YEAS.—Messrs. Baker, Bayard, Benjamin, Bigler, Bragg, Bright, Clingman, Crittenden, Douglas, Fitch, Green, Gwin, Hemphill, Hunter, Iverson, Johnson of Tennessee, Kennedy, Lane, Mason, Nicholson, Pearce, Polk, Powell, Pugh, Rice, Saulsbury, Sebastian, Slidell and Wigfall—29.
NAYS.—Messrs. Anthony, Bingham, Cameron, Chandler, Clark, Collamer, Dixon, Doolittle, Durkee, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Grimes, Hale, Harlan, King, Latham, Seward, Simmons, Sumner, Ten Eyck, Trumbull, Wade and Wilson—24.
The question now recurred upon an amendment, in the nature of a substitute, offered by Mr. Clark, to strike out the preamble of the Crittenden proposition and all of the resolutions after the word "resolved," and insert:
"That the provisions of the Constitution are ample for the preservation of the Union, and the protection of all the material interests of the Country; that it needs to be obeyed rather than amended; and that an extrication from our present dangers is to be looked for in strenuous efforts to preserve the peace, protect the public property, and enforce the laws, rather than in new Guarantees for particular interests, Compromises for particular difficulties, or Concessions to unreasonable demands.
"Resolved, That all attempts to dissolve the present Union, or overthrow or abandon the present Constitution, with the hope or expectation of constructing a new one, are dangerous, illusory, and destructive; that in the opinion of the Senate of the United States no such Reconstruction is practicable; and, therefore, to the maintenance of the existing Union and Constitution should be directed all the energies of all the departments of the Government, and the efforts of all good citizens."
Before reaching a vote on this amendment, Mr. Anthony, (January 16th) made a most conciliatory speech, pointing out such practical objections to the Crittenden proposition as occurred to his mind, and then, continuing, said: "I believe, Mr. President, that if the danger which menaces us is to be avoided at all, it must be by Legislation; which is more ready, more certain, and more likely to be satisfactory, than Constitutional Amendment. The main difficulty is the Territorial question. The demand of the Senators on the other side of the Chamber, and of those whom they represent, is that the territory south of the line of the Missouri Compromise shall be open to their peculiar Property. All this territory, except the Indian Reservation, is within the limits of New Mexico; which, for a part of its northern boundary, runs up two degrees above that line. This is now a Slave Territory; made so by Territorial Legislation; and Slavery exists there, recognized and protected. Now, I am willing, as soon as Kansas can be admitted, to vote for the admission of New Mexico as a State, with such Constitution as the People may adopt. This disposes of all the territory that is adapted to Slave Labor or that is claimed by the South. It ought to settle the whole question. Surely if we can dispose of all the territory that we have, we ought not to quarrel over that which we have not, and which we have no very honest way of acquiring. Let us settle the difficulties that threaten us now, and not anticipate those which may never come. Let the public mind have time to cool * * *. In offering to settle this question by the admission of New Mexico, we of the North who assent to it propose a great Sacrifice, and offer a large Concession.
"* * * But we make the offer in a spirit of Compromise and good feeling, which we hope will be reciprocated. * * * I appeal to Senators on the other side, when we thus offer to bridge over full seven-eighths of the frightful chasm that separates us, will you not build the other eighth? When, with outstretched arms, we approach you so near that, by reaching out your hands you can clasp ours in the fraternal grasp from which they should never be separated, will you, with folded arms and closed eyes, stand upon extreme demands which you know we cannot accept, and for which, if we did, we could not carry our constituents? * * * Together our Fathers achieved the Independence of their Country; together they laid the foundations of its greatness and its glory; together they constructed this beautiful system under which it is our privilege to live, which it is our duty to preserve and to transmit. Together we enjoy that privilege; together we must perform that duty. I will not believe that, in the madness of popular folly and delusion, the most benignant Government that ever blessed humanity is to be broken up. I will not believe that this great Power which is marching with giant steps toward the first place among the Nations of the Earth, is to be turned 'backward on its mighty track.' There are no grievances, fancied or real, that cannot be redressed within the Union and under the Constitution. There are no differences between us that may not be settled if we will take them up in the spirit of those to whose places we have succeeded, and the fruits of whose labors we have inherited."
And to this more than fair proposition to the Southerners—to this touching appeal in behalf of Peace—what was the response? Not a word! It seemed but to harden their hearts.
[Immediately after Mr. Anthony's appeal to the Southern Senators, a motion was made by Mr. Collamer to postpone the Crittenden Resolutions and take up the Kansas Admission Bill. Here was the chance at once offered to them to respond to that appeal—to make a first step, as it were. They would not make it. The motion was defeated by 25 yeas to 30 nays—Messrs. Benjamin and Slidell of Louisiana, Hemphill and Wigfall of Texas, Iverson of Georgia, and Johnson of Arkansas, voting "nay." The question at once recurred on the amendment of Mr. Clark—being a substitute for the Crittenden Resolutions, declaring in effect all Compromise unnecessary. To let that substitute be adopted, was to insure the failure of the Crittenden proposition. Yet these same six Southern Senators though present, refused to vote, and permitted the substitute to be adopted by 25 yeas to 23 nays. The vote of Mr. Douglas, who had been "called out for an instant into the ante-room, and deprived of the opportunity of voting "—as he afterwards stated when vainly asking unanimous consent to have his vote recorded among the nays-would have made it 25 yeas to 24 nays, had he been present and voting, while the votes of the six Southern Senators aforesaid, had they voted, would have defeated the substitute by 25 yeas to 30 nays. Then upon a direct vote on the Crittenden Compromise there would not only have been the 30 in its favor, but the vote of at least one Republican (Baker) in addition, to carry it, and, although that would not have given the necessary two-thirds, yet it would have been a majority handsome enough to have ultimately turned the scales, in both Houses, for a peaceful adjustment of the trouble, and have avoided all the sad consequences which so speedily befell the Nation. But this would not have suited the Treasonable purposes of the Conspirators. Ten days before this they had probably arranged the Programme in this, as well as other matters. Very certain it is that no time was lost by them and their friends in making the best use for their Cause of this vote, in the doubtful States of Missouri and North Carolina especially. In the St. Louis journals a Washington dispatch, purporting (untruly however) to come from Senators Polk and Green, was published to this effect.
"The Crittenden Resolutions were lost by a vote of 25 to 23. A motion of Mr. Cameron to reconsider was lost; and thus ends all hope of reconciliation. Civil War is now considered inevitable, and late accounts declare that Fort Sumter will be attacked without delay. The Missouri delegation recommend immediate Secession."
This is but a sample of other similar dispatches sent elsewhere. And the following dispatch, signed by Mr. Crittenden, and published in the Raleigh, N. C., Register, to quiet the excitement raised by the telegrams of the Conspirators, serves also to indicate that the friends of Compromise were not disheartened by their defeat:
"WASHINGTON, Jan. 17th, 9 P. M.
"In reply the vote against my resolutions will be reconsidered. Their failure was the result of the refusal of six Southern Senators to vote. There is yet good hope of success.
"JOHN J. CRITTENDEN."
There is instruction also to be drawn from the speeches of Senators Saulsbury, and Johnson of Tennessee, made fully a year afterward (Jan. 29-31, 1862) in the Senate, touching the defeat of the Crittenden Compromise by the Clark substitute at this time. Speaking of the second session of the Thirty-sixth Congress, Mr. Saulsbury said:
"At that session, while vainly striving with others for the adoption of those measures, I remarked in my place in the Senate that—
"'If any Gibbon should hereafter write the Decline and Fall of the American Republic, he would date its fall from the rejection by the Senate of the propositions submitted by the Senator from Kentucky.'
"I believed so then, and I believe so now. I never shall forget, Mr. President, how my heart bounded for joy when I thought I saw a ray of hope for their adoption in the fact that a Republican Senator now on this floor came to me and requested that I should inquire of Mr. Toombs, who was on the eve of his departure for Georgia to take a seat in the Convention of that State which was to determine the momentous question whether she should continue a member of the Union or withdraw from it, whether, if the Crittenden propositions were adopted, Georgia would remain in the Union.
"Said Mr. Toombs:
"'Tell him frankly for me that if those resolutions are adopted by the vote of any respectable number of Republican Senators, evidencing their good faith to advocate their ratification by their people, Georgia will not Secede. This is the position I assumed before the people of Georgia. I told them that if the party in power gave evidence of an intention to preserve our rights in the Union, we were bound to wait until their people could act.'
"I communicated the answer. The Substitute of the Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. Clark] was subsequently adopted, and from that day to this the darkness and the tempest and the storm have thickened, until thousands like myself, as good and as true Union men as you, Sir, though you may question our motives, have not only despaired but are without hope in the future."
