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Lincoln administration responsible.

Mr. George Lunt, of Massachusetts, in speaking of the occurences at Fort Sumter, uses this cautiously framed language, as the question of which side commenced the war is one about which the North is very sensitive. As we know, on the 7th of April, 1861, President Davis said:

With the Lincoln administration rests the responsibility of precipitating a collision and the fearful evils of protracted civil war.

And so Mr. Lunt says:

‘Whether the appearance of this fleet (the Relief Squadron), under the circumstances could be considered a pacific or hostile demonstration may be left to inference. Whether its total inaction during the fierce bombardment of the fort and its defence continued for days, and until its final surrender, justly bears the aspect of an intention to avoid the charge of aggression, and to give the whole affair the appearance of defence merely, may also be referred to the judgment of the reader.’

The question also occurs, he says—

‘Whether this sudden naval demonstration was not a palpable violation of the promised “faith as to Sumter fully kept,” as to be an unmistakable menace of aggression, if not absolute aggression itself.’

And he further says:

It should also be considered that when the fleet came to anchor off Charleston bar, it was well known that many other and larger vessels of war, attended by transports containing troops and surf boats, and all the necessary means of landing forces, had already sailed from Northern ports— “destination unknown” —and that very [185] considerable time must have been requisite to get this expedition ready for sea, during the period that assurances had been so repeatedly given of the evacuation of the fort.

It bore the aspect certainly of a manoeuvre, which military persons, and sometimes, metaphorically, politicians denominate “stealing a march.”

He says further on:

‘It was intended to “draw the fire” of the Confederates, and was a silent aggression, with the object of producing an active aggression from the other side.’

This very cautious statement, from this Northern writer, clearly makes the Lincoln Government the real. Aggressor, under the principle before enunciated by Mr. Hallam.

Mr. Williams, the Massachusetts writer before quoted from, says:

There was no need for war. The action of the Southern States was legal and constitutional, and history will attest that it was reluctantly taken in the last extremity, in the hope of thereby saving their whole constitutional rights and liberties from destruction by Northern aggression, which had just culminated in triumph at the Presidential election by the Union of the North against the South.

And he says further on:

‘The South was invaded, and a war of subjugation, destined to be the most gigantic which the world has ever seen, was begun by the Federal Government against the seceding States, in complete and amazing disregard of the foundation principle of its own existence. as affirmed in the Declaration of Independence, that “Government derive their just powers from the consent of the governed,” and as established by the war of the Revolution for the people of the States respectively. The South accepted the contest thus forced upon her, with the eager and resolute courage characteristic of her proud-spirited people.’

But I propose to show further that this war did not really begin with the sailing of that Northern fleet, and certainly not at Fort Sumter; and that the first blow was actually struck by John Brown and his followers, as the representatives of the abolitionists of the North, in October, 1859, at Harper's Ferriy , Va.

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