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A WEEK OF
"It will neither coerce a The Majority Report. State, nor make war upon it. But, if it fail to execute its own
laws to the extent of the power conferred, it will be recreant to the highest trust ever conferred by any people, disappoint the hopes of a world, and destroy its own existence. The course of the Government cannot be doubtful, nor the result uncertain. Should the claims of the Secessionists be admitted, and the deceitful dogmas of coercion obtain the endorsement of the people, the revolutionists and their apologists and allies would, in the language of the Constitution's greatest defender, prove themselves the most skillful architects of ruin, the most effectual extinguishers of high-raised expectation, the greatest blasters of human hopes, which any age has produced. They would stand up to proclaim, in tones which would pierce the ears of half the hu man race, that the last great experiment of representative government had failed.'
"Millions of eyes, of those who now feed their inherent love of Liberty on the success of the American example, would turn away from beholding our dismemberment, and find no place on earth whereon to rest their gratified sight. Amid the incantations |
The Majority Report.
and orgies of secession, dis-
"Even holding the olive-branch of peace and conciliation before the emblems of its power, it will meet its stern responsibilities with firm purpose and steady hand-it will rise above all difficulties, and fulfill earth's highest mission."
OF AFFAIRS DURING THE LAST WEEK OF MR. BUCHANAN'S TERM. MR. LINCOLN'S CABINET. THE VIRGINIA CONVENTION. JOHN TYLER WITH HIS MASK OFF. THE MISSOURI STATE CONVENTION. MR. BUCHANAN'S MESSAGE. PREPARATIONS FOR THE INAUGURATION. HOSTILE ATTITUDE OF THE CONFEDERATE GOVERNMENT.
THE week preceding tone of its Convention, conspired to excite a
A Week of Excite- March 4th was one of ex-
The adoption, by the House, of the scheme of compromise reported by the majority of the Committee of Thirty-three, has been announced. The rejection of the Peace Convention report resulted from the unwillingness to act upon a second scheme, while the first covered the ground in the more official shape of a regular Congressional committee
Treasury: Salmon P. Chase, of Ohio.
War: Simon Cameron, of Pennsylvania. Navy Gideon Welles, of Connecticut. Interior: Caleb B. Smith, of Indiana. Postmaster-General: Montgomery Blair, of Maryland. Attorney-General: Edward Bates, of Missouri."
The strongest influences had been brought to bear upon the President-elect to bestow a place in his council upon John Bell, of Tennessee, or W. A. Graham, of North Carolina, or upon Mr. Crittenden, of Kentucky; but, the incompatibility of such elements with the counsels which must prevail rendered the choice of either of those eminent men simply impracticable. The composition, as it was, did not give promise of harmony, since both the radical and conservative elements were prominent enough, to threaten disagreements on vital points of national and internal policy. The selection, however, was conceded to have been made with extreme.sagacity— each man being named to the place for which he was especially well fitted. Probably no administration in twenty-four years had embodied more practical executive talent. Throughout the entire period of his probation, the President had shown a will and a way of his own which no influence brought to bear could override. This persistance gave the country hope that his rule would prove as vigorous as all felt it would be hon"Honest Old Abe" he was named,
even by his political opponents.
Duplicity and Treason
total repudiation! The following dispatch conveyed its own moral:
RICHMOND, Thursday, February 28th, 1861. "Messrs. Tyler and Seddon were serenaded toBoth made speeches, and denounced the night. Peace Conference as a worthless affair. They declared that the South had nothing to hope from the Republican party.
"Mr. Seddon said that the proposition adopted by the Conference was a delusion and a sham, as well as an insult and an offense to the South. "Lieutenant-Governor Montague is now making a secession speech.
