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48

NO GROUND FOL. SECESSION.

I

that any state, when she entered the confederacy, reserved to herself the right whenever she saw fit, to rush to arins, seize the forts and soldiers, and post-offices, and mints, and ships of the United States, is a falsehood on the face of it, too gross to need a reply. And yet this is just what the southern states did. It is, therefore, as before remarked, a waste of breath to argue a question on which no action was ever takeni to discuss a right it was never proposed to claim. The south rushed into rebellion, and unless their act can be justified on the ground that they were grievously oppressed, and had exhausted every peaccable means to obtain redress, as we did previous to our revolt against the mother country, even, as we asserted“ prostrating ourselves at the foot of the throne": in vain appeals, they stand convicted of a crime too heinous to be expressed in language, and which will grow blacker with the lapse of time till "the memory of the wicked shall rot."

If the above succinct narrative of events be correct, it is easy to see that it will be vain for either the north or south to prove itself entirely guiltless before impartial history. The great moral difference between them is—the former was contending against a giant wrong, and the latter defending it—the former never contemplated lifting its hand against the government, while the latter deliberately precipitated us into all the horrors of civil war. The former were unwise in their action and reckless in the manner in which they carried oui iheir political schemes--the latter were traitors in heart, conspirators while professing loyalty, and open rebels at last. This statement of course refers to the leaders. The major

: ity of the southern people, were doubtless deceived, and believed they were in danger of subjugation, and all the horrors attending a sudden cmancipation of the slares.

To return to our summary of cvents, which brought us to the close of February, when a southern confederacy was formed, and the border states were vacillating between the

PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S JOURNEY.

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north and south, we come to tlie arrival of President Lincoln in Washington, February 23, to be inaugurated President of the United States.

When he left Springfield, Ill., the place of his residence, a luge crowd assembled to witness his departure, and express their sympathy with him in the perilous duties before him, In a short speech, he expressed his thanks, and desired their prayers, to which their hearty response was,

pray for you.” The eyes of the Nation were turned towards him in his progress, and every word he uttered to the different assemblages on the way, was carefully noted down, and commented 02. He spoke confidently and hopefully, sopias all die disturbance visible was only an artificial excitonen!." His utterances, though pleasing to many, gave rise to gloomy forebodings in the more thoughtful, who had been anxiously waiting for one to assume the reins of gov. cramciit, that had measured the length and breadth and deptli and height of the gigantic rebellion, who would treat it as a terrible rcalitij.

In the mean time rumors had been circulated that he would be assassinated on the way, or if he succeeded in reaching the Capital, an organized mob would prevent his inauguration and seize the city. General Scott, in command there, had been informed of the pians of the conspirators, and took ineasures to defeat thien.

The President elect, however, had considered these rumors, as exaggerations, and proceeled with his family without anticipating any trouble. But when he reached Philadel. phia, he entered a different atmosphere, and began to awake as from a dream. His honest heart, incapable of guile, or even of conceiving such monstrous atrocity, was compelled at last to admit the terrible truth, that American citizens Bought his life, for no other crime, than that of obeying the voice of the people, and assuming the office to which their

50

INAUGURATION -MESSAGE,

votes had elected him; and when he reached Harrisburg he left his family behind him, and anticipating the train which was to take him, proceeded in disguise by a special train to

United States, should be compelled to steal into the National Capital, like a criminal, in order to enter upon his office, smote every loyal citizen like a personal disgrace. Had it been fully believed beforehand, a half a million of men would have volunteered to escort him there.

The fourth of March, 1861, came without violence, and Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated President of the United States. His message was every where read with the deepest anxiety. Its moderate tone gratified reasonable men, though many felt the want of any stirring appeal to the patriotism of the people. Still, the closing paragraphs, “I am loth 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's 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 nature,” struck a chord of sympathy in every heart. Still, kind and appealing as these words were, they showed that he had not yet comprehended the full measure of human wickedness connected with the rebellion. haps not strange, for the same delusion seemed to rest on those who were to be his chief advisers. Mr. Seward as late as the latter part of December, had said that in “sixty days” we should have a "brighter and more cheerful atmosphere." Those who designed to inflict no wrong, and be guilty of no injustice, could not comprehend the existence of such madness and ferocity as seemed to characterize the southern disunionists,

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Three days after, Peter G. T. Beauregard, late major in the engineer corps of the United States, was ordered by the southern confederacy, to take command of the forces in Charleston, destined to act against fort Sumter; and two weeks later the supplies were cut off from fort Pickens, Florida.

The President in forming his cabinet, seemed not to comprehend the extent of the danger that threatened the Republic. The selection of Mr. Seward as Secretary of State, was regarded as a wise measure. But Mr. Cameron's claims to the responsible position of Secretary of War irere based principally on political considerations. Mr. Holt had manfully stood between the country and ruin, and was rell qualified for the duties of that position. The President, in his trying situation, needed the sympathy of all parties, and should have disregarded the clamor that sought only party ends; and would have been justified in retaining Mr. Holt. The united patriotism of the north, and a change in the course of the administration, alone saved the country from the incalculable evils which would otherwise have resulted from a misconception of its true condition, and the distribution of political rewards.

In the mean time a state convention of Virginia had been called, to take into consideration the proper course for her to pursue in the pending crisis, and commissioners were appointed to confer with the President on his future policy. The sonthern confederacy had also sent commissioners to propose terms of adjustment, without resorting to war. To the former the President made a short reply, doing little more than reaffirming the policy he had proclaimed in his message.

The latter he refused to receive in their alleged capacity as commissioners from an independent government, for it would be recognizing the southern confederacy of seven states.

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SOUTHERN CONSPIRATORS.

The southern leaders had managed their cause with a great deal of adroitness. To the extreme south, they had spoken in glowing terms of the advantages of an independent confederacy. To Virginia they had described the evils she would suffer in case of a civil war, which was sure to follow should the general government attempt coercion of the revolted states, until she insisted, that the only condition on which she could stand by the Union was, that no coercion should be attempted. The conspirators knew this would never be granted. To Kentucky, they pointed to the rejected resolutions of Mr. Crittenden, looking to a peaceful solution of the difficulties. To Maryland—which more than any other state had cause to dread a civil war, should she join her fortunes with the south-the commissioners from Mississippi used the following mild language. "Secession is not intended to break up the present government, but to perpetuate it. We do not propose to go out by way of breaking up or destroying the Union as our fathers gave it to us, but we go out for the purpose of getting further guarantees and security for our rights; not by a convention of all the southern states, nor by congressional tricks, which have failed in times past and will fail again. But our plan is for the southern states to withdraw from the Union for the present, to allow amendments to the Constitution to be made, guaranteeing our just rights; and if the northern states will not make those amendments, by which these rights shall be secured to us, then we must secure them the best way we

This question of slavery must be settled now or never," etc. Nothing could have been more plausible or apparently just than this. It is not surprising that the people of Maryland were deceived by these representations, for many northern men were. The truth was, the southern disunionists did not wish war, and they did not believe it would happen. The state of their finances would not sanction it, to say

can.

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