To this speech, Mr. Johnson of Tennessee subsequently replied as follows in the United States Senate (Jan. 31, 1862)
"Sir, it has been said by the distinguished Senator from Delaware [Mr. Saulsbury] that the questions of controversy might all have been settled by Compromise. He dealt rather extensively in the Party aspect of the case, and seemingly desired to throw the onus of the present condition of affairs entirely on one side. He told us that, if so and so had been done, these questions could have been settled, and that now there would have been no War. He referred particularly to the resolution offered during the last Congress by the Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. Clark], and upon the vote on that he based his argument. * * * The Senator told us that the adoption of the Clark amendment to the Crittenden Resolutions defeated the settlement of the questions of controversy; and that, but for that vote, all could have been peace and prosperity now. We were told that the Clark amendment defeated the Crittenden Compromise, and prevented a settlement of the controversy. On this point I will read a portion of the speech of my worthy and talented friend from California [Mr. Latham]; and when I speak of him thus, I do it in no unmeaning sense I intend that he, not I, shall answer the Senator from Delaware. * * * As I have said, the Senator from Delaware told us that the Clark amendment was the turning point in the whole matter; that from it had flowed Rebellion, Revolution, War, the shooting and imprisonment of people in different States—perhaps he meant to include my own. This was the Pandora's box that has been opened, out of which all the evils that now afflict the Land have flown. * * * My worthy friend from California [Mr. Latham], during the last session of Congress, made one of the best speeches he ever made. * * * In the course of that speech, upon this very point he made use of these remarks:
"'Mr. President, being last winter a careful eye-witness of all that occurred, I soon became satisfied that it was a deliberate, wilful design, on the part of some representatives of Southern States, to seize upon the election of Mr. Lincoln merely as an excuse to precipitate this revolution upon the Country. One evidence, to my mind, is the fact that South Carolina never sent her Senators here.'
"Then they certainly were not influenced by the Clark amendment.
"'An additional evidence is, that when gentlemen on this floor, by their votes, could have controlled legislation, they refused to cast them for fear that the very Propositions submitted to this body might have an influence in changing the opinions of their constituencies. Why, Sir, when the resolutions submitted by the Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. Clark], were offered as an amendment to the Crittenden Propositions, for the manifest purpose of embarrassing the latter, and the vote taken on the 16th of January, 1861, I ask, what did we see? There were fifty-five Senators at that time upon this floor, in person. The Globe of the second Session, Thirty-Sixth Congress, Part I., page 409, shows that upon the call of the yeas and nays immediately preceding the vote on the substituting of Mr. Clark's amendment, there were fifty-five votes cast. I will read the vote from the Globe:
"'YEAS—Messrs. Anthony, Baker, Bingham, Cameron, Chandler, Clark, Collamer, Dixon, Doolittle, Durkee, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Grimes, Hale, Harlan, King, Seward, Simmons, Sumner, Ten Eyck, Trumbull, Wade, Wilkinson, and Wilson—25.
"NAYS—Messrs. Bayard, Benjamin, Bigler, Bragg, Bright, Clingman, Crittenden, Douglas, Fitch, Green, Gwin, Hemphill, Hunter, Iverson, Johnson of Arkansas, Johnson of Tennessee, Kennedy, Lane, Latham, Mason, Nicholson, Pearce, Polk, Powell, Pugh, Rice, Saulsbury, Sebastian, Slidell and Wigfall—30.
"The vote being taken immediately after, on the Clark Proposition, was as follows:
"YEAS—Messrs. Anthony, Baker, Bingham, Cameron, Chandler, Clark, Collamer, Dixon, Doolittle, Durkee, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Grimes, Hale, Harlan, King, Seward, Simmons, Sumner, Ten Eyck, Trumbull, Wade, Wilkinson and Wilson—25.
"NAYS-Messrs. Bayard, Bigler, Bragg, Bright, Clingman, Crittenden, Fitch, Green, Gwin, Hunter, Johnson of Tennessee, Kennefly, Lane, Latham, Mason, Nicholson, Pearce, Polk, Powell, Pugh, Rice, Saulsbury and Sebastian-23.
"'Six senators retained their seats and refused to vote, thus themselves allowing the Clark Proposition to supplant the Crittenden Resolution by a vote of twenty-five to twenty-three. Mr. Benjamin of Louisiana, Mr. Hemphill and Mr. Wigfall of Texas, Mr. Iverson of Georgia, Mr. Johnson of Arkansas, and Mr. Slidell of Louisiana, were in their seats, but refused to cast their votes.'
"I sat right behind Mr. Benjamin, and I am not sure that my worthy friend was not close by, when he refused to vote, and I said to him, 'Mr. Benjamin, why do you not vote? Why not save this Proposition, and see if we cannot bring the Country to it?' He gave me rather an abrupt answer, and said he would control his own action without consulting me or anybody else. Said I: 'Vote, and show yourself an honest man.' As soon as the vote was taken, he and others telegraphed South, 'We cannot get any Compromise.' Here were six Southern men refusing to vote, when the amendment would have been rejected by four majority if they had voted. Who, then, has brought these evils on the Country? Was it Mr. Clark? He was acting out his own policy; but with the help we had from the other side of the chamber, if all those on this side had been true to the Constitution and faithful to their constituents, and had acted with fidelity to the Country, the amendment of the Senator from New Hampshire could have been voted down, the defeat of which the Senator from Delaware says would have saved the Country. Whose fault was it? Who is responsible for it? * * * Who did it? SOUTHERN TRAITORS, as was said in the speech of the Senator from California. They did it. They wanted no Compromise. They accomplished their object by withholding their votes; and hence the Country has been involved in the present difficulty. Let me read another extract from this speech of the Senator from California
"'I recollect full well the joy that pervaded the faces of some of those gentlemen at the result, and the sorrow manifested by the venerable Senator from Kentucky [Mr. Crittenden]. The record shows that Mr. Pugh, from Ohio, despairing of any Compromise between the extremes of ultra Republicanism and Disunionists, working manifestly for the same end, moved, immediately after the vote was announced, to lay the whole subject on the table. If you will turn to page 443, same volume, you will find, when, at a late period, Mr. Cameron, from Pennsylvania, moved to reconsider the vote, appeals having been made to sustain those who were struggling to preserve the Peace of the Country, that the vote was reconsidered; and when, at last, the Crittenden Propositions were submitted on the 2d day of March, these Southern States having 'nearly all Seceded, they were then lost but by one vote. Here is the vote:
"YEAS-Messrs. Bayard, Bigler, Bright, Crittenden, Douglas, Gwin, Hunter, Johnson of Tennessee, Kennedy, Lane, Latham, Mason, Nicholson, Polk, Pugh, Rice, Sebastian, Thomson and Wigfall—19.
"'NAYS-Messrs. Anthony, Bingham, Chandler, Clark, Dixon, Doolittle, Durkee, Fessenden, Foot, Foster, Grimes, Harlan, King, Morrill, Sumner, Ten Eyck, Trumbull, Wade, Wilkinson and Wilson—20.
"'If these Seceding Southern senators had remained, there would have passed, by a large vote (as it did without them), an amendment, by a two-third vote, forbidding Congress ever interfering with Slavery in the States. The Crittenden Proposition would have been indorsed by a majority vote, the subject finally going before the People, who have never yet, after consideration, refused Justice, for any length of time, to any portion of the Country.
"'I believe more, Mr. President, that these gentlemen were acting in pursuance of a settled and fixed plan to break up and destroy this Government.'
"When we had it in our power to vote down the amendment of the Senator from New Hampshire, and adopt the Crittenden Resolutions, certain Southern Senators prevented it; and yet, even at a late day of the session, after they had Seceded, the Crittenden Proposition was only lost by one vote. If Rebellion and bloodshed and murder have followed, to whose skirts does the responsibility attach?
"What else was done at the very same session? The House of Representatives passed, and sent to this body, a Proposition to amend the Constitution of the United States, so as to prohibit Congress from ever hereafter interfering with the Institution of Slavery in the States, making that restriction a part of the Organic law of the Land. That Constitutional Amendment came here after the Senators from seven States had Seceded; and yet it was passed by a two-third vote in the Senate. Have you ever heard of any one of the States which had then Seceded, or which has since Seceded, taking up that Amendment to the Constitution, and saying they would ratify it, and make it a part of that instrument? No. Does not the whole history of this Rebellion tell you that it was Revolution that the Leaders wanted, that they started for, that they intended to have? The facts to which I have referred show how the Crittenden Proposition might have been carried; and when the Senators from the Slave States were reduced to one-fourth of the members of this body, the two Houses passed a Proposition to Amend the Constitution, so as to guarantee to the States perfect security in regard to the Institution of Slavery in all future time, and prohibiting Congress from legislating on the subject.
