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THE INAUGURATION OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN.

of Providence, and with devout petitions for future guidance and direction from the Supreme Being. After the close of the ceremonies, the signing of the Provisional Constitution by the members of the assembled Congress ensued. Great exultation prevailed throughout Montgomery on that day; and at night the general rapture was displayed by fireworks, by melodies from brass bands, and by all the usual methods of joyful popular demonstration.

Thus at last the Southern Confederacy was fully and permanently organized. Immediately afterward the members of the Cabinet of Mr. Davis were confirmed by the Congress without hesitation. They immediately entered upon the duties of their several offices. One of the first acts of the President was to appoint General Peter G. T. Beauregard, late a major in the United States engineer corps, to proceed to Charleston, and take command of the forces assembled there for the attack and capture of Fort Sumter.

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While the attention of the seceding States was occupied by those events, the chief interest of the nation was engrossed by the events transpiring at Washington. On the 4th of March, 1861, Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated as President of the United States, and assumed the functions of his high office. No man ever inherited a more difficult or a more perilous post than fell to his lot. No man ever left a government in a more wretched state of anarchy and confusion than his predecessor had done. Mr. Lincoln delivered an Inaugural Address characterized by great moderation, by extreme prudence, and by practical sagacity; and the nation derived fresh confidence from its manly tone and spirit, in his fitness for the anomalous position in which he was placed. He selected his Cabinet with equal judgment and felicity. William H. Seward, one of the most able and eminent of living American statesmen, was appointed Secretary of State. Simon Cameron, an adroit and experienced man of business, became Secretary of War. Gideon Welles, already favorably known for his official ability, became Secretary of the Navy. Salmon P. Chase, one of the most accomplished and profound financiers of the day was placed at the head of the Treasury. Caleb B. Smith took charge of the Interior; Montgomery Blair presided in the Post Office Department, Edward Bates became Attorney-General.

On the 21st of March, Alexander H. Stephens, Vice President of the Southern Confederacy, delivered a memorable speech in the city of Savannah, which was commended by his partisans as a prodigious achievement of logical ability and skill. The professed purpose of this oration was to describe and to defend the leading principles of the Constitution of the Rebel Republic. It was regarded by the secessionists as an unassailable and impregnable bulwark of their peculiar institutions. Its delivery was a prominent event in the establishment of the new gov ernment. It was cited as a representative speech uttered by a represen

tative man, and it was applauded as the greatest intellectual monument erected by their statesmen during the progress of the war. As it will always retain an historical importance and significance, we may be per mitted briefly to examine some of its leading positions.

Mr. Stephens commenced his oration by observing in substance, that the preeminent and most valuable ingredient of the Southern Constitution was its admirable settlement of the whole subject of slavery, by which that vexed question was clearly defined and practically adjusted forever. He then proceeded to say that the founders of the Federal Government, Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, and their associates, maintained the position that slavery was a violation of the laws of nature; that they believed it to be inherently wrong, socially, morally and politically; and that they indulged the hope that at some future time it would be wholly abolished and removed. This opinion, Mr. Stephens asserted, was false. The sages of the Revolutionary era were in error. Their views were limited, superficial, absurd. He had discovered that slavery is not a violation of the laws of nature; that it is not wrong, socially, morally or politically. Nor was it destined to be evanescent, and eventually to pass away.

Such was Mr. Stephens' bold and positive assertion. But where is the proof that the founders of the Federal Government on this point were in error? None whatever is adduced in this speech. Not a single argument is advanced by the orator to demonstrate it. He makes a simple and unsupported declaration to that effect. It then becomes a mere question of veracity and authority between A. H. Stephens on the one side, and those whose wisdom and sagacity he calls in question on the other. Either he is right, and Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, and their associates were wrong; or their judgments were correct and his erroneous. Mr. Stephens having placed the argument and the issue on this basis, thereby imposed upon his opponents the necessity of inquiring who possesses the greater weight of authority, he, or the Federal founders ? The real question to be decided is: Will A. H. Stephens outweigh in the scales of authority the vast and powerful gravitation of those renowned sages, philosophers and statesmen? We imagine that he will not. In any instance in which he and they would be balanced against each other, his authority would be as the weight of a feather against the ponderosity of an Alp. Hence it was an act of weakness on his part to put the argument on that ground; and that weakness demonstrated the folly of those who applauded his speech in such extravagant terms. He makes an issue before the public, which issue an impartial public must, at a single glance, discover to be so overwhelmingly against him that an adverse decision of their judgments is instantly and inevitably extorted from them.

