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Mr. Jefferson Davis, ruling at Montgomery, had already constituted his Cabinet, which consisted of

Robert Toombs, of Georgia, Secretary of State;

Charles G. Memminger, of South Carolina, Secretary of the Treasury;

Leroy Pope Walker, of Alabama, Secretary of War;

to which were afterward added
Stephen R. Mallory, of Florida, Sec'ry of the Navy;

John H. Reagan, of Texas, Postmaster-General.

Thus the two Governments stood face to face, holding positions and maintaining assumptions so palpably, utterly incompatible as to necessitate an early collision; and that collision must, in the nature of things, produce a crash that would shake the continent. Still, there was great and wise reluctance, at least on this side, to precipitate or to initiate hostilities. In spite of appearances, President Lincoln,1 and the advisers in whom he most trusted, seemed still incredulous as to the inevitability and imminence of a clash of arms. Gov. Seward, the new Secretary of State, had for months been apparently the most resolute of optimists with regard to a happy issue from our internal complications. At the New England Dinner2 in New York, lie had confidently predicted a settlement of all our troubles within the ensuing sixty days. That term had sped; yet his faith in a peaceful solution of our differences appeared as buoyant as ever, and seemed to be shared by the President, whose “Nobody hurt as yet” had become a watchword among the obstinate believers in “ Manifest Destiny” and the unparalleled rationality, wisdom, intelligence, and self-control, of the peerless American People.

Does this look like infatuation? If the wisdom that comes to-morrow were the genuine article, every man would be a Solomon. Remember that, for more than seventy years, no man had seen an American hand lifted against the symbol of our Nationality. Neither Shays's Rebellion,3 in Massachusetts, nor the Whisky Rebellion,4 so called, in western Pennsylvania, had really purposed aught beyond the removal or redress of temporary grievances which were deemed intolerable. Even old John Brown — fanatic as he was; madman as many held him — never dreamed of dividing the country which he sought to purge of its most flagrant wrong; his Canada Constitution expressly stipulated5 that the Union should be preserved, and its flag retained and cherished by his adherents. Since the close of our Revolutionary struggle, no man had seen, in the Free States, any other banner floating over a regiment of our people than the Stars and Stripes; though the waves of party spirit had often run mountain high,6 and we had seemed just on the brink of disruption and civil war, yet the dreaded collision had always been somehow averted, and the moment of fiercest excitement, of widest alienation, had

1 The writer revisited Washington for a day or two, some two weeks or more after Mr. Lincoln's inauguration, and was surprised to see and hear on every hand what were, to him, convincing proofs that an early collision with the ‘Confederates’ was not seriously apprehended in the highest quarters.

2 Anniversary of the Landing of the Pilgrims, December 22, 1860.

3 In 1786-7.

4 In 1795.

5 See pages 287-8.

6 During the War of 1812, it was common in New England for the antagonist parties to take opposite sides of the “broad aisle” of the “meeting-house” wherein their respective ‘town meetings’ were held, and so remain during the day, conferring and counseling among themselves, but rarely mingling with or speaking civilly to members of the adverse party.

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