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CONFEDERATE STATES. At the 3d session of the 11th Congress, in 1811, the dissolution of the Union was spoken of for the first time by a member from the State of Massachusetts, as a possible event of the future. The manner in which this was received by that Congress seemed to indicate that it was looked upon by them almost with sentiments of abhorrence. The circumstances are interesting at this time. The bill to form a Constitution and State Government for the Territory of Orleans, and the admission of such State under the name of Louisiana into the Union, was under consideration.

Mr. Quincy, of Massachusetts, in opposition to the bill, said: "I am compelled to declare it as my deliberate opinion, that if this bill passes, the bonds of this Union are virtually dissolved; that the States which compose it are free from their obligations; and that, as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some, to prepare definitely for a separation, amicably, if they can, violently, if they must."

Mr. Quincy was here called to order by Mr. Poindexter.

Mr. Quincy repeated and justified the remark he had made, which, to save all misapprehension, he committed to writing, in the following words: "If this bill passes, it is my deliberate opinion that it is virtually a dissolution of this Union; that it will free the States from their moral obligation; and as it will be the right of all, so it will be the duty of some, definitely to prepare for a separation, amicably, they can, violently, if they must."

After some little confusion, Mr. Poindexter required the decision of the Speaker, whether it was consistent with the propriety of debate, to use such an expression. He said it was radically wrong for any member to use arguments going to dissolve the Government, and tumble this body itself to dust and ashes. It would be found, from the gentleman's statement of his language, that he had declared the right of any portion of the people to separate.

Mr. Quincy wished the Speaker to decide, for if the gentleman was permitted to debate the question, he should lose one-half of his speech.

The Speaker said that great latitude in debate was generally allowed; and that, by way of argument against a bill, the first part of the gentleman's observations was admissible; but the latter member of the sentence, viz., "That it would be the duty of some States to prepare for a separation, amicably if they can, violently if they must," was contrary to the order of debate.

Mr. Quincy appealed from his decision, and required the ayes and noes on the appeal. The question was stated thus: "Is the decision of the Speaker correct?" And decided, ayes, 53; noes, 56.

Occasionally the subject was alluded to in the progress of time, until it was regarded as a deed to be abhorred, but yet such as might be

both possible and necessary under some circumstances of wrong and oppression.

The war with Great Britain in 1812, was so destructive to the commercial interests of the New England States, that they, to a great extent, withheld and refused their cooperation with the Federal Government. In Massachusetts, the State authorities took decisive measures to prevent the Federal Government from obtaining volunteers. Separation from the Union was discussed and advocated.

Finally public sentiment became so strong that a Convention was held at Hartford, in the State of Connecticut. It was convened to consider the state of affairs, and to devise a remedy. What its view of public affairs might be, and what would be the remedy it might suggest, was too well known to the public to admit of a doubt. Its sessions, like those of the Conventions in the seceding States, were held in secret, or with doors closed against every one except members of the Convention. Whatever were the recommendations of this body, no public action took place upon them, in consequence of the cessation of hostilities, and the speedy conclusion of peace with Great Britain.

The result of this Convention was to recognize and reaffirm the principle or doctrine which had hitherto been unofficially, and only by individuals announced, that a separation of the States, or a dissolution of the Union, or rather a withdrawal of a State or States from the Union, could, under some circumstances, be rightful and just. This justification would be found to arise from acts of oppression and wrong persistently enforced by the Federal Government. So slow were the people of the United States to recognize the right of revolution as against their own admirably formed system of government, and so attached and loyal were they to this system of government, that the members of the Convention at Hartford were ever after refused all public favor, and carried with them the frowns of the people down to their graves.

The institution of domestic slavery had always been repugnant to a large number of conscientious persons in the Northern and Southern States, but more extensively in the former. Upon the application of the State of Missouri to become a member of the Union in 1819, opposition was made, which was based upon hostility to the extension of the institution of slavery. At this time the strife ran so high as to present to the consideration of the people the question of a separation of the States, and render it more familiar to their minds. This difficulty was satisfactorily adjusted.

