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XXVI. the Union—the Confederacy.

if Hudibras was right in his assumption, that there is and can be no fighting where one party gives all the blows — the other being content with meekly and patiently receiving them — then it might be plausibly contended that our great Civil War was initiated by the bombardment of Fort Sumter, or by the attempt to supply its famishing garrison, some weeks after Mr. Lincoln's inauguration. But Wit stands opposed to Reason in this case, as in many others. The first attempt in the interest of Secession to dispossess the Union, by force, of any property or position held by it, even though not seriously opposed, was as truly an act of war as though it had been desperately resisted, at the cost of hundreds of lives.

The Secession of South Carolina1 was hailed with instant and general exultation by the plotters of Disunion in nearly every Slave State. There were celebrations, with parades, music, cannon-firing, speeches, etc., on that evening or the following day, at New Orleans, Mobile, Memphis, etc. Even at Wilmington, Del., where the Secessionists were few indeed, the event was honored by a salute of a hundred guns. Senator Andrew Johnson was still more honored, on the 22d, by being burned in effigy by the Secessionists of Memphis. While the Northern cities were anxious, apprehensive, and paralyzed, it was noted that at Baltimore, though no formal celebration was had, people seemed relieved and cheerful; the streets were gayly crowded, and business was better. At Washington, Mr. Garnett, of Virginia, exultingly announced the fact of South Carolina's secession in the House; whereupon, three or four Southrons clapped their hands. There was no further public manifestation in Congress; and none north of the Virginia line, save in Wilmington, as aforesaid.

A mere handful of Federal troops, under Maj. Robert Anderson, watched rather than garrisoned the forts in Charleston harbor. Of these, Fort Moultrie, though the older and weaker, was mainly tenanted by the soldiers, being the more convenient to the city; but it could not have been held a day against a serious assault. Its garrison found themselves suddenly surrounded by scowling, deadly foes,2 too numerous to be resisted. During the night of the 26th, Maj. Anderson properly and prudently transferred his entire command to Fort Sumter, taking with them, or after them, all provisions, munitions, etc., that could conveniently be transported. The removal was effected by means of two schooners, which made several trips during the night, passing directly by the harbor guard-boat [408] Nina, and affecting no concealment. A full moon was shining in a clear sky. When all that could be had been removed, the remaining guncarriages, etc., were burnt, so as to prevent their use in any future attack upon Sumter. No resistance was offered; perhaps none of a serious nature could have been; for Maj. Anderson's act was evidently unanticipated in Charleston; but it was gravely complained of as a breach of faith-President Buchanan, it was implied, rather than distinctly alleged,3 having promised that the military status should not be changed, without due notice. The news of Anderson's movement sent a thrill through the hearts of many, who felt that we were silently drifting toward a sea of fraternal blood.

Almost simultaneously with this transfer, a popular excitement was aroused in Pittsburgh, Pa., by information that an order had been received from the War Department for an extensive transfer of arms, especially of heavy ordnance, from the Alleghany Arsenal near that place to the South and South-West.4 That such transfers had been quietly going on for months, did not reconcile the stanch Republicans of our American Birmingham to further operations of the kind, now palpably in the interest of Southern treason. A public meeting was called; dispatches sent to Washington; and an order obtained suspending the meditated transfer. The citizens' meeting was held on the evening of the 27th; and its resolves, while they deprecated any lawless resistance to official orders, called urgently on the President to purge his Cabinet of every one known to be in complicity with treason or rebellion against the Federal Government and Union.

John B. Floyd, Secretary of War, resigned his post on the 29th, alleging the course of the President, in refusing to order Major Anderson back to [409] Fort Moultrie, as his reason. He asserted that he had promised South Carolina that no change should be made in the disposition of our forces in Charleston harbor — which is exceedingly probable. He asked permission to “vindicate our honor, and prevent civil war” by “withdrawing the Federal garrison altogether from the harbor of Charleston.” This not being accorded, he declared that he could no longer hold his office, “under my convictions of patriotism, nor with honor.” The President mildly accepted his resignation, and appointed Joseph Holt, of Kentucky, to succeed him.

By the middle of December, Hon. Caleb Cushing, of Mass., was dispatched to Charleston by President Buchanan as a Commissioner or confidential agent of the Executive. His errand was a secret one. But, so far as its object was allowed to transpire, he was understood to be the bearer of a proffer from Mr. Buchanan that he would not reinforce Major Anderson, nor initiate any hostilities against the Secessionists, provided they would evince a like pacific spirit, by respecting the Federal authority down to the close of his Administration-now but a few weeks distant. Gen. Cushing had been in Charleston a few months earlier as an anti-Douglas delegate to, and President of, the Democratic National Convention, and then stood in high favor with her aristocracy: on this occasion, however, he was soon given to understand that he had fallen from grace; that his appearance in the character of an advocate or representative of Federal authority had cast a sudden mildew on his popularity in that stronghold of Secession. He remained but five hours in Charleston; having learned within that time that the rulers of South Carolina would make no promises and enter into no arrangements which did not recognize or imply the independence of their State. He returned directly to Washington, where his report was understood to have been the theme of a stormy and protracted Cabinet meeting.

Directly after Major Anderson's removal to Fort Sumter, the Federal arsenal in Charleston, containing many thousand stand of arms and a considerable quantity of military stores, was seized by the volunteers, now flocking to that city by direction of the State authorities; Castle Pinckney, Fort Moultrie, and Sullivan's Island, were likewise occupied by them, and their defenses vigorously enlarged and improved. The Custom-House, Post-Office, etc., were likewise appropriated, without resistance or commotion; the Federal officers having them in charge being original, active, and ardent Secessionists. The lights in the light-houses were extinguished, and the buoys in the intricate channel of the harbor were removed, so that no ocean craft could enter or depart without the guidance of a special pilot. Additional fortifications, defending the city and commanding the harbor approaches, were commenced and pushed rapidly forward; some of them having direct reference, offensive and defensive, to Fort Sumter. And still the volunteers came pouring in; nearly all from the interior of South Carolina; though abundant proffers of military aid were received from all parts of the South. The first company from another State, consisting [410] of eighty men, was organized in Savannah, and reached Charleston December 23d. Capt. N. L. Coste, of the U. S. revenue service, in command of the cutter William Aiken, in Charleston harbor, turned her over to the State authorities, and enlisted, with his crew, in the service of South Carolina. This day, the Palmetto, or South Carolina, flag was formally raised over the Custom-House and the Post-Office at Charleston; and it was announced next morning that Gov. Pickens had been tendered the services of volunteers from Georgia and Alabama, as well as from all parts of South Carolina.

Mr. Jacob Thompson, Secretary of the Interior, having left his post to visit North Carolina in the character of a Secession Commissioner from Mississippi, a heavy defalcation was discovered5 in his Department. A South Carolina clerk named Godard Bailey, who was custodian of a large amount of State bonds belonging to the Indian Trust Fund, had abstracted therefrom bonds and coupons amounting in the aggregate to $870,000, and had disappeared. Mr. Thompson was notified by letter of the fraud, and, returning,6 called at once upon the President to announce it. An investigation was forthwith ordered; but neither the key of the safe nor the clerk who had charge of it could be found. Mr. Bailey was at length discovered, but could not or would not produce the key. The Department was then surrounded by a police force, which no clerk was allowed to pass, the safe broken open, and the extent of the robbery discovered. An examination of Mr. Bailey elicited the following facts:

The firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell held a very large contract for the transportation of army supplies from Leavenworth and other points on the Missouri river to the army stationed at Camp Floyd, in Utah; under which they were to receive from the Treasury about one million dollars per annum. The contractors being pressed for funds, Mr. Floyd had been induced to accept their drafts on his department, in anticipation of future service, to the amount of nearly or quite a million of dollars. These acceptances, being manifestly irregular, could with difficulty, and but to a moderate extent, be negotiated; so that the embarrassment of the contractors was thereby scarcely mitigated. Under these circumstances, it appears, Mr. Russell had been made acquainted with Mr. Bailey, and had, by some means, induced the latter to supply him with a large amount of bonds from the safe under his control, substituting therefor Mr. Floyd's acceptances aforesaid. The bonds he had hypothecated in Wall-street and raised money thereon. As our national sky darkened, the bonds depreciated, and the lenders called on Mr. Russell for additional security, which he furnished in the shape of more bonds, supplied by Bailey; who, finding himself inextricably involved, addressed, on the 18th, a letter to Secretary Thompson, disclosing the more material facts, and pleading that he had taken the bonds only to save the honor of Secretary Floyd, which, he was assured, had been compromised by his advances to Russell & Co. He did this on the faith of promises that all should be made right in due [411] season: but, being called upon by the Indian Bureau for the coupons, payable January 1st, on the abstracted securities, he found himself unable to respond, and was driven to a confession. The Government being at that moment penniless, the revenue shrunk to less than half its ordinary dimensions by the stoppage of importations, and the necessity for borrowing urgent, this development, casting doubt on the integrity of men high in authority, gave a staggering blow to the public credit. The Grand Jury at Washington indicted7 Floyd on two counts: first, for malfeasance; second, for conspiracy with Bailey and Russell to defraud the Government; but he was by this time far from that city, absorbed in the work of luring Virginia into the toils of treason.

