The Life of Abraham Lincoln (Arnold)/Chapter XII
|←Chapter XI||The Life of Abraham Lincoln by
|Chapter XII. Lincoln in the White House.
Lincoln’s Inauguration.-- His Cabinet.-- Douglas’s Prophecy.-- Butler Predicts End of Slavery.-- South Carolina the Prodigal Son.-- Douglas’s Rallying Cry for the Union.-- His Death.-- Difficulties of the President.-- Rebels Begin the War.-- Uprising of the People.-- Death of Ellsworth.-- Great Britain and France Recognize the Confederates as Belligerents.-- Negroes Declared “Contraband.”
Mr. Lincoln availed himself of the earliest opportunity after his arrival at the capital, and before his inauguration, to express his kindly feelings to the people of Washington and the Southern states. On the 27th of February, when waited upon by the Mayor and Common Council, he assured them, and through them the South, that he had no disposition to treat them in any other way than as neighbors, and that he had no disposition to withhold from them any constitutional right. He assured the people that they should have all their rights under the Constitution. "Not grudgingly, but fully and fairly."
On the 4th of March, 1861, he was inaugurated President of the United States. An inauguration so impressive and solemn had not occurred since that of Washington. The ceremonies took place, as usual, on the eastern colonnade of the Capitol. General Scott had gathered a few soldiers of the regular army, and had caused to be organized some militia, to preserve peace, order,and security.
Thousands of Northern voters thronged the streets of Washington, only a very few of them conscious of the volcano of treason and murder, thinly concealed, around and beneath them. The public offices and the departments were full of plotting traitors. Many of the rebel generals--Lee, Johnston, Ewell, Hill, Stewart, Magruder, Pemberton, and others, held commissions under the government they were about to abandon and betray. Rebel spies were everywhere. The people of Washington were, a large portion of them, in sympathy with the conspirators.
None who witnessed it, will ever forget the scene of that inauguration. There was the magnificent eastern front of the Capitol, looking towards the statue of Washington; and there were gathered together the Senate and House of Representatives, the Judges of the Supreme Court, the Diplomatic Corps, the high officers of the Army and the Navy, and, outside of the guards, a vast crowd of mingled patriots and traitors. Men looked searchingly into the eyes of every stranger, to discover whether he were a traitor or a friend. Standing in the most conspicuous position, amidst scowling traitors with murder and treason in their hearts, Lincoln was perfectly cool and self-possessed. Near him was President Buchanan, conspicuous with his white necktie, bowed as with the consciousness of duties unperformed; there were Chief Justice Taney and his associates, made notorious by the Dred Scott decision; there was Chase, with his fine and imposing presence; and the venerable Scott, his towering form still unbroken by years; the ever hopeful and philosophic statesman, Seward; the scholarly Sumner, and blunt Ben Wade, of Ohio. There were also distinguished governors of states, and throngs of eminent men from every section of the Union. But there was no man more observed than Douglas, the great rival of Lincoln. He had been most marked and thoughtful in his attentions to the President elect; and now his small but sturdy figure, in striking contrast to the towering form of Lincoln, was conspicuous; gracefully extending every courtesy to his successful competitor. His bold eye, from which flashed energy and determination, was eagerly scanning the crowd, not unconscious, it is believed, of the personal danger which encircled the President, and perfectly ready if need be to share it. Lincoln's calmness arose from an entire absence of self-consciousness; he was too fully absorbed in the gravity of the occasion and the importance of the events around and before him, to think of himself.
In the open air, and with a voice so clear and distinct that he could be heard by thrice ten thousand men, he read his inaugural address, and on the very verge of civil war, he made a most earnest appeal for peace. This address is so important, and shows so clearly the causelessness of the rebellion, that no apology is offered for the following quotations from it:
Fellow Citizens of the United States: In compliance with a custom as old as the government itself, I appear before you to address you briefly, and to take in your presence the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States, to be taken by the President "before he enters upon the execution of his office."
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 real 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 now 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 a full knowledge that I had made this and many similar declarations, and have never recanted them.
I now reiterate those sentiments, and in so doing 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 anywise endangered by the now incoming administration.
I hold, that in contemplation of universal law, and of the Constitution, the union of the states is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the fundamental law of all national governments.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 be faithfully executed in all the states.
As Mr. Lincoln pronounced the foregoing sentence, with clear, firm, and impressive emphasis, a visible sensation ran through the vast audience, and earnest, sober, but hearty cheers were heard.
In doing this there need be no bloodshed nor violence: and there shall be none, unless it be forced upon the national authority. The power confided to me will be used to hold, and 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.
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.
This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise the constitutional right of amending, 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.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 not 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. 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 difficulties.
No one can ever forget how solemn was his utterance of the following:
In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, are the momentous issues of civil war. The government will not assail you.
You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government, while I 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.
Alas! such appeals were received by the parties to whom they were addressed, with jeers, and ribaldry, and all the maddening passions which riot in blood and war. It was to force only, stern, unflinching, and severe, that the powers and passions of treason would yield.
With reverent look and impressive emphasis, he repeated the oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of his country. Douglas, who knew from his personal familiarity with the conspirators, better than Lincoln, the dangers that surrounded and were before him, who knew the conspirators and their plots, with patriotic magnanimity then grasped the hand of the President, gracefully extended his congratulations, and the assurance that in the dark future he would stand by him, and give to him his utmost aid in upholding the Constitution, and enforcing the laws of his country. Nobly did Douglas redeem that pledge.
Here the author pauses a moment, to relate a most singular prophecy in regard to the war, uttered by Douglas, January 1st, 1861. Senator Douglas, with his wife, one of the most beautiful and fascinating women in America, and a relative of Mrs. Madison, occupied one of the houses which formed the Minnesota block. On New Year's day, 1861, General Charles Stewart, of New York, who himself tells this story, says:
"I was making a New Year's call on Senator Douglas; after some conversation, I asked him:
"'What will be the result, Senator, of the efforts of Jefferson Davis and his associates, to divide the Union?'