The subject now disappeared from the public mind until the years 1831 and '32, when the State of South Carolina took the ground that the tariff act passed by Congress in 1828, was not only unconstitutional, but so unjust and oppressive in its operation against her that it should not be executed within her limits. The issue joined in this case did not present

the true point involved. It became a question of strength between the Federal Government and the State. The State herself was divided in sentiment. The Federal Government made concessions, and all open signs of strife disappeared. In this instance, the acts of oppression and wrong could not be stated in precise words, nor estimated in figures. They were not of such a positive and flagrant character that the world could see or comprehend them. Hence the course of South Carolina at that time has not been approved by the sentiment of mankind. By this difficulty a great stride was taken towards a solution of the problem of a separation of the States. The State and the Federal Government reached the actual borders of a violent struggle.

the steps which they believed to be necessary to carry out their long-threatened purpose. It may not be altogether out of place in these pages to ask if they were justified in beginning these proceedings? In answer, it may be asked if the slaveholding States were suffering at that time, under the hand of the Federal Government, such oppression and such wrongs as justify the exercise of the sacred right of revolu tion? They were not. Did they fear the speedy infliction of such wrongs as would jus tify the exercise of the right of revolution? This question is asked on the presumption that the apprehension of wrongs and oppression will justify revolution; and, for the sake of the argument, let it be granted. On this question turns the whole case. Did they fear and apEnough had been seen of the operation of the prehend these wrongs? and were their fears Government to prove that this question of sep- just and well founded? The debates at the 2d aration of a State or States from the Union, was session of the 37th Congress, contain the views one which the American people must some time of Southern Senators and Representatives. meet and decide. Indeed, it may be declared, (See CONGRESS, U. S.) According to these stateas a general principle, that if the right of revo- ments such were their fears and apprehensions. lution is sacred, such is the tendency of all hu- South Carolina, after adopting an ordinance of man government, either through ignorance or secession, issued a declaration of grievances, negligence, or from a wilful purpose, at some which consist of past injuries she has suffered. period, to persist in oppressive and unjust meas- (See SOUTH CAROLINA.) This point was also ures, that none can escape the bitter experience discussed in the South Carolina State Convenof internal bloodshed. In other words, if those tion. The views there entertained, are shown who have power will oppress, then those who in the following debate: are oppressed, or who think they are oppressed, or who suppose they are about to be oppressed, will certainly resist, or they must consent to become slaves.

At this time, political agitation for the abolition of slavery commenced. This brought out, in 1835, political agitation for its defence and protection. Small and insignificant at first, this contest grew into a territic flame. The latter party always asserted that, under a just and strict administration of the Government according to the Constitution, their rights were safe, and slavery, as an institution, could not be essentially damaged. At the same time, they boldly and fully declared that, if the time should ever come when they should be convinced that they could not retain their rights as slaveholders and slaveholding States, within the Union and under the administration of the Federal Government, they then should seek those rights and that protection without the Union. In other words, a separation or dissolution of the Union was to be the alternative of the triumph of one side, and the defeat of the other. With an astonishing indifference, apparently, the mass of the people witnessed this contest. It can be explained only upon the supposition, that the attachment to the Union of all the States was so great, and its civil and social advantages so conspicuous that none were ready to believe a serious purpose for its destruction could be formed. Finally, on the 4th of November, 1860, the issue was decided. The political agitators for the limitation or abolition of slavery, triumphed over the political agitators for its defence and protection. The latter party immediately took

Mr. Parker: "Mr. President, it appears to me, with great deference to the opinions that have been expressed, that the public mind is fully made up to the great occasion that now awaits us. It is no spasmodic effort that has come suddenly upon us, but it has been gradually culminating for a long series of years, until at last it has come to that point when we may say the matter is entirely right.”

Mr. Inglis: "Mr. President, if there is any gentleman present who wishes to debate this matter, of course this body will hear him; but as to delay, for the purpose of a discussion, I for one am oppposed to it. As my friend (Mr. Parker) has said, most of us have had this matter under consideration for the last twenty years, and I presume we have by this time arrived at a decision upon the subject."

Mr. Keitt: "Sir, we are performing a great act, which involves not only the stirring pres ent, but embraces the whole great future of ages to come. I have been engaged in this movement ever since I entered political life. I am content with what has been done to-day, and content with what will take place to-mor row. We have carried the body of this Union to its last resting-place, and now we will drop the flag over its grave. After that is done, I am ready to adjourn, and leave the remaining ceremonies for to-morrow."

Mr. Rhett: "The secession of South Carolina is not an event of a day. It is not any thing 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. The election of Lincoln

and Hamlin was the last straw on the back of the camel. But it was not the only one. The back was nearly broken before. The point upon which I differ from my friend is this: He says he thought it expedient for us to put this great question before the world upon this simple matter of wrongs on the question of slavery, and that question turned upon the fugitive slave law. Now, in regard to the fugitive slave law, I myself doubt its constitutionality, and I doubted it on the floor of the Senate, when I was a member of that body. The States, acting in their sovereign capacity, should be responsible for the rendition of fugitive slaves. That was our best security."