Mr. Stephens' second position was the most important, and also the most fallacious, contained in his speech. He asserted that the Southern Re

FOUNDATION STONE OF THE SOUTHERN CONFEDERACY. 87

public was based upon the great principle that the "negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition; and he adds with exultation, that the new government "was the first in the history of the world based on that great physical, philosophical and moral truth." We will not deny that the latter part of this declaration may be true. The boundless and immeasurable absurdity of a professedly free government being based, and absolutely founded, on a despotic and tyrannical dogma such as the worst tyrants who ever trampled human rights in the dust, and defied all laws human and divine would have approved and applauded; that monstrous contradiction we verily believe has never before been perpetrated by any race of rational beings. It is a glory belonging not to Turkish, or Russian, or Austrian autocrats, but to the enlightened statesmen of the Southern Confederacy alone!

But in itself considered this declaration of Mr. Stephens set forth first, a great falsehood, and second, if it were true, it was a most iniquitous and execrable principle on which to establish any government, and especially a government which called itself a Republic. We affirm that it is a false assertion that the negro is essentially and inherently an inferior race, as regards his natural, intellectual and moral capabilities of culture. That he has been made thus inferior, that he now is so, that he may for ages remain inferior, is unquestionable. But that he would have been inferior if surrounded by the same elevating influences which the white races have enjoyed is not proved. If the negro be inferior in the United States to the white man, is that fact not to be attributed to the despotism and prejudice under which he has always lived? How could it be otherwise, when, from the day on which the race was transported hither to the present time, it has been fewer in number than the whites, destitute of means of improvement, ground into the dust by tyranny, enervated by degrading and exhausting labor, and their minds shut out by a stronger power from the genial influences of education, science, art, liberty and social improvement. It is evident that if the relative positions of the races had been exchanged, if the first inhabitants of the North American colonies had been free negroes, if a few whites of the lowest grade from Ireland, Germany or England, had been transported hither as slaves, and if they and their descendants had existed for several centuries precisely as negroes have lived during that interval, they would now occupy the same relative position in intelligence with regard to the rival race which the negroes do at the present hour.

The truth of this conjecture is demonstrated by the fact that, in cases where negroes have enjoyed favorable influences and opportunities, they have attained a degree of culture and intelligence very far in advance of the status of those negroes who are condemned to endure a life of bondage. This fact proves the capability of the race for improvement. It is useless to adduce many instances which go to illustrate that capability; because

one solitary example would establish the truth of the position as well as hundreds; and with some such examples all men are familiar. But no absurdity is greater than the assertion that in the abstract, and by nature, when living under equally favorable influences, the negro is necessarily and normally inferior to the white race. It cannot be proved, because no case has ever existed in which an equal opportunity was afforded to a whole community of negroes; therefore no decision against their equality as a race can be derived with conclusive certainty from historical facts.

To meet the surprise and disgust with which Mr. Stephens justly suspected that this sentiment would be received, he proceeded to argue that this great truth which the Southern Republic had discovered and had made the corner-stone of its structure, might be very tardy in gaining the assent of mankind; but that fact would be no argument against its truthfulness, because other great and true principles had been equally slow in their diffusion, and yet had at last attained universal supremacy over the convictions of men. Thus it was, said he, with the discoveries of Galileo in Astronomy, and with the principles of Adam Smith in Political Economy. It was no argument against the truthfulness of their doctrines, that it required a long lapse of time before the world appreciated and believed them. It would be so, he added, with this new discovery of the statesmen of the Southern Confederacy. But, unfortunately, the opposition of mankind to new doctrines is no evidence of their absolute truthfulness. If men have long opposed novelties founded in truth, they have also opposed novelties founded in error with equal obstinacy. Hence the opposition of men to new doctrines is no argument either way. If it were an argument to establish the excellence of a principle, then the opposition which has, during many years, resisted the claims of the Mormons to credibility, would be an evidence in favor of their veracity. To deduce the truth of any new dogma from the fact that men condemn and oppose it, is therefore a non sequitur.

