previous next
[676] twelve months, to petition us for peace upon our own terms.

The meeting unanimously

Resolved, That we, the citizens here assembled, do spurn, with the indignation due to so gross an insult, the terms on which the President of the United States has offered peace to the people of the Confederate States.

Resolved, That the circumstances under which that proffer has been made add to the outrage, and stamp it as a designed and premeditated indignity to our people.

A “War meeting” was held there three days afterward; whereat R. M. T. Hunter presided, and addresses were made by Secretary J. P. Benjamin and others. This meeting likewise

Resolved, 1. That the events which have occurred during the progress of the war have but confirmed our original determination to strike for our independence; and that, with the blessing of God, we will never lay down our arms until it shall have been won. [Wild and long-continued cheering followed the reading of this resolution.]

Resolved, 2. That, as we believe our resources to be sufficient for the purpose, we do not doubt that we shall conduct the war successfully to that issue; and we hereby invoke the people, in the name of the holiest of all causes, to spare neither their blood nor their treasure in its maintenance and support.

Mr. Lincoln's Address, on his second inauguration1 as President, may fitly close this final chapter of our political history. In its profoundly religious spirit, its tenderness, its undesigned solemnity, in view of the triumphs already achieved and the still more conclusive triumphs rationally anticipated and now just at hand, the reader will discern the then unperceived but awful shadow of impending death:

fellow-countrymen — At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then, a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energy of the nation, little that is new could be presented.

The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself; and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this, four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it. All sought to avert it. While the Inaugural Address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to the saving of the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city, seeking to destroy it without war — seeking to dissolve the Union and divide the effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish — and the war came. One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and beneficial interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war; while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude nor the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces. But let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayer of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully. the Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs

1 March 4, 1865.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
United States (United States) (2)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Abraham Lincoln (1)
R. M. T. Hunter (1)
Judah P. Benjamin (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
March 4th, 1865 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: