Imágenes de páginas






North, created by John Brown's raid, representatives of Virginia in Congress issued a manifesto, nine days before the election of delegates to the State Convention. After mentioning proceedings in Con- January 26, gress looking toward "guaranties for the South,” they said :—“It is our duty to warn you that it is in vain to hope for any measure of conciliation or adjustment which you could accept. We are also satisfied that the Republican party designs, by civil war alone, to coerce the Southern States, under the pretext of enforcing the laws, unless it shall become speedily apparent that the seceding States are so numerous, determined, and united, as to make such an attempt hopeless. . . . There is nothing to be hoped from Congress. The remedy is with you alone, when you assemble in sovereign convention. . . . We conclude by expressing our solemn conviction that prompt and decided action, by the people of Virginia, in convention, will afford the surest means, under the providence of God, of averting an impending civil war, and preserving the hope of reconstructing a Union already dissolved.” This manifesto was signed by R. M. T. Hunter and ten others. Hunter was the ablest man among them, and one of the most dangerous of the chief conspirators against the Government. The election was held on the

• February 4, appointed day, and of the one hundred and fifty-two delegates chosen, a large majority were opposed to secession. Concealing this fact, and using the other fact, that the unconditional Unionists were few, the newspapers in the interest of the conspirators declared that “not twenty submissionist Union men” had been chosen. “Virginia,” said the leading organ of the secessionists in that State, "will, before the 4th of March, declare herself absolved from all further obligation to the Federal Government. It is eminently proper that the State which was the leader in the Revolution, and the first to proclaim the great doctrine of State Rights in 1799, should lead the column of the Border States."?

We will consider the proceedings of the Virginia Convention hereafter.

The conspirators felt great anxiety and doubt concerning the position of MARYLAND. To the disloyalists of that State, with those of Virginia, they had looked for the most efficient aid in the work of seizing the National Capital. Maryland lay between the Free-labor States and that capital, and might be a barrier against Northern troops sent to protect it. Emissaries and commissioners from the Cotton-growing States were early within its borders plying their seductive arts, and they found so many sympathizers among the slaveholders, and a large class in Baltimore, connected by blood, affection, and commerce with the South, that they entertained, for a while,



The following are the names attached to the document:James M. Mason, R. M. T. Hunter, D. C. De Jarnette, M. P. II. Garnett, Shelton F. Lcake, E. S. Martin, II. A. Edmonston, Roger A. Pryor. Thomas S. Bocock, A. G. Jenkins,

Richmond Enquirer, February 5, 1961.

[ocr errors]



a 1560.

bright hopes of the co-operation of the people of that State. It is said that on the 1st of January, 1861, no less than twelve thousand men were organized in that State, bound by the most solemn oaths to do the bidding of their leaders, whose purpose was to seize Washington City.'

Independent of the innate loyalty of the greater portion of the people of Maryland to the flag of the Union, there were considerations of material interests calculated to make them weigh well the arguments for and against revolution that were presented to them. The value of the “slave property" of the State was then estimated to be at least fifty millions of dollars. This would be imperiled, for, if war should be kindled, that "property," possessing manhood and its instincts, would fly toward the free air of the North, so near and so inviting. A blight would fall suddenly upon Maryland, for the withdrawal, by such an exodus, of seven hundred thousand laborers from the fields would leave the soil untilled. And yet the madmen of the Stateconspirators and demagogues and their dupes—blinded by passion, were ready and anxious to risk every thing, by clinging to the destinies, whatever they might be, of the Slave-labor States.

Fortunately for Maryland and the Republic, the Governor of the State, Thomas H. Hicks, his age on the borders of threescore and ten, was a prudent, loyal man. When Judge Handy, the Commissioner from Mississippi,

visited bim officially, at the middle of December, and set forth

the object of his mission, and the causes which justified secession, and desired him to call a special session of the Legislature, that they might authorize a State Convention, Hicks assured bim, that while the people of his State were in sympathy with the institutions, habits, and feelings of the Slave-labor States, they were conservative, and ardently attached to the Union. He was disposed to consult the opinions of the people of the Border Slave-labor States before acting in the matter, and gave assurance that Maryland would undoubtedly act with those States. Handy was well convinced that his treasonable schemes found no favor in the mind and heart of Governor Hicks, and he departed. From that time the Governor was vehemently importuned by the politicians to convene the Legislature. Twelve of the twenty-two State Senators jointly addressed him, urging the necessity of an extraordinary session ; and disloyal politicians took steps for calling an informal convention of prominent citizens, in order to get an expression of opinion in favor of such session. At the same time, the friends of the Union as strenuously urged him to refuse the call.

