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WHEN the first numbers of this work were issued, nothing appeared more certain than that the civil war, the history of which it was intended faithfully to record, would be of short duration, and that a single volume would be amply sufficient to comprise all that a faithful detail of events would require. A few of the more far-sighted persons in the community thought the contest might last twelve or eighteen months, but none were bold enough to hazard the conjecture that it would be prolonged through four eventful years. The distinguished Secretary of State, Mr. Seward, confidently promised the extinction of the rebellion in sixty days. But as month after month and year after year elapsed, and the scene of warlike operations extended over a constantly widening area, with an ever-increasing earnestness in the two sections of the country arrayed against each other, it became apparent that not one volume, nor even two, would suffice for a complete history of the war. Happily, the end came at last, and though not altogether unexpected by those who knew the actual exhaustion of the South, with a suddenness almost as startling-so accustomed had the public mind become to a state of war-as the first burst of hostilities in the bombardment of Fort Sumter. When the "makers of history" ceased, the writers of it began to see a termination of their labors, and only then could the publishers set limits to the extent of the work.
It is hoped, now that the work is complete, the reading public will find that the intention of making it a faithful and impartial history has been in a great measure accomplished. That it is not free from some of the defects inseparable from all contemporary history is not claimed for it. Many years must elapse, and perhaps all the participants in the great National struggle will have passed from the scene before a perfect history of the great civil war will be
given to the world, or before even the truth will be ascertained with regard to many important facts, and the springs of action of many of the most distinguished actors on either side. A perfect history was probably never written. The greatest of English historians, Macaulay, said: "There are poems which we should be inclined to designate as faultless, or as disfigured only by blemishes which pass unnoticed in the general blaze of excellence. There are speeches, some speeches of Demosthenes particularly, in which it would be impossible to alter a word without altering it for the worse. But we are acquainted with no history which approaches to our notion of what a history ought to be; with no history which does not widely depart, either on the right hand or on the left, from the exact line." If this is true with regard to history in general, how great must be the difficulty attendant on the task of eliminating the truth from documents and reports, the authors of which, belonging to one or the other party, are almost certain to be interested in concealing one set of facts and giving excessive prominence to another! It is believed, however, that this task, difficult as it was, has been accomplished with a great degree of success, and that the impartiality which should characterize the records of the historian has been in this work freely exercised.
In conclusion, let the hope be expressed that, dreadful as was the fratricidal contest, it will not be the task of posterity to record that it was without beneficial results, but rather that as it was like a destructive tropical tempest in its approach and during its continuance, the times which succeeded it resembled the calm which settles upon the face of nature when the storm has passed, and that the subsequent career of the Great Republic was one of uninterrupted prosperity and peaceful progress.
THE WAR WITH THE SOUTH:
A HISTORY OF THE
GREAT AMERICAN REBELLION.
State Sovereignty: its Honest and Dishonest Advocates.-Northern Conciliation.-Southern Domination.-Northern Independence.-Increased Power of the North.-Alarm at the Encroachments of the South.-The Kansas Struggle.— Organization of the Republican Party.-Nomination of John C. Fremont for President.-His Opinions on Slavery.An exciting Political Contest.-Election of Buchanan.-Audacious Expressions of Opinion.-Uneasiness of Southern Partisans.-Causes of their Anxiety.-An early Secession Speech of Jefferson Davis.-The Appeals of the Southern Press. Perversion of the Principles of the Republican Party.-Delusions of Commerce.-Re-establishment of the Slave Trade.-Alliances with the "Cotton Kingdom."-Conspirators in high places.-Illegal use of Public Moneys. -11 uses of Munitions of War, Navy, etc.-Increased Strength of the Republican Party.-South Carolina first to move toward Disunion.-A Secession Resolution.-A Secession Commissioner.-An emphatic Speech from Brooks, of South Carolina.-Political Conventions.-Division of the Democrats.-Nominations for the Presidency.-Chicago Convention.-Lincoln nominated for President.-Motives of the South in the division of the Democratic Party.A Secession Message from the Governor of South Carolina.-Suggestions of Treason from a Virginian Governor.-Election of Lincoln as President.
MANY of the political leaders of the | a faction from which they hoped to obextreme Southern States of the Ameri- tain favors they had failed in extorting can Union had long since boldly as- from the country. In the mean time serted that each individual State pos- the people of the Southern States, with essed a sovereignty paramount to that the exception perhaps of those of South of the united commonwealth of the Re- Carolina, who had been misled by the public of the United States of America. persuasive plausibilities of their favorite Some of these men, deluded by the Calhoun, continued to cherish a patriartful sophistries of the subtle Calhoun, otic sentiment of attachment to the the apostle of the doctrine of "State Union. Rights," in avowing their political heresy, gave expression, it is believed, to an honest conviction. Others, however, influenced by personal interests, sought only to gratify their ambition or to to soothe their disappointment by creating
While the partisan leaders of the South were enabled, through the conciliatory concessions of Northern politicians, to wield the political power of the country to their own purposes of personal and sectional advantage, they
shrewdly disguised their selfish designs beneath a mask of traditional regard for the Constitution of the United States. When, however, the North began to grow restless under its subservience to Southern domination, and to manifest a desire for emancipation, the partisan leaders of the South became anxious lest they should lose the political mastery by which they had so long governed a nation in the interests of a faction. Alarmed by these evidences of Northern independence, the Southern leaders asserted their theory of State sovereignty with increased audacity, and threatened to evoke its exercise to the destruction of the Union. They thus hoped to frighten the Northern people, who were known to be fondly devoted to the united country, into renewed submission to Southern control.
The North had, in the mean time, been rapidly gaining in power through the natural increase of population and an immense European immigration. The South had striven to balance this growing ascendency by an increase of slave States. By artful party combinations, and skillful management of Northern politicians, the partisan leaders of the South for awhile succeeded in their purpose. Texas was annexed at the expense of a war with Mexico, and established a slave State; an intrigue, though it proved abortive, was set on foot to force Spain into the sale of servile Cuba; and finally the Missouri Compromise act was abrogated, for the purpose of admitting the Territories of Nebraska and Kansas as slaveholding
States. The Northern people became alarmed by these continued encroachments of the South, and resolutely prepared to check them. In spite of the virtual abrogation of the Missouri Compromise act, by which the new Territory was thrown open to slavery, Kansas, through the efforts of the advocates of free soil, was filled with Northern settlers, and became by the votes of its inhabitants a free State. This, however, was not effected without a struggle. The neighboring slave States had sent in armed bands to resist the Northern immigration, and a bloody strife ensued, which greatly stirred the antagonistic interests and sentiments of the Northern and Southern States.
It was in the course of this bitter contention that the Republican party was formed, to resist the further extension of slavery. It soon gathered to its standard such a force as to threaten a successful opposition to the oldest and most powerful political combinations.
Fully organized, the Republican party met in convention at Philadelphia on the 17th of June, and nominated John C. Fremont, the eminent explorer, for President. Though a native of South Carolina, he was known to be strongly opposed to the extension of slavery, and in favor of free labor. He, however, objected to any interference with the rights of the Southern States secured to them by the Constitution of the United States, as he thus declared in a letter addressed to some leading members of the Republican party: "I heartily concur," he