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[362] by showing that the North did not regard the Slave States as a conquest, of which it was about to take possession, nor yet as a heritage whence were derived its subsistence and wealth; but rather that it looked on their people as misguided, excited brethren, with whom we were anxious to discuss all differences freely, settle them (if possible) amicably, or part — if part we must — in kindness and mutual good-will. The latter, in a like spirit, was plainly designed to induce the Southrons to bring their grievances to the bar of amicable investigation and discussion, by assuring them that the North stood ready to redress every wrong to the extent of its power. But the chronic misapprehension at the South of any other language from the North than that of abject servility, was then, as ever, deserving of thoughtful consideration. The palpable fact that the North recoiled with shuddering aversion from a conflict of arms with the South, was hailed by the Secessionists as a betrayal of conscious weakness and unmanly fear; while the proffer of fresh concessions and a new compromise was regarded by Southern Unionists as an assurance that they had only to ask, and they would receive — that the North would gladly do anything, assent to anything, retract anything, to avert the impending shock of war.

For the great mails, during the last few weeks of 1860, sped southward, burdened with letters of sympathy and encouragement to the engineers of Secession, stimulating if not counseling them to go forward in their predetermined course. A very few of the writers indorsed Secession as a right, and favored it as an end; but the great majority wished it carried no further than would be necessary to frighten, or bully the ‘Black Republicans’ out of what they termed their “principles,” and sink them, with their “ conservative” fellow-citizens, into measureless abasement at the footstool of the Slave Power. And nearly every current indication of public sentiment pointed to this as the probable result, provided “the South” should only evince a willingness to accept the prostration, and graciously forgive the suppliant. As trade fell off, and work in the cities and manufacturing villages was withered at the breath of the Southern sirocco, the heart of the North seemed to sink within her; and the Charter Elections at Boston, Lowell, Roxbury, Charlestown, Worcester, etc., in Massachusetts, and at Hudson, etc., in New York, which took place early in December, 1860, showed a striking and general reduction of Republican strength. What must and could be done to placate the deeply offended and almost hopelessly alienated South, was the current theme of conversation, and of newspaper discussion.

Of the meetings held to this end, the most imposing may fairly be cited as a sample of the whole. The city of Philadelphia had given a small majority for Lincoln over all his competitors. Her Mayor, Alexander Henry, though of “American” antecedents, had been among his supporters. On the 10th of December, he issued an official Proclamation, “by advice of the Councils” of the city, summoning the whole people thereof to assemble on the 13th in Independence Square, there to “counsel together,” in view of the fact that

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