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sibility of inaugurating civil war, and deemed forbearance his duty; not because he was restrained by any agreement or understanding whatever. Looking at the glorious results of the war, and remembering how wondrously Providence has dealt with us in its progress, and how sublimely the firing upon, instead of from, Fort Sumter, served to arouse, instruct, and unite the nation, and to inflame its martial and patriotic spirit, we stand awe struck and mute; and that man would be bold indeed who, in the presence of all that has occurred, should now venture to maintain that the policy of forbearance was not at the moment the true policy.”

Nor, as is well known, did this policy of forbearance cease with Mr. Buchanan's administration. It was continued for some time after Mr. Lincoln's inauguration, and to a degree much beyond anything of the kind under his predecessor. They even went so far (according to Judge Black's statement, which I have not seen contradicted) as to vote six to one in Cabinet in favor of surrendering Fort Sumter! Strange, indeed, if such were the fact! But, be this as it may, we have the undoubted testimony of the Hon. Gideon Welles, the able and courteous Secretary of the Navy during the administrations of Presidents Lincoln and Johnson, that extreme leniency was practised towards the people in the southern States up to the firing upon Fort Sumter; and this may be taken as evincing on the part of Mr. Lincoln and his Cabinet the strongest approbation of Mr. Buchanan's line of policy, much more restrained to be sure, in the same direction. Allow me to reproduce here some of Mr. Welles's observations, as given in The Galaxy of July last on this point. He remarks :

“At the time of Mr. Lincoln's inauguration, and for several weeks thereafter, he and others indulged the hope of a peaceful solution of the pending questions, and a desire, amounting almost to a belief, that Virginia and the other border States might, by forbearance and a calm and conciliatory policy, continue faithful to the Union. Two-thirds of the convention then in session at Richmond were elected as opponents of secession, and the people of that State were in about that proportion opposed to it. But the Union element in the convention and out of it was passive and acquiescent, while the secessionists were positive, aggressive, and violent; and, as is almost always the case in revolutionary times, the aggressive force continually increased in strengh and exactions at the expense of those who were peacefully inclined. It was charged that the new administration was inimical to the South, was hostile to Southern institutions, and would use its power to deprive the people and States of their rights by coercive measures. In order to counteract these unfounded prejudices and to do away with these misrepresentations, which were embarrassing to the administration just launched upon a turbulent sea, and to conciliate the people of Virginia and the convention then in session, the President desired that there should be no step taken which would give offence, and to prevent any cause of irritation, he desired that not even the ordinary local political changes which are usual on a change of administration should be made. In regard to the navy-yard at Norfolk, he was particularly solicitous that there should be no action taken which would indicate a want of confidence in the authorities and people, or which would be likely to beget distrust. No ships were to be withdrawn, no fortifications erected. ..

“Not until the last of March did the President fully and finally decide to attempt to relieve Fort Sumter. .

“The attempt to relieve Major Anderson, though a military question, was a political necessity. It became a duty of the Government after all conciliatory efforts were exhausted."

In allusion to his order of April 18, 1861, to Commodore Paulding, “to proceed forthwith to Norfolk and take command of all the naval forces there afloat,” and “ with the means placed at his command to do all in his power to protect and place beyond danger the vessels and property belonging to the United States,” he says:

“This order was to repel, not to assail; the administration continued to be forbearing, and to the last was not aggressive. Extreme men were dissatisfied and censorious because the administration did not attack, though not prepared. On to Sumter was the word, as at a later period the cry, equally inconsiderate, was, 'On to Richmond.'”

Without specifying the many slanders promulgated against Mr. Buchanan in respect to his conduct and sentiments touching the war after its commencement and during its progress, I think the time has arrived to lay before the public extracts of letters from him in my possession, which ought to remove the false impressions that many persons have no doubt honestly entertained on the subject, from too confident a reliance upon reckless partisan statements. I shall omit, mostly, those parts of a personal or private nature, confining myself mainly to his observations upon public affairs. His first letter, which I will offer, is dated

“WHEATLAND, NEAR LANCASTER, July 13, 1861. MY DEAR SIR, — My late severe illness has hitherto prevented me from acknowledging the receipt of your kind letter of May last.

* The future of our country presents a dark cloud through which my vision cannot penetrate. The assault upon Fort Sumter was the commencement of war by the Confederate States, and no alternative was left but to prosecute it with vigor on our part. Up to and until all social and political relations ceased between the secession leaders and myself, I had often warned them that the North would rise to a man against them if such an assault were made. No alternative seems now to be left but to prosecute hostilities, unless the seceding States shall return to their allegiance, or until it shall be demonstrated that this object, which is nearest my heart, cannot be accomplished. From present appearances it seems certain that they would accept no terms of compromise short of an absolute recognition of their independence, which is impossible. I am glad that General Scott does not underrate the strength of his enemy, which would be a great fault in a commander. With all my heart and soul I wish him success. I think that some very unfit military appointments have been made, from which we may suffer in some degree in the beginning, but ere long merit will rise to its appropriate station. It was just so at the commencement of the war of 1812. I was rejoiced at the appointment of General Dix, and believe he will do both himself and the country honor. "Very respectfully, your friend,


“WHEATLAND, September 18, 1861. MY DEAR SIR-I think I can perceive in the public mind a more fixed, resolute, and determined purpose than ever to prosecute the war to a successful termination with all the men and means in our power. Enlistments are now proceeding much more rapidly than a few weeks ago, and I am truly glad of it. The time has passed for offering compromises and terms of peace to the seceded States. We well know that under existing circumstances, they would accept of nothing less than a recognition of their independence, which it is impossible that we should grant. There is a time for all things under the sun, but surely this is not the moment for paralyzing the arm of the national administration by a suicidal conflict among ourselves, but for bold, energetic, and united action. The Democratic party has ever been devoted to the Constitution and the Union, and I rejoice that among the many thousands who have rushed to their defence in this hour of peril, a large majority belong to that timehonored party.

"I sat down to write you a few lines, but find that my letter has swelled into large proportions.

“From your friend,

“Very respectfully,


“WHEATLAND, NEAR LANCASTER, November 12, 1861. “MY DEAR SIR,— . . . By the by, it is difficult to imagine how it was possible to mystify so plain a subject under the laws of war as an exchange of prisoners with the rebels, so as to make it mean a recognition in any form, however remote, of their confederacy. It admits nothing but that your enemy, whether pirate, rebel, Algerine, or regular government, has got your soldiers in his possession. The exchange admits nothing beyond. The laws of humanity are not confined to any other limit. The more barbarous and cruel the enemy, the greater is the necessity for an exchange, because the greater is the danger that they will shed the blood of your soldiers. I do not apply this remark to the Confederate States, and only use it by way of illustration. I believe they have not treated their prisoners cruelly.

“They do not seem to understand at Washington another plain prin. ciple of the law of nations, and that is, that while the capture and confiscation of private property at sea is still permissible, this is not the case on land. Such are all the authorities. The Treaty of Ghent recognized slaves as private property, and therefore they were to be restored; and we paid for all our army consumed in Mexico. The rebels have violated this law in the most reckless manner.

“From your friend,
“Very respectfully,


“WHEATLAND, January 28, 1862. “MY DEAR SIR,-... I do most earnestly hope that our army may be able to do something effective before the first of April. If not, there is great danger not merely of British but of European interference. There will then be such a clamor for cotton among the millions of operatives dependent upon it for bread, both in England and on the Continent, that I fear for the blockade.

“From my heart I wish Stanton success, not only for his own sal ut for that of the country. . . I believe him to be a truly honest man, who will never sanction corruption, though he may not be quite able to grapple with treason as the lion grapples with his prey. “I remain, very respectfully, your friend,


“WHEATLAND, NEAR LANCASTER, February 10, 1862. “MY DEAR SIR,–... I trust that our late victories may be the prelude to those more decided, and that, ere the spring opens, we may be in such a condition as to afford no pretext to England and France to interfere in our domestic affairs. "From your friend, very respectfully,


I regret that from this time till near the close of the war our correspondence was suspended; but I heard from him frequently through common friends, and know that he remained faithful and true to the end. In the month of August, 1866, being in the city of Portland, Maine, I took occasion to have published in the Eastern Argus a highly patriotic letter which he addressed, on the 28th of September, 1861, to Samuel A. Worth, Esq., in answer to an invitation from him,“ as chairman of the appropriate committee, to attend and address a Union meeting of the citizens of Chester and Lancaster Counties, to be held at Hayesville, on the 1st of October.” He excused himself on account of feeble health, but said : “ Were it possible for me to address your meeting, waiving all other topics, I should confine myself to a solemn and earnest appeal to my countrymen, and especially those without families, to volunteer for the war, and join the many thousands of brave and patriotic volunteers who are already in the field.” He concluded by saying, that “until that happy day shall arrive (of the

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