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"In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, are the momentous issues of civil war. The government will not assail vou.
“ You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors, You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to "preserve, protect, and defend it.
"I am loth to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies—though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.
"The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely it will be by the better angels of our nature.”
In his own peculiarly clear and simple manner, he vindicates himself and his party from all cause of apprehension on the part of the slaveholding States. He assures the people " that the property, peace, and security of no section, are to be in anywise endangered by the incoming administration." In clear, but most moderate and inoffensive language, he firmly announced his intention to fulfil the sworn duties of his office, by taking care that the laws of the Union shall be executed in all the states. There will be no bloodshed or violence unless it be forced upon the National authority.
His closing appeal against civil war, was most pathetic; and, as he uttered the solemn words, for the first time during the delivery, his voice faltered with emotion. IIe said:
“ In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, are the momentous issues of civil var. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect, and defend it. 'I am loth to close,' said he pathetically. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break
bonds of affectiòn. " The mystic cords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
Alas! such appeals were received by the parties to whom they were addressed, with jeers, and ribaldry, and all the maddening passions which riot in blood and war. It was to force only, stern, unflinching power and severity, that the powers and passions of treason alone would yield.
With reverent look and impressive emphasis, he then repeated the oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of his country. Douglas, who knew from his personal familiarity with the conspirators, better than Lincoln, the dangers that surrounded and were before him, who knew the conspirators and their plots, with patriotic magnamity, which in love of country, forgot self — then grasped the hand of the President, gracefully expressed his congratulations, and the author has reason to believe, expressed the assurance that in the dark future he would stand by him, and give to him his utmost aid in upholding the Constitution, and enforeing the laws of his country. Nobly did Douglas redeem that pledge.
Ilere the author pauses a moment, to relate a most singular prophecy, in regard to the war, uttered by Douglas, January 1st, 1861. On that day, in reply to a gentleman,* making a New Year's call, and who inquired, “what will be the result of the efforts of Jefferson Davis, and his associates, to divide the Union ?” “Rising, and looking,” says my informant, “ like one inspired, Douglas replied :” “ The cotton States are making an effort to draw in the border States to their schemes of secession, and I am but too fearful they will succeed. If they do succeed, there will be the most terrible civil war the world has ever seen, lasting for years." Pausing a moment, he exclaimed, “ Virginia will become a charnel house, but the end will be the triumph of the Union
One of their first efforts will be to take possession of this Capital to give them prestige abroad, but they will never succeed in taking it—the North will rise en masse to defend it, but Washington will become a city of hospitals - the churches will be used for the sick and woundedeven this house, (Minnesota block, afterwards, and during the war, the Douglas Hospital,) may be devoted to that
*General Charles Stewart, of New York.
purpose before the end of the war." The friend to whom this was said, inquired, “What justification for all this?” Douglas replied, “ There is no justification, nor any pretense of any—if they will remain in the Union, I will go as far as the Constitution will permit, to maintain their just rights, and I do not doubt a majority of Congress would do the same. But,” said he, again rising on his feet, and extending his arm, “if the Southern States attempt to secede from this Union, without further cause, I am in favor of their having just so many slaves, and just so much slave territory, as they can hold at the point of the bayonet, and no moro.'
The President, having been inaugurated, announced his Cabinet as follows: William II. Seward, Secretary of State; Simon Cameron, Secretary of War; Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury; Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy; Caleb B. Smith, Secretary of the Interior; Montgomery Blair, Postmaster General, and Edward Bates, Attorney General.
Four of this Cabinet, viz., Messrs. Seward, Chase, Cameron, and Bates, were candidates for the nomination for the Presidency at the Chicago Convention. Mr. Seward, the Secretary of State, was Mr. Lincoln's most formidable competitor; on the first ballot, receiving the highest number of votes given to any one. He had been among the most distinguished of the great men of New York. He had been the recognized leader of the republican party, and had advocated with great ability, very radical anti-slavery measures. Ile had by his speeches and influence, done as much, perhaps more than any other man, to create and consolidate the popular judgment and feeling which triumphed in 1860. He was an accomplished scholar and a polished gentleman, familiar with the history of his country and its foreign policy, and admirably adapted to conduct its foreign correspondence. His mind was philosophic and didactic. IIe always took a cheerful and hopeful view of affairs, never anticipated evil — believed the rebellion would last “ sixty days.” IIe was a shrewd politician, and did not, in the distribution of patronage, forget the “ Seward men.” On going into the Cabinet he became conservative, and his influence since has been always against extreme views.
Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury, had been also a prominent candidate for the Presidency. He was a man of commanding person, and fine manly presence, dignified, sedate, and earnest. Ilis mind was comprehensive, logical, and judicial. He was an earnest, determined, consistent, radical abolitionist. His had been the master mind at the Buffalo Convention of 1848, and his pen had framed the Buffalo platform. By his writings, speeches, and forensic arguments, and as Governor of the State of Ohio, and in the United States Senate, acting with the accomplished free-soil Senator from Massachusetts, Charles Sumner, he had contributed largely to the formation of the republican party. Up to the time he became Secretary of the Treasury, he had developed no special adaptation to, or knowledge of finance; but he brought to the duties of that most difficult position, a clear judgment, and sound sense.
Simon Cameron, had been a very successful Pennsylvania politician; he was of Scotch descent, as his name indicates, with inherent Scotch fire, pluck, energy, and perseverance. IIe had a marked Scotch face, a keen gray eye, was tall and commanding in form, and had the faculty of never forgetting a friend, nor an enemy. He was accused of being unscrupulous, of giving good offices and fat contracts to his friends. He retired after a short time, to make room for the combative, rude, fearless, vigorous, and unflinching Stanton. A man who was justly said to have “organized victory.”
Montgomery Blair, the Postmaster General, represented the Blair family. A family of large political influence, and long connected with National affairs. F. P. Blair, Sen., as the editor of the Globe, during General Jackson's administration, was one of the ablest and strongest of the able men who surrounded that great man. He had associated with, and was the friend of Benton, Van Buren, and Silas Wright, he had seen those friends stricken down by the slave power, and he had learned to hate and distrust the oligarchy of slaveholders, and his counsels and advice, and his able pen, had efficiently aided in building up the party opposed to slavery.
Montgomery Blair had argued against the Dred Scott decision. F. P. Blair, Jr., and B. Gratz Brown, had led the
anti-slavery men of Missouri, and had, after a most gallant contest carried the city of St. Louis, and the former was now its honored representative in Congress.
Edward Bates, the Attorney General, was a fine, dignified, scholarly, gentlemanly lawyer of the old school.
Gideon Wells had been a leading editor in New England, and has conducted the affairs of the Navy with great ability; Caleb B. Smith was a prominent politician from Indiana, and had been a colleague of Mr. Lincoln in Congress.
On the evening of the 4th of March, Mr. Lincoln entered the White House, as the National Executive. He found Government in ruins.
The conspiracy which had been preparing for thirty years, had culminated. Seven States had passed ordinances of secession, and had already organized a rebel Government at Montgomery. The leaders in Congress, and out of it, had fired the excitable Southern heart, and had infused into the young men, a fiery headlong zeal, and they hurried on with the greatest rapidity, the work of revolution. They ordained rebellion, and christened treason, secession. South Carolina, as already stated, having long waited for an occasion, took the lead, and had eagerly seized the pretext of the election of Mr. Lincoln, and on the 17th of November, 1860, passed unanimously, an ordinance of secession.
Georgia, against the remonstrances of Alexander H. Stephens, and others of her statesmen, followed, on the 19th of December, by a vote of 208 against 89. Ordinances of secession had been adopted by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas.
North Carolina still hesitated. The people of that staunch old Union State, first voted down a call for a convention, by a vote of 46,671 for, to 47,333, against, but a subsequent convention, on the 21st of May, passed an ordinance of secession. Nearly all the Federal forts, arsenals, dock-yards, custom houses and post offices within the territories of the seceded States, had been seized, and were held by the rebels. Large numbers of the officers of the army and the navy, deserted, entering the rebel service. Among the most conspicuous in this infamy, was General David E. Twiggs, the second