Carolina is not the event of a day. It is not any thing produced by Mr. Lincoln
or by the non-execution of the fugitive slave law. It is a matter which has been gathering head for years.”
:--“It is no spasmodic effort that has come suddenly upon us, but it has been gradually culminating for a long series of years.”
:--“I have been engaged in this movement ever since I entered political life.”
:--“Most of us have had this matter under consideration for the last twenty years.”
That these declarations had a broad basis of truth, and that a plot to destroy the Union
has been hatching for a long period, and has been deferred only until a convenient opportunity, is no longer a matter of speculation.
The election of Mr. Lincoln
was not the cause, but only the occasion.
, in a recent letter, said, that he was “well aware, partly from facts within his personal knowledge, that leading Southern politicians had for thirty years been resolved to break up the Union
as soon as they ceased to control the United States Government, and that the slavery question was but a pretext for keeping up agitation and rallying the South
The Richmond Enquirer
in 1856 declared, “If Fremont
is elected the Union
will not last an hour after Mr. Pierce
's term expires,” and a careful examination will show that, from the attempt at nullification by South Carolina
in 1832, which was defeated by the stern determination of General Jackson
that the “Union must and shall be preserved,” a sentiment that was enthusiastically responded to by the country at large, the design has been secretly cherished, by a knot of conspirators at the South
, of destroying the Union
whenever the men entertaining this design should no longer be able to control its Government.
So long as they could enjoy its honors and emoluments, and use its prestige, its treasury, its army, and its navy, for their own purposes, they were content that it should stand; but the moment these were wrested from their grasp by the will of the people, that moment the Union
was to be destroyed.
So long ago as the year 1799, Judge Marshall
, in a letter to Washington
, dated at Richmond
To me it seems that there are men who will hold power by any means rather than not hold it, and who would prefer a dissolution of the Union to the continuance of an Administration not of their own party.
And Mr. Stephens
declared, in regard to the present conspiracy, that the ambition of disappointed office-seekers constituted “a great part of the trouble.”
, after the South Carolina
rebellion of 1832 was suppressed, foretold its attempted revival at no distant period, remarking that “the first time the pretence was the tariff, and that next it would be the negro question.”
In 1836, twenty-five years ago, a political novel, called the “Partizan leader,” was published by Professor Beverly Tucker
, of William and Mary College, in Virginia
It excited no sensation then, but it possesses a singular interest now. It proceeds upon the theory that the events it describes as then happening would happen twenty years after, that is, in 1856, when Fremont
would have probably been elected but for the frauds in Pennsylvania
; and it gives, with singular accuracy, the programme of the conspiracy which is now in progress.
The author describes the Southern States
as seceding “by a movement nearly simultaneous,” and immediately forming a Southern Confederacy.
Let me quote a single paragraph:
The suddenness of these measures was less remarkable than the prudence with which they had been conducted.
The two together left little doubt that there had been a preconcert among the leading men of the several States, arranging previously what should be done. * * Nor was it confined to the seceding States alone.
In Virginia also there were men who entered into the same views. * * Not only had they sketched provisionally the plan of a Southern Confederacy, but they had taken measures to regulate their relations with foreign powers.
What a flood of light is thrown upon the conspiracy by these few words from one of the earliest of the conspirators, who seems to have anticipated in part the role to be played by his own State of Virginia
There being indications of her ultimate accession to the confederacy, the author says:
The leading men
referred to “had determined to wait for her no longer, but to proceed to the execution of their plans, leaving her to follow.”
Could the acute novelist have anticipated the proceedings of the pseudo-peace convention, and the conduct of Virginia
traitors, headed by an ex-President Tyler
and an ex-Governor Wise
, he might have eulogized the leaders of the Ancient Dominion
for their treacherous skill in deluding the country with schemes of compromise while the preparations of the rebels were advancing to completion.
, who was a warm advocate for the peace convention, has told us that “those conciliatory demonstrations had no effect in staying the progress of secession, because the leaders of that revolution were determined not to be satisfied.”
In reference to the measures referred to by Professor Tucker
, looking towards the relations of the new confederacy with foreign powers, it may be worth while to allude to a recent statement that in the days of Mr. Calhoun
a plan for the dissolution of the Union
and the formation of a great slaveholding power, was presented by his friends to Lord Aberdeen, and that some words attributed to that statesman, are supposed to have given rise to the hopes of British