"How long is it since the organ of the Government at Richmond, the Richmond Whig, declared that rather than live under the Government of the United States, they preferred to take the Constitutional Queen of Great Britain as their protector; that they would make an alliance with Great Britain for the purpose of preventing the enforcement of the Laws of the United States. Do we not know this?"
Stephen A. Douglas also, in his great Union speech at Chicago, May 1, 1861—only a few days before his lamented death-said:
"The election of Mr. Lincoln is a mere pretext. The present Secession movement is the result of an enormous Conspiracy formed more than a year since formed by leaders in the Southern Confederacy more than twelve months ago. They use the Slavery question as a means to aid the accomplishment of their ends. They desired the election of a Northern candidate by a Sectional vote, in order to show that the two Sections cannot live together.
"When the history of the two years from the Lecompton question down to the Presidential election shall be written, it will be shown that the scheme was deliberately made to break up this Union.
"They desired a Northern Republican to be elected by a purely Northern vote, and then assign this fact as a reason why the Sections cannot live together. If the Disunion candidate—(Breckinridge) in the late Presidential contest had carried the united South, their scheme was, the Northern candidate successful, to seize the Capital last Spring, and by a united South and divided North, hold it.
"Their scheme was defeated, in the defeat of the Disunion candidates in several of the Southern States.
"But this is no time for a detail of causes. The Conspiracy is now known; Armies have been raised. War is levied to accomplish it. There are only two sides to the question.
"Every man must be for the United States, or against it. There can be no Neutrals in this War; only Patriots or Traitors! [Cheer after Cheer]."
In a speech made in the United States Senate, January 31, 1862, Senator McDougall of California—conceded to be intellectually the peer of any man in that Body—said:
"We are at War. How long have we been at War? We have been engaged in a war of opinion, according to my historical recollection, since 1838. There has been a Systematic organized war against the Institutions established by our fathers, since 1832. This is known of all men who have read carefully the history of our Country. If I had the leisure, or had consulted the authorities, I would give it year by year, and date by date, from that time until the present, how men adversary to our Republican Institutions have been organizing War against us, because they did not approve of our Republican Institutions.
"Before the Mexican War, it is well known that General Quitman, then Governor of Mississippi, was organizing to produce the same condition of things (and he hoped a better condition of things, for he hoped a successful Secession), to produce this same revolution that is now disturbing our whole Land. The War with Mexico, fighting for a Southern proposition, for which I fought myself, made the Nation a unit until 1849; and then again they undertook an Organization to produce Revolution. These things are history. This statement is true, and cannot be denied among intelligent men anywhere, and cannot be denied in this Senate.
"The great men who sat in Council in this Hall, the great men of the Nation, men whose equals are not, and I fear will not be for many years, uniting their judgments, settled the controversy in 1850. They did not settle it for the Conspirators of the South, for they were not parties to the compact. Clay and Webster, and the great men who united with them, had no relation with the extremes of either extreme faction. The Compromise was made, and immediately after it had been effected, again commenced the work of organization. I had the honor to come from my State on the Pacific into the other branch of the Federal Congress, and there I learned as early as 1853, that the work of Treason was as industriously pursued as it is being pursued to-day. I saw it; I felt it; I knew it. I went home to the shores of the Pacific instructed somewhat on this subject.
"Years passed by. I engaged in my duties as a simple professional man, not connected with public affairs. The question of the last Presidential election arose before the Country—one of those great questions that are not appreciated, I regret from my heart, by the American Nation, when we elect a President, a man who has more power for his time than any enthroned Monarch in Europe. We organize a Government and place him in front as the head and the Chief of the Government. That question came before the American People.
"At that time I was advised of this state of feeling—and I will state it in as exact form of words as I can state it, that it may be understood by Senators: Mr. Douglas is a man acceptable to the South. Mr. Douglas is a man to whom no one has just cause of exception throughout the South. Mr. Douglas is more acceptable to Mississippi and Louisiana than Mr. Breckinridge. Mr. Breckinridge is not acceptable to the South; or at least, if he is so, he is not in the same degree with Mr. Douglas. Mr. Douglas is the accepted man of a great National Party, and if he is brought into the field he will be triumphantly elected. THAT MUST NOT BE DONE, because THE ORGANIZATION FOR SECESSION IS MATURED. EVERYTHING IS PREPARED, and the election of Mr. Douglas would only postpone it for four years; and Now when we are PREPARED to carry out these things WE MUST INDULGE IN STRATAGEM, and the nomination of Mr. Breckinridge is a mere strategic movement to divide the great conservative Party of the Nation into two, so as to elect a Republican candidate AND CONSOLIDATE THE SOUTH BY THE CRY OF 'ABOLITIONIST!'
"That is a mere simple statement of the truth, and it cannot be contradicted. Now, in that scheme all the men of counsel of that Party were engaged. * * * I, on the far shores of the Pacific understood those things as long ago as a year last September (1860). I was advised about this policy and well informed of it. * * *
"I was at war, in California, in January (1861) last; in the maintenance of the opinions that I am now maintaining, I had to go armed to protect myself from violence. The country, whenever there was controversy, was agitated to its deepest foundations. That is known, perhaps, not to gentlemen who live up in Maine or Massachusetts, or where you are foreign to all this agitation; but known to all people where disturbance might have been effective in consequences. I felt it, and had to carry my life in my hand by the month, as did my friends surrounding me.
"I say that all through last winter (that of 1860-61) War had been inaugurated in all those parts of the Country where disturbed elements could have efficient result. In January (1861), a year ago, I stood in the hall of the House of Representatives of my State, and there was War then, and angry faces and hostile men were gathered; and we knew then well that the Southern States had determined to withdraw themselves from the Federal Union.
"I happened to be one of those men who said, 'they shall not do it;' and it appears to me that the whole argument is between that class of men and the class of men who said they would let them do it. * * * When this doctrine was started here of disintegrating the Cotton States from the rest of the Confederacy, I opposed it at once. I saw immediately that War was to be invoked. * * *
"I will not say these things were understood by gentlemen of the Republican Party * * * but I, having been accepted and received as a Democrat of the old school from the olden time, and HAVING FAST SOUTHERN SYMPATHIES, I DID KNOW ALL ABOUT THEM. * * * I KNOW THAT SECESSION WAS A THING DETERMINED UPON. * * * I was advised of and understood the whole programme, KNEW HOW IT WAS TO BE DONE IN ITS DETAILS; and I being advised, made war against it. * * *
"War had been, in fact, inaugurated. What is War? Was it the firing on our flag at Sumter? Was that the first adversary passage? To say so, is trifling with men's judgments and information. No, sir; when they organized a Government, and set us at defiance, they commenced War; and the various steps they took afterwards, by organizing their troops, and forming their armies, and advancing upon Sumter; all these were merely acts of War; but War was inaugurated whenever they undertook to say they would maintain themselves as a separate and independent government; and, after that time, every man who gave his assistance to them was a Traitor, according to the highest Law."
The following letter, written by one of the most active of the Southern conspirators in 1858, during the great Douglas and Lincoln Debate of that year, to which extended reference has already been made, is of interest in this connection, not only as corroborative evidence of the fact that the Rebellion of the Cotton States had been determined on long before Mr. Lincoln was elected President, but as showing also that the machinery for "firing the Southern heart" and for making a "solid South" was being perfected even then. The subsequent split in the Democratic Party, and nomination of Breckinridge by the Southern wing of it, was managed by this same Yancey, simply as parts of the deliberate programme of Secession and Rebellion long before determined on by the Cotton Lords of the Cotton States.
"MONTGOMERY, June 15, 1858.
"DEAR SIR:—Your kind favor of the 13th is received.
"I hardly agree with you that a general movement can be made that will clean out the Augean Stable. If the Democracy were overthrown it would result in giving place to a greedier and hungrier swarm of flies.
"The remedy of the South is not in such a process. It is in a diligent organization of her true men for prompt resistance to the next aggression. It must come in the nature of things. No National Party can save us. No Sectional Party can ever do it. But if we could do as our fathers did—organize 'Committees of Safety' all over the Cotton States (and it is only in them that we can hope for any effective movement), we shall fire the Southern heart, instruct the Southern mind, give courage to each other, and at the proper moment, by one organized, concerted action, we can precipitate the Cotton States into a revolution.
"The idea has been shadowed forth in the South by Mr. Ruffin; has been taken up and recommended in the Advertiser under the name of 'League of United Southerners,' who, keeping up their old relations on all other questions, will hold the Southern issues paramount, and influence parties, legislatures and statesmen. I have no time to enlarge, but to suggest merely.
"In haste, yours, etc. "W. L. YANCEY.
"To JAMES S. SLAUGHTER."
At Jackson, Mississippi, in the fall of the same year (1858) just after the great Debate between Douglas and Lincoln had closed, Jefferson Davis had already raised the standard of Revolution, Secession and Disunion, during the course of a speech, in which he said: "If an Abolitionist be chosen President of the United States, you will have presented to you the question of whether you will permit the Government to pass into the hands of your avowed and implacable enemies? Without pausing for an answer, I will state my own position to be, that such a result would be a species of revolution by which the purposes of the Government would be destroyed, and the observance of its mere forms entitled to no respect. In that event, in such a manner as should be most expedient, I should deem it your duty to provide for your safety, outside of the Union with those who have already shown the will, and would have acquired the power to deprive you of your birthright, and to reduce you to worse than the Colonial dependence of your fathers."