The disintegration of the Cabinet had commenced so early as December 10th, when Mr. Howell Cobb, thoroughly in the counsels of the secessionists, resigned the control of the Treasury, whereof the bankrupt and hopeless condition supplied him with an excuse, though not the reason, for his retirement. Mr. Philip Francis Thomas, of Md., previously Commissioner of Patents, was appointed in his stead. Gen. Lewis Cass resigned the post of Secretary of State on the 14th, directly after a long and exciting Cabinet session. He did so because he could not consent to render himself responsible for, or be implicated in, the President's refusal to reinforce, provision, and sustain Maj. Anderson and his little force, holding the forts in Charleston harbor. He did not rush into the newspapers; yet he made no secret of his conviction that the course on which the President had decided was a fatally mistaken one, and led directly to National subversion and ruin. Attorney-General Black--a lifelong and intimate personal friend of the President-took charge, by his direction, of the State Department.

Messrs. R. W. Barnwell, James L. Orr, and ex-Gov. Adams, Commissioners from the State of South Carolina, reached Washington on the 26th, under instructions to negotiate with the Federal Executive a partition of all the properties and interests of the sovereign and independent State of South Carolina in the Union from which she had seceded. Every one of them knew perfectly that the President had no more constitutional power or right to enter upon such a negotiation than he had to cede the country bodily to Russia, France, or Great Britain. They were, of course, received civilly, and treated respectfully, but informed that the President could only regard and meet them as citizens of the United States. They left, on their return, nine days afterward; sending farewell letters to the President, which are scarcely average samples of diplomatic suavity.

Georgia having given8 a large popular majority for Secession, her authorities immediately took military possession of the Federal arsenal at Augusta, as also of Forts Pulaski and Jackson, commanding the approaches by sea to Savannah.

North Carolina had not voted to secede, yet Gov. Ellis simultaneously seized the U. S. Arsenal at Fayetteville, with Fort Macon, and other fortifications commanding the approaches to Beaufort and Wilmington. [412] Having done so, Gov. E. coolly wrote to the War Department that he had taken the step to preserve the forts from seizure by mobs!

In Alabama, the Federal arsenal at Mobile was seized on the 4th, by order of Gov. Moore. It contained large quantities of arms and munitions. Fort Morgan, commanding the approaches to Mobile, was likewise seized, and garrisoned by State troops.

The steamer Star of the West left New York unannounced, during the night of January 5th, laden with reenforcements and supplies for Fort Sumter. A dispatch from that city reached the South Carolina authorities next day, advising them of her destination and objects. Secretary Thompson likewise sent a dispatch from Washington to the same effect, directly after leaving the Cabinet council in which he had ascertained the facts. He resigned his office on the 8th, asserting that the attempt to reinforce Fort Sumter was a violation of the promises of the Executive. The Star of the West, having 250 soldiers and ample provisions on board, appeared off the bar at Charleston on the 9th. Attempting to steam up the harbor to Fort Sumter, she was fired upon from Fort Moultrie and a battery on Morris Island, and, being struck by a shot, put about, and left for New York, without even communicating with Major Anderson.

In Louisiana, the Federal arsenal at Baton Rouge was seized by order of Gov. Moore on the 11th. Forts Jackson and St. Philip, commanding the passage up the Mississippi to New Orleans, and Fort Pike, at the entrance of Lake Pontchartrain, were likewise seized and garrisoned by State troops. The Federal Mint and Custom-House at New Orleans were left untouched until February 1st, when they, too, were taken possession of by the State authorities.

In St. Louis, the Custom-House, Sub-Treasury, and Post Office were garrisoned by a handful of Federal soldiers as a protection against a similar movement.

Mr. Thomas, after a very few days' service, resigned control of the Treasury, and was succeeded by Gen. John A. Dix, of New York.

In Florida, Fort Barrancas and the Navy Yard at Pensacola were seized by Florida and Alabama forces on the 13th; Commander Armstrong surrendering them without a struggle. He ordered Lieut. Slemmer, likewise, to surrender Forts Pickens and McRae; but the intrepid subordinate defied the order, and, withdrawing his small force from Fort McRae to the stronger and less accessible Fort Pickens, announced his determination to hold out to the last. He was soon after besieged therein by a formidable volunteer force; and a dispatch from Pensacola announced that “Fort McRae is being occupied and the guns manned by the allied forces of Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.”

Col. Hayne, as agent of Gov. Pickens, reached Washington on the 12th; and on the 16th demanded the surrender of Fort Sumter, as essential to a good understanding between the two nations of South Carolina and the United States. The Legislature of the former had, on the 14th, formally resolved, that “any attempt by the Federal Government to reenforce Fort Sumter will be regarded [413] as an act of open hostility, and a declaration of war.”

The revenue cutter Cass, stationed at Mobile, was turned over by Capt. J. J. Morrison to the authorities of Alabama at the end of January. The McClellan, Capt. Breshwood, stationed on the Mississippi below New Orleans, was, in like manner, handed over to those of Louisiana. Gen. Dix had sent down a special agent to secure them, but he was too late. The telegraph dispatch whereby Gen. Dix directed him, “If any person attempts to haul down the American flag, shoot him on the spot,” sent an electric thrill through the loyal heart of the country.

Finally, tidings reached Washington, about the end of February, that Brig.--Gen. Twiggs, commanding the department of Texas, had disgracefully betrayed his trust, and turned over his entire army, with all9 the posts and fortifications, arms, munitions, horses, equipments, etc., to Gen. Ben. McCulloch, representing the authorities of Texas, now fully launched upon the rushing tide of treason. The Union lost by that single act at least half its military force, with the State of Texas, and the control of our Mexican frontier; while two millions of dollars could hardly have replaced, in that crisis, the property thus filched from the Republic. And, to add to the extent of the disaster, the ship Star of the West, which, after its return from its abortive mission to Fort Sumter, was dispatched, laden with munitions and supplies, for the army of the frontier, went into the harbor of Indianola utterly unsuspicious of the transformation which had been there effected, and became10 an easy prey to the exultant Rebels.

The defensive fortifications located within the seceding States were some thirty in number, mounting over three thousand guns, and having cost at least Twenty Millions of dollars. Nearly all these had been seized and appropriated by the Confederates before Mr. Lincoln's inauguration, with the exception of Fortress Monroe (Virginia), Fort Sumter (South Carolina), Fort Pickens (Florida), and the fortresses on Key West and the Tortugas, off the Florida coast. To offset these, they had full possession of Fort Macon, North Carolina, though that State had utterly refused to unite in the conspiracy, with the extensive and costly Navy Yard at Pensacola, and the Southern Arsenals, which their Floyd had crammed11 with arms [414] and munitions with direct reference to this contingency.12 Add to these the Army of the Frontier, with all its arms, munitions, trains, animals, and provisions, with the Southern revenue-cutters, Mints, Custom-Houses, Sub-Treasuries, etc. (over half a million of dollars in gold having been seized in that at New Orleans alone); and it may be safely estimated that the Rebellion had possessed itself of Thirty Millions' worth of Federal property before Mr. Buchanan left the White House; which was increased to Forty Millions by the seizure of Harper's Ferry Arsenal, and the Norfolk Navy Yard, with its ships of war, munitions, and two thousand cannon, before a single blow was struck on the side of the Union.

The Convention of South Carolina called,13 on motion of Mr. R. Barnwell Rhett, a Convention of such slaveholding States as should, meantime, have seceded from the Union, to meet at Montgomery, Alabama, February 4th, which was acceded to.

The Convention took place accordingly, and a provisional framework of government was adopted for “the Confederate States of America” on the 9th; which was superseded by a permanent Constitution,14 substantially a copy of the Federal Constitution, except in these particulars: The President and Vice-President are chosen for six years; and the President may not be reflected while in office. He may not remove from office any functionaries, but members of his Cabinet, without referring the same, with his reasons therefor, to the Senate. The heads of departments may each, by law, be accorded a seat on the floor of either House, with the privilege of discussing any measures pertaining to his department. This Constitution further provides that

No bounties shall be granted from the Treasury, nor shall any duties or taxes on importations be levied to promote or foster any branch of industry.

The citizens of each State * * * * shall have the right of transit and sojourn in any [415] State of this Confederacy with their slaves and other property; and the right of perty in said slaves shall not thereby be impaired.

No slave or other person held to service or labor in any State or territory of the Confederate States, under the laws thereof, escaping or lawfully carried into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such slave belongs, or to whom such service or labor may be due.

The Confederate States may acquire new territory * * * * in all such territory the institution of negro Slavery, as it now exists in the Confederate States, shall be recognized and protected by Congress and by the territorial government; and the inhabitants of the several Confederate States and territories shall have the right to take to such territory any slaves lawfully held by them in any of the States or territories of the Confederate States.

Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, was, by the Congress, unanimously elected President, and Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, Vice-President, of the Confederacy for the current year; and they, too, were reelected, without dissent, for a full term of six years, by a popular vote in the ensuing Autumn.

Mr. Davis reached Montgomery on the 17th by a special train from Jackson, his progress being one continual ovation. He made twenty-five speeches15 on the route to enthusiastic crowds, and was welcomed on his arrival at Montgomery by a vast concourse. He was inaugurated next day with most imposing ceremonies.

Mr. Davis's Inaugural was a temper and carefully studied document. Assuming the right of Secession as inherent in “the sovereign States losing this Confederacy,” to be exercised whenever, in their judgment, the compact by which they acceded to the Union “has been perverted from the purposes for which it was ordained, and ceased to answer the ends for which it was established,” and that its exercise “merely asserted the right which the Declaration of Independence of 1776 defined to be inalienable,” he avers of their recent action that “it is, by the abuse of language, that their act has been denominated revolution.” “They formed a new alliance,” he continues, [ignoring their solemn compact in the Federal Constitution by which they had covenanted with each other that “No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, [416] or confederation.” ] The Federal Government is termed by him “the agent through whom they communicated with foreign nations,” which they have now “changed” --that is all. In short, the chief of the Confederacy talks as though his people had acted in a very natural and common-place manner in voting for President of the United States, and then, being beaten in the contest, seceding from the Union, framing a new Confederacy, and electing him President for the ensuing term, for which they had failed to elect Major Breckinridge. And, as they had cotton to sell, which the North, with nearly all other civilized countries, wished to buy, their policy was necessarily one of peace; and he argued that the old Union would inevitably and gladly, for cotton's sake, if for no other, cultivate peace with them.

There was an undertone in this Inaugural, however, which plainly evinced that the author expected nothing of the sort. “If we may not hope to avoid war,” says Mr. Davis, “we may at least expect that posterity will acquit us of having needlessly engaged in it.” “We have entered upon a career of independence, and it must be inflexibly pursued through many years of controversy with our late associates of the Northern States.” Hence, he very properly called upon his Congress, in addition to the services of the Militia, to provide for a Navy, and “a well-instructed, disciplined Army, more numerous than would usually be required as a peace establishment” --which was putting quite as fine a point on it as the truth would warrant.

Mr. Davis carefully refrained from any other allusion to Slavery, or the causes of estrangement between the North and the South, than the following:

With a Constitution differing only from that of our fathers in so far as it is explanatory of their well-known intent, freed from sectional conflicts, which have interfered with the pursuit of the general welfare, it is not unreasonable to expect that the States from which we have parted may seek to unite their fortunes to ours, under the Government which we have instituted. For this, your Constitution makes adequate provision; but beyond this, if I mistake not, the judgment and will of the people are, that union with the States from which they have separated is neither practicable nor desirable. To increase the power, develop the resources, and promote the happiness of the Confederacy, it is requisite there should be so much homogeneity that the welfare of every portion should be the aim of the whole. Where this does not exist, antagonisms are engendered, which must and should result in separation.

Mr. Stephens, the Vice-President of the “ Confederacy,” proved far less reticent and more candid. On his return from the Convention or Congress whereby the “Confederacy” had been cemented, and he chosen its Vice-President, he was required to address a vast assemblage at Savannah,16 and did so in elaborate exposition and defense of the new Confederate Constitution. After claiming that it preserved all that was dear and desirable of the Federal Constitution, while it embodied very essential improvements on that document, in its prohibition of Protective Duties and Internal Improvements by Confederate authority; in its proffer to Cabinet Ministers of seats in either House of Congress, with the right of debate; and in forbidding the reelection of a President while in office, Mr. Stephens proceeded:

But, not to be tedious in enumerating the numerous changes for the better, allow [417] me to allude to one other — though last, not least: the new Constitution has put at rest forever all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution — African Slavery as it exists among us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and the present revolution. Jefferson, in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him is now a realized fact. But whether lie comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution were, that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the lairs of nature ; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with; but the general opinion of the men of that day was, that, somehow or other, in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the Constitution, was the prevailing idea at the time. The Constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last; and hence no argument can be justly used against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation; and the idea of a Government built upon it-when the storm came and the wind blew, it fell.

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests upon, the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that Slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition. [Applause.] This, our new Government, is the first in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. This truth has been slow in the process of its development, like all other truths in the various departments of science. It is so, even amongst us. Many who hear me, perhaps, can recollect well that this truth was not generally admitted, even within their day. The errors of the past generation still clung to many, so late as twenty years ago. Those at the North who still cling to these errors with a zeal above knowledge, we justly denominate fanatics. All fanaticism springs from an aberration of the mind; from a defect in reasoning. It is a species of insanity. One of the most striking characteristics of insanity, in many instances, is, forming correct conclusions from fancied or erroneous premises; so with the anti-Slavery fanatics: their conclusions are right if their premises are. They assume that the negro is equal, and hence conclude that he is entitled to equal privileges and rights, with the white man. If their premises were correct, their conclusions would be logical and just; but, their premises being wrong, their whole argument fails. I recollect once of having heard a gentleman from one of the Northern States, of great power and ability, announce in the House of Representatives, with imposing effect, that we of the South would be compelled, ultimately, to yield upon this subject of Slavery; that it was impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics, as it was in physics or mechanics — that the principle would ultimately prevail that we, in maintaining Slavery, as it now exists with us, were warring against a principle — a principle founded in nature — the principle of the equality of man. The reply I made to him was, that, upon his own grounds, we should succeed; that he and his associates in their crusade against our institutions would ultimately fail. The truth announced, that it was as impossible to war successfully against a principle in politics as in physics and mechanics, I admitted; but told him it was he, and those acting with him, who were warring against a principle. They were attempting to make things equal which the Creator had made unequal.

In the conflict thus far, success has been on our side complete, throughout the length and breadth of the Confederate States. It is upon this, as I have stated, our social fabric is firmly planted; and I cannot permit myself to doubt the ultimate success of a full recognition of this principle throughout the civilized and enlightened world.

