Chapter 11: the Montgomery Convention.--treason of General Twiggs.--Lincoln and Buchanan at the Capital.
- Arrogance and folly of the conspirators illustrated, 262.
-- financial schemes of the conspirators
-- Reliance on Cotton
-- permanent Constitution adopted, 263.
-- its character
-- assumption of power and Sovereignty, 264.
-- treason of General Twiggs in Texas, 265.
-- surrender of National troops and forts to the insurgents, 267.
-- Twiggs degraded and honored
-- bad faith of the insurgents, 268.
-- scenes at San Antonio, 269.
-- forts surrendered, 270.
-- Earl Van Dorn in Texas, 271.
-- National troops under Sibley made prisoners
-- capture of the Star of the West, 272.
-- troops under Reese made prisoners
-- Texas a part of the Confederacy
-- the Confederate Constitution and the Secession Conventions, 273.
-- how the people were misled and betrayed
-- the spirit of Jefferson Davis
-- Abraham Lincoln, 274.
-- Mr. Lincoln's departure for Washington City, 275.
-- his journey and short speeches, 276.
-- conspiracy against his life, 278.
-- his Narrative of his journey from Philadelphia to Washington, 279.
-- the conspiracy in Baltimore, 281.
-- Lincoln at the Capital, 282.
-- Commissioner from South Carolina, 283.
-- Secretary Holt's letter, 284.
-- how the President's resolution was strengthened, 285.
-- Commissioner from Alabama, 286.
The arrogance and folly of the conspirators, especially of the madmen of South Carolina
, often took the most ludicrous forms and expression.
They were so intent upon obliterating every trace of connection with the “Yankees,” as they derisively called the people of the Free-labor States, and upon showing to the world that South Carolina
was an “independent nation,” that so early as the first of January,
when that “nation” was just nine days old — a “nine days wonder” --it was proposed to adopt for it a new system of civil time.1
Whether it was to be that of Julius Caesar
, in whose calendar the year began in March; or of the French Jacobins
, whose year began in September, and had five sacred days called Sansculottides;
or of the Eastern
Who counted his years from the hour when he smote
His best friend to the earth, and usurped his control;
And measured his days and his weeks by false oaths,
And his months by the scars of black crimes on his soul,
is not recorded.
Three days after the Montgomery Convention had formed a so-called government, by the adoption of a Provisional Constitution, and the election of Jefferson Davis
to be the chief standard-bearer in the revolt, one of the organs of the conspirators said, in view of the dreamed — of power and grandeur of the new Empire :--“The South might
, under the new Confederacy, treat the disorganized and demoralized Northern States as insurgents
, and deny them recognition.
But if peaceful division ensues, the South
, after taking the .Federal Capital and archives
, and being recognized by all foreign powers as the Government de facto
, can, if they see proper, recognize the Northern Confederacy
or Confederacies, and enter into treaty stipulations with them.
Were this not done, .it would be difficult for the Northern States
to take a place among nations, and their flag would not be respected or recognized.”
Notwithstanding this arrogance and childish folly of the politicians-notwithstanding the tone of feeling among the leading insurgents at Montgomery
was equally proud and defiant, they were compelled to yield to the inexorable laws of necessity, and make a compromise with expediency.
It would not do to give mortal offense to Kentucky
, and Missouri
, by obstructing the navigation of the Mississippi River
so, on the 22d of February, the Convention
declared the absolute freedom of the navigation of that stream.
Money was necessary to carry on the machinery of government, and equip and feed an army; so, abandoning the delightful dreams of free-trade, which was to bring the luxuries of the world to their doors, they proposed tariff laws; and even went so far as to propose an export duty on the great staple of the Gulf
States, relying upon the potential arm of “King Cotton” for support in the measure.
“I apprehend,” said Howell Cobb
, who proposed it, “that we are conscious of the power we hold in our hands, by reason of our producing that staple so necessary to the world.
I doubt not that power will exert an influence mightier than armies or navies.
We know that by an embargo we could soon place not only the United States
, but many of the European
powers, under the necessity of electing between such a recognition of our independence as we require, or domestic convulsions at home.”
Such were the shallow conclusions of one of the leading “Southern statesmen,” of whose superior wisdom the newspapers in the interest of the Oligarchy were always boasting.
The Convention authorized Davis
to accept one hundred thousand volunteers for twelve months, and to borrow fifteen millions of dollars, at the rate of eight per cent. interest a year.
Provision was also made for the establishment of a small naval force for coast defense.
Laws were passed for carrying on postal operations.--The franking privilege was disallowed, excepting for the Post-office Department.
The rates of postage were fixed, and stamps for two, five, and ten cents were soon issued, bearing the portrait of Jefferson Davis
A variety of laws, necessary for the operations.
“Confederate” postage Stamp. |
of a legitimate government, were made; and on the 11th of March, a permanent Constitution was adopted.
Its preamble fully recognized the doctrine of State Supremacy, and was in the following words:--“We, the people of the Confederate States
, each State acting in its sovereign and independent character, in order to form a permanent Federal Government, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, and insure the blessings
of liberty to ourselves and to our posterity — invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God4
--do order and ordain this Constitution for the Confederate States of America
This Constitution was that of the United States
, with the alterations and omissions seen in the Provisional Constitution
and others made by the Committee
It prohibited the giving of bounties from the Treasury, or the laying of duties for the purpose of protecting any branch of industry.
It made the Post-office Department rely wholly upon its own revenue to pay its expenses; it attempted to prevent fraudulent legislation by prohibiting the introduction of more than one subject in any act; it fixed the term of service of the “President
” at six years, and made the former ineligible to re-election; it provided for the government of new Territories, and prohibited the enactment of any law “denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves.”
There were several provisions for securing an economical expenditure of money.
The delegates from South Carolina
voted against the clause prohibiting the African Slavetrade
had already been authorized by the Convention
to assume control of “all military operations between the Confederate States
,” or any of them, and powers foreign to them; and he was also authorized to receive from them the arms and munitions of war “acquired from the United States
At the middle of March, it recommended the several States to cede to the “Confederate States
” the forts, arsenals, dock-yards, and other public establishments within their respective limits.
These recommendations were cheerfully responded to by all except the South Carolinians, who were tardy in relinquishing the means for maintaining their “sovereignty.”