The "birthright" thus referred to was of course, the alleged right to have Slaves; but what was this "worse than Colonial dependence" to which, in addition to the peril supposed to threaten the Southern "birthright," the Cotton States of Mississippi were reduced? "Dependence" upon whom, and with regard to what? Plainly upon the North; and with regard, not to Slavery alone—for Jefferson Davis held, down to the very close of the War, that the South fought "not for Slavery"—but as to Tariff Legislation also. There was the rub! These Cotton Lords believed, or pretended to believe, that the High Tariff Legislation, advocated and insisted upon both by the Whigs and Republicans for the Protection of the American Manufacturer and working man, built up and made prosperous the North, and elevated Northern laborers; at the expense of the South, and especially themselves, the Cotton Lords aforesaid.
We have already seen from the utterances of leading men in the South Carolina, Secession Convention, "that"—as Governor Hicks, himself a Southern man, said in his address to the people of Maryland, after the War broke out "neither the election of Mr. Lincoln, nor the non-execution of the Fugitive Slave Law, nor both combined, constitute their grievances. They declare that THE REAL CAUSE of their discontent DATES AS FAR BACK AS 1833."
And what was the chief cause or pretext for discontent at that time? Nothing less than the Tariff. They wanted Free Trade, as well as Slavery. The balance of the Union wanted Protection, as well as Freedom.
The subsequent War, then, was not a War waged for Slavery alone, but for Independence with a view to Free Trade, as set forth in the "Confederate Constitution," as soon as that Independence could be achieved. And the War on our part, while for the integrity of the Union in all its parts —for the life of the Nation itself, and for the freedom of man, should also have brought the triumph of the American idea of a Protective Tariff, whose chief object is the building up of American manufactures and the Protection of the Free working-man, in the essential matters of education, food, clothing, rents, wages, and work.
It is mentioned in McPherson's History of the Rebellion, p. 392, that in a letter making public his reasons for going to Washington and taking his seat in Congress, Mr. James L. Pugh, a Representative from Alabama, November 24, 1860, said: "The sole object of my visit is to promote the cause of Secession."
From the manner in which they acted after reaching Washington, it is not unreasonable to suppose that most of those persons representing, in both branches of Congress, the Southern States which afterwards seceded, came to the National Capital with a similar object in view—taking their salaries and mileages for services supposed to be performed for the benefit of the very Government they were conspiring to injure, and swearing anew the sacred oath to support and defend the very Constitution which they were moving heaven and earth to undermine and destroy!
[As a part of the history of those times, the following letter is not without interest:
"OXFORD, December 24, 1860.
"MY DEAR SIR:—I regretted having to leave Washington without having with you a full conference as to the great events whose shadows are upon us. The result of the election here is what the most sanguine among us expected; that is, its general result is so. It is as yet somewhat difficult to determine the distinctive complexion of the convention to meet on the 7th of January. The friends of Southern Independence, of firm and bona fide resistance, won an overwhelming victory; but I doubt whether there is any precise plan.
"No doubt a large majority of the Convention will be for separate Secession. But unless intervening events work important changes of sentiment, not all of those elected as resistance men will be for immediate and separate Secession. Our friends in Pontotoc, Tippah, De Soto and Pauola took grounds which fell far short of that idea, though their resolutions were very firm in regard to Disunion and an ultimate result.
"In the meantime the Disunion sentiment among the people is growing every day more intense.
"Upon the whole, you have great cause for gratification in the action of your State.
"The submissionists are routed, horse, foot, and dragoons, and any concession by the North will fail to restore that sacred attachment to the Union which was once so deeply radicated in the hearts of our people. What they want now, is wise and sober leading. I think that there might be more of dignity and prudent foresight in the action of our State than have marked the proceedings of South Carolina. I have often rejoiced that we have you to rest upon and confide in. I do not know what we could do without you. That God may preserve you to us, and that your mind may retain all its vigor to carry us through these perilous times, is my most fervent aspiration.
"I am as ever, and forever, your supporter, ally and friend.
"L. Q. C. LAMAR.
"COL. JEFF. DAVIS, Washington, D. C."]
This was but a part of the deliberate, cold-blooded plan mapped out in detail, early in the session succeeding the election of Mr. Lincoln, in a secret Caucus of the Chief Plotters of the Treason. It was a secret conference, but the programme resolved on, soon leaked out.
The following, which appeared in the Washington National Intelligencer on Friday, January 11, 1861, tells the story of this stage of the Great Conspiracy pretty clearly:
"The subjoined communication, disclosing the designs of those who have undertaken to lead the movement now threatening a permanent dissolution of the Union, comes to us from a distinguished citizen of the South [understood to be Honorable Lemuel D. Evans, Representative from Texas in the 34th Congress, from March 4, 1855, to March 3, 1857] who formerly represented his State with great distinction in the popular branch of Congress.
"Temporarily sojourning in this city he has become authentically informed of the facts recited in the subjoined letter, which he communicates to us under a sense of duty, and for the accuracy of which he makes himself responsible.
"Nothing but assurances coming from such an intelligent, reliable source could induce us to accept the authenticity of these startling statements, which so deeply concern not only the welfare but the honor of the Southern people.
"To them we submit, without present comment, the programme to which they are expected to yield their implicit adhesion, without any scruples of conscience as without any regard for their own safety.
"'WASHINGTON, January 9, 1861.
"'I charge that on last Saturday night (January 5th), a Caucus was held in this city by the Southern Secession Senators from Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas. It was then and there resolved in effect to assume to themselves the political power of the South, and, to control all political and military operations for the present, they telegraphed to complete the plan of seizing forts, arsenals, and custom-houses, and advised the Conventions now in session, and soon to assemble, to pass Ordinances for immediate Secession; but, in order to thwart any operations of the Government here, the Conventions of the Seceding States are to retain their representations in the Senate and the House.
"'They also advised, ordered, or directed the assembling of a Convention of delegates from the Seceding States at Montgomery on the 13th of February. This can of course only be done by the revolutionary Conventions usurping the powers of the people, and sending delegates over whom they will lose all control in the establishment of a Provisional Government, which is the plan of the dictators.
"'This Caucus also resolved to take the most effectual means to dragoon the Legislatures of Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and Virginia into following the Seceding States. Maryland is also to be influenced by such appeals to popular passion as have led to the revolutionary steps which promise a conflict with the State and Federal Governments in Texas.
"'They have possessed themselves of all the avenues of information in the South—the telegraph, the press, and the general control of the postmasters. They also confidently rely upon defections in the army and navy.
"'The spectacle here presented is startling to contemplate. Senators entrusted with the representative sovereignty of the States, and sworn to support the Constitution of the United States, while yet acting as the privy councillors of the President, and anxiously looked to by their constituents to effect some practical plan of adjustment, deliberately conceive a Conspiracy for the overthrow of the Government through the military organizations, the dangerous secret order, the 'Knights of the Golden Circle,' 'Committees of Safety,' Southern leagues, and other agencies at their command; they have instituted as thorough a military and civil despotism as ever cursed a maddened Country.
"'It is not difficult to foresee the form of government which a Convention thus hurriedly thrown together at Montgomery will irrevocably fasten upon a deluded and unsuspecting people. It must essentially be 'a Monarchy founded upon military principles,' or it cannot endure. Those who usurp power never fail to forge strong chains.
"'It may be too late to sound the alarm. Nothing may be able to arrest the action of revolutionary tribunals whose decrees are principally in 'secret sessions.' But I call upon the people to pause and reflect before they are forced to surrender every principle of liberty, or to fight those who are becoming their masters rather than their servants. "'EATON"
"As confirming the intelligence furnished by our informant we may cite the following extract from the Washington correspondence of yesterday's Baltimore Sun:
"'The leaders of the Southern movement are consulting as to the best mode of consolidating their interests into a Confederacy under a Provisional Government. The plan is to make Senator Hunter, of Virginia, Provisional President, and Jefferson Davis Commander-in-Chief of the army of defense. Mr. Hunter possesses in a more eminent degree the philosophical characteristics of Jefferson than any other statesman now living. Colonel Davis is a graduate of West Point, was distinguished for gallantry at Buena Vista, and served as Secretary of War under President Pierce, and is not second to General Scott in military science or courage.'
"As further confirmatory of the above, the following telegraphic dispatch in the Charleston Mercury of January 7, 1861, is given:
"'[From our Own Correspondent.]
"'WASHINGTON, January 6.—The Senators from those of the Southern States which have called Conventions of their people, met in caucus last night, and adopted the following resolutions:
"'Resolved, That we recommend to our respective States immediate Secession.
"'Resolved, That we recommend the holding of a General Convention of the said States, to be holden in the city of Montgomery, Alabama, at some period not later than the 15th day of February, 1861.'