As I have stated, the truth of this principle may be slow in development, as all truths are, and ever have been, in the various branches of science. It was so with the principles announced by Galileo — it was so with Adam Smith, and his principles of political economy. It was so with Harvey, and his theory of the circulation of the blood. It is stated that not a single one of the medical profession, living at the time of the announcement of the truths made by him, admitted them. Now, they are universally acknowledged. May we not, therefore, look with confidence to the ultimate universal acknowledgment of the truths upon which our system rests? It is the first government ever instituted upon principles in strict conformity with nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society. Many governments have been founded upon the principle of enslaving certain classes; but the classes thus enslaved [418] were of the same race, and their enslavement in violation of the laws of nature. Our system commits no such violation of nature's laws. The negro, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. The architect, in the construction of buildings, lays the foundation with the proper material — the granite-then comes the brick or the marble. The substratum of our society is made of the-material fitted by nature for it; and by experience we know that it is the best, not only for the superior, but for the inferior race, that it should be so. It is, indeed, in conformity with the Creator. It is not for us to inquire into the wisdom of His ordinances, or to question them. For His own purposes, He has made one race to differ from another, as He has made “one star to differ from another in glory.”

The great objects of humanity are best attained when conformed to His laws and decrees, in the formation of governments as well as in all things else. Our Confederacy is founded upon principles in strict conformity with these laws. This stone, which was rejected by the first builders, “is become the chief stone of the corner” in our new edifice. [Applause.]

I have been asked, What of the future? It has been apprehended by some that we would have arrayed against us the civilized world. I care not who or how many they may be; when we stand upon the eternal principles of truth, we are obliged to and must triumph. [Immense applause.]

With regard to future accessions to the Confederacy, Mr. Stephens said:

Our growth by accessions from other States will depend greatly upon whether we present to the world, as I trust we shall, a better government than that to which they belong. If we do this, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas, cannot hesitate long; neither can Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. They will necessarily gravitate to us by an imperious law. We made ample provision in our Constitution for the admission of other States. It is more guarded-and wisely so, I think-than the old Constitution on the same subject; but not too guarded to receive them so fast as it may be proper. Looking to the distant future-and perhaps not very distant either — it is not beyond the range of possibility, and even probability, that all the great States of the North-West shall gravitate this way, as well as Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, etc. Should they do so, our doors are wide enough to receive them; but not until they are ready to assimilate with us in principle.

The process of disintegration in the old Union may be expected to go on with almost absolute certainty. We are now the nucleus of a growing power; which, if we are true to ourselves, our destiny, and our high mission, will become the controlling power on this continent. To what extent accessions will go on, in the process of time, or where it will end, the future will determine. So far as it concerns States of the old Union, they will be upon no such principle of reconstruction as is now spoken of, but upon reorganization and new assimilation. [Loud applause.] Such are some of the glimpses of the future as I catch them.

Mr. Abraham Lincoln, on the 11th of February, left his home at Springfield, Illinois, for Washington, receiving on the way advices that he had been, upon a careful canvass and comparison of the Electoral votes by Congress, proclaimed17 by Vice-President Breckinridge the duly elected President of the United States, for four years from the 4th of March ensuing. Immense crowds surrounded the stations at which the special train halted wherein he, with his family and a few friends, was borne eastward through Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, Albany, New York City, Trenton, Newark, Philadelphia, Lancaster, and Harrisburg, on his way to the White House. He was everywhere received and honored as the chief of a free people; and his unstudied remarks in reply to the complimentary addresses which he day by day received indicated his decided disbelief in any bloody issue of our domestic complications.

Thus, at Indianapolis, where he spent the first night of his journey, he replied to an address of welcome from Gov. Morton, as follows: [419]

fellow-citizens of the State of Indiana: I am here to thank you much for this magnificent welcome, and still more for the very generous support given by your State to that political cause which, I think, is the true and just cause of the whole country and the whole world. Solomon says, “There is a time to keep silence;” and, when men wrangle by the month with no certainty that they mean the same thing while using the same word, it perhaps were as well if they would keep silence. The words coercion “ and ” invasion “ are much used in these days, and often with some temper and hot blood. Let us make sure, if we can, that we do not misunderstand the meaning of those who use them. Let us get the exact definitions of these words, not from dictionaries, but from the men themselves, who certainly deprecate the things they would represent by the use of the words. What, then, is ” coercion “? What is ” invasion “? Would the marching of an army into South Carolina without the consent of her people, and with hostile intent toward them, be invasion? I certainly think it would be ” invasion, “ and coercion” also, if the South Carolinians were forced to submit. But, if the United States should merely hold and retake her own forts and other property, and collect the duties on foreign importations, or even withhold the mails from places where they were habitually violated, would any or all these things be “invasion” or “coercion” ? Do our professed lovers of the Union, but who spitefully resolve that they will resist coercion and invasion, understand that such things as these on the part of the United States would be “coercion” or “ invasion” of a State? If so, their idea of means to preserve the object of their great affection would seem to be exceedingly thin and airy. If sick, the little pills of the homoeopathist would be much too large for it to swallow. In their view, the Union, as a family relation, would seem to be no regular marriage, but rather a sort of free-love arrangement, to be maintained on “passional attraction.” By the way, in what consists the special sacredness of a State? I speak not of the position assigned to a State in the Union by the Constitution; for that is the bond we all recognize. That position, however, a State cannot carry out of the Union with it. I speak of that assumed primary right of a State to rule all which is less than itself, and to ruin all which is larger than itself. If a State and a County, in a given case, should be equal in extent of territory and equal in number of inhabitants, in what, as a matter of principle, is the State better than the County? Would an exchange of names be an exchange of rights? Upon principle, on what rightful ground may a State, being no more than one-fiftieth part of the nation in soil and population, break up the nation, and then coerce a proportionally larger subdivision of itself in the most arbitrary way? What mysterious right to play tyrant is conferred on a district of country, with its people, by merely calling it a State?

Fellow-citizens, I am not asserting anything. I am merely asking questions for you to consider. And now, allow me to bid you farewell.

At Columbus, Ohio, he said:

I have not maintained silence from any want of real anxiety. It is a good thing that there is no more than anxiety; for there is nothing going wrong. It is a consoling circumstance that, when we look out, there is nothing that really hurts anybody. We entertain different views upon political questions: but nobody is suffering anything. This is a most consoling circumstance; and from it we may conclude that all we want is time, patience, and a reliance on that God who has never forsaken this people.

At Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on the 15th, he said:

Notwithstanding the troubles across the river [the speaker pointing southwardly across the Monongahela, and smiling], there is no crisis but an artificial one. What is there now to warrant the condition of affairs presented by our friends over the river? Take even their own views of the questions involved, and there is nothing to justify the course they are pursuing. I repeat, then, there is no crisis, except such a one as may be gotten up at any time by turbulent men, aided by designing politicians. My advice to them, under the circumstances, is to keep cool. If the great American people only keep their temper both sides of the line, the trouble will come to an end, and the question which now distracts the country be settled, just as surely as all other difficulties, of a like character, which have originated in this Government, have been adjusted. Let the people on both sides keep their self-possession, and, just as other clouds have cleared away in due time, so will this great national continue to prosper as heretofore.

At Philadelphia, being required to assist at the solemn raising of the United States flag over Independence Hall, Mr. Lincoln, in reply to an address of welcome by Mr. Theodore Cuyler, said:

I have often pondered over the dangers incurred by the men who assembled here, and framed and adopted that Declaration of [420] Independence. I have pondered over the toils that were endured by the officers and soldiers of the army who achieved that Independence. I have often inquired of myself, what great principle or idea it was that kept this confederacy so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the Colonies from the mother-land; but that sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which gave Liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future time. It was that which gave promise that, in due time, the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all men. This is a sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence. Now, my friends, can this country be saved on that basis? If it can, I will consider myself one of the happiest men in the world, if I can help to save it. If it cannot be saved on that basis, it will be truly awful. But, if this country cannot be saved without giving up that principle, I was about to say that I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it. Now, in my view of the present aspect of affairs, there need be no bloodshed or war. There is no necessity for it. I am not in favor of such a course; and I may say, in advance, that there will be no bloodshed, unless it be forced upon the Government, and then it will be compelled to act in self defense.

