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but of personal confidence between the President and his ad visers, and left the Cabinet in disgust.
On the incoming of the administration of Abraham Lincoln, on the 4th of March, the rival government of the South had perfected its organization; the separation had been widened and envenomed by the ambidexterity and perfidy of President Buchanan; the Southern people, however, still hoped for a peaceful accomplishment of their independence, and deplored war between the two sections, as “a policy detrimental to the civilized world.” The revolution in the mean time had rapidly gathered, not only in moral power, but in the means of war and the muniments of defence. Fort Moultrie and Castle Pinckney had been captụred by the South Carolina troops; Fort Pulaski, the defence of the Savannah, had been taken ; 'the arsenal at Mount Vernon, Alabama, with 20,000 stand of arms, had been seized by the Alabama troops; Fort Morgan, in Mobile Bay, had been taken ; Forts Jackson, St. Philip, and Pike, near New Orleans, had been captured by the Louisiana troops; the Pensacola Navy-Yard and Forts Barrancas and McRae had been taken, and the siege of Fort Pickens commenced; the Baton Rouge Arsenal had been surrendered to the Louisiana troops; the New Orleans Mint and CustomHouse had been taken; the Little Rock Arsenal had been seized by tł Arkansas troops; and, on the 16th of February, General Twiggs had transferred the public property in Texas to the State authorities. All of these events had been accomplished without bloodshed. Abolitionism and Fanaticism had not yet lapped blood. But reflecting men saw that the peace was deceitful and temporizing; that the temper of the North was impatient and dark; and that, if all history was not a lie, the first incident of bloodshed would be the prelude to a war of monstrous proportions.
Mr. Lincoln's Journey to Washington.-Ceremonies of the Inauguration.Thc sagaral Speech of President Lincoln.— The Spirit of the New Administration.-Its Fidancial Condition.-Embassy from the Southern Confederacy.--Perfidious Treatment of the Southern Commissioners.-Preparations for War.—The Military Bills of the Confederate Congress.-General Beauregard.–Fortifications of Charleston Harbor.Naval Preparations of the Federal Government.--Attempted Reinforcement of Fort Surter.-Perfidy of the Federal Government,-Exciternent in Charleston.-Reduction of Fort Sumter by the Confederate Forces.- How the News was received in Washington.-Lincoln's Calculation.--His Proclamation of War.-The “Reaction" in the North.-Displays of Rancor towards the South.--Northern Democrats.—Replies of Southern Governors to Lincoln's Requisition for Troops,-Spirit of the South.-Secession of Virginia.- Maryland.-The Baltimore Riot.--Patriotic Example of Missouri.Lipcoln's Proclamation blockading the Southern Ports.-General Lee.-The Federals evacuate Harper's Ferry.-Burning of the Navy Yard at Norfolk.—The Second Secesslonary Movement.-Spirit of Patriotic Devotion in the South.-Supply of Arms in the South.–The Federal Government and the State of Maryland.—The Prospect.
The circumstances of the advent of Mr. Lincoln to Washington were not calculated to inspire confidence in his courage or wisdom, or in the results of his administration. His party had bnsily prophesied, and sought to innoculate the North with the conviction, that his assumption of the Presidential office would be the signal of the restoration of peace; that by some mysterious ingenuity he would resolve the existing political complication, restore the Union, and inaugurate a season of unexampled peace, harmony, and prosperity. These weak and fulsome prophecies had a certain effect. In the midst of anxiety and enubarrassment, in which no relief had yet been suggested, the inauguration of a new administration of the government was looked to by many persons in the North, outside the Republican party, with a vague sense of hope, which was animated by reports, quite as uncertain, of the vigor, decision, and individuality of the new President. For months since the announcement of his election, Mr. Lincoln's lips had been closed. He had been studiously silent; expectations were raised by what was thought to be an indication of a mysterious wisdom; and the North impatiently waited for the hour when the oracle's lips were to be opened.
These vague expectations were almost ludicrously disappointed. On leaving his home, in Springfield, Illincis, for
Washington, Mr. Lincoln had at last opened his lips. In the speeches with which he entertained the crowd that at different points of the railroad watched his progress to the capital, he amused the whole country, even in the midst of a great public anxiety, with his ignorance, his vulgarity, his flippant conceit, and his Western phrascology. The North discovered that the new President, instead of having nursed a masterly wisdom in the retirement of his home at Springfield, and approaching the capital with dignity, had nothing better to offer to an agonized country than the ignorant conceits of a low Western politician, and the flimsy jests of a harlequin. His railroad speeches were characterized by a Southern paper as illustrating “the delightful combination of a Western county lawyer with a Yankee bar-keeper.” In his harangues to the crowds which intercepted him in his journey, at a time when the country was in revolutionary chaos, when commerce and trade were progtrated, ard when starving women and idle men were among the Tery audiences that listened to him, he declared to them in his peculiar phraseology that “nobody was hurt," that “all would come out right,” and that there was "nothing going wrong.” Nor was the rhetoric of the new President his only entertainment of the crowds that assembled to honor the progress of his journey to Washington. He amused them by the spectacle of kissing, on a public platform, a lady-admirer, who had sug. gested to him the cultivation of his whiskers; he measured heights with every tall man he encountered in one of his public receptions, and declared that he was not to be “overtopped ;) and he made public exhibitions of his wife—“the little woman," he called her--whose chubby figure, motherly face, and fondness for finery and colors recommended her to a very limited and very vulgar portion of the society of her sex.