"These resolutions were telegraphed this evening to the Conventions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida. A third resolution is also known to have been adopted, but it is of a confidential character, not to be divulged at present. There was a good deal of discussion in the caucus on the question of whether the Seceding States ought to continue their delegations in Congress till the 4th of March, to prevent unfriendly legislation, or whether the Representatives of the Seceding States should all resign together, and leave a clear field for the opposition to pass such bills, looking to Coercion, as they may see fit. It is believed that the opinion that they should remain prevailed."
Furthermore, upon the capture of Fernandina, Florida, in 1862, the following letter was found and published. Senator Yulee, the writer, was present and participated as one of the Florida Senators, in the traitorous "Consultation" therein referred to—and hence its especial value:
"WASHINGTON, January 7, 1861.
"My DEAR SIR:—On the other side is a copy of resolutions adopted at a consultation of the Senators from the Seceding States—in which Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi, and Florida were present.
"The idea of the meeting was that the States should go out at once, and provide for the early organization of a Confederate Government, not later than 15th February. This time is allowed to enable Louisiana and Texas to participate. It seemed to be the opinion that if we left here, force, loan, and volunteer Bills might be passed, which would put Mr. Lincoln in immediate condition for hostilities; whereas, by remaining in our places until the 4th of March, it is thought we can keep the hands of Mr. Buchanan tied, and disable the Republicans from effecting any legislation which will strengthen the hands of the incoming Administration.
"The resolutions will be sent by the delegation to the President of the Convention. I have not been able to find Mr. Mallory (his Senatorial colleague) this morning. Hawkins (Representative from Florida) is in Connecticut. I have therefore thought it best to send you this copy of the resolutions.
"In haste, yours truly "D. L. YULEE.
"JOSEPH FINEGAN, Esq., "'Sovereignty Convention,' Tallahassee, Fla."
The resolutions "on the other side" of this letter, to which he refers, are as follows:
"Resolved, 1—That in our opinion each of the Southern States should, as soon as may be, Secede from the Union.
"Resolved, 2—That provision should be made for a Convention to organize a Confederacy of the Seceding States, the Convention to meet not later than the 15th of February, at the city of Montgomery, in the State of Alabama.
"Resolved, That in view of the hostile legislation that is threatened against the Seceding States, and which may be consummated before the 4th of March, we ask instructions whether the delegations are to remain in Congress until that date for the purpose of defeating such legislation.
"Resolved, That a committee be and are hereby appointed, consisting of Messrs. Davis, Slidell, and Mallory, to carry out the objects of this meeting."
In giving this letter to the World—from its correspondent accompanying the expedition—the New York Times of March 15, 1862, made these forcible and clear-headed comments:
"The telegraphic columns of the Times of January 7, 1861, contained the following Washington dispatch: 'The Southern Senators last night (January 5th) held a conference, and telegraphed to the Conventions of their respective States to advise immediate Secession.' Now, the present letter is a report by Mr. Yulee, who was present at this 'consultation' as he calls it, of the resolutions adopted on this occasion, transmitted to the said Finegan, who by the way, was a member of the 'Sovereign Convention' of Florida, then sitting in the town of Tallahassee.
"It will thus be seen that this remarkable letter, which breathes throughout the spirit of the Conspirator, in reality lets us into one of the most important of the numerous Secret Conclaves which the Plotters of Treason then held in the Capital. It was then, as it appears, that they determined to strike the blow and precipitate their States into Secession. But at the same time they resolved that it would be imprudent for them openly to withdraw, as in that case Congress might pass 'force, loan, and volunteer bills,' which would put Mr. Lincoln in immediate condition for hostilities. No, no! that would not do. (So much patriotic virtue they half suspected, half feared, was left in the Country.) On the contrary, 'by remaining in our places until the 4th of March it is thought we can keep the hands of Mr. Buchanan tied, and disable the Republicans from effecting any legislation which will strengthen the hands of the incoming Administration.' Ah what a tragic back-ground, full of things unutterable, is there!
"It appears, however, that events were faster than they, and instead of being able to retain their seats up to the 4th of March, they were able to remain but a very few weeks. Mr. Davis withdrew on the 21st of January, just a fortnight after this 'consultation.' But for the rest, mark how faithfully the programme here drawn up by this knot of Traitors in secret session was realized. Each of the named States represented by this Cabal did, 'as soon as may be, Secede from the Union'—the Mississippi Convention passing its Ordinance on the heels of the receipt of these resolutions, on the 9th of January; Florida and Alabama on the 11th; Louisiana on the 26th, and Texas on the 1st of February; while the 'organization of the Confederate Government' took place at the very time appointed, Davis being inaugurated on the 18th of February.
"And here is another Plot of the Traitors brought to light. These very men, on withdrawing from the Senate, urged that they were doing so in obedience to the command of their respective States. As Mr. Davis put it, in his parting speech, 'the Ordinance of Secession having passed the Convention of his State, he felt obliged to obey the summons, and retire from all official connection with the Federal Government.' This letter of Mr. Yulee's clearly reveals that they had themselves pushed their State Conventions to the adoption of the very measure which they had the hardihood to put forward as an imperious 'summons' which they could not disobey. It is thus that Treason did its Work."
COPPERHEADISM VS. UNION DEMOCRACY.
When we remember that it was on the night of the 5th of January, 1861, that the Rebel Conspirators in the United States Senate met and plotted their confederated Treason, as shown in the Yulee letter, given in the preceding Chapter of this work, and that on the very next day, January 6, 1861, Fernando Wood, then Mayor of the great city of New York, sent in to the Common Council of that metropolis, his recommendation that New York city should Secede from its own State, as well as the United States, and become "a Free City," which, said he, "may shed the only light and hope of a future reconstruction of our once blessed Confederacy," it is impossible to resist the conviction that this extraordinary movement of his, was inspired and prompted, if not absolutely directed, by the secret Rebel Conclave at Washington. It bears within itself internal evidences of such prompting.
Thus, when Mayor Wood states the case in the following words, he seems to be almost quoting word for word an instruction received by him from these Rebel leaders—in connection with their plausible argument, upholding it. Says he:
"Much, no doubt, can be said in favor of the justice and policy of a separation. It may be said that Secession or revolution in any of the United States would be subversive of all Federal authority, and, so far as the central Government is concerned, the resolving of the community into its original elements—that, if part of the States form new combinations and, Governments, other States may do the same. Then it may be said, why should not New York city, instead of supporting by her contributions in revenue two-thirds of the expenses of the United States, become also equally independent? As a Free City, with but nominal duty on imports, her local Government could be supported without taxation upon her people. Thus we could live free from taxes, and have cheap goods nearly duty free. In this she would have the whole and united support of the Southern States, as well as all the other States to whose interests and rights under the Constitution she has always been true."
That is the persuasive casuistry peculiar to the minds of the Southern Secession leaders. It is naturally followed by a touch of that self-confident bluster, also at that time peculiar to Southern lips —as follows:
"It is well for individuals or communities to look every danger square in the face, and to meet it calmly and bravely. As dreadful as the severing of the bonds that have hitherto united the States has been in contemplation, it is now apparently a stern and inevitable fact. We have now to meet it, with all the consequences, whatever they may be. If the Confederacy is broken up the Government is dissolved, and it behooves every distinct community, as well as every individual, to take care of themselves.
"When Disunion has become a fixed and certain fact, why may not New York disrupt the bands which bind her to a venal and corrupt master—to a people and a Party that have plundered her revenues, attempted to ruin her commerce, taken away the power of self-government, and destroyed the Confederacy of which she was the proud Empire City? * * *"
After thus restating, as it were, the views and "arguments" of the Rebel Junta, as we may presume them to have been pressed on him, he becomes suddenly startled at the Conclave's idea of meeting "all the consequences, whatever they may be," and, turning completely around, with blanching pen, concludes:
"But I am not prepared to recommend the violence implied in these views. In stating this argument in favor of freedom, 'peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must,' let me not be misunderstood. The redress can be found only in appeals to the magnanimity of the people of the whole State." * * *
If "these views" were his own, and not those of the Rebel Conclave, he would either have been "prepared to recommend the violence implied in them," or else he would have suppressed them altogether. But his utterance is that of one who has certain views for the first time placed before him, and shrinks from the consequences of their advocacy—shrinks from "the violence implied" in them—although for some reason he dares not refuse to place those views before the people.
And, in carrying out his promise to do so—"In stating this argument," presumably of the Rebel Conclave, "in favor of freedom, 'peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must'"—the language used is an admission that the argument is not his own. Were it his own, would he not have said in "making" it, instead of in "stating" it? Furthermore, had he been "making" it of his own accord, he would hardly have involved himself in such singular contradictions and explanations as are here apparent. He was plainly "stating" the Rebel Conclave's argument, not making one himself. He was obeying orders, under the protest of his fears. And those fears forced his trembling pen to write the saving-clause which "qualifies" the Conclave's second-hand bluster preceding it.
That the Rebels hoped for Northern assistance in case of Secession, is very clear from many speeches made prior to and soon after the election of Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency—and from other sources of information. Thus we find in a speech made by Representative L. M. Keitt, of South Carolina, in Charleston, November, 1860, the following language, reported by the Mercury:
"But we have been threatened. Mr. Amos Kendall wrote a letter, in which he said to Colonel Orr, that if the State went out, three hundred thousand volunteers were ready to march against her. I know little about Kendall—and the less the better. He was under General Jackson; but for him the Federal treasury seemed to have a magnetic attraction.
