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General Scott's Prophetic Views.
counsels for conciliation, but did not, we be- | of all, and the remaining States would constitute
But break this glorious Union by whatever line or lines that political madness may contrive, and there would be no hope of re-uniting the fragments except by the laceration and despotism of the sword. To effect such result, the intestine wars of our Mexican neighbors would, in comparison with ours, sink into mere child's play.
"A smaller evil would be to allow the fragments of the great Republic to form themselves into new Confederacies, probably four.
"All the lines of demarcation between the new Unions cannot be accurately drawn in advance, but many of them approximately may. Thus, looking to natural boundaries and commercial affinities, some of the following frontiers, after many waverings and conflicts, might perhaps become acknowledged and fixed:
"1. The Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay to the Atlantic. 2. From Maryland, along the crest of the Alleghany (perhaps the Blue Ridge) range of mountains, to some point on the coast of Florida. 3. The line from say the head of the Potomac to the west or northwest, which it will be most difficult to settle. 4. The crest of the Rocky Mountains.
"The Southeast Confederacy would, in all human probability, in less than five years after the rupture, find itself bounded by the first and second lines indicated above, the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, with its capital at say Columbia, South Carolina. The country between the second, third, and fourth of those lines would, beyond a doubt, in about the same time, constitute another Confederacy, with its capital at probably Alton or Quincy, Illinois. The boundaries of the Pacific Union are the most definite
with its capital at Albany. "It, at the first thought, will
and parts of Virginia and Florida should be placed (above) in a new Confederacy with Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, &c. ; but when the overwhelming weight of the great Northwest is taken in connection with the laws of trade, contiguity of territory, and the comparative indifference to free soil doctrines on the part of Western Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri, it is evident that but little if any coercion, beyond moral force, would be needed to embrace them; and I have omitted the temptation of the unwasted public lands which would fall entire to this Confederacy-an appanage (well husbanded) suffi. cient for many generations. As to Missouri, Arkansas, and Mississippi, they would not stand out a month. Louisiana would coalesce without much solicitation, and Alabama, with West Florida, would be conquered the first winter from the absolute need of Pensacola for a naval depot.
"If I might presume to address the South, and particularly dear Virginia-being 'native here and to the manor born'-I would affectionately ask, will not your slaves be less secure, and their labor less profitable under the new order of things than under the old? Could you employ profitably two hundred slaves in all Nebraska, or five hundred in all New Mexico? The right, then, to take them thither would be a barren right. And is it not wise to Rather bear the ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of ?' "The Declaration of Independence proclaims and consecrates the same maxim: Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes.' And Paley, too, lays down as a fundamental maxim of statesmanship, 'never to pursue national honor as distinct from national interest; but adds: This rule acknowledges that it is often necessary to assert the honor of a nation for the sake of its interests.'
"The excitement that threatens secession is caus ed by the near prospect of a Republican's election to the Presidency. From a sense of propriety as a soldier, I have taken no part in the pending canvass, and, as always heretofore, mean to stay away from the polls. My sympathies, however, are with the Bell and Everett ticket. With Mr. Lincoln I have had no communication whatever, direct or indirect, and have no recollection of ever having seen his person; but cannot believe any unconstitutional violence, or breach of law, is to be apprehended from his administration of the Federal Government.
"From a knowledge of our Southern population,
A DAY OF
General Scott's Prophetic Views.
it is my solemn conviction that there is some danger of an early act of rashness preliminary to secession, viz., the seizure of some or all of the following posts: Forts Jackson and St. Philip in the Mississippi, below New Orleans, both without garrisons; Fort Morgan, below Mobile, without a garrison; Forts Pickens and McRea, Pensacola harbor, with an insufficient garrison for one; Fort Pulaski, below Savannah, without a garrison; Forts Moultrie and Sumter, Charleston harbor, the former with an insufficient garrison, and the latter without any; and Fort Monroe, Hampton Roads, without a sufficient garrison. In my opinion all these works should be immediately so garrisoned as to make any attempt to take any one of them, by surprise or coup de main, ridiculous.
General Scott's Prophetic Views.