So, in the correspondence of Messrs. Rost, Yancey, and Mann, with Lord John Russell, the right of separation is placed on other grounds. (See DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE OF CONFEDERATE STATES, also PUBLIO DOCUMENTS, Messages of President Davis.) Admitting, then, notwithstanding these various statements, that fears of wrongs and destruction to the institution of slavery were entertained, and that such apprehensions, if well founded, are a justification of revolution; yet, on this point, it is sufficient to state the fact, that the Federal Government has always been ready to compromise in her difficulties with any State. If it had meditated evil in the new hands in which it has been placed, of which not the first sign had yet appeared, its hands would have been tied by the action of nearly half the voters in the sixteen Northern States, and by the action of all the voters in the fifteen Southern States. On the secession of the State of Georgia, one of her citizens used this language:

"Posterity will regard the act as wanting in statesmanship, and the greatest folly ever committed by a great and prosperous people. But undue prosperity begets luxury and restlessness, and grave deeds are often committed without reflection or reason. Posterity will censure the act of secession, for the reason that the seceding States, in their several Conventions, made no demands for the redress of grievances, but madly-yea, blindly-precipitated a revolution. To stand justified in the eye of the future, and before the scrutiny of civilization, we should demand redress in a Convention of all the States."

The first public act which took place, having for its ultimate object the formation of a Southern Confederacy, was the call for a State Convention in South Carolina. This resulted in the secession of that State, and was followed rapidly by the secession of Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. The preliminary proceedings which have come to light are too important to be overlooked. The first public step is to be found described in a letter from the Colonel of the Ordnance, H. K. Craig, to the Secretary of War, Joseph Holt, dated January 15, 1861, stating the number of rifles and muskets sent to the Southern States during the year 1860. It is as follows:

"SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the reference of a letter from the Hon. B. Stanton, asking for a statement of the distribution of arms from the armories to the arsenals and other places of deposit for safe keeping, from the 1st of January, 1860, to that of January 1, 1861, &c.

"In compliance with your directions, I have the honor to report that on the 30th day of December, 1859, an order was received from the War Department directing the transfer of one hundred and fifteen thousand muskets from the Springfield (Mass.) and Watervliet (N. Y.) arsenals to different arsenals at the South. Orders were given in obedience to these instructions on the 30th of May, 1860, and the arms were removed during the past spring from and to the places as follows:

"From Springfield armory sixty-five thou sand percussion muskets, calibre sixty-nine hundredths of an inch.

"From Watertown arsenal six thousand percussion rifles, calibre fifty-four hundredths of an inch.

"From Watervliet arsenal four thousand percussion rifles, calibre fifty-four hundredths of an inch. "Of which there were sent as follows:

Percussion Muskets. Altd. Makts, P. Rifles.

Charleston (S. C.) arsenal... 9,280 5,720 2,000
North Carolina arsenal..... 15,408
Augusta (Ga.) arsenal...... 12,380
Mount Vernon, Ala
Baton Rouge, La...

........

.........

9,280 18,520

9,520 2,000 7,620 2,000

5,720 2,000 11,420

2,000

"The arms thus transferred, which were at the Charleston arsenal, the Mount Vernon arsenal, and the Baton Rouge arsenal, have been seized by the authorities of the several States of South Carolina, Alabama, and Louisiana, and are no longer in possession of the Ordnance Department. Those stored at the Augusta arsenal and at North Carolina are still in charge of officers of this Department.

"In addition to the foregoing, there have been transfers from the armories to different arsenals, as the exigencies of the service demanded, for immediate issues to the army and to the States, under the act of April 23, 1808, and which I infer are not intended to be embraced in the call of the House of Representatives."

On the 29th of October, 1860, Gen. Winfield Scott sent to the President and Secretary of War a letter, containing "views suggested by the imminent danger of a disruption of the Union by the secession of one or more of the Southern States." In this paper he suggested certain measures of precaution which should be taken. by the Government to prevent the anticipated disruption. Why they were not adopted will presently appear. So much of them as appertain to the steps proper for the Government to take, were as follows:

-:

"From a knowledge of our Southern population it is my solemn conviction that there is some danger of an early act of rashness preliminary to secession, viz., the seizure of some or

all of the following posts: Forts Jackson and St. Philip in the Mississippi, below New Or leans, both without garrisons; Fort Morgan, below Mobile, without a garrison; Forts Pick ens and McRae, Pensacola harbor, with an insufficient garrison for one; Fort Pulaski, below Savannah, without a garrison; Forts Moultrie and Sumter, Charleston harbor, the former with an insufficient garrison, and the latter without any; and Fort Monroe, Hampton Roads, without a sufficient garrison. In my opinion, all these works should be immediately so garrisoned as to make any attempt to take any one of them, by surprise or coup de main, ridiculous.

