Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 1.djvu/342

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that this powerful organization did not intend to oppose slavery anywhere except in the territories, for one of their leaders had declared the issue to be an irrepressible conflict ; another, the greatest among them, had said not a year before John Brown s invasion, that "the Union could not exist half slave and half free;" great Senators had commended the Manifesto of Helper, and in all views it was evident that there was no practical differ ence between the creed of Seward and the creed of Gerrit Smith. They justly charged that the insurrection was the legitimate result of continued and recent fierce anti- slavery agitation. If the raid of Brown had occurred in 1851, during the administration of Fillmore and in that era of fraternity and peace, it would have provoked no political disturbances, for there was then no mighty po litical organization confronting the South, and no counter organization forming in the South to meet the North. The course of politics had been running four or five years threateningly toward a catastrophe, from which the Southern people shrank, and this "episode," as it has been flippantly termed, seemed to the South as the be ginning of horrors. No political ends whatever could be served with advantage in the South itself by overesti mating the dangers which this event portended. It must be apparent to intelligent men that the South needed no strengthening of its political adherence to the principles it had avowed. On certain questions the South was practically solid. The Northern mind had been sedu lously trained in thoughts of the Southern people as a fire- eating class, ready to commit the act of disunion and constantly seeking to create a quarrel. Politicians, fiction writers, lecturers and excellent clergymen per sisted in portraying the worst side of Southern character. Northern opinion was formed in part by teachers un worthy of a hearing, but unfortunately the error was "stimulated and developed for political ends by many

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