed to serve within the limits of Maryland–or, for the defense
of the National Capital.

Governor Letcher, of Virginia, replied: “The militia of Virginia will
not be furnished to the powers at Washington for any such use or purpose
as they have in view. Your object is to subjugate the Southern States,
and a requisition made upon me for such an object–an object, in my
judgment, not within the purview of the Constitution or the Act of 1795
–will not be complied with. You have chosen to inaugurate Civil War,
and having done so, we will meet it in a spirit as determined as the
Administration has exhibited toward the South.”

Governor Ellis, of North Carolina, replied to Secretary Cameron: “Your
dispatch is received, and, if genuine–which its extraordinary character
leads me to doubt–I have to say in reply that I regard the levy of
troops made by the Administration, for the purpose of subjugating the
States of the South, as in violation of the Constitution and a
usurpation of power. I can be no party to this wicked violation of the
laws of the country, and to this War upon the liberties of a free
people. You can get no troops from North Carolina. I will reply more
in detail when your Call is received by mail.”

Governor Magoffin, of Kentucky, replied: “Your dispatch is received. In
answer I say emphatically, Kentucky will furnish no troops for the
wicked purpose of subduing her sister Southern States.”

Governor Harris, of Tennessee, replied: “Tennessee will not furnish a
single man for Coercion, but fifty thousand, if necessary, for the
Defense of our rights or those of our Southern brethren.”

Governor Jackson, of Missouri, replied: “Your requisition is illegal,
unconstitutional, revolutionary, inhuman, diabolical and cannot be
complied with.”

Governor Rector, of Arkansas, replied: “None will be furnished. The
demand is only adding insult to injury.”

Discouraging and even insulting as were most of these replies, the
responses of the Governors of the Free States were, on the other hand,
full of the ring of true martial Patriotism evoked by the fall of Sumter
and the President’s first call for troops. Twenty millions of Northern
hearts were stirred by that Call, as they had never before been stirred.
Party and faction became for the moment, a thing of the past.

The Governors of the Free States made instant proclamation for
volunteers, and the People responded not by thousands but by hundreds of
thousands. New York, the Empire State, by her Governor and her
Legislature placed all her tremendous resources at the service of the
Union; and the great State of Pennsylvania, through Governor Curtin, did
the same. Nor were the other States at all behind.

The Loyal North felt that Law, Order, Liberty, the existence of the
Nation itself was in peril, and must be both saved and vindicated. Over
half a million of men–from the prairies of the West and the hills and
cities of the East–from farms and counting houses, from factories and
mines and workshops–sprang to arms at the Call, and begged to be
enrolled. The merchants and capitalists throughout the North proffered
to the Government their wealth and influence and best services. The
press and the people responded as only the press and people of a Free
land can respond–with all their heart and soul. “Fort Sumter,” said
one of the journals, “is lost, but Freedom is saved. Henceforth, the
Loyal States are a unit in uncompromising hostility to Treason, wherever
plotted, however justified. Fort Sumter is temporarily lost, but the
Country is saved. Live the Republic!”

This, in a nutshell, was the feeling everywhere expressed, whether by
the great crowds that marched through the streets of Northern cities
with drums beating and banners flying–cheering wildly for the Union,
singing Union songs, and compelling those of doubtful loyalty to throw
out to the breeze from their homes the glorified Stars and Stripes–by
the great majority of newspapers–by the pulpit, by the rostrum, by the
bench, by all of whatever profession or calling in Northern life. For
the moment, the voice of the Rebel-sympathizer was hushed in the land,
or so tremendously overborne that it seemed as if there was an absolute
unanimity of love for the Union.

Of course, in Border-States, bound to the South by ties of lineage and
intermarriage and politics and business association, the feeling could
not be the same as elsewhere. There, they were, so to speak, drawn both
ways at once, by the beckoning hands of kindred on the one side, and
Country on the other! Thus they long waited and hesitated, praying that
something might yet happen to save the Union of their fathers, and
prevent the shedding of brothers’ blood, by brothers-hoping against
hope-waited, in the belief that a position of armed neutrality might be
permitted to them; and grieved, when they found this could not be.

Each side to the great Conflict-at-arms naturally enough believed itself
right, and that the other side was the first aggressor; but the judgment
of Mankind has placed the blame where it properly belonged–on the
shoulders of the Rebels. The calm, clear statement of President
Lincoln, in his July Message to Congress, touching the assault and its
preceding history–together with his conclusions–states the whole
matter in such authentic and convincing manner that it may be said to
have settled the point beyond further controversy. After stating that
it “was resolved to notify the Governor of South Carolina that he might
expect an attempt would be made to provision the Fort; and that if the
attempt should not be resisted there would be no effort to throw in men,
arms, or ammunition, without further notice, or in case of an attack on
the Fort,” Mr. Lincoln continues: “This notice was accordingly given;
whereupon the Fort was attacked and bombarded to its fall, without even
awaiting the arrival of the provisioning expedition.”

The President then proceeds: “It is thus seen that the assault upon and
reduction of Fort Sumter was, in no sense, a matter of self-defense on
the part of the assailants. They well knew that the garrison in the
Fort could, by no possibility, commit aggression upon them. They knew–
they were expressly notified–that the giving of bread to the few brave
and hungry men of the garrison was all which would on that occasion be
attempted, unless themselves, by resisting so much, should provoke more.
They knew that this Government desired to keep the garrison in the Fort
–not to assail them–but merely to maintain visible possession, and
thus to preserve the Union from actual and immediate dissolution–
trusting, as hereinbefore stated, to time, discussion, and the ballot-
box for final adjustment; and they assailed and reduced the Fort for
precisely the reverse object–to drive out the visible authority of the
Federal Union, and thus force it to immediate dissolution.

“That this was their object, the Executive well understood; and, having
said to them, in the Inaugural Address, ‘you can have no conflict
without being yourselves the aggressors,’ he took pains not only to keep
this declaration good, but also to keep the case so free from the power
of ingenious sophistry as that the World should not be able to
misunderstand it.

“By the affair at Fort Sumter, with its surrounding circumstances, that
point was reached. Then and thereby the assailants of the Government
began the Conflict of arms, without a gun in sight or in expectancy to
return their fire, save only the few in the Fort sent to that harbor
years before for their own protection, and still ready to give that
protection in whatever was lawful. In this act, discarding all else,
they have forced upon the Country, the distinct issue: ‘Immediate
dissolution or blood.’

“And this issue embraces more than the fate of these United States. It
presents to the whole family of Man the question whether a
Constitutional Republic or Democracy–a government of the People by the
same People–can or cannot maintain its territorial integrity against
its own domestic foes. It presents the question whether discontented
individuals, too few in numbers to control administration according to
organic law in any case, can always, upon the pretences made in this
case, or on any other pretences, or arbitrarily without any pretence,
break up their Government, and thus practically put an end to free
government upon the earth. It forces us to ask: ‘Is there in all
republics, this inherent and fatal weakness?’ ‘Must a Government of
necessity be too strong for the liberties of its own people, or too weak
to maintain its own existence?’

“So viewing the issue, no choice was left but to call out the War power
of the Government; and so to resist force, employed for its destruction,
by force, for its preservation.”

The Call for Troops was made, as we have seen, on the 15th day of April.
On the evening of the following day several companies of a Pennsylvania
Regiment reported for duty in Washington. On the 18th, more
Pennsylvania Volunteers, including a company of Artillery, arrived

On the 19th of April, the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment–whose progress
through New York city had been triumphal-was suddenly and unexpectedly
assailed, in its passage through Baltimore, to the defense of the
National Capital, by a howling mob of Maryland Secessionists–worked up
to a pitch of States-rights frenzy by Confederate emissaries and
influential Baltimore Secession-sympathizers, by news of the sudden
evacuation of the Federal Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, and other exciting
tidings–and had to fight its way through, leaving three soldiers of
that regiment dead, and a number wounded, behind it.

[At a meeting of the “National Volunteer Association,” at Monument
Square, Baltimore, the previous evening, says Greeley’s History of
the American Conflict, page 462, “None of the speakers directly
advocated attacks on the Northern troops about to pass through the
city; but each was open in his hostility to ‘Coercion,’ and
ardently exhorted his hearers to organize, arm and drill, for the
Conflict now inevitable. Carr (Wilson C. N. Carr) said: ‘I do not
care how many Federal troops are sent to Washington; they will soon
find themselves surrounded by such an army from Virginia and
Maryland, that escape to their homes will be impossible; and when
the 75,000 who are intended to invade the South shall have polluted
that soil with their touch, the South will extermninate and sweep
them from the Earth.’ (Frantic cheering and yelling). The meeting
broke up with stentorian cheers for ‘the South’ and for ‘President

Ten companies of Philadelphia troops, reaching Baltimore at the same
time, unarmed, were also violently assailed by the crazy mob, and, after
a two hours’ fight, reached the cars and returned to Philadelphia.

Washington City–already, by the Secession of Virginia, cut off from the
South–was thus practically cut off from the North as well; and to
isolate it more completely, the telegraph wires were cut down and the
railroad bridges burned. A mere handful of regulars, the few volunteers
that had got through before the outbreak in Baltimore, and a small
number of Union residents and Government department clerks–these, under
General Winfield Scott, constituted the paltry force that, for ten days
after the Call for troops, held the National Capital.

Informed, as the Rebels must have been, by their swarming spies, of the
weakness of the Federal metropolis, it seems absolutely marvelous that
instant advantage was not taken of it.

The Richmond Examiner, of April 23d, said: “The capture of Washington
City is perfectly within the power of Virginia and Maryland, if Virginia
will only make the effort with her constituted authorities; nor is there
a single moment to lose. * * * The fanatical yell for the immediate
subjugation of the whole South is going up hourly from the united voices
of all the North; and, for the purpose of making their work sure, they
have determined to hold Washington City as the point whence to carry on
their brutal warfare. Our people can take it–they will take it–and
Scott, the arch-traitor, and Lincoln, the Beast, combined, cannot
prevent it. The just indignation of an outraged and deeply injured
people will teach the Illinois Ape to repeat his race and retrace his
journey across the borders of the Free Negro States still more rapidly
than he came. * * * Great cleansing and purification are needed and
will be given to that festering sink of iniquity, that wallow of Lincoln
and Scott–the desecrated city of Washington; and many indeed will be
the carcasses of dogs and caitiff that will blacken the air upon the
gallows before the great work is accomplished. So let it be!”

But despite all this fanfaronade of brutal bluster, and various
movements that looked somewhat threatening, and this complete isolation
for more than a week from the rest of the World, the city of Washington
was not seized by the Rebels, after all.

This nervous condition of affairs, however, existed until the 25th–and
to General Benjamin F. Butler is due the chief credit of putting an end
to it. It seems he had reached the Susquehanna river at Perryville,
with his Eighth Massachusetts Regiment on the 20th–the day after the
Sixth Massachusetts had been mobbed at Baltimore–and, finding his
further progress to Washington via Baltimore, barred by the destruction
of the bridge across the Susquehanna, etc., he at once seized a large
ferry steamer, embarked his men on her, steamed down the river and
Chesapeake Bay to Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, took possession of
the frigate Constitution, the Naval Academy, and the city itself,
gathered supplies, and being reinforced by the arrival by water of the
famous New York Seventh, and other regiments, repaired the branch
railroad to Annapolis Junction (on the main line of railroad between
Baltimore and Washington), and transferred his column from thence, by
cars, on the 25th, to the National Capital–soon thereafter also taking
military possession of Baltimore, which gave no further trouble to the
Union Cause. In the meantime, however, other untoward events to that
Cause had happened.

Two days after the Call for troops, the Virginia Convention (April 17th)
secretly voted to Secede from the Union. An expedition of Virginia
troops was almost at once started to capture the Federal Arsenal at
Harper’s Ferry, which, as has already been intimated, was evacuated
hastily on the night of the 18th, by the handful of Union regulars
garrisoning it, after a futile effort to destroy the public property and
stores it held. Another expedition was started to seize the Federal
Navy Yard at Norfolk–a rich prize, containing as it did, between 2,000
and 3,000 pieces of heavy ordnance (300 of them Dahlgrens), three old
line-of-battle ships and a number of frigates, including the Cumberland
and the fine forty-gun steam frigate Merrimac, together with thousands
of kegs of powder and immense stores of other munitions of war, and
supplies–that had cost in all some $10,000,000. Without an enemy in
sight, however, this fine Navy Yard was shamefully evacuated, after
partly scuttling and setting fire to the vessels–the Cumberland alone
being towed away–and spiking the guns, and doing other not very
material damage.

So also, in North Carolina, Rebel influence was equally active. On the
20th of April Governor Ellis seized the Federal Branch Mint at,
Charlotte, and on the 22d the Federal Arsenal at Fayetteville. A few
days thereafter his Legislature authorized him to tender to Virginia–
which had already joined the Confederacy–or to the Government of the
Confederate States itself, the volunteer forces of North Carolina. And,
although at the end of January the people of that State had decided at
the polls that no Secession Convention be held, yet the subservient
Legislature did not hesitate, on demand, to call one together which met
in May and ordained such Secession.

Thus, by the end of May, 1861, the Confederacy had grown to comprise
nine instead of seven States, and the Confederate troops were
concentrating on Richmond–whither the Rebel Government was soon to
remove, from Montgomery.

By this time also not only had the ranks of the regular Union Army been
filled and largely added to, but 42,000 additional volunteers had been
called out by President Lincoln; and the blockade of the Southern ports
(including those of Virginia and North Carolina) that had been
proclaimed by him, was, despite all obstacles, now becoming effectual
and respected.

Washington City and its suburbs, by the influx of Union volunteers, had
during this month become a vast armed camp; the Potomac river had been
crossed and the Virginia hills (including Arlington heights) which
overlooked the Federal Capital, had been occupied and fortified by Union
troops; the young and gallant Colonel Ellsworth had been killed by a
Virginia Rebel while pulling down a Rebel flag in Alexandria; and
General Benjamin F. Butler, in command at Fortress Monroe, had by an
inspiration, solved one of the knottiest points confronting our armies,
by declaring of three Negroes who had fled from their master so as to
escape working on Rebel fortifications, that they should not be returned
to that master–under the Fugitive Slave Law, as demanded by a Rebel
officer with a flag of truce–but were confiscated “property,” and would
be retained, as “contraband of war.”

It was about this time, too, that the New Orleans Picayune fell into
line with other unscrupulous Rebel sheets, by gravely declaring that:
“All the Massachusetts troops now in Washington are Negroes, with the
exception of two or three drummer boys. General Butler, in command, is
a native of Liberia. Our readers may recollect old Ben, the barber, who
kept a shop in Poydras street, and emigrated to Liberia with a small
competence. General Butler is his son.” Little did the writer of that
paragraph dream how soon New Orleans would crouch at the very feet of
that same General!

And now, while the armed hosts on either side are assembling in hostile
array, or resting on their arms, preliminary to the approaching fray of
battle, let us glance at the alleged causes underlying this great
Rebellion against the Union.


In preceding Chapters of this work, it has been briefly shown, that from
the very hour in which the Republic of the United States was born, there
have not been wanting, among its own citizens, those who hated it, and
when they could not rule, were always ready to do what they could, by
Conspiracy, Sedition, Mutiny, Nullification, Secession, or otherwise, to
weaken and destroy it. This fact, and the processes by which the
Conspirators worked, is very well stated, in his documentary “History of
the Rebellion,” by Edward McPherson, when he says: “In the Slaveholding
States, a considerable body of men have always been disaffected to the
Union. They resisted the adoption of the National Constitution, then
sought to refine away the rights and powers of the General Government,
and by artful expedients, in a series of years, using the excitements
growing out of passing questions, finally perverted the sentiments of
large masses of men, and prepared them for Revolution.”

Before giving further incontestable proofs establishing this fact, and
before endeavoring to sift out the true cause or causes of Secession,
let us first examine such evidences as are submitted by him in support
of his proposition.

The first piece of testimony, is an extract from an unpublished journal
of U. S. Senator Maclay of Pennsylvania, from March 4, 1789, to March 3,
1791–the period of the First Congress under the Federal Constitution.
It runs thus:

“1789, June 9.–In relation to the Tariff Bill, the affair of confining
the East India Trade to the citizens of America had been negatived, and
a committee had been appointed to report on this business. The report
came in with very high duties, amounting to a prohibition. But a new
phenomenon had made its appearance in the House (meaning the Senate)
since Friday.

“Pierce Butler, from South Carolina, had taken his seat, and flamed like
a meteor. He arraigned the whole Impost law, and then charged
(indirectly) the whole Congress with a design of oppressing South
Carolina. He cried out for encouraging the Danes and Swedes, and
foreigners of every kind, to come and take away our produce. In fact he
was for a Navigation Act reversed.

“June 11.–Attended at the hall as usual.

“Mr. Ralph Izard and Mr. Butler opposed the whole of the drawbacks in
every shape whatever.

“Mr. (William) Grayson, of Virginia, warm on this subject, said we were
not ripe for such a thing. We were a new Nation, and had no business
for any such regulations–a Nation /sui generis/.

“Mr. (Richard Henry) Lee (of Virginia) said drawbacks were right, but
would be so much abused, he could not think of admitting them.

“Mr. (Oliver) Ellsworth (of Connecticut) said New England rum would be
exported, instead of West India, to obtain the drawback.

“I thought it best to say a few words in reply to each. We were a new
Nation, it was true, but we were not a new People. We were composed of
individuals of like manners, habits, and customs with the European
Nations. What, therefore, had been found useful among them, came well
recommended by experience to us. Drawbacks stand as an example in this
point of view to us. If the thing was right in itself, there could be
no just argument drawn against the use of a thing from the abuse of it.
It would be the duty of Government to guard against abuses, by prudent
appointments and watchful attention to officers. That as to changing
the kind of rum, I thought the collection Bill would provide for this,
by limiting the exportation to the original casks and packages. I said
a great deal more, but really did not feel much interest either way.
But the debates were very lengthy.

“Butler flamed away, and THREATENED A DISSOLUTION OF THE UNION, with
regard to his State, as sure as God was in the firmament. He scattered
his remarks over the whole Impost bill, calling it partial, oppressive,
etc., and solely calculated to oppress South Carolina, and yet ever and
anon declaring how clear of local views and how candid and dispassionate
he was. He degenerates into mere declamation. His State would live
free, or die glorious.”

The next piece of evidence is General Jackson’s letter to Rev. A. J.
Crawford, as follows:


“WASHINGTON, May 1, 1833.

“MY DEAR SIR: * * * I have had a laborious task here, but Nullification
is dead; and its actors and courtiers will only be remembered by the
People to be execrated for their wicked designs to sever and destroy the
only good Government on the globe, and that prosperity and happiness we
enjoy over every other portion of the World. Haman’s gallows ought to
be the fate of all such ambitious men who would involve their Country in
Civil War, and all the evils in its train, that they might reign and
ride on its whirlwinds and direct the storm. The Free People of these
United States have spoken, and consigned these wicked demagogues to
their proper doom. Take care of your Nullifiers; you have them among
you; let them meet with the indignant frowns of every man who loves his
Country. The Tariff, it is now known, was a mere pretext–its burden
was on your coarse woolens. By the law of July, 1832, coarse woolen was
reduced to five per cent., for the benefit of the South. Mr. Clay’s
Bill takes it up and classes it with woolens at fifty per cent., reduces
it gradually down to twenty per cent., and there it is to remain, and
Mr. Calhoun and all the Nullifiers agree to the principle. The cash
duties and home valuation will be equal to fifteen per cent. more, and
after the year 1842, you pay on coarse woolens thirty-five per cent. If
this is not Protection, I cannot understand; therefore the Tariff was
only the pretext, and Disunion and a Southern Confederacy the real
object. The next pretext will be the Negro or Slavery question.

“My health is not good, but is improving a little. Present me kindly to
your lady and family, and believe me to be your friend. I will always
be happy to hear from you.
Another evidence is given in the following extract from Benton’s “Thirty
Years in the Senate,” vol. ii., as follows:

“The regular inauguration of this Slavery agitation dates from the year
1835; but it had commenced two years before, and in this way:
Nullification and Disunion had commenced in 1830, upon complaint against
Protective Tariff. That, being put down in 1833 under President
Jackson’s proclamation and energetic measures, was immediately
substituted by the Slavery agitation. Mr. Calhoun, when he went home
from Congress in the spring of that year, told his friends that ‘the
South could never be united against the North on the Tariff question–
that the sugar interest of Louisiana would keep her out–and that the
basis of Southern Union must be shifted to the Slave question.’ Then
all the papers in his interest, and especially the one at Washington,
published by Mr. Duff Green, dropped Tariff agitation, and commenced
upon Slavery, and in two years had the agitation ripe for inauguration,
on the Slavery question. And in tracing this agitation to its present
stage, and to comprehend its rationale, it is not to be forgotten that
it is a mere continuation of old Tariff Disunion, and preferred because
more available.”

Again, from p. 490 of his private correspondence, Mr. Clay’s words to an
Alabamian, in 1844, are thus given:

“From the developments now being made in South Carolina, it is perfectly
manifest that a Party exists in that State seeking a Dissolution of the
Union, and for that purpose employ the pretext of the rejection of Mr.
Tyler’s abominable treaty. South Carolina, being surrounded by Slave
States, would, in the event of a Dissolution of the Union, suffer only
comparative evils; but it is otherwise with Kentucky. She has the
boundary of the Ohio extending four hundred miles on three Free States.
What would our condition be in the event of the greatest calamity that
could befall this Nation?”

Allusion is also made to a letter written by Representative Nathan
Appleton, of Boston, December 15, 1860, in which that gentleman said
that when he was in Congress–in 1832-33–he had “made up his mind that
Messrs. Calhoun, Hayne, McDuffie, etc., were desirous of a separation of
the Slave States into a separate Confederacy, as more favorable to the
security of Slave Property.”

After mentioning that “About 1835, some South Carolinians attempted a
Disunion demonstration,” our authority says: It is thus described by ex-
Governor Francis Thomas of Maryland, in his speech in Baltimore, October
29, 1861:

“Full twenty years ago, when occupying my seat in the House of
Representatives, I was surprised one morning, after the assembling of
the House, to observe that all the members from the Slaveholding States
were absent. Whilst reflecting on this strange occurrence, I was asked
why I was not in attendance on the Southern Caucus assembled in the room
of the Committee on Claims. I replied that I had received no

“I then proposed to go to the Committee-room to see what was being done.
When I entered, I found that little cock-sparrow, Governor Pickens, of
South Carolina, addressing the meeting, and strutting about like a
rooster around a barn-yard coop, discussing the following resolution:

“‘ Resolved, That no member of Congress, representing a Southern
constituency, shall again take his seat until a resolution is passed
satisfactory to the South on the subject of Slavery.’

“I listened to his language, and when he had finished, I obtained the
floor, asking to be permitted to take part in the discussion. I
determined at once to kill the Treasonable plot hatched by John C.
Calhoun, the Catiline of America, by asking questions. I said to Mr.
Pickens, ‘What next do you propose we shall do? are we to tell the
People that Republicanism is a failure? If you are for that, I am not.
I came here to sustain and uphold American institutions; to defend the
rights of the North as well as the South; to secure harmony and good
fellowship between all Sections of our common Country.’ They dared not
answer these questions. The Southern temper had not then been gotten
up. As my questions were not answered, I moved an adjournment of the
Caucus /sine die/. Mr. Craig, of Virginia, seconded the motion, and the
company was broken up. We returned to the House, and Mr. Ingersoll, of
Pennsylvania, a glorious patriot then as now, introduced a resolution
which temporarily calmed the excitement.”

The remarks upon this statement, made November 4, 1861, by the National
Intelligencer, were as follows:

“However busy Mr. Pickens may have been in the Caucus after it met, the
most active man in getting it up and pressing the Southern members to go
into it, was Mr. R. B. Rhett, also a member from South Carolina. The
occasion, or alleged cause of this withdrawal from the House into secret
deliberation was an anti-Slavery speech of Mr. Slade, of Vermont, which
Mr. Rhett violently denounced, and proposed to the Southern members to
leave the House and go into Conclave in one of the Committee-rooms,
which they generally did, if not all of them. We are able to state,
however, what may not have been known to Governor Thomas, that at least
three besides himself, of those who did attend it, went there with a
purpose very different from an intention to consent to any Treasonable
measure. These three men were Henry A. Wise, Balie Peyton, and William
Cost Johnson. Neither of them opened his lips in the Caucus; they went
to observe; and we can assure Governor Thomas, that if Mr. Pickens or
Mr. Calhoun, (whom he names) or any one else had presented a distinct
proposition looking to Disunion, or Revolt, or Secession, he would have
witnessed a scene not soon to be forgotten. The three whom we have
mentioned were as brave as they were determined. Fortunately, perhaps,
the man whom they went particularly to watch, remained silent and

Let us, however, pursue the inquiry a little further. On the 14th of
November, 1860, Alexander H. Stephens addressed the Legislature of
Georgia, and in a portion of that address–replying to a speech made
before the same Body the previous evening by Mr. Toombs, in which the
latter had “recounted the evils of this Government”–said:

“The first [of these evils] was the Fishing Bounties, paid mostly to the
sailors of New England. Our friend stated that forty-eight years of our
Government was under the administration of Southern Presidents. Well,
these Fishing Bounties began under the rule of a Southern President, I
believe. No one of them, during the whole forty-eight years, ever set
his Administration against the principle or policy of them. * * *

“The next evil which my friend complained of, was the Tariff. Well, let
us look at that for a moment. About the time I commenced noticing
public matters, this question was agitating the Country almost as
fearfully as the Slave question now is. In 1832, when I was in college,
South Carolina was ready to Nullify or Secede from the Union on this
account. And what have we seen? The Tariff no longer distracts the
public counsels. Reason has triumphed! The present Tariff was voted
for by Massachusetts and South Carolina. The lion and the lamb lay down
together–every man in the Senate and House from Massachusetts and South
Carolina, I think, voted for it, as did my honorable friend himself.
And if it be true, to use the figure of speech of my honorable friend,
that every man in the North that works in iron, and brass and wood, has
his muscle strengthened by the protection of the Government, that
stimulant was given by his vote and I believe (that of) every other
Southern man.

“Mr. TOOMBS–The Tariff lessened the duties.

“Mr. STEPHENS–Yes, and Massachusetts with unanimity voted with the
South to lessen them, and they were made just as low as Southern men
asked them to be, and that is the rate they are now at. If reason and
argument, with experience, produced such changes in the sentiments of
Massachusetts from 1832 to 1857, on the subject of the Tariff, may not
like changes be effected there by the same means–reason and argument,
and appeals to patriotism on the present vexed question? And who can
say that by 1875 or 1890, Massachusetts may not vote with South Carolina
and Georgia upon all those questions that now distract the Country and
threaten its peace and existence.

“Another matter of grievance alluded to by my honorable friend was the
Navigation Laws. This policy was also commenced under the
Administration of one of these Southern Presidents who ruled so well,
and has been continued through all of them since. * * * One of the
objects (of these) was to build up a commercial American marine by
giving American bottoms the exclusive Carrying Trade between our own
ports. This is a great arm of national power. This object was
accomplished. We have now an amount of shipping, not only coastwise,
but to foreign countries, which puts us in the front rank of the Nations
of the World. England can no longer be styled the Mistress of the Seas.
What American is not proud of the result? Whether those laws should be
continued is another question. But one thing is certain; no President,
Northern or Southern, has ever yet recommended their repeal. * * *

“These then were the true main grievances or grounds of complaint
against the general system of our Government and its workings–I mean
the administration of the Federal Government. As to the acts of the
federal States I shall speak presently: but these three were the main
ones used against the common head. Now, suppose it be admitted that all
of these are evils in the system; do they overbalance and outweigh the
advantages and great good which this same Government affords in a
thousand innumerable ways that cannot be estimated? Have we not at the
South, as well as the North, grown great, prosperous, and happy under
its operations? Has any part of the World ever shown such rapid
progress in the development of wealth, and all the material resources of
national power and greatness, as the Southern States have under the
General Government, notwithstanding all its defects?

“Mr. TOOMBS–In spite of it.

“Mr. STEPHENS–My honorable friend says we have, in spite of the General
Government; that without it, I suppose he thinks, we might have done as
well, or perhaps better, than we have done in spite of it. * * *
Whether we of the South would have been better off without the
Government, is, to say the least, problematical. On the one side we can
only put the fact, against speculation and conjecture on the other. * *
* The influence of the Government on us is like that of the atmosphere
around us. Its benefits are so silent and unseen that they are seldom
thought of or appreciated.

“We seldom think of the single element of oxygen in the air we breathe,
and yet let this simple, unseen and unfelt agent be withdrawn, this
life-giving element be taken away from this all-pervading fluid around
us, and what instant and appalling changes would take place in all
organic creation.

“It may be that we are all that we are ‘in spite of the General
Government,’ but it may be that without it we should have been far
different from what we are now. It is true that there is no equal part
of the Earth with natural resources superior perhaps to ours. That
portion of this Country known as the Southern States, stretching from
the Chesapeake to the Rio Grande, is fully equal to the picture drawn by
the honorable and eloquent Senator last night, in all natural
capacities. But how many ages and centuries passed before these
capacities were developed to reach this advanced age of civilization.
There these same hills, rich in ore, same rivers, same valleys and
plains, are as they have been since they came from the hand of the
Creator; uneducated and uncivilized man roamed over them for how long no
history informs us.

“It was only under our institutions that they could be developed. Their
development is the result of the enterprise of our people, under
operations of the Government and institutions under which we have lived.
Even our people, without these, never would have done it. The
organization of society has much to do with the development of the
natural resources of any Country or any Land. The institutions of a
People, political and moral, are the matrix in which the germ of their
organic structure quickens into life–takes root, and develops in form,
nature, and character. Our institutions constitute the basis, the
matrix, from which spring all our characteristics of development and
greatness. Look at Greece. There is the same fertile soil, the same
blue sky, the same inlets and harbors, the same AEgean, the same
Olympus; there is the same land where Homer sung, where Pericles spoke;
it is in nature the same old Greece–but it is living Greece no more.

“Descendants of the same people inhabit the country; yet what is the
reason of this vast difference? In the midst of present degradation we
see the glorious fragments of ancient works of art-temples, with
ornaments and inscriptions that excite wonder and admiration–the
remains of a once high order of civilization, which have outlived the
language they spoke–upon them all, Ichabod is written–their glory has
departed. Why is this so? I answer, their institutions have been
destroyed. These were but the fruits of their forms of government, the
matrix from which their great development sprang; and when once the
institutions of a People have been destroyed, there is no earthly power
that can bring back the Promethean spark to kindle them here again, any
more than in that ancient land of eloquence, poetry and song.

“The same may be said of Italy. Where is Rome, once the mistress of the
World? There are the same seven hills now, the same soil, the same
natural resources; the nature is the same, but what a ruin of human
greatness meets the eye of the traveler throughout the length and
breadth of that most down-trodden land! why have not the People of that
Heaven-favored clime, the spirit that animated their fathers? Why this
sad difference?

“It is the destruction of their institutions that has caused it; and, my
countrymen, if we shall in an evil hour rashly pull down and destroy
those institutions which the patriotic hand of our fathers labored so
long and so hard to build up, and which have done so much for us and the
World, who can venture the prediction that similar results will not
ensue? Let us avoid it if we can. I trust the spirit is among us that
will enable us to do it. Let us not rashly try the experiment, for, if
it fails, as it did in Greece and Italy, and in the South American
Republics, and in every other place wherever liberty is once destroyed,
it may never be restored to us again.

“There are defects in our government, errors in administration, and
short-comings of many kinds; but in spite of these defects and errors,
Georgia has grown to be a great State. Let us pause here a moment.

“When I look around and see our prosperity in everything, agriculture,
commerce, art, science, and every department of education, physical and
mental, as well as moral advancement–and our colleges–I think, in the
face of such an exhibition, if we can, without the loss of power, or any
essential right or interest, remain in the Union, it is our duty to
ourselves and to posterity–let us not too readily yield to this
temptation–to do so. Our first parents, the great progenitors of the
human race, were not without a like temptation, when in the Garden of
Eden. They were led to believe that their condition would be bettered–
that their eyes would be opened–and that they would become as gods.
They in an evil hour yielded–instead of becoming gods they only saw
their own nakedness.

“I look upon this Country, with our institutions, as the Eden of the
World, the Paradise of the Universe. It may be that out of it we may
become greater and more prosperous, but I am candid and sincere in
telling you that I fear if we rashly evince passion, and without
sufficient cause shall take that step, that instead of becoming greater
or more peaceful, prosperous, and happy–instead of becoming gods, we
will become demons, and at no distant day commence cutting one another’s
throats. This is my apprehension.

“Let us, therefore, whatever we do, meet those difficulties, great as
they are, like wise and sensible men, and consider them in the light of
all the consequences which may attend our action. Let us see first
clearly where the path of duty leads, and then we may not fear to tread
Said Senator Wigfall, of Texas, March 4, 1861, in the United States
Senate, only a few hours before Mr. Lincoln’s Inauguration:

“I desire to pour oil on the waters, to produce harmony, peace and quiet
here. It is early in the morning, and I hope I shall not say anything
that may be construed as offensive. I rise merely that we may have an
understanding of this question.

“It is not Slavery in the Territories, it is not expansion, which is the
difficulty. If the resolution which the Senator from Wisconsin
introduced here, denying the right of Secession, had been adopted by
two-thirds of each branch of this department of the Government, and had
been ratified by three-fourths of the States, I have no hesitation in
saying that, so far as the State in which I live and to which I owe my
allegiance is concerned, if she had no other cause for a disruption of
the Union taking place, she would undoubtedly have gone out.

[To insert as an additional article of amendment to the
Constitution, the following: “Under this Constitution, as
originally adopted, and as it now exists, no State has power to
withdraw from the jurisdiction of the United States: but this
Constitution, and all laws passed in pursuance of its delegated
powers, are the Supreme Law of the Land, anything contained in any
constitution, ordinance, or act of any State, to the contrary

“The moment you deny the right of self-government to the free White men
of the South, they will leave the Government. They believe in the
Declaration of Independence. They believe that:

“‘Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from
the consent of the governed; that, whenever any form of government
becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to
alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Government, laying its
foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form as
to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.’

“That principle of the Declaration of Independence is the one upon which
the free White men of the South predicated their devotion to the present
Constitution of the United States; and it was the denial of that, as
much as anything else, that has created the dissatisfaction in that
Section of the Country.

“There is no instrument of writing that has ever been written that has
been more misapprehended and misunderstood and misrepresented than this
same unfortunate Declaration of Independence, and no set of gentlemen
have ever been so slandered as the fathers who drew and signed that

“If there was a thing on earth that they did not intend to assert, it
was that a Negro was a White man. As I said here, a short time ago, one
of the greatest charges they made against the British Government was,
that old King George was attempting to establish the fact practically
that all men were created Free and Equal. They charged him in the
Declaration of Independence with inciting their Slaves to insurrection.
That is one of the grounds upon which they threw off their allegiance to
the British Parliament.

“Another great misapprehension is, that the men who drafted that
Declaration of Independence had any peculiar fancy for one form of
government rather than another. They were not fighting to establish a
Democracy in this country; they were not fighting to establish a
Republican form of government in this Country. Nothing was further from
their intention.

“Alexander Hamilton, after he had fought for seven years, declared that
the British form of government was the best that the ingenuity of man
had ever devised; and when John Adams said to him, ‘without its
corruptions;’ ‘Why,’ said he, ‘its corruptions are its greatest
excellence; without the corruptions, it would be nothing.’

“In the Declaration of Independence, they speak of George III., after
this fashion. They say:

“‘A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define
a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free People.’

“Now, I ask any plain common-sense man what was the meaning of that?
Was it that they were opposed to a Monarchical form of government? Was
it that they believed a Monarchical form of government was incompatible
with civil liberty? No, sir; they entertained no such absurd idea.
None of them entertained it; but they say that George III, was a prince
whose character was ‘marked by every act which may define a tyrant’ and
that therefore he was ‘unfit to be the ruler of a free People.’ Had his
character not been so marked by every quality which would define a
tyrant, he might have been the fit ruler of a free People; ergo, a
monarchical form of Government was not incompatible with civil liberty.

“That was clearly the opinion of those men. I do not advocate it now;
for I have said frequently that we are wiser than our fathers, and our
children will be wiser than we are. One hundred years hence, men will
understand their own affairs much better than we do. We understand our
affairs better than those who preceded us one hundred years. But what I
assert is, that the men of the Revolution did not believe that a
Monarchical form of Government was incompatible with civil liberty.

“What I assert is, that when they spoke of ‘all men being created
equal,’ they were speaking of the White men who then had unsheathed
their swords–for what purpose? To establish the right of self-
government in themselves; and when they had achieved that, they
established, not Democracies, but Republican forms of Government in the
thirteen sovereign, separate and independent Colonies. Yet the
Declaration of Independence is constantly quoted to prove Negro
equality. It proves no such thing; it was intended to prove no such

“The ‘glittering generalities’ which a distinguished former Senator from
Massachusetts (Mr. Choate) spoke of, as contained in the Declaration of
Independence, one of them at least, about all men being created equal–
was not original with Mr. Jefferson. I recollect seeing a pamphlet
called the Principles of the Whigs and Jacobites, published about the
year 1745, when the last of the Stuarts, called ‘the Pretender,’ was
striking a blow that was fatal to himself, but a blow for his crown, in
which pamphlet the very phraseology is used, word for word and letter
for letter. I have not got it here to-night. I sent the other day to
the Library to try and find it, but could not find it; it was burnt, I
believe, with the pamphlets that were burnt some time ago.

“That Mr. Jefferson copied it or plagiarized it, is not true, I suppose,
any more than the charge that the distinguished Senator from New York
plagiarized from the Federalist in preparing his celebrated compromising
speech which was made here a short time ago. It was the cant phrase of
the day in 1745, which was only about thirty years previous to the
Declaration of Independence. This particular pamphlet, which I have
read, was published; others were published at the same time. That sort
of phraseology was used.

“There was a war of classes in England; there were men who were
contending for legitimacy; who were contending for the right of the
Crown being inherent and depending on the will of God, ‘the divine right
of Kings,’ for maintaining an hereditary landed-aristocracy; there was
another Party who were contending against this doctrine of legitimacy,
and the right of primogeniture. These were called the Whigs; they
established this general phraseology in denouncing the divine right and
the doctrine of legitimacy, and it became the common phraseology of the
Country; so that in the obscure county of Mecklenburg, in North
Carolina, a declaration containing the same assertions was found as in
this celebrated Declaration of Independence, written by the immortal

“Which of us, I ask, is there upon this floor who has not read and re-
read whatever was written within the last twenty-five or thirty years by
the distinguished men of this country? But enough of that.

“As I said before, there ought not have been, and there did not
necessarily result from our form of Government, any irrepressible
conflict between the Slaveholding and the non-Slaveholding States.
Nothing of the sort was necessary.

“Strike out a single clause in the Constitution of the United States,
that which secures to each State a Republican form of Government, and
there is no reason why, under precisely such a Constitution as we have,
States that are Monarchical and States that are Republican, could not
live in peace and quiet. They confederate together for common defense
and general welfare, each State regulating its domestic concerns in its
own way; those which preferred a Republican form of Government
maintaining it, and those which preferred a Monarchical form of
Government maintaining it.

“But how long could small States, with different forms of Government,
live together, confederated for common defense and general welfare, if
the people of one Section were to come to the conclusion that their
institutions were better than those of the other, and thereupon
straightway set about subverting the institutions of the other?”
In the reply of the Rebel “Commissioners of the Southern Confederacy”
to Mr. Seward, April 9, 1861, they speak of our Government as being
“persistently wedded to those fatal theories of construction of the
Federal Constitution always rejected by the statesmen of the South, and
adhered to by those of the Administration school, until they have
produced their natural and often-predicted result of the destruction of
the Union, under which we might have continued to live happily and
gloriously together, had the spirit of the ancestry who framed the
common Constitution animated the hearts of all their sons.”

In the “Address of the people of South Carolina, assembled in
Convention, to the people of the Slaveholding States of the United
States,” by which the attempt was made to justify the passage of the
South Carolina Secession Ordinance of 1860, it is declared that:

“Discontent and contention have moved in the bosom of the Confederacy,
for the last thirty-five years. During this time South Carolina has
twice called her people together in solemn Convention, to take into
consideration, the aggressions and unconstitutional wrongs, perpetrated
by the people of the North on the people of the South. These wrongs
were submitted to by the people of the South, under the hope and
expectation that they would be final. But such hope and expectation
have proved to be vain. Instead of producing forbearance, our
acquiescence has only instigated to new forms of aggressions and
outrage; and South Carolina, having again assembled her people in
Convention, has this day dissolved her connection with the States
constituting the United States.

“The one great evil from which all other evils have flowed, is the
overthrow of the Constitution of the United States. The Government of
the United States, is no longer the Government of Confederated
Republics, but of a consolidated Democracy. It is no longer a free
Government, but a Despotism. It is, in fact, such a Government as Great
Britain attempted to set over our Fathers; and which was resisted and
defeated by a seven years struggle for Independence.

“The Revolution of 1776, turned upon one great principle, self-
government,–and self-taxation, the criterion of self-government.

“The Southern States now stand exactly in the same position towards the
Northern States, that the Colonies did towards Great Britain. The
Northern States, having the majority in Congress, claim the same power
of omnipotence in legislation as the British Parliament. ‘The General
Welfare’ is the only limit to the legislation of either; and the
majority in Congress, as in the British Parliament, are the sole judges
of the expediency of the legislation this ‘General Welfare’ requires.
Thus the Government of the United States has become a consolidated
Government; and the people of the Southern States are compelled to meet
the very despotism their fathers threw off in the Revolution of 1776.

“The consolidation of the Government of Great Britain over the Colonies,
was attempted to be carried out by the taxes. The British Parliament
undertook to tax the Colonies to promote British interests. Our fathers
resisted this pretension. They claimed the right of self-taxation
through their Colonial Legislatures. They were not represented in the
British Parliament, and, therefore, could not rightly be taxed by its
legislation. The British Government, however, offered them a
representation in Parliament; but it was not sufficient to enable them
to protect themselves from the majority, and they refused the offer.
Between taxation without any representation, and taxation without a
representation adequate to protection, there was no difference. In
neither case would the Colonies tax themselves. Hence, they refused to
pay the taxes laid by the British Parliament.

“And so with the Southern States, towards the Northern States, in the
vital matter of taxation. They are in a minority in Congress. Their
representation in Congress is useless to protect them against unjust
taxation; and they are taxed by the people of the North for their
benefit, exactly as the people of Great Britain taxed our ancestors in
the British Parliament for their benefit. For the last forty years, the
taxes laid by the Congress of the United States have been laid with a
view of subserving the interests of the North. The people of the South
have been taxed by duties on imports, not for revenue, but for an object
inconsistent with revenue–to promote, by prohibitions, Northern
interests in the productions of their mines and manufactures.

“There is another evil, in the condition of the Southern towards the
Northern States, which our ancestors refused to bear towards Great
Britain. Our ancestors not only taxed themselves, but all the taxes
collected from them were expended amongst them. Had they submitted to
the pretensions of the British Government, the taxes collected from
them, would have been expended in other parts of the British Empire.
They were fully aware of the effect of such a policy in impoverishing
the people from whom taxes are collected, and in enriching those who
receive the benefit of their expenditure.

“To prevent the evils of such a policy, was one of the motives which
drove them on to Revolution, yet this British policy has been fully
realized towards the Southern States, by the Northern States. The
people of the Southern States are not only taxed for the benefit of the
Northern States, but after the taxes are collected, three fourths of
them are expended at the North. This cause, with others, connected with
the operation of the General Government, has made the cities of the
South provincial. Their growth is paralyzed; they are mere suburbs of
Northern cities. The agricultural productions of the South are the
basis of the foreign commerce of the United States; yet Southern cities
do not carry it on. Our foreign trade is almost annihilated. * * *

“No man can for a moment believe, that our ancestors intended to
establish over their posterity, exactly the same sort of Government they
had overthrown. * * * Yet by gradual and steady encroachments on the
part of the people of the North, and acquiescence on the part of the
South, the limitations in the Constitution have been swept away; and the
Government of the United States has become consolidated, with a claim of
limitless powers in its operations. * * *

“A majority in Congress, according to their interested and perverted
views, is omnipotent. * * * Numbers with them, is the great element of
free Government. A majority is infallible and omnipotent. ‘The right
divine to rule in Kings,’ is only transferred to their majority. The
very object of all Constitutions, in free popular Government, is to
restrain the majority. Constitutions, therefore, according to their
theory, must be most unrighteous inventions, restricting liberty. None
ought to exist; but the body politic ought simply to have a political
organization, to bring out and enforce the will of the majority. This
theory is a remorseless despotism. In resisting it, as applicable to
ourselves, we are vindicating the great cause of free Government, more
important, perhaps, to the World, than the existence of all the United
In his Special Message to the Confederate Congress at Montgomery, April
29, 1861, Mr. Jefferson Davis said:

“From a period as early as 1798, there had existed in all the States a
Party, almost uninterruptedly in the majority, based upon the creed that
each State was, in the last resort, the sole judge, as well of its
wrongs as of the mode and measure of redress. * * * The Democratic
Party of the United States repeated, in its successful canvas of 1836,
the declaration, made in numerous previous political contests, that it
would faithfully abide by and uphold the principles laid down in the
Kentucky and Virginia Legislatures of [1798 and] 1799, and that it
adopts those principles as constituting one of the main foundations of
its political creed.”

In a letter addressed by the Rebel Commissioners in London (Yancey, Rost
and Mann), August 14, 1861, to Lord John Russell, Secretary of Foreign
Affairs, it appears that they said: “It was from no fear that the Slaves
would be liberated, that Secession took place. The very Party in power
has proposed to guarantee Slavery forever in the States, if the South
would but remain in the Union.” On the 4th of May preceding, Lord John
had received these Commissioners at his house; and in a letter of May
11, 1861, wrote, from the Foreign Office, to Lord Lyons, the British
Minister at Washington, a letter, in which, alluding to his informal
communication with them, he said: “One of these gentlemen, speaking for
the others, dilated on the causes which had induced the Southern States
to Secede from the Northern. The principal of these causes, he said,
was not Slavery, but the very high price which, for the sake of
Protecting the Northern manufacturers, the South were obliged to pay for
the manufactured goods which they required. One of the first acts of
the Southern Congress was to reduce these duties, and to prove their
sincerity he gave as an instance that Louisiana had given up altogether
that Protection on her sugar which she enjoyed by the legislation of the
United States. As a proof of the riches of the South. He stated that
of $350,000,000 of exports of produce to foreign countries $270,000,000
were furnished by the Southern States.” * * * They pointed to the new
Tariff of the United States as a proof that British manufactures would
be nearly excluded from the North, and freely admitted in the South.
This may be as good a place as any other to say a few words touching
another alleged “cause” of Secession. During the exciting period just
prior to the breaking out of the great War of the Rebellion, the Slave-
holding and Secession-nursing States of the South, made a terrible
hubbub over the Personal Liberty Bills of the Northern States. And when
Secession came, many people of the North supposed these Bills to be the
prime, if not the only real cause of it. Not so. They constituted, as
we now know, only a part of the mere pretext. But, none the less, they
constituted a portion of the history of that eventful time, and cannot
be altogether ignored.

In order then, that the reader may quickly grasp, not only the general
nature, but also the most important details of the Personal Liberty
Bills (in force, in 1860, in many of the Free States) so frequently
alluded to in the Debates of Congress, in speeches on the stump, and in
the fulminations of Seceding States and their authorized agents,
commissioners, and representatives, it may be well now, briefly to refer
to them, and to state that no such laws existed in California, Illinois,
Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Oregon.

Those of Maine provided that no officer of the State should in any way
assist in the arrest or detention of a Fugitive Slave, and made it the
duty of county attorneys to defend the Fugitive Slave against the claim
of his master. A Bill to repeal these laws passed the Maine Senate, but
failed in the House.

That of Massachusetts provided for commissioners in each county to
defend alleged Fugitives from Service or Labor; for payment by the
Commonwealth of all expenses of defense; prohibited the issue or service
of process by State officers for arrest of alleged Fugitives, or the use
of any prisons in the State for their detention, or that of any person
aiding their escape; prohibited the kidnapping or removal of alleged
Fugitive Slaves by any person; prohibited all officers within the State,
down to Town officers, from arresting, imprisoning, detaining or
returning to Service “any Person for the reason that he is claimed or
adjudged to be a Fugitive from Service or Labor”–all such prohibitions
being enforced by heavy fines and imprisonment. The Act of March 25,
1861, materially modified and softened the above provisions.

New Hampshire’s law, provided that all Slaves entering the State with
consent of the master shall be Free, and made the attempt to hold any
person as a Slave within the State a felony.

Vermont’s, prescribed that no process under the Fugitive Slave Law
should be recognized by any of her Courts, officers, or citizens; nor
any aid given in arresting or removing from the State any Person claimed
as a Fugitive Slave; provided counsel for alleged Fugitives; for the
issue of habeas corpus and trial by jury of issues of fact between the
parties; ordained Freedom to all within the State who may have been held
as Slaves before coming into it, and prescribed heavy penalties for any
attempt to return any such to Slavery. A bill to repeal these laws,
proposed November, 1860, in the Vermont House of Representatives, was
beaten by two to one.

Connecticut’s, provided that there must be two witnesses to prove that a
Person is a Slave; that depositions are not evidence; that false
testifying in Fugitive Slave cases shall be punishable by fine of $5,000
and five years in State prison.

In New Jersey, the only laws touching the subject, permitted persons
temporarily sojourning in the State to bring and hold their Slaves, and
made it the duty of all State officers to aid in the recovery of
Fugitives from Service.

In Pennsylvania, barring an old dead-letter Statute, they simply
prohibited any interference by any of the Courts, Aldermen, or Justices
of the Peace, of the Commonwealth, with the functions of the
Commissioner appointed under the United States Statute in Fugitive Slave

In Michigan, the law required States’ attorneys to defend Fugitive
Slaves; prescribed the privileges of habeas corpus and jury trial for
all such arrested; prohibited the use of prisons of the State for their
detention; required evidence of two credible witnesses as to identity;
and provided heavy penalties of fine and imprisonment for the seizure of
any Free Person, with intent to have such Person held in Slavery. A
Bill to repeal the Michigan law was defeated in the House by about two
to one.

Wisconsin’s Personal Liberty law was similar to that of Michigan, but
with this addition, that no judgment recovered against any person in
that State for violating the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 should be
enforced by sale or execution of any real or personal property in that

That of Rhode Island, forbade the carrying away of any Person by force
out of the State; forbade the official aiding in the arrest or detention
of a Fugitive Slave; and denied her jails to the United States for any
such detention.

Apropos of this subject, and before leaving it, it may be well to quote
remarks of Mr. Simons of Rhode Island, in the United States Senate.
Said he: “Complaint has been made of Personal Liberty Bills. Now, the
Massachusetts Personal Liberty Bill was passed by a Democratic House, a
Democratic Senate, and signed by a Democratic Governor, a man who was
afterwards nominated by Mr. Polk for the very best office in New
England, and was unanimously confirmed by a Democratic United States
Senate. Further than this, the very first time the attention of the
Massachusetts Legislature was called to the propriety of a repeal of
this law was by a Republican Governor. Now, on the other hand, South
Carolina had repealed a law imprisoning British colored sailors, but
retained the one imprisoning those coming from States inhabited by her
own brethren!”

These Personal Liberty Bills were undoubtedly largely responsible for
some of the irritation on the Slavery question preceding open
hostilities between the Sections. But President Lincoln sounded the
real depths of the Rebellion when he declared it to be a War upon the
rights of the People. In his First Annual Message, December 3, 1861, he

“It continues to develop that the insurrection is largely, if not
exclusively, a War upon the first principle of popular government–the
rights of the People. Conclusive evidence of this is found in the most
grave and maturely considered public documents, as well as in the
general tone of the insurgents. In those documents we find the
abridgment of the existing right of suffrage, and the denial to the
People of all right to participate in the selection of public officers,
except the legislative, boldly advocated, with labored arguments to
prove that large control of the People in government is the source of
all political evil. Monarchy itself is sometimes hinted at as a
possible refuge from the power of the People.

“In my present position, I could scarcely be justified were I to omit
raising a warning voice against this approach of returning despotism.

“It is not needed, nor fitting here, that a general argument should be
made in favor of popular institutions; but there is one point, with its
connections, not so hackneyed as most others, to which I ask brief
attention. It is the effort to place Capital on an equal footing with,
if not above Labor, in the structure of the Government.

“It is assumed that Labor is available only in connection with Capital;
that nobody labors unless somebody else, owning Capital, somehow by the
use of it induces him to labor. This assumed, it is next considered
whether it is best that Capital shall hire laborers, and thus induce
them to work by their own consent, or buy them, and drive them to it
without their consent. Having proceeded so far, it is naturally
concluded that all laborers are either hired laborers, or what we call
Slaves. And further, it is assumed that whoever is once a hired laborer
is fixed in that condition for life.

“Now, there is no such relation between Capital and Labor as assumed;
nor is there any such thing as a free man being fixed for life, in the
condition of a hired laborer. Both these assumptions are false, and all
inferences from them are groundless.

“Labor is prior to, and independent of Capital. Capital is only the
fruit of Labor, and could never have existed if Labor had not first
existed. Labor is the superior of Capital, and deserves much the higher
consideration. Capital has its rights, which are as worthy of
protection as any other rights. Nor is it denied that there is, and
probably always will be, a relation between Labor and Capital, producing
mutual benefits. The error is in assuming that the whole Labor of the
community exists within that relation.

“A few men own Capital, and that few, avoid labor themselves, and with
their Capital hire or buy another few to labor for them. A large
majority belong to neither class–neither work for others, nor have
others working for them.

“In most of the Southern States, a majority of the whole people of all
colors are neither Slaves nor masters; while in the Northern, a large
majority are neither hirers nor hired. Men with their families–wives,
sons, and daughters–work for themselves, on their farms, in their
houses, and in their shops, taking the whole product to themselves, and
asking no favors of Capital on the one hand, nor of hired laborers or
Slaves on the other.

“It is not forgotten that a considerable number of persons mingle their
own Labor with Capital–that is they labor with their own hands, and
also buy or hire others to labor for them; but this is only a mixed, and
not a distinct class. No principle stated is disturbed by the existence
of this mixed class.

“Again, as has already been said, there is not, of necessity, any such
thing as the free hired-laborer being fixed to that condition for life.
Many independent men everywhere in these States, a few years back in
their lives, were hired laborers.

“The prudent, penniless beginner in the World, labors for wages awhile,
saves a surplus with which to buy tools or land for himself, then labors
on his own account another while, and at length hires another new
beginner to help him. This is the just and generous and prosperous
system, which opens the way to all, gives hope to all, and consequent
energy and progress, and improvement of condition to all.

“No men living are more worthy to be trusted than those who toil up from
poverty–none less inclined to take or touch aught which they have not
honestly earned. Let them beware of surrendering a political power
which they already possess, and which, if surrendered, will surely be
used to close the door of advancement against such as they, and to fix
new disabilities and burdens upon them, till all of Liberty shall be
lost. * * * The struggle of to-day is not altogether for to-day-it is
a vast future also. * * * ”
So too, Andrew Johnson, in his speech before the Senate, January 31,
1862, spake well and truly when he said that “there has been a
deliberate design for years to change the nature and character and
genius of this Government.” And he added: “Do we not know that these
schemers have been deliberately at work, and that there is a Party in
the South, with some associates in the North, and even in the West, that
have become tired of Free Government, in which they have lost

Said he: “They raise an outcry against ‘Coercion,’ that they may
paralyze the Government, cripple the exercise of the great powers with
which it was invested, finally to change its form and subject us to a
Southern despotism. Do we not know it to be so? Why disguise this
great truth? Do we not know that they have been anxious for a change of
Government for years? Since this Rebellion commenced it has manifested
itself in many quarters.

“How long is it since the organ of the Government at Richmond, the
Richmond Whig, declared that rather than live under the Government of
the United States, they preferred to take the Constitutional Queen of
Great Britain as their protector; that they would make an alliance with
Great Britain for the purpose of preventing the enforcement of the Laws
of the United States. Do we not know this?”
Stephen A. Douglas also, in his great Union speech at Chicago, May 1,
1861–only a few days before his lamented death-said:

“The election of Mr. Lincoln is a mere pretext. The present Secession
movement is the result of an enormous Conspiracy formed more than a year
since formed by leaders in the Southern Confederacy more than twelve
months ago. They use the Slavery question as a means to aid the
accomplishment of their ends. They desired the election of a Northern
candidate by a Sectional vote, in order to show that the two Sections
cannot live together.

“When the history of the two years from the Lecompton question down to
the Presidential election shall be written, it will be shown that the
scheme was deliberately made to break up this Union.

“They desired a Northern Republican to be elected by a purely Northern
vote, and then assign this fact as a reason why the Sections cannot live
together. If the Disunion candidate–(Breckinridge) in the late
Presidential contest had carried the united South, their scheme was, the
Northern candidate successful, to seize the Capital last Spring, and by
a united South and divided North, hold it.

“Their scheme was defeated, in the defeat of the Disunion candidates in
several of the Southern States.

“But this is no time for a detail of causes. The Conspiracy is now
known; Armies have been raised. War is levied to accomplish it. There
are only two sides to the question.

“Every man must be for the United States, or against it. There can be
no Neutrals in this War; only Patriots or Traitors! [Cheer after
In a speech made in the United States Senate, January 31, 1862, Senator
McDougall of California–conceded to be intellectually the peer of any
man in that Body–said:

“We are at War. How long have we been at War? We have been engaged in
a war of opinion, according to my historical recollection, since 1838.
There has been a Systematic organized war against the Institutions
established by our fathers, since 1832. This is known of all men who
have read carefully the history of our Country. If I had the leisure,
or had consulted the authorities, I would give it year by year, and date
by date, from that time until the present, how men adversary to our
Republican Institutions have been organizing War against us, because
they did not approve of our Republican Institutions.

“Before the Mexican War, it is well known that General Quitman, then
Governor of Mississippi, was organizing to produce the same condition of
things (and he hoped a better condition of things, for he hoped a
successful Secession), to produce this same revolution that is now
disturbing our whole Land. The War with Mexico, fighting for a Southern
proposition, for which I fought myself, made the Nation a unit until
1849; and then again they undertook an Organization to produce
Revolution. These things are history. This statement is true, and
cannot be denied among intelligent men anywhere, and cannot be denied in
this Senate.

“The great men who sat in Council in this Hall, the great men of the
Nation, men whose equals are not, and I fear will not be for many years,
uniting their judgments, settled the controversy in 1850. They did not
settle it for the Conspirators of the South, for they were not parties
to the compact. Clay and Webster, and the great men who united with
them, had no relation with the extremes of either extreme faction. The
Compromise was made, and immediately after it had been effected, again
commenced the work of organization. I had the honor to come from my
State on the Pacific into the other branch of the Federal Congress, and
there I learned as early as 1853, that the work of Treason was as
industriously pursued as it is being pursued to-day. I saw it; I felt
it; I knew it. I went home to the shores of the Pacific instructed
somewhat on this subject.

“Years passed by. I engaged in my duties as a simple professional man,
not connected with public affairs. The question of the last
Presidential election arose before the Country–one of those great
questions that are not appreciated, I regret from my heart, by the
American Nation, when we elect a President, a man who has more power for
his time than any enthroned Monarch in Europe. We organize a Government
and place him in front as the head and the Chief of the Government.
That question came before the American People.

“At that time I was advised of this state of feeling–and I will state
it in as exact form of words as I can state it, that it may be
understood by Senators: Mr. Douglas is a man acceptable to the South.
Mr. Douglas is a man to whom no one has just cause of exception
throughout the South. Mr. Douglas is more acceptable to Mississippi and
Louisiana than Mr. Breckinridge. Mr. Breckinridge is not acceptable to
the South; or at least, if he is so, he is not in the same degree with
Mr. Douglas. Mr. Douglas is the accepted man of a great National Party,
and if he is brought into the field he will be triumphantly elected.
MATURED. EVERYTHING IS PREPARED, and the election of Mr. Douglas would
only postpone it for four years; and Now when we are PREPARED to carry
out these things WE MUST INDULGE IN STRATAGEM, and the nomination of Mr.
Breckinridge is a mere strategic movement to divide the great
conservative Party of the Nation into two, so as to elect a Republican

“That is a mere simple statement of the truth, and it cannot be
contradicted. Now, in that scheme all the men of counsel of that Party
were engaged. * * * I, on the far shores of the Pacific understood
those things as long ago as a year last September (1860). I was advised
about this policy and well informed of it. * * *

“I was at war, in California, in January (1861) last; in the maintenance
of the opinions that I am now maintaining, I had to go armed to protect
myself from violence. The country, whenever there was controversy, was
agitated to its deepest foundations. That is known, perhaps, not to
gentlemen who live up in Maine or Massachusetts, or where you are
foreign to all this agitation; but known to all people where disturbance
might have been effective in consequences. I felt it, and had to carry
my life in my hand by the month, as did my friends surrounding me.

“I say that all through last winter (that of 1860-61) War had been
inaugurated in all those parts of the Country where disturbed elements
could have efficient result. In January (1861), a year ago, I stood in
the hall of the House of Representatives of my State, and there was War
then, and angry faces and hostile men were gathered; and we knew then
well that the Southern States had determined to withdraw themselves from
the Federal Union.

“I happened to be one of those men who said, ‘they shall not do it;’ and
it appears to me that the whole argument is between that class of men
and the class of men who said they would let them do it. * * * When
this doctrine was started here of disintegrating the Cotton States from
the rest of the Confederacy, I opposed it at once. I saw immediately
that War was to be invoked. * * *

“I will not say these things were understood by gentlemen of the
Republican Party * * * but I, having been accepted and received as a
Democrat of the old school from the olden time, and HAVING FAST SOUTHERN
THING DETERMINED UPON. * * * I was advised of and understood the whole
advised, made war against it. * * *

“War had been, in fact, inaugurated. What is War? Was it the firing on
our flag at Sumter? Was that the first adversary passage? To say so,
is trifling with men’s judgments and information. No, sir; when they
organized a Government, and set us at defiance, they commenced War; and
the various steps they took afterwards, by organizing their troops, and
forming their armies, and advancing upon Sumter; all these were merely
acts of War; but War was inaugurated whenever they undertook to say they
would maintain themselves as a separate and independent government; and,
after that time, every man who gave his assistance to them was a
Traitor, according to the highest Law.”

The following letter, written by one of the most active of the Southern
conspirators in 1858, during the great Douglas and Lincoln Debate of
that year, to which extended reference has already been made, is of
interest in this connection, not only as corroborative evidence of the
fact that the Rebellion of the Cotton States had been determined on long
before Mr. Lincoln was elected President, but as showing also that the
machinery for “firing the Southern heart” and for making a “solid South”
was being perfected even then. The subsequent split in the Democratic
Party, and nomination of Breckinridge by the Southern wing of it, was
managed by this same Yancey, simply as parts of the deliberate programme
of Secession and Rebellion long before determined on by the Cotton Lords
of the Cotton States.
“MONTGOMERY, June 15, 1858.

“DEAR SIR:–Your kind favor of the 13th is received.

“I hardly agree with you that a general movement can be made that will
clean out the Augean Stable. If the Democracy were overthrown it would
result in giving place to a greedier and hungrier swarm of flies.

“The remedy of the South is not in such a process. It is in a diligent
organization of her true men for prompt resistance to the next
aggression. It must come in the nature of things. No National Party
can save us. No Sectional Party can ever do it. But if we could do as
our fathers did–organize ‘Committees of Safety’ all over the Cotton
States (and it is only in them that we can hope for any effective
movement), we shall fire the Southern heart, instruct the Southern mind,
give courage to each other, and at the proper moment, by one organized,
concerted action, we can precipitate the Cotton States into a

“The idea has been shadowed forth in the South by Mr. Ruffin; has been
taken up and recommended in the Advertiser under the name of ‘League of
United Southerners,’ who, keeping up their old relations on all other
questions, will hold the Southern issues paramount, and influence
parties, legislatures and statesmen. I have no time to enlarge, but to
suggest merely.

“In haste, yours, etc.

At Jackson, Mississippi, in the fall of the same year (1858) just after
the great Debate between Douglas and Lincoln had closed, Jefferson Davis
had already raised the standard of Revolution, Secession and Disunion,
during the course of a speech, in which he said: “If an Abolitionist be
chosen President of the United States, you will have presented to you
the question of whether you will permit the Government to pass into the
hands of your avowed and implacable enemies? Without pausing for an
answer, I will state my own position to be, that such a result would be
a species of revolution by which the purposes of the Government would be
destroyed, and the observance of its mere forms entitled to no respect.
In that event, in such a manner as should be most expedient, I should
deem it your duty to provide for your safety, outside of the Union with
those who have already shown the will, and would have acquired the power
to deprive you of your birthright, and to reduce you to worse than the
Colonial dependence of your fathers.”

The “birthright” thus referred to was of course, the alleged right to
have Slaves; but what was this “worse than Colonial dependence” to
which, in addition to the peril supposed to threaten the Southern
“birthright,” the Cotton States of Mississippi were reduced?
“Dependence” upon whom, and with regard to what? Plainly upon the
North; and with regard, not to Slavery alone–for Jefferson Davis held,
down to the very close of the War, that the South fought “not for
Slavery”–but as to Tariff Legislation also. There was the rub! These
Cotton Lords believed, or pretended to believe, that the High Tariff
Legislation, advocated and insisted upon both by the Whigs and
Republicans for the Protection of the American Manufacturer and working
man, built up and made prosperous the North, and elevated Northern
laborers; at the expense of the South, and especially themselves, the
Cotton Lords aforesaid.

We have already seen from the utterances of leading men in the South
Carolina, Secession Convention, “that”–as Governor Hicks, himself a
Southern man, said in his address to the people of Maryland, after the
War broke out “neither the election of Mr. Lincoln, nor the non-
execution of the Fugitive Slave Law, nor both combined, constitute their
grievances. They declare that THE REAL CAUSE of their discontent DATES

And what was the chief cause or pretext for discontent at that time?
Nothing less than the Tariff. They wanted Free Trade, as well as
Slavery. The balance of the Union wanted Protection, as well as

The subsequent War, then, was not a War waged for Slavery alone, but for
Independence with a view to Free Trade, as set forth in the “Confederate
Constitution,” as soon as that Independence could be achieved. And the
War on our part, while for the integrity of the Union in all its parts–
for the life of the Nation itself, and for the freedom of man, should
also have brought the triumph of the American idea of a Protective
Tariff, whose chief object is the building up of American manufactures
and the Protection of the Free working-man, in the essential matters of
education, food, clothing, rents, wages, and work.

It is mentioned in McPherson’s History of the Rebellion, p. 392, that in
a letter making public his reasons for going to Washington and taking
his seat in Congress, Mr. James L. Pugh, a Representative from Alabama,
November 24, 1860, said: “The sole object of my visit is to promote the
cause of Secession.”

From the manner in which they acted after reaching Washington, it is not
unreasonable to suppose that most of those persons representing, in both
branches of Congress, the Southern States which afterwards seceded, came
to the National Capital with a similar object in view–taking their
salaries and mileages for services supposed to be performed for the
benefit of the very Government they were conspiring to injure, and
swearing anew the sacred oath to support and defend the very
Constitution which they were moving heaven and earth to undermine and

[As a part of the history of those times, the following letter is
not without interest:

“OXFORD, December 24, 1860.

“MY DEAR SIR:–I regretted having to leave Washington without
having with you a full conference as to the great events whose
shadows are upon us. The result of the election here is what the
most sanguine among us expected; that is, its general result is so.
It is as yet somewhat difficult to determine the distinctive
complexion of the convention to meet on the 7th of January. The
friends of Southern Independence, of firm and bona fide resistance,
won an overwhelming victory; but I doubt whether there is any
precise plan.

“No doubt a large majority of the Convention will be for separate
Secession. But unless intervening events work important changes of
sentiment, not all of those elected as resistance men will be for
immediate and separate Secession. Our friends in Pontotoc, Tippah,
De Soto and Pauola took grounds which fell far short of that idea,
though their resolutions were very firm in regard to Disunion and
an ultimate result.

“In the meantime the Disunion sentiment among the people is growing
every day more intense.

“Upon the whole, you have great cause for gratification in the
action of your State.

“The submissionists are routed, horse, foot, and dragoons, and any
concession by the North will fail to restore that sacred attachment
to the Union which was once so deeply radicated in the hearts of
our people. What they want now, is wise and sober leading. I
think that there might be more of dignity and prudent foresight in
the action of our State than have marked the proceedings of South
Carolina. I have often rejoiced that we have you to rest upon and
confide in. I do not know what we could do without you. That God
may preserve you to us, and that your mind may retain all its vigor
to carry us through these perilous times, is my most fervent

“I am as ever, and forever, your supporter, ally and friend.

“L. Q. C. LAMAR.

“COL. JEFF. DAVIS, Washington, D. C.”] This was but a part of the deliberate, cold-blooded plan mapped out in
detail, early in the session succeeding the election of Mr. Lincoln, in
a secret Caucus of the Chief Plotters of the Treason. It was a secret
conference, but the programme resolved on, soon leaked out.

The following, which appeared in the Washington National Intelligencer
on Friday, January 11, 1861, tells the story of this stage of the Great
Conspiracy pretty clearly:

“The subjoined communication, disclosing the designs of those who have
undertaken to lead the movement now threatening a permanent dissolution
of the Union, comes to us from a distinguished citizen of the South
[understood to be Honorable Lemuel D. Evans, Representative from Texas
in the 34th Congress, from March 4, 1855, to March 3, 1857] who formerly
represented his State with great distinction in the popular branch of

“Temporarily sojourning in this city he has become authentically
informed of the facts recited in the subjoined letter, which he
communicates to us under a sense of duty, and for the accuracy of which
he makes himself responsible.

“Nothing but assurances coming from such an intelligent, reliable source
could induce us to accept the authenticity of these startling
statements, which so deeply concern not only the welfare but the honor
of the Southern people.

“To them we submit, without present comment, the programme to which they
are expected to yield their implicit adhesion, without any scruples of
conscience as without any regard for their own safety.

“‘WASHINGTON, January 9, 1861.

“‘I charge that on last Saturday night (January 5th), a Caucus was held
in this city by the Southern Secession Senators from Florida, Georgia,
Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas. It was then and
there resolved in effect to assume to themselves the political power of
the South, and, to control all political and military operations for the
present, they telegraphed to complete the plan of seizing forts,
arsenals, and custom-houses, and advised the Conventions now in session,
and soon to assemble, to pass Ordinances for immediate Secession; but,
in order to thwart any operations of the Government here, the
Conventions of the Seceding States are to retain their representations
in the Senate and the House.

“‘They also advised, ordered, or directed the assembling of a Convention
of delegates from the Seceding States at Montgomery on the 13th of
February. This can of course only be done by the revolutionary
Conventions usurping the powers of the people, and sending delegates
over whom they will lose all control in the establishment of a
Provisional Government, which is the plan of the dictators.

“‘This Caucus also resolved to take the most effectual means to dragoon
the Legislatures of Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and
Virginia into following the Seceding States. Maryland is also to be
influenced by such appeals to popular passion as have led to the
revolutionary steps which promise a conflict with the State and Federal
Governments in Texas.

“‘They have possessed themselves of all the avenues of information in
the South–the telegraph, the press, and the general control of the
postmasters. They also confidently rely upon defections in the army and

“‘The spectacle here presented is startling to contemplate. Senators
entrusted with the representative sovereignty of the States, and sworn
to support the Constitution of the United States, while yet acting as
the privy councillors of the President, and anxiously looked to by their
constituents to effect some practical plan of adjustment, deliberately
conceive a Conspiracy for the overthrow of the Government through the
military organizations, the dangerous secret order, the ‘Knights of the
Golden Circle,’ ‘Committees of Safety,’ Southern leagues, and other
agencies at their command; they have instituted as thorough a military
and civil despotism as ever cursed a maddened Country.

“‘It is not difficult to foresee the form of government which a
Convention thus hurriedly thrown together at Montgomery will irrevocably
fasten upon a deluded and unsuspecting people. It must essentially be
‘a Monarchy founded upon military principles,’ or it cannot endure.
Those who usurp power never fail to forge strong chains.

“‘It may be too late to sound the alarm. Nothing may be able to arrest
the action of revolutionary tribunals whose decrees are principally in
‘secret sessions.’ But I call upon the people to pause and reflect
before they are forced to surrender every principle of liberty, or to
fight those who are becoming their masters rather than their servants.

“As confirming the intelligence furnished by our informant we may cite
the following extract from the Washington correspondence of yesterday’s
Baltimore Sun:

“‘The leaders of the Southern movement are consulting as to the best
mode of consolidating their interests into a Confederacy under a
Provisional Government. The plan is to make Senator Hunter, of
Virginia, Provisional President, and Jefferson Davis Commander-in-Chief
of the army of defense. Mr. Hunter possesses in a more eminent degree
the philosophical characteristics of Jefferson than any other statesman
now living. Colonel Davis is a graduate of West Point, was
distinguished for gallantry at Buena Vista, and served as Secretary of
War under President Pierce, and is not second to General Scott in
military science or courage.’

“As further confirmatory of the above, the following telegraphic
dispatch in the Charleston Mercury of January 7, 1861, is given:

“‘[From our Own Correspondent.]

“‘WASHINGTON, January 6.–The Senators from those of the Southern States
which have called Conventions of their people, met in caucus last night,
and adopted the following resolutions:

“‘Resolved, That we recommend to our respective States immediate

“‘Resolved, That we recommend the holding of a General Convention of the
said States, to be holden in the city of Montgomery, Alabama, at some
period not later than the 15th day of February, 1861.’

“These resolutions were telegraphed this evening to the Conventions of
Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. A third resolution is also known to
have been adopted, but it is of a confidential character, not to be
divulged at present. There was a good deal of discussion in the caucus
on the question of whether the Seceding States ought to continue their
delegations in Congress till the 4th of March, to prevent unfriendly
legislation, or whether the Representatives of the Seceding States
should all resign together, and leave a clear field for the opposition
to pass such bills, looking to Coercion, as they may see fit. It is
believed that the opinion that they should remain prevailed.”

Furthermore, upon the capture of Fernandina, Florida, in 1862, the
following letter was found and published. Senator Yulee, the writer,
was present and participated as one of the Florida Senators, in the
traitorous “Consultation” therein referred to–and hence its especial
“WASHINGTON, January 7, 1861.

“My DEAR SIR:–On the other side is a copy of resolutions adopted at a
consultation of the Senators from the Seceding States–in which Georgia,
Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi, and Florida were

“The idea of the meeting was that the States should go out at once, and
provide for the early organization of a Confederate Government, not
later than 15th February. This time is allowed to enable Louisiana and
Texas to participate. It seemed to be the opinion that if we left here,
force, loan, and volunteer Bills might be passed, which would put Mr.
Lincoln in immediate condition for hostilities; whereas, by remaining in
our places until the 4th of March, it is thought we can keep the hands
of Mr. Buchanan tied, and disable the Republicans from effecting any
legislation which will strengthen the hands of the incoming

“The resolutions will be sent by the delegation to the President of the
Convention. I have not been able to find Mr. Mallory (his Senatorial
colleague) this morning. Hawkins (Representative from Florida) is in
Connecticut. I have therefore thought it best to send you this copy of
the resolutions.

“In haste, yours truly

“‘Sovereignty Convention,’ Tallahassee, Fla.”

The resolutions “on the other side” of this letter, to which he refers,
are as follows:

“Resolved, 1–That in our opinion each of the Southern States should, as
soon as may be, Secede from the Union.

“Resolved, 2–That provision should be made for a Convention to organize
a Confederacy of the Seceding States, the Convention to meet not later
than the 15th of February, at the city of Montgomery, in the State of

“Resolved, That in view of the hostile legislation that is threatened
against the Seceding States, and which may be consummated before the 4th
of March, we ask instructions whether the delegations are to remain in
Congress until that date for the purpose of defeating such legislation.

“Resolved, That a committee be and are hereby appointed, consisting of
Messrs. Davis, Slidell, and Mallory, to carry out the objects of this
In giving this letter to the World–from its correspondent accompanying
the expedition–the New York Times of March 15, 1862, made these
forcible and clear-headed comments:

“The telegraphic columns of the Times of January 7, 1861, contained the
following Washington dispatch: ‘The Southern Senators last night
(January 5th) held a conference, and telegraphed to the Conventions of
their respective States to advise immediate Secession.’ Now, the
present letter is a report by Mr. Yulee, who was present at this
‘consultation’ as he calls it, of the resolutions adopted on this
occasion, transmitted to the said Finegan, who by the way, was a member
of the ‘Sovereign Convention’ of Florida, then sitting in the town of

“It will thus be seen that this remarkable letter, which breathes
throughout the spirit of the Conspirator, in reality lets us into one of
the most important of the numerous Secret Conclaves which the Plotters
of Treason then held in the Capital. It was then, as it appears, that
they determined to strike the blow and precipitate their States into
Secession. But at the same time they resolved that it would be
imprudent for them openly to withdraw, as in that case Congress might
pass ‘force, loan, and volunteer bills,’ which would put Mr. Lincoln in
immediate condition for hostilities. No, no! that would not do. (So
much patriotic virtue they half suspected, half feared, was left in the
Country.) On the contrary, ‘by remaining in our places until the 4th of
March it is thought we can keep the hands of Mr. Buchanan tied, and
disable the Republicans from effecting any legislation which will
strengthen the hands of the incoming Administration.’ Ah what a tragic
back-ground, full of things unutterable, is there!

“It appears, however, that events were faster than they, and instead of
being able to retain their seats up to the 4th of March, they were able
to remain but a very few weeks. Mr. Davis withdrew on the 21st of
January, just a fortnight after this ‘consultation.’ But for the rest,
mark how faithfully the programme here drawn up by this knot of Traitors
in secret session was realized. Each of the named States represented by
this Cabal did, ‘as soon as may be, Secede from the Union’–the
Mississippi Convention passing its Ordinance on the heels of the receipt
of these resolutions, on the 9th of January; Florida and Alabama on the
11th; Louisiana on the 26th, and Texas on the 1st of February; while the
‘organization of the Confederate Government’ took place at the very time
appointed, Davis being inaugurated on the 18th of February.

“And here is another Plot of the Traitors brought to light. These very
men, on withdrawing from the Senate, urged that they were doing so in
obedience to the command of their respective States. As Mr. Davis put
it, in his parting speech, ‘the Ordinance of Secession having passed the
Convention of his State, he felt obliged to obey the summons, and retire
from all official connection with the Federal Government.’ This letter
of Mr. Yulee’s clearly reveals that they had themselves pushed their
State Conventions to the adoption of the very measure which they had the
hardihood to put forward as an imperious ‘summons’ which they could not
disobey. It is thus that Treason did its Work.”


When we remember that it was on the night of the 5th of January, 1861,
that the Rebel Conspirators in the United States Senate met and plotted
their confederated Treason, as shown in the Yulee letter, given in the
preceding Chapter of this work, and that on the very next day, January
6, 1861, Fernando Wood, then Mayor of the great city of New York, sent
in to the Common Council of that metropolis, his recommendation that New
York city should Secede from its own State, as well as the United
States, and become “a Free City,” which, said he, “may shed the only
light and hope of a future reconstruction of our once blessed
Confederacy,” it is impossible to resist the conviction that this
extraordinary movement of his, was inspired and prompted, if not
absolutely directed, by the secret Rebel Conclave at Washington. It
bears within itself internal evidences of such prompting.

Thus, when Mayor Wood states the case in the following words, he seems
to be almost quoting word for word an instruction received by him from
these Rebel leaders–in connection with their plausible argument,
upholding it. Says he:

“Much, no doubt, can be said in favor of the justice and policy of a
separation. It may be said that Secession or revolution in any of the
United States would be subversive of all Federal authority, and, so far
as the central Government is concerned, the resolving of the community
into its original elements–that, if part of the States form new
combinations and, Governments, other States may do the same. Then it
may be said, why should not New York city, instead of supporting by her
contributions in revenue two-thirds of the expenses of the United
States, become also equally independent? As a Free City, with but
nominal duty on imports, her local Government could be supported without
taxation upon her people. Thus we could live free from taxes, and have
cheap goods nearly duty free. In this she would have the whole and
united support of the Southern States, as well as all the other States
to whose interests and rights under the Constitution she has always been

That is the persuasive casuistry peculiar to the minds of the Southern
Secession leaders. It is naturally followed by a touch of that self-
confident bluster, also at that time peculiar to Southern lips-as

“It is well for individuals or communities to look every danger square
in the face, and to meet it calmly and bravely. As dreadful as the
severing of the bonds that have hitherto united the States has been in
contemplation, it is now apparently a stern and inevitable fact. We
have now to meet it, with all the consequences, whatever they may be.
If the Confederacy is broken up the Government is dissolved, and it
behooves every distinct community, as well as every individual, to take
care of themselves.