Already P. G. T. Beauregard
, a Louisiana Creole, who had abandoned the flag of his country, and sought employment among its enemies, had been appointed brigadier-general,
and ordered from New Orleans to
, to take charge of all the insurgent forces there.
Already John Forsyth
, Martin J. Crawford
, and A. B. Roman
had been appointed Commissioners to proceed to Washington
, and make a settlement of all questions at issue between the United States
and the conspirators; and Memminger
had made preparations for establishing Custom Houses along the frontier “between the two confederacies.”
agreeing, by resolution, to share in the crime of plundering the National Government
by accepting a portion of the money which the Louisiana
politicians had stolen from the Mint and Custom House
at New Orleans,6
At that time vigorous preparations for war were seen on every hand.
Volunteers, even from Tennessee
, offered their services.
In many places in the Gulf
States enlistments went rapidly on; and by the first of April, probably twenty thousand names were on the rolls of the growing insurgent army.
The conspirators of Texas
, we have observed, were represented in the Convention
The people of that State had lately suffered the most flagrant wrongs at the hands of disloyal men; and that Commonwealth had been the theater of an act of treachery of the vilest and most injurious nature, performed by the veteran soldier, General David E. Twiggs
, of Georgia
, who was next in rank to Lieutenant-General Scott
, in the Army of the Republic
We have observed that the conspirators and disloyal politicians of Texas
had placed the people of that State, who, by an overwhelming majority, were for the Union
, in an attitude of rebellion before the close of February, and that the Revolutionary Committee8
had appointed Messrs. Devine
, Commissioners to treat with General Twiggs
, the Commander
of the Department, for the surrender into their hands of all the property of the National Government
under his control.
was a favorite of the Administration, and his conduct denotes that he was in complicity with the conspirators at Washington
He was placed in command of the Department of Texas only a few weeks before he committed the treasonable act we are about to record.
For forty years he had served his Government acceptably, and was honored with its confidence; but the virus that poisoned so many noble characters, destroyed the life of his patriotism.
Not content with deserting his flag himself, he tried to seduce his officers from their allegiance.
He began by talking gloomily of the future, and expressing doubts of the ability of the Government
to maintain its authority.
He soon spoke disparagingly of that Government; and finally he said to his officers :--“The Union will be at an end in less than sixty days, and if you have any pay due you, you had better get it at once, for it is the last you will ever get.”
Intimations of Twiggs
's disloyalty had reached the Secretary of War
, and on the 18th of January, in a general order
, the veteran was relieved from the command of the Department of Texas, and it was turned over to Colonel Carlos A. Waite
, of the First Regiment of Infantry.
But the anticipated mischief was accomplished before the order could perform its intended work.
When the Commissioners
were informed of its arrival at Twiggs
's Headquarters, at the Alamo
, in the city of San Antonio
, they took measures to prevent its reaching Colonel Waite
, whose regimental headquarters was at the least sixty miles distant, on the Verde Creek
, a branch of the Guadaloupe River.
But the vigilance and activity of the patriotic Colonel Nichols
's Assistant Adjutant-General
, who watched his chief with the keen eye of full suspicion, foiled
The Alamo.9 |
He duplicated the orders, and sent two couriers by different routes.
One of them was captured and taken back to San Antonio
, and the other reached Waite
, with the order, on the 17th of February.
was cautious and had adroitly avoided committing himself to treason in writing.
He always said to the impatient Commissioners :--“I will give up every thing.”
But the time had now arrived when temporizing must end. He was ready to act; but he must have a decent excuse for his surrendering the force under his immediate command, which consisted of only two skeleton companies under Captains King
Other troops had been ordered away from San Antonio
when the danger of revolution became pressing, and they might be called to put down insurrection.
The excuse for Twiggs
was readily found.
, the famous Texan Ranger
, was stationed at Seguin
, not far off. The Commissioners employed him to prepare and lead a sufficient military force to capture the National
troops in San Antonio
He received directions to that effect on the 9th,
and he at once pushed forward toward the city with almost a thousand men. He was joined, near the town, by two hundred Knights of the Golden Circle
, who went out well armed and equipped, each having forty rounds of ammunition.
At two o'clock on Sunday morning, the 16th, two hundred mounted men, led by McCulloch
, rushed into the city, breaking the slumbers of the inhabitants with unearthly yells.
were soon followed by about five hundred more.
They took possession of the Main Plaza
, a large vacant square in the center of the city, and placed guards over the Arsenal, the park of artillery, and the Government buildings
A traitor in the Quartermaster's Department, named Edgar
, had, at the first dash into the city, taken possession of the Alamo
and Colonel Nichols
in the Main Plaza
, where terms of surrender were soon agreed to; and there, at noon,
was fully consummated the treasonable act which Twiggs
had commenced by negotiation so early as the 7th.11
He surrendered all the National
forces in Texas
, numbering about two thousand five hundred, and composed of thirty-seven companies.
Fifteen companies of infantry and five of artillery were on the line of the Rio Grande
, and the other seventeen were in the interior.
With the troops Twiggs
surrendered public stores and munitions of war, valued, at their cost, at one million two hundred thousand dollars.12
Beside these, he surrendered all the forts, arsenals, and other military posts within the limits of his command, including Fort Davis
, in the great cañon of the Lympia Mountains
, on the San Antonio
and San Diego
mail-route, five hundred miles from the former city.
It was then the Headquarters of the Eighth Regiment of Infantry, and, because of its situation in the midst of the country of the plundering Mescularo Apaches
, and in the path of the marauding Comanches
, it was a post of great importance.
By this act Twiggs
deprived his Government of the most effective portion of its Regular Army, in strict accordance with the plans of his employers.
When the. Government was informed of his actual treason, an order was issued,
directing him to be “dismissed from the Army of the United States, for treachery to the flag of his country.”
Earlier than this, “Charity Lodge” of the “Knights of Feb Malta,” in New Orleans, who had heard of his infamy, expelled him from their order
by unanimous vote.
On the 4th of March the Secession Convention of Louisiana
, that had assembled that day, resolved to unite with the citizens of New Orleans in honoring Twiggs
with a public reception.
That honor was conferred eight days after he was dismissed from the service of his country for a high crime.
On the 18th, Twiggs
issued a general order
, in which he announced the fact of the surrender of his forces, and directed the garrisons of all the posts, after they should be handed over to agents of the insurgents, to make their way to the sea-coast as speedily as possible, where,
according to the terms made with the Commissioners
, they would be allowed to leave the State
, taking with them their arms, clothing, and necessary stores.
