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‘ [222] to see how earnestly all played their parts and how essential to the great catastrophe all those parts were. The extremists on both sides were urging the country to immediate blows, regardless of consequences, and by so doing they were educating it to the necessary point when the hour should come. Had the Southern extremists prevailed, and the Southern blood been fired by an assault on Fort Sumter in January, the slave States would probably have been swept into a general insurrection while Buchanan was still President, with Floyd as his Secretary of War. Had this occurred, it is difficult now to see how the government could have been preserved. The Southern extremists, therefore, when they urged immediate action were, from the Southern point of view, clearly right. Every day then lost was a mistake, and, as the result proved, an irreparable mistake. On the other hand, had the extremists of the North prevailed in their demand for immediate action they would in the most effective way possible have played the game of their opponents. Fortunately they did not prevail, but their exhortations to action and denunciations of every attempt at a compromise educated the country to a fighting point.’

That large and respectable body of patriotic citizens who were wedded to the Union and dreaded war, and above all things a civil war, were in favor of any compromise which might result in preserving harmony between the sections. It is difficult at this time to appreciate the excitement of those stormy days. Moderation and silence was but little understood or appreciated. The firing upon Sumter fired the hearts of both sections, and followed, as it was, by a call of Mr. Lincoln for troops to make war upon the States, promptly welded the States of the South into one common bond. They felt that if they must fight they preferred to fight strangers rather than their neighbors who were contending for the maintenance of their own rights, and that to yield to the party in power at such a juncture was but to invite further aggressions on their rights, for that this would involve their subjugation and the overthrow of their most cherished institutions. That no permanent compromise was practicable; that war at some time was inevitable must now be clear to all; that the war has taken place; that the abolition of slavery has occurred; that the South has been thrown open to settlement, to free and unembarrassed communication to the outside world; that the greatness of our section and the capability of our people to maintain free institutions has been manifested, and that the war has proved a great educator to all, is now conceded. In turning over the government to our Northern friends, the much misrepresented people of the South can

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