"But what more was done? After Southern Senators had treacherously abandoned the Constitution and deserted their posts here, Congress passed Bills for the Organization of three new Territories: Dakota, Nevada, and Colorado; and in the sixth section of each of those Bills, after conferring, affirmatively, power on the Territorial Legislature, it went on to exclude certain powers by using a negative form of expression; and it provided, among other things, that the Legislature should have no power to legislate so as to impair the right to private property; that it should lay no tax discriminating against one description of Property in favor of another; leaving the power on all these questions, not in the Territorial Legislature, but in the People when they should come to form a State Constitution.
"Now, I ask, taking the Amendment to the Constitution, and taking the three Territorial Bills, embracing every square inch of territory in the possession of the United States, how much of the Slavery question was left? What better Compromise could have been made? Still we are told that matters might have been Compromised, and that if we had agreed to Compromise, bloody Rebellion would not now be abroad in the Land. Sir, Southern Senators are responsible for it. They stood here with power to accomplish the result, and yet treacherously, and, I may say, tauntingly they left this chamber, and announced that they had dissolved their connection with the Government. Then, when we were left in the hands of those whom we had been taught to believe would encroach upon our Rights, they gave us, in the Constitutional Amendment and in the three Territorial Bills, all that had ever been asked; and yet gentlemen talked Compromise!
"Why was not this taken and accepted? No; it was not Compromise that the Leaders wanted; they wanted Power; they wanted to Destroy this Government, so that they might have place and emolument for themselves. They had lost confidence in the intelligence and virtue and integrity of the People, and their capacity to govern themselves; and they intended to separate and form a government, the chief corner-stone of which should be Slavery, disfranchising the great mass of the People, of which we have seen constant evidence, and merging the Powers of Government in the hands of the Few. I know what I say. I know their feelings and their sentiments. I served in the Senate here with them. I know they were a Close Corporation, that had no more confidence in or respect for the People than has the Dey of Algiers. I fought that Close Corporation here. I knew that they were no friends of the People. I knew that Slidell and Mason and Benjamin and Iverson and Toombs were the enemies of Free Government, and I know so now. I commenced the war upon them before a State Seceded; and I intend to keep on fighting this great battle before the Country, for the perpetuity of Free Government. They seek to overthrow it, and to establish a Despotism in its place. That is the great battle which is upon our hands. * * * Now, the Senator from Delaware tells us that if that (Crittenden) Compromise had been made, all these consequences would have been avoided. It is a mere pretense; it is false. Their object was to overturn the Government. If they could not get the Control of this Government, they were willing to divide the Country and govern part of it."]
The Clark substitute was then agreed to, by 25 (Republican) yeas to 23 Democratic and Conservative (Bell-Everett) nays—6 Pro-Slavery Senators not voting, although present; and then, without division, the Crittenden Resolutions were tabled—Mr. Cameron, however, entering a motion to reconsider. Subsequently the action of the Senate, both on the Resolutions and Substitute, was reconsidered, and March 2d the matter came up again, as will hereafter appear.
Two days prior to this action in the Senate, Mr. Corwin, Chairman of the Select Committee of Thirty-three, reported to the House (January 14th), from a majority of that Committee, the following Joint Resolution:
"Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all attempts on the parts of the Legislatures of any of the States to obstruct or hinder the recovery and surrender of Fugitives from Service or Labor, are in derogation of the Constitution of the United States, inconsistent with the comity and good neighborhood that should prevail among the several States, and dangerous to the Peace of the Union.
"Resolved, That the several States be respectfully requested to cause their Statutes to be revised, with a view to ascertain if any of them are in conflict with or tend to embarrass or hinder the execution of the Laws of the United States, made in pursuance of the second section of the Fourth Article of the Constitution of the United States for the delivery up of Persons held to Labor by the laws of any State and escaping therefrom; and the Senate and House of Representatives earnestly request that all enactments having such tendency be forthwith repealed, as required by a just sense of Constitutional obligations, and by a due regard for the Peace of the Republic; and the President of the United States is requested to communicate these resolutions to the Governors of the several States, with a request that they will lay the same before the Legislatures thereof respectively.
"Resolved, That we recognize Slavery as now existing in fifteen of the United States by the usages and laws of those States; and we recognize no authority, legally or otherwise, outside of a State where it so exists, to interfere with Slaves or Slavery in such States, in disregard of the Rights of their owners or the Peace of society.
"Resolved, That we recognize the justice and propriety of a faithful execution of the Constitution, and laws made in pursuance thereof, on the subject of Fugitive Slaves, or Fugitives from Service or Labor, and discountenance all mobs or hindrances to the execution of such laws, and that citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States.
"Resolved, That we recognize no such conflicting elements in its composition, or sufficient cause from any source, for a dissolution of this Government; that we were not sent here to destroy, but to sustain and harmonize the Institutions of the Country, and to see that equal justice is done to all parts of the same; and finally, to perpetuate its existence on terms of equality and justice to all the States.
"Resolved, That a faithful observance, on the part of all the States, of all their Constitutional obligations to each other and to the Federal Government, is essential to the Peace of the Country.
"Resolved, That it is the duty of the Federal Government to enforce the Federal Laws, protect the Federal property, and preserve the Union of these States.
"Resolved, That each State be requested to revise its Statutes, and, if necessary, so to amend the same as to secure, without Legislation by Congress, to citizens of other States traveling therein, the same protection as citizens of such States enjoy; and also to protect the citizens of other States traveling or sojourning therein against popular violence or illegal summary punishment, without trial in due form of law, for imputed crimes.
"Resolved, That each State be also respectfully requested to enact such laws as will prevent and punish any attempt whatever in such State to recognize or set on foot the lawless invasion of any other State or Territory.
"Resolved, That the President be requested to transmit copies of the foregoing resolutions to the Governors of the several States, with a request that they be communicated to their respective Legislatures."
This Joint Resolution, with amendments proposed to the same, came up in the House for action, on the 27th of February, 1861—the same day upon which the Peace Congress or Conference concluded its labors at Washington.
The Proposition of Mr. Burch, of California, was the first acted upon. It was to amend the Select Committee's resolutions, as above given, by adding to them another resolution at the end thereof, as follows:
"Resolved, etc., That it be, and is hereby, recommended to the several States of the Union that they, through their respective Legislatures, request the Congress of the United States to call a Convention of all the States, in accordance with Article Fifth of the Constitution, for the purpose of amending said Constitution in such manner and with regard to such subjects as will more adequately respond to the wants, and afford more sufficient Guarantees to the diversified and growing Interests of the Government and of the People composing the same."
This (Burch) amendment, however, was defeated by 14 yeas to 109 nays.
A Proposition of Mr. Kellogg, of Illinois, came up next for action. It was a motion to strike out all after the first word "That" in the Crittenden Proposition—which had been offered by Mr. Clemens as a substitute for the Committee Resolutions—and insert the following:
"The following articles be, and are hereby, proposed and submitted as Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, which shall be valid, to all intents and purposes as part of said Constitution, when ratified by Conventions of three-fourths of the several States.
"Article XIII. That in all the territory now held by the United States situate north of latitude 36 30' Involuntary Servitude, except in the punishment for crime, is prohibited while such territory shall remain under a Territorial government; that in all the territory now held south of said line, neither Congress nor any Territorial Legislature shall hinder or prevent the emigration to said territory of Persons; held to Service from any State of this Union, when that relation exists by virtue of any law or usage of such State, while it shall remain in a Territorial condition; and when any Territory north or south of said line, within such boundaries as Congress may prescribe, shall contain the population requisite for a member of Congress, according to the then Federal ratio of representation of the People of the United States, it may, if its form of government be Republican, be admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States, with or without the relation of Persons held to Service and Labor, as the Constitution of such new State may provide.
"Article XIV. That nothing in the Constitution of the United States, or any amendment thereto, shall be so construed as to authorize any Department of the Government to in any manner interfere with the relation of Persons held to Service in any State where that relation exists, nor in any manner to establish or sustain that relation in any State where it is prohibited by the Laws or Constitution of such State. And that this Article shall not be altered or amended without the consent of every State in the Union.
"Article XV. The third paragraph of the second section of the Fourth Article of the Constitution shall be taken and construed to authorize and empower Congress to pass laws necessary to secure the return of Persons held to Service or Labor under the laws of any State, who may have escaped therefrom, to the party to whom such Service or Labor may be due.
"Article XVI. The migration or importation of Persons held to Service or Involuntary Servitude, into any State, Territory, or place within the United States, from any place or country beyond the limits of the United States or Territories thereof, is forever prohibited.
"Article XVII. No territory beyond the present limits of the United States and the Territories thereof, shall be annexed to or be acquired by the United States, unless by treaty, which treaty shall be ratified by a vote of two-thirds of the Senate."
The Kellogg Proposition was defeated by 33 yeas to 158 nays.
The Clemens Substitute was next voted on. This embraced the whole of the Crittenden Compromise Proposition, as amended in the Senate by inserting the provision as to all territory "hereafter acquired," with the addition of another proposed Article of Amendment to the Constitution, as follows:
"Article VII. Section I. The elective franchise and the Right to hold office, whether Federal, State, Territorial, or Municipal, shall not be exercised by Persons who are, in whole or in part, of the African Race.
