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[437] inquiries. Messrs. T. L. Clingman,1 of North Carolina, Bayard, of Delaware, and Breckinridge,2 of Kentucky, who were all three close allies in the past of the Confederate chiefs, and two of them, since, open participants in the Rebellion, were prominent and pertinacious in pushing these inquiries; but Mr. Douglas, of Illinois, united in them, talking as if the President were at perfect liberty to enforce the laws or not, at his discretion, and as if his attempting to do it would render him responsible for lighting the flames of civil war. He distinctly advocated the surrender of the Southern fortresses; saying:
We certainly cannot justify the holding of forts there, much less the recapturing of those which have been taken, unless we intend to reduce those States themselves into subjection. * * * We cannot deny that there is a Southern Confederacy, de facto, in existence, with its capital at Montgomery. We may regret it. I regret it most profoundly; but I cannot deny the truth of the fact, painful and mortifying as it is.

No Democrat in the Senate, and no organ of Democratic opinion out of the Senate, proffered an assurance or an exhortation to the President, tending to encourage and support him in upholding the integrity and enforcing the laws of the Union; and not Democrats only, but those who, in the late Presidential contest, had made “the Union, the Constitution, and the enforcement of the laws,” their platform and their battle-cry, now spoke and acted precisely as would a community who, seeing their sheriff set forth to serve a precept upon a band of desperate law-breakers, were to ask him why he did not desist from his aggressive project, and join them in preserving the peace. The Republicans of the Senate were either unable or unwilling to shed any additional light on the purposes of the Executive — the resolution in regard to them, offered by Mr. Douglas, being laid on the table by a party vote: Yeas 23; Nays 11. But, before the Senate adjourned, it was very generally understood — certainly among Republicans — that the Southern forts were not to be surrendered, and that the Union was to be maintained.

The month of March had nearly worn away prior to any outward manifestations, by the ‘new lords’ at Washington, of a firm resolve to discard the policy of indecision and inaction whereby their predecessors had permitted the Republic's strongholds, arms, munitions, and treasure, to be seized and turned against her by the plotters of Disunion.3 So late as the 21st of that month, the astute and

1 Mr. Clingman offered the following resolution:

Resolved, That, in the opinion of the Senate, it is expedient that the President withdraw all Federal troops from the States of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana, and abstain from all attempts to collect revenue in these States.

2 Mr. Breckinridge finally offered the following resolution; action on which — together with that of Mr. Clingman--was precluded by the adjournment of the Senate:

Resolved, That the Senate recommend and advise the removal of the United States troops from the limits of the Confederate States.

3 The New Orleans Bee, one of the most respectable of Southern journals, in its issue of March 10th, thus expressed the universal conviction of the Southrons that no fight could be educed from the North:

The Black Republicans are a cowardly set, after all. They have not the courage of their own convictions. They tamper with their principles. Loathing Slavery, they are willing to incur almost any sacrifice rather than surrender the Border States. Appearances indicate their disposition even to forego the exquisite delight of sending armies and fleets to make war on the Confederate States, rather than run the risk of forfeiting the allegiance of the frontier Slave States. We see by this how hollow and perfidious is their policy, and how inconsistent are their acts with their professions. The truth is, they abhor Slavery; but they are fully alive to the danger of losing their power and influence, should they drive Virginia and the other Border States out of the Union. They chafe, doubtless, at the hard necessity of permitting South Carolina and her sisters to escape from their thraldom; but it is a necessity, and they must, perforce, submit to it.

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