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GENERAL SCOTT'S SUGGESTIONS,

245

States at the end of a long, expensive, and desolating war, and to no good purpose; and, 4th, to "say to the seceded States, Wayward sisters, go in

" Another earnest pleader against “coercion," which would evidently lead to war, was Professor Samuel F. B. Morse, who gave intellectual power to the electro-magnetic telegraph. He was a conspicuous opponent of the war measures of the Government during the entire conflict. He was made President, as we have seen, of “The American Society for the Promotion of National Union," immediately after the adjournment of the Peace Convention;' and he worked zealously for the promotion of measures that might satisfy the demands of the slaveholders. “Before that most lamentable and pregnant error of the attack on Fort Sumter had been committed,” says Professor Morse, in a letter to the author of these pages,“ “ which, indeed, inaugurated actual physical hostilities, and while war was confined to threatening and irritating words between the two sections of the country, there seemed to me to be two methods by which our sectional difficulties might be adjusted without bloodshed, which methods I thus stated in a paper drawn up at the time, when the project of a Flag for the Southern section was under discussion in the journals of the South :

“ The first and most proper mode of adjusting those difficulties is to call a National Convention, in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution; a Convention of the States, to which body should be referred the whole subject of our differences; and then, if but a moiety of the lofty, unselfish,

a May 2,

1864.

· This letter, written by the General-in-chief of the Armies of the Republic, on whose advice and skill the incoining President must rely for the support of the integrity of the nation and the vindication of the laws at all hazards, is so remarkable, under the circumstances, that its suggestions are given here in full, as follows:

" To meet the extraordinary exigencies of the times, it seems to me that I am guilty of no arrogance in limiting the President's field of selection to one of the four plans of procedure subjoined :

* I. Throw off the old and assume a new designation-the Union Party; adopt the conciliatory measures proposed by Mr. Crittenden, or the Peace Convention, and, my life upon it, we shall have no new case of secession ; but, on the contrary, an early return of many, if not all the States which have already broken off from the l'nion. Without some equally benign measure, the remaining Slaveholding States will probably join the Montgomery Confederncy in less than sixty days—when this city (Washington), being included in a foreign country, would require a permanent garrison of at least thirty-five thousand troops to protect the Government within it.

* II. Collect the duties on foreign goods outside the ports of which this Government has lost the command, or close such ports by act of Congress, and blockade them.

"II. Conquer the seceded States by invading armies. No doubt this might be done in two or three years, by a young and able general—a Wolfe, a Desaix, or a lloche-with three hundred thousand disciplined men (kept up to that number), estimating a third for garrisons, and the loss of a yet greater number by skirinishes, sieges, battles, and Southern fevers. The destruction of life and property on the other side would be frightful, however perfect the inoral discipline of the invaders. The conquest completed, at that enormous waste of human life to the North and Northwest, with at least two hundred and fifty millions of dollars added thereto, and cui bono? Fifteen desolated Provinces! not to be brought into harmony with their conquerors, to be held for generations by heavy garrisons, at an expense quailruple the net duties or taxes which it would be possible to estort from them, followed by a Protector or Emperor.

* IV. Say to the seceded States— Wayward sisters, depart in peace !"-Scott 8 Autobiography, ii. 625.

On the solicitation of John Van Buren, of New York, General Scott gave him the original draft of this letter, as an autographic keepsake of a strictly private nature, supposing that he was simply gratifying the wishes of an honorable man. His confidence was betrayed, and this private letter to Mr. Seward was fead to a large public meeting of the friends of Horatio Seymour, during the canvass of that leader for the otfice of Governor of New York. The letter was used as an implied censure of the policy of the Administration of Mr. Lincoln. General Scott, in vindication of himself, then published a Report on the public defenses, which he had submitted to Mr. Buchanan before he left office, which occasioned a spicy newspaper correspondence between these venerable men. See National Intelligencer, Octobor, 1862.

? Seo page 207.

246

PROFESSOR MORSE'S PLAN FOR CONCILIATION,

enlarged, and kind disposition manifested in that noble Convention of 1787, which framed our Constitution, be the controlling disposition of the new convention, we may hope for some amicable adjustment. If for any reason this mode cannot be carried out, then the second method is one which circumstances may unhappily force upon us; but even this mode, so lamentable in itself considered, and so extreme—so repulsive to an American heart, if judiciously used, may eventuate in a modified and even stronger Union. This is the temporary yielding to the desire of the South for a separate confederacy ; in other words, an assent to negotiations for a temporary dissolution of the present Union. My object in this mode is to secure, in the end, a more permanent perpetual Union. I well know that this is a startling proposition, and may seem to involve a paradox; but look at it calmly and carefully, and understand what is involved in such an assent. It involves, as a paramount consideration, a total cessation on our part of the irritating process which for thirty years has been in operation against the South. If this system of vituperation cannot be quelled because we have 'freedom of speech ;' if we cannot refrain from the use of exasperating and opprobious language toward our brethren, and from offensive intermeddling with their domestic affairs, then, of course, the plan fails, and so will all others for a true union. If we cannot tame our tongues, neither union nor peace with neighbors, nor domestic tranquillity in our homes, can be expected."

This earnest apostle of Peace then proceeds to notice some of the formidable difficulties in the way, such as fixing the boundary-line between the “two confederacies," and the weighty necessity of maintaining, in peaceful relations, a standing military army and an army of custom house officials. These considerations, he believed (assuming that both parties should never lose their temper), would cause a perception of the necessity for compromise, “ which embodies a sentiment vital to the existence of

any
society.”

There then would be the difficulty of an equitable distribution of the public property, as well as an agreement upon the terms of a treaty “ offensive and defensive between the confederacies. Coercion,” he said, “ of one State by another, or of one Federated Union by another Federated Union,” was not to be thought of. “The idea is so fruitful of crime and disaster that no man, in his right mind, can entertain it for a moment.”

Supposing all these matters to be definitely settled to the perfect satisfaction of all parties, the question naturally arose in the mind of the writer, “What is to become of the Flag of the Union ?” He answered,

The Southern section is now agitating the question of a device for their distinctive flag. Cannot this question of flags be so settled as to aid in a future Union ? I think it can. If the country can be divided, why not the flag? The Stars and Stripes is the flag in which we all have a deep and the selfsame interest. It is hallowed by the common victories of our several wars. We all have sacred associations clustering around it in common, and, therefore, if we must be two nations, neither nation can lay exclusive claim to it without manifest injustice and otfense to the other. Neither will consent to throw it aside altogether for a new and strange device, with no associations of the past to hallow it.

“ The most obvious solution of the difficulties which spring up in this respect is to divide the old flag, giving half to each. It may be done, and

66

A DIVISION OF THE FLAG PROPOSED.

247

" XORTILEEN

FLAG.

* SOUTHERN"

FLAG

in a manner to have a salutary moral effect upon both parties. Let the blue union be diagonally divided, from left to right or right to left, and the thirteen stripes longitudinally, so as to make six and a half stripes in the upper, and six and a half stripes

field and the upper six and a in the lower portion. Refer

half stripes for the Northern ring to it, as on a map, the

Flag, and the lower diagonal upper portion being North,

division of the blue field and and the lower portion being

the lower six and a half South, we have the upper

stripes for the Southern Flag. diagonal division of the blue

The portion of the blue field in each flag to contain the stars to the number of States embraced in each confederacy. The reasons for such division are obvious. It prevents all dispute on a claim for

moiety of the old flag, will the old flag by either con

retain something, at, least, federacy. It is distinctive;

of the sacred memories of for the two cannot be mis

the past for the sober reflectaken for each other, either

tion of each confederacy. at sea or at a distance on

And then if a war with some land. Each flag, being &

foreign nation, or combination of nations, should unhappily occur (all wars being unhappy), under our treaty of offense and defense, the two separate flags, by natural affinity, would clasp fittingly together, and the glorious old flag of the Union, in its entirety, would again be hoisted, once more embracing all the sister States.' Would not this division of

it not speak to them of the the old flag thus have a salu

divisions which have sepatary moral effect inclining to

rated members of the same union ? Will there not also

household, and will not the be felt a sense of shame when

uchy be forced from their either flag is seen by citizens

lips, Why is the old flag of either confederacy? Will

divided? And when once the old time-honored banner, bequeathed to us by our honored ancestors of every State, shall be flung to the breeze in its original integrity, as the rallying-point for a common defense, will not a shout of welcome, going up from the Rio Grande to Maine, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific, rekindle in patriotic hearts in both confederacies a fraternal yearning for the old Union ?"

Such was the notable plan for reconciliation put forth by the most distinguished of the leaders of the Peace party, that played an important part during the civil war. This novel proposition--this disjunctive conjunctive plan of conciliation, like the experiment of making a delicate China vase stronger and more beautiful by first breaking it into fragments, and cementing it by foreign agency, shared the fate of others in Congress and in the Peace Convention. It was rejected as insufficient. The conspirators had resolved on absolute, wide, and eternal separation, while the vast majority of the people of the Republic had as firmly resolved that there should be no division of the flag, of the territory, or of the “sacred associations of the Past ;" for out of that Past came the voice of the Father of his Country,

REUNITED FLAG.

1

otches of the divided Flag are from drawings maile for ne by Professor Morse.

248

CONVENTION OF CONSPIRATORS AT MONTGOMERY.

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saying: “It is of infinite moment that you should properly estimate the immense value of your National Union to your collective and individual happiness; that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immovable attachment to it; accustoming yourselves to think and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety and prosperity; watching 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.

On the same day when the Peace Convention assembled at Washington to deliberate upon plans for preserving the Union, a band of usurpers, chosen by the secession conventions of six States without the consent or sanction of the people, met in the State House at Montgomery, in Alabama (a city of

sixteen thousand in-
habitants, on the Ala-
bama River, and over
three hundred miles
by water from the
Gulf of Mexico), for
the purpose of per-
fecting schemes for
the destruction of the
Union. They were
forty-two in number,
and represented the
disloyal politicians of
South Carolina, Geor-
gia, Alabama, Missis-
sippi, Louisiana, and
Florida.? For days
heavy rains had been

flooding the whole region between the Savannah and Tombigbee Rivers, damaging railways, and making traveling perilous. The train that conveyed Stephens, and Toombs, and T. R. Cobb, of Georgia, and Chesnut, and Withers, and Rhett, of South Carolina, was thrown from the track between West Point and Montgomery, and badly broken up. Everybody was frightened, but nobody was hurt; and at a late hour, on the 4th, these leaders in conspiracy entered Montgomery. Not long afterward the Convention assembled in the Legislative Hall, around which were hung, in unseemly intermingling, the portraits

[graphic]

STATE HOUSE AT MONTGOMERY.

1 Washington's Farewell Address to his countrymen. ? The following are the names of the delegates :

South Carolina.-R. B. Rhett, James Chesnut, Jr., W. P. Miles, T. J. Withers, R. W. Barnwell, C. G. Memminger, L. M. Keitt, W. W. Boyce. Georgia.- Robert Toombs, Howell Cobb, Benjamin H. Hill, Alexan. der H. Stephens, Francis Barbour, Martin J. Crawford, E. A. Nisbett, Augustus B. Wright, Thomas R. P. Cobb, Augustus Keenan. Alabama.-Richard W. Walker, Robert H. Smith, Colin J. McRae, John Gill Shorter, S. F. Hale, David P. Lewis, Thomas Fearn, J. L. M. Curry, W. P. Chilton. Mississippi. - Willie P. Jarris, Walker Brooke, A. M. Clayton, W. S. Barry, J. T. Harrison. J. A. P. Campbell, W. S. Wilson. ana.—John Perkins, Jr., Duncan F. Kenna, C. M. Conrad, E. Spencer, Henry Marshall. Florida.– Jackson Morton, James Powers, W. B. Ochiltree.

Louisi

ORGANIZATION OF THE MONTGOMERY CONVENTION.

249

of George Washington and John C. Calhoun ; of Andrew Jackson and William L. Yancey; of General Marion, Henry Clay, and the historian of Alabama, A. J. Pickett. Robert W. Barnwell, of South Carolina, was chosen temporary chairman; and the blessing of a just God was invoked upon the premeditated labors of these wrong-doers by the Rev. Basil Manly.

That assembly of conspirators was permanently organized by the appropriate choice of Howell Cobb, of Georgia, as presiding officer. Johnson F. Hooper, of Montgomery, was chosen clerk.' On taking the chair, Cobb made a short speech, in which he said, truly, that their assemblage was of no ordinary character: They met, he said, as representatives of sovereign and independent States, who had dissolved the political associations which connected them with the United States. He declared that the separation was a “fixed and irrevocable fact”-that it was “perfect, complete, and perpetual.” The duty imposed upon them was to make provision for the Government of the “seceded States.” It was desirable to maintain the most friendly relations with their “late sister States, as with the world,” and especially with the Slave-labor States. He doubted not that he, and the men before him, would prove equal to the task assigned them. He counseled them to assume all responsibility necessary to the accomplishment of the work they had entered upon.

“With a consciousness of the justice of our canse,” he said, “and with confidence in the guidance and blessings of a kind Providence, we will this day inaugurate for the South a new era of peace, security, and prosperity."

As the delegates assumed to be representatives of "Sovereign States," it was agreed that all votes should be taken by States. Having adopted rules for the guidance of the Convention, they at once proceeded to business with great diligence. It was soon discovered that perfect harmony was not to be expected. There were too many ambitious men in that little assemblage to allow the prevalence of sweet concord, or serenity of thought and manner. They were nearly all aspirants to high positions in the inchoate empire. Each felt himself, like Bottom the Weaver, capable of performing any part in the drama about opening, either as “Lion," " Pyramus," “ Wall,” or “Moonshine.” The South Carolinians were specially ambitious for distinotion. They longed for the most lofty honors and the most prodigal emoluments. Had they not been leaders in the revolutionary movements ? Had they not struck the first blow for the destruction of the Republic, on whose ruins they were about to build the majestic fabric of "free government," founded on Slavery ?' Had they not, therefore, a pre-emptive right to the best domain in the new commonwealth ? Judge McGrath, who with ludicrous solemnity laid aside his judicial robes at Charleston, sent word that he would like to put them on again at Montgomery as attorney-general." Robert Barnwell Rhett, the most belligerent of the demagogues of the

Hooper was at one time editor of the Montgomery Mail, a violent secession sheet. He had for assistant elerks Robert S. Dixon and A. R. Lamar. Hooper died in great poverty in Richmond, some time in the year 1862. 2 See picture of banner, page 106.

3 See page 4S 4 " Memminger mentioned to the delegates that he was requested by Judge McGrath to say to them, that he would be glad to be appointed attorney-general by the President of the Confederacy. There will be solicitations enough from South Carolina for offices. But keep this to yourself."- Autograph Letter of R. R. Rhett to his Son, February 11, 1861.

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