Chapter 8: attitude of the Border Slave-labor States, and of the Free-labor States.
- Emissaries of the conspirators at work, 192.
-- the Virginia Legislature, 193.
-- a Peace Convention proposed
-- attitude of Virginia
-- Virginia conspirators in Congress
-- position of Maryland, 195.
-- action of Governor Hicks, 196.
-- he is denounced as a “traitor to the South,” 197.
-- loyal action of Delaware and North Carolina
-- the latter sympathizes with the Slave-labor States, 198.
-- disloyal action of the Governor of Tennessee
-- the people overwhelmingly for the Union
-- position of Kentucky, 199.
-- Convention of Union and Douglas men
-- action of the Legislature
-- attitude of Missouri, 200.
-- treason of Governor Jackson
-- Arkansas resists Secession, 201.
-- loyal attitude of Maine and Massachusetts, 202.
-- action of Rhode
-- patriotic resolutions in the New York Legislature, 204.
-- the Secession of the City of New York proposed by its Mayor, 205.
-- alarm in commercial circles
-- meetings in New York, 206.
-- Democratic Convention at Albany--“American Society for promoting National Union,” 207.
-- action in New Jersey, 208.
-- great meeting in Philadelphia, 209.
-- action of the Pennsylvania Legislature, 210.
-- patriotic attitude of Ohio and Indiana, 211.
-- patriotic proceedings in Michigan and Illinois, 212.
-- Wisconsin and Iowa pledge their aid to the Government, 213.
-- Minnesota true to the Union, 214.
-- encouragement for the conspirators, 215.
Whilst the politicians of the Gulf
States were perfecting their scheme for forming a confederacy, there was universal agitation on the subject all over the Union
, and especially in the Border Slave-labor States, where there were bonds of interest, and association, and consanguinity with both sections.
Emissaries of the conspirators, resident and itinerant, were in those States, working assiduously for the corruption of public sentiment concerning nationality, and for the seduction of leading and influential men into ways of treasonable transgression.
They were specially active in Maryland
, because the co-operation of the people of those States would be vitally important, in efforts to seize and hold Washington City
in the interest of the conspirators.
That city lay in the District of Columbia, contiguous to and between Maryland
, and was completely surrounded and filled with a Slave-holding population.
, where disunion sentiments had been uttered and fostered, and from which they had been widely disseminated ever since the birth of the nation, the conspirators and politicians were anxious, at first, not so much for secession by States, or the formation of a new confederacy, as for a combined effort to seize the Capital
and national archives, and establish an aristocratic government, with Slavery for its corner-stone, on the ruins of the Republic
In the day-dreams of the politicians, Washington City
appeared as a deserted capital (for the seat of government was to be nearer the Gulf
), and its magnificent buildings were to be “consecrated to the genius of Southern Institutions.”
At the same time, the great majority of the people in those States were loyal to the Constitution
, and willing to be obedient to the laws; and those of the western section of Virginia
— the mountain region — as we shall observe hereafter, remained so, and
were spared much of the misery inflicted by civil war.
, formerly a member of Congress, and a willing instrument of the conspirators, was then Governor
He and his associates
watched the course of public events with great interest, for it was difficult for them to choose the most expedient course of action.
While the authorities were cautious, the press was loud in its demands for revolutionary action.
Thoughtful men clearly discerned portents of a desolating storm, and, on the solicitation of many citizens, Governor Letcher
called the Legislature to meet in extraordinary session on the 7th of January.
In his message, he renewed a proposition previously made by himself, for a convention of all the States; and, with a seeming desire to save the Republic
, he proposed that all constitutional remedies should be exhausted before withdrawing from the Union
, saying:--“Is it not monstrous to see a Government like ours destroyed, merely because men cannot agree about a domestic institution which existed at the formation of the Government
, and which is now recognized by fifteen out of the thirty-three States comprising the Union
At the same time, he instituted inquiries concerning the strength and garrison of Fortress Monroe
, within the limits of his State, and the probability of success, should available Virginia
troops attempt to seize it. He was advised, by a competent judge, that the attempt would fail, and he abandoned the contemplated scheme.
, no doubt, knew the plans of the conspirators of his section, and counseled inaction for the moment, until the revolutionary movements in the Gulf
region should be more fully developed.
“A disruption is inevitable,” he said, “and if new confederations are formed, we must have the best guaranties before we can attach Virginia
His counsel was denounced by the more Southern leaders, as selfish and unpatriotic.
Yet they applauded his declaration, that he should regard any attempt of the National
troops to pass through Virginia
, “for the purpose of coercing any Southern State, as an act of invasion, which would be repelled.”
In support of this assertion, the Legislature passed resolutions,
declaring that “any attempt to coerce a State” would be resisted by Virginia
was at first opposed to a State Convention, but the Legislature authorized the assembling of one on the 15th of February, and appointed the 4th of that month as the day on which the delegates should be elected.
It also decreed that, at the same election, the question whether the acts of the Convention
on the subject of secession should be submitted to the people for ratification or rejection, should be decided by the popular vote.
The secessionists denounced this decree as an emasculation of the Convention Bill
, and subjecting to imminent peril “all that the people of Virginia
hold most sacred and dear, both as to the Federal Constitution
and the honor of the State
--in other words, imperiling the scheme of the conspirators to drag the people of Virginia
The decree delighted the loyal people of the State
, and numerous Union meetings were held in Western Virginia
While the Legislature seemed to be thoroughly inoculated with the revolutionary virus, it felt the restraints of the popular sentiment too forcibly to allow it to disregard the popular will, and several measures looking to a
settlement of existing difficulties were proposed in that body.
Finally, on the 19th of January, a series of resolutions were adopted, recommending a National Convention to be held in the City of Washington
on the 4th day of February, for the alleged purpose of effecting a general and permanent pacification; commending the “Crittenden Compromise,” 2
as a just basis of settlement; and appointing two commissioners, one to go to the President
of the United States
, and the other to the Governors
of the “Seceding States,” to ask them to abstain from all hostile action, pending the proceedings of the proposed Convention.3
Copies of these resolutions were sent by telegraph to the President
and to the Governors
of all the States, North and South.
The proposition for a Peace Convention was received with great favor.
laid the matter before Congress, with a commendatory Message, in which he said :--“If the seceding States abstain from any and all acts calculated to produce a collision of arms, then the danger so much deprecated will no longer exist.
