of speedy dissolution: but neither of these can justly be taken as an accurate test of the average popular sentiment of the respective sections.
Yet we have seen that a majority of the Southern
people could never, until frenzied by the capture of Fort Sumter
, and by official assurances (undenied in their
hearing) that Lincoln
had declared unprovoked and utterly unjustifiable war upon them, be induced to lift hostile hands against their country; and that Secession was only forced down the throats of those who accepted it by violence, outrage, and terror.
A few additional facts on this head, out of thousands that might be cited, will here be given:
Rev. John I. Aughey
, a Presbyterian clergyman of Northern birth, but settled in Northern Mississippi
for some years prior to the outbreak of the Rebellion
, in his “Iron furnace,” 1
gives a synopsis of a Secession speech to which he listened in Atala county, Miss., just after President Lincoln
's election, running thus:
The halter is the only argument that should be used against the submissionists; and I predict that it will soon, very soon, be in force.
We have glorious news from Tallahatchie.
Seven tory submissionists were hanged there in one day; and the so-called Union candidates, having the wholesome dread of hemp before their eyes, are not canvassing the county, etc., etc.
When the election was held for delegates to the Convention
which assumed the power to take Mississippi
out of the Union
, Mr. Aughey
attended it, and says:
Approaching the polls, I asked for a Union ticket, and was informed that none had been printed, and that it would be advisable to vote the Secession ticket.
I thought otherwise; and, going to a desk, made out a Union ticket, and voted it, amidst the frowns and suppressed murmurs of the judges and bystanders; and, as the result proved, I had the honor of depositing the only vote in favor of the Union which was polled in that precinct.
I knew of many who were in favor of the Union, but who were intimidated by threats, and by the odium attending it, from voting at all.
Such was the case at thousands of polls throughout the South
, or wherever the Confederates
were strong enough to act as their hearts prompted.
's boast, in the Senate, that ‘free debaters’ were ‘hanging on trees’ down his way, was uttered, it should be noted, in December, 1860.
And thus it was that several Counties in Tennessee2
gave not a single vote against Secession, while Shelby
) gave 7,132 for Secession to five
against it, and a dozen others gave respectively 3, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 20, 23, and 28 votes for the Union
to many thousands for Secession.
There was only the semblance of an election.
“If you vote the Union
ticket, you must prepare to leave the State
,” said Senator Mason
; and the more reckless and less responsible Secessionists readily translated such words into deeds.
Where Slavery had undivided sway, a voter had just the same liberty to be a Unionist as he had to be an Abolitionist — that is, none at all.
But there were many communities, and even entire counties, throughout the South
, wherein Slavery had but a nominal or limited existence; as in Texas
, thirty-four counties — some of them having each a considerable free population — were returned, in 1860, as containing each less than a hundred slaves.
Some of these could be,