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months, has been in progress in several of the South-extensively obtained that a conspiracy for the accom. ern States, nor shall I enumerate the causes which plishment of this guilty purpose was in process of have hastened its advancement or exasperated its formation, if not fully matured. The earnest endeav temper. The scope of the question submitted by the ors made by men known to be devoted to the revolu House will be sufficiently met by dealing with the facts tion to hurry Virginia and Maryland out of the Union as they exist, irrespective of the cause from which were regarded as preparatory steps for the subjuga. they have proceeded. That revolution has been dis- tion of Washington. This plan was in entire harmony tinguished by a boldness and completeness of success, with the aim and spirit of those seeking the subver. rarely equaled in the history of civil commotions. sion of the Government, since no more fatal blow at Its overthrow of the Federal authority has not only its existence could be struck than the permanent been sudden and widespread, but has been marked and hostile possession of the seat of its power. It by excesses which have alarmed all, and been was in harmony, too, with the avowed designs of sources of profound humiliation to a large portion the revolutionists, which looked to the formation of of the American people. Its history is a history of a confederacy of all the Slave States, and necessurprises, and treacheries, and ruthless spoliations. sarily to the conquest of the capital within their limThe forts of the United States have been captured its. It seemed not very indistinctly prefigured in a and garrisoned, and hostile flags unfurled upon their proclamation made upon the floor of the Senate, ramparts. Its arsenals have been seized, and the without qualification, if not exultantly, that the vast amount of public arms they contained appro- Union was already dissolved-a proclamation which, priated to the use of the captors, while more than however intended, was certainly calculated to inhalf a million of dollars, found in the mint at New vite, on the part of men of desperate fortunes or of Orleans, has been unscrupulously applied to replen- revolutionary States, a raid upon the capital. In ish the coffers of Louisiana. Officers in command view of the violence and turbulent disorders already of revenue cutters of the United States have been exhibited in the South, the public mind could not prevailed on to violate their trusts and surrender reject such a scheme as at all improbable. That a the property in their charge; and instead of being belief in its existence was entertained by multitudes branded for their crimes, they, and the vessels they there can be no doubt, and this belief I fully shared. betrayed, have been cordially received into the ser- My conviction rested not only on the facts already vice of the Seceded States. These movements were alluded to, but upon information, some of which was attended by yet more discouraging indications of of a most conclusive character, that reached the immorality. It was generally believed that this Government from many parts of the country, not revolution was guided and urged on by men occupy- merely expressing the prevalence of the opinion ing the highest positions in the public service, and, that such an organization had been formed, but also with the responsibilities of an oath to support the often furnishing the plausible grounds on which the Constitution still resting upon their consciences, opinion was based. Superadded to these proofs did not hesitate secretly to plan, and openly to were the oft-repeated declarations of men in high labor for, the dismemberment of the Republic whose political positions here, and who were known to honors they enjoyed, and upon whose treasury have intimate affiliations with the revolution, if, inthey were living. As examples of evil are always deed, they did not hold its reins in their hands, to more potent than those of good, this spectacle of the effect that Mr. Lincoln would not, or should not, demoralization, on the part of States and statesmen, be inaugurated at Washington. Such declarations could not fail to produce the most deplorable con- from such men could not be treated as empty blussequences. The discontented and the disloyal every- ter. They were the solemn utterances of those who where took courage; in other States adjacent to, well understood the import of their words, and who, and supposed to sympathize, in sense of political in the exultation of the temporary victories gained wrong, with those referred to, revolutionary schemes over their country's flag in the South, felt assured were set on foot, and forts and arms of the United that events would soon give them the power to States seized; the unchecked prevalence of the verify their predictions. Simultaneously with these revolution, and the intoxication which its triumphs prophetic warnings, a Southern journal of large cirinspired, naturally suggested wilder and yet more culation and influence, and which is published near desperate enterprises than the conquest of ungar- the City of Washington, advocated its seizure as a risoned forts or the plunder of an unguarded possible political necessity. mint. At what time the armed occupation of Washington City became a part of the revolutionary
"The nature and power of the testimony thus accumulated may be best estimated by the effect pro
Mr. Holt's Letter to the President.
duced upon the popular mind. | destruction of the Republic, the
Mr. Holt's Letter to
from points near and remote by men unquestionably who sincerely love our institutions cannot fail to re-
not have occurred.