Defense, and not aggression, has been the policy of the Administration from the beginning.”
The Virginians accompanied their propositions for securing peace with a menace.
On the same day they resolved, “That if all efforts to reconcile the unhappy differences between the sections of our country shall prove abortive, then every consideration of honor and interest demands that Virginia
shall unite her destinies with her sister Slaveholding States.”
was made to say to the North
, substantially in the words of an epigrammatist of the time:--
|first.--||Move not a finger; 'tis coercion,|
| ||The signal for our prompt dispersion.|
|Second.--||Wait, till I speak my full decision, |
| ||Be it for Union or division.|
|Third.--||If I declare my ultimatum,|
| ||Accept my terms as I shall state 'em.|
|Fourth.--||Then I'll remain, while I'm inclined to;|
| ||Seceding when I have a mind to.4|
The Virginia Legislature appropriated one million of dollars for the defense of the State
and made other hostile preparations; and an the conspirators were so alarmed by the Peace Congress proposition, and by the waning hope of seizing Washington
, that they took measures to precipitate the people of that Commonwealth into revolution.
In order to stir up the smoldering fires of enmity against the people of the
North, created by John Brown
's raid, representatives of Virginia
in Congress issued a manifesto, nine days before the election of delegates to the State Convention.
After mentioning proceedings in Congress looking toward “guaranties for the South
,” they said:--“It is our duty to warn you that it is in vain to hope for any measure of conciliation or adjustment which you could accept.
We are also satisfied that the Republican party designs, by civil war alone, to coerce the Southern States
, under the pretext of enforcing, the laws, unless it shall become speedily apparent that the seceding States are so numerous, determined, and united, as to make such an attempt hopeless. . . . There is nothing to be hoped from Congress.
The remedy is with you alone, when you assemble in sovereign convention. . . . We conclude by expressing our solemn conviction that prompt and decided action, by the people of Virginia
, in convention, will afford the surest means, under the providence of God, of averting an impending civil war, and preserving the hope of reconstructing a Union already dissolved.”
This manifesto was signed by R. M. T. Hunter
and nine others.5 Hunter
was the ablest man among them, and one of the most dangerous of the chief conspirators against the Government
The election was held on the, appointed day,
and of the one hundred and fifty-two delegates chosen, a large majority were opposed to secession.
fact, and using the other fact, that the unconditional Unionists
were few, the newspapers in the interest of the conspirators declared that “not twenty submissionist Union men” had been chosen.
,” said the leading organ of the secessionists in that State,
“will, before the 4th of March, declare herself absolved from all further obligation to the Federal Government
It is eminently proper that the State
which was the leader in the Revolution, and the first to proclaim the great doctrine of State Rights in 1799, should lead the column of the Border States
We will consider the proceedings of the Virginia Convention hereafter.
The conspirators felt great anxiety and doubt concerning the position of Maryland
To the disloyalists of that State, with those of Virginia
, they had looked for the most efficient aid in the work of seizing the National Capital
lay between the Free-labor States and that capital, and might be a barrier against Northern troops sent to protect it. Emissaries and commissioners from the Cotton-growing States were early within its borders plying their seductive arts, and they found so many sympathizers among the slaveholders, and a large class in Baltimore
, connected by blood, affection, and commerce with the South
, that they entertained, for a while,
bright hopes of the co-operation of the people of that State.
It is said that on the 1st of January, 1861, no less than twelve thousand men were organized in that State, bound by the most solemn oaths to do the bidding of their leaders, whose purpose was to seize Washington City
Independent of the innate loyalty of the greater portion of the people of Maryland
to the flag of the Union
, there were considerations of material interests calculated to make them weigh well the arguments for and against revolution that were presented to them.
The value of the “slave property” of the State
was then estimated to be at least fifty millions of dollars.
This would be imperiled, for, if war should be kindled, that “property,” possessing manhood and its instincts, would fly toward the free air of the North
, so near and so inviting.
A blight would fall suddenly upon Maryland
, for the withdrawal, by such an exodus, of seven hundred thousand laborers from the fields would leave the soil untilled.
And yet the madmen of the State
--conspirators and demagogues and their dupes — blinded by passion, were ready and anxious to risk every thing, by clinging to the destinies, whatever they might be, of the Slave-labor States.
Fortunately for Maryland
and the Republic
, the Governor
of the State
, Thomas H. Hicks
, his age on the borders of threescore and ten, was a prudent, loyal man. When Judge Handy
, the Commissioner
, visited him officially, at the middle of December,
and set forth the object of his mission, and the causes which justified secession, and desired him to call a special session of the Legislature, that they might authorize a State Convention, Hicks
assured him, that while the people of his State were in sympathy with the institutions, habits, and feelings of the Slave-labor States, they were conservative, and ardently attached to the Union
He was disposed to consult the opinions of the people of the Border Slave-labor States before acting in the matter, and gave assurance that Maryland
would undoubtedly act with those States.
was well convinced that his treasonable schemes found no favor in the mind and heart of Governor Hicks
, and he departed.
From that time the Governor
was vehemently importuned by the politicians to convene the Legislature.
Twelve of the twenty-two State Senators
jointly addressed him, urging the necessity of an extraordinary session; and disloyal politicians took steps for calling an informal convention of prominent citizens, in order to get an expression of opinion in favor of such session.
At the same time, the friends of the Union
as strenuously urged him to refuse the call.
He well knew the political complexion of the Legislature, and foresaw the mischief it might accomplish; so he steadily refused to call the members together.
To this refusal he added an appeal to the people,
in the form of a protest against the attempt of demagogues to make Maryland
subservient to South Carolina
. “We are told,” he said, “by the leading spirits of the South Carolina Convention, that neither the election of Mr. Lincoln
, nor the non-execution of the Fugitive Slave Law
, nor both combined, constitute their grievances.
They declare that the real cause of their discontent dates as far
back as 1833. Maryland
, and every other State in the Union
, with a united voice, then declared the cause insufficient to justify the course of South Carolina
Can it be that this people, who then unanimously supported the course of General Jackson
, will now yield their opinions at the bidding of modern secessionists? . . . The people of Maryland
, if left to themselves, would decide, with scarcely an exception, that there is nothing in the present causes of complaint to justify immediate secession; and yet, against our judgments and solemn convictions of duty, we are to be precipitated into this revolution, because South Carolina
Are we not equals?