"We were," says Stewart, "sitting on the sofa together, when I asked the question. Douglas rose, walked rapidly up and down the room for a moment, and then pausing, he exclaimed, with deep feeling and excitement:
"'The cotton states are making an effort to draw in the border states to their schemes of secession, and I am but too fearful they will succeed. If they do, there will be the most fearful civil war the world has ever seen, lasting for years.'
"Pausing a moment, he looked like one inspired, while he proceeded: 'Virginia, over yonder across the Potomac,' pointing towards Arlington, 'will become a charnel-house; but in the end the Union will triumph. They will try,' he continued, 'to get possession of this capital, to give them prestige abroad, but in that effort they will never succeed; the North will rise en masse to defend it. But Washington will become a city of hospitals, the churches will be used for the sick and wounded. This house,' he continued, 'the Minnesota block, will be devoted to that purpose before the end of the war.'
"Every word of this prediction was literally fulfilled; nearly all the churches were used for the wounded, and the Minnesota block, and the very room in which this declaration was made, became the 'Douglas Hospital.'"
"What justification is there for all this?" asked Stewart.
"There is no justification," replied Douglas. "I will go as far as the Constitution will permit to maintain their just rights. But," said he, rising to his feet, and raising his arm, "if the Southern states attempt to secede, I am in favor of their having just so many slaves, and just so much slave territory, as they can hold at the point of the bayonet, and no more."
The President having been inaugurated, announced his Cabinet as follows: William H. Seward, Secretary of State; Simon Cameron, Secretary of War; Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury; Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy; Caleb B. Smith, Secretary of the Interior; Montgomery Blair, Postmaster General; and Edward Bates, Attorney General.
Seward, Chase, Cameron, and Bates had been his competitors for the nomination at the Chicago convention. Disregarding the remonstrances of some of his friends, who feared that such a Cabinet would lack harmony, and that some of its members (as the fact turned out) would be seeking the Presidency, he is said to have replied:
"No, gentlemen, the times are too grave and perilous for ambitious schemes, and personal rivalries. I need the aid of all of these men. They enjoy the confidence of their several states and sections, and they will strengthen the administration." To some of them he made an appeal, saying: "It will require the utmost skill, influence, and sagacity of all of us to save the republic; let us forget ourselves, and join hands like brothers to save the republic. If we succeed, there will be glory enough for all."
Mr. Seward, the Secretary of State, had been the President's most formidable competitor for the nomination. He was the recognized leader of the republican party in New York, and he had been for many years a leading statesman in the anti-slavery ranks. His able speeches had done much to create and consolidate the party which triumphed in 1860. He was an accomplished scholar, a polished gentleman, familiar with the history of his country, and its foreign policy; a clear and able writer, familiar with international law, and altogether well adapted to conduct its foreign correspondence. He was hopeful and cheerful, an optimist, and believed, or appeared to believe, the rebellion would be short. He was a shrewd politician, and did not forget his friends in the dispensation of patronage.
Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury, had been also a prominent candidate for the Presidency. He was a man of commanding person, fine manly presence, dignified, sedate, and earnest. His mind was comprehensive, logical, and judicial. He was an earnest, determined, consistent, radical abolitionist. His had been the master mind at the Buffalo Convention of 1848, and his pen had framed the Buffalo platform. By his writings, speeches, and forensic arguments, and as Governor of the State of Ohio, and in the United States Senate, acting with the accomplished free-soil senator from Massachusetts, Charles Sumner, he had contributed largely to the formation of the republican party. Up to the time when he became Secretary of the Treasury, he had developed no special adaptation to, or knowledge of finance; but he brought to the duties of that most difficult position, a clear judgment and sound sense.
Simon Cameron had been a very successful Pennsylvania politician; he was of Scotch descent, as his name indicates, with inherent Scotch fire, pluck, energy, and perseverance. He had a marked Scotch face, a keen gray eye, was tall and commanding in form, and had the faculty of never forgetting a friend or an enemy. He was accused of being unscrupulous, of giving good offices and fat contracts to his friends. He retired after a short time, to make room for the combative, rude, fearless, vigorous, and unflinching Stanton. A man who was justly said to have "organized victory."
Montgomery Blair, the Postmaster General, represented the Blair family, one of large political influence, and long connected with national affairs. F. P. Blair, senior, as the editor of the Globe during General Jackson's administration, was one of the ablest and strongest of the able men who surrounded that great man. He had been associated with, and was the friend of, Benton, Van Buren, and Silas Wright; he had seen those friends stricken down by the slave power, and he had learned to hate and distrust the oligarchy of slaveholders, and his counsels and advice, and his able pen, had efficiently aided in building up the party opposed to slavery. Montgomery Blair had argued against the Dred Scott decision. F. P. Blair, Jr., and B. Gratz Brown, had led the antislavery men of Missouri, having, after a most gallant contest, carried the city of St. Louis, and the former was now its honored representative in Congress.
Edward Bates, the Attorney General, was a fine, dignified, scholarly, gentlemanly lawyer of the old school. Gideon Welles had been a leading editor in New England, and conducted the affairs of the Navy with great ability. Caleb B. Smith was a prominent politician from Indiana, and had been a colleague of Mr. Lincoln in Congress.
On the evening of the 4th of March, when Mr. Lincoln entered the White House, he found a government in ruins. The conspiracy which had been preparing for thirty years, had culminated. Seven states had passed ordinances of secession, and had already organized a rebel government at Montgomery. The leaders in Congress and out of it, had fired the excitable Southern heart, and had infused into the young men a fiery, headlong zeal, and they hurried on, with the greatest rapidity, the work of revolution.
North Carolina still hesitated. The people of that staunch old Union state, first voted down a call for a convention by a vote of 46,671 for, to 47,333 against, but a subsequent convention, on the 21st of May, passed an ordinance of secession. Nearly all the Federal forts, arsenals, dock-yards, custom houses and post offices, within the territories of the seceded states, had been seized, and were held by the rebels. Large numbers of the officers of the army and the navy deserted, entering the rebel service. Among the most conspicuous in this infamy, was General David E. Twiggs, the second officer in rank in the army of the United States, and in January, 1861, commanding the Department of Texas. He had been placed there by Secretary Floyd, because he was known to be in the conspiracy. Secretary Holt, on the 18th of January, ordered that he should turn over his command to Colonel Waite; but before this order reached Colonel Waite, Twiggs had consummated his treason by surrendering to the rebel Ben. McCullough, all the national forces in Texas, numbering twenty-five hundred men, and a large amount of stores and munitions of war.
There was little or no struggle in the Gulf states, excepting in Northern Alabama, against the wild tornado of excitement in favor of rebellion, which carried everything before it. In the border states, in Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Missouri, there was a contest, and the friends of the Union made a struggle to maintain their position. Ultimately the Union triumphed in Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri; and the rebels carried the state of Tennessee against a most gallant contest on the part of the Union men of East Tennessee, under the lead of Andrew Johnson, Governor Brownlow, Horace Maynard, and others. They also carried Virginia, which seceded April 17th, and North Carolina, which adopted secession on the 20th of May.
Some of the rebel leaders labored under the delusion, and they most industriously inculcated it among their followers, that there would be no war; that the North was divided; that the Northern people would not fight, and that if there was war, a large part of them would oppose coercion, and perhaps fight on the side of the rebellion. There was in the tone of a portion of the Northern press, and in the speeches of some of the Northern democrats, much to encourage this idea, and some leading republican papers were at least ambiguous on the subject. There was, however, one prominent man from Massachusetts, who had united with the rebel leaders in the support of Breckenridge, and who sought to dispel this idea; this was Benjamin F. Butler, who came to Washington, to know of his old political associates what it meant? "It means," said his Southern friends, "separation, and a Southern Confederacy. We will have our independence, and establish a Southern government, with no discordant elements;"
"Are you prepared for war," said Butler.
"Oh! there will be no war; the North will not fight."
"The North will fight. The North will send the last man, and expend the last dollar to maintain the government," said Butler.
"But," said his Southern friends, "the North can't fight; we have too many allies there."
"You have friends," said Butler, "in the North, who will stand by you so long as you fight your battles in the Union; but the moment you fire on the flag, the Northern people will be a unit against you. And," added Butler, "you may be assured if war comes, slavery ends." Butler, sagacious and true, became satisfied that war was inevitable. With the boldness and directness which has marked his character, he went to Buchanan, and advised the arrest of the commissioners sent by the seceding states, and their trial for treason. This advice it was as characteristic of Butler to give, as it was of Buchanan to disregard.
As an illustration of the prejudice against Lincoln at the South, the following incident is related. Two or three days before the inauguration, on the 4th of March, 1861, and while Lincoln was staying at Willard's Hotel, a distinguished South Carolina lady--one of the Howards--the widow of a Northern scholar--called upon him out of curiosity. She was very proud, aristocratic, and quite conscious that she had in her veins the blood of "all the Howards," and she was curious to see a man who had been represented to her as a monster, a mixture of the ape and the tiger.
She was shown into the parlor where were Mr. Lincoln, and Senators Seward, Hale, Chase, and other prominent members of Congress. As Mr. Seward, whom she knew, presented her to the President elect, she hissed in his ear: "I am a South Carolinian." Instantly reading her character, he turned and addressed her with the greatest courtesy, and dignified and gentlemanly politeness. After listening a few moments, astonished to find him so different from what he had been described to her, she said:
"Why, Mr. Lincoln, you look, act, and speak like a kind, good-hearted, generous man."
"And did you expect to meet a savage?" said he.
"Certainly I did, or even something worse," replied she. "I am glad I have met you," she continued, "and now the best way to preserve peace, is for you to go to Charleston, and show the people what you are, and tell them you have no intention of injuring them."
Returning home, she found a party of secessionists, and on entering the room she exclaimed:
"I have seen him! I have seen him!"
"Who?" they inquired.
"That terrible monster, Lincoln, and I found him a gentleman, and I am going to his first levee after his inauguration."
At his first reception, this tall daughter of South Carolina, dressing herself in black velvet, with two long white plumes in her hair, repaired to the White House. She was nearly six feet high, with black eyes, and black hair, and, in her velvet and white feathers, she was a very striking and majestic figure. As she approached, the President recognized her immediately.
"Here I am again," said she, "that South Carolinian."
"I am glad to see you," replied he, "and I assure you that the first object of my heart is to preserve peace, and I wish that not only you, but every son and daughter of South Carolina was here, that I might tell them so."
Mr. Cameron, Secretary of War, came up, and after some remarks, he said: "South Carolina (which had already seceded), South Carolina is the prodigal son."
"Ah! Mr. Secretary," said she, "if South Carolina is the prodigal son, 'Uncle Sam,' our father, ought to divide the inheritance, and let her go; but they say you are going to make war upon us, is it so ?"
"Oh! come back," said he, "tell South Carolina to come back now, and we will kill the fatted calf."
The conduct of Douglas towards the President was most magnanimous and patriotic. They who had been so long such keen and earnest competitors, became now close friends. Such friendship under such circumstances, shows that there was something fine, noble, and chivalrous in both. Conscious of the peril of the republic, Douglas did all in his power to strengthen the man who had beaten him in the race for the Presidency.
On the 15th of April, the President issued his proclamation calling for seventy-five thousand soldiers. While he was considering the subject, Douglas called and expressed his approval, regretting only that it was not for two hundred thousand instead of seventy-five thousand, and, on the 18th of April, Douglas wrote the following dispatch, and placed it in the hands of the agents of the associated press, to be sent throughout the country:
"April 18th, 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 or 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."
Douglas took this means to inform the country how he stood, and to exert all the weight of his influence in uniting the people to sustain the Executive in his efforts to suppress the rebellion by force. Not only did he issue this dispatch, but he started for the Northwest, and everywhere, by his public speeches and conversation, sounded the alarm, and rallied the people to support the Government. On the 23d of April, at Columbus, Ohio, he made a speech for the Union, in which he said that the chairman of a committee of secessionists had been instructed to tender the command of all the forces in Virginia to General Scott. The reply of the General, said Douglas, was this: "I have served my country more than fifty years, and so long as I live, I shall stand by it, against all assailants, even though my native state, Virginia, be among them."
Douglas made a speech at Wheeling, Virginia, of the same tenor, and passing on to Springfield, on the 25th of April, spoke to the Legislature and citizens of Illinois at the capital. In this great speech he said, among other things:
"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."