"It is his opinion that instructions should be given, at once, to the commanders of the Barrancas, Forts Moultrie and Monroe, to be on their guard against surprises and coups de main. « As to regular approaches, nothing can be said or done, at this time, without volunteers.
"There is one (regular) company at Boston, one here, (at the Narrows,) one at Pittsburg, one at Augusta, Ga., and one at Baton Rouge-in all five companies only, within reach, to garrison or reinforce the forts mentioned in the 'Views.'
"General Scott is all solicitude for the safety of the Union. He is, however, not without hope that all dangers and difficulties will pass away without leaving a scar or painful recollection behind.
"The Secretary's most obedient servant, "October 30th, 1860. W. S."
"With the army faithful to its allegiance, and the navy probably equally so, and with a Federal Exe- These opinions of the veteran commander cutive, for the next twelve months, of firmness and should have commanded earnest and solemn moderation, which the country has a right to expect consideration. They were expressed prior to -moderation being an element of power not less than the election, when the reinforcements proposfirmness-there is good reason to hope that the dan-ed could have been made without exciting ger of secession may be made to pass away without une conflict of arms, one execution, or one arrest for treason.
"In the mean time it is suggested that exports should remain as free as at present; all duties, how ever, on imports, collected, (outside of the cities,*) as such receipts would be needed for the national debt, invalid pensions, &c., and only articles contraband of war be refused admittance. But even this refusal would be unnecessary, as the foregoing views eschew the idea of invading a seceded State. "WINFIELD SCOTT.
"New York, October 29th, 1860."
particular remark. An adoption of his wise suggestion would have averted entirely the war of words which followed, in and out of the Cabinet, on the question of reinforcement; and there are those who will persist in the opinion, that the early and strong occupation of all the forts named would have held the entire scheme of rebellion in abey
It is certain that General Scott earnestly hoped for authority to order troops to Major Anderson; but the Secretary of War, John B. Floyd, had made a non-reinforcement the price of his remaining in the Cabinet, and the President was weak enough to favor a policy which, ere long, hurried him into the very dangers he had sought so earnestly to avoid. The President, on Dec. 14th, proclaimed Jan. 4th as a day to be set apart for humiliation, fasting, and prayer. proclamation thus set forth the calamities of the hour:
A Day of Fasting and
"The union of the States is at the present moment threatened with alarming and immediate dangerpanic and distress of a fearful character prevail throughout the land-our laboring population are without employmont, and consequently deprived of the means of earning their bread-indeed, hope seems to have deserted the minds of men. All classes are in a state of confusion and dismay, and
the wisest counsels of our best and purest men are wholly disregarded.
"In this, the hour of our calamity and peril, to whom shall we resort for relief but to the God of our Fathers? His omnipotent arm only can save us from the awful effects of our own crimes and follies -our own ingratitude and guilt towards our Heavenly Father.
"Let us, then, with deep contrition and penitent sorrow, unite in humbling ourselves before the Most High, in confessing our individual and national sins, and in acknowledging the justice of our punishment. Let us implore Him to remove from our hearts that false pride of opinion which would impel us to persevere in wrong for the sake of consistency, rather than yield a just submission to the unforeseen exigencies by which we are now surrounded. Let us, with deep reverence, beseech Him to restore the friendship and good-will which prevailed in former days among the people of the several States, and, above all, to save us from the horrors of civil war and blood guiltiness.' Let our fervent prayers ascend to His throne that He would not desert us in
this hour of extreme peril, but remember us, as He did our fathers in the darkest days of the Revolution, and preserve our Constitution and our Union-the work of their hands-for ages yet to come. An Omnipotent Providence may overrule existing evils for permanent good. He can make the wrath of man to praise Him, and the remainder of wrath He can restrain. Let me invoke every individual, in whatever sphere of life he may be placed, to feel a personal responsibility to God and his country for keeping this day holy, and for contributing all in his power to remove our actual and impending difficulties.
The Crisis Committee.
The Crisis Committee of Thirty-three met for conference and organization during the early part of the week, December 10-13th. On the latter day propositions were started by a resolution from Mr. Rust, of Arkansas, to the effect that the South required guarantees in the form of amendments to the Constitution. He stated that unless they were granted a dissolution of the Confederacy was inevitable. Mr. Rust declared himself to be a Unionist, but stated that a paper was prepared, and Leing signed by Southern members, representing that no concessions were to be expected from the North. In his opinion, the effect of that document, when published, would be to excite the Southern mind more deeply, and overwhelm those that were for sustaining the Union.