Governor Hicks was firm. He well knew the political complexion of the Legislature, and foresaw the mischief it might accomplish; so he steadily

refused to call the members together. To this refusal he added January Q an appeal to the people, in the form of a protest against the

attempt of demagogues to make Maryland subservient to South Carolina. “We are told,” he said, “by the leading spirits of the South Carolina Convention, that neither the election of Mr. Lincoln, nor the nonexecution of the Fugitive Slave Law, nor both combined, constitute their grievances. They declare that the real cause of their discontent dates as far


Baltimore Correspondent of the New York World.



Are we

back as 1833. Maryland, and every other State in the Union, with a united voice, then declared the cause insufficient to justify the course of South Carolina. Can it be that this people, who then unanimously supported the course of General Jackson, will now yield their opinions at the bidding of modern secessionists? ... The people of Maryland, if left to themselves, would decide, with scarcely an exception, that there is nothing in the present causes of complaint to justify immediate secession; and yet, against our judgments and solemn convictions of duty, we are to be precipitated into this revolution, because South Carolina thinks differently. Are we not equals ? Or shall her opinions control our actions ? After we have solemnly declared for ourselves, as every man must do, are we to be forced to yield our opinions to those of another State, and thus, in effect, obey her mandates ? She refuses to wait for our counsels. bound to obey her commands ? The men who have embarked in this scheme to convene the Legislature will spare no pains to carry their point. The whole plan of operations, in the event of the assembling of the Legislature, is, as I have been informed, already marked out; the list of embassadors who are to visit the other States is agreed on; and the resolutions which they hope will be passed by the Legislature, fully committing the State to secession, are said to be already prepared. In the course of nature, I cannot have long to live, and I fervently trust to be allowed to end my days a citizen of this glorious Union. But should I be compelled to witness the downfall of that Government inherited from our fathers, established as it were by the special favor of God, I will at least have the consolation, at my dying hour, that I, neither by word nor deed, assisted in hastening its disruption.” Already Henry Winter Davis, a Representative of a Baltimore district in the National Congress, had published a powerful appeals against the calling

a Jannary 2, of the Legislature, or the assembling of a Border State Convention, as some had proposed. Nothing, he said, but a convention of all the States could be useful.

The address of Governor Hicks was read with delight and profound gratitude by the loyal people of Maryland, while the secessionists at home and abroad denounced him as a “traitor to the Southern cause.” He steadily maintained the position of an antagonist to their treasonable designs. They tried bard, but in vain, to counteract his influence. At the middle of February, they held an irregular convention in Baltimore, and issued an address and resolutions. Their operations were abortive. The best men of the State, of all parties, frowned upon their work. A Union party was organized, composed of vital elements, and grew in strength and stature every day. Maryland, and especially Baltimore, became a great battle-field of opinions between the champions of Right and Wrong. The former triumphed gloriously; and




Governor Hicks died suddenly at Washington City, on the morning of the 13th of February, 1865, where he was engaged in his duties as a member of the National Senate.



in less than four years from that time, slavery became utterly extinct in Maryland, by the constitutional act of its own authorities.