"Section II. The United States shall have power to acquire from time to time districts of country in Africa and South America, for the colonization, at expense of the Federal Treasury, of such Free Negroes and Mulattoes as the several States may wish to have removed from their limits, and from the District of Columbia, and such other places as may be under the jurisdiction of Congress."
The Clemens Substitute (or Crittenden Measure, with the addition of said proposed Article VII.), was defeated by 80 yeas to 113 nays, and then the Joint Resolution of the Select Committee as heretofore given—after a vain attempt to table it—was passed by 136 yeas to 53 nays.
Immediately after this action, a Joint Resolution to amend the Constitution of the United States, which had also been previously reported by the Select Committee of Thirty-three, came before the House, as follows:
"Be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, (two-thirds of both Houses concurring), That the following Article be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by three-fourths of said Legislatures, shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as a part of the said Constitution, namely:
"Article XII. No amendment of this Constitution having for its object any interference within the States with the relation between their citizens and those described in Section II. of the First Article of the Constitution as 'all other persons,' shall originate with any State that does not recognize that relation within its own limits, or shall be valid without the assent of every one of the States composing the Union."
Mr. Corwin submitted an Amendment striking out all the words after "namely;" and inserting the following:
"Article XII. No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the Domestic Institutions thereof, including that of Persons held to Labor or Service by the laws of said State."
Amid scenes of great disorder, the Corwin Amendment was adopted by 120 yeas to 61 nays, and then the Joint Resolution as amended, was defeated (two-thirds not voting in the affirmative) by 123 yeas to 71 nays. On the following day (February 28th), amid still greater confusion and disorder, which the Speaker, despite frequent efforts, was unable to quell, that vote was reconsidered, and the Joint Resolution passed by 133 yeas to 65 nays—a result which, when announced was received with "loud and prolonged applause, both on the floor, and in the galleries."
On the 2d of March, the House Joint Resolution just given, proposing an Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting Congress from touching Slavery within any State where it exists, came up in the Senate for action.
Mr. Pugh moved to substitute for it the Crittenden Proposition.
Mr. Doolittle moved to amend the proposed substitute (the Crittenden Proposition), by the insertion of the following, as an additional Article:
"Under this Constitution, as originally adopted, and as it now exists, no State has power to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the United States; but this Constitution, and all laws passed in pursuance of its delegated powers, are the Supreme Law of the Land, anything contained in any Constitution, Ordinance, or Act of any State, to the contrary notwithstanding."
Mr. Doolittle's amendment was lost by 18 yeas to 28 nays.
Mr. Pugh's substitute (the Crittenden Proposition), was lost by 14 yeas to 25 nays.
Mr. Bingham moved to amend the House Joint Resolution, by striking out all after the word "resolved," and inserting the words of the Clark Proposition as heretofore given, but the amendment was rejected by 13 yeas to 25 nays.
Mr. Grimes moved to strike out all after the word "whereas" in the preamble of the House Joint Resolution, and insert the following:
"The Legislatures of the States of Kentucky, New Jersey, and Illinois have applied to Congress to call a Convention for proposing Amendments to the Constitution of the United States: Therefore,
"Be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Legislatures of the other States be invited to take the subject of such a Convention into consideration, and to express their will on that subject to Congress, in pursuance of the Fifth Article of the Constitution."
This amendment was also rejected, by 14 yeas to 25 nays.
Mr. Johnson, of Arkansas, offered, as an amendment to the House Joint Resolution, the propositions submitted by the Peace Congress or Conference, but the amendment was disagreed to by 3 yeas to 34 nays.
The House Joint Resolution was then adopted by 24 yeas to 12 nays.
Subsequently the Crittenden Proposition came up again as a separate order, with the Clark substitute to it (once carried, but reconsidered), pending. The Clark substitute was then rejected by 14 yeas to 22 nays.
Mr. Crittenden then offered the Propositions of the Peace Congress, as a substitute for his own-and they were rejected by 7 yeas to 28 nays.
The Crittenden Proposition itself was then rejected, by 19 yeas to 20 nays.
SLAVERY'S SETTING, AND FREEDOM'S DAWN.
On that long last night of the 36th Congress—and of the Democratic Administration—to the proceedings of which reference was made in the preceding Chapter, several notable speeches were made, but there was substantially nothing done, in the line of Compromise. The only thing that had been accomplished was the passage, as we have seen, by two-thirds majority in both Houses, of the Joint Resolution proposing a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting Congress from meddling with Slavery in Slave States. There was no Concession nor Compromise in this, because Republicans, as well as Democrats, had always held that Congress had no such power. It is true that the Pro-slavery men had charged the Republicans with ultimate designs, through Congress, upon Slavery in the Slave States; and Mr. Crittenden pleaded for its passage as exhibiting a spirit, on their part, of reconciliation; that was all.
In his speech that night—that memorable and anxious night preceding the Inauguration of President Lincoln—the venerable Mr. Crittenden, speaking before the Resolution was agreed to, well sketched the situation when he said in the Senate: "It is an admitted fact that our Union, to some extent, has already been dismembered; and that further dismemberment is impending and threatened. It is a fact that the Country is in danger. This is admitted on all hands. It is our duty, if we can, to provide a remedy for this. We are, under the Constitution and by the election of the People, the great guardians, as well as the administrators of this Government. To our wisdom they have trusted this great chart. Remedies have been proposed; resolutions have been offered, proposing for adoption measures which it was thought would satisfy the Country, and preserve as much of the Union as remained to us at least, if they were not enough at once to recall the Seceding States to the Union. We have passed none of these measures. The differences of opinion among Senators have been such that we have not been able to concur in any of the measures which have been proposed, even by bare majorities, much less by that two-thirds majority which is necessary to carry into effect some of the pacific measures which have been proposed. We are about to adjourn. We have done nothing. Even the Senate of the United States, beholding this great ruin around them, beholding Dismemberment and Revolution going on, and Civil War threatened as the result, have been able to do nothing; we have absolutely done nothing. Sir, is not this a remarkable spectacle? * * * How does it happen that not even a bare majority here, when the Country trusted to our hands is going to ruin, have been competent to devise any measure of public safety? How does it happen that we have not had unanimity enough to agree on any measure of that kind? Can we account for it to ourselves, gentlemen? We see the danger; we acknowledge our duty, and yet, with all this before us, we are acknowledging before the world that we can do nothing; acknowledging before the world, or appearing to all the world, as men who do nothing! Sir, this will make a strange record in the history of Governments and in the history of the world. Some are for Coercion; yet no army has been raised, no navy has been equipped. Some are for pacification; yet they have been able to do nothing; the dissent of their colleagues prevents them; and here we are in the midst of a falling Country, in the midst of a falling State, presenting to the eyes of the World the saddest spectacle it has ever seen. Cato is represented by Addison as a worthy spectacle, 'a great man falling with a falling State,' but he fell struggling. We fall with the ignominy on our heads of doing nothing, like the man who stands by and sees his house in flames, and says to himself, 'perhaps the fire will stop before it consumes all.'"
One of the strong pleas made in the Senate that night, was by Mr. Douglas, when he said: "The great issue with the South has been that they would not submit to the Wilmot proviso. The Republican Party affirmed the doctrine that Congress must and could prohibit Slavery in the Territories. The issue for ten years was between Non-intervention on the part of Congress, and prohibition by Congress. Up to two years ago, neither the Senator (Mason) from Virginia, nor any other Southern Senator, desired affirmative legislation to protect Slavery. Even up to this day, not one of them has proposed affirmative legislation to protect it. Whenever the question has come up, they have decided that affirmative legislation to protect it was unnecessary; and hence, all that the South required on the Territorial question was 'hands off; Slavery shall not be prohibited by Act of Congress.' Now, what do we find? This very session, in view of the perils which surround the Country, the Republican Party, in both Houses of Congress, by a unanimous vote, have backed down from their platform and abandoned the doctrine of Congressional prohibition. This very week three Territorial Bills have been passed through both Houses of Congress without the Wilmot proviso, and no man proposed to enact it; not even one man on the other side of the Chamber would rise and propose the Wilmot proviso."
"In organizing three Territories," continued he, "two of them South of the very line where they imposed the Wilmot proviso twelve years ago, no one on the other side of the Chamber proposed it. They have abandoned the doctrine of the President-elect upon that point. He said, and it is on record, that he had voted for the Wilmot proviso forty-two times, and would do it forty-two times more if he ever had a chance. Not one of his followers this year voted for it once. The Senator from New York (Mr. Seward) the embodiment of the Party, sat quietly and did not propose it. What more? Last year we were told that the Slave Code of New Mexico was to be repealed. I denounced the attempted interference. The House of Representatives passed the Bill, but the Bill remains on your table; no one Republican member has proposed to take it up and pass it. Practically, therefore, the Chicago platform is abandoned; the Philadelphia platform is abandoned; the whole doctrine for which the Republican Party contended, as to the Territories, is abandoned, surrendered, given up. Non-intervention is substituted in its place. Then, when we find that, on the Territorial question, the Republican Party, by a unanimous vote, have surrendered to the South all they ask, the Territorial question ought to be considered pretty well settled. The only question left was that of the States; and after having abandoned their aggressive policy as to the Territories, a portion of them are willing to unite with us, and deprive themselves of the power to do it in the States."