“When Disunion has become a fixed and certain fact, why may not New York
disrupt the bands which bind her to a venal and corrupt master–to a
people and a Party that have plundered her revenues, attempted to ruin
her commerce, taken away the power of self-government, and destroyed the
Confederacy of which she was the proud Empire City? * * *”

After thus restating, as it were, the views and “arguments” of the Rebel
Junta, as we may presume them to have been pressed on him, he becomes
suddenly startled at the Conclave’s idea of meeting “all the
consequences, whatever they may be,” and, turning completely around,
with blanching pen, concludes:

“But I am not prepared to recommend the violence implied in these views.
In stating this argument in favor of freedom, ‘peaceably if we can,
forcibly if we must,’ let me not be misunderstood. The redress can be
found only in appeals to the magnanimity of the people of the whole
State.” * * *

If “these views” were his own, and not those of the Rebel Conclave, he
would either have been “prepared to recommend the violence implied in
them,” or else he would have suppressed them altogether. But his
utterance is that of one who has certain views for the first time placed
before him, and shrinks from the consequences of their advocacy–shrinks
from “the violence implied” in them–although for some reason he dares
not refuse to place those views before the people.

And, in carrying out his promise to do so–“In stating this argument,”
presumably of the Rebel Conclave, “in favor of freedom, ‘peaceably if we
can, forcibly if we must'”–the language used is an admission that the
argument is not his own. Were it his own, would he not have said in
“making” it, instead of in “stating” it? Furthermore, had he been
“making” it of his own accord, he would hardly have involved himself in
such singular contradictions and explanations as are here apparent. He
was plainly “stating” the Rebel Conclave’s argument, not making one
himself. He was obeying orders, under the protest of his fears. And
those fears forced his trembling pen to write the saving-clause which
“qualifies” the Conclave’s second-hand bluster preceding it.

That the Rebels hoped for Northern assistance in case of Secession, is
very clear from many speeches made prior to and soon after the election
of Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency–and from other sources of information.
Thus we find in a speech made by Representative L. M. Keitt, of South
Carolina, in Charleston, November, 1860, the following language,
reported by the Mercury:

“But we have been threatened. Mr. Amos Kendall wrote a letter, in which
he said to Colonel Orr, that if the State went out, three hundred
thousand volunteers were ready to march against her. I know little
about Kendall–and the less the better. He was under General Jackson;
but for him the Federal treasury seemed to have a magnetic attraction.

“Jackson was a pure man, but he had too many around him who made
fortunes far transcending their salaries. [Applause.] And this Amos
Kendall had the same good fortune under Van Buren. He (Kendall)
threatened us on the one side, and John Hickman on the other. John
Hickman said, defiantly, that if we went out of the Union, eighteen
millions of Northern men would bring us back.

“Let me tell you, there are a million of Democrats in the North who,
when the Black Republicans attempt to march upon the South, will be
found a wall of fire in the front. [Cries of ‘that’s so,’ and

Harper’s Weekly of May 28, 1864, commenting on certain letters of M. F.
Maury and others, then just come to light, said:

“How far Maury and his fellow-conspirators were justified in their hopes
of seducing New Jersey into the Rebellion, may be gathered from the
correspondence that took place, in the spring of 1861, between Ex-
Governor Price, of New Jersey, who was one of the representatives from
that State in the Peace Congress, and L. W. Burnet, Esq., of Newark.

“Mr. Price, in answering the question what ought New Jersey to do, says:
‘I believe the Southern confederation permanent. The proceeding has
been taken with forethought and deliberation–it is no hurried impulse,
but an irrevocable act, based upon the sacred, as was supposed, equality
of the States; and in my opinion every Slave State will in a short
period of time be found united in one Confederacy. * * * Before that
event happens, we cannot act, however much we may suffer in our material
interests. It is in that contingency, then, that I answer the second
part of your question:–What position for New Jersey will best accord
with her interests, honor, and the patriotic instincts of her people? I
say emphatically she would go with the South from every wise,
prudential, and patriotic reason.’

“Ex-Governor Price proceeds to say that he is confident the States of
Pennsylvania and New York will ‘choose also to cast their lot with the
South, and after them, the Western and Northwestern States.'”

The following resolution,* was adopted with others, by a meeting of
Democrats held January 16, 1861, at National Hall, Philadelphia, and has
been supposed to disclose “a plan, of which ex-Governor Price was likely

“Twelfth–That in the deliberate judgment of the Democracy of
Philadelphia, and, so far as we know it, of Pennsylvania, the
dissolution of the Union by the separation of the whole South, a result
we shall most sincerely lament, may release this Commonwealth to a large
extent from the bonds which now connect her with the Confederacy, except
so far as for temporary convenience she chooses to submit to them, and
would authorize and require her citizens, through a Convention, to be
assembled for that purpose, to determine with whom her lot should be
cast, whether with the North and the East, whose fanaticism has
precipitated this misery upon us, or with our brethren of the South,
whose wrongs we feel as our own; or whether Pennsylvania should stand by
herself, as a distinct community, ready when occasion offers, to bind
together the broken Union, and resume her place of loyalty and

Senator Lane of Oregon, replying to Senator Johnson of Tennessee,
December 19, 1860, in the United States Senate, and speaking of and for
the Northern Democracy, said:

“They will not march with him under his bloody banner, or Mr. Lincoln’s,
to invade the soil of the gallant State of South Carolina, when she may
withdraw from a Confederacy that has refused her that equality to which
she is entitled, as a member of the Union, under the Constitution. On
the contrary, when he or any other gentleman raises that banner and
attempts to subjugate that gallant people, instead of marching with him,
we will meet him there, ready to repel him and his forces. He shall not
bring with him the Northern Democracy to strike down a people contending
for rights that have been refused them in a Union that ought to
recognize the equality of every member of the Confederacy. * * * I now
serve notice that, when War is made upon that gallant South for
withdrawing from a Union which refuses them their rights, the Northern
Democracy will not join in the crusade. THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WILL HAVE

The following letter from Ex-President Pierce is in the same misleading

“CLARENDON HOTEL, January 6, 1860.–[This letter was captured, at Jeff.
Davis’s house in Mississippi, by the Union troops.]

“MY DEAR FRIEND:–I wrote you an unsatisfactory note a day or two since.
I have just had a pleasant interview with Mr. Shepley, whose courage and
fidelity are equal to his learning and talents. He says he would rather
fight the battle with you as the standard-bearer in 1860, than under the
auspices of any other leader. The feeling and judgment of Mr. S. in
this relation is, I am confident, rapidly gaining ground in New England.
Our people are looking for ‘the coming man,’ one who is raised by all
the elements of his character above the atmosphere ordinarily breathed
by politicians, a man really fitted for this exigency by his ability,
courage, broad statesmanship, and patriotism. Colonel Seymour (Thomas
H.) arrived here this morning, and expressed his views in this relation
in almost the identical language used by Mr. Shepley.

“It is true that, in the present state of things at Washington and
throughout the country, no man can predict what changes two or three
months may bring forth. Let me suggest that, in the running debates in
Congress, full justice seems to me not to have been done to the
Democracy of the North. I do not believe that our friends at the South
have any just idea of the state of feeling, hurrying at this moment to
the pitch of intense exasperation, between those who respect their
political obligations and those who have apparently no impelling power
but that which fanatical passion on the subject of Domestic Slavery

“Without discussing the question of right, of abstract power to Secede,
I have never believed that actual disruption of the Union can occur
without blood; and if, through the madness of Northern Abolitionism,
that dire calamity must come, THE FIGHTING WILL NOT BE ALONG MASON’S AND
Those who defy law and scout Constitutional obligations will, if we ever
reach the arbitrament of arms, FIND OCCUPATION ENOUGH AT HOME.

“Nothing but the state of Mrs. Pierce’s health would induce me to leave
the Country now, although it is quite likely that my presence at home
would be of little service.

“I have tried to impress upon our people, especially in New Hampshire
and Connecticut, where the only elections are to take place during the
coming spring, that while our Union meetings are all in the right
direction, and well enough for the present, they will not be worth the
paper upon which their resolutions are written unless we can overthrow
political Abolitionism at the polls and repeal the Unconstitutional and
obnoxious laws which, in the cause of ‘personal liberty,’ have been
placed upon our statute-books. I shall look with deep interest, and not
without hope, for a decided change in this relation.

“Ever and truly your friend,

“Washington, D. C.”
But let us turn from contemplating the encouragements to Southern
Treason and Rebellion, held out by Northern Democratic Copperheads, to
the more pleasing spectacle of Loyalty and Patriotism exhibited by the
Douglas wing of Democracy.

Immediately after Sumter, and while the President was formulating his
Message, calling for 75,000 volunteers, Douglas called upon him at the
White House, regretted that Mr. Lincoln did not propose to call for
thrice as many; and on the 18th of April, having again visited the White
House, wrote, and gave the following dispatch to the Associated Press,
for circulation throughout the Country:

“April 18, 1861, Senator Douglas called on the President, and had an
interesting conversation on the present condition of the Country. The
substance of it was, on the part of Mr. Douglas, that while he was
unalterably opposed to the administration in all its political issues,
he was prepared to fully sustain the President in the exercise of all
his Constitutional functions, to preserve the Union, maintain the
Government, and defend the Federal Capital. A firm policy and prompt
action was necessary. The Capital was in danger and must be defended at
all hazards, and at any expense of men and money. He spoke of the
present and future without any reference to the past.”

It is stated of this meeting and its immediate results: “The President
was deeply gratified by the interview. To the West, Douglas
telegraphed, ‘I am for my Country and against all its assailants.’ The
fire of his patriotism spread to the masses of the North, and Democrat
and Republican rallied to the support of the flag. In Illinois the
Democratic and Republican presses vied with each other in the utterance
of patriotic sentiments. * * * Large and numerously attended Mass
meetings met, as it were with one accord, irrespective of parties, and
the people of all shades of political opinions buried their party
hatchets. Glowing and eloquent orators exhorted the people to ignore
political differences in the present crisis, join in the common cause,
and rally to the flag of the Union and the Constitution. It was a noble
truce. From the many resolutions of that great outpouring of patriotic
sentiment, which ignored all previous party ties, we subjoin the

“‘Resolved, that it is the duty of all patriotic citizens of Illinois,
without distinction of party or sect, to sustain the Government through
the peril which now threatens the existence of the Union; and of our
Legislature to grant such aid of men and money as the exigency of the
hour and the patriotism of our people shall demand.’

“Governor Yates promptly issued his proclamation, dated the 15th of
April, convening the Legislature for the 23rd inst. in Extraordinary

* * * * * * *

“On the evening of the 25th of April, Mr. Douglas, who had arrived at
the Capital the day before, addressed the General Assembly and a densely
packed audience, in the Hall of Representatives, in that masterly
effort, which must live and be enshrined in the hearts of his countrymen
so long as our Government shall endure. Douglas had ever delighted in
the mental conflicts of Party strife; but now, when his Country was
assailed by the red hand of Treason, he was instantly divested of his
Party armor and stood forth panoplied only in the pure garb of a true

“He taught his auditory–he taught his Country, for his speeches were
telegraphed all over it–the duty of patriotism at that perilous hour of
the Nation’s Life. He implored both Democrats and Republicans to lay
aside their Party creeds and Platforms; to dispense with Party
Organizations and Party Appeals; to forget that they were ever divided
until they had first rescued the Government from its assailants. His
arguments were clear, convincing, and unanswerable; his appeals for the
Salvation of his Country, irresistible. It was the last speech, but
one, he ever made.”

Among other pithy and patriotic points made by him in that great speech
–[July 9, 1861.]–were these: “So long as there was a hope of a
peaceful solution, I prayed and implored for Compromise. I have spared
no effort for a peaceful solution of these troubles; I have failed, and
there is but one thing to do–to rally under the flag.” “The South has
no cause of complaint.” “Shall we obey the laws or adopt the Mexican
system of War, on every election.” “Forget Party–all remember only
your Country.” “The shortest road to Peace is the most tremendous
preparation for War.” “It is with a sad heart and with a grief I have
never before experienced, that I have to contemplate this fearful
Struggle. * * * But it is our duty to protect the Government and the
flag from every assailant, be he who he may.”

In Chicago, Douglas repeated his patriotic appeal for the preservation
of the Union, and tersely declared that “There can be no Neutrals in
this War–only Patriots and Traitors.” In that city he was taken with a
mortal illness, and expired at the Tremont House, June 3, 1861–just one
month prior to the meeting of the called Session of Congress.

The wonderful influence wielded by Douglas throughout the North, was
well described afterward by his colleague, Judge Trumbull, in the
Senate, when he said: “His course had much to do in producing that
unanimity in support of the Government which is now seen throughout the
Loyal States. The sublime spectacle of twenty million people rising as
one man in vindication of Constitutional Liberty and Free Government,
when assailed by misguided Rebels and plotting Traitors, is, to a
considerable extent due to his efforts. His magnanimous and patriotic
course in this trying hour of his Country’s destiny was the crowning act
of his life.”

And Senator McDougall of California–his life-long friend–in describing
the shock of the first intelligence that reached him, of his friend’s
sudden death, with words of even greater power, continued: “But, as,
powerless for the moment to resist the tide of emotions, I bowed my head
in silent grief, it came to me that the Senator had lived to witness the
opening of the present unholy War upon our Government; that, witnessing
it, from the Capital of his State, as his highest and best position, he
had sent forth a War-cry worthy of that Douglass, who, as ancient
legends tell, with the welcome of the knightly Andalusian King, was

‘”Take thou the leading of the van,
And charge the Moors amain;
There is not such a lance as thine
In all the hosts of Spain.’

“Those trumpet notes, with a continuous swell, are sounding still
throughout all the borders of our Land. I heard them upon the mountains
and in the valleys of the far State whence I come. They have
communicated faith and strength to millions. * * * I ceased to grieve
for Douglas. The last voice of the dead Douglas I felt to be stronger
than the voice of multitudes of living men.”

And here it may not be considered out of place for a brief reference to
the writer’s own position at this time; especially as it has been much
misapprehended and misstated. One of the fairest of these statements*
runs thus:

[Lusk’s History of the Politics of Illinois from 1856 to 1884, p.

“It is said that Logan did not approve the great speech made by Senator
Douglas, at Springfield, in April, 1861, wherein he took the bold ground
that in the contest which was then clearly imminent to him, between the
North and the South, that there could be but two parties, Patriots and
Traitors. But granting that there was a difference between Douglas and
Logan at that time, it did not relate to their adhesion to the Cause of
their Country Logan had fought for the Union upon the plains of Mexico,
and again stood ready to give his life, if need be, for his Country,
even amid the cowardly slanders that were then following his pathway.

“The difference between Douglas and Logan was this: Mr. Douglas was
fresh from an extended campaign in the dissatisfied Sections of the
Southern States, and he was fully apprised of their intention to attempt
the overthrow of the Union, and was therefore in favor of the most
stupendous preparations for War.

“Mr. Logan, on the other hand, believed in exhausting all peaceable
means before a resort to Arms, and in this he was like President
Lincoln; but when he saw there was no alternative but to fight, he was
ready and willing for armed resistance, and, resigning his seat in
Congress, entered the Army, as Colonel of the Thirty-first Illinois
Infantry, and remained in the field in active service until Peace was

This statement is, in the main, both fair and correct.

It is no more correct, however, in intimating that “Logan did not
approve the great speech made by Senator Douglas, at Springfield, in
April, 1861, wherein he took the bold ground that in the contest which
was then clearly imminent to him, between the North and the South, that
there could be but two parties, Patriots and Traitors,” than others have
been in intimating that he was disloyal to the Union, prior to the
breaking out of hostilities–a charge which was laid out flat in the
Senate Chamber, April 19, 1881.

[In Dawson’s Life of Logan, pp. 348-353, this matter is thus
alluded to:

“In an early part of this work the base charge that Logan was not
loyal before the War has been briefly touched on. It may be well
here to touch on it more fully. As was then remarked, the only man
that ever dared insinuate to Logan’s face that he was a Secession
sympathizer before the War, was Senator Ben Hill of Georgia, in the
United States Senate Chamber, March 30, 1881; and Logan instantly
retorted: ‘Any man who insinuates that I sympathized with it at
that time insinuates what is false,’ and Senator Hill at once
retracted the insinuation.”

“Subsequently, April 19, 1881, Senator Logan, in a speech,
fortified with indisputable record and documentary evidence,
forever set at rest the atrocious calumny. From that record it
appears that on the 17th December, 1860, while still a Douglas
Democrat, immediately after Lincoln’s election, and long before his
inauguration, and before even the first gun of the war was fired,
Mr. Logan, then a Representative in the House, voted affirmatively
on a resolution, offered by Morris of Illinois, which declared an
‘immovable attachment’ to ‘our National Union,’ and ‘that it is our
patriotic duty to stand by it as our hope in peace and our defense
in war;’ that on the 7th January, 1861, Mr. Adrian having offered
the following ‘Resolved, That we fully approve of the bold and
patriotic act of Major Anderson in withdrawing from Fort Moultrie
to Fort Sumter, and of the determination of the President to
maintain that fearless officer in his present position; and that we
will support the President in all constitutional measures to
enforce the laws and preserve the Union’–Mr. Logan, in casting his
vote, said: ‘As the resolution receives my unqualified approval, I
vote Aye;’ and that further on the 5th of February, 1861, before
the inauguration of President Lincoln, in a speech made by Logan in
the House in favor of the Crittenden Compromise measures, he used
the following language touching Secession:

“‘Sir, I have always denied, and do yet deny, the right of
Secession. There is no warrant for it in the Constitution. It is
wrong, it is unlawful, unconstitutional, and should be called by
the right name–revolution. No good, sir, can result from it, but
much mischief may. It is no remedy for any grievances. I hold
that all grievances can be much easier redressed inside the Union
than out of it.’

“In that same speech he also * * * said:

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

“In this most complete speech of vindication–which Senator Logan
said he put upon record, ‘First, that my children, after me, may
not have these slanders thrown in their faces without the power of
dispelling or refuting them; and second, that they may endure in
this Senate Chamber, so that it may be a notice to Senators of all
parties and all creeds that hereafter, while I am here in the
Senate, no insinuation of that kind will be submitted to by me,’–
the proofs of the falsity of the charge were piled mountain-high,
and among them the following voluntary statements from two
Democratic Senators, who were with him before the War, in the House
of Representatives:

“‘United States Senate Chamber,
WASHINGTON, April 14, 1881.

“‘DEAR SIR: In a discussion in the Senate a few weeks since you
referred to the fact that a Southern Senator, who had served with
you in Congress before the War, could testify that during your term
of service there you gave no encouragement to the Secession of the
Southern States, adding, however, that you did not ask such
testimony. I was not sure at the time that your reference was to
me, as Senator Pugh of Alabama, was also a member of that Congress.

“‘Since then, having learned that your reference was to me, I
propose on the floor of the Senate, should suitable occasion offer,
to state what I know of your position and views at the time
referred to. But, as I may be absent from the Senate for some
time, I deem it best to give you this written statement, with full
authority to use it in any way that seems proper to you.

“‘When you first came to Congress in —-, you were a very ardent
and impetuous Democrat. In the division which took place between
Mr. Douglas and his friends, on the one hand, and the Southern
Democrats, on the other, you were a warm and uncompromising
supporter of Mr. Douglas; and in the course of that convention you
became somewhat estranged from your party associates in the South.
In our frequent discussions upon the subjects of difference, I
never heard a word of sympathy from your lips with Secession in
either theory or practice. On the contrary, you were vehement in
your opposition to it.’

“‘I remember well a conversation I had with you just before leaving
Washington to become a candidate for the Secession convention. You
expressed the deep regret you felt at my proposed action, and
deplored the contemplated movement in terms as strong as any I
heard from any Republican.’
Yours truly,
“‘L. Q. C. LAMAR

“United States Senate, Washington, D. C.’
“Senate Chamber, April 14, 1881.

“‘Having read the above statement of Senator Lamar, I fully concur
with him in my recollection of your expressions and action in
opposition to Secession.
Truly yours, J. L. PUGH.’

“At the conclusion of Senator Logan’s speech of refutation, Senator
Brown of Georgia (Democrat) said:

“‘Our newspapers may have misrepresented his position. I am now
satisfied they did. I have heard the Senator’s statement with
great interest, and I take pleasure in saying–for I had some idea
before that there was some shadow of truth in this report–that I
think his vindication’ is full, complete, and conclusive.’

“‘I recollect very well during the war, when I was Governor of my
State and the Federal army was invading it, to have had a large
force of militia aiding the Confederate army, and that Gen. Logan
was considered by us as one of the ablest, most gallant, and
skillful leaders of the Federal army. We had occasion to feel his
power, and we learned to respect him.’

“Senator Beck, of Kentucky (Democrat), referring to the fact that
he was kept out of the House at one time, and a great many
suggestions had been made to him as to General Logan, continued:

“‘As I said the other day, I never proposed to go into such things,
and never have done so; but at that time General Frank Blair was
here, and I submitted many of the papers I received to him,–I
never thought of using any of them,–and I remember the remark that
he made to me: Beck, John Logan was one of the hardest fighters of
the war; and when many men who were seeking to whistle him down the
wind because of his politics when the war began, were snugly fixed
in safe places, he was taking his life in his hand wherever the
danger was greatest–and I tore up every paper I got, and burnt it
in the fire before his eyes.’

“Senator Dawes of Massachusetts (Republican), also took occasion to

“Mr. President, I do not know that anything which can be said on
this side would be of any consequence to the Senator from Illinois
in this matter. But I came into the House of Representatives at
the same session that the Senator did.

“‘He was at that time one of the most intense of Democrats, and I
was there with him when the Rebellion first took root and
manifested itself in open and flagrant war; and I wish to say as a
Republican of that day, when the Senator from Illinois was a
Democrat, that at the earliest possible moment when the Republican
Party was in anxiety as to the position of the Northern Democracy
on the question of forcible assault on the Union, nothing did they
hail with more delight than the early stand which the Senator from
Illinois, from the Democratic side of the House, took upon the
question of resistance to the Government of the United States.

“I feel that it is right that I should state that he was among the
first, if not the very first, of the Northern Democrats who came
out openly and declared, whatever may have been their opinion about
the doctrines of the Republican Party, that when it came to a
question of forcible resistance, they should be counted on the side
of the Government, and in co-operation with the Republican Party in
the attempt to maintain its authority.’

“‘I am very glad, whether it be of any service or not, to bear this
testimony to the early stand the Senator from Illinois took while
he was still a Democrat, and the large influence he exerted upon
the Northern Democracy, which kept it from being involved in the
condition and in the work of the Southern Democracy at that

So far from this being the case, the fact is–and it is here mentioned
in part to bring out the interesting point that, had he lived, Douglas
would have been no idle spectator of the great War that was about to be
waged–that when Douglas visited Springfield, Illinois, to make that
great speech in the latter part of April, 1861, the writer went there
also, to see and talk over with him the grave situation of affairs, not
only in the Nation generally, but particularly in Illinois. And on that
occasion Mr. Douglas said to him, substantially: “The time has now
arrived when a man must be either for or against his Country. Indeed so
strongly do I feel this, and that further dalliance with this question
is useless, that I shall myself take steps to join the Array, and fight
for the maintenance of the Union.”

To this the writer replied that he was “equally well convinced that each
and every man must take his stand,” and that he also “purposed at an
early day to raise a Regiment and draw the sword in that Union’s

This was after Sumter, and only seventy days before Congress was to meet
in Called Session. When that session met, Douglas had, weeks before,
gone down to the grave amid the tears of a distracted Nation, with the
solemn injunction upon his dying lips: “Obey the Laws and Defend the
Constitution”–and the writer had returned to Washington, to take his
seat in Congress, with that determination still alive in his heart.

In fact there had been all along, substantial accord between Mr. Douglas
and the writer. There really was no “difference between Douglas and
Logan” as to “preparations for War,” or in “exhausting all Peaceable
means before a resort to Arms,” and both were in full accord with
President Lincoln on these points.

Let us see if this is not of record: Take the writer’s speech in the
House of Representatives, February 5, 1861, and it will be seen that he
said: “I will go as far as any man in the performance of a
Constitutional duty to put down Rebellion, to suppress Insurrection, and
to enforce the Laws.” Again, he said, “If all the evils and calamities
that have ever happened since the World began, could be gathered in one
Great Catastrophe, its horrors could not eclipse, in their frightful
proportions, the Drama that impends over us.”

From these extracts it is plain enough that even at this very early day
the writer fully understood the “frightful proportions” of the impending
struggle, and would “go as far as”–not only Mr. Douglas, but–“any man,
to put down Rebellion”–which necessarily involved War, and
“preparations for War.” But none the less, but rather the more, because
of the horrors which he foresaw must be inseparable from so terrible a
War, was he anxious by timely mutual Concessions–“by any sacrifice,” as
he termed it–if possible, to avert it.

He was ready to sink Party, self, and to accept any of the Propositions
to that end–Mr. Douglas’s among them.

[See his speech of February 5, 1861, Congressional Globe]

In this attitude also he was in accord with Mr. Douglas, who, as well as
the writer, was ready to make any sacrifice, of Party or self; to
“exhaust every effort at peaceful adjustment,” before resorting to War.
The fact is they were much of the time in consultation, and always in
substantial accord.

In a speech made in the Senate, March 15, 1861, Mr. Douglas had reduced
the situation to the following three alternative points:

the Constitution as will insure the domestic tranquillity, safety, and
equality of all the States, and thus restore peace, unity, and
fraternity, to the whole Country.

“2. A PEACEFUL DISSOLUTION OF THE UNION by recognizing the Independence
of such States as refuse to remain in the Union without such
Constitutional Amendments, and the establishment of a liberal system of
commercial and social intercourse with them by treaties of commerce and

“3. WAR, with a view to the subjugation and military occupation of those
States which have Seceded or may Secede from the Union.”

As a thorough Union man, he could never have agreed to a “Peaceful
Dissolution of the Union.” On the other hand he was equally averse to
War, because he held that “War is Disunion. War is final, eternal
Separation.” Hence, all his energies and talents were given to carrying
out his first-stated line of policy, and to persuading the Seceders to
accept what in that line was offered to them by the dominant party.

His speech in the Senate, March 25, 1861, was a remarkable effort in
that respect. Mr. Breckinridge had previously spoken, and had declared
that: “Whatever settlement may be made of other questions, this must be
settled upon terms that will give them [the Southern States] either a
right, in common with others, to emigrate into all the territory, or
will secure to them their rights on a principle of equitable division.”

Mr. Douglas replied: “Now, under the laws as they stand, in every
Territory of the United States, without any exception, a Southern man
can go with his Slave-property on equal terms with all other property.
* * * Every man, either from the North or South, may go into the
Territories with his property on terms of exact equality, subject to the
local law; and Slave-property stands on an equal footing with all other
kinds of property in the Territories of the United States. It now
stands on an equal footing in all the Territories for the first time.

“I have shown you that, up to 1859, little more than a year ago, it was
prohibited in part of the Territories. It is not prohibited anywhere
now. For the first time, under Republican rule, the Southern States
have secured that equality of rights in the Territories for their Slave-
property which they have been demanding so long.”

He held that the doctrine of Congressional prohibition in all the
Territories, as incorporated in the Wilmot proviso, had now been
repudiated by the Republicans of both Houses of Congress, who had “all
come over to Non-intervention and Popular Sovereignty;” that the “Wilmot
proviso is given up; that Congressional prohibition is given up; that
the aggressive policy is repudiated; and hereafter the Southern man and
the Northern man may move into the Territories with their Property on
terms of entire equality, without excepting Slaves or any other kind of

Continuing, he said: “What more do the Southern States want? What more
can any man demand? Non-intervention is all you asked. Will it be said
the South required in addition to this, laws of Congress to protect
Slavery in the Territories? That cannot be said; for only last May, the
Senate, by a nearly unanimous vote–a unanimous vote of the Southern
men, with one or two exceptions–declared that affirmative legislation
was not needed at this time. * * * What cause is there for further
alarm in the Southern States, so far as the Territories are concerned?
* * *

“I repeat, the South has got all they ever claimed in all the
Territories. * * * Then, sir, according to law, the Slaveholding
States have got equality in the Territories. How is it in fact. * * *
Now, I propose to show that they have got the actual equitable
partition, giving them more than they were disposed to demand.

“The Senator from Kentucky, * * * Mr. Crittenden, introduced a
proposition for an equitable partition. That proposition was, that
north of 36 30′ Slavery should be prohibited, and South of it should be
protected, by Territorial law. * * * What is now the case? It is true
the Crittenden proposition has not yet become part of the Constitution;
but it is also true that an equitable partition has been made by the
vote of the people themselves, establishing, maintaining, and protecting
Slavery in every inch of territory South of the thirty-seventh parallel,
giving the South half a degree more than the Crittenden Proposition.

“There stands your Slave-code in New Mexico protecting Slavery up to the
thirty-seventh degree as effectually as laws can be made to protect it.
There it stands the Law of the Land. Therefore the South has all below
the thirty-seventh parallel, while Congress has not prohibited Slavery
even North of it.

* * * * * *

“What more, then, is demanded? Simply that a Constitutional Amendment
shall be adopted, affirming–what? Precisely what every Republican in
both Houses of Congress has voted for within a month. Just do, by
Constitutional Amendment, what you have voted in the Senate and House of
Representatives, that is all. You are not even required to do that, but
merely to vote for a proposition submitting the question to the People
of the States whether they will make a Constitutional Amendment
affirming the equitable partition of the Territories which the People
have already made. * * *

“You may ask, why does the South want us to do it by Constitutional
Amendment, when we have just done it voluntarily by Law? The President
of the United States, in his Inaugural, has told you the reason. He has
informed you that all of these troubles grow out of the absence of a
Constitutional provision defining the power of Congress over the subject
of Slavery. * * * He thinks that the trouble has arisen from the
absence of such a Constitutional Provision, and suggests a National
Convention to enable the People to supply the defect, leaving the People
to say what it is, instead of dictating to them what it shall be.”

It may here be remarked that while Mr. Douglas held that “So far as the
doctrine of Popular Sovereignty and Nonintervention is concerned, the
Colorado Bill, the Nevada Bill, and the Dakota Bill, are identically the
same with the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, and in its precise language”–these
former Bills having been passed at the last Session of the 36th
Congress–the Republicans, on the contrary, held that neither in these
nor other measures had they abandoned any distinctive Republican
principle; while Breckinridge declared that they had passed those
Territorial Bills, without the Wilmot proviso, because they felt
perfectly secure in those Territories, with all the Federal patronage in
Republican hands.

However that may be, we have here, brought out in strong contrast, the
conciliatory feeling which inspired such Union men as Douglas, and the
strong and persistent efforts they made in behalf of Concession and
Peace up to a period only a few weeks before the bombardment of Sumter;
and the almost total revulsion in their sentiments after that event, as
to the only proper means to preserve the Union. For it was only then
that the truth, as it fell from Douglas’s lips at Springfield, was fully
recognized, to wit: that there was no half-way ground betwixt Patriotism
and Treason; that War was an existing fact; and that Patriots must arm
to defend and preserve the Union against the armed Traitors assailing

At last, July 4, 1861, the Congress met, and proceeded at once with
commendable alacrity and patriotism, to the consideration and enactment
of measures sufficient to meet the extraordinary exigency, whether as
regards the raising and equipment of the vast bodies of Union volunteers
needed to put down Rebellion, or in the raising of those enormous
amounts of money which the Government was now, or might thereafter be,
called upon to spend like water in preserving the Union.

It was at this memorable Session, of little over one month, that the
chief of the great “War Measures” as they were termed, were enacted.


We have seen how Fort Sumter fell; how the patriotic North responded to
President Lincoln’s Call, for 75,000 three-months volunteers, with such
enthusiasm that, had there been a sufficiency of arms and accoutrements,
he might have had, within three months of that Call, an Army of 500,000
men in the field; how he had called for 42,000 three-years volunteers
early in May, besides swelling what little there was of a regular Army
by ten full regiments; and how a strict blockade of the entire Southern
Coast-line had not only been declared, but was now enforced and

General Butler, promoted Major-General for his Military successes at
Annapolis and Baltimore, was now in command of Fortress Monroe and
vicinity, with some 12,000 volunteers under him, confronted, on the
Peninsula, by a nearly equal number of Rebel troops, under Generals
Huger and Magruder–General Banks, with less than 10,000 Union troops,
occupying Baltimore, and its vicinage.

General Patterson, with some 20,000 Union troops–mostly Pennsylvania
militia–was at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, with about an equal number
of the Enemy, under General Joseph E. Johnston, at Harper’s Ferry, on
the Potomac, watching him.

Some 50,000 Union troops were in camp, in and about Washington, on the
Virginia side, under the immediate command of Generals McDowell and
Mansfield–Lieutenant General Scott, at Washington, being in Chief-
command of the Union Armies–and, confronting these Union forces, in
Virginia, near the National Capital, were some 30,000 Rebel troops under
the command of General Beauregard, whose success in securing the
evacuation of Fort Sumter by its little garrison of half-starved Union
soldiers, had magnified him, in the eyes of the rebellious South, into
the proportions of a Military genius of the first order.

There had been no fighting, nor movements, worthy of special note, until
June 7th, when General Patterson advanced from Chambersburg,
Pennsylvania, to Hagerstown, Maryland. General Johnston at once
evacuated Harper’s Ferry, and retreated upon Winchester, Virginia.

General McClellan, in command of the Department of the Ohio, had,
however, crossed the Ohio river, and by the 4th of July, being at
Grafton, West Virginia, with his small Army of Union troops, to which a
greatly inferior Rebel force was opposed, commenced that successful
advance against it, which led, after Bull Run, to his being placed at
the head of all the Armies of the United States.

Subsequently Patterson crossed the Potomac, and after trifling away over
one month’s time, at last, on the 15th of July, got within nine miles of
Winchester and Johnston’s Army. Barring a spiritless reconnaissance,
Patterson–who was a fervent Breckinridge-Democrat in politics, and
whose Military judgment, as we shall see, was greatly influenced, if not
entirely controlled, by his Chief of staff, Fitz John Porter–never got
any nearer to the Enemy!

Instead of attacking the Rebel force, under Johnston, or at least
keeping it “employed,” as he was ordered to do by General Scott; instead
of getting nearer, and attempting to get between Winchester and the
Shenandoah River, as was suggested to him by his second in command,
General Sanford; and instead of permitting Sanford to go ahead, as that
General desired to, with his own 8,000 men, and do it himself; General
Patterson ordered him off to Charlestown–twelve miles to the Union left
and rear,–and then took the balance of his Army, with himself, to the
same place!

In other words, while he had the most positive and definite orders, from
General Scott, if not to attack and whip Johnston, to at least keep him
busy and prevent that Rebel General from forming a junction, via the
Manassas Gap railroad or otherwise, with Beauregard, Patterson
deliberately moved his Army further away from Winchester and gave to the
Enemy the very chance of escaping and forming that junction which was
essential to Rebel success in the vicinity of Manassas.

But for this disobedience of orders, Bull Run would doubtless have been
a great victory to the Union Arms, instead of a reverse, and the War,
which afterward lasted four years, might have been over in as many

It is foreign to the design of this work, to present in it detailed
descriptions of the battles waged during the great War of the Rebellion
–it being the present intention of the writer, at some later day, to
prepare and publish another work devoted to such stirring Military
scenes. Yet, as it might seem strange and unaccountable for him to pass
by, at this time, without any description or comment, the first pitched
battle of the Rebellion, he is constrained to pause and view that
memorable contest. And first, it may be well to say a word of the
general topography of the country about the battle-field.

The Alleghany Mountains, or that part of them with which we have now to
do, stretch in three almost equidistant parallel ridges, from North-East
to South-West, through the heart of Old Virginia. An occasional pass,
or “Gap,” through these ridges, affords communication, by good roads,
between the enclosed parallel valleys and the Eastern part of that

The Western of these Alleghany ridges bears the name of “Alleghany
Mountains” proper; the Eastern is called the “Blue Ridge;” while the
Middle Ridge, at its Northern end–which rests upon the Potomac, where
that river sweeps through three parallel ridges almost at right angles
to their own line of direction–is called the “Great North Mountain.”

The valley, between the Middle Ridge and the Blue Ridge, is known as the
Shenandoah Valley, taking its name from the Shenandoah River, which, for
more than one hundred miles, flows along the Western foot of the Blue
Ridge, toward the North-East, until it empties into the Potomac, at
Harper’s Ferry.

The Orange and Alexandria railroad runs from Alexandria,–on the
opposite bank of the Potomac from Washington, and a few miles below the
Capital,–in a general Southeasterly direction, to Culpepper Court-
House; thence Southerly to Gordonsville, where it joins the Virginia
Central–the Western branch of which runs thence through Charlotteville,
Staunton, and Covington, across the ridges and valleys of the
Alleghanies, while its Eastern branch, taking a general South-easterly
direction, crosses the Richmond and Fredricksburg railroad at Hanover
Junction, some twenty miles North of Richmond, and thence sweeps
Southerly to the Rebel capital.

It is along this Easterly branch of the Virginia Central that Rebel re-
enforcements will be hurried to Beauregard, from Richmond to
Gordonsville, and thence, by the Orange and Alexandria railroad, to
Manassas Junction.

Some twenty-five miles from Alexandria, a short railroad-feeder–which
runs from Strasburg, in the Shenandoah Valley, through the Blue Ridge,
at Manassas Gap, in an East-South-easterly direction–strikes the
Alexandria and Orange railroad. The point of contact is Manassas
Junction; and it is along this Manassas-Gap feeder that Johnston, with
his Army at Winchester–some twenty miles North-North-East of Strasburg-
expects, in case of attack by Patterson, to be re-enforced by
Beauregard; or, in case the latter is assailed, to go to his assistance,
after shaking off Patterson.

This little link of railroad, known as the Manassas Gap railroad, is
therefore an important factor in the game of War, now commencing in
earnest; and it had, as we shall see, very much to do, not only with the
advance of McDowell’s Union Army upon Bull Run, but also with the result
of the first pitched battle thereabout fought.

From Alexandria, some twelve miles to the Westward, runs a fine turnpike
road to Fairfax Court-House; thence, continuing Westward, but gradually
and slightly dipping award the South, it passes through Germantown,
Centreville, and Groveton, to Warrenton.

This “Warrenton Pike”–as it is termed–also plays a somewhat
conspicuous part, before, during, and after the Battle of Bull Run. For
most of its length, from Fairfax Court-House to Warrenton, the Warrenton
Pike pursues a course almost parallel with the Orange and Alexandria
railroad aforesaid, while the stream of Bull Run, pursuing a South-
easterly course, has a general direction almost parallel with that of
the Manassas Gap railroad.

We shall find that it is the diamond-shaped parallelogram, formed by the
obtuse angle junction of the two railroads on the South, and the
similarly obtuse-angled crossing of the stream of Bull Run by the
Warrenton Pike on the North, that is destined to become the historic
battle-field of the first “Bull Run,” or “Manassas;” and it is in the
Northern obtuse-angle of this parallelogram that the main fighting is
done, upon a spot not much more than one mile square, three sides of the
same being bounded respectively by the Bull Run stream, the Warrenton
Pike, which crosses it on a stone bridge, and the Sudley Springs road,
which crosses the Pike, at right-angles to it, near a stone house.

On the 3rd of June, 1861, General McDowell, in command of the Department
of North-Eastern Virginia, with head-quarters at Arlington, near
Washington, receives from Colonel Townsend, Assistant Adjutant-General
with Lieutenant-General Scott–who is in Chief command of all the Union
Forces, with Headquarters at Washington–a brief but pregnant
communication, the body of which runs thus: “General Scott desires you
to submit an estimate of the number and composition of a column to be
pushed toward Manassas Junction, and perhaps the Gap, say in four or
five days, to favor Patterson’s attack on Harper’s Ferry. The rumor is
that Arlington Heights will be attacked to-night.”

