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[153] and thereby be relieved from having to perform manual labor himself. It was also in the year 1858, that Mr. Yancey unfolded in his ‘Slaughter letter,’ the program of operations, which being subsequently pursued, ‘precipitated the Cotton States into revolution’ in the early part of the year 1861. The legislatures in over half the slave States, were induced in 1858-9 to pass a solemn resolution to the effect, that the election of a Republican to the presidency would amount to a virtual dissolution of the Union, and would be a declaration of a war of extermination against slavery, which would warrant and render necessary the withdrawal of such State from the Union. These resolutions made it the duty of the Governor, within a specified time after the election of a Republican to the presidency, to issue his proclamation for the election of delegates to a State convention, to make arrangement for the secession of the State from the Union. Observe, all these matters were arranged and resolved upon long before Mr. Lincoln was even nominated — the train was laid with great care, before a Republican was chosen president, and after Mr. Lincoln was elected, nothing was required but to fire this train — a comparatively easy matter, as the event showed.

But for John Brown's insane attack upon Harper's Ferry, it is very questionable whether any of the Southern States could have been screwed up and egged on to seceding, purely because of the election of Mr. Lincoln. They would have waited for some overt attack to be made on slavery, which would not have happened during Mr. Lincoln's term, as he would have conformed to and respected the platform upon which he had been elected, which exactly coincided with his individual opinions quoad the constitutional competency of the general government to interfere with slavery in the States where it already existed. The Chicago platform expressly denied the existence of any such right under the Constitution.

But the raid of John Brown on Virginia soil, with the avowed intent and purpose of exciting the slaves to insurrection, made a profound impression on the Southern people. They interpreted it as an indication of the feeling and temper of the Republican party towards slavery, and as a foreshadowing of what would occur, whenever the Federal government should pass into the charge of the Republican party.

The Southern people can only be judged fairly, by looking at matters as they appeared, when viewed from their standpoint; their

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