The civil history of the Confederate States248]
|Clement A. Evans|
North and South.
- The settlement of 1850 -- previous sectional questions -- origin of the terms North and South -- extent of ‘old South’ -- sectional rivalries -- slave -- holding nearly universal -- objected to by the South and insisted on by the slave traders -- ‘profit and loss,’ and not conscience -- causes which necessitate the Confederate States.
the political history of the Confederate States of America somewhat distinctly begins in 1850 with ‘the Settlement’ of sectional agitation by the Compromise measures of that year, enacted by the Congress of the United States, approved by the President, confirmed by decisions of the Supreme court, endorsed in resolutions, political platforms and general elections by the people. The ‘Settlement’ thus solemnly ordained by and among the States composing the Union, became equal in moral and political force, to any part of the Constitution of the United States. Its general object was to carry out the preamble to the Constitution, viz.: ‘We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.’ Its avowed special object was to settle forever all the disturbing, sectional agitations concerning slave labor, so as to leave that question where the Constitution had placed it, subject to the operation of humanity, moral law,  economic law, natural law and the laws of the States. Its patriotic purpose was to eliminate sectionalism from the politics of the whole country. Grave questions of sectional nature had arisen during the colonial period on which the colonies North and the colonies South divided by their respective sections. The original division of the British territorial possessions on the American continent into the geographical designations, North and South, occurred historically in the grants made by King James, 1606; the first to the London Company of the territory south of the 38th degree north latitude, and the other to the Plymouth Colony of the territory north of the 41st degree north latitude. Both grants extended westward to an indefinite boundary. The Plymouth Settlement afterward subdued the Dutch possessions lying to the south, thus including that territory in the general term North. The settlements of Delaware and Maryland covered the areas lying north of Virginia and they were embraced in the section termed South. The general line of division, somewhat indistinct, lay between the 38th and the 39th degrees north latitude. The Mason and Dixon line—39° 43′ 26″—was established by subsequent surveys and was designed to settle certain boundary disputes. In the eighteenth century the original partition of King James was changed by various grants and the English possessions were also extended far down the Atlantic coast by grants of the Carolinas and Georgia The original ‘Old South’ extended by all these grants along the Atlantic shore from the south line of Georgia to the north of Delaware, and westward from that wide ocean front certainly to the French possessions on the Mississippi river, including the territory of Virginia in the northwest and embracing a vast area of the best part of America; but by proper construction of these and other original charters which made the western limit ‘the South sea,’ meaning the Pacific ocean, the vast domain of the Old South embraced also  all Texas and much of the territory acquired from Mexico. The rivalry of the colonies included in these two sections in their struggle for population, commerce, wealth and general influence in American affairs, arose early and continued during the century preceding the American Revolution, each section becoming accustomed to a geographical and sectional grouping of colonies and each striving to advance its own local interests. Thus the colonies of both sections grew robustly as separate organizations into the idea of free statehood, but at the same time fostered the dangerous jealousies of sections. The sectional spirit grew alongside the development of colonial statehood. The colonies north became a group of Northern States, and the colonies south a group of Southern States The conflict with Great Britain, which had been long impending, brought the sections together in a common cause as against the external enemy, but the achievement of the independence of the several colonies was accompanied by the quick return of the old antagonism which had previously divided them into geographic sections. The loose Union, which had been created pending the Revolutionary war, through Articles of Confederation, was found inefficient to control or even to direct the irrepressible conflict of opposing or emulating interests. Hence the Constitution of the United States was substituted for the Articles of Confederation and ‘a more perfect Union’ was ordained, expressly to prevent or at least to modify sectional conflicts by the constitutional pledge to promote domestic tranquillity and provide for the general welfare. During all these struggles of the colonies among themselves, caused by commercial rivalries, the slavery of any part of the population was not the cause of dangerous disagreement anywhere. The British colonies were all slave-holding. Negroes were bought and sold in Boston  and New York as well as in Richmond or Savannah. The Declaration of Independence, written by Jefferson, who was opposed to slavery, and concurred in by the committee of which Adams, Sherman, Livingston and Franklin, all Northern men, were members, made no declaration against slavery and no allusion to it, except to charge the King of Great Britain with the crime of exciting domestic insurrection. In framing the Constitution all sectional differences, including the subject of slavery, were compromised. ‘The compromises on the slavery question inserted in the Constitution were,’ as Mr. Blaine correctly remarks, ‘among the essential conditions upon which the Federal government was organized.’ （Twenty Years, vol. 1, p. 1.) Sectional conflicts, subsequent to the formation of the Constitution from which the Union resulted, were also mainly caused by similar commercial rivalries and ambitions for political advantage. The maintenance of the political equilibrium between the North and the South occupied at all times the anxious thought of patriotic statesmen. In the contests which threatened this equality slavery was not the only nor at first the main disturbing cause. It was not the question in the war of 1812 upon which the States were divided into sections North and South, nor in the purchase of Louisiana Territory, as the debates show; the real ground of opposition being the fear that this vast territory would transfer political power southward, which was evidenced by Josiah Quincy's vehement declaration of his ‘alarm that six States might grow up beyond the Mississippi.’ Nor was the acquisition of Florida advocated or opposed because of slavery. The tariff issue, out of which the nullification idea arose, was decidedly on a question of just procedure in raising revenue, and not on slavery. The question was made suddenly and lamentably prominent in the application of Missouri to be admitted into the Union, but the agitation which then threatened the peace of the  country was quelled by the agreement upon the dividing line of 36° 30′. ‘The Missouri question marked a distinct era in the political thought of the country, and made a profound impression on the minds of patriotic men. Suddenly, without warning, the North and the South found themselves arrayed against each other in violent and absorbing conflict.’ The annexation of Texas was urged because it increased the area of the Union, and was opposed because its addition to the States gave preponderance to the South. Thus it is seen that the early sectional rivalries had no vital connection with slavery, and it will appear that its extinction will not of itself extinguish the fires that have so long burned between North and South. The great American conflict began through a geographical division of America made by the cupidity of an English king. It was continued for financial, economic, commercial and political reasons. A false idea of duality—a North and South—in the United States has been deeply rooted in the American mind. To understand the causes which produced the Confederate States of America, all the various incidents which successively agitated the fears of either section that the other would gain an advantage, must be held steadily in view. This sectional ambition to secure and maintain the preponderance of political power operated through various incidents in colonial times, then in those which attended the formation of the Constitution, also in subsequent incidents—such as the location of the capital; the appropriations of money for internal improvements; the war of 1812; the acquisition of Southern territory; the tariff issue and the distribution of government offices and patronage. One after another of these controversies subsiding, a period approached when slavery itself became the main incident of this long-continued sectional rivalry. Slavery, on coming so conspicuously into notice as to be the main ground of contention between North  and South, was, therefore, regarded as the chief distraction to be removed by the settlement effected in 1850. Briefly stating the case in 1850, let it be considered that the old sectional differences on account of commercial rivalry and political supremacy had at length become hostilities, which for the first time seriously threatened the Union of the States. Let it also be understood that the agitation which immediately preceded the settlement of 1850 was caused directly by differences of views as to the proper disposition of the national institution of slavery. The statesmen of 1850 knew the following facts: The United States had indorsed the existence of slavery and authorized the importation of enslaved Africans; the colonies, separately acting previous to their Union, had established the institution in their labor systems. The European governments which held paramount authority over the colonies had originated it. The chiefs of African tribes enforced it by their wars, and profited by it in the sale of their captives to foreigners. The world at large practiced it in some form. Thus the African kings, the governments of Europe and America, the ship owners, slave traders, speculators and pioneers of the New World conspired to initiate a wrong, from which a retribution at length followed, in which the innocent slave with his last Southern owner suffered more than all the guilty parties who had profited by his bondage. The hardy and adventurous settlers in the American colonies permitted themselves after occasional protests, such as occurred in Virginia, and afterward in Georgia, to be seduced into the buying of negroes from the artful and avaricious slave traders of England, Holland and New England. The importations, however, were few, because the European possessions in the semi-tropics were the first takers of this species of property. Tidings of the evils of the system in its barbarous stages, and stories all too true of the horrors of the middle passage aboard  the ships of the inhuman slave importers, made the colonies reluctant to engage in the traffic. Nevertheless, the colonies experimented with this form of labor,