Or shall her opinions control our actions?
After we have solemnly declared for ourselves, as every man must do, are we to be forced to yield our opinions to those of another State, and thus, in effect, obey her mandates?
She refuses to wait for our counsels.
Are we bound to obey her commands?
The men who have embarked in this scheme to convene the Legislature will spare no pains to carry their point.
The whole plan of operations, in the event of the assembling of the Legislature, is, as I have been informed, already marked out; the list of embassadors who are to visit the other States is agreed on; and the resolutions which they hope will be passed by the Legislature, fully committing the State
to secession, are said to be
In the course of nature, I cannot have long to live, and I fervently trust to be allowed to end my days a citizen of this glorious Union.
But should I be compelled to witness the downfall of that Government inherited from our fathers, established as it were by the special favor of God, I will at least have the consolation, at my dying hour, that I, neither by word nor deed, assisted in hastening its disruption.”
Already Henry Winter Davis
, a Representative of a Baltimore district in the National Congress, had published a powerful appeal
against the calling of the Legislature, or the assembling of a Border State Convention, as some had proposed.
Nothing, he said, but a convention of all
the States could be useful.
The address of Governor Hicks
was read with delight and profound gratitude by the loyal people of Maryland
, while the secessionists at home and abroad denounced him as a “traitor to the Southern
He steadily maintained the position of an antagonist to their treasonable designs.
They tried hard, but in vain, to counteract his influence.
At the middle of February, they held an irregular convention in Baltimore
, and issued an address and resolutions.
Their operations were abortive.
The best men of the State
, of all parties, frowned upon their work.
A Union party was organized, composed of vital elements, and grew in strength and stature every day. Maryland
, and especially Baltimore
, became a great battle-field of opinions between the champions of Right and Wrong.
The former triumphed gloriously; and
in less than four years from that time, slavery became utterly extinct in Maryland
, by the constitutional act of its own authorities.
, lying still farther than Maryland
within the embrace of the Free-labor States, had but little to say on the subject of secession, and that little, officially spoken, was in the direction of loyalty.
Its Governor, several of its Senators
, its Representatives in the National Senate
, and many leading politicians, sympathized with the secessionists, but the people were conservative and loyal.
The Legislature convened at D]over, the capital, on the 2d of January, when the Governor
) declared that the cause of all the trouble was “the persistent war of the Abolitionists upon more than two billions of property; a war waged from pulpits, rostrums, and schools, by press and people — all teaching that slavery is a crime and a sin, until it had become the opinion of one section of the country.
The only remedy,” he said, “for the evils now threatening, is a radical change of public sentiment in regard to the whole question.
should retire from its untenable position immediately.”
On the following day, Henry Dickinson
, Commissioner from Mississippi
, addressed them.
He declared, with supporting arguments, that a State had a right to secede, and invited Delaware
to join the Southern Confederacy about to be formed.
He was applauded by some, and listened to courteously by. all.
Then the House
, by unanimous vote, adopted a resolution (concurred in by a majority of the Senate), saying, that they deemed it proper and due to themselves, and the people of Delaware
, to express their unqualified disapproval of the remedy for existing evils proposed by Mr. Dickinson
, in behalf of Mississippi
This ended his mission.
maintained that position during the war that ensued; and it is a notable fact, that it was the only Slave-labor State whose soil was not moistened with the blood of the slain in battle.
No insurgent soldier ever appeared within the limits of that State, except as a prisoner of war.
Great efforts were made to force North Carolina
The South Carolinians
taunted them with cowardice; the Virginians treated them with coldness; and the Alabamians and Mississippians coaxed them by the lips of commissioners.
These efforts were vain.
, of Buchanan
's Cabinet, went back to Washington
convinced that the radical secessionists of that State were but a handful.
The Legislature did, indeed, authorize a convention; but directed that the people, when they elected delegates for it, should vote on the question of Convention or No Convention.
The delegates were elected,
one hundred and twenty in number, eighty-two of whom were Unionists
; at the same time, the people decided not to have a convention.
The Legislature also appointed delegates to the Peace Congress at Washington
; also, commissioners to represent the State
in the proposed General Convention at Montgomery
, but with instructions to act only as “mediators to endeavor to bring about a reconciliation.”
They also declared, by resolution,
that if peace negotiations should fail, North Carolina
would go with the Slave-labor States.
They provided for the arming of ten thousand volunteers, and the reorganization of the militia of the State
Further than this the legislative branch of the State Government
refused to go at that
time, and the people, determined to avoid war if possible, kept steadily on in their usual pursuits.
They heard the howling of the tempest without, but heeded not its turmoil for a time; and they were but little startled by the thunderbolt cast in their midst to alarm them, by Senator Clingman
, when, at the middle of February,
he telegraphed from Washington
:--“There is no chance for Crittenden
must secede, or aid Lincoln
in making war on the South
Finally, by pressure from without, and especially by the machinations of traitors nestled in her own bosom, the State
was placed in an attitude of open rebellion.
The people of Tennessee
, the daughter of North Carolina
, like those of the parent State, loved the Union
supremely; but their Governor, Isham G. Harris
, was an active traitor, and had been for months in confidential correspondence with the conspirators in the Gulf
States and in South Carolina
He labored unceasingly, with all of his official power, to place his State in alliance with the Al enemies of the Union
For that purpose he called a special session of the Legislature, to assemble at Nashville
on the 7th of January.
In his message, he recited a long list of so-called grievances which the people of the State
had suffered under the National Government
; appealed to their passions and prejudices, and recommended several amendments to the Constitution
, which would give to the support of Slavery
all that its advocates desired, as a remedy for those grievances.
The Legislature provided for a State Convention, but decreed that when the people should elect the delegates, they should vote on the question of Convention or No Convention; also, that any ordinance adopted by the Convention
, concerning “Federal relations,” should not be valid until submitted to the people for ratification or rejection.
The election, held on the 9th of February,
was very gratifying to the loyal people of the State
The Union candidates were 1861.
chosen by an aggregate majority of about sixty-five thousand; and, by a majority of nearly twelve thousand, they decided not to have a convention.
The result produced great rejoicings, for it was believed that the secession movements in the State
It was a delusive hope, as we shall observe hereafter.
, a Border State of great importance, having a population, in 1860, of one million one hundred and fifty-five thousand seven hundred and thirteen, of whom two hundred and twenty-five thousand were slaves, was, like Maryland
, strongly attached by triple bonds to both sections of the Union
Its action at this crisis, whatever it might be, would have great
influence, and that action was awaited with anxiety.