With this order went out a circular from the Commissioners
, in the name of the State of Texas
, whose authority they had usurped, in which they solemnly agreed that the troops should have every assistance, in the way of transportation and otherwise, for leaving the State
, for, they said, “they are our friends, who have hitherto afforded us all the protection in their power; and it is our duty to see that no insult or indignity is offered them.”
It is apparent that at that very time the conspirators had determined to cast every obstacle in the way of the betrayed men on their way to the coast, and their departure from it, with the hope of persuading a portion of them to join the insurgents.
In this they were mistaken.
In all the vicissitudes to which
they were afterward exposed, the private soldiers and most of the officers remained true to the old flag.
The writer saw some of them at midsummer in Fort Hamilton
, at the entrance to New York Bay; and never was a curse by “bell, book, and candle,” more sincerely uttered, than were those that fell from the compressed lips of these betrayed soldiers.
These troops were the first who left Texas
They came from posts on the line of the Rio
, and embarked in the Daniel Webster
at Point Isabel
, a place of much note in the history of the war with Mexico
They arrived at Fort Hamilton
on the 30th of March, 1861.
At five o'clock on the evening of the 16th,
the little band of National troops in San Antonio
marched sullenly out of the city, to the tune of “The red
, and Blue
,” and encamped at San Pedro
February, Springs, two miles from the Plaza, there to remain until the arrival of Colonel Waite
They were followed by a crowd of sorrowing citizens.
The tears of strong men were mingled with those of delicate women, when they saw the old flag disappear; and sullen gloom hung over the town that night, and for many days.14 San Antonio
was full of loyal men, and so was the State
There was wide-spread sorrow when the calamity of Twiggs
's treason became known.
It was a calamity for the nation, and it was a special calamity for the Texans
, for these troops, now about to leave them, had been their protectors against the incursions of the savage Indian tribes, that were hanging, like a portentous cloud, along their frontier.
The surrendered forts were to be garrisoned by Texas
militia, but in these the people had little confidence.
, who started for San Antonio
, with an escort of fifteen cavalry, immediately after receiving his order from the War Department, arrived there early in the afternoon of the 18th.
had stationed troops on the regular route to intercept him. By taking by-paths he eluded them.
But he was a few hours too late.
had consummated his treason, and Texan soldiers occupied the post.
was compelled to recognize the capitulation.
Sadly he rode out to San Pedro Springs, joined the little handful of National troops there, and, on the following day,
assumed the command of the department.
's order for the evacuation of the posts in Texas
had been sent, but
some of these were so distant and isolated, and the traveling so difficult at that season of the year, that it was several weeks before the order reached them.
One of these is Fort Arbuckle
, in Franklin County
, situated west
, on the False Wachita River.
It protects the northern frontiers of the State
from the forays of the wild Comanches
At the time we are considering, it was garrisoned by detachments from the First Cavalry and one company of the First Infantry Regiment.
Another was Fort
Fort Wachita. |
Wachita, sixty miles southeasterly from Fort Arbuckle
, and, like it, on the Indian Reserve
It was garrisoned by two companies of the First Cavalry Regiment.
Near this post, in the autumn of 1858, Major Earle Van Dorn
, a gallant officer of the National Army
, who appears for the first time, in
connection with Twiggs
's treason, as an enemy of his country, had a successful battle with a band of warlike Comanches.
Another important post was Fort Lancaster
, on the mail-route between San Antonio
to San Diego
in the midst of the remarkable table-lands near the junction of Live Oak Creek
and the Pecos River
It is a place of much importance, for it protects the great ford of the Pecos
, where nearly all the trains from Texas
cross it, on their way to California
These are really mere military posts rather than forts, quite sufficient in strength, however, for the uses of the service in that region.
The military power under Twiggs
's control was ample, with the co-operation of the Union
citizens, to hold the State
firmly in a position of loyalty to the National Government
, and to defy the Arch-Conspirator at Montgomery
, who, before Texas
had become a member of the “Confederacy,” wrote, through his so-called Secretary of War
, to the Texas Convention, that if, after a reasonable time, the United States Government should refuse to withdraw the troops, “all the powers of the Southern Confederacy should be used to expel them.”
found himself at once entangled in most serious embarrassments.
In violation of the terms of Twiggs
's treaty for surrender, adequate means of transportation for the troops in the interior were withheld; and officers born in Slave-labor States, such as Lieutenant Thornton Washington
, Major Larkin Smith
, and others, in whom he confided, betrayed their trusts in a most shameful manner, and joined the insurgents.
, who commanded Fort Brown
, on the Rio Grande
, refused to obey the order of Twiggs
to evacuate it, and prepared to defend it. He soon found that he could not hold it with the small force under his command, and he was compelled to yield.
The troops along the line of the Rio Grande
soon left the country, but those in the interior, who made their way slowly toward the coast, became involved in great difficulties.
Toward the middle of April, Major Earle Van Dorn
, who was a favorite in the army of that department, appeared in Texas
with the commission of a colonel, from Jefferson Davis
He was a native of Mississippi
He had abandoned his flag, and was now in the employment of its enemies.
He was there to secure for the use of the insurgent army, by persuasion and glowing promises of great good to themselves, the remnant of the betrayed forces of the Republic
, or to make them useless to their Government.
Simultaneously with his appearance, the newspapers in the interest of the conspirators teemed with arguments to show that the National
soldiers were absolved from their allegiance, because the “Union was dissolved;” and Van Dorn
held out brilliant temptations to win them to his standard.
His labor was vain.
They were too patriotic to be seduced, or even to listen patiently to his wicked overtures.
At about the time when Van Dorn
appeared, seven companies of National troops, under Major Sibley
, were at Indianola
, on Matagorda Bay
, preparing to embark on the Star of the West
, which had been ruthlessly expelled from Charleston harbor
This vessel had been sent, with twenty thousand rations and other supplies, under convoy of the gunboat Mohawk
, to bear away the troops.
Supposing the vessel to be at the mouth of the harbor, Sibley
embarked the troops on two small steam lighters, and proceeded down the bay. He had suspected treasonable designs concerning his command.
His suspicions were confirmed by the absence of the Star of the West
and its convoy, and he resolved to go on in the lighters to Tampico, in Mexico
A lack of provisions and coal compelled him to turn back.