"I submit," said he, "that these two great facts—these startling, tremendous facts—that they have abandoned their aggressive policy in the Territories, and are willing to give guarantees in the States, ought to be accepted as an evidence of a salutary change in Public Opinion at the North. All I would ask now of the Republican Party is, that they would insert in the Constitution the same principle that they have carried out practically in the Territorial Bills for Colorado, Dakota, and Nevada, by depriving Congress of the power hereafter to do what there cannot be a man of them found willing to do this year; but we cannot ask them to back down too much. I think they have done quite as much within one year, within three months after they have elected a President, as could be expected."
That Douglas and his followers were also patriotically willing to sacrifice a favorite theory in the face of a National peril, was brought out, at the same time, by Mr. Baker, when he said to Mr. Douglas: "I desire to suggest (and being a little of a Popular Sovereignty man, it comes gracefully from me) that others of us have backed down too, from the idea that Congress has not the power to prohibit Slavery in the Territories; and we are proposing some of us in the Crittenden proposition, and some in the Amendment now before the Senate—to prohibit Slavery by the Constitution itself, in the Territories;"—and by Mr. Douglas, when he replied: "I think as circumstances change, the action of public men ought to change in a corresponding degree. * * * I am willing to depart from my cherished theory, by an Amendment to the Constitution by which we shall settle this question on the principles prescribed in the Resolutions of the Senator from Kentucky."
In the House, Mr. Logan, had, on the 5th of February, 1861, said:
"Men, Sir, North and South, who love themselves far better than their Country, have brought us to this unhappy condition. * * * Let me say to gentlemen, that I will go as far as any man in the performance of a Constitutional duty to put down Rebellion, to suppress Insurrection, and to enforce the laws; but when we undertake the performance of these duties, let us act in such a manner as will be best calculated to preserve and not destroy the Government, and keep ourselves within the bounds of the Constitution. * * * Sir, I have always denied, and do yet deny, the Right of Secession. There is no warrant for it in the Constitution. It is wrong, it is unlawful, unconstitutional, and should be called by the right name, Revolution. No good, Sir, can result from it, but much mischief may. It is no remedy for any grievance.
"I hold that all grievances can be much easier redressed inside the Union than out of it. * * * If a collision must ensue between this Government and any of our own people, let it come when every other means of settlement has been tried and exhausted; and not then, except when the Government shall be compelled to repel assaults for the protection of its property, flag, and the honor of the Country. * * *
"I have been taught to believe that the preservation of this glorious Union, with its broad flag waving over us, as the shield for our protection on land and on sea, is paramount to all the Parties and platforms that ever have existed, or ever can exist. I would, to-day, if I had the power, sink my own Party, and every other one, with all their platforms, into the vortex of ruin, without heaving a sigh or shedding a tear, to save the Union, or even stop the Revolution where it is."
After enumerating the various propositions for adjustment, then pending in the House, to wit: that of Senator Crittenden; that of Senator Douglas; that of the Committee of Thirty-three; that of the Border States; and those of Representatives McClernand, Kellogg, and Morris, of Illinois, Mr. Logan took occasion to declare that "in a crisis like this" he was "willing to give his support to any of them," but his preference was for that of Mr. Morris.
Said he: "He (Morris) proposes that neither Congress nor a Territorial Legislature shall interfere with Slavery in the Territories at all; but leaves the people, when they come to form their State Constitution, to determine the question for themselves. I think this is the best proposition, because it is a fair concession on all sides. The Republicans give up their Congressional intervention; those who are styled 'Squatter Sovereigns' give up their Territorial legislative policy; and the Southern (Slave) protectionists give up their protection- intervention policy; thus every Party yields something. With this proposition as an Article in the Constitution, it would satisfy every conservative man in this Union, both North and South, I do seriously and honestly believe.
"Having indicated my preference of these propositions, and my reasons for that preference, I have said all I desire to say on the point, except to repeat again, that I will willingly vote for any of them, or make any other sacrifice necessary to save the Union. It makes no kind of difference to me what the sacrifice; if it will save my Country, I am ready to make it." * * *
"There are some in this Hall," said he, "that are almost ready to strike the Party fetters from their limbs, and assist in measures of Peace. Halt not; take the step; be independent and free at once! Let us overcome Party passion and error; allow virtue and good sense in this fateful hour to be triumphant; let us invoke Deity to interpose and prepare the way for our Country's escape from the perils by which we are now surrounded; and in view of our present greatness and future prospects, our magnificent and growing cities, our many institutions of learning, our once happy and prosperous People, our fruitful fields and golden forests, our enjoyment of all civil and religious blessings—let Parties die that these be preserved. Such noble acts of patriotism and concession, on your part, would cause posterity to render them illustrious, and pause to contemplate the magnitude of the events with which they were connected. * * * In the name of the patriotic sires who breasted the storms and vicissitudes of the Revolution; by all the kindred ties of this Country; in the name of the many battles fought for your Freedom; in behalf of the young and the old; in behalf of the Arts and Sciences, Civilization, Peace, Order, Christianity, and Humanity, I appeal to you to strike from your limbs the chains that bind them! Come forth from that loathsome prison, Party Caucus; and in this hour—the most gloomy and disheartening to the lovers of Free Institutions that has ever existed during our Country's history—arouse the drooping spirits of our countrymen, by putting forth your good strong arms to assist in steadying the rocking pillars of the mightiest Republic that has ever had an existence."
"Mr. Speaker," continued he, "a word or two more, and I am done. Revolution stalks over the Land. States have rebelled against the constituted authorities of the Union, and now stand, sword in hand, prepared to vindicate their new nationality. Others are preparing to take a similar position. Rapidly transpiring events are crowding on us with fearful velocity. Soon, circumstances may force us into an unnatural strife, in which the hand of brother shall be uplifted against brother, and father against son. My God, what a spectacle! If all the evils and calamities that have ever happened since the World began, could be gathered in one great Catastrophe, its horrors could not eclipse, in their frightful proportions, the Drama that impends over us. Whether this black cloud that drapes in mourning the whole political heavens, shall break forth in all the frightful intensity of War, and make Christendom weep at the terrible atrocities that will be enacted —or, whether it will disappear, and the sky resume its wonted serenity, and the whole Earth be irradiated by the genial sunshine of Peace once more—are the alternatives which this Congress, in my judgment, has the power to select between."
In this same broad spirit, Mr. Seward, in his great speech of January 12th, had said: "Republicanism is subordinate to Union, as everything else is and ought to be—Republicanism, Democracy, every other political name and thing; all are subordinate-and they ought to disappear in the presence of the great question of Union." In another part of it, he had even more emphatically said: "I therefore * * * avow my adherence to the Union in its integrity and with all its parts, with my friends, with my Party, with my State, with my Country, or without either, as they may determine, in every event, whether of Peace or War, with every consequence of honor or dishonor, of life or death. Although I lament the occasion, I hail with cheerfulness the duty of lifting up my voice among distracted debates, for my whole Country and its inestimable Union." And as showing still more clearly the kindly and conciliatory attitude of the great Republican leader, when speaking of those others who seemed to be about to invoke revolutionary action to oppose—and overthrow the Government—he said: "In such a case I can afford to meet prejudice with Conciliation, exaction with Concession which surrenders no principle, and violence with the right hand of Peace."
In the House of Representatives, too, the voice of patriotism was often heard through the loud clamor and disorder of that most disorderly and Treason-uttering session—was heard from the lips of statesmen, who rose high above Party, in their devotion to the Union. The calm, dispassionate recital by Henry Winter Davis (of Maryland), of the successive steps by which the Southern leaders had themselves created that very "North" of whose antagonism they complained, was one of the best of these, in some respects. He was one of the great Select Committee of Thirty-three, and it was (February 5th) after the Resolutions, heretofore quoted, had been reported by it, that he condensed the history of the situation into a nutshell, as follows:
"We are at the end of the insane revel of partisan license which, for thirty years, has, in the United States, worn the mask of Government. We are about to close the masquerade by the dance of death. The Nations of the World look anxiously to see if the People, ere they tread that measure, will come to themselves.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Southern politicians have created a North. Let us trace the process and draw the moral.
"The laws of 1850 calmed and closed the Slavery agitation; and President Pierce, elected by the almost unanimous voice of the States, did not mention Slavery in his first two Messages. In 1854, the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, at the instance of the South, reopened the agitation.
"Northern men, deserted by Southern Whigs, were left to unite for self-defense.
"The invasion of Kansas, in 1855 and 1856, from Missouri; the making a Legislature and laws for that Territory, by the invaders; still further united the Northern people. The election of 1856 measured its extent.
"The election of Mr. Buchanan and his opening policy in Kansas, soothed the irritation, and was rapidly demoralizing the new Party, when the Pro-Slavery Party in Kansas perpetrated, and the President and the South accepted, the Lecompton fraud, and again united the North more resolutely in resistance to that invasion of the rights of self-government.
"The South for the first time failed to dictate terms; and the People vindicated by their votes the refusal of the Constitution.
"Ere this result was attained, the opinions of certain Judges of the Supreme Court scattered doubts over the law of Slavery in the Territories; the South, while repudiating other decisions, instantly made these opinions the criterion of faithfulness to the Constitution; while the North was agitated by this new sanction of the extremest pretensions of their opponents.
"The South did not rest satisfied with their Judicial triumph.
"Immediately the claim was pressed for protection by Congress to Slavery, declared by the Supreme Court, they said, to exist in all the Territories.
"This completed the union of the Free States in one great defensive league; and the result was registered in November. That result is now itself become the starting point of new agitation—the demand of new rights and new guarantees. The claim to access to the Territories was followed by the claim to Congressional protection, and that is now followed by the hitherto unheard of claim to a Constitutional Amendment establishing Slavery, not merely in territory now held, but in all hereafter held from the line of 36 30' to Cape Horn, while the debate foreshadows in the distance the claim of the right of transit and the placing of property in Slaves in all respects on the footing of other property—the topics of future agitation. How long the prohibition of the importation of Slaves will be exempted from the doctrine of equality, it needs no prophet to tell.
"In the face of this recital, let the imputation of autocratic and tyrannical aspirations cease to be cast on the people of the Free States; let the Southern people dismiss their fears, return to their friendly confidence in their fellow-citizens of the North, and accept, as pledges of returning Peace, the salutary amendments of the law and the Constitution offered as the first fruits of Reconciliation."
But calmness, kindness, and courtesy were alike thrown away in both Houses upon the implacable Southern leaders. As the last day of that memorable session, which closed in the failure of all peaceful measures to restore the Union, slowly dawned—with but a few hours lacking of the time when Mr. Lincoln would be inaugurated President of the United States—Mr. Wigfall thought proper, in the United States Senate, to sneer at him as "an ex-rail-splitter, an ex-grocery keeper, an ex-flatboat captain, and an ex-Abolition lecturer"—and proceeded to scold and rant at the North with furious volubility.
"Then, briefly," said he, "a Party has come into power that represents the antagonism to my own Section of the Country. It represents two million men who hate us, and who, by their votes for such a man as they have elected, have committed an overt act of hostility. That they have done."
"You have won the Presidency," said he, to the Republicans, "and you are now in the situation of the man who had won the elephant at a raffle. You do not know what to do with the beast now that you have it; and one-half of you to-day would give your right arms if you had been defeated. But you succeeded, and you have to deal with facts. Our objection to living in this Union, and therefore the difficulty of reconstructing it, is not your Personal Liberty bills, not the Territorial question, but that you utterly and wholly misapprehend the Form of Government."
"You deny," continued he, "the Sovereignty of the States; you deny the right of self-government in the People; you insist upon Negro Equality; your people interfere impertinently with our Institutions and attempt to subvert them; you publish newspapers; you deliver lectures; you print pamphlets, and you send them among us, first, to excite our Slaves to insurrection against their masters, and next, to array one class of citizens against the other; and I say to you, that we cannot live in peace, either in the Union or out of it, until you have abolished your Abolition societies; not, as I have been misquoted, abolish or destroy your school-houses; but until you have ceased in your schoolhouses teaching your children to hate us; until you have ceased to convert your pulpits into hustings; until you content yourselves with preaching Christ, and Him crucified, and not delivering political harangues on the Sabbath; until you have ceased inciting your own citizens to make raids and commit robberies; until you have done these things we cannot live in the same Union with you. Until you do these things, we cannot live out of the Union at Peace."
Such were the words—the spiteful, bitter words—with which this chosen spokesman of the South saluted the cold and cloudy dawn of that day which was to see the sceptre depart from the hands of the Slave Power forever.
A few hours later, under the shadow of the main Pastern Portico of the Capitol at Washington—with the retiring President and Cabinet, the Supreme Court Justices, the Foreign Diplomatic Corps, and hundreds of Senators, Representatives and other distinguished persons filling the great platform on either side and behind them—Abraham Lincoln stood bareheaded before full thirty thousand people, upon whose uplifted faces the unveiled glory of the mild Spring sun now shone—stood reverently before that far greater and mightier Presence termed by himself, "My rightful masters, the American People"—and pleaded in a manly, earnest, and affectionate strain with "such as were dissatisfied," to listen to the "better angels" of their nature.
Temperate, reasonable, kindly, persuasive—it seems strange that Mr. Lincoln's Inaugural Address did not disarm at least the personal resentment of the South toward him, and sufficiently strengthen the Union-loving people there, against the red-hot Secessionists, to put the "brakes" down on Rebellion. Said he:
"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. * * *
"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 any wise 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.
"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. * * *
"A disruption of the Federal Union, heretofore only menaced, is now formidably attempted. I hold that, in 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 destruction of the Union by one, or by a part only, of the States, be lawfully possible, the Union is less perfect 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. * * *
"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, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the Government, and to 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.
"The mails, unless repelled, will continue to be furnished in all parts of the Union.
* * * * * * *
"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 checks and limitations 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.
* * * * * * *
"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 old 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 it, 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 recommendations of Amendments, I fully recognize the rightful 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. * * *
"The Chief Magistrate derives all his authority from the People, and they have conferred none upon him to fix terms for the separation of the States. The People themselves can do this also, 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.
* * * * * * *
" * * * While the People retain their virtue and vigilance, no Administration, by any extreme of weakness 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. 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 still is no single good 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 difficulty.
"In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of Civil War. The Government will not assault you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You 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."
Strange, indeed, must have been the thoughts that crowded through the brain and oppressed the heart of Abraham Lincoln that night—his first at the White House!
The city of Washington swarmed with Rebels and Rebel sympathizers, and all the departments of Government were honey-combed with Treason and shadowed with treachery and espionage. Every step proposed or contemplated by the Government would be known to the so-called Government of the Confederate States almost as soon as thought of. All means, to thwart and delay the carrying out of the Government's purposes, that the excuses of routine and red-tape admitted of, would be used by the Traitors within the camp, to aid the Traitors without.
No one knew all this, better than Mr. Lincoln. With no Army, no Navy, not even a Revenue cutter left—with forts and arsenals, ammunition and arms in possession of the Rebels, with no money in the National Treasury, and the National credit blasted—the position must, even to his hopeful nature, have seemed at this time desperate. To be sure, despite threats, neither few nor secret, which had been made, that he should not live to be inaugurated, he had passed the first critical point—had taken the inaugural oath—and was now duly installed in the White House. That was something, of course, to be profoundly thankful for. But the matter regarded by him of larger moment—the safety of the Union—how about that?
How that great, and just, and kindly brain, in the dim shadows of that awful first night at the White House, must have searched up and down and along the labyrinths of history and "corridors of time," everywhere in the Past, for any analogy or excuse for the madness of this Secession movement—and searched in vain!
With his grand and abounding faith in God, how Abraham Lincoln must have stormed the very gates of Heaven that night with prayer that he might be the means of securing Peace and Union to his beloved but distracted Country! How his great heart must have been racked with the alternations of hope and foreboding—of trustfulness and doubt! Anxiously he must have looked for the light of the morrow, that he might gather from the Press, the manner in which his Inaugural had been received. Not that he feared the North—but the South; how would the wayward, wilful, passionate South, receive his proffered olive-branch?
Surely, surely,—thus ran his thoughts—when the brave, and gallant, and generous people of that Section came to read his message of Peace and Good-will, they must see the suicidal folly of their course! Surely their hearts must be touched and the mists of prejudice dissolved, so that reason would resume her sway, and Reconciliation follow! A little more time for reflection would yet make all things right. The young men of the South, fired by the Southern leaders' false appeals, must soon return to reason. The prairie fire is terrible while it sweeps along, but it soon burns out. When the young men face the emblem of their Nation's glory—the flag of the land of their birth—then will come the reaction and their false leaders will be hurled from place and power, and all will again be right. Yea, when it comes to firing on the old, old flag, they will not, cannot, do it! Between the Compromise within their reach, and such Sacrilege as this, they cannot waver long.
So, doubtless, all the long night, whether waking or sleeping, the mind of this true-hearted son of the West, throbbed with the mighty weight of the problem entrusted to him for solution, and the vast responsibilities which he had just assumed toward his fellow-men, his Nation, and his God.