The sympathies of the Governor
of the State
, Beriah Magoffin
, were with the Southern
people and their slave-system of labor; yet in his public acts, at this time, he opposed secession.
The people of his State were decidedly hostile to the revolutionary movements in the Gulf
region; yet, whenever the question was raised concerning the right and the duty of the National Government
to enforce the laws by its constitutional power, that enforcement was called, in the language of the disloyal sophists, “coercing a Sovereign State,” and therefore, they said, it must not be tolerated.
At a convention of Union and Douglas
men of the State
, held on the 8th of January,
it was resolved that the rights of Kentucky
should be maintained in the Union
. They were in favor of a convention of the Slave and Free-labor Border States, to decide upon some just compromise, and declared their willingness to support the National Government
, unless the incoming President
should attempt to “coerce a State or States.”
The Legislature, which assembled at about the same time, was asked by the Governor
to declare, by resolution, the “unconditional disapprobation” of the people of that State of the employment of force against “seceding States.”
Accordingly, on the 22d of January, the Legislature resolved that the Kentuckians, uniting with their brethren of the South
, would resist any invasion of the soil of that section, at all hazards and to
the last extremity.
This action was taken by the authorities of Kentucky
, because the Legislatures of several of the Free-labor States had offered troops for the use of the Government
, in enforcing the laws in “seceding States.”
The Legislature also decided against calling a convention, and appointed delegates to the Peace Congress to meet at Washington City
Such was the attitude of Kentucky
at the beginning.
A little later, its public authorities and other leading men endeavored to, give to it a position of absolute neutrality.
, lying west of the Mississippi River
,. was another Border State of great importance.
Its population in 1860 was one million one hundred and eighty-two thousand three hundred and seventeen, of whom one hundred and fifteen thousand were slaves.
Its inhabitants had been agitated more or less by the troubles in Kansas
, a State stretching along almost the whole of its western border, where the friends and enemies of the, Slave system of labor had quarreled and fought for several years previous to the year 1858.
In that school of experience, the Missourians had been pretty well instructed concerning the questions at issue in the now impending conflict; and when they were called upon to act, they did so intelligently.
They knew the value of the Union
; and the great body of the people reprobated the teachings of the disloyal politicians, and determined to stand by the Union
so, long as it seemed to them a blessing.
The 4th of January, 1861, was an unfortunate day for Missouri
On that day Claiborne F. Jackson
, an unscrupulous politician, and a conspirator against the Republic
, was inaugurated Governor of the State
In his message to the Legislature, he insisted that Missouri
should stand by its sister Slave-labor States in whatever course they might pursue at that crisis.
He recommended the calling of a State Convention to consider “Federal relations;” and on the 16th,
the Legislature responded by authorizing one, decreeing, however, that its action on the subject of secession should be submitted to the vote of the people.
The election resulted in the choice of a large majority of Union delegates
by a heavy majority of the popular vote.
They assembled at Jefferson City
on the 28th of February.
Their proceedings will be considered hereafter.
on the south, and lying between it and Louisiana
, is Arkansas
, a rapidly growing Cotton-producing State.
The people were mostly of the planting class, and were generally attached to the Union
; and it was only by a rigorous system of terrorism that they were finally placed in an attitude of rebellion.
An emissary of treason, named Hubbard
, was sent into Arkansas
at the middle of December, by the Alabama
He was permitted to address the State Legislature
assembled at Little Rock
, when he assured them that Alabama
would soon secede, whether other States did or did not, and advised Arkansas
to do the same.
Ten days afterward there was an immense assemblage of the people at, Van Buren
, on the Arkansas River
, in the extreme western part of the State
They resolved, on that occasion, that separate State action would be unwise, and that co-operation was desirable.
It was evident, from many tests, that nine-tenths of the people were averse to the application of secession as a remedy for alleged evils.
On the 16th, the Legislature of Arkansas
provided for the submission of the question of a State Convention to the people, and if they should decide to have one, the Governor
was directed to appoint a day for the election of delegates.
A majority of twelve thousand voted in favor of a convention.
An election was held, when, out of about forty thousand votes, there was a popular majority of about six thousand for Union delegates.
How that Convention was managed by the conspirators, and the people were cheated, will be considered hereafter.
We have now observed the revolutionary movements in the Slave-labor States down to the so-called secession of seven of them;
their preparations for a General Convention, at the beginning of February, to form a confederacy; and the construction of machinery, in the form of State conventions, for sweeping most of the other Slave-labor States into the vortex of revolution.
Let us see what, in the mean time, was done in the matter in the Free-labor States, beginning with New England
, lying on the extreme eastern border of the Republic
, and adjoining the British
possessions, had, in 1860, a population of over six hundred thousand.
Its people watched the rising tide of revolution with interest, and were among the first to offer barriers against its destructive overflow.
The idea of nationality, so universally a sentiment among intelligent men all over the Free-labor States, made such action instinctive; and everywhere assurances of aid were given to the Chief Magistrate
of the Republic
Israel Washburne, Jr.
, was then Governor
In his message to the Legislature, on the day of its assembling at Augusta
, he ably reviewed the history of the Slavery question, and recommended the repeal of any laws that were unconstitutional.
“Allow no stain,” he said, “on the faith and devotion of the State
to the Constitution
and the rights of the States.”
He declared that the concessions demanded by the politicians of the Slave-labor States were wholly inadmissible, and incompatible with the safety of the Constitution
, as the exponent and defender of republican institutions.
He stigmatized secession as a crime without the shadow of a right.
“There is no such right in the Constitution
,” he said.
“Congress cannot grant it; the States cannot concede it, and only by the people of the States, through a change in the Constitution
can it be conferred.
The laws, then, must be executed, or this, the best, because the freest and most beneficent Government that the world has ever seen, is destroyed.”
He pledged the State
to a support of the Union
, and he was sustained in this by the Legislature, who, on the 16th, declared by a large majority the attachment of the people of that State to the Union
, and loyalty to the Government
, and requested the Governor
to assure the President
of that attachment and loyalty, and “that the entire resources of the State
, in men and money,” were “pledged to the Administration in defense and support of the Constitution and Union.”