In response to this request, General McDowell submits, on the day
following, an estimate that “the actual entire force at the head of the
column should, for the purpose of carrying the position at Manassas and
of occupying both the road to Culpepper, and the one to the Gap, be as
much as 12,000 Infantry, two batteries of regular Artillery, and from
six to eight companies of Cavalry, with an available reserve, ready to
move forward from Alexandria by rail, of 5,000 Infantry and one heavy
field battery, rifled if possible; these numbers to be increased or
diminished as events may indicate.” This force of raw troops he
proposes to organize into field brigades under the command of “active
and experienced colonels” of the regular Army. And while giving this
estimate as to the number of troops necessary, he suggestively adds that
“in proportion to the numbers used will be the lives saved; and as we
have such numbers pressing to be allowed to serve, might it not be well
to overwhelm and conquer as much by the show of force as by the use of

Subsequently McDowell presents to General Scott, and Mr. Lincoln’s
Cabinet, a project of advance and attack, which is duly approved and
ordered to be put in execution. In that project or plan of operations,
submitted by verbal request of General Scott, near the end of June,–the
success of which is made contingent upon Patterson’s holding Johnston
engaged at Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley, and also upon Butler’s
holding the Rebel force near Fortress Monroe from coming to Beauregard’s
aid at Manassas Junction,–McDowell estimates Beauregard’s strength at
25,000, with a possible increase, bringing it up to 35,000 men. The
objective point in McDowell’s plan, is Manassas Junction, and he
proposes “to move against Manassas with a force of 30,000 of all arms,
organized into three columns, with a reserve of 10,000.”

McDowell is fully aware that the Enemy has “batteries in position at
several places in his front, and defensive works on Bull Run, and
Manassas Junction.” These batteries he proposes to turn. He believes
Bull Run to be “fordable at almost anyplace,”–an error which ultimately
renders his plan abortive,–and his proposition is, after uniting his
columns on the Eastern side of Bull Run, “to attack the main position by
turning it, if possible, so as to cut off communications by rail with
the South, or threaten to do so sufficiently to force the Enemy to leave
his intrenchments to guard them.”

In other words, assuming the Enemy driven back, by minor flanking
movements, or otherwise, upon his intrenched position at Bull Run, or
Manassas, the plan is to turn his right, destroy the Orange and
Alexandria railroad leading South, and the bridge at Bristol, so as to
cut off his supplies. This done, the Enemy–if nothing worse ensues for
him–will be in a “bad box.”

McDowell, however, has no idea that the Enemy will stand still to let
this thing be done. On the contrary, he is well satisfied that
Beauregard will accept battle on some chosen ground between Manassas
Junction and Washington.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, the 16th of July, the advance of McDowell’s
Army commences. That Army is organized into five divisions–four of
which accompany McDowell, while a fifth is left to protect the defensive
works of Washington, on the South bank of the Potomac. This latter, the
Fourth Division, commanded by Brigadier-General Theodore Runyon,
comprises eight unbrigaded New Jersey regiments of (three months, and
three years) volunteers–none of which take part in the ensuing

The moving column consists of the First Division, commanded by
Brigadier-General Daniel Tyler, comprising four brigades, respectively
under Brigadier-General R. C. Schenck, and Colonels E. D. Keyes, W. T.
Sherman, and I. B. Richardson; the Second Division, commanded by Colonel
David Hunter, comprising two brigades, under Colonels Andrew Porter and
A. E. Burnside respectively; the Third Division, commanded by Colonel S.
P. Heintzelman, comprising three brigades, under Colonels W. B.
Franklin, O. B. Wilcox, and O. O. Howard, respectively; and the Fifth
Division, commanded by Colonel Dixon S. Miles, comprising two brigades,
under Colonels Lewis Blenker, and Thomas A. Davies, respectively.

Tyler’s Division leads the advance, moving along the Leesburg road to
Vienna, on our right, with orders to cross sharply to its left, upon
Fairfax Court House, the following (Wednesday) morning. Miles’s
Division follows the turnpike road to Annandale, and then moves, by the
Braddock road,–along which Braddock, a century before, had marched his
doomed army to disaster,–upon Fairfax Court House, then known to be
held by Bonham’s Rebel Brigade of South Carolinians. Hunter follows
Miles, to Annandale, and thence advances direct upon Fairfax, by the
turnpike road–McDowell’s idea being to bag Bonham’s Brigade, if
possible, by a simultaneous attack on the front and both flanks. But
the advance is too slow, and the Enemy’s outposts, both there and
elsewhere, have ample opportunity of falling safely back upon their main
position, behind the stream of Bull Run.

[McDowell in his testimony before the “Committee on the Conduct of
the War,” said: “At Fairfax Court House was the South Carolina
Brigade. And I do not suppose anything would have had a greater
cheering effect upon the troops, and perhaps upon the Country, than
the capture of that brigade. And if General Tyler could have got
down there any time in the forenoon instead of in the afternoon,
the capture of that brigade was beyond question. It was about
5,000 or 6,000 men, and Tyler had 12,000, at the same time that we
were pressing on in front. He did not get down there until in the
afternoon; none of us got forward in time.”]

This slowness is due to various causes. There is a pretty general
dread, for example, among our troops, of threatened ambuscades, and
hence the advance is more cautious than it otherwise would be. It is
thought the part of wisdom, as it were, to “feel the way.” The
marching, moreover, is new to our troops. General Scott had checked
McDowell when the latter undertook to handle eight regiments together,
near Washington, by intimating that he was “trying to make a show.”
Thus the very essential knowledge of how to manoeuvre troops in large
bodies, has been withheld from our Union generals, while the volunteer
regiments have either rusted in camp from inaction, or have been denied
the opportunity of acquiring that endurance and hardiness and discipline
which frequent movement of troops confers. Hence, all unused to the
discipline of the march, every moment some one falls out of line to
“pick blackberries, or to get water.” Says McDowell, in afterward
reporting this march: “They would not keep in the ranks, order as much
as you pleased. When they came where water was fresh, they would pour
the old water out of their canteens and fill them with fresh water; they
were not used to denying themselves much.”

Meantime, Heintzelman’s Division is also advancing, by cross-roads, more
to the left and South of the railroad line,–in accordance with
McDowell’s plan, which comprehends not only the bagging of Bonham, but
an immediate subsequent demonstration, by Tyler, upon Centreville and
beyond, while Heintzelman, supported by Hunter and Miles, shall swoop
across Bull Run, at Wolf Run Shoals, some distance below Union Mills,
turn the Enemy’s right, and cut off his Southern line of railroad
communications. Thus, by the evening of Wednesday, the 17th,
Heintzelman is at Sangster’s Station, while Tyler, Miles, and Hunter,
are at Fairfax.

It is a rather rough experience that now befalls the Grand Army of the
Union. All unused, as we have seen, to the fatigues and other hardships
of the march, the raw levies, of which it almost wholly consists, which
started bright and fresh, strong and hopeful, full of the buoyant ardor
of enthusiastic patriotism, on that hot July afternoon, only some thirty
hours back, are now dust-begrimed, footsore, broken down, exhausted by
the scorching sun, hungry, and without food,–for they have wasted the
rations with which they started, and the supply-trains have not yet
arrived. Thus, hungry and physically prostrated, “utterly played out,”
as many of them confess, and demoralized also by straggling and loss of
organization, they bivouac that night in the woods, and dream uneasy
dreams beneath the comfortless stars.

A mile beyond Fairfax Court House, on the Warrenton Turnpike, is
Germantown. It is here that Tyler’s Division has rested, on the night
of the 17th. At 7 o’clock on the morning of Thursday, the 18th, in
obedience to written orders from McDowell, it presses forward, on that
“Pike,” to Centreville, five miles nearer to the Enemy’s position behind
Bull Run–Richardson’s Brigade in advance–and, at 9 o’clock, occupies
it. Here McDowell has intended Tyler to remain, in accordance with the
plan, which he has imparted to him in conversation, and in obedience to
the written instructions to: “Observe well the roads to Bull Run and to
Warrenton. Do not bring on an engagement, but keep up the impression
that we are moving on Manassas,”–this advance, by way of Centreville,
being intended solely as a “demonstration” to mask the real movement,
which, as we have seen, is to be made by the other divisions across Wolf
Run Shoals, a point on Bull Run, some five or six miles below Union
Mills, and some seven miles below Blackburn’s Ford.

Upon the arrival of Richardson’s Brigade, Thursday morning, at
Centreville, it is found that, under cover of the darkness of the
previous night, the Enemy has retreated, in two bodies, upon Bull Run,
the one along the Warrenton Pike, the other (the largest) down the
ridge-road from Centreville to Blackburn’s Ford. Richardson’s Brigade
at once turns down the latter road and halts about a mile beyond
Centreville, at a point convenient to some springs of water. Tyler soon
afterward rides up, and, taking from that brigade two companies of light
Infantry and a squadron of Cavalry, proceeds, with Colonel Richardson,
to reconnoitre the Enemy, finding him in a strong position on the
opposite bank of Bull Run, at Blackburn’s Ford.

While this is going on, McDowell has ridden in a Southerly direction
down to Heintzelman’s Division, at Sangster’s Station, “to make
arrangements to turn the Enemy’s right, and intercept his communications
with the South,” but has found, owing to the narrowness and crookedness
of the roads, and the great distance that must be traversed in making
the necessary detour, that his contemplated movement is too risky to be
ventured. Hence he at once abandons his original plan of turning the
Enemy’s right, and determines on “going around his left, where the
country is more open, and the roads broad and good.”

McDowell now orders a concentration, for that night, of the four
divisions, with two days cooked rations in their haversacks, upon and
about Centreville,–the movement to commence as soon as they shall
receive expected commissariat supplies. But, later on the 18th,–
learning that his advance, under Tyler, has, against orders, become
engaged with the Enemy–he directs the concentration to be made at once.

Let us examine, for a moment, how this premature engagement comes about.
We left Tyler, accompanied by Richardson, with a squadron of Cavalry and
a battalion of light Infantry making a reconnaissance, on Thursday
morning the 18th, toward Blackburn’s Ford. They approach within a mile
of the ford, when they discover a Rebel battery on the farther bank of
Bull Run–so placed as to enfilade the road descending from their own
position of observation down to the ford,–strong Rebel infantry pickets
and skirmishing parties being in front.

Tyler at once orders up his two rifled guns, Ayres’ Battery, and
Richardson’s entire Brigade–and later, Sherman’s Brigade as a reserve.
As soon as they come up,–about noon-he orders the rifled guns into
battery on the crest of the hill, about one mile from, and looking down
upon, the Rebel battery aforesaid, and opens upon the Enemy; giving him
a dozen shells,–one of them making it lively for a body of Rebel
Cavalry which appears between the ford and Manassas.

The Rebel battery responds with half a dozen shots, and then ceases.
Tyler now orders Richardson to advance his brigade and throw out
skirmishers to scour the thick woods which cover the Bull Run bottom-
land. Richardson at once rapidly deploys the battalion of light
Infantry as skirmishers in advance of his brigade, pushes them forward
to the edge of the woods, drives in the skirmishers of the Enemy in fine
style, and supports their further advance into the woods, with the 1st
Massachusetts Regiment.

Meanwhile Tyler, discovering a favorable opening in the woods, “low down
on the bottom of the stream,” for a couple of howitzers in battery,
sends Captain Ayres of the 5th U. S. Artillery, and a detached section
(two 12-pound howitzers) of his battery, with orders to post it himself
on that spot, and sends Brackett’s squadron of the 2d Cavalry to his

No sooner does Ayres open fire on the Enemy, than he awakens a Rebel
hornet’s-nest. Volley after volley of musketry shows that the Bull Run
bottom fairly swarms with Rebel troops, while another Rebel battery,
more to the Rebel right, opens, with that already mentioned, a
concentrated cross-fire upon him.

And now Richardson orders up the 12th New York, Colonel Walrath, to the
left of our battery. Forming it into line-of-battle, Richardson orders
it to charge through the woods upon the Enemy. Gallantly the regiment
moves forward, after the skirmishers, into the woods, but, being met by
a very heavy fire of musketry and artillery along the whole line of the
Enemy’s position, is, for the most part, thrown back in confusion–a
mere fragment* remaining in line, and retreating,–while the howitzers,
and Cavalry also, are withdrawn.

Meantime, however, Richardson has ordered up, and placed in line-of-
battle, on the right of our battery, the 1st Massachusetts, the 2d
Michigan (his own), and the 3d Michigan. The skirmishers in the woods
still bravely hold their ground, undercover, and these three regiments
are plucky, and anxious to assault the Enemy. Richardson proposes to
lead them in a charge upon the Enemy’s position, and drive him out of
it; but Tyler declines to give permission, on the ground that this being
“merely a reconnaissance,” the object of which–ascertaining the
strength and position of the Enemy–having been attained, a further
attack is unnecessary. He therefore orders Richardson to “fall back in
good order to our batteries on the hill,”–which he does.

Upon reaching these batteries, Richardson forms his 2d Michigan, in
“close column by division,” on their right, and the 1st Massachusetts
and 3d Michigan, in “line of battle,” on their left–the 12th New York
re-forming, under cover of the woods at the rear, later on. Then, with
our skirmishers thrown into the woods in front, their scattering fire,
and the musketry responses of the Rebels, are drowned in the volume of
sound produced by the deafening contest which ensues between our
Artillery, and that of the Enemy from his batteries behind Bull Run.

This artillery-duel continues about one hour; and then seems to cease by
mutual consent, about dusk–after 415 shots have been fired on the Union
side, and have been responded to by an equal number from the Rebel
batteries, “gun for gun”–the total loss in the engagement, on the Union
side, being 83, to a total loss among the Enemy, of Thursday night,
Richardson retires his brigade upon Centreville, in order to secure
rations and water for his hungry and thirsty troops,–as no water has
yet been found in the vicinity of the Union batteries aforesaid. On the
morrow, however, when his brigade re-occupies that position, water is
found in abundance, by digging for it.

This premature attack, at Blackburn’s Ford, by Tyler, against orders,
having failed, throws a wet blanket upon the martial spirit of
McDowell’s Army. In like degree is the morale of the Rebel Army

It is true that Longstreet, in command of the Rebel troops at
Blackburn’s Ford, has not had things all his own way; that some of his
artillery had to be “withdrawn;” that, as he acknowledges in his report,
his brigade of three Virginia regiments (the 1st, 11th, and 17th) had
“with some difficulty repelled” the Union assault upon his position;
that he had to call upon General Early for re-enforcements; that Early
re-enforced him with two Infantry regiments (the 7th Louisiana and 7th
Virginia) at first; that one of these (the 7th Virginia) was “thrown
into confusion;” that Early then brought up his own regiment (the 24th
Virginia) under Lieutenant Colonel Hairston, and the entire seven guns
of the “Washington Artillery;” and that but for the active “personal
exertions” of Longstreet, in “encouraging the men under his command,”
and the great numerical superiority of the Rebels, there might have been
no Union “repulse” at all. Yet still the attack has failed, and that
failure, while it dispirits the Patriot Army, inspires the Rebel Army
with renewed courage.

Under these circumstances, Friday, the 19th of July, is devoted to
reconnaissances by the Engineer officers of the Union Army; to the
cooking of the supplies, which have at last arrived; and to resting the
weary and road-worn soldiers of the Union.

Let us take advantage of this halt in the advance of McDowell’s “Grand
Army of the United States”–as it was termed–to view the Rebel position
at, and about Manassas, and to note certain other matters having an
important and even determining bearing upon the issue of the impending

Beauregard has received early information of McDowell’s advance from
Arlington, and of his plans.

[This he admits, in his report, when he says; “Opportunely informed
of the determination of the Enemy to advance on Manassas, my
advanced brigades, on the night of the 16th of July, were made
aware, from these headquarters, of the impending movement,”]

On Tuesday the 16th, he notifies his advanced brigades. On Wednesday,
he sends a dispatch from Manassas, to Jefferson Davis, at Richmond,
announcing that the Union troops have assailed his outposts in heavy
force; that he has fallen back before them, on the line of Bull Run; and
that he intends to make a stand at Mitchell’s Ford (close to Blackburn’s
Ford) on that stream,–adding: if his (McDowell’s) force is
overwhelming, “I shall retire to the Rappahannock railroad bridge,
saving my command for defense there, and future operations. Please
inform Johnston of this, via Staunton, and also Holmes. Send forward
any re-enforcements at the earliest possible instant, and by every
possible means.”

In the meantime, however, Beauregard loses no time in advantageously
posting his troops. On the morning of the 18th of July, when the Union
advance enters Centreville, he has withdrawn all his advanced brigades
within the Rebel lines of Bull Run, resting them on the South side of
that stream, from Union Mills Ford, near the Orange and Alexandria
railroad bridge, up to the stone bridge over which the Warrenton Pike
crosses the Run,–a distance of some six to eight miles.

Between the Rebel left, at Stone Bridge, and the Rebel right, at Union
Mills Ford, are several fords across Bull Run–the general course of the
stream being from the North-West to South-East, to its confluence with
the Occoquan River, some twelve miles from the Potomac River.

Mitchell’s Ford, the Rebel center, is about three miles to the South-
West of, and about the same distance North-East from, Manassas Junction.
But it may be well, right here, to locate all these fordable crossings
of the rocky, precipitous, and well-wooded Bull Run stream, between the
Stone Bridge and Union Mills Ford. Thus, half a mile below the Stone
Bridge is Lewis’s Ford; half a mile below that, Ball’s Ford; half a mile
below that, Island Ford; one and one-half miles below that, Mitchell’s
Ford–one mile below that.

Blackburn’s Ford; three-quarters of a mile farther down, McLean’s Ford;
and nearly two miles lower down the stream, Union Mills Ford.

By Thursday morning, the 18th of July, Beauregard has advantageously
posted the seven brigades into which he has organized his forces, at
these various positions along his extended front, as follows:

At the Stone Bridge, Brigadier-General N. G. Evans’s Seventh Brigade, of
one regiment and one battalion of Infantry, two companies of Cavalry,
and a battery of four six-pounders.

At Lewis’s, Balls, and Island Fords–Colonel P. St. George Cocke’s
Fifth Brigade, of three regiments of Infantry, one battery of Artillery,
and one company of Cavalry.

At Mitchell’s Ford, Brigadier-General M. L. Bonham’s First Brigade, of
four Infantry regiments, two batteries, and six companies of Cavalry.

At Blackburn’s Ford, Brigadier-General J. Longstreet’s Fourth Brigade,
of four Infantry regiments, with two 6-pounders.

At McLean’s Ford, Brigadier-General D. R. Jones’s Third Brigade of three
Infantry regiments, one Cavalry company, and two 6-pounders.

At Union Mills Ford, Brigadier-General R. S. Ewell’s Second Brigade, of
three Infantry regiments, three Cavalry companies, and four 12-powder
howitzers–Colonel Jubal A. Early’s Sixth Brigade, of three Infantry
regiments and three rifled pieces of Walton’s Battery, being posted in
the rear of, and as a support to, Ewell’s Brigade.

[Johnston also found, on the 20th, the Reserve Brigade of Brig.
Gen. T. H. Holmes–comprising two regiments of Infantry, Walker’s
Battery of Artillery, and Scott’s Cavalry-with Early’s Brigade, “in
reserve, in rear of the right.”]

The disposition and strength of Beauregard’s forces at these various
points along his line of defense on Bull Run stream, plainly shows his
expectation of an attack on his right; but he is evidently suspicious
that it may come upon his centre; for, as far back as July 8th, he had
issued special orders to the effect that:

“Should the Enemy march to the attack of Mitchell’s Ford, via
Centreville, the following movements will be made with celerity:

“I. The Fourth Brigade will march from Blackburn’s Ford to attack him on
the flank and centre.

“II. The Third Brigade will be thrown to the attack of his centre and
rear toward Centreville.

“III. The Second and Sixth Brigades united will also push forward and
attack him in the rear by way of Centreville, protecting their own right
flanks and rear from the direction of Fairfax Station and Court House.

“IV. In the event of the defeat of the Enemy, the troops at Mitchell’s
Ford and Stone Bridge, especially the Cavalry and Artillery, will join
in the pursuit, which will be conducted with vigor but unceasing
prudence, and continued until he shall have been driven beyond the

And it is not without interest to note Beauregard’s subsequent
indorsement on the back of these Special Orders, that: “The plan of
attack prescribed within would have been executed, with modifications
affecting First and Fifth Brigades, to meet the attack upon Blackburn’s
Ford, but for the expected coming of General Johnston’s command, which
was known to be en route to join me on [Thursday] the 18th of July.”

The knowledge thus possessed on Thursday, the 18th, by Beauregard, that
Johnston’s Army is on its way to join him, is of infinite advantage to
the former. On the other hand, the complete ignorance, at this time, of
McDowell on this point,–and the further fact that he has been lulled
into a feeling of security on the subject, by General Scott’s emphatic
assurance to him that “if Johnston joins Beauregard, he shall have
Patterson on his heels”–is a great disadvantage to the Union general.

Were McDowell now aware of the real Military situation, he would
unquestionably make an immediate attack, with the object of crushing
Beauregard before Johnston can effect a junction with him. It would
then be a mere matter of detail for the armies of McDowell, McClellan,
and Patterson, to bag Johnston, and bring the armed Rebellion to an
inglorious and speedy end. But Providence–through the plottings of
individuals within our own lines–wills it otherwise.

Long before this, Patterson has been informed by General Winfield Scott
of the proposed movement by McDowell upon Manassas,–and of its date.

On Saturday, July 13th, General Scott telegraphed to Patterson: “I
telegraphed to you yesterday, if not strong enough to beat the Enemy
early next week, make demonstrations so as to detain him in the Valley
of Winchester; but if he retreats in force toward Manassas, and it be
too hazardous to follow him, then consider the route via Keys Ferry,
Leesburg, etc.”

On Wednesday, the 17th, Scott telegraphs to Patterson: “I have nothing
official from you since Sunday (14th), but am glad to learn, through
Philadelphia papers, that you have advanced. Do not let the Enemy amuse
and delay you with a small force in front whilst he re-enforces the
Junction with his main body. McDowell’s first day’s work has driven the
Enemy beyond Fairfax Court House. The Junction will probably be carried
by to-morrow.”

On Thursday, the 18th, Patterson replies that to attack “the greatly
superior force at Winchester “when the three months volunteers’ time was
about up, and they were threatening to leave him–would be “most
hazardous” and then he asks: “Shall I attack?”

Scott answers the same day: “I have certainly been expecting you to beat
the Enemy. If not, to hear that you had felt him strongly, or, at
least, had occupied him by threats and demonstrations. You have been at
least his equal, and, I suppose, superior in numbers. Has he not stolen
a march and sent re-enforcements toward Manassas Junction? A week is
enough to win victories,” etc.

Patterson retorts, on the same day: “The Enemy has stolen no march upon
me. I have kept him actively employed, and by threats, and
reconnaissances in force, caused him to be re-enforced. I have
accomplished in this respect more than the General-in-Chief asked, or
could well be expected, in face of an Enemy far superior in numbers,
with no line of communication to protect.”

In another dispatch, to Assistant Adjutant-General Townsend (with
General Scott), he says, that same afternoon of Thursday, the 18th: “I
have succeeded, in accordance with the wishes of the General-in-Chief,
in keeping General Johnston’s Force at Winchester. A reconnaissance in
force, on Tuesday, caused him to be largely re-enforced from Strasburg.”

Again, on Friday, the 19th, he informs Colonel Townsend that: “The
Enemy, from last information, are still at Winchester, and being re-
enforced every night.”

It is not until Saturday, the 20th of July, that he telegraphs to
Townsend: “With a portion of his force, Johnston left Winchester, by the
road to Millwood, on the afternoon of the 18th.” And he adds the
ridiculous statement: “His whole force was about 35,200.”

Thus, despite all the anxious care of General Scott, to have Johnston’s
Army detained in the Shenandoah Valley, it has escaped Patterson so
successfully, and entirely, that the latter does not even suspect its
disappearance until the day before the pitched Battle of Bull Run is
fought! Its main body has actually reached Manassas twenty-four hours
before Patterson is aware that it has left Winchester!

And how is it, that Johnston gets away from Patterson so neatly? And
when does he do it?

[The extraordinary conduct of General Patterson at this critical
period, when everything seemed to depend upon his exertions, was
afterward the subject of inquiry by the Joint-Committee on the
Conduct of the War. The testimony taken by that Committee makes it
clear, to any unprejudiced mind, that while Patterson himself may
have been loyal to the Union, he was weak enough to be swayed from
the path of duty by some of the faithless and unpatriotic officers
with whom he had partly surrounded himself–and especially by Fitz
John Porter, his Chief-of-staff. Let us examine the sworn
testimony of two or three witnesses on this point.

General CHARLES W. SANFORD, who was second in command under
Patterson, and in command of Patterson’s Left Wing, testified [see
pages 54-66, Report on Conduct of the War, Vol. 3, Part 2,] that he
was at a Council of War held at the White House, June 29th, when
the propriety of an attack on the Rebel lines at Manassas was
discussed; that he objected to any such movement until Patterson
was in such a position as to prevent the junction between General
Johnston’s Army and the troops at Manassas; that on the 6th of
July, he was sent by General Scott, with four picked New York
regiments, to Patterson, and (waiving his own seniority rank)
reported to that General, at Williamsport; that Patterson gave him
command of a division of 8,000 men (and two batteries) out of a
total in his Army of 22,000; that he “delivered orders from General
Scott to General Patterson, and urged a forward movement as soon as
possible;” that there was “Some delay at Martinsburg,
notwithstanding the urgency of our matter,” but they “left there on
[Monday] the 15th of July, and went in the direction of
Winchester,”–down to Bunker Hill,–Patterson with two divisions
going down the turnpike, and Sanford taking his division a little
in advance and more easterly on the side roads so as to be in a
position to flank Johnston’s right; that on that afternoon (Monday,
July 15) General Patterson rode up to where Sanford was locating
his camp.

Continuing his testimony, General Sanford said: “I was then within
about nine miles of Johnston’s fortified camp at Winchester.
Patterson was complimenting me upon the manner in which my
regiments were located, and inquiring about my pickets, which I had
informed him I had sent down about three miles to a stream below.
I had driven out the Enemy’s skirmishers ahead of us. They had
some cavalry there. In answer to his compliments about the
comfortable location I had made, I said: ‘Very comfortable,
General, when shall we move on?’ * * * He hesitated a moment or
two, and then said: ‘I don’t know yet when we shall move. And if I
did I would not tell my own father.’ I thought that was rather a
queer speech to make to me under the circumstances. But I smiled
and said: ‘General, I am only anxious that we shall get forward,
that the Enemy shall not escape us.’ He replied: ‘There is no
danger of that. I will have a reconnaissance to-morrow, and we
will arrange about moving at a very early period.’ He then took
his leave.

“The next day [Tuesday, July 16th], there was a reconnaissance on
the Winchester turnpike, about four or five miles below the
General’s camp. He sent forward a section of artillery and some
cavalry, and they found a post-and-log fence across the Winchester
turnpike, and some of the Enemy’s cavalry on the other side of it.
They gave them a round of grape. The cavalry scattered off, and
the reconnaissance returned. That was the only reconnaissance I
heard of while we were there. My own pickets went further than
that. But it was understood, the next afternoon, that we were to
march forward at daylight. I sent down Col. Morell, with 40 men,
to open a road down to Opequan Creek, within five miles of the camp
at Winchester, on the side-roads I was upon, which would enable me,
in the course of three hours, to get between Johnston and the
Shenandoah River, and effectually bar his way to Manassas. I had
my ammunition all distributed, and ordered my men to have 24 hours’
rations in their haversacks, independent of their breakfast. We
were to march at 4 o’clock the next morning. I had this road to
the Opequan completed that night. I had then with me, in addition
to my eight regiments amounting to about 8,000 men and a few
cavalry, Doubleday’s heavy United States battery of 20 and 30
pounders, and a very good Rhode Island battery. And I was willing
to take the risk, whether Gen. Patterson followed me up or not, of
placing myself between Johnston and the Shenandoah River, rather
than let Johnston escape. And, at 4 o’clock [July 17th] I should
have moved over that road for that purpose, if I had had no further
orders. But, a little after 12 o’clock at night [July 16th-17th,] I received a long order of three pages from Gen. Patterson,
instructing me to move on to Charlestown, which is nearly at right
angles to the road I was going to move on, and twenty-two miles
from Winchester. This was after I had given my orders for the
other movement.”

* * * * * * * * * *

‘Question [by the Chairman].–And that left Johnston free?
“Answer–Yes, Sir; left him free to make his escape, which he did.
* * *”

‘Question.–In what direction would Johnston have had to move to
get by you?
“Answer–Right out to the Shenandoah River, which he forded. He
found out from his cavalry, who were watching us, that we were
actually leaving, and he started at 1 o’clock that same day, with
8,000 men, forded the Shenandoah where it was so deep that he
ordered his men to put their cartridge-boxes on their bayonets, got
out on the Leesburg road, and went down to Manassas.”

“Question [by the Chairman].–Did he [Patterson] assign any reason
for that movement?
“Answer.–I was, of course, very indignant about it, and so were
all my officers and men; so much so that when, subsequently, at
Harper’s Ferry, Patterson came by my camp, there was a universal
groan–against all discipline, of course, and we suppressed it as
soon as possible. The excuse given by Gen. Patterson was this:
that he had received intelligence that he could rely upon, that
Gen. Johnston had been re-enforced by 20,000 men from Manassas,
and was going to make an attack upon him; and in the order which I
received that night–a long order of three pages–I was ordered to
occupy all the communicating roads, turning off a regiment here,
and two or three regiments there, and a battery at another place,
to occupy all the roads from Winchester to the neighborhood of
Charlestown, and all the cross-roads, and hold them all that day,
until Gen. Patterson’s whole army went by me to Charlestown; and I
sat seven hours in the saddle near a place called Smithfield, while
Patterson, with his whole army, went by me on their way to
Charlestown, he being apprehensive, as he said, of an attack from
Johnston’s forces.”

“Question [by Mr. Odell].–You covered his movement?
“Answer–Yes, Sir. Now the statement that he made, which came to
me through Colonel Abercrombie, who was Patterson’s brother-in-law,
and commanded one division in that army, was, that Johnston had
been re-enforced; and Gen. Fitz-John Porter reported the same thing
to my officers. Gen. Porter was then the chief of Patterson’s
staff, and was a very excellent officer, and an accomplished
soldier. They all had got this story, which was without the
slightest shadow of foundation; for there had not a single man
arrived at the camp since we had got full information that their
force consisted of 20,000 men, of whom 1,800 were sick with the
measles. The story was, however, that they had ascertained, by
reliable information, of this re-enforcement. Where they got their
information, I do not know. None such reached me; and I picked up
deserters and other persons to get all the information I could; and
we since have learned, as a matter of certainty, that Johnston’s
forces never did exceed 20,000 men there. But the excuse Patterson
gave was, that Johnson had been re-enforced by 20,000 men from
Manassas, and was going to attack him. That was the reason he gave
then for this movement. But in this paper he has lately published,
he hints at another reason–another excuse–which was that it was
by order of Gen. Scott. Now, I know that the peremptory order of
Gen. Scott to Gen. Patterson, repeated over and over again, was
this–I was present on several occasions when telegraphic
communications went from Gen. Scott to Gen. Patterson: Gen. Scott’s
orders to Gen. Patterson were that, if he were strong enough, he
was to attack and beat Johnston. But if not, then he was to place
himself in such a position as to keep Johnston employed, and
prevent him from making a junction with Beauregard at Manassas.
That was the repeated direction of Gen. Scott to Gen. Patterson;
and it was because of Patterson’s hesitancy, and his hanging back,
and keeping so far beyond the reach of Johnston’s camp, that I was
ordered to go up there and re-enforce him, and assist him in any
operations necessary to effect that object. The excuse of Gen.
Patterson now is, that he had orders from Gen. Scott to move to
Charlestown. Now, that is not so. But this state of things
existed: Before the movement was made from Martinsburg, General
Patterson suggested to General Scott that Charlestown would be a
better base of operations than Martinsburg and suggested that he
had better move on Charlestown, and thence make his approaches to
Winchester; that it would be better to do that than to move
directly to Winchester from Martinsburg; and General Scott wrote
back to say that, if he found that movement a better one, he was at
liberty to make it. But Gen. Patterson had already commenced his
movement on Winchester direct from Martinsburg, and had got as far
as Bunker Hill; so that the movement which he had formerly
suggested, to Charlestown, was suppressed by his own act. But that
is the pretence now given in his published speech for making the
movement from Bunker Hill to Charlestown, which was a retreat,
instead of the advance which the movement to Charlestown he first
proposed to Gen. Scott was intended to be.”

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

“Question [by the Chairman].–Was not that change of direction and
movement to Charlestown a total abandonment of the object which you
were pursuing?
“Answer.–Entirely an abandonment of the main principles of the
orders he was acting under.”

“Question.–And of course an abandonment of the purpose for which
you were there?
“Answer.–Yes, Sir.

“Question [by Mr. Odell].-Was it not your understanding in leaving
here, and was it not the understanding also of Gen. Scott, that
your purpose in going there was to check Johnston with direct
reference to the movement here?
“Answer–Undoubtedly. It was in consequence of the suggestion made
by me at the Council at the President’s house. * * * And upon the
suggestion of General Scott they wanted me to go up there and
assist Patterson in this movement against Johnston, so as to carry
out the point I had suggested of first checkmating Johnston before
the movement against Manassas was made here.”

* * * * * * * * *

Question [by the Chairman].–Would there have been any difficulty
in preventing Johnston from going to Manassas?
“Answer.–None whatever.”

* * * * * * * * *

“Question [by the Chairman.]–I have heard it suggested that he
(Patterson) undertook to excuse this movement on the ground that
the time of many of his troops had expired, and they refused to
accompany him.
“Answer.–That to my knowledge, is untrue. The time of none of
them had expired when this movement was made. All the troops that
were there were in the highest condition for the service. These
three-months’ men, it may be well to state to you who are not
Military men, were superior to any other volunteer troops that we
had, in point of discipline. They were the disciplined troops of
the Country. The three-months’ men were generally the organized
troops of the different States–New York, Pennsylvania, etc. We
had, for instance, from Patterson’s own city, Philadelphia, one of
the finest regiments in the service, which was turned over to me,
at their own request; and the most of my regiments were disciplined
and organized troops. They were all in fine condition, anxious,
zealous, and earnest for a fight. They thought they were going to
attack Johnston’s camp at Winchester. Although I had suggested to
Gen. Patterson that there was no necessity for that, the camp being
admirably fortified with many of their heavy guns from Norfolk, I
proposed to him to place ourselves between Johnston and the
Shenandoah, which would have compelled him to fight us there, or to
remain in his camp, either of which would have effected General
Scott’s object. If I had got into a fight, it was very easy, over
this road I had just been opening, for Patterson to have re-
enforced me and to have come up to the fight in time. The
proposition was to place ourselves between Johnston’s fortified
camp and the Shenandoah, where his fortified camp would have been
of no use to him.”

“Question.–Even if you had received a check there, it would have
prevented his junction with the forces at Manassas?
“Answer.–Yes, Sir; I would have risked a battle with my own
division rather than Johnston should have escaped. If he had
attacked me, I could have taken a position where I could have held
it, while Patterson could have fallen upon him and repulsed him.”

“Question [by Mr. Odell].–Had you any such understanding with
“Answer.–I told him I would move down on this side-road in
advance, leaving Gen. Patterson to sustain me if I got into a
fight. So, on the other hand, if he should attack Patterson, I was
near enough to fall upon Johnston’s flank and to support Patterson.
By using this communication of mine to pass Opequan Creek–where, I
had informed Patterson, I had already pushed forward my pickets,
[200 men in the day and 400 more at night,] to prevent the Enemy
from burning the bridge–it would have enabled me to get between
Johnston and the Shenandoah River. On the morning [Wednesday, July
17th] of our march to Charlestown, Stuart’s cavalry, which figured
so vigorously at Bull Run, was upon my flank all day. They were
apparently about 800 strong. I saw them constantly on my flank for
a number of miles. I could distinguish them, with my glass, with
great ease. Finally, they came within about a mile of the line of
march I was pursuing and I sent a battery around to head them off,
and the 12th Regiment across the fields in double-quick time to
take them in the rear. I thought I had got them hemmed in. But
they broke down the fences, and went across the country to
Winchester, and I saw nothing more of them. They were then about
eight miles from Winchester, and must have got there in the course
of a couple of hours. That day [Wednesday, the 17th] at 10
o’clock–as was ascertained from those who saw him crossing the
Shenandoah–Johnston started from Winchester with 8,000 men, forded
the Shenandoah, and got to Manassas on Friday night; and his second
in command started the next day with all the rest of the available
troops–something like 9,000 men; leaving only the sick, and a few
to guard them, in the camp at Winchester–and they arrived at the
battle-field in the midst of the fight, got out of the cars, rushed
on the battle-field, and turned the scale. I have no doubt that,
if we had intercepted Johnston, as we ought to have done, the
battle of Bull Run would have been a victory for us instead of a
defeat. Johnston was undoubtedly the ablest general they had in
their army.”

Colonel CRAIG BIDDLE, testified that he was General Patterson’s
aide-de-camp at the time. In answer to a question by the Chairman,
he continued:

“Answer.–I was present, of course, at all the discussions. The
discussion at Martinsburg was as to whether or not General
Patterson should go on to Winchester. General Patterson was very
full of that himself. He was determined to go to Winchester; but
the opinions of all the regular officers who were with him, were
against it. The opinions of all the men in whose judgment I had
any confidence, were against it. They seemed to have the notion
that General Patterson had got his Irish blood up by the fight we
had had at Falling Waters, and was bound to go ahead. He decided
upon going ahead, against the remonstrances of General [Fitz John] Porter, who advised against it. He told me he considered he had
done his duty, and said no more. The movement was delayed in
consequence of General Stone’s command not being able to move right
away. It was then evident that there was so much opposition to it
that the General was induced to call a council of the general
officers in his command, at which I was present. They were
unanimously opposed to the advance. That was at Martinsburg.”

* * * * * * * * *

“Question.–While at Bunker Hill, the night before you left there,
were any orders issued to march in the evening?
“Answer.–I think there were such orders.”

“Question.–Did not General Patterson issue orders at Bunker Hill,
the night before you marched to Charlestown, for an attack on the
“Answer.-I think such orders were written. I do not think they
were issued. I think General Patterson was again persuaded not to
make an advance.”

Colonel R. BUTLER PRICE, Senior aide to Patterson, testified as

* * * * * * * * *

“Question [by Mr. Gooch].–Was it not the intention to move from
Bunker Hill to Winchester?
“Answer.–Yes, Sir. At one time General Patterson had given an
order to move from Bunker Hill to Winchester. He was very
unwilling to leave Johnston even at Winchester without attacking
him; and on the afternoon before we left Bunker Hill he decided to
attack him, notwithstanding his strong force.”

“Question.–Behind his intrenchments?
“Answer.–Yes, Sir; it went so far that his order was written by
his adjutant, General [Fitz John] Porter. It was very much against
the wishes of General [Fitz John] Porter; and he asked General
Patterson if he would send for Colonel Abercrombie and Colonel
Thomas and consult them on the movement. General Patterson
replied: No, Sir; for I know they will attempt to dissuade me from
it, and I have made up my mind to fight Johnston under all
circumstances. That was the day before we left Bunker Hill. Then
Colonel [Fitz John] Porter asked to have Colonel Abercrombie and
Colonel Thomas sent for and consulted as to the best manner to
carry out his wishes. He consented, and they came, and after half
an hour they dissuaded him from it.”

“Question.–At that time General Patterson felt it was so important
to attack Johnston that he had determined to do it?
“Answer.–Yes, Sir; the order was not published, but it was

“Question.–You understood General Patterson to be influenced to
make that attempt because he felt there was a necessity for
detaining Johnston?
“Answer.–Yes, Sir; to detain him as long as he possibly could.”

“Question.–That order was not countermanded until late on Tuesday,
the 16th, was it?
“Answer.–That order never was published. It was written; but, at
the earnest solicitation of Colonel [Fitz John] Porter, it was
withheld until he could have a consultation with Colonel
Abercrombie and Colonel Thomas.”]