"The secession sentiment is increasing among the people, and if any measure of coercion is adopted, the North may rest assured that Virginia will
"The Peace Conference is generally condemned." Mr. Tyler thereafter bent his energies to accomplish what was designed from the earliest stages of the excitement in Virginia-her cooperation in the scheme of a Southern Confederacy, wherein he might possibly become John Tyler redivivus. In the Confederacy of which most unfortunately he had been the accidental President, to the country's great detriment, he was unquestionably John Tyler defunctus.
North Carolina took a vote of the people for and against a Convention, February 28th. The final result showed a majority over six hundred against holding a State Convention. The Missouri State Con
The Missouri State
vention met February 28th
John Tyler left Washington, for Richmond, immediately after the adjournment of the Peace Convention, and, as already intimated, lent his influence to "precipitate" Virginia from the Union. One hundred guns The sessions of the Virginia Convention were fired at Washington, February 28th, in were attended, as we have said, with much honor of the Peace compromise. At the same excitement. The Northern and Western secmoment the President and leaders of the tions of the State were represented by UnionConvention called by Virginia hersel, was ists of ability and courage. The Central and denouncing the result and demanding its | Southern portions of "Eastern Virginia"
ATTITUDE OF THE
The Virginia State
Preparations for the
were represented by dis- | have taken. The good effect of the measures unionists of a particularly adopted had been evident from the moment virulent character, with of the arrival of the first company. Up to but two or three exceptions. The debates that hour intense excitement prevailed in took a wide range, covering the questions regard to rumored conspiracies and threats of Federal, State and, Social relations, and of force; but, the appearance of the military called out talent, in the discussion, which had calmed the public mind, and had given a proved that the "Mother of Presidents" sense of security to the city before wanting. still was the mother of brilliant sons. Sad Preparations for the infor the Old Commonwealth was it that so auguration were announcmany of those sons were drunk with the ed, Thursday, February poison of secession! Like the hasheesh eat- 28th. They embraced a procession-military, ers--who, in their ecstacy, built the temples diplomatic, legislative, and civil-of a very of Xanadu, to dissolve in air when the finger imposing character, as an escort of the Presiof Fact should thrust their stately pleasure- dent-elect to the Capitol, and, after the ceredomes through and through-the Secession- mony of inauguration, as an escort to the ists built temples radiating glory from base White House. The uniformed militia of the to pinnacle, wherein each particular enthu- District were ordered out in full force, while siast was to be enshrined in tablets of gold. the regulars of the United States Army were But, unlike the visionary of the hempen to be disposed by the commander-in-chief as fumes, their castles required the prick of a his judgment should dictate. A large and bayonet ere they dissolved to leave the in- expensive hall had been erected for the Inausane worshiper a miserable man, contemned guration Ball, which was to come off on the even by his own kindred for his heartless and evening of March 4th. The arrangements for reckless revelry. the festivity gave promise of one of the most brilliant affairs of the kind ever witnessed in the Capital. All things augured well for a safe and agreeable instalment of the new Chief Magistrate.
The Rhode Island Legislature, by a tie vote, (March 1st,) refused to instruct its Senators, and to request its Representatives, in Congress, to vote for the Peace Conference Propositions.
Mr. Buchanan's Last
The Pennsylvania Legislature adjourned February 28th, to meet again March 12th, without taking any action on the question of instructing its delegation in Congress on the Peace Conference scheme of settlement. The President communicated to Congress his reply to the House resolution, calling upon him for his reasons for assembling so large a force of military in Washington at that time. His answer was an embodiment of the facts set forth in the letter of Secretary Holt to the President, February 18th, [see pages 364-66.] The force, he submitted, was not so large as the resolution presupposed, being but 683 effective troops, whom he had summoned as a posse comitatus, to preserve peace and order before and during the inauguration, should any violence manifest itself. He defended the gathering of the troops as a precautionary step, which he would have been wanting in duty not to
Belligerent Attitude of the Confederates.