From Springfield, Douglas came to his home in Chicago, and, at the great "Wigwam," repeated his appeal for the Union. He said that we had gone to the very extreme to prevent war, and the return for all our efforts has been "armies marching on the national capital," a movement to blot the United States from the map of the world. "The election of Lincoln is a mere pretext," the secession movement is the result of an enormous conspiracy, existing before the election. "There can be no neutrals in this war--only patriots and traitors." Worn with excitement and fatigue, he went to the Tremont House in Chicago, was taken ill, and on the 3rd of June thereafter died, at the early age of forty-eight.
Senator McDougall, of California, his warm personal and political friend, said in the Senate, speaking of his last speeches: "Before I left home I heard the battle-cry of Douglas resounding over the mountains and valleys of California and far-off Oregon. His words have communicated faith and strength to millions. The last words of the dead Douglas, I have felt to be stronger than the words of multitudes of living men."
The name of Douglas is familiar in Scottish history, as it is in Scottish poetry and romance, but among all the historic characters who have borne it, from him of "the bleeding heart" down, few, if any, have surpassed in interest Stephen Arnold Douglas.
His death was a great loss to the country, and a severe blow to the President. It recalled the words which Mr. Van Buren, then Senator from New York, had spoken on the death of his great rival, De Witt Clinton: "I, who while Clinton lived, never envied him anything, am now almost tempted to envy him his grave with its honors." These words might have expressed in part the feelings of Lincoln on the death of Douglas.
The states in rebellion, having organized a hostile government, with Jefferson Davis as President, and Alexander H. Stephens as Vice-President, Lincoln anxiously surveyed the political horizon, that he might fully understand the difficulties and dangers by which he was surrounded. It should be remembered that although his electoral vote was large, his popular vote was in a minority of nearly one million. The treasury was empty; the national credit failing and broken; the nucleus of a regular army scattered and disarmed; the officers who had not deserted were strangers; the old democratic party which had ruled for most of the time for half a century, was largely in sympathy with the insurgents. Lincoln's own party was made up of discordant elements; neither he nor his party had acquired prestige, nor had the party yet learned to have confidence in its leaders. He had to create an army, to find military skill and leadership by experience. In this respect the rebels had great advantage. They had been for years preparing. The Southern people were the more used to firearms and to violence. They had in the beginning a great superiority in their military leaders. The national government had not at the beginning any officers known to the administration, who were equal in skill to Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Johnston. Mr. Lincoln had to learn by costly experience who could win victories; he could not know by intuition, and in the beginning there were many and humiliating reverses, until merit and skill could be developed and placed at the head of the armies.
In addition to all this, he entered upon his great work of restoring the integrity of the Union, without sympathy from any of the great powers of Western Europe. Those of them who were not hostile, manifested a cold neutrality, exhibiting towards him and his government no cordial good will, nor extending to him any moral aid.
Let us trace the history of his administration, through these days of trial down to his final triumph. His first and great object was to encourage and strengthen the Union sentiment in the border states. If he could hold these states in the Union, the contest would be shortened. Therefore be had delayed his call for troops to the last moment, in the hope that by conciliation he might prevent the secession of the border states.
In the language of his inaugural, he left the "momentous issues of civil war" in the hands of the rebels. The war was "forced upon the national authority." On the 9th of April, the rebel commissioners, whom the government refused to receive or recognize, left Washington, declaring that "they accepted the gage of battle." The Confederates had seized the "arsenals, forts, custom-houses, post-offices, ships, and materials of war of the United States," excepting the forts in Charleston Harbor, and were constructing fortifications and placing guns in position to attack even these. While some of the border states seemed to hesitate, the rebel government resolved, for the purpose of arousing sectional feeling and prejudice, to bring on at once a conflict of arms.
The attack on Fort Sumter was ordered by the rebel authorities on the 11th of April, Major Robert Anderson, in command, was summoned to surrender and refused. He had a feeble garrison of a handful of men, and was encircled with hostile cannon. A peremptory message was sent to him, that unless he surrendered within an hour, the rebel forts would open upon him. He still refused, and the bombardment began, and continued for thirty-six hours, when he and his seventy men surrendered.
The fall of Sumter and the President's call for troops were the signals for the rally to arms throughout the loyal states. Twenty millions of people, forgetting party divisions and all past differences, rose with one voice of patriotic enthusiasm, and laid their fortunes and their lives upon the altar of their country. The proclamation of the President calling for seventy-five thousand men and convening an extra session of Congress to meet on the 4th of July, was followed, in every free state, by the prompt action of the governors, calling for volunteers. In every city, town, village, and neighborhood, the people rushed to arms, and almost fought for the privilege of marching to the defense of the national capital. Forty-eight hours had not passed after the issue of the proclamation, when four regiments had reported to Governor Andrews, at Boston, ready for service. On the 17th, he commissioned B. F. Butler, of Lowell, as their commander.
Governor Sprague, of Rhode Island, calling the Legislature of that state together, on the 17th of July, tendered to the government a thousand infantry, and a battalion of artillery, and placing himself at the head of his troops, started for Washington.
The great state of New York, whose population was nearly four millions, through her Legislature, and the action of Governor Morgan, placed her immense resources in the hands of the national Executive. So did Pennsylvania, with its three millions of people, under the lead of Governor Curtin. And Pennsylvania has the honor of having furnished the troops that first arrived for the defense of the capital, reaching there on the 18th, just in time to prevent a seizure of the nearly defenceless city.
By the 20th of April, although the quota of Ohio, under the President's call, was only thirteen regiments, seventy-one thousand men had offered their services through Governor Dennison, the Executive of that state. It was the same everywhere. Half a million of men, citizen volunteers, at this call sprang to arms, and begged permission to fight for their country. The enthusiasm pervaded all ranks and classes. Prayers for the Union and the integrity of the nation were heard in every church throughout the free states. State legislatures, municipalities, banks, corporations, and capitalists everywhere offered their money to the government, and subscribed immense sums for the support of the volunteers and their families. Independent military organizations poured in their offers of service. Written pledges were widely circulated and signed, offering to the government the lives and property of the signers to maintain the Union. Great crowds marched through the principal cities, cheering the patriotic, singing national airs, and requiring all to show, from their residences and places of business, the stars and stripes, or "the red, white and blue." The people, through the press, by public meetings, and by resolutions, placed their property and lives at the disposal of the government.
