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| one-fiftieth part of the nation in soil and population, break up
the nation, and then coerce a proportionably large subdivision of itself in the most arbitrary way? What mysterious right to play tyrant is conferred on a district of country with its people, by merely calling it a State ? Fellow-citizens, I am not asserting anything. I am merely asking questions for you to consider. And now allow me to bid you farewell.
Enthusiastic greetings awaited the President elect all along his route, the people hailing the approach of the day which was to witness, under his auspices, the beginning of a new regime for the nation.
At Philadelphia, on the 22d of February, he visited Independence Hall, where throngs of people gathered to see him, and where he raised. a national flag to its place on the staff above, as requested, amid the cheers of the thousands present. In a brief speech, he referred with much emotion to the men who had assembled in this Hall in 1776, and to the principles there proclaimed on the 4th of July-principles which he declared it to be his purpose never to yield, even if he mast seal his devotion to them by a violent death. On the next day he reached Harrisburg.
Positive information had now been received at Washington, of a plot to assassinate Mr. Lincoln at Baltimore. When this was communicated to him, he was averse to any change of the time fixed upon for his transit through that city. On the earnest representations of Mr. Seward, however, who sent a special messenger to the President elect at Harrisburg, to urge this course, he left the latter place on the night train, a few hours in advance of that which he was expected to take, and passing through Baltimore without recognition, arrived, on the following morning in Washington.
CHAPTER I. Commencement of President Lincoln's Administration.-Retrospoot
and Summary of Public Events.--Fort Sumter. On the 4th day of March, 1861, Mr. Lincoln took the oath of office, as President of the United States. The administration of James Buchanan, and eight years of intensely southern sway in all branches of the National Government, were now at an end. During the four months that had intervened since the people decreed this change not a moment had been lost by the leaders in the now clearly developed scheme of revolt, in making energetic preparation for its consummation. So well had they succeeded, by the aid of bold treason or of inert complicity at the national capital, that they imagined they had assured the full attainment of their object, almost without the hazard of a single campaign. While professing, however, to believe in a fancied right of peaceable secession, and proclaiming their desire to be left unmolested in the execution of their revolutionary purposes, the chief conspirators well knew that this immunity could only be gained by such use of the remaining days of the outgoing administration that the crisis should already be over, or resistance to their treason be rendered ineffectual, when the new administration should begin. They industriously collected the materials of war, yet spared no efforts to bring about a state of things which should insure either peaceful submission to their will or a sure vantage ground for' an appeal to arms.
. - While yet the question of passing a secession ordinance was pending in South Carolina, President Buchanan, in his annual message, after having urged the unconstitutionality of the pro
posed action, distinctly notified the complotters that he was equally without constitutional power to oppose their carrying out that purpose. When appealed to by the veteran head of the army, at a still earlier day, to take firm military possession of the United States forts on the southern coast, the same public functionary could find no means of adopting this prudent precaution. Consequently, the rebellious South Carolina leaders carried through their ordinance of secession on the 20th of December, 1860. Fort Moultrie, by an overt act of treason, was seized on the 28th, and the Palmetto flag was raised over Gov. ernment property in Charleston. On the 3d of January, 1861, without even the pretext of a secession ordinance, or any form of authority from his own State, Gov. Brown, of Georgia, seized Forts Pulaski and Jackson, at Savannah; and this exam. ple was followed next day, in Alabama, by the occupation of Fort Morgan, at Mobile. .
The patient submission with which all these acts were witnessed by the Executive, nay, the meekness with which he had himself invited them, and the ready assistance rendered to these efforts of treason by some of the highest officers immediately about him, were followed by the natural results. On the 9th of January, the steamer Star of the West, tardily dispatched with a small re-enforcement for Fort Sumter, now held by a totally inadequate garrison, was fired into from rebel bato teries erected on Morris' Island, and from Fort Moultrie. On the same day, the conspirators in Mississippi, now, as in the times of repudiation, under the lead of Jefferson Davis, fol. lowed their co-laborers in South Carolina, in the pretense of secession. Alabama, Florida and Georgia were speedily subjected to a similar process of rebel manipulation. Louisiana, on the 28th of January, and Texas on the 1st of February, were proclaimed as having dissolved their connection with the Union. Meanwhile, the delegates of these States successively withdrew from Congress.
