« PreviousContinue »
unanimously passed a bill submitting the question of calling a Convention to the people on the 28th of February. If a majority favored a Convention, the Governor was to appoint the day.
The Missouri State Legislature continued in excited session during the month. Its Senate, January 16th, passed a Convention bill, yeas 31, nays 2. The bill left the entire matter, however, to the people. The voters were to decide at the time the delegates were elected, whether the Secession Ordinance, if passed, should be submitted to the people for ratification. The election of delegates was set for February 18th, the Convention to
meet on the 28th.
The Governor of Kentucky submitted (Jan. 17th) a long message to the extra session of the Legislature convened by him to consider the crisis. He adverted at length to the facts of the secession movement, the means of adjustment proposed, the action desirable for the Border States to urge, &c. He recommended for the Legislature, as a body, to endorse the Crittenden resolves, and also advised the calling of a State Convention, saying:
of the Chicago Platform-a condition of our country most likely near at hand-what attitude will Ken tucky hold, and by virtue of what authority shall her
external relations be determined? Herein are in-
the Government are vested with no power to con-
"We, the people of the United
ernment and the authorities of a late member of the
We should, in this
The Legislature, however, refused to call a Convention. It was decidedly averse to any
Tennessee was laboring in the throes of the revolution. The following joint resolutions were adopted January 20th:
Resolved, By the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, that this General Assembly has heard with profound regret of the resolutions adopted by the State of New York, tendering men and money to the President of the United States, to be used in
coercing certain sovereign States of the South into Slaveholding, in the manner following: It should obedience to the Federal Government.
Resolved, That this General Assembly receives the action of the Legislature of New York as the indication of a purpose upon the part of the people of that State to further complicate existing difficulties, by forcing the people of the South to the extremity of submission or resistance; and, so regarding it, the Governor of the State of Tennessee is hereby requested to inform the Executive of the State of New York that it is the opinion of this General Assembly that whenever the authorities of that State shall send armed forces to the South for the purposes indicated in said resolutions, the people of Tennessee, united with their brethren of the South, will, as one man, resist such invasion of the soil of the South at all hazards, and to the last extremity."
The Lower House adopted, on the 21st, without dissent, its plan of Convention and compromise as follows:
invite all the States friendly to such plan of adjust ment to elect delegates in such manner as to reflect the popular will to assemble in a Constitutional Convention of all the States, North and South, to be held at Richmond, Virginia, on the day of February, 1861, to revise and perfect said plan of adjustment for its reference for final ratification and adoption by Conventions of the States respectively.
"Resolved, That should a plan of adjustment satis. factory to the South not be acceded to by the requi site number of States to perfect amendments to the Constitution of the United States, it is the opinion of this General Assembly that the Slaveholding States should adopt for themselves the Constitution of the United States, with such amendments as may be sat isfactory to the Slaveholding States, and that they should invite into a Union with them all the States of the North which are willing to abide such amended Constitution and frame of Government, severing at once all connection with the States re"1. Resolved, by the General Assembly of Tennessee, fusing such reasonable guarantees to our future That a Convention of Delegates from all the Slave-safety-such renewed conditions of Federal Union holding States should assemble at Nashville, Ten- being first submitted for ratification to the Convennessee, or such other place as a majority of the tions of all the States respectively." States cooperating may designate, on the 4th of February, to digest and define a basis upon which, if possible, a Federal Union and the constitutional rights of the Slave States may be preserved and perpetuated. "2. Resolved, That the General Assembly of Tennessee appoint a number of delegates to said Convention, of our ablest and wisest men, equal to our whole delegation in Congress; and that the Governor of Tennessee immediately furnish copies of these resolutions to the Governors of the Slaveholding
States, and urge the participation of such States in said Convention.
"3. Resolved, That, in the opinion of the General Assembly of Tennessee, such plan of adjustment should embrace the following propositions as amend ments to the Constitution of the United States."
The schedule then cited nine sections, embracing chiefly the Crittenden basis, with further stringent provisions for the reclamation of slaves-the permanent right of transit through non-Slaveholding States with slave property, and providing that no further amendments of the Constitution should invalidate or controvert the amendments suggested. The proposition closed with the following resolutions:
"4. Resolved, That said Convention of the Slaveholding States, having agreed upon a basis of adjustment satisfactory to themselves, should, in the opinion of this General Assembly, refer it to a Convention of all the States, Slaveholding and non
The attitude of the Northern States was not less belligerent at the close of January than at its opening. The various Legisla tures not only passed patriotic resolves, but almost without exception provided the "sinews of war" in the way of military appropri ations and bills for a reconstruction of the militia systems so as to render a call for troops immediately available. In New York State the military system was, already, very perfect. New York City alone could muster at twelve hours' notice fully twenty thousand perfectly armed and disciplined troops. A portion of these, comprising the 1st Division, about 7000 strong, were offered to the President through General Scott by Major General Sandford, commanding the division— to be ready for service at an hour's warning. Other equally significant tenders were made to the Governor of companies and regiments. The State Military Convention in session at Albany acted in a patriotic and determined manner. The Special Committee to report what arms were necessary for the State to purchase without delay, recommended the immediate purchase by the State of 25,000 arms, to be increased to 50,000 as soon as practicable; and also 5,000 pairs of cavalry pistols and 5,000 sabres.
