indeed a sordid and hateful thing; it has nothing in common with the benignant conception of concord and fraternity, which the fathers sought to embody in the American Constitution, and which it is the duty and the hope of patriots to restore. The impression has been current at the North that the secession of the Gulf States was not the outcome of a popular movement, but the result of a so-called conspiracy, in which many of the Southern Senators and Congressmen took part, and in which Mr. Davis himself was a chief promoter. This view can scarcely be sustained hereafter in the face of the overwhelming evidence brought forward in these volumes. As regards the part taken by himself, Mr. Davis proves, by the written testimony of eye-witnesses, that he was one of the last men among those prominent in Mississippi politics to approve the secession of his State, and that from the first he never shared the prevailing opinion that a withdrawal from the Union could be peacefully accomplished. Not, of course, that he doubted the abstract right of secession, but he long questioned the expediency of its exercise. It seems to us, also, that Mr. Davis successfully refutes the assumption that the South was the aggressor in the conflict which ensued. It is hard to see how Mr. Seward can be freed from the charge of flagrant bad faith in his dealings with the Confederate Commissioners sent to Washington for the purpose of negotiating an amicable transfer of the forts and other Federal property in the seceding States. Nor will reasonable men deny, now that nothing is to be gained by quibbling, that the first overt act of hostility was not the attack on Fort Sumter by General Beauregard, but the attempt to reinforce that post made in violation of the pledges repeatedly given by Mr. Seward to the Commissioners. We think no candid person can fail to be convinced by the simple documentary testimony brought forward by Mr. Davis that the seceding States were sincerely anxious to live on terms of peace and amity with those who adhered to the old Union, and that with very few exceptions, among which Mr. Davis must be counted, the leading men of the Confederacy believed up to April, 1861, that the formation of an independent government at the South would encounter no resistance. They were unquestionably misled by the specific tone of the Northern press, and especially by the attitude of the New York Tribune. It will be remembered that this journal, which had contributed so largely to the election of Lincoln, had declared after the election of its candidate: “Whenever a considerable section of our Union shall deliberately resolve to go out we shall resist all coercive measures designed to keep her in. We hope never to live in a republic whereof one section is pinned to the residue by bayonets.”But our space will not allow us to say more at present than to urge our people generally to buy and read for themselves a book which should be in every library.
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