On its face, however, the situation was not so much a crisis as a rather flagrant illustration of the glorious Union worshipped by all parties at the North
For a quarter of a century, with Government sanction, the1
Southern mails had been closed to Northern ideas; with Government and State indifference, Northerners had been lynched or driven out. The lapse of time had left no excuse for spontaneous heat over such trifles, any more than over a slave-burning like that in Georgia
or over the perennial fear of slave risings, such as infected3
the whole South
after Harper's Ferry
, and in the summer
of 1860 raged afresh, so that, as President4 Buchanan
said, in his annual message to Congress, ‘a sense of security no longer exists around the family altar.’
All these things were symptomatic, not of disunion, but of Union.
A genuine sign of revolution was the centripetal movement of Southerners, as in the case of the two hundred5
medical students in Philadelphia
who renounced Northern instruction and seceded to their homes.
received them at Richmond
as precursors of the break-up.6
bade them good-bye with a smile at their silliness, and turned an incredulous ear to the Southern
echoes of Harper's Ferry
in both Houses of Congress.
Had not Fremont
's possible election in 1856 been made the ground7
of threats of secession?
Why, then, pay heed to similar talk now in view of Seward
's probable nomination and election by the Republican Party?
, in a speech in the Senate on January 25, 1860, put on record8
what had already been said during the current session.
Two examples will suffice.
was ready to lead away the Southern
delegation on the mere election of John Sherman
to the speakership of the House
—a contingency happily averted; and in any event10
saw “but one path of safety for the South
, but one mode of preserving her institution of domestic slavery, and that is, a confederacy of States having no incongruous and opposing elements.”
The election of a Black Republican