« PreviousContinue »
The Massachusetts troops resumed their march from Annapolis on the 24th, repairing the bridges and laying rails as they went. At Annapolis Junction they reached a train of cars from Washington, and, with the New York Seventh Regiment in advance, arrived in that city on the 25th. From the day of the attack on the Massachusetts troops in Baltimore, Washington had been cut off from the North. The Treasury building and the Capitol had been barricaded, and howitzers put in their passages; subsequently the basement of the Capitol was turned into a bake-house, and the chambers of the Senate and Representatives converted into barracks. The only guard had been some Pennsylvania companies, a few regulars collected together by General Scott, and a body of volunteers under Cassius M. Clay.
Action of the Mary
When the Legislature of Maryland met, the governor, in his message, admitted that the passage of land Legislature. troops through the state to the capital could not be prevented, and he earnestly counseled, as the only safety, the maintenance of a strict neutrality, so that, "if there must be war between the North and the South, we may force the contending parties to transfer the field of battle from our soil, and our lives and property be secure." Reluctantly consenting to these views, the Legis lature accordingly resolved not to secede from the Union. Secession, however, had now become impossible, for Butler had taken military possession of Baltimore. He entered it with a detachment of the same Massachusetts regiment which had been assaulted in its streets, and, encamping on Federal Hill, had the city completely under command. In vain the Legislature declared that the war against the Confederate States was unconstitutional and repugnant to civilization; in vain they protested that they sympathized with the South in
The public build
ings of the capi
occupied by the troops.
Baltimore seized by Butler.
AND RELIEVE WASHINGTON.
this struggle for its rights; in vain they resolved that Maryland implores the President, in the name of God, to cease this unholy war; that she consents to, and desires the recognition of, the independence of the Confederate States. She could do nothing against the overwhelming power of the North, and she was forced to succumb.
THE SECESSION OF VIRGINIA.
Virginia acceded to secession after exacting the foremost rank in the Confederacy, and protection for her slave interests.
She then seized the National Armory at Harper's Ferry, and the Navy Yard at Norfolk, with its vast war-supplies, turning them, with all her own military resources, over to the Confederacy.
Her chief city, Richmond, was made the capital of the new republic.
THE secession movement was not advancing so triumThe reluctance of phantly as its originators had hoped. At Virginia to secede. the fall of Fort Sumter only seven Slave States had joined the Confederacy; the others were vacillating. It was absolutely necessary for the insurrec tionists at Montgomery to induce or compel them to act.
Pre-eminent among these lingering states, through her traditions, through her geographical position, and through her political power, was Virginia. To a very large portion of her people the souvenirs of the Union were sources of honorable pride; the Constitution had been, to no inconsiderable degree, the work of her great men, who also, through so many of the earlier years of the republic, had administered the government.
Virginia had been very far from approving of the thoughtless haste of the South Carolinians
She is influenced by
her traditions and in passing their ordinance of secession. Her
inhabitants, characterized by more mental maturity (vol. i., p. 102) than those of the Gulf States, looked to the consequences of their acts. The inevitable course which the new Confederacy must take was altogether in opposition to her interests. Whatever might
VIRGINIA RELUCTANT TO SECEDE.
be the present protestation, it was perfectly clear that the logical issue of the Confederacy, if successful, was the reopening of the African slave-trade. But Virginia was at this epoch the chief slave-producing, slave-selling state. The resumption of that trade would have destroyed this, her great source of profit. Influenced thus by her traditions and her interests, she was reluctant to join the Slave Confederacy.
She sends commis
Ten days after the passing of the ordinance of secession by South Carolina, a commissioner from Virsioners to South ginia arrived in Charleston. The Legislature of his state had declared its desire to procure amendments to, or guarantees in the Constitution of the United States. The Carolina General Assembly, however, declined co-operation for such purposes. They answered that they took no farther interest in that Constitution, and considered that "the only appropriate negotiation they could have with the federal government was as with a foreign state."
and yields a quali
But, though at this time Virginia unquestionably looked with disapproval on what the Cotton States fied consent to se- were doing, she suffered herself to become entangled in their movements by consenting that if the government should resort to coercion of the seceding states, she would make common cause with them. It therefore only remained for them to provoke the use of force not only to secure her alliance, but, as they hoped, that of all the other Border States, which it was thought would follow her movement. This was one of the motives that induced them to make an attack on Fort Sumter.
On the day of the surrender of that fort, delegates from She sends a com- Virginia had an interview with the Presi dent, their ostensible object being to inform him that the industrial and commercial interests of the
mission to Lincoln.
CHAP. XXXVIII.] SHE JOINS THE CONFEDERACY.
country were suffering; that a disturbance of the public peace was threatened. They desired to know from him. what policy he intended to pursue. But events were marching more rapidly than negotiations. Lincoln was compelled (April 15th), by what was taking place in Charleston, to issue the proclamation calling forth the militia, and summoning Congress to meet. To the dele gates that was, of course, an answer. Nevertheless, he courteously replied to them, referring them to what he had said in his inaugural address, and explaining some portions of it.
The proclamation was imperatively required by the imminent danger in which it was apparent that the capital was placed. But it gave to the dissatisfied Virginians their opportunity. On the 17th of April their ordinance of secession was passed. This was done by their Convention in secret session, and the injunction of secrecy has not been renance passed. moved. The votes were, however, subsequently discovered and published. It then appeared that there were 88 yeas and 55 nays. One delegate was excused, and eight did not vote.
The secession ordi
Effect of the proclamation on her.
ple to secede.
So strong was the disapproval of the Carolinian movement in Virginia, that all those arts which suading her peo- politicians use for the accomplishment of their ends had to be resorted to. The legal Convention was overawed by an irresponsible gathering of unauthorized persons from various parts of the state, who called themselves a people's spontaneous Convention. Prominence was given to this assemblage by the recognition the leading secessionists extended to it. Thus Mr. Wise and ex-President Tyler entered it arm in arm to announce the result of the deliberations of the legal Convention, and the former of these personages, in a speech he made before it, lamented "the blunders which