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THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.
who for many years had plotted the overthrow of the gôvérnment; and only waited à favorable opportuity to give success to their schemes. They had been able, under the excitement of the political canvass through which they had passed, so to educate and poison the public mind of a portion of the south, that they saw, with skillful management, they could make the future triumph of the Republican party a pretext on which they could raise successfully the flag of secession; and from that moment their dark and hellish purpose was taken. The north little dreamed of this, and meditating no disloyalty against the government, did not imagine those political leaders, though bold and unscrupulous, would dare raise their parricidal hand against it.
Buchanan's administration, though characterized by imbecility, and a disregard of the grave responsibilities of his high position, was quietly acquiesced in, and the freedom of 'Kansas being secured, the public feeling of the north became more calm. At the next election, in 1860, though the republicans took the bold, unprecedented step of seleeting both their candidates on the electoral ticket from the north, thus inevitably making a direct sectional issue, very little apprehension was excited. All our wide domain, except the territory of New Mexico; was disposed of, and that, as far as it could be by any immediate action of the government: and there seemed nothing to contend for but political supremacy, for its own sake. . The southern conspirators were perfectly aware of this, and knew that if the southern states went together in a solid body, they could carry enough northern ones to secure the election. The nomination of Douglas, they knew, and all knew, would be equivalent to his election. Théy were satisfied also, that under his administration they would suffer no invasion of their rights. But they had got beyond the desire to control the government--they deie. mined to have an independent, southern 'one. To effect this,
ELEOTION OF LINCOLN.
they resolved to sow division in their own ranks, and thus secure the success of the Republican party, They did so, and leaving the campaign to its inevitable result, spent their time and efforts in preparing for a revolution. Yancey and Davis were outwardly the leaders in this foul conspiracy, while Floyd and Thompson, members of Buchanan's cabinet, were secretly using their official positions as members of the government, and perjuring themselves in the presence of Heaven and the civilized world, to carry it on. The former, as Secretary of War, had, as far as lay in his power, so arranged the commands of the different forts, and distributed the army,
and accumulated arms at the south, as to cripple the incoming administration, and render it powerless to assert the rights of the government.
The election of Mr. Lincoln took place early in November, and almost immediately the extreme south set in motion the already prepared scheme of dissolution. Though the falsehoods that had been freely circulated respecting the designs of the Republicans--which they said were to emancipate the slaves and arm them against their masters,—and the triumph of a northern party, naturally excited indignation and alarm; yet, when the hour came for the final blow to be struck which should dismember this great Republic, even the hardened leaders trembled. Northern fanatics and southern conspirators had for years talked about disunion with a lightness that seemed close akin to madness, and laughed at the fears and warnings of statesmen, whom they stigmatized as “Union savers.” Yet they hesitated when they stood on the brink of the yawning abyss, whose mysterious depths, notwithstanding their vaunted confidence, they feared to try. The people, especially, started back from so hazardous an experiment, In this crisis, the southern leaders tried in various ways to defend their sin course, or to satisfy the people it was safe and right. To the timid they declared
FIRST STEPS TOWARDS SECESSION.
that no war would follow the act of secession, for a large portion of the north, they alleged, sympathized with them, and denounced, as bitterly as they did, the sectional, aggressive action of the Republicans, and would never permit them to hold their power by force of arms. This was unquestionably true at the time. To all they said that submission now was vassalage forever. Meanwhile the whole south was tossed on a sea of agitation, some wishing to delay final action till there could be a convention of all the southern states, so as to secure harmony; others declaring that delay would give the north time to organize and consolidate its power.
SOUTH CAROLINA TAKES THE LEAD-RECEPTION SOUTH, OF ITS ACT OF SE
CESSION-ANDERSON IN FORT SUMTER-DISTRACTION OF THE GOVERNMENT -THE NORTH DIVIDED-PROGRESS OF DISUNION SOUTH-SEIZURE OF NA: TIONAL PROPERTY-SCENES IN CONGRESS-RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE-RIGHT OF SECESSION-LINCOLN'S PASSAGE TO WASHINGTON AND INAUGURATION --HIS CABINET-VIRGINIA ---SOUTHERN COMMISSIONERS-FORT SUMTER
PREPARATIONS FOR ITS BOMBARDMENT.
YOUTH CAROLINA, with her accustomed arrogance and
pride, cut the Gordian Knot, and in the latter part of December, declared herself a free and independent State. When the news was received at Mobile, a hundred guns were fired, and a military parade ordered in honor of the event. At New Orleans, the thunder of cannon, singing of the Marsellaise, and the unfurling of the Pelican flag, attested the excitement of the people ; while secession flags were hoisted and meetings held over all the south. The State immediately took steps to get possession of the national forts in its borders.
In the mean time, Major Anderson, commander of the forts in the Charleston harbor, having but a handful of men under him, and seeing that fort Moultrie, in which the garrison was quartered could not resist an attack of land forces, quietly withdrew on the night of the 28th of December, and took possession of fort Sumter, situated on an island near by, and considered well nigh impregnable. Great fears before this had been entertained for his safety-some even doubting his loyalty, he being a Kentuckian. This masterly move electri. fied the nation, while its open confession that civil war was inevitable, created the most profound sensation throughout
the country. The south was loud in its denunciations of this act, declaring that he was guilty of'inaugurating hostilities, while from the north, one shout of approval went up, showing the readiness of the people to sustain the government in defending its rights. John B. Floyd immediately resigned his position as Secretary of War, on the ground that the President had broken his promise, that no movement should be made in Charleston, while negotiations were pending for the adjustment of difficulties.
The South Carolina troops then took possession of the arsenal of the city, containing many stand of arms and a large quantity of military stores, while strong fortifications were ordered to be erected around fort Sumter.
The new year opened gloomy enough. Southern members of Congress had begun to resign their seats-the wildest excitement was sweeping the Gulf states, and before the ris. ing storm, the general government seemed crumbling to atoms. Buchanan having surrounded himself with southern advisers, and lacking both the firmness and resolution necessary to a chief executive in such trying circumstances, vacillated, temporised and delayed-thus strengthening the confidence of the conspirators, and discouraging the loyal men of the north. Added to all this, the feeling of the north was divided. The exasperated feelings that had attended the campaign of the Fall previous, had not yet subsided, and thousands were willing that an administration, which they asserted was coming into power on a sectional issue, and which had been pushed directly in the face of the very troubles that now threatened the Republic, should be hampered and if needs be, overthrown. "All was confusion, doubt, ånd anger, and the nation rocked to and fro on the surging, conflicting elements of popular passion.
Between those at the north, anxious only for the preservation of party, and those reckless of consequences in their