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inclosed a copy of the inaugural address, to which they were referred for the views controlling the Government, and which, in fact, had undoubtedly been carefully perused by them before undertaking this false mission, intended solely for diplomatic effect, both in the loyal States and in Europe.

To the Government this dilatory episode gave a few days of much needed time for the work now in hand. These “ Commissioners” at length retired from Washington, discharging their Parthian arrow, in the shape of a final communication to the Secretary of State, on the 9th of April. It was an evidence of that forbearance manifested by Mr. Lincoln through all the earliest stages of this conflict, a forbearance the value of which all the world can now appreciate, however distasteful to more excitable minds at the time, that these defiant rebels were permitted to return to their homes, instead of taking their wellearned place within prison walls.

Five weeks and more had now passed since the inauguration, and the situation of affairs in Fort Sumter, to which the gallant Anderson had transferred his little garrison of seventy men from Fort Moultrie, near the close of the year, portended an approaching crisis. The overt act of war had long since been committed by the Charleston rebels, in firing on the Star of the West as she went to carry relief to that Fort, on which beleaguering batteries, not before unmasked, were already preparing to open. The supply vessel turned back, and though nearly two months had passed beforc Mr. Buchanan vacated the Presidential chair, his Administration was permitted to expire without an attempt to retrieve that humiliation.

As time wore on, no military preparations, as yet, being visible, Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford being known to be still in Washington, without any thing being positively disclosed as to the character of their intercourse with the State Department, and those persons having been finally permitted to depart, with only the public certainty that they had been denied official recognition, a general uneasiness began to pervade the popular mind. This growing discontent was fanned by the positive assertions of busy quidnuncs that Fort Sumter was to be evacuated in obedience to the demand of the Charleston traitors.

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The visit of Mr. Fox to Major Anderson on the 22d day of March, afforded little relief to the current anxiety, so conflict. ing were the reports as to the purpose of his mission. The visit of still another supposed agent of the Government to Charleston, three days later, was generally construed unfavorably. Sanguine and nervous people were beginning to despond, or to speak openly of “weakness and vacillation ” on the part of the President. It was only those who did not thoroughly know Mr. Lincoln who could seriously have doubted him for a moment. And yet, the stranger lingering in the capital during those calm yet dubious days which preceded the outburst of a storm, every moment's delay of which was an incalculable gain to the Government, would almost have pronounced the Administration doomed to ignominious failure, to popular repudiation, such as a counter-revolution of loyal men in the North must inevitably follow, at the very outset of its career.

To omit to record this state of things, vividly impressed as it must be on the mind of every man in Washington, who observed events from the outside, would be to leave out the most striking view in the foreground of the picture. When taken in connection with subsequent events, it would also be as unjust to the fame of President Lincoln, as false to the facts of history.

It was during this period that Mr. Alexander H. Stephens, (who, recreant to the sterling words in which, a few short months earlier, he had denounced this insane attempt to destroy the best Government on earth, for no real grievance whatever, but solely to gratify and revenge the thwarted an.bition of defeated politicians, was now enjoying the mimic honors of the “Confederate" Vice Presidency,) delivered a remarkable speech in the city of Savannah, (March 21,) which must also have its permanent place in the annals of the time. The over-crowded audience, the enthusiastic applause, the solemnities of the occasion, and the known, frank, and positive character of the man, all combine to mark this utterance as a genuine reproduction of the thought and purpose of the chief conspirators, and their ready followers, at this hour. Only some of its chief points

can be recalled here, as showing both the estimate placed upon Mr. Lincoln's official action hitherto, and the real animus of the rebellion, when relieved of the disguises which Stephens had already stripped off in his anti-secession speech on the 19th of January, in the Georgia Convention.

After proceeding at some length to point out the “Improve ments " he discerned in the Montgomery Constitution over that which the seven "Confederate States" had repudiated, Mr. Stephens said:

But not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow me to allude to one other—though last, not least: The new Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institutions-African slavery as it exists among us- -the

proper status of the negro in our form of civilization, This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson, in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the rock upon which the old Union would split. He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, way be doubted. The prevailing ideas, entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen, at the time of the formation of the old Constitution, were, that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was WRONG IN PRINCIPLE, SOCIALLY, MORALLY AND POLITICALLY. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with ; but the general opinion of the men of that day was, that, somehow or other, in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away.

Let us pause here, for a moment, to consider this distinct concession-truthful in every word—as to the views of Jeffer

"and most of the leading statesmen" of the Constitutional era. How perfectly this agrees with the admission, two months earlier, that under an eminently Southern administration of the Government under the Constitution, for a long period of years, the South had no grievance whatever to complain of l Still more striking is the suggestion which this passage makes of that portion of Mr. Lincoln's celebrated Springfield speech, quoted by the author of the elaborate paper, in imitation of the Declaration of Independence, setting forth the causes of South Carolina's secession, when he says :


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