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rah for you!" To Mr. Lincoln it was evidently a refreshing episode in the dreary work of hand-shaking. At a party in Chicago, during this visit, he saw a little girl timidly approaching him. He called her to him, and asked her what she wished for. She replied that she wanted his name. Mr. Lincoln looked back into the room and said: "But here are other little girls-they would feel badly if I should give my name only to you." The little girl replied that there were eight of them in all. "Then," said Mr. Lincoln, "get me eight sheets of paper, and a pen and ink, and I will see what I can do for you." The paper was brought, and Mr. Lincoln sat down in the crowded drawing-room, and wrote a sentence upon each sheet, appending his name; and thus every little girl carried off her souvenir.
During all this period of waiting for office, Mr. Lincoln carried a calm exterior but events were transpiring in the nation that gave him the most intense anxiety, and filled every leisure hour with painful thought.
There were, of course, the usual efforts at cabinet making on the part of presses and politicians, and he was favored with copious advice. It has been publicly said that he really desired to put Mr. Stephens of Georgia, whom he had been somewhat intimate with in Congress, into his cabinet. The appointment was at least strongly urged upon him. The republicans were seeking for some policy by which the South could be silenced and held to its allegiance. Many republicans in Washington were inclined to compromise the slavery question on the popular sovereignty position. Others thought it would be well to put southerners into the cabinet, and the names of Stephens of Georgia and Scott of Virginia were mentioned. These facts a personal friend communicated to Mr. Lincoln, and under date of December eighteenth, he replied: "I am sorry any republican inclines to dally with popular sovereignty of any sort. It acknowledges that slavery has equal rights with liberty, and surrenders all we have contended for. Once fastened on us as a settled policy, fillibustering for all south of us and making slave states of it follow
in spite of us, with an early supreme court decision holding our free state constitutions to be unconstitutional. Would Scott or Stephens go into the cabinet? And if yea, on what terms? Do they come to me? or I go to them? Or are we to lead off in open hostility to each other?”
In Mr. Lincoln, though the prospect was dark and the way dangerous, there was no disposition to compromise the principles of his life and his party, and no entertainment of the illusion that concord could come of discord in his cabinet. In the latter matter he kept his own counsel and awaited his own time.
To appreciate the enormity of the rebellion of which Mr. Lincoln's election was made the pretext, by the southern leaders, it is never to be forgotten that the whole South, by becoming a party in the election, committed itself to the result. They were in all honor bound to abide by that result, whatever it might be. If the foes of Mr. Lincoln had refused to vote at all, they would have gone into the rebellion with a much cleaner record; but the first item of that record was a breach of personal honor on the part of every man who engaged in insurrection. Every member of both houses of Congress, every member of the cabinet, and every federal office-holder who turned against the government, was obliged, beyond this breach of personal honor to become a perjurer— to trample upon the solemn oath by virtue of which he held his office.
Allusion has already been made to the operations of the plotters in Mr. Buchanan's cabinet. Before the election, Floyd had, as has already been stated, sent one hundred and fifteen thousand muskets from northern armories to southern arsenals. General Scott had warned him of the danger to which the federal forts at the South were liable, and had advised that, as a precautionary measure, they should be garrisoned. To this warning the secret traitor paid no attention. Attorney General Black had given his official opinion that Congress had no right to carry on a war against any state. The President himself was only a weak instrument in the
hands of the intriguers. He consented to have his hands tied; and if he made any protests they were weak and childish. More than anything else he longed to have them delay the execution of their schemes until he should be released from office.
South Carolina, the breeding bed of secession and the birthplace of the fatal State Rights Heresy, took the lead in the secession movement, and called a state convention to meet at Columbia on the seventeenth of December. On the tenth of November, four days after the election, a bill was introduced in the legislature of the state calling out ten thousand volunteers. The two senators from South Carolina, Chesnut and Hammond, resigned their seats, one on the tenth and the other on the eleventh of the same month. Robert Toombs, a Georgia senator, made a violent secession speech at Milledgeville in his own state, and this, notwithstanding the fact that he continued to hold his seat. Howell Cobb, the Secretary of the Treasury, resigned on the tenth of December, declaring his inability to relieve the treasury from the embarrassments into which he had purposely led it; and two days before the secession convention met in South Carolina the Secretary of War, Floyd, accepted the requisition of that state for her quota of United States arms for 1861, Meetings were held all over the South where treason was boldly plotted and promulgated, and the people were goaded to the adoption of the desperate expedients determined upon by the leaders. The South Carolina Secession Convention met at Columbia on the seventeenth of December, but, on account of the prevalence of the small pox there, adjourned to Charleston, where, on the twentieth, they formally passed an ordinance of separation, and declared "that the Union now (then) subsisting between South Carolina and other states under the name of the United States of America is hereby (was thereby) dissolved.”
The passage of this ordinance filled the Charlestonians with delight, and, in the evening, in the presence of an immense crowd, the fatal instrument was signed and sealed; and Governor Pickens immediately issued a proclamation, declaring
South Carolina to be "a separate, free, sovereign and independent state." This was followed by the withdrawal of Messrs. McQueen, Boyd, Bonham and Ashmore from Congress, although their resignation was not recognized by the speaker, on the ground that such an act would be a recognition of the legitimacy of the action of the state.
Before the adjournment of the South Carolina Convention, resolutions were passed calling for a convention of the seceding states to be held at Montgomery, Alabama, for the purpose of forming a southern confederacy, and providing or suggesting a plan of operations and organization. The Congressional conspirators were active in Washington, and in constant communication with their respective states, urging on the work of national disintegration. On the eighth of January a caucus of southern senators at Washington counseled immediate secession; and at the national capital there was no influence that could, or would, withstand this reckless and rampant treason. As quickly as it could be done consistently with the safety of the cause of treason, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas, followed the lead of South Carolina into secession. Forts and arsenals were seized in all the seceded states, the steamer Star of the West, sent to Charleston with reinforcements and supplies for Major Anderson, was driven out of the harbor, a southern confederacy was formed, with Jefferson Davis as president, and thus, by every necessary preliminary act, was the most terrible rebellion inaugurated that has ever reddened the pages of history. In cabinet meeting, the southern secretaries, still occupying places, were boldly demanding that the forts at Charleston should be evacuated; and Mr. Buchanan was too weak to take a position against them. But he had one man in his cabinet who was not afraid to speak the truth. Edwin M. Stanton who had been called to fill the office of attorney general on the retirement of Mr. Black, rose and said: "Mr. President, it is my duty, as your legal adviser, to say that you have no right to give up the property of the government, or abandon the soldiers of the United States to its enemies; and the course