the History which this Volume completes was not contemplated by its author till just after the Draft Riots
by which this Emporium was damaged and disgraced in July, 1863.
Up to the occurrence of those Riots, I had not been habitually confident of an auspicious immediate issue from our momentous struggle.
Never doubting that the ultimate
result would be such as to vindicate emphatically the profoundly wise beneficence of God, it had seemed to me more probable — in view of the protracted and culpable complicity of the North
in whatever of guilt or shame, of immorality or debasement, was inseparable from the existence and growth of American Slavery — that a temporary triumph might accrue to the Confederates
The real danger of the Republic
was not that of permanent division, but of general
saturation by and subjugation to the despotic ideas and aims of the Slaveholding Oligarchy
Had the Confederacy
proved able to wrest from the Federal
authorities an acknowledgment of its Independence, and had Peace been established and ratified on that basis, I believe the Democratic Party in the loyal States would have forthwith taken ground for “restoration” by the secession of their respective States, whether jointly or severally, from the Union
, and their adhesion to the Confederacy
under its Montgomery Constitution — making Slavery universal and perpetual.
And, under the moral influence of Southern triumph and Northern defeat, in full view of the certainty that thus only could reunion be achieved, there can be little doubt that the law of political gravitation, of centripetal force, thus appealed to, must have ultimately prevailed.
Commercial and manufacturing thrift would have gradually vanquished moral repugnance.
It might have required some years to heal the wounds of War and secure a popular majority in three or four of the Border States
in favor of Annexation; but the geographic and economic incitements to Union are so urgent and palpable, that State after State would have concluded to go to the mountain, since it stubbornly refused to come to Mahomet; and, all the States that the Confederacy
would consent to accept, on conditions of penitence and abjuration, would, in time, have knocked humbly at its grim portals for admission and fellowship.
That we have been saved from such a fate is due to the valor of our soldiers, the constancy of our ruling statesmen, the patriotic faith and courage of those citizens who, within a period of three years, loaned more than Two Billions to their Government when it seemed to many just tottering on the brink of ruin; yet, more than all else, to the favor and blessing of Almighty God.
They who, whether in Europe
, from July, 1862, to July, 1863, believed the Union
death-stricken, had the balance of material probabilities on their side: they erred only in underrating the potency of those intellectual, moral, and Providential forces, which in our age operate with accelerated power and activity in behalf of Liberty, Intelligence, and Civilization.
So long as it seemed probable that our War would result more immediately in a Rebel triumph, I had no wish, no heart, to be one of its historians; and it was only when — following closely on the heels of the great Union successes of July, 1863, at Gettysburg
, Port Hudson
, and Helena
— I had seen the Rebellion
resisted and defeated in