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Alabama, formed a provisional congress, and adopted a constitution and government under the title of The Confederate States of America, of which they elected Jefferson Davis of Mississippi President, and Alexander H. Stephens of Georgia Vice-President.

It needs to be constantly borne in mind that the beginning of this vast movement was not a spontaneous revolution, but a chronic conspiracy. "The secession of South Carolina," truly said one of the chief actors, "is not an event of a day. It is not anything produced by Mr. Lincoln's election, or by the non-execution of the fugitive-slave law. It is a matter which has been gathering head for thirty years." The central motive and dominating object of the revolution was frankly avowed by Vice-President Stephens in a speech he made at Savannah a few weeks after his inauguration:

"The prevailing ideas entertained by him [Jefferson] 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. Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery -subordination to the superior race-is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth."

In the week which elapsed between Mr. Lincoln's arrival in Washington and the day of inauguration, he exchanged the customary visits of ceremony with President Buchanan, his cabinet, the Supreme Court, the two Houses of Congress, and other dignitaries. In his rooms at Willard's Hotel he also held consultations

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with leading Republicans about the final composition of his cabinet and pressing questions of public policy. Careful preparations had been made for the inauguration, and under the personal eye of General Scott the military force in the city was ready instantly to suppress any attempt to disturb the peace or quiet of the day.

On March 4 the outgoing and incoming Presidents rode side by side in a carriage from the Executive Mansion to the Capitol and back, escorted by an imposing military and civic procession; and an immense throng of spectators heard the new Executive read his inaugural address from the east portico of the Capitol. He stated frankly that a disruption of the Federal Union was being formidably attempted, and discussed dispassionately the theory and illegality of secession. He held that the Union was perpetual; that resolves and ordinances of disunion are legally void; and announced that to the extent of his ability he would faithfully execute the laws of the Union in all the States. The power confided to him would be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and imposts. But beyond what might be necessary for these objects there would be no invasion, 'no using of force against or among the people anywhere. Where hostility to the United States in any interior locality should be so great and universal as to prevent competent resident citizens from holding the Federal offices, there would be no attempt to force obnoxious strangers among them for that object. The mails, unless repelled, would continue to be furnished in all parts of the Union; and this course would be followed until current events and experience should show a change to be necessary. To the South he made an earnest



plea against the folly of disunion, and in favor of maintaining peace and fraternal good will; declaring that their property, peace, and personal security were in no danger from a Republican administration.

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"One section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended," he said, "while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended; that is the only substantial dispute. Physically speaking, we cannot separate. We cannot remove our respective sections from each other, nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced, and go out of the presence and beyond the reach of each other; but the different parts of our country cannot do this. They cannot but remain face to face, and intercourse, either amicable or hostile, must continue between them. Is it possible, then, to make that intercourse more advantageous or more satisfactory after separation than before? Can aliens make treaties easier than friends can make laws? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between aliens, than laws can among friends? Suppose you go to war, you cannot fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions as to terms of intercourse are again upon you. In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of

the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

But the peaceful policy here outlined was already more difficult to follow than Mr. Lincoln was aware. On the morning after inauguration the Secretary of War brought to his notice freshly received letters from Major Anderson, commanding Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, announcing that in the course of a few weeks the provisions of the garrison would be exhausted, and therefore an evacuation or surrender would become necessary, unless the fort were relieved by supplies or reinforcements; and this information was accompanied by the written opinions of the officers that to relieve the fort would require a well-appointed army of twenty thousand men.

The new President had appointed as his cabinet William H. Seward, Secretary of State; Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury; Simon Cameron, Secretary of War; Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy; Caleb B. Smith, Secretary of the Interior: Montgomery Blair, Postmaster-General; and Edward Bates, Attorney-General. The President and his official advisers at once called into counsel the highest military and naval officers of the Union to consider the new and pressing emergency revealed by the unexpected news from Sumter. The professional experts were divided in opinion. Relief by a force of twenty thousand men was clearly out of the question. No such Union army existed, nor could one be created within the limit of time. The officers of the navy thought that men and supplies might be thrown into the fort by swift-going vessels, while on the other hand the army officers believed that such an expedition would surely be destroyed by the formidable batteries which the insurgents had erected to close the harbor. In view



of all the conditions, Lieutenant-General Scott, generalin-chief of the army, recommended the evacuation of the fort as a military necessity.

President Lincoln thereupon asked the several members of his cabinet the written question: "Assuming it to be possible to now provision Fort Sumter, under all the circumstances is it wise to attempt it?" Only two members replied in the affirmative, while the other five argued against the attempt, holding that the country would recognize that the evacuation of the fort was not an indication of policy, but a necessity created by the neglect of the old administration. Under this advice, the President withheld his decision until he could gather further information.

Meanwhile, three commissioners had arrived from the provisional government at Montgomery, Alabama, under instructions to endeavor to negotiate a de facto and de jure recognition of the independence of the Confederate States. They were promptly informed by Mr. Seward that he could not receive them; that he did not see in the Confederate States a rightful and accomplished revolution and an independent nation; and that he was not at liberty to recognize the commissioners as diplomatic agents, or to hold correspondence with them. Failing in this direct application, they made further efforts through Mr. Justice Campbell of the Supreme Court, as a friendly intermediary, who came to Seward in the guise of a loyal official, though his correspondence with Jefferson Davis soon revealed a treasonable intent; and, replying to Campbell's earnest entreaties that peace should be maintained, Seward informed him confidentially that the military status at Charleston would not be changed without notice to the governor of South Carolina. On March 29 a cabinet meeting for the second time dis

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