"Jackson was a pure man, but he had too many around him who made fortunes far transcending their salaries. [Applause.] And this Amos Kendall had the same good fortune under Van Buren. He (Kendall) threatened us on the one side, and John Hickman on the other. John Hickman said, defiantly, that if we went out of the Union, eighteen millions of Northern men would bring us back.
"Let me tell you, there are a million of Democrats in the North who, when the Black Republicans attempt to march upon the South, will be found a wall of fire in the front. [Cries of 'that's so,' and applause.]"
Harper's Weekly of May 28, 1864, commenting on certain letters of M. F. Maury and others, then just come to light, said:
"How far Maury and his fellow-conspirators were justified in their hopes of seducing New Jersey into the Rebellion, may be gathered from the correspondence that took place, in the spring of 1861, between Ex-Governor Price, of New Jersey, who was one of the representatives from that State in the Peace Congress, and L. W. Burnet, Esq., of Newark.
"Mr. Price, in answering the question what ought New Jersey to do, says: 'I believe the Southern confederation permanent. The proceeding has been taken with forethought and deliberation—it is no hurried impulse, but an irrevocable act, based upon the sacred, as was supposed, equality of the States; and in my opinion every Slave State will in a short period of time be found united in one Confederacy. * * * Before that event happens, we cannot act, however much we may suffer in our material interests. It is in that contingency, then, that I answer the second part of your question:—What position for New Jersey will best accord with her interests, honor, and the patriotic instincts of her people? I say emphatically she would go with the South from every wise, prudential, and patriotic reason.'
"Ex-Governor Price proceeds to say that he is confident the States of Pennsylvania and New York will 'choose also to cast their lot with the South, and after them, the Western and Northwestern States.'"
The following resolution,* was adopted with others, by a meeting of Democrats held January 16, 1861, at National Hall, Philadelphia, and has been supposed to disclose "a plan, of which ex-Governor Price was likely aware:"
"Twelfth—That in the deliberate judgment of the Democracy of Philadelphia, and, so far as we know it, of Pennsylvania, the dissolution of the Union by the separation of the whole South, a result we shall most sincerely lament, may release this Commonwealth to a large extent from the bonds which now connect her with the Confederacy, except so far as for temporary convenience she chooses to submit to them, and would authorize and require her citizens, through a Convention, to be assembled for that purpose, to determine with whom her lot should be cast, whether with the North and the East, whose fanaticism has precipitated this misery upon us, or with our brethren of the South, whose wrongs we feel as our own; or whether Pennsylvania should stand by herself, as a distinct community, ready when occasion offers, to bind together the broken Union, and resume her place of loyalty and devotion."
Senator Lane of Oregon, replying to Senator Johnson of Tennessee, December 19, 1860, in the United States Senate, and speaking of and for the Northern Democracy, said:
"They will not march with him under his bloody banner, or Mr. Lincoln's, to invade the soil of the gallant State of South Carolina, when she may withdraw from a Confederacy that has refused her that equality to which she is entitled, as a member of the Union, under the Constitution. On the contrary, when he or any other gentleman raises that banner and attempts to subjugate that gallant people, instead of marching with him, we will meet him there, ready to repel him and his forces. He shall not bring with him the Northern Democracy to strike down a people contending for rights that have been refused them in a Union that ought to recognize the equality of every member of the Confederacy. * * * I now serve notice that, when War is made upon that gallant South for withdrawing from a Union which refuses them their rights, the Northern Democracy will not join in the crusade. THE REPUBLICAN PARTY WILL HAVE WAR ENOUGH AT HOME. THE DEMOCRACY OF THE NORTH NEED NOT CROSS THE BORDER TO FIND AN ENEMY."
The following letter from Ex-President Pierce is in the same misleading strain:
"CLARENDON HOTEL, January 6, 1860.—[This letter was captured, at Jeff. Davis's house in Mississippi, by the Union troops.]
"MY DEAR FRIEND:—I wrote you an unsatisfactory note a day or two since. I have just had a pleasant interview with Mr. Shepley, whose courage and fidelity are equal to his learning and talents. He says he would rather fight the battle with you as the standard-bearer in 1860, than under the auspices of any other leader. The feeling and judgment of Mr. S. in this relation is, I am confident, rapidly gaining ground in New England. Our people are looking for 'the coming man,' one who is raised by all the elements of his character above the atmosphere ordinarily breathed by politicians, a man really fitted for this exigency by his ability, courage, broad statesmanship, and patriotism. Colonel Seymour (Thomas H.) arrived here this morning, and expressed his views in this relation in almost the identical language used by Mr. Shepley.
"It is true that, in the present state of things at Washington and throughout the country, no man can predict what changes two or three months may bring forth. Let me suggest that, in the running debates in Congress, full justice seems to me not to have been done to the Democracy of the North. I do not believe that our friends at the South have any just idea of the state of feeling, hurrying at this moment to the pitch of intense exasperation, between those who respect their political obligations and those who have apparently no impelling power but that which fanatical passion on the subject of Domestic Slavery imparts.
"Without discussing the question of right, of abstract power to Secede, I have never believed that actual disruption of the Union can occur without blood; and if, through the madness of Northern Abolitionism, that dire calamity must come, THE FIGHTING WILL NOT BE ALONG MASON'S AND DIXON'S LINE MERELY. IT [WILL] BE WITHIN OUR OWN BORDERS, IN OUR OWN STREETS, BETWEEN THE TWO CLASSES OF CITIZENS TO WHOM I HAVE REFERRED. Those who defy law and scout Constitutional obligations will, if we ever reach the arbitrament of arms, FIND OCCUPATION ENOUGH AT HOME.
"Nothing but the state of Mrs. Pierce's health would induce me to leave the Country now, although it is quite likely that my presence at home would be of little service.
"I have tried to impress upon our people, especially in New Hampshire and Connecticut, where the only elections are to take place during the coming spring, that while our Union meetings are all in the right direction, and well enough for the present, they will not be worth the paper upon which their resolutions are written unless we can overthrow political Abolitionism at the polls and repeal the Unconstitutional and obnoxious laws which, in the cause of 'personal liberty,' have been placed upon our statute-books. I shall look with deep interest, and not without hope, for a decided change in this relation.
"Ever and truly your friend, "FRANKLIN PIERCE.
"Hon. JEFF. DAVIS, "Washington, D. C."
But let us turn from contemplating the encouragements to Southern Treason and Rebellion, held out by Northern Democratic Copperheads, to the more pleasing spectacle of Loyalty and Patriotism exhibited by the Douglas wing of Democracy.
Immediately after Sumter, and while the President was formulating his Message, calling for 75,000 volunteers, Douglas called upon him at the White House, regretted that Mr. Lincoln did not propose to call for thrice as many; and on the 18th of April, having again visited the White House, wrote, and gave the following dispatch to the Associated Press, for circulation throughout the Country:
"April 18, 1861, Senator Douglas called on the President, and had an interesting conversation on the present condition of the Country. The substance of it was, on the part of Mr. Douglas, that while he was unalterably opposed to the administration in all its political issues, he was prepared to fully sustain the President in the exercise of all his Constitutional functions, to preserve the Union, maintain the Government, and defend the Federal Capital. A firm policy and prompt action was necessary. The Capital was in danger and must be defended at all hazards, and at any expense of men and money. He spoke of the present and future without any reference to the past."
It is stated of this meeting and its immediate results: "The President was deeply gratified by the interview. To the West, Douglas telegraphed, 'I am for my Country and against all its assailants.' The fire of his patriotism spread to the masses of the North, and Democrat and Republican rallied to the support of the flag. In Illinois the Democratic and Republican presses vied with each other in the utterance of patriotic sentiments. * * * Large and numerously attended Mass meetings met, as it were with one accord, irrespective of parties, and the people of all shades of political opinions buried their party hatchets. Glowing and eloquent orators exhorted the people to ignore political differences in the present crisis, join in the common cause, and rally to the flag of the Union and the Constitution. It was a noble truce. From the many resolutions of that great outpouring of patriotic sentiment, which ignored all previous party ties, we subjoin the following:
"'Resolved, that it is the duty of all patriotic citizens of Illinois, without distinction of party or sect, to sustain the Government through the peril which now threatens the existence of the Union; and of our Legislature to grant such aid of men and money as the exigency of the hour and the patriotism of our people shall demand.'
"Governor Yates promptly issued his proclamation, dated the 15th of April, convening the Legislature for the 23rd inst. in Extraordinary Session.
* * * * * * *
"On the evening of the 25th of April, Mr. Douglas, who had arrived at the Capital the day before, addressed the General Assembly and a densely packed audience, in the Hall of Representatives, in that masterly effort, which must live and be enshrined in the hearts of his countrymen so long as our Government shall endure. Douglas had ever delighted in the mental conflicts of Party strife; but now, when his Country was assailed by the red hand of Treason, he was instantly divested of his Party armor and stood forth panoplied only in the pure garb of a true Patriot.