Mr. Dunn, of Indiana, then offered the following resolution, which Mr. Rust accepted as a substitute for his:
"Resolved, That in the opinion of this Committee, the existing discontent among the Southern people, and the growing hostility among them to the Federal Government, are greatly to be regretted, and that, whether such discontent and hostility are without just cause or not, any reasonable and constitutional remedies, and additional and more specific and effectual guarantees of their peculiar rights and interests as recognized by the Constitution, necessa
rily to preserve the peace of the country and the perpetuation of the Union, should be promptly and cheerfully granted."
This proposition led to a long discussion, in which most members of the Committee participated. Several Republicans desired to know what sort of guaranties were desired, because a general declaration like this might raise expectations which could not be fulfilled. If the States proposing to secede were arrested by the belief that such legislation as they demanded was to be obtained, yet finally be disappointed, it was easy to foresee that present discords would be aggravated. was contended, on the other side, that an initial point for negotiation between the two sections ought to be obtained, and after that was done the form of guaranties or legislation might be better considered.
These were the general features of the debate, in which nearly all participated for five hours. Finally, Mr. Morrill, of Vermont, proposed as an amendment or substitute for Mr. Dunn's, the following resolution:
'Resolved, That, in the opinion of this Committee, the existing discontents among the Southern people, and the growing hostility among them to the Federal Government, are greatly to be regretted, and that any reasonable, proper and constitutional remedies, necessary to preserve the peace of the country and the perpetuation of the Union, should be promptly and cheerfully granted."
A formal division was called, and the vote stood 9 to 22. The original resolution was then adopted by 22 to 9, as follows:
"YEAS.-Messrs. Corwin, Stratton, Campbell, Howard, Dunn, Kellogg, Windom, Curtis, Burch, Stout, Whiteley, Davis, (Md.,) Millson, Winslow, Houston, Love, Taylor, Rust, Hamilton, Phelps. Bristow, Neilson-22.
GOVERNUR MAGOFFIN'S CIRCULAR.
"NAYS.-Messrs. Morse, Tappan, Adams, Robinson, Ferry, Morrill, Humphrey, Washburne-8. "ABSENT.-Messrs. Hawkins and Boyce. "NOT VOTING.-Mr. Davis, (Miss.)"
Mr. Corwin, it was understood, had matured a series of resolves, which had the approval of a majority of the Republicans. They were as follows:
"First. Pledging the faith of Congress against any attempt to abolish Slavery in the District of Columbia.
"Fourth. In favor of any amendments rendering the Fugitive-Slave act effective and satisfactory to the South.
"Fifth. Against any discrimination by Congress of Slave States asking admission.
"Sixth. Protecting persons and property in the Territories till they have 30,000 inhabitants, when non-intervention by Congress shall be the law."
These early conciliatory steps gave the friends of Compromise hope that a settlement would be arrived at; but the continued hos
"Second. Against interfering with the inter-slave-tility of the extremists from the Gulf States indicated clearly that compromises were not
trade between the States.
"Third. Against the abolition of Slavery in the wanted, and probably would not be acceptdock-yards and arsenals in the Slave States. ed, no matter what their nature.
CONSERVATIVE PHASES OF THE REVOLUTION.
"COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY, EXECUTIVE
States of the Union that may be disposed to meet us on this basis for a full conference. The present good to be accomplished would be to arrest the secession movement until the question as to whether the Union can be preserved upon fair and honorable terms can be fully tested. If there be a basis for the adjustment of our difficulties within the Union, nothing should be left undone in order to its development. To this end, it seems to me there should be a conference of the States in some form, and it ap pears to me the form above suggested would be most effective. I, therefore, as the Governor of a State having as deep a stake in the perpetuity of the Union, and at the same time as much solicitude for the maintenance of the institution of Slavery as any other, would respectfully beg leave to submit for your consideration the following outline of propo
DEPARTMENT, FRANKFORT, Dec. 9, 1860. "Entertaining the opinion that some movement should be instituted at the earliest possible moment to arrest the progress of events which seem to be rapidly hurrying the Government of the Union to dismemberment, as an initiatory step, I have, with great diffidence, concluded to submit to the Gover-sitions:nors of the Slave States a series of propositions, and to ask their counsel and co-operation in bringing about a settlement upon them as a basis. Should the propositions be approved, they can be submitted to the assembling Legislatures and Conventions of the Slave States, and a Convention of all of said States, or of those only approving, be called to pass upon them, and ask a General Convention of all the
"First. Repeal, by an amendment of the Constitution of the United States, all laws in the Free States in any degree nullifying or obstructing the execution of the Fugitive Slave law.
