the interests, and the avowals of the party.
It is indeed a fact which they have taken no pains to conceal.
Although this party, after securing unrestrained command of the power and patronage of Government, shaped its policy at will throughout the war, and prosecuted their measures with haughty and arrogant indifference to the protests and resistance of the opposition, yet they had come into possession of office with alarm and humility.
Not only were they in a minority of numbers, but they felt that; they were hostile to the Constitution
to which they were about to swear fidelity, and to the principles on which it had been administered from its foundation.
They felt conscious that their success in the election had given a shock to the institutions of the country, and that both their capacity for administering the Government
in the spirit of its institutions, and their fidelity to the Union
and to the organic law were greatly, and with reason, distrusted.
's personal conduct in the emergency betrayed these instincts of unworthiness.
His speeches during the progress from Springfield
were a continual apology for his party and for his election; and his well-remembered inaugural address was an appeal to the country against being judged by the avowals and proclaimed tenets of the party which had elected him. It may be said that by the moderate declarations of the Republican party at the outset of the war, the suspicions of the conservative classes of the North
were allayed, and the opposition party completely disarmed.
Care had been taken to withhold these pacific utterances until too late for them to reclaim the South
placed entire faith in them; the South
placed none at all. They failed to save Virginia
, North Carolina
, and Tennessee
; and it required the most energetic employment of force, threat, and cajolery, even to retain Maryland
To reclaim the South
, however, was not the object.
The aim was to yoke the whole North
into support of the measures which were meditated, and which it was intended gradually to develop.
The scheme completely succeeded.
The Constitutional peace party were silenced everywhere.
The war feeling grew with astonishing rapidity.
It carried away many of the more prominent men of the opposition.
But it is to be admitted that from the reduction of Sumter
down to the close of the war there was a Constitutional party in the North
, which, although unable to do more than to make continual protest against the conduct of the ruling party, yet did make this protest with ability, manliness, consistency, and dignity.
The difficulty was, it had not power during the war to put any check upon its career.
Those who have studied the characteristics and idiosyncracies of the Northern
people, and have observed their fondness for an affected enthusiasm, and their proneness to give way to gregarious impulses, however absurd and reprehensible, were not surprised at the alacrity with which