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purely slave-holding confederacy. These men had for years denounced the Declaration of Independence. They were proud and aristocratic, accustomed to rule negroes at home, and to govern Congress. Jefferson Davis declared, in 1858, that in the event of the election of an abolition president, Mississippi must seek her safety outside of the Union.
The proud, overbearing aristocracy of the slave States, grown wealthy by the labor of slaves, accustomed to power, ridiculed labor, and affected great contempt for Lincoln as a laborer. They were the men who regarded the free, moral, intelligent laborers of the free States as the "mudsills" of society. They affected to believe the condition of four millions of slaves, without education, without marriage, without family, without a home, and holding chastity, life, children, everything,at the will of a licentious overseer and master, was a better system than the educated, happy, moral, free-labor democracies of the North, with their free schools, and churches, and families of industry, thrift, intelligence and domestic virtue. Such men scorned the idea of submitting to be governed by this "mudsill," this "plebian," as they called Abraham Lincoln. They rejoiced in his election, as furnishing an opportunity for disunion, and as a means of creating a public sentiment which would enable them to precipitate secession. Hence his election was hailed in many slaves States with acclamations. Immediately, when the result was known, the leading traitors sent dispatches from one slave State to another, encouraging and threatening rebellion. The Charleston Mercury said the news of Mr. Lincoln's election was hailed with long continued cheers for the Southern Confederacy. Military organizations were rapidly formed in nearly all the slave States. There was scarcely a hamlet in the cotton States that had not its squad of mounted men or infantry. In cities, towns and villages, they were drilling every night, and preparing for war. Despatches were sent from Virginia and other States to South Carolina, tendering volunteer soldiers and arms. It was expected that South Carolina would take the lead, and many towns and cities sent messages, breathing the same spirit as
PLANS OF THE CONSPIRATors.
that of Governor Perry, of Florida, to Governor Gist, of South Carolina: "Florida is with the gallant Palmetto Flag."
On the 25th of October, a meeting had been held at the house of Senator Hammond, of South Carolina, at which the Congressional delegation of that State, Governor Gist and ex-Speaker Orr were present: it was resolved that South Carolina should secede, in the event of Mr. Lincoln's election. Meetings, in furtherance of the object, were held in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and other slave States. In November, South Carolina authorized the immediate enrollment of 10,000 volunteers. In the same month Georgia appropriated one million of dollars to arm and equip that State. Conventions, preparatory to the adoption of ordinances of secession, were called in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Virginia.
For years the fatal heresy had been taught by southern men, that the citizen owed his primary allegiance to his State, and not to the nation; disregarding that clause in the Constitution of the United States which declares that the Constitution and laws, made in pursuance thereof, are the supreme law of the land, anything in the laws and constitution of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.* John C. Calhoun had prostituted his great talents to the inculcation of this heresy. Hence, many honest people were deceived, and, forgetting they were citizens of the Republic, only remembered they were South Carolinians and Virginians. This carried into the rebellion many honest and well-meaning persons.
Calhoun, who had so industriously sown the seed and nurtured the plant of secession, said, in 1812, to Commodore Charles Stewart :
It is through our affiliation with this (the Democratic) party in the middle and and western States, that we hold power. But when we cease thug to control the
* In 1865, a prominent citizen of South Carolina, coming to Washington to beg pardon for his treason, said to a member of the Cabinet:
"We went to war for two objects: First, To establish the perpetuity of Slavery; Second, To establish the position that a State is superior to the United States."
In other words, the slave-holders went to war to perpetuate a great wrong, and to establish that a part is greater than the whole.
nation, through a disjointed Democracy, or any material obstacle in that party, which shall tend to throw us out of the rule and control, we shall then resort to a dissolution of the Union.
On the 7th of November, 1860, it was known throughout the Republic that Lincoln was elected. He could not be inaugurated until the 4th of March following. For these four eventful months the conspirators had control of the Federal government. Buchanan, a weak, imbecile, if not a treacherous, old man, was President, and he was completely controlled by the traitors in his Cabinet and the conspirators in the Senate. Mr. Memminger, of South Carolina, afterwards the rebel Secretary of the Treasury, stated that "Buchanan being President, the Federal government would be taken at great disadvantage, and that they had prepared things so that Lincoln would, for a while, be powerless." Buchanan's cabinet was (a majority of them) a cabinet of conspirators, industriously laboring to disarm and dismantle the ship of state, that they might surrender it an easy conquest to the traitors preparing to seize it. Howell Cobb, of Georgia, afterwards a rebel general, was Secretary of the Treasury, and managed to shake the credit of the nation, and leave the treasury empty.
Jacob Thompson, of Mississippi, afterwards a rebel, was Secretary of the Interior; as a member of Buchanan's cabinet, hearing that the Union garrison, starving at Fort Sumpter was to be supplied with provisions, he traitorously sent a dispatch to Charleston, advising his co-conspirators of the fact, so that the flag of his country might be fired upon, and the garrison of the government of which he was a cabinet officer, might be starved into surrender. This chivalric son of the South says:
I sent a despatch to Judge Longstreet, that the Star of the West was coming with re-enforcements. The State troops were then put on their guard, and when the Star of the West arrived, she received a warm reception from booming cannon, and soon beat a retreat.
John B. Floyd (the same who, at Fort Donelson, was so conscious of his guilt, that he dared not, as a rebel general, surrender to General Grant), was Secretary of War. It was important to the Confederates that the slave States should be
THE NORTH DISARMED.
armed, and the free States disarmed; and that the little regular army of the United States should be sent so far away as not to be in reach of the government until the conspiracy had accomplished the revolution they had designed. Hence, Floyd, as Secretary of War, ordered 115,000 muskets, from the Springfield and Watervliet manufactories and arsenals, to be sent to the arsenals in the slave States. He also sent a vast number of cannon, mortars, ammunition and munitions of war to the South. He took care, not only that Southern arsenals should be stocked with vast supplies of arms and other munitions of war, but that the garrisons of Southern forts and arsenals should be so weakened that no effectual resistance could be made to the local militia's seizing them.
The valuable Arsenal of Fayetteville, North Carolina, was garrisoned by one company of troops; Fort Moultrie, in Charleston harbor, by eighty men; Key-West, the key to the Gulf of Mexico, by one company; while the United States Mint at New Orleans, the Custom Houses at New Orleans, Charleston, Mobile, and Savannah, were entirely unguarded.
Such were the bold and unscrupulous acts of the conspirators. It was the intention of some of them to prevent the inauguration of Lincoln; to prepare the way to surrender the capitol and archives to the rebels; and this purpose would have been accomplished, but for the vigilant eye of the venerable hero, General Scott.
PROGRESS OF THE CONSPIRACY-FROM THE ELECTION OF LINCOLN TO HIS ARRIVAL AT WASHINGTON, FEBRUARY 1861.
THE CONSPIRACY EXTENDING ADMINISTRATION OF BUCHANAN — GENERAL SCOTT-GENERAL CASS-ACTION OF CONGRESS IN WINTER OF 1860-61-COMMITTEE OF THIRTY-THREE - PEACE CONVENTION-REPORT OF ADAMS-SECRET MEETINGS OF CONSPIRATORS AT THE CAPITOL-SEVEN STATES SECEDE, AND ORGANIZE A PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT JEFFERSON DAVIS-REBELLION WITHOUT EXCUSE-SLAVERY, THE CORNER-STONE OF THE CONFEDERACY-COUNTING ELECTORAL VOTES BY CONGRESS LINCOLN LEAVES SPRINGFIELD FOR WASHINGTON-HIS JOURNEY -ASSASSINATION PLOT-HIS ARRIVAL.
HILE the organization and proportions of this widely extended conspiracy were boldly and defiantly exhibited, and daily becoming more and more formidable, the attention of the whole country was fixed upon President Buchanan. Would he, like Jackson in 1832, declare "by the Eternal, the Union shall be preserved!" Would he prepare to meet force by force? Would he send the veteran Scott to South Carolina, and elsewhere, to protect National property, execute the laws, and maintain national supremacy? Scott had pointed out the danger, and urged and implored that vigorous means might be taken to maintain the national authority.
Buchanan, either traitorously, or through weakness, which, in its results, was equivalent to treason, took no steps to maintain the Union, but was wax, or clay, in the hands of Messrs. Davis, Howell Cobb, Thompson, Floyd, and their associates. He even went so far as to promise the Confederates that no reënforcements should be sent to the garrisons in Southern