On the 10th of December, Howell Cobb, Secretary of the Treasury, bad resigned the position he had so zealously perverted to the aid of the great conspiracy, and departed to the more immediate scene of action, that he might hasten the con
the 9th of
a small re-enforcement ored into from rebel bat
summation, for a time delayed, and so earnestly resisted in Georgia as seemingly to involve the result in doubt. The venerable Secretary of State, Lewis Cass, surrendered his place four days later, in disgust at the hopelessness of his efforts to rouse President Buchanan to some effective resistance to the destructive blows aimed at the national life. John B. Floyd soon after (Dec. 29) retired from the office of Secretary of War, which he had used to disarm the loyal portion of the country, and to fill the rebellious States with cannon and muskets, which they were not slow to appropriate to the uses of rebellion. Jacob Thompson, without resigning, absented himself on a tour in the South, throwing all the weight of his influence as a cabinet officer in favor of rebellion in his native State of North Carolina. Bold peculation was meanwhile left to do its work in his department, in aid of the treasonable labors of high officials in crippling the Government, and in rendering the new administration as powerless as possible to meet the approaching crisis. The Secretary of the Navy had notoriously dispersed our war vessels to distant seas, so that months must pass before the incoming administration could bring an effective naval force to bear on the rebellion.
Delegates from the seven States in which this spreading insurrection had become predominant assembled at Montgomery, in Alabama, on the 6th of February, organized their « Confederacy” under a temporary constitution, and, on the 9th, selected Jefferson Davis to be their President, with Alexander H. Stephens as Vice President. The latter had been chosen as a representative of the more conservative sentiment, having strenuously resisted secession, as an utterly needless rebellion against " the best government upon earth,” and his acceptance was a token of the general acquiescence of all political leaders of the States concerned in the rebellion now organized. Around this nucleus of seven States, thus completely in revolt, it was expected by the conspirators that every State in which slavery existed would soon be gathered, by a common interest, in the bonds of a common crime. The leaven of rebellion was industriously diffused through every other slaveholding State, and in several, movements were already in progress, which afterward culminated in secession ordinances.
While this confederacy of seven States was forming, a convention, composed of delegates from most of the free States, and from all the border slave States, was in session at Washington, aiming to bring about, by compromise, a peaceable solution of the pending struggle. On the part of leading loyal men this conference was conducted in good faith, in a conciliatory spirit, and with an earnest desire to avert any more serious collision than had already occurred. On the other hand, it was manifest that at least the delegates from Virginia, with John Tyler at their head, were aiming only to use this means to widen the gulf already existing, and to overcome the decided Union majority still existing in all the border slave States. While a series of propositions, therefore, looking to peace on the basis of a preserved Union, were agreed to by a majority of the Convention (which adjourned on the 1st of March), no practical result appeared in the rebellious districts, unless of an adverse character. This action did serve, however, to proclaim to all the world the anxiety of the people of the free States to avert, by any possible concessions, the full initiation of civil war. On the 11th of February, likewise, the Federal House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution, introduced by Mr. Corwin, of Ohio (soon after concurred in by the Senate), providing for an amendment to the Constitution of the United States, forever prohibiting any legislation by Congress interfering with slavery in any State of the Union-a measure that fully set aside one of the chief pretended occasions for revolt. Going still further, in the way of concession, and in fact surrendering the long controversy about slavery in the Territories, were the resolutions known as the Crittenden Compromise, and which certain Southern Senators deliberately defeated, in their own house, by withholding their votes.
The temper and purpose of the secession leaders were thus distinctly manifested. They would have no compromise. On their own terms, of final separation alone, would they listen to terms of peace. Many of them manifestly desired war, and exulted in the hope of such revenge upon their Northern oppo