As indicated in chapter XXXI., the Confederate Government had progressed in its organization, (up to March 24,) so far as to instate its military and civil establishment, while its judiciary was rapidly assuming form and efficiency. A dispatch from Montgomery, March 2d, stated:
"Thirty thousand volunteers are now drilled and under canvas, awaiting orders. Large army provision supplies of all sorts have been purchased recently in Chicago, St. Louis, and Cincinnati, and sent to Mobile and New Orleans for distribution."
The safety of a despotism lies in its army. This the revolutionists, so well understood that, almost before the new Government was inaugurated, a military establishment was in operation; and, when Mr. Lincoln became Chief Magistrate, he found not a peaceable revolution to contend with, but one armed and belligerent at all points, proving that violence and defiance were the weapons to be hurled against his administration.
8TATE OF FEELING IN EUROPE DURING JANUARY AND FEBRUARY REGARDING AMERICAN AFFAIRS.
Interest in American
Mr. Seward is in favor of doing all those things which he has already assured us will not save the Union. He is ready to repeal the Personal Liberty acts which trench on the policy of the Fugitive Slave law. He is willing to vote for the amendment of the Constitution de
to consent to a Convention to consider any change in the organic laws in regard to Slavery. And this
THE state of foreign feel- | efforts of the orator. ing during January and February was one of the outside features of the Secession movement which, to a student of the momentous events of 1861, formed not the least interesting epi-claring that henceforth it shall not be lawful to sode of the period. In a previous chapter, abolish Slavery by an act of Congress-an amend[XIV.,] we reproduced the editorial com- ment utterly futile, since it can always be rescinded ments of some of the leading London and by the same power that enacted it. But, lastly, Paris journals during December and the early | Mr. Seward is willing, when people have grown part of January. Without exception, they cool-that is, he says, in two or three years' timeregarded the Secession movement with disfavor, generally regarding it as a scheme for founding a pure Slave Confederacy. As the revolution progressed, the interest of foreigners in our affairs increased-so much so that, by March 4th, the European press was engaged in an active canvass of the entire subject in all its bearings, political, social, and moral, both to the United States and to the Old World. Our system of a Democratic Confederacy was freely commented on, and many were not slow to point to the approaching dissolution of the Union as an evidence of the inherent instability of a Republican
The London Times.
There was, however, in English journalism, a spirit of sympathy with the North of an unmistakable character; while the South, up to March 4th, scarcely found a respectable paper to give its cause even the shadow of a defence. The London Times, without committing itself to either section, laid its blows on both parties sturdily, and told so much truth and untruth, in its overwrought and pungent way, as did not fail to give offence equally to North and South. thus recurred to Mr. Seward's speech of January 12th, [see pages 187-92:]
"We do not see much to admire in the speech of Mr. Seward. It was meant, no doubt, to be a great success, but fortune has not entirely seconded the
while the steamers of the United States return to New York disabled by shot fired from Charleston batteries; while Charleston threatens Major Ander son with an attack on a fort held by him for the United States; and while the arsenals and forts of
the Central Government, left to the care of separate States, are plundered and occupied as the result of a declared secession. This is all that the official adviser of the incoming President can suggest as a remedy for dangers so urgent and so threatening. The thing which has happened is 'impossible,' and in two or three years we may have a Convention. Alas! in two or three years, for all that Mr. Seward
and his class seem inclined to do to prevent it, the United States will have drifted into a position not requiring, as now, only a manly resolution for their
deliverance, but beyond the reach of the boldest or wisest of mankind to remedy it. In one thing we certainly agree with Mr. Seward-that if he is to be
accepted as a type of the would-be saviors of his country, the Union is not likely to be saved, as he says, by anybody in particular.'”