"He taught his auditory—he taught his Country, for his speeches were telegraphed all over it—the duty of patriotism at that perilous hour of the Nation's Life. He implored both Democrats and Republicans to lay aside their Party creeds and Platforms; to dispense with Party Organizations and Party Appeals; to forget that they were ever divided until they had first rescued the Government from its assailants. His arguments were clear, convincing, and unanswerable; his appeals for the Salvation of his Country, irresistible. It was the last speech, but one, he ever made."
Among other pithy and patriotic points made by him in that great speech —[July 9, 1861.]—were these: "So long as there was a hope of a peaceful solution, I prayed and implored for Compromise. I have spared no effort for a peaceful solution of these troubles; I have failed, and there is but one thing to do—to rally under the flag." "The South has no cause of complaint." "Shall we obey the laws or adopt the Mexican system of War, on every election." "Forget Party—all remember only your Country." "The shortest road to Peace is the most tremendous preparation for War." "It is with a sad heart and with a grief I have never before experienced, that I have to contemplate this fearful Struggle. * * * But it is our duty to protect the Government and the flag from every assailant, be he who he may."
In Chicago, Douglas repeated his patriotic appeal for the preservation of the Union, and tersely declared that "There can be no Neutrals in this War—only Patriots and Traitors." In that city he was taken with a mortal illness, and expired at the Tremont House, June 3, 1861—just one month prior to the meeting of the called Session of Congress.
The wonderful influence wielded by Douglas throughout the North, was well described afterward by his colleague, Judge Trumbull, in the Senate, when he said: "His course had much to do in producing that unanimity in support of the Government which is now seen throughout the Loyal States. The sublime spectacle of twenty million people rising as one man in vindication of Constitutional Liberty and Free Government, when assailed by misguided Rebels and plotting Traitors, is, to a considerable extent due to his efforts. His magnanimous and patriotic course in this trying hour of his Country's destiny was the crowning act of his life."
And Senator McDougall of California—his life-long friend—in describing the shock of the first intelligence that reached him, of his friend's sudden death, with words of even greater power, continued: "But, as, powerless for the moment to resist the tide of emotions, I bowed my head in silent grief, it came to me that the Senator had lived to witness the opening of the present unholy War upon our Government; that, witnessing it, from the Capital of his State, as his highest and best position, he had sent forth a War-cry worthy of that Douglass, who, as ancient legends tell, with the welcome of the knightly Andalusian King, was told,
'"Take thou the leading of the van, And charge the Moors amain; There is not such a lance as thine In all the hosts of Spain.'
"Those trumpet notes, with a continuous swell, are sounding still throughout all the borders of our Land. I heard them upon the mountains and in the valleys of the far State whence I come. They have communicated faith and strength to millions. * * * I ceased to grieve for Douglas. The last voice of the dead Douglas I felt to be stronger than the voice of multitudes of living men."
And here it may not be considered out of place for a brief reference to the writer's own position at this time; especially as it has been much misapprehended and misstated. One of the fairest of these statements* runs thus:
[Lusk's History of the Politics of Illinois from 1856 to 1884, p. 175.]
"It is said that Logan did not approve the great speech made by Senator Douglas, at Springfield, in April, 1861, wherein he took the bold ground that in the contest which was then clearly imminent to him, between the North and the South, that there could be but two parties, Patriots and Traitors. But granting that there was a difference between Douglas and Logan at that time, it did not relate to their adhesion to the Cause of their Country Logan had fought for the Union upon the plains of Mexico, and again stood ready to give his life, if need be, for his Country, even amid the cowardly slanders that were then following his pathway.
"The difference between Douglas and Logan was this: Mr. Douglas was fresh from an extended campaign in the dissatisfied Sections of the Southern States, and he was fully apprised of their intention to attempt the overthrow of the Union, and was therefore in favor of the most stupendous preparations for War.
"Mr. Logan, on the other hand, believed in exhausting all peaceable means before a resort to Arms, and in this he was like President Lincoln; but when he saw there was no alternative but to fight, he was ready and willing for armed resistance, and, resigning his seat in Congress, entered the Army, as Colonel of the Thirty-first Illinois Infantry, and remained in the field in active service until Peace was declared."
This statement is, in the main, both fair and correct.
It is no more correct, however, in intimating that "Logan did not approve the great speech made by Senator Douglas, at Springfield, in April, 1861, wherein he took the bold ground that in the contest which was then clearly imminent to him, between the North and the South, that there could be but two parties, Patriots and Traitors," than others have been in intimating that he was disloyal to the Union, prior to the breaking out of hostilities—a charge which was laid out flat in the Senate Chamber, April 19, 1881.
[In Dawson's Life of Logan, pp. 348-353, this matter is thus alluded to:
"In an early part of this work the base charge that Logan was not loyal before the War has been briefly touched on. It may be well here to touch on it more fully. As was then remarked, the only man that ever dared insinuate to Logan's face that he was a Secession sympathizer before the War, was Senator Ben Hill of Georgia, in the United States Senate Chamber, March 30, 1881; and Logan instantly retorted: 'Any man who insinuates that I sympathized with it at that time insinuates what is false,' and Senator Hill at once retracted the insinuation."
"Subsequently, April 19, 1881, Senator Logan, in a speech, fortified with indisputable record and documentary evidence, forever set at rest the atrocious calumny. From that record it appears that on the 17th December, 1860, while still a Douglas Democrat, immediately after Lincoln's election, and long before his inauguration, and before even the first gun of the war was fired, Mr. Logan, then a Representative in the House, voted affirmatively on a resolution, offered by Morris of Illinois, which declared an 'immovable attachment' to 'our National Union,' and 'that it is our patriotic duty to stand by it as our hope in peace and our defense in war;' that on the 7th January, 1861, Mr. Adrian having offered the following 'Resolved, That we fully approve of the bold and patriotic act of Major Anderson in withdrawing from Fort Moultrie to Fort Sumter, and of the determination of the President to maintain that fearless officer in his present position; and that we will support the President in all constitutional measures to enforce the laws and preserve the Union'—Mr. Logan, in casting his vote, said: 'As the resolution receives my unqualified approval, I vote Aye;' and that further on the 5th of February, 1861, before the inauguration of President Lincoln, in a speech made by Logan in the House in favor of the Crittenden Compromise measures, he used the following language touching Secession:
"'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 grievances. I hold that all grievances can be much easier redressed inside the Union than out of it.'
"In that same speech he also * * * said:
"'I have been taught 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.'
"In this most complete speech of vindication—which Senator Logan said he put upon record, 'First, that my children, after me, may not have these slanders thrown in their faces without the power of dispelling or refuting them; and second, that they may endure in this Senate Chamber, so that it may be a notice to Senators of all parties and all creeds that hereafter, while I am here in the Senate, no insinuation of that kind will be submitted to by me,' —the proofs of the falsity of the charge were piled mountain-high, and among them the following voluntary statements from two Democratic Senators, who were with him before the War, in the House of Representatives:
"'United States Senate Chamber, WASHINGTON, April 14, 1881.
"'DEAR SIR: In a discussion in the Senate a few weeks since you referred to the fact that a Southern Senator, who had served with you in Congress before the War, could testify that during your term of service there you gave no encouragement to the Secession of the Southern States, adding, however, that you did not ask such testimony. I was not sure at the time that your reference was to me, as Senator Pugh of Alabama, was also a member of that Congress.
"'Since then, having learned that your reference was to me, I propose on the floor of the Senate, should suitable occasion offer, to state what I know of your position and views at the time referred to. But, as I may be absent from the Senate for some time, I deem it best to give you this written statement, with full authority to use it in any way that seems proper to you.
"'When you first came to Congress in ——, you were a very ardent and impetuous Democrat. In the division which took place between Mr. Douglas and his friends, on the one hand, and the Southern Democrats, on the other, you were a warm and uncompromising supporter of Mr. Douglas; and in the course of that convention you became somewhat estranged from your party associates in the South. In our frequent discussions upon the subjects of difference, I never heard a word of sympathy from your lips with Secession in either theory or practice. On the contrary, you were vehement in your opposition to it.'
"'I remember well a conversation I had with you just before leaving Washington to become a candidate for the Secession convention. You expressed the deep regret you felt at my proposed action, and deplored the contemplated movement in terms as strong as any I heard from any Republican.' Yours truly, "'L. Q. C. LAMAR
"'Hon. JOHN A. LOGAN. "United States Senate, Washington, D. C.'
"Senate Chamber, April 14, 1881.
"'Having read the above statement of Senator Lamar, I fully concur with him in my recollection of your expressions and action in opposition to Secession. Truly yours, J. L. PUGH.'
"At the conclusion of Senator Logan's speech of refutation, Senator Brown of Georgia (Democrat) said:
"'Our newspapers may have misrepresented his position. I am now satisfied they did. I have heard the Senator's statement with great interest, and I take pleasure in saying—for I had some idea before that there was some shadow of truth in this report—that I think his vindication' is full, complete, and conclusive.'
"'I recollect very well during the war, when I was Governor of my State and the Federal army was invading it, to have had a large force of militia aiding the Confederate army, and that Gen. Logan was considered by us as one of the ablest, most gallant, and skillful leaders of the Federal army. We had occasion to feel his power, and we learned to respect him.'