His troops were disembarked, and, on the following day, Lieutenant Whipple
gave him proof of hostile designs against, his troops, by reporting the existence of a small battery at Saluria, some distance down the bay. Whipple
was ordered to capture it, but when he and his little party approached the place, the cannon were not there.
As speedily as possible, Major Sibley
re-embarked his troops on two schooners, and these, towed by the steam lighters, proceeded toward the Gulf
Heavy easterly winds were sweeping the sea, and no pilots were to be seen.
Darkness came on before they reached the entrance to the bay, and they anchored within it. There they lay a greater part of two days and two nights, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Star of the West
. At ten o'clock, when the darkness was profound, and the storm heavy, thick volumes of smoke were discerned above the schooners.
At daylight three steamers lay near, with side-barricades of cotton-bales; and, a little later, a larger steamship than either of these, armed with heavy cannon, came over the bar and anchored near the schooners.
The four vessels bore about fifteen hundred well-armed Texans, under Van Dorn
He sent commissioners to demand the surrender of the troops on the schooners.
called a council of war.
It was unanimously agreed that resistance to such a heavy and active force would be madness, and Sibley
The spoils, besides the seven companies made prisoners of war, four hundred and fifty in number, were over three hundred fine rifles and the camp equipage of the whole party of captured troops.
Many of these men wept because they had not an opportunity to fight, and threw their arms overboard.
At about the same time, a party of volunteers from Galveston
boarded the Star of the West
, and captured her, with all her stores.
On the day preceding this surrender near Saluria, Colonel Waite
, with his staff and all of the officers on duty at San Antonio
, were made prisoners,
under most aggravating circumstances.
When Colonel Waite
pointed to the plighted faith of the self-constituted Texan authorities with whom Twiggs
had treated, and argued that the present act was in violation of a solemn covenant, he was given to understand that no arguments would be heard — that he and his officers were prisoners, and, if they were not quiet, physical force would be used to compel them to keep silence.
One of the most insolent of these representatives of “authority”
was a Major Maclin
, of Arkansas
, who until a short time before had held the office of paymaster in the Regular Army
At this time, seven companies of the Eighth Regiment, three hundred and thirty-six strong, under Colonel Reese
, were making their way from the interior, slowly and wearily, toward the coast, along El Paso Road. On reaching Middle Texas
, Colonel Reese
found all the supplies necessary for the subsistence of his troops in the hands of the insurgents; and at the ranche of Mr. Adams
, near San Lucas Springs, twenty miles west from San Antonio
, on the Castroville Road
, he was confronted by Van Dorn
, who had full fifteen hundred men and two splendid batteries of 12-pounders, one of them under Captain Edgar
, the traitor who seized the Alamo
.16 Van Dorn
sent Captains Wilcox
to demand an unconditional surrender.
refused, until he should be convinced that Van Dorn
had a sufficient force to sustain his demand.
allowed him to send an officer (Lieutenant Bliss
) to observe the insurgent strength.
The report convinced Reese
that his force was greatly outnumbered, and he surrendered unconditionally,
giving his word of honor that he would report at Van Dorn
's camp, on the Leon
, at six o'clock that evening.
The little column of Colonel Reese
comprised all of the National
troops remaining in Texas
, and these were held close prisoners at San Antonio
, whilst Colonel Waite
and his fellow-captives, and Major Sibley
's command, were paroled.
The men were compelled to take an oath that they would not bear arms against the insurgents.
Embarking soon afterward, they reached New York in safety, after a voyage of thirty days. Texas
was now completely prostrated beneath the heel of that grinding and infernal despotism whose central force was at Montgomery
; and that commonwealth, as we have already observed, soon became an important member of the revolutionary league called the Confederate States of America
After the adoption of the permanent Constitution at Montgomery
, and the establishment of the so-called “Confederation,” or plan of “permanent Federal Government,” that Constitution was submitted to the revolutionary conventions of the several States named in the league, for ratification or rejection.
The Convention of Alabamians, who reassembled on the 4th of March, ratified it on the 13th, by a vote of eighty-seven against five.
That of Georgians reassembled on the 7th of March, and on the 16th ratified it by unanimous vote, saying that the State of Georgia
acted “in its sovereign and independent character.”
That of Louisianians, which reassembled on the 4th of March, ratified the Constitution
on the 21st of the same month, by a vote of one hundred and seven against seven.
The South Carolina
politicians reassembled their Convention on the 26th of March, and on the 3d day of April that assembly relinquished the boasted sovereignty of the State
, by giving a vote of one hundred and forty against twenty-nine for the Constitution
of the new “Confederacy.”
The Convention of Mississippians
reassembled on the 25th of March.
There were able men among them, who contended that the people
and not that Convention should decide whether or not the new Constitution should be the supreme law of their land.
These democratic ideas were scouted as heterodox, and the Convention
proceeded to act as the embodied sovereignty of the State
, by adopting the new plan of government by a vote of seventy-eight against seven.
Such was the method by which a few arrogant politicians in seven of the States of the Union
, usurping the rights and powers of the people, formed a league against the rightful and beneficent Government of that people, and in their name plunged their peaceful and highly prosperous country into a civil war unparalleled in the history of mankind in its extent, energy, and waste of life and treasure.
The confiding, misled, and betrayed people had given them leave to meet in conventions, only to consider alleged grievances, and to deliberate upon the subject of their relations to the Union
From that time, the politicians acted as if there were no people to consult or to serve — as if they, and they alone, constituted the State
Their constituents were never allowed to express their opinions by vote concerning: the Ordinances of Secession, excepting in Texas
, and the proceedings there were fraudulent and outrageous.
And when seven of the revolutionary conventions, transcending the powers delegated to them by the people, appointed from among themselves commissioners to meet in General Convention at Montgomery
, and that Convention assumed the right to found a new empire, the people were not only not consulted, and not allowed to express their views, by ballot, on a subject of such infinite gravity to themselves and their posterity, but, under the reign of a terrible military despotism, unequaled in rigor, lawlessness, and barbarity, they were not allowed to utter a dissenting word ever so privately, without danger of being relentlessly persecuted.
, the head of that despotism, had said (and his words applied equally to the people of the South
, the North
, and the world) :--“Whoever opposes us, shall smell Southern powder and feel Southern steel.”
While Jefferson Davis
was on his way from his home in Mississippi
to the city of Montgomery
, near the Southern
extremity of the Republic
, there to be inaugurated leader of a band of conspirators and the chief minister
of a despotism, Abraham Lincoln
was journeying from his home in Springfield, Illinois
, hundreds of miles farther north, on his way toward .the National Capital
, there to be installed in office as Chief Magistrate
of a nation.
