XXVI. the Union—the Confederacy.
- Organization of the Confederacy -- Jefferson Davis chosen President, and Alex. H. Stephens Vice-President -- Davis's Inaugural -- Stephens's “corner-stone” speech -- Mr. Lincoln's journey to Washington -- speeches -- Inaugural.
if Hudibras was right in his assumption, that there is and can be no fighting where one party gives all the blows — the other being content with meekly and patiently receiving them — then it might be plausibly contended that our great Civil War was initiated by the bombardment of Fort Sumter, or by the attempt to supply its famishing garrison, some weeks after Mr. Lincoln's inauguration. But Wit stands opposed to Reason in this case, as in many others. The first attempt in the interest of Secession to dispossess the Union, by force, of any property or position held by it, even though not seriously opposed, was as truly an act of war as though it had been desperately resisted, at the cost of hundreds of lives. The Secession of South Carolina1 was hailed with instant and general exultation by the plotters of Disunion in nearly every Slave State. There were celebrations, with parades, music, cannon-firing, speeches, etc., on that evening or the following day, at New Orleans, Mobile, Memphis, etc. Even at Wilmington, Del., where the Secessionists were few indeed, the event was honored by a salute of a hundred guns. Senator Andrew Johnson was still more honored, on the 22d, by being burned in effigy by the Secessionists of Memphis. While the Northern cities were anxious, apprehensive, and paralyzed, it was noted that at Baltimore, though no formal celebration was had, people seemed relieved and cheerful; the streets were gayly crowded, and business was better. At Washington, Mr. Garnett, of Virginia, exultingly announced the fact of South Carolina's secession in the House; whereupon, three or four Southrons clapped their hands. There was no further public manifestation in Congress; and none north of the Virginia line, save in Wilmington, as aforesaid. A mere handful of Federal troops, under Maj. Robert Anderson, watched rather than garrisoned the forts in Charleston harbor. Of these, Fort Moultrie, though the older and weaker, was mainly tenanted by the soldiers, being the more convenient to the city; but it could not have been held a day against a serious assault. Its garrison found themselves suddenly surrounded by scowling, deadly foes,2 too numerous to be resisted. During the night of the 26th, Maj. Anderson properly and prudently transferred his entire command to Fort Sumter, taking with them, or after them, all provisions, munitions, etc., that could conveniently be transported. The removal was effected by means of two schooners, which made several trips during the night, passing directly by the harbor guard-boat  Nina, and affecting no concealment. A full moon was shining in a clear sky. When all that could be had been removed, the remaining guncarriages, etc., were burnt, so as to prevent their use in any future attack upon Sumter. No resistance was offered; perhaps none of a serious nature could have been; for Maj. Anderson's act was evidently unanticipated in Charleston; but it was gravely complained of as a breach of faith-President Buchanan, it was implied, rather than distinctly alleged,3 having promised that the military status should not be changed, without due notice. The news of Anderson's movement sent a thrill through the hearts of many, who felt that we were silently drifting toward a sea of fraternal blood. Almost simultaneously with this transfer, a popular excitement was aroused in Pittsburgh, Pa., by information that an order had been received from the War Department for an extensive transfer of arms, especially of heavy ordnance, from the Alleghany Arsenal near that place to the South and South-West.4 That such transfers had been quietly going on for months, did not reconcile the stanch Republicans of our American Birmingham to further operations of the kind, now palpably in the interest of Southern treason. A public meeting was called; dispatches sent to Washington; and an order obtained suspending the meditated transfer. The citizens' meeting was held on the evening of the 27th; and its resolves, while they deprecated any lawless resistance to official orders, called urgently on the President to purge his Cabinet of every one known to be in complicity with treason or rebellion against the Federal Government and Union. John B. Floyd, Secretary of War, resigned his post on the 29th, alleging the course of the President, in refusing to order Major Anderson back to  Fort Moultrie, as his reason. He asserted that he had promised South Carolina that no change should be made in the disposition of our forces in Charleston harbor — which is exceedingly probable. He asked permission to “vindicate our honor, and prevent civil war” by “withdrawing the Federal garrison altogether from the harbor of Charleston.” This not being accorded, he declared that he could no longer hold his office, “under my convictions of patriotism, nor with honor.” The President mildly accepted his resignation, and appointed Joseph Holt, of Kentucky, to succeed him. By the middle of December, Hon. Caleb Cushing, of Mass., was dispatched to Charleston by President Buchanan as a Commissioner or confidential agent of the Executive. His errand was a secret one. But, so far as its object was allowed to transpire, he was understood to be the bearer of a proffer from Mr. Buchanan that he would not reinforce Major Anderson, nor initiate any hostilities against the Secessionists, provided they would evince a like pacific spirit, by respecting the Federal authority down to the close of his Administration-now but a few weeks distant. Gen. Cushing had been in Charleston a few months earlier as an anti-Douglas delegate to, and President of, the Democratic National Convention, and then stood in high favor with her aristocracy: on this occasion, however, he was soon given to understand that he had fallen from grace; that his appearance in the character of an advocate or representative of Federal authority had cast a sudden mildew on his popularity in that stronghold of Secession. He remained but five hours in Charleston; having learned within that time that the rulers of South Carolina would make no promises and enter into no arrangements which did not recognize or imply the independence of their State. He returned directly to Washington, where his report was understood to have been the theme of a stormy and protracted Cabinet meeting. Directly after