"Senator Beck, of Kentucky (Democrat), referring to the fact that he was kept out of the House at one time, and a great many suggestions had been made to him as to General Logan, continued:
"'As I said the other day, I never proposed to go into such things, and never have done so; but at that time General Frank Blair was here, and I submitted many of the papers I received to him,—I never thought of using any of them,—and I remember the remark that he made to me: Beck, John Logan was one of the hardest fighters of the war; and when many men who were seeking to whistle him down the wind because of his politics when the war began, were snugly fixed in safe places, he was taking his life in his hand wherever the danger was greatest—and I tore up every paper I got, and burnt it in the fire before his eyes.'
"Senator Dawes of Massachusetts (Republican), also took occasion to say:
"Mr. President, I do not know that anything which can be said on this side would be of any consequence to the Senator from Illinois in this matter. But I came into the House of Representatives at the same session that the Senator did.
"'He was at that time one of the most intense of Democrats, and I was there with him when the Rebellion first took root and manifested itself in open and flagrant war; and I wish to say as a Republican of that day, when the Senator from Illinois was a Democrat, that at the earliest possible moment when the Republican Party was in anxiety as to the position of the Northern Democracy on the question of forcible assault on the Union, nothing did they hail with more delight than the early stand which the Senator from Illinois, from the Democratic side of the House, took upon the question of resistance to the Government of the United States.
"I feel that it is right that I should state that he was among the first, if not the very first, of the Northern Democrats who came out openly and declared, whatever may have been their opinion about the doctrines of the Republican Party, that when it came to a question of forcible resistance, they should be counted on the side of the Government, and in co-operation with the Republican Party in the attempt to maintain its authority.'
"'I am very glad, whether it be of any service or not, to bear this testimony to the early stand the Senator from Illinois took while he was still a Democrat, and the large influence he exerted upon the Northern Democracy, which kept it from being involved in the condition and in the work of the Southern Democracy at that time.'"]
So far from this being the case, the fact is—and it is here mentioned in part to bring out the interesting point that, had he lived, Douglas would have been no idle spectator of the great War that was about to be waged—that when Douglas visited Springfield, Illinois, to make that great speech in the latter part of April, 1861, the writer went there also, to see and talk over with him the grave situation of affairs, not only in the Nation generally, but particularly in Illinois. And on that occasion Mr. Douglas said to him, substantially: "The time has now arrived when a man must be either for or against his Country. Indeed so strongly do I feel this, and that further dalliance with this question is useless, that I shall myself take steps to join the Array, and fight for the maintenance of the Union."
To this the writer replied that he was "equally well convinced that each and every man must take his stand," and that he also "purposed at an early day to raise a Regiment and draw the sword in that Union's defense."
This was after Sumter, and only seventy days before Congress was to meet in Called Session. When that session met, Douglas had, weeks before, gone down to the grave amid the tears of a distracted Nation, with the solemn injunction upon his dying lips: "Obey the Laws and Defend the Constitution"—and the writer had returned to Washington, to take his seat in Congress, with that determination still alive in his heart.
In fact there had been all along, substantial accord between Mr. Douglas and the writer. There really was no "difference between Douglas and Logan" as to "preparations for War," or in "exhausting all Peaceable means before a resort to Arms," and both were in full accord with President Lincoln on these points.
Let us see if this is not of record: Take the writer's speech in the House of Representatives, February 5, 1861, and it will be seen that he said: "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." Again, he said, "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."
From these extracts it is plain enough that even at this very early day the writer fully understood the "frightful proportions" of the impending struggle, and would "go as far as"—not only Mr. Douglas, but—"any man, to put down Rebellion"—which necessarily involved War, and "preparations for War." But none the less, but rather the more, because of the horrors which he foresaw must be inseparable from so terrible a War, was he anxious by timely mutual Concessions—"by any sacrifice," as he termed it—if possible, to avert it.
He was ready to sink Party, self, and to accept any of the Propositions to that end—Mr. Douglas's among them.
[See his speech of February 5, 1861, Congressional Globe]
In this attitude also he was in accord with Mr. Douglas, who, as well as the writer, was ready to make any sacrifice, of Party or self; to "exhaust every effort at peaceful adjustment," before resorting to War. The fact is they were much of the time in consultation, and always in substantial accord.
In a speech made in the Senate, March 15, 1861, Mr. Douglas had reduced the situation to the following three alternative points:
"1. THE RESTORATION AND PRESERVATION OF THE UNION by such Amendments to the Constitution as will insure the domestic tranquillity, safety, and equality of all the States, and thus restore peace, unity, and fraternity, to the whole Country.
"2. A PEACEFUL DISSOLUTION OF THE UNION by recognizing the Independence of such States as refuse to remain in the Union without such Constitutional Amendments, and the establishment of a liberal system of commercial and social intercourse with them by treaties of commerce and amity.
"3. WAR, with a view to the subjugation and military occupation of those States which have Seceded or may Secede from the Union."
As a thorough Union man, he could never have agreed to a "Peaceful Dissolution of the Union." On the other hand he was equally averse to War, because he held that "War is Disunion. War is final, eternal Separation." Hence, all his energies and talents were given to carrying out his first-stated line of policy, and to persuading the Seceders to accept what in that line was offered to them by the dominant party.
His speech in the Senate, March 25, 1861, was a remarkable effort in that respect. Mr. Breckinridge had previously spoken, and had declared that: "Whatever settlement may be made of other questions, this must be settled upon terms that will give them [the Southern States] either a right, in common with others, to emigrate into all the territory, or will secure to them their rights on a principle of equitable division."
Mr. Douglas replied: "Now, under the laws as they stand, in every Territory of the United States, without any exception, a Southern man can go with his Slave-property on equal terms with all other property. * * * Every man, either from the North or South, may go into the Territories with his property on terms of exact equality, subject to the local law; and Slave-property stands on an equal footing with all other kinds of property in the Territories of the United States. It now stands on an equal footing in all the Territories for the first time.
"I have shown you that, up to 1859, little more than a year ago, it was prohibited in part of the Territories. It is not prohibited anywhere now. For the first time, under Republican rule, the Southern States have secured that equality of rights in the Territories for their Slave-property which they have been demanding so long."
He held that the doctrine of Congressional prohibition in all the Territories, as incorporated in the Wilmot proviso, had now been repudiated by the Republicans of both Houses of Congress, who had "all come over to Non-intervention and Popular Sovereignty;" that the "Wilmot proviso is given up; that Congressional prohibition is given up; that the aggressive policy is repudiated; and hereafter the Southern man and the Northern man may move into the Territories with their Property on terms of entire equality, without excepting Slaves or any other kind of property."
Continuing, he said: "What more do the Southern States want? What more can any man demand? Non-intervention is all you asked. Will it be said the South required in addition to this, laws of Congress to protect Slavery in the Territories? That cannot be said; for only last May, the Senate, by a nearly unanimous vote—a unanimous vote of the Southern men, with one or two exceptions—declared that affirmative legislation was not needed at this time. * * * What cause is there for further alarm in the Southern States, so far as the Territories are concerned? * * *
"I repeat, the South has got all they ever claimed in all the Territories. * * * Then, sir, according to law, the Slaveholding States have got equality in the Territories. How is it in fact. * * * Now, I propose to show that they have got the actual equitable partition, giving them more than they were disposed to demand.
"The Senator from Kentucky, * * * Mr. Crittenden, introduced a proposition for an equitable partition. That proposition was, that north of 36 30' Slavery should be prohibited, and South of it should be protected, by Territorial law. * * * What is now the case? It is true the Crittenden proposition has not yet become part of the Constitution; but it is also true that an equitable partition has been made by the vote of the people themselves, establishing, maintaining, and protecting Slavery in every inch of territory South of the thirty-seventh parallel, giving the South half a degree more than the Crittenden Proposition.
"There stands your Slave-code in New Mexico protecting Slavery up to the thirty-seventh degree as effectually as laws can be made to protect it. There it stands the Law of the Land. Therefore the South has all below the thirty-seventh parallel, while Congress has not prohibited Slavery even North of it.
* * * * * *
"What more, then, is demanded? Simply that a Constitutional Amendment shall be adopted, affirming—what? Precisely what every Republican in both Houses of Congress has voted for within a month. Just do, by Constitutional Amendment, what you have voted in the Senate and House of Representatives, that is all. You are not even required to do that, but merely to vote for a proposition submitting the question to the People of the States whether they will make a Constitutional Amendment affirming the equitable partition of the Territories which the People have already made. * * *
"You may ask, why does the South want us to do it by Constitutional Amendment, when we have just done it voluntarily by Law? The President of the United States, in his Inaugural, has told you the reason. He has informed you that all of these troubles grow out of the absence of a Constitutional provision defining the power of Congress over the subject of Slavery. * * * He thinks that the trouble has arisen from the absence of such a Constitutional Provision, and suggests a National Convention to enable the People to supply the defect, leaving the People to say what it is, instead of dictating to them what it shall be."