And when, at last, the long lean frame was thrown upon the couch, and "tired Nature's sweet restorer" held him briefly in her arms, the smile of hopefulness on the wan cheek told that, despite all the terrible difficulties of the situation, the sleeper was sustained by a strong and cheerful belief in the Providence of God, the Patriotism of the People, and the efficacy of his Inaugural Peace-offering to the South. But alas, and alas, for the fallibility of human judgment and human hopes! Instead of a message of Peace, the South chose to regard it as a message of Menace;* and it was not received in a much better spirit by some of the Northern papers, which could see no good in it—"no Union spirit in it"—but declared that it breathed the spirit of Sectionalism and mischief, and "is the knell and requiem of the Union, and the death of hope."
["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."—Greeley's Am. Conflict, vol. i., p. 428.]
Bitter indeed must have been President Lincoln's disappointment and sorrow at the reception of his Inaugural. With the heartiest forgiveness, in the noblest spirit of paternal kindness, he had generously held out his arms, as far as they could reach, to clasp to his heart—to the great heart of the Union—the rash children of the South, if they would but let him. It was more with sorrow, than in anger, that he looked upon their contemptuous repulsion of his advances; and his soul still reproachfully yearned toward these his Southern brethren, as did that of a higher than he toward His misguided brethren, when He cried: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"
On the day following his Inauguration, President Lincoln sent to the United States Senate the names of those whom he had chosen to constitute his Cabinet, as follows: William H. Seward, of New York, Secretary of State; Salmon P. Chase, of Ohio, Secretary of the Treasury; Simon Cameron, of Pennsylvania, Secretary of War; Gideon Welles, of Connecticut, Secretary of the Navy; Caleb B. Smith, of Indiana, Secretary of the Interior; Edward Bates, of Missouri, Attorney General; and Montgomery Blair, of Maryland, Postmaster General.
On the other hand, the President of the rebellious Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, had partly constituted his Cabinet already, as follows: Robert Toombs, of Georgia, Secretary of State; Charles G. Memminger, of South Carolina, Secretary of the Treasury; Leroy Pope Walker, of Alabama, Secretary of War; to whom he afterwards added: Stephen R. Mallory, of Florida, Secretary of the Navy; and John H. Reagan, of Texas, Postmaster-General.
THE WAR-DRUM "ON TO WASHINGTON"
Scarcely one week had elapsed after the Administration of Mr. Lincoln began, when (March 11th) certain "Commissioners of the Southern Confederacy" (John Forsyth, of Alabama, and Martin J. Crawford, of Georgia), appeared at Washington and served a written request upon the State Department to appoint an early day when they might present to the President of the United States their credentials "from the Government of the Confederate States of America" to the Government of the United States, and open "the objects of the mission with which they are charged."
Secretary Seward, with the President's sanction, declined official intercourse with Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford, in a "Memorandum" (March 15th) reciting their request, etc., in which, after referring to President Lincoln's Inaugural Address—forwarded to them with the "Memorandum" he says: "A simple reference will be sufficient to satisfy those gentlemen that the Secretary of State, guided by the principles therein announced, is prevented altogether from admitting or assuming that the States referred to by them have, in law or in fact, withdrawn from the Federal Union, or that they could do so in the manner described by Messrs. Forsyth and Crawford, or in any other manner than with the consent and concert of the People of the United States, to be given through a National Convention, to be assembled in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution of the United States. Of course, the Secretary of State cannot act upon the assumption, or in any way admit, that the so-called Confederate States constitute a Foreign Power, with whom diplomatic relations ought to be established."
On the 9th of April, Messrs. Forsyth, Crawford and Roman—as "Commissioners of the Southern Confederacy"—addressed to Secretary Seward a reply to the "Memorandum" aforesaid, in which the following passage occurs:
"The undersigned, like the Secretary of State, have no purpose to 'invite or engage in discussion' of the subject on which their two Governments are so irreconcilably at variance. It is this variance that has broken up the old Union, the disintegration of which has only begun.
"It is proper, however, to advise you that it were well to dismiss the hopes you seem to entertain that, by any of the modes indicated, the people of the Confederate States will ever be brought to submit to the authority of the Government of the United States. You are dealing with delusions, too, when you seek to separate our people from our Government, and to characterize the deliberate, Sovereign act of that people as a 'perversion of a temporary and partisan excitement.' If you cherish these dreams, you will be awakened from them, and find them as unreal and unsubstantial as others in which you have recently indulged.
"The undersigned would omit the performance of an obvious duty were they to fail to make known to the Government of the United States that the people of the Confederate States have declared their independence with a full knowledge of all the responsibilities of that act, and with as firm a determination to maintain it by all the means with which nature has endowed them as that which sustained their fathers when they threw off the authority of the British Crown.
"The undersigned clearly understand that you have declined to appoint a day to enable them to lay the objects of the mission with which they are charged, before the President of the United States, because so to do would be to recognize the independence and separate nationality of the Confederate States. This is the vein of thought that pervades the memorandum before us.
"The truth of history requires that it should distinctly appear upon the record, that the undersigned did not ask the Government of the United States to recognize the independence of the Confederate States. They only asked audience to adjust, in a spirit of amity and peace, the new relations springing from a manifest and accomplished revolution in the Government of the late Federal Union.
"Your refusal to entertain these overtures for a peaceful solution, the active naval and military preparation of this Government, and a formal notice to the Commanding General of the Confederate forces in the harbor of Charleston that the President intends to provision Fort Sumter by forcible means, if necessary, are viewed by the undersigned, and can only be received by the World, as a Declaration of War against the Confederate States; for the President of the United States knows that Fort Sumter cannot be provisioned without the effusion of blood.
"The undersigned, in behalf of their Government and people, accept the gage of battle thus thrown down to them, and, appealing to God and the judgment of mankind for the righteousness of their Cause, the people of the Confederate States will defend their liberties to the last, against this flagrant and open attempt at their subjugation to Sectional power."
Let us now, for a moment, glance at the condition of Fort Sumter, and of the Government with regard to it:
On the 5th of March, the day after President Lincoln had taken his oath of office, there was placed in his hands a letter of Major Anderson, commanding at Fort Sumter, in which that officer, under date of the 28th of February, expressed the opinion that "reinforcements could not be thrown into that fort within the time for his relief rendered necessary by the limited supply of provisions, and with a view of holding possession of the same, with a force of less than twenty thousand good and well-disciplined men."
[President Lincoln's first Message, July 4, 1861.]
Lieutenant-General Winfield Scott concurred in that opinion, and as the provisions in the Fort would be exhausted before any such force could be raised and brought to the ground, evacuation and safe withdrawal of the Federal garrison from the Fort became a Military necessity, and was so regarded by the Administration.
"It was believed, however"—in the language of Mr. Lincoln himself, in his first Message to Congress—"that to so abandon that position, under the circumstances, would be utterly ruinous: that the necessity under which it was to be done would not be fully understood; that by many it would be construed as a part of a voluntary policy; that at home it would discourage the friends of the Union, embolden its adversaries, and go far to insure to the latter a recognition abroad; that in fact it would be our National destruction consummated. This could not be allowed. Starvation was not yet upon the garrison; and ere it would be reached, Fort Pickens might be reinforced. This last would be a clear indication of policy, and would better enable the country to accept the evacuation of Fort Sumter as a Military necessity."
Owing to misconception or otherwise, an order to reinforce Fort Pickens was not carried out, and an expedition to relieve Fort Sumter was then ordered to be dispatched. On the 8th of April President Lincoln, by messenger, notified Governor Pickens of South Carolina, "that he might expect an attempt would be made to provision the fort; and that if the attempt should not be resisted there would be no effort to throw in men, arms, or ammunition, without further notice, or in case of an attack upon the fort."
A crisis was evidently approaching, and public feeling all over the Country was wrought up to the highest degree of tension and stood tip-toe with intense expectancy. The test of the doctrine of Secession was about to be made there, in the harbor of Charleston, upon which the eyes of Patriot and Rebel were alike feverishly bent.
There, in Charleston harbor, grimly erect, stood the octagon-shaped Fort Sumter, mid-way of the harbor entrance, the Stars and Stripes proudly waving from its lofty central flagstaff, its guns bristling on every side through the casemates and embrasures, as if with a knowledge of their defensive power.
About equidistant from Fort Sumter on either side of the harbor-entrance, were the Rebel works at Fort Moultrie and Battery Bee on Sullivan's Island, on the one side, and Cummings Point Battery, on Morris Island, on the other-besides a number of other batteries facing seaward along the sea-coast line of Morris Island. Further in, on the same side of the harbor, and but little further off from Fort Sumter, stood Fort Johnson on James Island, while Castle Pinckney and a Floating Battery were between the beleagured Fort and the city of Charleston.