It is about 1 o’clock on the morning of Thursday, July 18th,–that same
day which witnesses the preliminary Battle of Blackburn’s Ford–that
Johnston, being at Winchester, and knowing of Patterson’s peculiarly
inoffensive and timid movement to his own left and rear, on Charlestown,
receives from the Rebel Government at Richmond, a telegraphic dispatch,
of July 17th, in these words: “General Beauregard is attacked. To
strike the Enemy a decisive blow, a junction of all your effective force
will be needed. If practicable, make the movement. * * * In all the
arrangements exercise your discretion.”

Johnston loses no time in deciding that it is his duty to prevent, if
possible, disaster to Beauregard’s Army; that to do this he must effect
a junction with him; and that this necessitates either an immediate
fight with, and defeat of, Patterson,–which may occasion a fatal
delay–or else, that Union general must be eluded. Johnston determines
on the latter course.

Leaving his sick, with some militia to make a pretense of defending the
town in case of attack, Johnston secretly and rapidly marches his Army,
of 9,000 effective men, Southeasterly from Winchester, at noon of
Thursday, the 18th; across by a short cut, wading the Shenandoah River,
and then on through Asby’s Gap, in the Blue Ridge, that same night;
still on, in the same direction, to a station on the Manassas Gap
railroad, known as Piedmont, which is reached by the next (Friday)
morning,–the erratic movements of Stuart’s Cavalry entirely concealing
the manoeuvre from the knowledge of Patterson.

From Piedmont, the Artillery and Cavalry proceed to march the remaining
twenty-five miles, or so, to Manassas Junction, by the roads. The 7th
and 8th Georgia Regiments of Bartow’s Brigade, with Jackson’s Brigade,–
comprising the 2d, 4th, 5th, 27th and 33d Virginia Regiments–are
embarked on the cars, and hurriedly sent in advance, by rail, to
Manassas, reaching there on that same (Friday) afternoon and evening.
These are followed by General Johnston, with Bee’s Brigade–comprising
the 4th Alabama, 2d Mississippi, and a battalion of the 11th
Mississippi–which arrive at Manassas about noon of Saturday, the 20th
of July, the balance of Johnston’s Infantry being billed for arrival
that same day, or night.

Upon Johnston’s own arrival at Manassas, Saturday noon,–the very day
that Patterson ascertains that “the bird has flown,”–after assuming
command, by virtue of seniority, he proceeds to examine Beauregard’s
position. This he finds “too extensive, and the ground too densely
wooded and intricate,” to be learned quickly, and hence he is impelled
to rely largely upon Beauregard for information touching the strength
and positions of both the Rebel and Union Armies.

Beauregard has now 21,833 men, and 29 pieces of artillery of his own
“Army of the Potomac.” Johnston’s and Holmes’s junction with him has
raised the Rebel total to 32,000 effectives, and 55 guns. McDowell, on
the other hand, who started with 30,000 effectives, finds himself on the
19th–owing to the departure of one of his regiments and a battery of
Artillery, because of the expiration of their term of enlistment,–with
but “28,000 men at the utmost.”–[Comte de Paris.]

On the evening of Saturday, the 20th of July, Johnston and Beauregard
hold an important consultation. The former feels certain that
Patterson, with his more than 20,000 effectives, will now lose no time
in essaying a junction with McDowell’s Army, and that such junction will
probably be effected by July 22nd. Hence he perceives the necessity of
attacking McDowell, and if possible, with the combined Rebel Forces,
whipping him before Patterson can come up to his assistance.

At this consultation it is agreed by the two Rebel generals to assume
the offensive, at once. Beauregard proposes a plan of battle–which is
an immediate general advance of the Rebel centre and left,
concentrating, from all the fords of Bull Run, upon Centreville, while
the Rebel right advances toward Sangster’s cross-roads, ready to fall
either on Centreville, or upon Fairfax Court House, in its rear,
according to circumstances.

The plan proposed, is accepted at once by Johnston. The necessary order
is drawn up by Beauregard that night; and at half past four o’clock on
Sunday morning, July 21st, Johnston signs the written order. Nothing
now remains, apparently, but the delivery of the order to the Rebel
brigade commanders, a hurried preparation for the forward movement, and
then the grand attack upon McDowell, at Centreville.

Already, no doubt, the fevered brain of Beauregard pictures, in his
vivid imagination, the invincible thunders of his Artillery, the
impetuous advance of his Infantry, the glorious onset of his Cavalry,
the flight and rout of the Union forces, his triumphal entry into
Washington–Lincoln and Scott and the Congress crouching at his feet–
and the victorious South and conquered North acclaiming him Dictator!
The plan is Beauregard’s own, and Beauregard is to have command. Hence
all the glory of capturing the National Capital, must be Beauregard’s.
Why not? But “man proposes, and God disposes.” The advance and attack,
are, in that shape, never to be made.

McDowell, in the meantime, all unconscious of what has transpired in the
Shenandoah Valley, and between there and Manassas; never dreaming for an
instant that Patterson has failed to keep Johnson there–even if he has
not attacked and defeated him; utterly unsuspicious that his own
lessened Union Army has now to deal with the Forces of Johnston and
Beauregard combined–with a superior instead of an inferior force; is
executing a plan of battle which he has decided upon, and announced to
his general officers, on that same Saturday evening, at his Headquarters
in Centreville.

Instead of attempting to turn the Enemy’s right, and cut off his
communications with Richmond and the South, McDowell has now determined
to attack the Enemy’s left, cut his communication, via the Manassas Gap
railroad, with Johnston’s Army,–still supposed by him to be in the
Valley of the Shenandoah–and, taking him in the left flank and rear,
roll him upon Manassas, in disorder and defeat–with whatever might

That is the plan–in its general features. In executing it, Blenker’s
Brigade of Miles’s Division is to remain at Centreville as a reserve,
throwing up intrenchments about its Heights, upon which to fall back, in
case of necessity; Davies’s Brigade of the same Division, with
Richardson’s Brigade of Tyler’s Division–as the Left Wing–are to
demonstrate at Blackburn’s Ford, toward the Enemy’s right; Tyler’s other
three brigades, under Keyes, Schenck, and Sherman, are to feign an
attack on the Enemy’s left, posted behind the strongly-defended Stone
Bridge over which the Warrenton turnpike, running Westward, on its way
from Centreville to Warrenton, crosses Bull Run stream; while the strong
divisions under Hunter and Heintzelman–forming McDowell’s Right Wing–
are to follow Tyler’s Division Westward down the turnpike to a point
within one mile and a half of the Stone Bridge, thence, by cross-road,
diverge several miles to the North, then sweep around gradually to the
West, and then Southwardly over Bull Run at Sudley Springs Ford,
swooping down the Sudley road upon the Enemy’s left flank and rear, near
Stone Bridge, rolling it back toward his center, while Tyler’s remaining
three brigades cross the bridge and join in the assault. That is the
whole plan in a nutshell.

It has been McDowell’s intention to push forward, from Centreville along
the Warrenton Pike a few miles, on the evening of this Military
conference; but he makes his first mistake, in allowing himself to be
dissuaded from that, by those, who, in his own words, “have the greatest
distance to go,” and who prefer “starting early in the morning and
making but one move.”

The attacking divisions now have orders to march at 2:30 A. M., in order
“to avoid the heat,” which is excessive. Tyler’s three immediate
brigades–or some of them–are slow in starting Westward, along the
Warrenton Pike, to the Stone Bridge; and this leads to a two or three
hours delay of the divisions of Hunter and Heintzelman, before they can
follow that Pike beyond Centreville, and commence the secret detour to
their right, along the cross-road leading to Sudley Springs.

At 6:30 A.M., Tyler’s Artillery gets into position, to cannonade the
Enemy’s batteries, on the West Bank of Bull Run, commanding the Stone
Bridge, and opens fire. Half an hour before this, (at 6 A.M.), the
Rebel artillerists, posted on a hill South of the Pike, and 600 yards
West of the bridge, have caught sight of Tyler’s Union blue-jackets.
Those of the Rebel gunners whose eyes are directed to the North-East,
soon see, nearly a mile away, up the gradual slope, a puff of blue
smoke. Immediately the bang of a solitary rifle cannon is heard, and
the scream of a rifled shot as it passes over their heads. At
intervals, until past 9 A.M., that piece and others in the same
position, keep hammering away at the Rebel left, under Evans, at Stone

The Rebel response to this cannonade, is very feeble. McDowell observes
this. He suspects there has been a weakening of the Enemy’s force at
the bridge, in order to strengthen his right for some purpose. And what
can that purpose be, but to throw his augmented right upon our left, at
Blackburn’s Ford, and so, along the ridge-road, upon Centreville? Thus
McDowell guesses, and guesses well. To be in readiness to protect his
own left and rear, by reenforcing Miles’s Division, at Centreville and
along the ridge to Blackburn’s Ford, he temporarily holds back Howard’s
Brigade of Heintzelman’s Division at the point where the cross-road to
Sudley Springs Ford-along which Hunter’s Division, followed by the
Brigades of Franklin and Wilcox, of Heintzelman’s Division, have already
gone-intersects the Warrenton Pike.

It is 9 o’clock. Beauregard, as yet unaware of McDowell’s new plan,
sends an order to Ewell, on his right, to hold himself ready “to take
the offensive, at a moment’s notice,”–and directing that Ewell be
supported in his advance, toward Sangster’s cross-roads and the rear of
Centreville, by Holmes’s Brigade. In accordance with that order, Ewell,
who is “at Union Mills and its neighborhood,” gets his brigade ready,
and Holmes moves up to his support. After waiting two hours, Ewell
receives another order, for both Ewell and Holmes “to resume their
places.” Something must have occurred since 9 o’clock, to defeat
Beauregard’s plan of attack on Centreville–with all its glorious
consequences! What can it be? We shall see.

While Tyler’s Artillery has been cannonading the Rebel left, under
Evans, at Stone Bridge,–fully impressed with the prevailing Union
belief that the bridge is not only protected by strong masked batteries,
heavy supports of Infantry, and by abatis as well as other defenses, but
is also mined and ready to be blown up at the approach of our troops,
when in reality the bridge is not mined, and the Rebel force in men and
guns at that point has been greatly weakened in anticipation of
Beauregard’s projected advance upon Centreville,–the Union column,
under Hunter and Heintzelman, is advancing from Centreville, in the
scorching heat and suffocating dust of this tropical July morning,
slowly, but surely, along the Warrenton Pike and the cross-road to
Sudley Springs Ford–a distance of some eight miles of weary and
toilsome marching for raw troops in such a temperature–in this order:
Burnside’s Brigade, followed by Andrew Porter’s Brigade,–both of
Hunter’s Division; then Franklin’s Brigade, followed by Willcox’s
Brigade,–both of Heintzelman’s Division.

It is half past 9 o’clock; before Burnside’s Brigade has crossed the
Bull Run stream, at Sudley’s Ford, and the head of Andrew Porter’s
Brigade commences to ford it. The troops are somewhat slow in crossing.
They are warm, tired, thirsty, and as to dust,–their hair and eyes and
nostrils and mouths are full of it, while most of the uniforms, once
blue, have become a dirty gray. The sky is clear. The sun already is
fiercely hot. The men stop to drink and fill their canteens. It is
well they do.

McDowell, who has been waiting two or three hours at the turn, impatient
at the delay, has ridden over to the front of the Flanking column, and
now reaches Sudley’s Ford. He feels that much valuable time is already
lost. His plan has, in a measure, been frustrated by delay. He had
calculated on crossing Bull Run, at Sudley’s Ford, and getting to the
rear of the Enemy’s position, at Stone Bridge, before a sufficient Rebel
force could be assembled to contest the Union advance. He sends back an
aide with orders to the regimental commanders in the rear, to “break
from column, and hurry forward separately, as fast as possible.”
Another aide he sends, with orders to Howard to bring his brigade
across-fields. To Tyler he also sends orders to “press forward his
attack, as large bodies of the Enemy are passing in front of him to
attack the division (Hunter’s) which has passed over.”

It may here be explained, that the Sudley road, running about six miles
South-Southeasterly from Sudley Springs Ford to Manassas Junction, is
crossed at right angles, about two miles South of the Springs, by the
Warrenton Pike, at a point about one mile and a half West of the Stone
Bridge. For nearly a mile South of Sudley Ford, the Sudley road passes
through thick woods on the left, and alternate patches of wooded and
cleared lands on the right. The country farther South, opens into
rolling fields, occasionally cut by transverse gullies, and patched with
woods. This is what Burnside’s Brigade beholds, as it marches
Southward, along the Sudley road, this eventful morning.

Thus far, the cannonade of Tyler’s batteries, and the weak return-fire
of the Rebel Artillery, at Stone Bridge, over two miles South-East of
Sudley Ford, is about the only music by which the Union march has kept

But now, as Burnside’s foremost regiment emerges from the woods, at half
past 10 o’clock, the Artillery of the Enemy opens upon it.

Let us see how this happens. Evans’s Brigade, defending the Stone
Bridge, and constituting the Enemy’s extreme left, comprises, as has
already been mentioned, Sloan’s 4th South Carolina Regiment, Wheat’s
Louisiana battalion, Terry’s squadron of Virginia Cavalry, and
Davidson’s section of Latham’s Battery of six-pounders.

Earlier in the morning Evans has supposed, from the cannonade of Tyler’s
batteries among the pines on the hills obliquely opposite the Enemy’s
left, as well as from the sound of the cannonade of the Union batteries
away down the stream on the Enemy’s right, near Blackburn’s Ford, that
McDowell is about to make an attack upon the whole front of the Rebel
line of defense along Bull Run-by way of the Stone Bridge, and the
various fords below it, which cross that stream. But by 10 o’clock,
that Rebel general begins to feel doubtful, suspicious, and uneasy.
Despite the booming of Tyler’s guns, he has caught in the distance the
rumbling sounds of Hunter’s Artillery wheels.

Evans finds himself pondering the meaning of those long lines of dust,
away to his left; and then, like a flash, it bursts upon him, that all
this Military hubbub in his front, and far away to his right, is but a
feint; that the real danger is somehow connected with that mysterious
far-away rumble, and those lines of yellow dust; that the main attack is
to be on the unprepared left and rear of the Rebel position!

No sooner has the Rebel brigade-commander thus divined the Union plan of
attack, than he prepares, with the limited force at his command, to
thwart it. Burnside and he are about equidistant, by this time, from
the intersection of the Sudley road, running South, with the Warrenton
Pike, running West. Much depends upon which of them shall be the first
to reach it,–and the instinctive, intuitive knowledge of this, spurs
Evans to his utmost energy. He leaves four of his fifteen companies,
and Rogers’s section of the Loudoun Artillery,–which has come up from
Cocke’s Brigade, at the ford below–to defend the approaches to the
Stone Bridge, from the East side of Bull Run,–and, with the other
eleven companies, and Latham’s half-battery, he hurries Westward, along
the Warrenton Pike, toward the Sudley road-crossing, to resist the
impending Union attack.

It is now 10:30 o’clock, and, as he hurries along, with anxious eyes,
scanning the woods at the North, he suddenly catches the glitter of
Burnside’s bayonets coming down through them, East of the Sudley road,
in “column of regiments” toward Young’s Branch–a small stream turning,
in a Northern and Southern loop, respectively above and below the
Warrenton Pike, much as the S of a prostrate dollar-mark twines above
and below its horizontal line, the vicinity of which is destined to be
hotly-contested ground ere night-fall.

[Says Captain D. P. Woodbury, U. S. corps of engineers, and
who, with Captain Wright, guided the divisions of Hunter and
Heintzelman in making the detour to the upper part of Bull Run: “At
Sudley’s Mills we lingered about an hour to give the men and horses
water and a little rest before going into action, our advance guard
in the mean time going ahead about three quarters of a mile.
Resuming our march, we emerged from the woods about one mile South
of the ford, and came upon a beautiful open valley about one and a
quarter miles square, bounded on the right or West by a wooded
ridge, on the Fast by the rough spurs or bluffs of Bull Run, on the
North by an open plain and ridge, on which our troops began to
form, and on the South by another ridge, on which the Enemy was
strongly posted, with woods behind their backs. The Enemy was also
in possession of the bluffs of Bull Run on our left.”]

Sending word to Headquarters, Evans pushes forward and gaining Buck
Ridge, to the North of the Northern loop of Young’s Branch, forms his
line-of-battle upon that elevation–which somewhat compensates him for
the inferiority of his numbers–nearly at right angles to the Bull Run
line; rapidly puts his Artillery in position; the Rebel guns open on
Burnside’s advance–their hoarse roar soon supplemented by the rattle of
Rebel musketry, and the answering roar and rattle of the Union onset;
and the Battle of Bull Run has commenced!

It is after 10:30 A.M., and Beauregard and Johnston are upon an eminence
in the rear of the centre of the Enemy’s Bull Run line. They have been
there since 8 o’clock. An hour ago, or more, their Signal Officer has
reported a large body of Union troops crossing the Bull Run Valley, some
two or three miles above the Stone Bridge; upon the strength of which,
Johnston has ordered Bee’s Brigade from near Cocke’s position, with
Hampton’s Legion and Stonewall Jackson’s Brigade from near Bonham’s
left, to move to the Rebel left, at Stone Bridge; and these troops are
now hastening thither, guided by the sound of the guns.

The artillery-firing is also heard by Johnston and Beauregard, but
intervening wooded slopes prevent them from determining precisely whence
it comes. Beauregard, with a badly-organized staff, is chaffing over
the delay that has occurred in carrying out his own plan of battle. He
is waiting to hear of the progress of the attack which he has ordered
upon the Union Army,–supposed by him to be at Centreville,–and
especially as to the advance of his right toward Sangster’s Station. In
the meantime also,–from early morning,–the Rebel commanders have heard
heavy firing in the direction of Blackburn’s Ford, toward their right,
where the Artillery attached to the brigades of Davies and Richardson,
constituting McDowell’s Left Wing, is demonstrating in a lively manner,
in accordance with McDowell’s plan.

It is 11 o’clock. Beauregard has become satisfied that his orders for
the Rebel advance and attack on Centreville, have failed or miscarried.
His plan is abandoned, and the orders countermanded. At the same time
the growing volume of artillery-detonations upon the left of the Bull
Run line of defense–together with the clouds of dust which indicate the
route of march of Hunter’s and Heintzelman’s Divisions from near
Centreville to the point of conflict, satisfies both Johnston and
Beauregard, that a serious attack is imperilling the Rebel left.

Beauregard at once proposes to Johnston “a modification of the abandoned
plan,” viz.: “to attack with the” Rebel “right, while the left stands on
the defensive.” But rapidly transpiring events conspire to make even
the modified plan impracticable.

Johnston, convinced by the still growing volume of battlesounds on the
Rebel left, that the main attack of McDowell is being made there, urges
Beauregard to strengthen the left, as much as possible; and, after that
general has sent orders to this end,–to Holmes and Early to come up
with their Brigades from Union Mills Ford, moving “with all speed to the
sound of the firing,” and to Bonham to promptly send up, from Mitchell’s
Ford, a battery and two of his regiments–both he and Beauregard put
spurs to their horses, and gallop at full speed toward the firing, four
miles away on their left,–stopping on the way only long enough for
Johnston to order his Chief-of-artillery, Colonel Pendleton, to “follow,
with his own, and Alburtis’s Batteries.”

Meanwhile let us return and witness the progress of the battle, on the
Rebel left,–where we were looking on, at 10:30 o’clock. Evans had then
just posted his eleven companies of Infantry on Buck Ridge, with one of
his two guns on his left, near the Sudley road, and the other not far
from the Robinson House, upon the Northern spur of the elevated plateau
just South of Young’s Branch, and nearly midway between the Sudley road
and Stone Bridge.

The battle, as we have seen, has opened. As Burnside’s Brigade appears
on the slope, to the North of Buck Ridge (or Hill), it is received by a
rapid, well-sustained, and uncomfortable, but not very destructive fire,
from Evans’s Artillery, and, as the Union regiments press forward, in
column, full of impulsive ardor, the Enemy welcomes the head of the
column with a hot musketry-fire also, delivered from the crest of the
elevation behind which the Rebel Infantry lie flat upon the ground.

This defense by Evan’s demi-Brigade still continues, although half an
hour, or more, has elapsed. Burnside has not yet been able to dislodge
the Enemy from the position. Emboldened to temerity by this fact, Major
Wheat’s Louisiana battalion advances through the woods in front, upon
Burnside, but is hurled back by a galling fire, which throws it into
disorder and flight.

At this moment, however, the brigades of Bee and Bartow–comprising the
7th and 8th Georgia, 2nd Mississippi, 4th Alabama, 6th North Carolina,
and two companies of the 11th Mississippi, with Imboden’s Battery of
four pieces–recently arrived with Johnston from Winchester, come up,
form on the right of Sloan’s 4th South Carolina Regiment, while Wheat
rallies his remnant on Sloan’s left, now resting on the Sudley road, and
the whole new Rebel line opens a hot fire upon Burnside’s Brigade.

Hunter, for the purpose of better directing the Union attack, is at this
moment rapidly riding to the left of the Union line,–which is advancing
Southwardly, at right angles to Bull Run stream and the old line of
Rebel defense thereon. He is struck by the fragment of a shell, and
carried to the rear.

Colonel John S. Slocum’s, 2nd Rhode Island, Regiment, with Reynold’s
Rhode Island Battery (six 13-pounders), having been sent to the front of
Burnside’s left, and being closely pressed by the Enemy, Burnside’s own
regiment the 1st Rhode Island, is gallantly led by Major Balch to the
support of the 2nd, and together they handsomely repulse the Rebel
onset. Burnside now sends forward Martin’s 71st New York, with its two
howitzers, and Marston’s 2nd New Hampshire,–his whole Brigade, of four
regiments and a light artillery battery, being engaged with the heavy
masked battery (Imboden’s and two other pieces), and nearly seven full
regiments of the Enemy.

The regiments of Burnside’s Brigade are getting considerably cut up.
Colonels Slocum and Marston, and Major Balch, are wounded. There is
some confusion in the ranks, and the Rhode Island Battery is in danger
of capture, when General Andrew Porter–whose own brigade has just
reached the field and is deploying to the right of Burnside’s–succeeds
Hunter in command of the division, and rides over to his left. Burnside
asks him for Sykes’s battalion of regulars, which is accordingly
detached from the extreme right of Andrew Porter’s Division, rapidly
forms on the left, in support of the Rhode Island Battery, and opens a
hot and effective fire which, in connection with the renewed fire of
Burnside’s rallied regiments, and the opening artillery practice of
Griffin’s Battery–that has just come up at a gallop and gone into a
good position upon an eminence to the right of Porter’s Division, and to
the right of the Sudley road looking South–fairly staggers the Enemy.

And now the brigades of Sherman and Keyes, having been ordered across
Bull Run by General Tyler, are seen advancing from Poplar Ford, at the
rear of our left,–Sherman’s Brigade, headed by Corcoran’s 69th New York
Regiment, coming up on Burnside’s left, while Keves’s Brigade is
following, to the left again of, Sherman.

[Sherman, in his Official Report, after mentioning the receipt by
him of Tyler’s order to “cross over with the whole brigade to the
assistance of Colonel Hunter”–which he did, so far as the Infantry
was concerned, but left his battery under Ayres behind, on account
of the impassability of the bluff on the Western bank of Bull Run-
says: “Early in the day, when reconnoitering the ground, I had seen
a horseman descend from a bluff in our front, cross the stream, and
show himself in the open field, and, inferring we could cross over
at the same point, I sent forward a company as skirmishers, and
followed with the whole brigade, the New York Sixty-ninth leading.”

This is evidently the ford at the elbow of Bull Run, to the right
of Sherman’s front, which is laid down on the Army-maps as “Poplar
Ford,” and which McDowell’s engineers had previously discovered and
mapped; and to which Major Barnard of the U. S. Engineer Corps
alludes when, in his Official Report, he says: “Midway between the
Stone Bridge and Sudley Spring our maps indicated another ford,
which was said to be good.”

The Comte de Paris, at page 241, vol. I. of his admirable “History
of the Civil War in America,” and perhaps other Military
historians, having assumed and stated–upon the strength of this
passage in Sherman’s Report–that “the Military instinct” of that
successful soldier had “discovered” this ford; and the impression
being thus conveyed, however undesignedly, to their readers, that
McDowell’s Engineer corps, after spending two or three days in
reconnaissances, had failed to find the ford which Sherman had in a
few minutes “discovered” by “Military instinct;” it is surely due
to the truth of Military history, that the Engineers be fairly
credited with the discovery and mapping of that ford, the existence
of which should also have been known to McDowell’s brigade

If, on the other hand, the Report of the Rebel Captain Arthur L.
Rogers, of the Loudoun Artillery, to General Philip St. George
Cocke, be correct, it would seem that Sherman attempted to cross
Bull Run lower down than Poplar Ford, which is “about one mile
above the Stone Bridge,” but was driven back by the fire of
Rogers’s guns to cross at that particular ford; for Rogers, in that
Report, says that about 11 o’clock A. M., the first section of the
Loudoun Artillery, under his command, “proceeded to the crest of
the hill on the West Side of Bull Run, commanding Stone Bridge. *
* * Here.” continues he, “I posted my section of Artillery, and
opened a brisk fire upon a column of the Enemy’s Infantry, supposed
to be two regiments, advancing towards me, and supported by his
battery of rifled cannon on the hills opposite. These poured into
my section a steady fire of shot and shell. After giving them some
fifty rounds, I succeeded in heading his column, and turned it up
Bull Run to a ford about one mile above Stone Bridge, where, with
the regiments which followed, they crossed, and proceeded to join
the rest of the Enemy’s forces in front of the main body of our

Before this developing, expanding, and advancing attack of the Union
forces, the Rebel General Bee, who–since his coming up to support
Evans, with his own and Bartow’s Brigades, to which had since been added
Hampton’s Legion,–has been in command of this new Rebel line of defense
upon the left of the Bull Run line, concludes that that attack is
getting too strong for him, and orders his forces to retreat to the
Southward, and re-form on a second line, parallel to their present line,
and behind the rising ground at their rear. They do so, somewhat faster
than he desires. The whole line of the Rebel centre gives way, followed
by the wings, as far as the victorious Union troops can see.

We must be blind if we cannot perceive that thus far, the outlook, from
the Union point of view,–despite numberless mistakes of detail, and
some, perhaps, more general in their character–is very good. The “Boys
in Blue” are irresistibly advancing, driving the “Rebel Gray” back and
back, without let or hindrance, over the Buck Hill ridge, over Young’s
Branch, back to, and even over, the Warrenton Pike. Time, to be sure,
is flying–valuable time; but the Enemy also is retiring.–There is some
slight confusion in parts of our own ranks; but there is much more in
his. At present, we have decidedly the best of it. McDowell’s plan has
been, thus far, successful. Will that success continue? We shall see.

Heintzelman’s Division is coming, up from the rear, to the Union right–
Franklin’s Brigade, made up of the 5th and 11th Massachusetts, and 1st
Minnesota, with Ricketts’s splendid battery of six 10-pounder Parrotts,
forming on the right of Andrew Porter’s Brigade and Division; while
Willcox’s demi-Brigade, with its 11th (“Fire Zouaves”) and 38th New
York–having left Arnold’s Battery of four pieces, with the 1st Michigan
as its support, posted on a hill commanding Sudley’s Ford–comes in, on
the right of Franklin, thus forming the extreme right of the advancing
Union line of attack.

As our re-enforcing brigades come up, on our right, and on our left, the
Enemy falls back, more and more discouraged and dismayed. It seems to
him, as it does to us, “as though nothing can stop us.” Jackson,
however, is now hurrying up to the relief of the flying and disordered
remnants of Bee’s, Bartow’s, and Evans’s Brigades; and these
subsequently rally, with Hampton’s Legion, upon Jackson’s strong brigade
of fresh troops, so that, on a third new line, to which they have been
driven back, they soon have–6,500 Infantry, 13 pieces of Artillery, and
Stuart’s cavalry-posted in a belt of pines which fringes the Southern
skirt of the Henry House plateau–in a line-of-battle which, with its
left resting upon the Sudley road, three-quarters of a mile South of its
intersection with the Warrenton Pike, is the irregular hypothenuse of a
right-angled triangle, formed by itself and those two intersecting
roads, to the South-East of such intersection. It is within this right-
angled triangular space that the battle, now proceeding, bids fair to
rage most fiercely.

Johnston and Beauregard, riding up from their rear, reach this new
(third) line to which the Rebel troops have been driven, about noon.
They find the brigades of Bee, Bartow, and Evans, falling back in great
disorder, and taking shelter in a wooded ravine, South of the Robinson
House and of the Warrenton Pike. Hampton’s Legion, which has just been
driven backward over the Pike, with great loss, still holds the Robinson
House. Jackson, however, has reached the front of this line of defense,
with his brigade of the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 27th, and 33rd Virginia Infantry,
and Pendleton’s Battery–all of which have been well rested, since their
arrival, with other brigades of Johnston’s Army of the Shenandoah, from
Winchester, a day or two back.

As Jackson comes up, on the left of “the ravine and woods occupied by
the mingled remnants of Bee’s, Bartow’s and Evans’s commands,” he posts
Imboden’s, Stanard’s, and Pendleton’s Batteries in line, “below the brim
of the Henry House plateau,” perhaps one-eighth of a mile to the East-
Southeastward of the Henry House, at his centre; Preston’s 4th Virginia,
and Echol’s 27th Virginia, at the rear of the battery-line; Harper’s 5th
Virginia, with Radford’s Cavalry, at its right; and, on its left,
Allen’s 2nd Virginia; with Cumming’s 33rd Virginia to the left of that
again, and Stuart’s Cavalry covering the Rebel left flank.

It is about this time that the chief Rebel generals find their position
so desperate, as to necessitate extraordinary measures, and personal
exposure, on their part. Now it is, that Jackson earns the famous
sobriquet which sticks to him until he dies.
[Bee approaches Jackson–so goes the story, according to Swinton;
he points to the disordered remnants of his own brigade mingled
with those of the brigades of Bartow and Evans huddled together in
the woods, and exclaims: “General, they are beating us back!”
“Sir,” responds Jackson, drawing himself up, severely, “We’ll give
them the bayonet!” And Bee, rushing back among his confused troops,
rallies them with the cry: “There is Jackson, standing like a Stone
wall! Let us determine to die here, and we will conquer.”]

Now it is, that Johnston and Beauregard, accompanied by their staffs,
ride backward and forward among the Rebel ranks, rallying and
encouraging them. Now it is, that, Bee and Bartow and Hampton being
wounded, and the Lieutenant-Colonel of the Hampton Legion killed,
Beauregard leads a gallant charge of that legion in person. And now it
is, that Johnston himself, finding all the field-officers of the 4th
Alabama disabled, “impressively and gallantly charges to the front” with
the colors of that regiment at his side!

These conspicuous examples of bravery, inspire the Rebel troops with
fresh courage, at this admittedly “critical” moment.

Johnston now assigns to Beauregard the chief “command of the left” of
the Bull Run line,–that is to say, the chief command of the Enemy’s new
line of defense, which, as we have seen, is on the left of, and at right
angles to, the old Bull Run line–while he himself, riding back to the
Lewis House, resumes “the command of the whole field.”

On his way to his rear, Johnston orders Cocke to send reenforcements to
Beauregard. He also dispatches orders to hurry up to that Rebel
general’s support, the brigades of Holmes and Early from near the Union
Mills Ford, and that of Bonham from Mitchell’s Ford,–Ewell with his
brigade, being also directed to “follow with all speed” from Union
Mills Ford-making a total of over 10,000 fresh troops.

From the “commanding elevation” of the Lewis House, Johnston can observe
the position of the Union forces beyond Bull Run, at Blackburn’s Ford
and Stone Bridge; the coming of his own re-enforcing brigades from far
down the valley, toward Manassas; and the manoeuvres of our advancing
columns under McDowell.

As the battle proceeds, the Enemy’s strength on the third new line of
defense increases, until he has 22 guns, 260 Cavalry, and 12 regiments
of Infantry, now engaged. It is interesting to observe also, that, of
these, 16 of the guns, 9 of the regiments, and all of the Cavalry
(Stuart’s), belong to Johnston’s Army of the Shenandoah, while only 6
guns and 3 Infantry regiments thus engaged, belong to Beauregard’s Army
of the Potomac. Thus the burden of the battle has been, and is being,
borne by Johnston’s, and not Beauregard’s troops–in the proportion of
about three of the former, to one of the latter,–which, for over two
hours, maintain their position despite many successive assaults we make
upon them.

It is after 2 o’clock P.M., when Howard’s Brigade, of Heintzelman’s
Division, reaches the battle-field, almost broken down with exhaustion.
By order of Heintzelman it has moved at double-quick for a mile of the
way, until, under the broiling heat, it can do so no longer. The last
two miles of the weary tramp, while the head of the brigade has moved at
quick time, the rear, having lost distances, moves, much of the time, at
a double-quick. As a consequence, many of Howard’s men drop out, and
absolutely faint from exhaustion.

As Howard’s Brigade approaches the field, besides the ambulances and
litters, conveying to the rear the wounded and dying, crowds of
retreating stragglers meet and tell it to hurry along; that the Enemy
has been driven back a mile; but, as it marches along, its regiments do
not feel particularly encouraged by the disorganization so prevalent;
and the fact that as they come into action, the thunders of the Rebel
Artillery do not seem to meet an adequately voluminous response–from
the Union side, seems to them, a portent of evil. Weary and fagged out,
they are permitted to rest, for a while, under cover.

Up to this time, our line, increased, as it has been, by the brigades of
Sherman and Keyes, on the left of Burnside, and of Franklin and Wilcox,
on the right of Porter, has continued to advance victoriously. Our
troops are, to be sure, considerably scattered, having been “moved from
point to point” a good deal. On our left, the Enemy has been driven
back nearly a mile, and Keyes’s Brigade is pushing down Bull Run, under
shelter of the bluffs, trying to turn the right of the Enemy’s new line,
and give Schenck’s Brigade a better chance for crossing the Stone
Bridge, still commanded by some of the Rebel guns.

Having “nothing to do” there, “several of the Union regiments” are
coming over, from our left toward our right, with a view of overlapping,
and turning, the Enemy’s left.

It is about half past 2 o’clock. The batteries of Griffin and Ricketts
have already been advanced as far as the eminence, upon our right, upon
which stands the Dogan House. Supported by Lyons’s gallant 14th New
York Chasseurs, Griffin’s and Ricketts’s Batteries are still pouring a
terribly destructive fire into the batteries and columns of the Enemy,
now behind the brow of the Henry House hill, wherever exposed, while
Palmer’s seven companies of Union Cavalry are feeling the Enemy’s left
flank, which McDowell proposes to turn. The flags of eight Union
regiments, though “borne somewhat wearily” now point toward the hilly
Henry House plateau, beyond which “disordered masses of Rebels” have
been seen “hastily retiring.”

There is a lull in the battle. The terrible heat is exhausting to the
combatants on both sides. Griffin and Ricketts have wrought such havoc
with their guns, that “nothing remains to be fired at.” Victory seems
most surely to be ours.

Away down at his headquarters at the Lewis House, the Rebel General
Johnston stands watching the progress of the battle, as it goes against
him. Nervously he glances, every now and then, over his left shoulder,
as if expecting something. An officer is galloping toward him, from
Manassas. He comes from the office of Beauregard’s Adjutant-General, at
that point. He rides up and salutes. “General,” says he, breathlessly,
“a United States Army has reached the line of the Manassas Gap railroad,
and is now but three or four miles from our left flank!”

Johnston clenches his teeth nervously. Thick beads of perspiration
start from his forehead. He believes it is Patterson’s Army that has
followed “upon his heels” from before Winchester, faster than has been
anticipated; and, as he thinks of Kirby Smith, who should long since
have arrived with Elzey’s Brigade–all, of his own “Army of the
Shenandoah,” that has not yet followed him to Manassas,–the exclamation
involuntarily bursts from his lips: “Oh, for four regiments!”

[Says a correspondent and eye-witness of the battle, writing to the
Richmond Dispatch, from the battle-field, July 23d: “Between two
and three o’clock large numbers of men were leaving the field, some
of them wounded, others exhausted by the long struggle, who gave us
gloomy reports; but, as the firing on both sides continued
steadily, we felt sure that our brave Southerners had not been
conquered by the overwhelming hordes of the North. It is, however,
due to truth to say that the result at this hour hung trembling in
the balance. We had lost numbers of our most distinguished
officers. Gens. Barlow and Bee had been stricken down; Lieut; Col.
Johnson of the Hampton Legion had been killed; Col. Hampton had
been wounded. But there was at hand a fearless general whose
reputation was staked on this battle: Gen. Beauregard promptly
offered to lead the Hampton Legion into action, which he executed
in a style unsurpassed and unsurpassable. Gen. Beauregard rode up
and down our lines, between the Enemy and his own men, regardless
of the heavy fire, cheering and encouraging our troops. About this
time, a shell struck his horse, taking its head off, and killing
the horses of his aides, Messrs. Ferguson and Hayward. * * * Gen.
Johnston also threw himself into the thickest of the fight, seizing
the colors of a Georgia (Alabama) regiment, and rallying then to
the charge. * * * Your correspondent heard Gen. Johnston exclaim
to Gen. Cocke, just at the critical moment, ‘Oh, for four
regiments!’ His wish was answered; for in the distance our re-
enforcements appeared. The tide of battle was turned in our favor
by the arrival of Gen. Kirby Smith, from Winchester, with 4,000 men
of Gen. Johnston’s Division. Gen. Smith heard, while on the
Manassas Railroad cars, the roar of battle. He stopped the train,
and hurried his troops across the fields to the point just where he
was most needed. They were at first supposed to be the Enemy,
their arrival at that point of the field being entirely unexpected.
The Enemy fell back, and a panic seized them. Cheer after cheer
from our men went up, and we knew the battle had been won.”

Another Rebel correspondent who, as an officer of the Kentucky
battalion of General Johnston’s Division of the Rebel Army,
participated in the battle, wrote to the Louisville Courier from
Manassas, July 22, an account of it, in which, after mentioning
that the Rebel Army had been forced back for two miles, he
continues; “The fortunes of the day were evidently against us.
Some of our best officers had been slain, and the flower of our
Army lay strewn upon the field, ghastly in death or gaping with
wounds. At noon, the cannonading is described as terrific. It was
an incessant roar for more than two hours, the havoc and
devastation at this time being fear ful. McDowell * * * had nearly
outflanked us, and they were just in the act of possessing
themselves of the Railway to Richmond. Then all would have been
lost. But most opportunely–I may say Providentially–at this
juncture, Gen. Johnston, [Kirby Smith it should be] with the
remnant of Johnston’s Division–our Army, as we fondly call it, for
we have been friends and brothers in camp and field for three
months–reappeared, and made one other desperate struggle to obtain
the vantage-ground. Elzey’s Brigade of Marylanders and Virginians
led the charge; and right manfully did they execute the work,”]

“The prayer of the wicked availeth not,” ’tis said; yet never was the
prayer of the righteous more quickly answered than is that of the Rebel
General-in-chief! Johnston himself, alluding to this exigent moment,
afterward remarks, in his report: “The expected reenforcements appeared
soon after.” Instead of Patterson’s Union Army, it is Kirby Smith,
coming up, with Elzey’s Brigade, from Winchester!

Satisfied of the safe arrival of Kirby Smith, and ordering him up, with
Elzey’s Brigade, Johnston directs Kershaw’s 2nd and Cash’s 8th South
Carolina Regiments, which have just come up, with Kemper’s Battery, from
Bonham’s Brigade, to strengthen the Rebel left, against the attempt
which we are still making to reach around it, about the Sudley road, to
take it in reverse. Fisher’s 6th North Carolina Regiment arriving about
the same time, is also hurried along to help Beauregard.

But during the victorious lull, heretofore alluded to, something is
happening on our side, that is of very serious moment. Let us see what
it is:

The batteries of Griffin and Ricketts, at the Dogan House, having
nothing to fire at, as we have seen, are resting, pleased with the
consciousness of their brilliant and victorious service against the
Rebel batteries and Infantry columns, when they are ordered by McDowell
–who, with his staff, is upon elevated ground to the rear of our
right,–to advance 1,000 yards further to the front, “upon a hill near
the Henry House.”

