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The Senators who withdrew on this day were Mr. Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, Messrs. Fitzpatrick and Clay, of Alabama, and Messrs Yulee and Mallory, of Florida. Most of them made temperate and courteous speeches in announcing the fact and occasion of their resignation. Mr. Davis, although at the time much prostrated by ill health, made a speech of remarkable force and dignity; and turning to different members, declared that he was the type of the general feelings of his constituents toward theirs; that he felt no hostility to them; that he went thence unencumbered by the remembrance of any injury received; but he said, if the North had resolved on hostile relations towards the seceded States, then "we will invoke the God of our fathers, who delivered them from the power of the lion, to protect us from the ravages of the bear; and thus, putting our trust in God and in our own firm hearts and strong arms, we will vindicate the right as best we may.'

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Mr. C. C. Clay of Alabama was more violent. In severing his connection with the Senate, he took occasion to make out a very full bill of indictment against the Republican party, and to recount the grievances that impelled the South to separate herself from the Union. A portion of his speech is interesting here as the historical statement on the side of the South of the causes and necessity of Disunion, made by one of her leading statesmen, and reflecting much both of the intelligence and passion of his countrymen. He said:

"It is now nearly forty-two years since Alabama was admitted into the Union. She entered it, as she goes out of it, while the Confederacy was in convulsions, caused by the hostility of the North to the domestic slavery of the South. Not a decade, nor scarce a lustrum, has elapsed, since her birth, that has not been strongly marked by proofs of the growth and power of that anti-slavery spirit of the Northern people which seeks the overthrow of that domestic institution of the South which is not only the chief source of her prosperity, but the very basis of her social order and state polity/ It is to-day the master-spirit of the Northern States, and had, before the secession of Alabama, of Mississippi, of Florida, or of South Carolina, severed most of the bonds of the Union. It denied us Christian communion, because it could not endure what it styles the moral leprosy of slaveholding; it refused us permission to sojourn, or even to pass through the North, with our property; it claimed freedom for the slave if brought by his master into a Northern State; it violated the Constitution and treaties and laws of Congress, because designed to protect that property; it refused us any share of lands acquired mainly by our diplomacy and blood and treasure; it refused our property any shelter or security beneath the flag of a common government; it robbed us of our property, and refused to restore it; it refused to deliver criminals against our laws, who fled to the North with our property or our blood upon their hands; it threatened us, by solemn legislative acts, with ignominious punishment if we pursued our property into a Northern State; it murdered Southern men when seeking the recovery of their property on Northern soil; it invaded the borders of Southern States, poisoned their wells, burnt their dwellings, and murdered their people; it denounced us by deliberate resolves of popular meetings, of party conventions, and of religious and even legislative assemblies, as habitual violators

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of the laws of God and the rights of humanity; it exerted all the moral and physical agencies that human ingenuity, can devise or diabolical malice can employ to heap odium and infamy upon us, and to make us a by-word of hissing and of scorn throughout the civilized world. Yet we bore all this for many years, and might have borne it for many more, under the oft-repeated assurance of our Northern friends, and the too fondly cherished hope that these wrongs and injuries were committed by a minority party, and had not the sanction of the majority of the people, who would, in time, rebuke our enemies, and redress our grievances.

"But the fallacy of these promises and folly of our hopes have been too clearly and conclusively proved in late elections, especially the last two Presidential elections, to permit us to indulge longer in such pleasing delusions. The platform of the Republican party of 1856 and 1860 we regard as a libel upon the character and a declaration of war against the lives and property of the Southern people. No bitterer or more offensive calumny could be uttered against them than is expressed in denouncing their system of slavery and polygamy as "twin relics of barbarism." It not only reproaches us as unchristian and heathenish, but imputes a sin and a crime deserving universal scorn and universal enmity. No sentiment is more insulting or more hostile to our domestic tranquillity, to our social order, and our social existence, than is contained in the declaration that our negroes are entitled to liberty and equality with the white man. It is in spirit, if not effect, as strong an incitement and invocation to servile insurrection, to murder, arson, and other crimes, as any to be found in abolition literature.