Major Anderson's removal to Fort Sumter, the Federal arsenal in Charleston, containing many thousand stand of arms and a considerable quantity of military stores, was seized by the volunteers, now flocking to that city by direction of the State authorities; Castle Pinckney, Fort Moultrie, and Sullivan's Island, were likewise occupied by them, and their defenses vigorously enlarged and improved. The Custom-House, Post-Office, etc., were likewise appropriated, without resistance or commotion; the Federal officers having them in charge being original, active, and ardent Secessionists. The lights in the light-houses were extinguished, and the buoys in the intricate channel of the harbor were removed, so that no ocean craft could enter or depart without the guidance of a special pilot. Additional fortifications, defending the city and commanding the harbor approaches, were commenced and pushed rapidly forward; some of them having direct reference, offensive and defensive, to Fort Sumter. And still the volunteers came pouring in; nearly all from the interior of South Carolina; though abundant proffers of military aid were received from all parts of the South. The first company from another State, consisting  of eighty men, was organized in Savannah, and reached Charleston December 23d. Capt. N. L. Coste, of the U. S. revenue service, in command of the cutter William Aiken, in Charleston harbor, turned her over to the State authorities, and enlisted, with his crew, in the service of South Carolina. This day, the Palmetto, or South Carolina, flag was formally raised over the Custom-House and the Post-Office at Charleston; and it was announced next morning that Gov. Pickens had been tendered the services of volunteers from Georgia and Alabama, as well as from all parts of South Carolina. Mr. Jacob Thompson, Secretary of the Interior, having left his post to visit North Carolina in the character of a Secession Commissioner from Mississippi, a heavy defalcation was discovered5 in his Department. A South Carolina clerk named Godard Bailey, who was custodian of a large amount of State bonds belonging to the Indian Trust Fund, had abstracted therefrom bonds and coupons amounting in the aggregate to $870,000, and had disappeared. Mr. Thompson was notified by letter of the fraud, and, returning,6 called at once upon the President to announce it. An investigation was forthwith ordered; but neither the key of the safe nor the clerk who had charge of it could be found. Mr. Bailey was at length discovered, but could not or would not produce the key. The Department was then surrounded by a police force, which no clerk was allowed to pass, the safe broken open, and the extent of the robbery discovered. An examination of Mr. Bailey elicited the following facts: The firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell held a very large contract for the transportation of army supplies from Leavenworth and other points on the Missouri river to the army stationed at Camp Floyd, in Utah; under which they were to receive from the Treasury about one million dollars per annum. The contractors being pressed for funds, Mr. Floyd had been induced to accept their drafts on his department, in anticipation of future service, to the amount of nearly or quite a million of dollars. These acceptances, being manifestly irregular, could with difficulty, and but to a moderate extent, be negotiated; so that the embarrassment of the contractors was thereby scarcely mitigated. Under these circumstances, it appears, Mr. Russell had been made acquainted with Mr. Bailey, and had, by some means, induced the latter to supply him with a large amount of bonds from the safe under his control, substituting therefor Mr. Floyd's acceptances aforesaid. The bonds he had hypothecated in Wall-street and raised money thereon. As our national sky darkened, the bonds depreciated, and the lenders called on Mr. Russell for additional security, which he furnished in the shape of more bonds, supplied by Bailey; who, finding himself inextricably involved, addressed, on the 18th, a letter to Secretary Thompson, disclosing the more material facts, and pleading that he had taken the bonds only to save the honor of Secretary Floyd, which, he was assured, had been compromised by his advances to Russell & Co. He did this on the faith of promises that all should be made right in due  season: but, being called upon by the Indian Bureau for the coupons, payable January 1st, on the abstracted securities, he found himself unable to respond, and was driven to a confession. The Government being at that moment penniless, the revenue shrunk to less than half its ordinary dimensions by the stoppage of importations, and the necessity for borrowing urgent, this development, casting doubt on the integrity of men high in authority, gave a staggering blow to the public credit. The Grand Jury at Washington indicted7 Floyd on two counts: first, for malfeasance; second, for conspiracy with Bailey and Russell to defraud the Government; but he was by this time far from that city, absorbed in the work of luring Virginia into the toils of treason. The disintegration of the Cabinet had commenced so early as December 10th, when Mr. Howell Cobb, thoroughly in the counsels of the secessionists, resigned the control of the Treasury, whereof the bankrupt and hopeless condition supplied him with an excuse, though not the reason, for his retirement. Mr. Philip Francis Thomas, of Md., previously Commissioner of Patents, was appointed in his stead. Gen. Lewis Cass resigned the post of Secretary of State on the 14th, directly after a long and exciting Cabinet session. He did so because he could not consent to render himself responsible for, or be implicated in, the President's refusal to reinforce, provision, and sustain Maj. Anderson and his little force, holding the forts in Charleston harbor. He did not rush into the newspapers; yet he made no secret of his conviction that the course on which the President had decided was a fatally mistaken one, and led directly to National subversion and ruin. Attorney-General Black--a lifelong and intimate personal friend of the President-took charge, by his direction, of the State Department. Messrs. R. W. Barnwell, James L. Orr, and ex-Gov. Adams, Commissioners from the State of South Carolina, reached Washington on the 26th, under instructions to negotiate with the Federal Executive a partition of all the properties and interests of the sovereign and independent State of South Carolina in the Union from which she had seceded. Every one of them knew perfectly that the President had no more constitutional power or right to enter upon such a negotiation than he had to cede the country bodily to Russia, France, or Great Britain. They were, of course, received civilly, and treated respectfully, but informed that the President could only regard and meet them as citizens of the United States. They left, on their return, nine days afterward; sending farewell letters to the President, which are scarcely average samples of diplomatic suavity. Georgia having given8 a large popular majority for Secession, her authorities immediately took military possession of the Federal arsenal at Augusta, as also of Forts Pulaski and Jackson, commanding the approaches by sea to Savannah. North Carolina had not voted to secede, yet Gov. Ellis simultaneously seized the U. S. Arsenal at Fayetteville, with Fort Macon, and other fortifications commanding the approaches to Beaufort and Wilmington.  