The contrast in the characters and political relations of the two men was most remarkable.
One was a usurper, prepared to uphold Wrong by violence and the exercise of the gravest crimes; the other was a modest servant of the people, appointed by them to execute their will, and anxious to uphold Right by the majesty and power of law and the exercise of virtue and justice.
was an. eminent representative American, and in his own career illustrated in a most conspicuous and distinguished manner the
beneficent and elevating operations of republican government and republican institutions.
He was born in comparative obscurity, in the State of Kentucky
, early in the year 1809; and when he was inaugurated President
, he had just passed his fifty-second birthday.
His earlier years had been spent in hard labor with his hands on the farm, in the forest, and on the waters of the Mississippi
His later years had been equally laborious in the profession of the law, a knowledge of which he had acquired by painful study, in the midst of many difficulties.
In that profession he had advanced rapidly to distinction, in the State of Illinois
, wherein he had settled with his father in the year 1830.
His fellow-citizens discovered in him the tokens of statesmanship, and they chose him to represent them in the National Congress.
He served them and his country therein with great diligence and ability, and, as we have observed, his countrymen, in the autumn of 1860, chose him to fill the most exalted station in their gift.19
How he filled that station during the four terrible years of our history, while the Republic
was ravaged by the dragon of civil war, will be recorded on succeeding pages.
On the 11th of February, Mr. Lincoln
left his home in Springfield
for the seat of the National Government
, accompanied by a few friends.20
At the railway station, a large concourse of his fellow-townsmen had gathered to bid him adieu.
He was deeply affected by this exhibition of kindness on the part of his friends and neighbors, and with a sense of the great responsibilities he was about to assume.
“My friends,” he said, when he was about to leave, “no one not in my position can appreciate the sadness I feel at this parting.
To this people I owe all that I am. Here I have lived more than a quarter of a century; here my children were born, and here one of them lies buried.
A duty devolves upon me which is, perhaps, greater than that
which has devolved upon any other man since the days of Washington
Hie never would have succeeded, except for the aid of Divine Providence, upon which he at all times relied.
I feel that I cannot succeed without the same Divine aid which sustained him, and on the same Almighty Being I place my reliance for support; and I hope you, my friends, will all pray that I may receive that Divine assistance without which I cannot succeed, but with which success is certain.
Again I bid you farewell.”
We will not follow the President elect
through the details of his long travel of hundreds of miles through Illinois
, New York, New Jersey
, and Maryland
During all that journey, which occupied several days, he was everywhere greeted with demonstrations of the most profound respect; and at a few places he addressed the crowds who came out to see him in plain words, full of kindness and forbearance and tenderness and cheerfulness.
“Let us believe,” he said, at Tolono
, “that behind the cloud the sun is shining.”
Common prudence counseled him to say but little on the grave affairs of State, the administration of which he was about to assume; yet here and there, on the way, a few words responsive to friendly greetings would sometimes well up to his lips from a full heart, and give such utterances to his thoughts as to foreshadow dimly their general scope.
He often alluded to the condition of the country.
“It is my intention,” he said, “to give this subject all the consideration I possibly can before specially deciding in regard to it, so that when I do speak, it may be as nearly right as possible.
I hope I may say nothing in opposition to the spirit of the Constitution
, contrary to the integrity of the Union
, or which will prove inimical to the liberties of the people or to the peace of the whole country.”
--“When the time does come for me to speak, I shall then take the ground that I think is right-right for the North
, for the South
, for the East
, for the West
, for the whole country.”
It was evident that the President elect
had no conception of the depth, strength, and malignity of the conspiracy against the life of the Republic
which he was so soon afterward called upon to confront.
He had been too long accustomed to the foolish threats of the Oligarchy, whenever their imperious will was opposed, to believe them more in earnest now than they ever had been, or that their angry and boastful menaces, and the treasonable conduct of their representatives in Congress, would ripen into more serious action; and as he went along from city to city, talking familiarly to magistrates, and legislators, and crowds of citizens, he tried to soothe their troubled spirits and allay their apprehensions by honestly given assurances that there was “no crisis but an artificial one--none excepting such a one as may be gotten up at any time by turbulent men, aided by designing politicians.
Keep cool,” he said.
“If the great American people on both sides of the line will only keep their temper, the troubles will come to an end, just as surely as all other difficulties of a like character which have originated in this Government have been adjusted.”
On the 20th of February Mr. Lincoln
was received by the municipal authorities of New York, in the City Hall, when the Mayor
, who, as we have observed, had recently, in an official communication, set forth the peculiar advantages which that metropolis would secure by seceding from the State
and the Union
, and establishing an independent government as a free city,25
admonished him, “because New York was deeply interested in the matter,” that his great duty was to so conduct public affairs as to preserve the Union
“New York,” said the Seceder, “is the child of the American Union.
She has grown up under its maternal care, and been fostered by its maternal bounty, and we fear that if the Union
dies, the present supremacy of New York will perish with it.”
The President elect
assured him that he should endeavor to do his duty.
On the following day,
he passed on through New Jersey
, declaring at Trenton
, on the way, to the assembled legislators of that State, that he was “exceedingly anxious that the Union
, the Constitution
, and the liberties of the people” should be perpetuated.
“I shall be most happy,” he said, “if I shall be an humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty and of this, his most chosen people, as the chosen instrument-also in the hands of the Almighty — for perpetuating the object of the great struggle” in which Washington
and his compatriots were engaged.
was in Philadelphia
and with his own hands, in the presence of an immense assemblage of the citizens, he raised the American
flag high above the old State House, in which the Declaration of Independence
was debated and signed almost eighty-five years before.
The place and its hallowed associations suggested the theme of a brief speech, which he made a short time before raising the flag over the Hall
wherein the great deed was done.
“I have never had a feeling,” he said “politically, that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence
I have often pondered over the dangers which were incurred by the men who assembled here and framed and adopted that Declaration of 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 the 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.26
It was that which gave promise that, in due time, the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of men. This is the sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence
Now, my friends, can this country be saved upon 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 upon that principle, it will be truly awful.
But if this country cannot be saved without giving up this principle, I was about to say, I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it
.... My friends, I have said nothing but what I am willing to live by, and, if it be the pleasure of Almighty God, die by.”