Ricketts considers this a perilous job–but proceeds to execute the
order as to his own battery. A small ravine is in his front. With
Ricketts gallantly leading, the battery dashes across the ravine at full
gallop, breaking one wheel as it goes, which is at once replaced. A
fence lies across the way. The cannoniers demolish it. The battery
ascends the hill near the Henry House, which is full of the Enemy’s

[For this, and what immediately follows, see the testimony of
Ricketts and others, before the Committee on the Conduct of the

Soon as Ricketts gets his guns in battery, his men and horses begin to
fall, under the fire of these sharpshooters. He turns his guns upon the
Henry House,–and “literally riddles it.” Amid the moans of the
wounded, the death scream of a woman is heard! The Enemy had permitted
her to remain in her doomed house!

But the execution is not all on one side, by any means. Ricketts is in
a very hot place–the hottest, he afterward declares, that he has ever
seen in his life–and he has seen fighting before this.

The Enemy is behind the woods, at the front and right of Ricketts’s
Battery. This, with the added advantage of the natural slope of the
ground, enables him to deliver upon the brave Union artillerists a
concentrated fire, which is terribly destructive, and disables so many
of Rickett’s horses that he cannot move, if he would. Rickett’s own
guns, however, are so admirably served, that a smooth-bore battery of
the Enemy, which has been stubbornly opposing him, is driven back,
despite its heavy supports.

And Griffin’s Battery now comes rapidly up into position on the left of,
and in line with, Ricketts. For Griffin also has been ordered from the
Dogan House hill, to this new, and dangerously exposed, position.

But when Major Barry, General McDowell’s Chief of Artillery, brings him
the order, Griffin hesitates–for he has no Infantry support.

“The Fire Zouaves–[The 11th New York]–will support you,” says Barry,”
They are just ready to follow you at the double-quick!”

“Then why not let them go and get in position on the hill,” says
Griffin; “then, let Ricketts’s and my batteries come into battery
behind; and then, let them (the Zouaves) fall back?”

Griffin advises, also, as a better position for his own battery, a hill
500 yards in the rear of the Henry House hill. But advice is thrown
away. His artillery-chief is inflexible.

“I tell you,” says Griffin again, “the Fire Zouaves won’t support us.”

“They will,” replies Barry. “At any rate it is General McDowell’s order
to go there!”

That settles the business. “I will go,” responds Griffin; “but mark my
words, they will not support us!”

Griffin’s Battery, indeed, starts first, but, owing to the mistake of
one of his officers, it has to be countermarched, so that Ricketts’s is
thrown to the front, and, as we have seen, first reaches the crest of
the Henry House hill.

Griffin, as he comes up with his guns, goes into battery on the left of
Ricketts, and at once opens briskly on the Enemy. One of Griffin’s guns
has a ball lodged in the bore, which cannot be got in or out. His other
five guns, with the six guns of Ricketts, make eleven pieces, which are
now side by side-all of them driving away at the Enemy’s (Stonewall
Jackson’s) strong batteries, not more than 300 yards away.

They have been at it half an hour perhaps, when Griffin moves two of his
pieces to the right of Ricketts, and commences firing with them. He has
hardly been there five minutes, when a Rebel regiment coming out of the
woods at Griffin’s right front, gets over a rail fence, its Colonel
steps out between his regiment (now standing up to the knees in rank
grass) and the battery, and commences a speech to his men!

Griffin orders one of his officers to load with canister, and let drive
at them. The guns are loaded, and ready to fire, when up gallops Barry,
exclaiming: “Captain, don’t fire there; those are your battery-

At this supreme moment, Reynolds’s gorgeous looking Marines are sitting
down in close column, on the ground, to the left of the Union batteries.
The showy 11th New York “Fire Zouaves” are a little to the rear of the
right of the guns. The gallant 14th New York Chasseurs, in their dust-
covered red uniforms, who had followed Griffin’s Battery, at some
distance, have, only a little while since, pushed finely up, from the
ravine at the rear of our batteries, into the woods, to the right of
Griffin and Ricketts, at a double-quick. To the left of the batteries,
close to the battalion of Marines, Heintzelman bestrides his horse, near
some of his own Division.

To Major Barry’s startling declaration, Captain Griffin excitedly
shouts: “They are Confederates! Sure as the world, they are

But Barry thinks he knows better, and hastily responds: “I know they are
your battery-support.”

Griffin spurs toward his pieces, countermands his previous order, and-
firing is resumed in the old direction.

Andew Porter, has just ridden up to Heintzelman’s side, and now catches
sight of the Rebel regiment. “What troops are those?” he asks of
General Hientzelman, pointing in their direction.

While Heintzelman is replying, and just as Averell drops his reins and
levels his field-glass at them, “down come their pieces-rifles and
muskets,–and probably,” as Averell afterward said, “there never was
such a destructive fire for a few minutes. It seemed as though every
man and horse of that battery just laid right down, and died right off!”

It is a dreadful mistake that has been made. And there seems to have
been no excuse for it either. The deliberateness of the Rebel colonel
has given Barry abundant time to have discovered his error. For Griffin
subsequently declared, under oath, that, “After the officer who had been
talking to the regiment had got through, he faced them to the left,
marched them about fifty yards to the woods, then faced them to the
right again, marched them about forty yards toward us, then opened fire
upon us–and that was the last of us!”

It is a terrible blunder. For, up to this moment, the battle is
undeniably ours. And, while the Rebel colonel has been haranguing his
brave men, there has been plenty of time to have “passed the word” along
the line of our batteries, and poured canister into the Rebel regiment
from the whole line of eleven guns, at point-blank range, which must
inevitably have cut it all to pieces. The fate of the day hung balanced
right there and then–with all the chances in favor of McDowell. But
those chances are now reversed. Such are the fickle changes in the
fortunes of battle!

Instead of our batteries cutting to pieces the Rebel Infantry regiment,
the Rebel Infantry regiment has mowed down the gallant artillerists of
our batteries. Hardly a man of them escapes. Death and destruction
reap a wondrous and instant harvest. Wounded, dying, or dead, lie the
brave cannoniers at their guns, officers and men alike hors du combat,
while wounded horses gallop wildly back, with bounding caissons, down
the gentle declivity, carrying disorder, and further danger, in their
mad flight.

The supporting Fire Zouaves and Marines, on the right and left of our
line of guns, stand, with staring eyes and dumb open-mouths, at the
sudden turn of affairs. They are absolutely paralyzed with
astonishment. They do not run at first. They stand, quaking and panic-
stricken. They are urged to advance upon the Rebel regiment–“to give
them a volley, and then try the bayonet.” In vain! They fire perhaps
100 scattering shots; and receive in return, as they break and run down
the hill to the rear, volley after volley, of deadly lead, from the
Rebel muskets.

But, as this Rebel regiment (Cummings’s 33rd Virginia) advances to seize
the crippled and defenceless guns, it is checked, and driven back, by
the 1st Michigan Regiment of Willcox’s Brigade, which has pushed forward
in the woods at our extreme right.

Meanwhile, having been ordered by McDowell to support Ricketts’s
Battery, Howard has formed his four tired regiments into two lines–
Berry’s 4th Maine, and Whitney’s 2nd Vermont, on the right and left of
the first; and Dunnell’s 5th, and his own 3rd Maine, under Staples, in
the second line. Howard himself leads his first line up the elevated
plateau of the Henry House. Reaching the crest, the line delivers its
fire, volley after volley, despite the concentrated hail of the Enemy’s
Artillery and muskets. As the second line advances, a Rebel cannon-
ball, and an unfortunate charge of our own Cavalry, scatters most of the
5th Maine. The 2nd Vermont, which has advanced 200 yards beyond the
crest, rapidly firing, while the Enemy retires, is now, in turn, forced
back by the Enemy’s hot fire, and is replaced by the 3rd Maine, while
the remnant of the 5th moves up to the extreme right of Howard’s now
single line. But the Rebel fire grows hotter and hotter, and owing to
this, and a misunderstood order, Howard’s line begins to dissolve, and
then retires in confusion,–Howard and others vainly striving to rally
his own utterly exhausted men.

Sherman’s Brigade, too, has come over from our left, and now advances
upon the deadly plateau, where lie the disabled Union batteries–the
prizes, in full sight of both Armies, for which each seems now to be so
desperately striving.

Quinby’s 13th New York Rifles, in column of companies, leads the
brigade, followed by Lieutenant-Colonel Peck’s 2d Wisconsin, Cameron’s
79th New York (Highlanders), and Corcoran’s 69th New York (Irish), “in
line of battle.” Down the slope, across the ravine, and up, on the
other side, steadily presses Quinby, till he reaches the crest. He
opens fire. An advancing Rebel regiment retires, as he pushes up to
where the Union batteries and cannoniers lie wounded and dying–the
other three regiments following in line-of-battle until near the crest,
when the fire of the Enemy’s rifles and musketry, added to his heavy
cannonading, grows so severe that the brigade is forced back to shelter
in a roadway leading up the plateau.

Peck’s 2nd Wisconsin, now emerges from this sheltered roadway, and
steadily mounts the elevation, in the face of the Enemy’s severe fire-
returning it, with spirit, as it advances. But the Rebel fire becomes
too galling. The gray-clad Wisconsin boys return to the sheltered road
again, while the cry goes up from Sherman’s ranks: “Our own men are
firing at them!” Rallying at the road, the 2nd Wisconsin again returns,
with desperate courage, to the crest of the hill, delivers its fire, and
then, unable to withstand the dreadful carnage, falls back once more, in

At this, the 79th (Highland) Regiment springs forward, to mount the brow
of the fatal hill, swept as it is, with this storm of shot and shell and
musket-balls. Up, through the lowering smoke, lit with the Enemy’s
incessant discharges in the woods beyond, the brave Highlanders jauntily
march, and, with Cameron and their colors at their head, charge
impetuously across the bloody hill-crest, and still farther, to the
front. But it is not in human nature to continue that advance in the
teeth of the withering fire from Jackson’s batteries, strengthened, as
they are, by Pelham’s and Kemper’s. The gallant fellows fall back,
rally again, advance once more, retire again, and at last,–the heroic
Cameron being mortally wounded,–fall back, in confusion, under the
cover of the hill.

And now, while Quinby’s Regiment, on another ridge, more to the left, is
also again engaging the Enemy, the 69th New York, led by the fearless
Corcoran, dashes forward, up the Henry House hill, over the forbidding
brow, and beyond. As the brave Irishmen reach the abandoned batteries,
the hoarse roar of cannon, the sharp rattle of musketry-volleys, the
scream of shot and shell, and the whistling of bullets, is at once
deafening and appalling, while the air seems filled with the iron and
leaden sleet which sweeps across the scorched and blasted plateau of the
Henry House. Nobly the Irish Regiment holds its ground for a time; but,
at last, it too falls back, before the hurtling tempest.

The fortunes of the day are plainly turning against us. Time is also
against us–as it has been all along–while it is with the Enemy. It is
past 3 o’clock.

Since we last looked at Beauregard’s third new defensive line, there
have been material accessions to it. The remains of the brigades of
Bee, Evans, and Bartow, have been reformed on the right of Jackson’s
Brigade–Bee on his immediate right, Evans to the right of Bee, and
Bartow to the right of Evans, with a battery which has been engaging
Schenck’s Brigade on the other side of Bull Run near the Stone Bridge;
while Cocke’s Brigade watches Bull Run to the rear of Bartow. On the
left of Jackson’s. Brigade, is now to be seen a part of Bonham’s
Brigade (Kershaw’s 2nd South Carolina, and Cash’s 8th South Carolina)
with Kemper’s Battery on its left. Kirby Smith has reached the front,
from Manassas, and–in advancing from his position on the left of
Bonham’s demi-Brigade, just West of the Sudley road, with Elzey’s
Brigade, in a counter-attack upon our right-is wounded, and carried to
the rear, leaving his command to Elzey. Stuart’s Cavalry are in the
woods, still farther to the Enemy’s left, supporting Beckham’s Battery.
Early’s Brigade is also coming up, from Union Mills Ford, not far to the
rear of the Enemy’s left, with the design of coming into line between
Elzey’s Brigade and Beckham’s Battery, and out-flanking and attacking
our right. But let us bring our eyes back to the bloody contest, still
going on, for the possession of the batteries of Griffin and Ricketts.

Arnold’s Battery has raced up on our right, and is delivering shot,
shell, spherical case, and canister, with effect, although exposed to a
severe and accurate fire from the Enemy. Wilcox, with what is left of
the 1st Michigan, after once retaking the batteries on the plateau, from
the 7th Georgia, has got around the Enemy’s left flank and is actually
engaged with the Enemy’s rear, while that Enemy’s front is engaged with
Franklin and Sherman! But Hobart Ward’s 38th New York, which Wilcox has
ordered up to support the 1st Michigan, on our extreme right, in this
flanking movement, has been misdirected, and is now attacking the
Enemy’s centre, instead of his left; and Preston’s 28th Virginia–which,
with Withers’s 18th Virginia, has come up to the Rebel left, from
Cocke’s Brigade, on the Enemy’s right–finding the 1st Michigan broken,
in the woods, attacks it, and wounds and captures Wilcox. Withers’s
Regiment has, with a yell–the old “Rebel yell,” now rising everywhere
from Rebel throats, and so often heard afterward,–charged the 14th New
York Chasseurs, in the woods; and the Chasseurs, though retiring, have
fired upon it with such precision as to throw some of their assailants
into disorder.

[Says General Keyes, who had kept on down the Run, “on the extreme
left of our advance–having separated from Sherman on his right:–I
thought the day was won about 2 o’clock; but about half past 3
o’clock a sudden change in the firing took place, which, to my ear,
was very ominous. I knew that the moment the shout went up from
the other side, there appeared to be an instantaneous change in the
whole sound of the battle. * * * That, as far as I can learn, was
the shout that went up from the Enemy’s line when they found out
for certain that it was Johnston [Kirby Smith] and not Patterson,
that had come.”]

Meanwhile McDowell is making one more effort to retrieve the misfortunes
of the day. Lawrence’s 5th, and Clark’s 11th Massachusetts, with
Gorman’s 1st Minnesota,–all belonging to Franklin’s Brigade–together
with Corcoran’s 69th New York, of Sherman’s Brigade, have been brought
into line-of-battle, by the united efforts of Franklin, Averell, and
other officers, at our centre, and with the remnants of two or three
other regiments, are moving against the Enemy’s centre, to support the
attack of the Chasseurs-rallied and led forward again by Heintzelman
upon the Rebel left, and that of the 38th New York upon the Rebel left
centre,–in another effort to recapture the abandoned batteries.

Charge after charge, is made by our gallant regiments, and counter-
charge after counter-charge, is made by the fresh troops of the Enemy.
For almost half an hour, has the contest over the batteries rolled
backward and forward. Three several times have the batteries been
taken, and re-taken,–much of the determined and desperate struggle
going on, over the prostrate and bleeding bodies of the brave Union
artillerists,–but without avail. Regiment after regiment, has been
thrown back, by the deadly fusillade of the Enemy’s musketry from the
skirt of woods at his front and left, and the canister, case, and
bursting shells, of his rapidly-served Artillery.

It is now near upon 4 o’clock. Our last effort to recapture the
batteries has failed. The Union line of advance has been seriously
checked. Some of our own guns in those batteries are turned on us. The
Enemy’s Infantry make a rush over the blood-soaked brow of the fatal
plateau, pouring into our men a deadly fire, as they advance,–while
over to our right and rear, at the same moment, are seen the fresh
regiments of Early’s Brigade coming out of the woods–deploying rapidly
in several lines–with Stuart’s handful of Rebel Cavalry, while
Beckham’s guns, in the same quarter, open an oblique enfilading reverse
fire upon us, in a lively manner.

At once the minds of the fagged-out Union troops become filled with the
dispiriting idea that the exhausting fight which they have made all day
long, has been simply with Beauregard’s Army of the Potomac, and that
these fresh Rebel troops, on the Union right and rear, are the vanguard
of Johnston’s Army of the Shenandoah! After all the hard marching and
fighting they have done during the last thirteen hours,–with empty
stomachs, and parched lips, under a scorching sun that still, as it
descends in the West, glowers down upon them, through the murky air,
like a great, red, glaring eye,–the very thought is terrible!

Without fear, yet equally without hope, the Union troops crumble to
groups, and then to individuals. The attempt of McDowell to turn the
left of the Enemy’s Bull Run line, has failed.

McDowell and his officers heroically but vainly strive, at great
personal risk to themselves, to stem the tide of confusion, and
disorder. Sykes’s battalion of regulars, which has been at our left,
now steadily moves obliquely across the field of battle toward our
right, to a hill in the midground, which it occupies, and, with the aid
of Arnold’s Battery and Palmer’s Cavalry, holds, while the exhausted and
disorganized troops of the Union Army doggedly and slowly retire toward
Sudley Ford, their rear covered by an irregular square of Infantry,
which, mainly by the exertions of Colonel Corcoran, has been formed to
resist a threatened charge of Stuart’s Cavalry.

[At the rate of “not more than two, or two and a half, miles an
hour,” and not “helter-skelter,” as some narrators state.]

It is not fear, that has got the better of our Union troops. It is
physical exhaustion for one thing; it is thirst for another. Men must
drink,–even if they have foolishly thrown away their canteens,–and
many have retired to get water. It is the moral effect also–the
terrible disappointment–of seeing what they suppose are Johnston’s
fresh troops from the Shenandoah Valley, without Patterson “on their
heels,” suddenly appear on their flank and rear. It is not fear; though
some of them are panic-stricken, and, as they catch sight of Stuart’s
mounted men,–no black horse or uniform among them,–raise the cry of
“The Black Horse Cavalry!–The Black Horse Cavalry!”

The Union attack has been repulsed, it is true; but the Union soldiers,
though disorganized, discouraged, and disappointed, are not dismayed.
Their officers not yet having learned how to fight, and themselves
lacking the cohesion of discipline, the men have lost their regimental
organizations, and owing to the causes mentioned, slowly retire across
Sudley Ford of Bull Run, in a condition of disintegration, their retreat
being bravely covered by the 27th and 69th New York, (which have rallied
and formed there), Sykes’s Infantry battalion, Arnold’s Battery, and
Palmer’s Cavalry.

[In his report to Major Barnard, Capt. D. P. Woodbury, of the
corps of Engineers, says: “It is not for me to give a history of
the battle. The Enemy was driven on our left, from cover to cover,
a mile and a half. Our position for renewing the action the next
morning was excellent; whence, then, our failure? It will not be
out of place, I hope, for me to give my own opinion of the cause of
this failure. An old soldier feels safe in the ranks, unsafe out
of the ranks, and the greater the danger the more pertinaciously he
clings to his place. The volunteer of three months never attains
this instinct of discipline. Under danger, and even under mere
excitement, he flies away from his ranks, and looks for safety in
dispersion. At four o’clock in the afternoon of the 21st, there
were more than twelve thousand volunteers on the battle-field of
Bull Run, who had entirely lost their regimental organizations.
They could no longer be handled as troops, for the officers and men
were not together. Men and officers mingled together
promiscuously; and it is worthy of remark that this disorganization
did not result from defeat or fear, for up to four o’clock we had
been uniformly successful. The instinct of discipline, which keeps
every man in his place, had not been acquired. We cannot suppose
that the troops of the Enemy had attained a higher degree of
discipline than our own, but they acted on the defensive, and were
not equally exposed to disorganization.”]

While the divisions of Hunter and Heintzelman, which came down in the
morning across Sudley Ford, are now, with one brigade (Sherman’s) of
Tyler’s Division, retiring again, in this disordered condition, by that
ford; two other brigades of Tyler’s Division, viz., that of Schenck–
which, at 4 o’clock, was just in the act of advancing upon, and across,
the Stone Bridge, to join in the Union attack, and of Keyes, which was,
at the same time, just succeeding in its effort to turn the right flank
of the Enemy’s third new line,–are withdrawing from the field, across
Bull Run stream, by the Warrenton Pike, and other roads leading them
directly toward Centreville. The brigades of both Keyes and Schenck are
retiring in good order; that of Keyes, at “an ordinary pace,” following
close after McDowell, who, with his staff, has ridden across the
battlefield and Bull Run; while part of that of Schenck, united with the
2nd Maine (of Keyes’ Brigade) and Ayres’s Battery, “promptly and
effectively” repulses a charge of the Enemy’s Cavalry, and covers the
rear of Tyler’s Division. Both of these brigades reach Centreville,
hungry and weary, but otherwise, for the most part, in good shape.

But during this grand all-day attack, by two of McDowell’s divisions,
directly aided by part of a third, upon the left of the Enemy’s original
Bull Run line of defense–which attack, while it has failed in its
purpose, has also utterly upset and defeated the Enemy’s purpose to
carry out Beauregard’s plan of attacking Centreville that same morning–
what has the Left Wing of McDowell’s Army been doing? Let us go back to
Sunday morning, and ascertain:

All the Army of McDowell, save his Left Wing–which, comprising the two
brigades (Blenker’s and Davies’s) of Miles’s Division, and Richardson’s
Brigade of Tyler’s Division that fought the preliminary battle of
Blackburn’s Ford, is now under the command of Miles,–moved away from
Centreville, down the Warrenton Pike, as we have seen, very early in the

Blenker remains with his brigade as a reserve, on the heights a little
East of Centreville, to throw up intrenchments; which, however, he does
not do, for lack of trenching implements. Richardson and Davies are to
make a feint, at Blackburn’s Ford, so as to draw the Enemy’s troops
there, while the heavy blow of McDowell’s Right Wing and Centre falls
upon the left flank and rear of the Enemy’s Bull Run line.

Richardson’s Brigade is already down the ridge, in his old position at
Blackburn’s Ford, when Davies with his brigade reaches it, from
Centreville, and, by virtue of seniority, takes command of the two
brigades. Leaving Richardson’s Brigade and Greene’s Battery exactly on
the battle-ground of the 18th July, Davies posts two regiments (the 18th
and 32nd New York) of his own brigade, with Hunt’s Battery, on the brow
of a hill, in an open wheat field, some eighty yards to the South-
Eastward of Richardson, distant some 1,500 yards from Longstreet’s
batteries on the Western side of Bull Run,–and commences a rapid fire,
upon the Enemy’s position at Blackburn’s Ford, from both of the Union

At 10 o’clock, there is a lull in this Union fire. The Artillery
ammunition is running short. The demonstration, however, seems, thus
far, to be successful–judging by the movement of Rebel troops toward
Blackburn’s Ford. The lull continues until 11 o’clock. At that time
Miles arrives at his front, in a towering rage.

On his way down the ridge, that morning, early, Davies had made a
discovery. While passing a roadway, his guide had casually remarked:
“There is a road that leads around to the Enemy’s camp, direct.” “Ah!”
–said Davies–“and can they get through that road?” “Oh, yes,” replied
the guide. Davies had at once halted, and, after posting his 16th and
31st New York Regiments, with two guns of Hunt’s Battery, near this
road, at its junction with the ridge road running up to Centreville and
Black burn’s Ford, had proceeded, with the rest of his regiments and
guns, to the position where Miles finds him.

But Miles has discovered what Davies has done, in this matter of the
flanking roadway; and–without knowing, or apparently caring to know,
the reason underlying the posting of the two regiments and two guns in
its vicinity,–flies into “a terrible passion” because of it; in “no
very measured language,” gives Davies “a severe dressing down;” and
orders him to bring both regiments and guns down to the front. Davies
complies, and says nothing. Miles also orders him to continue the
firing from his batteries, without regard to the quantity of ammunition.
This order, also, Davies obeys–and the firing proceeds, for two solid
hours, until another order comes, about 1 o’clock P.M., to stop firing.

The fact is, that Miles is not at all himself–but is suffering under
such a strain of mental excitement, he afterward claims, that he is not

Miles, however, returns to Centreville about noon; and no sooner is he
gone, than Davies at once sends back pioneers to obstruct that road
which would bring the Enemy around his left flank and rear, to
Centreville. These, work so industriously, that they cut down a quarter
of a mile of trees, and block the road up completely. Davies also posts
a few pickets there, in case of accidents. It is well he does so. It
is not long before the Enemy makes an attempt to get around to his rear,
by that road; but, finding it both obstructed and picketed, retires
again. Davies does not see the Rebels making that attempt, but catches
sight of them on their return, and gives them a severe shelling for
their pains.

Davies keeps up his firing, more or less-according to the condition of
the Enemy and of his own ammunition–until 4 o’clock, when the firing
occasioned by the Union flanking movement, six miles to his right,
ceases. Then there reaches him a note from Richardson, so badly
penciled that he can only make out the one word “beaten,”–but cannot,
for the life of him, make out, whether the beaten one is our Right Wing,
or the Enemy!

Of what followed, he tells the story himself,–under oath, before the
Committee on the Conduct of the War–so graphically, that the temptation
to give it, in his own words, is irresistible. “I saw unmistakable
evidence,” said he, “that we were going to be attacked on our Left Wing.
I got all ready for the attack, but did not change my front.

“About 5 o’clock, I think, the Rebels made their appearance back upon
this very road up which they had gone before; but instead of keeping up
the road, they turned past a farm-house, went through the farm-yard, and
came down and formed right in front of me, in a hollow, out of my sight.
Well, I let them all come down there, keeping a watch upon their
movements. I told the Artillery not to fire any shot at them until they
saw the rear column go down, so as to get them all down in the little
hollow or basin, there. There was a little basin there, probably a
quarter of a mile every way. I should think that, maybe, 3,000 men
filed down, before I changed front.

“We lay there, with two regiments back, and the Artillery in front,
facing Bull Run. As soon as about 3,000 of the Enemy got down in this
basin, I changed the front of the Artillery around to the left, in face
of the Enemy, and put a company of Infantry between each of the pieces
of Artillery, and then deployed the balance of the regiments right and
left, and made my line-of-battle.

“I gave directions to the Infantry not to fire a shot, under any
circumstances, until they got the word of command from me. I
furthermore said I would shoot the first man that fired a shot before I
gave the command to do so.

“I gave them orders all to lie down on their faces. They, (the Rebels)
were just over the brow of the hill, so that, if they came up in front
of us, they could not hit a man.

“As soon as I saw the rear column, I told * * * Lieutenant Benjamin to
fire. * * * He fired the first shot when the rear column presented
itself. It just went over their heads, and hit a horse and rider in
their rear. As soon as the first shot was fired, I gave the order for
the whole six pieces of Artillery to open with grape and canister. The
effect was terrible. They were all there, right before us, about 450
yards off, and had not suspected that we were going to fire at all,
though they did not know what the reason was. Hunt’s Battery (belonging
to Richardson–who had by mistake got Greene’s) performed so well, that,
in thirty minutes, we dispersed every one of them!

“I do not know how many were killed, but we so crippled their entire
force that they never came after us an inch. A man, who saw the effect
of the firing, in the valley, said it was just like firing into a wheat
field; the column gave way at once, before the grape and canister; they
were just within available distance. I knew very well that if they but
got into that basin, the first fire would cut them all to pieces; and it
did. We continued to fire for thirty minutes, when there was nothing
more to fire at, and no more shots were returned.”

At a later hour–while remaining victorious at their well defended
position, with the Enemy at their front, dispersed and silenced,–these
two brigades of the Left Wing, receive orders to fall back on
Centreville, and encamp. With the brigade of Richardson, and Greene’s
Battery in advance, Davies’s own brigade and Hunt’s Battery following,
they fall back on the heights of Centreville “without the least
confusion and in perfect order”–reaching them at 7 P.M.

Meantime Miles has been relieved from command, and McDowell has ordered
Blenker’s Brigade to take position a mile or more in advance of
Centreville, toward Bull Run, on both sides of the Warrenton Pike, to
protect the retreat, now being made, in “a few collected bodies,” but
mainly in great disorder–owing partly to the baggage-wagons choking the
road, along which both venturesome civilians and fagged-out troops are
retreating upon Centreville. This confused retreat passes through
Blenker’s lines until 9 o’clock P.M.–and then, all is secure.

At midnight, McDowell has decided to make no stand at Centreville, but
to retire upon the defensive works at Washington. The order to retreat,
is given, and, with the rear well guarded by Richardson’s and Blenker’s
Brigades, is carried out, the van of the retreat, with no Enemy
pursuing, degenerating finally into a “mob,” which carries more or less
panic into Washington itself, as well as terrible disappointment and
chagrin to all the Loyal States of the Union.

Knowing what we now do, concerning the Battle of Bull Run, it is
somewhat surprising, at this day, to read the dispatches sent by
McDowell to General Scott’s headquarters at Washington, immediately
after it. They are in these words:

“CENTREVILLE, July 21, 1861–5:45 P.M.

“We passed Bull Run, engaged the Enemy, who, it seems, had just been
re-enforced by General Johnston. We drove them for several hours, and
finally routed them.”

[“No one who did not share in the sad experience will be able to
realize the consternation which the news of this discomfiture–
grossly exaggerated–diffused over the loyal portion of our
Country. Only the tidings which had reached Washington up to four
o’clock–all presaging certain and decisive victory–were permitted
to go North by telegraph that day and evening; so that, on Monday
morning, when the crowd of fugitives from our grand Army was
pouring into Washington, a heedless, harmless, worthless mob, the
Loyal States were exulting over accounts of a decisive triumph.
But a few hours brought different advices; and these were as much
worse than the truth as the former had been better: our Army had
been utterly destroyed-cut to pieces, with a loss of twenty-five to
thirty thousand men, besides all its artillery and munitions, and
Washington lay at the mercy of the Enemy, who were soon to advance
to the capture and sack of our great commercial cities. Never
before had so black a day as that black Monday lowered upon the
loyal hearts of the North; and the leaden, weeping skies reflected
and heightened, while they seemed to sympathize with, the general
gloom. It would have been easy, with ordinary effort and care, to
have gathered and remanded to their camps or forts around
Alexandria or Arlington, all the wretched stragglers to whom fear
had lent wings, and who, throwing away their arms and equipments,
and abandoning all semblance of Military order or discipline, had
rushed to the Capital to hide therein their shame, behind a cloud
of exaggerations and falsehoods. The still effective batteries,
the solid battalions, that were then wending their way slowly back
to their old encampments along the South bank of the Potomac,
depressed but unshaken, dauntless and utterly unassailed, were
unseen and unheard from; while the panic-stricken racers filled and
distended the general ear with their tales of impregnable
intrenchments and masked batteries, of regiments slaughtered,
brigades utterly cut to pieces, etc., making out their miserable
selves to be about all that was left of the Army. That these men
were allowed thus to straggle into Washington, instead of being
peremptorily stopped at the bridges and sent back to the
encampments of their several regiments, is only to be accounted for
on the hypothesis that the reason of our Military magnates had been
temporarily dethroned, so as to divest them of all moral
responsibility,” Greeley’s Am. Conflict, pp. 552-53., vol. I.]

“They rallied and repulsed us, but only to give us again the victory,
which seemed complete. But our men, exhausted with fatigue and thirst,
and confused by firing into each other, were attacked by the Enemy’s
reserves, and driven from the position we had gained, overlooking
Manassas. After this, the men could not be rallied, but slowly left the
field. In the meantime the Enemy outflanked Richardson at Blackburn’s
Ford, and we have now to hold Centreville till our men can get behind
it. Miles’s Division is holding the town. It is reported that Colonel
Cameron is killed, Hunter and Heintzelman wounded, neither dangerously.
“Brigadier-General, Commanding.

“Lieutenant-Colonel TOWNSEND.”
“FAIRFAX COURT HOUSE, July 21, 1861.

“The men having thrown away their haversacks in the battle, and left
them behind, they are without food; have eaten nothing since breakfast.
We are without artillery ammunition. The larger part of the men are a
confused mob, entirely demoralized. It was the opinion of all the
commanders that no stand could be made this side of the Potomac. We
will, however, make the attempt at Fairfax Court House. From a prisoner
we learn that 20,000 from Johnston joined last night, and they march on
us to-night.

“Colonel TOWNSEND”
“FAIRFAX COURT HOUSE, [July] 22, 1861.

“Many of the volunteers did not wait for authority to proceed to the
Potomac, but left on their own decision. They are now pouring through
this place in a state of utter disorganization. They could not be
prepared for action by to-morrow morning even were they willing. I
learn from prisoners that we are to be pressed here to-night and
tomorrow morning, as the Enemy’s force is very large, and they are
elated. I think we heard cannon on our rear-guard. I think now, as all
of my commanders thought at Centreville, there is no alternative but to
fall back to the Potomac, and I shall proceed to do so with as much
regularity as possible.

“Colonel TOWNSEND.”
“ARLINGTON, July 22, 1861.

“I avail myself of the re-establishing of telegraph to report my
arrival. When I left the forks of the Little River turnpike and
Columbia turnpike, where I had been for a couple of hours turning
stragglers and parties of regiments upon this place and Alexandria, I
received intelligence that the rear-guard, under Colonel Richardson, had
left Fairfax Court House, and was getting along well. Had not been
attacked. I am now trying to get matters a little organized over here.
McDowell had unquestionably been repulsed, in his main attack, with his
Right Wing, and much of his Army was badly demoralized; but, on the
other hand, it may be well to repeat that the Enemy’s plan of attack
that same morning had been frustrated, and most of his forces so badly
shattered and demoralized that he dared not follow up the advantage
which, more by our own blunders than by his prowess, he had gained.

If the Union forces–or at least the Right Wing of them–were whipped,
the Enemy also was whipped. Jackson himself confesses that while he
had, at the last moment, broken our centre, our forces had turned both
of his flanks. The Enemy was, in fact, so badly used up, that he not
only dared not pursue us to Washington–as he would have down had he
been able–but he was absolutely afraid McDowell would resume the
attack, on the right of the original Bull Run line, that very night!
For, in a letter to General Beauregard; dated Richmond, Virginia, August
4, 1861, Jefferson Davis,–who was on the ground at Bull Run, July
21st,–alluding to the Battle of Bull Run, and Beauregard’s excuses for
not pursuing the Union troops, says:

“I think you are unjust to yourself in putting your failure to pursue
the Enemy to Washington, to the account of short supplies of subsistence
and transportation. Under the circumstances of our Army, and in the
absence of the knowledge since acquired–if, indeed, the statements be
true–it would have been extremely hazardous to have done more than was
performed. You will not fail to remember that, so far from knowing that
the Enemy was routed, a large part of our forces was moved by you, in
the night of the 21st, to repel a supposed attack upon our right, and
the next day’s operations did not fully reveal what has since been
reported of the Enemy’s panic.”

And Jefferson Davis’s statement is corroborated by the Report of Colonel
Withers, of the 18th Virginia, who, after starting with other regiments,
in an attempt to cut off the Union retreat, was recalled to the Stone
Bridge,–and who says: “Before reaching the point we designed to occupy
(near the Stone Bridge) we were met by another order to march
immediately to Manassas Junction, as an attack was apprehended that
night. Although it was now after sunset, and my men had had no food all
day, when the command to march to Manassas was given, they cheerfully
took the route to that place.”

Colonel Davies, who, as we have seen, commanded McDowell’s stubborn Left
Wing, was after all, not far wrong, when, in his testimony before the
Committee on the Conduct of the War, he declared, touching the story of
the Bull Run Battle: “It ought to have read that we were victorious with
the 13,000 troops of the Left Wing, and defeated in the 18,000 of the
Right Wing. That is all that Bull Run amounts to.”

In point of fact, the Battle of Bull Run–the first pitched battle of
the War–was a drawn battle.

War was now fully inaugurated–Civil War–a stupendous War between two
great Sections of one common Country; those of our People, on the one
side, fighting for the dissolution of the Union–and incidentally for
Free Trade, and for Slavery; those on the other side, fighting for the
preservation of the Union–and incidentally for Protection to our Free
Industries, and for the Freedom of the Slave.

As soon as the Republican Party controlled both Houses of Congress it
provided Protection to our Free Industries, and to the Free Labor
engaged in them, by the Morill Tariff Act of 1860–the foundation Act of
all subsequent enactments on the subject. In subsequent pages of this
work we shall see how the Freedom of the Slave was also accomplished by
the same great Party.


When the first gun was fired at Fort Sumter, its sullen echoes sounded
the funeral knell of Slavery. Years before, it had been foretold, and
now it was to happen. Years before, it bad been declared, by competent
authority, that among the implications of the Constitution was that of
the power of the General Government to Emancipate the Slaves, as a War
measure. Hence, in thus commencing the War of the Rebellion, the South
marched with open eyes upon this, as among other of the legitimate and
logical results of such a War.

Patrick Henry, in opposing the ratification by Virginia of the Federal
Constitution, had declared to the Slaveholders of that State that “Among
ten thousand implied powers” which Congress may assume, “they may, if we
be engaged in War, liberate every one of your Slaves, if they please, *
* * Have they not power to provide for the General Defense and Welfare?
May they not think that these call for the abolition of Slavery? May
they not pronounce all Slaves Free? and will they not be warranted by
that power? * * * They have the power, in clear, unequivocal terms,
and will clearly and certainly exercise it.”

So, too, in his great speech of May 25, 1836, in the House of
Representatives, John Quincy Adams had declared that in “the last great
conflict which must be fought between Slavery and Emancipation,”
Congress “must and will interfere” with Slavery, “and they will not only
possess the Constitutional power so to interfere, but they will be bound
in duty to do it, by the express provisions of the Constitution itself.”
And he followed this declaration with the equally emphatic words: “From
the instant that your Slave-holding States become the theatre of War-
civil, servile, or foreign–from that instant, the War powers of
Congress extend to interference with the Institution of Slavery in every
Way by which it can be interfered with.”

The position thus announced by these expounders of the Constitution–the
one from Virginia, the other from Massachusetts–was not to be shaken
even by the unanimous adoption, February 11, 1861, by the House of
Representatives on roll call, of the resolution of Mr. Sherman, of Ohio,
in these words:

“Resolved, That neither the Congress of the United States nor the people
or governments of the non-Slaveholding States have the Constitutional
right to legislate upon or interfere with Slavery in any of the
Slaveholding States in the Union.”

Ex-President J. Q. Adams’s cogent exposition of the Constitution,
twenty-five years before, in that same House, demonstrating not only
that Congress had the right but the Constitutional power to so
interfere–and his further demonstration April 15, 1842, of his
statement that under the laws of War, “when a Country is invaded, and
two hostile armies are set in martial array, the Commanders of both
Armies have power to Emancipate all the Slaves in the invaded
territory”–as not to be overcome by a mere vote of one House, however
unanimous. For the time being, however, it contributed, with other
circumstances, to confuse the public mind and conscience. Indeed as
early as May of 1861, the attitude of our Government and its troops
toward Negro Slaves owned or used by Rebels in rebellious States, began
to perturb the public, bother the Administration, and worry the Military

For instance, in Major-General McClellan’s proclamation to the Union men
of West Virginia, issued May 26, 1861, he said:

“The General Government cannot close its ears to the demand you have
made for assistance. I have ordered troops to cross the river. They
come as your friends and brothers–as enemies only to armed Rebels, who
are preying upon you; your homes, your families, and your property are
safe under our protection. All your rights shall be religiously
respected, notwithstanding all that has been said by the Traitors to
induce you to believe our advent among you will be signalized by an
interference with your Slaves. Understand one thing clearly: not only
will we abstain from all such interference, but we will, on the
contrary, with an iron hand crush any attempt at insurrection on their

On the other hand, the very next day, May 27, 1861, Major-General
Butler, in command of the “Department of A Virginia,” wrote to
Lieutenant-General Scott as follows:

“Since I wrote my last dispatch the question in regard to Slave property
is becoming one of very serious magnitude. The inhabitants of Virginia
are using their Negroes in the batteries, and are preparing to send the
women and children South. The escapes from them are very numerous, and
a squad has come in this morning to my pickets bringing their women and
children. Of course these cannot be dealt with upon the theory on which
I designed to treat the services of able-bodied men and women who might
come within my lines, and of which I gave you a detailed account in my
last dispatch. I am in the utmost doubt what to do with this species of

“Up to this time I have had come within my lines men and women with
their children, entire families, each family belonging to the same
owner. I have, therefore, determined to employ, as I can do very
profitably, the able-bodied persons in the party, issuing proper food
for the support of all, and charging against their services the expense
of care and sustenance of the non-laborers, keeping a strict and
accurate account as well of the services as of the expenditure, having
the worth of the services, and the cost of the expenditure, determined
by a Board of Survey, to be hereafter detailed. I know of no other
manner in which to dispose of this subject and the questions connected

“As a matter of Property to the Insurgents, it will be of very great
moment, the number that I now have amounting, as I am informed, to what,
in good times, would be of the value of sixty thousand dollars. Twelve
of these Negroes, I am informed, have escaped from the batteries on
Sewall’s Point, which, this morning, fired upon my expedition as it
passed by out of range. As a means of offense, therefore, in the
Enemy’s hands, these Negroes, when able-bodied, are of the last
importance. Without them the batteries could not have been erected, at
least for many weeks.

