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sented a strong contrast—a most instructive contrast to all who are curious to mark the respective degrees of responsibility attaching to them for the war which followed. The confederate forces, or the state forces in the confederate interest, had seized and occupied nearly every fort, arsenal and dock-yard belonging to the United States, upon the southern territory. The rebel government had opened its batteries upon

United States vessels, and had bombarded and captured Fort Sumter. It had issued letters of marque to distress our commerce. It was engaged in the attempt to force every border slave state into the support of its schemes. It was pushing its soldiers northward for a war of aggression; and its highest representatives were publicly boasting that their flag would soon float over the capitol at Washington, and that the war should not be carried on upon confederate soil. The attitude of the rebel government was that of direct, bitter, determined, aggressive hostility.

Virginia at this time was holding a state convention which, to the dismay and vexation of the rebel leaders, was controlled by a large majority of Union men. Nothing is more demonstrable than that the choice of Virginia was to remain in the Union. These delegates were chosen as Union men; yet every possible influence was brought to bear upon them to cajole or coerce them into disunion. Threats, misrepresentations, promises of power, social proscription, appeals to personal and sectional interest, everything that treasonable ingenuity could suggest were resorted to to urge the laggard state into the vortex of secession. The fall of Sumter, the inaugural of President Lincoln and the failure of the confederate commissioners to secure a treaty were used in different ways to inflame southern pride, and loosen the love of the loyal members from the old Union. The President's Inaugural had been so misconstrued as to convey the idea that his policy was one of coercion; and the convention sent a committee to Mr. Lincoln, commissioned to ask him to communicate to the convention the policy which the federal executive intended to pursuc, in regard to the confederate states, complaining that great and injurious uncertainty prevailed in the public mind in regard to this policy.

To this request Mr. Lincoln gave a formal answer; and in this answer appears the contrast to which attention has been called. He expressed his regret and mortification that, after having stated his position and policy as plainly as he was able to state it in his inaugural address, there should be any uncertainty on the subject. “As I then and therein said,” the reply proceeds, “the power confided in me will be used to hold, occupy and possess property and places belonging to

, the government, and to collect duties and imposts; but, beyond what is necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against, or among, people anywhere.?” Fort Sumter, he declared it his purpose to repos

' sess, with all the other places seized from the government, and to the best of his ability he should repel force by force. In consequence of the attack on Sumter, it was possible that he should cause the withdrawal of the mails from the states which claimed to have seceded. He closed by reiterating the claim of the government upon the military posts and property which had been seized, and by stating that, whatever else he might do for the purpose, he should not “attempt to collect the duties and imposts by any armed invasion of any part of the country,” not meaning by that, however, to cut himself off from the liberty to land a force necessary to relieve a fort upon the border of the country.

On one side was rampant treason and a policy of aggressive war; on the other, patient forbearance, and the most considerate care not to take any step not absolutely necessary to the maintenance of the indisputable rights of the government. No man in the United States who pretended to be loyal could find fault with Mr. Lincoln for claiming too much, or being harsh with those "erring sisters” who, it was believed by many, might be gently led back to their allegiance.

On the 'seventeenth of April, Virginia went out of the Union by a convention vote of eighty-eight to fifty-five; and on the twenty-first of May the confederate capital was transferred to Richmond. Thenceforth Virginia went straight toward desolation. Its “sacred soil" was from that hour devoted to trenches, fortifications, battle-fields, military roads, camps and graves.

The conciliatory policy of Mr. Lincoln had threatened the ruin of the confederacy; but the confederacy made war, and then appealed to the border states for sympathy and help. Governor Pickens of South Carolina telegraphed the fall of Sumter to the Governor of Virginia, and appealed to Virginia to know what she was going to do. This was the policy-to precipitate war, and then appeal to sectional pride and interest for sectional assistance. The first practical show of sectional feeling on the part of the border states was contained in the angry and insulting responses which they returned to Mr. Lincoln's call for troops. These responses exhibited the sympathies of their Governors, at least. Tennessee, North Carolina and Arkansas followed Virginia out of the Union, and thus the confederate cause made the gain it sought.

