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XXI. the political or Civil history of 1863.

  • Lord Lyons on Democratic “Peace”
  • -- Spring Elections of 1863 -- conscription ordered, first by Rebel, next by Union Congress -- Judge Woodward pronounces the latter unconstitutional -- suspension of Habeas Corpus -- military arrest and conviction of Vallandigham -- Democrats of Albany thereon -- President Lincoln's response -- Ohio Democratic Convention's resolves -- Vallandigham nominated for Governor -- Convention demand his release -- President Lincoln's reply -- the New York journalists on the Freedom of the press -- ex-president Pierce's fourth of July oration -- Gov. Seymour's ditto -- the Draft Riots in New York -- arson, devastation, and murder -- Gov. Seymour's speech -- he demands a stoppage of the Draft -- President Lincoln's reply -- the Autumn Elections -- the Draft adjudged valid -- the Government sustained by the people.

unquestionably, the darkest hours of the National cause were those which separated Burnside's and Sherman's bloody repulses, at Fredericksburg1 and Vicksburg2 respectively from the triumphs of Meade at Gettysburg,3 Grant in the fall of Vicksburg,4 and Banks in the surrender of Port Hudson.5 Our intermediate and subordinate reverses at Galveston,6 and at Chancellorsville,7 also tended strongly to sicken the hearts of Unionists and strengthen into confidence the hopes of the Rebels and those who, whether in the loyal States or in foreign lands, were in sympathy, if not also in act, their virtual allies. No one in Europe but those who ardently desired our success spoke of disunion otherwise than as an accomplished fact, which only purblind obstinacy and the invincible lust of power constrained us for a time to ignore. Hence, when the French Emperor made, during the dark Winter of 1862-3, a formal, diplomatic proffer8 of his good offices as a mediator between the American belligerents, he was regarded and treated on all hands as proposing to arrange the terms of a just, satisfactory, and conclusive separation between the North and the South. Even before this, and before the repulse of Burnside at Fredericksburg, Lord Lyons, British Embassador at Washington, had sent a confidential dispatch to his Government, narrating the incidents of a visit he had paid to New York directly after our State Election of 1862, wherein Horatio Seymour was chosen Governor and an average majority of over 10,000 returned for the Democratic tickets: he reasonably claiming that vote, with the corresponding results of elections in other loyal States, as a popular verdict against the further prosecution of the War for the Union. While discouraging any present proffer of European mediation, as calculated to discredit and embarrass the “Conservatives,” and to inspirit and inflame the “Radicals,” who were still intent on subjugating the South, and would hear nothing of conceded Disunion or of foreign intervention, Lord Lyons gives the following comprehensive and evidently dispassionate view of the current aspects of our domestic politics, as they were presented to his keenly observant vision:

Washington, Nov. 17, 1862.
In his dispatches of the 17th and of the 24th ultime, and of the 7th instant, Mr. Stuart reported to your lordship the result of the elections for members of Congress and State officers, which have recently taken place in several of the most important States of the Union. Without repeating the details, it will be sufficient for me to observe that the success of the Democratic, or (as it now styles itself) the Conservative party, has been so great as to manifest a change in public feeling, among the most rapid and the most complete that has ever been witnessed, even in this country.

On my arrival at New York on the 8th instant, I found the Conservative leaders exulting in the crowning success achieved by the party in that State. They appeared to rejoice, above all, in the conviction that personal

1 Dec. 13, 1862.

2 Dec. 28.

3 July 3, 1863.

4 July 4.

5 July 9.

6 Jan. 1, 1863.

7 May 3-5, 1863.

8 By dispatch of M. Drouyn de <*>uys, Jan. 9, 1863.

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