rd to the slavery question between 1830 and 1860.
The gathering and coming on of that war, its vaporous distillation from the breath of every man, its slow, inevitable formation in the sky, its retreats and apparent dispersals, its renewed visibilities-all of them governed by some inscrutable logic — and its final descent in lightning and deluge;--these matters make the history of the interval between 1830 and 1865.
That history is all one galvanic throb, one course of human passion, one Nemesis, one deliverance.
And with the assassination of Lincoln in 1865 there falls from on high the great, unifying stroke that leaves the tragedy sublime.
No poet ever invented such a scheme of curse, so all-involving, so remotely rising in an obscure past and holding an entire nation in its mysterious bondage — a scheme based on natural law, led forward and unfolded from mood to mood, from climax to climax, and plunging at the close into the depths of a fathomless pity.
The action of the dram
emed to be protected from the consequences of moral error.
The greatest illustration of this is the case of John Brown, whose crimes were at first not credited, and later were sanctified by contemporary Northern opinion.
Curiously enough, the political control of the South went on growing stronger and stronger while the basis for this controlits hold on the Northern imaginationwas growing weaker and weaker.
In other words, the Southern leaders always won: their cause always lost.
Some Nemesis was working out. The mecanique of each successive step in the process was always the same.
The weapon of the South was her threat of disunion.
This threat seems to have had the effect of a spell upon our Northern ancestors.
Disunion was in their opinion too horrible to be named, and much too terrible to be executed.
The mere thought of it shattered Northern nerves.
A world without the United States Constitution seemed to Northern men like a world before God's arrival — chaos come again