Arrived at Harrisburg, however, on the 22d, Mr. Lincoln, looking across the slave line, experienced suddenly a decided change in the political barometer. It had been arranged that he should next day pass through Baltimore, the center of a grand procession — a cynosure of admiring eyes — the object of enthusiastic acclamations — as he had, thus far, passed through nearly all the great cities of the Free States. But Baltimore was a slaveholding city, and the spirit of Slavery was nowhere else more rampant and ferocious. The mercantile and social aristocracy of that city had been sedulously, persistently, plied by the conspirators for disunion with artful suggestions that, in a confederacy composed exclusively of the fifteen Slave States, Baltimore would hold the position that New York enjoys in the Union, being the great ship-building, shipping, importing and commercial emporium, whitening the ocean with her sails, and gemming Maryland with the palaces reared from her ample and everexpanding profits. That aristocracy had been, for the most part, thoroughly corrupted by these insidious whispers, and so were ready to rush into treason. At the other end of the social scale was the mob-reckless and godless, as mobs are apt to be, especially in slaveholding communities-and ready at all times to do the bidding of the Slave Power. Between these was the great middle class, loyal and peacefully inclined, as this class usually is-outnumbering both the others, but hitherto divided between the old pro-Slavery parties, and having arrived, as yet, at no common understanding with regard to the novel circumstances of the country and the events visibly impending.

The city government was in the hands of the Breckinridge Democracy, who had seized it under a cry of reform; and the leaders of that Democracy were deep in the counsels of treason. It had been proclaimed, in many quarters, and through various channels, that Mr. Lincoln should never live to be inaugurated; and The Baltimore Republican of the 22d had a leading article directly calculated to incite tumult and violence on the occasion of Mr. Lincoln's passage through the city.18 The police [421] was directed by Marshal George P. Kane, who, after a sojourn in Fort McHenry, fled in 1863 to the congenial associations of Richmond and the Confederate Army. It being considered certain that an attempt to assassinate the President would be made, under cover of mob violence, should he pass through the city as was originally intended, Mr. Lincoln was persuaded to take the cars secretly, during the evening of the 22d, and so passed through Baltimore, unknown and unsuspected, early on the morning of the 23d--reaching Washington about the hour that he was expected to leave Harrisburg. The prudence of this step has since been abundantly demonstrated; but it wounded, at the time, the sensibilities of many friends, who would have much preferred to form an escort of one hundred thousand armed men to see him safely through Baltimore, than to have him pass through it clandestinely and like a hunted fugitive.

The 4th of March, 1861, though its early morning had been cloudy and chilly, was a remarkably bright and genial day at Washington. To the children of harsh New England, it seemed more like May than March. Expectations and threats of convulsion had rather increased than lessened the throng, wherein all sections of the unseceded States were liberally represented, though the Federal District and the adjacent counties of Maryland and Virginia doubtless supplied by far the larger share of it. Menaces that the President elect would never be permitted to take the oath of office — that he would be assassinated in the act, if no other mode of preventing it should promise success — had been so freely and loudly made,19 that apprehensions of some concerted attempt at violence or tumult were widely entertained and fully justified. Lieut.-Gen. Scott had taken the fullest military precautions that his limited force of regulars — perhaps one thousand in all — would permit; and there was a considerable muster of uniformed Militia. The procession, partly civic, which escorted the retiring and incoming Presidents, who rode in the same carriage, to the Capitol, was quite respectable — unusually so for that non-enthusiastic, and, as yet, strongly pro-Slavery, metropolis.

The Senate had been sitting through most of the preceding forty-eight hours, though this was Monday, and barely concluded the labors of the session in time to allow Vice-President Breckinridge to resign the Chair in a few courteous words, and take his seat on the floor as a member, while Vice-President Hamlin left the floor to take the Chair with as little parade — the two thus exchanging places. This done, and several other new Senators beside Mr. Breckinridge having been sworn in, the space in the Chamber allotted for this occasion to the Embassadors of Foreign Powers ( “Dixie” not included) was promptly filled by the diplomatic body in full dress; the magnates blazing with stars and orders. Soon, the Justices of the Supreme Court entered in a body, and the assemblage rose in silent homage, and [422] stood till they were seated. The remaining space on the floor was now filled to its utmost capacity by members of the House, just adjourned; and it was soon afterward announced that the Presidential party had entered the edifice. On its appearance, the whole assemblage proceeded to the magnificent and spacious Eastern portico of the Capitol, on which a platform had been erected,and in front of which a considerable space had been cleared, and was held, by the Military. The President elect was barely introduced to the vast concourse by Col. Edward D. Baker, Senator from Oregon, and received with cheers from perhaps a fourth of the thirty thousand persons confronting him. Silence having succeeded, Mr. Lincoln unrolled a manuscript, and, in a firm, clear, penetrating voice, read the following

Inaugural address.

Fellow-Citizens of the United States:
In compliance with a custom as old as the Government itself, I appear before you to address you briefly, and to take, in your presence, the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States to be taken by the President, before he enters on the execution of his office.

I do not consider it necessary, at present, for me to discuss those matters of administration about which there is no special anxiety or excitement. Apprehension seems to exist among the people of the Southern States, that, by the accession of a Republican Administration, their property and their peace and personal security are to be endangered. There has never been any reasonable cause for such apprehension. Indeed, the most ample evidence to the contrary has all the while existed, and been open to their inspection. It is found in nearly all the published speeches of him who now addresses you. I do but quote from one of those speeches, when I declare that “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of Slavery in the States where it exists.” I believe I have no lawful right to do so; and I have no inclination to do so. Those who nominated and elected me, did so with the full knowledge that I had made this, and many similar declarations, and had never recanted them. And, more than this, they placed in the platform, for my acceptance, and as a law to themselves and to me,the clear and emphatic resolution which I now read:

Resolved, That the maintenance inviolate of the rights of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment exclusively, is essential to that balance of power on which the perfection and endurance of our political fabric depend; and we denounce the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Territory, no matter under what pretext, as among the gravest of crimes.

I now reiterate these sentiments; and, in doing so, I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible, that the property, peace, and security, of no section are to be in anywise endangered by the now incoming Administration.

I add, too, that all the protection which, consistently with the Constitution and the laws, can be given, will be cheerfully given to all the States, when lawfully demanded, for whatever cause, as cheerfully to one section as to another.

There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution as any other of its provisions:

No person held to service or labor in one State under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labor may be due.

It is scarcely questioned that this provision was intended by those who made it for the reclaiming of what we call fugitive slaves; and the intention of the lawgiver is the law.

All members of Congress swear their support to the whole Constitution — to this provision as well as any other. To the proposition, then, that slaves whose cases come within the terms of this clause “shall be delivered up,” their oaths are unanimous. Now, if they would make the effort in good temper, could they not, with nearly equal unanimity, frame and pass a law by means of which to keep good that unanimous oath?

There is some difference of opinion whether this clause should be enforced by National or by State authority; but surely that difference is not a very material one. If the slave is to be surrendered, it can be of but little consequence to him or to others [423] by which authority it is done; and should any one, in any case, be content that this oath shall go unkept on a merely unsubstantial controversy as to how it shall be kept?

Again, in any law upon tills subject, ought not all the safeguards of liberty known in civilized and humane jurisprudence to be introduced, so that a free man be not, in any case, surrendered as a slave? And might it not be well at the same time to provide by law for the enforcement of that clause in the Constitution which guarantees that “the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States?”

I take the official oath to-day with no mental reservations, and with no purpose to construe the Constitution or laws by any hypercritical rules; and, while I do not choose now to specify particular acts of Congress as proper to be enforced, I do suggest that it will be much safer for all, both in official and private stations, to conform to and abide by all those acts which stand unrepealed, than to violate any of them, trusting to find impunity in having them held to be unconstitutional.

It is seventy-two years since the first inauguration of a President under our National Constitution. During that period, fifteen different and very distinguished citizens have in succession administered the executive branch of the government. They have conducted it through many perils, and generally with great success. Yet, with all this scope for precedent, I now enter upon the same task, for the brief constitutional term of four years, under great and peculiar difficulties.

