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conceived in respect to his successor. “ If the accounts we have heard of the new sultan are true," Lord Palmerston wrote,
we may hope that he will restore Turkey to her proper position among the Powers of Europe.”
Yet once more England had come to the aid of her “sick man,” while openly acknowledging his feebleness. Turkey had scarcely been permitted to have any voice in the settlement of the Lebanon affair. The new conditions had been imposed upon her by a conference of the great Powers. She yet existed, however, and her independence was recognized in theory, at least, if it was not in practice. Lord Wodehouse announced in Parliament the opinion of government that a new era was dawning upon Turkey. Her weakness and her vitality were destined for many a year yet to astonish Europe, and more than once to disturb its tranquillity.
WESTERN TROUBLES. THE WAR IN THE UNITED
IUROPE had watched with curiosity the war between Eng
land and China; she had been interested in the burning of the Summer Palace; she had been excited for a moment by the report of the massacre at Damascus, and had applauded, first, the generous interference of Abd-el-Kader in favor of the Christians, and afterwards the more efficacious intervention of the great Powers in the affairs of the Ottoman Empire, but she had never felt and she could not feel that interest in the shocks agitating the ancient East which was inspired in her by the war which tore asunder a new country, rapidly grown to be one of the first in the world, and now threatened with being divided into two nations by the result of civil discords unexampled in their duration and bitterness. The whole world looked on in horror at the battles which ravaged America, and the diversity of opinions and impressions in Europe in respect to the two parties thus engaged across the Atlantic in a deathstruggle, gave rise to the most complex passions. Nowhere were these sentiments more complicated than in England; nowhere did hidden motives act more manifestly in the form of eloquent arguments and public declamations.
For months the dull rumblings of the coming earthquake had been audible to even the least attentive ears. John Brown, the enthusiastic apostle of abolition, had attempted for the last time an expedition for the purpose of liberating a few slaves; he had been seized at Harper's Ferry, on the confines of Virginia and
Maryland; he had been brought to trial and suffered the penalty of death. He had died bravely, assured of the final success of his cause. “His gibbet,” said Victor Hugo, “was to be the Calvary of the abolition of slavery.” And the French poet was not in
The cup of dissensions already full, overflowed by reason of this drop of legal iniquity; the presidential election close at hand would manifestly strengthen the abolitionist party; the southern states believed their existence menaced. inconsiderate and fiery of southern leaders demanded a separation; the wiser and more clear-sighted, while encouraging this project which served their designs, had broader and deeper views. They well understood that, in order to maintain its existence, a society founded upon slavery needed not only to be independent, but to be mistress of America.
“In reality, the maintenance of the Union, even under the presidency of the most ardent abolitionist, would have been less dangerous for America than a separation, pure and simple, dividing the United States into two unequal parts: one of these sections would have had a population of eight million whites and four million blacks, supposing it to include all the slave states; the other would have been composed of all the rest of the American Union, that is to say, of the entire mass of the free states, continuing to form, in the federal bond, a united nation from the Atlantic to the Pacific. From friendly or, at least, tolerant associates, they would at once have become formidable rivals and implacable enemies. Drawing from their vast population, from the fruitful principle of useful industry, and from their immense financial resources an irresistible force of colonization, they would have been at every point the victorious rivals of the southern states, hampered by slavery, divided into hostile castes, deprived of the resources which emigration supplies to a new continent. Within a few years, the free states would have completely surrounded the territory occupied by slavery, and, barring its way to future aggrandizement, would have given it a death-stroke. The vast frontier of the free states would have been everywhere open to fugitives, from the moment that the shameful pact by which the United States agreed to return the fugitive negro had been destroyed with the Union in the name of which it was made. In spite of all artifical hindrances, a double contraband, on one side favoring the escape of the slave, would have brought, on the other, into the South an active abolitionist propaganda to work among an enslaved population whom the slightest gleam of liberty was sufficient to excite. This inevitable consequence of a separation was long ago foreseen by the sagacious mind of M. de Tocqueville, who predicted the moment when slavery would bring on in American affairs a terrible crisis, in the midst of which it would disappear. He therefore counselled the South to remain at all costs faithful to the Union, for, supported by the numerous population of the northern states, they could, he said, quietly abolish slavery, and at the same time preserve their social superiority; whereas, if they should have the whites of the North for enemies, the latter could easily set free their slaves, without their aid and against their will." *
The southern leaders were not willing to entertain the idea of abolishing slavery, which they regarded as a fundamental institution, indispensable to the existence of society as they conceived it; on the contrary they sought to strengthen and develop the system, and to this end they required the aid of the northern states. This aid they could obtain in two ways: either by reconstructing the Union to their advantage, or by dividing the North so that it should no longer form a compact nation at their side, and that among its fragments the slave
* La guerre civile aux États-Unis, by the Comte de Paris. Vol. I. p. 196.
power might find feeble states always ready to solicit the protection of the South. In order to lay the foundations of this new edifice which they hoped to construct upon the ruins of the Union, the southern leaders of the pro-slavery party took care to insist upon the original constitution prepared by the founders of the country, thus clothing themselves with the mantle of historic and traditional unity. Two important modifications, however, it was necessary for them to introduce, the first recognizing the right of secession, the second proclaiming slavery as an indispensable element in civilized society. In the name of these two new principles, inevitably destructive to the old Union, the South entered upon the struggle whence she hoped the triumph of her cause, and the definitive preponderance of her social theories.
On the 4th of February, 1861, seven of the southern states, having solemnly withdrawn from the Union, sent delegates to a convention at Montgomery, Alabama, with the object of agreeing upon a constitution. The Southern Confederacy was formed,* and Mr. Jefferson Davis of Mississippi being elected president, announced the determination of the South to maintain her independence by the sword, “if passion or lust of dominion should cloud the judgment or influence the ambition of the North.” Two weeks later, Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated President of the United States. He also had a declaration to make, less aggressive than that of Mr. Davis, but very serious, however, notwithstanding its moderation. Mr. Lincoln announced that he had no intention of interfering with slavery in the states where it already existed, that he had no right to do so, even if he had wished it; but, on the other hand, that no state could by its own act, lawfully sever its connection with the Union, and that all resistance to the established authority of the United States
* Consisting of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.