Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 01.djvu/36

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Southern Historical Society Papers.

pute. These attempts at negotiation do not comprise all that has been done. In every form in which expression could be given to the sentiment, in public meetings, through the press, by legislative resolves, the desire of this people for peace, for the uninterrupted enjoyment of their rights and prosperity, has been made known. The President, more authoritatively, in several of his messages, while protesting the utter absence of all desire to interfere with the United States, or acquire any of their territory, has avowed that the "advent of peace will be hailed with joy. Our desire for it has never been concealed. Our efforts to avoid the war, forced on us as it was by the lust of conquest and the insane passions of our foes, are known to mankind."

The course of the Federal Government has proved that it did not desire peace, and would not consent to it on any terms that we could possibly concede. In proof of this we refer to the repeated rejection of all terms of conciliation and compromise, to their recent contemptuous refusal to receive the Vice-President, who was sent to negotiate for softening the asperities of war, and their scornful rejection of the offer of a neutral power to mediate between the contending parties. If cumulative evidence be needed, it can be found in the following resolution, recently adopted by the House of Representatives in Washington:

"Resolved, That as our country and the very existence of the best government ever instituted by man are imperiled by the most causeless and wicked rebellion that the world has seen, and believing, as we do, that the only hope of saving this country and preserving this government is by the power of the sword, we are for the most vigorous prosecution of the war until the constitution and the laws shall be enforced and obeyed in all parts of the United States; and to that end we oppose any armistice, or intervention, or mediation, or proposition for peace, from any quarter, so long as there shall be found a rebel in arms against the government; and we ignore all party names, lines and issues, and recognize but two parties in this war―patriots and traitors."

The motive of such strange conduct is obvious. The Republican party was founded to destroy slavery and the equality of the States, and Lincoln was selected as the instrument to accomplish this object. The Union was a barrier to the consummation of this policy, because the constitution, which was its bond, recognized and protected slavery and the sovereignty of the States. The Union must, therefore, be sacrificed, and to insure its destruction, war was determined on.