Secession and clung to the Union
; but there was not an earnest devotee of human chattelhood — whether in the South
or in the North
--whether in America
or in Europe
— whether a Tory aristocrat, scorning and fearing the unwashed multitude, or an Irish hod-carrier, of the latest importation, hating “nay-gurs,” and wishing them all “sint back to Africa
, where they belong” --whose heart did not throb in open or secret sympathy with the Slaveholders' Rebellion.
Many did this whose judgments told them that Secession was a mistake — a rash, headlong staking of momentous interests on the doubtful chances of a mortal strife that might easily and safely have been avoided; but, after all, the truth remained, that whoever really loved Slavery did not and could not regard the Rebellion
otherwise than with tenderness, with forbearance, with that “fellow feeling” that “makes wondrous kind,” and insists that the mistakes it sees and admits shall be regarded and treated with generous allowance.
There were thousands in the Free States
, never really for bondage, whom party ties and party necessities had held in silent, passive complicity with the Slave Power
through years, whose bonds were snapped like glass by the concussion of the first cannon-shot of the war; but whoever was really pro-Slavery was at heart an apologist for if not an active partisan of the Slaveholders' Rebellion — not merely at first, but so long as his affections were unweaned from the grim and gory idol of their early love.
On the other hand, the Unionists were fettered, their unity threatened, their enthusiasm chilled, their efficiency impaired, by the complication of the struggle with the problem of Slavery.
They stood for Law, Order, and Established Right; all which were confidently, plausibly claimed as guarantors of Slavery.
They were struggling to preserve the Union
; yet their efforts, even in their own despite, tended to unsettle and endanger that which, in the conception of many, was the Union
's chief end and function.
Even the loyal Millions were not ripe, at the outset — though they might, by a heroic leader, have been surely and rapidly ripened — for stern dealing with the source of all our woes.
Hence, the proffer of new concessions, new guarantees to Slavery, backed by vehement protestations of devotion to its chartered rights, which marked the initial stages of the struggle.
The reflecting few remembered how kindred professions — doubtless sincere — of unshaken, invincible loyalty to the British Crown
, were constantly reiterated by our fathers in all tile earlier stages of their Revolutionary struggle; and how like protestations of loyalty to the throne and person of Louis XVI.
were persisted in by the leaders of the French
in their great convulsion, down to within a short period of the abolition of the monarchy, closely followed by the execution of the monarch.
So history repeats its great lessons, and must, so long as the nature of Man remains essentially unchanged.
The Republicans of 1860 purposed no more than the Secessionists a speedy and violent overthrow of Slavery.
Each were but instruments in the hands of that benign, inscrutable Power which “shapes our ends, rough-hew them as we will;” but, in their common blindness, the