among the enemy, and rushes, sword in hand, to its recovery, calculating that his soldiers will thereupon instinctively spring to his and its rescue at all hazards.
The event proved the efficiency of the method, if not the perfect accuracy of the calculation.
But the long-standing conspiracy for Disunion was favored, at this crisis, by very powerful incidental influences, whereof the principal were as follows:
1. No public opposition to Slavery having, for many years, been permitted in the slave-holding region, save at a very few points like St. Louis
, where the Free-Labor
interest had, from the force of circumstances, silently and suddenly achieved a practical preponderance, the journals, the religious organizations, and the political parties, were all immeasurably subservient to the Slave Power
In fact, the chief topic of political contention, whether in the press or on the stump, had for twenty years been the relative soundness and thoroughness of the rival parties in their devotion to Slavery.
On this ground, Gen. Jackson
had immensely the advantage of J. Q. Adams
, so far as the South
was concerned, when they were rival candidates for the Presidency; as Gen. Harrison
had some advantage of Mr. Van Buren
; Mr. Polk
of Mr. Clay
; Gen. Taylor
of Gen. Cass
; Gen. Pierce
of Gen. Scott
; and, lastly, Major Breckinridge
of John Bell
, in the State
canvass of 1859, Mr. Joshua F. Bell
, “American” candidate for Governor, had tried hard to “cut under” his Democratic antagonist, Beriah Magoffin
, but had failed, and been signally defeated.
His more spotless record as a Slavery propagandist had enabled the supporters of Breckinridge
to carry even Maryland
for him against Bell
, in 1860.
And now, the readiness to back South Carolina
, or, at least, to shield her from harm, was presented as a touchstone of earnestness, to those of all parties, who had for years so loudly vaunted their own and their party's matchless devotion to “Southern rights.”
2. The patronage of the Federal Government
throughout the fifteen Slave States, being wielded and bestowed by the Southern
of Mr. Buchanan
's Cabinet, was almost entirely monopolized by their fellow-conspirators.
The Collectors of Customs, Postmasters, Marshals, etc., who had good reason to apprehend the loss of their comfortable places on Mr. Lincoln
's accession to power, were generally “ripe for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.”
Many, if not most of them, were early and active promoters of the Slaveholders' Rebellion, even while easily deriving large emoluments from the Government
they were plotting to destroy.
3. The Legislatures and party Conventions of all the Slave States
had long been in the habit2
of unanimously resolving that they would never submit to exclusion from the Territories
, “Black-Republican domination,” etc., etc. Those who were really Unionists
were apt to let these resolves pass as a matter of course,