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[15] but at the outset faced the worst. In the early part of 1861 he looked upon a slaveholders' rebellion as the probable outcome of Republican success in the national election. As soon as South Carolina began (in November) her formal proceedings for secession, he believed the cotton States would all follow her.1 Before January ended he was convinced that all the slave States would join the Confederacy, except Maryland and Delaware, which would be held by the government as the route to Washington, and perhaps also Missouri. He saw that civil war was inevitable, and did not deceive himself, or attempt to deceive others, with the notion that it was to be a short one,—one of sixty or ninety days; but he believed that it was to be one which would task the full energies of the loyal people, with possible reverses at the beginning, with alternations of victory and defeat, with prolonged suspense, but with certain and absolute triumph at the end, crowned and glorified by the abolition of slavery.2 His faith did not spring from natural buoyancy of spirits; it was not assumed in order to encourage his countrymen or keep foreign powers from intermeddling; it was to no considerable extent based on a comparison of the government's resources with those of the insurgents,—but it came from, and was maintained by, an inborn conviction that in a world governed by moral law such a cause as theirs could not succeed, and such a cause as the nation's could not fail.3

A great pressure was brought to bear upon Mr. Lincoln, before he left his home at Springfield, to make some declaration in favor of a compromise, especially with a view to hold the border States; but he resolutely refused, regarding any concession in the face of menace as a destruction of the government. He made known his opposition to any division of the Territories by the Missouri Compromise line, or the adoption of

1 Many leaders of Northern opinion regarded with a light heart the initial movements for secession. Von Holst, vol. VII. pp. 233-239.

2 Works, vol. v. pp. 449-467, where Sumner's letters to Governor Andrew and others at this time are given. His letter to Rev. E. E. Hale, dated Dec. 30, 1860, was read by the latter at Faneuil Hall, March 14, 1874. The North American Review (1879), vol. CXXIX. pp. 125, 375, 484, gives anonymous reminiscences from ‘The Diary of a Public Man,’ some of which describe interviews with Sumner at the time. They are manifestly false in certain points, and as a whole, like all anonymous testimony, entitled to no credit. They are the subject of criticism in G. T. Curtis's ‘Life of Buchanan,’ vol. II. pp. 391, 395.

3 Greeley's despairing state of mind at times is revealed in his letter to Lincoln, July 29, 1861. Nicolay and Hay's ‘Life of Lincoln,’ vol. IV. p. 365.

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