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Chapter 1:

  • Massachusetts
  • -- civil Government -- election, 1860 -- Legislature -- Presidentof the Senate -- Speaker of the House -- State of the country -- Farewelladdress of Governor Banks -- Governor Andrew's inaugural -- their Viewsof the crisis -- sketch of Governor Andrew -- Lieutenant-Governor -- Executive Council -- Adjutant-General -- military staff -- Congressmen -- the volunteer Militia -- military equipment -- early preparations -- salutes, 8th ofJanuary -- General order no. 2 -- report of Adjutant-General -- Generalorder no. 4 -- proceedings of the Legislature -- regular session -- emergency fund -- loan credit of State -- delegates to peace Convention -- Southcarolina to Massachusetts -- two thousand overcoats -- order of inquiry -- letter of Adjutant-General -- letter of Colonel Henry Lee, Jr. -- meeting ofOfficers in Governor's room -- Colonel Ritchie sent to Washington -- his letters to the Governor -- Secretary Seward's letter -- letter of Colonel Lee -- charter of transports -- John M. Forbes, Esq. -- meeting in Faneuil Hall -- meeting in Cambridge -- speech of Wendell Phillips, Esq., at New Bedford -- remarks -- the President calls for troops -- the eve of battle.

To write the part taken by Massachusetts in the civil war which began in April, 1861, and continued until the capture, by General Grant, of Lee and his army in Virginia, and the surrender of Johnston and his forces to General Sherman in North Carolina, in 1865, requires patient research, a mind not distracted by other duties, and a purpose to speak truthfully of men and of events. Massachusetts bore a prominent part in this war, from the beginning to the end; not only in furnishing soldiers for the army, sailors for the navy, and financial aid to the Government, but in advancing ideas, which, though scouted [2] at in the early months of the war, were afterwards accepted by the nation, before the war could be brought to a successful end.

Massachusetts is a small State, in territory and in population. With the exception of Maine, it lies the farthest eastward of all the States in the Union. Its capital is four hundred and fifty miles east of Washington, and is separated from it by the States of Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. It contains seven thousand eight hundred square miles of land, river, lakes, and sea. In 1860, it had a population of 1,231,066, engaged in farming, manufacturing, fishing, and mercantile pursuits. Less than one-half the land is improved. It is about 1/380 part of the whole Union, ranking the thirty-sixth in size among the forty States and Territories. It is divided into fourteen counties, and three hundred and thirty-five cities and towns. Its governor, lieutenant-governor, eight councillors, forty senators, and two hundred and forty representatives, are elected every year, in the month of November, by the free suffrage of the qualified voters.

The executive department of the Government is vested in the governor and Executive Council,—the governor, however, being the supreme executive magistrate, whose title is, His Excellency; the legislative, in a Senate and House of Representatives, each having a negative upon the other, and known and designated as the General Court. The judicial department is composed of different courts, the judges of which are appointed by the governor, and hold their offices during good behavior, and can only be removed upon the address of both houses of the Legislature, or by the abolishment of the court; this to ‘the end, that it may be a government of laws, and not of men.’

In the election for governor, in 1860, there were four candidates and four political parties. John A. Andrew, of Boston, was the candidate of the Republicans; Erasmus D. Beach, of Springfield, of the Douglas wing of the Democrats; Amos A. Lawrence, of Boston, of the conservative party; and Benjamin F. Butler, of Lowell, of the Breckenridge wing of the Democratic [3] party. John A. Andrew received 104,527 votes; Erasmus D. Beach, 35,191; Amos A. Lawrence, 23,816; Benjamin F. Butler, 6,000; all others, 75. Mr. Andrew's majority over all the opposing candidates was 39,445.

The eight councillors elected were all Republicans, as were all the members of Congress. The presidential electors in favor of the election of Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin, for President and Vice-President of the United States, received about the same majority Mr. Andrew did for Governor. Nearly all of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives were of the Republican party.

The newly elected Legislature met on the first Wednesday in January, 1861. Hon. William Claflin, of Newton, was chosen President of the Senate, and Stephen N. Gifford, Esq., of Duxbury, clerk. Hon. John A. Goodwin, of Lowell, was chosen Speaker of the House of Representatives, and William Stowe, Esq., of Springfield, clerk.

On assuming the duties of President of the Senate, Mr. Claflin made a brief address, in the course of which he said,—

While we meet under circumstances auspicious in our own State, a deep agitation pervades other parts of our country, causing every true patriot to feel the greatest anxiety. Disunion is attempted in some States, because, as is alleged, laws have been passed in others contrary to the Constitution of the United States. Massachusetts is accused of unfaithfulness in this matter in some of her enactments, although she has always been ready to submit to judicial decisions, and is so still. She has ever guarded jealously the liberties of her citizens, and, I trust, ever will. We cannot falter now without disgrace and dishonor. Whatever action we may take, let us be careful of the rights of others, but faithful to our trust, that we may return them to our constituents unimpaired.

Mr. Goodwin, on taking the Speaker's chair, referred to national affairs in the following words:—

The session before us may become second in importance to none that has been held in these halls, since, threescore years ago, our fathers consecrated them to popular legislation. For the second time in our history, we see a State of our Union setting at naught the common compact, and raising the hand of remorseless violence against a whole section of her sister States, and against the Union itself. But for [4] the first time in our history are unrebuked traitors seen in the high places of the nation, where, with undaunted front, they awe into treasonable inaction the hand the people have solemnly deputed to hold the scales of justice, and wield her imperial sword. To what points this ignominious crisis may compel our legislative attention, cannot now be stated; nor is it for the Chair to allude to particular measures of legislation. But it is to be remembered, that Massachusetts sacrificed much to establish the Union, and to defend and perpetuate it. She is ready to sacrifice more, provided it touch not her honor or the principles of free government,—principles interwoven with her whole history, and never dearer to the hearts of her people of all classes and parties than they are to-day. Let us approach this portion of our duties with coolness and deliberation, and with a generous patriotism.

Not since the days of the Revolution had a legislature assembled at a time of more imminent peril, when wise counsels, firm resolution, and patriotic devotion to the Constitution and the Union, were imperatively demanded.

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