Thus at this gloomy period, through the dark clouds of gathering war, uprose the mighty voice of the people to cheer the heart of the President. Onward it came, like the rush of many waters, shouting the words that became so familiar during the war--
"We are coming, Father Abraham,
Six hundred thousand strong."
The government was embarrassed by the number of men volunteering for its service. Hundreds of thousands more were offered than could be armed or received. Senators, members of Congress, and other prominent men, went to Washington to beg the government to accept the services of the eager regiments everywhere imploring permission to serve.
The volunteer soldier was the popular idol. He was everywhere welcome. Fair hands wove the banners which he carried, and knit the socks and shirts which protected him from the cold; and everywhere they lavished upon him luxuries and comforts to cheer and encourage him. Every one scorned to take pay from the soldier. Colonel Stetson, proprietor of the Astor House Hotel, in New York, replied to General Butler's offer to pay: "The Astor House makes no charge for Massachusetts soldiers." And while the best hotels were proud to entertain the soldier, whether private or officer, the latch-string of the cabin and farm-house was never drawn in upon him who wore the national blue. Such was the universal enthusiasm of the people for their country's defenders.
The feeling of fierce indignation towards those seeking to destroy the government, was greatly increased by the attack of a mob in the streets of Baltimore upon the Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers, while passing from one depot to the other on their way to the capital. This attack, on the 19th of April, in which several soldiers were shot, roused the people to the highest pitch of excitement. The secessionists were so strong in that state as to induce the Mayor of Baltimore, and Governor Hicks, a Union man, to protest against troops marching over the soil of Maryland to the defense of the national capital. The rebels burned the bridges on the railroads leading to Washington, and for a time interrupted the passage of troops through Baltimore. The Governor so far humiliated himself, and forgot the dignity of his state and nation, as to suggest that the differences between the government and its rebellious citizens should be referred to Lord Lyons, the British Minister. The Secretary of State fittingly rebuked this unworthy suggestion; alluding to an incident in the late war with Great Britain, he reminded the Governor of Maryland "that there had been a time when a general of the American Union, with forces designed for the defense of its capital, was not unwelcome anywhere in Maryland;" and he added, "that if all the other nobler sentiments of Maryland had been obliterated, one, at least, it was hoped would remain, and that was, that no domestic contention should be referred to any foreign arbitrament, least of all to that of a European monarchy."
While such was the universal feeling of loyal enthusiasm throughout the free states, in the border slave states there was division and fierce conflict. Governor Magoffin, of Kentucky, in reply to the President's call, answered: "I say, emphatically, Kentucky will furnish no troops for the wicked purpose of subduing her sister Southern states." Governor Harris, of Tennessee, said: "Tennessee will not furnish a man for coercion, but fifty thousand for the defense of our Southern brothers." Governor Jackson, of Missouri, refused, saying: "Not one man will Missouri furnish to carry on such an unholy crusade;" and Virginia not only refused, through her governor, to respond, but her convention, then in session, immediately passed an ordinance of secession by a vote of eighty-eight to fifty-five.
The Northwest, the home of the President, and the home of Douglas, was, if possible, more emphatic, it could scarcely be more unanimous, than other sections of the free states, in the expression of its determination to maintain the Union at all hazards, and at any cost. The people of the vast country between the Alleghanies and the Rocky Mountains, and north of the Ohio, regarded the Mississippi as peculiarly their river, their great outlet to the sea. Proud and confident in their hardy strength, familiar with the use of arms, they never at any time, for a moment, hesitated in their determination not to permit the erection of a foreign territory between themselves and the Gulf of Mexico. Here were ten millions of the most energetic, determined, self-reliant people on earth; and the idea that anybody should dare to set up any flag other than theirs between them and the ocean, betrayed an audacity they would never tolerate. "Our great river," exclaimed Douglas, indignantly, "has been closed to the commerce of the Northwest." The seceding states, conscious of the strength of this feeling, early passed a law providing for the free navigation of the Mississippi. But the hardy Western pioneers were not disposed to accept paper guarantees for permission to "possess, occupy, and enjoy" their own. They would hold the Mississippi with their rifles. When closed upon them, they resolved to open it. They immediately seized upon the important strategic point of Cairo, and from Belmont to Vicksburg and Fort Hudson, round to Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, they never ceased to press the enemy, until the great central artery of the republic, and all its vast tributaries from its source to its mouth, were free; and then, marching to the sea, joined their gallant brethren on the Atlantic coast, to aid in the complete overthrow of the rebellion, and the final triumph of liberty and law.
It has been stated that the people of the border states had been divided in sentiment, and it was very doubtful for a time, which way they would go; but the attack upon Fort Sumter, and the call by the President for troops, forced the issue, and the unscrupulous leaders were able to carry Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas, into the Confederate organization, against the will of a majority of the people of those states. Virginia, the leading state of the Revolution, the one which, under the leadership of Washington and Madison, had been the most influential in the formation of the national government, the "Old Dominion," as she was called, "the mother of states and of statesmen," had been for years descending from her high position. Her early and Revolutionary history had been one of unequaled brilliancy; she had largely shaped the policy of the nation, and furnished its leaders. Her early statesmen were anti-slavery men, and if she had relieved herself of the burden of slavery, she would have held her position as the leading state of the Union; but, with this heavy drag, the proud old commonwealth had seen her younger sisters of the republic rapidly overtaking and passing her in the race of progress, and the elements of national greatness. Indeed, she had fallen so low, that her principal source of wealth was from the men, women, and children she raised and sent South to supply the slave markets of the Gulf states. Her leading men had been advocating extreme state rights doctrines, fatal to national unity, and thus sowing the seeds of secession. Her politicians had threatened disunion, again and again. Still, when the crisis came, a majority of her people were true; a large majority of their convention was opposed to secession, and when afterwards, by violence and fraud, the ordinance was passed, the people of the Northwest, the mountain region of Virginia, resisted, and determined to stand by the Union. This portion of the state maintained its position with fidelity and heroism, and ultimately established the state of West Virginia.