"With the army faithful to its allegiance, and the navy probably equally so, and with a Federal Executive, for the next twelve months, of firmness and moderation, which the country has a right to expect-moderation being an element of power not less than firmness-there is good reason to hope that the danger of secession may be made to pass away without one conflict of arms, one execution, or one arrest for treason. "In the mean time it is suggested that exports should remain as free as at present; all duties, however, on imports, collected, (outside of the cities,*) as such receipts would be needed for the national debt, invalid pensions, &c., and only articles contraband of war be refused admittance. But even this refusal would be unnecessary, as the foregoing views eschew the idea of invading a seceded State.

"WINFIELD SCOTT.

"NEW YORK, October 29, 1860."

The copy sent to Secretary of War, Floyd, contains these additional remarks:

"It will be seen that the 'Views' only apply to a case of secession that makes a gap in the present Union. The falling off say of Texas, or of all the Atlantic States, from the Potomac south, was not within the scope of General S.'s provisional remedies.

"It is his opinion that instructions should be given, at once, to the commanders of the Barancas, Forts Moultrie and Monroe, to be on their guard against surprises and coups de main. As to regular approaches, nothing can be said or done, at this time, without volunteers.

"There is one (regular) company at Boston, one here, (at the Narrows,) one at Pittsburgh, one at Augusta, Ga., and one at Baton Rouge-in all five companies only, within reach, to garrison or reinforce the forts mentioned in the Views.' "General Scott is all solicitude for the safety of the Union. He is, however, not without hope that all dangers and difficulties will pass away without leaving a scar or painful recollec

tion behind.

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In forts or on board ships of war. The great aim and

object of this plan was to gain time-say eight or ten months-to await expected measures of conciliation on the

The part taken by the Secretary of War in favor of the seceding States was not made apparent until some months later. On the 1st of April, three months after the resignation of the Secretary, there appeared at Richmond, Virginia, a eulogy of him which vindicates his patriotism to the Confederate States by a statement of facts:

"All who have attended to the developments of the last three months, and know aught of the movements of the Buchanan Administration up to the time of Floyd's resignation, will justify the assertion that the Southern Confederacy would not and could not be in existence at this hour but for the action of the late Secretary of War. The plan invented by Gen. Scott to stop secession was, like all campaigns devised by him, very able in its details, and nearly certain of general success: The Southern States are full of arsenals and forts, commanding their rivers and strategic points. Gen. Scott desired to transfer the army of the United States to these forts as speedily and as quietly as possi ble. Had he succeeded in doing so, revolution would have been paralyzed in the whole South, and the submissionist party would have been organized on a very different footing from what we now know. The Southern States could not have cut off communication between the Government and the forts without a great fleet, which they cannot build for years, or take them by land without one hundred thousand men, many hundred millions of dollars, and several campaigns, and many a bloody siege. Had Gen. Scott been enabled to get those forts in the condition he desired them to be, the Southern Confederacy would not now exist.

War is necessary to the movement of troops; "But the cooperation of the Secretary of and in lieu of cooperating, the Secretary of War thwarted, objected, resisted, and forbade. Every day saw the battle fought in President Buchanan's Cabinet, and every day the solitary champion of the South was forced closer to the corner of the wall. That day came when he was fairly beaten. He resigned, but not with stealth or shame; he resigned with a clap of thunder. While the Administration was giving the orders for the military occupation of the Southern country, it was actually in negotiation with the Commissioners of South Carolina. This fact, if made clearly manifest, sufficiently unveiled the design and the character of the Cabinet, and, causing his resignation to turn on that specification, the Secretary drew the eyes of the entire world on that one focus. The Southern leaders awoke to a sense of their position, and perceiving that if they gave s week's respite to a plot actually in course of execution they were hopelessly lost, they sent over the country the orders which led to the popular seizure of all the forts in the South except two."

By these movements the seceding States were

part of the North, and the subsidence of angry feelings in protected from the military arm of the Govern

the opposite quarter.

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