Willing to make concessions for the sake of peace, the State Senate afterward passed a bill
repealing the Personal Liberty Act
was an early and conspicuous actor in the great drama we are considering.
In many aspects, in nature and society, it was totally unlike South Carolina
, the cradle of the rebellion.
Its people were the most energetic, positive, and ever-active of any State in the Union
, and its wealth for each person was greater than any other.
It was regarded by the people of the Slave-labor States as the central generator of the Abolition force that threatened the destruction of Slavery; and South Carolina
orators and journalists made Massachusetts
the synonym of Puritanism, which they affected to despise, as vulgar in theory and in practice.
It must be confessed that much that was done in religion, in politics, and in social life in Massachusetts
, did not harmonize with the opinions, habits, and feelings of the people of South Carolina
The representatives of Massachusetts
in the National Senate
and Charles Sumner
) were known in every
part of the Union
as the most able and uncompromising opponents of the Slave system; and its Governor at that time (John A. Andrew
) was an earnest co-worker with them in the cause of the final emancipation of the slaves within the borders of the Republic
Its Personal Liberty Act was most offensive to the slaveholders; and the ill-timed and irritating performances of a few zealous men in Boston
, on the 3d of December, 1860, as we have observed, in celebrating the anniversary of the execution of John Brown
added intensity to the flame of passion — of hatred and disgust of New Englanders — in all the region below the Potomac
and the Ohio
, and far away to the Rio Grande
It was evident at the beginning of January, 1861, that the contagion of secession was spreading too rapidly, and was too malignant in its character, to be arrested either by moral suasion or by compromises and concessions.
The time had arrived for courageous, conscientious, and manly action.
Nathaniel P. Banks
, the retiring Governor of Massachusetts
, in his valedictory address to the Legislature,
took open and unequivocal ground against secession, declaring that the North
would never submit to the revolutionary acts of the Southern
His successor, Governor Andrew
, was equally energetic and outspoken.
His words constantly grew into action.
He saw approaching danger, and dispatched agents to other New England
States, to propose a military combination in support of the Government
, first in defending Washington City
from seizure by the insurgents, within and around it, and afterward in enforcing the laws.
At the same time, all of the volunteer companies of the State
, with an aggregate membership of about five thousand, commenced drilling nightly in their armories.
also sent one of his staff (Lieutenant-Colonel Ritchie
) to Washington
, to consult with General Scott
and other officers, civil and military, concerning the dispatch of Massachusetts
troops to the Capital
, in the event of insurrectionary movements against it. A satisfactory arrangement was made, and troops were held in
readiness to start at a moment's notice.
How well they played an important part in the drama, at the beginning of the war, will be related hereafter.
It was the blood of Massachusetts
soldiers that was first poured out in the terrible war for the life of the Republic
, that soon commenced.
, the smallest of the States, was full of patriotic zeal.
Her large manufacturing interests were intimately connected with the States in which insurrections had commenced, yet no considerations of self-interest could allure her people from their love of the Union
and allegiance to the National Government
Her youthful Governor (William Sprague
), anxious for peace and union, recommended, in his message to the Legislature of
, the repeal of the Personal Liberty Act
on its statute-book, “not from fear or cowardice,” he said, “but from a brave determination, in the face of threats and sneers, to live up to the Constitution
and all its guaranties, the better to testify our love for the Union
, and the more firmly to exact allegiance to it from all others.”
The act was repealed at the close of January;
and this measure was regarded as the forerunner of other concessions that might bring about reconciliation.
The spirit of the conspirators was unknown and unsuspected.
They had resolved to accept no compromises or concessions, and they sneered at generous acts like this as the “pusillanimity of cowardly Yankees.”
It was the first and the last olive-branch offered to the traitors by Rhode Island
When they struck the blow, with deadly intent, at the life of the Republic
, ten weeks later, she sent against them a sword in the hands of her Governor and others, that performed brave deeds in the cause of our nationality.
In the remaining New England
States, namely, New Hampshire
, and Connecticut
, nothing specially noteworthy
was done in relation to the secession movement, before the insurgents commenced actual war, in April; but in the great State of New York
, whose population was then nearly three millions nine hundred thousand, and whose chief city was the commercial metropolis of the Republic
, much was done to attract public attention.
The Legislature assembled at the beginning of January, and the Governor
, Edwin D. Morgan
, in a conciliatory message, proposed to cast oil on the turbulent political waters, by offering concessions to the complaining politicians of the South
The members of the Legislature were not so yielding; and on the first day of the session
patriotic resolutions were introduced by Mr. Spinola
, of the lower house.
They were referred to a Select Committee of Five, who reported a series of resolutions and a spirited preamble, that were adopted on the 11th.
They seemed to comprehend the true character of the conspirators and the duty of all loyal men. The preamble spoke of the “insurgent State of South Carolina
;” its seizure of the public property; its act of war,, in firing on the Star of the West;
the seizure of forts and arsenals elsewhere; and the treasonable words of the representatives of Southern States in the National Congress.
The first resolution then declared that the people of New York were firmly attached to the Union
, and that,. impressed with the value of that Union, they tendered to the President
, through their Chief Magistrate
, whatever aid in men and money might be required to enable him to enforce the laws.
They directed the Governor
to send a copy of these resolutions to the President
, and to the Governors
of all the States.
These produced much irritation in the Slave-labor States, and at the same time profoundly impressed the people therein with a distrust of the assurance
of their politicians that secession would be peaceful, and that there would be no war.12
At that time a notorious character named Fernando Wood
of the City of New York
He was a special favorite of the worst elements of society in that cosmopolitan city, and sympathized with the conspirators against the Republic
, during the civil war that ensued.
Four days before
the Legislature of the State passed its patriotic resolutions, this disloyal man sent a message to the Common Council of the city, in which he mentioned the advantages which the people might secure by following the example of those of South Carolina
in revolutionary measures.
“Why should not New York City,” he said, “instead of supporting by her contributions in revenue two-thirds the expenses of the United States
, become also equally independent?
As a free city, with but a nominal duty on imports, her local government could be supported without taxation upon her people.
Thus we could live free from taxes, and have cheap goods, nearly duty free.
In this she would have the whole and united support of the Southern States
, as well as of all other States, to whose interests and rights, under the Constitution
she has always been true.
If the Confederacy
is broken up,” he continued, “the Government
is dissolved; and it behooves every distinct community, as well as every individual, to take care of themselves.