The secession of Virginia added greatly to the danger of Washington, and a bold movement upon it then, in its defenceless condition, would have been successful. Alexander H. Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederacy, came to Richmond, and everywhere raised the cry of "on to Washington!" The state authorities of Virginia did not wait the ratification of the secession ordinance by the people, to whom it was submitted for adoption or rejection, but immediately joined the Confederacy, commenced hostilities, and organized expeditions for the capture of Harper's Ferry and the Gosport Navy-yard. Senator Mason immediately issued an address to the people, declaring that those who could not vote for a separation of Virginia from the United States, "must leave the state!" Submission, banishment, or death was proclaimed to all Union men of the old commonwealth. Nowhere, except in West Virginia, and some small localities, was there resistance to this decree. In the Northwest, the mountain men rallied, organized, resolved to stand by the old flag, and protect themselves under its folds.
The secession of Virginia gave to the Confederates a moral and physical power, which imparted to the conflict the proportions of a tremendous civil war. She placed herself as a barrier between her weaker sisters and the Union, and she held her position with a heroic endurance and courage, worthy of a better cause and of her earlier days. Indeed, she kept the Union forces at bay for more than four long years, preserving her capital, and yielding only, when the hardy soldiers of the North had marched from the Ohio to the sea, cutting her off and making the struggle hopeless.
North Carolina naturally followed Virginia, and, on the 21st of May, adopted an ordinance of secession. Maryland, from her location between the free states and the national capital, occupied a position of the utmost importance. Could she be induced to join the Confederates, their design of seizing the national capital and its archives would be made comparatively easy. Emissaries from the conspirators were busy in her borders during the winter of 1861. But while there were many rebel sympathizers and traitors among her slaveholders, and while many leading families gave in their adhesion to the conspiracy, the mass of the people were loyal. The governor of the state, Thomas H. Hicks, though he yielded for a time to the apparent popular feeling in favor of the Confederates, and greatly embarrassed the government by his protests against troops marching over Maryland soil to the defense of the capital, was, at heart a loyal man and in the end became a decided and efficient Union leader. He refused, against inducements and threats of personal violence, to call the Legislature of the state together, a majority of whom were known to be secessionists, and who would have passed an ordinance of secession. But the man to whom the people of Maryland are most indebted, who was most influential in the maintenance of the Union cause at this crisis, and who proved the benefactor of the state in relieving her from the curse of slavery, was the bold, eloquent, and talented Henry Winter Davis. He took his position from the start, for the unconditional maintenance of the Union.
The officials of the city of Baltimore were, most of them, secessionists, and its chief of police was a traitor, and was implicated in the plot to assassinate Mr. Lincoln on his way to the capital. On the 19th of April, a mob in the city of Baltimore had attacked the Massachusetts Sixth Regiment, which was quietly passing through to the defense of the capital, and several soldiers and citizens were killed in the affray. The bridges connecting the railways from Pennsylvania and New York with Baltimore, were burned, and for a time, communication by railroad was interrupted. General B. F. Butler, leading the Massachusetts troops, together with the New York Seventh Regiment, was compelled to go around by Annapolis and to rebuild the railway to Washington. But one dark, stormy night, General Butler marched into Baltimore, encamped on Federal Hill, and reopened communication with the North. The Union men of Maryland rallied; the leading secessionists fled or were arrested, and from that time, Maryland was a loyal state, giving to the Union the aid of her moral influence, and furnishing many gallant soldiers to fight its battles.
What course would be taken by Missouri, the leading state west of the Mississippi? With a population exceeding a million, she had only 115,000 slaves. Her interests were with the free states, yet she had a governor in direct sympathy with the traitors, as were the majority of her state officers. A state convention was called, but an overwhelming majority of Union men had been elected. The truth is, that although the slave power had succeeded in destroying the political power of her great senator, Thomas H. Benton, yet the seeds of opposition to slavery which he had scattered, were everywhere springing up in favor of union and liberty. The city of St. Louis, the commercial metropolis of the state, had become a free-soil city; it had elected Francis P. Blair, Jr., a disciple of Benton, to Congress. The large German population, under the lead of Franz Sigel and others, were for the Union, to a man.
To the President's call for troops, the rebel Governor, Claiburn F. Jackson, returned an insulting refusal, but the people, under the lead of Blair, responded. The United States Arsenal at St. Louis was, at this time, under a guard commanded by Captain Nathaniel Lyon, one of the boldest and most energetic officers of the army. He, in connection with Colonels Blair, Sigel, and others, organized volunteer regiments in St. Louis, preparing for a conflict, which they early saw to be inevitable. The arms of the St. Louis Arsenal were, during the night of the 25th of April, under the direction of Captains Stokes and Lyon, transferred to a steamer and taken to Alton, Illinois, for safety, and were soon placed in the hands of the volunteers from that state.
On the 19th of April, the President issued a proclamation, blockading the ports of the Gulf states, and on the 27th this was extended to North Carolina and Virginia, both of which states had been carried into the vortex of revolution. On the 3d of May, the President called into the service forty-two thousand volunteers and a large increase of the regular army. The navy was thus provided for. In the meanwhile, the insurgents had been active and enterprising. They had boldly seized Harper's Ferry, and the Gosport Navy-yard, near Norfolk, Virginia. Within twenty-four hours after the secession ordinance passed the Virginia Convention, they sent forces to capture those places, where were situated very important arsenals of arms and ordnance. Harper's Ferry had long been a national armory, and commanded the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, one of the most important connections of the capital with the West. It was the gate of the beautiful valley of the Shenandoah, and of great importance as a military post. On the 18th of April, it was abandoned by its small garrison, and taken possession of by the insurgents. At about the same time, the Gosport Navy-yard, with two thousand pieces of heavy cannon and various material of war, and its large ships, including the Pennsylvania of one hundred and twenty guns, and the Merrimac, afterwards famous for its combat with the Monitor, fell into their hands. Owing to imbecility, or treachery, or both, this navy-yard, with its vast stores and property, estimated to be worth from eight to ten millions, was left exposed to seizure and destruction.