Having done so, Gov. E. coolly wrote to the War Department that he had taken the step to preserve the forts from seizure by mobs! In Alabama, the Federal arsenal at Mobile was seized on the 4th, by order of Gov. Moore. It contained large quantities of arms and munitions. Fort Morgan, commanding the approaches to Mobile, was likewise seized, and garrisoned by State troops. The steamer Star of the West left New York unannounced, during the night of January 5th, laden with reenforcements and supplies for Fort Sumter. A dispatch from that city reached the South Carolina authorities next day, advising them of her destination and objects. Secretary Thompson likewise sent a dispatch from Washington to the same effect, directly after leaving the Cabinet council in which he had ascertained the facts. He resigned his office on the 8th, asserting that the attempt to reinforce Fort Sumter was a violation of the promises of the Executive. The Star of the West, having 250 soldiers and ample provisions on board, appeared off the bar at Charleston on the 9th. Attempting to steam up the harbor to Fort Sumter, she was fired upon from Fort Moultrie and a battery on Morris Island, and, being struck by a shot, put about, and left for New York, without even communicating with Major Anderson. In Louisiana, the Federal arsenal at Baton Rouge was seized by order of Gov. Moore on the 11th. Forts Jackson and St. Philip, commanding the passage up the Mississippi to New Orleans, and Fort Pike, at the entrance of Lake Pontchartrain, were likewise seized and garrisoned by State troops. The Federal Mint and Custom-House at New Orleans were left untouched until February 1st, when they, too, were taken possession of by the State authorities. In St. Louis, the Custom-House, Sub-Treasury, and Post Office were garrisoned by a handful of Federal soldiers as a protection against a similar movement. Mr. Thomas, after a very few days' service, resigned control of the Treasury, and was succeeded by Gen. John A. Dix, of New York. In Florida, Fort Barrancas and the Navy Yard at Pensacola were seized by Florida and Alabama forces on the 13th; Commander Armstrong surrendering them without a struggle. He ordered Lieut. Slemmer, likewise, to surrender Forts Pickens and McRae; but the intrepid subordinate defied the order, and, withdrawing his small force from Fort McRae to the stronger and less accessible Fort Pickens, announced his determination to hold out to the last. He was soon after besieged therein by a formidable volunteer force; and a dispatch from Pensacola announced that “Fort McRae is being occupied and the guns manned by the allied forces of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.” Col. Hayne, as agent of Gov. Pickens, reached Washington on the 12th; and on the 16th demanded the surrender of Fort Sumter, as essential to a good understanding between the two nations of South Carolina and the United States. The Legislature of the former had, on the 14th, formally resolved, that “any attempt by the Federal Government to reenforce Fort Sumter will be regarded  as an act of open hostility, and a declaration of war.” The revenue cutter Cass, stationed at Mobile, was turned over by Capt. J. J. Morrison to the authorities of Alabama at the end of January. The McClellan, Capt. Breshwood, stationed on the Mississippi below New Orleans, was, in like manner, handed over to those of Louisiana. Gen. Dix had sent down a special agent to secure them, but he was too late. The telegraph dispatch whereby Gen. Dix directed him, “If any person attempts to haul down the American flag, shoot him on the spot,” sent an electric thrill through the loyal heart of the country. Finally, tidings reached Washington, about the end of February, that Brig.--Gen. Twiggs, commanding the department of Texas, had disgracefully betrayed his trust, and turned over his entire army, with all9 the posts and fortifications, arms, munitions, horses, equipments, etc., to Gen. Ben. McCulloch, representing the authorities of Texas, now fully launched upon the rushing tide of treason. The Union lost by that single act at least half its military force, with the State of Texas, and the control of our Mexican frontier; while two millions of dollars could hardly have replaced, in that crisis, the property thus filched from the Republic. And, to add to the extent of the disaster, the ship Star of the West, which, after its return from its abortive mission to Fort Sumter, was dispatched, laden with munitions and supplies, for the army of the frontier, went into the harbor of Indianola utterly unsuspicious of the transformation which had been there effected, and became10 an easy prey to the exultant Rebels. The defensive fortifications located within the seceding States were some thirty in number, mounting over three thousand guns, and having cost at least Twenty Millions of dollars. Nearly all these had been seized and appropriated by the Confederates before Mr. Lincoln's inauguration, with the exception of Fortress Monroe (Virginia), Fort Sumter (South Carolina), Fort Pickens (Florida), and the fortresses on Key West and the Tortugas, off the Florida coast. To offset these, they had full possession of Fort Macon, North Carolina, though that State had utterly refused to unite in the conspiracy, with the extensive and costly Navy Yard at Pensacola, and the Southern Arsenals, which their Floyd had crammed11 with arms  and munitions with direct reference to this contingency.12 Add to these the Army of the Frontier, with all its arms, munitions, trains, animals, and provisions, with the Southern