“And to aggravate the insult which is offered us in demanding equality with us for our slaves, the same platform denies us equality with Northern white men or free negroes, and brands us as an inferiour race, by pledging the Republican party to resist our entrance into the Territories with our slaves, or the extension of slavery, which—as its founders and leaders truly assert-must and will effect its extermination. To crown the climax of insult to our feelings and menace of our rights, this party nominated to the Presidency a man who not only endorses the platform, but promises, in his zealous support of its principles, to disregard the judgments of your courts, the obligations of your Constitution, and the requirements of his official oath, by approving any bill prohibiting slavery in the Territories of the United States.

A large majority of the Northern people have declared at the ballot-box their approval of the platform and the candidates of that party in the late Presidential election. Thus, by the solemn verdict of the people of the North, the slaveholding communities of the South are 'outlawed, branded with ignominy, consigned to execration, and ultimate destruction.'"

"Sir, are we looked upon as more or less than men? Is it expected that we will or can exercise that god-like virtue which 'beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things; endureth all things;' which teaches us to love our enemies, and bless them that curse us ? us? Are we devoid of the sensibilities, the sentiments, the passions, the reason, and the instincts of mankind? Have we no pride of honour, no sense of shame, no reverence of our ancestors, no care of our posterity, no love of home, or family, or friends? Must we confess our baseness, discredit the fame of our sires, dishonour ourselves, degrade our posterity, abandon our homes, and flee from our country, all for the sake of the Union? Must we agree to live under the ban of our own Government? Must we acquiesce in the inauguration of a President, chosen by confederate, but unfriendly, States, whose political faith constrains him, for his conscience and country's sake, to deny us our constitutional rights, because elected according to the forms of the Constitution? Must we consent to live under a Government which we believe will henceforth be controlled and administered by those who not only deny us justice and equality, and brand us as inferiours, but

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whose avowed principles and policy must destroy our domestic tranquillity, imperil the lives of our wives and children, degrade and dwarf, and ultimately destroy, our State? Must we live, by choice or compulsion, under the rule of those who present us the dire alternative of an 'irrepressible conflict' with the Northern people, in defence of our altars. and our fireside, or the manumission of our slaves, and the admission of them to social and political equality? No, sir, no!] The freemen of Alabama have proclaimed to the world that they will not; and have proved their sincerity by seceding from the Union, and hazarding all the dangers and difficulties of a separate and independent station among the nations of the earth."

Mr. Jefferson Davis had resigned from the Senate of the United States to encounter a responsibility and accept a trust the greatest of modern times. Public opinion in all the seceded States had long designated him as the leader of their new destinies. A convention of delegates from the then six seceded States assembled in Congress at Montgomery, Alabama, on the 4th of February, 1861, for the purpose of organizing a provisional government. This body adopted a Constitution for the Confederate States on the 8th of February. On the 9th of February, Congress proceeded to the election of a President and Vice-President, and unanimously agreed upon Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, for President, and Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, for Vice-President.

The framers of the new government at Montgomery studiously adhered, in the main features of their plan, to the Washington model; but the Constitution adopted by them differed in some particulars from that of the United States. And it is to be remarked that at every point of difference it made an undoubted improvement, or corrected some acknowledged evil of former times. The Confederate Constitution absolutely prohibited the over-sea slave-trade; that of the United States did not. It permitted cabinet ministers to take part in the discussions of Congress. It prohibited bounties or duties to foster any branch of industry. After a specified time the post-office was required to cover its own expenses. No extra compensation was to be paid to any contractor. The President was to hold office for six years, and was not to be reëligible. The subordinate government officers were not to be removed by the President without a report to the Senate giving his reasons. The right of property in slaves and that of taking them into any Territory were expressly stated; but in this, it was claimed that no new principle was adopted or laid down, which did not already exist in the Constitution of the old Union.

The choice of President was thought at the time to be quite as fit and admirable as the other work of the Convention. But of this, the most serious doubts were hereafter to arise. Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States, was a name that was associated with much that was brilliant and honourable in the history of the old government. He

CHARACTER OF JEFFERSON DAVIS.