DELAWARE, lying still farther than Maryland within the embrace of the Free-labor States, had but little to say on the subject of secession, and that little, officially spoken, was in the direction of loyalty. Its Governor, several of its Senators, its Representatives in the National Senate, and many leading politicians, sympathized with the secessionists, but the people were conservative and loyal. The Legislature convened at Dover, the capital, on the 2d of January, when the Governor (William Burton) declared that the cause of all the trouble was "the persistent war of the Abolitionists upon more than two billions of property; a war waged from pulpits, rostrums, and schools, by press and people—all teaching that slavery is a crime and a sin, until it had become the opinion of one section of the country. The only remedy," he said, “for the evils now threatening, is a radical change of public sentiment in regard to the whole question. The North should retire from its untenable position immediately.” On the following day, Henry Dickinson, Commis. sioner from Mississippi, addressed them. He declared, with supporting arguments, that a State had a right to secede, and invited Delaware to join the “Southern Confederacy” about to be formed. He was applauded by some, and listened to courteously by all. Then the House, by unanimous vote, adopted a resolution (concurred in by a majority of the Senate), saying, that they deemed it proper and due to themselves, and the people of Delaware, to express their unqualified disapproval of the remedy for existing evils proposed by Mr. Dickinson, in behalf of Mississippi. This ended his mission. Delaware maintained that position during the war that ensued; and it is å notable fact, that it was the only Slave-labor State whose soil was not moistened with the blood of the slain in battle. No insurgent soldier ever appeared within the limits of that State, except as a prisoner of war.

Great efforts were made to force North CAROLINA into revolution. The South Carolinians taunted them with cowardice; the Virginians treated them with coldness; and the Alabamians and Mississippians coaxed them by the lips of commissioners. These efforts were vain. Thompson, of Buchanan's Cabinet, went back to Washington,' convinced that the radical secessionists of that State were but a handful. The Legislature diil, indeed, authorize a convention; but directed that the people, when they elected

delegates for it, should vote on the question of Convention or No • January 28, Convention. The delegates were elected,“ one hundred and twenty

in number, eighty-two of whom were Unionists; at the same time, the people decided not to have a convention. The Legislature also appointed delegates to the Peace Congress at Washington ; also, commissioners to represent the State in the proposed General Convention at Montgomery, but

with instructions to act only as “mediators to endeavor to bring February 4. about a reconciliation.” They also declared, by resolution, that

if peace negotiations should fail, North Carolina would go with the Slave-labor States. They provided for the arming of ten thousand volunteers, and the reorganization of the militia of the State. Further than this the legislative branch of the State Government refused to go at that


[ocr errors]

See pages 45 and 144; note 1, page 143, and noto 1, page 91.




[ocr errors]

time, and the people, determined to avoid war if possible, kept steadily on in their usual pursuits. They heard the howling of the tempest without, but heeded not its turmoil for a time; and they were but little startled by the thunderbolt cast in their midst to alarm them, by Senator Clingman, when, at the middle of February," he telegraphed from February 19, Washington :-“There is no chance for Crittenden's proposition. North Carolina must secede, or aid Lincoln in making war on the South.” Finally, by pressure from without, and especially by the machinations of traitors nestled in her own bosom, the State was placed in an attitude of open rebellion.

The people of TENNESSEE, the daughter of North Carolina, like those of the parent State, loved the Union supremely; but their Governor, Isham G. Harris, was an active traitor, and bad been for months in confidential correspondence with the conspirators in the Gulf States and in South Caro lina and Virginia. He labored unceasingly, with all of his official power, to place his State in alliance with the enemies of the Union. For that purpose he called a special session of the Legislature, to assemble at Nashville on the 7th of January. In his message, he recited a long list of so-called grievances which the people of the State had suffered under the National Government; appealed to their passions and prejudices, and recommended several amendments to the Constitution, which would give to the support of Slavery all that its advocates desired, as remedy for those grievances. The Legislature provided for a State Convention, but decreed that when the people should elect the delegates, they should vote on the question of Convention or No Convention; also, that any ordinance adopted by the Convention, concerning “Federal Relations," should not be valid until submitted to the people for ratification or rejection.

The election, held on the 9th of February,' was very gratifying to the loyal people of the State. The Union candidates were chosen by an aggregate majority of about sixty-five thousand; and, by a majority of nearly twelve thousand, they decided not to have a convention. The result produced great rejoicings, for it was believed that the secession movements in the State would cease. It was a delusive hope, as we shall observe hereafter.

KENTUCKY, a Border State of great importance, having a population, in 1860, of one million one hundred and fifty-five thousand seven hundred and thirteen, of whom two hundred and twenty-five thousand were slaves, was, like Maryland, strongly attached by triple bonds to both sections of the Union. Its action at this crisis, whatever it might be, would have great




• 1861.

• MoPherson's Political History of the United States during the Rebellion, page 41.

« AnteriorContinuar »