Meanwhile, troops gathered to the defense of the national capital. Among others, came Colonel Elmer E. Ellsworth, with a splendid regiment of picked men, which he had raised from the New York firemen. On the evening of the 23d of May, the Union forces crossed the Potomac and took possession of Arlington Heights, and the hills overlooking Washington and Alexandria. As Colonel Ellsworth was returning from pulling down a rebel flag from the Marshal House, in Alexandria, he was instantly killed by a shot fired by the keeper of the hotel over which the obnoxious symbol had floated.
This young man had accompanied Mr. Lincoln from Illinois to Washington, and was a protégé of the President. He had introduced the Zouave drill into the United States. He was among the first martyrs of the war, and his death was deeply mourned by the President. His body was taken to the Executive Mansion, and his funeral, being among the first of those who died in defense of the flag, was very impressive, touching, and solemn. A gold medal was taken from his body after his death, stained with his heart's blood, and bearing the inscription: "non solum nobis sed pro patria," "Not for ourselves alone, but for the country."
The secession of Virginia had been followed by the removal of the rebel government to Richmond. Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas had also joined the Confederacy. At last freedom and slavery confronted each other, face to face, in arms. The loyal states at this time, had a population of 22,046,472, and the eleven seceding states had a population of 9,103,333, of which 3,521,110 were slaves.
The rebel government having been established and its constitution adopted, Alexander H. Stephens, its Vice-President, boldly and frankly declared: "Our new government is founded, * * its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests on the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man, that slavery, subordination to the superior race is the natural and normal condition.
The Confederate government being based on slavery, and the fact openly avowed that slavery was its corner-stone, how would it be received by Europe? and especially by those great nations England and France, both of which had so often reproached the United States for the existence of slavery? These powers and the world were now to be spectators of a conflict between an established government, perfectly free, on one side, and a rebellion organized by a portion of its citizens with the avowed purpose to erect upon its ruins a government based upon, and formed to protect and extend, slavery. Surely there was every reason to expect that these powers would rebuke with their indignation the suggestion that they should recognize--even as belligerents--a government with such a basis, and would, in the most emphatic manner, express their opposition to a rebellion begun and carried on, because the authority rebelled against had opposed the further extension of slavery.
But far from doing this, Great Britain and France, acting in concert, even before the representatives of President Lincoln's administration had arrived in London and Paris, hastened to recognize the rebels as a belligerent power. This eagerness to encourage rebellion; this indecent haste to accord belligerent rights to an insurgent power, based on slavery, was justly attributed to a secret hostility on the part of those governments towards the American republic. The United States stood before the world as a long established government, representing order, civilization, and freedom. The Confederates, as a disorganizing rebellion, with no grievance, except opposition to the extension of slavery, with no purpose, except to extend and perpetuate slavery; and yet the powers of Western Europe, and especially the aristocracy of England, made haste to hail them as belligerents, and extend to them moral aid and sympathy.
The London Times, the organ of the English aristocracy, exultingly announced: "The great republic is no more! Democracy is a rope of sand." The United States, it said, lacked the cohesive power to maintain an empire of such magnitude.
At the moment of extremest national peril, when the son of the Western pioneer, whom the people had chosen for their Chief Magistrate, was confronted by the dangers which gathered around his country; when his great and honest soul bowed itself to God, and as a simple child, in deepest supplication asked his guidance and blessing; at this hour, from no crowned head, from no aristocratic ruler abroad, came any word of sympathy; but those proud rulers could coarsely jest at his uncouth figure, his uncourtly bearing. "The bubble is burst," said they. But the Almighty answered that prayer; he joined the hearts and linked the hands of the American people and their President together; and from that hour to his death, the needle does not more quickly respond to the polar influence, than did Lincoln to the highest and God-inspired impulses of a great people--a people capable of the highest heroism and the grandest destiny.
Very soon the work-shops of England and Scotland were set in motion to prepare the means of sweeping American commerce from the ocean. The active sympathy of the masses of European populations, and the cold and scarcely concealed hostility of the aristocratic and privileged classes, were early and constantly manifested during the entire struggle. This was, perhaps, not unnatural. In addition to the uneasiness which the rapid growth and commanding position of our country had created, the whole world instinctively felt that the contest was between freedom and slavery, democracy and aristocracy. Could a government, for the people and by the people, maintain itself through this fearful crisis? It was quite evident, from the beginning, that the privileged classes abroad were more than willing to see the great republic broken up, to see it pronounced a failure. The conspirators had prepared the way, as far as possible, by their scarcely veiled intrigues, for the recognition of the Confederacy. The rebels had a positive, vigorous organization, with agents all over Europe, many of them in the diplomatic service of the United States. They had created a wide-spread prejudice against Mr. Lincoln, representing him as merely an ignorant, vulgar "rail-splitter" of the prairies.
Mr. Faulkner, of Virginia, represented our government in France, and Mr. Preston, a slaveholder from Kentucky, in Spain, both secessionists. It was not long, however, before Mr. Lincoln impressed the leading traits of his character upon our foreign policy. Frankness, straightforward integrity, patient forbearance, and unbroken faith in the triumph of the Union and liberty, based upon his trust and confidence in the Almighty and the American people, characterized his foreign policy. This policy was simple and thoroughly American; our representatives were instructed to ask nothing but what was clearly right, to avoid difficulty, and to maintain peace, if it could be done consistently with national honor. The record of the diplomatic correspondence of the United States during the critical years of this administration, is one of which Americans may justly be proud. Time and events have vindicated the statesmanship by which it was conducted. Mr. Seward, in his instructions to Mr. Adams, on the eve of his departure for the Court of St. James, very clearly laid down the principles which should govern our relations with foreign nations. Mr. Adams was instructed not to listen to any suggestion of compromise between the United States and any of its citizens, under foreign auspices. He was directed firmly to announce that no foreign government could recognize the rebels as an independent power, and remain the friends of the United States. Recognition was war. If any foreign power recognized, they might prepare to enter into an alliance also, with the enemies of the republic. He was instructed to represent the whole country, and should he be asked to divide that duty with the representatives of the Confederates, he was directed to return home.
