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THE FIRST MESSAGE.
against a formidable internal attempt to overthrow it. It is now for them to demonstrate to the world that those who can fairly carry an election can also suppress a rebellion; that ballots are the rightful and peaceful successors of bullets; and that when ballots have fairly and constitutionally decided, there can be no successful appeal back to bullets. Such will be a great lesson of peace; teaching men that what they cannot take by an election, neither can they take by a war; teaching all the folly of being the beginners of a war. It was with the deepest regret that the Executive found the duty of employing the war-power in defence of the Government forced upon him. . . . He felt that he had no moral right to shrink, or even to count the chances of his own life, in what might follow. In full view of his great responsibility, he has so far done what he has deemed his duty. You will now, according to your own judgment, perform yours. And having thus chosen our course, without guile and with pure purpose, let us renew our trust
in God, and go forward without fear and with manly hearts."
The fall of Sumter had been the answer of the South to the pleadings for concord of the President's "Inaugural." Its triumph at Bull Run (July 21) seemed to many a victorious refutation of the arguments of his first message against the right of Secession. The "Sumter" swept the West Indian seas of Federal merchantConfederate batteries at Acquia Creek almost blockaded the Potomac, and stopped communication by sea with Washington. The civil war in Missouri continued with varying success. The loyalists of East Tennessee fled in numbers from a Confederate reign of terror, only "Parson Brownlow" in his journal, the Knoxville Whig, still proclaiming Unionist principles. Faithful Western Virginia, repeatedly invaded, had to be repeatedly cleared of Confederate invaders by M'Clellan, by Rosecranz. Kentucky, on the other hand, was inclining more and more to the Union. And a future series of Federal lodgments on the sea coast of the re
volted States was inaugurated by the successful occupation of Hatteras Inlet in North Carolina (28th August).
The war was thus fully engaged; by the South to destroy the Union, by the North to maintain it. But how was it to be maintained? By respecting and protecting slavery, on which the Southern Confederacy was founded, or by striking that Confederacy through slavery itself? General Butler's ingenious application to slaves of the principle of "contraband of war,” had, at an early period, (May 27), commenced an attack upon the "patriarchal institution." Absurd it certainly would have been to return fugitive slaves to disloyal owners. Accordingly, General Butler had been authorised (May 30) to retain and employ such fugitives. Subsequently (August 6), an Act was passed, forfeiting the services of all slaves "required or permitted to take up arms
or to work or be employed in any military or naval service whatsoever," against the United States. The right of property in slaves as against the nation
BUTLER AND THE CONTRABANDS.
LINCOLN AND FREMONT.
was thus abolished: but not slavery itself; the master's privilege was destroyed, but no right was given to the slave. General Fremont, in command in Missouri, thought he could go further. By proclamation (August 31), he instituted martial law throughout his department, and declared that the slaves of persons taking an active part against the Government should be "free men."
Mr. Lincoln disallowed this step (Sept. 11, 1861). The motives of the act seem to have been twofold-First: an anxiety not to travel, if possible, one inch beyond the letter of the law in the matter; Second: an equal anxiety not to outstrip public feeling generally, and especially that of the Border States. Perhaps Mr. Lincoln miscalculated the strength of the Unionist sentiment on the one side, and of the Abolitionist sentiment on the other. But even were it so, who shall dare condemn him? To every thinking man, the mere confiscation of the slaves of rebels contained a pledge of future emancipation. Was it worth while, for the sake
of hastening by a few months the fulfilment of that pledge, to peril the cause of the Union, at a time when no one signal success had given lustre to its banners? What if the allowance of General Fremont's order had thrown all the Border States at once into secession? Can we undervalue that peril, when we look back and see that the single one of those Border States which actually seceded, Virginia, has been practically the only resistent element in the Confederacy? that when, after setting the whole Federal power at defiance for four years, she was finally conquered, she carried the whole Secession with her in her fall?
A few months later (Nov. 1), the faithful old Virginian, General Scott, gave up the commandin-chief of the United States armies, and it was conferred on General M'Clellan, who seemed to be pointed out by the public voice as the fittest man for that position; partly, perhaps, through the prominence which he had acquired as United States Commissioner during the Crimean War, and partly through a late successful campaign in