“As a Military question it would seem to be a measure of necessity to
deprive their masters of their services. How can this be done? As a
political question and a question of humanity, can I receive the
services of a father and mother, and not take the children? Of the
humanitarian aspect I have no doubt. Of the political one I have no
right to judge. I therefore submit all this to your better judgment,
and as the questions have a political aspect, I have ventured, and I
trust I am not wrong in so doing, to duplicate the parts of my dispatch
relating to this subject, and forward them to the Secretary of War.”

In reply to the duplicate copy of this letter received by him, Secretary
Cameron thus answered:

“WASHINGTON, May 30, 1861.

“SIR: Your action in respect to the Negroes who came within your lines
from the service of the Rebels is approved. The Department is sensible
of the embarrassments which must surround officers conducting Military
operations in a State by the laws of which Slavery is sanctioned.

“The Government cannot recognize the rejection by any State of the
Federal obligations, nor can it refuse the performance of the Federal
obligations resting upon itself. Among these Federal obligations,
however, none can be more important than that of suppressing and
dispersing armed combinations formed for the purpose of overthrowing its
whole Constitutional authority.

“While, therefore, you will permit no interference by the persons under
your command, with the relations of Persons held to Service under the
laws of any State, you will, on the other hand, so long as any State,
within which your Military operations are conducted, is under the
control of such armed combinations, refrain from surrendering to alleged
masters any Person who may come within your lines.

“You will employ such Persons in the services to which they may be best
adapted, keeping an account of the labor by them performed, of the value
of it, and the expenses of their maintenance. The question of their
final disposition will be reserved for future determination.

“Secretary of War.

“To Major General BUTLER.”
Great tenderness, however, was exhibited by many of the Union Generals
for the doomed Institution. On June 3, 1861, from Chambersburg, Pa., a
proclamation signed “By order of Major General Patterson, F. J. Porter,
Asst. Adj. General,” was issued from “Headquarters Department of
Pennsylvania,” “To the United States troops of this Department,” in
which they are admonished “that, in the coming campaign in Virginia,
while it is your duty to punish Sedition, you must protect the Loyal,
and, should the occasion offer, at once suppress Servile Insurrection.”
“General Orders No. 33,” issued from “Headquarters Department of
Washington,” July 17, 1861, “By command of Brigadier General Mansfield,
Theo. Talbot, Assistant Adjutant General,” were to this effect:
“Fugitive Slaves will under no pretext whatever, be permitted to reside,
or be in any way harbored, in the quarters or camps of the troops
serving in this Department. Neither will such Slaves be allowed to
accompany troops on the march. Commanders of troops will be held
responsible for a strict observance of this order.” And early in August
a Military order was issued at Washington “that no Negroes, without
sufficient evidence of their being Free or of their right to travel, are
permitted to leave the city upon the cars.”

But Bull Run did much to settle the Military as well as public mind in
proper grooves on this subject.

Besides employing Negro Slaves to aid Rebellion, by the digging of
ditches, the throwing up of intrenchments, and the erection of
batteries, their Rebel masters placed in their hands arms with which to
shoot down Union soldiers at the Battle of Bull Run, which, as we have
seen, occurred on Sunday, July 21, 1861–and resulted in a check to the
Union Cause.

The terror and confusion and excitement already referred to, that
prevailed in Washington all that night and the next day, as the panic-
stricken crowd of soldiers and civilians poured over the Long Bridge,
footsore with running, faint with weariness, weak with hunger, and
parched with thirst and the dust of the rout, can hardly be described.

But, however panicky the general condition of the inhabitants of the
National Capital, the Congress bravely maintained its equanimity.

In the Senate, on the day following the disaster, a bill touching the
Confiscation of Property used for insurrectionary purposes being up for
consideration, the following amendment was offered to it:

“And be it further enacted, That whenever any person claiming to be
entitled to the Service or Labor of any other Person under the laws of
any State, shall employ such Person in aiding or promoting any
Insurrection, or in resisting the Laws of the United States, or shall
permit him to be so employed, he shall forfeit all right to such Service
or Labor, and the Person whose Labor or Service is thus claimed shall be
thenceforth discharged therefrom, any law to the contrary

This amendment, emancipating Slaves employed by their masters to aid
Rebellion, was adopted by 33 yeas to 6 nays.

As showing the feeling expressed right upon the very heels of what
seemed to be a great disaster, and when rumor, at any rate, placed the
victorious Enemy at the very gates of the Capital City, a few lines from
the debate may be interesting.

Mr. Trumbull said: “I am glad the yeas and nays have been called to let
us see who is willing to vote that the Traitorous owner of a Negro shall
employ him to shoot down the Union men of the Country, and yet insist
upon restoring him to the Traitor that owns him. I understand that
Negroes were in the fight which has recently occurred. I take it that
Negroes who are used to destroy the Union, and to shoot down the Union
men by the consent of Traitorous masters, ought not to be restored to
them. If the Senator from Kentucky is in favor of restoring them, let
him vote against the amendment.”

Senator Wilson, of Massachusetts, said: “I shall vote with more heart
than I vote for ordinary measures, for this proposition. I hope the
Senate and the House of Representatives will sustain it, and that this
Government will carry it out with an inflexibility that knows no change.
The idea that men who are in arms destroying their Country shall be
permitted to use others for that purpose, and that we shall stand by and
issue orders to our Commanders, that we should disgrace our Cause and
our Country, by returning such men to their Traitorous masters, ought
not longer to be entertained. The time has come for that to cease; and,
by the blessing of God, so far as I am concerned, I mean it shall cease.

“If there is anybody in this Chamber that chooses to take the other
path, let him do it; let him know what our purpose is. Our purpose is
to save this Government and save this Country, and to put down Treason;
and if Traitors use bondsmen to destroy this Country, my doctrine is
that the Government shall at once convert these bondsmen into men that
cannot be used to destroy our Country. I have no apologies to make for
this position, I take it proudly.

“I think the time has come when this Government, and the men who are in
arms under the Government, should cease to return to Traitors their
Fugitive Slaves, whom they are using to erect batteries to murder brave
men who are fighting under the flag of their Country. The time has come
when we should deal with the men who are organizing Negro companies, and
teaching them to shoot down loyal men for the only offence of upholding
the flag of their Country.

“I hope further, Sir, that there is a public sentiment in this Country
that will blast men who will rise, in the Senate or out it, to make
apologies for Treason, or to defend or to maintain the doctrine that
this Government is bound to protect Traitors in converting their Slaves
into tools for the destruction of the Republic.”

Senator McDougall, of California, said: “I regard this as a Confiscation
for Treason, and I am for the proposition.”

Mr. Ten Eyck, said: “No longer ago than Saturday last I voted in the
Judiciary Committee against this amendment, for two reasons: First, I
did not believe that persons in Rebellion against this Government would
make use of such means as the employment of Persons held to Labor or
Service, in their Armies; secondly, because I did not know what was to
become of these poor wretches if they were discharged. God knows we do
not want them in our Section of the Union. But, Sir, having learned and
believing that these persons have been employed with arms in their hands
to shed the blood of the Union-loving men of this Country, I shall now
vote in favor of that amendment with less regard to what may become of
these people than I had on Saturday. I will merely instance that there
is a precedent for this. If I recollect history aright, General
Jackson, in the Seminole War, declared that every Slave who was taken in
arms against the United States should be set Free,”

So, too, in the House of Representatives, the retrograde of a badly
demoralized Army, its routed fragments still coming in with alarming
stories of a pursuing Enemy almost at the gates of the city, had no
terrors for our legislators; and there was something of Roman dignity,
patriotism, and courage, in the adoption, on that painfully memorable
Blue Monday, (the first–[Offered by Mr. Crittenden, of Kentucky]–with
only two dissenting votes, on a yea and nay vote; and, the second–
[Offered by Mr. Vandever, of Iowa.]–with entire unanimity) of the
following Resolutions:

“Resolved by the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United
States, That the present deplorable Civil War has been forced upon the
Country by the Disunionists of the Southern States, now in arms against
the Constitutional Government, and in arms around the Capital; that in
this National emergency, Congress, banishing all feelings of mere
passion or resentment, will recollect only its duty to the whole
Country; that this War is not waged on their part in any spirit of
oppression, or for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, or purpose of
overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established Institutions
of those States, but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the
Constitution, and to preserve the Union with all the dignity, equality,
and rights of the several States unimpaired; and that as soon as these
objects are accomplished, the War ought to cease.”

“Resolved, That the maintenance of the Constitution, the preservation of
the Union, and the enforcement of the Laws, are sacred trusts which must
be executed; that no disaster shall discourage us from the most ample
performance of this high duty; and that we pledge to the Country and the
World, the employment of every resource, National and individual, for
the suppression, overthrow, and punishment of Rebels in arms.”

The first of these Resolutions was intended to calm the fears of the
Border States–excited by Rebel emissaries; the second, to restore
confidence and courage to the patriot hearts of Union-men, everywhere.
Both were effectual.

And here it will hardly be amiss to glance, for an instant, toward the
Senate Chamber; and especially at one characteristic incident. It was
the afternoon of August the 1st, 1861,–scarce ten days since the check
to the Union arms at Bull Run; and Breckinridge, of Kentucky, not yet
expelled from the United States Senate, was making in that Body his
great speech against the “Insurrection and Sedition Bill,” and upon “the
sanctity of the Constitution.”

Baker, of Oregon,–who, as Sumner afterward said: “with a zeal that
never tired, after recruiting men drawn by the attraction of his name,
in New York and Philadelphia and elsewhere, held his Brigade in camp,
near the Capitol, so that he passed easily from one to the other, and
thus alternated the duties of a Senator and a General,” having reached
the Capitol, direct from his Brigade-camp, entered the Senate Chamber,
in his uniform, while Breckinridge was speaking.

When the Kentucky Senator “with Treason in his heart, if not on his
lips,” resumed his seat, the gray-haired soldier-Senator at once rose to
reply. “He began,”–said Charles Sumner, in alluding to the incident–
“simply and calmly; but as he proceeded, his fervid soul broke forth in
words of surpassing power. As on a former occasion he had presented the
well-ripened fruits of study, so now he spoke with the spontaneous
utterance of his own mature and exuberant eloquence–meeting the
polished Traitor at every point with weapons keener and brighter than
his own.”

After demolishing Breckinridge’s position touching the alleged
Unconstitutionality of the measure, and characterzing his other
utterances as “reproof, malediction, and prediction combined,” the
Patriot from the Far-West turned with rising voice and flashing eye upon
the gloomy Kentuckian:

“I would ask him,” said he, “what would you have us do now–a
Confederate Army within twenty miles of us, advancing, or threatening to
advance, to overwhelm your Government; to shake the pillars of the
Union, to bring it around your head, if you stay here, in ruins? Are we
to stop and talk about an uprising sentiment in the North against the
War? Are we to predict evil, and retire from what we predict? Is it
not the manly part to go on as we have begun, to raise money, and levy
Armies, to organize them, to prepare to advance; when we do advance, to
regulate that advance by all the laws and regulations that civilization
and humanity will allow in time of battle? Can we do anything more? To
talk to us about stopping, is idle; we will never stop. Will the
Senator yield to Rebellion? Will he shrink from armed Insurrection?
Will his State justify it? Will its better public opinion allow it?
Shall we send a flag of Truce? What would he have? Or would he conduct
this War so feebly, that the whole World would smile at us in derision?”

And then cried the orator-his voice rising to a higher key, penetrating,
yet musical as the blast from a silver trumpet: “What would he have?
These speeches of his, sown broadcast over the Land, what clear distinct
meaning have they? Are they not intended for disorganization in our
very midst? Are they not intended to dull our weapons? Are they not
intended to destroy our zeal? Are they not intended to animate our
enemies? Sir, are they not words of brilliant, polished Treason, even
in the very Capitol of the Nation?

“What would have been thought, if, in another Capitol, in another
Republic, in a yet more martial age, a Senator as grave, not more
eloquent or dignified than the Senator from Kentucky, yet with the Roman
purple flowing over his shoulder, had risen in his place, surrounded by
all the illustrations of Roman glory, and declared that the cause of
advancing Hannibal was just, and that Carthage ought to be dealt with in
terms of peace? What would have been thought if, after the battle of
Cannae, a Senator there had risen in his place and denounced every levy
of the Roman People, every expenditure of its treasure, and every appeal
to the old recollections and the old glories?”

The speaker paused. The sudden and intent silence was broken by another
voice: “He would have been hurled from the Tarpeian rock.”

“Sir,” continued the soldier-orator, “a Senator, himself learned far
more than myself in such lore, [Mr. Fessenden,] tells me, in a voice
that I am glad is audible, that he would have been hurled from the
Tarpeian Rock! It is a grand commentary upon the American Constitution
that we permit these words [Senator Breckinridge’s] to be uttered.

“I ask the Senator to recollect, too, what, save to send aid and comfort
to the Enemy, do these predictions of his amount to? Every word thus
uttered falls as a note of inspiration upon every Confederate ear.
Every sound thus uttered is a word, (and, falling from his lips, a
mighty word) of kindling and triumph to a Foe that determines to

“For me, I have no such word as a Senator, to utter. For me”–and here
his eyes flashed again while his martial voice rang like a clarion-call
to battle–“amid temporary defeat, disaster, disgrace, it seems that my
duty calls me to utter another word, and that word is, bold, sudden,
forward, determined, WAR, according to the laws of War, by Armies, by
Military Commanders clothed with full power, advancing with all the past
glories of the Republic urging them on to conquest!

* * * * * *

“I tell the Senator,” continued the inspired Patriot, “that his
predictions, sometimes for the South, sometimes for the Middle States,
sometimes for the North-East, and then wandering away in airy visions
out to the Far Pacific, about the dread of our people, as for loss of
blood and treasure, provoking them to Disloyalty, are false in
sentiment, false in fact, and false in Loyalty. The Senator from
Kentucky is mistaken in them all.

“Five hundred million dollars! What then? Great Britain gave more than
two thousand million in the great Battle for Constitutional Liberty
which she led at one time almost single-handed against the World. Five
hundred thousand men! What then? We have them; they are ours; they are
the children of the Country; they belong to the whole Country; they are
our sons; our kinsmen; and there are many of us who will give them all
up before we will abate one word of our just demand, or will retreat one
inch from the line which divides right from wrong.

“Sir, it is not a question of men or of money in that sense. All the
money, all the men, are, in our judgment, well bestowed in such a cause.
When we give them, we know their value. Knowing their value well, we
give them with the more pride and the, more joy. Sir, how can we
retreat? Sir, how can we make Peace? Who shall treat? What
Commissioners? Who would go? Upon what terms? Where is to be your
boundary line? Where the end of the principles we shall have to give
up? What will become of Constitutional Government? What will become of
public Liberty? What of past glories? What of future hopes?

“Shall we sink into the insignificance of the grave–a degraded,
defeated, emasculated People, frightened by the results of one battle,
and scared at the visions raised by the imagination of the Senator from
Kentucky on this floor? No, Sir! a thousand times, no, Sir! We will
rally–if, indeed, our words be necessary–we will rally the People, the
Loyal People, of the whole Country. They will pour forth their
treasure, their money, their men, without stint, without measure. The
most peaceable man in this body may stamp his foot upon this Senate
Chamber floor, as of old a warrior and a Senator did, and from that
single tramp there will spring forth armed Legions.

“Shall one battle determine the fate of empire, or a dozen?–the loss of
one thousand men, or twenty thousand? or one hundred million or five
hundred million dollars? In a year’s Peace–in ten years, at most, of
peaceful progress–we can restore them all. There will be some graves
reeking with blood, watered by the tears of affection. There will be
some privation; there will be some loss of luxury; there will be
somewhat more need for labor to procure the necessaries of life. When
that is said, all is said. If we have the Country, the whole Country,
the Union, the Constitution, Free Government–with these there will
return all the blessings of well-ordered civilization; the path of the
Country will be a career of greatness and of glory such as, in the olden
time, our Fathers saw in the dim visions of years yet to come, and such
as would have been ours now, to-day, if it had not been for the Treason
for which the Senator too often seeks to apologize.”

This remarkable speech was the last utterance of that glorious and
courageous soul, in the National Senate. Within three months, his
lifeless body, riddled by Rebel rifle balls, was borne away from the
fatal field of Ball’s Bluff–away, amid the lamentations of a Nation–
away, across land and ocean–to lie beside his brave friend Broderick,
on that Lone Mountain whose solemn front looks out upon the calm

He had not lived in vain. In his great speech at the American Theatre
in San Francisco, after his election by Oregon (1860) to represent her
in the United States Senate, he had aroused the people to a sense of
shame, that, as he said: “Here, in a land of written Constitutional
Liberty it is reserved for us to teach the World that, under the
American Stars and Stripes, Slavery marches in solemn procession; that,
under the American flag, Slavery is protected to the utmost verge of
acquired territory; that under the American banner, the name of Freedom
is to be faintly heard, the songs of Freedom faintly sung; that, while
Garibaldi, Victor Emanuel, every great and good man in the World,
strives, struggles, fights, prays, suffers and dies, sometimes on the
scaffold, sometimes in the dungeon, often on the field of battle,
rendered immortal by his blood and his valor; that, while this triumphal
procession marches on through the arches of Freedom–we, in this land,
of all the World, shrink back trembling when Freedom is but mentioned!”

And never was a shamed people more suddenly lifted up from that shame
into a grand frenzy of patriotic devotion than were his auditors, when,
with the inspiration of his matchless genius, he continued:

“As for me, I dare not, will not, be false to Freedom. Where the feet
of my youth were planted, there, by Freedom, my feet shall ever stand.
I will walk beneath her banner. I will glory in her strength. I have
watched her in history struck down on an hundred chosen fields of
battle. I have seen her friends fly from her; her foes gather around
her. I have seen her bound to the stake; I have seen them give her
ashes to the winds. But when they turned to exult, I have seen her
again meet them face to face, resplendent in complete steel, brandishing
in her strong right hand a flaming sword, red with Insufferable light!
I take courage. The People gather around her. The genius of America
will, at last, lead her sons to Freedom.”

Never were grander utterances delivered by man in all the ages; never
was there exhibited a more sublime faith; never a truer spirit of
prophecy; never a more heroic spirit.

He was then on his way to Washington; on his way to perform the last
acts in the drama of his own career–on his way to death. He knew the
time had come, of which, ten years before, he had prophetically spoken
in the House of Representatives, when he said: “I have only to say that,
if the time should come when Disunion rules the hour, and discord is to
reign supreme, I shall again be ready to give the best blood in my veins
to my Country’s Cause. I shall be prepared to meet all antagonists with
lance in rest, to do battle in every land, in defense of the
Constitution of the Country which I have sworn to support, to the last
extremity, against Disunionists, and all its Enemies, whether of the
South or North; to meet them everywhere, at all times, with speech or
hand, with word or blow, until thought and being shall be no longer
mine.” And right nobly did he fulfil in all respects his promise; so
that at the end–as was afterward well said of him by Mr. Colfax–he had
mounted so high, that, “doubly crowned, as statesman, and as warrior–

‘From the top of Fame’s ladder he stepped to the Sky!'”

[This orator and hero was a naturalized Englishman, and commanded
an American regiment in the Mexican War.] CHAPTER XV.


On the day following Baker’s great reply to Breckinridge, another
notable speech was made, in the House of Representatives–notable,
especially, in that it foreshadowed Emancipation, and, coming so soon
after Bull Run, seemed to accentuate a new departure in political
thought as an outgrowth of that Military reverse. It was upon the
Confiscation Act, and it was Thaddeus Stevens who made it. Said he:

“If we are justified in taking property from the Enemy in War, when you
have rescued an oppressed People from the oppression of that Enemy, by
what principle of the Law of Nations, by what principle of philanthropy,
can you return them to the bondage from which you have delivered them,
and again rivet the chains you have once broken? It is a disgrace to
the Party which advocates it. It is against the principle of the Law of
Nations. It is against every principle of philanthropy. I for one,
shall never shrink from saying when these Slaves are once conquered by
us, ‘Go and be Free.’ God forbid that I should ever agree that they
should be returned again to their masters! I do not say that this War
is made for that purpose. Ask those who made the War, what is its
object. Do not ask us. * * * Our object is to subdue the Rebels.

“But,” continued he, “it is said that if we hold out this thing, they
will never submit–that we cannot conquer them–that they will suffer
themselves to be slaughtered, and their whole country to be laid waste.
Sir, War is a grievous thing at best, and Civil War more than any other;
but if they hold this language, and the means which they have suggested
must be resorted to; if their whole country must be laid waste, and made
a desert, in order to save this Union from destruction, so let it be. I
would rather, Sir, reduce them to a condition where their whole country
is to be re-peopled by a band of freemen than to see them perpetrate the
destruction of this People through our agency. I do not say that it is
time to resort to such means, and I do not know when the time will come;
but I never fear to express my sentiments. It is not a question with me
of policy, but a question of principle.

“If this War is continued long, and is bloody, I do not believe that the
free people of the North will stand by and see their sons and brothers
and neighbors slaughtered by thousands and tens of thousands by Rebels,
with arms in their hands, and forbear to call upon their enemies to be
our friends, and to help us in subduing them; I for one, if it continues
long, and has the consequences mentioned, shall be ready to go for it,
let it horrify the gentleman from New York (Mr. Diven) or anybody else.
That is my doctrine, and that will be the doctrine of the whole free
people of the North before two years roll round, if this War continues.

“As to the end of the War, until the Rebels are subdued, no man in the
North thinks of it. If the Government are equal to the People, and I
believe they are, there will be no bargaining, there will be no
negotiation, there will be no truces with the Rebels, except to bury the
dead, until every man shall have laid down his arms, disbanded his
organization, submitted himself to the Government, and sued for mercy.
And, Sir, if those who have the control of the Government are not fit
for this task and have not the nerve and mind for it, the People will
take care that there are others who are–although, Sir, I have not a bit
of fear of the present Administration, or of the present Executive.

“I have spoken more freely, perhaps, than gentlemen within my hearing
might think politic, but I have spoken just what I felt. I have spoken
what I believe will be the result; and I warn Southern gentlemen, that
if this War is to continue, there will be a time when my friend from New
York (Mr. Diven) will see it declared by this free Nation, that every
bondman in the South–belonging to a Rebel, recollect; I confine it to
them–shall be called upon to aid us in War against their masters, and
to restore this Union.”

The following letter of instruction from Secretary Cameron, touching the
Fugitive Slave question, dated seven days after Thaddeus Stevens’
speech, had also an interesting bearing on the subject:

“WASHINGTON, August 8, 1861.

“GENERAL: The important question of the proper disposition to be made of
Fugitives from Service in States in Insurrection against the Federal
Government, to which you have again directed my attention in your letter
of July 30, has received my most attentive consideration.

“It is the desire of the President that all existing rights, in all the
States, be fully respected and maintained. The War now prosecuted on
the part of the Federal Government is a War for the Union, and for the
preservation of all Constitutional rights of States, and the citizens of
the States, in the Union. Hence, no question can arise as to Fugitives
from Service within the States and Territories in which the authority of
the Union is fully acknowledged. The ordinary forms of Judicial
proceeding, which must be respected by Military and Civil authorities
alike, will suffice for the enforcement of all legal claims.

“But in States wholly or partially under Insurrectionary control, where
the Laws of the United States are so far opposed and resisted that they
cannot be effectually enforced, it is obvious that rights dependent on
the execution of those laws must, temporarily, fail; and it is equally
obvious that rights dependent on the laws of the States within which
Military operations are conducted must be necessarily subordinated to
the Military exigences created by the Insurrection, if not wholly
forfeited by the Treasonable conduct of parties claiming them. To this
general rule, rights to Services can form no exception.

“The Act of Congress, approved August 6, 1861, declares that if Persons
held to Service shall be employed in hostility to the United States, the
right to their services shall be forfeited, and such Persons shall be
discharged therefrom. It follows, of necessity, that no claim can be
recognized by the Military authorities of the Union to the services of
such Persons when fugitives.

“A more difficult question is presented in respect to Persons escaping
from the Service of Loyal masters. It is quite apparent that the laws
of the State, under which only the services of such fugitives can be
claimed, must needs be wholly, or almost wholly, suspended, as to
remedies, by the Insurrection and the Military measures necessitated by
it. And it is equally apparent that the substitution of Military for
Judicial measures for the enforcement of such claims must be attended by
great inconveniences, embarrassments, and injuries.

“Under these circumstances it seems quite clear that the substantial
rights of Loyal masters will be best protected by receiving such
fugitives, as well as fugitives from Disloyal masters, into the service
of the United States, and employing them under such organizations and in
such occupations as circumstances may suggest or require.

“Of course a record should be kept showing the name and description of
the fugitives, the name and the character, as Loyal or Disloyal, of the
master, and such facts as may be necessary to a correct understanding of
the circumstances of each case after tranquillity shall have been
restored. Upon the return of Peace, Congress will, doubtless, properly
provide for all the persons thus received into the service of the Union,
and for just compensation to Loyal masters. In this way only, it would
seem, can the duty and safety of the Government and the just rights of
all be fully reconciled and harmonized.

“You will therefore consider yourself as instructed to govern your
future action, in respect to Fugitives from Service, by the principles
here stated, and will report from time to time, and at least twice in
each month, your action in the premises to this Department.

“You will, however, neither authorize, nor permit any interference, by
the troops under your command, with the servants of peaceful citizens in
house or field; nor will you, in any way, encourage such servants to
leave the lawful Service of their masters; nor will you, except in cases
where the Public Safety may seem to require, prevent the voluntary
return of any Fugitive, to the Service from which he may have escaped.”

“I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

“Secretary of War.

“Major-General B. F. BUTLER,
“Commanding Department of Virginia,
“Fortress Monroe.”
Whether or not inspired by the prophetic speech of Thaddeus Stevens,
aforesaid, the month of August was hardly out before its prophecy seemed
in a fair way of immediate fulfilment. Major-General John Charles
Fremont at that time commanded the Eastern Department–comprising the
States of Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, and Kentucky-and he startled the
Country by issuing the following Emancipation proclamation:

“St. Louis, August 30, 1861.

“Circumstances, in my judgment, of sufficient urgency, render it
necessary that the commanding general of this Department should assume
the administrative powers of the State. Its disorganized condition, the
helplessness of the civil authority, the total insecurity of life, and
the devastation of property by bands of murderers and marauders, who
infest nearly every county of the State, and avail themselves of the
public misfortunes and the vicinity of a hostile force to gratify
private and neighborhood vengeance, and who find an enemy wherever they
find plunder, finally demand the severest measures to repress the daily
increasing crimes and outrages which are driving off the inhabitants and
ruining the State.

“In this condition, the public safety and the success of our arms
require unity of purpose, without let or hinderance, to the prompt
administration of affairs.

“In order, therefore, to suppress disorder, to maintain as far as now
practicable the public peace, and to give security and protection to the
persons and property of loyal citizens, I do hereby extend and declare
established Martial Law throughout the State of Missouri.

“The lines of the Army of Occupation in this State are for the present
declared to extend from Leavenworth by way of the posts of Jefferson
City, Rolla, and Ironton, to Cape Girardeau, on the Mississippi river.

“All persons who shall betaken with arms in their hands within these
lines shall be tried by Court-Martial, and if found guilty will be shot.

“The property, real and personal, of all persons, in the State of
Missouri, who shall take up arms against the United States, or who shall
be directly proven to have taken an active part with their Enemies in
the field, is declared to be confiscated to the public use, and their
Slaves, if any they have, are hereby declared Free men.

“All persons who shall be proven to have destroyed, after the
publication of this order, railroad tracks, bridges, or telegraphs,
shall suffer the extreme penalty of the law.

“All persons engaged in Treasonable correspondence, in giving or
procuring aid to the Enemies of the United States, in fomenting tumults,
in disturbing the public tranquillity by creating and circulating false
reports or incendiary documents, are in their own interests warned that
they are exposing themselves to sudden and severe punishment.

“All persons who have been led away from their allegiance, are required
to return to their homes forthwith; any such absence, without sufficient
cause, will be held to be presumptive evidence against them.

“The object of this declaration is to place in the hands of the Military
authorities the power to give instantaneous effect to existing laws, and
to supply such deficiencies as the conditions of War demand. But this
is not intended to suspend the ordinary Tribunals of the Country, where
the Law will be administered by the Civil officers in the usual manner,
and with their customary authority, while the same can be peaceably

“The commanding general will labor vigilantly for the public Welfare,
and in his efforts for their safety hopes to obtain not only the
acquiescence, but the active support of the Loyal People of the Country.

“Major-General Commanding.”
Fremont’s Proclamation of Confiscation and Emancipation, was hailed with
joy by some Patriots in the North, but was by others looked upon as rash
and premature and inexpedient; while it bitterly stirred the anger of
the Rebels everywhere.

The Rebel Jeff. Thompson, then in command of the Rebel forces about St.
Louis, at once issued the following savage proclamation of retaliation:

‘St. Louis, August 31, 1861.

“To all whom it may concern:

“Whereas Major-General John C. Fremont, commanding the minions of
Abraham Lincoln in the State of Missouri, has seen fit to declare
Martial Law throughout the whole State, and has threatened to shoot any
citizen-soldier found in arms within certain limits; also, to Confiscate
the property and Free the Negroes belonging to the members of the
Missouri State Guard:

“Therefore, know ye, that I, M. Jeff. Thompson, Brigadier-General of
the First Military District of Missouri, having not only the Military
authority of Brigadier-General, but certain police powers granted by
Acting-Governor Thomas C. Reynolds, and confirmed afterward by Governor
Jackson, do most solemnly promise that for every member of the Missouri
State Guard, or soldier of our allies, the Armies of the Confederate
States, who shall be put to death in pursuance of the said order of
General Fremont, I will hang, draw, and quarter a minion of said Abraham

“While I am anxious that this unfortunate War shall be conducted, if
possible, upon the most liberal principles of civilized warfare–and
every order that I have issued has been with that object–yet, if this
rule is to be adopted (and it must first be done by our Enemies) I
intend to exceed General Fremont in his excesses, and will make all
tories that come within my reach rue the day that a different policy was
adopted by their leaders.

“Already mills, barns, warehouses, and other private property have been
wastefully and wantonly destroyed by the Enemy in this district, while
we have taken nothing except articles strictly contraband or absolutely
necessary. Should these things be repeated, I will retaliate ten-fold,
so help me God!”

“Brigadier-General Commanding.”

“President Lincoln, greatly embarrassed by the precipitate action of his
subordinate, lost no time in suggesting to General Fremont certain
modifications of his Emancipation proclamation-as follows:

“[PRIVATE.] “WASHINGTON, D. C., September 2, 1861.

“MY DEAR SIR: Two points in your proclamation of August 30th give me
some anxiety:

“First. Should you shoot a man according to the proclamation, the
Confederates would very certainly shoot our best man in their hands, in
retaliation; and so, man for man, indefinitely. It is, therefore, my
order that you allow no man to be shot under the proclamation without
first having my approbation or consent.

“Second. I think there is great danger that the closing paragraph, in
relation to the Confiscation of Property, and the liberating Slaves of
Traitorous owners, will alarm our Southern Union friends, and turn them
against us; perhaps ruin our rather fair prospect for Kentucky.

“Allow me, therefore, to ask that you will, as of your own motion,
modify that paragraph so as to conform to the first and fourth sections
of the Act of Congress entitled, ‘An Act to Confiscate Property used for
Insurrectionary purposes,’ approved August 6, 1861, a copy of which Act
I herewith send you.

“This letter is written in a spirit of caution, and not of censure.

“I send it by a special messenger, in that it may certainly and speedily
reach you.
“Yours very truly,

“Major-General FREMONT.”
General Fremont replied to President Lincoln’s suggestions, as follows:

“St. Louis, September 8, 1861.

“MY DEAR SIR: Your letter of the second, by special
messenger, I know to have been written before you had received my
letter, and before my telegraphic dispatches and the rapid developments
of critical conditions here had informed you of affairs in this quarter.
I had not written to you fully and frequently, first, because in the
incessant change of affairs I would be exposed to give you contradictory
accounts; and., secondly, because the amount of the subjects to be laid
before you would demand too much of your time.

“Trusting to have your confidence, I have been leaving it to events
themselves to show you whether or not I was shaping affairs here
according to your ideas. The shortest communication between Washington
and St. Louis generally involves two days, and the employment of two
days, in time of War, goes largely toward success or disaster. I
therefore went along according to my own judgment, leaving the result of
my movement to justify me with you.

“And so in regard to my proclamation of the thirtieth. Between the
Rebel Armies, the Provisional Government, and the home Traitors, I felt
the position bad, and saw danger. In the night I decided upon the
proclamation and the form of it–I wrote it the next morning and printed
it the same day. I did it without consultation or advice with any one,
acting solely with my best judgment to serve the Country and yourself,
and perfectly willing to receive the amount of censure which should be
thought due, if I had made a false movement.

“This is as much a movement in the War, as a battle, and, in going into
these, I shall have to act according to my judgment of the ground before
me, as I did on this occasion. If upon reflection, your better judgment
still decides that I am wrong in the article respecting the Liberation
of Slaves, I have to ask that you will openly direct me to make the
correction. The implied censure will be received as a soldier always
should the reprimand of his chief.

“If I were to retract of my own accord, it would imply that I myself
thought it wrong, and that I had acted without the reflection which the
gravity of the point demanded. But I did not. I acted with full
deliberation, and upon the certain conviction that it was a measure
right and necessary, and I think so still.

“In regard to the other point of the proclamation to which you refer, I
desire to say that I do not think the Enemy can either misconstrue or
urge anything against it, or undertake to make unusual retaliation. The
shooting of men who shall rise in arms against an Army in the Military
occupation of a Country, is merely a necessary measure of defense, and
entirely according to the usages of civilized warfare. The article does
not at all refer to prisoners of war, and certainly our Enemies have no
grounds for requiring that we should waive in their benefit any of the
ordinary advantages which the usages of War allow to us.

“As promptitude is itself an advantage in War, I have also to ask that
you will permit me to carry out upon the spot the provisions of the
proclamation in this respect.

“Looking at affairs from this point of view, I am satisfied that strong
and vigorous measures have now become necessary to the success of our
Arms; and hoping that my views may have the honor to meet your approval,

“I am, with respect and regard, very truly yours,

President Lincoln subsequently rejoined, ordering a modification of the
proclamation. His letter ran thus:

“WASHINGTON, September 11, 1861.

“SIR: Yours of the 8th, in answer to mine of the 2d instant, is just
received. Assuming that you, upon the ground, could better judge of the
necessities of your position than I could at this distance, on seeing
your Proclamation of August 30th, I perceived no general objection to

“The particular clause, however, in relation to the Confiscation of
Property and the Liberation of Slaves, appeared to me to be
objectionable in its non-conformity to the Act of Congress, passed the
6th of last August, upon the same subjects; and hence I wrote you
expressing my wish that that clause should be modified accordingly.

“Your answer, just received, expresses the preference, on your part,
that I should make an open order for the modification, which I very
cheerfully do.

“It is therefore Ordered, that the said clause of said proclamation be
so modified, held, and construed as to conform to, and not to transcend,
the provisions on the same subject contained in the Act of Congress
entitled, ‘An Act to Confiscate Property used for Insurrectionary
Purposes,’ approved August 6, 1861, and that said Act be published at
length with this Order.

“Your obedient servant,

“Major-General JOHN C. FREMONT.”
In consequence, however, of the agitation on the subject, the extreme
delicacy with which it was thought advisable in the earliest stages of
the Rebellion to treat it, and the confusion of ideas among Military men
with regard to it, the War Department issued the following General
Instructions on the occasion of the departure of the Port Royal
Expedition, commanded by General T. W. Sherman:
“WAR DEPARTMENT, October 14, 1861.

“SIR: In conducting Military Operations within States declared by the
Proclamation of the President to be in a State of Insurrection, you will
govern yourself, so far as Persons held to Service under the laws of
such States are concerned, by the principles of the letters addressed by
me to Major-General Butler on the 30th of May and the 8th of August,
copies of which are herewith furnished to you.

“As special directions, adapted to special circumstances, cannot be
given, much must be referred to your own discretion as Commanding
General of the Expedition. You will, however, in general avail yourself
of the services of any Persons, whether Fugitives from Labor or not, who
may offer them to the National Government; you will employ such Persons
in such services as they may be fitted for, either as ordinary
employees, or, if special circumstances seem to require it, in any other
capacity with such organization, in squads, companies, or otherwise, as
you deem most beneficial to the service. This, however, not to mean a
general arming of them for Military service.

“You will assure all Loyal masters that Congress will provide just
compensation to them for the loss of the services of the Persons so

“It is believed that the course thus indicated will best secure the
substantial rights of Loyal masters, and the benefits to the United
States of the services of all disposed to support the Government, while
it avoids all interference with the social systems or local Institutions
of every State, beyond that which Insurrection makes unavoidable and
which a restoration of peaceful relations to the Union, under the
Constitution, will immediately remove.
“Secretary of War.

“Brigadier-General T. W. SHERMAN,
“Commanding Expedition to the Southern Coast.”
Brigadier-General Thomas W. Sherman, acting upon his own interpretation
of these instructions, issued a proclamation to the people of South
Carolina, upon occupying the Forts at Port Royal, in which he said:

“In obedience to the orders of the President of these United States of
America, I have landed on your shores with a small force of National
troops. The dictates of a duty which, under these circumstances, I owe
to a great sovereign State, and to a proud and hospitable people, among
whom I have passed some of the pleasantest days of my life, prompt me to
proclaim that we have come amongst you with no feelings of personal
animosity, no desire to harm your citizens, destroy your property, or
interfere with any of your lawful rights or your social or local
Institutions, beyond what the causes herein alluded to may render

Major-General Wool, at Fortress Monroe, where he had succeeded General
Butler, likewise issued a Special Order on the subject of Contrabands,
as follows:
“FORT MONROE, October 14, 1861.
“[Special Orders No. 72.]

“All Colored Persons called Contrabands, employed as servants by
officers and others residing within Fort Monroe, or outside of the Fort
at Camp Hamilton and Camp Butler, will be furnished with their
subsistence and at least eight dollars per month for males, and four
dollars per month for females, by the officers or others thus employing

“So much of the above-named sums, as may be necessary to furnish
clothing, to be decided by the Chief Quartermaster of the Department,
will be applied to that purpose, and the remainder will be paid into his
hands to create a fund for the support of those Contrabands who are
unable to work for their own support.

“All able-bodied Colored Persons who are under the protection of the
troops of this Department, and who are not employed as servants, will be
immediately put to work in either the Engineer’s or Quartermaster’s

“By command of Major-General Wool:

“Assistant Adjutant General.”
He subsequently also issued the following General Order:

“FORT MONROE, November 1, 1861.
“[General Orders No. 34.]

“The following pay and allowances will constitute the valuation of the
Labor of the Contrabands at work in the Engineer, Ordnance,
Quartermaster, Commissary, and Medical Departments at this Post, to be
paid as hereinafter mentioned;

“Class 1st.–Negro man over eighteen years of age, and able-bodied, ten
dollars per month, one ration and the necessary amount of clothing.

“Class 2d.–Negro boys from 12 to 18 years of age, and sickly and infirm
Negro men, five dollars per month, one ration, and the necessary amount
of clothing.

“The Quartermaster will furnish all the clothing. The Department
employing these men will furnish the subsistence specified above, and as
an incentive to good behavior (to be withheld at the direction of the
chiefs of the departments respectively), each individual of the first
class will receive $2 per month, and each individual of the second class
$1 per month, for their own use. The remainder of the money valuation
of their Labor, will be turned over to the Quartermaster, who will
deduct from it the cost of the clothing issued to them; the balance will
constitute a fund to be expended by the Quartermaster under the
direction of the Commanding officer of the Department of Virginia for
the support of the women and children and those that are unable to work.

“For any unusual amount of Labor performed, they may receive extra pay,
varying in amount from fifty cents to one dollar, this to be paid by the
departments employing them, to the men themselves, and to be for their
own use.