The action of the insurgent states was treated as a rebellion, purely domestic in its character, and no discussion on the subject with foreign nations would be tolerated. England did not recognize the Confederates as a nation. She did not choose war; but short of recognition, alliance, and war, it is difficult to see how she could have done more to encourage and aid the insurgents than she did.
When the insurgents raised the flag of rebellion, the army and navy were scandalized, and the nation disgraced, by large numbers of the officers deserting their flag. Nearly two hundred of the graduates of the military school at West Point deserted, and joined the rebel army.
Yet, among the officers born in the seceding states, were patriots and loyalists, faithful and true, and scorning all temptations addressed to their fidelity. Among others, in civil life, Andrew Johnson and Andrew J. Hamilton have been already named, and in the military and naval service were Scott and Thomas, Meade and Farragut, and many others. The names of Jefferson Davis and of his military associates grow dark, in contrast with those of the hero of Lundy's Lane, of the victors at Gettysburg and Nashville, and the blunt, honest, and chivalric sailor, who so gloriously triumphed over traitors at New Orleans and Mobile. Loyalty to a state may palliate, it cannot justify treachery and treason. Unless all moral distinctions are to cease, all good men who honor Scott and George H. Thomas must condemn Twiggs. Honoring David G. Farragut, they must condemn Raphael Semmes.
There were, at the time of the breaking out of the rebellion, and mostly in the rebel states, nearly four millions of slaves. How should they be treated? Should the government, by offering them freedom, make them its active friends, or alienate them by returning them to slavery? In the light of to-day it is difficult to understand why there should have been hesitation or vacillation in this matter. The transfer of four millions of people in the rebel states to the Union side would have been decisive.
In the beginning, the officers of the army, and especially those educated at West Point, were slow in availing themselves of the aid of the negroes. Some went so far as to return to the rebels their runaway slaves. General Butler did much towards ending this policy. In May, 1861, he was in command at Fortress Monroe. One evening three negroes came into camp, saying that "they had fled from their master, Colonel Mallory, who was about to set them to work on rebel fortifications." If they had been Colonel Mallory's horses or mules, there could be no question as to what should be, done with them. But so strangely deluded were the army officers, that up to that time they had returned fugitive slaves to rebel masters, to work and fight for the rebel cause. Would Butler continue in this folly?
In reply, he said: "These men are contraband of war." This sentence, expressing an obvious truth, was more important than a battle gained. It was a victory in the direction of emancipation, upon which the success of the Union cause was ultimately to depend. He, of course, refused to surrender them, but set them to work on his own defences. Up to this time the South had fought to maintain slavery, and the government, for fear of offending Kentucky and other border states, would not touch it. Strange as it may seem, a rebel officer had the presumption, under a flag of truce, to demand the return of these negroes under the alleged constitutional obligation to return fugitive slaves! General Butler, of course, refused. saying: "I shall retain the negroes as contraband of war! You were using them upon your batteries; it is merely a question whether they shall be used for or against us." Other generals of the Union army were very slow in recognizing this obvious truth. General McClellan, on the 26th of May, issued an address to the people of his military district, in which he said: "Not only will we abstain from all interference with your slaves, but we will, on the contrary, with an iron hand crush any attempt at insurrection on their part."
- The author is here reminded of the following incident. As Mr. Lincoln removed his hat, before commencing the reading of his "Inaugural," from the proximity of the crowd he saw nowhere to place it, and Senator Douglas, by his side, seeing this, instantly extended his hand and held the President's hat, while he was occupied in reading the address.
- In the early part of Lincoln's administration, a prominent editor of a German newspaper published in the West, came to Washington to seek an appointment abroad. With the member of Congress from his district, he visited the "Executive Mansion," and his wishes were stated. The editor had supported Mr. Seward for the nomination as President. Mr. Lincoln immediately sent a messenger to the Secretary of State, asking him to come to the White House. Mr. Seward soon arrived, and Lincoln, after a cordial greeting, said: "Seward, here is a gentleman (introducing the editor) who had the good sense to prefer you to me for President. He wants to go abroad, and I want you to find a good place for him." This Mr. Seward did, and the President immediately appointed him.
- Ex-President Pierce, in a letter to Jefferson Davis, dated January 6th, 1860, among other things, said: "If through the madness of Northern abolitionists, that dire calamity" (disruption of the Union), "must come, the fighting will not be along Mason 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 obligation, will, if we ever reach the arbitrament of arms, find occupation enough at home!" Such a letter is sufficiently significant.
- The original of this dispatch in Douglas's handwriting was in possession of the late Hon. George Ashmun, of Massachusetts, who kindly furnished a copy to the author.
- If General Lee, who had been chief-of-staff to General Scott, and his rebel associates, had followed the example of the Commander in Chief, how much bloodshed and misery might have been prevented.
- Governor Shelby M. Cullom, then Speaker of the House, who presided at the meeting, says, in a letter to the author:
"Douglas spoke with great earnestness and power. Never in all my experience in public life, before or since, have I been so impressed by a speaker. While he was speaking, a man came into the hall bearing the American flag. Its appearance caused the wildest excitement, and the great assemblage of legislators and citizens was wrought up to the highest enthusiasm of patriotism by the masterly speech."
Douglas told me that "the Union was in terrible peril, and he had come home to rouse the people in favor of the Union."
- Congressional Globe, July 9th, 1861.
- It fell to the author as the representative in Congress from Chicago, the home of Douglas, to make some remarks in the House of Representatives, on the occasion of his death. He attempted to compare Lincoln and Douglas, and to do justice to both. Neither Mrs. Lincoln nor Mrs. Douglas was pleased with the comparison. Each expressed to him afterwards her astonishment; the one that anybody could compare Douglas to her husband, and the other, that any one could think for a moment of comparing Lincoln to Douglas!
- See address of William Allen Butler, on Martin Van Buren, p. 39.
- The popular vote was, For Lincoln, 1,866,452; for Douglas, 1,875,157; for Breckenridge, 847,913; for Bell, 590,631. The three defeated candidates received a majority of 947,289 over Lincoln. McPherson's History of the Rebellion, p. viii.
- McPherson's History of the Rebellion, p. 110.
- The author saw this as the boy lay in his camp, on the banks of the Potomac.
- McPherson's History of the Rebellion, p. 103.