Chapter 20: Abraham Lincoln.—1860.Seward retracts his “irrepressible conflict” for the sake of the Presidency, and falls under the censure of Garrison, as does the Republican Party for its platform. The Democratic Party breaks in two at Charleston, and Lincoln is elected President. Garrison hails the secession of South Carolina as the end of the old Union and of slavery.
‘The lamentable tragedy at Harper's Ferry is clearly traceable’ to the ‘unjustifiable attempt to force slavery into Kansas by a repeal of the Missouri Compromise.’ So thought and wrote, to a New York meeting of1 Union-savers ex-President Fillmore, in the fortnight succeeding the hanging of John Brown. It was the historic truth; and the work of Nemesis had but begun. Directly after the attack on Harper's Ferry, the South initiated disunion by fortifying itself against domestic insurrection, both by extra vigilance and armed police, by legislative measures to force its free negro population2 back into slavery or into removal, and by renewed stringency in excluding Northern Republican papers from the3 mails. Moreover, the mobbing and expulsion of Northern residents or visitors was revived on an unparalleled4 scale, so that Mr. Garrison was led to compile a tract of 144 pages for publication by the Hovey Fund, called “ The New Reign of Terror,” and printed and distributed by5 thousands. These outrages grew with the aging year, and warranted a fresh compilation in November, when violence6 and suspicion, with the shadows of the impending civil7 disruption, had brought about a white exodus—when even, as in Georgia, Northerners coming by sea were8 kept from landing. Mr. Garrison, himself still in doubt whether the Southern menace of disunion was anything more than vaporing and bluster, marvelled that the North9 could view tranquilly—without the least outward manifestation of feeling—this barbarous negation of the commonest right of Federal citizenship.