At the North and West the response to the President's call for soldiers was rendered with enthusiastic alacrity, the states vieing with each other in the office of raising, fitting out and dispatching troops. Money was offered to the government by millions, and the President found that he had a basis for a policy in the national feeling. After a week of great anxiety, Washington was relieved; and while troops from the North were rushing southward, a still larger number from the South were pushing northward in preparation for the grand struggle.

One of the most encouraging incidents of this opening chapter of the war was a visit of Mr. Douglas to Mr. Lincoln, in which the former gave to the latter the assurance of his sympathy and support in the war for the preservation of the Union. It is to be remembered that Mr. Douglas was an ambitious man, that he was a strong party man, that he had battled for power with all the persistence of a strong and determined nature, and that he was a sadly disappointed man.

. The person with whom he had had his hardest fights occupied the chair to which he had for many years aspired..



On Sunday, the fourteenth of April, all Washington was alive with excitement under the effect of the news of the fall of Sumter. Secessionists could not conceal their joy, and the loyal were equally sad and indignant. Churches were forsaken, and the opening of the war was the only topic of thought and conversation. Under these circumstances, Hon. George Ashmun of Massachusetts, who was personally on the most friendly terms with Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Douglas, called on the latter in the evening, to obtain from him some public declaration that should help the government in its extremity. He found the Senator surrounded by political friends, who were soon dismissed, and then, for an hour, the two men discussed the relations of Mr. Douglas to the administration. The first impulse of the Senator was against Mr. Ashmun’s wishes, who desired him to go to the President at once, and tell him he would sustain him in all the needful measures which the exigency demanded. His reply was: “Mr. Lincoln has dealt hardly with me, in removing some of my friends from office, and I don't know as he wants my advice or aid.” Mr. Ashmun remarked that he had probably followed democratic precedents in making removals, but that the present question was above party, and that it was now in the power of Mr. Douglas to render such a service to his country as would not only give him a title to its lasting gratitude, but would show that in the hour of his country's need he could trample all party considerations and resentments under feet. At this juncture, Mrs. Douglas came in, and gave the whole weight of her affectionate influence in the direction in which Mr. Ashmun was endeavoring to lead him. He could not withstand the influence of his friend, his wife, and that better nature to which they appealed. He gave up all his enmity, all his resentment, cast every unworthy sentiment and selfish feeling behind him, and cordially declared his willingness to go to Mr. Lincoln, and offer him his earnest and hearty support.

It was nearly dark when the two gentlemen started for the President's house. Mr. Lincoln was alone, and on learning


their errand gave them a most cordial welcome. For once, the life-long antagonists were united in heart and purpose. Mr. Lincoln took up the proclamation, calling for seventy-tive thousand troops, which he had determined to issue the next day, and read it. When he had finished, Mr. Douglas rose from his chair and said: “Mr. President, I cordially concur in every word of that document, except that instead of the call for seventy-five thousand men I would make it two hundred thousand. You do not know the dishonest purposes of those men as well as I do." Then he asked the President and Mr. Ashmun to look at a map of the United States which hung at one end of the room. On this he pointed out, in detail, the principal strategic points which should be at once strengthened for the coming contest. Among the more prominent of these were Fortress Monroe, Washington, Harper's Ferry and Cairo. He then enlarged upon the firm, warlike course which should be pursued, while Mr. Lincoln listened with earnest interest, and the two old foes parted that night thorough friends, perfectly united in a patriotic purpose.

After leaving the President, Mr. Ashmun said to Mr. Douglas: “You have done justice to your own reputation and to the President; and the country must know it. The proclamation will go by telegraph all over the country in the morning, and the account of this interview must go with it. I shall send it, either in my own language or yours. · I prefer that you should give your own version.” Mr. Douglas said he would write it; and so the dispatch went with the message wherever the telegraph would carry it, confirming the wavering of his own party, and helping to raise the tide of loyal feeling, among all parties and classes, to its flood. The dispatch, the original of which Mr. Ashmun still retains, was as follows:

“Mr. Douglas called on the President this evening, and had an interesting conversation on the present condition of the country. The substance of the conversation was that while Mr. Douglas was unalterably opposed to the administration on all its political issues, he was prepared to sustain the President in the exercise of all his constitutional functions

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