revenue-cutters, Mints, Custom-Houses, Sub-Treasuries, etc. (over half a million of dollars in gold having been seized in that at New Orleans alone); and it may be safely estimated that the Rebellion had possessed itself of Thirty Millions' worth of Federal property before Mr. Buchanan left the White House; which was increased to Forty Millions by the seizure of Harper's Ferry Arsenal, and the Norfolk Navy Yard, with its ships of war, munitions, and two thousand cannon, before a single blow was struck on the side of the Union. The Convention of South Carolina called,13 on motion of Mr. R. Barnwell Rhett, a Convention of such slaveholding States as should, meantime, have seceded from the Union, to meet at Montgomery, Alabama, February 4th, which was acceded to. The Convention took place accordingly, and a provisional framework of government was adopted for “the Confederate States of America” on the 9th; which was superseded by a permanent Constitution,14 substantially a copy of the Federal Constitution, except in these particulars: The President and Vice-President are chosen for six years; and the President may not be reflected while in office. He may not remove from office any functionaries, but members of his Cabinet, without referring the same, with his reasons therefor, to the Senate. The heads of departments may each, by law, be accorded a seat on the floor of either House, with the privilege of discussing any measures pertaining to his department. This Constitution further provides that
No bounties shall be granted from the Treasury, nor shall any duties or taxes on importations be levied to promote or foster any branch of industry.
The citizens of each State * * * * shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any  State of this Confederacy with their slaves and other property; and the right of perty in said slaves shall not thereby be impaired.
No slave or other person held to service or labor in any State or territory of the Confederate States, under the laws thereof, escaping or lawfully carried into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such slave belongs, or to whom such service or labor may be due.
The Confederate States may acquire new territory * * * * in all such territory the institution of negro Slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress and by the territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and territories shall have the right to take to such territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or territories of the Confederate States.Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, was, by the Congress, unanimously elected President, and Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, Vice-President, of the Confederacy for the current year; and they, too, were reelected, without dissent, for a full term of six years, by a popular vote in the ensuing Autumn. Mr. Davis reached Montgomery on the 17th by a special train from Jackson, his progress being one continual ovation. He made twenty-five speeches15 on the route to enthusiastic crowds, and was welcomed on his arrival at Montgomery by a vast concourse. He was inaugurated next day with most imposing ceremonies. Mr. Davis's Inaugural was a temper and carefully studied document. Assuming the right of Secession as inherent in “the sovereign States losing this Confederacy,” to be exercised whenever, in their judgment, the compact by which they acceded to the Union “has been perverted from the purposes for which it was ordained, and ceased to answer the ends for which it was established,” and that its exercise “merely asserted the right which the Declaration of Independence of 1776 defined to be inalienable,” he avers of their recent action that “it is, by the abuse of language, that their act has been denominated revolution.” “They formed a new alliance,” he continues, [ignoring their solemn compact in the Federal Constitution by which they had covenanted with each other that “No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance,  or confederation.” ] The Federal Government is termed by him “the agent through whom they communicated with foreign nations,” which they have now “changed” --that is all. In short, the chief of the Confederacy talks as though his people had acted in a very natural and common-place manner in voting for President of the United States, and then, being beaten in the contest, seceding from the Union, framing a new Confederacy, and electing him President for the ensuing term, for which they had failed to elect Major Breckinridge. And, as they had cotton to sell, which the North, with nearly all other civilized countries, wished to buy, their policy was necessarily one of peace; and he argued that the old Union would inevitably and gladly, for cotton's sake, if for no other, cultivate peace with them. There was an undertone in this Inaugural, however, which plainly evinced that the author expected nothing of the sort. “If we may not hope to avoid war,” says Mr. Davis, “we may at least expect that posterity will acquit us of having needlessly engaged in it.” “We have entered upon a career of independence, and it must be inflexibly pursued through many years of controversy with our late associates of the Northern States.” Hence, he very properly called upon his Congress, in addition to the services of the Militia, to provide for a Navy, and “a well-instructed, disciplined Army, more numerous than would usually be required as a peace establishment” --which was putting quite as fine a point on it as the truth would warrant. Mr. Davis carefully refrained from any other allusion to Slavery, or the causes of estrangement between the North and the South, than the following:
With a Constitution differing only from that of our fathers in so far as it is explanatory of their well-known intent, freed from sectional conflicts, which have interfered with the pursuit of the general welfare, it is not unreasonable to expect that the States from which we have parted may seek to unite their fortunes to ours, under the Government which we have instituted. For this, your Constitution makes adequate provision; but beyond this, if I mistake not, the judgment and will of the people are, that union with the States from which they have separated is neither practicable nor desirable. To increase the power, develop the resources, and promote the happiness of the Confederacy, it is requisite there should be so much homogeneity that the welfare of every portion should be the aim of the whole. Where this does not exist, antagonisms are engendered, which must and should result in separation.Mr. Stephens, the Vice-President of the “ Confederacy,” proved far less reticent and more candid. On his return from the Convention or Congress whereby the “Confederacy” had been cemented, and he chosen its Vice-President, he was required to address a vast assemblage at Savannah,16 and did so in elaborate exposition and defense of the new Confederate Constitution. After claiming that it preserved all that was dear and desirable of the Federal Constitution, while it embodied very essential improvements on that document, in its prohibition of Protective Duties and Internal Improvements by Confederate authority; in its proffer to Cabinet Ministers of seats in either House of Congress, with the right of debate; and in forbidding the reelection of a President while in office, Mr. Stephens proceeded:
But, not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow  me to allude to one other — though last, not least: the new Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution — African Slavery as it exists among us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and the present revolution. Jefferson, in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him is now a realized fact. But whether lie comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution were, that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the lairs of nature ; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with; but the general opinion of the men of that day was, that, somehow or other, in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the Constitution, was the prevailing idea at the time. The Constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last; and hence no argument can be justly used against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation; and the idea of a Government built upon it-when the storm came and the wind blew, it fell. Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests upon, the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that Slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. [Applause.] This, our new Government, is the first in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It is so, even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many, so late as twenty years ago. Those at the North who still cling to these errors with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind; from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is, forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-Slavery fanatics: their conclusions are right if their premises are. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights, with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just; but, their premises being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the Northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of Slavery; that it was impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics — that the principle would ultimately prevail that we, in maintaining Slavery, as it now exists with us, were warring against a principle — a principle founded in nature — the principle of the equality of man. The reply I made to him was, that, upon his own grounds, we should succeed; that he and his associates in their crusade against our institutions would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal. In the conflict thus far, success has been on our side complete, throughout the length and breadth of the Confederate States. It is upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted; and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world. As I have stated, the truth of this principle may be slow in development, as all truths are, and ever have been, in the various branches of science. It was so with the principles announced by Galileo — it was so with Adam Smith, and his principles of political economy. It was so with Harvey, and his theory of the circulation of the blood. It is stated that not a single one of the medical profession, living at the time of the announcement of the truths made by him, admitted them. Now, they are universally acknowledged. May we not, therefore, look with confidence to the ultimate universal acknowledgment of the truths upon which our system rests? It is the first government ever instituted upon principles in strict conformity with nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of enslaving certain classes; but the classes thus enslaved  were of the same race, and their enslavement in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature's laws. The negro, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material — the granite-then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the-material fitted by nature for it; and by experience we know that it is the best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made “one star to differ from another in glory.” The great objects of humanity are best attained when conformed to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our Confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This stone, which was rejected by the first builders, “is become the chief stone of the corner” in our new edifice. [Applause.] I have been asked, What of the future? It has been apprehended by some that we would have arrayed against us the civilized world. I care not who or how many they may be; when we stand upon the eternal principles of truth, we are obliged to and must triumph. [Immense applause.]With regard to future accessions to the Confederacy, Mr. Stephens said:
Our growth by accessions from other States will depend greatly upon whether we present to the world, as I trust we shall, a better government than that to which they belong. If we do this, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas, cannot hesitate long; neither can Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. They will necessarily gravitate to us by an imperious law. We made ample provision in our Constitution for the admission of other States. It is more guarded-and wisely so, I think-than the old Constitution on the same subject; but not too guarded to receive them so fast as it may be proper. Looking to the distant future-and perhaps not very distant either — it is not beyond the range of possibility, and even probability, that all the great States of the North-West shall gravitate this way, as well as Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, etc. Should they do so, our doors are wide enough to receive them; but not until they are ready to assimilate with us in principle. The process of disintegration