When disunion has become a fixed and certain fact, why may not New York disrupt the bands which bind her to a venal and corrupt master — to a people and a party that have plundered her revenues, attempted to ruin her commerce, taken away the power of self-government, and destroyed the confederacy of which she was the proud Empire City
Amid the gloom which the present and prospective condition of things must cast over the country, New York, as a free city
, may shed the only light and hope for a future reconstruction of our blessed confederacy.”
His own treasonable words seemed to have startled him,
and given him visions of a felon's cell, for he immediately added, meekly--“Yet I am not prepared to recommend the violence implied in these views.”
The seditious suggestions of this Mayor
, and the opposing and defiant tone of the Legislature, alarmed the commercial classes and large capitalists, and these hastened to seek some method for pacifying the Southern
War seemed inevitable.
Its besom would sweep thousands of the debtors of New York merchants and manufacturers in the Slave-labor States into the mill of absolute ruin, and millions of dollars' worth of bills receivable in the hands of their creditors must be made as worthless as so much soiled white paper.
This material consideration, and an almost universal desire for peace and quiet, developed a quick willingness to make every concession to the demands of the discontented Southerners consistent with honor.
As an expression of this feeling, and with the hope of practical results, a memorial for compromise measures, largely signed by merchants, manufacturers, and capitalists, was forwarded to Congress on the 12th of January.
The memorialists prayed that body to legislate so as to give assurances “with any required guaranties,” to the slaveholders, that their right to regulate Slavery within the borders of their respective States should be secured; that the Fugitive Slave Law
should be faithfully executed; that Personal Liberty Acts in “possible conflict” with that law should be “readjusted ;” and that they should have half the Territories
, whereof to organize Slave-labor States.
They were assured, the memorialists said, that such measures would “restore peace to their agitated country.”
This memorial was followed by another, adopted on the 18th of January, at a meeting of merchants in the rooms of the Chamber of Commerce, similar in tone to the other, and substantially recommending the “Crittenden Compromise” as a basis for pacification.
They appointed a committee to take charge of the memorial, to procure signatures to it, and forward it to Congress.
It was taken to Washington
early in February, with forty thousand names attached to it.
On the 28th of January, an immense meeting of citizens was held at the Cooper Institute, in New York, when it was resolved to send three Commissioners to six of the “seceded States,” instructed to confer with the “delegates of the people,” in convention assembled, in regard to “the best measures calculated to restore the peace and integrity of the Union
James T. Brady
, Cornelius K. Garrison
, and Appleton Oaksmith
were appointed such Commissioners.
At about the same time, the “Democratic State Central Committee” called for the appointment of four delegates from each
Assembly district in the State
, to meet as representatives of the party in convention at Albany
on the 31st of January.
They assembled on that day, and the delegates were addressed by the venerable ex-Chancellor Walworth
, ex-Governor Seymour
, and men of less note, and a series of resolutions were adopted, expressive of the sense of the party on the great topic of the day. They declared, substantially, that a conflict of sectional passions had produced present convulsions; that the most ineffective argument to be presented to the “seceding States” was war, which would not restore the Union
, but would “defeat forever its reconstruction;” that the restoration of the Union
could only be obtained by the exercise of a spirit of conciliation and concession; that there was nothing in the nature of the impending difficulties that made an adjustment by compromise improper; and that the Union
could only be preserved by the adoption of a Border-State policy, embodied in the Crittenden Compromise
They appointed a committee to prepare, in behalf of the Convention
, “a suitable memorial to the Legislature, urging them to submit the Crittenden Compromise
to a vote of the electors of the State
, at the earliest practicable day.”
At about this time there seemed to be concerted action all over the State
to discountenance anti-slavery movements, and to silence those men whose agency, it was alleged, had caused the “public sentiment of the North
to have the appearance of a hostility to the South
, incompatible with its continuance in the Union
Anti-slavery meetings were broken up by violence; and early in March
an association was formed in New York City, called The American Society for the Promotion of National Union
, of which Professor Samuel F. B. Morse
, the inventor of the perfected electro-magnetic telegraph, was chosen President
Its professed object was “to promote the union and welfare of our common country, by addresses, publications, and all other suitable means adapted to elucidate and inculcate, in accordance with the Word of God, the duties of American citizens, especially in relation to Slavery.”
Reiterating the idea put forth a few weeks before by the Rev. Dr. Smythe
, of Charleston
, in denunciation of the doctrines of the Declaration of Independence
this society, in its “Programme,” said.--“The popular declaration that all men are created equal, and entitled to liberty, intended to embody the sentiments of our ancestors respecting the doctrine of the Divine right of kings and nobles, and perhaps, also, the more doubtful sentiment of the French
school, may be understood to indicate both a sublime truth and a pernicious error.”
Again:--“Our attention will not be confined to Slavery, but this will be, at present, our main topic.
Four millions of immortal beings, incapable of self-care, and indisposed to industry and foresight, are providentially committed to the hands of our Southern friends.
This stupendous trust they cannot put from them if they would.
Emancipation, were it possible, would be
rebellion against Providence
, and destruction to the colored race in our land.”
These sentences indicate the scope of this society's operations.
It was the germ of that powerful “Peace party” which played a conspicuous part, as we shall observe, during the last three years of the civil war that ensued.
While the Legislature of New York was firmly resolved to support the National Government
with arms, if necessary, it was ever willing to try first the power of peaceful measures.
It responded to Virginia
's proposition for a Peace Congress, by appointing five delegates thereto, who were instructed not to take any part in the proceedings, unless a majority of the Free-labor States were represented.
From that time forth, the people of New York watched the course of events with intense interest; and when the National
flag was dishonored at Fort Sumter
, their patriotism was most conspicuous, as we shall observe hereafter.
, intimately connected with New York, was the theater of early movements in relation to secession.
So early as the 11th of December, 1860, a convention of “all national men in favor of constitutional Union measures” was held at Trenton
, the capital.
They adopted a series of resolutions declaring that there was danger of a dissolution of the Union
; that the interference of “Northern agitators with the rights and property of fifteen States of the Union
” was the cause of “the portentous crisis;” that they saw no remedy excepting in the “avowal of the North
, in the most prompt and explicit manner,” of its determination to remove all political agitation for the abolition of Slavery; repeal all Personal Liberty Acts; execute the Fugitive Slave Law
; allow the slaveholder to have the attendance of his slaves during his temporary sojourn in any of the Free-labor States, “on business or pleasure ;” accord to the South
all the rights of property in man, and accept the decrees of the Supreme Court of the United States
, on the Slavery question, as their rule of action.