Then, in beautiful contrast with the truculent speech of Davis
a week earlier, in which that bold leader said that those who opposed himself and his fellow-conspirators, must expect “to smell
Southern powder and feel Southern steel,” 27 Mr. Lincoln
added:--“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.”
He had said the day before, at Trenton
, “I shall do all that may be in my power to promote a peaceful settlement of all our difficulties.
The man does not live who is more devoted to peace than I am — no one who would do more to preserve it; but it may be necessary to put the foot down firmly
The declaration of Mr. Lincoln
, that he was about to say that he would rather be assassinated than to give up the great principles of the rights of man embodied in the Declaration of Independence
, came back to the ears of the American
people like a terrible echo, a little more than four years afterward, when he was
assassinated because he firmly upheld those principles; and in the very hall wherein they were first enunciated in the clear voice of Charles Thomson
, reading from the manuscript of Thomas Jefferson
, his lifeless body lay in state all through one Sabbath day,
that his face might be looked upon for the last time by a sorrowing people.
Perhaps the thought of assassination was in Mr. Lincoln
's mind at that time, because he had been warned the night before that a band of men in Baltimore
in the interest of the conspirators, and who held secret meetings in a room over a billiard and drinking saloon on Fayette Street, near Calvert
, known as “The Taylor building
,” had made preparations to take his life.
Before he left home, threats had found their way to the public ear that he would never reach Washington
On the first
The Taylor building.28 |
day of his journey an attempt was made to throw the railway train in which he was conveyed from the track; and just as he was about leaving Cincinnati
, a hand-grenade was found secreted in the car in which he was to travel.
These and other suspicious circumstances had led to a thorough investigation, under the direction of a sagacious police detective.
It resulted in the discovery of the conspiracy at Baltimore
, and the revelation of the fact, that a small number of assassins, led, it was said, by an Italian who assumed the name of Orsini,29
murderer of Louis Napoleon
, were to kill Mr. Lincoln
whilst passing through the streets in a carriage.
and Mr. Seward
were so well satisfied that such a plot was arranged, that they sent a special messenger to meet the President elect
, and warn him of his danger.
He heeded the warning, passed through Baltimore
twelve hours earlier than he was expected there; and, to the astonishment of the people, the delight of his friends, and the chagrin and dismay of the conspirators, he appeared in Washington City
early on the morning of the 23d of February.
This movement gave life and currency to many absurd stories.
It was asserted that Mr. Lincoln
had assumed all sorts of disguises to prevent recognition — that he was muffled in a long military cloak and wore a Scotch cap — that he was wrapped in the shaggy dress of a hunter, et coetera ;
and for a while his political opponents made merry at his expense, and the pencils of the caricaturists supplied fun for the public.
Thoughtful men were made sad. They felt humiliated by the fact that there was a spot in our fair land where the constitutionally chosen Chief Magistrate
of the nation might be in danger of personal injury at the hands of his fellow-citizens; and especially mortifying was the allegation that he had been compelled to go in full disguise, by stealth, like a fugitive from justice, to the National Capital
It was properly felt to be a national disgrace.
The occurrence was not so humiliating as represented by the politicians, the satirists, and caricaturists.
The President did not travel in disguise; and the hired assassins or their employers were doubtless too timid or too prudent to attempt the execution of their murderous plan at the critical moment.
While in Washington City
, early in December, 1864, the writer called on the President
, with Isaac N. Arnold
, Member of Congress from Chicago
, one of Mr. Lincoln
's most .trusted personal friends.
We found him alone in the room wherein the Cabinet
meetings are held (in the White House
), whose windows overlook the Potomac
and the Washington Monument
At the request of the writer, the President
related the circumstances of his clandestine journey between Philadelphia
The narrative is here given substantially in his own words, as follows:--
I arrived at Philadelphia on the 21st.
I agreed to stop over night, and on the following morning hoist the flag over Independence Hall.
In the evening there was a great crowd where I received my friends, at the Continental Hotel. Mr. Judd, a warm personal friend from Chicago, sent for me to come to his room.
I went, and found there Mr. Pinkerton, a skillful police detective, also from Chicago, who had been employed for some days in Baltimore, watching or searching for suspicious persons there.
Pinkerton informed me that a plan had been laid for my assassination, the exact time when I expected to go through Baltimore being publicly known.
He was well informed as to the plan, but did not know that the conspirators would have pluck enough to execute it. He urged me to go right through with him to Washington that night.
I didn't like that.
I had made engagements to visit Harrisburg, and go from there to Baltimore, and I resolved to do so.
I could not believe that there was a plot to murder me. I made arrangesments, however, with Mr. Judd for my return to Philadelphia the next night, if I should be convinced that there was danger in going through Baltimore.
I told him that if I should meet at Harrisburg, as I had at other places, a delegation to go with me to the next place (then Baltimore), I should feel safe, and go on.
When I was making my way back to my room, through crowds of people, I met Frederick Seward.
We went together to my room, when he told me that he had been sent, at the instance of his father and General Scott, to inform me that their detectives in Baltimore had discovered a plot there to assassinate me. They knew nothing of Pinkerton's movements.
I now believed such a plot to be in existence.
The next morning I raised the flag over Independence Hall, and then went on to Harrisburg with Mr. Sumner, Major (now General) Hunter, Mr. Judd, Mr. Lamon, and others.
There I met the Legislature and people, dined, and waited until the time appointed for me to leave.31 In the mean time, Mr. Judd had so secured the telegraph that no communication could pass to Baltimore and give the conspirators knowledge of a change in my plans.
In New York some friend had given me a new beaver hat in a box, and in it had placed a soft wool hat. I had never worn one of the latter in my life.
I had this box in my room.
Having informed a very few friends of the secret of my new movements, and the cause, I put on an old overcoat that I had with me, and putting the soft hat in my pocket, I walked out of the house at a back door, bareheaded, without exciting any special curiosity.
Then I put on the soft hat and joined my friends without being recognized by strangers, for I was not the same Man. Sumner and Hunter wished to accompany me. I said no; you are known, and your presence might betray me. I will only take Lamon (now Marshal of this District), whom nobody knew, and Mr. Judd.
Sumner and Hunter felt hurt.
We went back to Philadelphia and found a message there from Pinkerton (who had returned to Baltimore), that the conspirators had held their final meeting that evening, and it was doubtful whether they had the nerve to attempt the execution of their purpose.