It may here be remarked that while Mr. Douglas held that "So far as the doctrine of Popular Sovereignty and Nonintervention is concerned, the Colorado Bill, the Nevada Bill, and the Dakota Bill, are identically the same with the Kansas-Nebraska Bill, and in its precise language"—these former Bills having been passed at the last Session of the 36th Congress—the Republicans, on the contrary, held that neither in these nor other measures had they abandoned any distinctive Republican principle; while Breckinridge declared that they had passed those Territorial Bills, without the Wilmot proviso, because they felt perfectly secure in those Territories, with all the Federal patronage in Republican hands.
However that may be, we have here, brought out in strong contrast, the conciliatory feeling which inspired such Union men as Douglas, and the strong and persistent efforts they made in behalf of Concession and Peace up to a period only a few weeks before the bombardment of Sumter; and the almost total revulsion in their sentiments after that event, as to the only proper means to preserve the Union. For it was only then that the truth, as it fell from Douglas's lips at Springfield, was fully recognized, to wit: that there was no half-way ground betwixt Patriotism and Treason; that War was an existing fact; and that Patriots must arm to defend and preserve the Union against the armed Traitors assailing it.
At last, July 4, 1861, the Congress met, and proceeded at once with commendable alacrity and patriotism, to the consideration and enactment of measures sufficient to meet the extraordinary exigency, whether as regards the raising and equipment of the vast bodies of Union volunteers needed to put down Rebellion, or in the raising of those enormous amounts of money which the Government was now, or might thereafter be, called upon to spend like water in preserving the Union.
It was at this memorable Session, of little over one month, that the chief of the great "War Measures" as they were termed, were enacted.
THE STORM OF BATTLE
We have seen how Fort Sumter fell; how the patriotic North responded to President Lincoln's Call, for 75,000 three-months volunteers, with such enthusiasm that, had there been a sufficiency of arms and accoutrements, he might have had, within three months of that Call, an Army of 500,000 men in the field; how he had called for 42,000 three-years volunteers early in May, besides swelling what little there was of a regular Army by ten full regiments; and how a strict blockade of the entire Southern Coast-line had not only been declared, but was now enforced and respected.
General Butler, promoted Major-General for his Military successes at Annapolis and Baltimore, was now in command of Fortress Monroe and vicinity, with some 12,000 volunteers under him, confronted, on the Peninsula, by a nearly equal number of Rebel troops, under Generals Huger and Magruder—General Banks, with less than 10,000 Union troops, occupying Baltimore, and its vicinage.
General Patterson, with some 20,000 Union troops—mostly Pennsylvania militia—was at Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, with about an equal number of the Enemy, under General Joseph E. Johnston, at Harper's Ferry, on the Potomac, watching him.
Some 50,000 Union troops were in camp, in and about Washington, on the Virginia side, under the immediate command of Generals McDowell and Mansfield—Lieutenant General Scott, at Washington, being in Chief-command of the Union Armies—and, confronting these Union forces, in Virginia, near the National Capital, were some 30,000 Rebel troops under the command of General Beauregard, whose success in securing the evacuation of Fort Sumter by its little garrison of half-starved Union soldiers, had magnified him, in the eyes of the rebellious South, into the proportions of a Military genius of the first order.
There had been no fighting, nor movements, worthy of special note, until June 7th, when General Patterson advanced from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, to Hagerstown, Maryland. General Johnston at once evacuated Harper's Ferry, and retreated upon Winchester, Virginia.
General McClellan, in command of the Department of the Ohio, had, however, crossed the Ohio river, and by the 4th of July, being at Grafton, West Virginia, with his small Army of Union troops, to which a greatly inferior Rebel force was opposed, commenced that successful advance against it, which led, after Bull Run, to his being placed at the head of all the Armies of the United States.
Subsequently Patterson crossed the Potomac, and after trifling away over one month's time, at last, on the 15th of July, got within nine miles of Winchester and Johnston's Army. Barring a spiritless reconnaissance, Patterson—who was a fervent Breckinridge-Democrat in politics, and whose Military judgment, as we shall see, was greatly influenced, if not entirely controlled, by his Chief of staff, Fitz John Porter—never got any nearer to the Enemy!
Instead of attacking the Rebel force, under Johnston, or at least keeping it "employed," as he was ordered to do by General Scott; instead of getting nearer, and attempting to get between Winchester and the Shenandoah River, as was suggested to him by his second in command, General Sanford; and instead of permitting Sanford to go ahead, as that General desired to, with his own 8,000 men, and do it himself; General Patterson ordered him off to Charlestown—twelve miles to the Union left and rear,—and then took the balance of his Army, with himself, to the same place!
In other words, while he had the most positive and definite orders, from General Scott, if not to attack and whip Johnston, to at least keep him busy and prevent that Rebel General from forming a junction, via the Manassas Gap railroad or otherwise, with Beauregard, Patterson deliberately moved his Army further away from Winchester and gave to the Enemy the very chance of escaping and forming that junction which was essential to Rebel success in the vicinity of Manassas.
But for this disobedience of orders, Bull Run would doubtless have been a great victory to the Union Arms, instead of a reverse, and the War, which afterward lasted four years, might have been over in as many months.
It is foreign to the design of this work, to present in it detailed descriptions of the battles waged during the great War of the Rebellion —it being the present intention of the writer, at some later day, to prepare and publish another work devoted to such stirring Military scenes. Yet, as it might seem strange and unaccountable for him to pass by, at this time, without any description or comment, the first pitched battle of the Rebellion, he is constrained to pause and view that memorable contest. And first, it may be well to say a word of the general topography of the country about the battle-field.
The Alleghany Mountains, or that part of them with which we have now to do, stretch in three almost equidistant parallel ridges, from North-East to South-West, through the heart of Old Virginia. An occasional pass, or "Gap," through these ridges, affords communication, by good roads, between the enclosed parallel valleys and the Eastern part of that State.
The Western of these Alleghany ridges bears the name of "Alleghany Mountains" proper; the Eastern is called the "Blue Ridge;" while the Middle Ridge, at its Northern end—which rests upon the Potomac, where that river sweeps through three parallel ridges almost at right angles to their own line of direction—is called the "Great North Mountain."
The valley, between the Middle Ridge and the Blue Ridge, is known as the Shenandoah Valley, taking its name from the Shenandoah River, which, for more than one hundred miles, flows along the Western foot of the Blue Ridge, toward the North-East, until it empties into the Potomac, at Harper's Ferry.
The Orange and Alexandria railroad runs from Alexandria,—on the opposite bank of the Potomac from Washington, and a few miles below the Capital,—in a general Southeasterly direction, to Culpepper Court-House; thence Southerly to Gordonsville, where it joins the Virginia Central—the Western branch of which runs thence through Charlotteville, Staunton, and Covington, across the ridges and valleys of the Alleghanies, while its Eastern branch, taking a general South-easterly direction, crosses the Richmond and Fredricksburg railroad at Hanover Junction, some twenty miles North of Richmond, and thence sweeps Southerly to the Rebel capital.
It is along this Easterly branch of the Virginia Central that Rebel re-enforcements will be hurried to Beauregard, from Richmond to Gordonsville, and thence, by the Orange and Alexandria railroad, to Manassas Junction.
Some twenty-five miles from Alexandria, a short railroad-feeder—which runs from Strasburg, in the Shenandoah Valley, through the Blue Ridge, at Manassas Gap, in an East-South-easterly direction—strikes the Alexandria and Orange railroad. The point of contact is Manassas Junction; and it is along this Manassas-Gap feeder that Johnston, with his Army at Winchester—some twenty miles North-North-East of Strasburg —expects, in case of attack by Patterson, to be re-enforced by Beauregard; or, in case the latter is assailed, to go to his assistance, after shaking off Patterson.
This little link of railroad, known as the Manassas Gap railroad, is therefore an important factor in the game of War, now commencing in earnest; and it had, as we shall see, very much to do, not only with the advance of McDowell's Union Army upon Bull Run, but also with the result of the first pitched battle thereabout fought.
From Alexandria, some twelve miles to the Westward, runs a fine turnpike road to Fairfax Court-House; thence, continuing Westward, but gradually and slightly dipping award the South, it passes through Germantown, Centreville, and Groveton, to Warrenton.
This "Warrenton Pike"—as it is termed—also plays a somewhat conspicuous part, before, during, and after the Battle of Bull Run. For most of its length, from Fairfax Court-House to Warrenton, the Warrenton Pike pursues a course almost parallel with the Orange and Alexandria railroad aforesaid, while the stream of Bull Run, pursuing a South-easterly course, has a general direction almost parallel with that of the Manassas Gap railroad.
We shall find that it is the diamond-shaped parallelogram, formed by the obtuse angle junction of the two railroads on the South, and the similarly obtuse-angled crossing of the stream of Bull Run by the Warrenton Pike on the North, that is destined to become the historic battle-field of the first "Bull Run," or "Manassas;" and it is in the Northern obtuse-angle of this parallelogram that the main fighting is done, upon a spot not much more than one mile square, three sides of the same being bounded respectively by the Bull Run stream, the Warrenton Pike, which crosses it on a stone bridge, and the Sudley Springs road, which crosses the Pike, at right-angles to it, near a stone house.