They appointed five commissioners to confer with sister States on the great topic of the time.
The Legislature of New Jersey
met at Trenton
, the capital, on the 8th of January.
The Governor, Charles S. Olden
, in his message, expressed a hope that the compromise measures in Congress might be adopted; if not, he recommended a convention of all the States, to agree upon some plan of pacification.
On the 15th, a majority of the Committee
on National Affairs reported a series of resolutions as the sense of the people of New Jersey
, the vital point of which was the indorsement of, the Crittenden Compromise
They were adopted on the 31st of January, the Democrats voting in the affirmative.
The Republican members adopted a series of resolutions, totally dissenting from the declaration of the majority, that their indorsement of the Crittenden Compromise
was “the sentiment of the people of the State
They declared the willingness of the people to aid in the execution of all the laws of Congress; affirmed their adhesion to the doctrine of Popular Sovereignty, with a qualification; asserted the nationality of the Government
, in opposition to the doctrine of State Supremacy; declared it to be the duty of the National Government
to maintain its authority everywhere within the limits of the Republic
, and pledged the faith and power of New Jersey
in aid of that Government,
to any required.extent.
This pledge the people of that State nobly redeemed.
The great State of Pennsylvania
, with its three millions of inhabitants, and its immense and varied interests, was profoundly moved by the events in the Gulf
Even before there had been any Secession Conventions, and the muttering thunders of treason in that section were only echoed from the halls of Congress, there was an immense assemblage of citizens in Independence Square, in the city of Philadelphia
, to counsel together on the state of public affairs.
It was called by the Mayor
, Alexander Henry
, and was held on the 13th of December, 1860.
Disunion — the separation of the States--seemed inevitable, the Mayor
said in his proclamation, “unless the loyal people, casting off the spirit of party, should, in a special manner,
View in Independence Square.17 |
avow their unfailing fidelity to the Union
, and their abiding faith in the Constitution
The meeting was opened with prayer by the thoroughly loyal Bishop
of the Protestant Episcopal Church of that diocese, Right Rev. Alonzo Potter
, and was addressed by men of all parties.
The tone of every speech was deprecatory of war; and nearly every one expressed a willingness to make every possible concession to the demands of the Oligarchy necessary for the preservation of Union and peace.
The troubled aspect of the nation was generally attributed to the interference of the “North” with Slavery, such as “the misplaced teachings of the pulpit, the unwise rhapsodies of the lecture-room, and the exciting appeals of the press,” 18
on the subject.
It was urged that these “must be frowned
down by a just and law-abiding people.”
There were some who demurred, and counseled a manly and energetic assertion of the sovereign authority of the National Government
; but the prevailing sentiment was highly conservative, and even submissive.
The resolutions adopted by the meeting proposed the repeal of the Personal Liberty Act
, and the recognition of the obligations of the people to assist in the full execution of the Fugitive Slave Law
; pointed, with “pride and satisfaction, to the recent conviction and punishment, in Philadelphia
,” of those who had attempted to rescue an alleged fugitive from bondage; recommended the passage of a law providing for the payment of full remuneration to the owner of a slave who might lose him by such rescue; declared that they recognized slaves as property, in accordance with the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States
; and also, “that all denunciations of Slavery, as existing in the United States
, and of our fellow-citizens who maintain that institution, and who hold slaves under it, are inconsistent with the spirit of brotherhood and kindness which ought to animate all who live under and profess to support the Constitution
of the American Union.”
The newly elected Governor of Pennsylvania
; Andrew G. Curtin
, was: inaugurated on the 15th of January, 1861, and his address on that occasion resounded with the ring of the true metal of loyalty and positiveness of character, which he displayed throughout the war that ensued.
He counseled forbearance, and kindness, and a conciliatory spirit; proposed the repeal of the Personal Liberty Act
of that State, if it was in contravention of any law of Congress; and denounced the till wicked doings of the conspirators and their servants.
Two days afterward, the Legislature, by resolutions, approved of the conduct of Major Anderson
in Charleston harbor
, and of Governor Hicks
, in Maryland
In another series of resolutions, passed on the 24th, it severely rebuked the conduct of the South Carolinians; declared that the Constitution
gave the Government
full power to maintain its authority, and
pledged the “faith and power of Pennsylvania
” to the support of all such measures as might be required to put down insurrection, saying:--“All plots, conspiracies, and warlike preparations against the United States
, in any section of the country, are treasonable in their character,” and that all the powers of Government should be used, if necessary, to suppress them, “without hesitation or delay.”
How fully these pledges of Pennsylvania
were redeemed, and its patriotism, fidelity, and prowess were attested, let the records of the generous gifts of men and money to the cause, and the sufferings of the people of that State, testify.
Next west of Pennsylvania
, with two millions three hundred thousand inhabitants.
It was first settled chiefly by New Englanders, and was a part of the great Northwestern Territory, which was solemnly consecrated to free-labor by the Congress
of the old Confederation, in 1787.20
It was a vast agricultural State, filled with industrious and energetic inhabitants, who loved freedom, and revered the National Government
as a great blessing in the world.
Their chief magistrate
, at the beginning of the troubles, was William Dennison, Jr.
, who was an opponent of the Slave system, and loyal to the Government
and the Constitution
The Legislature of Ohio
met on the 7th of January, 1861.
In his message, the Governor
explained his refusal to surrender alleged fugitive slaves on the requisition of the authorities of Kentucky
; denied the right of secession; affirmed the loyalty of his State; suggested the repeal of the obnoxious features of the Fugitive Slave Law
, as the most effective method for procuring the repeal of Personal Liberty Acts; and called for a repeal of the laws of Southern States which interfered with the constitutional rights of the citizens of the Free-labor States.
“Determined to do no wrong,” he said, “we will not contentedly submit to wrong.”
Five days afterward,
the Legislature passed a series of resolutions in which they denounced the secession movements, and promised, for the people of Ohio
, their firm support of the National Government
, in its efforts to maintain its just authority.
Two days later,
they reaffirmed this resolution, and pledged “the entire power and resources of the State
for a strict maintenance of the Constitution
and laws by the General Government
, by whomsoever administered.”