“Should any man be prevented from working, on account of sickness, for
six consecutive days, or ten days in any one month, one-half of the
money value will be paid. For being prevented from laboring for a
longer period than ten days in any one month all pay and allowances

“By command of Major-General Wool:

“Assistant Adjutant General.”
On November 13, 1861, Major-General Dix, in a proclamation addressed to
the people of Accomac and Northampton Counties, Va., ordered the
repulsion of Fugitive Slaves seeking to enter the Union lines, in these

“The Military Forces of the United States are about to enter your
Counties as a part of the Union. They will go among you as friends, and
with the earnest hope that they may not, by your own acts, be forced to
become your enemies. They will invade no rights of person or property.
On the contrary, your Laws, your Institutions, your Usages, will be
scrupulously respected. There need be no fear that the quietude of any
fireside will be disturbed, unless the disturbance is caused by

“Special directions have been given not to interfere with the condition
of any Person held to domestic service; and, in order that there may be
no ground for mistake or pretext for misrepresent action, Commanders of
Regiments and Corps have been instructed not to permit any such Persons
to come within their lines.”

On the 20th of November, 1861, Major General Halleck issued the
following Genera., Order–which went even further, in that it expelled,
as well as repelled Fugitive Slaves from our lines:
“St. Louis, November 20, 1861.
“[General Orders No. 3.]

“I. It has been represented that important information respecting the
number and condition of our Forces, is conveyed to the Enemy by means of
Fugitive Slaves who are admitted within our lines. In order to remedy
this evil, it is directed that no such Persons be hereafter permitted to
enter the lines of any camp, or of any forces on the march; and that any
now within such lines be immediately excluded therefrom.”

This Order was subsequently explained in a letter, of December 8, 1861,
from General Halleck to Hon. F. P. Blair, in which he said:

” * * * Order No. 3 was in my mind, clearly a Military necessity.
Unauthorized persons, black or white, Free or Slaves, must be kept out
of our camps, unless we are willing to publish to the Enemy everything
we do or intend to do. It was a Military and not a political order. I
am ready to carry out any lawful instructions in regard to Fugitive
Slaves which my superiors may give me, and to enforce any law which
Congress may pass. But I cannot make law, and will not violate it. You
know my private opinion on the policy of Confiscating the Slave Property
of Rebels in Arms. If Congress shall pass it, you may be certain that I
shall enforce it. Perhaps my policy as to the treatment of Rebels and
their property is as well set out in Order No. 13, issued the day
(December 4, 1861), your letter was written, as I could now describe

It may be well also to add here, as belonging to this period of
doubtfulness touching the status of escaped Slaves, the following
communication sent by Secretary Seward to General McClellan, touching
“Contrabands” in the District of Columbia:
“WASHINGTON, December 4, 1861.

“To Major-General GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN, Washington:

“GENERAL: I am directed by the President to call your attention to the
following subject:

“Persons claimed to be held to Service or Labor under the laws of the
State of Virginia, and actually employed in hostile service against the
Government of the United States, frequently escape from the lines of the
Enemy’s Forces and are received within the lines of the Army of the

“This Department understands that such Persons afterward coming into the
city of Washington are liable to be arrested by the city police, upon
the presumption, arising from color, that they are Fugitives from
Service or Labor.

“By the 4th section of the Act of Congress approved August 6, 1861,
entitled, ‘An Act to Confiscate Property used for Insurrectionary
purposes,’ such hostile employment is made a full and sufficient answer
to any further claim to Service or Labor. Persons thus employed and
escaping are received into the Military protection of the United States,
and their arrest as Fugitives from Service or Labor should be
immediately followed by the Military arrest of the parties making the

“Copies of this communication will be sent to the Mayor of the city of
Washington and to the Marshal of the District of Columbia, that any
collision between the Civil and Military authorities may be avoided.

“I am, General, your very obedient,



Thus far the reader’s eye has been able to review in their successive
order some of the many difficulties and perplexities which beset the
pathway of President Lincoln as he felt his way in the dark, as it were,
toward Emancipation. It must seem pretty evident now, however, that his
chief concern was for the preservation of the Union, even though all
other things–Emancipation with them–had to be temporarily sacrificed.

Something definite, however, had been already gained. Congress had
asserted its right under the War powers of the Constitution, to release
from all claim to Service or Labor those Slaves whose Service or Labor
had been used in hostility to the Union. And while some of the Union
Generals obstructed the execution of the Act enforcing that right, by
repelling and even as we have seen, expelling, from the Union lines all
Fugitive Slaves–whether such as had or had not been used in hostility
to us–yet still the cause of Freedom to all, was slowly and silently
perhaps, yet surely and irresistibly, marching on until the time when,
becoming a chief factor in the determination of the question of “whether
we should have a Country at all,” it should triumph coincidently with
the preservation of the Republic.

But now a new phase of the Slave question arose–a question not
involving what to do with Fugitive Slaves of any sort, whether engaged
or not engaged in performing services hostile to the Union cause, but
what to do with Slaves whom their panic-stricken owners had, for the
time being, abandoned in the presence of our Armies.

This question was well discussed in the original draft of the report of
the Secretary of War, December 1, 1861 in which Secretary Cameron said:

“It has become a grave question for determination what shall be done
with the Slaves abandoned by their owners on the advance of our troops
into Southern territory, as in the Beaufort district of South Carolina.
The whole White population therein is six thousand, while the number of
Negroes exceeds thirty-two thousand. The panic which drove their
masters in wild confusion from their homes, leaves them in undisputed
possession of the soil. Shall they, armed by their masters, be placed
in the field to fight against us, or shall their labor be continually
employed in reproducing the means for supporting the Armies of

“The War into which this Government has been forced by rebellious
Traitors is carried on for the purpose of repossessing the property
violently and treacherously seized upon by the Enemies of the
Government, and to re-establish the authority and Laws of the United
States in the places where it is opposed or overthrown by armed
Insurrection and Rebellion. Its purpose is to recover and defend what
is justly its own.

“War, even between Independent Nations, is made to subdue the Enemy, and
all that belongs to that Enemy, by occupying the hostile country, and
exercising dominion over all the men and things within its territory.
This being true in respect to Independent Nations at war with each
other, it follows that Rebels who are laboring by force of arms to
overthrow a Government, justly bring upon themselves all the
consequences of War, and provoke the destruction merited by the worst of
crimes. That Government would be false to National trust, and would
justly excite the ridicule of the civilized World, that would abstain
from the use of any efficient means to preserve its own existence, or to
overcome a rebellious and traitorous Enemy, by sparing or protecting the
property of those who are waging War against it.

“The principal wealth and power of the Rebel States is a peculiar
species of Property, consisting of the service or labor of African
Slaves, or the descendants of Africans. This Property has been
variously estimated at the value of from seven hundred million to one
thousand million dollars.

“Why should this Property be exempt from the hazards and consequences of
a rebellious War?

“It was the boast of the leader of the Rebellion, while he yet had a
seat in the Senate of the United States, that the Southern States would
be comparatively safe and free from the burdens of War, if it should be
brought on by the contemplated Rebellion, and that boast was accompanied
by the savage threat that ‘Northern towns and cities would become the
victims of rapine and Military spoil,’ and that ‘Northern men should
smell Southern gunpowder and feel Southern steel.’

“No one doubts the disposition of the Rebels to carry that threat into
execution. The wealth of Northern towns and cities, the produce of
Northern farms, Northern workshops and manufactories would certainly be
seized, destroyed, or appropriated as Military spoil. No property in
the North would be spared from the hands of the Rebels, and their rapine
would be defended under the laws of War. While the Loyal States thus
have all their property and possessions at stake, are the insurgent
Rebels to carry on warfare against the Government in peace and security
to their own property?

“Reason and justice and self-preservation forbid that such should be;
the policy of this Government, but demand, on the contrary, that, being
forced by Traitors and Rebels to the extremity of war, all the rights
and powers of war should be exercised to bring it to a speedy end.

“Those who war against the Government justly forfeit all rights of
property, privilege, or security, derived from the Constitution and
Laws, against which they are in armed Rebellion; and as the labor and
service of their Slaves constitute the chief Property of the Rebels,
such Property should share the common fate of War to which they have
devoted the property of Loyal citizens.

“While it is plain that the Slave Property of the South is justly
subjected to all the consequences of this Rebellious War, and that the
Government would be untrue to its trust in not employing all the rights
and powers of War to bring it to a speedy close, the details of the plan
for doing so, like all other Military measures, must, in a great degree,
be left to be determined by particular exigencies. The disposition of
other property belonging to the Rebels that becomes subject to our arms
is governed by the circumstances of the case.

“The Government has no power to hold Slaves, none to restrain a Slave of
his Liberty, or to exact his service. It has a right, however, to use
the voluntary service of Slaves liberated by War from their Rebel
masters, like any other property of the Rebels, in whatever mode may be
most efficient for the defense of the Government, the prosecution of the
War, and the suppression of Rebellion. It is clearly a right of the
Government to arm Slaves when it may become necessary, as it is to take
gunpowder from the Enemy; whether it is expedient to do so, is purely a
Military question. The right is unquestionable by the laws of War. The
expediency must be determined by circumstances, keeping in view the
great object of overcoming the Rebels, reestablishing the Laws, and
restoring Peace to the Nation.

“It is vain and idle for the Government to carry on this War, or hope to
maintain its existence against rebellious force, without employing all
the rights and powers of War. As has been said, the right to deprive
the Rebels of their Property in Slaves and Slave Labor is as clear and
absolute as the right to take forage from the field, or cotton from the
warehouse, or powder and arms from the magazine. To leave the Enemy in
the possession of such property as forage and cotton and military
stores, and the means of constantly reproducing them, would be madness.
It is, therefore, equal madness to leave them in peaceful and secure
possession of Slave Property, more valuable and efficient to them for
war than forage, cotton, military stores. Such policy would be National

“What to do with that species of Property is a question that time and
circumstances will solve, and need not be anticipated further than to
repeat that they cannot be held by the Government as Slaves. It would
be useless to keep them as prisoners of War; and self-preservation, the
highest duty of a Government, or of individuals, demands that they
should be disposed of or employed in the most effective manner that will
tend most speedily to suppress the Insurrection and restore the
authority of the Government. If it shall be found that the men who have
been held by the Rebels as Slaves, are capable of bearing arms and
performing efficient Military service, it is the right, and may become
the duty, of this Government to arm and equip them, and employ their
services against the Rebels, under proper Military regulations,
discipline, and command.

“But in whatever manner they may be used by the Government, it is plain
that, once liberated by the rebellious act of their masters they should
never again be restored to bondage. By the master’s Treason and
Rebellion he forfeits all right to the labor and service of his Slave;
and the Slave of the rebellious master, by his service to the
Government, becomes justly entitled to Freedom and protection.

“The disposition to be made of the Slaves of Rebels, after the close of
the War, can be safely left to the wisdom and patriotism of Congress.
The Representatives of the People will unquestionably secure to the
Loyal Slaveholders every right to which they are entitled under the
Constitution of the Country.”

This original draft of the report was modified, at the instance of
President Lincoln, to the following–and thus appeared in Secretary
Cameron’s report of that date, as printed:

“It is already a grave question what shall be done with those Slaves who
were abandoned by their owners on the advance of our troops into
Southern territory, as at Beaufort district, in South Carolina. The
number left within our control at that point is very considerable, and
similar cases will probably occur. What should be done with them? Can
we afford to send them forward to their masters, to be by them armed
against us, or used in producing supplies to sustain the Rebellion?

“Their labor may be useful to us; withheld from the Enemy it lessens his
Military resources, and withholding them has no tendency to induce the
horrors of Insurrection, even in the Rebel communities. They constitute
a Military resource, and, being such, that they should not be turned
over to the Enemy is too plain to discuss. Why deprive him of supplies
by a blockade, and voluntarily give him men to produce them?

“The disposition to be made of the Slaves of Rebels, after the close of
the War, can be safely left to the wisdom and patriotism of Congress.
The Representatives of the People will unquestionably secure to the
Loyal Slaveholders every right to which they are entitled under the
Constitution of the Country.

“Secretary of War.”
The language of this modification is given to show that the President,
at the close of the year 1861, had already reached a further step
forward toward Emancipation–and the sound reasoning upon which he made
that advance. He was satisfying his own mind and conscience as he
proceeded, and thus, while justifying himself to himself, was also
simultaneously carrying conviction to the minds and consciences of the
People, whose servant and agent he was.

That these abandoned Slaves would “constitute a Military resource” and
“should not be turned over to the Enemy” and that “their labor may be
useful to us” were propositions which could not be gainsaid. But to
quiet uncalled-for apprehensions, and to encourage Southern loyalty, he
added, in substance, that at the close of this War–waged solely for the
preservation of the Union–Congress would decide the doubtful status of
the Slaves of Rebels, while the rights of Union Slave-holders would be

The Contraband-Slave question, however, continued to agitate the public
mind for many months–owing to the various ways in which it was treated
by the various Military commanders, to whose discretion its treatment,
in their several commands, was left–a discretion which almost
invariably leaned toward the political bias of the commander. Thus, in
a proclamation, dated St. Louis, February 23, 1862, Halleck, commanding
the Department of Missouri, said:

“Soldiers! let no excess on your part tarnish the glory of our arms!

“The order heretofore issued in this department, in regard to pillaging
and marauding, the destruction of private property, and the stealing or
concealment of Slaves, must be strictly enforced. It does not belong to
the Military to decide upon the relation of Master and Slave. Such
questions must be settled by the civil Courts. No Fugitive Slaves will
therefore be admitted within our lines or camps, except when especially
ordered by the General Commanding. * * * ”

And Buell, commanding the Department of the Ohio, in response to a
communication on the subject from the Chairman of the Military Committee
of the Kentucky Legislature, wrote, March 6, 1862:

“It has come to my knowledge that Slaves sometimes make their way
improperly into our lines, and in some instances they may be enticed
there, but I think the number has been magnified by report. Several
applications have been made to me by persons whose servants have been
found in our camps, and in every instance that I know of the master has
recovered his servant and taken him away.”

Thus, while some of our Commanders, like Dix and Halleck, repelled or
even expelled the Fugitive Slave from their lines; and others, like
Buell and Hooker, facilitated the search for, and restoration to his
master, of the black Fugitive found within our lines; on the other hand,
Fremont, as we have seen, and Doubleday and Hunter, as we shall yet see,
took totally different ground on this question.

President Lincoln, however, harassed as he was by the extremists on both
sides of the Slavery question, still maintained that calm statesman-like
middle-course from which the best results were likely to flow. But he
now thought the time had come to broach the question of a compensated,
gradual Emancipation.

Accordingly, on March 6, 1862, he sent to Congress the following

“Fellow citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

“I recommend the adoption of a joint Resolution by your honorable
bodies, which shall be substantially as follows:

“Resolved, That the United States ought to co-operate with any State
which may adopt gradual abolishment of Slavery, giving to such State
pecuniary aid, to be used by such State in its discretion, to compensate
for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by such change of

“If the proposition contained in the Resolution does not meet the
approval of Congress and the Country, there is the end; but if it does
command such approval, I deem it of importance that the States and
people immediately interested should be at once distinctly notified of
the fact, so that they may begin to consider whether to accept or reject
it, The Federal Government would find its highest interest in such a
measure, as one of the most efficient means of self preservation.

“The leaders of the existing Insurrection entertain the hope that this
Government will ultimately be forced to acknowledge the Independence of
some part of the disaffected region, and that all the Slave States North
of such part will then say, ‘the Union for which we have struggled being
already gone, we now choose to go with the Southern Section.’

“To deprive them of this hope, substantially ends the Rebellion; and the
initiation of Emancipation completely deprives them of it, as to all the
States initiating it. The point is not that all the States tolerating
Slavery would very soon, if at all, initiate Emancipation; but that,
while the offer is equally made to all, the more Northern shall, by such
initiation, make it certain to the more Southern that in no event will
the former ever join the latter in their proposed Confederacy. I say,
‘initiation,’ because in my judgment, gradual, and not sudden
Emancipation, is better for all.

“In the mere financial or pecuniary view, any member of Congress, with
the census tables and Treasury reports before him, can readily see for
himself how very soon the current expenditures of this War would
purchase, at fair valuation, all the Slaves in any named State.

“Such a proposition on the part of the General Government sets up no
claim of a right by Federal authority to interfere with Slavery within
State limits, referring, as it does, the absolute control of the subject
in each case to the State and its people immediately interested. It is
proposed as a matter of perfectly free choice with them.

“In the Annual Message last December, I thought fit to say, ‘the Union
must be preserved; and hence all indispensable means must be employed.’
I said this, not hastily, but deliberately. War has been made, and
continues to be an indispensable means to this end. A practical
reacknowledgment of the National authority would render the War
unnecessary, and it would at once cease. If, however, resistance
continues, the War must also continue; and it is impossible to foresee
all the incidents which may attend, and all the ruin which may follow
it. Such as may seem indispensable, or may obviously promise great
efficiency toward ending the struggle, must and will come.

“The proposition now made, though an offer only, I hope it may be
esteemed no offense to ask whether the pecuniary consideration tendered
would not be of more value to the States and private persons concerned,
than are the Institution, and Property in it, in the present aspect of

“While it is true that the adoption of the proposed resolution would be
merely initiatory, and not within itself a practical measure, it is
recommended in the hope that it would soon lead to important practical
results. In full view of my great responsibility to my God and to my
Country, I earnestly beg the attention of Congress and the People to the

“March 6, 1862.”
In compliance with the above suggestion from the President, a Joint
Resolution, in the precise words suggested, was introduced into the
House, March 10, by Roscoe Conkling, and on the following day was
adopted in the House by 97 yeas to 36 nays.

Of the 36 members of the House who voted against this Resolution, were
34 Democrats, and among them were Messrs. Crisfield of Maryland, and
Messrs. Crittenden, Mallory, and Menzies of Kentucky. These gentleman
afterward made public a report, drawn by themselves, of an interesting
interview they had held with President Lincoln on this important
subject, in the words following:

“‘DEAR SIR:–I called, at the request of the President, to ask you to
come to the White House to-morrow morning, at nine o’clock, and bring
such of your colleagues as are in town.'”
“‘WASHINGTON, March 10, 1862.

“Yesterday on my return from church I found Mr. Postmaster General Blair
in my room, writing the above note, which he immediately suspended, and
verbally communicated the President’s invitation; and stated that the
President’s purpose was to have some conversation with the delegations
of Kentucky, Missouri, Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware, in explanation
of his Message of the 6th inst.

“This morning these delegations, or such of them as were in town,
assembled at the White House at the appointed time, and after some
little delay were admitted to an audience.

“After the usual salutations and we were seated, the President said, in
substance, that he had invited us to meet him to have some conversation
with us in explanation of his Message of the 6th; that since he had sent
it in, several of the gentlemen then present had visited him, but had
avoided any allusion to the Message, and he therefore inferred that the
import of the Message had been misunderstood, and was regarded as
inimical to the interests we represented; and he had resolved he would
talk with us, and disabuse our minds of that erroneous opinion.

“The President then disclaimed any intent to injure the interests or
wound the sensibilities of the Slave States. On the contrary, his
purpose was to protect the one and respect the other; that we were
engaged in a terrible, wasting, and tedious War; immense Armies were in
the field, and must continue in the field as long as the War lasts; that
these Armies must, of necessity, be brought into contact with Slaves in
the States we represented and in other States as they advanced; that
Slaves would come to the camps, and continual irritation was kept up;
that he was constantly annoyed by conflicting and antagonistic
complaints; on the one side, a certain class complained if the Slave was
not protected by the Army; persons were frequently found who,
participating in these views, acted in a way unfriendly to the
Slaveholder; on the other hand, Slaveholders complained that their
rights were interfered with, their Slaves induced to abscond, and
protected within the lines, these complaints were numerous, loud, and
deep; were a serious annoyance to him and embarrassing to the progress
of the War; that it kept alive a spirit hostile to the Government in the
States we represented; strengthened the hopes of the Confederates that
at some day the Border States would unite with them, and thus tend to
prolong the War; and he was of opinion, if this Resolution should be
adopted by Congress and accepted by our States, these causes of
irritation and these hopes would be removed, and more would be
accomplished towards shortening the War than could be hoped from the
greatest victory achieved by Union Armies; that he made this proposition
in good faith, and desired it to be accepted, if at all, voluntarily,
and in the same patriotic spirit in which it was made; that Emancipation
was a subject exclusively under the control of the States, and must be
adopted or rejected by each for itself; that he did not claim nor had
this Government any right to coerce them for that purpose; that such was
no part of his purpose in making this proposition, and he wished it to
be clearly understood; that he did not expect us there to be prepared to
give him an answer, but he hoped we would take the subject into serious
consideration; confer with one another, and then take such course as we
felt our duty and the interests of our constituents required of us.

“Mr. Noell, of Missouri, said that in his State, Slavery was not
considered a permanent Institution; that natural causes were there in
operation which would, at no distant day, extinguish it, and he did not
think that this proposition was necessary for that; and, besides that,
he and his friends felt solicitous as to the Message on account of the
different constructions which the Resolution and Message had received.
The New York Tribune was for it, and understood it to mean that we must
accept gradual Emancipation according to the plan suggested, or get
something worse.

“The President replied, he must not be expected to quarrel with the New
York Tribune before the right time; he hoped never to have to do it; he
would not anticipate events. In respect to Emancipation in Missouri, he
said that what had been observed by Mr. Noell was probably true, but the
operation of these natural causes had not prevented the irritating
conduct to which he had referred, or destroyed the hopes of the
Confederates that Missouri would at some time range herself alongside of
them, which, in his judgment, the passage of this Resolution by
Congress, and its acceptance by Missouri, would accomplish.

“Mr. Crisfield, of Maryland, asked what would be the effect of the
refusal of the State to accept this proposal, and desired to know if the
President looked to any policy beyond the acceptance or rejection of
this scheme.

“The President replied that he had no designs beyond the action of the
States on this particular subject. He should lament their refusal to
accept it, but he had no designs beyond their refusal of it.

“Mr. Menzies, of Kentucky, inquired if the President thought there was
any power, except in the States themselves, to carry out his scheme of

“The President replied, he thought there could not be. He then went off
into a course of remark not qualifying the foregoing declaration, nor
material to be repeated to a just understanding of his meaning.

“Mr. Crisfield said he did not think the people of Maryland looked upon
Slavery as a permanent Institution; and he did not know that they would
be very reluctant to give it up if provision was made to meet the loss,
and they could be rid of the race; but they did not like to be coerced
into Emancipation, either by the direct action of the Government or by
indirection, as through the Emancipation of Slaves in this District, or
the Confiscation of Southern Property as now threatened; and he thought
before they would consent to consider this proposition they would
require to be informed on these points.

“The President replied that ‘unless he was expelled by the act of God or
the Confederate Armies, he should occupy that house for three years, and
as long as he remained there, Maryland had nothing to fear, either for
her Institutions or her interests, on the points referred to.’

“Mr. Crisfield immediately added: ‘Mr. President, what you now say could
be heard by the people of Maryland, they would consider your proposition
with a much better feeling than I fear without it they will be inclined
to do.’

“The President: ‘That (meaning a publication of what he said), will not
do; it would force me into a quarrel before the proper time;’ and again
intimating, as he had before done, that a quarrel with the ‘Greeley
faction’ was impending, he said, ‘he did not wish to encounter it before
the proper time, nor at all if it could be avoided.’

“Governor Wickliffe, of Kentucky, then asked him respecting the
Constitutionality of his scheme.

“The President replied: ‘As you may suppose, I have considered that; and
the proposition now submitted does not encounter any Constitutional
difficulty. It proposes simply to co-operate with any State by giving
such State pecuniary aid;’ and he thought that the Resolution, as
proposed by him, would be considered rather as the expression of a
sentiment than as involving any Constitutional question.

“Mr. Hall, of Missouri, thought that if this proposition was adopted at
all, it should be by the votes of the Free States, and come as a
proposition from them to the Slave States, affording them an inducement
to put aside this subject of discord; that it ought not to be expected
that members representing Slaveholding Constituencies should declare at
once, and in advance of any proposition to them, for the Emancipation of

“The President said he saw and felt the force of the objection; it was a
fearful responsibility, and every gentleman must do as he thought best;
that he did not know how this scheme was received by the Members from
the Free States; some of them had spoken to him and received it kindly;
but for the most part they were as reserved and chary as we had been,
and he could not tell how they would vote.

“And, in reply to some expression of Mr. Hall as to his own opinion
regarding Slavery, he said he did not pretend to disguise his Anti-
Slavery feeling; that he thought it was wrong and should continue to
think so; but that was not the question we had to deal with now.
Slavery existed, and that, too, as well by the act of the North, as of
the South; and in any scheme to get rid of it, the North, as well as the
South, was morally bound to do its full and equal share. He thought the
Institution, wrong, and ought never to have existed; but yet he
recognized the rights of Property which had grown out of it, and would
respect those rights as fully as similar rights in any other property;
that Property can exist, and does legally exist. He thought such a law,
wrong, but the rights of Property resulting must be respected; he would
get rid of the odious law, not by violating the right, but by
encouraging the proposition, and offering inducements to give it up.”

“Here the interview, so far as this subject is concerned, terminated by
Mr. Crittenden’s assuring the President that whatever might be our final
action, we all thought him solely moved by a high patriotism and sincere
devotion to the happiness and glory of his Country; and with that
conviction we should consider respectfully the important suggestions he
had made.

“After some conversation on the current war news we retired, and I
immediately proceeded to my room and wrote out this paper.

“We were present at the interview described in the foregoing paper of
Mr. Crisfield, and we certify that the substance of what passed on the
occasion is in this paper, faithfully and fully given.

“March 10, 1862.”
Upon the passage of the Joint-Resolution in the House only four
Democrats (Messrs. Cobb, Haight, Lehman, and Sheffield) voted in the
affirmative, and but two Republicans (Francis Thomas, and Leary) in the
negative. On the 2nd of April, it passed the Senate by a vote of 32
yeas–all Republicans save Messrs. Davis and Thomson–to 10 nays, all

Meantime the question of the treatment of the “Contraband” in our
Military camps, continued to grow in importance.

On March 26, 1862, General Hooker issued the following order touching
certain Fugitive Slaves and their alleged owners:

“LOWER POTOMAC, March 26, 1862.


“Messrs. Nally, Gray, Dummington, Dent, Adams, Speake, Price, Posey,
and Cobey, citizens of Maryland, have Negroes supposed to be with some
of the regiments of this Division; the Brigadier General commanding
directs that they be permitted to visit all the camps of his command, in
search of their Property, and if found, that they be allowed to take
possession of the same, without any interference whatever. Should any
obstacle be thrown in their way by any officer or soldier in the
Division, they will be at once reported by the regimental commanders to
these headquarters.

“By command of Brigadier General Hooker;

“Assistant Adjutant General.”
On the following day, by direction of General Sickles, the following
significant report was made touching the above order:

“CAMP HALL, March 27, 1862.

“LIEUTENANT:–In compliance with verbal directions from Brigadier
General D. E. Sickles, to report as to the occurrence at this camp on
the afternoon of the 26th instant, I beg leave to submit the following:

“At about 3:30 o’clock P. M., March 26, 1862, admission within our lines
was demanded by a party of horsemen (civilians), numbering, perhaps,
fifteen. They presented the lieutenant commanding the guard, with an
order of entrance from Brigadier General Joseph Hooker, Commanding
Division (copy appended), the order stating that nine men should be

“I ordered that the balance of the party should remain without the
lines; which was done. Upon the appearance of the others, there was
visible dissatisfaction and considerable murmuring among the soldiers,
to so great an extent that I almost feared for the safety of the
Slaveholders. At this time General Sickles opportunely arrived, and
instructed me to order them outside the camp, which I did, amidst the
loud cheers of our soldiers.

“It is proper to add, that before entering our lines, and within about
seventy-five or one hundred yards of our camp, one of their number
discharged two pistol shots at a Negro, who was running past them, with
an evident intention of taking his life. This justly enraged our men.

“All of which is respectfully submitted.

“Your obedient servant,
“Major Commanding Second Regiment, E. B.

“To Lieutenant J. L. PALMER, Jr.,
“A. D. C. and A. A. A. General.”
On April 6, the following important dispatch, in the nature of an order,
was issued by General Doubleday to one of his subordinate officers:

“WASHINGTON, April 6, 1862.

“SIR:–I am directed by General Doubleday to say, in answer to your
letter of the 2d instant, that all Negroes coming into the lines of any
of the camps or forts under his command, are to be treated as persons,
and not as chattels.

“Under no circumstances has the Commander of a fort or camp the power of
surrendering persons claimed as Fugitive Slaves, as it cannot be done
without determining their character.

“The Additional Article of War recently passed by Congress positively
prohibits this.

“The question has been asked, whether it would not be better to exclude
Negroes altogether from the lines. The General is of the opinion that
they bring much valuable information, which cannot be obtained from any
other source. They are acquainted with all the roads, paths, fords, and
other natural features of the country, and they make excellent guides.
They also know and frequently have exposed the haunts of Secession spies
and Traitors and the existence of Rebel organizations. They will not,
therefore, be excluded.

“The General also directs me to say that civil process cannot be served
directly in the camps or forts of his command, without full authority be
obtained from the Commanding Officer for that purpose.

“I am very respectfully, your obedient servant,

“Assistant Adjutant General.

“Lieut. Col. JOHN D. SHANE,
“Commanding 76th Reg. N. Y. Vols.”


On April 3, 1862, the United States Senate passed a Bill to liberate all
Persons of African descent held to Service or Labor within the District
of Columbia, and prohibiting Slavery or involuntary servitude in the
District except as a punishment for crime–an appropriation being made
to pay to loyal owners an appraised value of the liberated Slaves not to
exceed $300 for each Slave. The vote on its passage in the Senate was
29 yeas to 14 nays–all the yeas being Republican, and all but two of
the nays Democratic.

April 11th, the Bill passed the House by 92 yeas to 39 nays–all the
yeas save 5 being Republican, and all the nays, save three, being

April 7, 1862, the House adopted a resolution, by 67 yeas to 52 nays–
all the yeas, save one, Republican, and all the nays, save 12,
Democratic–for the appointment of a Select Committee of nine, to
consider and report whether any plan could be proposed and recommended
for the gradual Emancipation of all the African Slaves, and the
extinction of Slavery in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky,
Tennessee, and Missouri, by the people or local authorities thereof, and
how far and in what way the Government of the United States could and
ought equitably to aid in facilitating either of those objects.

On the 16th President Lincoln sent the following Message to Congress:

“Fellow citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

“The Act entitled ‘An Act for the release of certain Persons held to
Service or Labor in the District of Columbia,’ has this day been
approved and signed.

“I have never doubted the Constitutional authority of Congress to
abolish Slavery in this District; and I have ever desired to see the
National Capital freed from the Institution in some satisfactory way.
Hence there has never been in my mind any question upon the subject
except the one of expediency, arising in view of all the circumstances.

“If there be matters within and about this Act which might have taken a
course or shape more satisfactory to my judgment, I do not attempt to
specify them. I am gratified that the two principles of compensation
and colonization are both recognized and practically applied in the Act.

“In the matter of compensation, it is provided that claims may be
presented within ninety days from the passage of the Act, ‘but not
thereafter;’ and there is no saving for minors, femmes covert, insane,
or absent persons. I presume this is an omission by mere oversight, and
I recommend that it be supplied by an amendatory or Supplemental Act.

“April 16, 1862.”
Subsequently, in order to meet the President’s views, such an amendatory
or Supplemental Act was passed and approved.

But now, Major General Hunter having taken upon himself to issue an
Emancipation proclamation, May 9, 1862, the President, May 19, 1862,
issued a proclamation rescinding it as follows:

“Whereas there appears in the public prints what purports to be a
proclamation of Major General Hunter, in the words and figures
following, to wit:

‘HILTON HEAD, S. C., May 9, 1862.
‘[General Orders No. 11.]

‘The three States of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, comprising
the Military Department of the South, having deliberately declared
themselves no longer under the protection of the United States of
America, and having taken up arms against the said United States, it
becomes a Military necessity to declare them under Martial Law. This
was accordingly done on the 25th day of April, 1862. Slavery and
Martial Law, in a Free Country, are altogether incompatible; the Persons
in these three States–Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina-heretofore
held as Slaves, are therefore declared forever Free.

‘Major-General Commanding.

‘Acting Assistant Adjutant General.’
“And whereas the same is producing some excitement and misunderstanding,

“Therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States, proclaim
and declare, that the Government of the United States had no knowledge,
information, or belief, of an intention on the part of General Hunter to
issue such a proclamation; nor has it yet any authentic information that
the document is genuine. And further, that neither General Hunter, nor
any other Commander, or person, has been authorized by the Government of
the United States to make proclamations declaring the Slaves of any
State Free; and that the supposed proclamation, now in question, whether
genuine or false, is altogether void, so far as respects such

“I further make known that whether it be competent for me, as Commander-
in-Chief of the Army and Navy, to declare the Slaves of any State or
States free, and whether, at any time, in any case, it shall have become
a necessity indispensable to the maintenance of the Government, to
exercise such supposed power, are questions which, under my
responsibility, I reserve to myself, and which I cannot feel justified
in leaving to the decision of Commanders in the field. These are
totally different questions from those of police regulations in armies
and camps.

“On the sixth day of March last, by a Special Message, I recommended to
Congress the adoption of a Joint Resolution to be substantially as

“‘ Resolved, That the United States ought to co-operate with any State
which may adopt a gradual abolishment of Slavery, giving to such State
pecuniary aid, to be used by such State, in its discretion, to
compensate for the inconveniences, public and private, produced by such
change of system.’

“The Resolution, in the language above quoted, was adopted by large
majorities in both branches of Congress, and now stands an authentic,
definite, and solemn proposal of the Nation to the States and people
most immediately interested in the subject-matter. To the people of
those States I now earnestly appeal–I do not argue–I beseech you to
make the argument for yourselves–you cannot, if you would, be blind to
the signs of the times–I beg of you a calm and enlarged consideration
of them, ranging, if it may be, far above personal and partisan
politics. This proposal makes common cause for a common object, casting
no reproaches upon any. It acts not the Pharisee. The changes it
contemplates would come gently as the dews of Heaven, not rending or
wrecking anything. Will you not embrace it? So much good has not been
done, by one effort, in all past time, as, in the providence of God, it
is now your high privilege to do. May the vast future not have to
lament that you have neglected it.

“In witness thereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of
the United States to be affixed.

“Done at the city of Washington this nineteenth day of May, in the year
of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, and of the
Independence of the United States the eighty-sixth.

“By the President. ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

“WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State.”
On June 5th, 1862, General T. Williams issued the following Order:

“BATON ROUGE, June 5, 1862.
“[General Orders No. 46.]

“In consequence of the demoralizing and disorganizing tendencies to the
troops, of harboring runaway Negroes, it is hereby ordered that the
respective Commanders of the camps and garrisons of the several
regiments, Second Brigade, turn all such Fugitives in their camps or
garrisons out beyond the limits of their respective guards and

“By order of Brigadier-General T. Williams:

“Assistant-Adjutant General.”
Lieutenant-Colonel D. R. Anthony, of the Seventh Kansas Volunteers,
commanding a Brigade, issued the following order, at a date subsequent
to the Battle of Pittsburg Landing and the evacuation of Corinth:

“[General Orders No. 26.]

“1. The impudence–and impertinence of the open and armed Rebels,
Traitors, Secessionists, and Southern-Rightsmen of this section of the
State of Tennessee, in arrogantly demanding the right to search our camp
for Fugitive Slaves, has become a nuisance, and will no longer be
tolerated. “Officers will see that this class of men, who visit our
camp for this purpose, are excluded from our lines.

“2. Should any such persons be found within our lines, they will be
arrested and sent to headquarters.

“3. Any officer or soldier of this command who shall arrest and deliver
to his master a Fugitive Slave, shall be summarily and severely
punished, according to the laws relative to such crimes.

“4. The strong Union sentiment in this Section is most gratifying, and
all officers and soldiers, in their intercourse with the loyal, and
those favorably disposed, are requested to act in their usual kind and
courteous manner and protect them to the fullest extent.

“By order of D. R. Anthony, Lieutenant-Colonel Seventh Kansas
Volunteers, commanding:

“Captain and Assistant-Adjutant General.”
Lieutenant-Colonel Anthony was subsequently placed under arrest for
issuing the above order.

It was about this time, also, that General McClellan addressed to
President Lincoln a letter on “forcible Abolition of Slavery,” and “a
Civil and Military policy”–in these terms:


“MR. PRESIDENT:–You have been fully informed that the Rebel Army is in
the front, with the purpose of overwhelming us by attacking our
positions or reducing us by blocking our river communications. I cannot
but regard our condition as critical, and I earnestly desire, in view of
possible contingencies, to lay before your Excellency, for your private
consideration, my general views concerning the existing state of the
Rebellion, although they do not strictly relate to the situation of this
Army, or strictly come within the scope of my official duties. These
views amount to convictions, and are deeply impressed upon my mind and

“Our cause must never be abandoned; it is the cause of Free institutions
and Self-government. The Constitution and the Union must be preserved,
whatever may be the cost in time, treasure, and blood.

“If Secession is successful, other dissolutions are clearly to be seen
in the future. Let neither Military disaster, political faction, nor
Foreign War shake your settled purpose to enforce the equal operation of
the Laws of the United States upon the people of every State.

“The time has come when the Government must determine upon a Civil and
Military policy, covering the whole ground of our National trouble.

“The responsibility of determining, declaring, and supporting such Civil
and Military policy, and of directing the whole course of National
affairs in regard to the Rebellion, must now be assumed and exercised by
you, or our Cause will be lost. The Constitution gives you power, even
for the present terrible exigency.

“This Rebellion has assumed the character of a War; as such it should be
regarded, and it should be conducted upon the highest principles known
to Christian civilization. It should not be a War looking to the
subjugation of the people of any State, in any event. It should not be
at all a war upon population, but against armed forces and political
organizations. Neither Confiscation of property, political executions
of persons, territorial organizations of States, or forcible Abolition
of Slavery, should be contemplated for a moment.

“In prosecuting the War, all private property and unarmed persons should
be strictly protected, subject only to the necessity of Military
operations; all private property taken for Military use should be paid
or receipted for; pillage and waste should be treated as high crimes;
all unnecessary trespass sternly prohibited and offensive demeanor by
the military towards citizens promptly rebuked.

“Military arrests should not be tolerated, except in places where active
hostilities exist; and oaths, not required by enactments,
Constitutionally made, should be neither demanded nor received.

“Military Government should be confined to the preservation of public
order and the protection of political right. Military power should not
be allowed to interfere with the relations of Servitude, either by
supporting or impairing the authority of the master, except for
repressing disorder, as in other cases. Slaves, contraband under the
Act of Congress, seeking Military protection, should receive it.

“The right of the Government to appropriate permanently to its own
service claims to Slave-labor should be asserted, and the right of the
owner to compensation therefor should be recognized.

“This principle might be extended, upon grounds of Military necessity
and security, to all the Slaves of a particular State, thus working
manumission in such State; and in Missouri, perhaps in Western Virginia
also, and possibly even in Maryland, the expediency of such a measure is
only a question of time.

“A system of policy thus Constitutional, and pervaded by the influences
of Christianity and Freedom, would receive the support of almost all
truly Loyal men, would deeply impress the Rebel masses and all foreign
nations, and it might be humbly hoped that it would commend itself to
the favor of the Almighty.

“Unless the principles governing the future conduct of our Struggle
shall be made known and approved, the effort to obtain requisite forces
will be almost hopeless. A declaration of radical views, especially
upon Slavery, will rapidly disintegrate our present Armies.

“The policy of the Government must be supported by concentrations of
Military power. The National Forces should not be dispersed in
expeditions, posts of occupation, and numerous armies, but should be
mainly collected into masses, and brought to bear upon the Armies of the
Confederate States. Those Armies thoroughly defeated, the political
structure which they support would soon cease to exist,

“In carrying out any system of policy which you may form, you will
require a Commander-in-chief of the Army, one who possesses your
confidence, understands your views, and who is competent to execute your
orders, by directing the Military Forces of the Nation to the
accomplishment of the objects by you proposed. I do not ask that place
for myself, I am willing to serve you in such position as you may assign
me, and I will do so as faithfully as ever subordinate served superior.

“I may be on the brink of Eternity; and as I hope forgiveness from my
Maker, I have written this letter with sincerity towards you and from
love for my Country.

“Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

“Major-General Commanding.

“His Excellency A. LINCOLN, President.”
July 12, 1862, Senators and Representatives of the Border Slave-holding
States, having been specially invited to the White House for the
purpose, were addressed by President Lincoln, as follows: