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VIEWS OF HUNTER AND SEWARD.

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and 12.

then ask you, 'Let us depart in peace.' Refuse that, and you present us
war. We accept it; and, inscribing upon our banners the glorious words,
"Liberty and Equality,' we will trust to the blood of the brave and the
God of battles for security and tranquillity.” With these words ringing in
the ears of Senators, and these declarations of premeditated treason hurled
in the face of the President, this conspirator left the Senate
Chamber and the National Capital forever," and hastened to January 7,
Georgia, to cheat the people of their rights and precipitate them
into the seething caldron of civil war.

The Georgia Senator was followed, a few days later, by two of the ablest
members of that House, namely, Hunter of Virginia, and Seward
of New York. Their speeches were marked by great dignity of January 11
manner and language, but irreconcilable opposition of sentiment.
Hunter's foreshadowed the aims and determination of the conspirators, while
Seward's as clearly foreshadowed the aims
and determination of the loyal people of the
country and of the incoming Administration,
of which he was to be the Prime Minister.

Mr. Hunter was one of the most polished, subtle, and dangerous of the conspirators. Like Calhoun, his logic was always masterly, and powerfully persuasive. He led the judgments of men with great ease. For years, as the champion of State Supremacythe intimate friend and disciple of Calhoun -he had been laboring to sap the life of the National Government. He now boldly proposed radical changes in the Constitution and the Government, and advocated the right and duty of secession. He de

WILLIAM 1. SEWARD. clared that “the South” must obtain by such changes guaranties of power, so as not to be governed by the majorities of "the North." His whole speech favored the widening of the line of separation between the Free-labor and Slave-labor States, and consequently practical disunion.

Mr. Seward was regarded as the oracle of the Republican party, now about to assume the administration of National affairs, and his words were listened to with eager attention. It was felt that he was to pronounce for

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le proposed Calhoun's favorite plan of a dual executive, modified, as he thought, to adapt it to the circumstances of the hour. He proposed that “cach section," as he called the Free-labor and Slave-labor States, should elect a President, to be called the First and Second President, the first to serve for four years, and the President next succeeding him to serve for four other years, and afterward be re-eligible. During the term of the President, the second should be President of the Senate, having a casting vote in the event of a tie. No treaty or law should be valid without the signatures of both Presidents; nor should any appointments to ofñce be valid without the sanction of both Presidents or of a majority of the Senators. He also proposed 1 sectional division of the Supreme Court, which should consist of ten members, five from the Frec-labor States and five from the Slave-labor States, the Chief-Justice to be one of the five. These judges were to be appointed by the President of each section.

? It is a significant fact, that the closing formula of legal documents which usually have the words: “ Done In the year of American Independence," had been for many years made subservient in Virginia and other Slave-labor States to the heresy of State Supremacy, by the form of "Done in the year of Virginia" or "North Carolina Independence."

VOL. I.-15

1

226

SPEECHES OF JOHNSON AND CLEMENS.

peace or war. He spoke guardedly, and yet not enigmatically. He skillfully analyzed the treasonable movements of the Oligarchy, exposed the falsehood of their pretenses, the real springs of their ambition and their crime, and pleaded with powerful argumentation for affiliation and union. He deciared his adherence to the Union in its integrity and with all its parts, with his friends, with his party, with his State, with his country, or without either, as they might determine; in every event, whether of peace or war, with every consequence of bonor or of dishonor, of life or of death. He concluded by saying :-“I shall cheerfully lend to the Government my best support in whatever prudent, yet energetic efforts it shall make to preserve the public peace, and to maintain and preserve the Union, advising only that it practice, as far as possible, the utmost moderation, forbearance, and conciliation."

The speeches of Toombs, Hunter, and Seward were key-notes to all that succeeded on the great topic of the hour. There were others of eminent ability, and worthy of careful preservation in the annals of the great Civil

War, as exponents of the conflicting views entertained concerning the Government, its character, and its power.' Several of these were from representatives of Slave-labor States, and were extremely loyal.

Foremost among them was that of Andrew Johnson,

Senator from Tennessee, now a 1565.

President of the Republic-a man who had come up from among the common people, planted himself firmly on the foundation of human rights and popular prerogatives, and performed valorous service against the pretensions and claims of the imperious Oligarchy.

"I will not give up this Government, he said, “ that is now called an experiment, which some are prepared to abandon for a constitutional monarchy. No! I intend to stand by it, and I entreat every man throughout the nation who is a patriot, and who has seen

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ANDREW JOHNSON.

1 Charles Sumner, Henry Wilson, Benjamin F. Wade, and others in the Senate; and John Sherman, Charles Francis Adams, Thomas Corwin, and others in the House of Representatives, made powerful speeches against Mr. Crittenden's propositions, and in favor of universal freedom. One of the most remarkable passages in the great debate was the speech of Sherrard Clemens, of Western Virginia, who took such decided ground against the pretensions of the Oligarchy, that its representatives in Congress called him a traitor. With the most biting scorn, he thus referred to the conspirators in Congress :-“ Patriotisın has become a starreling birdling, clinging with untledged wings around the nest of twigs where it was born. A statesman now must not only

Narrow his mind, And to party give up what was meant for mankind, but he must become as submissivo as a blind horse in a bark-mill to every perrerted opinion which sits, whip in hand, on the revolving shaft at the end of which he is harnessed, and meekly travels. To be considered a diamond of the first water, he must stand in the Senate House of his country (like Toombs and his fellowtraitors), and, in the face of a forbearing people, glory in being a traitor and a rebel. He must solemnly proclaim the death of the nation to which he had sworn allegiance, and, with the grave stolidity of an undertaker, invite its citizens to their own funeral. He must dwarf and provincialize his patriotism to the State on whose local passions he thrives, to the county where he practices court, or to the city where he flaunts in all the meretricious dignity of the Doge of Venice. Ile can take an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, but he

BAKER'S ESTIMATE OF THE UNION.

227

1861.

and is compelled to admit the success of this great experiment, to come forward, not in heat, not in fanaticism, not in haste, not in precipitancy, but in deliberation, in full view of all that is before us, in the spirit of brotherly love and fraternal affection, and rally round the altar of our common country, and lay the Constitution upon it as our last libation, and swear by our God, by all that is sacred and holy, that the Constitution shall be saved and the Union preserved.” From this lofty attitude of patriotism he never stooped a line during the fierce struggle that ensued.

Senator Baker, of Oregon, who attested his devotion to his country by giving his life in its defense on the battle-field a few months later, made a most eloquent appeal for the preservation of October 21, the Union. He and others had been powerfully moved by the

January 12. treasonable speech of Toombs. He drew a graphic picture of the terrible effects that might be expected from secession-nationality destroyed, and on its ruins several weak republics established, without power to carry on any of the magnificent schemes in hand for the development of the resources of the continent. He spoke of the continual incentives to war between the separated States, and the contempt into which all would fall in the estimation of the world. “With standing armies consuming the substance of our people on the land," he said, “and our Navy and our postal steamers withdrawn from the ocean, who will protect, or respect, or who will even know by name our petty confederacies? The American man-ofwar is a noble spectacle. I have seen it enter an ancient port in the Mediterranean. All the world wondered at it and talked about it. Salvos of artillery, from forts and shipping in the harbor, saluted its flag. Princes and princesses and merchants paid it homage, and all the people blessed it, as a harbinger of hope for their own ultimate freedom. I imagine now the same noble vessel again entering the same haven. The flag of thirty-three stars and thirteen stripes has been hauled down, and in its place a signal is run up which flaunts the device of a lone star or a palmetto-tree. Men ask, 'Who is the stranger that thus steals into our waters?' The answer, contemptuously given, is, ‘She comes from one of the obscure republics of North America--let her pass on.?”

The plan of this work does not contemplate the recording of Congressional debates in detail; so we will proceed to notice, in few words, the result of the great discussion on pacification. It was continued from time to

can enter with honor into a conspiracy to overthrow it. He is ready to laugh in your face when you tell him. that before he was • muling and puking in his nurse's arms,' there lived an obscure person by the name of George Wasbington, and who, before he died, became eminent, by perpetuating the immortal joke of advising the people of the United States that “it is of infinite moment that we should properly estimate the immense Falue of our National Union, that we should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; that we should watch for its preservation with jealous anxiety, discountenancing whatever may suggest even a suspicion that it can, in any event, be abandoned ; and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together the various parts.""

With greater bitterness Mr. Clemens denounced the Abolitionists, and quoted from the writings and speeches of William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips, in which they advocated a dissolution of the Union. "All hail disunion !" cried Phillips, in one of these. “Sacrifice every thing for the Union? God forbid I Sacrifice every thing to keep South Carolina in it! Rather build a bridge of gold and pay her toll over it. Let her march off with banners and trumpets, and we will speed the parting guest. Let her not stand upon the order of her going, but go at once. Give her the forts and arsenals and sub-treasuries, and lend her jewels of silver and gold, and Egypt will rejoice that she has departed."-Congressional Globe, 1860, '61. Appendix, pages 103, 104.

228

CONSPIRATORS LEAVING CONGRESS.

1861.

time until the last days of the session, when many of the conspirators had left Congress and gone home.

On the 2d of March, two days before the close of the session, Mason of Virginia called up the Crittenden resolutions in the Senate, when Clarke's substitute' was reconsidered and rejected, for the purpose of obtaining a direct vote on the original proposition. After a long debate, continuing

until late in the “small hours” of Sunday morning, the Critten• March 3,

den Compromise was finally rejected by a vote of twenty against

nineteen. It might have been carried had the conspirators retained their seats. The question was then taken in the Senate on a resolution of the House of Representatives, to amend the Constitution so as to prohibit forever any amendment of that instrument interfering with slavery in any State. This resolution was adopted.

In the atmosphere of to-day, made clear by the tempest of war, we perceive that this result was most auspicious. We may now see clearly the peril to which the nation would have been subjected had that Compromise, or kindred propositions for perpetuating and nationalizing slavery, been adopted. Had the Constitution been amended in accordance with the propositions of the patriotic but short-sighted Crittenden, the Republic would have been bound in the fetters of one of the most relentless and degrading despotisms that ever disgraced the annals of mankind.

On the 12th of January, the conspirators commenced withdrawing from Congress. On that day the Representatives of the State of Mississippi sent in a communication to the Speaker, saying they had been informed of the secession of their State, and that, while they regretted the occasion for that action, they approved the measure.

Two days January 14.

afterward, Albert G. Brown, one of the Senators from Mississippi, withdrew from active participation in the business of the Senate. His colleague, Jefferson Davis, did not take his leave, on account of sickness, until the 21st, when he made a parting speech. He declared his devotion to the doctrine of State Supremacy to be so zealous, that if he believed his State had no just cause for leaving the Union, he should feel bound by its action to follow its destiny. He thought it had just cause for withdrawing, and declared that he had counseled the people (in other words, the politicians) of that State to do as they had done. He drew a distinction between nullification and secession, and asserted, in the face of history and common sense, that Calhoun advocated nullification in order to save the Union ! With the most transparent sophistry he then argued in favor of the right of secession, and against the prevailing idea, that when the preamble of the Declaration of Independence asserts that “all men are created equal,” it means all without distinction of race or country. Then, with a wicked perversion of the plainest teachings of history, he said:-“When you deny to us the right to withdraw from a

1 See page 221.
2 The vote was as follows:

Ayes.-Messrs. Bayard, Bright, Bigler, Crittenden, Douglas, Gwin, Ilunter, Johnson of Tennessee, Kennedy, Lane, Latham, Mason, Nicholson, Polk, Pugh, Rice, Sebastian, Thompson, Wigfall-19.

Noes.-Messrs. Anthony, Bingham, Chandler, Clarke, Dixon, Doolittle, Durkie, Fessenden, Foote, Foster. Grimes, Harlan, King, Morrill, Sumner, Ten Eyck, Trumbull, Wade, Wilkinson, Wilson-20.

WITHDRAWAL OF CLAY AND IVERSON.

229

government which threatens to be destructive of our rights, we but tread in the path of our fathers when we proclaim our independence, and take the hazard.” In direct conflict with truth, and with the most shameless hypocrisy, which his subsequent conduct revealed, he declared that the step was taken by himself and his State not for any selfish purpose, but “from the high and solemn motive of defending and protecting the rights we have inherited, and which it is our sacred duty to transmit unshorn to our children.” He concluded with an expression of a hope that peaceful relations between the two sections might be maintained, and declared that he left the Senate without any animosity toward a single member personally. “I carry with me,” he said, “no hostile remembrance. Whatever offense I have given which has not been redressed, or for which satisfaction has not been demanded, I have, Senators, at this hour of our parting, to offer you my apology for any pain which, in the heat of discussion, I have inflicted. ... Having made this announcement, which the occasion seemed to me to require, it only remains for me to bid you a final adieu.” Davis then left the Senate Chamber, and immediately entered more openly upon his treasonable work, in which he had been engaged for many years.

On the same day when Davis left the Senate, the representatives of Alabama and Florida in that House formally withdrew. Yulee and Mallory, the Florida Senators, spoke in temperate language; but Clement C. Clay, Jr., of Alabama, one of the most malignant foes of the Republic, and who was a secret plotter in Canada, during the war, of high crimes against the people of the United States, signalized his withdrawal by a harangue marked by the intensest venom. He commenced his speech by the utterance of what he knew to be untrue, by saying :"I rise to announce, for my colleague and myself, that the people of Alabama have adopted an Ordinance of Separation, and that they are all in favor of withdrawing from the Union. I wish it to be understood that this is the act of the people of Alabama.” He then uttered a tirade of abuse against the people of the Freelabor States, and closed by saying: “As a true and loyal citizen of Alabama, approving of her action, acknowledging entire allegiance, and feeling that I am absolved by her act from all my obligations to support the Constitution of the United States, I withdraw from this body, intending to return to the bosom of my mother, and share her fate and maintain her fortunes.” His whitehaired colleague, Fitzpatrick, indorsed his sentiments, and both withdrew.

A week later," Senator Iverson, of Georgia, having received a copy of the Ordinance of Secession from the Convention of the January 28, politicians of his State, formally withdrew, when he took the occasion to say, in contemplation of war :-“You may possibly overrun

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OLEMENT C. OLAY, JR.

1 See an account of the opposition of the people to secession, on page 173.

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