This position the people of Ohio
held throughout the war with marvelous steadfastness, in spite of the wicked machinations of traitors among themselves, who were friends of the conspirators and their cause.
, on the west, lay Indiana
, another great and growing State carved out of the Northwestern Territory
, with over one million three hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants, and real and personal estate valued at about five hundred and thirty millions of dollars.
There was burning in the hearts of the people of that State the most intense loyalty to the Union
, but there was no occasion for its special revealment until the attack on Fort Sumter
, in April, 1861, when it blazed out terribly for the enemies of the Republic
The sons of its soil were found on every battle-field
during the first year and a half of the war, and the people were grandly faithful to the end, as our record will show.
North of Ohio
, on a vast peninsula, whose shores are washed by magnificent inland seas, lies Michigan
, with a population of almost eight hundred thousand.
Its Legislature met at the beginning of January,
when the retiring Governor, Moses Wisner
, in a message to that body, denounced the President
of the United States
as a partisan, and the Democratic party as the cause of the discontent, alarm, and hatred in the South
, because of its misrepresentations of the principles and intentions of the Republican party.
He declared the Personal Liberty Act
of that State, and other measures inimical to the Fugitive Slave Law
, to be right, and the exponents of the sentiments of the people.
“Let them stand,” he said; “this is no time for timid and vacillating counsels, while the cry of treason is ringing in our ears.”
The new Governor, Austin Blair
, who was
inaugurated the next day,
took substantially the same ground; argued that secession was disintegration, and that the Republic
was a compact Nation, and not a League of States.
He recommended the Legislature to make the loyalty and patriotism of the people of Michigan
apparent to the country; whereupon, that body passed some resolutions,
pledging to the National Government
all the military power and material resources of the State
They expressed an unwillingness to offer compromises and concessions to traitors, and refused to send delegates to the Peace Congress, or to repeal the Personal Liberty Act
. The best blood Michigan
flowed freely in the war, and the people nobly sustained the Government
in the struggle for the life of the Republic
, the home of the President elect
, and more populous than its neighbor, Indiana
, the number of its inhabitants being over one million seven hundred thousand, had a loyal Governor at the beginning of
1861, in the person of Richard Yates
The Legislature of the State assembled at Spring-field, on the 7th of January.
The Governor's message was temperate and patriotic; and he summed up what he believed to be the sentiment of the people of his State, in the words of General Jackson
before:--“Our Federal Union: it must be preserved.”
Little was done at that time, excepting the appointment of delegates to the Peace Congress; but throughout the war, Governor Yates
and the people of Illinois
performed a glorious part.
Northward of Illinois
was spread out, between Lakes Michigan
and the Mississippi River
, with a population of nearly eight hundred thousand.
Its voters were Republicans by full twenty thousand majority.
Its Governor, Alexander W. Randall
, was thoroughly loyal.
In his message to the Legislature, which convened at Madison
on the 10th of January,
he spoke of the doctrine of State Supremacy as a fallacy, and said:--“The signs of the times indicate, in my opinion, that there may arise a contingency in the condition of the Government
under which it may become necessary to respond to the call of the National Government
for men and means to sustain the integrity of the Union
, and thwart the designs of men engaged in an organized treason.”
The Legislature was ready to respond to these words by acts, but no occasion seemed to call for them at that time, and nothing was done until after the attack on Fort Sumter
Then the people of Wisconsin
gave men and money freely to the great cause of American Nationality.
Westward of the Mississippi River
, and stretching away northward along its course from the borders of Missouri
, were the young and vigorous States of Iowa
; and across the continent, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean
, was California
The hearts of the people of these States beat responsive to Union sentiments whenever uttered.
had nearly seven hundred thousand inhabitants.
Its Governor, Samuel J. Kirkwood
, was thoroughly loyal, and spared no exertions in raising troops for the defense of the State
against lawless insurgents that might come up from Missouri
, and in aid of the National Government
when the President
called for them.
“In this emergency,” the Governor
must not, and does not, occupy a doubtful position.
For the Union
, as our fathers formed it, and for the Government
they framed so wisely and so well, the
people of Iowa
are ready to pledge every fighting man in the State
, and every dollar of her money and credit.”
That pledge was nobly redeemed.
One-tenth of the entire population of the State
, or seventy thousand men, went to the field!
The people of Minnesota
were equally faithful to the old flag.
The Legislature that assembled on the 26th of January passed a series of loyal resolutions, declaring the Constitution
as it was to be sufficient for the whole Union; denouncing secession as revolution; condemning in severest terms the treasonable acts at Charleston
, saying, that when one or more States appear in military array against the Government
, it could discover no other honorable or patriotic resource than to test, by land and sea, “the full strength of the Federal
authority under our National
It gave assurance of an earnest desire for peace with and good — will toward the people of the South
; thanked General Scott
for his patriotic efforts, and declared that the people of Minnesota
would never consent to the obstruction of the free navigation of the Mississippi River
, “from its source to its mouth, by any power hostile to the Federal Government
By a careful observation of the aspect of public sentiment in the various States of the Union
at the period when a new Administration was about to assume the conduct of national affairs, as delineated in brief outline in this chapter, the reader will perceive that the great majority of the people were thoroughly loyal to the National Government
, and desired peace upon any honorable terms.
At the same time, it cannot be denied that there was a large class of politicians who, misrepresenting the greater portion of their partisans, seemed incapable of rising above the selfish considerations of party domination.
With amazing sycophancy, they hastened to assure the Slave power of their sympathy and subserviency.
At home, in speeches, through the public press, and sometimes through the pulpit, they clamored loudly for concessions to its most extravagant demands, and begged the sturdy patriots of the Free-labor States, who loved freedom more than power, to bend the knee of abject submission to the arrogant Oligarchy rather than raise a resisting hand to save the Republic
They talked oracularly of that phantom, the “coercion of a sovereign State,” and denounced every
public expression of a determination to uphold the National
authority by force of arms, if necessary, as puerile, unmeaning, and mischievous.
Hundreds of letters, some of them written by men who had been honored by high social and official positions, were borne by the mails southward, in which it was asserted, again and again, that the people of the Free-labor States would never allow the Government
to make war upon a “seceding State;” and when the conspirators struck the first deadly blow at the life of the nation, they did so with the assurance that their political friends in the North
would keep the sword of the Republic
immovably in its scabbard, until the black crime should be consummated.22
They were mistaken.
Tail-piece — treason punished.|