The same article, however, assumed, with Mr. Seward, that any citizen, or any aggre. gate of citizens, seeking to destroy a Government, was guilty of treason to that Govern ment. It stated the case thus forcibly:
STATE OF FEELING IN EUROPE.
visions called States, and to each of these Govern- | arising out of the schism of the Southern States, ments, acting within its proper powers, every American citizen is bound to pay the same obedience as the people of England do to the laws under which they live. Any individual citizen, therefore, seeking to destroy this Central Government, is guilty of treason against it, and the same thing is true of any aggregate of individuals, even should they constitute the majority of the population of a State, or several States. The fact that rebellion takes the form of the secession of a State can make no difference, for, so long as the Central Government confines itself within its own jurisdiction, the State possesses no right whatever against it. The State possesses no greater right collectively than each of its citizens possess individually."
If the same authority, at a later day, demanded the right of the Southern States to secede demanded their rights as "belligerents"-demanded the recognition of their independence-it was simply because it became politic to do so, not that what was treason in January was not equally so in July. The London Daily News (January 22d) also gave its views to the same conclusion. Its statement of the duty of citizens to obey, and the right of Government to enforce obedience, was clear and logically
The London News.
Every American citizen is as directly bound to obey the laws passed by the central power in the exercise of its defined rights, as an Irishman or a Scotchman is bound to obey the laws of the Imperial Parliament. If any number of Irishmen or Scotchmen raised the stand
ard of revolt against the Government, they would
all be guilty of treason, but their conduct wouid not and could not affect the relations of the British with foreign Governments. So it is in the United States: the individual citizens of South Carolina or Alabama who levy war against the Federal Power are all guilty of treason, but their conduct cannot by possibility affect the relations between the United States Government and those of other countries."
they well know that these perils originate, not from the application or misapplication of the Democratic principle in South Carolina, Georgia or Virginia, but conspicuously and notoriously from its absence in those States. The Southern States are not, and never were Democracies in any sense of the term. The simple truth is, and it cannot be too often repeated, that Virginia, Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana and Florida, were each and all expressly founded with oligarchic care and oligarchic aim upon an oligarchic model. All power and privilege were concentrated in the planter caste; and a servile multitude was provided by regal and aristocratic policy by whose unrequited toil the governing few were to subsist. We grieve to be obliged to say that in our estimate of the possible future of America we see cause for the deepest anxiety as to the fate of civilization, social and political, in the devoted rethem from the wise and enlightened rule founded by gions whose frantic oligarchs are striving to sever Adams, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson and Jay. For the destiny of the Free North, with its intelligence and industry, its wealth and invention, its love of equal liberty, and its love of equal law, there is no cause for fear. Inferiority of soil, seaboard and streams, of mineral wealth, and of mountain pasture, of sweep of domain and enjoyable climate-the vig
orous, fearless, self-reliant North can afford, with a
laugh, to admit it all, and yet feel how transcend
ently stronger and richer, nobler and happier, is its place among the nations. If permanent severance
there must be, the world will soon comprehend the
difference between a compact nation of educated, free, and self-dependent citizens, and a community of indolent and insolent proprietors of land living in
hourly dread of a herd of slaves."
The London Saturday Review, early in March said, in the course of a very clear and lucid exposé of the secession revolution:
The Saturday Re view.
"No event of our day has been half so wonderful as the one before us. Who, à priori, could have believed that in the nineteenth century a new State should be organized, by the grandsons of Englishmen, solely on the principle of preserving and extending a system of Slavery! A more ignoble basis
The same journal (January 19th) thus erously defended our great Republican periment" from the scoffs of those friends of for a great Confederacy it is impossible to conceive,
aristocracy who wished well to no reign of the people:
"America is a signal illustration of the worth of representative government. The people of England neither believe nor wish to believe in the ruin of the great Commonwealth of their kindred beyond the ocean; but whatever perils be in store for it,
nor one in the long run more precarious. The permanent renunciation of sound principles and natural laws must, in due time, bring ruin. No great career can lie before the Southern States, bound together solely by the tie of having a working-class of negro bondsmen. Assuredly it will be the Northern Confederacy, based on the principle of freedom, with a policy untainted by crime, with a free work