in the old Union may be expected to go on with almost absolute certainty. We are now the nucleus of a growing power; which, if we are true to ourselves, our destiny, and our high mission, will become the controlling power on this continent. To what extent accessions will go on, in the process of time, or where it will end, the future will determine. So far as it concerns States of the old Union, they will be upon no such principle of reconstruction as is now spoken of, but upon reorganization and new assimilation. [Loud applause.] Such are some of the glimpses of the future as I catch them.Mr. Abraham Lincoln, on the 11th of February, left his home at Springfield, Illinois, for Washington, receiving on the way advices that he had been, upon a careful canvass and comparison of the Electoral votes by Congress, proclaimed17 by Vice-President Breckinridge the duly elected President of the United States, for four years from the 4th of March ensuing. Immense crowds surrounded the stations at which the special train halted wherein he, with his family and a few friends, was borne eastward through Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, Albany, New York City, Trenton, Newark, Philadelphia, Lancaster, and Harrisburg, on his way to the White House. He was everywhere received and honored as the chief of a free people; and his unstudied remarks in reply to the complimentary addresses which he day by day received indicated his decided disbelief in any bloody issue of our domestic complications. Thus, at Indianapolis, where he spent the first night of his journey, he replied to an address of welcome from Gov. Morton, as follows: 
fellow-citizens of the State of Indiana: I am here to thank you much for this magnificent welcome, and still more for the very generous support given by your State to that political cause which, I think, is the true and just cause of the whole country and the whole world. Solomon says, “There is a time to keep silence;” and, when men wrangle by the month with no certainty that they mean the same thing while using the same word, it perhaps were as well if they would keep silence. The words coercion “ and ” invasion “ are much used in these days, and often with some temper and hot blood. Let us make sure, if we can, that we do not misunderstand the meaning of those who use them. Let us get the exact definitions of these words, not from dictionaries, but from the men themselves, who certainly deprecate the things they would represent by the use of the words. What, then, is ” coercion “? What is ” invasion “? Would the marching of an army into South Carolina without the consent of her people, and with hostile intent toward them, be invasion? I certainly think it would be ” invasion, “ and coercion” also, if the South Carolinians were forced to submit. But, if the United States should merely hold and retake her own forts and other property, and collect the duties on foreign importations, or even withhold the mails from places where they were habitually violated, would any or all these things be “invasion” or “coercion” ? Do our professed lovers of the Union, but who spitefully resolve that they will resist coercion and invasion, understand that such things as these on the part of the United States would be “coercion” or “ invasion” of a State? If so, their idea of means to preserve the object of their great affection would seem to be exceedingly thin and airy. If sick, the little pills of the homoeopathist would be much too large for it to swallow. In their view, the Union, as a family relation, would seem to be no regular marriage, but rather a sort of free-love arrangement, to be maintained on “passional attraction.” By the way, in what consists the special sacredness of a State? I speak not of the position assigned to a State in the Union by the Constitution; for that is the bond we all recognize. That position, however, a State cannot carry out of the Union with it. I speak of that assumed primary right of a State to rule all which is less than itself, and to ruin all which is larger than itself. If a State and a County, in a given case, should be equal in extent of territory and equal in number of inhabitants, in what, as a matter of principle, is the State better than the County? Would an exchange of names be an exchange of rights? Upon principle, on what rightful ground may a State, being no more than one-fiftieth part of the nation in soil and population, break up the nation, and then coerce a proportionally larger subdivision of itself in the most arbitrary way? What mysterious right to play tyrant is conferred on a district of country, with its people, by merely calling it a State? Fellow-citizens, I am not asserting anything. I am merely asking questions for you to consider. And now, allow me to bid you farewell.At Columbus, Ohio, he said:
I have not maintained silence from any want of real anxiety. It is a good thing that there is no more than anxiety; for there is nothing going wrong. It is a consoling circumstance that, when we look out, there is nothing that really hurts anybody. We entertain different views upon political questions: but nobody is suffering anything. This is a most consoling circumstance; and from it we may conclude that all we want is time, patience, and a reliance on that God who has never forsaken this people.At Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on the 15th, he said:
Notwithstanding the troubles across the river [the speaker pointing southwardly across the Monongahela, and smiling], there is no crisis but an artificial one. What is there now to warrant the condition of affairs presented by our friends over the river? Take even their own views of the questions involved, and there is nothing to justify the course they are pursuing. I repeat, then, there is no crisis, except such a one as may be gotten up at any time by turbulent men, aided by designing politicians. My advice to them, under the circumstances, is to keep cool. If the great American people only keep their temper both sides of the line, the trouble will come to an end, and the question which now distracts the country be settled, just as surely as all other difficulties, of a like character, which have originated in this Government, have been adjusted. Let the people on both sides keep their self-possession, and, just as other clouds have cleared away in due time, so will this great national continue to prosper as heretofore.At Philadelphia, being required to assist at the solemn raising of the United States flag over Independence Hall, Mr. Lincoln, in reply to an address of welcome by Mr. Theodore Cuyler, said:
I have often pondered over the dangers incurred by the men who assembled here, and framed and adopted that Declaration of  Independence. I have pondered over the toils that were endured by the officers and soldiers of the army who achieved that Independence. I have often inquired of myself, what great principle or idea it was that kept this confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the Colonies from the mother-land; but that sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which gave Liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future time. It was that which gave promise that, in due time, the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all men. This is a sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence. Now, my friends, can this country be saved on that basis? If it can, I will consider myself one of the happiest men in the world, if I can help to save it. If it cannot be saved on that basis, it will be truly awful. But, if this country cannot be saved without giving up that principle, I was about to say that I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it. Now, in my view of the present aspect of affairs, there need be no bloodshed or war. There is no necessity for it. I am not in favor of such a course; and I may say, in advance, that there will be no bloodshed, unless it be forced upon the Government, and then it will be compelled to act in self defense.Arrived at Harrisburg, however, on the 22d, Mr. Lincoln, looking across the slave line, experienced suddenly a decided change in the political barometer. It had been arranged that he should next day pass through Baltimore, the center of a grand procession — a cynosure of admiring eyes — the object of enthusiastic acclamations — as he had, thus far, passed through nearly all the great cities of the Free States. But Baltimore was a slaveholding city, and the spirit of Slavery was nowhere else more rampant and ferocious. The mercantile and social aristocracy of that city had been sedulously, persistently, plied by the conspirators for disunion with artful suggestions that, in a confederacy composed exclusively of the fifteen Slave States, Baltimore would hold the position that New York enjoys in the Union, being the great ship-building, shipping, importing and commercial emporium, whitening the ocean with her sails, and gemming Maryland with the palaces reared from her ample and everexpanding profits. That aristocracy had been, for the most part, thoroughly corrupted by these insidious whispers, and so were ready to rush into treason. At the other end of the social scale was the mob-reckless and godless, as mobs are apt to be, especially in slaveholding communities-and ready at all times to do the bidding of the Slave Power. Between these was the great middle class, loyal and peacefully inclined, as this class usually is-outnumbering both the others, but hitherto divided between the old pro-Slavery parties, and having arrived, as yet, at no common understanding with regard to the novel circumstances of the country and the events visibly impending. The city government was in the hands of the Breckinridge Democracy, who had seized it under a cry of reform; and the leaders of that Democracy were deep in the counsels of treason. It had been proclaimed, in many quarters, and through various channels, that Mr. Lincoln should never live to be inaugurated; and The Baltimore Republican of the 22d had a leading article directly calculated to incite tumult and violence on the occasion of Mr. Lincoln's passage through the city.18 The police  was directed by Marshal George P. Kane, who, after a sojourn in Fort McHenry, fled in 1863 to the congenial associations of Richmond and the Confederate Army. It being considered certain that an attempt to assassinate the President would be made, under cover of mob violence, should he pass through the city as was originally intended, Mr. Lincoln was persuaded to take the cars secretly, during the evening of the 22d, and so passed through Baltimore, unknown and unsuspected, early on the morning of the 23d--reaching Washington about the hour that he was expected to leave Harrisburg. The prudence of this step has since been abundantly demonstrated; but it wounded, at the time, the sensibilities of many friends, who would have much preferred to form an escort of one hundred thousand armed men to see him safely through Baltimore, than to have him pass through it clandestinely and like a hunted fugitive. The 4th of March, 1861, though its early morning had been cloudy and chilly, was a remarkably bright and genial day at Washington. To the children of harsh New England, it seemed more like May than March. Expectations and threats of convulsion had rather increased than lessened the throng, wherein all sections of the unseceded States were liberally represented, though the Federal District and the adjacent counties of Maryland and Virginia doubtless supplied by far the larger share of it. Menaces that the President elect would never be permitted to take the oath of office — that he would be assassinated in the act, if no other mode of preventing it should promise success — had been so freely and loudly made,19 that apprehensions of some concerted attempt at violence or tumult were widely entertained and fully justified. Lieut.-Gen. Scott had taken the fullest military precautions that his limited force of regulars — perhaps one thousand in all — would permit; and there was a considerable muster of uniformed Militia. The procession, partly civic, which escorted the retiring and incoming Presidents, who rode in the same carriage, to the Capitol, was quite respectable — unusually so for that non-enthusiastic, and, as yet, strongly pro-Slavery, metropolis. The Senate had been sitting through most of the preceding forty-eight hours, though this was Monday, and barely concluded the labors of the session in time to allow Vice-President Breckinridge to resign the Chair in a few courteous words, and take his seat on the floor as a member, while Vice-President Hamlin left the floor to take the Chair with as little parade — the two thus exchanging places. This done, and several other new Senators beside Mr. Breckinridge having been sworn in, the space in the Chamber allotted for this occasion to the Embassadors of Foreign Powers ( “Dixie” not included) was promptly filled by the diplomatic body in full dress; the magnates blazing with stars and orders. Soon, the Justices of the Supreme Court entered in a body, and the assemblage rose in silent homage, and  stood till they were seated. The remaining space on the floor was now filled to its utmost capacity by members of the House, just adjourned; and it was soon afterward announced that the Presidential party had entered the edifice. On its appearance, the whole assemblage proceeded to the magnificent and spacious Eastern portico of the Capitol, on which a platform had been erected,and in front of which a considerable space had been cleared, and was held, by the Military. The President elect was barely introduced to the vast concourse by Col. Edward D. Baker, Senator from Oregon, and received with cheers from perhaps a fourth of the thirty thousand persons confronting him. Silence having succeeded, Mr. Lincoln unrolled a manuscript, and, in a firm, clear, penetrating voice, read the following