A disruption of the Federal Union, heretofore only menaced, is now formidably attempted. I hold that, in the contemplation of universal law and of the Constitution, the Union of these States is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments. It is safe to assert that no government proper ever had a provision in its organic law for its own termination. Continue to execute all the express provisions of our national Constitution, and the Union will endure forever, it being impossible to destroy it except by some action not provided for in the instrument itself.

Again, if the United States be not a government proper, but an association of States in the nature of a contract merely, can it, as a contract, be peaceably unmade by less than all the parties who made it? One party to a contract may violate it — break it, so to speak; but does it not require all to lawfully rescind it? Descending from these general principles, we find the proposition that in legal contemplation the Union is perpetual, confirmed by the history of the Union itself.

The Union is much older than the Constitution. It was formed, in fact, by the Articles of Association in 1774. It was matured and continued in the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It was further matured, and the faith of all the then thirteen States expressly plighted and engaged that it should be perpetual, by the Articles of Confederation, in 1778; and, finally, in 1787, one of the declared objects for ordaining and establishing the Constitution was to form a more perfect union. But, if the destruction of the Union by one or by a part only of the States be lawfully possible, the Union is less than before, the Constitution having lost the vital element of perpetuity.

It follows from these views that no State, upon its own mere motion, can lawfully get out of the Union; that resolves and ordinances to that effect, are legally void; and that acts of violence within any State or States against the authority of the United States, are insurrectionary or revolutionary, according to circumstances.

I therefore consider that, in view of the Constitution and the laws, the Union is unbroken, and, to the extent of my ability, I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union shall be faithfully executed in all the States. Doing this, which I deem to be only a simple duty on my part, I shall perfectly perform it, so far as is practicable, unless my rightful masters, the American people, shall withhold the requisite power, or in some authoritative manner direct the contrary.

I trust this will not be regarded as a menace, but only as the declared purpose of the Union that it will constitutionally defend and maintain itself.

In doing this, there need be no bloodshed or violence, and there shall be none unless it is forced upon the national authority.

The power confided to me will be used to hold, occcupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government, and collect the duties and imposts; but, beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere.

Where hostility to the United States shall be so great and so universal as to prevent competent resident citizens from holding the Federal offices, there will be no attempt to force obnoxious strangers among the people for that object. While the strict legal right may exist of the Government to enforce the exercise of these offices, the attempt to do so would be so irritating, and [424] so nearly impracticable withal, that I deem it better to forego for the time the uses of such offices.

The mails, unless repelled, will continue to be furnished in all parts of the Union.

So far as possible, the people everywhere shall have that sense of perfect security which is most favorable to calm thought and reflection.

The course here indicated will be followed, unless current events and experience shall show a modification or change to be proper; and in every case and exigency my best discretion will be exercised according to the circumstances actually existing, and with a view and hope of a peaceful solution of the national troubles, and the restoration of fraternal sympathies and affections.

That there are persons, in one section or another, who seek to destroy the Union at all events, and are glad of any pretext to do it, I will neither affirm nor deny. But, if there be such, I need address no word to them.

To those, however, who really love the Union, may I not speak? Before entering upon so grave a matter as the destruction of our national fabric, with all its benefits, its memories, and its hopes, would it not be well to ascertain why we do it? Will you hazard so desperate a step, while any portion of the ills you fly from, have no real existence? Will you, while the certain ills you fly to are greater than all the real ones you fly from? Will you risk the commission of so fearful a mistake? All profess to be content in the Union if all constitutional rights can be maintained. Is it true, then, that any right, plainly written in the Constitution, has been denied? I think not. Happily, the human mind is so constituted, that no party can reach to the audacity of doing this.

Think, if you can, of a single instance in which a plainly-written provision of the Constitution has ever been denied. If, by the mere force of numbers, a majority should deprive a minority of any clearly-written constitutional right, it might, in a moral point of view, justify revolution; it certainly would, if such right were a vital one. But such is not our case.

All the vital rights of minorities and of individuals are so plainly assured to them by affirmations and negations, guaranties and prohibitions, in the Constitution, that controversies never arise concerning them. But no organic law can ever be framed with a provision specifically applicable to every question which may occur in practical administration. No foresight can anticipate, nor any document of reasonable length contain, express provisions for all possible questions. Shall fugitives from labor be surrendered by National or by State authority? The Constitution does not expressly say. Must Congress protect Slavery in the Territories? The Constitution does not expressly say. From questions of this class spring all our constitutional controversies, and we divide upon them into majorities and minorities.

If the minority will not acquiesce, the majority must, or the government must cease. There is no alternative for continuing the government but acquiescence on the one side or the other. If a minority in such a case will secede rather than acquiesce, they make a precedent which in turn will ruin and divide them; for a minority of their own will secede from them whenever a majority refuses to be controlled by such a minority. For instance, why not any portion of a new confederacy, a year or two hence, arbitrarily secede again, precisely as portions of the present Union now claim to secede from it? All who cherish disunion sentiments are now being educated to the exact temper of doing this. Is there such perfect identity of interests among the States to compose a new Union as to produce harmony only, and prevent renewed secession? Plainly, the central idea of secession is the essence of anarchy.

A majority held in restraint by constitutional check and limitation, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it, does, of necessity, fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity is impossible; the rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible. So that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy or despotism in some form is all that is left.

I do not forget the position assumed by some that constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court, nor do I deny that such decisions must be binding in any case upon the parties to a suit, as to the object of that suit, while they are also entitled to very high respect and consideration in all parallel cases by all other departments of the government; and, while it is obviously possible that such decision may be erroneous in any given case, still, the evil effect following it, being limited to that particular case, with the chance that it may be over-ruled and never become a precedent for other cases, can better be borne than could the evils of a different practice.

At the same time, the candid citizen must confess that, if the policy of the government upon the vital questions affecting the wholo people is to be irrevocably fixed by the decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, as in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own [425] masters, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.

Nor is there in this view any assault upon the court or the judges. It is a duty from which they may not shrink, to decide cases properly brought before them; and it is no fault of theirs if others seek to turn their decisions to political purposes. One section of our country believes Slavery is right and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended; and this is the only substantial dispute; and the fugitive slave clause of the constitution, and the law for the suppression of the foreign slave-trade, are each as well enforced, perhaps, as any law can ever be in a community where the moral sense of the people imperfectly supports the law itself. The great body of the people abide by the dry legal obligation in both cases, and a few break over in each. This, I think, cannot be perfectly cured, and it would be worse in both cases after the separation of the sections than before. The foreign slave-trade, now imperfectly suppressed, would be ultimately revived, without restriction, in one section; while fugitive slaves, now only partially surrendered, would not be surrendered at all, by the other.

Physically speaking, we cannot separate — we cannot remove our respective sections from each other, nor build an impassable wall between them. A husband and wife may be divorced, and go out of the presence and beyond the reach of each other; but the different parts of our country cannot do this. They cannot but remain face to face; and intercourse, either amicable or hostile, must continue between them. Is it possible, then, to make that intercourse more advantageous or more satisfactory after separation than before? Can aliens make treaties easier than friends can make laws? Can treaties be more faithfully enforced between aliens than laws can among friends? Suppose you go to war, you cannot fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical questions as to terms of intercourse are again upon you.

This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it. I cannot be ignorant of the fact that many worthy and patriotic citizens are desirous of having the national Constitution amended. While I make no recommendation of amendment, I fully recognize the full authority of the people over the whole subject, to be exercised in either of the modes prescribed in the instrument itself; and I should, under existing circumstances, favor, rather than oppose, a fair opportunity being afforded the people to act upon it.

I will venture to add, that to me the Convention mode seems preferable, in that it allows amendments to originate with the people themselves, instead of only permitting them to take or reject propositions originated by others not especially chosen for the purpose, and which might not be precisely such as they would wish either to accept or refuse. I understand that a proposed amendment to the Constitution (which amendment, however, I have not seen) las passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of States, including that of persons held to service. To avoid misconstruction of what I have said, I depart from my purpose not to speak of particular amendments, so far as to say that, holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.

