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We must remember that Mr. Lincoln was not, like William Lloyd Garrison, an Abolitionist. Mr. Garrison advocated a dissolution of the Union because slavery was wrong; Mr. Lincoln believed the Union was the greatest boon in civil government which had ever come to the hu
He was confronted by a vital question : how to keep Kentucky from leaving the Union. It was his native State. Some of his dearest friends resided there. Governor Magoffin was doing what he could to bring about the secession of the State. The people were divided in sentiment. The Legislature adopted a resolution affirming “armed neutrality” as the position which the State would maintain. Citizens of Louisville passed resolutions denouncing the President for attempting to bring the seceding States back into the Union. At the same time they
THOMAS H. HICKS.
declared the Union ought to be preserved, but maintained it was the duty of Kentucky to oppose the attempt to make war upon a seceding State!
Kentucky will furnish no troops for the wicked purpose of subduing her sister Southern States,” said Governor Magoffin, in his reply to the call of the President for troops.
The Secessionists were organizing. “The Knights of the Golden Circle," as they called themselves, were drilling in the streets of Louisville. The members of the “Working-men's Association " in that city knew that slavery was antagonistic to free labor. They succeeded in electing J. M. Dolph as mayor, who was loyal to the Union. The Secessionists became very bold and arrogant. The Union men were threatened with assassination. Not intimidated but emboldened, they formed a “Union Club.” The members swore unconditional loyalty to the Union. Their ritual was compiled from the sayings of Washington, Daniel Webster, and Henry Clay. The great statesman of Kentucky, Mr. Clay, loved and reverenced by President Lincoln, once said: "If Kentucky to - morrow unfurls the banner of resistance, I never will fight under that banner. I owe a paramount allegiance to the whole Union; a subordinate one to my own State.”
The Legislature had declared for strict neutrality. President Lincoln comprehended that in a conflict between two diverse civilizations there could be no neutrality on the part of a State. He had said that “a house divided against itself cannot stand, that the entire country must be one thing or another.” What measures could he take to prevent it from becoming the other thing! How foster the Union sentiment in the State? How develop an abiding and aggressive loyalty which would finally marshal it on the side of the Union ? Major Anderson, native of Kentucky, had shown his unswerving loyalty to the Union at Sumter. William Nelson, (*) lieutenant in the navy, had de clared in forcible language his fealty. The President sent them to their native State to ascertain the exact condition of affairs. They found that the volunteer militia, known as the “State Guard," was under the control of the Secessionists. General Simon B. Buckner was in command. The law under which it was organized was drafted by him. IIe intended to use the troops in behalf of the Confederacy. Governor Magoffin sent Dr. Luke Blackburn to Montgomery for arms. He purchased a few worthless muskets. Kentucky had not seceded, and the Confederate Government had no arms for that State. He made a speech in New Orleans, in which he stated that the people of Kentucky would soon be marshalled on the side of the Confederacy.
Another military body came into existence— the “ Home Guard." It was organized in Louisville under an ordinance passed by the City
Council. It was founded upon a vague clause in the city charMay 25.
ter. Mayor Dolph approved the act, and two regiments were organized for the defence of the city. The mayor was commanderin-chief, with authority to appoint a brigadier general. He selected Lowell H. Rosecrans, who soon became an officer in the United States Army. James Speed was appointed as his successor. It was the beginning of organized loyalty in Kentucky. The Union sentiment was developing. George D. Prentice, whose writings had pleased Abraham Lincoln for many years, was still wielding his pen in behalf of the Union.
Lieutenant Nelson hastened to Washington. “ If you will furnish arms to the Union men of the State,” he said to Mr. Lincoln, “ they will fight for the restoration of the State to the Union."