This memorable argument of Mr. Stephens concluded, so far as the question of slavery, was concerned, with the declaration that slavery, a condition of inferiority, was not only the natural and legitimate position of the negro, but that experience had also taught, "that it was best for him." What a marvelous specimen of logical absurdity and fallacy is here? The negro is inferior, degraded and debased; therefore it is right to enslave him. But it is found by experience that slavery, which retains him in this inferior, degraded and debased condition, "is best for him." Therefore it is best for a certain race of men to remain inferior, degraded and debased. It is a legitimate inference which follows from this premise, that whatever is best for one race must be advantageous for all races; hence, if it is best for the negro thus to be inferior, degraded and debased, it is also most desirable for all mankind so to be. Any government based on so monstrous and absurd a foundation, carries within its own bosom the elements of its inevitable destruction.

THE MISSION OF MR. YANCEY TO EUROPE.

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CHAPTER V.

THE MISSION OF MR. YANCEY AND HIS ASSOCIATES TO EUROPE THEIR REPRESENTATIONS TO THE FRENCH AND ENGLISH PEOPLE-EVENTS AT CHARLESTON-THE REBEL COMMISSIONERS AT WASHINGTON—THEIR ABSURD DEPORTMENT GEN. BEAUREGARD DEMANDS THE SURRENDER OF FORT SUMTER-MAJOR ANDERSON RESPECTFULLY DECLINES-PREPARATIONS FOR THE BOMBARDMENT OF THE FORT-SIZE AND STRENGTH OF THE WORKSSKETCH OF MAJOR ANDERSON-SKETCH OF GEN. BEAUREGARD-COMMENCEMENT OF THE BOMBARDMENT-HEROISM OF THE GARRISON-INCIDENTS OF THE FIRST DAY'S ATTACKEVENTS OF THE ENSUING NIGHT-THE CONTINUANCE OF THE BOMBARDMENT DURING THE NEXT DAY-SUFFERINGS OF THE GARRISON-EX-SENATOR WIGFALL-A DEPUTATION FROM GEN. BEAUREGARD-PROPOSITIONS OF SURRENDER-THEY ARE ACCEPTED BY MAJOR ANDERSON-EXULTATION OF THE REBELS-WHY THE GARRISON WAS NOT REINFORCEDPROCLAMATION OF GOVERNOR LETCHER-PROCLAMATION OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN.

SOON after the organization of the Southern Confederacy, as has been already narrated, an important step was taken to obtain its recognition as an independent and established government by the leading sovereignties of Europe. A commission was appointed to proceed to England and France, of whom William L. Yancey was the chief, whose duty it was to effect that desirable result. It is curious to note the grounds upon which success in this enterprise, the importance of which is admitted, and need not be discussed, was based by the Rebel cabinet and their emissaries.

It was urged in the South-and when the commissioners arrived in Europe they repeated the same representations there-that the Union was irretrievably destroyed; that the seven seceding States would never will. ingly return to the Federal Government; and that the idea of compelling them so to do was absurd and visionary in the extreme. It remained therefore to consider what the interests of England and France would be in reference to this new government, whose separate and permanent existence should now be accepted as an unquestionable and inevitable fact. The commissioners asserted that "England must have cotton;" and in that great overwhelming want lay the absolute necessity that she should recognize the new government, and enter into a treaty of commerce with it. Nowhere else on the globe could this indispensable staple be produced in sufficient quantities, except in the Southern States. As soon as England perceived-as in a few months they asserted she would perceive —that thousands of her own manufacturing population were starving for the want of this commodity, her ships would force the blockade of the southern ports, and recommence the trade which had been suspended. The commissioners declared that the cotton crop for the summer of 1861 would be as abundant as usual, after making allowance for the greater proportion of corn and wheat which had been planted and sown. A

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