The chief magistrate derives all his authority from the people, and they have conferred none upon him to fix the terms for the separation of the States. The people themselves, also, can do this if they choose; but the Executive, as such, has nothing to do with it. His duty is to administer the present government as it came to his hands, and to transmit it unimpaired by him to his successor. Why should there not be a patient confidence in the ultimate justice of the people? Is there any better or equal hope in the world? In our present differences, is either party without faith of being in the right? If the Almighty Ruler of nations, with His eternal truth and justice, be on your side of the North, or on yours of the South, that truth and that justice will surely prevail by the judgment of this great tribunal, the American people. By the frame of the Government under which we live, this same people have wisely given their public servants but little power for mischief, and have with equal wisdom provided for the return of that little to their own hands at very short intervals. While the people retain their virtue and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the Government in the short space of four years.

My countrymen, one and all, think calmly and well upon this whole subject. Nothing valuable can be lost by taking time.

If there be an object to hurry any of you, in hot haste, to a step which you would never take deliberately, that object will be frustrated by taking time; but no good object can be frustrated by it. [426]

Such of you as are now dissatisfied still have the old Constitution unimpaired, and, on the sensitive point, the laws of your own framing under it; while the new administration will have no immediate power, if it would, to change either.

If it were admitted that you who are dissatisfied hold the right side in the dispute, there is still no single reason for precipitate action. Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulties.

In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you.

You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You can have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the Government; while I shall have the most solemn one to “preserve, protect, and defend” it.

I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break, our bonds of affection.

The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

The habitual tone of this remarkable paper is deprecatory, not to say apologetic. Mr. Lincoln evidently composed it under the fixed impression that “the South” needed but to be disabused of her impressions and apprehensions of Northern hostility to restore her to loyalty and the whole land to peace. If she can be made to feel that the new rule does not desire to meddle with Slavery in the States which cherish it, but will hunt and return fugitive slaves to the extent of its ability, then Secession will be given up, and the country restored to peace and harmony! That, certainly, is an amiable view of the situation; but it was not justified by a close study and thorough comprehension of our recent political history.

Mr. Lincoln's suggestion that the dictum of the Supreme Court, though law to the suitor whom it bore hard upon, does not bind the people not to entertain and vote in conformity to an adverse conviction, though in full accordance with the action of “the South” in regard to the Alien and Sedition laws, the Creek and Cherokee treaties,20 etc., and, in fact, to the action of all parties when overruled by that Court, was not calculated to please and conciliate “the South.” Yet no adversary of a United States Bank ever felt himself restrained from opposing and voting against such a Bank as unconstitutional by the fact that the Court had adjudged it otherwise. No one imagines that a decision by that Court that Slavery had no right to enter the territories would have been regarded and treated by “the South” as the end of controversy on that point.21 But, having obtained, in the Dred Scott case, an opinion that slaveholders might take their human chattels to any territory, and there hold them, claiming ample protection from the Government in so doing, they were fully resolved to make the most of it, and not at all disposed to acquiesce in the suggestion that, on questions essentially political, the American People are a higher authority than even their Supreme Court.

The weakest portion of this document is its inconsiderate talk about an “invasion” of the States by the Federal Government, and its quasi pledge not to appoint Federal officers [427] for communities unanimously hostile to the authority of the Union. A surgeon who should volunteer a pledge not to disturb or meddle with any proud flesh lie might find in his patient's wounds, would hardly expect to augment thereby that patient's confidence in his skill; nor could a priest who should stipulate never to assail any other than unpopular and repudiated sins, expect to win a high regard either for his authority or his sanctity. The fact that the sovereignty of the Union is coextensive, and, at least, coordinate with that of the States, is here clearly lost sight of. To say, in effect, to rebels against the National authority, “You may expel that authority wholly from your vicinage by killing a few of its leading upholders, and thus terrifying the residue into mute servility to your will,” is not the way to suppress a rebellion.

The strong point of this Inaugural is its frank and plump denial of the fundamental Secession dogma that our Union is a league,22 formed in 1787. “The Union is much older than the Constitution,” says Mr. Lincoln, truly and pertinently. Had the Constitution been rejected by the States, the Union would nevertheless have subsisted. Ours is “one country” --made so by God and His Providence, revealed through the whole of its recorded history; its “more perfect Union” is but a step in its development — not the cause of its existence. Hence, Secession is not “the dissolution of a league,” as Mr. Jefferson Davis asserts, but a treasonable, though futile, effort to disorganize and destroy a nation.

Mr. Lincoln's rejection of Disunion as physically impossible — as forbidden by the geography and topography of our country — is a statesmanlike conception that had not before been so clearly apprehended or so forcibly set forth. And, in truth, not one-tenth of the then active Secessionists ever meditated or intended Disunion as permanent. They proposed to destroy the Union in order to reconstitute it according to their own ideas, with Slavery as its corner-stone. To kick out the New England States, rural New York, and that “ fanatical” section of the West that is drained by the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence — such was the constant inculcation of pro-Slavery journalists and politicians throughout that eventful Winter and Spring. Free States were to be admitted into the Confederacy, on condition of their fully [428] abjuring all manner of anti-Slavery sentiment and inculcation evermore, and becoming Slave States. A few Southern fanatics, who deemed nothing needed but the reopening of the African Slave-Trade to render “the South” the mistress of the world, wished to be rid of all “ Yankee” association and contamination evermore; but the great mass, even in the Cotton States, regarded Secession but as a device for bringing the North to its knees, and binding it over to future docility to every exaction of the Slave Power.

Mr. Lincoln fondly regarded his Inaugural as a resistless proffering of the olive-branch to “the South” ; the conspirators everywhere interpreted it as a challenge to war.23 And when the former had taken the oath, solemnly administered to him by Chief Justice Taney, the two Presidents wended their way back, duly escorted, to the White House, at whose door Mr. Buchanan bade Mr. Lincoln a cordial good-by, retiring to the residence of his friend and beneficiary, Robert Ould, whom he had made U. S. District Attorney, and who, though from Maryland, soon after fled to Richmond, and entered at once the military service of the Confederacy.

1 December 20, 1860.

2 The Charleston Mercury of the 22d said:

The garrison in our harbor will not be strengthened. The reinforcement of the forts, at this time and under present circumstances, means coercion — war. When the forts are demanded and refused to be delivered up to those in whom is invested the title of eminent domain, and for whose defense and protection alone they were ceded and built up; and when, the Federal Government showing a hostile purpose, it shall become necessary and proper for us to obtain possession, then it will be right for the world and Black Republicanism to expect that the State, by her authorities, will move in the premises. The people will obey the call for war, and take the forts.

The Charleston Courier of December 4, 1860, has a speech by Mr. Edward McCrady at a Secession meeting in that city a few days previously, which concludes as follows:

I do not counsel any precipitate action; nor do I fear anything from the forts — they are ours, not merely in part. They were placed there on our soil for our protection; and, whenever the separation comes, they must fall into our possession. They will be ours as surely as we secede; and we will secede as surely as the sun will rise to-morrow.

3 The Charleston Courier of the 29th said:

Major Robert Anderson, United States Army, has achieved the unenviable distinction of opening civil war between American citizens by an act of gross breach of faith. He has, under counsels of a panic, deserted his post at Fort Moultrie, and, under false pretexts, has transferred his garrison and military stores and supplies to Fort Sumter.

And The Charleston Mercury said:

Major Anderson alleges that the movement was made without orders, and upon his own responsibility, and that he was not aware of such an understanding. He is a gentleman, and we will not impugn his word or his motives. But it is due to South Carolina and to good faith that the act of this officer should be repudiated by the Government, and that the troops be removed forthwith from Fort Sumter.

4 The order was as follows:

“Send immediately to Ship Island, near Balize, (mouth of Mississippi), 46 cannon, and to Galveston 78 cannon,” naming the kinds.

The schedule was as follows:

21ten-inch Columbiads,15,200lbs.=319,200lbs.
21eight-inch ditto9,240lbs.=194,040lbs.
432-pounders (iron),7,250lbs.=29,000lbs.
46to Ship Island.  
Total weight of metal,542,240lbs.
23ten-inch Columbiads,15,200lbs.=349,600lbs.
48eight-inch ditto9,240lbs.=443,520lbs.
732-pounders (iron),7,250lbs.=50,750lbs.
78to Galveston.  
Total weight of metal,843,870lbs.