I went on, however, as the arrangement had been made, in a special train.
We were a long time in the station at Baltimore.
I heard people talking around, but no one particularly observed me. At an early hour on Saturday morning, at about the time I was expected to leave Harrisburg, I arrived in Washington.32
was received at the railway station in Washington
, member of Congress from Illinois
, who was expecting him. He was taken in a carriage to Willard's Hotel, where Senator Seward
was in waiting to receive him. Mrs. Lincoln
had joined him at Philadelphia
the 22d, and she, Mr. Sumner
, and others left Harrisburg
at the time appointed, and passed on to the National Capital
There has never been a public legal investigation concerning the alleged plot to assassinate the President elect
at that time.
Sufficient facts have been made known through the testimony of detectives to justify the historian in assuming that such a plot was formed, and that it failed only because of the change in Mr. Lincoln
It was alleged that “statesmen, bankers, merchants, and others” were engaged in the conspiracy,33
and that these were meeting secretly then, and did meet secretly a long time thereafter, in a private room in Taylor's Building.
The plan, as revealed, seems to have been to create a mob of the most excitable elements of society in Baltimore
, ostensibly against the Republican Committee in that city, while they and the nobly loyal citizens were honoring Mr. Lincoln
by a public reception at the railway station.
In the confusion created by the mob, the hired assassins were to rush forward, shoot or stab the President elect
while in his carriage, and fly back to the shelter of the rioters.
The policemen of Baltimore
at. that time were under the direction of George P. Kane
, as Chief Marshal
He was a violent secessionist, and seems to have been the plastic instrument of conspirators in Baltimore
, who were chiefly of the moneyed Oligarchy, connected by blood or marriage with the great land and slave holders in the more Southern States.
afterward fled beyond the Potomac
, took up arms against his country, and received a commission in the insurgent army.
It is asserted that an arrangement had been made for him to so control the police on that occasion, as not to allow a suppression of the mob until the terrible deed should be accomplished.
His complicity in the movements which resulted in the murder of Massachusetts
troops while passing through Baltimore
, a few weeks later, makes it easy to believe that he was concerned in the plot to assassinate the President elect
The disloyal press of Baltimore
seemed to work in complicity with the conspirators on this occasion.
A leading editorial in the Republican
, on the 22d, was calculated to incite tumult and violence; and on the following morning, the day on which Mr. Lincoln
was expected to arrive in Baltimore
, the Exchange
, in a significant article, said to its readers :--“The President elect
of the United States
will arrive in this city, with his suite, this afternoon, by special train from Harrisburg
, 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 ears the sentiments which he is reported to have expressed yesterday in Philadelphia
Intelligence of Mr. Lincoln
's arrival at Washington
soon spread over the
town, and at an early hour Willard's Hotel was crowded with his friends, personal and political, who came to give him a cordial welcome.
Loyal men of all parties rejoiced at his safe arrival; and, because of it, there was gladness throughout the laud.
That gladness was mingled with indignation because of the circumstances attending that arrival, and the journey preceding it. Had the danger at Baltimore
been made known, and protectors called for, two hundred thousand loyal citizens of the Free-labor States would have escorted the President elect
to the Capital
At an early hour, accompanied by Mr. Seward
, Mr. Lincoln
called on President Buchanan
The latter could scarcely believe the testimony of his own eyes.
He gave his appointed successor a cordial greeting.
The Cabinet was then in session.
By invitation, the President elect
passed into their chamber.
He was received with demonstrations of delight.
He then called to see General Scott
, at his Headquarters.
The veteran was absent.
returned to Willard
's, and there received his friends unceremoniously during the remainder of the day. In the evening he was formally waited upon by the Peace Convention,35
in a body, and afterward by loyal women of Washington City
Only the secessionists (and they were a host) kept aloof.
Foiled malice, disappointment, and chagrin made them sullen.
A capital plan in their scheme had been frustrated; and General Scott
, whose defection had been hoped and prayed for, and expected because he was born in Virginia
, was standing firm as a rock in the midst of the surges of secession, and had filled the National Capital
with so many troops that its security against the machinations of the conspirators, secret or open, was considered complete.
On Wednesday, the 27th, the Mayor
and Common Council waited upon Mr. Lincoln
, and gave him a welcome.
On the same day, he and Mrs. Lincoln
were entertained at a dinner-party given by Mr. Spaulding
, Member of Congress from Buffalo, New York
; and on that evening, they were visited at Willard
's by several Senators
, and Governor Hicks
, and were serenaded by the members of the Republican Association at Washington
, to whom he made a short speech — the last one previous to his inauguration.36
Having followed the President elect
from his home to the Capital
, and left him there on the eve of his assuming the responsibilities of Chief Magistrate
of the Republic
, let us turn a moment and hold brief retrospective intercourse with the actual President
, who seemed to be as anxious as were the people for the close of his official career.
We have seen him, from the opening of the session of Congress until the disruption of his Cabinet, at the close of December, working or idling, voluntarily or involuntarily, in seeming harmony with the wishes of the conspirators.
We have seen him after that surrounded by less malign influences, and prevented, by loyal men in his Cabinet, from allowing his fears or his inclinations to do the Republic
And when the National
Fast-day which he had recommended had been observed,
he spoke some brave words in a message sent in to Congress,
saying, it was his right and his duty to “use military force defensively against those who resist the Federal
officers in the execution of their legal functions, and against those who assail the property of the Federal Government
;” yet he refused to support these brave words by corresponding dutiful action, and cast the whole responsibility of meeting the great peril upon Congress, at the same time suggesting to it the propriety of yielding to the demands of the disloyal Oligarchy, by adopting, substantially, the Crittenden Compromise
seemed determined to get through with the remainder of his term of office as quietly as possible, and as innocent of all offense toward the conspirators as “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind” would allow.37
In his efforts to please his “Southern friends,” he sometimes omitted to be just.
While the country was ringing with plaudits for Major Anderson
, because of his gallant and useful conduct at Fort Sumter
, and Lieutenant-General Scott
asked the President
to show his regard for the faithful soldier, and act as “the interpreter of the wish of millions” by nominating Anderson
for the rank of lieutenant-colonel by brevet, for his “wise and heroic transfer of the garrison of Fort Moultrie
to Fort Sumter
;” also by nominating him for the rank of colonel by brevet, “for his gallant maintenance of the latter fort, under severe hardships, with but a handful of men, against the threats and summons of a formidable army,” 38
, who might, in that act, have won back much of the lost respect of his countrymen, refused, saying in substance :--“I leave that for my successor to do.”