The habitual tone of this remarkable paper is deprecatory, not to say apologetic. Mr. Lincoln evidently composed it under the fixed impression that “the South” needed but to be disabused of her impressions and apprehensions of Northern hostility to restore her to loyalty and the whole land to peace. If she can be made to feel that the new rule does not desire to meddle with Slavery in the States which cherish it, but will hunt and return fugitive slaves to the extent of its ability, then Secession will be given up, and the country restored to peace and harmony! That, certainly, is an amiable view of the situation; but it was not justified by a close study and thorough comprehension of our recent political history. Mr. Lincoln's suggestion that the dictum of the Supreme Court, though law to the suitor whom it bore hard upon, does not bind the people not to entertain and vote in conformity to an adverse conviction, though in full accordance with the action of “the South” in regard to the Alien and Sedition laws, the Creek and Cherokee treaties,20 etc., and, in fact, to the action of all parties when overruled by that Court, was not calculated to please and conciliate “the South.” Yet no adversary of a United States Bank ever felt himself restrained from opposing and voting against such a Bank as unconstitutional by the fact that the Court had adjudged it otherwise. No one imagines that a decision by that Court that Slavery had no right to enter the territories would have been regarded and treated by “the South” as the end of controversy on that point.21 But, having obtained, in the Dred Scott case, an opinion that slaveholders might take their human chattels to any territory, and there hold them, claiming ample protection from the Government in so doing, they were fully resolved to make the most of it, and not at all disposed to acquiesce in the suggestion that, on questions essentially political, the American People are a higher authority than even their Supreme Court. The weakest portion of this document is its inconsiderate talk about an “invasion” of the States by the Federal Government, and its quasi pledge not to appoint Federal officers  for communities unanimously hostile to the authority of the Union. A surgeon who should volunteer a pledge not to disturb or meddle with any proud flesh lie might find in his patient's wounds, would hardly expect to augment thereby that patient's confidence in his skill; nor could a priest who should stipulate never to assail any other than unpopular and repudiated sins, expect to win a high regard either for his authority or his sanctity. The fact that the sovereignty of the Union is coextensive, and, at least, coordinate with that of the States, is here clearly lost sight of. To say, in effect, to rebels against the National authority, “You may expel that authority wholly from your vicinage by killing a few of its leading upholders, and thus terrifying the residue into mute servility to your will,” is not the way to suppress a rebellion. The strong point of this Inaugural is its frank and plump denial of the fundamental Secession dogma that our Union is a league,22 formed in 1787. “The Union is much older than the Constitution,” says Mr. Lincoln, truly and pertinently. Had the Constitution been rejected by the States, the Union would nevertheless have subsisted. Ours is “one country” --made so by God and His Providence, revealed through the whole of its recorded history; its “more perfect Union” is but a step in its development — not the cause of its existence. Hence, Secession is not “the dissolution of a league,” as Mr. Jefferson Davis asserts, but a treasonable, though futile, effort to disorganize and destroy a nation. Mr. Lincoln's rejection of Disunion as physically impossible — as forbidden by the geography and topography of our country — is a statesmanlike conception that had not before been so clearly apprehended or so forcibly set forth. And, in truth, not one-tenth of the then active Secessionists ever meditated or intended Disunion as permanent. They proposed to destroy the Union in order to reconstitute it according to their own ideas, with Slavery as its corner-stone. To kick out the New England States, rural New York, and that “ fanatical” section of the West that is drained by the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence — such was the constant inculcation of pro-Slavery journalists and politicians throughout that eventful Winter and Spring. Free States were to be admitted into the Confederacy, on condition of their fully  abjuring all manner of anti-Slavery sentiment and inculcation evermore, and becoming Slave States. A few Southern fanatics, who deemed nothing needed but the reopening of the African Slave-Trade to render “the South” the mistress of the world, wished to be rid of all “ Yankee” association and contamination evermore; but the great mass, even in the Cotton States, regarded Secession but as a device for bringing the North to its knees, and binding it over to future docility to every exaction of the Slave Power. Mr. Lincoln fondly regarded his Inaugural as a resistless proffering of the olive-branch to “the South” ; the conspirators everywhere interpreted it as a challenge to war.23 And when the former had taken the oath, solemnly administered to him by Chief Justice Taney, the two Presidents wended their way back, duly escorted, to the White House, at whose door Mr. Buchanan bade Mr. Lincoln a cordial good-by, retiring to the residence of his friend and beneficiary, Robert Ould, whom he had made U. S. District Attorney, and who, though from Maryland, soon after fled to Richmond, and entered at once the military service of the Confederacy.