New Jersey leaned visibly toward compro
The Pennsylvania Legislature, fully alive |
York and Massachusetts. Resolves were
ture, January 25th, considered resolutions embracing the Crittenden proposition, or recommending some other conciliatory measure, and appointing Charles S. Olden, Peter D. Vroom, Robert F. Stockton, Benjamin Williamson, Joseph F. Randolph, Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, Rodney M. Price, Thomas J. Stryker and William C. Alexander, Commissioners to go to Washington and join Virginia, and other State Commissioners, in Governor Andrew, of Massachusetts, sent bringing about a reconciliation, in order to to the State Legislature (January 23d) a save the Union. After a whole day's sesmessage, inclosing a communication from sion, without adjournment, they were passed, Colonel Jones of the 6th Regiment, tender- 31 to 11. The Republicans offered amending the services of the Regiment to the Gov-ments, but they were voted down. They ernment; also a similar offer from Major- afterwards published a pamphlet address, General Sutton and staff. The Light Artillery, National Lancers, and numerous other efficient military corps of Boston City and the State, voted, nearly unanimously, to resnond to a call for active service.
setting forth their total dissent from the resolutions, and printed a minority protest to the propositions. They also resolved to send a counter-deputation to Washington, to represent their views.
THE PRESIDENT-ELECT. HIS VIEWS AND WISHES. THE PRESIDENT IN FACT. HIS VIEWS AND PURPOSES.
GROWING OUT OF COLONEL HAYNE'S MISSION. THE PEACE
THE movements of the people, the views of Mr. Lincoln, the choice of the new Cabinet, all became matters of absorbing interest, during the middle and latter part of January. They were the " straws," whose direction seemned to indicate the line of conduct which was to be pursued by the incoming power.
Mr. Lincoln remained in Springfield during the entire month of January, receiving visitors, office-seekers, agents of candidates for positions, &c., &c.; while, not a few of the most eminent persons in the country approached him, either in person or by letter, in regard to the troubles distracting the nation. To all he gave a patient and candid hearing. His good-nature seemed equal to his visitors' pertinacity, curiosity and solicitude, since all seemed to leave his audience pleased. As the hour for his instalment to
office approached, the impression prevailed that his prudence and kindness would dictate the true steps to pursue in the crisis. To stay secession, of course, was impossible, since, ere he could come into office, a Southern Confederacy would be formed and in active operation. With no Army, no Navy, a depleted Treasury, a Government thoroughly demoralized by its late terrible mismanagement, it did not appear possible for him to pursue any other course than that seemingly dictated by his circumstances-of forbearance toward the revolutionists and a peaceful policy looking to reconstruction. Yet, he gave very little indication of his line of conduct. His lips were not sealed, but they did not "blab the Statesman's secret;" and, though the public daily expected some declaration from him, which should act as oil upon the
tive, words were put forth by him, or by his authority. He was reticent to an extraordinary degree.
Mr. Lincoln at Home.
One of the numerous visitors to the fireside of the President-elect, in the middle of January, gave the public the results of his inquisition. His experience was thus detailed :
troubled waters, no definite, or even indica- | asked if he intended to interfere or recommend an interference with Slavery, or the right of holding slaves in the dock-yards and arsenals of the United States? His reply was: 'Indeed, Sir, the subject has not entered my mind.' He was inquired of whether he intended to recommend the abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia? to which he replied: Upon my word, I have not given the subject a thought.' A gentleman present said to him: 'Well, Mr. Lincoln, suppose these difficulties should not be settled before you are inaugurated, what will you do?' He replied with a smile: 'Well, I suppose I will have to run the machine as I find it.'
* "The subject of conversation was politics, and Mr. Lincoln expressed himself upon every topic which was brought up with entire freedom. He said, at one period in the conversation, 'he hoped gentlemen would bear in mind that he was not speaking as President, or for the President, but only exercising the privilege of talking, which belonged to him, in common with private citizens.'
"I chose rather to be a listener than a talker, and paid careful attention both to Mr. Lincoln's matter and manner; and, although he seemed to talk without regard to the fact of his being the President, yet it was discoverable that he chose his words and framed his sentences with deliberation, and with a discretion becoming his high position. "He was asked: 'Do you think the Missouri Compromise line ought to be restored?' He replied that although the recent Presidential election was a verdict of the people in favor of Freedom upon all the Territories, yet personally he would be willing, for the sake of the Union, to divide the territory we now own by that line, if, in the judgment of the nation, it would save the Union and restore harmony. But whether the acquisition of territory hereafter would not reopen the question and renew the strife, was a question to be thought of, and, in some way, provided against.