"J. HOLT, Secretary of War.
Army and Navy
The continued resigna-
Impressed by these circumstances and considerations, I earnestly besought you to allow the concentration at this city of a sufficient military force to preserve the public peace from all the dangers that seemed to threaten it. An open manifestation on the part of the Administration of a determination as well as of the ability to maintain the laws would, I was convinced, prove the surest, as also the most pacific means of baffling and dissolving any conspiracy that might have been organized. It was believ-duty, but shows in its language to what an ed, too, that the highest and most solemn responsibility resting upon a President withdrawing from the Government, was to secure to his successor a peaceful inauguration. So deeply, in my judgment, did this duty concern the whole country and the fair
fame of our institutions, that to guarantee its faithful discharge, I was persuaded no preparation could be too determined or too complete. The presence of the troops alluded to in the resolution is the result of the conclusion arrived at by yourself and Cabinet on the propositions submitted to you by this department. Already this display of life and loyalty on the part of your Administration has produced the happiest effects. Public confidence has been restored, and the feverish apprehension which it was so mortifying to contemplate has been banished. Whatever may have been the machinations of deluded, lawless men, the execution of their purposes has been suspended, if not altogether abandoned, in view of preparations which announce more impressively than words that this Administration is alike able and resolved to transfer in peace to the President-elect the authority that, under the Constitution, belongs to him. To those, if such there be, who desire the
extent some of the deserting officers sought
"You, sir, have called upon
SECRETARY DIX'S NERVE.
men who were retained on the active list by the late detestable Retiring Board.' In doing this you were endorsed as one mentally, physically and morally fit to occupy the station you hold as an officer in the Navy. And you are one of the first to prove this decision of that Board was as erroneous in your case as it was in mine, whom they retired from the Navy.' I was then in the deepest trouble, and I never dreamed of becoming a traitor to my country;
and now that my country has recalled me to active service and intrusted me with an important command, I will not betray the trust. The Constitution of the United States defines 'treason' to be bearing arms against the United States. You have frequently heard this read on the quarter-deck of these vessels of the Navy, and yet you would persuade the gallant men of the Navy to place themselves alongside of the traitor Arnold and yourself. It has ever been the boast of the Navy that she has
Wyandotte, lying off Fort Pickens, wrote to a Pensacola paper, after the delivery of the navy-yard and forts into the hands of the revolutionists by their commanding officers, [see page 194,] as follows: "My orders from the proper authorities of a Government I have loved and served as faithfully as I could, I still respect, and when that Government shall be dissolved by the decision of my great and noble State, (Virginia,) I hope
never had one traitor within her corps. You, sir, to prove myself worthy of holding a commis
are the first to destroy the proud boast! Future history will place you alongside of Arnold, and you will be the first to blot the page of naval history,
illuminated by the example of Decatur, Porter, Hull, Bainbridge, Jones, Caldwell, and other gallant and
"You also boast of the Star of the West, having been driven back by the rebels of South Carolina, and relief prevented that gallant officer, Col. Anderson.
"There are in the employment of the Government sons of a gallant officer, late of the Navy, who carried on the seas the Stars and Stripes with honor to himself, and glory to his country, and the third within call.' Had either of them commanded the Star of the West, the gallant Colonel would have
been relieved; and at any time the Government wants this done, it will only be necessary to send one of those sons. You, sir, have not much to boast
sion, even under a Southern Confederacy."
And this man, after this declaration was published, was allowed to "resign," honorably, from the service! Mr. Toucey, though a Northern man, was a weak vessel, so far as patriotism and nerve were implied. His acceptance of resignations when arrests should have been made, did not crown his name with the "odor of excellence;" and he must live in history as an illustrious example of the misfortune which ever awaits those who act from policy rather than principle. "To serve his friends," he tainted his own fair fame with the stigma of having dealt leniently with
treason and desertion.*
of in driving off an unarmed steamer, commanded ing in the Customs' service, by a merchant captain!