And with a seeming desire to maintain his inoffensive position toward the conspirators, he pursued a timorous and vacillating policy, which greatly embarrassed his loyal counselors, and paralyzed their efforts to strengthen the ship of State, so as to meet safely the shock of the impending tempest.
Notwithstanding his efforts to please his “Southern friends,” they would not allow the current of the President
's official life to flow smoothly on, after Holt
, loyal Democrats, became his counselors.
They would not trust him with such advisers at his ear. It has been said that he “preached like a patriot, but practised like a traitor.”
His preaching offended and alarmed them, especially the South Carolina
politicians, for its burden was against the dignity of their “Sovereign nation.”
was in possession of National troops, they felt that South Carolina
was insulted and her sovereignty and independence were denied.
So, on the 11th of January, two days after the attack on the Star of the West
, Governor Pickens
, as we have observed,39
sent A. G. Magrath
and D. F. Jamison
, of his Executive Council, to demand its surrender to the authorities of the State
refused to give it up, and referred the matter to the President
; whereupon Pickens
sent Isaac W. Hayne
, the Attorney-General
of the State
, in company with Lieutenant Hall
, of Anderson
's command, to Washington City
, to present the same demand to the National Executive
bore a letter from the Governor
to the President
, in which the former declared, that the demand for surrender was suggested because of his “earnest desire to avoid the bloodshed which a persistence in the attempt to retain possession
of that fort would cause, and which would be unavailing to secure that possession.”
was authorized to “give the pledge of the Stated” that the valuation of the public property within Fort Sumter
should be “accounted for by the State
, upon the adjustment of its relations with the United States
, of which it was a part.”
arrived in Washington City
on the 13th of January, when ten of the disloyal Senators
, still holding seats in Congress,41
advised him, in writing, not to present the letter of Pickens
to the President
until after the Southern Confederacy should be formed, a month later.
They proposed to ask the President
to agree not to re-enforce Fort Sumter
, in the mean time.
“I am not clothed with power to make the arrangement you suggest,” Mr. Hayne
replied, in writing; “but, provided you can get assurances, with which you are entirely satisfied, that no re-enforcements will be sent to Fort Sumter
in the interval, and that the public peace will not be disturbed by any act of hostility toward South Carolina
, I will refer
your communication to the authorities of South Carolina
, and, withholding the communication with which I am at the present charged, will await further instructions.”
This correspondence was laid before the President
by Senators Slidell
, and Mallory
, and the President
was asked to consider the matter.42
He replied, through Mr. Holt
, the Secretary of War
, that he could not give such pledge, for the simple reason that he had no authority to do so, being bound as an Executive officer to enforce the laws as far as practicable.
He informed them that it was not deemed necessary to re-enforce Major Anderson
at that time; but told them, explicitly, that should the safety of that officer at any time require it, the effort to give him re-enforcements and supplies would be made.
He reminded them that Congress alone had the power to make war, and that it would be an act of
usurpation on the part of the Executive
to give any assurance that Congress would not exercise that power.
When this correspondence reached Charleston
, Governor Pickens
to present the demand for the surrender of Sumter
He did so,
in a letter of considerable length, to which Secretary Holt
gave a final answer on the 6th of February, in which, as in his reply to Senators Fitzpatrick
, and Slidell
, he claimed for the Government
the right to send forward re-enforcements when, in the judgment of the President
, the safety of the garrison required them — a right resting on the same foundation as the right to occupy the fort.
He denied the right of South Carolina
to the possession of the fort, and said:--“If the announcement, so repeatedly made, of the President
's pacific purpose in continuing the occupation of Fort Sumter
until the question shall be settled by competent authority, has failed to impress the government of South Carolina
, the forbearing conduct of the Administration for the last few months should be received as conclusive evidence of his sincerity.
And if this forbearance, in view of the circumstances which have so severely tried it, be not accepted as a satisfactory pledge of the peaceful policy of this Administration towards South Carolina
, then it may be safely affirmed that neither language nor conduct can possibly furnish one.
If, with all the multiplied proofs which exist of the President
's anxiety for peace, and of the earnestness with which he has pursued it, the authorities of that State shall assault Fort Sumter
, and peril the lives of the handful of brave and loyal men shut up within its walls, and thus plunge our common country into the horrors of civil war, then upon them and those they represent must rest the responsibility.”
Here ended the attempt of the conspirators of South Carolina
to have the sovereignty of that State acknowledged by diplomatic intercourse.
It had utterLy failed.
The President refused to receive Governor Pickens
's agent, excepting as “a distinguished citizen of South Carolina
,” and also refused any compliance with the demands of the authorities of that State.
He had been strongly inclined to yield to these demands; but recent manifestations of public opinion convinced him that he could not do so without exciting the hot indignation of the loyal portion of the people.
Coincident with these manifestations were the strong convictions of Holt
, and Attorney-General Stanton
of his Cabinet.43
was dismissed, “Commissioner
” Thomas J. Judge
appeared on the stage at Washington
, as the representative of Alabama
, duly authorized “to negotiate with the Government
of the United States
in reference to the forts, arsenals, and custom houses in that State, and the debt of the United States
He approached the President
through Senator C. C. Clay, Jr.
, who expressed his desire that when Judge
might have an audience, he should “present his credentials and enter upon the proposed negotiations.”
The President placed Mr. Judge
on the same footing with Mr. Hayne
, as only a “distinguished” private gentleman, and not as an embassador; whereupon Senator Clay
wrote an angry letter to the President
too foolish in matter and manner to deserve a place in history.
The “Sovereign State of Alabama
” then withdrew, in the person of Mr. Judge
, who argued that the course of the President
implied either an abandonment of all claims to the National
property within the limits of his State, or a desire that it should be retaken by the sword.45
No further attempts to open diplomatic intercourse between the United States
and the banded conspirators in “seceded States” were made during the remainder of Mr. Buchanan
's Administration; and he quietly left the chair of State for private life, a deeply sorrowing man. “Governor,” said the President
to Senator Fitzpatrick
, a few weeks before,
when the latter was about to depart for Alabama
, “the current of events warns me that we shall never meet again on this side the grave.
I have tried to do my duty to both sections, and have displeased both.
I feel isolated in the world.”