"Second. Amendments to said law to enforce its thorough execution in all the Free States, providing compensation to the owner of the slave from the State which fails to deliver him up under the require
ments of the law, or throws obstructions in the way relations. In deference to that recommendation the General Assembly, as such, has taken no further action.
of his recovery.
"Third. The passage of a law by Congress com. pelling the Governors of Free States to return fugitives from justice, indicted by a Grand Jury in another State for stealing or enticing away a slave.
64 Fourth. To amend the Constitution so as to divide all the Territories belonging to the United States, or hereafter to be acquired, between the Free and the Slave States, say upon the line of the 37th degree of North latitude-all North of that line to come into the Union with requisite population as Free States, and all South of the same to come in as Slave States.
"Fifth. To amend the Constitution so as to guarantee forever to all the States the free navigation of the Mississippi River.
"Sixth. To alter the Constitution so as to give the South the power, say in the United States Senate, to protect itself from unconstitutional and oppressive legislation upon the subject of Slavery.
"Respectfully, your obedient servant,
"The Convention of the people of Georgia will assemble on the 16th day of January next, and doubtless that Convention will appoint delegates to a General Convention of the Southern States.
"Before this the Convention of our sister States of South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida, and perhaps others, will have assembled for action. "In behalf of the people of Georgia, whom we represent, this meeting, composed of members of the General Assembly, do most respectfully, but earnestly, ask the people of our sister States, above named, to appoint delegates to such a General Convention of the Southern States, or of as many as will convene; and that until such General Convention shall assemble and deliberate, no final separate State action shall be taken on the question of our longer continuance as members of the present confederacy of States.
"We urge this request, deeply feeling its importance to all, and to our great common cause. "We have but one interest; we are separate, inde
destiny we are one individual people.
"The action of one State must affect all the Son
To this there came no definitive reply. pendent sovereignties, but in welfare, feeling and The efforts of Virginia to secure a hearing for conference were futile, South Carolina even refusing to receive a Commissioner for the professed purpose of a "concert of action." The same fate awaited the proposition sent out by the Legislature of Georgia (December 15th) to the several States, asking for no separate State action.
The Georgia Plan of Cooperation.
It was not acted upon, except adversely, having been tabled by the South Carolina Convention without reading! It was as follows:
"To the people of South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida, in Delegate Convention assembled, and to such other Southern States as may assemble before the meeting of the Georgia Convention:
"The people of Georgia, in many very large primary meetings, have frequently requested that the Southern States of this Union should meet, at an early day, by their delegates in Convention, and confer together.
"The same meetings have urged the present Assembly of Georgia to inaugurate this movement. Before these meetings were held this Assembly had psssed a bill for the call of a Convention of the people, and to that Convention it seems all our prominent men were understood to have recommended the reference of all other questions on our Federal
thern States; the separation of one from all must greatly involve not only the feelings but the interests of all. No slaveholding State can live for itself—we must live with and for each other. God has not mingled more indistinguishably the drops of water in our rivers, than he has linked indissolubly the destinies of our people and their children forever.
"In climate, soil, productions and systems of labor we are as identical with each other as we are separate from the balance of the world.
"Let us consult together, then. Let us so act that all may agree. Our people must be united. Our common interest must be preserved. Our common movement must be successful. Common dangers must be avoided. Our equality, our honor, shall be preserved. All these can devise a cooperation. Not for our enemies, but for ourselves, our safety, our children, our peace, our necessities, we beseech you so to order your action as that consultation and cooperation shall not be defeated, but secured.