"Whatever right the Southern people had under the Constitution, those States that have chosen rebellion have forfeited their rights, and the only means for them to obtain justice will be to return to their allegiance. No one, for a moment, who has been born and brought up on Southern soil can approve of the course of Northern fanatics. Bnt, on
the other hand, a true patriot will not approve of dismembering his country merely because a few fanatics on the other side have been guilty of wrong, which can be righted by legislation To fly
to revolution is to seek the very worst of evils, and the people of the United States must be aware that 'revolution is simply rapine, murder, bloodsned;' that nothing but distress ever follows in its train,
were under charge of the
*The Report of the Special (House) Committee of Five, on the Secretary's conduct in this matter, (made Feb. 21st,) will be given in a future chapter.
American flag," expressed the spirit with | important "Keys to the Gulf" were rendered which he regarded betrayals of trust. The secure-much to the chagrin of the Confedcutters named having been "transferred" to the revolutionists by their commanders, were -lost to the Government. Captain Morrison had the temerity to send in his resignation immediately after his act, when Mr. Dix published the following order:
erate authorities, who deemed their conquest, and that of Fort Pickens, necessary to their independence. The country will love to honor the brave men who preserved their loyalty in the midst of the temptations and trials which beset them; while it surely will never cease to execrate the memory of those who proved unfaithful to the country, to their honor, and to their own best interests.
seized. Her commander, Lieut. John N. Maf-
During the same period a number of foreigners
As a singular fact, it may be stated that all Profes sors of Mathematics (with one exception) were Northern men, as also were all the Chaplains! [See pages 116-17.]
THE CEREMONY OF PRESIDENT-MAKING.
TORAL VOTE. GRAPHIC
COUNTING THE ELEC
PICTURE OF THE OCCASION, AND OF
ONE of the few interest- | on the floor and in the galleries, were some ing ceremonials connected of the baffled conspirators, who, but for the with the installation of the premature explosion of their plot, and the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Depart- presence in the Capital of the peerless artilments of our Democratic Government, is that lery that won the field of Buena Vista, would of counting the Electoral votes for President to-day have held high revel of riot, and, if and Vice-President of the United States. The need be, bloodshed, in the two Houses of occasion usually attracts a large concourse to Congress, and prevented, by force, the declathe Hall of the Lower House; and, although ration, according to the formula of the but a mere form of procedure, is invested Constitution, of the election of Lincoln and with a weighty interest, since that form is a Hamlin." requisite of legalization of the election, and a necessary preliminary to the inauguration of the Chief Magistrate of the Union.
The excitement reigning in the country rendered the occasion of February 13th, 1861, of more than ordinary interest. So many wild rumors had been afloat respecting the loss of the electoral votes-the refusal of the Vice-President to declare the vote-the withholding of the ballots of all the Southern States--the use of violence to prevent the counting; and so many threats had been reported, of violence to Mr. Lincoln's person then on his progress towards the Capitalthat the occasion referred to was invested with more than the usual importance. A description of the ceremonial, as well as of the special features of that particular event, will not be out of place at this point of our narrative.
At twelve o'clock Speaker Pennington called the House to order, when the Chaplain, Reverend Thomas Stockton, pronounced an eloquent and impressive prayer, in which he said:
Bless the outgoing Administration; may it close its labors in peace, without further violence, and without any stain of blood. And we pray for the incoming Administration; that Thy blessing may rest on the President-elect in his journey hither
ward; that Thy good Providence may be around him day and night, guarding and guiding him at every step; and we pray that he may be peacefully and happily inaugurated, and afterwards, by pure, wise, and prudent counsels, that he may administer the Government in such a manner as that Thy name may be glorified, and the welfare of the people, in all their relations, be advanced, and that our example of civil and religious liberty be followed in all the