5 December 24th.

6 December 25th.

7 On the 30th.

8 January 2, 1861.

9 The following is a list of the property given up to the State of Texas by Gen. Twiggs:

1,800 mules, valued at $50 each$90,000
500 wagons, valued at 140 each70,000
950 horses, valued at 150 each142,500
500 harness, valued at 50 each25,000
Tools, wagon materials, iron, nails, horse and mule-shoes250,000
Corn (at this port)7,000
Commissary stores75,000
Ordnance stores400,000

exclusive of public buildings to which the Federal Government has a title. Much of the property is estimated at the original cost, its value in Texas being much greater, and worth to the state at least a million and a half of dollars.--San Antonio Herald, Feb. 23d.

10 April 20, 1861.

11 Mr. Edward A. Pollard, in his “Southern [Rebel] History of the War,” page 40, thus sums up the cheap initial conquests of the Confederacy:

On the incoming of the Administration of Abraham Lincoln, on the 4th of March, the rival government of the South had perfected its organization; the separation had been widened and envenomed by the ambidexterity and perfidy of President Buchanan; the Southern people, however, still hoped for a peaceful accomplishment of their independence, and deplored war between the two sections, as “a policy detrimental to the civilized world.” The revolution, in the mean time, had rapidly gathered, not only in moral power, but in the means of war and muniments of defense. Fort Moultrie and Castle Pinckney had been captured by the South Carolina troops; Fort Pulaski, the defense of the Savannah, had been taken; the Arsenal at Mount Vernon, Alabama, with 20,000 stand of arms, had been seized by the Alabama troops; Fort Morgan, in Mobile Bay, had been taken; Forts Jackson, St. Philip, and Pike, near New Orleans, had been captured by the Louisiana troops; the New Orleans Mint and Custom-House had been taken; the Little Rock Arsenal had been seized by the Arkansas troops [though Arkansas had refused to secede]; and, on the 16th of February, Gen. Twiggs had transferred the public property in Texas to the State authorities. All of these events had been accomplished without bloodshed. Abolitionism and Fanaticism had not yet lapped blood. But reflecting men saw that the peace was deceitful and temporizing; that the temper of the North was impatient and dark; and that, if all history was not a lie, the first incident of bloodshed would be the prelude to a war of monstrous proportions.

12 Mr. E. Pollard, aforesaid, writing his “ Southern” History of the struggle at Richmond, after having been in public employment at Washington throughout Buchanan's Administration, himself one of the original traitors, and always in their counsels, says:

It had been supposed that the Southern people, poor in manufactures as they were, and in the haste for the mighty contest that was to ensue, would find themselves but illy provided with arms to contend with an enemy rich in the means and munitions of war. This disadvantage had been provided against by the timely act of one man. Mr. Floyd, of Virginia, when Secretary of War under Mr. Buchanan's Administration, had, by a single order, effected the transfer of 115,000 improved muskets and rifles from the Springfield Armory and Watervliet Arsenal to different Arsenals at the South. Adding to these the number of arms distributed by the Federal Government to the States in preceding years of our history, and those purchased by the States and citizens, it was safely estimated that the South entered upon the war with one hundred and fifty thousand small arms of the most approved modern pattern and the best in the world.

13 December 27th.

14 Adopted March 11th.

15 The True Delta (New Orleans) of February 16, contains the following telegraphic synopsis of Mr. Davis's speech on leaving Jackson for Montgomery:

He alluded to the difficulties of constructing anew government, and how these difficulties are enhanced by the threatening elements in the North. It may be that we will be confronted by war, that the attempt will be made to blockade our ports, to starve us out; but they know little of the Southern heart, of Southern endurance. No amount of privation could force us to remain in a Union on unequal terms. England and France would not allow our great staple to be dammed up within our present limits; the starving thousands in their midst would not allow it. We have nothing to apprehend from blockade. But, if they attempt invasion by land, we must take the war out of our territory. If war must come, it must be upon Northern, and not upon Southern, soil. In the mean time, if they were prepared to grant us peace, to recognize our equality, all is well.

And the following extract from one of those speeches, made at Stevenson, Alabama, faithfully embodies the joyous anticipations with which the struggle, then imminent, was commenced by the Confederates:

Your Border States will gladly come into the Southern Confederacy within sixty days. as we will be their only friends. England will recognize us, and a glorious future is before us. The grass will grow in the Northern cities, where the pavements have been worn off by the tread of commerce. We will carry war where it is easy to advance — where food for the sword and torch await our armies in the densely populated cities; and though they [the enemy] may come and spoil our crops. we can raise them as before; while they cannot rear the cities which took years of industry and millions of money to build.

16 March 21, 1860.

17 February 13th.

18 The Baltimore Exchange of February 23d, significantly said:

Mr. Lincoln, the President elect of the United States, will arrive in this city with his suite this afternoon by special train from Harrisburgh, and will proceed, we learn, directly to Washington. It is to be hoped that no opportunity will be afforded him-or that, if it be afforded, he will not embrace it — to repeat in our midst the sentiments which he is reported to have expressed yesterday in Philadelphia.

[The “sentiments” thus deprecated are those uttered in reply to Mr. Cuyler, and quoted on the preceding page.]

19 In Richmond and other journals.

20 See pages 105-6.

21 See Mr. John Van Buren on this point, page 213. For Mr. Jefferson's views, see pages 83-4; for Gen. Jackson's, see pages 104-6.

22 The New York Herald of November 9th, contained an instructive letter dated Charleston, November 5th, 1860, from which the following is an extract:

It must be understood that there is a radical difference in the patriotism of a Northerner and a Southerner. The Northerner invariably considers himself as a citizen of the Union; he regards the Federal army and navy as his country's army and navy, and looks upon the Government at Washington as a great consolidated organization, of which he forms an integral part, and to which whatever love of country he may possess is directed. Beyond paying the State taxes, voting for State officers, and seeking redress primarily in the State courts, he has very little idea of any special fealty being due to his own particular State.

The Southerner, on the other hand, generally (and the South Carolinian always) repudiates this theory of consolidation. lie feels that he owes allegiance to his own State, and to her alone; lie is jealous of her rights and honor, and will never admit that any step taken in obedience to her mandate can involve the idea of treason. The Federal Government is, in his eyes, but the embodiment of certain powers delegated by the States from motives of policy. Let those motives be once removed or counterbalanced, and he holds that the State has no longer any reason for maintaining a connection which it was her right, at any time, to have dissolved. These being the views of the people of South Carolina, the threats of Douglas and the Black Republicans have only served to confirm the wavering and knit together the citizens of the various sections of the State.

23 It were idle to quote the Disunion press, even of the yet unseceded States, to prove this; since their strictures may well be imagined. The following, from professedly loyal journals, are worth recording:

The Inaugural, as a whole, breathes the spirit of mischief. It has only a conditional conservatism — that is, the lack of ability or some inexpediency to do what it would. It assumes despotic authority, and intimates the design to exercise that authority to any extent of war and bloodshed, qualified only by the withholding of the requisite means to the end by the American people. The argumentation of the address is puerile. Indeed, it has no quality entitled to the dignity of an argument. It is a shaky specimen of special pleading, by way of justifying the unrighteous character and deeds of the fanaticism which, lifted into power, may be guilty, as it is capable, of any atrocities. There is no Union spirit in the address, it is sectional and mischievous, and studiously withholds any sign of recognition of that equality of the States upon which the Union can alone be maintained. If it means what it says, it is the knell and requiem of the Union, and the death of hope. --Baltimore Sun.

Mr. Lincoln stands to-day where he stood on the 6th of November last, on the Chicago Platform. He has not receded a single hair's breadth. He has appointed a Cabinet in which there is no slaveholder — a thing that has never before happened since the formation of the Government; and in which there are but two nominally Southern men, and both bitter Black Republicans of the radical dye. Let the Border States ignominiously submit to the Abolition rule of this Lincoln Administration, if they like; but don't let the miserable submidssionists pretend to be deceived. Make any base or cowardly excuse but this. --Philadelphia Pennsylvanian.

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