“It shall be done,” the President replied, and directed that 10,000 muskets be placed at his disposal. Mr. Nelson hastened to Kentucky, and arranged with James Speed for a secret meeting of the leading Unionists. There were only twelve at the meeting-John J. Crittenden, Garret Davis, James Harlan, Joshua F. Speed, () James Speed, Charles A. Wickliffe, Thornton F. Marshall, Lieutenant Nelson, and four others. They selected suitable persons to distribute the arms. Joshua F. Speed was appointed general agent by the President. Companies of Home Guards were forming throughout the northern and central sections of the State. The magazine containing the ammunition of the State was under the control of Buckner; but Mayor Dolph demanded the keys. Buckner knew that if he did not give them up the mayor would take forcible possession of the property, and he therefore surrendered them. The mayor demanded the arms of the members of the “State Guard” in Louisville, and they were given up. By the wisdom and prudence of the President, acting in concert with Joshua F. Speed and his few Union friends, Kentucky was saved to the Union.
The President ardently labored to foster the Union sentiment in Missouri. With that end in view he had selected Mr. Bates to be Attorneygeneral.(*) During the years immediately preceding the outbreak of the war the Germans in St. Louis had manifested their opposition to the extension of slavery. They voted for Abraham Lincoln. The Governor of the State, Claiborne F. Jackson, favored secession. He called a State convention, but the delegates elected were opposed to seceding. It was a great disappointment to Governor Jackson and Jefferson Davis. Francis P. Blair, (1) one of the energetic Republicans of St. Louis, brother of Montgomery Blair, whom Mr. Lincoln had appointed Postmaster-general, discovered that Jackson was intending to seize the arsenal, which contained 60,000 arms.
“We must prevent it,” said Mr. Blair, privately, to a few of his friends, who agreed with him, and formed themselves into a military company. It was organized before the inauguration of President Lincoln. The commander of the arsenal was from North Carolina. He had a secret understanding with Governor Jackson to hand it over to the State. Before their plans were ripe Captain Nathaniel Lyon, of the army, appeared, appointed by General Scott. He was energetic, bold, fearless, and soon had barricades erected for the protection of the arsenal.
A steamer from Memphis came up the Mississippi. At night boxes labelled “Marble” were unloaded at the levee, which were quickly
carted away. A man who was lounging about the landing folMay 8.
lowed the teams to a military camp which Governor Jackson had established, and where General Frost was in command. It was no secret that his soldiers were in sympathy with Jefferson Davis. The next morning a gentleman and lady drove to the camp. The lady
smiled graciously upon the soldiers, and was pleased to see them May 9.
performing their evolutions. She noticed that the boxes marked Marble” were being opened. They contained cannon, shot, and shell. The carriage returned to the city, the lady to her lodgings. She removed bonnet, gown, and veil, and put on her uniform. She was no longer a woman, but Captain Lyon, who thus in disguise had seen for himself the cannon sent by the Confederate Secretary of War to Governor Jackson. Suddenly, as if moved by a common impulse, six regiments of Union troops with six cannon approached Camp Jackson. The cannon unlimbered, and wheeled into position. General Frost was amazed.
“Your command,” said Captain Lyon, “is regarded as hostile to the United States. I demand your surrender with no other conditions than that all persons shall be humanely and kindly treated.” There was no alternative for the Secessionists. Thus the arsenal was saved and treason stamped out in the chief commercial city of the Mississippi valley. Unfortunately, the troops came in collision with a mob, and several soldiers and citizens were killed in the mêlée, which greatly intensitied the antagonism between the Unionists and the Secessionists.
The complications growing out of the movements in the border States required the exercise of great wisdom and judicious action on the part of the President. From morning till late at night he must receive delegations, listen to long documents, charge his memory with facts, make many decisions affecting the welfare of the nation. While bearing present burdens he was looking into the future.
Major Anderson, on his return from Sumter, called upon the President and rehearsed the story of the bombardment. “The Confederates had a floating battery protected by railroad iron; cannon-shot had no effect upon it,” he said. Mr. Lincoln was much interested by the remark.
Among the vessels partly burned and then scuttled at the Norfolk Navy - yard was the frigate Merrimac. Mr. Welles, Secretary of the Navy, learned that the Confederates were intending to raise the bull.