These jests and indecencies of the demagogue who was to take control of what remained of the Government of the United States, belong to history. Whatever their disgrace, it was surpassed, however, by another display of character on the part of the coming statesman. While at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and intending to proceed from there to Baltimore, Mr. Lincoln was alarmed by a report, which was either silly or jocose, that a band of assassins were awaiting him in the latter city. Frightened beyond all considerations of dignity and decency
the new President of the United States left Harrisburg at night, on a different route than that through Baltimore; and in a motley disguise, composed of a Soutch cap and inilitary cloak stole to the capital of his government. The distinguished fugitive had left his wife and family to pursue the route ou which it was threatened that the cars were to be thrown down a precipice by Secessionists, or, if that expedient failed, the work of assassination was to be accomplished in the streets of Baltimore. The city of Washington was taken by surprise by the irregular flight of the President to its shelter and protecsion, The representatives of his own party there received him with evident signs of disgust at the cowardice which had hurried his arrival in Washington; but as an example of the early prostitution of the press of that parasitical city to the incoming administration that was to feed its venal lusts, the escapade of Mr. Lincoln was, with a shamelessness almost incredible, exploited as an ingenious and brilliant feat, and entitled, in the newspaper extras that announced his arrival, as "another Fort Moultrie coup de main”-referring to the fraud by which the government had stolen a march by midnight to the supposed impregnable defences of Fort Sumter.
But Mr. Lincoln's fears for his personal safety evidently did not subside with his attainment of the refuges of Washington. A story was published seriously in a New York paper, that at the moment of his inauguration he was to be shot on the Capitol steps, by an air-gun, in the hands of a Secessionist selected for this desperate and romantic task of assassination. The President, with nerves already shattered by his flight from Harrisburg, was easily put in a new condition of alarm. An armed guard was posted around Willard's hotel, where he had taken temporary quarters. Preparations were busily made to organize a military protection for the ceremony of the inauguration. The city of Washington had already been invested with large military forces, under the immediate command of General Scott, whose vanity and weak love of public sensations had easily induced him to pretend alarm, and to make a military display, more on his own account than for the ridiculous and absurd object of Mr. Lincoln's personal security. For weeks the usually quiet city had been filled with Federal bayonets; the bugle's reveille, the roll of drums, and the tramp of armed guards startled, in every direction, the civilian ( Washington, who had been accustomed to nothing more war like than parades at the Navy Yard and rows in Congress: companies of flying artillery daily paraded the streets and thundered over its pavements; and no forin of ostentation was omitted by the senile and conceited general in command, to give the Federal metropolis the appearance of a conquered city.
The hour of the inauguration—the morning of the fourth of March-at length arrived. Mr. Lincoln was dressed in a suit of black for the occasion, and, at the instance of his friends, had submitted to the offices of a hair-dresser. He entered the barouche that was to convey him to the Capitol, with a nervous agitation and an awkwardness, that were plainly evident to the crowd. His person attracted the curiosity of the mob. Of unusual height, the effect of his figure was almost ludicrous, from a swinging gait and the stoop of his shoulders; a cadaverous face, whose expression was that of a sort of funereal humor; long, swinging arms, with the general hirsute appearance of the Western countryman, made up the principal features of the new President.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by a most extraordinary military display, under the immediate direction of General Scott; who, to give it an appearance of propriety, and to increase its importance, affected the most uneasy alarms. Previous to inauguration day, the vaults of the Capitol were explored for evidences of a gunpowder plot to hurry Mr. Lincoln and his satellites into eternity. In the procession along Pennsylvania Avenue, the President was hid from public view in a hollow square of cavalry, three or four deep. The tops of the houses along the route were occupied by soldiery watching for signs of tumult or assassination. Artillery and infantry companies were posted in different parts of the city; officers were continually passing to and fro; and as the procession approached the Capitol, Gen. Scott, who was in constant commuaication with all quarters of the city, was heard to exclaim, in a tone of relief, “every thing is going on peaceably; thank
, God Almighty for it." The expression of relief was simply ridiculous. The ceremony was disturbed by but a single incident: as the procession neared the portico of the Capitol, a