On the 3rd of June, 1861, General McDowell, in command of the Department of North-Eastern Virginia, with head-quarters at Arlington, near Washington, receives from Colonel Townsend, Assistant Adjutant-General with Lieutenant-General Scott—who is in Chief command of all the Union Forces, with Headquarters at Washington—a brief but pregnant communication, the body of which runs thus: "General Scott desires you to submit an estimate of the number and composition of a column to be pushed toward Manassas Junction, and perhaps the Gap, say in four or five days, to favor Patterson's attack on Harper's Ferry. The rumor is that Arlington Heights will be attacked to-night."
In response to this request, General McDowell submits, on the day following, an estimate that "the actual entire force at the head of the column should, for the purpose of carrying the position at Manassas and of occupying both the road to Culpepper, and the one to the Gap, be as much as 12,000 Infantry, two batteries of regular Artillery, and from six to eight companies of Cavalry, with an available reserve, ready to move forward from Alexandria by rail, of 5,000 Infantry and one heavy field battery, rifled if possible; these numbers to be increased or diminished as events may indicate." This force of raw troops he proposes to organize into field brigades under the command of "active and experienced colonels" of the regular Army. And while giving this estimate as to the number of troops necessary, he suggestively adds that "in proportion to the numbers used will be the lives saved; and as we have such numbers pressing to be allowed to serve, might it not be well to overwhelm and conquer as much by the show of force as by the use of it?"
Subsequently McDowell presents to General Scott, and Mr. Lincoln's Cabinet, a project of advance and attack, which is duly approved and ordered to be put in execution. In that project or plan of operations, submitted by verbal request of General Scott, near the end of June,—the success of which is made contingent upon Patterson's holding Johnston engaged at Winchester in the Shenandoah Valley, and also upon Butler's holding the Rebel force near Fortress Monroe from coming to Beauregard's aid at Manassas Junction,—McDowell estimates Beauregard's strength at 25,000, with a possible increase, bringing it up to 35,000 men. The objective point in McDowell's plan, is Manassas Junction, and he proposes "to move against Manassas with a force of 30,000 of all arms, organized into three columns, with a reserve of 10,000."
McDowell is fully aware that the Enemy has "batteries in position at several places in his front, and defensive works on Bull Run, and Manassas Junction." These batteries he proposes to turn. He believes Bull Run to be "fordable at almost anyplace,"—an error which ultimately renders his plan abortive,—and his proposition is, after uniting his columns on the Eastern side of Bull Run, "to attack the main position by turning it, if possible, so as to cut off communications by rail with the South, or threaten to do so sufficiently to force the Enemy to leave his intrenchments to guard them."
In other words, assuming the Enemy driven back, by minor flanking movements, or otherwise, upon his intrenched position at Bull Run, or Manassas, the plan is to turn his right, destroy the Orange and Alexandria railroad leading South, and the bridge at Bristol, so as to cut off his supplies. This done, the Enemy—if nothing worse ensues for him—will be in a "bad box."
McDowell, however, has no idea that the Enemy will stand still to let this thing be done. On the contrary, he is well satisfied that Beauregard will accept battle on some chosen ground between Manassas Junction and Washington.
On the afternoon of Tuesday, the 16th of July, the advance of McDowell's Army commences. That Army is organized into five divisions—four of which accompany McDowell, while a fifth is left to protect the defensive works of Washington, on the South bank of the Potomac. This latter, the Fourth Division, commanded by Brigadier-General Theodore Runyon, comprises eight unbrigaded New Jersey regiments of (three months, and three years) volunteers—none of which take part in the ensuing conflicts-at-arms.
The moving column consists of the First Division, commanded by Brigadier-General Daniel Tyler, comprising four brigades, respectively under Brigadier-General R. C. Schenck, and Colonels E. D. Keyes, W. T. Sherman, and I. B. Richardson; the Second Division, commanded by Colonel David Hunter, comprising two brigades, under Colonels Andrew Porter and A. E. Burnside respectively; the Third Division, commanded by Colonel S. P. Heintzelman, comprising three brigades, under Colonels W. B. Franklin, O. B. Wilcox, and O. O. Howard, respectively; and the Fifth Division, commanded by Colonel Dixon S. Miles, comprising two brigades, under Colonels Lewis Blenker, and Thomas A. Davies, respectively.
Tyler's Division leads the advance, moving along the Leesburg road to Vienna, on our right, with orders to cross sharply to its left, upon Fairfax Court House, the following (Wednesday) morning. Miles's Division follows the turnpike road to Annandale, and then moves, by the Braddock road,—along which Braddock, a century before, had marched his doomed army to disaster,—upon Fairfax Court House, then known to be held by Bonham's Rebel Brigade of South Carolinians. Hunter follows Miles, to Annandale, and thence advances direct upon Fairfax, by the turnpike road—McDowell's idea being to bag Bonham's Brigade, if possible, by a simultaneous attack on the front and both flanks. But the advance is too slow, and the Enemy's outposts, both there and elsewhere, have ample opportunity of falling safely back upon their main position, behind the stream of Bull Run.
[McDowell in his testimony before the "Committee on the Conduct of the War," said: "At Fairfax Court House was the South Carolina Brigade. And I do not suppose anything would have had a greater cheering effect upon the troops, and perhaps upon the Country, than the capture of that brigade. And if General Tyler could have got down there any time in the forenoon instead of in the afternoon, the capture of that brigade was beyond question. It was about 5,000 or 6,000 men, and Tyler had 12,000, at the same time that we were pressing on in front. He did not get down there until in the afternoon; none of us got forward in time."]
This slowness is due to various causes. There is a pretty general dread, for example, among our troops, of threatened ambuscades, and hence the advance is more cautious than it otherwise would be. It is thought the part of wisdom, as it were, to "feel the way." The marching, moreover, is new to our troops. General Scott had checked McDowell when the latter undertook to handle eight regiments together, near Washington, by intimating that he was "trying to make a show." Thus the very essential knowledge of how to manoeuvre troops in large bodies, has been withheld from our Union generals, while the volunteer regiments have either rusted in camp from inaction, or have been denied the opportunity of acquiring that endurance and hardiness and discipline which frequent movement of troops confers. Hence, all unused to the discipline of the march, every moment some one falls out of line to "pick blackberries, or to get water." Says McDowell, in afterward reporting this march: "They would not keep in the ranks, order as much as you pleased. When they came where water was fresh, they would pour the old water out of their canteens and fill them with fresh water; they were not used to denying themselves much."
Meantime, Heintzelman's Division is also advancing, by cross-roads, more to the left and South of the railroad line,—in accordance with McDowell's plan, which comprehends not only the bagging of Bonham, but an immediate subsequent demonstration, by Tyler, upon Centreville and beyond, while Heintzelman, supported by Hunter and Miles, shall swoop across Bull Run, at Wolf Run Shoals, some distance below Union Mills, turn the Enemy's right, and cut off his Southern line of railroad communications. Thus, by the evening of Wednesday, the 17th, Heintzelman is at Sangster's Station, while Tyler, Miles, and Hunter, are at Fairfax.
It is a rather rough experience that now befalls the Grand Army of the Union. All unused, as we have seen, to the fatigues and other hardships of the march, the raw levies, of which it almost wholly consists, which started bright and fresh, strong and hopeful, full of the buoyant ardor of enthusiastic patriotism, on that hot July afternoon, only some thirty hours back, are now dust-begrimed, footsore, broken down, exhausted by the scorching sun, hungry, and without food,—for they have wasted the rations with which they started, and the supply-trains have not yet arrived. Thus, hungry and physically prostrated, "utterly played out," as many of them confess, and demoralized also by straggling and loss of organization, they bivouac that night in the woods, and dream uneasy dreams beneath the comfortless stars.
A mile beyond Fairfax Court House, on the Warrenton Turnpike, is Germantown. It is here that Tyler's Division has rested, on the night of the 17th. At 7 o'clock on the morning of Thursday, the 18th, in obedience to written orders from McDowell, it presses forward, on that "Pike," to Centreville, five miles nearer to the Enemy's position behind Bull Run—Richardson's Brigade in advance—and, at 9 o'clock, occupies it. Here McDowell has intended Tyler to remain, in accordance with the plan, which he has imparted to him in conversation, and in obedience to the written instructions to: "Observe well the roads to Bull Run and to Warrenton. Do not bring on an engagement, but keep up the impression that we are moving on Manassas,"—this advance, by way of Centreville, being intended solely as a "demonstration" to mask the real movement, which, as we have seen, is to be made by the other divisions across Wolf Run Shoals, a point on Bull Run, some five or six miles below Union Mills, and some seven miles below Blackburn's Ford.
Upon the arrival of Richardson's Brigade, Thursday morning, at Centreville, it is found that, under cover of the darkness of the previous night, the Enemy has retreated, in two bodies, upon Bull Run, the one along the Warrenton Pike, the other (the largest) down the ridge-road from Centreville to Blackburn's Ford. Richardson's Brigade at once turns down the latter road and halts about a mile beyond Centreville, at a point convenient to some springs of water. Tyler soon afterward rides up, and, taking from that brigade two companies of light Infantry and a squadron of Cavalry, proceeds, with Colonel Richardson, to reconnoitre the Enemy, finding him in a strong position on the opposite bank of Bull Run, at Blackburn's Ford.