91

had served that government in the field and in council. He had received a military education at West Point; had served in the Mexican War, at the head of a regiment of volunteer riflemen, winning distinction at Monterey and Buena Vista; and had been called to the cabinet of President Pierce, as Secretary of War; in the administration of which office he increased the strength of the United States army, proposed to abolish the permanent staff-organization for one of details on staff-duty, and sent to the Crimea a commission to report upon the state of the science of war, and the condition of European armies. He re-entered political life as a Senator in Congress. In that highest school of debate in America, he was distinguished for a style of polished and graceful oratory; and speaking in moderate rhetorical figures, and in subdued tones, he was never the flaming fanatic or popular exhorter, but just the speaker to address with agreeable effect a small assembly of intelligent and cultivated persons.

Mr. Davis was a man whose dignity, whose political scholarship, whose classical and lofty expressions, whose literary style-unexcelled, perhaps, in the power of statement by any cotemporary model,-whose pure morals, well-poised manners and distinguished air, were likely to adorn the high station to which he had been raised, and calculated to qualify him, in many striking respects, as the representative of the proud and chivalrous people of the South. But these accomplishments concealed from the hasty and superficial view defects of character which were most serious, indeed almost vital in their consequences, and which were rapidly to be developed in the course of his administration of the new government. His dignity was the mask of a peculiar obstinacy, which, stimulated by an intellectual conceit, spurned the counsels of equal minds, and rejected the advice of the intelligent, while it was curiously not inconsistent with a complete subserviency to the smallest and most unworthy of favourites. His scholarship smelt of the closet. He had no practical judgment; his intercourse with men was too distant and constrained for studies of human nature; and his estimate of the value of particular men was grotesque and absurd. The especial qualifications of a great leader in the circumstances in which Mr. Davis was placed would have been strong and active common-sense, quick apprehension, knowledge of men, and a disposition to consult the aggregate wisdom of the people, and to gather the store of judgment from every possible source of practical advice within its reach. Mr. Davis had none of these plain qualities. He had, instead of these, certain elegant and brilliant accomplishments, which dazzled the multitude, confused the world in its judgment of his merits, and gave him a singular reputation, in which admirers and censors were strangely mingled: one party, looking at a distance, extravagant in its praise, the other, having a nearer view, unlimited in its condemnation.

But we must reserve a fuller estimate of President Davis' character for other periods in our narrative. While the formidable events we have just been relating-that of the secession of seven Southern States, and their erection of a new government-were taking place, there were on foot measures of pacification, to which attention must be given as well as to measures of hostility. These measures looking towards peace involve the action of the Congress of the United States; the action of States outside of Congress; and certain strange proceedings on the part of the Federal Executive, which were undoubtedly influential in determining the question of peace or war.

In the early part of the session of the United States Congress, a hope of pacification had been generally indulged by the country, and was largely shared by some of the Southern members. Even after the secession of South Carolina, Southern members, who made violent Disunion speeches on the floor of Congress, yet entertained in their private conversation a prospect of adjustment, and confidentially advised their constituents not to sell their city lots in Washington, or dispose of their property interests in the Northern States. But as the session progressed it became evident that no concessions were to be expected from Congress; that the temper of the Republican party was unyielding and insolent; that it was not impressed with any serious danger, and even in the event of a crisis, was confident of subduing the South with such expedition and decision as to make an issue of arms rather to be desired than otherwise. Indeed, the ultimatum of the Republican party was distinctly enough announced in resolutions offered by Mr. Clarke of New Hampshire, which passed both houses of Congress. These resolutions declared that the provisions of the Constitution were already ample enough for any emergencies; that it was to be obeyed rather than amended; and that an extrication from present dangers was to be looked for in strenuous efforts to preserve the peace, protect the public property, and enforce the laws, rather than in new guaranties for peculiar interests, compromises for particular difficulties, or concessions to unreasonable demands. Under this surface of smooth words, the proposition was plain that the demands of the South were unreasonable, and not to be allowed, and were to be resisted to the extremities of coercion and war.

Committees in both houses had been appointed to consider the state of the Union. Neither committee was able to agree upon any mode of settlement of the pending issue between the North and the South. The Republican members in both committees rejected propositions acknowledging the right of property in slaves, or recommending the division of the Territories between the slaveholding and non-slaveholding States by a geographical line.

On the 18th of December, 1860, Mr. Crittenden of Kentucky had

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