prosecution of the war. Outside of the Cabinet
, at whose board the plan was reported to have been well received, it met with the most strenuous objections.
In these distresses and embarrassments of the Government
, the bellicose elements of the North
, resenting all prospects of peace, became more exacting than ever, and even accusatory of the authorities at Washington
The more violent New York papers demanded a vigorous military movement on the part of the Government
before the meeting of Congress.
They accused the Administration of supineness of policy and uncertainty of purpose; and they, even, did not hesitate to charge that the President
and his Cabinet were conniving with “the rebels,” and had consented to become parties to a negotiation for peace.
These heated and ungenerous expressions did not stop here.
Personalities were freely indulged in. The President was vilely abused for not having recalled Mr. Harvey
, the minister to Portugal
, because he had corresponded with the South Carolina
authorities during Mr. Buchanan
's administration; and Gen. Scott
, who was sacrificing for the Northern
objects of the war, all that remained to him of the years and honours of a long life, was not spared from an atrocious libel charging him with having offered premiums to “treason” in procuring the restoration to the United States
service and the promotion to a lieutenant-colonelcy of Major Emory
, a Marylander, who had formerly resigned his command on the Indian
These dissatisfied utterances, although they may have been but little annoying, personally, to the Government
, were significant of other most serious troubles to be apprehended in the conduct of the war. They gave evidence of a sentiment in the North
, at once fanatical and formidable, resolved to push the war beyond the avowed objects of the Government
, and to resist any termination of it short of the excision or abolition of slavery in the South
This sentiment had, in fact, already become clamorous and exacting.
A war short of the abolition of slavery was denounced as a farce
, and its mission of defending the Union
was openly exchanged in the mouths of fanatics for that of achieving “the rights of humanity.”
In the mean time indications were obvious enough of the common intention of the belligerents to make the first great battles of the war in Virginia
Here was to open the first great chapter of Carnage — on a theatre at once wide and brilliant;--filled with the array of armies of two powerful peoples, which brought from their wealth and long seasons of prosperity all that could invest war with destructive power and dramatic display ;--occupying a territory noble and inspired in historical memories --the name of which, “Virginia
,” had ever been a word of magic pride throughout the breadth and length of a continent ;--and engaging in the Issues of its imposing drama the liberties, or, at least, the independence
of more than eight millions of men.