"He had been inquired of, whether he intended to recommend the repeal of the AntiFugitive Slave laws of the States? He replied that he had never read one of them, but that if they were of the character ascribed to them by Southern men, they certainly ought to be repealed. Whether as President of the United States he ought to interfere with State legislation by Presidential recommendation, required more thought than he had yet given the subject. He had also been
"In speaking on the subject of a compromise, he said: 'It was sometimes better for a man to pay a debt he did not owe, or to lose a demand which was a just one, than to go to law about it; but then, in compromising our difficulties, he would regret to see the victors put in the attitude of the vanquished, and the vanquished in the place of the victors,' He would not contribute to any such compromise as that.
"It was discernible in the course of Mr. L.'s conversation that he fully appreciates the difficulties which threaten his incoming Administration; also, that he regards him self as grossly misrepresented and misunder stood at the South; nor did he conceal what was manifestly an invincible conviction of his honest and intelligent mind, that if the South would only give him a fair trial they would find their constitutional rights as safe under his Administration as they had ever been under the administration of any Presi dent."
It will be interesting to learn Mr. Buchanan's views at this time. His correspondence with Col. Hayne-published in the Charleston papers of February 4th, and the Message to Congress, February 8th, enclosing other and further correspondence with the Commissioners-give us a clear exposition of the President's policy, so far as he had a policy. The Message to Congress will be given in its proper order. From the correspondence given in the Charleston papers we may quote such portions as have become part of the his tory of the events regarding the mission of
Colonel Hayne and the President's position | which need no comment by me, I have determined thereon. to send to you the Hon. I. W. Hayne, the AttorneyGeneral of the State of South Carolina, and have instructed him to demand the delivery of Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, to the constituted authorities of the State of South Carolina.
The preliminary correspondence attending the affair of the Star of the West has been given. [See pages 216-18]. The further communications, referring the matter to the President, and his Executive views, are as follows:
MAJOR ANDERSON TO GOV. PICKENS. HEADQUARTERS, FORT SUMTER, S. C., "January 11, 1861. "To his Excellency F. W. Pickens, Governor of South Carolina:
"SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your demand for the surrender of this fort to the authorities of South Carolina, and to say, in reply, that the demand is one with which I cannot comply. Your Excellency knows that I have recently sent a messenger to Washington, and that it will be impossible for me to receive an answer to my dispatches, forwarded by him, at an earlier date than next Monday. What the character of my instructions may be, I cannot foresee.
"Should your Excellency deem fit, prior to a resort to arms, to refer this matter to Washington, it would afford me the sincerest pleasure to depute one of my officers to accompany any messenger you may deem proper to be the bearer of your demand.
"Hoping to God that in this, and all other matters in which the honor, welfare, and lives of our fellow countrymen are concerned, we shall so act as to meet His approval; and, deeply regretting that you have made a demand of me with which I cannot comply,
"The demand I have made of Major Anderson, and which I now make of you, is suggested because of my earnest desire to avoid the bloodshed which a persistence in your attempt to retain the possession of that fort will cause, and which will be unavailing to secure you that possession, but induce a calamity most deeply to be deplored.
"If consequences so unhappy shall come, I will secure for this State, in the demand which I now make, the satisfaction of having exhausted every attempt to avoid it.
"In relation to the public property of the United States within Fort Sumter, the Hon. I. W. Hayne, who will hand you this communication, is authorized to give you the pledge of the State that the valuation of such property will be accounted for by this State, upon the adjustment of its relations with the United States, of which it was a part.
(Signed) "F. W. PICKENS. "To the President of the United States." THE COMISSIONER'S INSTRUCTIONS.
"STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, "EXECUTIVE OFFICE, STATE DEPARTMENT, CHARLESTON, January 12, 1861.
"SIR, The Governor has considered it proper, in view of the grave questions which now affect the State of South Carolina and the United States, to make a demand upon the President of the United States for delivery to the State of South Carolina of
"I have the honor to be, with the highest regard, Fort Sumter, now within the territorial limits of "Your obedient servant,
"SIR: At the time of the separation of South Carolina from the United States, Fort Sumter was, and still is, in the possession of troops of the United States, under the command of Major Anderson. I regard that possession as not consistent with the dignity or safety of the State of South Carolina; and I have this day addressed to Major Anderson a communication to obtain from him the possession of that fort by the authorities of this State. The reply of Major Anderson informs me that he has no authority to do what I required; but he desires a reference of the demand to the President of the United States. "Under the circumstances now existing, and
this State, and occupied by troops of the United States.
The Convention of the People of South Carolina, authorized and empowered its Commissioners to enter into negotiations with the Government of the United States, for the delivery of forts, magazines, lighthouses, and other real estate, within the limits of South Carolina.
"The circumstances which caused the interruption of that negotiation are known to you; with the formal notification of its cessation, was the urgent expression of the necessity for the withdrawal of the troops of the United States from the harbor of Charleston.
"The interruption of these negotiations left all matters connected with Fort Sumter and troops of the United States, within the limits of this State, affected by the fact, that the continued possession of the fort was not consistent with the dignity or safety of the State, and that an attempt to reenforce