Thus, the Federal Fort was threatened with the concentrated fire of these well-manned Rebel fortifications on all sides, and in its then condition was plainly doomed; for, while the swarming Rebels, unmolested by Fort Sumter, had been permitted to surround that Fort with frowning batteries, whose guns outnumbered those of the Fort, as ten to one, and whose caliber was also superior, its own condition was anything but that of readiness for the inevitable coming encounter.
That the officers' quarters, barracks, and other frame-work wooden buildings should have been permitted to remain as a standing invitation to conflagration from bombardment, can only be accounted for on the supposition that the gallant officer in command, himself a Southerner, would not believe it possible that the thousands of armed Americans by whom he was threatened and encircled, could fire upon the flag of their own native Country. He and his garrison of seventy men, were soon to learn the bitter truth, amid a tempest of bursting shot and shell, the furnace-heat of crackling walls, and suffocating volumes of dense smoke produced by an uncontrollable conflagration.
The Rebel leaders at Washington had prevented an attack in January upon the forts in the harbor of Charleston, and at Pensacola.—[McPherson's History of the Rebellion, p. 112.]—In consequence of which failure to proceed to the last extremity at once, the energies of the Rebellion had perceptibly diminished.
Said the Mobile Mercury: "The country is sinking into a fatal apathy, and the spirit and even the patriotism of the people is oozing out, under this do-nothing policy. If something is not done pretty soon, decisive, either evacuation or expulsion, the whole country will become so disgusted with the sham of Southern independence that the first chance the people get at a popular election they will turn the whole movement topsy-turvy so bad that it never on Earth can be righted again."
After the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, however, the Rebel authorities at Montgomery lost no time, but strained every nerve to precipitate War. They felt that there was danger to the cause of Secession in delay; that there were wavering States outside the Confederacy, like Virginia, that might be dragged into the Confederacy by prompt and bloody work; and wavering States within, like Alabama, that must be kept in by similar means. Their emissaries were busy everywhere in the South, early in April, preaching an instant crusade against the old flag—inciting the people to demand instant hostilities against Fort Sumter—and to cross a Rubicon of blood, over which there could be no return.
Many of the Rebel leaders seemed to be haunted by the fear (no doubt well founded) that unless blood was shed—unless an impassable barrier, crimsoned with human gore, was raised between the new Confederacy and the old Union—there would surely be an ever-present danger of that Confederacy falling to pieces. Hence they were now active in working the people up to the required point of frenzy.
As a specimen of their speeches, may be quoted that of Roger A. Pryor, of Virginia, who, at Charleston, April 10, 1861, replying to a serenade, said:—[Charleston Mercury's report.]
'Gentlemen, I thank you, especially that you have at last annihilated this accursed Union [Applause] reeking with corruption, and insolent with excess of tyranny. Thank God, it is at last blasted and riven by the lightning wrath of an outraged and indignant people. [Loud applause.] Not only is it gone, but gone forever. [Cries of, 'You're right,' and applause.] In the expressive language of Scripture, it is water spilt upon the ground, which cannot be gathered up. [Applause.] Like Lucifer, son of the morning, it has fallen, never to rise again. [Continued applause.]
"For my part, gentlemen," he continued, as soon as he could be heard, "if Abraham Lincoln and Hannibal Hamlin to-morrow were to abdicate their offices and were to give me a blank sheet of paper to write the condition of re-annexation to the defunct Union, I would scornfully spurn the overture. * * * I invoke you, and I make it in some sort a personal appeal—personal so far as it tends to our assistance in Virginia—I do invoke you, in your demonstrations of popular opinion, in your exhibitions of official intent, to give no countenance to this idea of reconstruction. [Many voices, emphatically, 'never,' and applause.]
"In Virginia," resumed he, "they all say, if reduced to the dread dilemma of this memorable alternative, they will espouse the cause of the South as against the interest of the Northern Confederacy, but they whisper of reconstruction, and they say Virginia must abide in the Union, with the idea of reconstructing the Union which you have annihilated. I pray you, gentlemen, rob them of that idea. Proclaim to the World that upon no condition, and under no circumstances, will South Carolina ever again enter into political association with the Abolitionists of New England. [Cries of 'never,' and applause.]
"Do not distrust Virginia," he continued; "as sure as tomorrow's sun will rise upon us, just so sure will Virginia be a member of this Southern Confederation. [Applause.] And I will tell you, gentlemen, what will put her in the Southern Confederacy in less than an hour by Shrewsbury clock—STRIKE A BLOW! [Tremendous applause.] The very moment that blood is shed, old Virginia will make common cause with her sisters of the South. [Applause.] It is impossible she should do otherwise."
The question of the necessity of "Striking a Blow"—of the immediate "shedding of blood"—was not only discussed before the Southern people for the purpose of inflaming their rebellious zeal, but was also the subject of excited agitation in the Confederate Cabinet at this time.
In a speech made by ex-United States Senator Clemens of Alabama, at Huntsville, Alabama, at the close of the Rebellion, he told the Alabamians how their State, which, as we have seen, was becoming decidedly shaky in its allegiance to the "Sham of Southern Independence," was kept in the Confederacy.
Said he: "In 1861, shortly after the Confederate Government was put in operation, I was in the city of Montgomery. One day (April 11, 1861) I stepped into the office of the Secretary of War, General Walker, and found there, engaged in a very excited discussion, Mr. Jefferson Davis (the President), Mr. Memminger (Secretary of the Treasury), Mr. Benjamin (Attorney-General), Mr. Gilchrist, a member of our Legislature from Loundes county, and a number of other prominent gentlemen. They were discussing the propriety of immediately opening fire on Fort Sumter, to which General Walker, the Secretary of War, appeared to be opposed. Mr. Gilchrist said to him, 'Sir, unless you sprinkle blood in the face of the people of Alabama, they will be back in the old Union in less than ten days!' THE NEXT DAY GENERAL BEAUREGARD OPENED HIS BATTERIES ON SUMTER, AND ALABAMA WAS SAVED TO THE CONFEDERACY."
On the 8th of April, G. T. Beauregard, "Brigadier General Commanding" the "Provisional Army C. S. A." at Charleston, S. C., notified the Confederate Secretary of War (Walker) at Montgomery, Ala., that "An authorized messenger from President Lincoln has just informed Gov. Pickens and myself that provisions will be sent to Fort Sumter peaceably, or otherwise by force."
On the 10th, Confederate Secretary Walker telegraphed to Beauregard: "If you have no doubt of the authorized character of the agent who communicated to, you the intention of the Washington Government to supply Fort Sumter by force, you will at once demand its evacuation, and, if this is refused, proceed, in such manner as you may determine, to reduce it." To this Beauregard at once replied: "The demand will be made to-morrow at 12 o'clock." Thereupon the Confederate Secretary telegraphed again: "Unless there are special reasons connected with your own condition, it is considered proper that you should make the demand at an earlier hour." And Beauregard answered: "The reasons are special for 12 o'clock."
On the 11th General Beauregard notified Secretary Walker: "The demand was sent at 2 P. M., and until 6 was allowed for the answer." The Secretary desiring to have the reply of Major Anderson, General Beauregard telegraphed: "Major Anderson replies: 'I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication demanding the evacuation of this Fort, and to say in reply thereto that it is a demand with which I regret that my sense of honor and of my obligation to my Government prevent my compliance.' He adds, verbally, 'I will await the first shot, and, if you do not batter us to pieces, we will be starved out in a few days.'"
To this, the Confederate Secretary at once responded with: "Do not desire needlessly to bombard Fort Sumter. If Major Anderson will state the time at which, as indicated by himself, he will evacuate, and agree that, in the mean time, he will not use his guns against us unless ours should be employed against Fort Sumter, you are authorized thus to avoid the effusion of blood. If this or its equivalent be refused, reduce the Fort, as your judgment decides to be the most practicable."
At 11 o'clock that night (April 11) General Beauregard sent to Major Anderson, by the hands of his aides-de-camp, Messrs. Chesnut and Lee, a further communication, in which, after alluding to the Major's verbal observation, the General said: "If you will state the time at which you will evacuate Fort Sumter, and agree that in the mean time you will not use your guns against us unless ours shall be employed against Fort Sumter, we shall abstain from opening fire upon you. Col. Chesnut and Capt. Lee are authorized by me to enter into such an agreement with you. You are therefore requested to communicate to them an open answer."
To this, Major Robert Anderson, at 2.30 A.M. of the 12th, replied "that, cordially uniting with you in the desire to avoid the useless effusion of blood, I will, if provided with the necessary means of transportation, evacuate Fort Sumter by noon on the 15th inst., should I not receive prior to that time, controlling instructions from my Government, or additional supplies, and that I will not in the mean time open my fire upon your forces unless compelled to do so by some hostile act against this Fort or the flag of my Government, by the forces under your command, or by some portion of them, or by the perpetration of some act showing a hostile intention on your part against this Fort or the flag it bears." Thereupon General Beauregard telegraphed Secretary Walker: "He would not consent. I write to-day."